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Tag Archive 'Class of 2014'

Jennifer Roach ’14 on a group trip to Wild Carrot Farm, Bantam, CT

Jennifer Roach ’14 is the recipient of a Davis Projects for Peace grant.

Four years ago, Jennifer Roach ’14 co-founded Summer of Solutions Hartford, a food justice and youth leadership development program in Connecticut’s capital. Since 2010, Summer of Solutions has grown to seven garden sites across Hartford, continuously working to “increase access to healthy food and community green spaces in Hartford by empowering young people as innovators in the food justice movement and providing them tools and opportunities to create solutions to food inequality in the city.”

This month, Roach’s organization was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace program. The Projects for Peace grant will allow Summer of Solutions to expand its nine-week summer program to a seven-month internship for youth interested in urban agriculture.

Now in the its eighth year, Projects for Peace is “an invitation to undergraduates at the American colleges in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer.

By funding the summer component of the Summer of Solutions internship, Davis will enable Roach and her team to amplify their impact in Hartford. Twelve garden interns will work alongside community members, maintain seven gardens, teach gardening and cooking classes, and come together weekly for a workshop series on food justice, sustainability and community resilience. In addition, they will partner with Capital Workforce Partners, a youth employment initiative in Hartford, to run a five-week Urban Farming 101 program for 10 high school students in July. (more…)

Wesleyan students and faculty participated in a Minds in Motion event at Snow Elementary School on March 8. Ishita Mukerji, dean of the Natural Sciences and mathematics Division, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, hosted a DNA workshop with nine middle school students.

Wesleyan students and faculty participated in a Minds in Motion event at Snow Elementary School on March 8. Ishita Mukerji (not pictured), dean of the Natural Sciences and mathematics Division, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, hosted a DNA workshop with nine middle school students.

(more…)

During an internship last summer, Shannon Welch '14 discovered that the State of Maryland never rescinded the 13th amendment.  Welch brought the oversight to the attention of the current Maryland State Legislature.

During an internship last summer, Shannon Welch ’14 discovered that the State of Maryland never rescinded the 13th amendment. Welch brought the oversight to the attention of the current Maryland State Legislature. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Last summer, history and government major Shannon Welch ’14 was an intern at the National Archives in Washington, D.C. She was paging documents at the Center for Legislative Archives when she stumbled across a little known and disturbing proposed constitutional amendment on the books in her home state of Maryland.

“I came upon this 13th amendment that was making slavery institutionalized for the rest of time,” she said. “The federal government could never touch it. Then I found a document that Maryland had ratified it, and I was shocked. They let me keep researching, and I found out that Maryland had never rescinded this amendment, while other states had.”

The amendment had been ratified by the state’s general assembly on Jan. 10, 1862, not long after the start of the Civil War when the union was in a state of disarray. When the final version of the 13th amendment abolishing slavery was enacted in 1865, many had forgotten or were unaware of the obsolete, so-called “shadow” version, which stated:

No amendment shall be made to the Constitution which will authorize or give to Congress the power to abolish or interfere, within any State, with the domestic institutions thereof, including that of persons held to labor or service by the laws of said State.

Shannon Welch is writing a senior thesis on Native American conversions by Jesuit priests and puritan missionaries in Maine in the late 1600s.

Shannon Welch is writing a senior thesis on Native American conversions by Jesuit priests and puritan missionaries in Maine in the late 1600s.

“You had two countries with two separate congresses pretending like they’re representing (more…)

Jon Lubeck '14  is the co-founder of Wesleyan's Local Food Co-op Organization, which provides locally-sourced cheese, bread, meat, coffee, vegetables and other goods from various farms throughout Connecticut and southern Massachusetts.

Jon Lubeck ’14 is the co-founder of Wesleyan’s Local Food Co-op Organization, which provides locally-sourced cheese, bread, meat, coffee, vegetables and other goods from various farms in Connecticut, New York and southern Massachusetts.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Jon Lubeck ’14 from the Class of 2014.

Q: Jon, what are you majoring in and what attracted you to Wesleyan?

A: I am majoring in anthropology and am currently in the process of writing my senior thesis. Wesleyan first piqued my interest when I had a class in high school with a super-inspiring history teacher who was a Wes graduate. When I visited the school, I loved the small, liberal arts atmosphere, the active arts and music scene on campus, and the history of active student organizing. Wesleyan seemed like a place to me where students were passionate about things that mattered to them, whether it was art, academics, music, political activism, food, etc. I wanted to be surrounded by passionate, excited people, and am so happy that I have the chance to be now!

From left, Jon Lubeck, prepares a meal with co-op co-organizers Scott Zimmer '14 and Will Curran-Groome '14.

From left, Jon Lubeck, prepares a meal with co-op co-organizers Scott Zimmer ’14 and Will Curran-Groome ’14. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

Q: You’re currently a member and co-founder of Wesleyan’s Local Food Co-op Organization that provides an affordable option for students to purchase local and sustainable food. Tell us more about the group and why you got started?

A: The Wesleyan Local Food Co-op has a long history behind it. It was started during my sophomore year by Cathryn Herlihey ’12, who was unsatisfied with the meal plan options offered by Bon Appetit. She felt like there was no option for her to purchase locally grown and ethically raised products (since then, Bon Appetit  has begun to offer some great options at Usdan and Weshop). The Co-op started with around 20 members who were friends of hers and allowed to join this pilot program. Soon after, we started actively organizing it ourselves, buying more kinds of foods, and quickly expanded. We now have nearly 600 members, including faculty and staff for the first time this semester. We have plans next year to expand to Middletown residents and offer subsidized shares to participants on various forms of food aid: SNAP and EBT benefits and the Woman Infants and Children program. We are in the process of applying for grants and positions to administrate this new incarnation.

Along with Will Curran-Groome ’14 and Scott Zimmer ’14, I am in charge of organizing and administrating the Co-op. We all became involved very early on in the Co-op’s history, and really found the work we did fulfilling. As a student-led and administered group, we strive to incorporate as many members as possible in the decision-making and administration (more…)

Amber Smith '14 recently received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant to start up her social enterprise, "I AMputee."

Amber Smith ’14 recently received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant to start up her social enterprise, “I AMputee.”

Amber Smith ’14 understands the importance of having connections with others who understand the hardships faced as an amputee. Smith, an African American studies major, was born with an upper extremity amputation of her left forearm.

On Nov. 6, Smith received a 2013 Ella T. Grasso Leadership in Action Grant from the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame. The award will serve as seed money for starting up her social enterprise, “I AMputee,” an online community designed for amputees and their families to connect with those of similar circumstances in an effort to create positive, reciprocal relationships grounded in common experience. I AMputee’s slogan is “I AM Human. I AM Inspired. I AMputee.”

“Because of my life experiences, I understand that while there are some amazing organizations geared toward amputee support, there isn’t quite something out there like what I want to create. I’m interested in starting an accessible community that will inspire a movement; a new way of thinking about amputees,” she said.

Smith’s parents didn’t know of her forearm amputation until she was born. They were connected with another couple in a similar situation through a penpal program, among a variety of other resources, through the Shriners Hospital.

Amber Smith '14 met Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83 during the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame meeting Nov. 6. Smith said Kennedy "is one of I AMputee's biggest supporters."

Amber Smith ’14 met Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83 during the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame meeting Nov. 6. Smith said Kennedy “is one of I AMputee’s biggest supporters.”

Smith hopes that I AMputee will evolve into an internet trading and social network where amputees across the world can pair together to purchase and/or exchange gloves and shoes, split the cost in half, and give new meaning to an unattended item.

In the grant application, Smith included a detailed timeline and budget. In receiving this grant, she’s gained much needed financial support and created the structure needed to start making progress and maintain momentum in building her project for the upcoming year.

During the Nov. 6 ceremony, the Connecticut Women’s Hall of Fame honored Smith for “her outstanding project proposal and her commitment to providing assistant to amputees at home and abroad.”

“I want I AMputee to help us redefine our collective and individual identities,” she said. “I also believe it will help restore pride and humanity to a group of people who are often labeled in ways that strips them of such.”

Learn more about I AMputee on this Facebook site.

#THISISWHY

Jackie Soro '14 considers herself a " feminist with an activist consciousness and a knack for critical theory."

Jackie Soro ’14 considers herself a ” feminist with an activist consciousness and a knack for critical theory.” She is double majoring in feminist, gender and sexuality studies and history.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Jacqueline “Jackie” Soro from the Class of 2014.

Q: Jackie, where are you from and what brought you to Wesleyan?

A: I’m from Oak Park, Illinois, just outside of Chicago — one of the few Midwesterners on campus (I think there are more international students than Midwesterners, so I’m a rare bird)! I came to Wesleyan because I knew I wanted to attend a small, community-centered school somewhere other than the Midwest, and also because I decided that I didn’t want to go to art school. I wanted a place where I could make art and not sacrifice my academic interests in the process of artmaking (and vice versa). At Wesleyan, I can do both! So, it seemed like a great fit for me – and it’s worked out wonderfully.

Q: What are you majoring in and why?

Jackie Soro works at the Center for the Arts Box Office.

Jackie Soro works at the Center for the Arts Box Office. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

A: I am a feminist, gender and sexuality studies and history double major. Another reason I chose Wesleyan, actually, is because of the flexibility of the curriculum — without a restrictive core curriculum, you can really create your own path of study, and that’s exactly what I’ve done. I’m a history major because history been my favorite subject since elementary school; there’s just something so fascinating about tracing the histories of global patterns of influence. And I chose FGSS because the politics and poetics of gender and sexuality (to use a very Wesleyan phrase) are my passion. I am a feminist with an activist consciousness and a knack for critical theory, so I love the compassion and rigor of the FGSS major.

Q: Tell us about your senior performance art project.

A: My performance is one part performance art, two parts dance, three parts playtime and one part improvisation. It’s interdisciplinary, just like my course of study has been; it’s a physical expression of the research I have done on history of lesbian presence in the Women’s Army Corps during World War II. I want to take some of the concepts I’ve been grappling with on paper and transform them into a kind of dance, and ask questions about how humans communicate on a nonverbal plane(s), and how the gaze of others shape our physical bodies. Basically, the performance will include a lot of questions, a few answers, some more questions, singing, dancing, interactive genderbending, and face paint.

Q: What are your plans after graduating this May?

A: Up in the air! I know I’m going to spend the summer in one of my favorite places in the world – Circle Pines Center in the middle-of-nowhere, Michigan, working as a counselor for the kids’ social justice summer camp there. I’ve been involved at Circle Pines as a camper, counselor, musician, and volunteer since I was 13, and I think it’s the perfect place for me to return to and gather my thoughts after graduation.

Q: How long have you worked for the Center for the Arts Box Office? What do you like about this experience?

A: I’ve worked at the Box Office since the beginning of my sophomore year, and to be frank, it’s the best job on campus. Campus life moves at such a fast pace that it can sometimes be difficult to get it together to attend CFA events, so I feel really lucky to be aware of the dozens and dozens of amazing concerts that the CFA sponsors each year. (AND I get into a lot of them for free if I sell tickets at the door!). I also have the coolest boss. Underclasspeople, this is the place to apply.

Q: Tell us about your musical interests.

A: I sing in The New Group, known lovingly (more…)

As part of Wesleyan’s Giving Tuesday celebration, members of the Class of 2014 attended the semi-formal Senior Class Reception Dec. 3 in Beckham Hall. Seniors enjoyed live entertainment, listened to remarks by alumni, and learned about the Seniors of Wesleyan Annual Gift (SWAG). A tradition that dates back nearly 20 years, SWAG allows graduating seniors the opportunity to give back to Wesleyan and set the standard for joining the Wesleyan community of alumni. This year the Class of 2014 has a SWAG goal of $10,000.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)

swag

swag (32) (more…)

Edgar Pliaskis '14 is double majoring in economics and Italian.

Edgar Pliaskis ’14 is double majoring in economics and Italian.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Edgar Pliaskis from the Class of 2014.

Q: Where are you from and what attracted you to Wesleyan?

A: I was born in Vilnius, Lithuania and moved to the U.S. about 10 years ago. For me, Wesleyan was always a small school and away from a big city—a beautiful environment to earn a degree and make lifelong friends.

Q: What are you majoring in and why?

A: I am double majoring in economics and Italian. I picked Italian because I was always interested in languages—Italian is a very beautiful language that is related to art and history, but most importantly it is extremely different from all the other languages that I know already. I have to also admit that Professor Viale is another reason why I picked Italian—she was extremely friendly and kind during one of the events my freshman year. I picked economics because it has a beautiful balance between mathematics, culture, and history—all of the things that interest me. There is a lot to carry away from the major.

Q: What courses are you taking this semester? Any favorites?

A: Currently I am enrolled in “Environmental Resource Economics,” “The Courtier and the Courtesan,” and “Philosophy and the Movies.” Although I enjoy all of them, the latter is my favorite because it is outside of my major and the study of film always interested me. From all of the film classes that I took at Wesleyan, I always took away something that changed the way I watch movies and that is the most direct, most apparent change within me.

Q: Tell us about your student job working for Information Technology Services. Will you use this experience after Wesleyan?

A: Currently, I do all kinds of work for ITS. I am a campus network manager—I bring back Internet to the woodframe houses if it is not working properly. At the same time I aid students with the computer troubles while working at the ITS Helpdesk, and help administrators while working as a desktop support specialist assistant. This semester you can find me at the Helpdesk sometime between 4 p.m. and 10 p.m. on Tuesdays, but if there is trouble, I am there more often. The ITS skills are always helpful anywhere and I am hopeful that I will be able to use them, if not all the time, then once in awhile.

Q: What do you like best about being a Wesleyan student?

A: I love the freedom that I have with different courses that I can take. This is extremely important for who I am—I like exploring things and dive into subjects that I have never heard before or know anything about. I take advantage of this every semester.

Q: Are you involved in any extra curricular activities?

A: I am a founder of TedxWes. Together with my friend, I organized the first TedxWes conference last semester. We are planning to make a bigger and more open to the public conference this coming semester with hopes that this, eventually, will turn into a campus tradition.

Q: What are your plans after graduating?

A: Currently everything is up in the air! I am applying to jobs, and graduate schools.

Peter Martin ’14 accepts a scholarship award from Martha Gilmore, chair and associate professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Peter Martin ’14 accepts a scholarship award from Martha Gilmore, chair and associate professor of earth and environmental sciences.

By examining highly-detailed satellite images, researchers can spot small channels formed on the sides of craters on Mars. These channels may be evidence of flowing water on Mars.

In the Gilmore lab, crystals have formed in Peter Martin's samples. "I've yet to run analysis on these specific crystals, so I can't tell you precisely what they are, but my best guess would be that they are a hydrated iron sulfate," he said.

In the Gilmore lab, crystals have formed in Peter Martin’s samples. “I’ve yet to run analysis on these specific crystals, so I can’t tell you precisely what they are, but my best guess would be that they are a hydrated iron sulfate,” he said.

Since scientists don’t exactly know what the surface of Mars is composed of, Wesleyan student Peter Martin ’14 created a modeling program that can simulate the kinds of salty water, or brine, solutions that would possibly form on Mars. For his efforts, Martin was awarded the Thomas R. McGetchin Memorial Scholarship Award. The $1,500 prize is given annually by the Universities Space Research Association in honor of the former Lunar and Planetary Institute Director, and is among five scholarship awards presented by the USRA.

Martin, who was selected from 21 applicants, is completing his Martian brine research in the planetary lab of Martha Gilmore, chair and associate professor of earth and environmental sciences.

After developing a modeling program, Martin created actual brines in the lab, and let them evaporate. The salts left behind formed various minerals including sylvite and halite. Martin uses X-ray diffraction (XRD) and visible/near-infrared spectroscopy (VNIR) to analyze the resulting evaporites. Analyses are ongoing, and Martin hopes to identify more minerals.

“The brines tell us a lot about Mars’ surface composition, mineralogy, and even hydrology,” he said.

After graduating, Martin plans to study planetary science education in graduate school.

For more information on the scholarship, see this link.

#THISISWHY

 

Anya Morgan '14 demonstrates one of her favorite yoga poses at Memorial Chapel. Morgan is majoring in English and French, and works as a writing tutor, yoga instructor, and a non-directive listening service on campus.

Anya Morgan ’14 demonstrates one of her favorite yoga poses at Memorial Chapel. Morgan is majoring in English and French, and works as a writing tutor, yoga instructor, and a non-directive listening service on campus.

Anya Morgan is a member of the Class of 2014.

Q: Anya, happy senior year to you! What are you majoring in, and why did you decide on these majors?

A: Thank you! I’m majoring in English and French. I think I always knew I was going to be an English major, since my mom is an English teacher and raised me on books – it’s in my blood. I’ve also got some serious French Canadian roots on both sides of my family, so I’m able to practice speaking French with my grandparents. I guess both majors were predetermined!

Q: Where are you from and what attracted you to Wesleyan?

A: I’m from Los Angeles, and I went to an all-girls high school called Archer. Archer is tiny, but for some reason it’s kind of a feeder school for Wesleyan – out of my graduating class of about 80 girls, five are now at Wes. So, I had heard of it because of that, but what really won me over was when I visited the campus. I was deciding between Wesleyan and Cornell, so my mom and I went and visited both of them, and I was struck by the difference in the students’ attitudes. When I came to Wes everyone looked so excited to be there, my tour guide was this hippy-dippy girl wearing birkenstocks, and someone actually chased after the tour yelling “Come to Wes!” So, it was an obvious choice. The vibe is just great here.

Q: What classes are you taking this fall? Which ones are you most looking forward to taking?

A: This fall I’m going to be starting work on my thesis, so I’ll be taking fewer classes than usual. As of now, I’m going to be taking “Literatures of Lying” (English/Psych), “Paris, 19th Century” (French), and “The Empire Writes Back” (English). I might slip a swimming for fitness class in there somewhere. I’m most excited for “Literatures of Lying” because I’ve heard both the professors are wonderful but I haven’t yet taken any classes with them – it’s co-taught by the beloved Jill Morawski and Lisa Cohen.

Q: What is the topic of your thesis?

A: My thesis, which I’m also really excited for, is going to be about representations of zombies in Haitian literature as compared to representations of zombies in American horror movies. I’ve been studying the francophone islands of the West Indies for two semesters and have always had a fascination with American zombies, so I decided to marry the two ideas. (more…)

Oladoyin Oladapo ’14

Oladoyin Oladapo ’14

Oladoyin Oladapo ’14 received a $500 Enrichment Grant in 2013 from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. This funding allowed her to get private training in HTML and JavaScript, which she will use in her entrepreneurial endeavors.

During spring break, she spent time learning programming languages with Brian Macharia ‘14, a computer science major who has professionally developed websites for companies and students internationally since he was 14.

“Learning to code in this short time was rigorous and challenging. I worked from 9 to 5 learning code. I worked on HTML for the first three days. This language was relatively easy for me, but JavaScript was a lot more difficult. There were many times I wanted to quit and give up but by the end of the day, the concepts made more sense to me. At the end of the two weeks, I was able to build a website, on my own! It was a very basic interface but I was proud of myself nonetheless,” she said.

Learn more about the grant online here.

Two Wesleyan students received honorable mentions from the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation.

Sam Factor '14

Sam Factor ’14

Sam Factor ’14, a physics and computer science double major, and Elliot Meyerson ’14, a computer science and mathematics double major, each received a letter of congratulations and a certificate from the foundation. The 2013-14 Goldwater Scholars were selected on the basis of academic merit from a field of 1,107 mathematics, science, and engineering students who were nominated by the faculties of colleges and universities nationwide.

Factor, who hails from Madison, Wisc., hopes to pursue a Ph.D in physics and conduct research in physics, work in industry or teach at the university level. At Wesleyan, Factor works with Fred Ellis, professor of physics, on asymmetric wave transport in nonlinear PT-symmetric electronics.

PT-symmetric systems have unchanged behavior under a combined reversal of time and reflection in space.

“We have shown that the combination of PT-symmetry and nonlinear gain and loss elements produce asymmetric wave transport. This is a remarkable feature and can be used to build devices that exhibit many interesting properties such as unidirectional invisibility and could lead to a device able to transmit and receive signals at the same time on the same frequency.”

During his senior year, Factor may write a senior thesis or complete the BA/MA program.

Elliot Meyerson '14

Elliot Meyerson ’14

Meyerson, of Silver Spring, M.D., hopes to pursue a Ph.D. in computer science and conduct research towards general intelligence and teach at the university level.

Meyerson’s computer science advisor is Eric Aaron, assistant professor of computer sciences, and Wai Kiu Chan, professor of mathematics. He plans on writing a computer science thesis in 2013-14.

The Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program was established by Congress in 1986 to honor Senator Barry M. Goldwater, who served his country for 56 years as a soldier and statesman, including 30 years of service in the U.S. Senate. The Goldwater Foundation is a federally endowed agency established by Public Law 99-661 on Nov. 14, 1986.

Since its first award in 1989, the Foundation has bestowed over 6,550 scholarships.

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