Tag Archive for Class of 2014

Students Honored For Academic Achievement with Awards, Fellowships

During the Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes Reception May 7, Yan Pui "Angela" Lo '14, Julian Theseria '14 and Paul Hanakata '14 received honors. Lo received the Holzberg Fellowship and Frances M. Sheng Prize, awarded for excellence in Chinese language and excellence in Japanese language. Theseria received the Baden-Württemberg Connecticut Sister State Exchange Award and the Scott Prize for German Studies. Hanakata received the Bertman Prize.

During the Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes Reception May 7, Yan Pui “Angela” Lo ’14, Julian Theseria ’14 and Paul Hanakata ’14 received honors. Lo received the Holzberg Fellowship for psychology research and the Frances M. Sheng Prize for Japanese language. Theseria received the Baden-Württemberg Connecticut Sister State Exchange Award and the Scott Prize for German Studies. Hanakata received the Bertman Prize for physics research.

Wesleyan hosted the Academic Scholarships, Fellowships and Prizes Reception for students May 7 in Daniel family Commons.

“We gather today to honor students who represent the highest ideals of Wesleyan University―intellectual curiosity, academic excellence, creative expression, leadership, and service. While celebrating these recipients of awards, prizes, and scholarships, we also honor and thank alumni and friends whose generous contributions make these prizes possible,” said Ruth Striegel Weissman, provost and vice president for academic affairs.

The prizes and recipients are listed below:

Butterfield Prize 

Established by the Class of 1967 and awarded to the graduating senior who has exemplified those qualities of character, leadership, intellectual commitment and concern for the Wesleyan community shown by Victor Lloyd Butterfield, 11th president of the University.

Andrew Trexler ’14 

Nicole Updegrove ’14 

Rachel Sobelsohn '17, at right, was the recipient of the Susan Frazer Prize. The prize is awarded to students who have done the most distinguished work in the elementary and intermediate French language sequence.

Rachel Sobelsohn ’17, at right, was the recipient of the Susan Frazer Prize. The prize is awarded to students who have done the most distinguished work in the elementary and intermediate French language sequence.

Chadbourne Prize 

The gift of George Storrs Chadbourne, Class of 1858, to that member of the first-year class outstanding in character, conduct, and scholarship.

Ya-Lih Horng ’17 

Limbach Prize 

Established in 1966 by Russell T. Limbach, professor of art, in memory of his wife, Edna Limbach. Awarded annually to the student who has contributed the most imaginative, generous, thoughtful, and understanding social service to the people of the City of Middletown and/or the Wesleyan community.

Joshua Krugman ’14 

Catherine Marquez ’16 

Wesleyan Memorial Prize 

The gift of undergraduates in the Class of 1943 in memory of fellow students who made the supreme sacrifice in the Second World War, to the members of the junior class outstanding in qualities of character, leadership, and scholarship.

Gabriel Gordon ’15 

Christian Hosam ’15

Academic Scholarships, Fellowships, and Prizes 

Pictured are, at left, Benjamin Jacobs '14 and Benjamin Carus '14. Jacobs received the Sheng Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and the Hallowell Prize. Carus received the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award and White Prize. Alex Iselin '14 received the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award, Wilde Prize and White Prize.

Pictured are, at left, Benjamin Jacobs ’14, Benjamin Carus ’14 and Alex Iselin ’14. Jacobs received the Sheng Prize, a Fulbright Fellowship and the Hallowell Prize. Carus received the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award and White Prize. Iselin ’14 received the Plukas Teaching Apprentice Award, Wilde Prize and White Prize.

George H. Acheson and Grass Foundation Prize in Neuroscience 

Established in 1992 by a gift from the Grass Foundation, this prize is awarded to an outstanding undergraduate in the Neuroscience and Behavior Program who demonstrates excellence in the program and who also shows promise for future contributions in the field of neuroscience.

Adele Bubnys ’14 

Rachel Rosengard ’14 

Alumni Prize in the History of Art 

Established by Wesleyan alumni and awarded to a senior who has demonstrated special aptitude in the history of art and who has made a substantive contribution to the major.

Isadora Dannin ’14 

Ojurongbe ’14 to Speak on Media Depictions of Immigration

After graduating this May, Oluwaremilekun "Remi" Ojurongbe '14 will spend two years working at a law firm in New York City. She plans on going to law school and eventually working with immigration law and policy. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

After graduating this May, Oluwaremilekun “Remi” Ojurongbe ’14 will spend two years working at a law firm in New York City. She plans on going to law school and eventually working with immigration law and policy. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Oluwaremilekun “Remi” Ojurongbe of the Class of 2014. She will deliver a WESeminar at Reunion & Commencement on the topic of her capstone project, “Illegality, Criminality, and the Taxpayer’s Burden: The Incomplete U.S. Immigration Narrative.”

Q: Remi, what is your major and why did you decide to write a thesis?

A: I am a psychology and government double major, but I decided to conduct research in psychology mainly because of the classes that I took in the department. Courses like Professor Sarah Carney’s “Psychology in the Law,” and “Cultural Psychology” with Professor Robert Steele really made the connection between psychology and social policy for me. I felt that psychology was a great medium to further explore these topics of race, class, power and the media.

Q: How did you choose the topic of media coverage of immigrants and immigration?

A: I choose the topic of immigration because it is an area that I am personally familiar with, but I also wanted to learn more about it. My parents are Nigerian immigrants so I have some personal experience with the process of emigrating to the U.S. My sophomore year with the Ronald McNair program, I did independent research on past restrictive immigration and the creation of a perceived American identity. It was through this project that I learned more about restrictive immigration legislation, public attitudes and trends in immigrant representation.

After Studying Abroad, Mummini ’14 Hired as Health Programs Assistant in Denmark

Swetha Mummini ’14

Swetha Mummini ’14 is a biology and neuroscience and behavior double major.

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with Swetha Mummini ’14 who studied abroad last spring through the Danish Institute for Study Abroad Program. Her study abroad program hires two graduating past participants to be paid interns for the year after graduation and Mummini received the internship for the science and health programs assistant. 

Q: What prompted you to study abroad in Copenhagen?

A: Macaroni and cheese. I know that sounds a bit ridiculous, but the first time I seriously considered going abroad was at the very beginning of junior year when my friend Catherine invited her friends over for baked macaroni and cheese. Over the course of the meal, her friends talked about their plans to go abroad during spring semester of junior year, and that moment served as my personal eureka moment. I realized what a unique opportunity studying abroad was and how I should take the opportunity to pursue it. That night, I was up until 4 a.m. researching programs and trying to find the perfect fit. Denmark has always fascinated me, especially because of its status as the happiest country in the world and its welfare state. The program that I chose, the Danish Institute for Study Abroad (DIS), also offered a wide variety of health science and public health classes that appealed to me.

Q: What did you like about the DIS program in particular?

A: For premedical students, DIS has a unique program called Medical Practice and Policy. It’s a very hands-on program that exposes students to the fundamentals of clinical medicine and the European healthcare system. By participating in the program, I was able to get clinical exposure that I wouldn’t necessarily be able to experience in the U.S. I learned how to take a patient’s case history and formulate a diagnosis. I also learned how to perform basic medical procedures, such as taking an ultrasound and drawing blood. To give students a broader understanding of healthcare policy, our class also took a weeklong trip to Vienna and Budapest where we heard from physicians and other medical specialists about the challenges in their healthcare systems.

McNair Fellows Research Plasma Underwater, Serpentine Soil Plants in Puerto Rico

Two Wesleyan students presented their research at the McNair Research Talks April 17 in Exley Science Center. The Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program is one of the federal TRiO programs funded by the U.S. Department of Education.

The program’s mission is to create educational opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, ethnic background, or economic circumstance. It assists students from underrepresented groups prepare for, enter, and progress successfully through postgraduate education.

First generation college students from low-income families or African-American, Hispanic, Native Hawaiian, Native American Pacific Islander, American Indian or Alaskan Natives qualify as McNair Fellows. Since 2007, four McNair fellows have entered Ph.D. programs and 15 are working in research fields.

McNair Research Talks are designed for interested, non-expert students.

Rashedul Haydar '14 presented his study on "Laser Induced Plasmas Under Bulk Water: Spatiotemporal Characteristics and Spectral Analysis."

Rashedul Haydar ’14 presented his study on “Laser Induced Plasmas Under Bulk Water: Spatiotemporal Characteristics and Spectral Analysis.”

Lavontria Aaron '14 presented her research on "The Remote Sensing and Mapping of Serpentine Soil Plants in Puerto Rico."

Lavontria Aaron ’14 presented her research on “The Remote Sensing and Mapping of Serpentine Soil Plants in Puerto Rico.”

Weitzman ’14 to Study Slam Poetry as Watson Fellow

 Emily Weitzman ’14

Emily Weitzman ’14 will travel around the world for one year under a prestigious Watson Fellowship studying slam poetry communities.

Emily Weitzman ’14, a double major in English and dance and an original member of Wesleyan’s slam poetry team (WeSlam), will travel around the world studying slam poetry, community and culture under a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

Weitzman plans to visit South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal and Ireland to explore communities of slam poets. She was one of about 40 individuals this year to receive the prestigious fellowship, which comes with a $28,000 stipend for travel and independent study. She will begin her year-long journey by August 1.

“While my proposed topic is slam, something that I really love about the Watson is that it’s not so much about your project as it is about your experience while pursuing a project. The Watson says that they ‘pick people, not projects,’” she said. “Just like slam is a vehicle for sharing art, my project is a vehicle for experiencing the world, and the people and art across the globe. So for me, pursing this project is really about meeting new people, learning about diverse cultures, immersing myself in different places, and experiencing the art created in different communities. It’s also probably about a whole bunch of things that I don’t even know yet.”

Weitzman became interested in slam poetry during her freshman year at Wesleyan, when Michael Rosen ’11 founded WeSlam, a performance poetry team that competes regionally and nationally. Weitzman has been part of all four teams in WeSlam history that have competed in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI); in 2011, she won “Best Persona Poem” for a group piece performed with Randyl Wilkerson ’12, and in 2012, won “Funniest Poem” for her poem “Couch.” (Watch a video of Weitzman performing “Couch” at the Yale Regionals in 2012).

Roach ’14 to Transform Abandoned Urban Land into Community Gardens as Project for Peace Recipient

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.

ITS Staff, Students Speak at New England Computing Conference

Four staff from Information Technology Services and one student spoke at the NorthEast Regional Computing Program (NERCOMP) Annual Conference held in Providence, R.I. on March 26.

Karen Warren, director of user and technical services for Information Technology Services,  led a poster session on “The Best thing to Ever Happen at Wesleyan: Justifying and Sustaining LyndaCampus.”

Warren explained the successes of Wesleyan’s LyndaCampus implementation backed by usage data statistics, cost comparisons, and a description of the cross-departmental approach used to garner support campus-wide. The poster featured quotes and anecdotes from Wesleyan student users underscoring the benefits of the campus (versus a limited) implementation.

Heric Flores, manager of instructional media services; Robert Christensen, instructional media specialist; and student programmers Brian Gapinski ’14 and Justin Raymond ’14 spoke on “Cost-Effective Classroom Control: the cmdr Project.”

Built by Wesleyan, cmdr is an open-source touchscreen A/V control system that offers an alternative to the cost-prohibitive vendor solutions controlling the market. Built with Ruby, HTML5/CSS, and Javascript, the cmdr project hopes to bring innovation, budgetary savings and collaboration across higher education institutions.

Students, Faculty Host DNA Workshop for Area Children

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.

Welch ’14 Encourages the State of Maryland to Rescind Forgotten Slavery Amendment

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

Lubeck ’14 Co-Organizes Wesleyan Co-op to Provide Local, Sustainable Food

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

Smith ’14 Creates Online Community for Amputees, Families

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

Singer, Writer Soro ’14 Creating Performance Based on Lesbian Presence in WWII Army Corps

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