Tag Archive for Class of 2018

Women’s Tennis, Crew Teams Qualify for NCAA Championships

Aashli Budhiraja ’18

Aashli Budhiraja ’18

The Wesleyan women’s tennis and women’s crew teams both qualified for the NCAA Championships this week. Women’s tennis, ranked No. 8 in the ITA national rankings, returns to the postseason tournament for the first time since the 2000-01 season, and only the second time in program history. The Cardinals earned a first round bye after posting an 11-5 overall record, and will face the winner of No. 14 Mary Washington and Simmons on May 14 at 11 a.m. on the campus of Amherst College, the regional host. If Wesleyan wins, it would advance to play either No. 7 Amherst, SUNY Geneseo or Ithaca in the third round May 15 at noon.

Women’s tennis is riding a historic season, in which the Cardinals won their first-ever NESCAC Tournament match. Wesleyan, seeded No. 5, defeated the No. 4 seed and sixth-ranked Bowdoin 5-1 to advance to the semifinals. The Cardinals are led by reigning Individual Singles National Champion Eudice Chong ’18, and enter postseason play having won seven of their last eight matches.

In addition to the women’s team qualifying for the team championships, Chong and Aashli Budhiraja ’18 also qualified for the NCAA Individual Championships, while Victoria Yu ’19 was selected as a singles alternate. Additionally, Steven Chen ’18 of the 11th-ranked men’s tennis team qualified in singles play on the men’s side and Michael Liu ’17 was selected as an alternate. Chen and Liu were instrumental in Wesleyan’s success this season, which saw the team win its first-ever NESCAC Tournament match when it defeated Tufts, 5-3, to advance to the semifinals. The Cardinals narrowly missed out on an at-large bid to the team championships and finished the season with a 13-6 record.

Women’s crew, ranked No. 3 in the country, earned an at-large bid to the NCAA Division III Women’s Rowing Championships and will bring its Varsity 8 boat, comprised of Ava Miller-Lewis ’17, Remy Johnson ’16, Annalee Holmdahl ’17, Emma Koramshahi ’16, Ricky Flowers ’19, Emma Halter ’17, Annie Dade ’16, Amanda Molitor ’18 and coxswain Elissa Greenberg ’18. The Cardinals are making their second appearance in the postseason tournament, and first since 2014. Six teams qualified for the championships, while two at-large Eights were also selected. The championship regatta will take place May 27-28 at the Sacramento State Aquatic Center in Gold River, Calif. Wesleyan finished second overall at the New England Championships and third at the National Invitational Rowing Championships.

* Update 5/16/2016
The eighth-ranked women’s tennis team played No. 14 Mary Washington in the second round of the NCAA Tournament, and defeated the Eagles decisively, 5-0. Advancing to the ‘Sweet 16′ on Sunday, Wesleyan faced No. 7 Amherst College on the Little Three rivals’ home court. The Cardinals came up short, as they were defeated 5-2. Wesleyan’s historic season came to an end as it finished the year with a 12-6 record.

Women's Crew.

Women’s Crew.

Equity Task Force Issues Final Report

The Equity Task Force established in January to explore the establishment of a resource center, and other means of improving equity and inclusion on campus, has issued its final report.

The nine-person task force is made up of faculty, students and staff, and tri-chaired by Gina Ulysse, professor of anthropology, professor of feminist gender and sexuality studies; Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion and Title IX officer; and Shardonay Pagett ’18. Over the course of the spring semester, it dedicated a considerable amount of time to studying Wesleyan’s historical attempts to address equity and inclusion, and meeting with various groups of faculty, staff and students to receive input. In February, it released an interim report.

The final report, issued May 3, makes three recommendations:

  • The university should establish a new Center “that has a clear, intellectually grounded mission in social justice and a focus on intercultural development and literacy, which integrates students, faculty and staff in its core operations at the developmental stage to work sustainably toward a deeper commitment to inclusion campus-wide;”
  • The university should embark on a “long-term, comprehensive, campus-wide initiative with concrete action plans” addressing student concerns, patterns of inequity, and retention problems among faculty and staff on campus;
  • Finally, the university should transform the task force into a standing institutional committee comprised of students, faculty and staff, to work together with the larger Wesleyan community toward ongoing institutional change efforts.

In a response sent out to the campus community, President Michael Roth thanked the task force for its hard work and urged everyone to read the report. He wrote, “…it is vital that we seize this moment to improve the educational experience for all Wesleyan students, most especially those who have felt marginalized by practices of this institution, past or present.”

Roth says the administration will proceed with all three recommendations in the report.

“We will plan a Center within the time frame suggested that will enable students to deepen their education and enhance their ability to thrive on campus – especially those groups of students who have struggled against legacies of discrimination. This will build on the accomplishments of student activists, and also of professors and staff members who have worked hard to make this university a more equitable and inclusive place.”

He also promised to “add to the considerable resources we have already dedicated to recruiting and supporting students, faculty and staff from under-represented groups. […] Our goal is to ensure that all students have every opportunity to excel in all sectors of the curriculum and co-curricular activities.” The university will also establish a committee to coordinate efforts and measure their outcomes.

Owoyemi ’18 to Study in Russia as Critical Language Scholar

Praise Owoyemi '18

Praise Owoyemi ’18

Praise Owoyemi ’18 has been chosen for the prestigious Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) to study Russian in Vladimir, Russia this summer.

The Critical Language Scholarship (CLS) Program is a fully funded summer overseas language and cultural immersion program under the U.S. Department of State, which American undergraduate and graduate students have the opportunity to apply for. CLS is dedicated to broadening the base of Americans studying and mastering critical languages, as well as building relationships between the people of the United States and other countries. CLS provides opportunities to a diverse range of students from across the United States at every level of language learning.

Owoyemi started studying Russian when she arrived at Wesleyan. Despite many comments she received from peers on the difficulty of the language, she challenged herself and found it was an incredibly exciting language to study. She decided to apply for the CLS program because she felt that “being immersed in a Russin speaking environment would improve her Russian speaking and comprehension skills.” She hopes to expand upon all she already knows, through both formal, classroom instruction and informal, day-to-day experiences.

“I was really surprised when I found out I had been selected as a recipient for the program, but I am incredibly excited to experience Russian culture. I’m also really excited to stay with a host family because that will help me to interact with others in the language and not just revert back to English,” she said.

Owoyemi is double majoring in psychology and Russian, East European, and Eurasian studies. She enjoys studying Russian literature.

5 Undergraduates Receive Doris Duke Conservation Scholarships

Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Olivia Won ’18 is interested in addressing issues of climate justice by reorienting environmental action to work through a place-based, social justice lens.

Doris Duke Conservation Scholar Olivia Won ’18 is interested in addressing issues of climate justice by reorienting environmental action to work through a place-based, social justice lens.

In April, the Doris Duke Conservation Scholars Program presented scholarships to five Wesleyan undergraduate students. As Doris Duke Scholars, Olivia Won ’18, Emily Murphy ’18, Ryan Nelson ’19, Gabby Vargas ’18 and Kelly Lam ’19 will receive two summer experiential learning and research opportunities at the University of Washington and the University of Michigan.

The Doris Duke Charitable Foundation initiated the Conservation Scholars programs at several universities across the country in 2013 with the intention of attracting and training members of under-represented communities in the field of conservation. Over the course of their two years in the program, the scholars will work right alongside conservation professional and researchers that will serve as mentors.

“More than ever, the conservation field needs to increase its efforts to attract, train and employ individuals from communities

Faculty, Students, Alumni Attend Political Science Conference

Students presented research at the 74th annual Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago.

Students presented research at the 74th annual Midwest Political Science Association conference in Chicago.

The 74th annual Midwest Political Science Association (MPSA) conference in Chicago April 7-10 was attended by several Wesleyan faculty members, students and recent alumni. The conference, held every April, is one of the largest political science conferences with more than 5,000 presenters from throughout the United States and around the world. It is traditionally held in Chicago’s historic Palmer House Hilton.

Assistant Professor of Government Erika Franklin Fowler, Assistant Professor of Government Logan Dancey, and Assistant Professor of Government Yamil Velez all presented research at the conference. They were accompanied by Joli Holmes ’17, John Murchison ’16, Grace Wong ’18, Anh Tuan Nguyen Viet ’16, and Eki Ramadhan ’16, students who contributed to and presented research.

Also in attendance were recent alumni Leonid “Leo” Liu ’14, who presented research with Fowler, and Matt Motta ’13, now a graduate student at the University of Minnesota.

2016 Patricelli Center Seed Grant Winners Announced

Members of team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures that won a seed grant, presented their pitch before a live audience of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others. Presenting (from left to right) are Irvine Peck's-Agaya '18, Gabe Weinreb '18, Bashaun Brown, and Sara Eismont '18.

Members of the team behind TRAP House, one of the three social ventures awarded a seed grant, presented their pitch before members of the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and others. Presenting (from left to right) are Irvine Peck’s-Agaya ’18, Gabe Weinreb ’18, Bashaun Brown and Sara Eismont ’18.

Three social ventures started by Wesleyan students were recently awarded $5,000 seed grants in the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship’s annual Seed Grant Challenge. They are Kindergarten Kickstart, TRAP House and Walking Elephants Home.

The last weekend in February, all six finalists for the seed grants presented pitches for their ventures before the Board of Trustees, Patricelli Center Advisory Board and Seed Grant judges, as well as representatives of CT Innovations and the ‎State of Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development, fellow students, and others. The event was also livestreamed. One of the other finalists, <Zim/Code>, chose to withdraw from the Seed Grant competition before selections were made, after the project received $10,000 from another funder.

The remaining finalists, Give Education and Pertiwi Initiative, were awarded smaller runner-up grants funded by members of the Board of Trustees who attended the pitches and believed all six teams were worthy of validation.

“This was the third year that we awarded seed grants in a pitch competition format,” said Makaela Kingsley, director of the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship. “I am always blown away by the finalists, and this year was no exception. From Becca Winkler’s thorough understanding of the environmental and cultural conditions in northern Thailand to Irvine Peck’s-Agaya’s deep personal commitment to her economic development work, every person who took that stage captured the audience’s attention and garnered their support. More than launching ventures, this process helps students develop creative competence and confidence that will make them effective changemakers and capable leaders. I believe it’s a critical piece of a Wesleyan education.”

RL&L Presents Two Evenings of Theater

Italian Play (4)Two evenings of theater will be presented by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures this month. Both events are free and open to the public and will take place at the department’s common room at 300 High Street in Middletown, Conn.

Students from French 281 and Theater 291 will present three plays in French on Dec. 9 at 6 p.m.: “Tu honoreras ton père et ta mère”  or “You Will Honor Your Father and Mother,” by Samira Sedira; “Ah! La belle vie” or “Oh! The Good Life,” by Anne Giafferi; and “First Lady,” by Sedef Ecer. A reception will follow. The evening is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures, the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund, and the Center for Pedagogical Innovation.

Non tutti i ladri vengono per nuocere” or “The Virtuous Burglar,” by Dario Fo, will be performed entirely in Italian, with a plot summary in English, on Dec. 11 at 7 p.m. A reception will follow. The play is directed by Hannah Skopicki ’18, stage managed by Ryan Dobrin ’18, and produced by Camilla Zamboni. The evening is sponsored by the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures and the Thomas and Catharine McMahon Fund.

Forster ’18 Studies Makeup Effects, Prosthetics

At left, James Forster '18 spend two months last summer at the Gorton Studios in the U.K. learning about film prosthetics and makeup effects. Pictured at right is an example of some his artistry. 

At left, James Forster ’18 spent seven weeks at the Gorton Studios in the U.K. learning about film prosthetics and makeup effects. Pictured at right is a creature named “Zerbei,” an example of some his artistry. (Photos by Christopher Goodman)

For seven weeks last summer, James Forster ’18 learned how to transform a female classmate into a bat and mold an older gentleman into a pointy-eared creature named “Zerbei.”

As one of six selected students enrolled in a “Make-Up FX and Prosthetics Creation” course at Groton Studios in the United Kingdom, Forster learned ways to work behind the scenes as a creative, workshop-based prosthetics artist. From concept designing through sculpting, moulding, casting and finishing, the curriculum focused on producing industry-ready craftspeople.

Forster, a potential English major with an interest in drawing and photo manipulation, got a taste for character creation while working in the costume shop for Second Stage during his freshman year.

Forster spent four weeks creating the creature, Zerbei as a final project.

Forster spent four weeks creating the creature, “Zerbei” as a final project.

“Up until then, I didn’t have much sculpting experience, so when I applied, I wasn’t sure whether my almost entirely two-dimensional portfolio would be what they had in mind,” he said. “I was overjoyed when I found out that they had admitted me.”

Prior to departing to the U.K., Forster, of Rye, N.Y. took a sculpting class at nearby Westchester Community College where he learned the basics of sculpting facial anatomy and expression. Five weeks later, he arrived at Gorton Studios in Chesham, which turned out to be one of the most surreal experiences of his life.

“The interior of the building itself resembled some kind of extraordinary crossbreed between a normal artists studio and a wax museum,” Forster described. “Dozens of busts, statuettes, costumes and small scale models from a variety of science fiction, fantasy, and horror films covered the walls, shelves, and floor – anywhere there was space, really. Mechanical components for animatronics were scattered in corners, and power tools covered the tabletops.”

The six students received a staggering array of tools, including saws,

Long Lane Farm Interns Sell Produce at North End Farmers Market

Connor Brennan ’18 and Tony Strack ’18 sold produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Aug. 21 at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Brennan spent the summer working as an intern for the student run organic farm, which provides students with a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture.  The produce grown on Long Lane also is donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and served to students in Usdan University Center.

Connor Brennan ’18 and Tony Strack ’18 sold produce from Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm Aug. 21 at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Brennan spent the summer working as an intern for the student-run organic farm, which provides students with a place to experiment and learn about sustainable agriculture.
The produce grown on Long Lane also is donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry and served to students in Usdan University Center.

Ben Daley ’18 and Seamus Edson ’18 provided musical entertainment during the North End Farmers Market. Ben also was a summer Long Lane Farm intern.

Ben Daley ’18 and Seamus Edson ’18 provided musical entertainment during the North End Farmers Market. Daley also was a summer Long Lane Farm intern.

Students Study Kangaroo Behavior in Response to Environmental Changes

Angus McLean and Mariel Becker collecting kangaroo droppings in Boundary Road Reserve. (Photo courtesy of the Bathurst Kangaroo Project)

Angus McLean and Mariel Becker collecting kangaroo droppings in Boundary Road Reserve. (Photo courtesy of the Bathurst Kangaroo Project)

Two Wesleyan students and a former visiting professor have just wrapped up a seven-week-long research project on kangaroo behavior in Bathurst, Australia. Working with Liv Baker, an animal studies postdoctoral fellow in the College of the Environment in 2014-15, Angus McLean ’16 and Mariel Becker ’18 have collected “more than 600 pages of data recording kangaroo behavior in response to daily changes and threats in their environment,” according to an article in Western Advocate.

“There were noticeable differences in behaviour between the kangaroos we observed out of town, and between the three different mobs around the Mount,” McLean told the paper.

Angus MacLean observes a kangaroo at one of their sites. At this site, kangaroos were extremely habituated to humans.

Angus McLean observes a kangaroo at one of their sites. At this site, kangaroos were extremely habituated to humans.

“We’ve also collected a freezer full of kangaroo droppings being stored at Charles Sturt University, and which University of Technology Sydney will be testing for cortisol levels, which indicate stress. Our supervisor Dr. Liv Baker from Wesleyan University will be analysing both sets of data and writing up a paper about how Mount Panorama kangaroos are responding to stressors in their environment.”

The project began in June, when Baker held a workshop at the Bathurst Art Gallery collating descriptions of kangaroo behaviors to inform the students’ character-state recognition records.

Mariel Becker collected fecal samples, which were sent to a lab in Sydney. The samples are analyzed for cortisol levels, which is a hormone produced when the animal is stressed.

Mariel Becker collected fecal samples, which were sent to a lab in Sydney. The samples are analyzed for cortisol levels, which is a hormone produced when the animal is stressed.

WesMaSS Scholars Get Intensive Introduction to Studying Sciences at Wesleyan

Ten WesMaSS scholars participated in a weeklong program on campus this summer.

Ten Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars participated in a weeklong program on campus this summer.

The Wesleyan Mathematics and Science Scholars (WesMaSS) Program is a highly selective academic program designed to support students from traditionally underrepresented groups who are interested in pursuing study in mathematics and natural sciences. The program aims to foster community building and provides the scholars, who are all incoming first-year students, with mentoring and academic resources which encourage and facilitate their sustained involvement in these fields. Each scholar also receives a Wesleyan faculty mentor.

From July 26-31, 10 of the 32 WesMaSS scholars participated in an intensive introduction to studying science at Wesleyan. Students toured the science departments, became familiar with the range of resources available, and attended workshops focused on the expectations for academic work at Wesleyan. They also met with T. David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, who is serving as director of the WesMaSS Program.

Students attended a mini-course in network analysis offered by Pavel Oleinikov, associate director of the Quantitative Analysis Center; a microscopy lab introduction by Jeff Gilarde, director of scientific imaging; and a tour of the Joe Webb Peoples Mineral Museum by James Gutmann, the Smith Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology. The students also participated in many social activities. The program culminated with the Undergraduate Research in the Sciences Symposium, a day-long event that featured a keynote lecture by a prominent scientist and a poster session of the undergraduate scientific research projects.

Photos of the program are below: (Photos by Roslyn Carrier-Brault and Olivia Drake)

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Mathew ’18 Participates in Summer Session’s Biology Institute

Christine "Cj" Mathew '18 is taking two intensive science classes this summer that equate to an entire year's worth of credits.

Christine “Cj” Mathew ’18 is taking two intensive science classes this summer that equate to an entire year’s worth of credits. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Christine “Cj” Mathew from the Class of 2018.

Q: Cj, have you chosen a major?

A: I’m a prospective neuroscience and behavior major.

Mathew's second Summer Session class began June 29.

Mathew’s second Summer Session class, Principles of Biology II, began June 29.

Q: This summer, you are enrolled in the new Biology Institute, which is held as part of the Wesleyan Summer Session, and includes intensive Principles of Biology I and II Lecture and Lab. Why did you decide to participate in the institute?

A: For my major requirements and pre-med requirements, there are tons of science classes that I have to take, and I didn’t want to feel too overwhelmed by taking more than one science class in a year.

Q: How many students were in your Bio I class? Do you enjoy the more intimate learning atmosphere?

A: There were 11 people in the class, and I absolutely love having a small class. This class is pretty fast paced, so it’s really helpful to have more individual attention. We spend a lot of time together between class and labs; by the second week of class, it was like we’d all known each other for a long time!

Q: When are you in class? Also, have you done any interesting lab experiments?

A: We’re in class every day from 9-10:40 a.m. and the lab meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1:30-4:20 p.m., but most of the labs don’t take that long so we’re let out earlier. In Bio I, we’ve done some pretty cool labs including genetic engineering, where we transformed bacteria. One of my personal favorites was when we looked at what proteins are found in milk and how much protein is found in milk. This one was particularly interesting because so many people are lactose intolerant because of these proteins.

Q: The Biology II course began June 29. How do you feel about jumping right into another class?

A: Luckily, there was a small, five-day break in between the two sessions. But, it’s not too bad. Since we’re only taking one class, not all of our time is consumed with class, so it’s manageable.

Q: After Bio II, do you have any summer plans?

A: Maybe a little traveling!

Q: Where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan?

A: I’m from Long Island, N.Y. I chose Wesleyan because I knew I wanted a small school, and I loved the fact that Wesleyan has a lot of flexibility when it comes to choosing classes.

Q: Are you involved in any extracurricular activities on campus? What do you like to do in your free time?

A: I’m part of Women in Science and I enjoy playing tennis.