Tag Archive for Class of 2018

Wesleyan Posse Veterans Attend Benefit for Wounded Ranger

Michael Smith ’18, Bryan Stascavage ’18 and Andrew Po ’18 attended a Veteran’s Gala, sponsored by Homes For Our Troops, for wounded veteran Sean Pesce. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Andrew Po ’18, Bryan Stascavage ’18 and Michael Smith ’18 attended a Veteran’s Gala, sponsored by Homes For Our Troops, for wounded veteran Sean Pesce.

Wesleyan sponsored three Posse Veteran scholars to attend the Veteran’s Gala for Specialist Sean Pesce, an Army Ranger who was shot 13 times and paralyzed from the waist down during a mission in Afghanistan in fall 2012. Michael Smith ’18, Andrew Po ’18, and Bryan Stascavage ’18 attended the June 19 benefit to show support for a fellow veteran, and to learn more about a smaller non-profit organization that is helping those who served in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The charity that is helping Pesce, Homes For Our Troops, modifies or builds homes that allow wounded veterans to live independently.

“We were amazed by how our radio station rallied around the mission of Homes For Our Troops,” said Chaz and AJ, in a preamble before showing a video about Pesce.

Brianne McNamara, community fundraiser coordinator for Homes For Our Troops, spoke with the Wesleyan Posse Veterans. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Brianne McNamara, community fundraiser coordinator for Homes For Our Troops, spoke with the Wesleyan Posse Veterans. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Brianne McNamara, a community fundraising coordinator for Homes For Our Troops, spoke with the Wesleyan Posse attendees about the organization.

“We don’t do any self-promotion or advertising,” she said. “This allows us to give 90 cents out of every dollar directly to helping veterans. Instead, we rely on word of mouth and events like this gala to spread word of our organization.”

The national average for refurbishing a home for a veteran costs more than $400,000, she noted, and Home For Our Troops has been able to help more than 180 wounded veterans. The organization also provides financial counseling services to ensure that the veteran will be able to maintain the house after renovations are complete.

The gala was particularly important to the Wesleyan Posse Veterans: Po and Pesce served in the same Ranger Company while deployed to Afghanistan. Although they hadn’t known each other well at the time, the two spent much time in conversation at the benefit. Afterwards, Po shared some notes about his conversation.

Sean Pesce (left) and Po talk during the gala. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Sean Pesce (left) and Po talk during the gala. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

“Pesce still loves to golf, and is looking forward to attending the University of New Haven in the fall,” said Po, noting that Pesce is interested in earning a degree in business or political science. “He wants to open his own restaurant and perhaps run for public office one day.”

Despite his new home and college plans, the road ahead still has challenges for Pesce. “He still has a lot of medical appointments between now and when he starts college,” says Po. “He’ll also have building events at his new home over the summer—and while these events are exhausting for him, he knows it is for a great cause.”

Those in the Wesleyan community interested in volunteering with Homes For Our Troops can find more information here.

Additionally, details on Pesce’s story can be found here.

Danbury mayor Mark D. Boughton spoke at the event, offering support for veterans in Connecticut.

Danbury mayor Mark D. Boughton spoke at the event, offering support for veterans in Connecticut. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

The cover band Rum Runners played for free at the benefit. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

The cover band Rum Runners played for free at the benefit. (Photo by Bryan Stascavage ’18)

Students Gain Skills, Help Departments While Working on Campus this Summer

More than 185 Wesleyan students are employed in various campus departments over the summer. Of those, about 78 are work-study eligible. Students earn money that can be contributed to the cost of their education, while learning skills that will benefit them in the classroom and beyond. Employers benefit from students’ skills, insight and enthusiasm.

Andrea Vargas ’17 is spending her summer working as a student assistant for the Office of University Events and Scheduling. She also holds this job during the academic year. “I use a computer program to process information about campus events. We handle all the logistics for events, and right now I’m planning for faculty lectures that will be held next fall.”

Andrea Vargas ’17 is spending her summer working as a student assistant for the Office of University Events and Scheduling. She also holds this job during the academic year. “I use a computer program to process information about campus events. We handle all the logistics for events, and right now I’m planning for faculty lectures that will be held next fall.”

Chong ’18 is NESCAC Women’s Tennis Player of the Year

Eudice Chong '18 in action. (Photo by Brian Katten '79.)

Eudice Chong ’18 in action. (Photo by Brian Katten ’79)

Eudice Chong ’18 has been named both the women’s tennis NESCAC Player of the Year and Rookie of the Year, as well as a first-team all-NESCAC choice in both singles and doubles, following her tremendous rookie campaign as she surrendered just one set in singles all year with a 17-0 overall record. In doubles, almost exclusively with Helen Klass-Warch ’18, Chong fashioned a 20-3 record at #1 doubles. Klass-Warch received a nod to the all-NESCAC first team in doubles.

Students Receive Davis Projects for Peace Grant

Claudia Kahindi '18, left, and Olayinka Lawal '15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

Claudia Kahindi ’18, left, and Olayinka Lawal ’15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

#THISISWHY

Claudia Kahindi ’18 and Olayinka Lawal ’15 have received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch KIU, an English education project, in Kahindi’s home area of coastal Kenya this summer. Named for the Swahili word for “thirst,” KIU will serve more than 100 fourth-grade students at Kahindi’s alma mater, Kilimo Public Primary School, in Kenya’s Kilifi County.

War Veteran, Posse Scholar Stascavage ’18 Pursuing Degree in Economics

Posse scholar Bryan Stascavage '18 served from August 2006 until March 2012 as a U.S. Army military intelligence analyst. He was deployed three times: twice to Iraq and once on a humanitarian aid mission in Haiti in 2010. Now Stascavage is a member of the Class of 2018 at Wesleyan. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Posse scholar Bryan Stascavage ’18 served from August 2006 until March 2012 as a U.S. Army military intelligence analyst. He was deployed three times: twice to Iraq and once on a humanitarian aid mission in Haiti in 2010. Now Stascavage is a member of the Class of 2018 at Wesleyan and is working towards a degree in economics. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

While walking back to his room from Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, Bryan Stascavage ’18 remembers telling a friend about his plans for the future.

“When I get out of the military, I’m going back to college with a vengeance,” Stascavage said. “A perfect 4.0 GPA or bust. I’m not messing around and wasting this opportunity like I did my first time around.”

His first time in college, which he attended right after high school, had been an “unmitigated disaster,” Stascavage recalls. He only lasted three semesters with a GPA hovering around a 2.0. After taking a wide array of courses at several community colleges in Connecticut, and then working as an apprentice for a writer in California, Stascavage joined the military as an intelligence analyst in August 2006.

“I joined for personal and patriotic reasons: the war in Iraq was going poorly,

Samy ’18 Begins Collegiate Squash Career with 12-0 Record

Egypt native Laila Samy '18 says she chose Wesleyan because "the squash team .. was not just a team, it was a family."

Egypt native Laila Samy ’18 says she chose Wesleyan because “the squash team .. was not just a team, it was a family.”

#THISISWHY
In this Q&A meet Laila Samy from the Class of 2018.

Q: You came to Wesleyan from your hometown of Cairo, Egypt. Can you describe your life growing up in a foreign country? What was your secondary-school education like?

A: Growing up in Egypt and going to school there made me feel very grateful because I had a great opportunity to both play squash and get a decent education which lead me to move on to the next experience which is completing my last two years of high school in the U.S. and that lead me to be able to attend Wesleyan.

Q: You have already established yourself as one of the top newcomers on the collegiate squash scene with a 12-0 record at No. 1 and a title in the Division III National Championships. When did you begin playing the sport and when did it become apparent you were far from a run-of-the-mill player?

A: I started playing squash when I

Posse Scholar Foley ’18 Recipient of Quilt of Valor

Kyle Foley '18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She's pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak.

Pictured sixth from left, Kyle Foley ’18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She’s pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak. The quilt pattern is sawtooth star blocks representing the American Flag. The center eagles represent patriotism.

For her six years of service to the nation, Afghanistan veteran Kyle Foley ’18, a Posse Scholar at Wesleyan, received a quilt from the local Quilts of Valor Foundation during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Since 2003, Quilts of Valor have become a national community service effort to bring the home front to wounded soldiers and to honor returning Veterans. Quilts of Valor members pay tribute to those who have been touched by war by giving them a symbol of comforting and healing.

During her six years in the Navy, Foley was a Seabee, specifically a construction mechanic, and was attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4. Within the battalion she worked as a mechanic on both construction equipment and combat vehicles, and also served as a fire team leader, squad leader, and 240Bravo gunner, at different times.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

On Foley’s second deployment, she served as the lead mechanic on a detachment to Camp Marmal Afghanistan. At that time, she was the first female mechanic during her tenure to be put in charge of the mechanical shop of a detachment. At the end of her second deployment she re-enlisted to “cross-rate,” or change her job. She cross trained at Corps school in Great Lakes, Ill., and became a Hospital Corpsman (Navy Medic).

After she had finished training she was re-assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, where she worked as a general medic, one of the hospital’s three primary phlebotomists, a command mentor — mentoring foru junior personnel — and as a command fitness leader, and as a member of the auxiliary security forces team. Foley also volunteered as the strength and conditioning coach for a women’s lacrosse team at a local high school.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The  scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Foley, 29, ended her service Oct. 9, 2012 and enrolled at Wesleyan in fall 2014 as a result of the university’s partnership with the Posse Foundation. Posse Foundation identifies talented veterans who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top tier universities.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek and Professor of Classics, a mentor for Foley, recommended her as a candidate for a Quilt of Valor.

Students enrolled in a quilting class at Middletown Adult Education and The Quilting Queens, a club in East Hartford, came together to sew patriotic star blocks for the Quilts of Valor. Under the direction of Deborah Sierpinski, instructor at Middletown Adult Education and administrative assistant at Wesleyan, the talented group of women pieced the red, white and blue quilt top.

The Emblem Club, an organization that celebrates Americanism, donated funds toward the cost of the quilt. Representatives from Wesleyan, Middletown Adult Education, the Emblem Club, and the Quilts of Valor Foundation attended the ceremony to pay tribute to Foley.

Tennis Star Chong ’18 Represents Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 has blossomed as the top player on Wesleyan’s women’s tennis team in her first season. Recently in action during a tournament at Conn. College (Oct. 5), she defeated Trinity’s #1 player and Amherst’s #2 player, both in straight sets.  Each opponent was a top-eight seed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England fall championship, which Eudice missed in September in order to traveled to South Korea for nearly two weeks to represent her native Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games.  Here is a bit about Eudice and her experience:

Q: You just finished playing the the 17th Asian Games in South Korea, essentially the regional Olympics for some 45 nations. How would you describe the experience and nature of the competition?

A: The Asian Games was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, playing players ranked in the top 100 World Tennis Association (WTA) and getting to meet some people up close I’ve only seen on TV. Everyone in the tournament is very good — everyone was chosen to play in the Asian Games because they are the best in their country.

Q: In what events did you participate? How well did you do?

A: I played in the Team, Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles Events. During the Team Event, Hong Kong lost to China in the quarterfinals as my teammates and I lost to players all ranked in the top 200 WTA. In the Women’s Doubles Event, my partner and I won one round, but lost to a Thai pair which had a player who was ranked as high as 20 and another who is currently ranked top 200. Lastly, for the Mixed Doubles Event, my partner and I advanced to the round of 16, losing to a Taiwanese pair with the woman reaching the finals of Mixed Doubles in Wimbledon this year.

Q: You’ve been living in Hong Kong since you were about a year old. How wide-spread is the interest in tennis in the region and when did you figure out you were hooked on the sport?

A:  Well, I’d say tennis is more of a social game in Hong Kong. If you walk around the city, you’ll tend to see older adults playing

Chong ’18 to Represent Hong Kong in Tennis at Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18

Eudice Chong ’18, a native of Sai Kung, Hong Kong, will be representing her nation in the 17th Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, South Korea from Sept. 19-Oct. 4.

Forty-Five nations will be represented at the Games with 439 events in 36 disciplines being contested. Chong is Wesleyan’s number-one player in women’s tennis and went 4-0 during the team’s opening activity, a double tournament hosted by Sacred Heart University Sept. 6.

She will be competing in both doubles and mixed doubles during the Asian Games. Chong is currently ranked 323rd in the most recent International Tennis Federation World Junior Rankings.

First-Year Students Move In on Arrival Day (with photo gallery)

Wesleyan student-athletes, staff and Orientation Leaders helped members of the Class of 2018 move into their student residences on Arriva Day, Aug. 27.

Wesleyan student-athletes, staff and Residential Life Orientation Leaders helped members of the Class of 2018 move into their student residences on Arrival Day, Aug. 27.

A mini fridge, mirror, bed linens, navy blue rug, a N.Y. Yankees decorative sign, storage tubs, a closet-full of clothes. And don’t forget the guitar.

Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 of Montclair, N.J. moved into the Butterfields Residence Complex with help from his sister and mother.

Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 of Montclair, N.J. moved into the Butterfields Residence Complex with help from his sister and mother.

“What didn’t I bring with me?” said Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 as he unloaded and unpacked his bounty of belongings into his 113 Butts C residence Wednesday morning. “I have it all. But I only brought a couple books because I heard that [in college] you have no time to read them.”

Stagoff-Belfort, who hails from Montclair, N.J. is one of 757 members of the Class of 2018 who settled into their new home-away-from-home on Arrival Day, Aug. 27. Stagoff-Belfort received help from his parents, Cindy Stagoff and Bob Belfort, and sister Claudia Stagoff-Belfort.

Stagoff-Belfort is interested in Wesleyan’s economics and government programs and looks forward to exploring the music scene on campus.

“I’m super excited to be here,” he said. “Wesleyan is going to be a great experience.”

Mother Danusia Zaroda, at left, takes a break from unpacking with her daughter, Alina Whatley '18.

Mother Danusia Zaroda, at left, takes a break from unpacking with her daughter, Alina Whatley ’18. Whatley is residing in West College.

Alina Whatley ’18 of Orinda, Calif. flew to Connecticut on Aug. 25 with her mother, Danusia Zaroda. The mother-daughter duo unpacked three over-stuffed suitcases and a blanket, hand-quilted by Alina’s grandmother.

Whatley also unpacked boots and a down jacket in anticipation of the New England winter. Then they headed to a local home furnishings store with a 20 percent off coupon. “We bought out the entire store and helped end the recent recession,” Zaroda said.

Over in Bennet Hall, Joseph Kim of Clairmont, N.J. unloaded his belongings with help from his mother, Jae; sister Michelle; and father, Kwan. Joseph plans to study biology and chose Wesleyan for its strong academic reputation.

“I think I have everything I need,” he said. “I have my laptop, printer, guitar. All my clothes. And seven pairs of shoes.”

Claudia Kahindi '18 poses in her West College room.

Claudia Kahindi ’18 poses in her West College room. “Wesleyan is the place for me!” she said.

Claudia Kahindi ’18 traveled more than 7,000 miles from her home in Kilifi, Kenya to her new West College dorm room. Kahindi is a Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project Scholar and plans to participate in intramural basketball at Wesleyan. She decorated her room in African flags, jewelry, a elephant khanga and shells from a popular beach in Kenya.

In contrast, Courtney Robinson ’18 traveled only 20 miles to Wesleyan’s Bennet Hall from her home in West Hartford. Her parents, David and Jane, are both Wesleyan alumni from the Class of 1987 and helped their daughter unpack.

“I woke up at 8:15 and sorted through some photos. I packed a few more things and came to campus,” Robinson said.

The Class of 2018 is 45 percent men and 55 percent women. Thirteen percent come from outside the U.S., including both international students and U.S. citizens raised abroad. They come from 30 different countries outside the United States, with home countries as far flung as Ukraine, Guatemala, Palestine, Egypt and Malaysia. There is also an increase in representation from students who live in the U.S. South and Midwest. Learn more about the Class of 2018 here.

View more photos of Arrival Day activity below: (Photos by Olivia Drake, John Van Vlack and Harry Jiang)

Class of 2018 on Student Arrival Day, Aug. 27, 2014. Class of 2018 Arrival Day, Aug. 27, 2014. (Photo by Olivia Drake)