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Steve ScarpaNovember 28, 20225min
The first time Anna Shusterman walked into a classroom of Wesleyan undergraduates teaching math games to preschoolers a decade ago, she was surprised by what she saw – happy and deep engagement all around. The students – all of them – were on to something. “They were incredible. I had no idea how good they were,” said Shusterman, associate professor of psychology and co-chair of the College of Education Studies. Between the joyful (and productive) little ones and the thoughtful efforts of the Wesleyan students, Shusterman realized that there was a need that could be filled. “It turned out to…

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Steve ScarpaNovember 15, 20224min
What Mark Masselli Hon ’09, P’15, ’16 had to do in 1972 to start Community Health Clinic, a local health clinic that offered free care to the underserved in Middletown was, in retrospect, almost impossible. Renting a storefront as a 20-year-old? Opening the doors and offering medical services without a license or permit? Masselli had dropped out of Wesleyan, so there was no degree backing him up. The students in Charles Barber’s service-learning class were baffled. “It was a seismic moment when a student commented, ‘you couldn’t do what you did now in 2021’ … too many rules, too many…

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Steve ScarpaNovember 1, 20226min
Associate Professor of History Laura Ann Twagira’s recent book begins with a song – women from Mali are singing and bragging about the quality of their cooking. From this domestic moment, Twagira found the keys to a technological revolution. “Women are bragging and praising one another. They’re making food that everyone’s going to enjoy and that will enliven life. In order to do that, they need a key set of technological skills,” she said. Twagira’s book Embodied Engineering: Gendered Labor, Food Security and Taste in Twentieth-Century Mali was named a finalist for the 2022 Best Book prize from the African…

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Jeff HarderOctober 25, 20229min
In the United States, firearms elicit clashing perceptions. They can be sources of leisure and recreation, of livelihood and profit, of grief and fear. “Guns mean different things to different people,” said Jennifer Tucker, director of the new Center for the Study of Guns and Society at Wesleyan, “and sometimes different things to the same people.” Held over October 14 and 15, the Center’s inaugural conference brought about 150 historians, museum curators, Wesleyan students, and others to campus to explore the historical contexts around one of the most polarizing subjects in modern America. The conference, “Current Perspectives on the History…

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Steve ScarpaOctober 17, 20223min
A new Wesleyan research project will explore the possibility that more chemical elements than previously thought could be used to help create inexpensive and renewable energy storage technologies. Associate Professor of Chemistry Michelle Personick’s lab was the recipient of a three-year grant from the U.S. Department of Energy to encourage research into clean-energy technologies and low carbon manufacturing. Researchers at 54 universities and 11 National Laboratories received awards in late August. Platinum group elements (PGE) like platinum, palladium, and rhodium are crucial in the production of many energy storage technologies, like fuel cells and the sustainable production of liquid fuel…

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Amy AlbertSeptember 16, 20224min
Martha “Marty” Gilmore, the George I. Seney Professor of Geology and professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been awarded the 2022 Claudia J. Alexander Prize from the Division for Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society (AAS) for her study of Venus’ geology. Gilmore is a Science Team Member on the DAVINCI and VERITAS missions to Venus, and the principal investigator of a Venus Flagship Mission Concept Study for the Planetary Decadal Survey. Gilmore’s work has “helped usher in a new decade of exploration of Venus with the selection of two new NASA Venus missions,” according to the AAS.…

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Editorial StaffAugust 1, 20226min
Citing the urgent need for more effective and equitable health communication, researchers at Wesleyan University are collaborating with two other universities on a unique rapid response research endeavor led by Cornell communication professor Jeff Niederdeppe and funded with a newly announced $5 million grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF). “At this moment it is crucial to understand both the nature of and the potential of messaging around policies promoting racial and health equity,” said Steven Moore, assistant professor of government and an expert on race and politics. “I’m excited to be a part of this fantastic team of…

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Steve ScarpaJune 13, 20227min
It was sitting in the peace of synagogue with his wife where Stephen Angle began to contemplate his personal relationship to Confucianism. Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies and professor of philosophy, had spent his career studying the ancient philosophy, which emphasizes personal ethics and morality. He’d written multiple academic books on the subject. The roots of his interest went all the way back to high school with a fascinating class on non-Western cultures. Still, there had always been one small remove between the ideas and his own life. “I didn’t understand the Hebrew being chanted. Half of…

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Editorial StaffMay 9, 20226min
Wesleyan University will recognize three outstanding faculty members across the fields of biology, Spanish, and history at the 190th Commencement ceremony with the awarding of the Binswanger Prizes for Excellence in Teaching. Frederick M. Cohan, professor of biology; María Ospina, associate professor of Spanish; and Victoria Smolkin, associate professor of history, were selected by their peers after receiving strong recommendations from alumni of the last 10 graduating classes, as well as current juniors, seniors, and graduate students. Underscoring Wesleyan’s commitment to its scholar-teachers, these annual prizes are made possible by gifts from the family of the late Frank G. Binswanger…

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Olivia DrakeMarch 18, 20224min
Eleven years ago, an earthquake and subsequent tsunami battered the Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima, Japan, resulting in radioactive material spewing into the air, ground, and ocean. About 16,000 residents were killed from the explosions, and another 165,000 were forced to evacuate. "I should not be here," Eiko Otake shares in her most recent film, A Body in Fukushima (2021). But she keeps returning—for a total of five visits to the nuclear disaster site. Otake, visiting dance artist-in-residence, began her solo work there in January 2014. Her only audience is William Johnston, John E. Andrus Professor of History, who…

Rachel Wachman '24March 3, 20223min
Associate professor of Science in Society Anthony Ryan Hatch specializes in health systems, medical technology, and social inequalities. His recent paper, titled “The data will not save us: Afropessimism and racial antimatter in the COVID-19 pandemic,” published in Big Data and Society on Feb. 23, combines his areas of expertise in an analysis of disparities in racial health exacerbated by the pandemic. The paper begins with a staggering statistic: “According to the CDC Covid Data Tracker, 89,713 Black people have died from complications due to COVID-19, about 13.7% of total deaths (as of 2/11/22, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention,…

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Olivia DrakeFebruary 10, 20229min
Wesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below: In The Conversation, Robyn Autry, associate professor of sociology, responds to Whoopi Goldberg's recent controversial comments about the Holocaust. "As someone who writes and teaches about racial identity," Autry writes, "I was struck by the firmness of Goldberg’s initial claim, her clumsy retraction and apologies, and the heated public reactions."  (Feb. 7) Autry also speaks to The New York Times about the popularity of Vaseline on social…