Tag Archive for fellowships

Lin ’12 Honored with NSF Graduate Research Fellowship

Zin Lin '12

Zin Lin ’12

Zin Lin ’12 received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his research on PT-symmetric systems performed while a student at Wesleyan. Lin’s advisor was Tsampikos Kottos, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics.

Lin was selected for his “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well [his] potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. He’s currently studying quantum nonlinear photonics as a second-year graduate student at Harvard University.

As a fellow, Lin will receive a $32,000 stipend for 2014-15. Fellows are expected to make satisfactory academic progress towards completion of their graduate degrees, as defined and certified by the Fellow’s GRFP institution. Upon completion of his fellowship, Lin is required to provide an Annual Activities Report that documents his activities, accomplishments, progress and productivity.

At Wesleyan, Lin double majored in physics and mathematics and graduated with high honors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received the Robertson Prize, awarded during his sophomore year for “excellence in mathematics.”

Matthusen Honored with Fellowship from American Academy in Rome

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Paula Matthusen, assistant professor of music, has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy in Rome. The prize will allow her to spend the next academic year in residence as a Fellow of the Academy. At Wesleyan, Matthusen teaches the course, “Laptop Ensemble,” which promotes knowledge and skills in live electronics performance and cultivates new musical repertoire for the group.

Assistant professor of music Paula Matthusen has won a prestigious Rome Prize from the American Academy, which will allow her to spend the next year in the Eternal City working on the compelling compositions that distinguish her career.

Matthusen is a composer of acoustic and electronic music who, among other things, teaches Laptop Ensemble at Wesleyan, and records sound in historic structures and architecture. The resulting work reflects the character of these spaces, which include the Old Croton Aqueduct in New York. As an American Academy fellow, she will visit the paths of the Roman aqueducts.

“I’m elated,” Matthusen said. “It’s a very great honor and a wonderful opportunity.”

Each year, through a national competition, the Rome Prize is awarded to approximately thirty individuals who represent the highest standard of excellence in the arts and humanities. The American Academy in Rome provides extended time and support (room, board, stipend, work space, and freedom from every-day cares) for each fellow to pursue his or her own work and to live among other artists and scholars.

“The Rome Prize in composition has been awarded to such musical luminaries as Samuel Barber, Elliot Carter, and David Del Tredici,” said Dean of the Arts and Humanities Andy Curran. “We are extremely proud that Paula, who reflects the strength of Wesleyan’s music program, has been admitted to this select group.”

Her Old Croton Aqueduct work, developed by working with the Friends of the Old Croton Aqueduct, was called “eden’s arch of promise bending,” after a line in an ode composed at the opening of the waterwork in 1842.  The Aqueduct was closed in the mid-20th century, but for more than 100 years, it brought water from Westchester to Manhattan and enabled New York City’s enormous growth. The composition explores the nature of the aqueduct through field recordings and samplings of its resonant frequencies. Go here to listen to an excerpt.

The New York Times has praised Matthusen’s “creative vitality” and “vivid imagination.”

The Academy is a leading American overseas center for independent studies and advanced research in the fine arts and humanities. Founded in 1894, the Academy was chartered as a private institution by an act of Congress in 1905. On the occasion of the Academy’s centennial, the President of the United States signed a joint resolution of Congress in recognition of the Academy’s contribution to America’s intellectual and cultural life.

Pictured below are photos taken at Paula Matthusen’s “Laptop Ensemble” class on April 7. She also teaches a class on “Total Harmony.” (Photos by Ryan Heffernan ’16)


Birney’s Fellowships Support Research, Archaeology

Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, leads a student excavation team at the site of Ashkelon. The site is located in the southern district of Israel on the Mediterranean coast.

Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, leads a student excavation team at the site of Ashkelon. The site is located in the southern district of Israel on the Mediterranean coast.

Between 2500-1200 B.C., Ashkelon was one of the largest and most important commercial centers around the Mediterranean, and it remained a thriving metropolis under varying degrees of Egyptian control until until the Crusaders conquered the city in the 12th century. Today, the site remains preserved, as does a 3,500-year-old, two-story-high mudbrick-archway.

As a recipient of two fellowships, Kate Birney will have the opportunity to study the Hellenistic period (ca. 330 B.C. to ca 100 B.C.) for an upcoming book.

As a recipient of two fellowships, Kate Birney will have the opportunity to study the Hellenistic period (ca. 330 B.C. to ca 100 B.C.) for an upcoming book.

Since 1985, the site has been excivated by the Leon Levy Expedition — a joint project drawing students and faculty from Wesleyan, Harvard University, Wheaton College and Boston University. To date, Ashkelon archaeological digs have revealed a neighborhood of elite Philistine houses dating from the 11th-10th centuries B.C.

Every year, Kate Birney, assistant professor of classical studies, assistant professor of archaeology, leads a student excavation team at the site of Ashkelon. And as a recipient of two fellowships from the 2014-15 academic year, she will continue her research on the historic area.

Next fall, as a National Endowment for the Humanities fellow, Birney will conduct research at the Albright Institute in Jerusalem; and in the spring, she’ll complete a Fellowship at the Center for Hellenic Studies in Washington, D.C. Both fellowships are related to her present research at Wesleyan.

“Since I specialize in interconnections between ancient Greece and the Near East, I’m particularly excited about these fellowships. The fall NEH will allow me to work within a community of scholars who specialize in Near Eastern archaeology, to process the archaeological data, while the spring fellowship at the CHS will allow me to develop my ideas within a community of Classical scholars,” she said.

Perel-Slater ’11 Receives Advancing Leaders Fellowship

Max Perel-Slater ’11

Max Perel-Slater ’11

Max Perel-Slater ’11 has won an Advancing Leaders Fellowship from World Learning for the Tanzania-based project, The Maji Safi Movement (“maji safi” means “clean water” in Swahili; see majisafimovement.org).

Maji Safi is focused on disease prevention and health promotion and particularly aimed at empowering rural communities in their efforts to combat water-borne and water-related diseases. The Movement encompasses both a local NGO and a US-based 501(c)3; Perel-Slater is president and co-founder of the U.S. arm and treasurer of the Tanzania-based organization. He has worked on water projects in Shirati, Tanzania, since 2009, when he led the construction of a rainwater catchment system.

A College of the Environment (COE) major at Wesleyan, Perel-Slater studied abroad in Tanzania with World Learning’s School for International Training, dedicated to international development and exchange programs. He also completed a graduate-level field course in hydrogeology at Clemson University. While in Tanzania, he researched Shirati’s water challenges for his senior capstone project with the COE. In 2011, he worked in Nairobi’s Kibera slum with Shining Hope for Communities, a nonprofit organization founded by Kennedy Odede ’12 and Jessica Posner Odede ’09; there, Perel-Slater coordinated a water sanitation project and co-led their summer program for students from US universities.

Additionally, this summer Perel-Slater was named an associate fellow of the College of the Environment, noted Barry Chernoff, COE director and the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies at Wesleyan. The fellowship acknowledges both the formative and continuing relationship between Perel-Slater’s work and the COE: Wesleyan undergraduates in the College now serve as interns with Maji Safi in Shirati, and Perel-Slater returns episodically to campus to meet with COE students and faculty.

“Max is an inspiration to our COE undergraduates and alumni alike,” said Chernoff, who is also professor of biology, professor and chair of the environmental studies program, professor of earth and environmental sciences. “He has put his education—and idealism—to practical use in the world in an incredible way. We are so proud of him.”

Sultan Awarded Fellowship at Berlin’s Institute for Advanced Study

Sonia Sultan

Sonia Sultan, chair and professor of biology,  professor of environmental studies, received a fellowship from the Wissenschaftskolleg/Institute for Advanced Study for 2012-13. She and approximately 40 other fellows from around the world will work on projects of their own choice for one academic year. The group is designed to represent a range of academic disciplines from both humanities and sciences.

As a fellow, Sultan will be working on a book project that is under contract with Oxford University Press for its Ecology and Evolution series.

“In this book, I aim to bring together recent findings from a range of biological disciplines to shape an updated understanding of the developmental and functional interactions between organisms and their environments,” Sultan explains.

The institution, located in Berlin, Germany, provides optimal conditions for fellows to devote themselves completely to their chosen intellectual task while profiting from the potential for stimulation and critique provided by an outstanding community of scholars. More information on the Wissenschaftskolleg is online here.


Wilkerson ’12, Williams ’12 Receive Teaching Education Fellowships

Nearly half of the nation’s students – 44 percent – are students of color, but only one of every six teachers is a teacher of color. To help recruit, support and retain individuals of color as K-12 public school teachers, the Woodrow Wilson-Rockefeller Brothers Fund Fellowships for Aspiring Teachers of Color offers scholarships to to ensure that greater numbers of highly qualified teachers of color enter public school classrooms around the country.

Randyl Wilkerson '12

This year, the Fund awarded fellowships to two Wesleyan seniors: Randyl Wilkerson ’12 and Nastassia Williams ’12.

Wilkerson, an English major, and Williams, an African American Studies major, were chosen through a competitive selection process. They will each receive a $30,000 stipend to complete a master’s degree in education, preparation to teach in a high-need public school, support throughout a three-year teaching commitment, and guidance toward teaching certification.

Wilkerson, of Chicago, Ill., is a member of Wesleyan’s AIDS Sexual Health Awareness Group and is the university’s campus campaign coordinator for Teach for America. She also volunteers as a sexual education teacher for Connecticut high school students. Wilkerson is a poet with a published collection, Astrobiology. She is a member of the Wesleyan Poetry Slam Team and is a winner of the Best Persona Piece Award, National Poetry Slam. She’s minoring in American Studies.

Wilkerson will use her fellowship to attend graduate school through the Boston Teacher Residency, and receive a M.A. in education.

“After I get my master’s, I want to teach in Boston Public Schools for a few years to understand how best to serve inner city youth today,” she says. “But ultimately, I want to start an enrichment program teaching youth to think and write critically, while empowering them through acts of creativity. I want to help public school students develop their own voices and gain a sense of agency.”

Nastassia Williams '12

Williams, of the Bronx, N.Y., works as a tutor for Middletown’s Traverse Square, an organization for elementary students. She also is a SAT tutor with the Let’s Get Ready program and is currently learning how to deejay. She’s minoring in English.

Williams has already applied to the Bard College Master of Arts Teaching Program, the Boston Teacher Residency and the Newark-Montclair Urban Teaching Residency.

“I’d like to earn a master’s degree in teaching and probably teach English at the middle school or high school level,” she says. “And with the fellowship, I will complete the program and continue to work in a public school in an urban or rural high-needs area.”

Current trends indicate that by the year 2020, the percentage of teachers of color will fall to an all-time low of five percent of the total teacher force, while the percentage of students of color in the K-12 system will likely near 50 percent. This Fellowship offers an opportunity to ensure that greater numbers of highly qualified teachers of color enter public school classrooms around the country.


American Council on Education Sponsors Close’s Fellowship at Wesleyan

Stacey Close has an interest in recruitment and retention practices for minority students interested in science and technology.

Stacey Close, a professor of history, philosophy and political science at Eastern Connecticut State University, will spend the current academic year at Wesleyan as an ACE Fellow. Sponsored by the American Council on Education, the program prepares fellows to serve American colleges and universities in leadership positions.

“It’s a pleasure to welcome Stacey Close to campus,” says President Michael S. Roth. “Wesleyan will surely benefit from the expertise he brings, and I hope he will fulfill his professional goals through his association with us.”

Close has served as director of faculty development at Eastern’s Center for Educational Excellence and as chair of the department of history, philosophy, political science and geography.

He has taught at Eastern since 1993 and was a recipient of Eastern’s Teaching Excellence Award in 2004. He is an authority on the history of African Americans in the Hartford area, with published papers on topics such as “Black Migration, Immigration, Garveyism and the Transformation of Black Hartford, 1917-28,” (The Griot, spring 2003) and “Fire in the Bones: The NAACP, Civil Rights, and Militancy in Hartford, 1943-67,” (Journal of Negro History, summer 2001). He also co-authored a chapter titled “Beyond Tuskegee: Why African-Americans Don’t Participate in Research,” in Handbook of African-American Health (Guilford Press, 2010).

Through the ACE program, Close plans to develop a base of knowledge that will contribute to the growth of his home institution. “While I want to work to increase my knowledge in strategic planning, resource allocation, budgeting, and management at the senior level, I would also like to learn more about equity, diversity, retention and community engagement,” he says.

He has a particular interest in issues such as prioritizing equity and diversity in strategic planning, as well as recruitment and retention practices for minority students interested in science and technology.

Student CHUM Fellows to Explore Fact and Artifact, Civic Life

The Center for the Humanities advisory board awarded eight Wesleyan seniors with a Student Fellowship for 2011-12. These fellows will explore the themes “Fact and Artifact” and “Visceral States: Affect and Civic Life.”

Four Student Fellowships are awarded by the center’s advisory board each semester.

Alexandra Wang ’12

During the fall semester, fellows Conan Cheong, Kevin Donohoe, Bridget Read and Alexandra Wang will will explore the theme “Fact and Artifact.” They will examine the career of the modern fact and its uncomfortable companion, the artifact. The fellows will question, “Under what conditions can facts be created?” “How do efforts to pin down empirical reality gain access to the material world?” “How do they depend upon symbolic or aesthetic logics of representation or produce such representations?” “What light can the study of artifacts shed on the status and function of facts in our world?”

Wang is using the “Fact and Artifact” theme as a springboard for her senior thesis on diabetes.

“I’m researching how the facts we now know of the manifestations, complications, and treatment of the disease can be considered artifacts of societal and cultural influences on scientific research,” she explains. “From the other student fellows, lectures and professors, I hope to develop existing ideas and gain new perspectives on my research.”

Read hopes to complete her honors thesis in English as a CHUM Fellow. During the fall semester, she will write a biography of the late Fred Millett, professor of English, emeritus, who taught at Wesleyan from 1937 to 1958. From childhood to his death in 1979, Millett kept meticulous written records, assembling his correspondence as well as self-publishing small books that chronicled different times in his life, including his years as a teacher and retiree. Read will use materials arrived at Wesleyan’s Special Collections and Archives as primary sources for her project.

“Throughout his life, Millett existed in a delicate balance between propriety and passion, restraint and expression, and his navigation of this tension provides valuable insight into mid 20th century social upheaval in the United States,” Read says.

Bridget Read ’12

“Yet it is what Millett omitted in the recording of his life that intrigues me as much as what he did include, and what inextricably ties my project to the theme of ‘Fact and Artifact. According to those close to him, Fred Millett was gay, but he left no trace of his sexuality in the archive except for a collection of magazines that was destroyed by his family.”

Millett’s archive, including the undocumented story of his sexual orientation, call into question the very nature of “fact” inherent in the dissection and study of an “artifact,” and begs a question of what can we actually learn from artifacts of the past, when the indisputable or objective “facts” they point to may or may not exist at all, Read explains.

“I hope to challenge conventions about the materiality of a human life that posit a single, unidirectional line between ‘artifact’ and ‘fact,’ the written word and the objective reality it explains,” she says.

Olin Fellow Schonfeld ’13 Explores Presidential Birthplaces

Zach Schonfeld '13 visits the birthplace of President Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vt. on July 1.

On June 7, Zach Schonfeld ’13 toured the modest 170-year-old site of President Grover Cleveland’s 1837 birthplace.

“Live from Caldwell, N.J.,” Schonfeld blogged on this day. “It’s not much—the house has been expanded significantly since Cleveland’s birth, but the siteitself still blends seamlessly into the background of Caldwell’s quiet suburban sprawl. Yes, I drove past it initially and had to circle back. Sorry, Grover. Just be thankful I didn’t steal your parking spot.”

Cleveland’s childhood home is one of 20-some presidential birthplaces Schonfeld is exploring this summer as a Wesleyan Olin Fellow. His project, partially funded by the History Channel, allows the English and American studies major to travel the country, visit presidential historical sites, interview locals and experts on presidential preservation and blog about his experience. His blog, appropriately titled, “I Visit Presidential Birthplaces,” is updated multiple times each week.

Schonfeld initiated the project in December 2010, near an abandoned farm. Here, he explored the birthplace of Calvin Coolidge in Plymouth, Vt. and found it to me one of the most memorial visits of his adult life. He returned to the “breathtaking, perfectly preserved” 19th century farm on July 1 and participated in the town’s Fourth of July parade. “There I paid respects—and wished the late Vermonter a happy and healthy 139th,” Schonfeld writes.

Hoping to visit additional presidential homes, he applied for and was awarded the Olin Fellowship, created by Wesleyan Writing Programs to support independent research or creative writing.

“My project explores the notion that presidential birthplaces are more than mere passive markers of historical trivia—that they can, and do, provide rich insight into the ways in which small,

Sarah Ruden: Guggenheim Fellow Translating Tragic Masterpiece at Wesleyan

Sarah Ruden is a new visiting scholar in Classics.

Q: Sarah, you received a Guggenheim Fellowship to translate the Greek tragedy trilogy, The Oresteia.  Please explain the cultural significance of this particular historical play and why your translation will differ from others?

A: The Oresteia is the first real tragic masterpiece. I think that the greatness of a piece of literature depends mainly on how much it lets us reflect on at once, and the Oresteia has everything: questions of human nature, the nature of the gods, the social order– in this case, the startling Athenian moves toward government by ordinary people. And it’s all conveyed in intense, complex, almost creepily beautiful language.

Peters’ Fellowship Appointment Focuses on Terrorism

Anne Peters, assistant professor of government. (Photo by Claire Seo-In Choi)

Anne Mariel Peters, assistant professor of government, has been selected as a 2010-2011 Academic Fellow with the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD) in Washington, D.C. As an FDD fellow, Peters will participate in an intensive course on terrorism and counterterrorism at the University of Tel Aviv from May 30 to June 9. The course examines terrorism from a variety of political, academic, and law enforcement perspectives. It also includes site visits to Israeli security installations and border zones, as well as meetings with Israeli, Jordanian, Turkish and Indian officials.

Peters’ expertise is in the political economies of the Middle East. She is interested in how international resource transfers, such as foreign aid, natural resource revenues, and worker remittances, affect the strength of state institutions, the pace and scope of economic reforms, and authoritarian durability. Her book manuscript, titled Special Relationships, Dollars, and Development, considers how the size and composition of authoritarian regime coalitions in Egypt, Jordan, South Korea, and Taiwan determined whether or not US foreign aid was used for long-term economic development or short-term patronage.

Although her courses substantially address Middle Eastern political economies, Peters aims to provide students with broad exposure to other key issues in the region. This includes units on violent and nonviolent social movements, terrorism, and counterterrorism.

“When I teach courses on the comparative politics

Fellowship has Croucher Focused on 19th Century East Africa

Second from left, Sara Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, received a SAR Weatherhead Fellowship to Study Archaeology in 19th Century East Africa. She's pictured here with Rachel Miller-Howard '10, third from left.

Second from left, Sarah Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, received a Weatherhead Fellowship to study the archaeology of 19th Century East Africa. She's pictured at the Ujiji excavation site in Western Tanzania during 2008 with, from left, Hajj M. Hajj, Tanzanian research associate; Rachel Miller-Howard ’10; and Florah Kessy, an M.A. student, from the University of Dar es Salaam.

As an archaeologist investigating 19th century sites in Zanzibar and Tanzania, it was impossible for Sarah Croucher to ignore the thousands of shreds of locally-produced and imported ceramics unearthed every day of excavations.

For archaeologists, these materials are vital to interpreting the social history of 19th century Islamic colonialism in East Africa.

“Many key questions remain uninvestigated, particularly in regard to how newly shared Zanzibar identities emerged during the 19th Century, which intersected with gender, religion, class and sexuality,” Croucher explains.

Sarah Croucher working in a trench

Sarah Croucher and research associate Hajj M. Hajj excavate at the site of Ujiji.

Croucher, assistant professor of anthropology, assistant professor of archaeology, assistant professor of feminist, gender and sexuality studies, has been awarded a nine-month Weatherhead Fellowship by the School for Advanced Research (SAR) in Santa Fe, N.M. Resident scholars approach their research from anthropology or from related fields such as history, sociology, art and philosophy, with fellowships providing scholars with “time to think and write about topics important to the understanding of humankind.” Scholars are provided with housing and office space on the SAR campus in Santa Fe.

Croucher was awarded the fellowship to complete writing up the findings of her research, tied together into a project titled “Consuming Colonialism: Archaeological Investigations of Ceramics and Identities in 19th Century East Africa.”

The core of this study results from survey and excavation work Croucher directed in 2003 and 2005 to investigate clove plantation sites on Zanzibar. Further material is drawn from a 2006 survey project along the central caravan route taken by traders during the 19th Century and excavations in 2008 at the site of Ujiji in Western Tanzania, made famous by the expeditions of Stanley and