Tag Archive for student achievements

South Korea’s Choi ’13 is a Freeman Scholar, Humanities Journal Editor

Art history major Claire Choi '13 co-founded PYXIS, a new online and print project that aims to share and celebrate student academic writing in the humanities at Wesleyan. She also plays Korean drums and learned French and German at Wesleyan.

Art history major Claire Choi ’13 co-founded PYXIS, a new online and print project that aims to share and celebrate student academic writing in the humanities at Wesleyan. She also plays Korean drums and learned French and German at Wesleyan.

Q&As with outstanding students is an occasional feature of The Wesleyan Connection. This issue we speak with Claire Seo In Choi from the Class of 2013.

Q: Claire, what are you majoring in at Wesleyan, and why?

A: I’m majoring in art history at Wesleyan. I attended art high school before I came to Wes, and have been always interested in how socio-economic and cultural circumstances have shaped artworks, so I guess it was quite a natural choice for me. Besides my major credits, I explored many different disciplines; I learned French and German, and took various courses from the College of Letters, Philosophy and Studio Art departments.

Q: Coming to Wesleyan from South Korea, what were the biggest changes you encountered?

A: The education system was one of the biggest changes I encountered. My high school curriculum was very art-centric and did not have room for students to design their own curriculums. On the other hand, Wesleyan encourages students to take the full advantage of liberal arts education and explore different courses outside one’s major. Language barrier and cultural differences were also challenging changes, but I think the people I’ve met at Wesleyan have helped me a lot to transit into a new environment.

Q: You are involved with PYXIS, a new student-run online humanities journal. What is your position in the project?

A: Earlier this year, my friends and I co-founded PYXIS. PYXIS is a new online and print project that aims to share and celebrate student academic writing in the humanities at Wesleyan. We publish peer-edited papers and thought-provoking articles, both online and in print. By doing this, we hope to establish a dialogue across the humanities

Purdy ’13, Kurash ’13 Named NESCAC Players of the Year

Adam Purdy ’13

Adam Purdy ’13

Between 2000 and 2011, Wesleyan garnered just four New England Small College Athletic Conference (NESCAC) Players of the Year honors. The first came in the spring of 2001 when John Landay ’01 led Wesleyan to a 17-3 record in men’s lacrosse and a spot in the ECAC Championship game by leading the nation in scoring with 121 points on 73 goals and 48 assists. The following fall, Alexis Keeler ’02 paced women’s volleyball to a best-ever 30-6 mark and a spot in the NCAA Division III tournament with 548 kills and a .379 hitting percentage. She was all-New England and a third-team CoSIDA academic All-American. Volleyball catapulted the third Cardinal to Player of the Year recognition as Lisa Drennan ’09 became a two-time winner, grabbing the laurels in both 2006 and 2008. She earned all-New England honors both seasons and as a senior, was a second-team AVCA All-American and second-team CoSIDA academic All-American. Wesleyan was a collective 40-16 those two campaigns.

In the fall of 2012, Wesleyan accomplished a new feat – a pair of NESCAC Players of the Year in the same season. And not only the same season, but the same sport. Adam Purdy ’13, for the men, and Laura Kurash ’13, for the women, both gained supreme conference recognition from the soccer coaches of the NESCAC. It was a perfect evolution for both players as each was a NESCAC Rookie of the Year in 2009. Kurash, a high-scoring forward, also was a second-team all-NESCAC pick that year while Purdy, a goaltender, made the first team along with all-New England and third-team All-America honors. The next three seasons, Kurash found her way to the all-NESCAC first team and also gained all-New England and CoSIDA/Capital One District II academic All-America accolades in 2011. Purdy was a NESCAC first-teamer in 2011 to complement his all-New England status.

Laura Kurash ’13

Laura Kurash ’13

All the honors are not yet in for 2012. So far, Kurash has added CoSIDA/Capital One District II academic All-America recognition for a second year. Both are likely candidates for all-New England acclaim once again. Kurash was among the top three in the NESCAC for scoring points with 22 and goals with nine while ranking in the top 10 for assists with four. She ended her four years with 37 goals and 14 assists for 88 points, ranking her second all-time at Wesleyan in both goals and points. Of her 37 goals, 15 were game-winners. Purdy started every game in goal for Wesleyan since he arrived on campus, 69 in total, and posted a lofty 40-17-12 overall record. He recorded a school-record 31 shutouts over his four seasons and had a career goals-against average of 0.71 and a save percentage of .842. In 2012, he went 9-4-4 with a 0.62 goals-against average and a .836 save percentage with seven shutouts.

In 2012, Kurash helped her team to a spot in the NESCAC semifinals for only the second time in school history, the first coming last year. Wesleyan has qualified for the NESCAC women’s soccer tournament five times, four of those with Kurash on the roster. Purdy helped Wesleyan qualify for the NCAA Division III tournament for the fifth time in the last eight years and third time in the last four.

(Photos by Peter Stein ’84 and SteveMcLaughlinPhotography.com)

Student-Athletes Raise Funds, Bring Awareness for Cancer

Men's ice hockey captain Ryan White '13 sports his mid-month Movember mustache.

Men’s ice hockey captain Ryan White ’13 sports his mid-month Movember mustache.

Wesleyan student-athletes on the men’s ice hockey team are growing mustaches in support of the Movember, an initiative that brings vital awareness to men’s health issues, specifically prostate and testicular cancer.

Once registered, the men started Nov. 1 clean shaven. For the rest of the month, the “Mo Bros,” groom, trim and wax their way into the “annals of fine moustachery,” explains the Movember website. The Mo Bros raise funds by seeking out sponsorship for their Mo-growing efforts. Through their actions and words they raise awareness by prompting private and public conversation around the often ignored issue of men’s health.

The ice hockey’s Movember fund-raising site is online here and features photos of their mustache progress. The team’s motivation is  to be “just a couple of college kids trying to make a difference.”

In addition, the men’s and swimming and diving squads took part in the 2012 “Hour of Power” on Nov. 13. The student-athletes joined more than 8,100 college, high school and club swim swimmers in swim relay for sarcoma research. The Wesleyan team raised $800 at the event.

The “Hour of Power” event honors those who are fighting or have succumbed to cancer, including former Carleton College swimmer Edward H. “Ted” Mullin, who passed away from synovial sarcoma, a rare soft-tissue cancer, in September 2006. In addition to raising funds and awareness for sarcoma research and The University of Chicago Medicine, the Wesleyan swimmers and divers participate in the hour-long, high energy, “Leave it in the Pool” sprint relay to show solidarity and keep the memory and spirit of Ted Mullin alive.

The "Hour of Power" swimming and diving participants.

The “Hour of Power” swimming and diving participants.

The object of the relay is to break the team into six or seven teams and race an all-out 50 yard (two lengths) swim in relay format for an entire hour. When one swimmer finishes his or hers two lengths, a teammate dives in and swims two more lengths. Each varsity swimmer sprints for approximately 22 to 30 seconds every three minutes for an entire hour!

The swimmers and divers also participated in a Swim Across America ocean mile swim in Narragansett, R.I. on Sept. 8. Wesleyan’s senior and varsity record holder Brendan Fortin ’13 came out of the water as the first male collegiate swimmer. Considering that there were numerous Div. I swimmers from the University of Connecticut, Providence College, University of Rhode Island, & Holy Cross, it was impressive that the only person to beat Brendan in the ocean mile that day happen to be 2012 USA Olympic Open Water swimmer and Harvard graduate Alex Meyer. Wesleyan raised $7,500 for The Dana Farber Foundation and joined over 300 other collegiate swimmers on the morning of Sept. 8 to raise almost $111,000 for cancer research.

“I couldn’t be more proud of these young men and women for not only being dedicated student-athletes,” said Wesleyan Head Coach Peter Solomon, “but because of their willingness to be involved in community service and making a difference in the lives of others. It speaks volumes about this team’s character and senior leadership.” Read more here.

 

Stowell ’13 Writes, Edits, Translates 2 New Books of Poetry

Glenn Stowell '13

Glenn Stowell ’13

Glenn Stowell ’13, an economics major, is the editor and translator of, and an author of, two poetry books published in 2012.

Stowell recently edited, translated and wrote the introduction to Yan Jun’s You Jump to Another Dream, published by Vagabond Press.

Last spring, Stowell worked with Ao Wang, assistant professor of Asian languages and literatures, assistant professor of East Asian studies, on an independent study on translation of contemporary Chinese poetry. You Jump to Another Dream was the result of the independent study. Additionally, the Olin Fellowship provided Stowell with funds needed to travel to China this summer and to work with Yan Jun on their book.

Also last spring, Stowell’s first collection of poetry, Until We Leave, was published by Stethoscope Press, a Wesleyan-funded press.

Stowell began studying Chinese at Phillips Academy in Andover, Mass. and is completing his language studies at Wesleyan. He is the recipient of DKE international short story contest in 2010, was named a Wesleyan Student Poet for 2011-2012 and has been published in The Tulane Review.

In addition to being an author and full-time student, Stowell is currently a goaltender on the men’s hockey team, and is a former pitcher on the baseball team.

After Wesleyan, Stowell will work at Goldman Sachs in New York City, where he has signed a two-year contract.

#THISISWHY

Student-Athlete Long ’14 Misses Game to Donate Bone Marrow

Matt Long '14 is a tight end on Wesleyan's Football Team.

Matt Long ’14 is a tight end on Wesleyan’s Football Team.

Matt Long ’14 a tight end on Wesleyan’s Football Team, hopes to make a new friend in about a year. Why would a 6-foot 5-inch, 240 pound scholar-athlete at a prestigious college like Wesleyan who was named an academic all-NESCAC choice in 2011 need to wait 12 months to make a new acquaintance? One very special reason.

This past spring, Long, of Williston, Vt., was coaxed by a schoolmate to enlist in a bone marrow donor program during a drive on campus. It was sponsored by DKMS, the world’s largest bone marrow donor program. Thus, Matt was on a donor matching list after a cheek swab. The general consensus is that any individual donor has less than a one percent chance of being called upon to donate. When is does happen, it could be years after the potential donor is first in the system. For Long, the wait was about four months.

“In late August, just before the start of camp [preseason football training], I received an urgent overnight letter,” Long explains. It said that he was a preliminary match for an anonymous patient. Matt was tested further in his home area and things looked promising.

Shortly thereafter, Long was transported to Georgetown Hospital in Washington, D.C., for more testing,

Astronomy Students Present Research at KNAC Meeting

Seven Wesleyan undergraduates spoke during the annual Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium meeting held at Middlebury College on Sept. 22. They presented the results from their summer research projects.

Seven Wesleyan undergraduates spoke during the annual Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium meeting. They presented the results from their summer research projects.

Seven Wesleyan undergraduates presented research at the annual Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium meeting held at Middlebury College on Sept. 22.

Astronomy major Mark Popinchalk '13 presents his research.

Astronomy major Mark Popinchalk ’13 presents his research.

Pictured above, from left, are: Eric Edelman ’13, astronomy major, who worked with Professor Jay Pasachoff at Williams College; Miche Aaron ’14, earth and environmental studies major, who worked with Associate Professor Martha Gilmore of Wesleyan;  Mark Popinchalk ’13, astronomy major, who worked with Professor Debra Elmegreen of Vassar College; James Dottin ’13, earth and environmental studies major, who worked with Research Associate Professor James Greenwood of Wesleyan; Ben Tweed ’13, astronomy major, who worked with Assistant Professor Seth Redfield of Wesleyan; Kerry Klemmer ’13, astronomy major,  who worked with Professor Kim McLeod of Wellesley College; Lily Zucker ’14, astronomy major, who worked with Professor Tom Balonek of Colgate.

In addition to presenting research talks, the students also wrote research papers that have been published in the 2012 Proceedings of the Undergraduate Research Symposium of the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium. KNAC is sponsored by a National Science Foundation/Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant at Wesleyan.

 

MacLean ’14 Helps Ill Children, Supports Students with Disabilities

Catherine MacLean received a $1,000 scholarship from Citizen’s Bank TruFit Good Citizen Scholarship program on Sept. 14.

Q&As with outstanding students is an occasional feature of The Wesleyan Connection. This issue we speak with Catherine MacLean from the Class of 2014.

Q: Catherine, what are you majoring in at Wesleyan, and why?

A: I am a biology and science and society double major. I have been fascinated by biology for quite a long time, so I was pretty sure I wanted to study it when I came to Wesleyan. I am very interested in the way that such basic low-level structures can combine synergistically to give rise to an organism and the complexity of life. The combination of elegant simplicity and endless complexity in biology is really interesting to me. Once I got to Wesleyan, I stumbled upon the Science in Society Program and found that it was a perfect combination of my love of science and social science. In the same way that context is key in studying cells and systems in biology, the context of the historical, political and social conditions in which science is done is key to studying science.

Q: You recently received a $1,000 scholarship from Citizen’s Bank TruFit Good Citizen Scholarship program for your efforts with the Hole in the Wall Gang Camp in Ashford, Conn. What is your role with the camp?

A: The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp is a summer camp and year-round center serving children with serious illnesses and their families. In the summer, there is a summer camp program that allows kids with sickle cell disease, HIV, cancer, metabolic and mitochondrial disease, and blood disorders to attend a traditional overnight summer camp.

I’ve been involved at camp for a number of years. I’ve helped out at fundraisers and events held at the camp, and volunteered at both summer and weekend camp programs. My freshman year at Wesleyan, I hosted the camp leadership for an information session at Wes so that other students could get involved. This led to several students volunteering or working at Hole in the Wall and associated SeriousFun Children’s network camps.

I love working at camp. It is an incredibly positive and friendly community where I have made fantastic friends. Being able to provide support, fun and relaxation to parents and children who really need it is very important work to me. 

Video Feature on Matt Donahue ’14

Matt Donahue ’14 is a double major in psychology and neuroscience and behavior, works in several departments on campus, and is the chapter president of Brighter Dawns, a student run non-profit that aims to improve health conditions in the slums of Bangladesh. Learn more about Donahue in the video below:

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Summer McNair Scholars Study Water on Mars, Toxins, Black Political Activists

McNair scholar Lavontria Aaron '14 studied "Mars Brine Mineralogy" this summer. Her research was sponsored by the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program.

McNair scholar Lavontria Aaron ’14 studied “Mars Brine Mineralogy” this summer. Her research was sponsored by the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program.

By looking at high-resolution images captured by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter, scientists are able to see gullies, which are argued to be geologically recent. Because they are most likely formed by water, it is believed that they can answer the question of whether or not there is still “active” water on Mars.

As a summer Wesleyan McNair scholar, astronomy major Lavontria Aaron ’14 used a hyperspectral instrument to determine if the gullies contained minerals (salts) which would be left behind by water brines.

“By examining the spectrum of the brines, we’ll be able to learn more about Mars’ history and possibly man’s future in pursuit of exploring the red planet,” says Aaron, who worked on the project with her faculty advisor Marty Gilmore, chair and associate professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Aaron and her 13 McNair peers are supported by the Ronald E. McNair Post Baccalaureate Achievement Program, which serves students in their second, third, and fourth college semesters. It provides career-oriented activities,

Sediment Geochemistry, Children’s Linguistic Studies at Summer Research Poster Session

Students majoring in earth and environmental sciences, biology, molecular biology and biochemistry, chemistry, physics, psychology, environmental health, safety and sustainability presented their summer-long research projects during the Wesleyan Summer Research Poster Session Aug. 2 in Exley Science Center. Quantitative Analysis Center summer fellows, Hughes fellows, and McNair scholars also presented their research. Photos of the event are below (Photos by Olivia Drake):

Psychology major Yan Pui “Angela” Lo ’14 presented “The Role of Linguistic Context in Children’s Acquisition of Number Words.” Her advisor is Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology.

Chemistry major Sarah Hensiek ’13 discussed her research on “Comparative Studies of Transition Metal Complexes of Polyacetate Tetraaza Macrocycles.” Her advisor is T. David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry.

Raymond Wong ’14 spoke about his summer-long research on “Are Wealthier States More Successful than Poorer States?: The Impact of Income Packaging on States’ Child Poverty Rates. Wong’s advisor was Wendy Rayack, associate professor of economics, tutor in the College of Social Studies. Wong completed his research through the Quantitative Analysis Center.

Ellen Lesser ’15 presented a poster titled “Estimation Bias in Numerical and Non-Numerical Spatial Tasks in 9- and 10- Year Olds and Adults.” Her advisors are Hilary Barth, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, and postdoctoral fellow Emily Slusser.

Molecular biology and biochemistry and chemistry major Laura Nocka ’13 speaks to Francis Starr, associate professor of physics, about her research on “Structure and Function of Holliday Junctions Complexed with Ions and HU Protein. Her advisors are Ishita Mukerji, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and David Beveridge, the Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, professor of chemistry.

David Shor ’13 presented “Impact of Exposure to Party Mentions in Political Ads and Local News on Ability to Identify Candidates’ Political Party.” His advisor is Erika Franklin Fowler, assistant professor of government. Shor completed his research through the Quantitative Analysis Center and Wesleyan Media Project.

Earth and environmental science major Ariela Knight ’13 presented “Sediment Geochemistry and Laminations of Ballston Lake, N.Y.” Her advisor is Tim Ku, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences. Pictured at right is Dana Royer, associate professor of earth and environmental sciences.

Fellows Explore Black History in School Curricula, Deglaciation, Schooling in Nicaragua, More

Elsa Hardy '14 presents her Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship research on July 26.

Elsa Hardy ’14 presents her Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship research on July 26. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Last summer, Elsa Hardy ’14 worked for a youth enrichment program in New York City. Several of the children came from the Frederick Douglass Academy, a middle school in Harlem where 75 percent of the students are black.

“I asked the students who went there, ‘Do you know who Frederick Douglass was?’ None of them did. They had no idea,” Hardy recalls. “I was shocked to learn that the students didn’t know who the namesake of their school was.”

Hardy, who is majoring in African American studies and Hispanic literatures and cultures, became curious as to why the average middle school student received such a diluted black history lesson in the classroom. As a 2012 participant in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship summer session, Hardy launched a research project on “Middle School U.S. History Curricula, Black National Identity, and Academic Performance.”

“If U.S. history curriculum covers black history minimally, or not at all, what effect does this have on the ways in which black students understand their place in our nation’s history or in contemporary American society,” she asks.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program is a highly selective mentoring program that prepares students of color and others committed to overcoming racial and ethnic disparities in education for graduate study and careers as university professors in the arts and sciences. Four fellows from Wesleyan and six fellows from Queens College spent six weeks this summer working on their preliminary research. They presented their findings and plans on July 26.

“The summer session is just the beginning of a life-long relationship with these students,” says MMUF coordinator Krishna Winston,

Ribner ’14 Studying Spatial Navigation, Early Number Knowledge

University major Andrew Ribner ’14 is working in the Cognitive Development Lab this summer. He’s also a photographer, a campus tour guide and a baker.

Q&As with outstanding students is an occasional feature of The Wesleyan Connection. This issue we speak with Andrew Ribner from the Class of 2014.

Q: Andrew, you’re a rising junior, working toward a university major in educational psychology and learning theory and biology. Please explain what a university major is and why you chose this degree path.

A: A university major is essentially an interdisciplinary create-your-own major. It’s an option that isn’t very highly publicized, and is completely unique to each student who does it. It’s an intense application process that involves writing a formal proposal and four-year class schedule, finding three advisors who will support and recommend you to the committee, and justifying the necessity of the major. Essentially, it’s creating an entire unique department using classes that are already offered in other departments. For my university major, I’ll be investigating how children learn through a combination of psychology, sociology and neuroscience.

Q: This summer, you’re working in the Cognitive Development Lab with Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology. Why did you want to spend your summer at Wesleyan?

A: I chose to stay at Wes this summer for a number of reasons. Anna is the primary advisor on my university major, and I’m planning to do an experimental thesis through her lab as it intersects with sociology. She recommended I stay this summer to get a start on my thesis research because she’s going to be on sabbatical in the fall and I need to start running participants while she’s out. I also just wanted to see what research was like and whether it’s something I enjoy—which it is.