Tag Archive for student achievements

Honor Society Phi Beta Kappa Inducts 87 Students

Phi Beta Kappa members pose for a group photo following the initiation ceremony May 21 in Memorial Chapel. (Photo by Nam Anh Ta '12)

The Society of Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society, welcomed 87 members to the Gamma of Connecticut Chapter May 21.

Election to the society is based on fulfillment of eligibility requirements, including a grade point average of 90 or above and the satisfactory completion of general education requirements prior to commencement. Phi Beta Kappa was founded in 1776, during the American Revolution. The organization’s Greek initials signify the motto, “Love of learning is the guide of life.”

The students join the ninth oldest Phi Beta Kappa chapter in the United States—founded in 1845.

During the ceremony, Wesleyan president Michael Roth made welcoming remarks and Alberto Ibargüen ’66, HON ’11 CEO of The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, delivered the keynote address. Chapter President Gary Yohe, the Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, initiated the members.

Sally Bachner, assistant professor of English, is the chapter’s vice president and Anna Shusterman, assistant professor of psychology, is the chapter treasurer.

Fifteen seniors from the Class of 2011 were elected to Phi Beta Kappa during the 2010 fall semester. These students and their majors are:

Arion Blas – economics

Wei Dai – physics, mathematics

Elizabeth Dalton – art and art history

Teutsch ’11 Receives Fellowship from Tony Blair Faith Foundation

Nomi Teutsch '11 (Photo by Zach Subar)

Nomi Teutsch ’11 received a Faiths Act Fellowship from the Tony Blair Faith Foundation. This year-long, paid international fellowship brings together exceptional future leaders inspired by faith to serve as interfaith ambassadors for the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with particular focus on malaria. Fellows build partnerships across faith lines in their home countries to show the world how faith can be a positive global force in the 21st century, and they work in local NGOs to mobilize communities to take part in malaria-focused, multi-faith action.

Teutsch grew up in a vibrant, diverse neighborhood in Northwest Philadelphia. A progressive Jewish activist who is fluent in Hebrew, she majored in philosophy at Wesleyan. She has worked with a number of nonprofit organizations including the Center for Constitutional Rights, Encounter, J Street, and Shining Hope for Communities. As a volunteer, she has worked with incarcerated women in Connecticut and has led campus activism around issues of violence against women.

Cottier ’12 Explores Tales from a Middletown Historic House

Charlotte Cottier ’12 spent the week hanging posters for her exhibit at the General Mansfield House on Main Street. (Photo by Olivia Drake MALS ’08)

While the rest of her classmates finished exams and headed for Foss Hill, Charlotte Cottier ’12 spent the sunny days of Finals Week inside the General Mansfield Home, getting ready to reveal excerpts from personal letters documenting a husband’s Western frontier travel to his wife at home, a nearly-failed courtship, and a myriad other stories that a nearly 200-year-old house can hold.

Cottier, an American studies and sociology major, is a guest curator for the Middlesex County Historical Society, hanging her exhibit “Within These Walls: One House, One Family, Two Centuries,” which opened May 20.

“The main theme is the social history of the house—showing the changing landscape of people and ideas that have marked a steadfast building so that it really comes alive,” she says.

The exhibit is culmination of a year-and-a-half of work and was sparked by the anthropology course, Middletown Lives, which she took in the spring of her first year. It was in the context of this service-learning course that Associate Professor Gina Ulysse “framed for me the idea of doing a public service by documenting history that hadn’t been recorded.”

Khan ’12 Named Dell Semi-Finalist Fellow

Tasmiha Khan ’12, founder of the student organization Brighter Dawns, is a recipient of the Dell Social Innovation Competition Semi-Finalist Fellowship. Brighter Dawns applied for the Dell Social Innovation Award in January. Their project is titled “Brighter Dawns: Clean Water for Humanity.”

“Tasmiha was selected from a very strong applicant pool to join 14 other innovative fellows that represent and work with communities around the world,” says Betsy Loucks, director of the DSIC Semi-Finalist Fellowship. “The Semi-Finalist Fellowship is a cohort of students from around the world who have some of the most exciting and innovative ideas for social and environmental change.”

Developed to leverage the power of the group, the fellowship program provides students with mentorship, training and a small financial award to advance the development of their social innovation. The fellowship provides students with the skills, networks and experience needed to realize the potential of their social venture.

At the core of the DSIC Fellowship is the practice of peer critique. The peer critique is a forum for student entrepreneurs to seek feedback from other students, faculty, alumni and experienced professionals/entrepreneurs. Meeting around a common table, the participants generously and respectfully share their questions, advice, networks and encouragement in a spirit of collegial collaboration.

In addition to the fellowship, the DSIC also provides a travel stipend to Rhode Island for the Summer Institute on Social Entrepreneurship, Aug. 15-19.

Brighter Dawns also received a Davis United World College Project for Peace grant worth $10,000.

EE&S Students Develop Research, Observational Skills through Puerto Rico Fieldwork

Laura Anderson '11 (center) and fellow earth and environmental science majors and faculty kayak off the coast of Puerto Rico in January. The students worked on research projects on the island, and presented their findings in April.

This semester, 18 earth and environmental sciences majors explored dwarf mangrove forests, studied landslide susceptibility in a rainforest, examined if cave rocks record bat inhabitation, and analyzed the chemistry of coastal seagrass – all in Puerto Rico.

The students, who are enrolled in the E&ES 398 course Senior Seminar, developed observational, interpretative and research skills through their island studies. The seniors traveled to Puerto Rico in January for fieldwork, and spent the past few months analyzing their findings.

They presented their Senior Seminar Presentations on April 19 and 21 as part of the Stearns

Students Raise Funds at 5K for Brighter Dawns

Pictured are participants of the 5K for Brighter Dawns.

The student-run organization Brighter Dawns raised more than $1,150 during the 5K for Brighter Dawns on April 16.

The group is raising funds to build 30 latrines and 10 wells in Khalispur, Bangladesh. They also hope to provide sanitary kits to local households and hire three community health officers to educate the community in sanitary practices.

Brighter Dawns Development Director Jason Youngbin Lee '12 and Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano.

Middletown Mayor Sebastian Giuliano and Wesleyan President Michael Roth attended the event.

Participants paid $10 to walked or run the 3.1 mile course, which was located on the Wes Fuhrman ’05 Trail near Long Lane. Brighter Dawns also raised funds by selling t-shirts at the event. Prizes were awarded to the top three finishers.

Ackoff ’11, Bukiet ’11 Receive Distinguished Student Award

Barry Chernoff presented the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Awards April 22 during the Wesleyan Earth Day celebration. Chernoff is the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, professor of biology, professor and chair of the Environmental Studies Program, director of the College of the Environment. Pictured at right is award recipient Sophie Ackoff '11.

Miles Bukiet '11 also received the Robert Schumann Distinguished Student Award, which was established in 2007 by a gift from the Robert Schumann Foundation. The award is presented to an outstanding student who demonstrates academic accomplishment and excellence in environmental stewardship through work at Wesleyan or the greater Middletown community. (Photos by Emily Brackman '11)

Knittle ’11 to Experience Student Freedom Ride

Davy Knittle ’11 will participate in the 2011 American Experience Student Freedom Ride, created by PBS.

From May 6-16, Knittle and 39 other college students will join original Freedom Riders in retracing the 1961 historic rides from Washington, D.C. to New Orleans, La. via bus.

They will explore the state of civil engagement today.

“I’m getting on the bus to work with and learn from several generations of student activists,” Knittle says. “I’m interested in thinking about what student activism can look like, does look like, and has looked like by considering what we can do to provide a model for new ways of thinking about collective engagement.”

Watch Knittle’s video online here.

Friedman ’11, Olsen ’11, Steidl ’11 Receive Exchange Grants

Jesse Friedman ’11, Anya Olsen ’11 and Catherine Steidl ’11 received a Baden-Württemberg–Connecticut Exchange Grant for one year’s study in Germany.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange Program offers students an opportunity to earn college credits in one of Germany’s top nine universities. Students spend the academic year at the university they choose.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange originated from a legislative partnership formed between the State of Connecticut and the German state of Baden-Württemberg in 1989. The agreement invites all students enrolled in four-year colleges and universities in Connecticut to study at any institution of higher learning in Baden-Württemberg. With nine universities from which to choose and a large number of Fachhochschulen and Kunsthochschulen, students of all disciplines can be accommodated.

The Baden-Württemberg Exchange is a reciprocal exchange program. This means that Connecticut students prepay their usual tuition and then trade places with a German student from the Exchange, who has paid their German tuition.

Khan ’12 Speaks at Yale’s United for Sight Conference

Brighter Dawns members, from left, Karla Therese Sy ’13, Rashedul Haydar ’14 and Shirley Deng ’14 attended the United for Sight conference.

Members of the student-run group, Brighter Dawns, participated in the Unite for Sight Global Health and Innovation 2011 Conference April 16-17 at Yale University. The conference welcomed leaders, changemakers, and participants from all fields of global health, international development and social entrepreneurship.

Tasmiha Khan ’12, founder of Brighter Dawns, spoke about her organization during a session on “Water and Clinic Social Enterprise Pitches – Ideas in Development.” Brighter Dawns is raising funds to improve access to safe sanitation in Bangladesh.

More than 2,220 professionals and students from all 50 states attended the conference.

Brighter Dawns Receives Davis Project for Peace Grant

Wesleyan’s student organization Brighter Dawns received a Davis United World College Project for Peace grant worth $10,000. The funds will support Brighter Dawns’ “Water Sanitation Project” in Khalishpur, Bangladesh for eight weeks this summer.

Tasmiha Khan ’12 and possibly Rajeeta Iyer ’12 will oversee the project, which will include building tube wells, latrines and providing health seminars and jobs for women in one of the poorest slums in Khalishpur.