Tag Archive for student achievements

Ruberg ’12, Vitale ’11, Wagner ’12 Create Software for Human Rights Workers

Computer science majors Jeff Ruberg ’12, Michael Vitale ’11 and Katie Wagner ’12 participated in the Humanitarian Fee and Open Source Software Project summer internship program.

For their project, they worked on software that is part of the Tor network. Tor is software that allows users to browse the web anonymously, and is used by human rights workers, individuals in repressive regimes, and people who just don’t want corporations tracking their on-line movements. It is implemented as a world-wide network of “relays” that are run by volunteers on anything ranging from academic servers to home computers.

Ruberg, Vitale and Wagner completely re-designed and re-implemented Tor Weather, an application that allows Tor relay operators to sign up to be notified of important events on their relays. Their software has now gone live, and is an important component of the Tor Project.

“Congratulations to these students on a  job well-done and on writing software that is helping to make a difference in people’s lives,” says Norman Danner, associate professor of computer science.

Johnson ’11 Honored for Exoplanet Research

Marshall Johnson '11 presented his research poster at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting, Jan. 10-13 in Seattle, Wash. The AAS awarded Johnson with the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award.

Marshall Johnson '11 presented his research poster at the American Astronomical Society (AAS) meeting, Jan. 10-13 in Seattle, Wash. The AAS awarded Johnson with the Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award.

Marshall Johnson’s research is out of this world.

For the past two years, the senior astronomy major used the Van Vleck Observatory’s 24-inch Perkin Telescope to study the transits of “exoplanets,” or planets outside our solar system, that orbit another star.

His study, titled “First Results from the Wesleyan Transiting Exoplanet Program,” explains a refined orbital period of a newly-discovered planet named WASP-33b (Wide Angle Search for Planets). Ultimately, Johnson may prove that he’s discovered another planet, WASP-33c.

“Here in Connecticut, with clouds and haze, we don’t have the best observing conditions, but I was still able to obtain high-quality data using our modest-sized telescope,” Johnson says. “The most interesting result, which is still tentative, is that I am seeing transit timing variations in one target. This could be due to an additional planet in the system.”

For his efforts, the American Astronomical Society (AAS) awarded Johnson a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Award, which “recognizes exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students.” Awardees are honored with a Chambliss medal

Cottier ’12 Experiences Cities Across the Globe

Charlotte Cottier ’12, at right, bikes through rice paddies in Mai Chau, Vietnam during the Cities in the 21st Century Program in December. Cottier spent 17 weeks studying the development of the world’s cities.

During the fall semester, Charlotte Cottier ’12 set a lofty goal: “I wanted to pop the Wesleyan bubble and become a citizen of the world,” she says. “I wasn’t quite sure what this meant, but I knew that growth, challenge, and change would be necessary.”

Cottier applied for the Cities in the 21st Century Program, coordinated through the International Honors Program (IHP). For 17 weeks, she and fellow student scholars had the opportunity to examine how the structure of a city enhances or impedes growth on a world-wide tour. She observed the effects of urban sprawl in Brazil, witnessed revitalization in Detroit and studied how wealth has influenced society in Vietnam.

“Students on the program examine the intentional and natural forces that guide the development of the world’s cities,” explains Erin Deegan, university relations manager at IHP. “It combines an innovative urban studies academic curriculum with fieldwork involving public agencies, planners, elected officials, NGOs and grassroots groups in important world cities where exciting changes are taking place.”

Cottier’s journey began last August with a two-week stint in Detroit, Mich., a city known for its devastation and rebirth. She observed how “incredible” community organizing and social entrepreneurship can thrive amongst inefficient leadership,

Phi Beta Kappa Welcomes 15 Seniors

The Gamma chapter of Phi Beta Kappa welcomed 15 seniors into the honor society Dec. 8 at the Office of Admission. The honorees are pictured above (two were absent).

Fifteen graduating seniors were elected into the Gamma chapter of Phi Beta Kappa during a ceremony Dec. 8. PBK is the nation’s oldest academic honor society.

Students elected to the society must have completed Stage I and II of the General Education Expectations by the end of the junior year and have a grade point average of 93 or above.

Playwright Will Dubbs ’14 Makes An Off-Broadway Debut

Will Dubbs ’14 arrived at Wesleyan from Manhattan in September as part of the frosh class. Next month he’ll return to New York as an off-Broadway playwright.

Manhattan Repertory Theater has selected Dubbs’ first and only play, “Dead Sharks,” for production as part of its Winterfest 2011 festival of original theatrical works. The first of three scheduled “Dead Sharks” performances at the Rep’s 42nd Street theater is Jan. 29.

Dubbs, who is a minute older than his twin sister, Katie, a student at Princeton, wrote the one-act “Dead Sharks” for an all-freshman

28 Students Honored at Early Graduation Reception

The Office of the President and the Deans' Office hosted a reception Dec. 10 honoring the 28 students who are graduating from Wesleyan early. The students, who come from 11 states and seven countries, have 955 credits with an average GPA of 90. Five of the students are double majors, three are doing a senior thesis and one student is doing two.

Green Fund to Decrease Wesleyan’s Carbon Footprint

The Wesleyan Green Fund is a student-financed and student-managed fund for sustainability that will finance initiatives that decrease waste and increase visibility of environmentally responsible practices on campus.

The newly-established Wesleyan Green Fund Committee is supporting initiatives that move the university forward in sustainability and environmental stewardship.

On Dec. 3, the student-managed committee will finance projects that will decrease the carbon footprint of the university, decrease waste, increase Wesleyan’s use of energy from renewable resources, or increase visibility of environmentally responsible practices on campus.

The committee will select projects proposed by Wesleyan students, faculty and staff.

Through a $15 fee, collected voluntarily from students during the Fall 2010 semester, the committee raised about $40,000. These “green funds” will be applied to several sustainability-focused projects at Wesleyan that otherwise would not be possible. The Green Fund Committee already has granted funds for composting equipment on campus.

Cross ’12, Castagno ’12 Participate in Mixed Race Conference

Rachel Cross '12 and Alicia Castagno '12 speak during the Critical Mixed Race Conference Nov. 5.

(submitted by Ella Doo P’12)

Rachel Cross ’12 and Alicia Castagno ’12 participated as panel members in a session of the Critical Mixed Race Conference sponsored by dePaul University in Chicago Nov. 5-6.

The conference was attended by academicians and students (primarily graduate students) from across the country. Cross and Castagno co-taught a Wesleyan student forum on mixed race last year and were on a panel discussing the development and teaching of this topic as students. In the question and answer period someone asked how many student-taught classes on mixed race there were in the country. A member of the University of Washington group said that as far as they could find out, only the UW and Wesleyan had student-taught classes.

Members of the audience were impressed that Wesleyan had an established structure for students to teach their peers.

Both Alicia and Rachel are studying in South America (Peru and Ecuador, respectively) this semester and traveled back to the U.S. to attend the conference.

Dwyer ’10 Named Gagliardi Trophy Finalist

Shea Dwyer ’10

Running back Shea Dwyer ’10 became the second Wesleyan player to receive the distinction of Gagliardi Trophy finalist when the 10 players still eligible for Division III’s version of the Heisman Trophy were announced Nov. 23.  In total, 26 players were nominated for the coveted award before the Gagliardi committee narrowed the choice to 10.  Dwyer joins Wesleyan receiver Matt Perceval ’00, who was a Gagliardi Trophy finalist during the 1999 season.

To see the breakdown of the 10 Gagliardi Trophy finalists on d3football.com and find out how to become a part of the voting for the winner, click  here.

Dwyer, who played during the 2010 football season, was a conference leader. He paced the NESCAC in rushing yards with 1,242, a school record; set a Wesleyan record for yards in a game (255 vs. Colby); was twice named NESCAC Co-Offensive Player of the Week; and was a Gridiron Club of Greater Boston weekly Gold Helmet Award winner. He ranked fourth in NCAA Division III for rushing yards per game (155.2) and was sixth nationally among all NCAA running backs. Dwyer, who had just 692 career rushing yards coming into the 2010 campaign, scored 12 touch downs, 11 of them on the ground. He ended his career with 1,934 career rushing yards and 20 touch downs. Dwyer also was named a Division II/III all-star by the New England Football Writers Association.

Doctoral Students Present Papers at Ethnomusicology Convention

Music department doctoral students presented papers at the Society for Ethnomusicology’s annual convention in Los Angeles, Nov. 10-14. The students presented were Hae-joo Kim, Aaron Paige, Jorge Arevalo Mateus Po-wei Weng, and Min Yang. Kim, Paige and Weng were on a panel chaired by the Rochard K. Winslow Professor of Music Mark Slobin, on global film music analysis.

Men’s Crew Places 2nd at Head of Charles Regatta

From left, Elliot Skopin '11, Terrence Word '11, Trevor Michelson '13 and Spencer Hattendorf '12 placed second at the Head of the Charles Regatta Oct. 23. (Photo by Arya Alizadeh '13)

Wesleyan’s varsity four entry Elliot Skopin ’11, Terrence Word ’11, Trevor Michelson ’13 and Spencer Hattendorf ’12 with coxwain Peter Chu ’14 turned in an outstanding performance during the Collegiate Four event at the prestigious Head of the Charles Regatta in Boston Sat., Oct. 23.

With a time of 17:41.27 over the three-mile course, the Cardinals quartet of rowers bested 39 other crews in the 41-boat affair, trailing just WPI by a seven-second gap.  Wesleyan made up more than two minutes in moving past the University of Massachusetts team.