Tag Archive for student achievements

Argus Wins Big in Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ Competition

The Wesleyan Argus won five awards in the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists' 2014-15 Excellence in Journalism college competition.

The Wesleyan Argus won five awards in the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ 2014-15 Excellence in Journalism college competition.

The Wesleyan Argus student newspaper had a big showing at the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists’ Excellence in Journalism awards dinner on May 21. Gabe Rosenberg ’16, co-editor-in-chief of the Argus last semester, won a Bob Eddy Scholarship to Foster Journalism Careers, and Argus writers won several other awards, sweeping the editorial/op-ed category in the college competition.

The following writers/stories won awards:

According to Rosenberg, this is the first time in recent years that the Argus has entered the competition, and he was encouraged by the successful outcome.

Gabe Rosenberg '16 accepted the Bob Eddy Scholarship to Foster Journalism Careers from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists on May 21.

Gabe Rosenberg ’16 accepted the Bob Eddy Scholarship to Foster Journalism Careers from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists on May 21. (Photo c/o SCSU Journalism Department)

“I’m hoping these awards will encourage our writers and editors to enter their work in all the years to come, and that this will become more of a regular thing for us,” he said. “I think the Argus has always been under-appreciated with regards to the quality of journalism at our paper, and how much work we put into making a newspaper every week, twice a week, for pretty much the entire school year.”

Rosenberg said he and co-editor-in-chief Sofi Goode ’17 “worked hard to push our staff this semester to think beyond what the newspaper had done in the past–both in terms of content and in terms of execution, how we get our stories out there–and it’s really worked. More people are reading the Argus online than ever, interacting with us more on Facebook and Twitter, and while sometimes we mess up and get called out on it, it just means that people truly care about what we write about and what we don’t.”

In accordance with the Argus’ practice, Rosenberg and Goode stepped down as co-editors-in-chief at the end of the spring semester, and will serve as executive editors going forward.

As the first-place winner of the Bob Eddy Scholarship to Foster Journalism Careers, Rosenberg was awarded a $2,500 academic scholarship. He has worked in journalism since high school, and plans to pursue a career in the field. At Wesleyan, he has worked at the Argus and Wesleying, with responsibilities ranging from writing concert reviews to running social media accounts to editing breaking news and featuresThis summer, he is interning at his hometown newspaper, the Pittsburgh Post-GazetteLast summer he interned at a start-up called Contently and worked at The Columbia Journalism ReviewHe has continued to do freelance work for both organizations, as well as for the music blog Consequence of Sound and the publication Intern Magazine

3 Students Receive Goldwater Honorable Mentions

#THISISWHY

Wesleyan students Selin Kutlu ’16, Jacob “Jack” Lashner ’16 and Aaron Young ’16 have been chosen for honorable mention by the Barry Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Program for the 2015-2016 academic year. The award is presented annually to U.S. sophomores and juniors for excellence in mathematics, science and engineering. This year’s recipients were selected from a field of more than 1,200 students nominated by faculty from more than 420 colleges and universities nationwide. Less than half the students nominated each year are selected as a scholar or for honorable mention.

Kutlu

Selin Kutlu ’16

Kutlu, a molecular biology and biochemistry and neuroscience and behavior double major, is interested in understanding not only biological mechanisms at the cellular and molecular level, but also how these mechanisms can alter human health and behavior. Working with Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, Kutlu combines her interest in both biochemistry and neuroscience through research on DNA mismatch repair, a process that corrects errors made during DNA replication. “These errors can cause mutations that can have deleterious effects on an organism’s health, including carcinogenesis and neurological disorders such as Huntington’s disease,” said Kutlu. Her career goal is to obtain an MA and PhD in molecular biology in order to teach at the university level and conduct biomedical research.

Watson Fellow Banks ’15 to Study Restorative Justice Practices in 4 Countries

Isabella Banks '15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, "Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice" will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Isabella Banks ’15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Restorative justice practices, such as victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, programs for juvenile offenders, and community policing, emerged to give victims and their surrounding communities greater agency than traditional criminal procedure provides to resolve conflict and address its consequences.

As a 2015-16 Watson Fellow, Isabella Banks ’15 will travel to countries where restorative justice has had success, acting as a participant-observer in these practices. Banks will interview individuals involved and evaluate the capacity of restorative alternatives to heal those affected by crime and reduce recidivism within each cultural context.

“In doing so, I hope to come closer to envisioning a perfect system of justice,” she said.

Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Packer ’15 Creates Online Community to Unify Collegiate Sustainability Movement

Brent Packer '15 is the founder of Potlux, which is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared.

Brent Packer ’15 is the founder of Potlux, which is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Brent Packer from the Class of 2015. 

Q: Brent, where are you from and what are you majoring in?

A: I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Growing up nearby Amish farms and having tortoises, dogs and a semi-domesticated duck scampering around my house piqued my environmental interests. At Wesleyan, I’m a member of the College of the Environment with a double major in economics and environmental studies.

Q: You are the founder of Potlux, an online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are aggregated and shared. What is the community’s mission?

A: Our mission is to accelerate global environmental progress by unifying the collegiate sustainability movement. View our pitchdeck online.

Q: When did you come up with the idea for Potlux? When did you begin the project?

Burgunder ’15 Competes in Ski Mountaineering World Championships

Mateusz “Matt” Burgunder ’15

Mateusz “Matt” Burgunder ’15

Mateusz “Matt” Burgunder ’15 recently competed in the 2015 Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland where the U.S. National Ski Mountaineering Team finished in 10th place overall.

This was Burgunder’s fourth time competing for the U.S., participating in three events. Competitors race by climbing up and skiing down mountains at a rate of approximately 3,000 feet per hour.

The 2015 Ski Mountaineering World Championships, hosted by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation, were held Feb. 6–12.

More information about the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association and the 2015 World Championships can be found online.

See photos of Burgunder’s events below:

Unger ’15 Writes about “Coexistence and its Discontents” in Israel, Palestine

Rachel Unger '15 in Nazareth, Israel.

Rachel Unger ’15 in Nazareth, Israel.

Writing in Tikkun Magazine, government major Rachel Unger ’15 offers a first-hand account of Israeli-Palestinian relations she witnessed during her two trips to the region, and how these experiences shaped her views of a “two-state solution” to the ongoing conflict.

Unger describes watching “religious Jews marching through the Muslim quarter of the Old City celebrating the ‘reunification’ of Jerusalem while the authorities blocked Palestinians from the streets with barricades and prevented an old man from taking the bus to his home. I witnessed police knocking a Palestinian man to the ground while hordes of young Yeshiva boys cheered and sang ‘Am Yisrael Chai!'”

She writes, “This incident felt like a culmination of the nationalism, racism, and contradicting narratives that drive the Israeli-Palestinian conflict forward.” It was, she writes, a side of Israel from which most American Jews are shielded when the tour the country.

Visiting the region and hearing a broad range of Israeli and Palestinian perspectives showed Unger that many on both sides of the conflict gave up long ago on the possibility of a two-state solution. Read more about her thoughts on this here.

PCSE Awards Seed Grants to Student-Led Ventures

The Wesleyan Doula Project is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin '16, Julia Vermeulen '15 and Zandy Stovicek '17.

The Wesleyan Doula Project, a seed grant winner, is a student-run, volunteer collective that improves access to quality women’s health care by training students and non-students to work in local clinics, and by directing outreach locally, state-wide, and nationally. Pictured from left are the co-founders, Hannah Sokoloff-Rubin ’16, Julia Vermeulen ’15 and Zandy Stovicek ’17.

Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship announced the winners of the 2015 PCSE Seed Grant Challenge. These student-led social ventures will each receive $5,000 in unrestricted funds as well as training, advising, mentoring, incubator workspace and other resources from the Patricelli Center.

Recipients were selected from a strong pool of finalists who submitted written business plans and pitched to a panel of expert judges comprised of alumni, students, faculty and staff. Applicants were assessed on their project design, leadership qualities and potential for social impact.

The 2015 Seed Grant recipients are:

Graduate Student Blasser Hand Crafts Analog Instruments

Graduate student Peter Blasser tunes one of his hand-crafted analog instruments. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Graduate student Peter Blasser tunes one of his hand-crafted analog instruments. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this Q&A, we speak with Peter Blasser, a music graduate student. 

Q: What was your first experiences with music? When did you decide that music would be your life work?

A: I was in elementary school in the 1980s when music programs were still part of the public school curriculum. I remember that those music classes were not very noteworthy at the time. In middle school I took a wood shop class and liked working with the tools. After taking classical civilization classes, I started to triangulate all three — I wanted to work with wood to make ancient Greek instruments to see what they sounded like. The first instruments I decided to recreate were ancient stringed instruments.

Blasser changes where the transistors are connected in order to tune the instrument.

Blasser changes where the transistors are connected in order to tune the instrument.

Q: Where did you complete your undergraduate studies?

A: I went to Oberlin College. I initially went as a classics major, but still had a passion for making classical instruments. Oberlin had a conservatory for music, and they offered introductory courses in electronic music. I started to use electronic music to model and tune classical instruments. I also was able to take a course in analog music, learning about transistors and electronics, and how they could be used to make music. This caused me to combine wood and analog electronics, which is all about the flow of the transistors.

Q: What did you do after graduating?

A: I purchased a home in Baltimore about 10 years ago as a space to work on my art. Fixing up the house was an artistic experience in of itself. I also started my own business where I sold analog instruments. I wasn’t making much money, so I spent a lot of time working on poetry, thinking of ideas for my business and exploring my philosophy. I also toured with my instruments, but didn’t like how much I had to promote myself and push my brand.

Q: Why did you choose Wesleyan for your graduate school?

Blasser likes to work with wood, which is frequently used in his instruments.

Blasser likes to work with wood, which is frequently used in his instruments.

A: I decided to attend Wesleyan after developing a friendship with Ron Kuivila, chair of the Music Department. After graduating from Oberlin I never thought I would return to school, but I found that I enjoyed giving lectures and helping other students make their instruments. I also like how Wesleyan’s music program, and art program in general, is experimental — there are no prejudices from students about what music should “be” like. The different departments are porous, there is mixing between different mediums and styles. This enables me to sit with undergraduates and help them make a piece that the student will own, with a shared experience. This made me realize that I enjoy teaching, and in order to become a professor, formal education is required.

Q: What are your plans after Wesleyan?

A: Right now my analog electronics business,

McLaughlin ’15 Helps Students Discover Body-Mind Awareness through WesBAM! Classes

Katie McLaughlin '15 teaches a WesBAM! class called Vinyasa Flow Fusion, which combines meditation, breathing techniques and traditional asana practice for whole body health and happiness.

Katie McLaughlin ’15 teaches a WesBAM! class called Vinyasa Flow Fusion, which combines meditation, breathing techniques and traditional asana practice for whole body health and happiness.

In this Q&A we speak with Katie McLaughlin from the Class of 2015. (Story and photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

Q: Katie, what are you majoring in?

A: I’m majoring in French and environmental studies with the certificate in international relations. For my capstone project in the environmental studies major, I am researching the academic justifications of contemplative pedagogy and developing a curriculum which integrates it and movement-based learning into elementary school, high school and adult education. The goals of the curriculum are to explore the environment through physical inquiry and embodiment, reevaluate the ways we perceive ourselves as a part of, or apart from nature and reexamine how we interact with ourselves, our communities and the spaces we inhabit.

Q: You are a WesBAM! manager and yoga instructor on campus. Please explain what WesBAM! is all about.

A: Started by Renee Dunn ’14 and Shira Engel ’14, Wesleyan Body and Mind (WesBAM!) is a student-run organization that makes mind-body awareness and fitness accessible at Wesleyan by offering a wide variety of daily classes, free community classes every weekend, and free workshops throughout the semester. WesBAM! instructors are students certified in a variety of athletic disciplines.

Israeli ’17 Speaks at Awards Gala Hosted by the Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights

Ella Israeli '17 mingled with entertainer/philanthropist Robert De Niro at the Ripple of Hope Gala and Awards Dinner, held Dec. 16 in New York City.  The event was supported by the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights.

Ella Israeli ’17 mingled with entertainer/philanthropist Robert De Niro at the Ripple of Hope Gala and Awards Dinner, held Dec. 16 in New York City.

Two Wesleyan students and two alumni participated in the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights Ripple of Hope Gala and Awards Dinner in New York City in December.

Ella Israeli '17, Kennedy Odede '12 and Kiley Kennedy '16 shared a group hug at the Ripple of Hope Gala. 

Ella Israeli ’17, Kennedy Odede ’12 and Kiley Kennedy ’16 shared a group hug at the Ripple of Hope Gala.

During the event, Ripple Awards were presented to former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, entertainers/ philanthropists Robert De Niro and Tony Bennett, and Physicians Interactive Chairman Donato Tramuto.

Ella Israeli ’17, a government major minoring in film studies film studies, was chosen to introduce New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, who presented the Ripple of Hope Award to De Niro. Israeli also spoke about her involvement in the center’s film contest. Her speech is online here.

Kennedy Odede ’12, founder of Shining Hope for Communities, was honored as a defender of human rights. Kiley Kennedy ’16 and Edward “Ted” Kennedy Jr. ’83, P’16 also attended the event.

View Israeli’s website, with links to her videos, here.

Everett ’15 Co-Authors Paper Published in Nature Communications

Holly Everett '15

Holly Everett ’15

A paper co-authored by molecular biology and biochemistry major Holly Everett ’15 is published in the December 2014 issue of Nature Communications. The article, titled “High-throughput detection of miRNAs and gene-specific mRNA at the single-cell level by flow cytometry,” describes a novel approach to visualizing RNA and protein simultaneously at the single cell level.

Everett has been working on the accompanying research at the Ragon Institute of Massachusetts General Hospital, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard.

This new technology uses gene-specific probes and a signal amplification system based on a “branched DNA” principle. The authors show that this novel flow-FISH (for “Fluorescent in situ hybridization”) technique is sensitive, specific and can be multiplexed with simultaneous detection of three different gene-specific RNAs. The results further demonstrate their ability to measure expression of genes critical for immune cells, such as cytokines, in white blood cells specifically targeting the HIV or CMV viruses. The authors also demonstrate the capacity to detect mRNAs for which flow antibodies against the corresponding proteins are poor or are not available. Read more about the study online here.

Everett, who is completing her degree in three years, worked on this study between her sophomore and senior (gap) year, starting in 2013. She hopes to continue this research next year at a HIV and TB research institute in Durban, South Africa.

Everett’s advisor is Don Oliver, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, the Daniel Ayres Professor of Biology.

15 Elected Early Decision to Phi Beta Kappa

stu_pbk_2014-1204122134

On Dec. 3, Wesleyan welcomed 15 students elected to early decision membership in Phi Beta Kappa.

Fifteen Wesleyan students were elected to early decision membership in Phi Beta Kappa during an initiation ceremony Dec. 3.

To be elected, a student must have demonstrated curricular breadth by having met the General Education Expectations, and must have achieved a grade-point average of 93 and above. For students elected in the fall, it is an especially exacting selection process because admittance is based on a student’s performance at Wesleyan only through their junior year.