Tag Archive for students

Alejandro Choreographs Thunderous Light Project

Tesla Place, a “thunderous light project” by Pedro Alejandro, associate professor of dance, was performed May 10 and 11 on the Wesleyan campus. The dance, light and sound-based performance began outside Crowell Concert Hall and ended in the Center for the Arts Courtyard. The theme focused on the inventor/scientist Nikola Tesla (1856-1943).

Tesla Place was created in collaboration with Marcela Oteiza, adjunct assistant professor of theater and faculty fellow; Paul Boylan; Sal Privitera, audio-visual technician; Adam Tinkle; graduate student Rod O’Connor; Dante Brown ’09; Brittany Delany ’09; Aaron Freedman ’10; Spencer Garrod ’09; Shayna Keller ’09; and Samantha Sherman ’09.

Tesla Place was funded by a Mellon Foundation grant and the Office of the Dean of Arts and Humanities.

Photos of the performance are below. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett and Alexandra Portis ’09)

Students Celebrate Singapore, Malaysian Cultures

Singapore-Malaysia Cultural Night was held April 23 in Beckham Hall. The first-ever event offered music, dance, drama, comedy, political satire and ethnic foods to introduce the Wesleyan community to the Singapore and Malaysian culture.

Photos of the event are below. (Photos by Alexandra Portis ’09)

Wesleyan’s Fulbright, German Exchange Scholars Announced

Anthropology and Science in Society major Kate Ottaviano ’09 has already immersed herself in several cultures. As a daughter of international educators, she attended school in Italy and Japan, built a concrete house in a Filipino slum, delivered school supplies to impoverished children in Romania, and taught English to imprisoned women in Peru.

Kate Ottaviano '09

Kate Ottaviano '09

Ottaviano will continue her cultural immersion in 2009-10 as a Fulbright scholar, teaching English language in the European country of Macedonia. Administered by the Institute for International Education, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program awards full research grants to graduating seniors and young alumni after an extensive application process. Recipients receive a stipend to cover travel, housing and living expenses.

“Each culture speaks and breathes within me, influencing my personal outlook on the world in a unique way,” Ottaviano says. “The life my parents chose for me has enabled me to feel at home in any country and has taught me tolerance, empathy, and the merits of diversity.”

College of Letters and German studies major Andrew Kirwin ’09 and Russian Literature major Emily Wang ’08 also received a Fulbright Scholarship. Patrick Garrity ’06 is an alternate. College of Letters and German studies major Jason Kavett ’09 was also offered a Fulbright scholarship, but instead accepted a German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Scholarship for Graduate Study.

“I will always be interested in learning about people and cultures, inside and out, and Wesleyan has helped me better understand my goals in life,” Ottaviano says, who received a specialized English Teaching Assistantship program award. “Teaching is one of them, and the Fulbright Program will give me the chance to further explore this passion.”

Andrew Kirwin '09

Andrew Kirwin '09

Kirwin will use his Fulbright for German literature research. He’s planning to study at the Freie Universität in Berlin, where he will research the concept of madness in literary and theoretical works from the era of German Romanticism.

He credits the interdisciplinary nature of Wesleyan’s College of Letters for introducing him to close readings of European literary and philosophical texts within their historical context.

“I will investigate a shift in German perceptions of mental illness as reflected in these works, from dread and mistreatment of the insane to fascination with and sympathy for them,” Kirwin says. “My research will trace this reversal in thought about insanity, its manifestation in Romantic literature, and the part it plays in Romantic aesthetics.”

To understand the new medical theories of madness that were developing at this time, Kirwin will study the works of the physician Johann Christian Reil, who coined the term “psychiatry” in 1808, and revolutionized perceptions of insanity.

“Through this project I will gain valuable research experience in the field which will better prepare me for graduate-level work,” he says.

Emily Wang '06

Emily Wang '08

Wang will use her Fulbright award to expand on her senior thesis at Wesleyan. She will examine the least-studied writings of Russian modernist poet Nikolai Gumilev (1886-1921). His narrative poems “Mik” (1918) and the verse collection Tent (1921) reconsider the African themes present in Gumilev’s earlier, more autobiographical poetry.

“Gumilev began as writer known for his devotion to the Symbolist movement, masculine persona, and travels to Africa, but as his writing developed he became not only a great and original poet, but also a highly influential editor, mentor and critic,” Wang says. “Scholars are now studying neglected writers like Gumilev with great interest, and Russian high schools have begun including his poetry in the curricula. I am eager to join the Russian students, scholars and writers who are now beginning to acknowledge Gumilev’s contributions to their heritage.”

She plans to conduct this research in Moscow and take supplementary courses at Moscow State University.

Jason Kavett '09

Jason Kavett '09 (submitted photo)

Like the Fulbright recipients, Kavett will have opportunity to complete a year-long research project. He will work at the at the University of Konstanz and study German poet Durs Grünbein’s lyric poetry as a point of intersection between science, philosophy, and literature.

Grünbein, a Berlin-based author, is the recipient of Germany’s highest literary prizes, including the Georg-Büchner-Preis and the Peter Huchel Prize for Poetry.

“Durs Grünbein is considered one of the most important literary voices to have come of age in the former East Germany, and an insightful commentator on the representation of German history,” Kavett explains. “In particular, I am interested in asking what idea of human life Grünbein suggests by including in his lyric poetry anatomical models, and what this perhaps ironic approach to the body illuminates about Grünbein’s poetic reflections on history.”

Natural Sciences and Mathematics Hosts Poster Session

Jan Naegele, chair and professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, and Wesleyan President Michael Roth listen to Kai Xuan Keith Tan explain his research during the Natural Science and Mathematics Poster Session April 17. Tan's project was titled "The Role of Ku70 in Regulating Cell Death during Cerebral Cortical Development."

Janice Naegele, chair and professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, and Wesleyan President Michael S. Roth listen to Kai Xuan Keith Tan '09 explain his research during the Natural Science and Mathematics Poster Session April 17. Tan's project was titled "The Role of Ku70 in Regulating Cell Death during Cerebral Cortical Development."

Preschoolers' Use of Testimony."

Psychology graduate student Keera Bhandari explains her research on "Acquiring Knowledge from Others: Preschoolers' Use of Testimony."

Shuk Kei Cheng '09 talks to David Bodznick, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, about her project titled "Anodic Oxidative Functionalization of Tolune Derivatives."

Shuk Kei Cheng '09 talks to David Bodznick, dean of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, professor of biology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, about her project titled "Anodic Oxidative Functionalization of Tolune Derivatives."

Finding Intermediate Mass Black Holes in the Local Universe," with Laurel Appel, director of the Wesleyan McNair Program, adjunct associate professor of biology, senior research associate.

Hannah Sugarman '09 discusses her research on "Baby Giants: Finding Intermediate Mass Black Holes in the Local Universe," with Laurel Appel, director of the Wesleyan McNair Program, adjunct associate professor of biology, senior research associate.

Physics major Anand Swaminathan '09 explains his research on "Vortex Dissipation in Superfluid Third Sound Flows."

Physics major Anand Swaminathan '09 explains his research on "Vortex Dissipation in Superfluid Third Sound Flows."

Molecular biology and biochemistry major Muna Nahar '09 researched gene regulation.

Molecular biology and biochemistry major Muna Nahar '09 talks about her research on gene regulation.

What is the Releationship?"

Psychology major Sarah Jeffrey '09 presented her findings on "Elementary Neurocognition, Learning Potential, and Function Life Skills: What is the Relationship?" (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Admitted Students Sample Wesleyan Life During WesFest

President Michael Roth performs with the band, Mad Wow Disease, during WesFest 2009 on Andrus Field.

More than 500 students and their families celebrated all-things Wesleyan during the annual WesFest April 16-18 on campus.

WesFest allows all admitted students an opportunity to explore what Wesleyan has to offer. Attendees took campus tours, visited campus housing, attended classes, explored science laboratories, samples campus dining, visited with current Wesleyan students, viewed art, film and music performances, and much more.

“WesFest benefits students by giving them the opportunity to engage with the Wesleyan community,” says Stephanie Pruitt, program and events coordinator for the Office of Admission. “For many students, their time on campus helps them decide if Wesleyan will be their home for the next four years.”

Wesleyan received 10,065 applications for entry to its Class of 2013, up 22 percent over last year’s admission cycle. Approximately 22 percent of this year’s applicants have been admitted to Wesleyan, including some 350 students who were admitted during the early decision period. The class of 2013 is expected to comprise approximately 745 students.

A March 29 article in The New York Times discussed how applications for the Class of 2013 remained strong at the nation’s most competitive colleges, despite the economy’s recent economic recession. Mentioned in the article was Wesleyan which, unlike several liberal arts colleges, saw an increase in applications this year. The Times had previously written about Wesleyan’s increase in applications during the November early decision application period, which was also up a record 40 percent over the previous year.

President Michael Roth also wrote a piece for The Huffington Post on the economy’s impact on the Class of 2013 both nationally and at Wesleyan.

Greg Pyke, senior associate dean of admission, said 511 admitted students registered for WesFest 2009, although several students attended without registering.

“Many WesFest events are planned by current students, faculty, and staff, and therefore it becomes a great representation of the types of things that happen in the Wesleyan community every day,” Pruitt says.

Pictured below are images taken during the three-day festival (Photos by Olivia Bartlett and Alexandra Portis ’09).

Students Explore Nursing Profession Through Documentary Film Course

Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies, works with Laurenellen McCann '09 on a nursing profession film April 23. Bricca is co-teaching the spring semester course "Making the Science Documentary."

Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies, works with Laurenellen McCann '09 on a nursing profession film April 23. Bricca is co-teaching the spring semester course "Making the Science Documentary." McCann's film is focused on an oncology nurse.

Baltimore native Esther McCready grew up in segregated, discriminatory world and was denied admission to the University of Maryland School of Nursing. At that time, the school did not admit “Negros.”

With help from NAACP civil rights leaders like Thurgood Marshall, she sued for admission to the university, and in April 1950, McCready won her right to attend classes.

In the spring semester course “Making the Science Documentary,” molecular biology and biochemistry major Christopher Doucette ’11 had the opportunity to interview and film McCready about being the first African American woman to attend Maryland’s School of Nursing. He also interviewed Rosetta Sands, the first African American dean in the University of Maryland’s undergraduate program.

“I asked these women about their stories and really analyzed how racial relations affected their school and working experience as nurses before, during and after the Civil Rights movement,” Doucette says. “I have always been interested in how science has been represented through both still and moving images, and this class really taught me how documentaries can be effective tools in conveying information and educating the public about pressing social and scientific issues.”

Doucette and his classmates Sarah Gillig ’09 and Vytaute Pivoriunaite ’12 traveled to the University of Maryland School of Nursing Living History Museum, where they conducted research on the history of nursing. Each student made his or her own film for the class, which was co-taught by Manju Hingorani, associate professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and Jacob Bricca, adjunct assistant professor of film studies.

The science and film hybrid class, designated a Service Learning Course, is designed to introduce students to topics in the life sciences and the basics of documentary filmmaking, in order to teach students the skills and art of communicating science-related issues through visual media.

Students learn technical filmmaking skills such as composition, lighting and editing, and study science documentaries to understand functional models of non-fiction filmmaking. In complementary sessions, students learned about specific diseases, at the molecular, cellular, and human level, to develop a knowledge base that enables intellectual engagement with the nursing profession.

“I wanted students to gain an appreciation of the biological sciences at the molecular and organism level, learn about diseases like cancer and diabetes that have a devastating impact on so many people, and learn about biomedical research as it relates to the nursing profession,” Hingorani explains.

The 12 enrolled students worked under the guidance of Ann Anthony, a retired home care registered nurse and educator. Anthony made arrangements for the students to meet nurses working in hospice, oncology and palliative care at Middlesex Hospital; nurses working at the Joslin Diabetes Center in New London, Conn.; and a certified nurse specializing in wound care at Middlesex Hospital. Anthony also lectured on the history of the nursing profession, explaining how the nursing profession has evolved in the past 50 years.

“I was very impressed with the integrity and open-mindedness of all the Wesleyan students, and how serious they were in their projects,” Anthony says. “It was fascinating to see how these students with no medical or nursing background approached their films with a liberal arts perspective.”

Chris Skorik '09 edits his film on male nurses.

Chris Skorik '09 edits his film on male nurses.

Classmates Chris Skorik ’09, Kaitlin Halibozek ’10 and Elliott Skopin ’11 explored the role of gender in the field of nursing for their films. They interviewed two male nurses, one at Lawrence and Memorial Hospital in New London, and one from Middlesex Hospital, about their experiences in the profession.

“Nursing is currently dominated by about 90 percent females due to historical and cultural associations between the role females in society and nursing,” Skorik says. “As we had expected, they faced social barriers to their acceptance as nurses, especially early on in their careers. Confusion and occasional opposition was common from family members, for example ‘why aren’t you becoming a doctor instead?’ and from patients ‘wait, so you’re not my doctor?'”

All three students shot footage and interviews, and created three separate cuts based on their own preferences. From seven hours of raw footage, they created three, eight-minute documentaries highlighting different aspects of this interesting phenomenon.

This is the second iteration of “Making the Science Documentary” taught by Hingorani and Bricca. The first class, taught in Spring 2007, focused on four research labs at Wesleyan. The course is part of the interdisciplinary Science and Film Courses initiative begun in 2005 with support from Wesleyan’s Fund for Innovation, the National Science Foundation and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.

Doucette’s film on African American nurses and Halibozek’s film on male nursing will be shown at the 2009 Nightingale Awards for Excellence in Nursing, Connecticut’s largest state-wide nursing recognition program on April 30. Doucette’s film will be shown at a gala in Hartford, and Halibozek’s film will be shown at a gala in New London.

Child Behavior, Minority Reinforcement at Psychology Poster Session

Sarah Edelman ’09 explains her research to Scott Plous, professor of psychology, during the Department of Psychology Research Poster Presentation April 23 in Judd Hall. Edelman’s study, "The Relative Contributions of Physical Attractiveness and Prosocial Behavior in Preschool Friendship Choices" explores how children ages 3 and 4 chose friends in school and internalize gender schemas early on.

Sarah Edelman ’09 explains her research to Scott Plous, professor of psychology, during the Department of Psychology Research Poster Presentation April 23 in Judd Hall. Edelman’s study, "The Relative Contributions of Physical Attractiveness and Prosocial Behavior in Preschool Friendship Choices" explores how children ages 3 and 4 chose friends in school and internalize gender schemas early on.

Mothering Styles and Object Learning in Germany, Greece and Italy,”  Schug and her collaborators observed 77 mother-infant dyads in play for five minute periods, differentiating between independent or interdependent maternal style.

Post Doc Mariah Schug explains her research to Ruth Striegel-Moore, the Walter A. Crowell University Professor of the Social Sciences, professor and chair of psychology. In "Mother-Infant Interactions in a Cross-Cultural Sample: Mothering Styles and Object Learning in Germany, Greece and Italy,” Schug and her collaborators observed 77 mother-infant dyads in play for five minute periods, differentiating between independent or interdependent maternal style.

The Role of Hyphenation in Three-Word Expressions.” Her study explores how we process meaning from three word phrases like “last-minute shopping,” with and without hyphenation.

At right, Joe Bruno, professor of chemistry and vice president for academic affairs and provost, comments on Kacey Wochna's '10 research titled "Three-Word or Three Word: The Role of Hyphenation in Three-Word Expressions.” Her study explores how we process meaning from three word phrases like “last-minute shopping,” with and without hyphenation.

Arielle Tolman '10, pictured, and Juliana Neuspiel ‘09 researched "Differential Predictors of Everyday Skills and Satisfaction with Life in Patients with Schizophrenia.” The students worked with 49 stabilized outpatients with schizophrenia.

Arielle Tolman '10, pictured, and Juliana Neuspiel ‘09, researched "Differential Predictors of Everyday Skills and Satisfaction with Life in Patients with Schizophrenia.” The students worked with 49 stabilized outpatients who have been diagnosed with schizophrenia.

David Baranger '09 talks about his research titled "Does Learning Potential Predict Rehabilitation Outcome in Schizophrenia" to Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology.

David Baranger '10 talks about his research titled "Does Learning Potential Predict Rehabilitation Outcome in Schizophrenia" to Barbara Juhasz, assistant professor of psychology.

Similar Physical Appearance/Different Social Perception, Manipulation of Self-efficacy.” His study questions the effectiveness of Wesleyan tutoring programs in which minority students of high socioeconomic status tutor middle-school students with low socioeconomic status.

BA/MA student Jermain Lewis '09 presented his research on "Minority Reinforcement: Similar Physical Appearance/Different Social Perception, Manipulation of Self-efficacy.” His study questions the effectiveness of Wesleyan tutoring programs in which minority students of high socioeconomic status tutor middle-school students with low socioeconomic status.

Preschoolers’ Use of Testimony” which explores how preschool-age children learn to trust or distrust what others tell them. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Graduate student Keera Bhandari, talks to John Seamon, professor of psychology, professor of neuroscience and behavior, about her study “Acquiring Knowledge from Others: Preschoolers’ Use of Testimony” which explores how preschool-age children learn to trust or distrust what others tell them. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Admitted Students Mingle with Wesleyan Students at WesFest Barbeque

All admitted students and their families, and the campus community, were invited to an all-campus barbeque and student activities fair April 17 on Andrus Field. The luncheon was held during WesFest, an annual three-day event, that allowed admitted students to experience life at Wesleyan first-hand.

All admitted students and their families, and the campus community, were invited to an all-campus barbeque and student activities fair April 17 on Andrus Field. The luncheon was held during WesFest, an annual three-day event, that allowed admitted students to experience life at Wesleyan first-hand.

Student bands provided musical entertainment.

Student bands provided musical entertainment.

Student bands provided entertainment during the barbeque. Wesleyan President Michael Roth played keyboard with one of the bands.

Wesleyan President Michael Roth, at left, played keyboard with one of the bands.

Wesleyan students and admitted students mingled on Foss Hill.

Wesleyan students and admitted students mingled on Foss Hill.

Food and service at the picnic was provided by Bon Appetit. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Food and service at the picnic was provided by Bon Appetit. (Photos by Olivia Bartlett)

Odede ’12, Posner ’09 Receive Award to Build School in Kenya

Kennedy Odede

Kennedy Odede '12, pictured inside his home in Kibera, Kenya, received a Projects for Peace award to build a School for Girls in Kenya's largest slum. Jessica Posner '09 is a co-recipient of the award, and will assist Odede during the 10-week project this summer.

Born and raised in Africa’s largest slum, Kennedy Odede ’12 witnessed abuse, rape, domestic violence and general mistreatment of school-aged girls in his community. His own sister, at age 17, gave birth to a baby recently as a result of rape.

Sadly, this is the norm. Without access to education, many of the girls are forced into commercial sex work at early ages. The Kenyan Government views the slum, named Kibera, as an illegal settlement and therefore does not provide any services or government-funded schools.

“Girls in my community lose their hope of ever attaining an education and ever leaving the slum,” Odede explains.

Jessica Posner '09.

Jessica Posner '09.

As 2009 Davis Projects for Peace grant recipients, Odede and his project partner Jessica Posner ’09 hope to make a difference in these girls’ lives by constructing the slum’s first all-girls school called the Kibera School for Girls. Project for Peace awards, worth $10,000, are designed to encourage and support today’s motivated youth to create and tryout their own ideas for building peace.

The school will offer 105 girls in grades K through six a high-quality formal education based on Montessori school teachings, as well as daily nourishment, self-empowerment, and a refuge from the pressures of the slum. By preparing students for higher education and skilled jobs, Posner says the school will keep the girls out of prostitution and offer them a potential path out of the slum.

“Our hope is that after they leave the school, they will be academically qualified for scholarships at prestigious government boarding schools, and can eventually attend college,” Posner says.

McNair Fellows Neupane ’09, Doan ’10 Receive Honors

McNair Fellows Asia Neupane ’09 and Aivi Doan ’10 have both received recognition for their research initiatives.

Neupane

Asia Neupane '09

Neupane, who also is a Mellon Fellow, was awarded first prize for her poster presentation “Mercury Pollution in Tobago, West Indies” at the 8th Annual New England Science Symposium, which was held April 3 at Harvard Medical School. Neupane collected samples for her research this summer in Tobago, West Indies, and has been analyzing them in the Earth and Environmental Sciences lab of Johan Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science. She has been a research assistant with Professor Varekamp since her frosh year.

Avi Doan '10

Avi Doan '10

McNair Fellow Avi Doan ’10, who, under the supervision of Associate Professor of Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Manju Hingorani, has been doing research on DNA repair proteins MutS and MutL, has been selected to spend the summer as an Howard Hughes Medical Institute EXROP Fellow. Doan will conduct her research under the fellowship with Professor Randy W. Scheckman at the University of California, Berkeley, working on how proteins find their way to the correct locations within cells.

EXROP (Exceptional Research Opportunities Program) provides talented undergraduates from disadvantaged backgrounds with summer research experiences in the labs of Howard Hughest Medical Institute (HHMI) investigators and HHMI professors. The students are selected by HHMI professors and invited directors of HHMI-funded undergraduate programs at colleges and universities. EXROP students also attend meetings at HHMI headquarters where they present their research in a poster session, network with their peers and HHMI scientists, and hear from scientific researchers from various backgrounds and stages in their careers.