Tag Archive for THISISWHY

Hamilton Benefit Raises $1.6M for Financial Aid at Wesleyan (with photos)

On Oct. 2, Lin-Manuel Miranda '02 and Thomas Kail '99 hosted a special Wesleyan night, with a performance of their acclaimed "Hamilton" on Broadway. After the performance, attendees, leadership donors and volunteers moved to the 1831 Society Reception at the Edison Ballroom. (Photos by Robert Adam Mayer)

On Oct. 2, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99 hosted a special Wesleyan night, with a performance of their acclaimed Hamilton on Broadway. After the performance, attendees, leadership donors and volunteers moved to the 1831 Society Reception at the Edison Ballroom. Guests mingled with members of the cast while dancing to the rhythms of Kinky Spigot and the Welders, a Motown-funk-R&B band featuring Wesleyan alumni. (Photos by Robert Adam Mayer)

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“Alexander Hamilton. My name is Alexander Hamilton.”

When Hamilton writer and star Lin-Manuel Miranda ‘02 sang his first line to an audience packed to the rafters with Wesleyan alumni, faculty, staff, students, and friends, the crowd erupted in thunderous applause.

Even Miranda couldn’t stifle a smile.

More than 1,300 members of the Wesleyan community descended on the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York City on October 2 as Wesleyan hosted a sold-out benefit performance of Hamilton, written by and starring Miranda (who just last week received a MacArthur Fellowship, popularly known as a MacArthur “genius grant”), and directed by Thomas Kail ‘99. Miranda and Kail are giving back to the university that helped launch their theater careers. The two previously collaborated on the hit Tony-winning musical In the Heights. (View all photos of the event here.)

Hamilton was directed by Thomas Kail '99, pictured second from left.

Hamilton was directed by Thomas Kail ’99, pictured second from left.

For this special Wesleyan evening, the house was bought out by Tony award­–winning producer and mother of two Wesleyan alumni Carole Shorenstein Hays. Through additional sponsorships and ticket sales, Wesleyan raised more than $1.6 million for financial aid.

After the show, Miranda, Kail, and Wesleyan University President Michael Roth shared their feelings about the purpose and specialness of the night.

“We’ve raised $1.6 million dollars for financial aid tonight, because of you,” said Roth to an elated audience. “And because of the great things that Wesleyan grads do, bringing together creativity, inspiration, delight and joy for an exuberant, learned and incredibly powerful show.”

Most of the proceeds from the show will go toward establishing four Hamilton scholarships,

NEH Supports Research, Writing Projects by Tucker, Curran

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Two Wesleyan faculty received NEH Public Scholarships to encourage new research and support their upcoming publications. Only 36 writers in the country received the award.

The Public Scholar program, a major new initiative from the National Endowment for the Humanities, is designed to promote the publication of scholarly nonfiction books for a general audience. On July 29, the NEH awarded a total of $1.7 million to 36 writers including Wesleyan’s Jennifer Tucker, associate professor of history, and Andrew Curran, the William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities and professor of French.

Tucker received a grant worth $50,400 to support her book titled Caught on Camera: A History of Photographic Detection and Evasion.

11 Mellon Mays Fellows Present Research Topics

Lynn Ma ’16 presented “Solitude and the Political Life.”

Mellon Mays Fellow Lynn Ma ’16 spoke on “Solitude and the Political Life” during the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Summer 2015 Research Presentations July 23.

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Eleven Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellows delivered brief research proposal presentations July 23 in Fisk Hall. The fellows, six from Wesleyan and five from Queens College, City University of New York, spent the past two months developing their research projects with the assistance of their peers, Wesleyan faculty and Wesleyan librarians.

The Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program provides minority students and others with a demonstrated commitment to eradicating racial disparities, with support to pursue graduate degrees in the arts and sciences.

Research topics range from deconstructing African feminism to the role of political theater for a post-combat audience to trauma in Japan caused by the Atomic Bomb.

Greenwald ’16 Honored for Study of ‘Street Boys’ in Nepal

Michael Greenwald '16 speaking with a street boy who had approached him at Pashupatinath Temple.

Michael Greenwald ’16 spoke with a “street boy” who had approached him at Pashupatinath Temple. For an independent study project, Greenwald observed more than 150 boys age 5-16, and conducted interviews of NGO affiliates and former street boys.

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An independent study project by Michael Greenwald ’16 was chosen as one of two winners of the 2015 SIT Study Abroad Undergraduate Research Award.

The project, titled, “Cracks in the Pavement: The Street Boys of Kathmandu,” was one of more than 2,000 independent study projects (ISPs) completed over the past three semesters, and among 20 nominated for the award. SIT has additionally nominated Greenwald’s project for the prestigious Forum on Education Abroad’s 2015 Undergraduate Research Award.

Antonio Earns Cardinal Achievement Award

Scott Antonio

Scott Antonio

Scott Antonio, library assistant, was recently presented with a Cardinal Achievement Award for his work in physically transferring 200 Art Reserve items into Olin Library Reserves. At the same time, 350 Science Reserve items were transferred from Olin Library Reserves to the Science Library. Antonio handled all physical transfers, including all of the data changes and settings into the online library catalog, all of which had to be completed under deadline for the start of the Fall 2014 semester.

“Due to Scott’s flexibility and willingness to always pitch in and absorb additional responsibilities where most needed, the Reserves function – a critical service to faculty and students – operated smoothly throughout the year whether located in Olin or Science Library” said Elizabeth Mainella, serials administrator.

This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. Award recipients are nominated by department chairs and supervisors.

Nominations can be made anytime throughout the year. For more information or to nominate a staff member for the award, visit the Cardinal Achievement Award website. Recipients will continue to be recognized in News @ Wesleyan. See past Cardinal Achievement Award recipients here.

Carr ’15 Explores Concept of “Little” in Children’s Literature

Siri Carr ’15 explored the concept of "little" in children's literature in her thesis, "Little Do We Know: Conceptualizing the 'Little' in Children’s Literature."

Siri Carr ’15 explored the concept of “little” in children’s literature in her thesis, “Little Do We Know: Conceptualizing the ‘Little’ in Children’s Literature.”

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In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak with Siri Carr ’15, who double majored in the College of Letters and Hispanic Literatures and Cultures. Carr’s thesis, Little Do We Know: Conceptualizing the “Little” in Children’s Literature, explores the concept of the “little” in children’s literature. The thesis was submitted for honors in the College of Letters.

Digital History Class Creates “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University”

Learn about the history of Wesleyan's campus in the new "Spatial History of Wesleyan University" website.

Learn about the history of Wesleyan’s campus in the new “Spatial History of Wesleyan University” website.

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This semester, 18 students with an interest in communication and the history of Wesleyan University created a new website, “A Spatial History of Wesleyan University.”

The students, who were enrolled in the spring 2015 course, Digital History, conceived, designed, built, publicized, and launched this site. The class was taught by Amrys O. Williams, a visiting assistant professor of history, and was part of the university’s Digital and Computational Knowledge Initiative.

A Spatial History of Wesleyan University combines geographical and quantitative analysis with archival and oral history research to interpret the past in place. By studying the history of Wesleyan’s campus landscape and buildings alongside the university’s enrollment, tuition, and student body, website visitors can see the connections between the cultural life of the university and its physical environment.

The class brought together 18 students from across campus with varied skills and backgrounds who shared an interest in historical communication and making things.

The class brought together 18 students from across campus with varied skills and backgrounds who shared an interest in historical communication and making things.

The site has four main sections:

  • A historical narrative offers an overview of the major periods and episodes in the campus’s history, tracing student life, housing, and athletics, as well as the university’s changing educational mission and its relationship to other liberal arts schools in the area.
  • An interactive map allows readers to select and view different historical maps and aerial photographs of campus, learn more about individual buildings and see how the campus expanded over time.
  • A “By the Numbers” series of graphs trace data about enrollment, tuition and endowment over time, offering insights into the financial and demographic shifts that affected the shape and experience of campus.
  • Oral history video clips enrich these chronological, spatial, and quantitative stories with the voices of members of the Wesleyan community and their lived experiences of campus.

Graduate Student Factor Studies Planet Formation Around a Young Star

Sam Factor, a graduate student in astronomy, at the Submillimeter Array, located on Mauna Kea in Hawai'i in March 2015.

Sam Factor, a graduate student in astronomy, at the Submillimeter Array, located on Mauna Kea in Hawai’i in March 2015.

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In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Sam Factor ’14, a graduate student in astronomy.

Q: Sam, congratulations on completing your master’s thesis in astronomy! We understand you took your first astronomy class in the fall of your senior year at Wesleyan. What was your undergraduate major and how did your late-developing interest in astronomy come about?

A: Thank you very much! As an undergrad, I majored in physics and computer science. During the fall of my senior year I took Introductory Astronomy (ASTR 155). I signed up for the course mainly because I wanted an interesting and relatively easy course to fill out my schedule. I had been interested in astronomy since I was very young, but had never taken a formal class. I absolutely loved the class and decided to apply to the BA/MA program.

Q: How and when did you decide to stay on at Wesleyan to pursue a master’s degree in astronomy?

A: I actually decided to apply to the BA/MA program only a few weeks before the application was due!

Brady ’15 Examines Conflict and Cooperation in the Nile Basin

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Aletta Brady ’15 conducted firsthand interviews with leaders in three Nile basin countries for her thesis, “Freshwater Negotiation in the Nile River Basin: What Explains the Patterns of Conflict and Cooperation?” (Photo courtesy of Aletta Brady)

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In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with C. Aletta Brady from the Class of 2015. Brady is a government major with a concentration in international politics. She is a research assistant in the Department of Government, president of the Wesleyan Chapter of Active Minds and co-chair of the Government Majors Committee.

Q: How did you choose your thesis subject?

A: Last summer when I was swimming in the Red Sea in Egypt, someone asked me why I was investigating water scarcity and transnational water cooperation. The water was turquoise and completely clear; I could see my toes. I told them that water is vital for life, and that the number of people without access to sufficient and clean freshwater is only growing. They pushed me to go deeper. I looked down at my red toenail polish surrounded by vibrant coral reefs and schools of fish. It hit me in that moment that the root of it all was that I love water. I grew up in water. I’m from Minnesota, where we have more than 10,000 lakes, and I grew up swimming, waterskiing, tubing, canoeing, skinny-dipping, fishing and floating in water. I can’t imagine my life without it. It’s my favorite drink, and it’s where I’m most alive and most at peace. So, while I have an intellectual interest in how to preserve scarce freshwater resources, at the root of it, my interest is personal.

Weiner ’15 Studies Urban Agriculture, Community for Thesis

Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner '15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture."

Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner ’15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

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In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Kate Weiner from the Class of 2015. Weiner is an anthropology and environmental studies major.

Q: Can you describe your thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture”?

A: My thesis is an exploration of how community, identity and belonging interact in urban agricultural spaces, with my hands-on fieldwork with East New York Farms! serving as a case study for examining urban agriculture as a political project. Through melding creative non-fiction, feminist theory, community politics and environmental studies, the intention of my thesis is to provide a framework for understanding the various social, natural, socioeconomic and political factors that shape community-making within urban agriculture.

Q: How did you choose your thesis topic?

A: Arriving at my thesis subject was several years in the making. Throughout the summer of 2013, I photographed female urban farmers along the Eastern Seaboard

Grant Supports Kirn’s Research on Adult Neurogenesis

John Kirn

Professor John Kirn recently received a three-year $225,000 grant from the Whitehall Foundation to look at the activity patterns of vocal control neurons formed in adult zebra finches. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

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It may not be the most beautiful, or the most complex, or the most well known, but the simple song of the zebra finch is helping Professor John Kirn learn more about how new information is acquired and old information preserved during adult neurogenesis.