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Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan attended WesFest with her father Kyle Chan.

Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan attended WesFest with her father Kyle Chan. Jennifer is an admitted student.

WesFest, the annual three-day celebration of all things Wesleyan, was held April 16-18 for admitted students and their families. WesFest allows the students to experience university life first-hand and explore the diverse opportunities that a Wesleyan education has to offer.

Admitted students and their parents tour campus on April 16 during WesFest.

Admitted students and their parents tour campus on April 16 during WesFest.

During Wes Fest, Class of 2018 admitted students had the opportunity to tour campus, visit Exley Science Center and the Center for the Arts, have lunch at the all-campus barbecue, meet Wesleyan students at student-to-student panels, attend a Student Activities Fair, participate in “Homerathon,” an all-day reading of Homer’s “Odyssey,” learn about classes and programs during academic departmental open houses, and meet Wesleyan President Michael Roth. (Watch a video of President Roth’s welcome to students and families online here.)

Jennifer Swindlehurst Chan of San Diego, Calif. attended WesFest with her father Kyle Chan. She learned about Wesleyan through its website and reading about it online.

“Wesleyan sounded like a nice place and it’s one of the top schools on my list,” she said. “Now that I’m here, I think it is a beautiful campus and I enjoyed the students who led the campus tour. I also met [President Roth] this morning. That was so cool to meet the president!”

Hannah Levin of Philadelphia, Pa. attended WesFest with her mother Joan Joanson. The mother-daughter duo, who enjoyed lunch at Usdan’s Marketplace, previously visited campus in 2012.

“I applied to Wesleyan because I was looking for a liberal arts education that offered professor access and a science program. I also like Wesleyan’s vibrant and creative community,” Levin said.

At the all-campus barbecue April 18, families braved unseasonably chilly temperatures to sit out on Foss Hill and enjoy lunch while a student band played.

Caroline Diemer attended WesFest with her father. The two hail from San Jose, Calif.

Caroline Diemer attended WesFest with her father. The two hail from San Jose, Calif.

Caroline Diemer of San Jose, Calif. relaxed over lunch with her father. She had applied to Wesleyan early decision, and returned to learn more about the school she will be attending next fall. Diemer plans to play on Wesleyan’s volleyball team, so she hung out with her future teammates. She also attended a class called “Living in a Polluted World,” watched an a capella concert, and spent the morning wandering the stacks of Olin. Despite the cold, she said she was really enjoying her visit.

David Hoffman of Wilmington, Del. shared lunch with his parents. Visiting Wesleyan since the previous day, he had taken a tour, attended an info session, sat in on chemistry and architecture classes, and gone to a film screening.

“I love it—the culture, the kids,” he said. “Everyone is very relaxed, and very smart. They know when to have fun and when to work.”

Anthony Springate of Louisville, K.Y. stayed overnight at Wesleyan with a current student.

“I made lots of new friends and met a lot of new people,” he said. “It seems like such a community, and such a diverse group of people, but it’s all so harmonious and cool. I love it!”

Photos of WesFest are below. Continue Reading »

 Emily Weitzman ’14

Emily Weitzman ’14 will travel around the world for one year under a prestigious Watson Fellowship studying slam poetry communities.

Emily Weitzman ’14, a double major in English and dance and an original member of Wesleyan’s slam poetry team (WeSlam), will travel around the world studying slam poetry, community and culture under a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship.

Weitzman plans to visit South Africa, Australia, Malaysia, Singapore, Nepal and Ireland to explore communities of slam poets. She was one of about 40 individuals this year to receive the prestigious fellowship, which comes with a $28,000 stipend for travel and independent study. She will begin her year-long journey by August 1.

“While my proposed topic is slam, something that I really love about the Watson is that it’s not so much about your project as it is about your experience while pursuing a project. The Watson says that they ‘pick people, not projects,’” she said. “Just like slam is a vehicle for sharing art, my project is a vehicle for experiencing the world, and the people and art across the globe. So for me, pursing this project is really about meeting new people, learning about diverse cultures, immersing myself in different places, and experiencing the art created in different communities. It’s also probably about a whole bunch of things that I don’t even know yet.”

Weitzman became interested in slam poetry during her freshman year at Wesleyan, when Michael Rosen ’11 founded WeSlam, a performance poetry team that competes regionally and nationally. Weitzman has been part of all four teams in WeSlam history that have competed in the College Union Poetry Slam Invitational (CUPSI); in 2011, she won “Best Persona Poem” for a group piece performed with Randyl Wilkerson ’12, and in 2012, won “Funniest Poem” for her poem “Couch.” (Watch a video of Weitzman performing “Couch” at the Yale Regionals in 2012). Continue Reading »

Tsampikos Kottos, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics is developing a power limiter which may protect the human eye from radiation.

Tsampikos Kottos, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics, is developing a reusable power limiter that will protect sensors from radiation without being destroyed in the process.

The U.S. Air Force has taken a keen interest in the recent work of Tsampikos Kottos, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics. Kottos, along with Graduate Research Assistant Eleana Makri, Hamidreza Ramezani Ph.D. ’13 (now a postdoc at U.C. Berkeley) and Dr. Ilya Vitebskiy (AFRL/Ohio), has come up with a theoretical way to build a more effective, reusable power limiter.

Generally speaking, the function of a power limiter is to protect a sensor  — be it the human eye, an antenna, or other sensitive equipment — from high-intensity radiation, like that generated by high-power lasers.

Kottos, Makri, Ramezani and Vitebskiy published a paper titled “Non-Linear Localized Modes Give Rise to a Reflective Optical Limiter“ [Phys. Rev. A 89, 031802(R) (2014)] that was highlighted in Washington, D.C. at the spring review meeting of the Air Force Office of Scientific Research (AFOSR) as one of the main research achievements in electromagnetics of 2014 that can potentially benefit the U.S. Air Force. Now, with the Air Force’s help, Kottos is taking the necessary steps to make the project become a reality.

Generally speaking, there are two categories of limiters —  dynamic and passive. These new limiters are of the passive variety.

Tsampikos Kottos is working with Professor of Physics Fred Ellis on a sensor experiment.

Tsampikos Kottos is working with Professor of Physics Fred Ellis on a related acoustical experiment.

“Dynamic limiters are very slow,” explained Kottos. “They consist of many parts, and then these parts have to communicate with each other. So these are not very good. Passive limiters perform the limiting action —  the filtering of the high power —  based on the intrinsic properties of the materials.”

So, passive limiters are the way to go.

When striving to produce better passive limiter components, one can synthesize new materials (which Wes is not currently equipped to do on-site), or one can rely on existing materials and try to design or propose geometries that will improve the efficiency of existing materials.

Since the dawn of lasers in the 1960s, the standard filtering protection has been based on the use of what are called sacrificial limiters. When high-intensity light passes through a sacrificial limiter, the materials absorb the energy, heat up and melt, becoming opaque. The light is blocked and the sensor is protected, but the limiter is destroyed and must be swapped out like a burnt lightbulb. This is less than ideal, as it’s expensive and time-consuming to replace.

A power limiter consisting of a non-linear lossy layer (blue layer) embedded in a Bragg grating (white and orange layers) allows for (a) a transmission of a low intensity beam while (b) it completely reflects a high intensity beam without any absorption.

A power limiter consisting of a non-linear lossy layer (blue layer) embedded in a Bragg grating (white and orange layers) allows for (a) a transmission of a low intensity beam while (b) it completely reflects a high intensity beam without any absorption.

“We want to propose a clever limiter which is not going to sacrifice itself in order to save the sensor on the other side,” Kottos said. “What we are proposing is to create two stacks of alternate layers, A and B. This is what people usually call a Bragg mirror. Such a structure creates a frequency window for which light is completely reflected irrespective of its intensity. This solves one part of the problem but it creates another one. Namely, we want ’non-harmful,’ low-intensity light to be transmitted. How can we achieve this? Well, the simple way is by creating a ‘bridge.’ But the bridge has to be clever. It must allow low intensity light to pass and block high intensity light. One way to do this is to make sure that the bridge will collapse if high intensity light goes through.”

Kottos’ new work involves placing a defect layer of dissipative nonlinearity (“the bridge”) in the middle of the Bragg mirror. The nonlinear properties of the materials increase dissipation for high light intensities. Strange as it sounds, losses (dissipation) can rescue the limiter (bridge) from high power light and reflect the energy into space.

“To understand this we need to think of how three oscillators coupled with springs — with the middle one having friction (the dissipation layer) — will behave when energy is pumped into the system. Say the left one is excited, displacing it from the equilibrium position. Then energy will move from the left one to the right one via the spring and then will continue to the third via the second spring that connects the last two together. Via this process, some energy will be turned to heat via the friction of the middle oscillator. Now let’s further increase the friction in the middle, which in optics is achieved via the dissipative nonlinear mechanism when incident power is increased. Obviously the process will be repeated, but now more energy will be radiated as heat since the friction in the middle is higher. But what will happen if the friction in the middle is huge, corresponding to high incident power in optics which will trigger high dissipative nonlinearities?”

The intuitive prediction is that friction-generated heat will burn the middle oscillator. But students in Kottos’ “Waves and Oscillations” course would predict that a huge friction will turn the middle oscillator into an immovable wall, neutralizing the friction and reflecting all the energy back without letting it pass to the third oscillator. And this is exactly the mechanism Kottos and co. are exploring, but in the optics realm.

“We knew this principle since centuries ago — it’s called impedance mismatching,” Kottos said. “The more you create an absorber, the more the energy that’s not absorbed but reflected back. I know that’s an oxymoron, but this is how it happens. The reason that we did not use this property up to now is rather psychological. In most cases we strive to ‘match’ things and we are used to this way of thinking. In this specific case we thought the other way around.”

The experimental realizations of these new theoretical optical limiters are currently being investigated at two U.S. labs. With time, the Wes group hopes to continue refining its proposal to further increase the limiters’ effectiveness. A further step down the road is to implement the same idea acoustically.

“I am hopeful that the experimental group of Professor Fred Ellis at Wes will be able to demonstrate the applicability of this idea in acoustics,” said Kottos. “Discussions along this line of research are in progress.”

Jennifer Roach ’14 on a group trip to Wild Carrot Farm, Bantam, CT

Jennifer Roach ’14 is the recipient of a Davis Projects for Peace grant.

Four years ago, Jennifer Roach ’14 co-founded Summer of Solutions Hartford, a food justice and youth leadership development program in Connecticut’s capital. Since 2010, Summer of Solutions has grown to seven garden sites across Hartford, continuously working to “increase access to healthy food and community green spaces in Hartford by empowering young people as innovators in the food justice movement and providing them tools and opportunities to create solutions to food inequality in the city.”

This month, Roach’s organization was the recipient of a $10,000 grant from the Kathryn W. Davis Projects for Peace program. The Projects for Peace grant will allow Summer of Solutions to expand its nine-week summer program to a seven-month internship for youth interested in urban agriculture.

Now in the its eighth year, Projects for Peace is “an invitation to undergraduates at the American colleges in the Davis United World College Scholars Program to design grassroots projects that they will implement during the summer.

By funding the summer component of the Summer of Solutions internship, Davis will enable Roach and her team to amplify their impact in Hartford. Twelve garden interns will work alongside community members, maintain seven gardens, teach gardening and cooking classes, and come together weekly for a workshop series on food justice, sustainability and community resilience. In addition, they will partner with Capital Workforce Partners, a youth employment initiative in Hartford, to run a five-week Urban Farming 101 program for 10 high school students in July. Continue Reading »

Wesleyan’s Center for Community Partnerships celebrated its 10th year anniversary on April 8. The CCP, located inside the Allbritton Center, serves the development of both the individual and the community and is guided by principles of mutual respect and shared responsibility. The different offices that combine to constitute the CCP are the Service-Learning Center, the Office of Community Service and Volunteerism, the Office of Community Relations, the Green Street Arts Center/PIMMS, and the Center for Prison Education.

Each office within the CCP connects Wesleyan to surrounding communities. The Service-Learning Center integrates experiences outside the classroom with an academic curriculum taught within the classroom to broaden students’ understanding of course content in virtually any discipline through activities that are simultaneously of service to the community. The Office of Community Service and Volunteerism fosters Community building within the University and with the communities of Middletown and Middlesex County, maintaining the spirit of public service at Wesleyan by offering opportunities to participate in volunteer work, providing work-study placements, and supporting student-sponsored social action initiatives. The Office of Community Relations aims to enhance and maintain collaborative initiatives between Wesleyan and the greater Middletown community and beyond while developing and strengthening partnerships within the Wesleyan campus by working closely with the other offices in the CCP as well as other partners on- and off-campus such as the Upward Bound programs. The Green Street Arts Center/PIMMS offers programs for the youth and educators of Middletown and greater Connecticut, offering opportunities for Wesleyan students and working with faculty members on the broader impacts of their research. And the Center for Prison Education offers a high-caliber liberal arts education inside prison walls, advancing Wesleyan’s commitment to civic engagement by offering college courses to incarcerated individuals in order to enrich the lives of those who are systematically denied access to educational opportunities.

Read past stories about the Center for Community Partnerships here.

Photos of the 10th year anniversary are below:

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Rob Rosenthal, the John E. Andrus Professor of Sociology, will serve as Director of the Allbritton Center for the Study of Public Life for a three-year term, beginning July 2014. Rosenthal is the founding director of the Center for Service Learning, founding co-director the Center for Community Partnerships, and helped institute the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship.

Several faculty, staff and students attended the celebration.

Several faculty, staff and students attended the celebration.

Continue Reading »

Jane Eiser '77

Journalist Jane Eiser ’77 gives a talk at the “Female Frontiers – Pushing Boundaries in the Workplace” program presented by the Women of Wesleyan. Eisner is a former Wesleyan Trustee and is editor-in-chief of “The Jewish Daily Forward.” She and other alumnae shared insights and strategies they’ve learned as women in the modern workplace.

Continue Reading »

Fog encompassed Wesleyan’s Macomber Boathouse on April 8. The boathouse, built in 1992, is home for Wesleyan men’s and women’s crew. It’s located on the Connecticut River in the Harbor Park area of Middletown, and is 1/2 mile from campus. From the boathouse, one can view the Arrigoni Bridge’s arches peeking out above the fog. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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On April 5, Wesleyan hosted Science Saturday for about 55 area school children.

On April 5, Wesleyan hosted Science Saturday for about 55 area school children.

Continue Reading »

On April 6, the Friends of the Davison Art Center sponsored "The Big Draw: Middletown," a community celebration of drawing with workshops designed for all skill levels, from beginning drawers to accomplished artists. The Big Draw will included eight drawing workshops held throughout Wesleyan campus, facilitated by Wesleyan art faculty, art students and the Middletown High School Art Club.

On April 6, the Friends of the Davison Art Center sponsored “The Big Draw: Middletown,” a community celebration of drawing with workshops designed for all skill levels, from beginning drawers to accomplished artists. The Big Draw included eight drawing workshops held throughout the Wesleyan campus, facilitated by Wesleyan art faculty, art students and the Middletown High School Art Club.

Continue Reading »

Alpha Epsilon Pi and Chabad at Wesleyan hosted their third annual Wesleyan Matzo (Matzah) Bakery April 3 in Huss Courtyard.

Alpha Epsilon Pi and Chabad at Wesleyan hosted their third annual Wesleyan Matzo (Matzah) Bakery April 3 in Huss Courtyard.

Matzah is traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday.

Matzo is traditionally eaten by Jews during the week-long Passover holiday.

Matzah, an unleavened bread, is made from flour and water and takes about 15 minutes to bake.

Matzo, an unleavened bread, is made from flour and water and takes about 15 minutes to bake.

Alpha Epsilon Pi, Wesleyan’s Jewish fraternity for men, aims to strengthen ties to the Jewish community.

Alpha Epsilon Pi, Wesleyan’s Jewish fraternity for men, aims to strengthen ties to the Jewish community.

Chabad at Wesleyan, Wesleyan’s Jewish organization, offers social, educational, recreational and religious programming for students and faculty. With more than 4,000 emissaries around the globe and over 80 branches on U.S. college campuses, Chabad is the largest Jewish outreach organization in the world. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Chabad at Wesleyan, one of Wesleyan’s Jewish organization, offers social, educational, recreational and religious programming for students and faculty. With more than 4,000 emissaries around the globe and over 80 branches on U.S. college campuses, Chabad is the largest Jewish outreach organization in the world. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

 

 

Zin Lin '12

Zin Lin ’12

Zin Lin ’12 received the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for his research on PT-symmetric systems performed while a student at Wesleyan. Lin’s advisor was Tsampikos Kottos, the Douglas J. and Midge Bowen Bennet Associate Professor of Physics.

Lin was selected for his “outstanding abilities and accomplishments, as well [his] potential to contribute to strengthening the vitality of the U.S. science and engineering enterprise. He’s currently studying quantum nonlinear photonics as a second-year graduate student at Harvard University.

As a fellow, Lin will receive a $32,000 stipend for 2014-15. Fellows are expected to make satisfactory academic progress towards completion of their graduate degrees, as defined and certified by the Fellow’s GRFP institution. Upon completion of his fellowship, Lin is required to provide an Annual Activities Report that documents his activities, accomplishments, progress and productivity.

At Wesleyan, Lin double majored in physics and mathematics and graduated with high honors. He was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and received the Robertson Prize, awarded during his sophomore year for “excellence in mathematics.”

Several Wesleyan students enjoyed lunch outdoors for the first time this spring on April 3. Temperatures  reached 56 degrees. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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