In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.
Wesleyan in the News
1. The Morning Call: “Allen Student Wins ‘Hamilton’ Scholarship, Congrats from Lin-Manuel Miranda”
Anna Tjeltveit of Allentown, Penn., winner of the 2019 Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity, is profiled. She shares how her winning submission, a one-act play titled, “Five Steps,” came together at the last minute, and discusses her early career in theater as well as her plans for her time at Wesleyan.
Cole Goco of Arlington, Va., who received an honorable mention in the 2019 Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity, is interviewed. He discusses his years-long work on his winning web comic strip, “Billy the Pop,” and what it felt like to have Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 congratulate him by name on Twitter.
Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government, co-director of the Wesleyan Media Project, comments on the political stunts seen during President Donald Trump’s recent visit to England.“The power of these stunts come from the news media attention they garner, further amplifying their message to a much wider audience than might otherwise hear about them,” she told CNBC. “As with any campaign message, it’s challenging to isolate the effects of any one given the confluence of other information in the environment that is also changing. That said, it is unlikely that the stunts will change opinions of Trump, but they may further polarize opinions between supporters and opponents.”
4. Jacobin: “Chelsea Manning Against the Grand Jury”
Associate Professor of Government Sonali Chakravarti is coauthor of this essay, which argues that more must “be done to restore juries, both grand and petit, to better serve their distinct function as a barrier against unchecked prosecutorial power.”
Noa Street-Sachs ’19 writes about an unusual assignment she and her classmates received in the course Refugees and Exiles: Religion in the Diaspora this year. Instead of having a typical final assignment like a research paper for the course, the students were asked to produce a radio segment to be aired on WESU 88.1 FM. This required them to think about how to translate the material they were learning to a very broad audience.
6. The Washington Post: “Putin’s Dangerous Campaign to Rehabilitate Stalin”
Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, and Neil Shimmield MALS ’91 are coauthors of this op-ed examining Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent efforts to “rehabilitate” former Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin’s record. The goal, they write, is “to bolster Putin’s own ‘strongman’ leadership style in the eyes of ordinary Russians.”
Alumni in the News
GQ’s Shabdita Pareek writes: “After five decades of building and a formidable business empire in the form of Wipro and leading it to great heights, the executive chairman and managing director of the company Azim Premji [Hon. ’09] has stepped down and handed over the reins of the company to his elder son, Rishad Premji.” The article offers five milestones in the life of the younger Premji.
Writer Hunter Harris interviews Feldstein over dinner and writes: “Feldstein has bottled up that feeling—of thinking about the unfortunate bangs you once had or the unfortunate way you once misbehaved, then letting out an oy and trying not to judge—and put it into her starring performance in the new comedy Booksmart, directed by Olivia Wilde.” With plenty of quotes, the article offers readers the opportunity to hear Feldstein’s voice: friendly and forthright, with ironic humor.
3. The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education: “A Milestone Achievement for Marsha Jean-Charles [’11] at Cornell University”
“Late last month, Marsha Jean-Charles was awarded a PhD in Africana studies at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She was the first person to earn a doctorate in the field from Cornell. . . . Dr. Jean-Charles wrote her dissertation on the socio-political and cultural aspects of post-9/11 fiction by five Haitian and Haitian American writers.” At Wesleyan she had majored in African American studies.
4. Houston Chronicle: “Houston Actress Tembi Locke’s [’92] Memoir Tapped by Witherspoon Book Club“
Joy Sewing writes, “Houston native and actress Tembi Locke feels lucky that her debut memoir, From Scratch, was recently selected by Academy Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon for her online book club.” The book, Sewing notes, “speaks more about her emotional tenacity than luck.” Locke met her husband, a chef, in Sicily when she was only 20, on her junior year abroad from Wesleyan. He was diagnosed with cancer in 2002; she was his caregiver until his death in 2012. In 2015 Locke offered a TEDx talk, “What 40 Steps Taught Me About Love and Grief”; in 2017 she began writing this book.
Aishwarya Kumar profiles Amanda Belichick. an assistant coach for the WPLL Command and head coach of the Holy Cross women’s lacrosse team, as she prepared for “the WPLL Command—her team, her professional team—[to] walk out on to the same stadium for their season opener [at Gillette Stadium] against the WPLL Fire as the Women’s Professional Lacrosse League kicks off its second season.” Noting that Gillette Stadium is “her father’s biggest stage,” Kumar provides the background details that bring Amanda Belichick to this place. “She knows the stadium like the back of her hand,” writes Kumar.
In this profile of Whitford, who appears onscreen in Godzilla: King of Monsters, Joshua Rivera writes: “Is Bradley Whitford an accident? Some fluke of mad science? In this age, it can feel like it. Somehow, he has achieved the rare feat of becoming a successful, middle-aged white man in Hollywood that is also aware of his privilege, and the blind spots he might have. So it’s funny—and reassuring—to see him admit to them.” Rivera traces Whitford’s background and previous roles in this conversational interview.