Wesleyan in the News

Olivia DrakeJuly 30, 20217min

NewsWesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

In The New Yorker, screenwriter, director, and actor Mike White ’92 discusses his latest work, money and status, and his time on Survivor. “Instead of just focusing on one couple’s honeymoon, I constellated [the new show The White Lotus] with many people grappling with ideas about money,” he says. “Who has the money can really create the dynamic of a relationship, the relationship itself, the sense of self. Money can really inform and pervert our most intimate relationships, beyond just the employee-guest relationship at the hotel.” (July 18)

On NPR’s Ted Radio Hour, Wikipedian Jake Orlowitz ’05 describes how volunteers update the world’s largest encyclopedia. “Writing a new article—it’s a lot of fun, because you get to shape what comes next,” he says. “Wikipedians build in layers. And if you put down that first layer, put down that scaffolding, someone else will come by and put up a wall there or window there.” (July 23)

In El País, Robert Conn, professor of romance literature and languages, discusses the legacy of Simón Bolívar. “In each national tradition in the Americas, including the United States, the way in which Bolívar is remembered is different and depends on the figures to which he is compared,” Conn says. The article also sites Conn’s book, Bolívar’s Afterlife in the Americas (Palgrave Macmillan, 2020). (July 24)

Alex Kurtzman ’95 is featured in The New York Times for renegotiating his deal at CBS Studios. Under a new five-and-a-half-year agreement, he will continue to shepherd the growing “Star Trek” television universe for ViacomCBS’s Paramount+ streaming platform.


An obituary describing the work of Dr. J. Allan Hobson ’55, who studied the dreaming brain, is in The New York Times. Hobson, who died at the age of 88, disputed the Freudian view that dreams held encrypted codes of meaning, believing instead that they resulted from random firings of neurons in the brain. (July 28)

In EOS, Girish Duvvuri ’17 is credited for coining the term “necroplanetology”—the newest branch of exoplanet studies that involves intrinsically rare targets. “We’re proud of the name,” said Seth Redfield, professor of astronomy. “It’s a great way to describe the systems we’re studying. It has a small number of practitioners, but the larger community is just starting to look into this topic.” (July 26)

Greg Voth, professor of physics, is featured in Live Science for testing a 150-year-old theory proposed by Lord Kelvin. (July 28)

Hannah Bolotin ’19, director of development and policy for the Post-Prison Education Program, shares an op-ed in South Seattle Emerald regarding Washington’s Department of Corrections “trapping” incarcerated men in solitary confinement. “There should no longer be debate over the ethics of solitary confinement: It is both proven to be ineffective, and periods of longer than 15 days are considered unacceptable from a global human rights perspective as a form of torture,” she writes. “Until the DOC finds a viable solution, over 200 incarcerated men remain on an ever-growing waitlist, surviving in conditions known to inflict them with more trauma, intensified mental health issues, and increased behavioral issues, all of which they will carry with them as they return to the main prison setting—and eventually, return to society.” (July 28)

On tucson.com, former Wesleyan provost Shelia Tobias, who died at the age of 86, is remembered for advocating for women’s equality. (July 21)

In Gold Derby, Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 admits that he was homesick when he started writing In the Heights. “I was a sophomore at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut,” he noted. “I was, for the first time, living in a Latino Program house with other kids my age. We all had to write an essay to get into the house of how we were going to be Latino leaders on campus.” (July 27)

Leela Narang-Benaderet ’92, MA’93 is mentioned on Golf Content Network for making her U.S. Senior Women’s Open debut. Narang-Benaderet is a partner in a sports marketing and athlete management company and has served as tournament director for a number of Ladies Professional Golf Association (LPGA) events. (July 29)