Wesleyan in the News: December

Editorial StaffDecember 20, 20236min
Wesleyan in the News

The New York Times recently highlighted research reporting that five people with moderate to severe brain injuries scored higher on cognitive tests following a brain implant that stimulated their brains. Joseph Fins ’82, Hon. ’22, medical ethicist at Weill Cornell Medicine, was mentioned with the piece after he published a series of interviews with the subjects and their families in a separate paper for Cambridge University Press. 

Author and LGBTQIA+ rights activist Jennifer Finney Boylan ’80, Hon.’23 was elected President of PEN America, a key organization in the defense of free speech in the United States, on Dec. 11, according to the New York Times. The organization aims to protect free expression through the advancement of literature and human rights. Boylan was also a national co-chair of GLAAD, an LGBTQIA+ advocacy group, and a New York Times contributing columnist. 

Professor of Religion and Science in Society Mary-Jane Rubenstein appeared on WNPR’s “The Colin McEnroe Show” on Dec. 19 to discuss what it means to treat something as sacred in both religious and secular spaces. 

In a new study co-authored by George I. Seney Professor of Geology Dana Royer, scientists have assembled a detailed 66-million-year history of Earth’s atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) levels and corresponding temperatures. The research offers critical insights into the current and future state of our planet’s climate, according to Earth.com.  

Sonia Sultan, the Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science recently appeared on the Big Biology podcast. Sonia talked about studying the interplay between organisms and their environment. Specifically, she studies how environmental conditions influence the development of organisms, and when and how these developmental trajectories can include niche construction. Sultan refers to this complexity as “entanglement,” genes and environments working together to alter phenotypic expression, but then variation in phenotypic expression feeds back on environments and genes to alter evolution. 

Ryan Dobrin ‘18 is directing the world premiere of Ryan Drake’s “you don’t have to do anything,” according to Broadwayworld.com. “I really think of this play as a period piece because it is about what it means to be a teenager in a very specific time—post digital age, but pre-all of us having a really strong understanding how we use our voices differently while we’re Instant Messaging, and what it meant to maintain a friendship long distance in that format,” Dobrin said.  

The Greenfield Recorder named Ben Clark ‘00 its Citizen of the Year. During a torrential rainfall in July, Clark saw a car tipped over into onrushing waters. Clark pulled the driver Lee Oldenburg out of the car, saving her life, the paper said. “Such an individual, who is driven to think continually beyond himself and offer so much to help and support his community, is truly my hero and one to many, many others,” wrote Lee Oldenburg in her nomination to the paper. “Words fall so short to express my gratitude for the person he is. We are so fortunate to have him live, work and volunteer in our community.”