Lauren Rubenstein

Associate Manager of Media & Public Relations at Wesleyan University

Wesleyan University Press Book Is a Pulitzer Prize Finalist

semiautomatic, a book of poetry by poet and literary scholar Evie Shockley, published by Wesleyan University Press, has been named a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry.

“Evie Shockley’s semiautomatic is an urgent, energized poetry giving voice to the pain at the intersection of racism and gender-based violence. These vibrant and musical poems turn rhetoric to poetry while questioning our ‘semiautomatic’ performance of daily life,” said Wesleyan University Press Director Suzanna Tamminen. “We are thrilled to see her work receive such a prestigious recognition.”

According to the Press’s website, semiautomatic “responds primarily to the twenty-first century’s inescapable evidence of the terms of black life—not so much new as newly visible. The poems trace a whole web of connections between the kinds of violence that affect people across the racial, ethnic, gender, class, sexual, national, and linguistic boundaries that do and do not divide us. How do we protect our humanity, our ability to feel deeply and think freely, in the face of a seemingly endless onslaught of physical, social, and environmental abuses? Where do we find language to describe, process, and check the attacks and injuries we see and suffer? What actions can break us out of the soul-numbing cycle of emotions, moving through outrage, mourning, and despair, again and again? In poems that span fragment to narrative and quiz to constraint, from procedure to prose and sequence to song, semiautomatic culls past and present for guides to a hoped-for future.”

Wesleyan in the News


In this recurring feature in 
The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.

 

 

Recent Wesleyan News

  1. Hartford Courant“Connecticut Natives at Wesleyan Organize TEDx Conference”

Wesleyan hosted its inaugural TEDx conference on April 7, featuring talks by many distinguished alumni, local officials, and others. Two of the student organizers, Eunes Harun ’20 and Leo Marturi ’20, are interviewed about the event.

2. The Hill: “Trump, Pelosi Appear Most in Early Ads—for the Other Side” 

A new analysis from the Wesleyan Media Project finds that Donald Trump has been the top target of political attack ads this year, with Nancy Pelosi the second favorite target, as both parties seek to drive their political bases to the polls. “Although presidents and presidential candidates are the most common targets in congressional campaign ads, it is noteworthy that Pelosi has consistently been singled out more than any other congressional leader since 2010 despite her minority party status for the bulk of that time,” said Erika Franklin Fowler, associate professor of government and WMP co-director.

3. Faith Middleton Food Schmooze: “Funeral Food with a Twist, a Seductive Rosé and Amy Bloom”

In connection with her new book, White Houses, Shapiro-Silverberg Professor of Creative Writing Amy Bloom talks about food in the Franklin Roosevelt White House. Bloom comes in around 21 minutes.

4. Naturally Speaking: “Extending Evolution, an Interview with Prof. Sonia Sultan”

On this podcast, Sonia Sultan, professor of biology, professor of environmental studies, discusses her research on phenotypic plasticity and transgenerational effect in plants, and shares her thoughts on one of most controversial ideas currently circulating in mainstream evolutionary biology: the so-called “extended evolutionary synthesis.” Sultan was honored at the University of Glasgow’s Institute of Biodiversity, Animal Health & Comparative Medicine’s annual Darwin Day lecture.

5. Inside Higher Ed: “The Data Should Make You Happy!”

President Michael Roth ’78 reviews Steven Pinker’s new book, Enlightenment Now: The Case for Reason, Science, Humanism, and Progress. Roth writes: “We don’t need cheerleading psychologists telling us we should be happier than we are.”

6. Squash Magazine: “Teaching the Game: Women and Squash”

Shona Kerr, Wesleyan’s head coach of men’s and women’s squash, is interviewed for a story about gender bias in the world of squash coaching. Kerr is one of only three women in the country who coaches a men’s collegiate squash team.

Recent Alumni News

  1. NDTV Profit: “Wipro Director, Harvard Alumnus Rishad Premji [’99] Appointed Chairman Of Nasscom” Rishad Premji, who was an economics major at Wesleyan and holds an MBA from Harvard, was appointed chairman of IT industry body Nasscom (National Association of Software and Service Companies) for 2018–19. Previously, he was chief strategy officer and board member of Wipro Ltd, which he joined in 2007. In 2014 he was named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum. [See the site for a video message from Premji, on accepting this new position.]

2. NPR: “Mary Halvorson [’02] Re-Engineered Jazz Guitar. Now, She’s Hacking Her Own Code”

In this review of Halvorson’s new double album, Code Girl, Nate Chinen, director of editorial comment at NPR Music, calls Halvorson’s style “staunchly unplaceable in style—art-rock? avant-prog?—and mysterious in several other respects.” The article also refers to John Spencer Camp Professor of Music, Emeritus, Anthony Braxton as her “august mentor.” Code Girl is out on the Firehouse 12 label.

3. Harvard Medical School News: “Why the Fly? Geneticist Stephanie Mohr [’93] Delves into Science’s Favorite Winged Model Organism”

“[S]elf-described ‘fly person’ Stephanie Mohr,” a lecturer on genetics at Harvard Medical School and author of the book First in Fly: Drosophila Research and Biological Discovery (Harvard University Press, 2018)explains her fascination with the insect and its importance in genetics research.

4. New York Times: “Even With Scholarships, Students Often Need Extra Financial Help“

This article by Janet Morrissey profiles a number of programs at prestigious universities that are designed to assist low-income scholarship students with living expenses. Richard Locke ’81, provost at Brown University, is mentioned as “help[ing] prepare Brown’s E-Gap (Emergency, Curricular and Co-curricular Gap) Funds, and its FLi (First Generation Low-Income) Center in late 2015 after hearing stories from students who were struggling financially.”

5. WBAL 1090—Educator Beverly Daniel Tatum [’75, P’04, Hon. ’15] to Speak at Towson Commencement

WBAL NewsRadio 1090’s Tyler Waldman reported Towson University President Kim Schatzel said: “We are honored to welcome Beverly Daniel Tatum to campus as our commencement speaker. Not only is she a thought leader in the higher education community, her expertise in diversity, inclusion and race relations supports Towson University’s relentless pursuits in these areas.” Tatum will speak at Towson’s College of Liberal Arts commencement on May 23, 2018, and will receive an honorary doctorate. A former Wesleyan trustee, Tatum was awarded an honorary doctorate from Wesleyan in 2015.

Khamis Named a Harvard Kennedy School WAPPP Fellow

Melanie Khamis

Melanie Khamis

Melanie Khamis, assistant professor of economics and of Latin American studies, was named a fellow of the Women and Public Policy Program (WAPPP) at Harvard Kennedy School for the 2018–2019 academic year.

In this fellowship, she hopes to continue and expand her research on “Gender in the Labor Market,” with a particular focus on the gender wage gap and occupational choices of women.

“I am excited to have this opportunity to join and work with a community of leading researchers in this field,” said Khamis.

According to its website, WAPPP is dedicated to closing “gender gaps in economic opportunity, political participation, health and education by creating knowledge, training leaders and informing public policy and organizational practices.” The fellowship program brings in exceptional scholars to conduct gender-related research in one of these areas and to engage with faculty and students at Harvard Kennedy School, enriching the intellectual life of the center.

Wesleyan Center for Prison Education Awarded $1M Mellon Grant

Photo courtesy of Dave Zajac/Record-Journal

Mathematics teacher Cameron Bishop instructs a calculus class at Cheshire Correctional Institution, Wednesday, August 2, 2017. (Photo courtesy of Dave Zajac, Record-Journal)

Wesleyan has received a $1 million, four-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to support operations at the Center for Prison Education (CPE). The grant will allow CPE to expand its advanced course offerings, recruit new faculty, and bolster its partnership with Middlesex Community College (MxCC) and the Connecticut Department of Corrections.

Since 2009, CPE has offered accredited Wesleyan courses to students at the Cheshire Correctional Institution, a maximum security prison for men. In 2013, the program expanded to offer the same coursework to students at York Correctional Institution for women. Courses range from English to biology to philosophy, and have the same rigor and expectations as courses on Wesleyan’s Middletown campus.

“The Center for Prison Education is a wonderful example of the commitment by Wesleyan students and faculty to serving our broader community through the transformative power of the liberal arts. CPE has made a powerful difference in the lives of incarcerated people—one I’ve seen firsthand when I’ve lectured at the Cheshire prison,” said President Michael Roth. “This generous grant from Mellon will enable CPE to have an even greater impact, particularly for those students who decide to continue their education beyond our program.”

Wes Press Poet Wins Anisfield-Wolf Book Award

In the Language of My Captor, by Shane McCraeIn the Language of My Captor, a much-lauded book of poetry by Shane McCrae published by Wesleyan University Press, is the recipient of the 83rd Annual Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in the category of poetry. This is the only national juried prize for literature that confronts racism and explores diversity.

According to the Cleveland Foundation, which presents the award, McCrae “interrogates history and perspective” with In the Language of My Captor, “including the connections between racism and love.”

“He uses historic persona poems and prose memoir to address the illusory freedom between both black and white Americans,” according to the foundation’s press release.

“These voices worm their way inside your head; deceptively simple language layers complexity upon complexity until we are shaped in the same socialized racial webbing as the African exhibited at the zoo or the Jim Crow universe that Banjo Yes learned to survive in (‘You can be free//Or you can live’),” said Rita Dove, one of the jurors for the prize.

In the Language of My Captor was previously long-listed for the National Book Award and chosen as a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.

Savage ’18 Awarded Princeton in Latin America Fellowship

Anna Savage ’18 will complete a Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) fellowship in the Dominican Republic.

Anna Savage ’18 has received a Princeton in Latin America (PiLA) fellowship to work with the Mariposa Foundation in Cabarete, a town on the northern coast of the Dominican Republic. She will begin the fellowship after graduation in May.

Savage follows a proud tradition of Wesleyan students participating in PiLA fellowships. The Mariposa Foundation works to end generational poverty by providing a space in which girls and young women can receive high-quality academic and artistic instruction, as well as comprehensive sexual health education. The Mariposa center serves about 150 girls and places particular emphasis on musical and artistic expression, as well as on the cultivation of leadership skills.

Savage will teach music, yoga, and English at the center, where she will develop her own curriculum and instruct girls aged seven to 18 in daily classes.

Naegele in The Conversation: Are Neurons Added to the Human Brain after Birth?

Jan Naegele is one of 19 women faculty in the country to receive a Drexel Fellowship.

Jan Naegele

Wesleyan faculty frequently publish articles based on their scholarship in The Conversation US, a nonprofit news organization with the tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” Janice Naegele, the Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science, writes about the implications of a controversial new neuroscience study from the University of California, San Francisco. Naegele also is professor of biology and professor of neuroscience and behavior. Read her bio on The Conversation.

Scientists have known for about two decades that some neurons—the fundamental cells in the brain that transmit signals—are generated throughout life. But now a controversial new study from the University of California, San Francisco, casts doubt on whether many neurons are added to the human brain after birth.

Chitena ’19 Named 2018 Newman Civic Fellow

As a Newman Civic Fellow, Alvin Chitena ’19 will receive a variety of learning and networking opportunities.

Alvin Chitena ’19 has been named a 2018 Newman Civic Fellow by Campus Compact, a Boston-based nonprofit organization working to advance the public purposes of higher education.

The Newman Civic Fellowship, named for Campus Compact co-founder Frank Newman, is a one-year experience emphasizing personal, professional, and civic growth. Through the fellowship, Campus Compact provides a variety of learning and networking opportunities, including a national conference of Newman Civic Fellows in partnership with the Edward M. Kennedy Institute for the United States Senate. The fellowship also provides fellows with access to apply for exclusive scholarship and postgraduate opportunities.

Wesleyan in the News

In this recurring feature in The Wesleyan Connection, we highlight some of the latest news stories about Wesleyan and our alumni.

Recent Wesleyan News
1. Inside Higher Ed“Against Conformity”

President Michael Roth ’78 reflects on the questioning of liberal education—both in China and the United States.

2. China Daily: Stephen Angle: Practicing the Confucianism He Preaches”

A top Chinese newspaper profiles Stephen Angle, Mansfield Freeman Professor of East Asian Studies, professor of philosophy, from his early embrace of Confucianism and Chinese culture through his successful academic career. He was recently named Light of Civilization 2017 Chinese Cultural Exchange Person of the Year.

3. New York Times: “An Opera Star’s Song Cycle Conjures a Black Man’s Life in America”

Assistant Professor of Music Tyshawn Sorey’s (MA ’11) collaboration with opera star Lawrence Brownlee is featured.

4. Hartford Courant: “Wesleyan’s Carrillo, Bellamy Pinning Hopes on Regional Success”

Wesleyan wrestlers Devon Carrillo, a graduate student, and Isaiah Bellamy ’18 are ranked #1 and #2 in the country in pins in all NCAA divisions.

5. Oakland Press: “Wesleyan Lacrosse Player from Bloomfield Hills Named to Watch List”

Taylor Ghesquiere ’18 is one of just 12 lacrosse players in the country to be named to the first-ever United States Intercollegiate Lacrosse Association Division III Player of the Year watch list.

Recent Alumni News

  1. NPR’s Morning Edition: “Gov. Hickenlooper on Trump’s Priorities to Prevent Gun Violence”

Colorado’s Democratic Governor John Hickenlooper ’74, MA ’80, HON ’10 talks to NPR’s Morning Edition host Rachel Martin about President Trump’s meeting at the White House with governors to discuss gun policy and school safety.

2. New York Times: “Lin-Manuel Miranda, the Next Lion of New York” [Also: Repeating Islands, Pulse.com, CTLatino.com]

Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, the creator of Hamilton reflects on his life in—and love of—New York City: “‘You’re in a different century for exactly one block, and then you go down the steps and there’s a C-town, and you’re back in 2017,’ Mr. Miranda said. ‘That’s to me what makes New York great—it’s all these things together at the same time. The feeling that you’re on the train with the Wall Street guy and the mariachi bands. We’re all in this thing together.’”

3. Broadway World Dallas: “Stage West Presents the Regional Premiere of A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Gynecologic Oncology Unit at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center of New York City”

New York–based playwright Halley Feiffer ’07 has created a work that The New York Times called “. . . as deeply felt as its name is long.”  The director, Dana Schultes, said, “I love the freshness of the script. . . . It definitely pushes some boundaries—like all great theatre—while retaining a through-line of warmth and heart. It’s really lovely . . . with some mega-edge sprinkled on top.”

4. HuntScanlonMedia: “Coulter Partners Secures Chief Medical Officer for Proclara Biosciences”

David Michelson ’76, MD was appointed chief medical officer at Proclara, a biotechnology company, where he joins the executive team in research on a number of therapies, including those for Alzheimer’s. Previously he was vice president and therapeutic area head at Merck Research Laboratories, responsible for clinical research in neuroscience, pain, anesthesiology and ophthalmology.

5. HakiPensheniMonitor“Innovation Helps Traders Get Loans in Less than Five Minutes”

In an interview with this Tanzanian news source,  Shivani Siroya ’04, founder and global CEO of Tala, explains how her company works with local merchants who have been “shunned by banks” to obtain loans through Tala’s Android platform.

 

 

Local Youth Learn How to Use Technology for Social Good at “Hackathon”

Thafir Elzofri ’19

Thafir Elzofri ’19, at left, assists Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. participants in Beckham Hall.

On Feb. 24, Wesleyan hosted a “hackathon” for social good in collaboration with Random Hacks of Kindness Jr. The free event introduced more than 50 local children in grades 4 through 8 to technology and showed them how it could be used to create solutions that benefit nonprofit organizations. About half the children came from Middletown, while others came from as far away as Greenwich, Griswold and West Hartford to participate.

Seven Wesleyan students and two staff members served as volunteer mentors, working with the children to devise computer applications that addressed a range of problems facing local organizations. Five nonprofit social good organizations founded by Wesleyan students through the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship were the beneficiaries of these apps. Using MIT App Inventor, students learned the basics of app design, as well as the ideation and brainstorming process required to build a successful prototype mobile application.

Ahmed Badr ’20 gave a keynote address, in which he discussed Narratio, the platform he created for refugees to tell their stories.

Higgins in The Conversation: Letting Audiences Twist the Plot

Scott Higgins, the Charles W. Fries Professor of Film Studies, writes in The Conversation about a film innovation flop.

Scott Higgins, the Charles W. Fries Professor of Film Studies, writes in The Conversation about a film innovation flop.

Wesleyan faculty frequently publish articles based on their scholarship in The Conversation US, a nonprofit news organization with the tagline, “Academic rigor, journalistic flair.” Ahead of the 2018 Oscars ceremony that celebrates the best in film, The Conversation explores some of the worst film innovations of years past. Scott Higgins, director of the College of Film and the Moving Image, writes about Interfilm, a “choose your own adventure” theater technology that flopped in the early 1990s. Higgins is also the Charles W. Fries Professor of Film Studies, chair of Film Studies, and curator of the Wesleyan Cinema Archives. Read his bio on The Conversation.

Letting audiences twist the plot

Artists have long sought to erase the boundary between a film and its viewers, and Alejandro Iñárritu’s 2017 Oscar-winning virtual reality installation “Carne y Arena” has come close.

But the dream of putting audiences in the picture has fueled a number of film fiascoes, including an early 1990s debacle called Interfilm.