Olivia Drake

Film by Leter ’21 to Premiere in Paris

The poster for “Pau” was designed by Sarina Hahn ’21 and Vincent Warne ’18.

The poster for “Pau” was designed by Sarina Hahn ’21 and Vincent Warne ’18.

“Pau,” a feature-length film by Alexandre Leter ’21 will be premiering at the Cinéma Saint-André Des Arts in Paris on March 13.

“It’s a very engaged art-house and cinema that’s very supportive of young filmmakers,” Leter said. “I sent them a DVD of the film last summer, and they agreed to show it.”

Leter, who is majoring in religion and minoring in film studies, started making “Pau” during his senior year of high school in Paris and finished the film during his freshman year at Wesleyan. The film follows “Pau,” a young girl who begins to experience hallucinatory visions as a result of mourning her father’s premature death. The idea for the film came to Leter after his junior year of high school, when his father passed away.

“When you’re grieving someone, you start imagining them around you in a way, as if they’re still there, if you walk by a place where you used to go with that person,” Leter said. “For me, I would start seeing my dad there, imagining him in my head. The idea of the film was having that kind of experience, these illusions or hallucinations, of someone who just lost someone who was close to them.”

Leter’s mother is from Chicago, and both his mother and his sister went to colleges in the U.S., so Leter knew early on he wanted to follow in their footsteps.

“In France, you need to know exactly what you want to study after high school,” Leter said. “Even though I loved film, I didn’t want to be set on doing one thing right out of high school…I felt like the liberal arts education here was a really good fit.”

Once he began searching for schools, Leter became interested in Wesleyan for its emphasis on the arts.

“Wesleyan really caught my eye for being really strong in the arts and also academically, and having a really good film program, and having a lot of really dynamic people,” he said.

Watch a trailer for “Pau” online here. The film will run at the Cinéma Saint-André Des Arts until March 25.

Davison Art Center Acquires 23 Prints from American Artist Jasper Johns in Honor of Former Curator

Richard "Dick" Field and Miya Tokumitsu

Former Davison Art Center curator Richard “Dick” Field P’09 visited Wesleyan on Feb. 7 to view a series of screen prints recently donated to the DAC by artist Jasper Johns. Pictured, Field and DAC curator Miya Tokumitsu discuss one of Jasper Johns’ silkscreens titled Corpse and Mirror, 1976. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Jasper Johns signed a copy of the book, Jasper Johns: Prints 1960-1970, which was written by Dick Field. The book is housed in the Davison Art Center’s library. 

More than 40 years have passed since Richard “Dick” Field P’09 laid eyes on a silkscreen titled Corpse and Mirror.

“I enjoy seeing this. It’s part of my past,” Field said during a stopover at the Davison Art Center on Feb. 7. “It’s like visiting an old friend.”

Corpse and Mirror, created by American artist Jasper Johns, is one of 23 prints donated to the Davison Art Center in December 2018 by the artist himself. Johns donated the images to Wesleyan in honor of Field, who served as the DAC’s curator from 1972 to 1979.

Johns, an 89-year-old artist, is known for his textured screenprints and paintings of flags, numbers, lightbulbs, and targets. He engaged with pop art, minimalism, conceptual art, and abstract expressionism movements.

“Personally, I am thrilled that Wesleyan has been designated by Jasper Johns to be a recipient of his work,” said Miya Tokumitsu, curator of the Davison Art Center. “Also, I am very happy that Dick’s legacy will be honored in this way. Although Dick has long since left Wesleyan, he continues to care deeply about the DAC.”

Field first encountered Johns’ work in 1964 when he purchased a piece titled Ale Cans.

Apply for an Olin or Winchester Fellowship

The English Department awards two fellowships that support summer projects or graduate study. The deadline for application is 5 p.m. on April 1.

Olin Fellowships are open to first-year students, sophomores, and juniors.

Founded in 1854 by the mother of Stephen Olin (Wesleyan president 1839–41 and 1842–51) and later increased by gifts of Stephen Henry Olin (Class of 1866 and acting president 1922–23) and his wife, the Olin Fellowships are awarded in recognition of achievement in English to support independent research or creative writing. The fellowships are to be used for work in English outside the Wesleyan course structure. Such work may consist of research (in preparation for a thesis, for example) or training in research methods, study in an academic program, or creative writing.

Fellowships will be awarded on the basis of a project’s merit, the student’s ability to carry it out, and in recognition of both promise and achievement in English studies. Financial need will be a factor although it is not the primary consideration. Apply for an Olin Fellowship here.

 

Winchester Fellowships are open to graduating seniors and recent graduates.

Wesleyan established the Winchester Fellowship in 1938, in memory of Professor Caleb Thomas Winchester and to support graduate work in literature or writing.

The fellowship is intended to support work for the PhD. Applicants must already be admitted to a graduate program in order to receive a fellowship. The Winchester award is intended to be used as a substantial supplement to fellowships, teaching assistantships, and the like, or to enable students to undertake research or travel. The maximum award is $5,000. Apply for a Winchester Fellowship here.

Alumni Lead Students on 3-Day Career Trek

During the inaugural New York City Career Trek, hosted by Wesleyan’s Gordon Career Center, several students visited the Lincoln Center Theater to meet with Wesleyan alumni who are active in the theater industry.

Forty-six Wesleyan students interested in finance, journalism, public health, tech, theater, and music had the opportunity to participate in a three-day immersive career exploration program over winter break.

Spearheaded by the Gordon Career Center‘s Winter on Wyllys programming, the inaugural New York City Career Trek, held Jan. 16-18, allowed students to travel to New York City and meet and network with Wesleyan alumni at their places of work.

Industry sites included: Citi and Bloomberg for finance; The New York Times and Hearst Communications for journalism; Atlantic Records and BtOVEN MUSIC for music; Pfizer and the National Hemophilia Foundation for public health; Squarespace and Google for tech; and Lincoln Center Theater and Vineyard Theatre for theater.

Klusmeyer Receives a Chambliss Award for Astronomy Research

After a star forms, a dusty ring of space debris may begin orbiting around a star. These circumstellar disks are composed of asteroids or collision fragments, cosmic dust grains, and gasses.

Astronomy graduate student Jessica Klusmeyer is interested in understanding the molecular composition of the debris disk gas. “It has important implications not only for our knowledge of debris disks but also for planet formation,” she said.

Klusmeyer joined more than 25 Wesleyan affiliates and shared her research during the 233rd American Astronomical Society Meeting Jan. 6-10 in Seattle, Wash. The American Astronomical Society (AAS) awarded Klusmeyer a Chambliss medal for her poster presentation titled, “A Deep Search for Five Molecules in the Debris Disk around 49 Ceti.”

The Astronomy Achievement Student Awards recognize exemplary research by undergraduate and graduate students who present at one of the poster sessions at the meetings of the AAS. Awardees are honored with a Chambliss medal or a certificate.

Klusmeyer competed for the Chambliss award against hundreds of graduate and PhD students from research universities around the country.

A second-year masters student, Klusmeyer is working on the project with her advisor, Meredith Hughes, assistant professor of astronomy and assistant professor, integrative sciences.

“Professor Hughes has a very active and supportive research group that covers a wide variety of circumstellar disks and planet formation topics,” Klusmeyer said. “She works in radio wavelengths of light and the group often utilizes data from the world-class Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array (ALMA) telescope.”

Klusmeyer joined Hughes’s group during her first year of graduate school and is working on unlocking the molecular composition of a nearby debris disk surrounding 49 Ceti, a star located in the constellation of Cetus. Cetus, which is named after a Greek sea monster, resembles the shape of a whale and can be viewed from campus (or as far away as Chile!).

Scientists once thought that debris disks would lose their gas composition after planet formation, however, more than 20 debris disks containing molecular carbon monoxide gas have already been detected by astronomers.

“Our project wants to understand the nature of this gas,” Klusmeyer explained. “Is it leftover material from when the star formed, or is it constantly being produced in collisions from exocomets or other small bodies orbiting around 49 Ceti?”

If a debris disk has gas, “it may provide a longer period of time for gas giant planet formation or we could detect other molecules commonly found in comets and have the first glance at the molecular composition of comets around other stars,” she said.

Girish Duvvuri ’17 received a Chambliss medal in 2018. Read more.

Applications for Wesleyan Summer Grants Due Feb. 28

All undergraduates are eligible to apply for a 2019 Wesleyan Summer Grant, which allows students to pursue no- or low-pay career-related summer experiences.

Grant applications must be submitted before midnight on Feb. 28.

Wesleyan Summer Grants are funding resources awarded through the Gordon Career Center. These resources include Wesleyan Summer Experience Grants, Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship Grants, named grants, and others. View all the grant opportunities online here.

To be considered for funding, the summer opportunity should be full-time for a minimum (or the equivalent) of eight weeks. Grant awards typically range between $4,000 and $5,000.

For more information about eligibility, requirements of a particular grant, or the application process, contact Sarah McNamara, associate director for internships and campus recruiting, via email wseg@wesleyan.edu.

Read more about the summer experience grants in this Jan. 28 article in the Wesleyan Argus and in News @ Wesleyan.

Plous Honored with Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Minnesota

Scott Plous

For his accomplishments in research and scholarship, the University of Minnesota’s Department of Psychology is honoring Professor of Psychology Scott Plous with a Distinguished Alumni Award.

Plous graduated from the University of Minnesota in 1980 with a BA degree in psychology, summa cum laude. He later completed a PhD in psychology and a postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University. At Wesleyan, Plous’s research focuses on judgment and decision-making, prejudice and discrimination, and the human use of animals and the environment.

The University of Minnesota’s alumni awards honor distinguished alumni from the undergraduate and graduate programs. Nominations are solicited from alumni, faculty, and friends of psychology at Minnesota and are reviewed by a Distinguished Alumni Awards Committee, who forward their recommendations to the department chair.

“This award recognizes [Plous’s] distinguished accomplishments in research and scholarship, both basic and applied, as well as in education and enhancing public awareness and impact of psychological science and practice,” wrote Jeffry Simpson, chair of the University of Minnesota’s psychology department, and Mark Snyder of the Distinguished Alumni Awards Committee, in an award letter to Plous. “Your achievements are truly distinguished, and we are so pleased to have you among our truly distinguished alumni.”

Coaches, Student Athletes Teach Local Girls about Sports

Wesleyan’s Athletic Department hosted its fourth annual National Girls & Women in Sports Day celebration on Jan. 26 at the Freeman Athletic Center.

Wesleyan coaches and student-athletes taught local girls in kindergarten through sixth grade about various sports, including track, soccer, softball, field hockey, volleyball, lacrosse, and more.

In addition to the lessons, participants had the opportunity to watch a women’s basketball game and a women’s ice hockey game. The women’s ice hockey team also hosted a “Skate with the Cardinals” where players welcomed fans and the girls to join them on the ice. Pizza was provided to all participants.

(Photos by Yizhuang Lin ’22 and Mingxuan Zhang ’22)

Snow Squalls Power through Campus

A snow squall stormed through Connecticut On Jan. 30, forming nearly white-out conditions on Wesleyan's campus. Temps plummeted from 30 degrees at 4 p.m. to 5 degrees at midnight.

A snow squall stormed through Connecticut on Jan. 30, forming nearly white-out conditions on Wesleyan’s campus. Temperatures plummeted from 30 degrees at 4 p.m. to 5 degrees at midnight. Pictured is Foss Hill.

The Russell House and corner of High Street and Washington Street.

The Russell House and corner of High Street and Washington Street.

Alpha Delta Phi.

Alpha Delta Phi.

Students, Faculty, Alumni Attend American Astronomical Society Meeting

Mark Popinchalk ’13

Roy Kilgard and Mark Popinchalk ’13.

More than 25 Wesleyan affiliates attended the 233rd American Astronomical Society Meeting Jan. 6-10 in Seattle, Wash. All current Wesleyan students who attended presented posters of their research.

Campus attendees included: Bill Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy and professor, integrative sciences; Roy Kilgard, associate professor of the practice in astronomy and associate professor of the practice, integrative sciences; Michael Henderson ’19; Allison Quintana ’19; graduate student Jessica Klusmeyer; graduate student Ismael Mireles; and graduate student Anthony Santini ’18.

Alumni included Hannah Fritze ’18, Aylin Garcia Soto ’18, Prajwal Niraula MA ’18, Amy Steele MA ’14, Nicole Arulanantham MA ’15, Mark Popinchalk ’13, Marshall Johnson ’11, Anna Williams ’09, Ken Rumstay MA ’77, Taft Armandroff ’82, Phil Choi ’95, Anil Seth ’98, Evan Tingle ’08, MA ’09, Diana Windemuth MA ’13, Trevor Dorn-Wallenstein ’15, Clara Moskowitz ’05, Emily Leiner ’10.

Diana Windemuth MA ’13 and Aylin Garcia Soto ’18

Diana Windemuth MA ’13 and Aylin Garcia Soto ’18.

Former graduate student Colin Littlefield, and former post-doctoral researchers Vicki Sarajedini and John Cannon also attended.

In addition, five college students who participated in the Keck Northeast Astronomy Consortium’s (KNAC) summer Research Experiences for Undergraduate (REU) program at Wesleyan attended the meeting. Karina Cooper, Sadie Coffin, Aleezah Ali, Katie Chapman, and Diego Garcia worked at Wesleyan’s observatory last summer and were under the direction of Wesleyan faculty and students.

View additional photos of the meeting in this Van Vleck Observatory blog.

5 Students Receive NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium Fellowships, Awards

Two graduate students and three undergraduate students are recipients of Fall 2018 NASA Connecticut Space Grant Consortium (CTSGC) awards. They are among 39 students from 13 CTSGC academic affiliate institutions to be honored.

NASA CTSGC is a federally mandated grant, internship, and scholarship program that is funded as a part of NASA Education. There are Space Grant Consortia in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C., and Puerto Rico.

Earth and environmental science graduate student Christina Cauley received an $8,000 Graduate Research Fellowship for her project “Chemistry and Biology of Giant Hydrothermal Mounds in Paulina Lake, Oregon.” Her advisor is Joop Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science and Smith Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology of the Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History. Varekamp also is professor of earth and environmental sciences; professor, environmental studies; and professor, Latin American studies.

Astronomy major Hunter Vannier ’20 received a $5,000 Undergraduate Research Fellowship for his project titled “Using Hubble to Look Back at the Sun’s Historical Trajectory Through the Local Interstellar Medium.” Vannier’s advisor is Seth Redfield, chair and associate professor of astronomy. Redfield also is associate professor, integrative sciences, and co-coordinator, planetary science.

Three other students received $1,000 Student Travel Grants, which covered travel expenses to attend the American Astronomical Society Meeting in Seattle, Wash., in January.

At the meeting, Astronomy major Michael Henderson ’19 presented his senior thesis research titled “High Precision Photometry of Faint White Dwarf Stars from K2 Data.” Henderson’s advisor is Seth Redfield.

Astronomy graduate student Ismael Mireles, presented his master’s thesis research on “Searching for planets around the brightest stars in K2.” Mireles’s advisor is Seth Redfield.

And astronomy graduate student Anthony Santini ’18 presented his BA/MA thesis research titled “Determining Fundamental Properties of Galaxies with X-ray Binary Correlations.” Santini’s advisor is Roy Kilgard, associate professor of the practice in astronomy and associate professor of the practice, integrative sciences.

Wesleyan Honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at 12th Annual Commemoration

On Jan. 23, the Wesleyan community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. 

On Jan. 23, the Wesleyan community gathered in Crowell Concert Hall to celebrate the life and legacy of Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Pictured in the center is Penney Jade Beaubrun, assistant director for alumni and parent relations for University Relations and MLK Commemoration Committee member.

Bettina Love, award-winning author and Associate Professor of Educational Theory & Practice at the University of Georgia, presented the commemoration's keynote address. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of Hip Hop education and is the author of the book We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press).

Dr. Bettina Love, award-winning author and associate professor of educational theory and practice at the University of Georgia, presented the 12th annual MLK Commemoration’s keynote address titled “What Came Before & After King: Abolitionist Teaching & Life.” During her talk, she focused on the struggles and the possibilities of committing ourselves to an abolitionist goal of educational freedom, as opposed to reform, and moving beyond what she calls the educational survival complex. Love is one of the field’s most esteemed educational researchers in the area of hip-hop education and is the author of the book We Want to Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom (Beacon Press).