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Olivia DrakeMay 22, 202212min
After 36 years teaching chemistry at Wesleyan and becoming an internationally-recognized expert on photoelectron spectroscopy, Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry, is ready to retire. Knee, along with faculty colleagues Anne Greene, University Professor of English; Ann Campbell Burke, professor of biology, and Ronald Schatz, professor of history; received emeritus status during Wesleyan's 190th Commencement Ceremony on May 22. Joe Knee dedicated his career to developing time-resolved laser spectroscopy techniques that help determine the structure and dynamics of gas-phase molecules, molecular clusters, and ions. These methods provide insight into molecular behavior and influence the strength and structure of intermolecular hydrogen…

Olivia DrakeMay 16, 20226min
For 21 years, historian Jennifer Mittelstadt '92 has immersed herself in dusty bound indexes and volumes, micro-film readers, and intransigent online databases hunting for government documents. "Such documents offer neither ease of access nor instant gratification, and few yield pleasures or eureka moments," said Mittelstadt, professor of history at Rutgers University and a scholar of the state and politics in the 20th-century United States. "I've learned that satisfaction comes only from layering them in unexpected ways and moving outside the government archive entirely, forcing the documents to speak in ways their authors did not intend, and drawing into the conversation…

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Olivia DrakeMay 16, 20227min
Two first-generation college students are working to help the planet, one garment at a time. As cofounders of the sustainable fashion startup, Infinitely, Nimra Karamat ’23 and Ashley Cardenas '23 are creating high-quality, affordable clothing that is "ready to take down the world of fast fashion." "Brands that greenwash and benefit off of the backs of underpaid workers in underdeveloped countries are the top sellers in fashion," Cardenas said. "This shouldn’t be our reality. Through Infinitely, we want to inspire people of all backgrounds and identities to lead sustainable lives and help people understand how fast fashion is damaging for…

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Olivia DrakeMay 16, 20226min
Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow Elena Brennan '24 is as equally passionate about her American studies major as she is of helping fellow underrepresented and first-generation low-income (FGLI) students succeed. As chair of the Wesleyan Student Assembly's Equity and Inclusion Committee (EIC), she coordinated First Cardinals, an FGLI mentorship program that fosters connections between 40 first-years with juniors, and seniors. As a member of the BIPOC Mental Health Collective, she spurred a collaboration with the EIC, Wesleyan Student Assembly and Resource Center to host an event that addresses systemic issues on campus for marginalized students. And, in reaction to a post…

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Olivia DrakeMay 9, 20225min
Jeremy Zwelling, associate professor of religion, emeritus, passed away on May 8 at the age of 81. Zwelling received bachelor’s degrees from Columbia University and the Jewish Theological Seminary of America, and his MA and PhD from Brandeis University. He arrived at Wesleyan in 1967, where he taught for 43 years until his retirement in 2010. He was instrumental in the creation of Jewish Studies at Wesleyan, and he created and directed an Israel Studies program in Jerusalem. Zwelling was named the inaugural Silverberg-Shapiro Professor of Jewish Studies in 2003, and when he retired in 2010 this chair was renamed the…

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Olivia DrakeMay 9, 20222min
On April 30, Wesleyan's Archaeology and Anthropology Collections hosted an open house at Exley Science Center. In addition to viewing artifacts excavated from around the world and Middletown, guests were able to tour the museums, watch demonstrations of stone tool-making and 3D scanning, and participate in a hands-on animal bone and scat identification exercise. The event was co-hosted by the Wesleyan Archaeology Program, Environmental Archaeology Laboratory, Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History, and the George Brown Goode Biological Collections. (Photos by Willow Saxon '24)

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Olivia DrakeMay 9, 202210min
Wesleyan’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. The U.S Post Office reports via Cison that Elizabeth Milroy, professor of art history, emerita, attended an official stamp dedication ceremony. The new stamps feature competitive rowing as a synchronized, graceful and demanding sport. (May 13) In Outside, Stephen Talbot '70 discusses how he got into acting. Talbot made his acting debut as Gilbert on the hit classic TV sitcom “Leave It to Beaver” in 1959. "[His parents] said, ‘OK, we’ll get you a good agent…

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Olivia DrakeApril 25, 20229min
For "all 22 years of [her] life," Elim Lee's been writing a story, and it wasn't until April 14— the deadline to submit a senior honors thesis—that her narrative finally was published. Lee '22, an English major who is minoring in IDEAS and data analysis, ended up completing an original children's book as part of an art studio thesis called Needle and the Too Big World. "I told my advisors that I wanted to write a children’s book and build it," Lee said. And Lee did just that. Inspired by a library exhibit in her hometown of Columbus, Georgia that commemorates…

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Olivia DrakeApril 25, 20228min
During a recent meditation, Katja Kolcio pondered the question, 'What do you wish for the world?" Without much premeditated thought, Kolcio determined that she'd want all humans to have the kind of optimism and inner strength that Ukrainians have during the current war. "Nobody would defend one's rights with that kind of veracity without undaunted optimism and faith in our individual capacity to make a difference in the world. With everything horrible happening, there's something that's at a base level inspiring," she said during Wesleyan's sixth Livestream Conversation with Ukraine discussion on April 22. "I can't thank you enough for…

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Olivia DrakeApril 25, 20222min
It's been almost three years since the Wesleyan Gamelan Ensemble was able to perform in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But on April 21, the group, directed by University Professor of Music Harjito, played to a full house in World Music Hall as part of a Javanese shadow puppet play. The puppet play, called "Wayang Kulit" was directed by puppet master (dhalang) and Winslow-Kaplan Professor of Music Sumarsam. The play was attended by a distinguished guest, Arifi Saiman, Consul General of Indonesia in New York, and his guests. Saiman presented a brief speech and provided the performers with Indonesian…

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Olivia DrakeApril 18, 20229min
Ori Cantwell '22 has been looking forward to this moment since his freshman year at Wesleyan. On April 14, he joined dozens of his classmates on the steps of Olin Library to celebrate the completion of their senior honors theses—at a ceremony that included a champagne toast and accolades from friends and faculty advisors. During this traditional festivity known as "Thesis Day," the thesis-writers take turns popping bottles of champagne while their friends and faculty advisors congratulate them on their efforts. This year, 254 seniors pursued honors this year. "The champagne toast was a blast," Cantwell said. "And I learned…