Olivia Drake

Wesleyan Faculty, Students Teach Local Girls about Science

astronomy graduate student Jessica Klusmeyer assisted the Wesleyan faculty with the lessons and experiments.

Astronomy graduate student Jessica Klusmeyer works with Girls in Science camp participants Aug. 7 at Macdonough Elementary School. Klusmeyer taught the girls how to use microscopes to examine different traits in the eyes of three groups of flies. The program is celebrating its fifth year this summer. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

Four girls squint one eye and with the other eye gaze intently into a microscope. One says she sees caterpillars or string or pink spaghetti. Another says she sees small frogs.

“You’re actually looking at tissue that’s been smashed,” says Ruth Johnson, associate professor of biology. “Do you see those dark spots? Those are chromosomes.”

Johnson, a developmental biologist who studies how tissues and organs are shaped during development, is one of five Wesleyan faculty who taught workshops during the fifth annual Girls in Science Summer Camp, Aug. 6–10. The camp is open to all girls in grades 4, 5, and 6. The campers and instructors spent three days at Macdonough Elementary School and two days on Wesleyan’s campus learning about scientific theory, bacteria, planetary science, solar cars, nanoparticles, chromosomes, bubbles, and DNA. They also toured multiple labs and worked with college student mentors and learned about science careers.

Wesleyan Group Attends Field Workshop, Gathers Volcano Samples in Italy

Pictured from left, Joop Varekamp, Molly Wagner, Celeste Smith ’19, and Christina Cauley explore Italian lakes while attending the International Summer Meeting on Volcanic Lakes in June.

This summer, three Wesleyan students and one faculty member attended a field workshop in Basilicata, Italy, where they presented research, collected data, and visited an extinct volcano containing two bubbling crater lakes.

The group collected samples from crater lakes Monticchio Piccolo (foreground) and Monticchio Grande.

The International Summer Meeting on Volcanic Lakes, hosted by the International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior, took place June 25–29 and focused on the theme “Different perspectives and approaches to studying a volcanic lake.” Basilicata is home to the 3,350-foot-high Mount Vulture (pronounced “Vool-tor-eh”), which last erupted 40,000 years ago.

The Wesleyan attendees included Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (E&ES) graduate students Christina Cauley and Molly Wagner; E&ES and environmental studies major Celeste Smith ’19; and Joop Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, professor of environmental studies, professor of earth and environmental sciences, and professor of Latin American studies. Varekamp also is the Smith Curator of Mineralogy and Petrology of the Joe Webb Peoples Museum of Natural History. They joined more than 25 other participants from Italy, Germany, and Hungary.

The meeting consisted of one long day of scientific presentations in a 12th-century abbey (including talks by Smith, Wagner, and Varekamp), two days on crater lakes Monticchio Grande and Monticchio Piccolo collecting in situ data and samples, and a day of culture, with a trip to the nearby ancient town of Matera.

The group also collected materials specifically for Smith’s senior thesis, including water samples for mercury analyses and a 2.5-foot long sediment core from the most active bubbling lake.

After the field meeting, Smith went to the Institute for Ecosystem Studies at Lago Maggiore near the Swiss border to section her core samples, and then went on to Potsdam, Germany, to subsample an existing sediment core from these lakes.

“Celeste’s thesis topic is to obtain mercury degassing records of this dormant volcano over thousands of years, which will help to establish the natural background mercury flux into the ambient world,” Varekamp explained.

August Blooms and Bees

Wesleyan’s campus is home to hundreds of flowers, shrubs, and trees that bloom throughout the summer. Pictured is a sampling of August’s blooms. (Photos by Olivia Drake)

A bee lands on a wild sunflower’s head in the West College Courtyard. The courtyard features more than 40 shrubs, dozens of fruit trees, two rain gardens, a rainwater catchment system, multiple woodchip pathways, three seating areas, a compost area, and hundreds of perennials that draw birds, insects, and other wildlife.

Kilby Remembered for His Dedication to the College of Social Studies

Peter Kilby

Peter Kilby, professor of economics, emeritus, died Aug. 2, 2018, at the age of 83.

Kilby received his BA from Harvard University, his MA from Johns Hopkins University, and his DPhil from the University of Oxford. He worked with USAID as an Industrial Economist in Nigeria for two years before arriving at Wesleyan in 1965.

He was an economist whose work focused on economic development, particularly in Africa. Over his career, Kilby held appointments as a Fulbright Fellow, a Ford Foundation Foreign Area Fellow, a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, and a Guggenheim Fellow. He was a Senior Advisor of the ILO World Employment Programme in Geneva, a member of the Ciskei Commission in South Africa, and served as a consultant for the governments of Malaysia and Tanzania, the World Bank in Kenya and Nigeria, USAID, the U.S. State Department, and the Food & Agricultural Organization, among others.

“Peter Kilby was a respected scholar and beloved teacher with a wide range of friends at Wesleyan not only among those of us in the Social Sciences but throughout Wesleyan’s three divisions. He was one of the stars of CSS,” recalled Mike Lovell, the Chester D. Hubbard Professor of Economics and Social Sciences, Emeritus.

“Much of the success of the CSS is the result of Peter Kilby’s astonishing dedication to the CSS as an institution and to his CSS students,” said Cecilia Miller, professor of history, co-chair of the College of Social Studies, professor of medieval studies.

Kilby is survived by his wife, Marianne Kilby, his three children, Damian, Christopher, and Karen, and his six grandchildren.

The funeral service will be held at St. Lawrence Church in Killingworth, Conn. at 10 a.m., Aug. 21. A memorial service will be held on campus later this year. In lieu of flowers, the family requests that memorial contributions be made in Peter’s name to the College of Social Studies Endowment Fund, which supports many things that Peter loved including the CSS Newsletter, to the care of Marcy Herlihy, University Relations, 318 High Street, Middletown, CT 06459.

Wesleyan Students Help Area Kids Get a Kickstart on Kindergarten

Amy Breitfeller ’19 interacts with Mohammed, 2 1/2, and his sister, Dania, 1 1/2, during a playgroup July 31 at Russell Library. Breitfeller was using a sand mixture to help children improve their sensory and physical development.

This summer, three Wesleyan students are helping local children prepare for a successful transition into kindergarten.

Through the five-week Kindergarten Kickstart program, Cara Bendich ’19, Amy Breitfeller ’19, and Emma Distler ’19 are working with area youth at four locations to improve their school readiness skills through the research-based, high-impact, low-cost innovative and nurturing preschool program. Associate Professor of Psychology Anna Shusterman and three of her students first launched Kindergarten Kickstart in summer 2012.

For the summer 2018 session, students are hosting the Kickstart program at Middletown’s Bright and Early Children’s Learning Center, Town and Country Early Learning Center, and the Middlesex YMCA preschool. On Tuesdays, the students hold an additional playgroup at Russell Library for anyone in the community.

“Today we’re playing with moonsand, which is a mixture of flour, glitter, and baby oil,” Breitfeller said during a July 31 gathering at the library. “The children can feel and play with the sand, which promotes physical development and also aids in social skills with other children.”

Through a partnership between University-based research labs, Middletown Public Schools, and local community organizations, Kindergarten Kickstart aims to bridge the research-to-practice gap. The majority of the preschoolers will attend kindergarten this fall at Bielefield School, Farm Hill School, and Macdonough School in Middletown.

Mentor a New Student through the Connections Mentoring Program

Wesleyan faculty and staff volunteers are needed for the 2018–2019 Connections Mentoring Program.

This is an informal program that connects first-year students (Class of 2022) with Wesleyan staff and faculty to form casual networks of support. Although most mentors meet infrequently with their student mentees throughout the year, some mentoring pairs establish friendships and meet more frequently over coffee or lunch. Many mentors and students have characterized their experiences with the program as fun and inspirational.

In addition, anyone interested in mentoring students who are the first in their families to attend college can indicate that preference on the registration form. Thirty-five first-generation students have been selected for the First-Things-First Pre-Orientation Program and 35 potential mentors are needed who can commit to participating in a luncheon from 12:15 to 1:15 p.m. on Aug. 28.

“After the start of classes, there will be many other students, who may or may not be first-generation college, who will request mentors for their first year,” said Renée Johnson Thornton, dean for the Class of 2022. “We will need a lot of mentors, so I look forward to hearing from you.”

If you would like to participate in the 2018–2019 Connections Mentoring Program, register by Friday, Aug. 16.

Ask Questions, Attend Workshops at ITS Expo 2019

During the fall semester 2019, Information Technology Services will present the 2019 ITS Expo outside Exley Science Center. The event will be open to all faculty, staff, and students.

Staff from ITS, the Fries Center for Global Studies, Olin and Science Library, Center for Pedagogical innovation, and the Center for Faculty Development will be leading workshops and poster presentations, as well as answering questions about the services that they offer.

“Want to learn something new about integrating media into your work? Attend a workshop covering a variety of topics? Do you have a quick question about media or technology? Come ask your question or make an appointment with our team to support your scholarship, service, or professional development,” said Bonnie Solivan, academic technologist for ITS. “Pick up some quick pointers, learn about student opportunities and enter a raffle. We look forward to seeing you there.”

Employees on the Move

The Office of Human Resources announces the following hires, transitions, and departures for May through July 2018:

HIRES

Nicole Potestivo, administrative assistant in Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies, on May 7
Lucas Fernandez, postdoctoral research associate in physics, on May 22
Alex Kavvos, postdoctoral research associate in mathematics, on May 29
Miya Tokumitsu, curator at Davison Art Center, on June 14
Lilibeth Soto, public safety dispatcher, on June 18
Edward Morehouse, postdoctoral research associate in mathematics, on July 1
Zeyad Abdulkareem, desktop support specialist in ITS User Services, on July 2
Andrew White, Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian, on July 2
Andrea Giuntoli, postdoctoral research associate in physics, on July 16
Fiona Coffey, associate director for programming and performing arts in Center for the Arts, on July 16
Jenna Waters, administrative assistant in physical education, on July 17
Janet Ortiz, assistant dean of admission, on July 23
Jane Ngoc Tran, assistant dean of admission, on July 23
Aidan Winn, assistant dean of admission, on July 23
Robyn Ewig, assistant director of financial aid, on July 23
Isabel Bartholomew, Center for Prison Education Fellow in the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, on July 23
Stephanie Lewis, area coordinator in Office of Residential Life, on July 30
Sarah Pietryka, assistant director of financial aid, on July 30
Monique Reichenstein, investment analyst in the Investments Office, on July 30
Matt Glasz, director for annual giving in University Relations, on August 1
Emily Voss, outreach and academic engagement librarian, on August 1

TRANSITIONS
Kindra Graham, public safety supervisor, on May 7
Jennifer Duncan, senior assistant director of financial aid/student employment coordinator in Office of Financial Aid, on July 1
Karri Van Blarcom, senior associate registrar, on July 1
Andrew Tanaka, senior vice president and chief administrative officer and treasurer, on July 1
Kristin McQueeney, administrative assistant in the Center for Pedagogical Innovations, on July 9
Scott Bushey, athletic operations and fitness coordinator, on August 1

DEPARTURES
Sami Aziz, University Muslim chaplain
Sarah Anne Benson, director of research and prospect management in University Relations
Steven Bertolino, academic technologist in ITS
Paula Blue, instructional technologist in ITS
Lauren Borghard, associate director of annual giving in University Relations
Kathleen Cataldi, access services coordinator in Olin Library
Wesley Close, assistant dean of admission
Antonio Farias, vice president for equity and inclusion
Kevin Flaherty, research associate in astronomy
Jacquelyn Fought, department assistant in the Gordon Career Center
Patrick Graham, public safety patrol person
Sandra Guze, education and program coordinator at Green Street Teaching and Learning Center
William Holder, director of University Communications
Leith Johnson, University archivist
Jim Kamm, desktop support specialist in ITS
Sona Kumar, research coordinator in psychology
Sara MacSorley, director of the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center and Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science
Jill Moraski, assistant dean of admission
Krystal-Gayle O’Neill, area coordinator in Office of Residential Life
Nathan Peters, vice president for finance and administration
Brendan Plake, desktop support specialist in ITS
Maritza Quinones, after school supervisor at Green Street Teaching and Learning Center
Edgardo Quinones, technical and maintenance coordinator at Green Street Teaching and Learning Center
Kate Smith, associate director of fellowships, internships, and exchanges
Luigi Solla, associate dean of admission
Erin Strauts, associate director of institutional research
Sitar Terrass-Shah, Center for Prison Education Fellow

Staff Spotlight: Andrew White Takes on Library’s Top Job

Andrew White, pictured here in the Olin Library stacks, became Wesleyan’s new Caleb T. Winchester University Librarian on July 2. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

(By Christine Foster)

Imagine being chosen to oversee a vast treasure trove, including more than a million items ranging from art and music to government documents and—oh, yes, books. Such is the job set before Andrew White, who was chosen in April to be the University’s next Caleb T. Winchester Librarian.

Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Joyce Jacobsen wrote in a campus-wide email announcing White’s appointment that the search committee was drawn to his experience working collaboratively with different groups of people. The previous librarian, Dan Cherubin, died suddenly last September, after having made an outsized impact in just a year in the post.

White is being asked to be the “cheerleader in chief” for the library, but also to mind the budget, to consider how best to use the physical spaces, and to invite different constituencies in to effectively access the rich resources Wesleyan has amassed over the years. White took some time from his busy first few weeks to share his history and vision in a Q&A for the Connection.

Q: What attracted you to Wesleyan’s libraries? What makes us special?

A: Wesleyan is an amazing place and I immediately felt at home when I stepped onto campus and into Olin Library. Wesleyan is a significant name in American higher education and that significance is reflected in both the scope and breadth of the collections, not only in the libraries, but across campus. We are one of the largest libraries among national liberal arts colleges and I could not pass up the opportunity to help make our resources more visible and relevant.

3rd Annual Scientific Imaging Contest Winners Announced

A magnified image of a fruit fly’s eye took first place in the third annual Wesleyan Scientific Imaging Contest in August.

The Wesleyan Scientific Imaging Contest recognizes student-submitted images—from experiments or simulations done with a Wesleyan faculty member—that are scientifically intriguing, as well as aesthetically pleasing. This year, 21 images were submitted from eight departments. The contest is organized by the College of Integrative Sciences as part of the summer research program.

The entries were judged based on the quality of the image and the explanation of the underlying science. The judges, a panel of four faculty members, were Brian Northrop, associate professor of chemistry; Ann Burke, professor of biology; Seth Redfield, associate professor of astronomy; and Renee Sher, assistant professor of physics.

The first-place winner received a $200 prize, the second-place winner received $100, and the two third-place winners received $50 each. Prizes were funded by the Office of Academic Affairs.

The winning images are shown below, along with scientific descriptions written by the students.

Emily McGhie ’20 took first prize with an image that depicts a mispatterning phenotype in the Drosophila (fruit fly) pupal eye at 40 hours after pupariation. “Such a phenotype was produced in the eye tissue by utilizing an RNA interference transgene to reduce the expression of hth—a gene that encodes the transcription factor Homothorax. Interommatidial pigment cells are shown in yellow and purple, and primary cells are shown in green and blue. In one image, incorrectly patterned cells are compared to correctly patterned cells: the mispatterned cells are highlighted in yellow and green, while correctly patterned cells are highlighted in purple and blue,” she said.

Employees Mingle at 4th Annual Ice Cream Social

On June 8, the Office of Human Resources hosted the fourth annual Faculty and Staff Ice Cream Social. Attendees were treated to ice cream sundaes, soft pretzels, popcorn, and refreshments.

Activities included a tie-dye station, lawn games, board games, volleyball, and dancing.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

5 Employees Honored with Cardinal Achievement Awards

The following employees received Cardinal Achievement Awards during the past few months for demonstrating extraordinary initiative in performing a specific task associated with their work at Wesleyan University. This special honor comes with a $250 award and reflects the University’s gratitude for their extra efforts.

The awardees include:

Benjamin Michael, WESU general manager, WESU Radio

Geralyn Russo, administrative assistant IV, University Relations

Kathleen Logsdon, library assistant V/binding supervisor, Olin Library

Kate Lynch, assistant director, the Wesleyan Fund, University Relations

Miroslaw Koziol, senior electronics technician, Scientific Support Services

View all Cardinal Achievement Award winners here.