Olivia Drake

FDR Memorial by Bergmann ’76 Is a Tribute to Overcoming Physical Barriers

hope memorial

Meredith Bergmann ’76 created a bronze statue of late President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a young girl with polio as part of the FDR Hope Memorial project on Roosevelt Island, New York. This is Bergmann’s eighth public creation, which debuted on July 17.

“You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, ‘I have lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.’ You must do the thing you think you cannot do.” — Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States

In 1932, wheelchair-bound Franklin D. Roosevelt became the first (and only) United States president to hold the top office with a severe disability. While the public was well aware of his paralysis, Roosevelt never let his illness hinder his efforts leading the country—exemplifying success, leadership, and especially perseverance.

Nearly 90 years later, Wesleyan alumna Meredith Bergmann ’76 is hoping Roosevelt can inspire the public once again. To honor his legacy, she’s created a larger-than-life-size bronze memorial of FDR, seated in his wheelchair, reaching out to shake the hand of a small girl with polio.

Located in Southpoint Park, just north of the Franklin D. Roosevelt Four Freedoms Park on Roosevelt Island in New York City, Bergmann’s addition to the FDR Hope Memorial project was an 11-year project in the making. The work was unveiled during a public ceremony on July 17.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’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. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

On ABC News via the Associated Press, Alex Dupuy, John E. Andrus Professor Emeritus of Sociology, suggests Interim Prime Minister Claude Joseph is likely to lead Haiti following the assassination of President Jovenel Moïse. Dupuy also notes that the situation in Haiti is “dangerous and volatile,” with Haiti’s police force already grappling with a recent spike in violence in Port-au-Prince that has displaced more than 14,700 people. (July 7). And in Reuters, Dupuy says foreign intervention is not the solution to preserving Haiti’s democracy. “The solution is a more accountable system of government but also greater economic opportunities and the creation of a better economy,” he says. (July 13)

In the American Bar Association’s ABA Journal, Alyx Mark, assistant professor of government, discusses her Access-to-Civil Justice course at Wesleyan. This course “delved beneath the surface to investigate the path justiciable problems take from the bottom of the civil justice iceberg to the top, studying the actors, rules, and processes people with justice problems encounter as they identify and resolve them,” she explains. (July 8)

Vogue shares the story of In the Heights, which was first drafted by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 when he was a sophomore at Wesleyan in 1999 and then staged by a student-run theater group. “After hearing about the production (and obtaining a CD of the music), Thomas Kail [’99], approached Miranda with the idea of preparing it to be shown off-Broadway. (July 8)

Greg Voth, associate professor of physics, is cited in Physics magazine for testing a hydrodynamics prediction made by Lord Kelvin in 1871. Kelvin questioned if an object that looks the same from any direction would naturally rotate when it moves through a fluid. Voth created an “isotropic helicoid” using a 3D printer and let the object fall under gravity through a viscous fluid and observed no rotation. (July 13)

Also:

Former CEO of athenaHealth Jonathan Bush ’93 is featured in The Boston Globe for Life continuing his quest for the elusive ‘health care Internet’ and unveils his new venture, Zus Health. (July 14)

The New York Times features the artwork of Tammy Vo Nguyen, assistant professor of art. Nguyen is exhibiting portraits of Forest City. (July 14)

In The Hartford Courant, Wesleyan is noted for being “another school well represented” on a new jazz album, “Straight from the Hart.” The CD includes tracks from Wesleyan’s Jazz Ensemble Director and pianist Noah Baerman, and Professor of Music and vibraphonist Jay Hoggard. (July 15)

Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm(ers) are featured in The Middletown Press for their efforts harvesting crops and selling them to the public at a farm stand every Wednesday. (July 8)

On johnnyjet.com, Frommer Media LLC Co-President Pauline Frommer ’88 answers 39 travel questions including her favorite island (Barbados) and worst travel moment (when her 8-year-old daughter was stuck on a zipline in Costa Rica). (July 15)

Institutional Investor reports that Columbia Investment Management Company Chief Kim Lew P’22 will be recognized with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the fourth annual Allocators’ Choice Awards on Sept. 22 in New York. (July 15)

Mary Robertson ’01 is the executive producer of Framing Britney, which was recently Emmy-nominated for outstanding documentary or nonfiction special according to emmys.com. (July 18)

Dubar, Thomas ’18, MA ’19 Explore the Psychological Effects of Social Media Ghosting

Royette Dubar

Royette Dubar, PhD, assistant professor of psychology

Jhanelle Oneika Thomas '18, MA '19

Jhanelle Oneika Thomas ’18, MA ’19

So long are the days of slipping out the back door of a party to avoid confrontation with a date gone bad. Through social media, one can easily “ghost”— that is, cut off all communication without giving a reason.

In a new qualitative study titled “Disappearing in the Age of Hypervisibility: Definition, Context, and Perceived Psychological Consequences of Social Media Ghosting,” lead researcher Royette Dubar, assistant professor of psychology, and her former master’s student Jhanelle Oneika Thomas ’18, MA ’19 investigated both the motives and psychological consequences of the act of ghosting.

Dubar and Thomas discovered that this modern-age disappearing act has both negative consequences for the ghostee (i.e. the person being ghosted), and the ghoster (i.e. the person committing the act).

The study, which appears in the June 2021 issue of the American Psychological Association’s journal Psychology of Popular Media, is based on a sample of 76 college students who participated in a focus group session.

Ghosting has an overwhelmingly negative effect on the person being ghosted and can have both short-term and long-term consequences. In the short-term, ghosting may lead to internalized feelings of self-criticism and self-doubt, Dubar explained. Over time, these feelings may hinder the development of trust and vulnerability in future relationships, “which are key ingredients for developing intimacy.”

“Because ghosting does not provide any closure to the ghostee, it robs the individual of an opportunity to address any personal issues that may actually promote growth within that individual,” she said.

A 19-year-old female participant in the study described her own experience of being ghosted: “It becomes a lot of self-doubt at first. I think a lot of personal insecurity comes out when you get ghosted because you begin to question because you don’t have answers. So you question yourself, you question what you know about yourself and you blame yourself. You say that it’s because ‘I’m not pretty enough,” or ‘I’m not smart enough,’ or ‘I said the wrong thing,’ or ‘I did the wrong thing,’ or whatever. And at least for me, that’s really harmful and can really affect my mood for a long period of time.”

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’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. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

June 24
Marketing Technology Insights — ADEC Innovations Appoints New Executive To Lead Company In Their Next Phase Of Growth And Development. Features Sondra Scott ’88, chief executive officer for ADEC Innovations U.S. and Europe.

The Middletown Press — Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students this fall. Mentions that Wesleyan University “was among the first in the state to require the vaccine.”

Connecticut Post — Wilton High School graduate recipient of Wheeler scholarship. Features Melissa Arenas ’25, who will “begin her studies this fall at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and plans to major in biology.”

June 25
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — Media accountability in a world of disinformation. Mentions Alan Miller ’76, founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project, a national nonpartisan education nonprofit.

General Council News — Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Safety Veteran Hemanshu Nigam Joins Venable’s Los Angeles Office. Mentions Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam ’87.

DNYUZ — Opposites, and ‘One and the Same.’ Mentions Eli Bronner ’10.

June 26
AnimationXPress — Shang-Chi’s relation with his parents explored in the new trailer of Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.’ Mentions that Shang-Chi was first created in the 1970s by writer Steve Englehart ’69.

Telegraph Herald — Illinois high school graduates awarded Galena Cultural Arts Alliance scholarships. Mentions Hannah Birkholz ’25, “who will attend Wesleyan University, with majors in honors humanities and visual communication design.”

June 28
Politico — Opinion | Why Colleges Should Ditch the SAT—Permanently. Mentions that before the pandemic, numerous colleges, including Wesleyan, had made standardized test scores optional.

Wicked Local — Un-Common Theatre Company announces 2021 scholarship winners. Mentions Jessica Zenack ’25, who “will be attending Wesleyan University and plans on studying political science and theater.”

WFMZ — Monroe County Bar Association awards scholarships to high school students. Mentions that students will be attending Wesleyan.

Yahoo! via The Hartford Courant — ‘Essential Western New England Songbook’ project a who’s who of Connecticut music. Mentions that the band MGMT formed at Wesleyan.

The Middletown Press — Cooper Robertson to lead ambitious Middletown riverfront master plan. Mentions that the riverfront development area “is less than a mile from Wesleyan University.”

June 29
Inside Higher Ed — A Crowded Campus Once More. Mentions that Wesleyan “is also dealing with high demand for housing, in part due to changes in study abroad.”

Associated Press — Progress Expands Women in STEM Scholarship and Announces Recipient of 2nd Annual Mary Székely Scholarship. Mentions Gavriela Tejedor Meyers ’25.

Yahoo! via The Hartford Courant — Parents threaten to sue UConn over COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Mentions Wesleyan.

Arizona Central — NASA-funded study uses International Space Station to predict wildfire effects. Features Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies.

June 30
The White House — President Biden Names Fifth Round of Judicial Nominees. Mentions Judge Michael Nachmanoff ’91.

Daily Messenger — Victor-Farmington Rotary presents student awards. Mentions Wesleyan University.

Medium — Seven Profound Things Annie Dillard Taught Alexander Chee About Writing. Mentions Alexander Chee ’89 and Annie Dillard. Dillard taught writing at Wesleyan for more than 20 years.

July 1
MSU Texas news — 1966 MSU graduate donates $55,000 for science scholarships. Mentions organic chemist Max Tishler Hon. ’81.

Patch — NYAW Awards Two Wantagh High School Students Scholarships. Features Michael Minars ’25, who “will study environmental studies and sustainable agriculture at Wesleyan University.”

The Visualist — Reclaiming our Future: The Kedzie Center’s 2021 Annual Summer Event. Features Ruth Behar ’77,  who “has a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University.”

The Middletown Press — UNH welcomes new COVID-19 coordinator, hopeful for some normalcy. Mentions that the University of New Haven is collaborating with Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges institutions, including Wesleyan, in developing effective protocols and responses to the pandemic on campus.

Deadline — Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’: Lionsgate Wraps Production On Feature Adaptation. Features Kate MacCluggage ’04.

July 2
New Hampshire Public Radio — David Biello: A Journey Into Uncharted Territory. Features an interview with TED Science Curator David Biello ’95.

Newsweek — These 20 Colleges Have the Most Famous Alumni. Mentions Wesleyan, Josh Whedon ’87, Hon. ’13; Bradley Whitford ’81; Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15; Beanie Feldstein ’15; and Amanda Palmer ’98.

ABL Advisor — Edelschick Rejoins BDO’s Business Restructuring & Turnaround Services Practice. Features Michael Edelschick ’96.

The Tower — In The Heights: A Lovesong to Dreams and Community. Mentions Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and Wesleyan.

July 6
Psychology Today — Has Feminism Changed Campus Greek Life? Mentions that “Wesleyan University recently announced that fraternities would have to go coeducational.”

Tek Deeps — Concise Introduction to Python Programming. Mentions that “Wesleyan offers a free course about the popular Python programming language, through the educational platform Coursera.”

Students Begin Harvesting, Selling Produce at Long Lane Farm

long lane farm

Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm(ers) have begun harvesting crops from the two-acre student-run farm. Every Wednesday from 3 to 7 p.m., the students sell their crops at a farm stand near the corner of Long Lane and Wadsworth Street, and again from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Friday at the North End Farmers Market in Middletown. Cash and Venmo are accepted.

long lane farm

Garlic scapes, baby daikon radish, snap peas, collard greens, and kale are in season for mid-summer picking and indulgence. The students started planting summer crops in a greenhouse in March and moved the plants outdoors in April. Garlic, however, was planted last November.

Faculty Collaborate on New, Patent-Pending, Hypersensitive Accelerometer

Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics; Rodion Kononchuk, postdoctoral physics research associate; and Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry

Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics; Rodion Kononchuk, postdoctoral physics research associate; and Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry, are developing a hypersensitive sensor at Wesleyan.

When launching spacecrafts and missiles, small navigational mistakes could lead to catastrophic results. A satellite could spin completely out of orbit, a missile could mistakenly strike a civilian territory, or a spaceship could end up at another planet altogether.

Three Wesleyan researchers are collaborating on the development of a novel sensor that would benefit navigation and several other applications.

The new, hypersensitive acceleration sensor is based on a principle borrowed from nuclear physics and has been developed at Wesleyan. It provides enhanced sensitivity and precision compared to conventional sensors.

“Our underlying concept can be applied in a variety of sensing applications ranging from avionics and earthquake monitoring to bio-sensing,” said study co-author Rodion Kononchuk, postdoctoral physics research associate in Wesleyan’s Wave Transport in Complex Systems Laboratory. “We believe that our results will attract a broad interest from research and engineering communities across a wide range of disciplines, which could result in a realization of next-generation sensors.”

In a June 2021 Science Advances article titled “Enhanced Avionic Sensing Based on Wigner’s Cusp Anomalies,” Kononchuk, along with Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics; Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry; and Joshua Feinberg, professor of physics at the University of Haifa in Israel, shared their study’s results.

The Wesleyan team has demonstrated a whopping 60-fold improved performance in acceleration measurements compared to conventional accelerometers (i.e. sensing devices that measure variations in the acceleration). Wesleyan has already supported a provisional patent application for this study.

Kottos, who spearheads the Physics Department’s Wave Transport in Complex Systems Laboratory, says a “good sensor” is characterized by two elements: its high sensitivity to small “perturbations” and its dynamical range. The latter is the ratio of the maximum to the minimum perturbation that a sensor can detect. And the larger the dynamic range, the better it is.

“Think of a spacecraft or missile. When it takes off, it develops high accelerations, but in the voyage, it needs to detect small accelerations in order to correct its trajectory,” Kottos said. “We believe that our sensor has the ability to measure such a large range of accelerations. Moreover, it is simple to implement and does not suffer from excessive noise that can degrade the quality of the measurements—as opposed to some recent proposals of hypersensitive sensing.”

Although the project is heavily physics-based, Kottos and Kononchuk knew they needed a chemist to help turn their theories into a reality. As it turned out, Knee—who is an expert on optical sensing—had laboratory experience that was applicable to the current project.

“It was wonderful to be brought into such an exciting project,” Knee said. “My research area is in laser spectroscopy which requires significant expertise and experimental capabilities in optical physics. Fortunately, my lab had some key capabilities which helped us put together an experimental prototype that ultimately was used to validate the theoretical constructs.”

“Joe’s experimental expertise in the chemistry framework was crucial for building the experimental platform,” Kottos said. “Our initial discussions helped us to better understand what can or cannot be done and allowed us to successfully design the experiment with a limited budget.”

Kottos began research for the new hypersensitive avionic sensor design in 2018 after receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The guiding principles were to maximize the sensitivity of the sensor without compromising its dynamical range [i.e. the ratio between the largest and smallest perturbation that a sensor can measure] while making it as cheap and simple to make, as possible.

The current sensor design is approximately 4 inches long, but the size could be reduced depending on the application. Smartphone sensors, for example, measure about 1/4 of an inch, but they are far less sensitive than the design created at Wesleyan. Wesleyan undergraduate Jimmy Clifford ’23 is currently working on simulations to come up with a miniaturized design of this concept.

“Once we have it, either we will have to partner with a fabricator or we will have to off-shore the design and test it at Wesleyan,” Kottos said. “We hope to take this concept to production and hopefully to the marketplace!”

Read more:
The Why Axis: Cutting-Edge Science at Wesleyan (Wesleyan University Magazine)

Kottos Awarded Simons Collaborative Grant to Advance Wave Transport Research

Kottos Awarded $2.8M DARPA Grant for High-Level Photonic Research

Kottos Awarded Engineering Grant from the National Science Foundation

Shu Tokita Prize Winners Reid ’22, Choi ’22 Use Literature to Cope with POC Experiences

tokita

East Asian studies major Jasmyn Choi ’22, at left, and English and African American studies double major Jada Reid ’22 are the recipients of the 2021 Shu Tokita Prize, established by friends and relatives of Shu Tokita ’84. The prize is awarded annually to a student of color majoring in literature, in area studies, or a language major with a focus on literature, who demonstrates financial need. They received their awards during a virtual reception on June 23. 

Jasmyn Choi ’22 vividly recalls when her Korean-born mother was pulled over by police in Los Angeles 12 years ago. Rather than speaking to the driver, who had broken English, the officer leaned into the vehicle to question 8-year-old Jasmyn instead. Jasmyn, after all, had “perfect” English.

“I’ve always dealt with the particular trauma of strangers diminishing my mother’s intelligence because of her accent,” Choi recalls. “I tremble in anger thinking of the times she’s had her voice stolen from her. We both sat in the car in oppressive silence, yet it was comforting because silence is all we have been trained to know.”

Growing up in a white flight suburb, Choi grew accustomed to overt and covert racism, and most recently, tried to comfort her mother’s insecurities about not feeling safe due to comments made about the “Chinese virus.” As Asian women, Choi says, “the depth of our pain is an immense chasm from which to fall deeper and deeper into. We are trapped in the eternal, isolating birdcage of ourselves.”

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’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. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

June 8
Marketing Technology Insights — ADEC Innovations Appoints New Executive To Lead Company In Their Next Phase Of Growth And Development. Features Sondra Scott ’88, chief executive officer for ADEC Innovations U.S. and Europe.

June 9
The New York Times — 3 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now. Features installations by Cameron Rowland ’11.

Shondaland — Love and the Burning West: She nearly died while fighting a fire. All she could think about was the tragedy of dying while still a virgin. Features an essay by former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Sarah Berns ’98.

Connecticut Post — Tour restored 1867 Middletown cemetery this weekend. Mentions the restoration of the Dr. Joseph Barratt monument, which features dinosaur footprints. Barratt had associations with Wesleyan.

June 10
Fox 61 CT — From Middletown to movie screens everywhere | The Wesleyan connection to In the Heights. Features Wesleyan President Michael Roth; Jack Carr, professor of theater, emeritus; and the Patricelli ’92 Theater.

Movie Web — Uncharted Movie: Release Date, Plot, Characters – Everything We Know So Far. Mentions director Ruben Fleischer ’97 and “like other successful filmmakers, such as Joss Whedon [’87, Hon. ’13] and Michael Bay [’86], Fleischer studied at the Wesleyan University in Connecticut.”

Patch — NYC Council District 7 Election: Ray Sanchez Seeks Uptown Seat. Features Raymond Sanchez ’00, CEO of the homeless services provider Aguila.

Yahoo! News via The Hartford CourantIn the Heights, drafted when Lin Manuel Miranda was a student at Wesleyan University, opens in movie theaters. Features Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15, who “was a sophomore at Wesleyan University in Middletown when he wrote the Tony-winning hip-hop musical In the Heights.”

June 11
E — It Won’t Be Long Now: How In the Heights Finally Made the Leap From Stage to Screen. Features Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15.

Filmmaker Magazine — “My Cutting Process is Very Old School”: Editor Myron Kerstein on In the Heights. Mentions Wesleyan University.

June 14
Inside Higher Ed — A Military Appointment at Swarthmore. Mentions Wesleyan’s partnership with the Chamberlain Project.

Street Insider — Kanzhun Limited news. Mentions Charles Zhaoxuan Yang ’07, chief financial officer of NetEase, Inc.

June 15
Inside Higher Ed — Newly Tenured at Drury, Middlebury, Virginia Tech, Wesleyan. Mentions Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, and Michael Meere, assistant professor of French.

Street Insider — Elliott Opportunity II Corp. news. Mentions Steven Barg ’84, global head of corporate engagement at Elliott Investment Management L.P.

June 16
South Seattle Emerald — Doc’s Medical Negligence and Dehumanization of Prisoners Must End. Features opinion piece by Hannah Bolotin ’19.

Portal to the Universe via Women in Planetary Science — Martha Gilmore: Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong in this field. Features a Q&A with Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

June 18
Yale University — Effective July 1, Assistant Dean Robert Harper-Mangels ’92 will become Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Support at Yale.

Daily Kos — Activists are ramping up the fight to bring Asian American history to the classroom. Mentions students at Wesleyan University created a syllabus and ran a student-led Asian American studies course for themselves.

Greenwich Time — Greenwich educator with ‘passion for pedagogy’ selected for Teacher of the Year program. Features Allison Fallon MALS ’10.

June 21
Women in Hollywood — “Still I Rise” Announces Inaugural Fellowship Recipients. Mentions Arielle Knight ’11, a New York-based documentary filmmaker and creative producer.

CT Patch — Obituary: Marilyn Hughes Johnson, 84. Features Marilyn Hughes Johnson, who “worked at Wesleyan University for several years assisting the Director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program in producing course catalogs and program materials.”

June 22
The WOLF 96.7 FM — SEEDS – Access Changes Everything Celebrates the Graduation of 40 College-bound Students. Mentions that students will attend Wesleyan.

The Conversation — Explorer Robert Ballard’s memoir finds shipwrecks and strange life forms in the ocean’s darkest reaches. Features an article by Suzanne OConnell, professor of earth and environmental sciences.

June 23
Connecticut Post — Torrington gallery presents exhibit of paintings by Don Sexton. Features Don Sexton ’63, who “studied painting and drawing at Wesleyan University.”

Faculty Appointed Endowed Professorships

monogramIn recognition of their career achievements, the following faculty members are being appointed to endowed professorships, effective July 1, 2021:

Erik Grimmer-Solem, professor of history, is receiving the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Professorship in the College of Social Studies, established in 2008.

Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics, is receiving the Woodhouse/Sysco Professorship of Economics, established in 2002.

Edward Moran, professor of astronomy, is receiving the John Monroe Van Vleck Professorship of Astronomy, established in 1982.

Suzanne OConnell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is receiving the Harold T. Stearns Professorship of Earth Sciences, established in 1984.

Francis Starr, professor of physics, is receiving the Foss Professorship of Physics, established in 1885.

Tracy Heather Strain, associate professor of film studies and co-director of the Wesleyan Documentary Project, is receiving the Corwin-Fuller Professorship of Film Studies, established in 1986.

Also, in recognition of his outstanding research and teaching, Ilesanmi Adeboye, associate professor of mathematics, has been awarded the inaugural Faculty Equity Fellowship for 2021-2022.

Brief biographies appear below:

Ilesanmi Adeboye received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and MS from Howard University. He taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, before arriving at Wesleyan in 2011. Adeboye’s scholarship is at the intersection of geometry, topology, and analysis, with a focus on the study of volume in non-Euclidean geometries. He has published articles on hyperbolic geometry, complex hyperbolic geometry, and projective geometry. Ilesanmi received the 2010 Mochizuki Memorial Fund Award at UC Santa Barbara in recognition of outstanding achievement in mathematics instruction.

Erik Grimmer-Solem was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago before joining the history department in 2002. He received his D.Phil. from Oxford University, M.Phil. from Cambridge University, M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and BA from Brigham Young University. Grimmer-Solem has published two books on the history of German social reform and imperialism, along with many articles and reviews in leading journals. He has received numerous awards, including the Binswanger Prize and a recent fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). His scholarship on the Holocaust was covered widely in the German media and discussed by the Bundestag in 2014.

Abigail Hornstein joined the economics department after completing her Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Stern School of Business, New York University, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College. Her scholarship focuses on corporate finance, multinationals, business strategy and governance, and legal institutions, with particular expertise in the Chinese financial markets. Hornstein’s work has been published in many prestigious journals, including Journal of Empirical Finance, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Journal of Corporate Finance, and China Economic Review.

Edward Moran arrived at Wesleyan in 2002 after serving as a Chandra Fellow at University of California, Berkeley, and an IGPP Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and receiving his Ph.D. and MA from Columbia University. Moran studies black holes in the nuclei of dwarf galaxies to gain insights into galaxy evolution, and the history of black hole activity in the universe via investigations of the cosmic X-ray background radiation. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Suzanne O’Connell arrived at Wesleyan in 1989 after receiving her Ph.D. from Columbia University, her M.Sc. from State University of New York at Albany, and her AB from Oberlin College. O’Connell studies marine sediment cores recovered through scientific ocean drilling (DSDP, ODP, IODP) to understand past climate change, which helps to understand and model future climate change. She is the 2001 recipient of the Association for Women Geoscientists Outstanding Educator Award and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). Currently, OConnell serves on the United States Science Advisory Program committee for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and on the governing council for GSA.

Francis Starr joined the physics department in 2003 after serving as the deputy director of the Center for Theoretical and Computational Materials Science at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His research focuses on the emergent complexity of soft matter physics and biophysics. Starr has authored or co-authored over 120 refereed publications and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is the former director of the College of Integrative Sciences and currently directs the Integrated Design, Engineering, & Applied Science (IDEAS) program.

Tracy Heather Strain received her Ed.M. from Harvard University and her AB from Wellesley College, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College for the Arts. Strain is an award-winning documentary film director, producer, and writer whose work tells stories with a goal of advancing social justice, building community, and empowering the marginalized. Her films have received two Peabody Awards and have been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ford Foundation, Independent Television Service, and LEF Foundation, among other funding organizations. Her most recent work is American Oz, which premiered April 19, 2021.

Faculty, Alumni Rated Among World’s Top 1% of Scientists

Thirteen Wesleyan faculty are rated among the top 1% most-cited researchers worldwide, according to a recent study by PLOS Biology.

The study, led by Professor John Ioannidis from Stanford University, combines several different metrics to systematically rank the most influential scientists as measured by citations. More than six million scientists, who were actively working between 1996 and 2018, were analyzed for the project.

The faculty include:
David Beveridge, Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, emeritus
Fred Cohan, Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, professor of biology
Mark Hovey, professor of mathematics, associate provost for budget and personnel
Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics
Matthew Kurtz, professor of psychology
Herbert Pickett, research professor in chemistry, emeritus
Dana Royer, professor of earth and environmental sciences
Francis Starr, professor of physics
Steve Stemler, professor of psychology
Ruth Striegel Weissman, Walter Crowell University Professor of Social Sciences, emerita
Sonia Sultan, professor of biology
Johan Varekamp, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, emeritus
Gary Yohe, Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, emeritus

In addition, at least eight Wesleyan alumni are rated in the top 0.1% of all scientists in the world including Gene Stanley ’62, Philip Russell ’65, Jay Levy ’60, Nick Turro ’60, Dr. William H. Dietz ’66, Michael Greenberg ’76, Jerry Melillo ’65, John Coffin ’67, and Hugh Wilson ’65. (Know of any others? Let us know at newsletter@wesleyan.edu!)

The study reinforces Wesleyan’s reputation as an exceptional liberal arts institution, said Wilson, who is professor emeritus of spatial and computational vision at York University.

“It is sometimes questioned whether a liberal arts education is really optimal for an aspiring scientist. After all, wouldn’t it be better to take just science and math courses rather than spending part of one’s time with literature, philosophy, history, or art,” he said. “So, [this study shows that] liberal arts continue to attract outstanding scientists as dedicated faculty members who espouse both teaching and research.”

Timeline: Wesleyan Reflects on the COVID-19 Pandemic

For nearly a year and a half, the COVID-19 pandemic has undeniably affected our lives in varying magnitudes. In this timeline, we explore the evolution of the pandemic through Wesleyan’s lens via public health advisories, photographs, and news stories.

Jan. 22, 2020:  Wesleyan’s Medical Director Dr. Tom McLarney issues a public health advisory to the campus community. “As many of you know from news reports, there is a viral illness that has affected the Hubei Province (mainly in Wuhan) China,” he wrote. “This virus is a novel (new) strain of the Corona virus … At this time, there is no threat to the Wesleyan community but the University will be monitoring this and will keep the community apprised of any developments.” Read the post.

Feb. 2, 2020: In response to the World Health Organization announcing an outbreak of a novel coronavirus, or “COVID-19 (coronavirus disease of 2019)”, Wesleyan’s Chinese community (particularly students and parents) bands together to help their fellow citizens. The student-initiated group WesInAction raises more than $23,000, which is used to purchase medical equipment for hospitals in the pandemic’s epicenter in Hubei province, China. Read the story.

On Feb. 16, WesInAction delivered seven sets of oxygen concentrators and ventilators and 26,000 pairs of medical gloves to the First People’s Hospital of Xiaochang County and the People’s Hospital of Dawu County in Xiaogan, Hubei province.

On Feb. 16, WesInAction delivered seven sets of oxygen concentrators and ventilators and 26,000 pairs of medical gloves to the First People’s Hospital of Xiaochang County and the People’s Hospital of Dawu County in Xiaogan, Hubei province.

73 Seniors Elected to Phi Beta Kappa

Kat Eaton '21

Phi Beta Kappa inductee Kat Eaton ’21 plans to work as an editor at a ghostwriting company while applying to creative writing programs at graduate schools.

During her four years at Wesleyan, Katherine “Kat” Eaton ’21 not only fell in love with creative writing, but she also discovered interests in martial arts, fire spinning, and tabletop roleplaying games—Dungeons & Dragons, Monster of the Week, Masks, and more. “Basically, I’m a storyteller, whether that’s on my own or with other people,” Eaton explained.

Eaton, who graduated on May 26 with honors for her English thesis titled “Myths and Legends of Aetheria: A Study in Worldbuilding,” is also among only 88 students from the Class of 2021 to graduate with Phi Beta Kappa honors.

On May 24, she and 72 of her peers were inducted into the Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa during a virtual ceremony. At Wesleyan, only 12 percent of each graduating class is elected to PBK, the oldest national scholastic honor society. Election is based on fulfilling general education expectations and having a grade point average of 93 or above.

Students are nominated by their major departments or class dean.