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Wesleyan in the News

NewsApril 21
Celebrity Net Worth – Meet The Under-The-Radar Immigrant Black Doctor Who Has Made A Half-Billion Dollar Fortune While Revolutionizing Alzheimer’s Treatment. Features Dr. Herriot Tabuteau ’89.

Street Insider – Oaktree Real Estate News. Mentions Cary Kleinman ’97, chief legal officer at Oaktree.

Seven Days (Vermont) – Obituary: Karen Oelschlaeger, 1984-2021: Woman who died of cancer was grateful for Vermont’s Death With Dignity law. Features Karen Oelschlaeger ’07, who “double majored in psychology and Spanish literature, receiving high honors for her psychology thesis titled ‘Feminist Rants.'”

April 22
Fat Pitch Financials – Operation HOPE Adds Will Lansing, CEO of FICO, To Global Board of Advisors. Features Will Lansing ’80, P’16, chief executive officer of Fair Isaac Corporation.

April 23
The White House – President Biden Announces Key Administration Nominations in National Security. Mentions Sarah Margon ’98 is a nominee for assistant secretary, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, Department of State.

Mitu – Cast Of ‘In The Heights’ Want You To Know The Importance Of Going To College. Mentions Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon.’15.

Street Insider – Axsome Therapeutics news. Mentions Dr. Herriot Tabuteau ’89 and Dr. Mark Coleman ’90, who are nominated for the role of director.

Street Insider – Denali Therapeutics Inc. news. Mentions David Schenkein ’79, P’08, general partner in Google Ventures and executive chairman of the board of directors of Agios Pharmaceuticals.

All Events In – Storytelling with Saris Earth Day Presentation. Features Bangladeshi-American artist and climate activist Monica Bose ’86.

NBC Miami – More Than 30 Colleges Now Say Covid Vaccines Will Be Mandatory for Fall 2021. Mentions Wesleyan University.

April 24
Marist Circle – From Ulster County to Tokyo: 17-Year-Old Takes Her Art International. Mentions Natalie Horberg ’25, who is “preparing to attend Wesleyan University in the fall.”

April 25
WSFB-TV Channel 3 – Wesleyan University Students Roll Up Their Sleeves at On-Campus Vaccine Clinic. Features interviews with Ricky Finkel ’23 and Donatto Navas ’22.

Yahoo Sports – Patriots’ Bill Belichick ’75, P’07, Hon. ’05 receives special honor at Army-Navy lacrosse game.

April 26
Biospace – Fountain Therapeutics appoints Dr. William Greene ’86, P’20 to chief executive officer.

Associated Press – Comcast Advertising appoints Rick Mandler ’83 as vice president of growth strategy.

Street Insider – Ebay news. Mentions Trustee Emeritus Diana Farrell ’87, retired founding president and chief executive officer of the JPMorgan Chase Institute.

The Middletown Press – Annual Business & Education Partnership and Hal Kaplan Middletown Mentor Program Recognition Luncheon to feature Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 as the keynote speaker.

The Scientist Magazine – Molecular Geneticist Kedes Dies at 83. Features Laurence “Larry” Kedes ’59, Hon ’09.

Yahoo! Finance – Xin Li-Cohen, Deputy Chairman Of Christie’s International, Launches An NFT Platform For Fine Art. Features GeGe “Mia” Deng ’19.

Yahoo! Life – We Just Got a First Glance at Lin-Manuel Miranda’s ‘In the Heights,’ and WOW It Looks Good. Mentions Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and his “hit Broadway musical, which he casually composed during his days at Wesleyan University.”

PR Newswire – Lafayette Square Appoints Industry Veteran Usher as Head of Distribution. Features Stephen Usher ’89 “who holds a Bachelor of Arts from Wesleyan University, where he is a member of the President’s Council.”

Money – With College Waitlists Overcrowded, What to Know About Accepting Your Spot at School. Quotes Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid.

April 27
Associated Press – Gamma Aerospace Expands Leadership Team. Mentions that Daniel Drew, former visiting assistant professor of public policy at Wesleyan and the former City of Middletown mayor, was named as director of facilities, procurement, and administration.

Street Insider – Molecular Templates news. Mentions Jason Kim ’94, who “received his BA in neuroscience and behavior from Wesleyan University.”

April 29
360 Magazine – Narrative Images. Features Miles Hyman ’85, who “studied drawing and printmaking with David Schorr at Wesleyan University in Connecticut.”

April 30
Boulder Daily Camera – How Colorado’s senior senator Michael Bennet helped create a major anti-poverty program. Features Michael Bennet ’87, Hon. ’12.

Eureka – Historian of science Gerald Holton wins the Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Humanities. Features Gerald Holton ’41, MA ’42, Hon. ’81, P’77.

AARP – AARP Highlights American Stories for AAPI Heritage Month: Two families, two histories, one shared nationality. Features Daphne Kwok ’84.

MIT News – Five from MIT elected to the National Academy of Sciences for 2021: Faculty members Dan Freedman, Robert Griffin, Larry Guth, Stephen Morris, and Gigliola Staffilani elected by peers for outstanding contributions to research. Features Daniel Freedman ’60.

Journal for Blacks in Higher Education – A Quartet of Black Faculty Members Taking on New Assignments in Higher Education. Mentions that Tracey Osbourne ’91 was appointed director of the Center for Climate Justice.

May 1
Yahoo! Life – Where Your Favorite Celebrities Went to College. Mentions that actress Beanie Feldstein ’15 graduated from Wesleyan with a degree in sociology.

New Haven Register – COVID hit just at the start of CT seniors’ college deliberations. For many, it was over this week. Mentions Wesleyan.

May 2
The San Diego Union-Tribune – Wrestling with the ghosts of COVID past. Commentary written by Johnny Hayes ’20.

May 3
Shoot – Director Parasco Joins Loveboat For Representation In The U.S., France. Features Elena Parasco.

Doctor’s Lounge – Herd Immunity for Americans May Be an Elusive Goal, Experts Say. Mentions that Wesleyan is requiring all students to be vaccinated.

UMass Medical News – UMass Medical School to award four honorary degrees at 48th Commencement. Features Michael Angelini ’64, P’99.

May 4
PR Newswire – Gas South, the largest retail natural gas provider in the Southeast, celebrates the selection of President and CEO Kevin Greiner as Georgia Trend’s “Most Respected Business Leader” of 2021. Mentions Kevin Greiner ’91 and Wesleyan.

National Geographic – Was Napoleon Bonaparte an enlightened leader or tyrant? Quotes Andy Curran, William Armstrong Professor of the Humanities.

President Roth, Kolcio Speak at International U.N. Ukraine Roundtable

donbasAssociate Professor of Dance Katja Kolcio and Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 recently participated in an international virtual roundtable discussion hosted by the United Nations Recovery and Peacebuilding Programme. The roundtable, titled “Implementing a Somatic Methodology in the Ukrainian Rehabilitation System: Developing Stress Resistance in Ex-combatants, IDPs, and Residents of Eastern Ukraine” was held virtually on April 28.

The purpose of the roundtable was to develop a resolution of joint coordination between the various ministries in Ukraine responsible for the psychological health of veterans.

Kolcio and Roth spoke about the importance of the Vitality Project Donbas, a collaboration between Wesleyan and the NGO Development Foundation which uses innovative, somatic, integrating practices to help people overcome the psychological effects of exhaustion, depression, and social isolation in communities in eastern Ukraine and help military veterans transition to civilian life. Kolcio is the principal U.S. researcher for the project.

Kolcio spoke about civic engagement through somatics, a practice that highlights the connection between the mind and the body.

“Although trauma affects a large number of people around the world, mental health care is inhibited by barriers, including stigma, cost, and education,” Kolcio said. “Somatic methods, which work with the physical manifestations of trauma, address each of these barriers.”

Kolcio explained that somatics combine physiological and physical aspects of health and can be used to treat stress and trauma.

“Supporting and building the psychosocial resilience and integration of those impacted by the current conflict in Ukraine is the most important step towards social and economic stability and security in our future,” Kolcio said. “Investing in people is the number one priority in ensuring our future, which depends on the vitality, engagement, sense of belonging, sense of personal value, and creative energies of each person in public life.”

Roth emphasized the importance of civic engagement in building a better society at the University level and beyond, building context for the work done at Wesleyan and through Vitality Project Donbas.

“Universities can only prosper, inquiry and education can only thrive, when the civic environment around the university is healthy,” Roth said. “And so we, at Wesleyan University … are dedicated to creating strong relationships with civic organizations to foster engagement with public life to improve the community in which we live, and thereby improving our own University’s practices.”

Roth also stressed the importance of somatics in civic engagement and overall well-being.

“Somatics is an approach that fosters resilience, engagement, critical thinking, and creativity by focusing on the integration of mind and body,” Roth said.

Kolcio led the virtual audience in a breathing exercise to release stress and build feelings of security, demonstrating the efficacy of somatic practices, explaining how the analysis of somatic methods will advance the project.

The work carried out in Vitality Project Donbas will contribute to worldwide advances in mental health and to the Donbas community in Ukraine.

To watch the full roundtable, click here.

Ganbarg ’88 Hosts New Rock N’ Roll High School Podcast

rock n rollTwo-time Grammy Award-winning producer and Atlantic Records President of A&R Pete Ganbarg ’88 will host a new Rock N’ Roll High School podcast starting May 6.

The series, presented by Warner Music Group, will feature legendary figures in contemporary music. The first three episodes star Grammy-winning composer, producer, arranger, and guitarist, Nile Rodgers; two-time Rock & Roll and Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee, Graham Nash; and Go-Go’s bassist and songwriter, Kathy Valentine. Following the premiere, new episodes will launch every other week.

“It’s been an honor to sit down with each of these incredibly influential and uniquely talented individuals and really dive deep into their remarkable careers,” Ganbarg said. “I’m so excited to bring these conversations to music fans around the world. Everyone recognizes these superstars and their hits which have defined generations, but now we get to pull back the curtain and take a closer, more intimate look at the stories behind the music.”

Other upcoming guests include:
• May 20 – The Temptations (Otis Williams and Ron Tyson)
• June 3 – Tony Visconti
• June 17 – Debbie Gibson
• July 1 – Gamble & Huff
• July 15 – Jimmy Webb
• July 29 – Jon Anderson (of Yes)
• Aug. 12 – Gloria Gaynor
• Aug. 26 – Todd Rundgren
• Sept. 9 – Robert “Kool” Bell (of Kool and The Gang)

In addition to creating the new podcast, Ganbarg is the recipient of a 2021 Grammy Award for Best Musical Theater Album for the Broadway cast recording for Jagged Little Pill.

View other Wesleyan alumni-produced podcasts here.

Vote for 2021 Alumni-Elected Trustees

Voting for the 2021 Alumni Trustee Election is now open.

Each year, Wesleyan alumni elect three of their peers to serve on the University’s Board of Trustees for a three-year term. Nearly one-third of the Board is elected by the alumni body.

“The alumni-elected trustee process is a remarkable and important way for alumni to demonstrate stewardship of our University,” said Gina Driscoll, associate director of alumni and parent relations. “Choose the alumni candidates who can help influence the direction of the University.”

Watch for the Alumni-Elected Trustee email with your personal link to vote.  View this year’s slate here.

The deadline to vote is 5 p.m., Wednesday, May 26.

2021 AET Movie

Share Your Wesleyan COVID-19 Experiences, Creative Works

postcard The COVID-19 pandemic has dramatically affected the Wesleyan community in a myriad of ways from student life to research to the way we teach and learn. This spring, Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives, along with Academic Affairs, are hoping to build a historical record—and preserve for posterity—the stories, memories, messages, and creative works of the University’s students, faculty, staff, and alumni.

postcards

(Click to enlarge)

Postcards from a Pandemic
Wesleyan’s Special Collections & Archives has launched a “Postcards from a Pandemic” project, which aims to help future students and researchers understand what it was like to be a member of the Wesleyan community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Postcards are available outside Special Collections & Archives in Olin Library, although personal postcards also are accepted.

“Write a note and tell them about how life has changed, or how it has stayed the same. What you’ve struggled with, or where you’ve found joy. Or maybe something else altogether,” said University Archivist Amanda Nelson. “Your postcard will become a primary source account of this unprecedented moment, giving future generations a glimpse into life during a global pandemic.”

After writing a message, place it into the dropbox outside SC&A, deliver it to SC&A in person, or mail the postcard to Special Collections & Archives, 252 Church St., Middletown, CT 06459.

COVID-19 Community Reactions Digital Collection
Special Collections & Archives, in partnership with Academic Affairs, welcomes submissions to its ongoing COVID-19 Community Reactions Digital Collection. Here, members of the Wesleyan community can share a story, essay, poem, photograph, video, audio recording, scholarship insights, or other creative work.

“Throughout the pandemic, Wesleyan students and faculty have demonstrated a brave and tenacious commitment to their research and creative work,” said Nicole Stanton, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs. “Some have refocused their research on COVID-19 itself, or have made new creative work in response to the pandemic. Others have carefully pivoted their scholarship in order to accomplish research in the face of new and complex challenges. We want to honor and celebrate the research and creative work in which you’ve engaged during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

Faculty and staff can upload their creative work via this Google Form. Students and alumni can upload content from this submission request.

“Our research and creative work keep our collective University life vibrant and healthy,” Stanton said. “Your work will be collected, preserved, and made available for future generations.”

Banka ’22 Co-Authors Article on Pandemic Food Insecurity for COVID-19 Action Coalition

Darshana Banka ’22

Darshana Banka ’22

Darshana Banka ’22 volunteers with the COVID-19 Action Coalition (COVAC-MA) a group of over 25 students and alumni (led by Amy Fogelman ’97) who advocate alongside Massachusetts physicians for public health measures that will reduce the spread of the virus and save lives. Currently, Banka leads COVAC-MA’s Medium Research Team.

Banka recently co-wrote an article about food insecurity during the pandemic as part of COVAC-MA’s outreach titled, “Hungry for Change: Food Insecurity During the COVID-19 Pandemic.”

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated food insecurity for low-income individuals and changed eating behaviors for many Americans of different socioeconomic levels,” Banka wrote. “Because these changes have harmful health implications, action must be taken at both the individual and governmental/policy levels to mitigate food insecurity and the disruptive effect of pandemic-related guidelines on our eating behaviors.”

Banka’s article also discusses the disparity of access to food among different populations in the United States, and how this disparity impacts eating behaviors and overall health. Banka also outlines the potential dangers of letting this problem go unaddressed.

“Given the significant negative impacts of pandemic-driven food insecurity on eating behaviors and poor health outcomes, it is important to address this issue at both the government/policy and individual levels,” Banka wrote. “Programs currently exist to support families struggling with food insecurity; however, they are not sufficient. Recent research has found that while programs like the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) make food more affordable, the cost of food in states like Connecticut was 40–50% higher than these benefits in 2015. This emphasizes how policies fall short in providing access to basic nutrition needs to low-income communities that are disproportionately affected by rising food costs. New policies need to be implemented in tandem with community-based organizations that work to boost economic opportunities and access to food.”

At Wesleyan, Banka is double majoring in neuroscience and behavior, and psychology, with a minor in chemistry. She’s also an Academic Peer Advisor.

Thomas Co-Authors 5 Studies on Oceanic Environmental Stress

Ellen Thomas, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Integrative Sciences, is the co-author of five scientific papers.

All are part of the output of international collaborations of which her Wesleyan-based research was a part, funded by the National Science Foundation over the last three years.

“All the studies look at different aspects of the behavior of microscopic organisms in the oceans under past environmental stress, whether caused by the impact of the asteroid that killed the dinosaurs, or past episodes of global warming or cooling, and at the effect of different rates of environmental change on these life forms,” she said. “We then use these past effects to look into potential effects of future global warming on these oceanic organisms and oceanic ecosystems in general.”

The papers are:

Photosymbiosis in planktonic foraminifera across the Palaeocene Eocene Thermal Maximum,” published in the March 2021 issue of Paleobiology.

Bentho-pelagic Decoupling: The Marine Biological Carbon Pump During Eocene Hyperthermals,” published in the March 2021 issue of Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology.

Updating a Paleogene magnetobiochronogical timescale through graphical interpretation,” published in the January 2021 issue of MethodsX.

Turnover and stability in the deep sea: benthic foraminifera as tracers of Paleogene global change,” published in the November 2020 issue of Global and Planetary Change.

In addition, her paper “Benthic foraminiferal turnover across the Dan-C2 event in the eastern South Atlantic Ocean (ODP Site 1262),” is forthcoming in the June 2021 issue of Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology.

Stewart Leads Annual Earth Rant in Honor of Earth Month

In honor of Earth Day, Professor of Physics Brian Stewart hosted his 14th annual Earth Week Rant titled "Last Call." During his hour-long talk and Q&A, Stewart discussed global warming, fracking, fossil fuels, consumption, geoengineering, natural gas, and creating social change.

In honor of Earth Day, Professor of Physics Brian Stewart hosted his 14th annual Earth Week Rant titled “Last Call.” During his hour-long talk and Q&A, Stewart discussed global warming, fracking, fossil fuels, consumption, geoengineering, natural gas, and creating social change.

stewart

Stewart began his talk by showing the New York Times’s breaking news story, “Biden Will Commit the U.S. to Halving Greenhouse Gas Emissions by 2030.” “I’ll just give you my ask right now,” Stewart said. “How can you help make this possible? If we are to truly reduce the emissions of greenhouse gases level that enables humanity as well as the other beings we share Earth with to exist, what will be necessary? Think about ways you can contribute to an avalanche of public opinion that eventually makes this possible.”

"Thanks to the superb record-keeping in Japan," Stewart noted, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto peaked on March 26, the earliest in more than 1,200 years.

“Thanks to the superb record-keeping in Japan,” Stewart noted, the cherry blossoms in Kyoto peaked on March 26, the earliest in more than 1,200 years. “This record is another indication of phenological change—that is to say the changes in the behavior of natural organic systems—responding to climate change.”

“You Just Have to Read This. . .” Books by Wesleyan Alumni Aspray ’73, MA ’73, Morris ’76, Roth ’70

In this continuing series, Annie Roach ’22, an English and Italian studies major from Middletown, Del., reviews alumni books and offers a selection for those in search of knowledge, insight, and inspiration. The volumes, sent to us by alumni, are forwarded to Olin Library as donations to the University’s collection and made available to the Wesleyan community.

Deciding Where to Live coverWilliam Aspray ’73, MA ’73 and Melissa Ocepek (editors), Deciding Where to Live (Rowman & Littlefield, 2020)

In the past year, our choice of residence has become more crucial than ever. In fact, the pandemic has caused many people to house-hunt, pack up and move away, ready for a change of scenery. Deciding Where to Live, edited by William Aspray and Melissa G. Ocepek, comes at a timely moment, as it is a comprehensive guide to some of the more elusive and less recognized aspects of deciding where to call home. The two editors and 11 authors rely heavily on information studies to ground their logic, focusing on specific case studies that demonstrate the various ways in which humans interact with information and how these behaviors affect real estate. The book also explores social and cultural factors involved in decision-making, drawing on race and gender studies, as well as addressing the impacts of the pandemic. Therefore, the work seamlessly combines a variety of disciplines—while it is centered on information studies, the authors also draw on scholarship in psychology, sociology, political science, and more.

As informational as it is thought-provoking, the book compels readers to understand recent shifts in real estate that have been affected by contemporary realities like social media, the internet, and the pandemic. Readers will be drawn not only to the facts and statistics, but also to the cultural and social deep-dives in several of the sections.

William Aspray ’73, MA ’73 is a senior research fellow at the Charles Babbage Institute at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. Prior to his current position, he was a senior faculty member at various information schools, including the University of Indiana (Bloomington), the University of Texas (Austin), and the University of Colorado (Boulder). He earned a BA and MA in mathematics from Wesleyan, and his interests include computer history, information history, everyday information behavior, information policy, food studies, and broadening participation in computing.

Janvey ’06 Wins 2021 Oscar for Producing Nomadland

Producers Peter Spears, from left, Frances McDormand, Chloe Zhao, Mollye Asher and Dan Janvey, winners of the award for best picture for "Nomadland," pose in the press room at the Oscars on Sunday, April 25, 2021, at Union Station in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

Producers Peter Spears, Frances McDormand, Chloé Zhao, Mollye Asher, and Dan Janvey ’06 are winners of the 2021 Academy Award for Best Picture for Nomadland. (AP Photo/Chris Pizzello, Pool)

A film produced by Dan Janvey ’06 titled Nomadland was the recipient of a 2021 Oscar presented during the 93rd Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Awards on April 25.

Nomadland not only won Best Motion Picture of the Year, but director/producer Chloé Zhao was the second woman to win the Best Directing Award and the first woman of color to win the award.

Janvey, who majored in film studies at Wesleyan, shares the Best Picture award with co-producers Zhao, Frances McDormand, Peter Spears, and Mollye Asher.

Janvey also produced the film Beasts of the Southern Wild, which was nominated for an Academy Award in 2013 and was the winner of the Back Reel Awards in 2013.

Nomadland also won a 2021 Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature; a 2021 Chicago Indie Critics Award for Best Independent Film; a 2021 Gold Derby Award for Best Motion Picture; a 2021 Gotham Award for Best Feature; a 2021 Latino Entertainment Journalists Association Film Award for Best Picture; a 2021 North Dakota Film Society Award for Best Picture; a 2021 BAFTA Award for Best Film; a 2021 CinEuphoria Award for International Competition—Best Film; a PGA Award for Outstanding Producer of Theatrical Motion Pictures; and a 2021 British Independent Film Award for Best International Independent Film.

Art Studio Seniors Display Thesis Exhibitions from the Art Studio Program in the Zilkha Gallery

Gabriela Banda presented a series of oil paintings on stretch canvas titled "MIRA PA’CÁ."

Gabriela Banda ’21 presented her art studio thesis, “MIRA PA’CÁ,” during the Senior Thesis Exhibition’s virtual opening reception on April 21.

This month, the Center for the Arts is hosting three virtual opening receptions for 19 graduating art studio majors to showcase their work as part of the Senior Thesis Exhibition.

Since Zilkha Gallery is only open to Wesleyan students, faculty, and staff during the pandemic, the virtual format allows alumni, parents, friends, and other members of the Wesleyan community to view the students’ work.

“We’re hoping to create access—especially for those of you who are not on campus—to see these shows in person and see what [the artists’] work looks like in space and scale,” said Benjamin Chaffee, associate director of visual arts and adjunct instructor of art. “We’ll also have a chance for some brief conversations with each of the artists who can enlighten us about their process. Our hope is that these conversations might approximate one aspect of an opening reception—the opportunity to hear directly from the exhibiting artist about their work.”

4 Students Win Case for a Cause Competition

elebrating the win outside of the Butterfields dorm. April 9, 2021. Left to right: Ransho Ueno, Pim Wandee, Sarah Rizky Ardhani, and Asa Sakornpant

Ransho Ueno ’23, Pim Wandee ’23, Sarah Rizky Ardhani ’23, and Asa Sakornpant ’23 celebrate their Case for a Cause competition victory near the Butterfields Residences on April 9.

Four Wesleyan sophomores won consulting company Roland Berger’s annual Case for a Cause competition on Friday, April 9.

The competition, which raises money for the Make-A-Wish-Foundation, gives students a space to apply their practical skills and simulate strategy consulting work.

Asa Sakornpant ’23, Natchanok (Pim) Wandee ’23, Sarah Rizky Ardhani ’23, and Ransho Ueno ’23 belong to the Consulting Pathways Club and are all pursuing the data analysis minor through Wesleyan’s Quantitative Analysis Center.

Sakornpant, Ardhani, and Ueno are Freeman Asian Scholars and were sponsored by the Gordon Career Center to take part in the competition.