Campus News & Events

2 Staff, 1 Student Receives Peter Morgenstern-Clarren ’03 Social Justice Awards

The Peter Morgenstern-Clarren ’03 Social Justice Awards recognize students and staff members who promote social justice and activism on campus and beyond. This year, the staff recipients are Mario Torres, who works for Physical Plant, and Astrid Vidal, a Service Management Group employee who works in residence halls. The student recipient is Kevonte Payton ’22.

The award was created in memory of Morgenstern-Clarren, who dedicated his time on campus to social justice.

His activism included securing benefits for Wesleyan custodial staff, participating in the United Student and Labor Action Committee, and contributing his leadership to the campus chapter of Amnesty International,” the award description reads. “We are grateful to Dr. Hadley Morgenstern-Clarren and The Honorable Pat Morgenstern-Clarren for their generosity in sponsoring this award honoring their son’s activism for the public good.”

Each recipient will receive a $1,500 prize.

Mario Torres serves as a materials handler for Physical Plant and is actively involved in student life on campus, notably through Forklift Danceworks, which uses performance and storytelling to shine light on essential workers.

“Mario has been instrumental in helping with location selection, working with students directly, attending meetings, giving up personal time, and being a mentor to myriad students over the years via this program [Fork Lift],” Director of Physical Plant Operations Michael Conte wrote to the award committee. “The program continues this semester as it has for the past 5 years or so. Mario has been along for the ride since its inception and has provided invaluable service to this program.”

Astrid Vidal works diligently to keep residence halls on campus clean and shares her positive energy with the students she sees on a daily basis. Especially during the pandemic, her work has been essential to keeping campus open.

“I have worked with her and actually seen the work she does – clean every bathroom, every study room, wipe every window, take out all the heavy trash bags even as an older woman,” Tamara Riviera ’21 wrote to the award committee. “While doing all this strenuous work, she still manages to smile and stay positive. I could not imagine doing it all myself. We appreciate our professors on campus for providing us with education, but Astrid deserves this award for providing students with back-breaking work in order to keep the campus running.”

Kevonte Payton ’22

Kevonte Payton ’22

Kevonte Payton ’22 is a double major in government and history. He is involved with three hip-hop dance groups, Fusion, Xtasy, and Troupe, was a research assistant for Professor Wendy Rayack, and served as Wesleyan’s Questbridge Chapter President for the 2020-2021 academic year.

“Academically, Kevonte has chosen to take classes and pursue research projects that explore social justice issues, such as race, education, employment, and incarceration in the black community,” Senior Assistant Dean of Admission Jane Tran wrote. “Recently, Kevonte shared with me he was selected by the Meigs History Society to perform research for the local Middletown museum pertaining to black-owned barbershops. These businesses were overlooked, deemed unimportant by history as their records, stories do not exist. Through this studentship opportunity, he plans to bring them back to life.”

Additionally, when the pandemic hit, Payton started a tutoring and teaching service in his community.

“This small program that I started cost families nothing because I wanted to give back to my community and take down this barrier because of the lack of financial resources,” Payton wrote in his personal statement for the award.

He emphasized that he tried to help the kids he worked with in as many capacities as he could.

“I did everything from ACT prep for high school students to math and writing workshops, helped with FAFSA, and even made personalized plans for some students who needed extra help,” Payton wrote. “I tried my best to fill every role that I could, from teacher to college counselor, so that students in my community would not fall as behind as we already were compared to other communities. I met with students as often as their parents would let me.”

Poulos Publishes Paper on Arizona Wildfires

Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies, is the lead author on a research article titled “Wildlife severity and vegetation recovery drive post-fire evapotranspiration in a southwestern pine-oak forest, Arizona, USA” published in Remote Sensing in Ecology and Conservation on May 8, 2021.
Undergraduates Michael Freiburger ’21 and Hunter Vannie ’20 assisted in collecting field data.

From the paper’s abstract:

In this study, post-fire ET was driven by plant species composition and tree canopy cover. ET was significantly higher in the morning and midday in densely vegetated post-fire shrublands than pine-dominated forests that remained 5–7 years after wildfire. Our results demonstrate that plant functional traits such as resprouting and desiccation tolerance drive post-fire ET patterns, and they are likely to continue to play critical roles in shaping post-fire plant communities and forest water cycling under future environmental change.

The paper is Poulos’ first to result from her NASA ECOSTRESS project. She received a $300,000 grant from NASA in 2019 to study how high-severity wildfires in southern Arizona can permanently affect forests. The project uses data recorded by the ECOsystem Spaceborne Thermal Radiometer Experiment on Space Station (ECOSTRESS) instrument on the International Space Station.

Chapbook By Ramos-Jordán ’21 Published by Center for Book Arts

Katerina Ramos-Jordán ’21

Katerina Ramos-Jordán ’21

In 2020, Katerina Ramos-Jordán ’21 won first prize in the Center for Book Arts Chapbook Contest for her chapbook titled “ECHOESISTEMAS /lentos cerramientos.” Now, her work has now been published in book form, designed and produced by book artist Erika Morillo.

Ramos-Jordán, born in Puerto Rico, is a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow and a 2020 recipient of the Beinecke Scholarship. She is double majoring in English and dance with a concentration in Caribbean studies.

“This collection is dense in its tenderness, adding tildes (accent marks) to words in English, harboring dialect, and embracing blank space as cavernous,” contest judge Raquel Salas Rivera wrote. “Its rootless branches continue to sound off long after and before origin.”

 

 

Lin ’22 Wins Poster Award for Work on DNA, Chromosomes, and Gene Regulation

Shawn Lin '22

Shawn H. Lin ’22

Shawn H. Lin ’22 is the recipient of a 2021 poster award from the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology’s 25th Annual Undergraduate Poster Competition. Lin’s poster took the prize in Category 3: DNA, Chromosomes and Gene Regulation.

This is the second poster award Lin has won this year. In March, he was honored with the Biophysical Society’s Undergraduate Poster Award for his work titled “Elucidation of Interactions Between Integration Host Factor and a DNA Four-Way Junction.”

Lin is a Freeman Asian Scholar from Taiwan and is majoring in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry (MB&B). Lin also works in the labs of his advisors, Ishita Mukerji, Fisk Professor of Natural Science and professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, and Candice Etson, assistant professor of physics.

Lin, along with four other students, has recently been inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society.

Lennox Discusses History on Podcast “Getting Curious With Jonathan Van Ness”

Jeffers Lennox

Jeffers Lennox

Associate Professor of History Jeffers Lennox was featured on a May 4 episode of the podcast Getting Curious with Jonathan Van Ness. In an episode titled  “What Was Canada Up To During The American Revolution? with Professor Jeffers Lennox,” Lennox spoke about Canada and the American Revolution.

The podcast, which is hosted and created by Van Ness, an Emmy-nominated television star and New York Times bestselling author, focuses on different topics each week. Van Ness interviews experts in various fields and delves into the subjects in which they specialize.

The episode began with Van Ness asking an overarching question: “What’s the deal with Canada’s origin story?”

Lennox spoke about how parts of Canada were originally colonies at the time of the American Revolution, though they did not choose to join the fight. However, these were not the first people to live on the land.

“Like all of North America, the territories that become Canada were just indigenous homelands. There had been indigenous people living in the Northeast for 12,000 years before settlers arrived,” Lennox explained.

He also expanded on the history of French influence in Canada.

“The French settlers stayed [on the land],” Lennox said. “That’s why if you go to Montreal or Quebec City, or anywhere in Quebec and lots of places in Nova Scotia, it’s primarily French speakers, but the administration leaves, and now the British are governing this French population of like 70,000 settlers, plus trying to deal with indigenous allies and indigenous enemies.”

Towards the end of the episode, Lennox elaborated on how Canada tends to be overlooked in contemporary culture.

“That is a fairly recent thing,” he said. “Canada at the time of the American Revolution and through the 19th century was certainly on the minds of most Americans because it was developing this sort of parallel track that was so similar in so many ways but demonstrated an alternative way of maintaining ties to Britain. Different ways of handling slavery and enslaved peoples, indigenous relations — all this kind of stuff that Americans paid attention to.

Lennox emphasized the interconnectedness of the relationship between the United States’ origins and the development of Canada.

“What I want people to understand is that the creation of the United States wasn’t a United States project,” Lennox explained. “It was a continental project. And those who did not participate in the revolution played a fundamental role in the way that Americans came to think about themselves and then how they established a country that could then foster that identity.”

Lennox’s work focuses on Early North America, from the 17th century to the 19th century. This semester, he is teaching Intro to History: Resistance and Revolution in the Atlantic World, 1500-1850 and Oh Canada: Indigenous Resistance and Settler Colonialism, 1776-1896.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Students Inducted Into American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology Honor Society

ASBMBThis year, five Wesleyan students were inducted into the American Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (ASBMB) Honor Society. Thirty-one students nationwide were given this honor.

Inducted students must be juniors or seniors with a GPA of 3.4 or higher on a 4.0 scale, belong to a student chapter of the ASBMB, and “demonstrate exceptional achievement in academics, undergraduate research and science outreach,” according to the website.

The inducted students include the following:

Nour-Saïda Harzallah ’21, a College of Integrative Sciences student majoring in molecular biology & biochemistry (MB&B) and physics. Harzallah, from Tunisia, works in Professor Francis Starr’s physics lab, belongs to the Wesleyan Women in Science steering committee, and is a STEM intern for the Office of Equity and Inclusion.

“Her involvement in racial and gender equity in STEM has shaped her commitment to work on projects that serve the underrepresented and marginalized outside the lab and from the lab bench,” reads her ASBMB bio. “Her wildest dream is to develop initiatives that translate cutting-edge technologies into accessible and marketable means of diagnosis and therapeutics in her home country of Tunisia.”

Jack Kwon ’21, who works with Professor of Biology Michael Weir to study the ribosome.

“We are aiming to elucidate the function of a highly conserved region of the ribosome called the “CAR interaction surface” through wet lab experiments and dry lab Molecular Dynamics simulations,” Kwon wrote in his ASBMB bio. Kwon intends to graduate with a master’s degree in MB&B through Wesleyan’s BA/MA program before pursuing a PhD in a related field.

Shawn Lin ’22, who is majoring in biology, MB&B, and biophysics. Lin works in the MB&B lab of Professor Ishita Mukerji and the physics lab of Professor Candice Etson.

“His research topic is “Elucidation of interactions between integration host factor and a DNA four-way junction,” reads Lin’s ASBMB bio. “In addition to research, he is also the founder of NORDSAC (National Organization for Rare Disorders Student Association Connecticut). The goal of this organization is to raise awareness of rare disorders among students in Connecticut through fundraising, guest lectures, and rare disease day events.”

Alex Poppel, a master’s student in the MB&B department. Poppell works in Professor Amy MacQueen’s MB&B lab.

“As a member of Wesleyan’s ASBMB Student Chapter, his outreach involvement has mainly focused on improving his school’s community, such as by promoting undergraduate research opportunity awareness and equity and inclusion efforts in the sciences,” Poppel’s ASBMB bio reads.

Maya Vaishnaw ’21, a double major in psychology and MB&B. Vaishnaw works with Professor Erika Taylor in her chemistry lab.

“The Taylor Lab takes a multidisciplinary approach to characterizing enzymes with applied chemical and biomedicinal applications,” Vaishnaw’s ASBMB bio reads. “In the future, Maya hopes to pursue research in clinical genetics.”

 

Murillo Awarded Four Quartets Prize For Poetry

John Murillo

John Murillo

John Murillo, director of creative writing and assistant professor of English and African American studies, is the recipient of the 2021 Four Quartets Prize for his poem “A Refusal to Mourn the Deaths, by Gunfire, of Three Men in Brooklyn” from his poetry collection Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry (Four Way Books, 2020).

The prize, awarded by the T.S. Eliot Foundation and the Poetry Society of America, will bestow Murillo with $21,000. It was launched in 2018 to commemorate the 75th anniversary of T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets being published in a single volume of work and is given to a “unified and complete sequence of poems published in America in a print or online journal, chapbook, or book in 2020,” according to the prize’s website.

The judges’ citation says the poem “lights a match and holds us in the flame.”

“In this extraordinary fifteen-sonnet redoublé, the speaker meditates on the recent history of murderous racism in America that makes of Black men targets, and centers in the lyric space Black anger and Black pain,” the citation reads. “Murillo reminds us that his is a long lineage and each sonnet’s epigraph marks the genealogy of resistance Black poets continue to enact. Murillo’s anti-elegy demonstrates a lyrical virtuosity, passion, and command of language that makes this work urgent, essential, and enduring.”

Murillo has gained much recognition for his work this year alone, including winning the Tufts Kingsley Award for Poetry in April and being nominated for an NAACP Images Award for Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry in February. His collection was also longlisted for both the PEN/Voelcker and Believer Book Awards in January, and his poetry has been featured in American Poetry Review

This semester, Murillo is teaching Techniques of Poetry and Intermediate Poetry Workshop.

To view a video of Murillo reading from his winning poem, click here.

Bello ’22 Awarded Beinecke Scholarship

Zubaida Bello ’22

Zubaida Bello ’22

Zubaida Bello ’22 is one of 16 people nationwide to win the Beinecke Scholarship in 2021. Bello, who aims to pursue a PhD in history and become a college professor, will receive $4,000 immediately prior to entering graduate school, as well as $30,000 while attending.

Last year, the scholarship was awarded to Mellon Mays Fellow Katerina Ramos-Jordán ’21, who was the first Wesleyan student to receive the award in 13 years.

“The program seeks to encourage and enable highly motivated students to pursue opportunities available to them and to be courageous in the selection of a graduate course of study in the arts, humanities and social sciences,” reads the scholarship website.

At Wesleyan, Bello is a double major in African American studies and history, a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, and a Fall ’21 Center for Humanities fellow. She transferred to Wesleyan from Hampshire College, where she worked on a project that incorporated history, ethnography, and poetry to share the stories of the women in her family. This led Bello to enter and win New York City’s poetry slam, create an open mic collective, and write a manuscript called How to Stop the Burning, later published as her debut chapbook.

On campus, Bello’s Mellon Mays research focuses on the causes of gentrification in Brooklyn. She compares colonization and gentrification and uses archives and ethnography in order to delve into gentrified people’s experiences, as well as those of housing rights activists, redevelopers, and gentrifiers. Bello intends to share her research with Brooklyn nonprofits, such as the Brooklyn Tenant’s Council Inc. or the Housing Rights Initiative.

“Ultimately, I want to become a professor because I want to teach other people with my new understanding of history, build bonds with the communities I research, and publish books that exhibit my interdisciplinary understanding of history,” Bello wrote in her essay for the Beinecke Scholarship.

Bello, quoted in the Wes and the World blog, explained how she wants to use her studies in history to forge new paths for marginalized people and communities.

“I want to develop a pedagogy of history that gives due importance to the rebellious actions of marginalized people, that evades the apathy that often comes with Eurocentric, patriarchal standards of neutrality, and understands diverse modes of storytelling as other forms of history,” Bello said.

Wesleyan to Construct Renewed Public Affairs Center, Art Gallery

PAC

Construction will begin on the renewed Public Affairs Center in June 2021. (Illustration courtesy of Newman Architects)

Construction will soon begin on an interdisciplinary space in the heart of Wesleyan’s campus.

On June 1, Wesleyan will break ground on a renovated and expanded Public Affairs Center (PAC) and new art gallery located between the east end of Olin Library and the campus walkway behind Judd Hall.

The project involves a complete remodel of the current PAC building, which was constructed in 1927 as a dormitory; demolition of its east and west additions, which were added in 1954; and removal of the concrete and brick plaza, constructed in 1984.

PAC night

Students will travel through the PAC addition and the remodeled building through a multi-functioning space called “the forum.” (Illustration courtesy of Newman Architects)

A new, three-story brick structure, designed by Newman Architects, will be built atop of the former plaza site. It will connect to the remodeled PAC through an airy, multifunction, glass-walled space—known as the forum—that will provide access to the social sciences and study areas. Combined with the updated Public Affairs Center, the new facility will house 15 classrooms, 67 faculty offices, six meeting rooms, two lounges, and ample open space with seating and gathering areas. The top floor of the new addition will house the College for Social Studies main office and library, and access to a small courtyard on the roof.

After three months of abatement and demolition, groundbreaking for the new building will begin next fall.

new art gallery

The new art gallery building will be built with limestone blocks, similar to the material used in the Center for the Arts complex. (Illustration courtesy of Peterson Rich Architects)

Designed by Peterson Rich Architects, the new art gallery will be constructed simultaneously with the PAC remodel and addition. It will be located between the PAC and Olin Library and will contain a gallery for displaying pieces from the Davison Art Center’s collection and faculty and student installations. The new space will be accessible through the PAC and the walkways in front of, and behind Olin Library.

The new gallery building will complement the 2018 renovations made in Olin Library, which currently houses the DAC’s print collection.

The building will be constructed with limestone blocks to pay homage to the Center for the Arts complex. It will feature a glass-walled lobby, an outdoor teaching courtyard, an exterior forecourt gathering space, and an expansive gallery for exhibitions.

Both the gallery and Public Affairs Center addition will be extremely energy efficient, featuring green roofs, radiant ceilings and floors, displacement ventilation, sensor-controlled LED lighting, solar power panels, and low-maintenance native landscaping.

Classes will resume in the renewed PAC in Spring 2024.

A new, 193,00 square-foot science center would replace Hall Atwater Laboratory. (Illustration courtesy of Payette Architects)

A new, 193,00 square-foot science center would replace Hall Atwater Laboratory. (Illustration courtesy of Payette Architects)

sciences map

Shanklin would be restored, and house the College of the Environment, as part of the new sciences proposal. (Illustration courtesy of Newman Architects)

Wesleyan also is finalizing plans for a new science building, which is under review by Wesleyan’s Board of Trustees. If approved, the project could launch in 2023 and be completed by 2026.

The proposed, 193,000 square-foot-facility, would be built east of Shanklin and Hall-Atwater Laboratories, and nestled between Church Street and Lawn Avenue. Designed by Payette Architects, the modernized building would replace the 56-year-old Hall-Atwater Laboratory, and include 39 research and support labs, nine teaching labs, 10 classrooms, a vivarium, renovated greenhouse, outdoor spaces, and the Advanced Instrumentation Lab.

The Departments of Chemistry, Biology, and Molecular Biology and Biochemistry will move out of Hall-Atwater and Shanklin and he housed in the new building.

In addition, the historic Shanklin building, which was dedicated in 1928 as the Shanklin Laboratory of Biology, would be preserved and restored under the recent proposal. Construction, including a regrading project, would begin in 2026 and will be completed by 2028. The College of the Environment will move to the renovated space and occupy the second and third floors. The Center for Integrated Sciences will occupy the first floor.

The entire site would feature a network of accessible pathways and formal and informal gathering spaces linking Exley and Science Library with Shanklin and the new science building.

All projects will help modernize Wesleyan’s current programs and allow faculty and students to be equipped with better teaching and learning facilities. The projects are being funded through institutional funds and private support.

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.

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.”