Snapshots

53 Students Participate in Career Trek 2019

Fifty-three Wesleyan students explored the workforce firsthand during the Gordon Career Center’s Fall 2019 Career Treks.

Through five experiential learning trips, students directly connected with Wesleyan alumni and engaged with employers across a wide range of industries.

During the fall 2019 semester, the Gordon Career Center’s team of career advisors facilitated career treks to local, Connecticut-based employers: ESPN, Hartford Hospital’s Center for Education, Simulation and Innovation (CESI), LEGO Systems, Inc., and Pfizer. Additionally, the GCC hosted a day trip for students to Boston to attend the Reach(OUT) LGBTQA+ Career Conference at Northeastern University.

Alumni hosts included Rob King ’84, senior vice president of original content at ESPN; Jordan Schildhaus ’15, assistant account manager, and Ethan Sack ’97, head of US marketing at LEGO; and Giselle Reyes ’18, MA’19, senior associate scientist at Pfizer.

On Nov. 15, 14 Wesleyan students traveled to Enfield, Conn. to learn about a large global, family-owned company. Ethan Sack ’97, head of U.S. marketing, presented an informative overview and Jordan Schildhaus ’15, associate key account manager, moderated a panel discussion that included perspectives from other LEGO staff. Students toured the company, visited the company store to view LEGO product lines, and engaged with model shop staff.

On Nov. 15, 14 Wesleyan students traveled to Enfield, Conn., to learn about a large global, family-owned company: LEGO. Ethan Sack ’97 presented an informative overview and Jordan Schildhaus ’15 moderated a panel discussion that included perspectives from other LEGO staff. Students toured the company, visited the company store to view LEGO product lines, and engaged with model shop staff.

African Culture, Identity Showcased at Taste of Africa

As part of International Education Week, the African Student Association hosted Taste of Africa on Nov. 15 in Beckham Hall.

The event brought together students from different parts of the African continent and the diaspora to cook meals and showcase artifacts that are symbolic of their culture and identity. Participants shared, celebrated, honored, and educated the Wesleyan community about the diversity and richness of Africa, which transcends borders and continents.

Taste of Africa was co-sponsored by the Fries Center for Global Studies and Resource Center and was held in collaboration with student groups Ujamma, Caribbean Student Association, Haitian Student Collective, and Yaddi.

Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Nick Sng ’23)

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Greenhouse ’73, P’08 Lectures on the Past and Future of American Labor

Greenhouse lectures in the COL library

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08 discussed his book, Beaten Down, Worked Up, in the College of Letters Library. (Photo by Simon Duan ’23)

Steven Greenhouse ’73, P’08, author of Beaten Down, Worked Up: The Past, Present, and Future of American Labor, spoke in the College of Letters Library  on October 29 to a group that included Professor of History Ron Schatz’s class on American Labor History on Oct. 29, in the College Of Letters Library. His topic was “White Collar, Blue Collar and Gig Workers: What is the Future of American Labor?” The lecture was sponsored by the History Department and the College of Letters.

Greenhouse is a former New York Times labor reporter, and a review by Zephyr Teachout of Greenhouse’s book appeared in the paper on Oct. 3. Teachout called Greenhouse’s book an “engrossing, character-driven, panoramic new book on the past and present of worker organizing.” Teachout wrote: “There’s an enormous upheaval in the American workplace right now, and those who tell you they know how the next decade will pan out—for good or ill—don’t know their history. That’s one of the main lessons of Beaten Down, Worked Up … ”

Speaking to those gathered in the COL library, Greenhouse provided some of that history, drawing parallels between a piecework laborer in New York City’s garment district in the late 1800s to 20-something freelance workers putting in long hours hunched over their computers at home in today’s gig economy. He notes that some Uber drivers used to make more money per hour until upper management halved their pay rate, making it nearly impossible to support one’s family, even working 60 hours a week. He observed that Kickstarter, supposedly a labor-friendly organization, fired three out of eight people who were on a unionization committee. He further noted that Amazon now employs often inexperienced independent contractors as delivery drivers who have been involved in a number of serious auto accidents.

Ethnic Food, Art at 3rd Annual Languages Lead the Way

As part of International Education Week at Wesleyan, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted its third annual “The Languages Lead the Way” on Nov. 20 in Fisk Hall. This food, arts, and crafts event focused on conversing in the target languages of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, and American Sign Language.

As part of International Education Week at Wesleyan, the Fries Center for Global Studies hosted its third annual Languages Lead the Way event on Nov. 20 in Fisk Hall. This food, arts, and crafts event focused on conversing in the target languages of Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Arabic, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian, Portuguese, German, Hebrew, Hindi-Urdu, and American Sign Language.

The event was facilitated by Foreign Language Teaching Assistants (FLTAs) from China, Japan, Tunisia, France, Italy, Spain, and Colombia, as well as Teaching Assistants and Wesleyan students from all these languages.

The event was facilitated by Foreign Language Teaching Assistants, teaching assistants, and students representing all 15 Wesleyan language departments. More than 200 guests attended the event. In order to receive food, participants were asked to learn a few words and phrases of the target languages. “It is meant to be an interactive, fun, and educational event,” said Kia Lor, assistant director of language and intercultural learning. “This is one of the several ways the Fries Center for Global Studies is cultivating and empowering a community of practice of language learners, teachers, and practitioners. We believe creating this interconnected community of practice will help individuals achieve intercultural skills, cultural self-awareness, empathy, and mutual understanding. When we can practice these skills among ourselves, we can then translate them into the world at large.”

Swain ’90 Passes through Middletown, Honoring Children who Died in Federal Custody

Christopher Swain '90

Christopher Swain ’90 carries a torch through Middletown.

Human rights advocate Christopher Swain ’90 returned to Middletown last week, carrying an Olympic-style torch during what will be a nearly 5,000-mile journey to the spot where the US-Mexico border begins at the Gulf of Mexico, and then on through the border states to San Diego.

Swain, a parent of two, is participating in a March for the Kids, honoring the memory of the six children known to have died in federal custody.

He is hoping to bring awareness of the children who have been separated from their families and imprisoned and lost at the border; to advocate for all children to be found, freed, and reunited with family; and to share the voices and hopes of the people he meets along the way.

“I don’t know how we will find all of these kids. I don’t know how we will free all of these kids. And I don’t know how we will get them all back to their families. And I don’t know what it will take to make amends,” he said. “But I do know this—even if it takes a moon landing-level effort—we can find a way.”

Swain plans to walk, and occasionally run, 15 to 20 miles per day, five to six to days per week, stopping to refuel his torch every 45 minutes or so.

“The torch is a symbol of hope. I am keeping the flames of hope alive for these children and their families,” Swain said.

Swain invites anyone who feels strongly about the issue of the children to join him.

“If you have ideas about how to find and free these kids, I invite you to walk along with me and share those ideas. Let’s find a way, together.”

Swain graduated from Wesleyan with a double major in French literature and film studies. He stayed on to work for the Wesleyan Development Office until 1992. He also swam through Middletown in the Connecticut River as part of a Swim for Human Rights during the summer of 1996.

“I used to row crew for Wesleyan. I walked into Middletown on Friday over the Arrigoni Bridge from Portland. I used to row under that bridge. And I swam under that bridge during my Swim for Universal Human Rights in 1996. It’s not just another bridge to me,” he said. “And Middletown is not just another town.”

While in Middletown, Swain made a point of connecting with one of his favorite professors, Jeanine Basinger, as he passed the 160-mile mark of his March. “Jeanine transmitted the values of discipline, deep work, and clear thinking to her students. The values and skills she taught me shape my work every day.”

Swain’s March for the Kids is supported entirely by donations. Through a crowdfunding effort, he hopes to raise enough to cover the costs of the march, crew, equipment, and events, and eventually, a documentary film. For more information, follow Swain on Twitter @marchforthekids or email MarchForTheKids@gmail.com.

Karimi Shares Enzyme Research during Graduate Speaker Series

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Neuroscience and biology BA/MA graduate student Helen Karimi presented a Graduate Speaker Series talk on Nov. 1.

On Nov. 1, neuroscience and biology BA/MA graduate student Helen Karimi presented a Graduate Speaker Series talk titled “All good things come in pairs: Uncovering the activity of BcnI through co-localization microscopy.”

Karimi’s talk focused on restriction endonucleases (REases), a large family of enzymes that make sequence-specific cuts in DNA. As her abstract details, type IIP REases usually cleave sequences as homodimers. However, BcnI, an enzyme belonging to this subtype, acts in a different way. Karimi’s work aims to observe the fine details of BcnI’s cleavage mechanism by using Total Internal Reflection Fluorescence (TIRF) microscopy, an imaging technique in which only molecules within a few hundred nanometers of a glass surface are illuminated.

King ’97, Perez ’98, Santana ’98 at 27th Dwight L. Greene Symposium

Allison Williams at the podim introducing the speakers

On Nov. 2, the 27th Annual Dwight L. Greene Symposium presented “Changing the Narrative: Women of Color Impacting Culture through Storytelling.” Vice President for Equity & Inclusion/Title IX Officer Alison Williams ’81 introduced the panel. “Our topic today is near and dear to my heart. Telling our stories, changing the narratives, and women of color telling their stories and impacting culture through storytelling.” (Photos by Rich Marinelli)

Alumni speakers on stage

From left to right: Maria Santana ’98, New York-based anchor and correspondent for CNN En Español and frequent contributor to all CNN networks and platforms; Chrishaunda Lee Perez ’98, writer, producer, and orator best known for her popular debut novel, We Come as Girls, We Leave as Women; and moderator Kimberly King ’97, chair of the Alumni of Color Council and a marketing professional. This is not the first time these three women have come together to hold a dialogue in front of an audience: the first iteration of their panel was organized by Perez two years ago in New York City. With photos from their undergraduate days projected behind them, King opened the dialogue by asking, “What better way to talk about storytelling, than to start with a story?” According to King, “My narrative never looked like anyone else’s and I was able to find a space for myself when I was at Wesleyan.” Noted Santana, “If something doesn’t exist at Wesleyan, you create it.”

Photos of three alumnae on stage

Perez called Wesleyan “the best place to explore your ideas, and everybody is supporting you—that’s the school I remember.” Despite her deep interest in developing a career in fashion, she chose to attend Wesleyan rather than art school. “I told my mother, I want to meet future dentists; I want to meet future physicians. And I can dress everybody!” Drawing from friends pursuing majors across the curriculum, Perez was able to assemble a group around her interests, even holding her “very first fashion show.”

Women on stage

Santana recalls that she was shy when she arrived on campus, but at Wesleyan she learned to “figure things out by myself.” She and seven other Latinx students formed a dance group, Caliente, which would perform at La Casa house parties. With an appearance onstage at the all-campus talent show, Caliente gained popularity and grew to include about 35 multicultural members. “Seeing what it started out as and what it became was an obsession for me,” says Santana. “This group was where I gained a lot of confidence.” Noting her current career in front of a television camera, she says, “Wesleyan is the place that made it all happen.”

Annual Liberal Arts + Forum Highlight of Recent Trip to Asia

At the second annual Liberal Arts + forum in Beijing on Oct. 19, from left, Richard Adelstein, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, and Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, spoke on a panel moderated by Julia Zhu '91 about Wesleyan's unique interdisciplinary approach to teaching economics and environmental studies.

At the second annual Liberal Arts + Forum in Beijing on Oct. 19, Richard Adelstein, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economics, left, and Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies, center, spoke on a panel moderated by Julia Zhu ’91, right, about Wesleyan’s unique interdisciplinary approach to teaching economics and environmental studies.

In October, President Michael Roth and other Wesleyan faculty and staff traveled to Asia to meet with alumni, parents, prospective families, and others. The trip included visits to Seoul, Beijing, and Taipei.

A highlight of the trip was Wesleyan’s second annual Liberal Arts + Sustainable Economic Development Forum, which took place in Beijing on Oct. 19. Last year, Wesleyan held the inaugural Liberal Arts + Forum in Shanghai, which highlighted film education and US-China collaborations. (Read the story here.)

Over 100 people attended this year’s forum, including prospective students and families, current parents, counselors, and alumni. The day started with an “admission 101” workshop by Associate Dean of Admission James Huerta that provided invaluable insights for prospective families preparing for the college admission process.

Attendees regrouped in the afternoon for Roth’s opening remarks, which highlighted the importance of interdisciplinary learning and how a liberal arts education equips students with a lifetime of important skills. This was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Julia Zhu ’91, entrepreneur and CEO of Phoenix TV Culture and Live Entertainment Company; Richard Adelstein, the Woodhouse/Sysco Professor of Economic; and Barry Chernoff, the Robert Schumann Professor of Environmental Studies. The speakers discussed Wesleyan’s unique interdisciplinary approach to teaching economics and environmental studies. Later, Tian Ai ’06 and Yinghai Xie ’97, alumni working in the financial services industry, shared their insights into the value of a liberal arts education in personal growth and careers in the second panel, moderated by Ted Plafker ’86, P’17, ’18.

Forum attendee and volunteer Tianhua Shao P’21 commented, “It’s such a privilege to serve as a parent volunteer. Although the forum took a day, I had the valuable opportunity to talk with President Roth, professors, and alumni, and enhance my understanding of liberal arts education and Wesleyan. As a transfer, my daughter is taking full advantage of Wesleyan’s open curriculum and thrives at Wesleyan each and every day!”

Halloween Celebrated with Parade, Decorative Pumpkin Displays

In honor of Halloween, several offices created or carved decorative pumpkins. Usdan University Center hosted its 11th annual Usdan Pumpkin Contest with Public Safety, Residential Life, Events and Conferences, Cardinal Tech, Usdan Operations, the Office of Religious and Spiritual Life, and Student Leadership and Development (SALD) and Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA) Office participating. SALD/WSA Office won the contest with its Dia de los muertos pumpkin. The Office of University Communications carved and painted pumpkins and displayed them in offices in South College and Exley Science Center.

Photos below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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Freeman Scholars Gather for Group Photos, Dinner

More than 40 Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholars gathered for their annual group photos and dinner on Oct. 27.

The Freeman Asian Scholarship Program provides expenses for a four-year course of study toward a bachelor’s degree for up to 11 exceptionally able students annually from these countries and regions: the People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, and Vietnam.

The program was established in 1994–95 and supported scholars for 20 years through the generosity of the Freeman family—Mansfield Freeman ’16, P’43, Hon. ’79; Houghton Freeman ’43, P’77, Hon. ’93; Doreen Freeman P’77, Hon. ’03; and Graeme Freeman ’77.

Wesleyan continues to honor the Foundation’s legacy through this scholarship, which aims to improve understanding and strengthen ties between the United States and the countries and regions of the Pacific Rim. A number of early Wesleyan graduates were influential educators and ministers in Asian countries, and today Wesleyan has formal ties to several prominent universities in Asia.

Photos of the gathering are below: (Photos by Simon Duan ’23)

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Class of 2023.