Staff on the Move, August 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for August 2014:

Newly hired
Sydney Lewis was hired as an assistant dean of admission on Aug. 4.

William Jack was hired as the associate dean of admission and financial aid on Aug. 4.

Nicholas Vennochi was hired as a sports information intern on Aug. 11.

Caitlyn DeClement joined the President’s Office as an office assistant on Aug. 18.

Martin Oversees Student Employment, Counsels Families on Financial Aid Issues

Sean Martin.

Sean Martin, senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office, says most students work an average of five to 10 hours per week. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

This year, The Wesleyan Connection will feature conversations with students who perform important work all over campus, and out in the Middletown community. In this issue, we speak with Sean Martin, senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office, who oversees student employment.

Q: Sean, please tell us about your role as senior associate director in the Financial Aid Office.

A: I’ve been working in the Financial Aid Office at Wesleyan for going on 10 years, and my responsibilities there have expanded over time. One aspect of my job is overseeing all facets of student employment. I spend a good amount of my time reading files of applicants and current students, and counseling students and families about financial aid issues. I also do various other things, including serving as liaison to Athletics and ITS.

Q: How many students have jobs at Wesleyan?

A: Students can work on campus whether they are eligible for work-study funding or not. Approximately 1,500 students work on-campus each year, roughly 1,100 of whom are work-study eligible students.

Q: How many hours do students typically work each week?

A: Most positions require students to commit to an average of five to 10 hours per week.

Rohde Hired as Wesleyan’s New Director of Public Safety

Scott Rohde will become director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Scott Rohde will become director of Public Safety on Oct. 1. (Photo courtesy of the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse)

Scott Rohde will become Wesleyan’s new director of Public Safety on Oct. 1.

Since 1998, Rohde has served as director of Police Services at the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse where he managed safety and security operations for a campus population of 10,000 students, faculty and staff. Prior to working in higher education, he worked for 10 years in municipal policing in a small town in Wisconsin.

Rohde holds an MBA from Cardinal Stritch University, and a BS from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, where he majored in criminal justice and minored in sociology.

“After an extensive search, I’m confident that we have found an experienced director who will work collaboratively with all of us to promote the safety and security of our community,” said Michael Whaley, vice president for student affairs, in an all-campus e-mail. “I want to extend my sincere thanks to the students, faculty and staff who served on the search committee for this important position, as well as to the many members of our campus community who interviewed finalists. Finally, I want to express my gratitude to Tony Bostick, who has served as interim director, and to the entire Public Safety team for their hard work and leadership during this transition.”


Coach McKenna Selected Members of USA Hockey National U22 Squad


Wesleyan women’s ice hockey coach Jodi McKenna.

Wesleyan women’s ice hockey coach Jodi McKenna was among the coaches charged with selecting the team members for the USA Hockey National U22 squad that competed in a three-game series with Canada Aug. 21-24. The U.S. team won all three contests. The games were considered a friendly series that begins the next ramp up to the 2018 Olympics, which will be held in South Korea in February of that year.

McKenna has been involved in Team USA coaching since the first call came in 2008.

“It’s an honor to be chosen and tremendous for my professional development but it can’t be at the expense of my commitment to Wesleyan and my family,” McKenna explained. She and her husband, Kevin Cunningham, an assistant men’s ice hockey coach at Connecticut College, have an infant son, Brayden. “I was quite surprised and extremely proud to be chosen.”

McKenna with the 2010 Olympic ice hockey team

McKenna with the 2010 Olympic ice hockey team

McKenna was an assistant coach for the 2010 Olympics under Mark Johnson, the legendary head coach at the University of Wisconsin who played in the National Hockey League for 10 years and was part of the U.S. gold-medal winning men’s ice hockey team during the 1980 Winter Olympics in Lake Placid, N.Y. The 2010 U.S. women’s ice hockey team secured a silver medal. McKenna had served as an assistant for the World Championships, also under Johnson, in 2009, and was part of the Team USA selection group in both 2008 and 2011. She took a leave-of-absence during the 2009-10 season for her Olympic assignment.

McKenna had worked some junior development camps prior to 2008 and had been an assistant coach at St. Lawrence University before taking over the reins at Wesleyan for the 2007-08 season. Her 2013-14 squad posted an overall record of 8-11-6, the team’s best mark in 11 seasons. With a 5-6-5 record in NESCAC play, the team’s best ever winning percentage in conference action, Wesleyan earned the fifth seed in the NESCAC tournament.

While it can be a bit demanding juggling all her responsibilities as a head coach and mother, McKenna sees her opportunities with Team USA as a positive.

“I always come away from the experience with some new ideas, a fresh perspective that allows me to apply what I’ve learned to my own players.”

For the future, McKenna has the Cardinals ready to become a force in the NESCAC. Last year, Wesleyan had at least a win or tie against every NESCAC rival.

“What I’m looking for in 2014-15 are some more complete weekends and for us to be more of a threat in the later stages of the NESCAC tournament,” she said. “We need to build on our success and make it a habit, not just a flash.”

Staff on the Move, July 2014

Newly hired

Sarah Jean Chrystler was hired as coordinator for special events on July 1.

Nara Giannella was hired as digital media specialist on July 1.

Frederick Ludwig was hired as assistant football coach on July 1.

Susannah Capron was hired as civic engagement fellow on July 7.

Huanan Li was hired as post doctoral research associate in Physics on July 7.

Shannon Nelson was hired as Center for Prison Education coordinator/fellow on July 7.

Benjamin Wohl was hired as assistant dean of admission on July 7.

Joseph Hopkins was hired as boiler tender on July 9.

Lindsay Rush was hired as research associate in Biology on July 14.

James Huerta was hired as assistant dean of admission on July 21.

Emily Pagano was hired as area coordinator for Residential Life on July 21.

Smith Kidkarndee was hired as post-doctoral clinical/counseling psychologist on July 28.


Marianne Calnen became associate director of planned giving on July 1.

Dan DiCenzo became head football coach in waiting on July 1.

Karen Kasprow became director of principal gifts on July 1.

Sarah-Jane Ripa became associate director of student services and outreach at Graduate Liberal Studies on July 1.

Frantz Williams became director of development on July 1.


Sarah Atwell, administrative assistant in Chemistry.

Katharine Henderson, research assistant.

Debra Holman, facilities manager.

David Thomas, assistant dean of admission.

Samantha Slade, assistant director of communications operations at University Relations.

Debbie Colucci is Equity Compliance Director, Deputy Title IX Coordinator

Deborah Colucci (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Deborah Colucci (Photo by Olivia Drake)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we talk to Debbie Colucci, who came to Wesleyan in June 2014 as the new equity compliance director and deputy Title IX coordinator.

Q: Welcome to Wesleyan, Debbie! Please briefly fill us in on your professional and personal background. What makes you uniquely qualified to take on this position?

A:  Personally, I have always been committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment that addresses the needs of a diverse population and provides a rewarding experience for all individuals.  I have a master’s degree in college student personnel and higher education administration and, while my career in higher education began on a traditional student affairs/residence life path, my more recent experiences have afforded me the opportunity to develop a unique skill-set related to equity initiatives. After spending many years developing and presenting programs related to inclusion, I left residence life and became the assistant project director for the Anti-Defamation League’s A WORLD OF DIFFERENCE® Institute.  The emphasis of that program is on communication, understanding, respect for differences, and contribution. That is when my career, and my understanding of my role in the world, shifted.

Staff on the Move, June 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for June 2014:

Newly hired
Maureen Zimmer was hired as the Academic Affairs coordinator on June 2.

Felicia Harrsch was hired as a research assistant on June 2.

Kendrick Wiggins was hired as a residential operations coordinator on June 2.

Lauren Davis was hired as a human resources coordinator/generalist on June 16.

Hira Jafri ’13, MA’14 was hired as an evaluation fellow/assistant on June 18.

Deborah Colucci was hired as the equity compliance director and Title IX coordinator on June 23.

Jeanne McNeff was hired as an administrative assistant for the College of East Asian Studies on June 25.

Mohit Bachhav was hired as a network specialist on June 30.


Jelisa Adair, Civic Engagement Fellow in the Center for Community Partnerships.

Zachary Fischman, Center for Prison Education Fellow in the Center for Community Partnerships.

Ann Gertz, administrative assistant in the College of East Asian Studies.

Ann Goodwin, associate vice president for development in University Relations.

Kimberly Ladd, sports information intern in University Communications.

Dale Lee, information services technician in Olin Library.

Dan Manuyag, senior assistant dean in the Office of Admission.

PIMMS Hosts Math Institute for Local Teachers, Teaching Artists

Wesleyan's Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) is hosting an Intel Math Institute for local teachers. PIMMS, a partner of the Green Street Arts Center, developed the course for Middletown and Meriden teachers. Thirty K-8 teachers are attending, along with two teaching artists from Green Street.

Wesleyan’s Project to Increase Mastery of Mathematics and Science (PIMMS) is hosting an Intel Math Institute for local teachers. PIMMS, a partner of the Green Street Arts Center, developed the course for Middletown and Meriden teachers. Thirty K-8 teachers are attending, along with two teaching artists from Green Street.

The 10-day Institute began June 23 and offers a space for interdisciplinary teaching and learning.

The 10-day Institute began June 23 and offers a space for interdisciplinary teaching and learning.


The Institute is co-taught by Christopher Rasmussen, assistant professor of mathematics (pictured at left), and math education specialist Sharon Heyman, currently the only Intel-trained instructors based in Connecticut (not pictured). Rasmussen taught an Intel Math course to teachers in the Danbury, Conn. area in 2013. Sara MacSorley, director of PIMMS and the Green Street Arts Center, is serving as project coordinator.


The Institute pairs an intensive, 80-hour math course with ongoing academic-year professional development and arts integration workshops, to help teachers link common concepts to classroom instruction.


The institute is supported by a Connecticut State Mathematics and Science Partnership grant.

Wesleyan Staff Row the Connecticut River

Phil Carney, head coach of men’s crew, taught nine staff members and community members how to row on June 24. The group launched from Wesleyan’s Macomber Boat House and rowed north on the Connecticut River. The group meets every Tuesday and Thursday throughout the summer, weather permitting, and welcomes new rowers.

On this day, the following people rowed: Sharon Belden Castonguay, director of the Wesleyan Career Center; Sarah Hopkins, employer relations coordinator; Lisa LaPlant, assistant to the president; Lauren Rubenstein, associate manager of media and public relations; Carol Scully, director of corporate, foundation and government grants; Brittany Richard, assistant director of The Wesleyan Fund; Cynthia Rockwell, associate editor of Wesleyan Magazine; Mariah Klaneski Reisner ’04; Harriet Epstein; and Christina Wasch.

sta_crew_2014-0624115759 sta_crew_2014-0624115913

Wesleyan Partners with Make-A-Wish Foundation to Grant Teen’s Wish of Becoming a Photographer

Wesleyan staff and the Green Street Arts Center are helping to make a dream come true for a Middletown girl with a life-threatening illness.


During a “Wish Granting” Ceremony June 17 at the Green Street Arts Center, Middletown resident Hannah received multiple donations from the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Wesleyan University and Broad Street Books. Nikon donated a zoom lens.

Hannah Vecchitto, 14, is passionate about photography and received a brand new camera for Christmas. Her dream, which she shared with Make-a-Wish Connecticut, was for the opportunity to learn the camera and the art of photography, as well as have the technology to work on her own photography as a true artist.

Make-a-Wish Connecticut grants wishes for children between 2-1/2 and 18 years old who are suffering from life-threatening medical conditions. This year, the Connecticut chapter, one of more than 60 regional chapters in the U.S. and its territories, is on track to grant 170 wishes.

According to Michael Dominick, community and media relations manager for the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut, each eligible child is assigned two wish granting volunteers. The volunteers meet with the family, get to know the child and help figure out how to fulfill his or her wish. One of Hannah’s volunteers reached out to Wesleyan for help in granting her wish.

On June 17 at Green Street Arts Center, Hannah was presented with a new Nikon camera lens and Macintosh computer equipped with photo-editing software. She also was given coupons for lessons in photojournalism and nature photography with Olivia Drake, campus photographer and editor, as well as fine art photography and photo editing lessons with Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant in the Chemistry Department and a photography teacher at Green Street. Green Street also offered Hannah an opportunity to exhibit her photographs later this year.

In addition, Broad Street Books outfitted Hannah and her brother with Wesleyan gear. Janan Unghire, owner of Sweet Pea Quilts & Crafts in Ivoryton, also is donating a photo quilt with 12 of Hannah’s photos.

Carrier-Brault, a cancer survivor, started taking photos 20 years ago and now focuses her craft on expressive art therapy.

“I am grateful to receive this amazing opportunity to share my love of photography. It my hope to provide Hannah with the skills to expand her natural photographic talents and to lead her into discovering that small inner voice, which sparks creativity into becoming a powerful tool for healing,” she said.

Like Hannah, Drake received her first camera at age 14. She’s been taking pictures of Wesleyan’s campus and campus events for almost 10 years, and photographs wildlife as a hobby.

“Hannah could have chosen a trip to Disneyland or another vacation, but her wish is to become a professional photographer. Photography is one way to tell a story. Through her photos, we’ll see what Hannah sees, feels and experiences,” Drake said. “I’m so touched and honored to help make Hannah’s wish come true. She’s a very special young lady, and based on photos that she’s shown me, she’s a pretty great photographer already!”

“We’re so glad that we could work with the Make a Wish Foundation to support Hannah in her dream to be a photographer. A great group of people donated their talents and passion to a beautiful little girl and we couldn’t be prouder of our team here at Green Street and Wesleyan,” MacSorley said. “I can’t wait to hear all about Hannah’s photography experiences and see her pictures hanging in our exhibit to share with the community.”

More photos of the June 17 “Wish Granting” Ceremony are below:


The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Connecticut donated photo editing software as part of Hannah’s wish to be a professional photographer. Pictured at left is Hannah’s brother, Calvin.

Staff on the Move, May 2014

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires and departures for May 2014:

Newly hired

Adam Fischer was hired as a research assistant/ lab coordinator in the Psychology Department on May 5.

Emily Macleod was hired by Information Technology Services as a web and mobile developer in the New Media Lab on May 12.

Sarah Hopkins was hired by the Career Center as an employer relations coordinator on May 27.


Mark Hellerman, research technician in the Biology Department.

Doug Gilchrist, boiler tender in the Central Power Plant.

Jason Raiti, associate director in the Investments Office.