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.

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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.

Bennett, Scott Receive Cardinal Achievement Awards

Nicola Bennett, administrative assistant in the Office of University Relations, and Lorna Scott, assistant to the vice president for student affairs, received a Cardinal Achievement Award in May.

Nicola Bennett

Nicola Bennett

Bennett was acknowledged for her efforts in supporting the 50th Reunion. According to her award announcement, “Bennett played a vital role in the development and production of this year’s 50th Reunion Class Book. Her creativity and organization skills, coupled with her eagerness to take on a new challenge, made this project a huge success. The Class of 1964 and University Relations are very fortunate to benefit from her great work.”

Lorna Scott

Lorna Scott

Scott was honored for her efforts in gathering data from the files of several hundred students related to their decisions to leave Wesleyan. This data provided critical information to staff in the Institutional Research area in time for them to analyze the data for the Retention Committee.

This special honor comes with a $150 award and reflects the university’s gratitude for those extra efforts. The award recipients are nominated by department chairs and supervisors. Nominations can be made anytime throughout the year.

For more information or to nominate a staff member for the award, visit the Human Resources website and scroll down to Cardinal Achievement Award under “Forms.”

Recipients will continue to be recognized in News@Wesleyan.

Wesleyan Staff Complete “Couch to 5K” Fitness Class

Participants included, from left, Nate Peters, Lisa LaPlant, Sherri Condon, Janice Watson, Mary Kelly, Renee Rasmussen, Beverly Hunter-Daniel, Michele Myers-Brown, Christine Daniels, Heather Minetti, and (not pictured) Tracey Stanley, Roseann Sillasen and Jennifer Enxuto.

“Couch to 5K” participants include, from left, Nate Peters, Lisa LaPlant, Sherri Condon, Janice Watson, Mary Kelly, Renee Rasmussen, Beverly Hunter-Daniel, Michele Myers-Brown and Christine Daniels. Heather Minetti, at right, is Wesleyan’s adult fitness coordinator.

On May 19, Wesleyan Adult Fitness finished its “Couch to 5K” fitness class. During the challenge, all participants successfully completed a 5K event at the Freeman Athletic Center outdoor track.

“Eleven hard working, committed staff took on this personal challenge with the goal of building the endurance and strength necessary to safely complete a 5K event,” said Heather Minetti, adult fitness coordinator. “Congratulations to this very dedicated group of staff.”

Participants included Tracey Stanley, Roseann Sillasen, Jennifer Enxuto, Nate Peters, Lisa LaPlant, Sherri Condon, Janice Watson, Mary Kelly, Renee Rasmussen, Beverly Hunter-Daniel, Michele Myers-Brown and Christine Daniels.

The group began training in March.

Staff on the Move

The Office of Human Resources reported the following new hires, advancements and transitions, and departures for April 2014:

Newly hired
Ryan Launder was hired as an administrative assistant for the Green Street Arts Center on April 14.
Doug Gilchrist was hired as a boiler tender in the Central Power Plant – Physical Plant on April 15.
Geralyn Ternullo was hired as an administrative assistant for the annual fund on April 21.
Meg O’Brien was hired as an associate director of financial planning on April 28.

Jennifer Curran was appointed Director of Continuing Studies. She served as Interim Director of Continuing Studies since November, before which she served as Associate Director for Student Services and Outreach in Continuing Studies and Graduate Liberal Studies.

Evan Carney, assistant dean of admissions.
Rob Schmidt, senior project manager of construction services.

Students, Faculty, Staff Honored with Helping Hand Awards

Daphne Kwok '84 was the keynote speaker.

Daphne Kwok ’84 was the keynote speaker.

Students, faculty and staff who exercised cultural sensitivity, helped promote diversity and inclusion, and improved the campus climate were recognized at the annual Edgar Beckham Helping Hand Awards ceremony held April 27. The event brought together generations of alumni, students, faculty and staff to celebrate the tenets that make Wesleyan “Diversity University.” The keynote speaker this year was Daphne Kwok ’84.

The awards are sponsored by the Administrators and Faculty of Color Alliance, African American Studies Program,  Alumni of Color Council,  Edgar Beckham Fund, Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship, and Office of Equity and Inclusion.

Honored at the ceremony were:


Foot in the Door Award (Freshman Award)- Sadasia McCutchen ’17

Excellence in Athletics Award- Angela Slevin ’15

Excellence in the Arts Award- Yiyang Wang ’15

Elsa Hardy '14

Elsa Hardy ’14

Excellence in Science Award- LaNell Williams ’15

Academic Excellence Award- Elsa Hardy ’14

Senior Legacy Award- Oladoyin Oladapo ’14

Campus Inspiration Award- Ari Ebstein ’16



Lois Brown, Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor, professor of African American studies, professor of English

Suzanne O’Connell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, faculty director of the McNair Program

Gina Ulysse, associate professor of anthropology

Renee Johnson-Thornton, dean for diversity and student engagement, coordinator of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship

Sarah Mahurin, visiting assistant professor of English, visiting assistant professor of African American studies
Photos of the event are below: (Photos by Diego Song ’15)

Helping Hands Awards 2014.

Helping Hands Awards 2014.

Debbie Sierpinski: Assisting 4 Departments, Editing Classics Newsletter

Debbie Sierpinski, administrative assistant, pictured here with Christi Richardson ’10, has worked at Wesleyan more than 24 years. She manages the budgets for Classical Studies and English Departments and for the Archaeology and Medieval Studies programs.

Q: Debbie, you’re the administrative assistant for the Archaeology Program, Medieval Studies Program and the Classical Studies Department. Anything else?!

A: In October 2010, I was given a promotion and added the responsibility of also working for the English Department and Writing Workshop in the new Downey House operations support system. At times it is a bit challenging, but I am good at managing my time and priorities so the work gets done in a timely fashion. I wear many different hats and wear them well.

Q: How many years have you worked for Wesleyan, and in what departments?

A: I have credit for 24 years at Wesleyan. I have been at Wesleyan longer than that but I did not bridge all of the time. I have worked for the Classical Studies Department and Medieval Studies Program for 18 years. After a few years, the Archaeology Program was added on and then most recently, the English Department