Tag Archive for Class of 2015

Weiner ’15 Studies Urban Agriculture, Community for Thesis

Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner '15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture."

Through hands-on fieldwork at East New York Farms!, Kate Weiner ’15 examined urban agriculture as a political project for her thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture.” (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

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In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Kate Weiner from the Class of 2015. Weiner is an anthropology and environmental studies major.

Q: Can you describe your thesis, “Reciprocity: Cultivating Community in Urban Agriculture”?

A: My thesis is an exploration of how community, identity and belonging interact in urban agricultural spaces, with my hands-on fieldwork with East New York Farms! serving as a case study for examining urban agriculture as a political project. Through melding creative non-fiction, feminist theory, community politics and environmental studies, the intention of my thesis is to provide a framework for understanding the various social, natural, socioeconomic and political factors that shape community-making within urban agriculture.

Q: How did you choose your thesis topic?

A: Arriving at my thesis subject was several years in the making. Throughout the summer of 2013, I photographed female urban farmers along the Eastern Seaboard

Rubin ’17, Brady ’15 to Study Critical Needs Languages Abroad

Lucy Rubin '17 will study Japanese in Hikone, Japan this summer. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Lucy Rubin ’17 will study Japanese in Hikone, Japan this summer. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Two Wesleyan students, Lucy Rubin ’17 and Aletta Brady ’15, have been awarded U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarships (CLS) to study critical needs languages abroad this summer. Rubin will study Japanese in Hikone, Japan, while Brady will study Arabic in Amman, Jordan.

Taylor’s Papers Published in Molecular Biosciences, Biochemistry Journals

Erika Taylor

Erika Taylor

Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies, has co-authored a paper published in FEBS Letters, an international journal established for the rapid publication of final short reports in the fields of molecular biosciences.

The paper, which is an expansion of her lab’s work on the enzyme Heptosyltransferase I, is titled “Cloning and Characterization of the Escherichia coli Heptosyltransferase III: Exploring Substrate Specificity in Lipopolysaccharide Core Biosynthesis,” The paper is co-authored by her former graduate student Jagadesh Mudapaka. FEBS Letters is published by Elsevier on behalf of the Federation of European Biochemical Societies.

Taylor also is the co-author of “Improving Alternate Lignin Catabolite Utilization of LigAB from Sphingobium sp. strain SYK-6 through Site Directed Mutagenesis,” published in Process Biochemistry, June 2015. The work in this paper describes molecular engineering of the enzyme LigAB to be better able to metabolize compounds derived from Lignin. Co-authors include Kevin Barry, PhD ’15; Erin Cohn ’15 and Abraham Ngu ’13.

Taylor presented her research “Thoughts about Adenosine: Efforts in Drug Discovery of Nucleoside Utilizing Enzymes” at the Gordon Research Conference: Nucleosides, Nucleotides and Oligonucleotides in July. Her talk described the work she is performing to help in drug discovery for two enzymes from E. coli, Heptosyltransferase I and the TrmD tRNA methyltransferase, and one human enzyme, p300 histone acetyl transferase.

“Our work in these systems involves computational modeling of interactions between small molecules and the enzymes, to help design new compounds with medical applications,” Taylor explained.

Students Present Research at Neuroscience and Behavior Symposium

On May 1, the Neuroscience and Behavior Program held its second annual undergraduate research symposium. Arranged in the format of a professional scientific conference, seniors in the program presented their research done in faculty labs, while students and faculty in attendance enjoyed dinner at Daniel Family Commons. Five seniors spoke and seven other students presented posters on topics ranging from sonification of measures of electrical activity in the brain to the study of characteristics of neuronal membranes. About 50 junior and senior neuroscience and behavior students attended, in addition to the NSB faculty. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15.)

Matan Koplin-Green '15 spoke about his research on alpha neurofeedback training for the purpose of reducing anxiety levels.

Matan Koplin-Green ’15 spoke about his research on alpha neurofeedback training for the purpose of reducing anxiety levels.

Students Receive Davis Projects for Peace Grant to Launch English Education Project

Claudia Kahindi '18, left, and Olayinka Lawal '15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

Claudia Kahindi ’18, left, and Olayinka Lawal ’15 will use a Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch an English education project in Kenya this summer. (Photo by Cynthia Rockwell.)

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Claudia Kahindi ’18 and Olayinka Lawal ’15 have received a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace grant to launch KIU, an English education project, in Kahindi’s home area of coastal Kenya this summer. Named for the Swahili word for “thirst,” KIU will serve more than 100 fourth-grade students at Kahindi’s alma mater, Kilimo Public Primary School, in Kenya’s Kilifi County.

Students in Natural Sciences and Mathematics Present Research

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On April 17, 30 senior and BA/MA students in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division presented their research to the Wesleyan community. Nearly 100 people attended the annual Celebration of Science Theses poster session, which was held in the Exley Science Center lobby.

The event was co-organized by Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; Barbara Juhasz, associate professor of psychology, associate professor of neuroscience and behavior, director of the service learning center; and Seth Redfield, assistant professor of astronomy. (Photos by Dat Vu ’15.)

Dara Lorn '15 discussed his research, "Progress to Biofunctionalized Rotaxanes."

Dara Lorn ’15 discussed his research, “Progress to Biofunctionalized Rotaxanes.”

Anthropology Major Cooper ’15 Co-Creates Interactive Campus Map

DeNeile Cooper '15 is majoring in anthropology, minoring in archaeology and working toward a certificate in environmental studies. She and three other members of the Class of 2015 created an interactive map for the Wesleyan that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner. 

DeNeile Cooper ’15 is majoring in anthropology, minoring in archaeology and working toward a certificate in environmental studies. She and three other members of the Class of 2015 created an interactive map for the Wesleyan that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner.

In this issue of News @ Wesleyan, we speak to DeNeile Cooper from the Class of 2015.

Q: DeNeile, as part of a GIS (Geographical information systems) service-learning project, you’ve been working on a interactive campus map project. What is the purpose of the map?

A: We wanted to create an interactive map for the Wesleyan website that would allow Wesleyan parents, students and prospective students to navigate the campus in a more engaging manner. The interactive map not only illustrates every building on campus to-date, but color codes them according to their usage, for example, purple buildings represent dormitory halls, blue buildings represent academic buildings and offices, and yellow buildings represent woodframe houses. In addition, each building can be clicked on to reveal a pop-up with a photo of the building, details about its contents, and links for the building’s department or office contacts. We really wanted to synthesize the strengths of the current online map with the abilities available to an interactive map.

The interactive map provides information about every building on campus.

The interactive map provides information about every building on campus. Each building is clickable and contains a pop-up that gives a photo of the building, a description, and external links to the departments, staff members, and web pages that further explain the building’s content and contact information.

Q: How did you come up with this idea? Was there a need?

A: In our Introduction to GIS course, Professor Kim Diver (visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences) had been teaching us how to use GIS online to make interactive maps, or “Story Maps” that are accessible to the public. Our group, consisting of Katy Thompson ’15, Rebecca Sokol ’15, Chloe Holden ’15 and myself, worked with Wesleyan’s Physical Plant to create two updated versions of the Wesleyan campus map. We thought that this would be a perfect way to update the current map found on the Wesleyan website. We wanted to give the viewers the option to have both an aerial view of the campus and a detailed photograph and description of each building.

Q: How does the interactive campus map differ from other Wesleyan maps?

A: The interactive map takes the concept from the current online map of conveying an aerial view of the campus, but color codes the buildings by their use purpose. We hope that these colors makes it easier for new students and parents to more quickly locate the building that they want to find. Each building is clickable and contains a pop-up that gives a photo of the building, a description, and external links to the departments, staff members, and web pages that further explain the building’s content and contact information. Alternatively, the viewer can peruse each building by clicking the white up and down arrows located on the far left side of the screen. Our map is also unique in that we have extended the scope from the current map to include the many different athletic fields Wesleyan owns, and even Physical Plant and Long Lane Farm. We hope that this new map breadth will help new students get a more complete understanding of the full extension of our campus and the activities we have to offer here.

Othon, Taylor Students Published in Physical Chemistry Letters

Christina Othon and Erika Taylor, along with physics graduate student Nimesh Shukla, Lee Chen ’15, Inha Cho ’15 and Erin Cohn ’15, are the co-authors of a paper titled “Sucralose Destabilization of Protein Structure” published in The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, March 2015. Othon is assistant professor of physics and was PI on the paper. Taylor is assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies.

Sucralose is a commonly employed artificial sweetener that behaves very differently than its natural disaccharide counterpart, sucrose, in terms of its interaction with biomolecules. This research suggests that people may need to think about the impact of sucralose (a.k.a. Splenda) on their proteins.

Watch Othon explain associated research in this video. She speaks around the 34 minute mark.

Students, Faculty, Alumni Attend Planetary Science Conference in Texas

Students, faculty and alumni involved in planetary science attended the 46th Lunar and Planetary Science Conference March 16-20 in Houston, Texas.

Jim Greenwood, assistant professor earth and environmental sciences, gave a talk titled “urCl-KREEP? Cl-rich glasses in KREEP basalts 15382 and 15386 and their implications for lunar geochemistry.” Martha Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology, met with the Venus Exploration Analysis Group as a member of its Executive Committee.

Jack Singer ’15 and Lisa Korn MA ’15 presented posters.

Several Wesleyan alumni also made presentations at the conference including James Dottin ’13 (E&ES), now a PhD student at the University of Maryland; Tanya Harrison MA ’08 (E&ES), now a PhD student at the University of Western Ontario; Ann Ollila MA ’08 (E&ES), now at Chevron; Nina Lanza MA ’06 (E&ES), now a scientist at Los Alamos National Lab; Bob Nelson MA ’69 (astronomy), senior scientist at Planetary Science Institute; Ian Garrick-Bethell ’02 (physics), assistant professor at the University of California – Santa Cruz.

Jack Singer ’15 presented a poster titled "High fluorine and chlorine in a chromite-hosted melt inclusion from Apollo 12 olivine basalt 12035.” He was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and is the McKenna Scholar in E&ES. Jim Greenwood is his advisor.

Jack Singer ’15 presented a poster titled “High fluorine and chlorine in a chromite-hosted melt inclusion from Apollo 12 olivine basalt 12035.” He was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and is the McKenna Scholar in E&ES. Singer’s advisor is Jim Greenwood, assistant professor earth and environmental sciences.

Lisa Korn, MA ’15 presented a poster titled "Possible Carbonate Minerals within an Unnamed Gulled Crater in Eridania Basin, Mars.”  She was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and the E&ES Foye Fund. Scott Murchie, the Principal Investigator of the instrument whose data she uses (the CRISM spectrometer in orbit at Mars) showed her work to NASA as an example of the important new discoveries being made with the instrument. Korn's advisor is Marty Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

Lisa Korn MA ’15 presented a poster titled “Possible Carbonate Minerals within an Unnamed Gullied Crater in Eridania Basin, Mars.” She was supported by NASA Connecticut Space Grant and the E&ES Foye Fund. Scott Murchie, the Principal Investigator of the instrument whose data she uses (the CRISM spectrometer in orbit at Mars) showed her work to NASA as an example of the important new discoveries being made with the instrument. Korn’s advisor is Martha Gilmore, chair and professor of earth and environmental sciences and the George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

E&ES major  James Dottin ’13 met Marty Gilmore at the conference.

E&ES major James Dottin ’13 met Martha Gilmore at the conference.

Watson Fellow Banks ’15 to Study Restorative Justice Practices in 4 Countries

Isabella Banks '15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, "Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice" will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Isabella Banks ’15 received a Thomas J. Watson Fellowship, a one-year grant for purposeful, independent study. Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Restorative justice practices, such as victim-offender mediation, family group conferencing, programs for juvenile offenders, and community policing, emerged to give victims and their surrounding communities greater agency than traditional criminal procedure provides to resolve conflict and address its consequences.

As a 2015-16 Watson Fellow, Isabella Banks ’15 will travel to countries where restorative justice has had success, acting as a participant-observer in these practices. Banks will interview individuals involved and evaluate the capacity of restorative alternatives to heal those affected by crime and reduce recidivism within each cultural context.

“In doing so, I hope to come closer to envisioning a perfect system of justice,” she said.

Her project, “Making Crime Personal: Restorative Alternatives to Criminal Justice” will allow her to study in New Zealand, Australia, England and South Africa.

Packer ’15 Creates Online Community to Unify Collegiate Sustainability Movement

Brent Packer '15 is the founder of Potlux, which is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared.

Brent Packer ’15 is the founder of Potlux, which is on track to be the first online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are effectively aggregated and shared. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

#THISISWHY
In this News @ Wesleyan story, we speak with Brent Packer from the Class of 2015. 

Q: Brent, where are you from and what are you majoring in?

A: I was born and raised in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Growing up nearby Amish farms and having tortoises, dogs and a semi-domesticated duck scampering around my house piqued my environmental interests. At Wesleyan, I’m a member of the College of the Environment with a double major in economics and environmental studies.

Q: You are the founder of Potlux, an online community where collegiate sustainability initiatives are aggregated and shared. What is the community’s mission?

A: Our mission is to accelerate global environmental progress by unifying the collegiate sustainability movement. View our pitchdeck online.

Q: When did you come up with the idea for Potlux? When did you begin the project?

Burgunder ’15 Competes in Ski Mountaineering World Championships

Mateusz “Matt” Burgunder ’15

Mateusz “Matt” Burgunder ’15

Mateusz “Matt” Burgunder ’15 recently competed in the 2015 Ski Mountaineering World Championships in Verbier, Switzerland where the U.S. National Ski Mountaineering Team finished in 10th place overall.

This was Burgunder’s fourth time competing for the U.S., participating in three events. Competitors race by climbing up and skiing down mountains at a rate of approximately 3,000 feet per hour.

The 2015 Ski Mountaineering World Championships, hosted by the International Ski Mountaineering Federation, were held Feb. 6–12.

More information about the U.S. Ski Mountaineering Association and the 2015 World Championships can be found online.

See photos of Burgunder’s events below: