Tag Archive for Class of 2018

War Veteran, Posse Scholar Stascavage ’18 Pursuing Degree in Economics

Posse scholar Bryan Stascavage '18 served from August 2006 until March 2012 as a U.S. Army military intelligence analyst. He was deployed three times: twice to Iraq and once on a humanitarian aid mission in Haiti in 2010. Now Stascavage is a member of the Class of 2018 at Wesleyan. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

Posse scholar Bryan Stascavage ’18 served from August 2006 until March 2012 as a U.S. Army military intelligence analyst. He was deployed three times: twice to Iraq and once on a humanitarian aid mission in Haiti in 2010. Now Stascavage is a member of the Class of 2018 at Wesleyan and is working towards a degree in economics. (Photo by Laurie Kenney)

While walking back to his room from Al-Faw Palace in Baghdad, Iraq, Bryan Stascavage ’18 remembers telling a friend about his plans for the future.

“When I get out of the military, I’m going back to college with a vengeance,” Stascavage said. “A perfect 4.0 GPA or bust. I’m not messing around and wasting this opportunity like I did my first time around.”

His first time in college, which he attended right after high school, had been an “unmitigated disaster,” Stascavage recalls. He only lasted three semesters with a GPA hovering around a 2.0. After taking a wide array of courses at several community colleges in Connecticut, and then working as an apprentice for a writer in California, Stascavage joined the military as an intelligence analyst in August 2006.

“I joined for personal and patriotic reasons: the war in Iraq was going poorly,

Samy ’18 Begins Collegiate Squash Career with 12-0 Record

Egypt native Laila Samy '18 says she chose Wesleyan because "the squash team .. was not just a team, it was a family."

Egypt native Laila Samy ’18 says she chose Wesleyan because “the squash team .. was not just a team, it was a family.”

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In this Q&A meet Laila Samy from the Class of 2018.

Q: You came to Wesleyan from your hometown of Cairo, Egypt. Can you describe your life growing up in a foreign country? What was your secondary-school education like?

A: Growing up in Egypt and going to school there made me feel very grateful because I had a great opportunity to both play squash and get a decent education which lead me to move on to the next experience which is completing my last two years of high school in the U.S. and that lead me to be able to attend Wesleyan.

Q: You have already established yourself as one of the top newcomers on the collegiate squash scene with a 12-0 record at No. 1 and a title in the Division III National Championships. When did you begin playing the sport and when did it become apparent you were far from a run-of-the-mill player?

A: I started playing squash when I

Posse Scholar Foley ’18 Recipient of Quilt of Valor

Kyle Foley '18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She's pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak.

Pictured sixth from left, Kyle Foley ’18 received a Quilt of Valor Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown. She’s pictured here with several Wesleyan students and at left, Professor Andy Szegedy-Maszak. The quilt pattern is sawtooth star blocks representing the American Flag. The center eagles represent patriotism.

For her six years of service to the nation, Afghanistan veteran Kyle Foley ’18, a Posse Scholar at Wesleyan, received a quilt from the local Quilts of Valor Foundation during a ceremony Dec. 3 at the Emblem Club in Middletown.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Kyle Foley receives the Quilt of Valor from Jane Dougherty, the Connecticut Quilt of Valor representative, and Deborah Sierpinski, administrative assistant at Wesleyan.

Since 2003, Quilts of Valor have become a national community service effort to bring the home front to wounded soldiers and to honor returning Veterans. Quilts of Valor members pay tribute to those who have been touched by war by giving them a symbol of comforting and healing.

During her six years in the Navy, Foley was a Seabee, specifically a construction mechanic, and was attached to Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 4. Within the battalion she worked as a mechanic on both construction equipment and combat vehicles, and also served as a fire team leader, squad leader, and 240Bravo gunner, at different times.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

Kyle Foley met with Laurine Sierpinski, a local WWII veteran.

On Foley’s second deployment, she served as the lead mechanic on a detachment to Camp Marmal Afghanistan. At that time, she was the first female mechanic during her tenure to be put in charge of the mechanical shop of a detachment. At the end of her second deployment she re-enlisted to “cross-rate,” or change her job. She cross trained at Corps school in Great Lakes, Ill., and became a Hospital Corpsman (Navy Medic).

After she had finished training she was re-assigned to Naval Hospital Bremerton, where she worked as a general medic, one of the hospital’s three primary phlebotomists, a command mentor — mentoring foru junior personnel — and as a command fitness leader, and as a member of the auxiliary security forces team. Foley also volunteered as the strength and conditioning coach for a women’s lacrosse team at a local high school.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The  scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Kyle Foley, center, is one of 10 Posse Foundation Veteran Scholars at Wesleyan this year. The scholars are funded by The Posse Foundation, which supports students with a four-year, full-tuition leadership scholarship.

Foley, 29, ended her service Oct. 9, 2012 and enrolled at Wesleyan in fall 2014 as a result of the university’s partnership with the Posse Foundation. Posse Foundation identifies talented veterans who are interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top tier universities.

Andrew Szegedy-Maszak, Jane A. Seney Professor of Greek and Professor of Classics, a mentor for Foley, recommended her as a candidate for a Quilt of Valor.

Students enrolled in a quilting class at Middletown Adult Education and The Quilting Queens, a club in East Hartford, came together to sew patriotic star blocks for the Quilts of Valor. Under the direction of Deborah Sierpinski, instructor at Middletown Adult Education and administrative assistant at Wesleyan, the talented group of women pieced the red, white and blue quilt top.

The Emblem Club, an organization that celebrates Americanism, donated funds toward the cost of the quilt. Representatives from Wesleyan, Middletown Adult Education, the Emblem Club, and the Quilts of Valor Foundation attended the ceremony to pay tribute to Foley.

Tennis Star Chong ’18 Represents Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 hails from Sai Kung, Hong Kong.

Eudice Chong ’18 has blossomed as the top player on Wesleyan’s women’s tennis team in her first season. Recently in action during a tournament at Conn. College (Oct. 5), she defeated Trinity’s #1 player and Amherst’s #2 player, both in straight sets.  Each opponent was a top-eight seed in the Intercollegiate Tennis Association (ITA) New England fall championship, which Eudice missed in September in order to traveled to South Korea for nearly two weeks to represent her native Hong Kong at the 17th Asian Games.  Here is a bit about Eudice and her experience:

Q: You just finished playing the the 17th Asian Games in South Korea, essentially the regional Olympics for some 45 nations. How would you describe the experience and nature of the competition?

A: The Asian Games was definitely one of the best experiences I’ve ever had, playing players ranked in the top 100 World Tennis Association (WTA) and getting to meet some people up close I’ve only seen on TV. Everyone in the tournament is very good — everyone was chosen to play in the Asian Games because they are the best in their country.

Q: In what events did you participate? How well did you do?

A: I played in the Team, Mixed Doubles and Women’s Doubles Events. During the Team Event, Hong Kong lost to China in the quarterfinals as my teammates and I lost to players all ranked in the top 200 WTA. In the Women’s Doubles Event, my partner and I won one round, but lost to a Thai pair which had a player who was ranked as high as 20 and another who is currently ranked top 200. Lastly, for the Mixed Doubles Event, my partner and I advanced to the round of 16, losing to a Taiwanese pair with the woman reaching the finals of Mixed Doubles in Wimbledon this year.

Q: You’ve been living in Hong Kong since you were about a year old. How wide-spread is the interest in tennis in the region and when did you figure out you were hooked on the sport?

A:  Well, I’d say tennis is more of a social game in Hong Kong. If you walk around the city, you’ll tend to see older adults playing

Chong ’18 to Represent Hong Kong in Tennis at Asian Games

Eudice Chong '18

Eudice Chong ’18

Eudice Chong ’18, a native of Sai Kung, Hong Kong, will be representing her nation in the 17th Asian Games, to be held in Incheon, South Korea from Sept. 19-Oct. 4.

Forty-Five nations will be represented at the Games with 439 events in 36 disciplines being contested. Chong is Wesleyan’s number-one player in women’s tennis and went 4-0 during the team’s opening activity, a double tournament hosted by Sacred Heart University Sept. 6.

She will be competing in both doubles and mixed doubles during the Asian Games. Chong is currently ranked 323rd in the most recent International Tennis Federation World Junior Rankings.

First-Year Students Move In on Arrival Day (with photo gallery)

Wesleyan student-athletes, staff and Orientation Leaders helped members of the Class of 2018 move into their student residences on Arriva Day, Aug. 27.

Wesleyan student-athletes, staff and Residential Life Orientation Leaders helped members of the Class of 2018 move into their student residences on Arrival Day, Aug. 27.

A mini fridge, mirror, bed linens, navy blue rug, a N.Y. Yankees decorative sign, storage tubs, a closet-full of clothes. And don’t forget the guitar.

Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 of Montclair, N.J. moved into the Butterfields Residence Complex with help from his sister and mother.

Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 of Montclair, N.J. moved into the Butterfields Residence Complex with help from his sister and mother.

“What didn’t I bring with me?” said Aaron Stagoff-Belfort ’18 as he unloaded and unpacked his bounty of belongings into his 113 Butts C residence Wednesday morning. “I have it all. But I only brought a couple books because I heard that [in college] you have no time to read them.”

Stagoff-Belfort, who hails from Montclair, N.J. is one of 757 members of the Class of 2018 who settled into their new home-away-from-home on Arrival Day, Aug. 27. Stagoff-Belfort received help from his parents, Cindy Stagoff and Bob Belfort, and sister Claudia Stagoff-Belfort.

Stagoff-Belfort is interested in Wesleyan’s economics and government programs and looks forward to exploring the music scene on campus.

“I’m super excited to be here,” he said. “Wesleyan is going to be a great experience.”

Mother Danusia Zaroda, at left, takes a break from unpacking with her daughter, Alina Whatley '18.

Mother Danusia Zaroda, at left, takes a break from unpacking with her daughter, Alina Whatley ’18. Whatley is residing in West College.

Alina Whatley ’18 of Orinda, Calif. flew to Connecticut on Aug. 25 with her mother, Danusia Zaroda. The mother-daughter duo unpacked three over-stuffed suitcases and a blanket, hand-quilted by Alina’s grandmother.

Whatley also unpacked boots and a down jacket in anticipation of the New England winter. Then they headed to a local home furnishings store with a 20 percent off coupon. “We bought out the entire store and helped end the recent recession,” Zaroda said.

Over in Bennet Hall, Joseph Kim of Clairmont, N.J. unloaded his belongings with help from his mother, Jae; sister Michelle; and father, Kwan. Joseph plans to study biology and chose Wesleyan for its strong academic reputation.

“I think I have everything I need,” he said. “I have my laptop, printer, guitar. All my clothes. And seven pairs of shoes.”

Claudia Kahindi '18 poses in her West College room.

Claudia Kahindi ’18 poses in her West College room. “Wesleyan is the place for me!” she said.

Claudia Kahindi ’18 traveled more than 7,000 miles from her home in Kilifi, Kenya to her new West College dorm room. Kahindi is a Kenya Scholar-Athlete Project Scholar and plans to participate in intramural basketball at Wesleyan. She decorated her room in African flags, jewelry, a elephant khanga and shells from a popular beach in Kenya.

In contrast, Courtney Robinson ’18 traveled only 20 miles to Wesleyan’s Bennet Hall from her home in West Hartford. Her parents, David and Jane, are both Wesleyan alumni from the Class of 1987 and helped their daughter unpack.

“I woke up at 8:15 and sorted through some photos. I packed a few more things and came to campus,” Robinson said.

The Class of 2018 is 45 percent men and 55 percent women. Thirteen percent come from outside the U.S., including both international students and U.S. citizens raised abroad. They come from 30 different countries outside the United States, with home countries as far flung as Ukraine, Guatemala, Palestine, Egypt and Malaysia. There is also an increase in representation from students who live in the U.S. South and Midwest. Learn more about the Class of 2018 here.

View more photos of Arrival Day activity below: (Photos by Olivia Drake, John Van Vlack and Harry Jiang)

Class of 2018 on Student Arrival Day, Aug. 27, 2014. Class of 2018 Arrival Day, Aug. 27, 2014. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Class of 2018 Includes 10 Veterans, Students from 30 Countries (with video)

The Class of 2018 gathered for a group photo Aug. 27.

The Class of 2018 gathered for a group photo Aug. 27.

This fall, Wesleyan welcomes 757 members of the Class of 2018 to campus, including the inaugural class of 10 Posse Veterans. The class also includes 15 QuestBridge Match Scholars.

“The Class of ’18 has all the hallmarks of another great Wesleyan class,” said Dean of Admission and Financial Aid Nancy Hargrave Meislahn.“They bring an incredible range of backgrounds, experiences and perspectives which is sure to enliven our community, inside and out. I am struck by the great curiosity and resilience with which these individuals have embraced their worlds.”

Wesleyan Welcomes 109 International Students to the Class of 2018

International students shout "Go Wes!" during their orientation Aug. 26 at Usdan University Center.

International students shout “Go Wes!” during their orientation Aug. 26 at Usdan University Center.

Students from 30 different countries joined the Class of 2018 during International Student Orientation, held Aug. 24-26.

This fall, 109 undergraduate students come from international countries, including students who are U.S. citizens but live abroad. Three students are visiting from Germany, two from Spain and one from France.

This year, Wesleyan has students who hail from Guatemala,

Display in Usdan Illustrates Students’ Geographic Diversity

A map in Usdan University Center created out of recycled paper, yarn and pins by student Orientation interns illustrates the geographic diversity of Wesleyan's newest students. The new students—including the Class of 2018, transfer and graduate students—come from as as close as Middletown and as far away as North Sydney, Australia (20,002 miles).

A map in Usdan University Center created out of recycled paper, yarn and pins by student Orientation interns illustrates the geographic diversity of Wesleyan’s newest students. The new students—including the Class of 2018, transfer and graduate students—come from as as close as Middletown and as far away as North Sydney, Australia (20,002 miles).

Army Veteran Olivieri to Join Class of 2018 through Posse Foundation

Andrew Olivieri

Andrew Olivieri

In the fall of 2008, Andrew Olivieri felt like he was staring down four years of uncertainty, dissatisfaction and “wasting my parents’ money.” A senior at the Bronx High School of Science, where most graduates are expected to attend college, Olivieri just didn’t feel ready.

But the Army life had always attracted him, as a path that led to maturity, a work ethic, and an opportunity to be part of something larger than himself.

“I wanted to be a part of history, and contribute to it,” Olivieri said. “I never wanted to be one of those people who just say, ‘Oh, I thought about joining the military.’ I thought I should just do it.”

Soon Olivieri was starting what would be the first of four deployments with the Army Rangers, including many months in Afghanistan and half a year in Farsi language immersion, which “helped me understand a culture that I only knew through war,” he said. His last experiences in the Army, working with Afghan commandos, were deeply enriched by his working knowledge of their language.

In September, Olivieri’s next big adventure begins: as a Wesleyan freshman. He’ll be in Wesleyan’s first group of 10 U.S. military veterans on campus through the Posse Foundation.

“I can’t wait,” he said. “The student community seems very active, and that’s what I’m looking for. I want to share my experience in an environment where people are willing to listen and willing to share their lives with me.”

As he neared the end of his military service, a family friend recommended Olivieri to Posse, and he applied, seeking a school where he could explore what had become a passion for him in the military: international relations. “Wesleyan seemed perfect,” he said.

Now 22, he’ll join nine other military veterans in the Class of 2018. This is the inaugural year for Posse at Wesleyan; the university hopes to add 10 veterans per class for the next three years.

Posse is one of five programs the university is highlighting June 15-21, as Access2Wes week celebrates diversity and inclusion at Wesleyan. During this week, alumni and friends can support these programs, which also include A Better Chance, Prep for Prep, QuestBridge and the Freeman Asian Scholars, with their gift through the Wesleyan Fund.

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