Tag Archive for Class of 2021

Wesleyan Film Outreach Volunteers Teach Local Youth about Filmmaking

Luisa Bryan ’21 helps fourth-grader Justin and third-grader Franchesca film a short movie as part of a class taught by Wesleyan Film Outreach.

Sarah Lucente '21 works with MacDonough students Isaiah and Violet on how to operate the videocamera.

Sarah Lucente ’21 watches Isaiah direct a scene.

“Press this button and say, ‘Action!'” Sarah Lucente ’21 explains to third-grader Isaiah as he intently peers into a videocamera’s viewfinder. “Think about this scene. Think about doing a closeup.”

Isaiah is one of 10 area youth learning about filmmaking though Wesleyan Film Outreach, a program that provides school-aged children with the skills to write, film, direct and edit themselves.

The class is taught by Wesleyan students as part of the YMCA’s Kids’ Korner, an after-school enrichment program held at MacDonough Elementary School in Middletown.

Stephen Collins ’96, associate professor of film studies, teaches the community-engagement class for two hours every Tuesday with Film Outreach volunteers Lucente, Caris Yeoman ’21, Luisa Bryan ’21 and Nick Catrambone ’21.

Collins modeled the class after a pilot he ran in 2016 at MacDonough with his youngest daughter’s fourth grade class.

“Having two kids in the public school system, I see how starved they are for arts education,” Collins says.

Class of 2021 Participates in ‘Common Moment’ on Andrus Field

On Sept. 1, drummers and dancers representing several cultures led the incoming Class of 2021 in a performance on Andrus Field as students embodied dances from different world cultures during the “Common Moment” of New Student Orientation.

This year’s first-year students learned Caribbean, modern, Brazilian, Indian, and West African dances from Iddi Saaka, Dance Department artist-in-residence, and other master teachers. The event culminated with a performance by Prometheus, Wesleyan’s fire-spinning group.

The Common Moment is sponsored by the Center for the Arts. A video and photos of the Common Moment are below: (Photos by Sandy Aldieri of Perceptions Photography)

818 Students Welcomed on New Student Arrival Day (with video and photo gallery)

On Aug. 30, Wesleyan welcomed 766 students to the Class of 2021. An additional 52 transfer students also arrived.

Student athletes, Wesleyan staff and faculty — and Wesleyan President Michael Roth — assisted families with unloading vehicles and hauling suitcases, boxes, lamps, microwaves, computers, bed linens, and more to the students’ residence halls. The Wesleyan Cardinal made the rounds, even hitching a ride on the golf carts used to help haul carloads of belongings into new dorm rooms.

Watch a video of New Student Arrival Day below:

Making the trek to campus to the sound of favorite tunes—ranging from Bruce Springsteen to Car Seat Headrest, and “everything on my iPhone”—the Class of ’21 arrived on campus, cars loaded down with everything needed to turn a dorm room into home, along with family members to help carry the gear, set up equipment, make beds, and hang clothes. “I knew this was the right place for her,” noted one father, “but I didn’t say a word. Happily, she came to that conclusion, too.” Another parent had been surprised: “This was a late-in-the-game choice. He called us from campus last spring and said, ‘This is the place!’’ Another student confided, “I knew I wanted to go here the moment I stepped on campus.” Whichever end of the spectrum, the results were smiles and an eagerness to jump into life at Wesleyan.  (See photos below to meet a few of the newest members of our community.)

The Office of Admission received more than 12,450 applications for the Class of 2021, of which 2,014 students were admitted (16.2 percent). This is the highest number of applicants received in Wesleyan’s history.

  • The Class of 2021 is 46 percent men and 54 percent women.
  • The students hail from New England (20 percent), Mid-Atlantic (31 percent), Midwest (5 percent), South (8 percent), West (20 percent) and outside the U.S. (16 percent).
  • 15 percent of the class are international students.
  • Students of color, including international students, make up 44 percent of the Class of 2021. Students identify as Asian/South Asian (23 percent), Black/African American (11 percent), Latino/Hispanic (13 percent) and Native American/Alaskan, Native Hawaiian or Pacific Island (1.5 percent).
  • 14 percent of the students have a Wesleyan relative; 7 percent are children of an alumnus or alumnae.
  • 15 percent of the class are in the first generation of their family to attend a four-year college.
  • 47 percent of the students receive financial aid.
  • Economics, English, film, psychology and biology are the top projected majors.

Later in the afternoon, President Roth addressed parents and family in Memorial Chapel with his hopes for the newest members of the community. “The responsibility of a liberal education today is to give our students the power it takes to find what it is they love to do, get better at it, and translate what they love into productive work in the world. They learn skills outside of the classroom—in their dorm, on the athletic fields—and those skills complement what they’ve learned in classes, to make them better citizens, find more meaningful work, and truth be told, make them more fun to be around.”

Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, dean of admission and financial aid, also spoke to the group and said, “We’ve assembled a remarkably engaged and talented group—the next Wesleyan generation, committed to making a difference wherever in the world they are… Here on campus and beyond the university.”

“We are most proud of the variety of experiences and perspectives these young men and women bring to Middletown. And know those qualities will inform all that they—and we—do at Wesleyan in the next four years. The range of talents, cultures, and family backgrounds in this group is exceptional, even by Wesleyan’s high expectations.”

Individuals in the class have been honored as White House Film Festival finalist, a top 40 winner in the Intel competition, a social-political blogger featured in the New York Times, a working actor in an HBO series, a holder of a patent for an electronic violin, and a nationally-ranked debater.

“Students join us from literally all around the world,” Meislahn said. “They are citizens of 62 different nations, including such places as Jordan, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Mauritius and Nepal, (that’s just the middle of the alphabet!) … 125 students reside outside the U.S. regardless of nationality. This is a truly the most global and cosmopolitan class to enroll at Wesleyan!”

Starting Aug. 31, the new arrivals will participate in the New Student Orientation (NSO) Program — a comprehensive introduction to Wesleyan. The program helps students build a foundation for their academic and co-curricular success. New students, including international, visiting, exchange, and transfer students, are introduced to the rigorous academic experience that awaits them through meetings with their faculty advisor as well as faculty lectures, discussions, and skill-building workshops. Wesleyan’s vast array of co-curricular opportunities, resources and services for students will be highlighted. Students build relationships with other students, faculty and administrators and have important discussions about the values, traditions, and community standards of the Wesleyan community.

In conjunction with New Student Orientation, the Office of Student Affairs and Office of Equity and Inclusion hosted “First Things First,” a pre-orientation pilot program designed to familiarize first-generation students with the college experience and the Wesleyan community.

Photos of New Student Arrival Day are below. A full set of photos can be viewed on Flickr. (Cynthia Rockwell, Laurie Kenney and Bill Holder contributed to this article. Photos by Cynthia Rockwell and Laurie Kenney)

Abby Dodd ’21 was moving into the Butterfield dorms, with help from her father, Jon. They drove in from Rhode Island this morning. “I wanted a non-passive campus,” said Abby, explaining why she chose Wesleyan. Recalls Jon, “It was the first campus she visited.” Abby is considering a major in music.

Sophia Wilson-Pelton ’21 was accompanied by her parents, Lee Pelton, left and Kristen Wilson, who all made the trek from the greater Boston area. Sophia is considering a major in English.

The Nash family—Mary, Ben ’21, and Drew—live near Oakland, Calif. Attending WesFest was the deciding factor for Ben. He’s considering a pre-med major—but isn’t ready to decide yet.

New roommates Sophia Marra ’21 (center left) and Natasha Feenstra ’21 (center right) set up their room with help from Julie and Stephen Marra, left, and Natasha’s sister Alexa and mother Jennifer Feenstra, right.


Caroline Salim ’21, second from left, brought family from Baltimore to help haul stuff and settle her in: sister Maryann (left), brother Alex, and mother Debbie. Caroline is considering a major in government.

Ira ’87 and Jonah ’21 Skolnik on Arrival Day.

David Redfield ’21 drove in from Woodfield, Conn., with parents Ann and David. A pitcher, he’s looking forward to baseball season, and both the academics as well as the community brought him to Wesleyan.

Parents rest after Arrival Day activities.

New International Students Hail from 37 Countries

This fall, Wesleyan welcomes 127 first-year international students, eight international transfer students and seven visiting international students to campus. Students come from 37 different countries including Moldova, Kazakhstan and Mauritius. Two students are from a new exchange program with York University-York.

International students arrived Aug. 26-27 and participated in International Student Orientation through Aug. 29. During this time, students attended sessions that address health and medical insurance issues, programs about cultural adaptation, weather adjustment, and liberal arts education and U.S. systems. This program prepares international students and U.S. citizens living abroad to successfully transition to New Student Orientation.

On Aug. 29, the international students gathered for a group photo at Usdan University Center. Dinner and skits followed at Beckham Hall. Photos of the event are below. A full set of event photos can be found on Flickr. (Photos by Tom Dzimian)


New Students Welcomed to Wesleyan at Summer Sendoffs

Wesleyan’s newest students and their families are welcomed to the Wesleyan community during a series of Summer Sendoffs June 20 to Aug. 25. Alumni and parents are hosting the events at various locations around the world.

All members of the Wesleyan community are invited to attend the casual socials. Pictured below are photos from a few of the gatherings:

The Taiwan Summer Sendoff, held June 17, was organized and sponsored by Mark Hsieh and May Chao.

The Taiwan Summer Sendoff, held June 17, was organized and sponsored by Mark Hsieh ’90 and May Chao ’06. Ying Jia Tan, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of East Asian studies, also attended.

Inaugural Hamilton Prize Winner Featured in Boston Globe

Audrey Pratt, winner of the inaugural Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity. (Photo by Betsy Pratt).

Audrey Pratt, winner of the inaugural Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity. (Photo by Betsy Pratt.)

The Boston Globe recently published a profile of Audrey Pratt, an incoming student in Wesleyan’s Class of 2021 and the winner of the inaugural Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity. Pratt, a graduate of Needham (Mass.) High School, won a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to Wesleyan for her short fiction submission, “Thorns, Black and White.”

Pratt, who was accepted early decision to Wesleyan, told the Globe that when she applied for the prize, she “didn’t think in a million years I’d win,” but she was excited for the chance to have Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02 and Thomas Kail ’99 read her work. Miranda, writer/creator and former star, and Kail, the director of Hamilton, are co-chairs of the alumni selection committee for the prize.

Wesleyan received more than 600 entries, including short stories, slam poetry, screenplays and songs.

Pratt described her entry as “a dark fantasy story, almost a modern Grimm fairy tale, about a forest, the coming of age process, girls with antlers and other monstrous versions of forest creatures.”

Pratt has written stories as long as she can remember. She was captain of her high school’s speech and debate team, a member of the all-female robotics team, and a member of the National Honor Society. At Wesleyan, she plans to study creative writing, neuroscience and behavior, and film.

“I’m going to take this opportunity and run with it,” she told the Globe. “It has given me a lot to live up [to], but I’m going to try my best and make everyone proud.”

Read more about Pratt and the Hamilton Prize here.

Class of 2021 Admits Experience ‘All Things Wes’ during WesFest 2017

Admitted Class of 2021 students gather on Foss Hill April 14 during the WesFest picnic.

Admitted Class of 2021 students gather on Foss Hill April 14 during the WesFest picnic.

More than 500 admitted Class of 2021 students and their family members attended WesFest activities on campus, April 12-14.

WesFest is a three-day celebration of all things Wesleyan. The Office of Admission invites all admitted students and their families to visit Wesleyan, experience university life first-hand, and explore the diverse opportunities that a Wesleyan education has to offer.

During WesFest, campus visitors attend classes and academic department open houses; tour campus and academic departments; meet and interact with Wesleyan students; attend a Student Activities Fair; enjoy an all-campus barbecue picnic and live student bands; learn about liberal arts career opportunities and Wesleyan athletic programs; attend student-to-student

Early Decision Applications Up More than 16%

Wesleyan received 742 applications for early decision this fall, an increase of 16.6 percent over last year. The increase of more than 100 applications provided Wesleyan with its biggest pool ever in early decision, according to Nancy Hargrave Meislahn, dean of admission and financial aid.

Additionally, Wesleyan received the most ever applications from international students, up 75 percent. Other diversity measures were also strong, with a 44 percent increase from students of color in the United States and a 56 percent increase from African American students.

“These results are most gratifying,” Meislahn said. “Potential applicants hold Wesleyan in high regard and to have so many see Wesleyan as their first and only choice should make us all proud.”

The early decision application increase follows a substantial jump last year in applications overall. For the class of 2020 entering this fall, 12,026 students had applied, marking a 22 percent increase over the previous year and a 10 percent increase over the previous all-time high three years ago for the Class of 2017.

The new Hamilton Prize has added excitement to the fall admission season, with many applicants expressing interest in the prize, a four-year full-tuition scholarship.

The Admission Office released early decisions to applicants on Dec. 10.

“We have every confidence these first members of the Class of 2021 will contribute to the vitality of the Wesleyan community. Early decision students form the heart of the class at Wesleyan and this heart is healthy and strong!” Meislahn said.