Tag Archive for Class of 2025

Posse Veteran Scholars Program Bring Diverse Backgrounds to Campus

Malik Booker '25

Malik Booker ’25 served with the U.S. Navy.

Malik Booker ’25 isn’t the average first-year student.

At age 26, the potential computer science and College of East Asian Studies major has already served four years with the U.S. Navy as a petty officer third class officer in San Diego, Calif. and the island of Guam. As a former hull technician, he’s a trained welder, pipefitter, and carpenter, and has experience firefighting, repairing boats, maintaining marine plumbing, operating ballast control systems, and inspecting nuclear-level materials.

But honing these skills wasn’t enough for an ideal post-military career.

“I didn’t want to be trapped into [working in the] trades forever,” Booker said. “I wanted to attend college … I wanted to study languages and have time to travel the world.”

Booker, who hails from Racine, Wis., is now among nine first-year students enrolled at Wesleyan through the Posse Veterans Scholars Program. The program identifies, trains, and supports veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces interested in pursuing bachelor’s degrees at top colleges and universities. In addition, Wesleyan provides its Posse vets with supplemental funding to cover the cost of tuition.

The eighth cohort of veteran scholars—including Booker, Carlos Ordonez; Desaree Edwards; Lamonte Lyons; Trace Forsyth; Aleck Gao; Nick Jarrett; Terrion Thirsty; and Spencer Turner—bring extensive and unique experiences to the university.

Students Continue to Wear Masks Indoors, Keep Wes Safe

As students settle into a fully-residential fall semester with more than 95 percent of the student body vaccinated for COVID-19, the University continues to mandate the wearing of masks inside all university buildings. Wearing masks outdoors is optional.

“Because of your hard work and diligence thus far, we have taken important steps towards creating a healthy campus environment,” said Wesleyan Medical Director Dr. Tom McLarney in a recent campus-wide health update. “We will continue to monitor our situation and adjust accordingly.”

View the latest updates and campus guidelines on Wesleyan’s Keep Wes Safe website.

Photos of student activities during the early fall semester are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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New International Students Hail from 26 Countries

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On Aug. 31, Wesleyan welcomed 70 new international students to campus. The largest groups come from China, India, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

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Richard Bennet Morales ’24, pictured in front, center, is one of several international student orientation leaders who help new international students acclimate to campus life.

Richard Bennet Morales ’24 is what you’d call a “third culture kid.”

By definition, the term refers to a child who grows up in a culture different from the one in which his or her parents grew up. And Bennet Morales fits the description.

Born in Puerto Rico to Spanish and American parents, he moved to Paris at the age of 3, and to Barcelona 11 years later. After graduating from a French-speaking high school, he resided in Madrid, briefly, with his family.

And now, he’s among 392 international students studying at Wesleyan this fall.

“I was really interested in going to the U.S. since high school, especially looking for liberal arts schools due to the academic flexibility that it offers, as opposed to European universities that have more restrictive curriculums,” Bennet Morales said. “I toured several colleges around Boston, New York, and Washington D.C., and out of those I saw, Wesleyan was the one that felt most welcoming and sincere during the tours. I felt like Wesleyan could be one of my ‘homes.'”

Edvin Tran Hoac ’24 of Sweden began his Wesleyan journey remotely during the spring 2021 semester and is “super excited for classes to start,” he said. “I haven’t quite decided what I’m going to major in yet, but I’m really happy with my current schedule, which covers both my curiosity and academic interests.”

Before applying to Wes, Tran Hoac, who is a Davis International Scholar, was first impressed by the “lovely people” he met and the “beautiful campus” he encountered during a campus visit.

“I particularly liked that the university was known for being diverse and inclusive on top of being a top academic institution. These aspects, combined with the generous financial aid I was offered that made it economically feasible for me to attend, were the reasons I decided to come to Wesleyan,” he said.

Performance Helps New Students Navigate Human Differences, Social Positionality

I, You, (We)s

Through a series of skits performed by new student orientation leaders, the Class of 2025 campus newcomers learned how they may experience power, privilege, and difference as they navigate different communities at Wesleyan.

Titled “I, You, (We)s,” the Sept. 2 performance, held during New Student Orientation, presented frequent challenges in community engagement and offered suggestions for engaging authentically, thoughtfully, and collaboratively.

“The goal of this program was to introduce new students to the topics and conversations that would be relevant during their time at Wesleyan,” explained Esme Maria Ng ’22, who co-wrote the scripts with fellow student playwright and “I, You, (We)s” actor Luna Dragon Mac-Williams ’22.

When writing skits for the program, Ng and MacWilliams based their pieces on their own individual strengths, interests, and stories.

“The biggest thing that came to mind is how my identity interacts with the mostly white, cishet, economically privileged environment around me,” Ng said. “Thus, my pieces were hoping to pose questions along the lines of ‘what is our responsibility to one another when we can’t understand one another?’ ‘How do we reconcile ourselves with the world around us, thinking especially about how/where our privilege places us in these spaces.'”

Ng and Mac-Williams worked on writing and editing the script for about a month this summer. Their revision process involved sharing the work with the actors and Wesleyan faculty and staff to ensure the script had a clear message and maintained historic and geographic accuracy.

Centering the principles of the Cardinal Community Commitment, the skits also addressed topics including racism, imposter syndrome, tokenization, navigating power dynamics, hierarchy, and Wesleyan-Middletown relationships.

The performance was directed by Marcella Trowbridge, artistic director of the local non-profit theater company ARTFARM. “I am delighted to be back at Wes as a guest artist working with students addressing current issues through theater,” Trowbridge said. “This is a new script and we hope it will become an annual part of New Student Orientation.”
The project was supported by a plethora of campus partners including the Center for the Arts, the Resource Center, the Sustainability Office, the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, the Theater Department, the Allbritton Center, Student Activities and Leadership Development, Fries Center for Global Studies, and the Office of International Student Affairs.

Additional photos of the “I, You, (We)s” rehearsal on Aug. 31 are below: (Photos by Olivia Drake)

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I, You, (We)s

New Students Arrive at Wesleyan Full of Hope (with Video, Photos)


Wet weather couldn’t dampen the feelings of excitement, anticipation and, above all, hope that abounded on Wesleyan University’s new student Arrival Day.

Over 900 students in the Class of 2025 – the second largest in Wesleyan’s history – as well as transfer students and students who deferred admission, moved in Wednesday morning. Many of this diverse group of young people from across the country and the globe navigated their entire application process through the complications of a global pandemic, demonstrating resilience in addition to intellectual and social acumen.

On this rainy morning, harnessing and shaping all of that nascent energy is a task for the future. As they moved into their dorms and said goodbye to their parents, the students’ minds were on new beginnings and, perhaps above all else, finding lasting friendships.

As she directed students to Clark Hall Wednesday morning, Anna Nguyen ’22 remembered her own Arrival Day three years ago.

Nguyen, an international student, had come to campus a few days before everyone else. “I remembered that I was alone, arriving at 8 p.m. But everyone was welcoming right away,” said Nguyen, who is now the Wesleyan Student Assembly president and works for the Office of Residential Life.

She called out to students walking toward their new home. “Welcome to Wesleyan,” she said. “Now I get to be that person,” Nguyen said.

Cars started pulling onto Andrus Field early in the morning. By 8:45 a.m. parents and students started the process of unloading. Current students helped parents wheel bins of necessities into the students’ dorm rooms—one mom had a plastic container of homemade cookies carefully perched on her kid’s boxes. The first rainy Arrival Day in over a decade was filled with anxious energy.

Pennsylvania resident Xzavier Pacheco ’25 felt good on his first day — he wasn’t nervous, at least not that he would say. He was excited to explore the freedom being at school offers and hoped that majoring in archaeology would feed his love of travel and history. “I just thought Wesleyan would be a good fit for me,” he said.

Tuition to Increase 4% for the 2021-22 Academic Year

Each spring the University projects its total expenses for the coming year and adjusts its tuition and student fees accordingly. In light of projected expenses, the Wesleyan Board of Trustees recently voted to increase tuition for the 2021–22 academic year by 4%. Tuition and fees for the 2021–22 year will be $61,749 (plus a $300 matriculation fee for first-time students.)

The Residential Comprehensive Fee will be $17,531 for first-years and sophomores and $18,905 for juniors and seniors. The different RCF rates are traditional and based upon the higher cost of student life options. Over the next few years, however, Wesleyan will work to blend the RCF fee into one rate for all four classes.

Wesleyan continues to meet the full demonstrated financial need of all admitted students seeking financial aid and devotes millions of dollars of its operating budget to the support of scholarships. This past academic year, 43% of students received need-based scholarship awards averaging nearly $55,350.

Wesleyan will offer a full-campus experience next year and continuing to provide a superb education in the liberal arts that will serve students well long after they graduate.

Wesleyan Awards the 2021 Hamilton Prize for Creativity

Audrey Nelson ’25 is the recipient of the 2021 Hamilton Prize for Creativity, which comes with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend Wesleyan University.

Audrey Nelson ’25, of Bainbridge Island, Washington, is the recipient of the 2021 Hamilton Prize for Creativity, which comes with a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend Wesleyan University.

For the fifth consecutive year, Wesleyan University has awarded its prestigious Hamilton Prize for Creativity to three students whose creative written works best reflect the originality, artistry, and dynamism of Hamilton: An American Musical, created by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and directed by Thomas Kail ’99.

Audrey Nelson ’25 of Bainbridge Island, Washington, was awarded the grand prize—a four-year, full-tuition scholarship to attend Wesleyan. Nelson was recognized for her work of prose titled “Complications.”

Nolan Lewis of Washington, D.C., for his collection of songs/spoken word,

Nolan Lewis ’25, of Washington, D.C., received a $5,000 honorable mention stipend.

“Audrey’s ‘Complications’ was delightful and surprising at every turn: in structure, in subject matter, in its evocative language,” Miranda said. “I wanted to read more from this writer immediately.”

Alumni judge Craig Thomas ’97, co-creator of the TV sitcom “How I Met Your Mother” favored the “poignant magical realism” of Nelson’s prose. “The piece was impressionistic, spare, and quite moving, which is hard to do for a writer of any age, much less someone so young,” Thomas said.

In addition, Wesleyan awarded two $5,000 stipends to honorable mentions winners Nolan Lewis ’25 of Washington, D.C., for his collection of songs/spoken word, and Cecilio Munoz ’25 of Worcester, Massachusetts, for a screenplay titled “The Greatest Generation.”

The winning works were chosen from a pool of 345 submissions. Faculty members reviewed the initial entries, after which an all-star selection committee of Wesleyan alumni in the arts, chaired by Miranda and Kail, chose the finalists.

Cecilio Munoz ’25, of Worcester, Massachusetts, received a $5,000 honorable mention stipend.

After reading Lewis’s lyrics, actress Beanie Feldstein ’15 was confident that “this kid is going to be a star one day.” Said Feldstein, “It feels like Nolan’s music seamlessly enters the world, like a magic spell with thought-provoking, clever and impactful lyrics and rhymes.” And marketing guru Bozoma Saint John ’99 found Munoz’s “heart-warming” screenplay “captured the impact and confusion of childhood trauma really well, while relating to the reader.”

The Wesleyan University Hamilton Prize for Creativity was established in 2016 in honor of Miranda and Kail’s contributions to liberal education and the arts and named for the pair’s hit Broadway musical, which won 11 Tony Awards, including Best Musical, Best Direction of a Musical, Best Book, and Best Original Score.

Over the past five years, more than 2,300 students have submitted stories, poetry, songs, plays, and screenplays for consideration for the prize. Read about past winners in 2017, 2018, 2019, and 2020.

Learn more about the Hamilton Prize.

Admitted Students Explore Wesleyan during Virtual WesFest

As part of Wesleyan’s Admitted Student Events, the Office of Admission hosted its 2021 WesFest in a virtual platform April 7-9.

Class of 2025 admitted students and their families were able to log into 121 events and informational sessions on topics such as financial aid, academic resources, student activities, studying abroad, student technology, residential life, and religious life.

Of the 13,145 applications received for a spot in the Class of 2025, 2,544 were admitted. View the full Class of 2025 profile online here. During WesFest, more than 890 of the admitted students attended at least one session.

In addition to virtual tours and academic open houses, admitted students attended a student-to-student panel discussion to meet current students and learn about campus life, academics, and extracurricular academic activities at Wesleyan in an informal conversation.

On April 8, Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, welcomed guests to WesFest and spoke to admitted students and their families about the reason he decided to say “Yes to Wes!”

“I found myself attracted to Wes because of its size, because of the dynamic diversity, because of the balance, and all the ways that matter to me—not being too big or too small, not being urban but neither rural…” Gonzalez said. “I came here as an undergrad back in the early ’90s, spent my four years here, and had a transformative experience.”

Some of WesFest’s highlighted sessions are featured below:

activities fair

Student Activities & Leadership Development (SALD) student staff presented a guide to student organizations during a virtual Student Activities Fair. In addition to highlighting various student organizations at Wesleyan, the student staff offered an introduction to WesNest, the main platform of information for and about student groups.

Jonesy Moore '21

During a student-to-student panel discussion, Jonesy Moore ’21 spoke about changing academic directions after exploring the open curriculum. “I was completely clueless [about] what I was doing, so I came in as a neuro major [and] did not end up being a neuro major,” Moore said. Moore added that in addition to academics, students have the opportunity to try new extracurricular activities, regardless of prior experience. When first on campus, Moore became involved with Second Stage theatre company and Cardinal Pictures, a student-run film production group. “The first day we filmed, I had to learn how to focus the camera, like I was completely in the dark for that,” he recalled.

At the discussion, Tashfia Jilu ’22 offered advice to prospective students. “If you're feeling intimidated, it's okay,” Jilu said. “I remember my WesFest. I was listening to this whole panel for people saying I'm involved in this, I'm involved in [that], I'm double majoring, triple majoring…. it just sounded so intimidating. Jilu, who is pre-med and majoring in Science and Society, emphasized that the open curriculum makes it easier for students to explore multiple academic disciplines. You'll probably end up doing [multiple majors] just because it's the nature of Wes,” Jilu added. “You'll end up doing it even if you think you can't or you're intimidated right now. I just want to throw that out there.”

Tashfia Jilu ’22, who is pre-med and majoring in science in society, also offered advice to prospective students. “If you’re feeling intimidated, it’s okay,” Jilu said. “I remember my WesFest. I was listening to this whole panel of people saying I’m involved in this, I’m involved in [that], I’m double majoring, triple majoring…. It just sounded so intimidating, but the open curriculum makes it easier for students to explore multiple academic disciplines. You’ll probably end up doing [multiple majors] just because it’s the nature of Wes,” Jilu added.

6-7pm All-Star Alumni Panel Mark your calendars and cancel your plans! You're definitely going to want to join us for this all-star alumni panel moderated by Bradley Whitford '81 with Santigold '96, Angela Yee '97, and Beanie Feldstein '15! Come learn about their journeys to, through and post-Wesleyan! https://wesleyan.zoom.us/j/92233082126

WesFest’s All-Star Alumni Panel featured (clockwise from top left) Beanie Feldstein ’15, Bradley Whitford ’81, Angela Yee ’97, and Santigold ’96.

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“I feel like my brain [was] cracked open. I think I said that 50 times during my first two years at Wesleyan,” Feldstein said. “Knowing that to be your best at whatever you want to do you have to use the people around you and learn from the people around you versus trying to push people out of the way to get where you want to go. That Wesleyan spirit is something that really sticks with me.”

“I just realized there was a huge difference between the way that my brain worked and the way that I approached a lot of things versus people who didn't have this broad exposure in education. I was an African American studies major and a music double major, but I had never learned anything about African American studies until I got Wesleyan.

After graduating from Wesleyan with a double major in African American studies and music, Santigold “realized there was a huge difference between the way that my brain worked and the way that I approached a lot of things versus people who didn’t have this broad exposure in education.”

Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez '96, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, hosted a "Chat with your Admission Dean." "Our students learn to push beyond the boundaries and to not accept limitations, whether their self-imposed or imposed on them by others," he said. "That's the thing about Wes—you can't reduce us to a single adjective."

Amin Abdul-Malik Gonzalez ’96, vice president and dean of admission and financial aid, hosted a “Chat with your Admission Dean.” “Our students learn to push beyond the boundaries and to not accept limitations, whether they’re self-imposed or imposed on them by others,” he said. “That’s the thing about Wes—you can’t reduce us to a single adjective.”

Emily Moon '21 "My experience at Wesleyan has allowed me to pursue everything I wanted to—ranging from language to academics at a very high level—to really in-depth research and having all those opportunities in a community where I felt so welcomed and so accepted," Moon said. "I think there's something super unique about Wesleyan, and so I think this place has given me so much in the way of academic growth and the way of personal growth."

During the WesFest welcome on April 9, Emily Moon ’21 spoke about her Wesleyan experience. “Wesleyan has allowed me to pursue everything I wanted to—ranging from language to academics at a very high level to really in-depth research—and having all those opportunities in a community where I felt so welcomed and so accepted,” Moon said. “I think there’s something super unique about Wesleyan, and so I think this place has given me so much in the way of academic growth and the way of personal growth.”

long lane farm tour

Charlotte George ’24 offered a virtual tour of Wesleyan’s Long Lane Farm and answered questions from admitted students.

During a "Hot Topics for Parents" panel discussion, parents of admitted students were able to ask current Wesleyan students about campus life. "We hype up college as like this incredible experience that should be perfect, but it's also real life so problems happen, things will go wrong, and it won't be exactly as you think it will be.
 But just enjoy it for what it is," said panelist Becca Baron '23. "It's a super unique experience that your child is going to get to have at a super amazing place like Wesleyan. I just to like take it one day at a time, and it'll all be okay."

During a “Hot Topics for Parents” panel discussion, parents of admitted students were able to ask current Wesleyan students about campus life. “We hype up college as this incredible experience that should be perfect, but it’s also real life so problems happen, things will go wrong, and it won’t be exactly as you think it will be.
 But just enjoy it for what it is,” said panelist Becca Baron ’23. “It’s a super unique experience that your child is going to get to have at a super amazing place like Wesleyan. I just like to take it one day at a time, and it’ll all be okay.”

wesfest film

Logan Ludwig, assistant director of events and programs for the College of Film and the Moving Image, and Scott Higgins, Charles W. Fries Professor of Film Studies, offered a live informational session about the College and the film studies major.

12-1pm Virtual Tour: College of Film and the Moving Image Join CFILM staff for a live tour

Higgins also provided a pre-recorded virtual tour of the College of Film and the Moving Image.

ResLife Q&A Join ResLife staff and students for a discussion about living on campus! Bring your questions about roommate selection, picking your dorm, what you can and can't have in your room and more!

Residential Life staff hosted a discussion about living on campus and answered questions about housing options, roommate selection, and more.

Physics Drop-In Meet a Physics Professor, see them do a cool Physics demo, or both! Each day will feature different hosts.

Candice Etson, assistant professor of physics, led a “Meet a Physics Professor” event during WesFest.

The 41st Annual Philip B. Brown ’44 Memorial Lecture was held in conjunction with WesFest. Speakers included President Michael Roth ’78, Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Hon.’12, and Senator John Hickenlooper ’74, MA’80, Hon ’10. Maria Santana-Guadalupe ’98, anchor and correspondent for CNN en Español served as moderator.

The 41st Annual Philip B. Brown ’44 Memorial Lecture was held in conjunction with WesFest. Speakers included President Michael Roth ’78, Senator Michael Bennet ’87, Hon.’12, and Senator John Hickenlooper ’74, MA’80, Hon. ’10. Maria Santana-Guadalupe ’98, anchor and correspondent for CNN en Español served as moderator.