Tag Archive for graduate students

Mathematics Ph.D. Student Haensch Receives Mass Media Fellowship

Anna Haensch is one of two mathematicians selected for the prestigious Mass Media Fellowship this year.

Anna Haensch is one of two mathematicians selected for the prestigious Mass Media Fellowship this year.

When Anna Haensch tells new acquaintances that she’s a mathematician, many people immediately recoil.

“There’s this repellent nature to math,” she said. “There’s this big wall up around it—people find it terrifying or uninteresting.”

That’s exactly why Haensch, a Ph.D. student who just successfully defended her dissertation, wants to learn how to communicate better to the general public about math. She is the recipient of a Mass Media Fellowship, administered by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Haensch’s fellowship is sponsored by the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The 10-week summer program, which starts June 3, places graduate and post-graduate level science, engineering and mathematics students at media organizations around the country, where they develop skills to translate their work to the public. Haensch will be stationed at the NPR Science Desk in Washington, D.C.

She was one of two mathematicians selected for the prestigious fellowship this year. Thirteen fellowship recipients in other scientific fields will be stationed at media outlets such as the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, NOVA, Scientific American, and WIRED.

Haensch, who earned her undergraduate degree at the State University of New York at New Paltz, has been at Wesleyan for the past six years, working on number theory under Professor of Mathematics Wai Kui Chan.

“I plug integers into polynomials and see what integers I get out,” she explained. “This is a question that’s really easy to ask, but it’s very hard to get our hands on the solution. Over the last several hundred years, this has been a question people have been very interested in.”

After passing her qualifying exams at Wesleyan, Haensch began teaching courses in pre-calculus

Varekamp, Students Study Volcanic Products, Waters in Argentina

Ellen Alexander '14, Professor Joop Varekamp and graduate student Lauren Camfield in Argentina.

Ellen Alexander ’14, Professor Joop Varekamp and graduate student Lauren Camfield in Argentina.

Ellen Alexander ’14, Professor Joop Varekamp and graduate student Lauren Camfield recently returned from Argentina where they studied the eruptive products of the Copahue volcano March 7-March 19.

Varekamp, the Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, professor of environmental studies, has studied the volcano since 1997. It erupted in 2000 and again in December 2012.

“Many Wesleyan students have done their senior theses and grad theses on Copahue. It’s exciting stuff for us volcanology types,” Varekamp said.

Camfield sampled the products of the most recent eruption of Copahue, which included ash, pumice and volcanic bombs. She will analyze her samples at Wesleyan for major and trace elements on a X-ray fluorescence machine and analyze any melt inclusions at the American Museum of Natural History in New York on an electron microprobe.

“This information can give us insight on what is happening in the magma chamber of the volcano as well as depth of crystallization of minerals,” Camfield said.

Grad Student Windemuth Honored for Astronomy Research

Diana Windemuth, a graduate student in the Astronomy Department, received Honorable Mention as a Chambliss Astronomy Achievement Student Award Recipient at the 221st meeting of the American Astronomical Society held Jan. 6-10 in Long Beach, Calif.

The award is given to recognize exemplary research by graduate students who present a poster at the meeting. Diana’s poster was titled “Dramatic Evolution of the Disk-Shaped Secondary in the Orion Trapezium Star θ1 Ori B1 (BM Ori): MOST Satellite Observations.”

Windemuth’s advisor is William Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy. Her work included results from two former Astronomy graduate students, Evan Tingle and Rachel Fueschl. Additional co-authors on the poster were Roy Kilgard, research assistant professor of astronomy, and Matthew Templeton and Arne Henden of the American Association of Variable Star Observers.

Windemuth’s results are based on data obtained with a Canadian satellite known as MOST and a NASA satellite known as Chandra. The work was supported by a grant to Wesleyan from NASA’s Origins of Solar Systems program. Her work will soon be published in The Astrophysical Journal.

President Roth Speaks with Graduate Students on Job Market, Technology

Wesleyan President Michael Roth spoke with graduate students during a conversation and reception Jan. 22 in Daniel Family Commons.

Graduate Student Services hosted “Graduate Student Conversation with President Roth” on Jan. 22 in Daniel Family Commons. President Roth answered graduate student questions and talked about the value of a Wesleyan graduate education, especially in the challenging job market, how technology is changing the role of the professoriate, and how the graduate community can be involved in the Making Excellence Inclusive project.

Women in Science Group Hosts Graduate Admission Panel

Wesleyan’s Women in Science group hosted a Graduate School Admissions Panel Dec. 3 in the Allbritton Center. Students learned about the various opportunities in graduate studies from representatives in a wide range of disciplines.

Panelists included: Richard Zeff, assistant dean of admission at University of Connecticut’s School of Medicine; Mary Keefe, director of admission at the Yale School of Public Health;  Cheryl-Ann Hagner, director of Graduate Student Services at Wesleyan; Dannika Byrd, assistant director of student affairs in Yale’s School of Medicine’s Physician Associate Program; Merideth Frey, Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s Department of Physics; and Sarah Moustafa BA ’11, MA ’12,  Ph.D. candidate in Yale’s Genetics Program.

WIS is a student group composed of undergraduates, post-docs, staff, and faculty dedicated to issues affecting women in science. The group is open to all majors and genders. Photos of the event are below (photos by Dat Vu ’15)

Graduate Students Network, Receive Career Advice at Symposium

Yan Li, a graduate student in molecular biology and biochemistry, attended the Graduate Career Symposium Jan. 25 at Usdan University Center. More than 65 students pursuing a M.A. or Ph.D. at Wesleyan participated in the day-long event, which provided information on ways to transition from graduate school to careers in academia and industry. A reception followed the event.

At left, Michael Sciola, director of the Wesleyan Career Center, spoke to graduate students about interview skills and job searching. At right, author and guest speaker Diane Tracey of Executive Coaching Services, held a workshop on networking and etiquette. The event was sponsored by Graduate Student Services, the Graduate Student Association and the Wesleyan Career Center.

Gabriel Valenzuela is working on a Ph.D. in mathematics.

Capelo Praises Wesleyan’s M.A. Astronomy Program in Astrobites

Holly Capelo, a graduate student in the Astronomy Department, wrote a contribution to “astrobites,” an e-newsletter for students and others interested in astronomy. In her article, titled “Careers, Like Space Missions, are Tricky: How a Master’s Degree Can Help,” Capelo writes about her experience as a M.A. student at Wesleyan:

“In general the program is quite flexible: the curriculum includes a baseline number of astronomy courses and the rest of the course work is custom fit for individual students’ backgrounds and goals; often the candidates have undergraduate degrees in related fields, such as math, physics and computer science, and acquire astronomy-specific research and academic experience during their time there. The small department is housed entirely in an antique observatory on a bucolic liberal arts campus.”

At Wesleyan, Capelo studies transition disks in young stellar objects at optical and near-infrared wavelengths. Her advisor is Bill Herbst, the John Monroe Van Vleck Professor of Astronomy. Read the entire article online here.