Tag Archive for graduate students

Honors, MA Students Present Research at Celebration of Science Theses

Honors and MA students in the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division presented their research at the Celebration of Science Theses, April 18 in Exley Science Center.

Xi Liu ’14 presented her study on “Consequences of Priming Status Legitimizing Beliefs in Whites: An Investigation of Perceived Anti-White Bias, Zero-Sum Beliefs and Support for Affirmative Action.”eve_postersession_2014-0418130015

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BA/MA Astronomy Student Edelman Researching Winds around Stars

Graduate student Eric Edelman is writing a master's thesis on the process of measuring the winds of stars. He's focusing on stellar systems that have known planets orbiting them, with the aim of trying to decipher how the measured winds of these stars may affect or potentially even dissipate the atmospheres of their host planets. (Photos by Hannah Norman '16)

Graduate student Eric Edelman is writing a master’s thesis on the process of measuring the winds of stars. He’s focusing on stellar systems that have known planets orbiting them, with the aim of trying to decipher how the measured winds of these stars may affect or potentially even dissipate the atmospheres of their host planets. (Photos by Hannah Norman ’16)

In this issue of The Wesleyan Connection, we speak with astronomy graduate student Eric Edelman ’13, who is one of 16 BA/MA students at Wesleyan. 

Q: You’re one of only a few who pursue the BA/MA option — it seems like a lot of work. But it seems tailor-made for work in the sciences… Are you still happy with your choice?

A: Absolutely. The BA/MA program provided me with the possibility to realistically pursue astronomy as a late bloomer in the field. I entered Wesleyan with the plan to major in English, and focused my efforts on that path for my first two years here. I took my first introductory course in astronomy and physics as a junior, switched into the astronomy major that semester, and was barely able to complete the bare minimum requirements to receive a BA degree.

Eric Edelman applauds the Astronomy Department's student-to-faculty ratio.

Eric Edelman applauds the Astronomy Department’s student-to-faculty ratio.

Even though I was able to get a degree, the amount of classes I had taken in astronomy and physics in only those two years would not have made me very competitive for Ph.D. programs, which tend to be the next logical step when pursuing a career in astronomy. With the flexibility provided from the BA/MA program, I have been able to stick around for an extra year and really sink my teeth into some incredibly difficult and worthwhile upper level physics and astronomy courses.

Q: The Class of 2018 is getting their admission letters this week. If a prospect is interested in studying sciences, what would you say are the bonuses of studying at Wesleyan?

A: My answer when it comes to physics and particularly astronomy is the student to faculty ratio. It really does literally approach the golden ratio over here. There tend to be around a total of 10-15 graduate and undergraduate majors in the astronomy department per year, with five professors and one postdoc to go around. While trying to land a research position with a professor at larger universities can sometimes feel like being part of a crazy rat race, the astronomy department here at Wes has more than enough space to accommodate any and all students who want to invest themselves in a worthwhile research project. It is an incredibly open and welcoming department.

Research, Relaxing, Thesis Writing ongoing over Mid-Semester Recess

Wesleyan’s spring mid-semester recess began March 7 and several students chose to stay on campus for all, or part of, the 16-day spring break. Classes will resume on March 24.

Chemistry graduate student Daniel Czyzyk, pictured setting up a cobalt column for protein purification, is a seventh-year graduate student who hopes to earn his Ph.D. in May. Czyzyk makes occasional weekend trips home to Scranton, Pa. but he's spent "all seven spring breaks — and winter, fall and summer breaks — here at Wesleyan."

Chemistry graduate student Daniel Czyzyk, pictured setting up a cobalt column for protein purification, is a seventh-year graduate student who hopes to earn his Ph.D. in May. Czyzyk makes occasional weekend trips home to Scranton, Pa. but he’s spent “all seven spring breaks — and winter, fall and summer breaks — here at Wesleyan.”

History and French double major Kelly Toy '14 returned to campus March 8 to work on her thesis titled "From 'America's Queen' to 'Lady Macbeth': The First Lady, Feminism and the Construction of Public Womanhood." Toy's advisor is Leah Wright, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of African American studies. "Since I've been back, I've been working about eight hours a day on my thesis. I have 85 pages done and I still need to write a conclusion." Student theses are due April 11.

History and French double major Kelly Toy ’14 returned to campus March 8 to work on her thesis titled “From ‘America’s Queen’ to ‘Lady Macbeth’: The First Lady, Feminism and the Construction of Public Womanhood.” Toy’s advisor is Leah Wright, assistant professor of history, assistant professor of African American studies. “Since I’ve been back, I’ve been working about eight hours a day on my thesis. I have 85 pages done and I still need to write a conclusion.” Student theses are due April 11.

Graduate Students, Faculty Attend 2014 Biophysical Society Meeting

Several graduate students and faculty from the Molecular Biology and Biochemistry Department, Chemistry Department, and the Molecular Biophysics Program presented their research at the 2014 Annual Biophysical Society meeting in San Francisco, Calif. Feb. 15-19.

The Biophysical Society encourages development and dissemination of knowledge in biophysics through meetings, publications and committee outreach activities. Every year, the society holds an annual meeting that brings together more than 6,000 research scientists in different fields representing biophysics.

Wesleyan graduate students, from left, Katie Kaus, Stephen Frayne, Yan Li, Shu Zhang, Anushi Sharma and Harikrushan Ranpura, presented research at the the Biophysical Society meeting.

Wesleyan graduate students, from left, Katie Kaus, Stephen Frayne, Yan Li, Shu Zhang, Anushi Sharma and Harikrushan Ranpura, presented research at the the Biophysical Society meeting.

Westmoreland, Craft, Hensiek Present Papers at American Chemical Society Meeting

David Westmoreland, associate professor of chemistry, and chemistry graduate student Breanna Craft presented a paper titled, “pH-Dependent Mechanisms of 1H Relaxivity in a Series of Structurally Related Mn(II) Cyclen Derivatives” at the 245th National Meeting of the American Chemical Society held in New Orleans, La. in April 2013.

Westmoreland, Craft and chemistry graduate student Sarah Hensiek also presented a paper titled, “Solution Dynamics of Transition Metal Complexes of Cyclen Based Ligands Containing Amide and Carboxylate Functional Groups.”

Taylor, Hingorani, Grad Students Co-Author Paper on Protein Function

Erika Taylor, assistant professor of chemistry, assistant professor of environmental studies; Manju Hingorani, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry; molecular biology and biochemistry graduate student Shreya Sawant and chemistry graduate student Daniel Czyzyk co-authored “E. coli Heptosyltransferase I: Exploration of Protein Function and Dynamics” published in Biochemistry, 52, 5158–5160 in 2013. They presented the paper at the 23rd Enzyme Mechanisms Conference held in Coronado Bay, Calif. in January 2013 and at the 57th Biophysical Society Conference held in Philadelphia, Pa. in February 2013.

Students, Faculty Host DNA Workshop for Area Children

Wesleyan students and faculty participated in a Minds in Motion event at Snow Elementary School on March 8. Ishita Mukerji, dean of the Natural Sciences and mathematics Division, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, hosted a DNA workshop with nine middle school students.

Wesleyan students and faculty participated in a Minds in Motion event at Snow Elementary School on March 8. Ishita Mukerji (not pictured), dean of the Natural Sciences and mathematics Division, professor of molecular biology and biochemistry, hosted a DNA workshop with nine middle school students.

Chemistry Faculty, Students Attend Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy

Pictured are Wesleyan faculty and students at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy.

Pictured are Wesleyan faculty and students at the International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy.

Several Wesleyan faculty and graduate students attended the 68th Ohio State University International Symposium on Molecular Spectroscopy held in Columbus, Ohio in 2013.

Stewart Novick, Herbert Pickett and Stephen Cooke, and graduate students Smitty Grubbs Ph.D ’10, Daniel Obenchain and Brittany Long made presentations.

Novick, chair and professor of chemistry, and Grubbs presented a talk on “Microwave Spectra and Structure of H2 – CuF: Overview of the Complexes of Hydrogen with Metal-Containing Diatomics.”

Novick, Grubbs and Obenchain presented “Observation of a Moderate Strength Interaction of Hydrogen with a Coinage Metal Halide: The Rotational Spectrum and Structure of the p-H2-CuCl and o-H2-CuCl Complexes.”

Novick, Grubbs, Obenchain and Herbert Pickett, research professor in chemistry, presented “FTMW Observation and Analysis of the p-H2-AgCl and o-H2-AgCl Complex” and “Hydrogen Interaction with Metal Halides: The Nuclear Quadrupole Coupling Constant of Gold in the p-H2-AuCl Complex and Trends in the other Hydrogen-Coinage Metal Halide Interactions.”

Novick, Grubbs, Obenchain and Stephen Cooke, visiting professor of chemistry, presented “Microwave Spectra of Fluorinated Propionic Acids and their Hydrates.”

Cooke and graduate student Brittany Long presented “Pure Rotational Spectra of the Reaction Products of Laser Ablated Thorium Metal and Oxygen Molecules Entrained within Supersonic Expansions of Noble Gases.”

Ishiguro Receives Grant from Society for Asian Music

Maho Ishiguro

Maho Ishiguro

Music Department doctoral student Maho Ishiguro received a $2,300 grant from the Society for Asian Music in October 2013. Ishiguro will use the grant for her research on the booming popularity of Achenese dance traditions among high school girls in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Ishiguro, of Tokyo, Japan, moved to the U.S. when she was a junior in high school. This is her second year studying ethnomusicology at Wesleyan.

Grant Applicants must be full-time graduate students enrolled in U.S. institutions and may use these funds to supplement other grants.  Grants are to be used for research, including fieldwork, pre-dissertation research, travel, language study, and other related activities.

The Society of Asian Music aims to cultivate, promote, foster, sponsor, develop and disseminate among its members and to other interested persons an appreciation, understanding, interest, taste and love of the music, and arts ancillary to music, of Asia; to create a center for the advancement of such purposes and to maintain the same to secure the interest of patrons of these arts; to encourage the composition of such music so as to provide social and aesthetic activities, and provide entertainment and amusement and the exploitation of such talents.

Aaron Paige, also a doctoral student in music, received the grant in 2012.

3 International Fulbright Scholars Studying at Wesleyan

Janette Suherli

Janette Suherli

Fulbright Fellow Janette Suherli could attend graduate school anywhere in the world, but the Indonesian resident decided to persue her master’s degree in astronomy here at Wesleyan.

“I learned about Wesleyan when I was in high school, and now I’m here because the Astronomy Department offers a great research program with well-known faculty members. The research and learning environment encourages me to be better everyday,” she said.

Suherli, who came to Wesleyan this fall, is one of three international Fulbright recipients who chose to complete their graduate studies at Wesleyan. Christine May Yong of Malaysia, plans to be at Wesleyan four to six years working on a Ph.D. in ethnomusicology. And Cristohper Ramos Flores of Mexico started his graduate studies in 2012. He’s pursuing a master’s degree in music composition.

A mainstay of America’s public-diplomacy efforts, the Fulbright Foreign Student Program brings citizens of other countries to the United States for master’s degree or Ph.D. study at U.S. universities.