Tag Archive for student scholarships

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

11 Students from 11 Countries Join Freeman Scholars Cohort

The Class of 2015 Freeman Scholars.

The Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholars Program welcomed 11 new students to the program during a Freeman Scholars Dinner Oct. 6.

The program enables qualified young men and women from each of 11 countries or regions – The People’s Republic of China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam to come to Wesleyan on full tuition scholarships.

“I am fortunate to work with the Freeman Asian Scholars Association; so many are friends. I love their energy, good spirit and their wonderful creativity and culture they inject into the community,” says Gina Driscoll, associate director of development events.

This program is made possible by Wesleyan University and the Freeman Foundation, which aims to improve understanding and to strengthen ties between the United States and the countries of the Pacific Rim. Entry into the Wesleyan Freeman Asian Scholars Program is highly competitive: only one student is selected annually from each country.

The Freeman Foundation, led by the late Houghton Freeman ’43, his wife Doreen, and their son Graeme Freeman ’77, launched  the program in 1995.

The 2011-12 cohort includes Tong Satayopas of Thailand; Dat Vu of Vietnam; Kehan Zhou of China; Kaito Abe of Japan; Marianna Ilagan of the Philippines; Rizky Rahadianto of Indonesia; Chun Kit Ng of Malaysia; Inha Cho of the Republic of Korea; Michael Leung of Hong Kong; Jill Jie’en Tan of Singapore and Yun-Hsuan Lai of Taiwan.

The new Freeman Scholars joined the Classes of 2014, 2013 and 2012 scholars during the Freeman Scholars Dinner Oct. 6. The group sung the Wesleyan Fight Song and shouted, "Go Wes!" (Photos by Charlotte Christopher '12)


Her ’13, Witkin ’13 Explore Korean, Russian Culture as Language Scholars

한국말 하실 줄 아세요? (Can you speak Korean?)

Judy Her ’13 can. And by the end of this summer, she hopes to be fluent.

As recipients of a U.S. Department of State Critical Language Scholarship, Her and Daniel Witkin ’13 are spending 10 weeks in intensive language institutes this summer. The CLS Program provides fully-funded, group-based intensive language instruction and structured cultural enrichment experiences.

Judy Her '13

Daniel Witkin '13

Her is currently studying the Korean language in Jeonju City, South Korea at Chonbuk National University, and Witkin is studying the Russian language in Kazan, Russia at the Kazan Institute of Social Science and Humanities.

“I hope to fully immerse in the Korean culture and to explore the country,” says Her, who is majoring in film studies and East Asian studies. “I want to get the most out of this program, to take advantage of every opportunity that is given because I know that my participation will benefit me immensely.”

Witkin, who is majoring in film studies and Russian and Eastern European studies, hopes to “drastically improve my Russian speaking, reading, and comprehension capability, which at this point is admittedly fairly meager,” he says. “Luckily, going abroad to do an intensive language program is probably one of the more effective ways to address this.”

Prior to their departure, Her and Witkin attended an orientation program with the American Councils CLS staff, U.S. Department of State officials and representatives from the respective host country embassies in Washington DC in early June.

Weidenfeld Scholarship Sends Ivanova ’10 to Oxford

Daniela Ivanova ’10, pictured at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, will return to Europe next fall to study European politics and society at the University of Oxford. She is a recipient of the Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership Programme.

Ten years from now, Daniela Ivanova ’10 envisions herself working as an advisor to a European commissioner or member of the Bulgarian government. Her next step in the quest will take place at the University of Oxford, in England.

Ivanova is a recipient of a Weidenfeld Scholarship and Leadership Programme for 2010-11. Awarded by the London-based Institute for Strategic, the scholarship will allow Bulgaria native Ivanova to pursue her career goal by supporting her studies on European politics and society at Oxford.

“Daniela came straight to Wesleyan from a high school in a remote Bulgarian provincial town,” says Peter Rutland, the Colin and Nancy Campbell Professor in Global Issues and Democratic Thought, professor of government and co-chair of the College of Social Studies. “Her excellent performance in the College of Social Studies, and her fluency in French and German, made her an ideal candidate for the Weidenfeld scholarship, which is aimed to train the next generation of East European leaders,”

Weidenfeld Scholars, who are supported by British philanthropist and publisher Sir George Weidenfeld, are selected for their intellectual distinction and exceptional leadership potential. The Leadership Programme provides the Scholars with the knowledge, skills and networks to contribute effectively to public life in their countries of origin and to build lasting professional linkages across cultures and continents.

Past Weidenfeld Scholarship

Summer Experience Grants Support Student Internships at Museums, Newspapers, Organizations

Christian Hoyos ’11 works with a 3-year-old during an experiment on sharing behavior during a summer internship at the Social Cognitive Development Lab at Yale University.

Christian Hoyos ’11 works with a 3-year-old during an experiment on sharing behavior during a summer internship at the Social Cognitive Development Lab at Yale University.

For 10 weeks, Eve Mayberger ’10 removed harmful matting of two Everett Shinn illustrations, conserved a William de Leftwich Dodge oil painting from 1916, X-rayed a basket made entirely of burrs and cleaned and documented an outdoor statue made of earthenware.

As a recipient of a Wesleyan University Summer Experience Grant, Mayberger had the opportunity to get hands-on experience at the Smithsonian American Art Museum-Lunder Conservation Center where she worked 40 hours a week, unpaid, as an art conservation intern.

The Summer Experience Grants are available to undergraduates who have completed their sophomore year. Awards are made up to $4,000 per experience to interns who work full-time for a minimum of eight weeks and are receiving need-based financial aid.

As a frosh, Mayberger, an art history major

Mishara-Blomberger ’11, West ’11 Receive Goldwater Scholarships

From the day Carl T. West ’11 arrived on Wesleyan’s campus, he wanted to study the fundamentals of quantum mechanics.

Although reluctant at first, Tsampikos Kottos, assistant professor of physics, welcomed the eager frosh to his “Complex Quantum Dynamics and Mesoscopic Phenomena” research group.

“To be honest, Carl was a kind of an experiment, for me,” Kottos says. “I usually take sophomores and above at my group, but Carl was so confident on what he wanted, so I decided to involve a freshman in our research. It was a good and decision.”

Carl T. West '11

Carl T. West '11

In the past two years, West wrote an article that was accepted to an international physics journal, presented research to the American Physical Society, and worked out a system dealing with quantum chaos studies with results Kottos had not seen before. And in April, West, along with Jonas Mishara-Blomberger ’11, received a Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for the 2009-10 academic year.

The Goldwater Scholarship Award, established by Congress in 1986, is the most prestigious national undergraduate scholarship in mathematics, physics and engineering. Of the 1,097 applicants nominated by faculty members, only 278 students were selected to receive the scholarship.

West, a mathematics, physics and philosophy triple major, and Mishara-Blomberger, a mathematics and physics double major, will each receive a $7,500 scholarship to help cover the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board for their junior and senior year. They will join Kottos at the Max-Planck Institute in Göttingen, Germany this summer.

“It is very exciting for me to receive the Goldwater Fellowship because it is both a great honor and also gives me encouragement to continue pursuing my goals to do research in physics and mathematics,” Mishara-Blomberger says.

Jonas Mishara-Blomberger '11

Jonas Mishara-Blomberger '11

Mishara-Blomberger applied for the Goldwater scholarship while working with Assistant Professor of Physics Greg Voth’s research group on dynamic phenomena of granular gasses. By vibrating a glass chamber filled with 3mm-wide glass spheres, the Voth lab achieved a system of macroscopic particles that have similar properties to a gas.

“Whereas in a gas, you usually cannot acquire data of individual molecules, in our quasi-2-dimensional granular gas we can measure the trajectories of every particle. This direct measurement allows us to calculate variables like pressure, stresses, and viscosity of our system at any given height and time,” Mishara-Blomberger explains.

He will join Kottos’ group this summer to study current relaxation for systems with phase transition (for example how light intensity decays out of a leaking cavity filled with random scatterers).

“It is one of the research lines very close to the same family of problems that Carl and former students have worked on in the past,” Kottos explains. “I am optimistic that Jonas will also come up with a new strong result.”

West will begin a new project, studying how an initial excitation, evolves in time for two systems which are very similar to one-another. This study aims to quantify the sensitivity of dynamics of a complex mesoscopic system to small perturbations. These perturbations are associated with fabrication errors of the mesoscopic device, changes in the environmental temperature etc.

“Here the systems are too big to describe using exact Quantum mechanics, but too small for Newtonian mechanics to work well either. So, these systems allows us to probe fundamental types of questions regarding the agreement of classical and quantum descriptions of chaos,” West explains. “In fact, we are even able to examine the dynamics, that is, how the system changes in time, which is an exceptionally difficult problem.”

In 2008, Goldwater Scholarships went to Noah Biro ’09 a molecular biology and biochemistry and sociology double major, and Alison Ringel ’09, a molecular biology and biochemistry and physics double major.

“This continues the great 2008 success of our Wesleyan undergraduates in the annual competition,” says Reinhold Blumel, the Charlotte Augusta Ayers Professor of Physics, chair of the Physics Department. “Both Jonas and Carl are doing great work in physics, and this, no doubt, attests to Wesleyan’s strength in the sciences and mathematics.”

After Wesleyan, West hopes to pursue a Ph.D in physics and become a research professor; whereas Mishara-Blomberger is planning to attend graduate school for either mathematics or theoretical physics.

“I feel very strongly that my getting this award reflects the strength of Wesleyan’s Physics Department and the amazing commitment we have to undergraduate research,” West says. “What I have been able to do in the past four semesters is totally impossible at most major universities, but here at Wes it is not only doable but encouraged.”

In addition to sharing the Goldwater Scholarship, Mishara-Blomberger and West also received the Johnston Prize in 2008. The prize is awarded to those first-year students or sophomores whose performance in their first two semesters of physics shows exceptional promise.

In April 2009, they  each received the Karl Van Dyke Prize, awarded each year to one or more students either majoring in physical science or having a predominant interest in physical science and technology, and who show outstanding achievement in academic work and a promise of productivity in a professional career. They were nominated by faculty in the Physics Department.