Olivia Drake

New Visiting Faculty Bring Vast Academic Interests from High Altitude Ecosystems to Pharmacoengineering

visiting faculty 2021

Several new visiting faculty and scholars attended New Faculty Orientation in August. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

Nineteen visiting faculty, including fellows, scholars, and postdoctoral researchers, join Wesleyan for the 2021-22 academic year. Their academic interests include high altitude ecosystems, Muslim political masculinities, Indigenous cultural studies, epidemiology and public health, 20th-century continental philosophy, pharmacoengineering, social media’s effects on adolescent development, and more.

Their bios are below:

Alisha Butler, Provost Equity Fellow in the College of Education Studies, is a mixed-methods researcher whose work draws on interdisciplinary perspectives to interrogate the overlapping ecologies of schools, neighborhoods, and cities that shape students’ and families’ experiences in schools. This work includes studies of school-family and school-community partnerships. Her dissertation leveraged qualitative methods to investigate gentrification’s effects on urban schools, focusing on how middle-class families in gentrifying communities select secondary schools for their children, how administrators and educators respond to changing school demographics, and how gentrification shapes the politics of family engagement. She earned her BA at Yale University and an MA in education policy from the University of Maryland, College Park, where she also will complete her PhD in education policy. Butler will join Wesleyan during the spring 2022 semester.

Alton Byers, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the College of the Environment, is a mountain geographer, conservationist, and mountaineer specializing in applied research, high altitude ecosystems, climate change, glacier hazards, and integrated conservation and development programs. He received both his BA  and PHD from the University of Colorado, the latter focusing on landscape change, soil erosion, and vegetation dynamics in the Sagarmatha (Mt. Everest) National Park, Nepal. He joined The Mountain Institute (TMI) in 1990 as an environmental advisor, and over the next 25 years worked as co-manager of the Makalu-Barun National Park (Nepal Programs), founder and director of Andean Programs, director of Appalachian programs, and director of science and exploration. In 2015 he joined the Institute for Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at the University of Colorado at Boulder as a senior research scientist and faculty, and currently works on a range of research, writing, and teaching projects in the Himalayas, Andes, Appalachian, and Rocky Mountains. His work has been recognized by the Sir Edmund Hillary Mountain Legacy Medal from the Nepali NGO Mountain Legacy; David Brower Award for Conservation from the American Alpine Club; Distinguished Career Award from Association of American Geographers, Mountain Specialty Group; Ecosystem Stewardship Award from The Nature Conservancy; and Honorary Lifetime Member of the Nepal Geographical Society. In 2016 he received a Fulbright Specialist award to teach mountain geography at Tribhuvan University, Nepal, and has twice been shortlisted for the Rolex Award for Enterprise. Byers is co-editor of Mountain Geography: Human and Physical Dimensions (University of California Press at Berkeley, 2013). His most recent book is titled Khumbu Since 1950, a unique collection of historic photographs of the Mount Everest region that he has replicated over the years. In April 2021 he was awarded the 2021-2022 Fulbright Nepal Research Award for continued work in alpine conservation and restoration work.

Students Network, Share Interests at Annual Involvement Fair

From Alpha Delta Phi Society to the WeSanskriti—a South Asian classical dancing group—Wesleyan’s 300-plus student groups offer opportunities for students with different backgrounds to meet peers with common interests.

As part of Wesleyan’s Week of Welcome (WesWOW), representatives from more than 100 student groups and clubs gathered on Andrus Field Sept. 10 for the Student Involvement Fair. Group members provided information, sign-up sheets, and various activities associated with their individual clubs.

Wesleyan has more than 300 student-run groups, focusing on activism, identity, sports, publications, performance and visual arts, community service, religious affiliations, cultural interests, and more. Among them are the Botany Club, Photography Club, Mexican Ballet Folklorico, EveryVoteCounts, WesClimb, Bell and Scroll Society, Jewish Voice for Peace, Powerlifting Club, Society of Physics Students, Student of Color Fashion Show Committee, Ujamaa Black Student Union, WesEMT, and more.

The 21st annual event is sponsored by the Wesleyan Student Assembly and the Office of Student Involvement.

“Joining a club or group is a wonderful way for students to meet like-minded students,” said Joanne Rafferty, director of student involvement and New Student Orientation. “It also can contribute to their entire Wesleyan co-curricular experience.”

Any group wanting to hold a meeting or event can book a space via WesNest.

Photos of the Student Involvement Fair are below: (Photos by Willow Saxon ’24)

WesleyanDoulaProjec

The Wesleyan Doula Project provides free and compassionate support for people in the position of terminating their pregnancies, working to combat the stigma around abortion and reproductive health and to ensure that each individual receives the care they deserve. The WDP strives to empower students to pursue reproductive health work and to strengthen connections between Wesleyan and the local community. Driven by the values of health equity and Reproductive Justice, the WDP is part of a national Full-Spectrum Doula Movement committed to making doula care accessible to all people and all pregnancy outcomes.

wes buds

WesBuds is a partnership between Wesleyan students and the students of Middlesex Transition Academy (MTA). MTA students, ages 18-21, may have intellectual or developmental disabilities and are looking to address their own individual transition needs after high school. In WesBuds, students make new friends, participate in fun events like soccer clinics, watching movies, dancing, and hanging out.

New International Students Hail from 64 Countries

international students

On Aug. 31, Wesleyan welcomed 112 new international students to campus. The largest groups come from China, India, Canada, Japan, South Korea, and the United Kingdom. (Photo by Olivia Drake)

ISO

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.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

Wesleyan President Michael Roth ’78 participated in a Newsweek podcast debate titled “Is Higher Education Broken?” “I think the idea that only rich people should be able to experience the benefits of learning—whether that’s about math and science, or whether it’s about literature and philosophy—that’s a huge mistake. (Aug. 31)

President Roth also wrote a book review of Allan V. Horowitz’s A History of Psychiatry’s Bible for The Washington Post. “In this history … Horwitz emphasizes the social construction of scientific concepts. This account underscores the economic incentives in play as psychiatrists tried to reach consensus on how to describe specific disorders so that they could treat them—and be paid well to do so.” (Sept. 3)

In The Washington Post, Kyungmi Kim, a cognitive psychologist and assistant professor of psychology, explains why people tend to hold onto material possessions. “Mostly, when people think about the self, the self is residing within the physical boundary of our body,” she said. “However, we also have an ‘extended self’ which includes important people in our lives, plus certain objects that help us ‘define ourselves because they belong to our personal history.'” (Sept. 2)

According to The Hollywood Reporter, the much anticipated directorial debut tick, tick…BOOM! by Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 is timed to detonate Nov. 10 as the Netflix film opens the 35th edition of AFI Fest at Hollywood’s TCL Chinese Theatre. Bradley Whitford ’81, Hon. 20, will play the role of Stephen Sondheim. The Emmy-winning actor tells The Hollywood Reporter that he found the obligation of playing a legend like Sondheim “scary” but he found a soft place to land on Miranda’s set. “We had the same wonderful, crazy acting teacher in college,” Whitford said of the late William “Bill” Francisco, professor of theater, emeritus. “Whitford says while there’s a relatively small percentage of the audience that has ever seen Sondheim, those who do know him love and adore him. ‘It’s scary to have that obligation but Lin was there to pull the blood out of me.'”

In Wicked Local, Jasmine Fridman ’25 shares her thoughts about working for the Mystic Mural project this summer. Fridman wants to major in environmental science as a result of working on the mural. “We learned a lot about the current effects of climate change on a global level, but also on a local level and on our home,” she said. “Not only did we paint nature, but we also took field trips to learn about the environment — it was very enriching.” (Sept. 2)

Peter Gottschalk, professor of religion, was mentioned in The Conversation for writing an article about an eighth-century female Sufi saint, known popularly as Rabia al-Adawiyya. “[She] is said to have walked through her hometown of Basra, in modern-day Iraq, with a lit torch in one hand and a bucket of water in another. When asked why, she replied that she hoped to burn down heaven and douse hell’s fire so people would—without concern for reward or punishment—love God.” (Aug. 30)

In The Connecticut Patch, William Wasch, Sr., ’52, is remembered for his long career with Wesleyan. “In 1964, Bill returned to Wesleyan and began a long career with the university, initially running the annual fund and then becoming Director of Development and Alumni Relations in 1967. While at Wesleyan, he oversaw several large capital campaigns and successfully kept more traditional alumni connected to the university during the very difficult years of campus unrest in the late 60s and early 70s. He retired from Wesleyan in 1985.”

 

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)

I, You, (We)s
I, You, (We)sI, You, (We)s

I, You, (We)sI, You, (We)sI, You, (We)s

I, You, (We)s

Faculty, Staff Prepare for a New Semester at Wesleyan

After an unusual 18 months of hybrid teaching, working remotely, and navigating university life during a pandemic, Wesleyan’s faculty and staff are eager for some normalcy this fall. In this News @ Wesleyan piece, we speak to several employees about what they are most looking forward to during the fall 2021 semester.

Morgan Keller

Morgan Keller

Morgan Keller became director of international student affairs on Aug. 23 after stints at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, University of California-Santa Cruz, and Clemson University. He learned of Wesleyan through his cousin, Adam Keller ’14, who spoke favorably of the university during his time here as a film major.

“This fall, I’m excited to meet the new and continuing international students and get a sense of the different ways we can holistically support them,” he said. “I’d like to create initiatives and co-curricular opportunities to increase our international students’ engagement with their U.S. American peers and enhance their sense of belonging in the campus community.”

As a New England newbie, Keller also is looking forward to experiencing the fall season in Connecticut and attending festivals and agricultural fairs with his wife and two daughters, ages 6 and 9.

Abderrahman AissaThis fall, Abderrahman Aissa, adjunct assistant professor in Arabic, is teaching Elementary Arabic, Intermediate Arabic, Advanced Arabic, and a new Fries Center for Global Studies course—Introduction to Tamazight: The Native Language of North Africa and Beyond. This course will introduce students to the language and culture of the Amazigh people, an ethnic group native to North Africa and West Africa. The Tamazight language has been a written language for almost 3,000 years.

“I can’t wait to be with my students in class and hopefully go back to a full normal teaching and learning environment,” he said. “I’m also looking forward to teaching Introduction to Tamazight for the first time ever, especially since this language is practically unheard of in U.S. colleges’ curricula.”

Emily Gorlewski

Emily Gorlewski

Alumni Share Experiences with Forklift Danceworks; Prepare for ‘WesWorks’

Rivera and Porquillo worked together, wiping down tables and vacuuming floors. They began with just introducing themselves

Last spring, Tamara Rivera ’21 job shadowed SMG employee Maria Porquillo, who has worked for more than two decades at Olin Library. Once a week, Rivera met Porquillo at the library to observe her movements and rhythms, and ultimately choreographed a piece for Porquillo to perform on stage. This fall, students will participate in a similar multidisciplinary dance project titled “WesWorks.”

This October, Wesleyan will present a multidisciplinary dance project titled “WesWorks” that transforms the ordinary, mundane, and skillful movements of facilities and custodial employees into a performance accompanied by live, original music and stories told in the workers’ voices.

Led by Allison Orr, the choreographer and artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, a distinguished fellow in the College of Environment, “WesWorks” will teach students techniques of community art practice through performance.

In these Q&As, we speak with Forklift Danceworks employees and Wesleyan alumnae Gretchen LaMotte ’18 (click to read), choreographer and programs manager and Penny Snyder ’16 (click to read), communications manager for Forklift.

Penny Snyder '16

Penny Snyder ’16

“There’s nothing in the world like going to a Forklift show. It feels almost utopian … It’s really an emotional experience to me because there is a throughline of trust that flows between the choreographers, the performers, and the audience,” Snyder said.

Read More:

Wesleyan Facilities, Custodial Staff Celebrated through Performance

 

Snyder ’16 Reflects on Her Experience with Forklift

On Oct. 14, Forklift Danceworks will present WesWorks, a performance that celebrates the skilled movement and the often unheard stories of the people whose work sustains the daily lives of the Wesleyan campus.

In this Q&A we speak with Penny Snyder ’16, who works as the communications manager for Forklift. At Wesleyan, she majored in English and received High Honors for her general scholarship thesis on art museums, architecture, and public space. She is an incoming graduate student at the Lyndon B. Johnston School of Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Austin. 

Penny Snyder '16

Penny Snyder ’16

Q: Hello Penny! How were you first introduced to Forklift Danceworks?

PS: During my senior year at Wesleyan, I was a student member of the College of the Environment’s Think Tank on Urban Environments and Urban Engagement. There, I met Allison Orr and Clara Pinsky ’16 who made her senior thesis with Allison and the other student member of that think tank. As I was working on my thesis on urban development and public space at art museums, it was exhilarating to be in dialogue with people researching and working on the same issues in academia and the real world.

After working for a year in communications at a planning and design firm in Boston, I moved to Austin to work at a museum and started volunteering for Forklift and attending performances. I figured if I hung out for long enough Forklift might have room for me. Then Allison finally called me in December of 2019 and asked if I’d help out more officially!

Q: What personally made you want to stay involved with Forklift after Wesleyan?

PS: I always felt connected to Forklift’s belief that everyone is creative and that art can exist in many forms and settings outside of traditional arts institutions. I grew up in Oklahoma, a place where there’s not a ton of traditional (or even non-traditional) arts institutions, but nonetheless, is a place I’m deeply tied to and holds inspiration and potential for me.

Wesleyan in the News

NewsWesleyan’s intellectually dynamic faculty, students, alumni, staff, and parents frequently serve as expert sources for national media. Others are noted for recent achievements and accolades. A sampling of recent media hits is below:

The Wall Street Journal features Fidelity Investments’ Joel Tillinghast ’80 regarding the meme-stock craze. “Mr. Tillinghast’s tastes in stocks are eclectic. His main mutual fund holds more than 900 names, and some 34% of his assets are in international stocks. His largest concentration is in retailers and consumer-goods stocks beaten down by expectations that e-commerce would crush bricks-and-mortar stores.” (Aug. 4)

On CNBC, former FDA Commissioner Dr. Scott Gottlieb ’94, Hon. ’21 said health officials will try to administer COVID-19 boosters to head off a winter surge in cases. “The first two [doses] were administered so close together, they really qualify as two primes,” Gottlieb said. “And this is the booster that’s hopefully going to induce a longer-term immunity, more durable immunity.” (Aug. 19)

Also on CNBC, Gottlieb suggests that the coronavirus will become an endemic virus in the U.S. and other Western countries after the recent surge in delta variant infections calms down. “We’re transitioning from this being a pandemic to being more of an endemic virus, at least here in the United States and probably other Western markets,” Gottlieb said. “An endemic virus is one that remains in the American population at a relatively low frequency, like the seasonal flu, for example.” (Aug. 13)

On NBC News, J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, professor of American studies, suggests that “there’s a huge split between those who literally want to have a Native governing entity with limited autonomy that’s subordinate to the U.S. nation-state and those who want the U.S. out of Hawaii.” (Aug. 30)

Robert Allbritton ’92 is profiled in Archyde for his work with Politico and Allbritton Communications. “Growing up and well-wired in Washington, he set up Politico in 2007, which soon made a name for itself in the power metropolis of Washington with excellent journalists and many insider stories. The New Republic magazine wrote of Allbritton that he had ‘reshaped the way we conduct politics.’ According to Allbritton, the portal has always been profitable.” (Aug. 29)

In an op-ed published by CNN, David Perry ’95 discusses Jeopardy! and Wesleyan’s former reference librarian Erhard Konerding. Konerding, now retired, “was renowned for his handlebar mustache, encyclopedic knowledge, and support for students as we pursued our own educational aspirations.” (Aug. 20)

Christina Leone, email marketing coordinator for the Office of Advancement, was a contestant on Jeopardy! Leone ended up winning $19,200 on the show. (Aug. 3)

An op-ed titled “How I put Down the Gun” by William “Juneboy” Outlaw as told to Charles Barber, writer in residence, is published in The New Haven Independent. “I tell the kids: ‘Don’t do what I did; the only consequences are death and prison.’ I have negotiated truces between gangs. I have gotten them to turn in guns to the police. To gang members, I have the ultimate street credibility based on my lived experience.” (Aug. 27)

Serena Chow ’21 is featured in an NBCU Academy story about creating the Argus Voices Fund, an initiative that raises money to support low-income journalists of color at the campus newspaper. “When we compensate people fairly, when we take into account the barriers for people, we become better as a newsroom and so does the news judgment that we’re all sharpening.”

Wesleyan’s new science center is showcased in The Hartford Business Journal. “The private, liberal-arts college located in the heart of Middletown, is planning to build a new $255 million, 193,000-square-foot science center that would replace its aging Hall-Atwater Laboratory building.” (Aug. 23)

In The Connecticut Mirror, Brian Stewart, professor of physics, discusses what climate “code red” means for the State of Connecticut. “Our future energy needs must be supported by the three pillars of renewable energy, energy storage, and demand management/reduction. The cheapest energy is the energy not used. Connecticut has barely scratched the surface of this resource.” (Aug. 18)

Voices News announces that William “Bill” Ollayos, area coordinator, is a Democratic candidate for the Southbury, Conn. Region 15 Board of Education municipal election. “Mr. Ollayos now works for the Office of Residential Life at Wesleyan University with responsibility for hundreds of students.” (Aug. 18)

Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology, is quoted in Daily World Live for her involvement with NASA’s new interplanetary missions: DAVINCI+ and VERITAS. “There’s no reason, according to what we know about the planets, that Venus was not habitable at its onset,” she said. (Aug. 17)

Erika Franklin Fowler, professor of government, is mentioned in The Cornell Chronicle for co-authoring a new study titled “Evidence-Based Message Strategies to Increase Public Support for State Investment in Early Childhood Education,” which was published in Milbank Quarterly. Fowler and her colleagues determined a narrative, storytelling approach – “showing rather than telling” is the best way to appeal to folks who might initially be resistant to increased spending on early childhood education. (Aug. 17)

In an article about Coursera, Tech Radar mentions “There are a smattering of offerings under the Arts and Humanities department. This includes a course in “Creative Writing” from Wesleyan University. (Aug. 25)

In The Register Citizen, Ishita Mukerji, Wesleyan Fisk Professor of Natural Science; Kyle McGregor ’24; Schuyler Sloman ’22; Rachel Hsu ’23; and others are mentioned for sharing their summerlong research at a recent virtual poster session. (Aug. 24)

Wesleyan’s Upward Bound Math-Science program is featured in the Connecticut Post. In 2021, 30 of the 32 students who graduated from the program are moving on to higher education. Twenty-six of those students are bachelor-degree bound. (Aug. 24)

WILD Wes Continues Summer Work on Permaculture Site

wild wes

The student group WILD Wes was a 2021 recipient of a Jewett Center for Community Partnerships Student Innovation Fund award. These awards support community engagement projects with grants up to $750 each. For 11 years, WILD Wes has been maintaining the West College Courtyard permaculture site.

For more than a decade, the student group WILD Wes (Working for Intelligent Landscape Design at Wesleyan University) has worked to transform a .75 acre of sloping, sandy land into a thriving permaculture site.

Located inside the West College Courtyard, the garden boasts a biodiverse natural ecosystem with plants that are beneficial to humans and wildlife. Birds, bees, butterflies (and humans) enjoy the plethora of seasonal produce: blackberries, blueberries, pears, apples, corn, currants, and more. Seasonal flowers, from beebalm to woodland sunflowers, provide insects with nectar-rich meals, and grassy native groundcovers spread to absorb heavy rain and eliminate the need for mowing and fertilizers.

WILD Wes members began working on the courtyard in 2010 and planted their first trees and perennial rain garden two years later. This summer, students laid a paver pathway and encourage passers-by to take a stroll through the site.

The project is supported by the Wesleyan Green Fund, the College of the Environment, Physical Plant, the SAGES-Green Building Subcommittee, the Sustainability Office, and other partners.

View past stories about WILD Wes’s efforts here. Photos of the West College Courtyard in July and August are below:

wild wes

wild wes wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

wild wes

Forklift’s LaMotte ’18 Discusses Upcoming WesWorks Performance

On Oct. 14, Forklift Danceworks will present WesWorks, a performance that celebrates the skilled movement and tells the often unheard stories of the people whose work sustains the daily lives of the Wesleyan campus.

Gretchen LaMotte '18

Gretchen LaMotte ’18

In this Q&A we speak with Gretchen LaMotte ’18, choreographer and programs manager for Forklift Danceworks. At Wesleyan, LaMotte majored in science in society while working for the Center for the Arts’ Creative Campus Initiative, Zilkha Gallery, and the Institute for Curatorial Practice in Performance.

Q: Hi Gretchen! In October, Forklift will host the performance of “WesWorks,” featuring members of Wesleyan’s Physical Plant staff and campus custodians. Can you describe the process and the goal?

GL: “WesWorks” is about honoring, celebrating, and supporting the people whose work sustains campus life. The core of the process is relationship-building, which we do by spending time with partnering employees on the job, working alongside them as much as possible, and interviewing them about their work. Because we’re visitors to campus, we’re working to support students to be part of that process, and we’re lucky to be building on seven years of work between Physical Plant, students, and Forklift.

Scientific Images of Nanoparticles, Colliding Stars, Learned Words Win Annual Contest

We had 13 submissions this year.

Thirteen students, majoring in chemistry, physics, astronomy, molecular biology and biochemistry, biology, neuroscience and behavior, psychology, and quantitative analysis submitted images for the 2021 Scientific Imaging Contest.

At first glance, a viewer sees a single image of pink-tinted cubes, resembling a bacteria culture from high school biology.

But upon closer examination, the viewer begins to see a series of other shapes—triangles to hexahedrons to tetahexahedraons (cubes with four-sided pyramids on each face).

“If you stare at this image for a while, you can see that it’s actually a series of five images in the top row, and five images on the bottom row, and each of these images show us nanoparticles that are made of gold and copper,” said Brian Northrop, professor of chemistry. “It’s intriguing, captivating, and visually very interesting.”

The image, which depicts bimetallic gold-copper (Au-Cu) nanoparticles synthesized with varying concentrations and amounts of sodium iodide, was created by Jessica Luu ’24 using a scanning electron microscope. It also was the first place winner in Wesleyan’s 2021 Scientific Imaging Contest.

Jessica Luu

Jessica Luu ’24 took first place with a series of 10 images of bimetallic gold-copper (Au-Cu) nanoparticles synthesized with varying concentrations and amounts of sodium iodide. They were imaged using a scanning electron microscope (SEM).

The annual contest, spearheaded by Wesleyan’s College of Integrative Sciences, encourages students to submit images and descriptions of the research that they’ve been conducting over the summer.