Campus News & Events

Wesleyan University Magazine Honored with Prestigious CASE Award

Wesleyan University Magazine won the Silver Award in the category of alumni/general interest magazines.

The Fall 2020 issue of Wesleyan University Magazine recently won a Silver Award from CASE.

After wrapping up a successful Spring 2020 issue showcasing the intellectual vibrancy and risk-taking Wesleyans employ in their creative pursuits, the Wesleyan University Magazine team thought they had their next issue’s subject all figured out.

With a highly divided political landscape and a contentious presidential election looming, it was clear that the next issue should focus on Wesleyan’s long history of civic engagement and the University’s recently announced commitment to Engage 2020—an initiative aimed at encouraging widespread participation in the political process.

But then COVID-19 hit. And just as the world was busy adapting to a new and scary reality, the University Communications team also found themselves pivoting—not only to conceptualizing, writing, and producing a print magazine during a time of crisis but also to capturing this new reality while continuing to look ahead to an election that suddenly seemed to have even deeper ramifications.

The result was one of the boldest and best-received issues in the magazine’s history—and recognition from the prestigious CASE Circle of Excellence Awards. Wesleyan University Magazine won the Silver Award in the category of alumni/general interest magazines.

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:

June 24
Marketing Technology Insights — ADEC Innovations Appoints New Executive To Lead Company In Their Next Phase Of Growth And Development. Features Sondra Scott ’88, chief executive officer for ADEC Innovations U.S. and Europe.

The Middletown Press — Connecticut State Colleges and Universities to require the COVID-19 vaccine for students this fall. Mentions that Wesleyan University “was among the first in the state to require the vaccine.”

Connecticut Post — Wilton High School graduate recipient of Wheeler scholarship. Features Melissa Arenas ’25, who will “begin her studies this fall at Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, and plans to major in biology.”

June 25
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists — Media accountability in a world of disinformation. Mentions Alan Miller ’76, founder and CEO of the News Literacy Project, a national nonpartisan education nonprofit.

General Council News — Privacy, Cybersecurity, and Safety Veteran Hemanshu Nigam Joins Venable’s Los Angeles Office. Mentions Hemanshu (Hemu) Nigam ’87.

DNYUZ — Opposites, and ‘One and the Same.’ Mentions Eli Bronner ’10.

June 26
AnimationXPress — Shang-Chi’s relation with his parents explored in the new trailer of Marvel’s ‘Shang-Chi and The Legend of The Ten Rings.’ Mentions that Shang-Chi was first created in the 1970s by writer Steve Englehart ’69.

Telegraph Herald — Illinois high school graduates awarded Galena Cultural Arts Alliance scholarships. Mentions Hannah Birkholz ’25, “who will attend Wesleyan University, with majors in honors humanities and visual communication design.”

June 28
Politico — Opinion | Why Colleges Should Ditch the SAT—Permanently. Mentions that before the pandemic, numerous colleges, including Wesleyan, had made standardized test scores optional.

Wicked Local — Un-Common Theatre Company announces 2021 scholarship winners. Mentions Jessica Zenack ’25, who “will be attending Wesleyan University and plans on studying political science and theater.”

WFMZ — Monroe County Bar Association awards scholarships to high school students. Mentions that students will be attending Wesleyan.

Yahoo! via The Hartford Courant — ‘Essential Western New England Songbook’ project a who’s who of Connecticut music. Mentions that the band MGMT formed at Wesleyan.

The Middletown Press — Cooper Robertson to lead ambitious Middletown riverfront master plan. Mentions that the riverfront development area “is less than a mile from Wesleyan University.”

June 29
Inside Higher Ed — A Crowded Campus Once More. Mentions that Wesleyan “is also dealing with high demand for housing, in part due to changes in study abroad.”

Associated Press — Progress Expands Women in STEM Scholarship and Announces Recipient of 2nd Annual Mary Székely Scholarship. Mentions Gavriela Tejedor Meyers ’25.

Yahoo! via The Hartford Courant — Parents threaten to sue UConn over COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Mentions Wesleyan.

Arizona Central — NASA-funded study uses International Space Station to predict wildfire effects. Features Helen Poulos, adjunct assistant professor of environmental studies.

June 30
The White House — President Biden Names Fifth Round of Judicial Nominees. Mentions Judge Michael Nachmanoff ’91.

Daily Messenger — Victor-Farmington Rotary presents student awards. Mentions Wesleyan University.

Medium — Seven Profound Things Annie Dillard Taught Alexander Chee About Writing. Mentions Alexander Chee ’89 and Annie Dillard. Dillard taught writing at Wesleyan for more than 20 years.

July 1
MSU Texas news — 1966 MSU graduate donates $55,000 for science scholarships. Mentions organic chemist Max Tishler Hon. ’81.

Patch — NYAW Awards Two Wantagh High School Students Scholarships. Features Michael Minars ’25, who “will study environmental studies and sustainable agriculture at Wesleyan University.”

The Visualist — Reclaiming our Future: The Kedzie Center’s 2021 Annual Summer Event. Features Ruth Behar ’77,  who “has a Distinguished Alumna Award from Wesleyan University.”

The Middletown Press — UNH welcomes new COVID-19 coordinator, hopeful for some normalcy. Mentions that the University of New Haven is collaborating with Connecticut Conference of Independent Colleges institutions, including Wesleyan, in developing effective protocols and responses to the pandemic on campus.

Deadline — Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret’: Lionsgate Wraps Production On Feature Adaptation. Features Kate MacCluggage ’04.

July 2
New Hampshire Public Radio — David Biello: A Journey Into Uncharted Territory. Features an interview with TED Science Curator David Biello ’95.

Newsweek — These 20 Colleges Have the Most Famous Alumni. Mentions Wesleyan, Josh Whedon ’87, Hon. ’13; Bradley Whitford ’81; Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15; Beanie Feldstein ’15; and Amanda Palmer ’98.

ABL Advisor — Edelschick Rejoins BDO’s Business Restructuring & Turnaround Services Practice. Features Michael Edelschick ’96.

The Tower — In The Heights: A Lovesong to Dreams and Community. Mentions Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15 and Wesleyan.

July 6
Psychology Today — Has Feminism Changed Campus Greek Life? Mentions that “Wesleyan University recently announced that fraternities would have to go coeducational.”

Tek Deeps — Concise Introduction to Python Programming. Mentions that “Wesleyan offers a free course about the popular Python programming language, through the educational platform Coursera.”

Faculty Collaborate on New, Patent-Pending, Hypersensitive Accelerometer

Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics; Rodion Kononchuk, postdoctoral physics research associate; and Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry

Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics; Rodion Kononchuk, postdoctoral physics research associate; and Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry, are developing a hypersensitive sensor at Wesleyan.

When launching spacecrafts and missiles, small navigational mistakes could lead to catastrophic results. A satellite could spin completely out of orbit, a missile could mistakenly strike a civilian territory, or a spaceship could end up at another planet altogether.

Three Wesleyan researchers are collaborating on the development of a novel sensor that would benefit navigation and several other applications.

The new, hypersensitive acceleration sensor is based on a principle borrowed from nuclear physics and has been developed at Wesleyan. It provides enhanced sensitivity and precision compared to conventional sensors.

“Our underlying concept can be applied in a variety of sensing applications ranging from avionics and earthquake monitoring to bio-sensing,” said study co-author Rodion Kononchuk, postdoctoral physics research associate in Wesleyan’s Wave Transport in Complex Systems Laboratory. “We believe that our results will attract a broad interest from research and engineering communities across a wide range of disciplines, which could result in a realization of next-generation sensors.”

In a June 2021 Science Advances article titled “Enhanced Avionic Sensing Based on Wigner’s Cusp Anomalies,” Kononchuk, along with Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics; Joseph Knee, Beach Professor of Chemistry; and Joshua Feinberg, professor of physics at the University of Haifa in Israel, shared their study’s results.

The Wesleyan team has demonstrated a whopping 60-fold improved performance in acceleration measurements compared to conventional accelerometers (i.e. sensing devices that measure variations in the acceleration). Wesleyan has already supported a provisional patent application for this study.

Kottos, who spearheads the Physics Department’s Wave Transport in Complex Systems Laboratory, says a “good sensor” is characterized by two elements: its high sensitivity to small “perturbations” and its dynamical range. The latter is the ratio of the maximum to the minimum perturbation that a sensor can detect. And the larger the dynamic range, the better it is.

“Think of a spacecraft or missile. When it takes off, it develops high accelerations, but in the voyage, it needs to detect small accelerations in order to correct its trajectory,” Kottos said. “We believe that our sensor has the ability to measure such a large range of accelerations. Moreover, it is simple to implement and does not suffer from excessive noise that can degrade the quality of the measurements—as opposed to some recent proposals of hypersensitive sensing.”

Although the project is heavily physics-based, Kottos and Kononchuk knew they needed a chemist to help turn their theories into a reality. As it turned out, Knee—who is an expert on optical sensing—had laboratory experience that was applicable to the current project.

“It was wonderful to be brought into such an exciting project,” Knee said. “My research area is in laser spectroscopy which requires significant expertise and experimental capabilities in optical physics. Fortunately, my lab had some key capabilities which helped us put together an experimental prototype that ultimately was used to validate the theoretical constructs.”

“Joe’s experimental expertise in the chemistry framework was crucial for building the experimental platform,” Kottos said. “Our initial discussions helped us to better understand what can or cannot be done and allowed us to successfully design the experiment with a limited budget.”

Kottos began research for the new hypersensitive avionic sensor design in 2018 after receiving a grant from the U.S. Department of Defense. The guiding principles were to maximize the sensitivity of the sensor without compromising its dynamical range [i.e. the ratio between the largest and smallest perturbation that a sensor can measure] while making it as cheap and simple to make, as possible.

The current sensor design is approximately 4 inches long, but the size could be reduced depending on the application. Smartphone sensors, for example, measure about 1/4 of an inch, but they are far less sensitive than the design created at Wesleyan. Wesleyan undergraduate Jimmy Clifford ’23 is currently working on simulations to come up with a miniaturized design of this concept.

“Once we have it, either we will have to partner with a fabricator or we will have to off-shore the design and test it at Wesleyan,” Kottos said. “We hope to take this concept to production and hopefully to the marketplace!”

Read more:
The Why Axis: Cutting-Edge Science at Wesleyan (Wesleyan University Magazine)

Kottos Awarded Simons Collaborative Grant to Advance Wave Transport Research

Kottos Awarded $2.8M DARPA Grant for High-Level Photonic Research

Kottos Awarded Engineering Grant from the National Science Foundation

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.

Shu Tokita Prize Winners Reid ’22, Choi ’22 Use Literature to Cope with POC Experiences


East Asian studies major Jasmyn Choi ’22, at left, and English and African American studies double major Jada Reid ’22 are the recipients of the 2021 Shu Tokita Prize, established by friends and relatives of Shu Tokita ’84. The prize is awarded annually to a student of color majoring in literature, in area studies, or a language major with a focus on literature, who demonstrates financial need. They received their awards during a virtual reception on June 23. 

Jasmyn Choi ’22 vividly recalls when her Korean-born mother was pulled over by police in Los Angeles 12 years ago. Rather than speaking to the driver, who had broken English, the officer leaned into the vehicle to question 8-year-old Jasmyn instead. Jasmyn, after all, had “perfect” English.

“I’ve always dealt with the particular trauma of strangers diminishing my mother’s intelligence because of her accent,” Choi recalls. “I tremble in anger thinking of the times she’s had her voice stolen from her. We both sat in the car in oppressive silence, yet it was comforting because silence is all we have been trained to know.”

Growing up in a white flight suburb, Choi grew accustomed to overt and covert racism, and most recently, tried to comfort her mother’s insecurities about not feeling safe due to comments made about the “Chinese virus.” As Asian women, Choi says, “the depth of our pain is an immense chasm from which to fall deeper and deeper into. We are trapped in the eternal, isolating birdcage of ourselves.”

Taylor Co-Authors 3 Articles, Writes Book Chapter on Lignin Enzymology

Erika Taylor

Erika Taylor

Erika Taylor, associate professor of chemistry, recently co-authored three papers and a book chapter related to (1) biomass to biofuel production and (2) development of new therapeutics to treat Gram-negative bacterial infections.

Taylor’s work investigates problems at the biological chemistry interface and seeks to find applications of her work to the fields of medicine and sustainable energy.

Her chapter called “Lignin Enzymology – Recent Efforts to Understand Lignin Monomer Catabolism” in the book Comprehensive Natural Products III: Chemistry and Biology, and her paper “Identifying Metabolic Pathway Intermediates that Modulate Enzyme Activity: A Kinetic Analysis of the DesB Dioxygenase from Sphingobium sp. strain SYK-6,” published in Process Biochemistry in January 2021, both help illustrate the mechanisms for breaking down Lignin, an important biopolymer that provides the structural integrity of terrestrial plants. The DesB paper is coauthored with alumnus Stacy Uchendu ’17 and other members of her lab. Her work is aimed toward helping understand ways to improve the efficiency of biofuel and fine chemical production.

The remaining papers describe efforts to understand the machine-like motions of the protein Heptosytransferase I and efforts to design inhibitors against them to treat bacterial infections:

A General Strategy to Synthesize ADP-7-azido-heptose and ADP-azido-mannoses and their Heptosyltransferase Binding Properties,” published in Organic Letters in February 2021.

Her paper, “Conserved Conformational Hierarchy Across Functionally Divergent Glycosyltransferases of the GT-B Structural Superfamily as Determined from Microsecond Molecular Dynamics,” published in the International Journal of Molecular Sciences in April 2021.

This summer, Taylor is overseeing the McNair research program with Ronnie Hendrix, and in the fall, she will be teaching a new First Year Seminar titled Chemistry in Your Life.

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:

June 8
Marketing Technology Insights — ADEC Innovations Appoints New Executive To Lead Company In Their Next Phase Of Growth And Development. Features Sondra Scott ’88, chief executive officer for ADEC Innovations U.S. and Europe.

June 9
The New York Times — 3 Art Gallery Shows to See Right Now. Features installations by Cameron Rowland ’11.

Shondaland — Love and the Burning West: She nearly died while fighting a fire. All she could think about was the tragedy of dying while still a virgin. Features an essay by former U.S. Forest Service smokejumper Sarah Berns ’98.

Connecticut Post — Tour restored 1867 Middletown cemetery this weekend. Mentions the restoration of the Dr. Joseph Barratt monument, which features dinosaur footprints. Barratt had associations with Wesleyan.

June 10
Fox 61 CT — From Middletown to movie screens everywhere | The Wesleyan connection to In the Heights. Features Wesleyan President Michael Roth; Jack Carr, professor of theater, emeritus; and the Patricelli ’92 Theater.

Movie Web — Uncharted Movie: Release Date, Plot, Characters – Everything We Know So Far. Mentions director Ruben Fleischer ’97 and “like other successful filmmakers, such as Joss Whedon [’87, Hon. ’13] and Michael Bay [’86], Fleischer studied at the Wesleyan University in Connecticut.”

Patch — NYC Council District 7 Election: Ray Sanchez Seeks Uptown Seat. Features Raymond Sanchez ’00, CEO of the homeless services provider Aguila.

Yahoo! News via The Hartford CourantIn the Heights, drafted when Lin Manuel Miranda was a student at Wesleyan University, opens in movie theaters. Features Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15, who “was a sophomore at Wesleyan University in Middletown when he wrote the Tony-winning hip-hop musical In the Heights.”

June 11
E — It Won’t Be Long Now: How In the Heights Finally Made the Leap From Stage to Screen. Features Lin-Manuel Miranda ’02, Hon. ’15.

Filmmaker Magazine — “My Cutting Process is Very Old School”: Editor Myron Kerstein on In the Heights. Mentions Wesleyan University.

June 14
Inside Higher Ed — A Military Appointment at Swarthmore. Mentions Wesleyan’s partnership with the Chamberlain Project.

Street Insider — Kanzhun Limited news. Mentions Charles Zhaoxuan Yang ’07, chief financial officer of NetEase, Inc.

June 15
Inside Higher Ed — Newly Tenured at Drury, Middlebury, Virginia Tech, Wesleyan. Mentions Ioana Emy Matesan, assistant professor of government, and Michael Meere, assistant professor of French.

Street Insider — Elliott Opportunity II Corp. news. Mentions Steven Barg ’84, global head of corporate engagement at Elliott Investment Management L.P.

June 16
South Seattle Emerald — Doc’s Medical Negligence and Dehumanization of Prisoners Must End. Features opinion piece by Hannah Bolotin ’19.

Portal to the Universe via Women in Planetary Science — Martha Gilmore: Don’t let anyone tell you that you don’t belong in this field. Features a Q&A with Martha Gilmore, George I. Seney Professor of Geology.

June 18
Yale University — Effective July 1, Assistant Dean Robert Harper-Mangels ’92 will become Associate Dean for Admissions and Financial Support at Yale.

Daily Kos — Activists are ramping up the fight to bring Asian American history to the classroom. Mentions students at Wesleyan University created a syllabus and ran a student-led Asian American studies course for themselves.

Greenwich Time — Greenwich educator with ‘passion for pedagogy’ selected for Teacher of the Year program. Features Allison Fallon MALS ’10.

June 21
Women in Hollywood — “Still I Rise” Announces Inaugural Fellowship Recipients. Mentions Arielle Knight ’11, a New York-based documentary filmmaker and creative producer.

CT Patch — Obituary: Marilyn Hughes Johnson, 84. Features Marilyn Hughes Johnson, who “worked at Wesleyan University for several years assisting the Director of the Graduate Liberal Studies Program in producing course catalogs and program materials.”

June 22
The WOLF 96.7 FM — SEEDS – Access Changes Everything Celebrates the Graduation of 40 College-bound Students. Mentions that students will attend Wesleyan.

The Conversation — Explorer Robert Ballard’s memoir finds shipwrecks and strange life forms in the ocean’s darkest reaches. Features an article by Suzanne OConnell, professor of earth and environmental sciences.

June 23
Connecticut Post — Torrington gallery presents exhibit of paintings by Don Sexton. Features Don Sexton ’63, who “studied painting and drawing at Wesleyan University.”

Faculty Appointed Endowed Professorships

monogramIn recognition of their career achievements, the following faculty members are being appointed to endowed professorships, effective July 1, 2021:

Erik Grimmer-Solem, professor of history, is receiving the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha Professorship in the College of Social Studies, established in 2008.

Abigail Hornstein, associate professor of economics, is receiving the Woodhouse/Sysco Professorship of Economics, established in 2002.

Edward Moran, professor of astronomy, is receiving the John Monroe Van Vleck Professorship of Astronomy, established in 1982.

Suzanne OConnell, professor of earth and environmental sciences, is receiving the Harold T. Stearns Professorship of Earth Sciences, established in 1984.

Francis Starr, professor of physics, is receiving the Foss Professorship of Physics, established in 1885.

Tracy Heather Strain, associate professor of film studies and co-director of the Wesleyan Documentary Project, is receiving the Corwin-Fuller Professorship of Film Studies, established in 1986.

Also, in recognition of his outstanding research and teaching, Ilesanmi Adeboye, associate professor of mathematics, has been awarded the inaugural Faculty Equity Fellowship for 2021-2022.

Brief biographies appear below:

Ilesanmi Adeboye received his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, and MS from Howard University. He taught at the University of Southern California and the University of California, Santa Barbara, and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute, before arriving at Wesleyan in 2011. Adeboye’s scholarship is at the intersection of geometry, topology, and analysis, with a focus on the study of volume in non-Euclidean geometries. He has published articles on hyperbolic geometry, complex hyperbolic geometry, and projective geometry. Ilesanmi received the 2010 Mochizuki Memorial Fund Award at UC Santa Barbara in recognition of outstanding achievement in mathematics instruction.

Erik Grimmer-Solem was a Harper Fellow at the University of Chicago before joining the history department in 2002. He received his D.Phil. from Oxford University, M.Phil. from Cambridge University, M.Sc. from the London School of Economics, and BA from Brigham Young University. Grimmer-Solem has published two books on the history of German social reform and imperialism, along with many articles and reviews in leading journals. He has received numerous awards, including the Binswanger Prize and a recent fellowship from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). His scholarship on the Holocaust was covered widely in the German media and discussed by the Bundestag in 2014.

Abigail Hornstein joined the economics department after completing her Ph.D. and M.Phil. from Stern School of Business, New York University, and her AB from Bryn Mawr College. Her scholarship focuses on corporate finance, multinationals, business strategy and governance, and legal institutions, with particular expertise in the Chinese financial markets. Hornstein’s work has been published in many prestigious journals, including Journal of Empirical Finance, Journal of Comparative Economics, Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Journal of Corporate Finance, and China Economic Review.

Edward Moran arrived at Wesleyan in 2002 after serving as a Chandra Fellow at University of California, Berkeley, and an IGPP Postdoctoral Fellow at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and receiving his Ph.D. and MA from Columbia University. Moran studies black holes in the nuclei of dwarf galaxies to gain insights into galaxy evolution, and the history of black hole activity in the universe via investigations of the cosmic X-ray background radiation. He has received grants from the National Science Foundation, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory.

Suzanne O’Connell arrived at Wesleyan in 1989 after receiving her Ph.D. from Columbia University, her M.Sc. from State University of New York at Albany, and her AB from Oberlin College. O’Connell studies marine sediment cores recovered through scientific ocean drilling (DSDP, ODP, IODP) to understand past climate change, which helps to understand and model future climate change. She is the 2001 recipient of the Association for Women Geoscientists Outstanding Educator Award and a Fellow of the Geological Society of America (GSA). Currently, OConnell serves on the United States Science Advisory Program committee for the International Ocean Discovery Program (IODP) and on the governing council for GSA.

Francis Starr joined the physics department in 2003 after serving as the deputy director of the Center for Theoretical and Computational Materials Science at the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST). His research focuses on the emergent complexity of soft matter physics and biophysics. Starr has authored or co-authored over 120 refereed publications and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society. He is the former director of the College of Integrative Sciences and currently directs the Integrated Design, Engineering, & Applied Science (IDEAS) program.

Tracy Heather Strain received her Ed.M. from Harvard University and her AB from Wellesley College, and is currently an MFA candidate at the Vermont College for the Arts. Strain is an award-winning documentary film director, producer, and writer whose work tells stories with a goal of advancing social justice, building community, and empowering the marginalized. Her films have received two Peabody Awards and have been supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities, National Endowment for the Arts, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Ford Foundation, Independent Television Service, and LEF Foundation, among other funding organizations. Her most recent work is American Oz, which premiered April 19, 2021.

Kauanui Guest-Edits Anarchist Studies Journal, Speaks at Virtual Events

Kēhaulani Kauanui

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui

J. Kēhaulani Kauanui, professor of American studies, guest-edited a 2021 special issue of Anarchist Development in Cultural Studies called “The Politics of Indigeneity, Anarchist Praxis, and Decolonization” as well as wrote an article for the issue by that same title. Kauanui’s work focuses on Indigenous sovereignty, settler colonial studies, anarchist history and activism, and critical race and ethnic studies. Among other recent publications, in 2021, Kauanui also wrote a commentary for Volume 24 of Postcolonial Studies called “False dilemmas and settler colonial studies: response to Lorenzo Veracini: ‘Is Settler Colonial Studies Even Useful?’”

This past academic year, Kauanui chaired the Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship in Native American Studies Search Committee for the American Studies department and also served as a consultant for select administrators and faculty regarding the politics of land acknowledgments and recognition of the Wangunk, the Indigenous people of the land where Wesleyan is located.

Additionally, Kauanui delivered invited lectures (virtually) for universities across the world, including UC Santa Cruz, Concordia University, York University, University of Virginia, Stanford University, and University of Melbourne. She was also a guest on Kaua‘i Community Public Radio (KKCR), where she discussed Biden’s policy on Native Hawaiians and federal recognition.

This coming fall, Kauanui, who also is an affiliate faculty in anthropology, will hold a fellowship at Wesleyan’s Center for Humanities. She’ll be teaching a new class—CHUM378: Decolonizing Indigenous Gender and Sexuality.

Naegele’s Neuroscience Research Published in Journals 

Jan Naegele

Jan Naegele

Janice Naegele, Alan M. Dachs Professor of Science, dean of the Natural Sciences and Mathematics Division, and professor of biology, is the co-author of three recent publications. Naegele’s work focuses on stem cells and finding new treatments for epilepsy and brain damage.

Naegele’s articles include the following:

Induction of temporal lobe epilepsy in mice with pilocarpine,” published by BioProtocol in February 2020.

Development of electrophysiological and morphological properties of human embryonic stem cell-derived GABAergic interneurons at different times after transplantation into the mouse hippocampus,” published by PLoS One in August 2020.

Optogenetic interrogation of ChR2-expressing GABAergic interneurons after transplantation into the mouse brain,” published by Methods in Molecular Biology in September 2021.

Johnston, Otake Explore Fukushima Disaster in New Book

Body in FukushimaA new book written by two Wesleyan faculty explores the experience of two travelers in the land destroyed by the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster in 2011.

William Johnston, John E. Andrus Professor of History, and Eiko Otake, visiting artist in dance, are the co-authors of A Body in Fukushima, published June 1 by Wesleyan University Press.

Johnston, a historian and photographer, accompanied Japanese-born performer and dancer Otake on five explorations across Fukushima, creating 200 photographs that document the irradiated landscape, accentuated by Eiko’s poses depicting both the sorrow and dignity of the land.

Johnston elaborated on the process of creating the book.

“By witnessing events and places, we actually change them and ourselves in ways that may not always be apparent but are important,” Johnston said. “Through photographing Eiko in many places in Fukushima, we are witnessing not only her and the locales themselves but the people whose lives inhabited these places. I do not consider my photographs as documents of Eiko’s performance. Rather, each photograph becomes a performance of its own when placed in front of a viewer.”

The book also includes essays and commentary reflecting on art, disaster, and grief.

Johnston and Otake were interviewed about their work on the book by the Gagosian Quarterly for the Summer 2021 Issue.

On June 27, 2017 Eiko performed near the wreckage of a home four miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster. The home, and the surrounding vibrant neighborhood, was destroyed by the tsunami and then inundated with radioactivity from the Daiichi plant.

On June 27, 2017 Eiko performed near the wreckage of a home four miles north of the Fukushima Daiichi Disaster. The home, and the surrounding vibrant neighborhood, was destroyed by the tsunami and then inundated with radioactivity from the Daiichi plant.

Eiko performed at the Tomiko Municipal Sanitation Plant June 26, 2017. The plant is located 4.3 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors and was damaged by the earthquake. Most Tomioka residents had left the community due to radiation caused by the Daiichi disaster and the plant closed.

Eiko performed at the Tomiko Municipal Sanitation Plant June 26, 2017. The plant is located 4.3 miles south of the Fukushima Daiichi reactors and was damaged by the earthquake. Most Tomioka residents had left the community due to radiation caused by the Daiichi disaster and the plant closed.

Read more:

A Body in Fukushima: Recent Work Exhibition on Display in Zilkha Gallery (February 2018)

Otake, Johnston ‘Fukushima’ Project Culminating Events in NYC on March 11 (March 2017)

Johnston, Otake Exhibit A Body in Fukushima in Manhattan (September 2016)

A Body in Fukushima: Photo, Video Exhibit on Display at 3 CFA Galleries (February 2015)

Faculty, Alumni Rated Among World’s Top 1% of Scientists

Thirteen Wesleyan faculty are rated among the top 1% most-cited researchers worldwide, according to a recent study by PLOS Biology.

The study, led by Professor John Ioannidis from Stanford University, combines several different metrics to systematically rank the most influential scientists as measured by citations. More than six million scientists, who were actively working between 1996 and 2018, were analyzed for the project.

The faculty include:
David Beveridge, Joshua Boger University Professor of the Sciences and Mathematics, emeritus
Fred Cohan, Huffington Foundation Professor in the College of the Environment, professor of biology
Mark Hovey, professor of mathematics, associate provost for budget and personnel
Tsampikos Kottos, Lauren B. Dachs Professor of Science and Society, professor of physics
Matthew Kurtz, professor of psychology
Herbert Pickett, research professor in chemistry, emeritus
Dana Royer, professor of earth and environmental sciences
Francis Starr, professor of physics
Steve Stemler, professor of psychology
Ruth Striegel Weissman, Walter Crowell University Professor of Social Sciences, emerita
Sonia Sultan, professor of biology
Johan Varekamp, Harold T. Stearns Professor of Earth Science, emeritus
Gary Yohe, Huffington Foundation Professor of Economics and Environmental Studies, emeritus

In addition, at least eight Wesleyan alumni are rated in the top 0.1% of all scientists in the world including Gene Stanley ’62, Philip Russell ’65, Jay Levy ’60, Nick Turro ’60, Dr. William H. Dietz ’66, Michael Greenberg ’76, Jerry Melillo ’65, John Coffin ’67, and Hugh Wilson ’65. (Know of any others? Let us know at!)

The study reinforces Wesleyan’s reputation as an exceptional liberal arts institution, said Wilson, who is professor emeritus of spatial and computational vision at York University.

“It is sometimes questioned whether a liberal arts education is really optimal for an aspiring scientist. After all, wouldn’t it be better to take just science and math courses rather than spending part of one’s time with literature, philosophy, history, or art,” he said. “So, [this study shows that] liberal arts continue to attract outstanding scientists as dedicated faculty members who espouse both teaching and research.”