Celebrating Students 2013: Samantha Jacobson

After taking several government courses, I became eager to experience politics in a real-world context.  I decided to spend my summer in Washington, D.C. doing two internships at a congressional campaign office and at the Department of Homeland Security. This coupling afforded me the opportunity to experience a soup-to-nuts view of the entire political process.

In my first internship at the campaign office, I worked alongside minority members of congress as they sought out victory in their upcoming races. Aside from researching donors and data banking, we organized fundraising events.  One of these events was a “Southern Style Barbeque” to support the efforts of a representative from North Carolina in a bid to retain a high profile seat.  The food was delicious and the company was first-rate.  We had the opportunity to mingle with such dignitaries as House Majority Whip, James Clyburn, and Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi.

After enduring the process of background checks and obtaining a security clearance, I began my second internship in the Department of Homeland Security in the White House Liaison’s office, which gave me an entirely different perspective of government. My primary responsibility was to respond to citizen mail, which addressed issues ranging from immigration to national security. The goal was to provide timely responses to each and every inquiry, so the stress levels in the office could get high. I became exposed to both the inter-workings of the newest federal cabinet department as well as to many of the common concerns among people living in the United States. When I was not at my desk, I could be found, alongside other DHS interns, touring sites such as the White House, the Pentagon, or a dog training facility, and meeting Secretary of DHS, Janet Napolitano.

 I am really thankful for the eleven weeks that I spent immersed in the epicenter of American politics. All in all, my summer turned out to be a win/win situation both for myself and the offices for which I worked. I learned invaluable lessons about government and life that no textbook could begin to teach.

Celebrating Students 2013: Codi Leitner

This summer I explored organic farming in two very different areas of the world, both culturally and in terms of climate: Costa Rica, and Westchester, New York. Just four days after I left Wesleyan, I traveled with a friend to the town of Guapiles, Costa Rica, which is a small rural town on the Caribbean side of Costa Rica, surrounded by rain forest. There I worked on an Organic farm that I came into correspondence with through WWOOF (WorldWide Opportunities on Organic Farms). The farm I stayed at was right on the border of the rain forest. I lived in a bamboo and mud cabana next to a lake, and we had no real company other than the people living on the farm, their 5 dogs, and the animals around us. Each morning we would wake to the sound of howler monkeys and the sight of an active volcano’s plume of smoke just visible above the canopy of the rain forest, and we would go to bed each night once the sun went down. I spent my time cutting bamboo and citronella, harvesting cacao, banana, and pineapple, clearing paths in the rain forest, and traveling about the Caribbean coast of the country.

The town we were in was by no means a “touristy” area, and we were immersed in local culture, from the food, to the slang, to the customs. We had no real toilets nor hot running water, and our electricity came from a hydroelectric water system supplied by a spring coming through the forest. Being in such a different cultural environment really opened my eyes to how diverse the world really is. Even though I was not there for a long amount of time, I quickly grew accustomed to the simplicity of life in Guapiles, the weather, and the giant bugs (I’m talking black and yellow spiders the size of the palm of your hand). Upon arriving back in the United States, I experienced another culture shock when I realized how luxurious and excessive the American lifestyle can seem to the rest of the world.

After I got settled back in at home, I began working on another Organic Farm in Katonah, New York. Our harvest on this farm was very different from that in Costa Rica. We grew raspberries, squash, arugula, garlic, cucumbers, eggplants, tomatoes, pumpkins, cantaloupes, and much more. I would wake up to work at 6:30 in the morning a few days a week to head to the farm and perform tasks such as cutting and washing the greens, manning the farm stand, weeding, tilling, and seeding rows, trimming raspberry bushes, and other such labor. The work at the farm in New York was actually much more intense than the work in Costa Rica, and very fulfilling. I would go home every day caked in dirt, but equipped with a bag of free fresh fruit and vegetables.

Working on organic farms all summer has made me really understand the process that food goes through before it ends up on your plate. I have begun to emphasize the idea of sustainability and organic food in my food intake, while simultaneously gaining a new understanding of food and culture around the world. However, I would say that eating such delicious fruits and vegetables all summer has spoiled me a little bit! I guess I’ll just have to adjust to normal (less expensive) produce.

Fallapalooza Pics

Many thanks to the 2013 Class Council, Bon Appetit, the CFA crew, the t-shirt guy, and Physical Plant for their great work in putting on Fallapalooza.  Photos courtesy of Sydney Hausman-Cohen ’13 and random others.

Fallapalooza, September 25, 2010, CFA Green, Wesleyan University

Celebrating Students 2013: Eric Stephen


This summer I interned with the Pennsylvania Diversity Network (PDN), Pennsylvania’s largest LGBTQ rights organization. Since Pennsylvania has no state law that protects its residents from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, PDN has proved instrumental in passing local laws, making Pennsylvania the state with the most inclusive local laws but no state law. During my time at PDN, I focused largely on non-discrimination policy reform and legislative action. I spent a large amount of my time going to pride festivals and getting attendees to sign letters to their federal legislators to support a battery of bills currently in Congress that would aid non-discrimination reform—from passing ENDA, to repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and restrictive immigration policies.

A secondary focus of my internship was a photo project called “575 Same-Sex Couples: Facing Inequality,” which gave a face to Pennsylvanians who are discriminated against due to the lack of inclusive state laws concerning discrimination and marriage equality. For the project, PDN photographed couples exclusively from the Lehigh Valley area (where we are centrally located) and tabulated data about the couples, such as the number who have raised children or work as medical professionals, just to name a few. For the project, I worked principally at recruiting couples at pride festivals as well as editing and framing the photographs. Currently, the photo project is being featured at Bucks County Community College in hopes of aiding judiciary action in the area.

Before leaving home, I began the process of reforming my old school district’s non-discrimination policy to include sexual orientation and gender identity. Though this process could take up to a school year to fully reform, I am optimistic that these changes will be implemented and that LGBTQ students at my old school will never need face the same type of discrimination that I had to face growing up in Pennsylvania.

Celebrating Students 2013: SALD Awards to 2013’ers!

The Student Activities and Leadership Development Awards recognize students’ contributions to the Wesleyan community across a variety of activities. 

CONGRATULATIONS to the following first-year recipients!

Student Organization of the Year Award “recognizes a student organization that has excelled in sustaining leadership, an active membership and programmatic efforts that contribute to the larger Wesleyan Community.” 

2013 Class Council

members  (l to r):  Michael Zazzaro, Gladys Sosa, Patrick Chiarawongse, Rebecca Coven, Katie Schad, Lan Chi Le, Lily Kaplan, Ural Grant, Leah Koenig, Bing Wu     Not Present:  Emily Berman, Sydney Hausman-Cohen, Adam Rashkoff, Vivianne Swerdlow, Lily Voravong


First-year Student Leadership Award is ”presented to a student who has demonstrated outstanding leadership or involvement in the Wesleyan community.”

Joseph O’Donnell 


Mosaic Award “recognizes the contribution(s) of a student organization that has raised campus awareness through educational initiatives on issues of identity, culture and social justice.”  

Wesleyan Students for Disability Rights–Lucas San Juan, a first-year member 



Note from Dean Brown: Adjustment, MM Videos, 2013 Mural Painting, Housing

Hey Class of 2013—

 Can you believe it?  Counting today—April 23, there are only nine more days of classes left in the spring semester!   Amazing….   

Adjustment & Ranked Enrollments:  And speaking of classes, today is the last day of adjustment.  Make sure you have four courses and have submitted all of your ranked enrollment requests.

MM Videos:  Up on the class blog (scroll below) are the videos (in order of performance) from Musical Madness 2010.  Check them out !  The Class of 2013 rocks! 

Mural Painting:  Stay tuned for info this weekend or next regarding the creation of the 2013 mural.  You bring the imagination; the 2013 Class Council supplies the paints, brushes and ice pops. 

Housing:  As you know, room selection will take place over two different nights next week.  Groups 319-450 will select on Monday (4/26) and groups 451-548 on Wednesday (4/28).  Students should report to Exeley Science Center 150 at 6 p.m.  You may only select a room that fits your group size.  So if you are a group of two, and you would like to select single rooms, you will need to split your group before you can be placed.  There will be plenty of opportunity to do splits that night, once you know whether or not single rooms are available.  Should you want to select a double room, and you are currently in a group by yourself, you will need to merge with another individual.  The new group is assigned the “worst” rank number of the two.  Rising sophomores may only form groups of one or two.  You will have the opportunity to merge groups that night as well.

Please be sure to bookmark all rooms in which you have an interest, as you will not be able to select a room that you have not bookmarked.  Know your preference of your bookmarked rooms, so that you can quickly choose from among those that are still available when it is your turn to select. 

If no one from your group is able to attend room selection night, please contact the Office of Residential Life about assigning an agent to select for you.  Feel free to contact ResLife with any additional questions at 860-685-3550. 

In Closing:  Be organized for GRS, for your end-of-semester papers, projects, and exams, and for some healthy down-time.  Don’t hesitate to come see me with questions or concerns or to strategize about workload.  You will soon have one year of college under the proverbial belt!

Best, Dean Brown

Musical Madness 2010 – All Performances

Lou & The Blues, “The Class Year Blues” (original)
Louise Brown, Barry Chernoff, Paul Horton, Sarah Lazare, Marina Melendez, David Phillips, Rob Rosenthal


Men with Bad Manners, “Natty on the Road” (original)
Jesse Humm ’12, Benjamin Kaufman ’12, Jeremy Keim-Shenk ’12, Immanuel Lokwei ’12, Howe Pearson ’12, Abaye Steinmetz-Silber ’12


Yousry Benyoun ’11, “Dream in Purple” (Original)


DJ Swanrape, “Mingus & Zappa” (original)
Harry Ezratty ’13


Thelonius Funk, “Other Side of the Looking Glass” (original)

Julian Applebaum ’13, Adam Brudnick ’13, Adam Jaskol ’13, Audrey Kiely ’13, Greg Shaheen ’13, Zack Sulsky ’13


Genelle Faulkner ’13, “Warrior Love” (Etana)/”Officially Missing You” (Tamia)

Max Baum ’11, “Teach Your Children” (Graham Nash)

Walrus Hunters, “Return of the Midnight Watch” (original)

Robbie Hardesty ’11, Henry Keily ’11, David Thompson ’11

Anastasios Germanidis ’13, “Movie in the Making” (original)

Clark 3 Jam, “Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You” (Frankie Valli)

Jon Kim ’13, Ryan Richman ’13, Michael Zazzaro ’13

Alex Hunt ’13, “Put a Penny in the Slot” (Fionn Regen)

Lu Yang ’10, “Gran Sonata Eroica” (Mauro Guiliani)

Emma Daniels ’13, “Horizon Line” (original)

Bones Complex, “Between Hemispheres” (original)

Mark Bennett ’13, Shivan Bhaynani ’13, Frank Fineis ’13, Zack Goldberg ’13, Andrew Pfeiffer ’13, Alex Ray ’13

Henry Kiely ’11, “Ragged Army” (original)

The Senior Moments, “Hear My Song” (Jason Robert Brown)

Jesse Bordwin ’10, Justin Bours ’10, Sam Friedman ’10, Leah Lucid ’10, Ariela Rotenberg ’10, Hansel Tan ’10, Elizabeth Trammell ’10

International Photo Contest Finalist Selections in Zelnick Pavilion

The International Photo Contest finalist selections are now on display through April 30 in the Zelnick Pavilion.

Wesleyan students submitted nearly 600 photos for the contest, sponsored by the Office of International Studies and the Office of Student Activities.  Forty-nine finalists were selected in five categories:

People and Portraits        Landscapes       Structures & Cityscapes       Animals & Nature    Local Flavor & Traditions

First- and second-place photos were chosen in each category by a panel of judges, including Pam Tatge, Director of the Center for the Arts; Bill Burkhart, University Photographer ; and Andy Szegedy-Maszak, Professor of Classical Studies.

A closing reception will be held at the Zelnick Pavilion on April 30 from 2-3 p.m.  We hope you will be able to join us at the reception and/or stop by to view the photos during the next two weeks.

Questions?  Contact Carolyn Sorkin, Director of International Studies, or Tim Shiner, Director of Student Activities and Leadership Development

Feet to the Fire Video: Remember the Common Moment?

We wanted to share a video with you that summarizes Feet to the Fire: Exploring Global Climate Change from Science to Art, our eighteen month campus-wide exploration of climate change using the arts as a catalyst. The project was developed by the Center for the Arts and the Environmental Studies Program in collaboration with faculty, students and community leaders. Feet to the Fire more than confirmed our initial perspectives that not only do the arts and sciences illuminate each other, but also that the arts deepen our experience and comprehension of topics of urgent societal concern.

We send it to you on the occasion of Earth Day 2010, and as a reminder of what is quintessentially Wesleyan: our students and faculty’s capacity to think and act beyond disciplinary boundaries to create original works of art that both educate and inspire.

For more information and to view the video, please click here.

Please come to Wesleyan’s 2010 Earth Day Celebration on April 22, 2010 at 8 p.m. in the CFA Hall and see the world premiere of the full documentary, Connections Within a Fragile World, by Paul Horton. Click here for more information.

Barry Chernoff, Director, College of the Environment, and Pamela Tatge, Director, Center for the Arts