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Roslyn Carrier-Brault, administrative assistant for the Chemistry Department, also works as a digital photography instructor at Green Street Arts Center.
 
Posted 04.01.06

Department Assistant Has Flair for Photography

Q: What keeps you busy in the Chemistry Department?

A: I never have two days that are the same and I enjoy the variety of my work. I work directly with the professors and students, and I have many skills and abilities that aid me to be flexible and detail oriented to whatever tasks comes my way. I work a lot with my computers and keep in touch with all that happens here at Wesleyan University through emails and memorandums. I work with an open door policy, people come first and paperwork second, so I tend to work longer hours at the end of the day to stay on top of deadlines, campus and departmental projects, and coordinating departmental events.

Q: What led you into this position?

A: I first came to Wesleyan in November of 2000 as a temp. I returned to Wesleyan in March 2001 as a floating temp, and in July, I was hired to work in the Department of Finance and Administration as an administrative assistant. I became a permanent employee in December 2001, when I was hired by Philippa Coughlin, director of the Office of Behavior Health as the department’s secretary. It was by Dr. Coughlin’s suggestion that I apply for the full-time opening in the Chemistry Department and my first day at my current position was August 3, 2003. I totally, love my position as the AA for chemistry. It offers me a wide variety projects and I enjoy working with the faculty and students.

Q: What are some of your job duties?

A: My responsibilities include preparing the agenda for the monthly meetings between the Chemistry department staff, the building manager, the stockroom support staff and the chair of the Chemistry department; overseeing the department budget; working with Payroll and Human Resources to oversee employee payroll; scheduling the workload of two undergraduate student workers; maintaining the Chemistry’s Web site, providing administrative support to faculty for grant applications; among several other duties in the office. Also, I designed an Access database that assists me in managing important departmental records and budget reports. Overall, I provide support for 16 professors, four staff, 31 student teaching assistants, 27 chemistry majors, 39 graduate students and a few research associates and postdoctoral fellow.

Q: You also coordinate the annual Peter Anthony Leermaker’s Symposium.

A: The 34th Leermakers Symposium is planned for May 11 this year, and the program title is "Challenges to Chemistry from Other Sciences." Michael Frisch, visiting scholar in chemistry, is the 2006 chairman. Also, this year I am facilitating a new event. The Department of Chemistry is hosting the Student Awards for the Connecticut Valley Section of the American Chemical Society on April 29.

Q: What is the most challenging part of your job?

A: The long learning curve. It took me one academic year to learn all the various aspects and job responsibilities of being an administrative assistant in an academic department. I have a passion for learning and this position keeps me on my toes, there never is time to feel bored, and I enjoy working with my faculty, students, co-workers and the Wesleyan community at large.

Q: Do you have a personal interest in chemistry?

A: In 2005, I audited David Westmoreland’s Introduction to Chemistry and it opened my mind to the vast subject called, “chemistry.” Finally, I can understand the periodic table. I am amazed and inspired by the dedication that the professors and students have to excellence in their research and teaching assignments.

Q: What were you doing before you came to Wesleyan?

A: I worked for the San Diego Symphony, as the assistant to the director of Copley Symphony Hall. I coordinated events and rentals for the San Diego Symphony and Symphony Hall Promotions.

Q: Where did you attend college?

I have an associate’s degree in liberal studies and fine art from Middlesex Community College, an associate’s in photography/art from Grossmont Community College in El Cajon, California. I plan to complete a master’s in art from the Graduate Liberal Studies Program.

Q: You’re also a teaching artist for Wesleyan’s Green Street Arts Center.

A: Anna Milardo, administrative assistant in physics, knew that I am a photographer asked me to photograph Green Street’s open house/reception for the Saint Sebastian School. It was in the planning committee for this event, that Ricardo Morris asked if I would be interested in teaching at GSAC. This resulted me teaching a digital photography classes for the After School Program, photo club for the After School Program and introductory to digital photography for adults.

Q: Tell me about your recent photo exhibition, “Divine Intersections,” at Green Street?

A: My current exhibition presents images that are essentially inspired by intuitive guidance and inner reflection upon the things that are familiar to me from my childhood and adult experiences. I have been intertwining photographic images taken of the natural world with scanned images of other forms of life such as plants and animals. My favorite images are restful, reflective, and build a sense of union between the mind, body and spirit connection (an example of Roslyn's photography is seen in the image above-right).

Q: I take it this wasn’t your first show.

A: My first show was in 1996 and I have had several exhibitions in San Diego. In Connecticut, I have exhibited various art and photography shows through the Shoreline Artist Association, the Tracy Arts Center and the Essex Artist Association, and Face Arts Music in Deep River, Connecticut. My husband, William Brault is a gifted sculpture and painter and co-curates all of my photographic exhibitions. He is a talented custom framer and trained exhibition designer so it a perfect creative partnership.

Q: Have you volunteered your artistic abilities at any other non-profits?

A: In Connecticut, I have volunteered for arts organizations such as the Shoreline Arts Association, Images 2000 and 2001; Tracy Art Center in Old Saybrook and I am an active board member of the Friends of the Davidson Arts Center. In San Diego, I was an active volunteer for the Museum of Photographic Arts, the Holistic AIDS Response Program, The AIDS Foundation and with Grossmont College Student Exhibitions and Workshops.

 
By Olivia Bartlett, The Wesleyan Connection editor