Meet Our Senior Interviewers

An interview is a great way for you to make new connections and stand out in the crowd.  Our senior interviewers are a diverse group of talented, enthusiastic Wes students, active both on campus and off, who are eager to hear about your proudest accomplishments and future goals, answer your questions, and share their own experiences with you!

  • Ayat Al-Muhaisen

    HOMETOWN: Amman, Jordan; Vancouver, B.C., Canada

    HIGH SCHOOL: West Point Grey Academy

    MAJOR(S): Anthropology; Government

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    THESIS: My thesis investigates the ways in which young upper-class Jordanian women articulate the self and access degrees of autonomy through conscious luxury consumption. The focus of my research is fashion and its use in the cultivation of a specifically cosmopolitan elite feminine identity. My work examines the ways in which consumption of foreign brands operates in local culture as I analyze how Muslim female consumers negotiate among conflicting values in a globalized world. My thesis includes a photographic component as I aim to supplement my ethnographic findings with strong visual content.

    ACTIVITIES: I am one of the directors for an annual performance showcase that focuses on body positivity. I have also been a tour guide for the past three years and have worked as one of the coordinators for the tour guide program in the Office of Admission. I am a proud member of Students for Justice in Palestine, a student-activist group that promotes Palestinian liberation.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: This summer, I am interning at MATTE Projects: a creative agency based in New York. Working collaboratively with both the accounts and experiential teams, I handle clients and offer support in crafting unique experiences through the transformation of physical spaces. Such work complements my anthropological studies as I continue to work with various communities in pursuit of articulating and crafting particular stories.

    FAVORITE CLASS: The most influential class that I have taken at Wesleyan thus far is undoubtedly Crafting Ethnography. Centered around learning how to craft ethnographic research and writing, this anthropology course was incredibly impactful in pushing me towards properly discovering and embracing my interests. Professor Gina Ulysse’s unique pedagogical approach encouraged me to academically contextualize a number of significant relationships and themes that are central to my life. My studies today continue to revolve around many of the same themes I began to discover and grapple with in this class as I progress in thinking about the many ways my own unique cultural background and upbringing has shaped, and continues to shape, the way I exist in the world today.

    After Wesleyan: I would like to continue combining the visual arts with anthropology. I can see myself applying to graduate school to study ethnographic documentary filmmaking! 

  • Spencer Arnold

    HOMETOWN: Wantage, NJ

    HIGH SCHOOL: High Point Regional High School

    MAJOR(S): English

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    ACTIVITIES:  On campus, I’m the Features Editor for the Argus, the Wesleyan newspaper. I work in Olin Library, am a volunteer for Wesleyan Food Rescue, and host a show called “The Holland Tunnel” at WESU, the University radio station. I work as the tour guide coordinator in the Office of Admission, and I helped create a student-led transportation service, WesGO, to provide sustainable and affordable rides around Connecticut.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: Last year, I worked as an intern on a local campaign for a State Representative. It was a small staff, so I got to be involved on every level: strategy, social media, and, of course, knocking on hundreds and hundreds of doors. Everyone I worked with was so passionate about making the community better in any way they could. Talking to them, and talking with the hundreds of people I met at their doors, gave me a lot of hope and positivity. That experience is what inspired me to make a lot of decisions about my future, including running for my town’s Board of Education.

    FAVORITE CLASS: Educational Law and Policy. Professor Preston Green brought expertise and experience to the class, and shaped the course structure around the research and work that he’s done over his career. We read court cases, wrote law briefs, examined public vs. private vs. charter school structures, and discussed educational reform. It was an amazing group of people to be a part of, and my work in that class only solidified a desire to pursue public service and education after graduating.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: On the last day of my favorite English class at Wes, we met outside and the professor had set up a picnic. It was his last day teaching here. We were all sad to see him go but we spent that hour and a half drinking apple cider and enjoying each other’s company. It was a really simple moment, but one that demonstrated for me just how much the professors here care about their students, and one that I was really happy to share with everyone in that class.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: First, I have a campaign to run! The Board of Education election is this upcoming November, and where I go depends a lot on the outcome. I want to work in public policy (and especially educational policy), so whether that’s through grad school in a few years, work at a nonprofit, or serving in public office, I’ll have to wait and find out.

  • Chelsea Cantos

    HOMETOWN: Los Angeles, CA

    HIGH SCHOOL: Los Angeles Center for Enriched Studies (LACES)

    MAJOR(S): Philosophy; History

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    THESIS: Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time reformulated the question of what it means to be. My thesis analyzes the ways in which the possibilities of both biological and ontological death shape what is meaningful to us throughout our temporally finite lives. Ontological death refers to a complete loss of everything that serves to meaningfully structure the world for a given person or community—a phenomenon, some historians say, Germany suffered during the early 20th century. I intend to explore the ways the necessary temporal finitude of human life serves as a backdrop for the phenomenological aspects of conscious experience.

    ACTIVITIES: I am a member of two dance groups on campus: Terpsichore and Collective Motion. I have also been a member of Wesleyan’s Cheerleading Team and Mock Trial Team. I am a peer tutor for the Philosophy Department; I work at the popular campus eatery, WesWings; and I’m on the organizing committee for the annual Cardinal Community Classic basketball tournament, a charity event.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: I have had summer internships in both the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office, observing trials and drafting legal memos, and with Immigrations and Customs Enforcement at the headquarters of the Department of Homeland Security, where I conducted immigration policy research.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My favorite class to date has been Professor Joseph Rouse’s philosophy class, Heidegger and the Being Question. We spent the entire class working our way through Martin Heidegger’s Being and Time, using secondary literature to aid our understanding of this dense text. Heidegger’s hallmark work provided me with the language to discuss the most intimate aspects of the nature of first-person experience. Heidegger is idiosyncratic in utilizing language to discuss what it means to be a human being; he would never use the term “experience,” for example, and even creates his own terminology to convey and lift from obscurity some of the concepts central to his theory. Gaining an understanding of a philosophical work that changed the field for good was a transformative and inspiring experience in my education.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: My favorite Wesleyan tradition is WesRave! The entire student body receives a student-made playlist and gathers on Foss Hill the night before reading period starts during spring semester. We all have our headphones in and start the music at the exact same time. Then, as a group, we run around the entire campus, dancing to the music in different spaces.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I am primarily interested in Intellectual Property Law as it relates to the first amendment, and I will attend law school after Wesleyan. I hope to one day provide legal counsel to a credible broadcast news organization to aid them in producing the most reliable and informative newscast in order to educate the American electorate.

  • Makari Chung

    HOMETOWN: Jamaica, NY

    HIGH SCHOOL: The Taft School

    MAJOR(S): Government, African American Studies

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Legon, Ghana

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    ACTIVITIES:  I am very involved in Wesleyan’s dance scene as a member of Xtacy Dance Collective, Precision Troupe, Kalalu Dance Team, and WesBurlesque. I am also a member of Ujamaa, Wesleyan’s black student union, and the Women of Color Collective.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN:  I have worked for several different nonprofit organizations throughout New York City during the summer. I interned at the Brooklyn Botanical Garden working with their marketing and social media department and conducting market research. I have also interned at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in their Guest Services department in conjunction with their Accessibility department. This summer I am working for Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton LLP in Lower Manhattan as a legal recruiting intern for the firm.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My favorite class would have to be an American studies class I took my first year called Caribbean Writers in the US Diaspora, which focused on literature from the Caribbean and how the United States’ history is intertwined with the context of the writing. The class was very relatable for me because I, myself, am Caribbean. It was interesting and enlightening to learn the unique perspectives of Caribbean writers as opposed to African American authors.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: My favorite Wesleyan experience was working on my friend’s dance thesis as a sophomore. She recruited me and another friend to dance in her thesis as well as collaborate on choreography. The process of creating that piece was so inspiring for me because it was representative of our identities as black women. The piece had so much of ourselves in it and the music was carefully chosen to fit our purposes. I loved the experience of performing the piece for my friends at the ’92 Theater. One of my friends even said that she cried during the performance, so I guess the impact was felt throughout the audience.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I hope to initially work in marketing and social media for some time and eventually go to Law School and get my JD.
  • Lily Davis

    HOMETOWN: Portland, OR

    HIGH SCHOOL: Cleveland High School

    MAJOR(S): Psychology; Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Hamburg, Germany

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    THESIS: I am examining historical and contemporary perspectives of the Riot Grrrl Movement of the early 1990s. I will explore the legacy of the movement in present-day cases of female empowerment through music, focusing on punk music in particular as a medium of female political power and identity-making. I will study the representative works of popular female punk bands of the ’90s, including Bikini Kill and Slater-Kinney, to investigate how the messages and themes promoted through their music and performances forwarded the Riot Grrrl Movement and political change.

    ACTIVITIES: One of my favorite activities on campus is singing with my a cappella group, Onomatopoeia. We have weekly rehearsals and regular concerts throughout the year. I am also a research assistant in the Sleep and Psychosocial Adjustment Research Lab. I have done a lot of work promoting campus sustainability with the Sustainability Office and I am also a member of the Podcast Club.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: Last summer, I worked at Camp Ramapo in Rheinbeck, N.Y., which specializes in creating a summer camp experience for children who are affected by social, emotional, or learning challenges. I feel so lucky to have spent my summer forming lifelong relationships and gaining experience and insight for a possible future in child psychology.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My junior year I took a class titled The Gendering of Music in a Cross-Cultural Perspective, which really impacted the way I consume music. In this course, which was taught by Professor Su Zheng, we explored themes of female musicianship, performance of gender and sexuality through music, and what it means to use musical lyrics and composition to bring attention to important issues. This class was both fascinating and challenging, and not only opened my eyes to new genres of music from around the world but also inspired the topic of my thesis.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: TERP is a dance show put on by students every semester that is open to dancers of all levels of experience. I love performing in TERP; my sophomore year I choreographed a dance for the show with two of my closest friends. It was incredible to get to bring together a group of dancers to celebrate community, body positivity, and a love of dance.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I would like to find work as a research assistant in a psychology research lab for a couple years before applying to graduate school. I am open to wherever life takes me, but I definitely see my future-self working with children, pursuing a career in psychology, and owning many cats.
  • Alberto Encinas

    HOMETOWN: San Pedro, CA

    HIGH SCHOOL: San Pedro High School

    MAJOR(S): Psychology; Italian Studies

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Bologna, Italy

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    ACTIVITIES: I am a tutor with the Center for Prison Education, tutoring the students of our CPE program at the Cheshire, Conn., prison. I am a research assistant for the Carney psychology lab, which studies the portrayal of violence and villainy in children’s television shows. We watch shows and analyze them for portrayals of violence and good versus evil. I am also an active member of Psi Upsilon, one of Wesleyan’s coed fraternities.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: My first-year summer I was a volunteer camp counselor at UCLA, developing enrichment programs for children. This past summer I worked and did research here at Wesleyan. I was the University Relations intern, helping the University solicit donations from alumni. I also did research as a research assistant for the Auditory Cognitive Neuroscience lab, studying the Laurel vs. Yanny auditory phenomenon.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My favorite class here at Wesleyan has to be Political Philosophy. As an aspiring lawyer, this class provided a critical foundation for understanding the philosophical basis of the law and its effects on individuals in society. We were able to discuss some difficult topics that required rigorous critical thinking, ranging from mass incarceration to rampant over-policing. While these were difficult issues to discuss, and even harder to understand, this philosophy class inspired me to dive deeper into the intricacies of the law and think critically about the type of law I am interested in and what kind of lawyer I want to be.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: As a first-year I participated in a pre-orientation program called First Things First.  This program is intended to help first-generation students get acclimated to campus and adjust to college life. It was truly a fantastic experience that demonstrated Wesleyan to be a caring and close-knit community. I not only felt supported by the University but made some great friends through the process.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I hope to move to NYC and attend law school. I am a California native, but going to college on the East Coast has truly made me appreciate the differences in lifestyle, and I can definitely see myself staying on the East Coast as I pursue my law degree and first job opportunity.

  • Michael Ivy

    HOMETOWN: Indianapolis, IN

    HIGH SCHOOL: North Central High School

    MAJOR(S): College of East Asian Studies

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Korea University, Seoul, South Korea

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    SENIOR ESSAY: For my Senior Capstone, I am studying nation-building efforts in Korea during the 20th century to identify factors that led to the conflation of race, ethnicity, and nationality in the Korean language. I will then attempt to discuss the implications that this conflated notion of race has had on the increasingly multicultural South Korean society.

    ACTIVITIES: I am a Fellow in the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, an initiative that seeks to increase the percentage of underrepresented students in PhD programs. I have held various jobs around campus, including with the Office of Admission, Student Activities, and Orientation. I love jobs that allow me to interact with prospective and current students. Outside of work you can find me singing to myself or listening to music.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: During the summer of 2018, I began working on an independent research project at the University of Chicago after receiving the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Research Fellowship. As part of this fellowship, I was able to work with University of Chicago faculty and graduate student mentors to develop a research proposal to study the conflation of race, ethnicity, and, nationality, and its impact on discrimination in South Korea.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My favorite class has been the Proseminar, the sophomore colloquium in the College of East Asian Studies (CEAS) taught by Takeshi Watanabe. I consider this course to be the foundation of my CEAS studies.  In addition to highlighting the diversity and complexity of East Asian cultures and identities, we were challenged to question the notion and borders of "Asia" itself, which has become especially important in terms of today's globalized market.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: The Student of Color Fashion Show, which takes place during WesFest, is by far my favorite event on campus. The annual event showcases the talent of Wesleyan designers and models. I first attended the SOC Fashion Show during my visit to Wesleyan as a pre-frosh, and the following year I was a model in the show!

    AFTER WESLEYAN: Having loved my semester abroad, I would love to return to South Korea for either work or study. I am hoping to take intensive Korean language classes at a university in Seoul before working in order to break down the language barrier.
  • Zaynah Karem

    HOMETOWN:  Louisville, KY

    HIGHSCHOOL: Blair Academy

    MAJOR(S): Economics; Latin American Studies

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

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    THESIS: For my senior capstone essay, I hope to write about the ways in which military police intervention in favela communities in Rio de Janeiro negatively impact the well-being of low-income citizens and further aggravate the city’s historic problem of income inequality. I hope to use what I have learned while abroad and apply it to this research while also using the data collection and analysis tools I have developed in my Wesleyan economics classes to perform this analysis.

    ACTIVITIES: Since my first year, I have worked at the front desk of the Office of Admission, as well as at the Ezra and Cecile Zilkha art gallery as a gallery monitor. Last year, I also began working as a Portuguese peer tutor. I am also a member of Wesleyan’s only sorority, Rho Epsilon Pi.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: Last summer, I interned for the American Civil Liberties Union in New York in the Immigrants’ Rights department. I worked on the family separation legal case, analyzing data, writing reports, and translating for immigrants whose children were detained and separated from them at the US border. This was a life-changing experience, and inspired me to continue my career in immigration law.

    FAVORITE CLASS:  My favorite class at Wesleyan so far has been Professor Valeria López Fadul’s Urban Histories of Latin America course. The class focused on how urban structures of major Latin American cities from the colonial period until today have built the basis of Latin America’s political and economic systems of the present day. I loved how, through doing detailed analysis of texts, photographs, and maps from different periods throughout history, we were able to see the origins of the social, racial, and gender inequalities that affect modern Latin American cities today.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: One of my favorite Wesleyan experiences has been WesRave: Wesleyan’s annual school-wide silent rave. It is different from a usual rave, as each student is listening to the same playlist with headphones as the group travels to different spots around campus. Each year it reminds me of Wesleyan’s strong sense of community and willingness of the student body to come together to arrange unique, school-wide events for every student to enjoy.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I hope to return to Brazil for a few years and work in translation services. In the future, I hope to attend law school and pursue a career in immigration law.

  • Maryyam Mian

    HOMETOWN: Elmont, NY

    HIGH SCHOOL: Sewanhaka High School

    MAJOR(S): Neuroscience & Behavior; Biology

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    ACTIVITIES: At Wesleyan, I am a research assistant in the Motivation and Reward Lab under the Psychology Department. I study the underlying brain mechanisms that contribute to desire and risky decision-making in rats. I am currently wrapping up a project that focuses on the central amygdala through the technique of optogenetics! I am also involved with the Muslim Student Association as well as the MINDs organization on campus, which seeks to raise awareness regarding global mental health. Since my sophomore year, I have also worked as an office assistant in the Student Academic Resources office. Off-campus, I have volunteered at local elementary schools, tutoring children and teaching an after-school science club.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: This past summer, I rotated through various subspecialties in pediatrics at one of the largest children’s hospitals in New York. I shadowed physicians and medical students as they treated infants and children. This summer, I am working as a clinical research intern with a physician who happens to be a Wesleyan alumnus. Outside of academics, I enjoy traveling with my family and friends!

    FAVORITE CLASS: I really enjoyed a Classical Civilization course I took called Art and Archaeology of the Mediterranean Bronze Age, taught by Professor Kate Birney. As a STEM major, this class was far from my comfort zone, but I am so glad I got to experience it. I learned about the complexity of design and artwork that was mastered so early on in history and how this connected some of the largest Eastern civilizations in the world.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: Though there are so many to choose from, one of my favorites has been WesRave! On the Friday night before finals week in the spring, students gather on Foss in neon clothing and with glow sticks. A premade playlist is distributed to the entire student body. At 11 p.m. headphones go in, we hit play, and run and dance silently around campus for an hour as a finals study break and end-of-the-semester celebration!  I love how this event brings the entire campus together for such a fun and unique activity!

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I hope to take a year off to gain more clinical and research experience before I apply to medical school. I am interested in pediatrics and neurology, but more importantly I look forward to working as physician in under-served communities in hopes of making health and wellness more accessible to everyone!
  • Hye Kyung Moon

    HOMETOWN: Kingston, Jamaica; Seoul, South Korea

    HIGH SCHOOL: Campion College

    MAJOR(S): Neuroscience & Behavior

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    THESIS: Adult neurogenesis, the addition of new neurons to the brain after development, has potential significance for learning and memory. The zebra finch song system develops new neurons during adulthood via an auditory learning process that in many ways parallels that of humans, making them an appropriate model for investigating these presumed functions. Thus, I aim to characterize dopaminoceptive neurons in the high vocal center (HVC) of brains of zebra finches using a co-labelling technique with Hu and DARPP-32.  I specifically focus on studying the rate of addition of dopaminoceptive neurons in correlation with age of the zebra finches.

    ACTIVITIES: I am a Wesleyan Science and Mathematics Scholar and I volunteer with Wesleyan Science Outreach where we teach elementary students about science. I am a member of the Wesleyan Christian Fellowship, the Caribbean Student Association, and the Korean Student Association. I have been a resident advisor in Nicolson for the past two years and will continue to work with Residential Life as a head resident for the Butterfields. In my spare time, I love sweating it out at the gym, traveling, and cooking with friends!

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: As a premed student, I volunteer at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown as an Inpatient Ambassador. I aim to inform patients about their rights and responsibilities and to improve general inpatient-care experience. During my past two spring breaks, I have also participated in a service trip called ServeUP. With other college students, I helped to rebuild houses destroyed by natural disasters.

    FAVORITE CLASS: Despite being a science nerd, my favorite class was an English course called “A Nation of Immigrants?”. Being an international student, I resonated with the anecdotal stories about immigration and immigrant life in the United States. I learned a lot from my classmates, who all came from different backgrounds. The class provided a comfortable, safe space for discussing sensitive, politically-charged topics. Overall, the class helped in solidifying my future goal of providing affordable health care to immigrant groups.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: The culture showcase by the Caribbean Student Association called “Bajari” is a fun, memorable annual event. I am always blown away by the music, dance, and other works of art performed by my peers. The guest artists also never disappoint. Overall, the showcase is an amazing space to celebrate diversity on campus, and it greatly reminds me of home.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I would love to work as a research assistant to study methods of improving patient care for underrepresented groups. I also plan to be certified as an EMT throughout this year and work in emergency medicine. I hope these stepping stones will eventually lead me to medical school!
  • Dylan Moore

    HOMETOWN: Chicago, IL

    HIGH SCHOOL: Walter Payton College Prep

    MAJOR(S): College of Social Studies; Hispanic Literatures and Cultures

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Madrid, Spain

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    THESIS: I'm planning to use my thesis to investigate the history of the European Union and the project of European integration, focusing in on the case study of Ireland. I'm interested in the idea of "europeanization", and the EU's unique attempt to create a supranational identity for its member states, and I think Ireland serves as a useful tool to investigate this process because of its own complex history of nationalism.

    ACTIVITIES: I’ve been a member of the Club Soccer team since my freshman year, and will be a senior co-captain. I also host a radio show at WESU, the University’s radio station, and will work as the Events Director for the 2019-2020 season. In the past I’ve also been in WeSlam, a group that has traditionally organized poetry events around campus, and was a tutor at Snow School.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: I’ve worked as both a busboy and a server at a restaurant the past two summers, and have also interned with a Chicago area organization that promotes creative writing and artistic expression among youth, where I’ve helped write curriculum and organize performances.

    FAVORITE CLASS: One of my favorite classes here at Wes was the History of World Cinema class I took my freshman spring. It’s one of the intro film major classes, and although I’m not a film major or minor, the class appealed to me in the way it combined both analysis of the film texts and the history of the industry around the world. Learning how film has evolved over time was a fundamental lesson for me in understanding how whatever is created today is the culmination of all the ideas and attempts that came before.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: One of my favorite Wesleyan experiences was getting to see the rapper Noname perform on campus my freshman year. Wesleyan brings a lot of great artists to school to perform, with our annual Spring Fling being the biggest event. This show was especially memorable for me because Noname was someone I had grown up watching at local venues in Chicago, and it was a highlight to see her at Wes just as she was getting big.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I could see myself living in Europe for a period of time, but think that no matter where I end up, I would like to work with people who are creating, whether that be in film, literature, or on the policy side of things.

  • Kofi Ofori-Darko

    HOMETOWN: Midland, MI

    HIGH SCHOOL: H.H. Dow High School

    MAJOR(S): Biology; Science in Society Program

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    ACTIVITIES: I am cocaptain on the Wesleyan club tennis team, where we compete at a national level against some of the top club teams in the country. I’m also a member of Wesleyan Investment Group, where we discuss market trends, learn about economic and financial principles, and manage a small portfolio linked to the University’s endowment. I have worked as a tour guide in the Office of Admission.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: I spent one summer teaching seventh grade biology with an organization that works with high-performing, economically disadvantaged students. I have also worked two internships in investment banking, covering equity and debt capital markets. All three of these experiences have been immense learning opportunities, allowing me to combine my Wesleyan education and experiences with real-world applications.

    FAVORITE CLASS: Research Methods in Science Studies: Studying "On-Demand Work" in the 21st Century unexpectedly became my most favorite course at Wesleyan. Modeled after my professor’s recently completed graduate work, we studied the influence of technology and on-demand work in our lives through the lens of Uber’s rise in Boston. The novelty of this topic inherently made the course interesting to me.

    The course combined literature from some of the most prolific academics in the world of science, technology, and society with a relatively new study of our interactions with pocket computers and on-demand programs/labor. I was able to use Uber, a company that many have come to know over the past few years, as a case study for improving my understanding of research in the social sciences. I have taken knowledge from this course and applied it in smaller projects, identifying how different technologies are playing a larger role in our daily lives.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: I will never forget drumming at my first West African Music and Culture performance my sophomore spring. I was nervous going into the performance and it ended up being the most exciting experience I have been part of at Wesleyan. The crowd loved the performance and everyone in the course had a phenomenal time drumming and accompanying the West African Dance course.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I’m planning on working in investment banking for at least a few years after graduating. I may stay in investment banking or find another role after that in the financial services industry, but only time will tell!
  • Naomi Okada

    HOMETOWN: Tokyo, Japan

    HIGH SCHOOL: American School in Japan

    MAJOR(S): Theater; College of East Asian Studies Minor; Education Studies Minor

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Moscow, Russia

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    ACTIVITIES: I am an active member of the Wesleyan theater community, primarily as an actor, as I’ve performed in various student-run shows produced by Second Stage. I’m also a member of Shades, which is an SOC Theater Collective that strives to provide a platform to represent and provide visibility to theater-makers of color. Also, I sing in two a capella groups: Notably Sharp and POC-apella. Outside of theater and performance, I am a SACE (Survivor Advocacy and Community Education) Committee member, and this summer I am working as an International Student and New Student Orientation leader.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: This past summer, I completed a five-week musical theater intensive program with Stella Adler Studios in NYC, where I was able to train with industry professionals and take master classes with Broadway stars like Julia Murney. Immediately after, I flew to Papingo, Greece, where I became an apprentice of the One Year Lease Theater Company. Along with 20 other apprentices, I was exposed to creating nontraditional theater forms such as movement-based, improvisational, physical and devised performances.

    FAVORITE CLASS: Although it’s hard to pick just one, I think one of the most life-changing classes was #sayhername: Intersectionality and Feminist Activism taught by Elizabeth Garcia. This is a Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies gateway course that I encountered a little too late in my academic career, otherwise I would’ve pursued the FGSS major. Not only did this course introduce the various forms of feminist activism across different societal issues, communities, and time periods, but also, it shined light on the vitality of motherhood and how it is manifested in activist work. This course integrated personal and political conversations, and I learned that an immense amount of radical empathy and emotional labor are intrinsically involved with motherhood, along with feminist activism.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: Again, it’s hard to pick just one, but one experience that comes to mind is performing at the Japanese Culture Show the spring semester of my sophomore year. A multitude of performances were showcased that night, including a taiko performance, an AKB48 lip sync and dance, etc., and I was given the opportunity to sing various Japanese pop songs with my good friend Yudai. This was one of those days where I felt so connected to Japan, even though I was miles and miles away from home.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I plan to further my education in theater so that I can eventually pursue a professional acting career in the United States and internationally. I’m also interested in theater education to provide accessibility of the arts to underrepresented communities.
  • Angel Ortiz

    HOMETOWN: Holyoke, MA

    HIGH SCHOOL: Northfield Mount Hermon School

    MAJOR(S): Latin American Studies; Hispanic Literatures & Cultures; Economics Minor

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Madrid, Spain

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    ACTIVITIES: I have worked at the Office of Admission front desk and for the University’s Information Technology Services Helpdesk, where I provide assistance to students and faculty with issues relating to their laptops and other electronics. I participate in the intramural basketball league on campus, which keeps me active and allows me to play a sport that I love at a competitive level. I am a member of the Hispanic Majors Committee, and I act as a liaison between faculty and students that make up the Hispanic Literatures and Cultures major. Through various campus events, the committee is committed to effective communication between students and professors and on questions of how to improve the major.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: In my hometown of Holyoke, Massachusetts, I volunteer as a tutor at an afterschool program called Homework House. This program provides a safe and encouraging environment for low-income students ages 6-12 years old where they are able to receive academic support as well as enjoy fun, educational activities. As an alumnus of the program, I have firsthand experience of all the program has to offer its students. I return to help whenever I can because I believe that these young children truly benefit from having this additional support system, both academically and as a source for mentorship and role models.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My sophomore year I took Latin American Economic Development taught by Professor Melanie Khamis. The course focused on economic growth and development in Latin American countries at the macroeconomic and microeconomic levels, while incorporating Latin American history and sociology. It was fascinating to learn about the different economic and historical factors that participated in the construction of various Latin American economies. This course was the first instance where I realized that my passion for economics and Latin American studies were interrelated, and it inspired me to minor in economics as a complement to my Latin American studies major.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: First Things First, a pre-orientation program designed to help first-generation college students familiarize themselves with the college experience and the Wesleyan community. First Things First brings first-generation students to campus prior to Arrival Day for all first-year students, to meet other first-generation students and network with faculty and staff from various departments. FTF helped me feel oriented and prepared for my time at Wesleyan, an environment that initially seemed so foreign to my family and myself.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I definitely see myself as the adventurous type and am interested in returning to Madrid after I graduate. I’m not sure what that will look like, possibly teaching English to children, but certainly continuing to explore everything Spain has to offer.
  • Tara Peng

    HOMETOWN: Marlborough, CT

    HIGH SCHOOL: Connecticut IB Academy

    MAJOR(S): Biology; Neuroscience & Behavior

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    ACTIVITIES: I’m on the indoor and outdoor varsity track team, and compete in the pole vault and jumping events. I am also involved in the athletic community as a leader of the community service division on the Student Athletic Advisory Council (SAAC) board. I am employed on campus as an usher for the Center for the Arts; an organic chemistry tutor; and, for the past two years, as an orientation leader for freshman orientation. I am also a member of the Robinson lab and am currently conducting research with rats concerning risky decision-making and gambling, using a PIT (Pavlovian-Instrumental Transfer) as an investigative tool.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: Last summer, I worked as an Undergraduate Research Assistant at Connecticut Children’s Medical Center in Hartford, Connecticut, where I conducted clinical enrollments for several research studies. At the conclusion of the summer I presented the research in a poster presentation at the hospital. This opportunity gave me exposure to an Emergency Department setting, an opportunity to interact with patients, and valuable insight into how clinical research works. In the fall I will also be volunteering at Middlesex Hospital in Middletown.

    FAVORITE CLASS: I am having a hard time just narrowing it down to one favorite class but Painting I, taught by Tula Telfair, and Behavioral Neurobiology, taught by Mike Robinson and Janice Naegele, were both amazing classes. Painting I was a challenging yet rewarding course that helped me become a much better artist and taught me a completely new way to look at the world. I consider Behavioral Neurobiology to be one of my favorite courses because taking this course helped me realize that I am very interested in learning about the brain, specifically neurological and neuropsychiatric disorders.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: WesBurlesque is a student-run music and dance show that promotes body positivity and raises thousands of dollars for charitable organizations each year. Stepping outside of my comfort zone to perform as a dancer in the shows and having the opportunity to be a part of the incredible and talented Burlesque community has been one of my favorite Wesleyan experiences.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I am planning on taking a gap year and applying to medical school. During this gap year I intend to either work in a clinical setting abroad or pursue the BA/MA program in neuroscience at Wesleyan.
  • Anthony Price

    HOMETOWN: Cleveland, OH

    HIGH SCHOOL: Shaw High School

    MAJOR(S): Government; American Studies

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    THESIS: I will examine black representation in the US Congress during the Reconstruction period to better understand their role and influence in Congress.  The 1865 elections marked the first time African Americans were elected to the United States Congress. From 1865 to 1877, during Reconstruction, 17 African Americans were elected from new Reconstruction governments that were formerly areas of the Confederacy. This marked a pivotal moment in American history, seeing freed African Americans, who were formerly enslaved or descendants of slaves, get elected to public office and represent the American people on a federal level.

    ACTIVITIES: I am a manager of the Wesleyan Student Assembly Finance Office, where I am responsible for processing financial requests for all student groups on campus. I have also served as the community chair of the Wesleyan Student Assembly. During my time at Wesleyan, I have been awarded the Allbritton and Patricelli Fellowships, which have allowed me to carry out civic engagement work on and off campus.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: I serve as the executive director of Be The Change Venture 509(a)(2), a nonprofit located in Ohio and Nebraska that prepares high school students, ages 14–18, for the professional workforce. We do this through a series of educational workshops, professional development coaching, and community events. I have also had the opportunity to work on Capitol Hill via the office of Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) and Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ).

    FAVORITE CLASS: My first year seminar, TechnoPrisons, taught by Professor Anthony Hatch was the most meaningful course for my experience at Wesleyan. As a result of the course discussions, I gained a better understanding of the criminal justice system in the United States and the psychological effects that come with being incarcerated.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: WesFest and the Student of Color program, both for admitted students considering Wesleyan, are the most exciting events I have attended at Wesleyan. I have the opportunity to meet admitted students, answer their questions, and give meaningful advice on the high school-to-college transition. WesFest and the SOC program are geared towards admitted students, but the multitude of Wesleyan traditions and events on display highlight the best of student activism, arts, and performances, and the strengths of a liberal arts education.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I will continue working for my nonprofit and working with young people across Ohio and Nebraska. At some point, I seek to attend law school and later become a public servant, perhaps running for office.
  • Dani Rodriguez

    HOMETOWN: Union City, NJ

    HIGH SCHOOL: Emerson High School

    MAJOR(S): Film Studies                       

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    THESIS: I am directing a (proof of concept) short film about a female veteran with multiple deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan, who, upon return, is drawn into conflicts that test her own moral code of conduct. The film will explore various themes, such as the obstacles and unforeseen circumstances of transitioning back to civilian life, finding purpose in a once familiar world, and finding one’s personal road to redemption after confronting a moral and ethical crisis.

    ACTIVITIES: I am the founder of the first Wesleyan Student Veteran Organization. We help support incoming veterans (both from the United States and from other countries) integrate into Wesleyan’s social fabric while maintaining ties to their veteran identity. We strive to provide opportunities to all veterans, their families, and supporters. I am also the proud father of an 11-year-old daughter.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: Last summer I interned for a nonprofit organization called Arts in the Armed Forces (AITAF) founded by Star Wars actor Adam Driver. The organization brings contemporary theater productions to service members and veterans around the world. In this role, I chaperoned actors such as Christian Slater and Annie Golden around military bases. We engaged in military-to-civilian cross-training during the day and performed stage play reads to service members and their families at night.

    FAVORITE CLASS: My sophomore year I took a class called Philosophy: Classic I.   I learned about ancient western philosophy but was surprised by how we implemented these lessons in everyday life. Throughout the semester, we had assignments called “Live Like a Philosopher.” We embodied their philosophies and ended each day journaling about our interactions with family and friends. In this class I developed a greater sense of self and learned the importance of perspective and how reflection helps to create a better version of ourselves.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: I played Uncle Peck in a play called, How I Learned to Drive.  My character was lovable, charismatic, and a pedophile, a difficult role for the father of an 11-year-old girl. I could not align with the character and depicted anger during moments requiring sincerity. Through hard work, plenty of research, and full support from a loving cast and crew, I learned to humanize Uncle Peck and performed his character with a genuine and authentic voice.

    AFTER WESLEYAN:  I intend to work in the film industry as a director in NYC while continuing my work with AITAF. However, I have been nominated to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship Award.  If awarded, I will conduct research in Israel about the conscription of females into combat roles in the IDF.
  • Kyle Russell

    HOMETOWN: Alameda, CA

    HIGH SCHOOL: Head-Royce

    MAJOR(S): Physics; Integrated Design, Engineering, and Applied Science (IDEAS) Minor

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    THESIS: I am studying the kinematics of a single-molecule DNA enzyme (BCN1) during its splicing of double-stranded DNA constructs. In my lab, I utilize FRET (Förster resonance energy transfer) between a quantum dot donor and fluorescent dye acceptor to map the motion of each enzyme during DNA splicing. Once I estimate the kinematics of BCN1-DNA interactions, I will test for strand specificity to further understand the behavior of BCN1 during binding. This research may further our understanding of gene editing and the manipulation of single-molecule enzymes.

    ACTIVITIES: I am captain on Wesleyan’s men’s club soccer team. In addition, I perform in two a capella groups: the Wesleyan Spirits (oldest all-male) and Notably Sharp (best dressed). Since my sophomore year, I have danced in the TERP and Burlesque shows. In addition, I have worked as a tour guide in the Office of Admission since my first year here.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: I have worked on a variety of jobs ranging from interning at a virtual reality tech startup in San Diego to managing a professional a capella group on Martha’s Vineyard. In San Diego, I conducted market research, created PowerPoints for venture capital fundraising, and filed a patent for a unique 3D modeling file extension. Last summer, I was business manager for the Vineyard Sound; we performed over six times every week at churches and private functions last summer.

    FAVORITE CLASS: Classical Dynamics focused on rigorously analyzing the fundamental forces that are often discussed in introductory physics classes. In this class, we explored topics ranging from rocket motion to particle physics. This was my first exposure to rocket thrust and lift formulas, which was incredibly exciting and only fueled my passion for the topic. Finally, we concluded the class with Lagrangian Mechanics (an alternative to Newtonian Mechanics). As a physics major, it was as if my entire world was turned upside down and still somehow made sense. It was truly an awe-inspiring and mind-blowing semester.

  • Eugene Smith

    HOMETOWN: Lake Wales, FL

    HIGH SCHOOL: Lake Wales High School

    MAJOR(S): American Studies                  

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Amsterdam, Netherlands

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    ACTIVITIES: For the past three years I have been a part of many different clubs and organizations that traverse many different scenes on campus. I am a former member and captain of the Mock Trial team. Mock Trial is a really cool activity where college students across the country are given a fact pattern for the year and then create case in chiefs for both the prosecution and defense, which we then argue in front of actual judges and lawyers. I have been a member of the Wesleyan Student Assembly (WSA), Wesleyan’s student government, throughout my entire time on campus. The WSA is a space where I can work alongside my peers to make Wesleyan an even better institution. In my most recent role I served as chair of the Equity and Inclusion Committee, representing the student voice in the search for our new vice president of Equity and Inclusion. I sing in an a capella group called “POC-apella,” a group of students of color who sing songs by artists of color. I also have danced in, and during my senior year will be directing, WesBurlesque, a body-positive dance show that takes place every spring on campus. 

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: For the past three summers I have had really unique experiences. After my first year I taught 7th grade writing at a school in the Bronx through the teaching fellowship Breakthrough New York. After my sophomore year I interned at Bloomberg, where I worked in their Talent Practice Management Division. Most recently, after my junior year, I interned at Goldman Sachs within their Human Capital Management Division.

    FAVORITE CLASS: During my sophomore year I took a course called New England Bound Slavery and Emancipation. This by far was my favorite class at Wesleyan since it took the traditional narrative of slavery and flipped it on its head. Through this course I not only learned about the slavery that took place in New England during the colonization period, but I also was able to do research on Wesleyan’s black history.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: WesBurlesque is by far my favorite and most transformational experience at Wesleyan. This dance show does more than just create an experience for viewers; it also has a focus on cultivating a community between all the dancers in the show. Through this space I have gained a lot of confidence in my own skin, as well as many new friends.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I want to pursue a master’s degree in public policy back in Amsterdam. Once done, I do hope to move back into the corporate sphere and do more talent practice management, in order to help people become better leaders.
  • Ricardo Vazquez

    HOMETOWN: Hartford, CT

    HIGH SCHOOL: Westminster School

    MAJOR(S): Latin American Studies; Hispanic Literatures & Cultures

    STUDY ABROAD LOCATION: Madrid, Spain

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    ACTIVITIES: I am a member of the Hispanic Literatures and Cultures major committee, working with professors to organize events for students interested in the Spanish major. I am a member of the Psi Upsilon Fraternity, one of Wesleyan’s coed fraternities on campus. I have competed as a thrower on the Wesleyan men’s track and field team and have also worked for various departments on campus including: ITS Helpdesk, Wesleyan Fund, Orientation office, and the Office of Admission.

    OUTSIDE WESLEYAN: Since the fall of 2018 I have worked for a small, educational software-based company named the Parent Engagement Tracker. In this position I perform direct outreach to potential clients, through email and phone, to schedule an in-person demonstration of the software. Understanding the value of clear and concise communication has been central to this job, and as a result, has better developed my presentation skills for future opportunities involving public speaking.

    FAVORITE CLASS: Economic Analysis and the Law with Professor Adelstein, which introduces students to the economic relationship between legal matters such as criminal processing, property rights, and markets. The class has also helped me connect with alumni who have taken the course; they agree that Professor Adelstein’s course has not changed a bit, which allows Wesleyan students from different generations to form a bond over the shared experience of taking this class.

    FAVORITE WESLEYAN EXPERIENCE: Winning the intramural basketball championship is one of my favorite college moments. Basketball has been an activity that brings a lot of my friends together at Wesleyan. Intramural season is a time where we can come together as a team and compete with our other friend groups in a recreational setting. Winning the intramural championship was a moment in college that brought me closer to a lot of my friends, but hitting the game-winning shot in overtime made it that much better.

    AFTER WESLEYAN: I am hoping to find a position related to Finance or Consulting, where I can leverage my language skills to work across different countries in Latin America and Europe. In the future, I do intend on pursuing an MBA/JD degree, so I can continue to work in an interdisciplinary setting throughout my life.