Each year the College of the Environment provides faculty-student research grants to provide faculty and their students an opportunity to conduct research that would not have been otherwise possible. Research in the O’Neil lab is focused on understanding the structure-function relationship of proteins involved in neurodegenerative diseases, specifically ALS. Thanks to a COE faculty-student research grant and a COE summer fellowship, Alison O’Neil, assistant professor of chemistry, neuroscience major Daniel Kulick ’21 and molecular biology and biochemistry & neuroscience and behavior double-major Josephie Park ’22 were able to collaborate on Professor O’Neil’s investigation of the persistent toxicant cis-Chlordane as an environmental trigger of sporadic ALS.
The Careers in Sustainability panel, hosted by the Gordon Career Center, the College of the Environment, and the Sustainability Office on October 4, 2019, included Nora Vogel ’11, director of communications for Coalition for Green Capital. The College of the Environment graduated its first cohort of environmental studies majors in 2010. Below, an interview with Vogel ’11, one of the first students to ever major in environmental studies at Wesleyan.
Did you come to Wesleyan knowing you wanted to study Environmental Studies? What led you to the COE?
Nora Vogel (NV): I knew I was interested in science and the environment, and I was thinking about doing biology. I actually worked in Professor Sonia Sultan’s lab, which was an amazing experience. At the same time, it felt hard to stick to research science as a career path, when I felt that many decision-makers in the world aren’t listening to the perfectly good science that we already have. That’s what got me interested in communications and in the Science in Society Program (SISP). I wondered what makes people make decisions about things, and what makes them trust one source and not another one. I took a Media in Society class that dovetailed really well with that, along with some sociology classes. I took a philosophy class with Professor Joseph Rouse about objectivity that I loved; we went deep down the rabbit hole of whether objective truth really exists. I still think about it all the time. The great thing about SISP was that it gave me a way to fit those things together, and it ended up being directly relevant to the career path I ended up on.
This past Wednesday I had the pleasure of sitting in on a brand-new College of the Environment class, ENVS282: Sustainable Agriculture and Food Systems. Taught by Dr. Rosemary Ostfeld ’10, the class focuses on the techniques and strategies that can be employed to make our farms and supply chains more sustainable, as well as exploring the effects of our consumption habits on the environment.
From left: Elizabeth Roff, Andres Arango, Harper Gambill, Randy Tyng, Mike Eustace, Kush Puri, Stephen Philipps, Kaitlyn McMullan, Rosemary Ostfeld, Deborah Eaddy, Samuel Peek, Olivia Weiss, Joe DeLollo, Drew Burnett, Leo Clibanoff, Noah Cohen.
On Thursday, September 12, Dr. Paul Spitzer ‘68 gave a talk titled “Lessons From the Osprey Gardens” to mark the first day of his monthlong stay at Wesleyan. Dr. Spitzer is a visiting guest who will be giving several talks over the course of his stay and leading field trips for Mike Singer’s BIOL220/ Conservation Biology class. His next seminar—Biological Secrets & Ecological Significance of the Common Loon—will take place on Thursday, October 3 at noon here at Wesleyan.
Alison Bidwell Pearce ’94 is an ecological anthropologist working to restore the ecological communities of Woodend Nature Sanctuary in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and spread an environmental ethos in the DC region.
Visiting Assistant Professor of Environmental Studies (and Wes alum) Rosemary Ostfeld, PhD ’10 and her students from ENVS344 / Renewable Energy and Negative Emission Technologies joined with members of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters (CTLCV) on a visit the state capitol in Hartford earlier this month. Environmental studies majors in the group included Caroline Sgaglione ’19, Catherine Xi ’21 & Maggie Humphrey ’21. While there, Ostfeld and her students discussed renewables, green technologies, and the importance of making the environment a priority with State Reps Michael Winkler & Quentin Phipps and fellow Wesleyan University alums State Senator Matthew Lesser ’08 and State Rep Mike Demicco ’80.
The research explored here, “Spectroscopic Studies of Hybrid Perovskite Solar Cells,” was undertaken as part of the College of the Environment’s Faculty-Student Research Grant Program, which provides opportunities for faculty and students to work together on research projects.
Meng-ju Renee Sher ’07 is assistant professor of physics, assistant professor of integrative sciences, and assistant professor of environmental studies at Wesleyan University. Sher received her bachelor’s degree from Wesleyan in 2007 and PhD degree from Harvard University in 2013.