studying the past to inform the future

Kelly Fenton-Samuels

Every year, the COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Chemistry and earth & environmental science major Kelly Fenton-Samuels ’23 spent the summer working with Professor Suzanne O’Connell, studying Antarctic ocean floor sediment core samples dating back to the Pliocene Epoch.

This summer, I had the opportunity to work in Professor O’Connell’s lab, studying Antarctic marine sediment cores collected by the International Ocean Discovery Program. Specifically, my summer research project utilized deep sea sediments dating back 2.4 million years to reveal Antarctic climate changes during that time. I began researching with Professor O’Connell a year ago, after reaching out to her to discuss the work conducted in her lab. Her work both on Antarctic paleoclimate and on communicating climate science to a general audience aligns strongly with my interest in using climate change research to further climate justice.

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coe receives $2m for security, justice, sustainability

Barry Chernoff, Schumann FoundationThe Robert F. Schumann Foundation has generously awarded the College of the Environment (COE) a 5-year, $2-million grant to focus on the areas of food security, environmental justice, and sustainability. The Schumann Institute of the COE will be adding new positions to enhance teaching, research, and community engagement; building a network of local community organizations that specialize in the areas of food security, environmental justice, and sustainability; providing opportunities for Wesleyan environmental studies students to work with these organizations to help their efforts; and creating a “pipeline” of professional training for graduate students, post-doctoral fellows, and professors of the practice so that they will have the skills and knowledge needed to contribute importantly when they leave Wesleyan. Enhanced courses; student immersion in community engagement projects; student internships; campus and community seminars, symposia, and workshops; scholarly output on environmental issues; and other related activities will all be supported with the grant.

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think tank explores radical environments

COE Think Tank 2023-24Each academic year, the COE invites a small group of Wesleyan faculty and undergrads plus a noted outside scholar to join together in a yearlong discussion on a critical environmental issue. The Think Tank features a new theme, and new fellows, each year. This year’s COE Think Tank features (from top left) faculty fellows Raquel Bryant, assistant professor of environmental sciences; Marguerite Nguyen, associate professor of English; Anu (Aradhana) Sharma, associate professor of anthropology; LaToya Eaves, Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar; and Justin Hosbey (not pictured), Menakka and Essel Bailey ’66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar, who will explore the theme of “Radical Environments: Living Justice, Imagining Futures,” with outside scholars and student fellows to be named.

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rader ’23 explores resilience in culebra

Every year, the COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Joel Rader ’23 is a film and environmental studies major who spent summer 2022 investigating how resilience has been “seeded” within the social-ecological system of the island of Culebra, Puerto, Rico, in the wake of the devastation wrought by hurricanes Irma and Maria. To view Joel’s amazing fellowship project website, click here!

Tell us about your summer research project!
My project explored the island of Culebra, Puerto Rico, as a Social-Ecological System (SES), including the integral contributions to SES resilience made by small business owners, activists, scientists, and environmentalists. The project focuses in particular on the significant work that the nonprofit organization Sociedad Ambiente Marino (SAM) does toward resilience efforts in Culebra.  SAM’s efforts are not just important for the Culebra SES itself, but could be a replicable model for other island communities throughout the Caribbean that are among the most exposed to climate change impacts today. Among SAM’s important current projects is the restoration of endangered coral species that are important to this region of the Caribbean.

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danieu ’23 researches air in artistic practice

Ava DanieuEvery year, the COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. English major Ava Danieu ’23 spent the summer as a research assistant for Professor Claire Grace, who is exploring the status of air in 1960s artistic practice.

Tell us about your summer research project!
These past few months, I’ve been a research assistant for Claire Grace, associate professor of art history, who is exploring the status of air in 1960s artistic practice. I contribute to the project by providing contextual information that includes historical news coverage of air pollution in Los Angeles, the United States military’s use of air delivered chemicals in the Vietnam War, and Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring. Beyond reviewing archival sources to find media coverage, I compile reading lists concerning historical accounts of the Clean Air Act and information on specific firework companies active in the Los Angeles region in the 1960s.

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i’m feeling (the class of 20) ’22

Congratulations to our 25 ENVS majors graduating with Wesleyan’s Class of 2022! Always amazing to recognize the breadth of our ENVS students, from majors across the university, and the depth of their academic research and interests! Find out more, below!

 

 

 

 

 

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