brown ’22 shares travel-volunteer experience and advice

Belle Brown ‘22, an environmental studies and government major while at Wes, shares her Workaway experiences in Goa, India, and the Western Ghat mountains, working in permaculture and eco-building; discusses her time at Wesleyan and her late night talk show thesis, Wesleyan Tonight; and shares advice for current Wesleyan students!

Hi, Belle! Would you mind sharing a bit about yourself and your time at Wesleyan?
Hi! I am from Arlington, Virginia, but was raised in Jakarta, Indonesia. I graduated from Wes in 2022, with degrees in environmental studies and government. While at Wes, I was involved in the comedy groups Hysterics and Awkward Silence. For my capstone I created a late night TV show called Wesleyan Tonight, which continued on for a year after I left! I worked at Long Lane Farm, and for Wesleyan Food Rescue, as well as on some senior film theses. I was also a compost intern and got to collect people’s food waste and educate them on composting. That was one of my favorite jobs; it really sparked my current interest in food justice and sustainable agriculture.

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senior spotlight: maggie monaghan ’24

Maggie Monaghan’24, is an American studies and environmental studies major and an electee of Wesleyan’s Gamma Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa. Maggie is developing a thesis on the influence of naturalist and writer Alexander von Humboldt, and how language plays a central role in the development of culture and our conceptions of history. As a recipient of a Bailey College of the Environment summer fellowship she had the opportunity to work on a musical about Alexander von Humboldt, set in the modern day.

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mobilizing power event focuses on community building for enviro justice

The Robert F. Schumann Institute of the Bailey College of the Environment was honored to host Mobilizing Power: Community Building for Environmental Justice on November 11, 2023, in Daniel Family Commons in Usdan. The event brought together advocates from a variety of nonprofits, government agencies, grassroots campaigns, and academic institutions to exchange ideas for making meaningful, long-term environmental progress.  The event was sponsored by The Robert F. Schumann Institute of the Bailey College of the Environment at Wesleyan University, Wesleyan Sustainability Office, Save the Sound, Sunrise Wesleyan, Wesleyan Environmental Solidarity Network (ESN), Sustainable CT, The Rockfall Foundation, and the DEEP.

Organized by Malana Rogers-Bursen, project coordinator for food security, environmental justice, and sustainability for the Robert F. Schumann Institute of the Bailey COE, Mobilizing Power brought together approximately 90 participants, including environmental justice leaders, high school youth organizers, and college students from Wesleyan and other universities, to discuss important issues related to environmental justice in Connecticut. The planning team for the event included community leaders from Sustainable CT, CT DEEP, Save the Sound and the Rockfall Foundation, as well as student leaders Dylan Campos ’24, Michael Minars ’25, Debbra Goh ’24, Hannah Phan ’25, Laine Gorman ’25, and Naysa Abraham ’26, who took clear leadership shaping the event and presenting throughout the day.

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meet our 40+ summer 2023 fellows!

Every year, the COE awards fellowships to fund summer (and spring and fall) research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Most recently, the COE awarded more than 40 fellowships to Wes students. Learn a little bit more about each, below! Applications for summer 2024, fall 2024 and spring 2025 Bailey COE fellowships will open in late December.

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weiner ’24 explores 1947 texas city disaster

Arlo Weiner ‘24 is a history and Middle East studies major. For his thesis, he is creating a documentary about the 1947 Texas City Disaster in which 576 people were killed and more than 3,000 injured. With the assistance of a 2023 Bailey COE summer fellowship, he spent his summer in Texas City and Galveston, meeting with witnesses of the disaster and conducting historical research. 

What led you to choose the Texas City Disaster as the subject for this documentary project? 
I picked this project because I was able to get in touch with a man named Carl Trepagnier, who wrote a fictionalized account of his experience of the disaster entitled Rise Up: A Novel about the 1947 Texas City Explosion. He offered to bring me to the town and offered to show me around and introduce me to other people who also lived through the disaster.

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andrews ’24 retraces her great-grandfather’s farming footsteps

Every year, the Bailey COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Most recently, the COE awarded 35 summer fellowships and 1 fall fellowship to Wes students. Olivia Andrews ’24 is an art history major with a minor in film. Olivia’s summer fellowship project mainly centered around her great-grandfather, Tony Andrews, a black farmer who emigrated from Cape Verde by boat in 1926 and founded the family’s farm in Cape Cod, Massachusetts.

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senior spotlight: dylan campos ’24

Our 33 class of 2024 ENVS linked majors have primary majors in 15 different departments, from film to government to feminist, gender and sexuality to chemistry. This diversity reflects the deep and widespread interest in environmental issues on the Wesleyan campus and our incredibly fertile coexist community! Dylan Campos ’24 (he/they) is a history and environmental studies major with a minor in global engagement. Learn more about Dylan, below!

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angstadt ’25 digs coe summer fellowship opp

Every year, the Bailey COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Most recently, the COE awarded 35 summer fellowships and 1 fall fellowship to Wes students. Natalie Angstadt ’25 is a junior majoring in Archaeology and Neuroscience & Behavior. Last summer she engaged in an archaeological dig at Trasimeno Archaeology Field School with the Umbra Institute in Perugia, Italy.

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coe student-faculty research funds allow o’neil to study connection between pesticides, als

Each year the Bailey 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 (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis; commonly called Lou Gehrig’s disease) and Alzheimer’s Disease. Thanks to a COE faculty-student research grant and a COE summer fellowship,  Alison O’Neil, assistant professor of chemistry, Gloster Aaron, professor of biology,  and Aaron Berson ‘24, an NS&B (neuroscience and behavior) and IDEAS (Integrated Design, Engineering, Arts & Society) major with a minor in chemistry, were able to collaborate on Professor O’Neil’s investigation of cis-chlordane as an environmental trigger of ALS.

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kirana ’21 uses data to tell climate stories

Yuke Kirana ‘21 received her BA from Wesleyan in environmental studies and earth & environmental sciences.  She is currently working as a data analyst at the Systems Change Lab at World Resources Institute (WRI), a global research nonprofit partnering with the Bezos Earth Funds and funded by the GEF Foundation, focusing on seven key areas relating to natural resources: food, forests, water, energy, cities, climate, and ocean. 

Yuke’s interest in environmental studies began in high school, when she worked on a plastic waste reduction project as a student in Jakarta, Indonesia. “That project exposed me to the complexity of environmental issues,” says Yuke. “And it piqued my interest to learn more about the complex system that influences and shapes environmental initiatives.”

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biasucci ’21 helps companies become more sustainable

Liana Biasucci ‘21 was an economics and environmental studies double major at Wes whose senior capstone essay was entitled, How to Build Back Better: Greening the Recovery from COVID-19, about using government stimulus packages to advance climate mitigation in the US and combining economic goals with environmental ones (before the Inflation Reduction Act came out). Today, she is a manager at Green Strategies, a sustainability consulting firm.

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nimura explores women writing about the natural world

In spring 2024, Janice Nimura will be teaching ENVS272/Knowing Their Place: Two Centuries of Women Generating Wonder in the Natural World, exploring the history of women writing about the natural world. The course runs in conjunction with Professor Nimura’s newest book project.

This year as part of the 20th Annual Robert F. Schumann Where On Earth Are We Going symposium, Janice Nimura, this year’s Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar and finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in Biography, delivered the opening talk entitled, “Knowing Their Place: Rachel Carson and the Women Who Came Before Her.” The talk was inspired by a book Nimura is currently researching that will dive deep into the life and thinking of Rachel Carson and explore the 19th-century women naturalists who preceded her. 

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coe hosts urban farming workshop

Wesleyan’s Bailey College of the Environment was honored to have the opportunity to host KNOX, a Hartford-based Urban Farming program on October 24, 2023. KNOX’s mission is to promote a healthier and more sustainable Hartford through work that engages closely with the local community.

The Urban Farming Workshop was led by KNOX Program Coordinator Ally Gelinas. Gelinas is a certified wildlife biologist, and has a masters degree in Environmental Education. They are a Connecticut native interested in bridging the gaps between existing environmental advocacy and the needs of marginalized individuals, who are the people often facing the most immediate and severe impacts of climate change and environmental degradation. Gelinas always strives to keep equity as a central tenet of KNOX’s activities and to make sure that any action the organization takes directly benefits local communities.

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gray skies, warm cider, huge crowd: pumpkin fest 2023!

The leaves are turning, the air is crisp, and the smell of apple cider is wafting. You know what that means… time for Pumpkin Fest 2023! 

Long Lane Farm is an organic student-run farm that provides healthy and fresh foods to the Middletown community and Wesleyan facilities. Long Lane’s Pumpkin Fest tradition dates back to 2004, and has a legacy of being a highlight of the Wesleyan fall semester. This year’s event, held under mostly gray skies on Saturday, October 14, was no different! Sponsored by the Bailey College of the Environment, with help from the Office of Student Involvement and Bon Appetit, and organized and hosted by Long Lane Far, the day was a massive undertaking that came to fruition perfectly! Even the afternoon rain didn’t stop hundreds and hundreds of people from flooding in and enjoying the day!

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spring 2024: check out new envs courses from new profs!

Looking for environmental studies (ENVS) courses to take in spring 2024? Check out these NEW offerings by Christine Caruso, our NEW assistant professor of the practice in the Bailey College of the Environment (left), and Janice Nimura, our NEW Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Bailey College of the Environment for 2023-24(right)! All four courses count toward elective requirements for the ENVS major and minor and ENVS234 also counts as a Core 1 elective for the ENVS major. Course info, and profiles of the professors, below!

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shiffer-delegard ’23 conducts thesis research in uk

Annika Shiffer-Delegard ‘23 is a senior English and environmental studies double major. Her thesis project explores the fascinating topic of herbal abortifacients through historical and media studies lenses. The research is a thesis in environmental studies that Annika hopes will shed light on the intersection between the environmental justice and reproductive justice movements. To support Annika’s research, the College of the Environment provided funding for Annika to travel to the UK to conduct archival research at Oxford University and the Royal Academy of Physicians. 

The inspiration for Annika’s senior thesis dates back to the spring of her freshman year when, in Professor Laura Ann Twagira’s Revolutionary Women class, Annika came across the concept of herbal abortifacients: using plants to cause abortion, a practice used by indigenous women in Suriname to induce abortion so that their children wouldn’t be born into slavery. “Ever since, I just had a little twinge in the back of my brain, thinking I need to study this. It really felt like the most interesting thing ever to me,” says Annika.

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christine caruso: exploring the nexus between food, health, justice & the environment

Christine Caruso is the Schumann Institute of the Bailey College of the Environment’s newest assistant professor of the practice. Her area of specialization explores food systems, specifically in urban centers, and how equity and environmental justice factors play a role in health outcomes. She is interested in community-focused initiatives, and is eager to hear from students. This semester, she’s teaching Environmental Justice and Health Equity and a section of the ENVS senior colloquium. I had the opportunity to speak with Professor Caruso about her work and her new position!

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meet bailey visiting scholar janice nimura

Janice P. Nimura is the Menakka and Essel Bailey ‘66 Distinguished Visiting Scholar in the Bailey College of the Environment for the 2023-24 academic year. She is a writer, finalist for the 2022 Pulitzer Prize in biography, and a member of this year’s COE Think Tank. Her work is based on groundbreaking 19th-century American women, and she is currently working on a project studying Rachel Carson and the women who came before and after her.  Janice will be giving a talk on this subject, entitled Knowing Their Place: Rachel Carson and the Women Who Came Before Her,  at the annual “Where on Earth Are We Going?” symposium on Saturday, October 28, here on campus. I  had the pleasure of talking with her about her upcoming discussion.

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chicken-keeping course creates community

In Spring 2023, a chicken-keeping course for Middletown residents taught by Amy Grillo, associate professor of the practice in the Allbritton Center for Public Study and Environmental Studies, was held at the College of the Environment. The Chickens 101 project was started by Diana Martinez, assistant director of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships, along with Lorenzo Jones, co-founder and co-executive director of the Katal Center for Equity, Health and Justice, as part of the Jewett Center for Community Partnerships’ Cultivating Justice initiative. Jones is the Jewett Center’s Re-Imagining Justice Mentor-in-Residence this year.

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youth advocacy day in hartford

Last April, I had the opportunity to attend Youth Advocacy Day at the Connecticut Capitol Building in Hartford. This event was hosted by several Connecticut environmental organizations including the Sierra Club, the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters, and Sunrise Connecticut. I attended the event with Sunrise Movement Wesleyan, a student organization committed to environmental advocacy through engagement with politics. The purpose of the day was to facilitate discussion between young people invested in environmental issues and Connecticut legislators. The day saw a large turnout of students, specifically high schoolers, invested in environmental progress. 

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coe’s allison orr launches new book

Allison Orr’s book launch for her new book Dance Works, Stories of Creative Collaboration  was held on Wednesday, May 3, 2023, in the Romance Languages Lounge. The ceremony was accompanied by a live set by DJ Mo Torres and DJ Lloyd.  

The book launch was a celebration of Allison’s accomplishments, both on and off of the Wesleyan University campus. Off campus, Allison is the artistic director of Forklift Danceworks, an award-winning dance company based in Austin, Texas. Her work draws inspiration from the habitual motion of labor, and highlights unlikely dancers. By incorporating ensembles of real workers, her choreography challenges traditional notions of  dance. It acknowledges that everyone and everything is in constant motion, and all people are part of a collective dance. Allison finds the beauty within worker’s daily motions; it is these motions which build our cities and lives. Through her work, Allison engages entire communities through art.  In addition to her contributions within the dance world, Allison Orr is a research fellow in the Bailey College of the Environment and her book was written at the encouragement of College of the Environment Director Barry Chernoff.

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coe hosts ct food justice gathering

Wesleyan’s Bailey College of the Environment and Cultivating Justice co-hosted the Connecticut Food Justice Gathering at Wesleyan on April 29, 2023. The gathering was a chance for knowledge exchange, to build power across intersectional issues, and for the Wesleyan community to learn more about the food justice movement in Connecticut. On the Bailey COE side, the event was organized by Malana Rogers-Bursen, project coordinator for food security, environmental justice, and sustainability.

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