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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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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colson-fearon ’22 explores urban farming in baltimore

Every year, the COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Brionna Colson-Fearon ’22 is a biology and psychology double major who conducted a qualitative study looking at food apartheid in Baltimore, Maryland, and the role urban farming plays in increasing access to healthy food in the city. The research is a part of her ongoing interests in obesity and public health outcomes of African American communities in urban contexts. Colson-Fearon received the 2022 Clendeninn Prize for her outstanding work and contributions as a biology major at Wesleyan.

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woolford ’22 and friends to host party at the edge of the world

Every year, the COE awards fellowships to fund summer research opportunities for Wesleyan students across all majors and class years. Liz Woolford ’22 is a theater and government double major whose summer research project focused on developing her theater capstone project: The Party at the Edge of the World, an investigation into the intersection of performance and environmental activism.  The project will culminate in a site-specific/immersive piece to be performed Friday, November 19 through Sunday, November 21, 2021, here at the COE at 284 High Street. Reservations are required for this FREE event.

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