Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Elizabeth Meyer

Elizabeth Meyer is a student in the Class of 2014.

JELLE ATEMA

Diving in

Ashley Jennings ’07 spends years deep in shark research

Ashley Jennings '07

Ashley Jennings '07

What would it be like to be a shark?

Maybe you’re picturing rows of ragged sawteeth and remembering the last time your stomach growled at you. Or perhaps you’re imagining the feeling of cool water on a strong, streamlined body, and wondering what it would be like to have a superhuman sense of smell.

Most people really wouldn’t even know where to begin imagining. But this question lights up Ashley Jennings’s face. “I think about that pretty much every day,” she says.

Jennings, who graduated from Wheaton College in 2007, explored this question in her research at Boston University, where last year she completed a master’s degree in marine/sensory biology. Working with Jelle Atema, a professor of biology at Boston University and adjunct scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), Jennings spent three summers at WHOI studying smooth dogfish, small sharks that can be found along the coast of Massachusetts, for her master’s thesis. While urban legend tells us that a shark can smell a drop of blood in an Olympic-sized swimming pool, Jennings hopes that her research on sharks’ sense of smell will help to dispel that myth, as well as our overblown fear of these animals. [Read more...]

A second chance

Wheaton alum helps save stranded sea turtles

Leslie Boerner Neville ’87 In mid-November, when the ocean temperature in Massachusetts dropped and cold-stunned sea turtles began to wash up on Cape Cod Bay’s beaches, veterinarian Leslie Boerner Neville ’87 jumped into action to help save them.

Volunteering with the turtle rescue team of Massachusetts Audubon’s Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary, she shared her expertise and lent a hand, as did her undergraduate advisor, Wheaton College Professor Emerita of Biology Barbara Brennessel. [Read more...]

Jasmine Sewell ’99 coordinates painting of Crutcher

Jasmine Sewell ’99In celebration of his decade of leadership at Wheaton College, the college’s Board of Trustees commissioned a portrait of President Ronald A. Crutcher, which is now displayed on campus in Park Hall.

Instrumental in helping to make this happen was Jasmine Sewell ’99, founder of Sewell Fine Portraiture, LLC. Last December, the board turned to her to find the perfect artist for the job. Based in New York City, Sewell’s company helps to connect those seeking to commission portraits with some of the world’s leading portrait painters and sculptors.

“More than one hundred years ago, with the advent of photography, many people wondered whether painted portraits were outmoded,” said Sewell. “Artists remain busy with commissions, however. Portraiture is still very much alive and well.” [Read more...]

A debut worth the wait

9 Concert-5628Orchestra performs music by Class of 1933 alum

We all could learn a lesson or two from Mary Louise Miller Spang, Class of 1933.

She overcame great adversity in her life, forging her own path after divorcing her husband in 1946, at a time when divorce was still a damaging social stigma for women, and working to support two young children on her own while pursuing her passion for music at Juilliard.

9-Spang 1962 small

Mary Louise Miller Spang ’33 in 1962

From 1946 until around 1959, Spang, who was an art major at Wheaton, was a prolific composer and published poet. Her musical career was cut short in 1959 when she was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, which led to her decline and death in 1975 at age 64.

On Dec. 6, 2013, she had her long-overdue chance in the spotlight. The Great Woods Chamber Orchestra honored her during a concert by performing one of her musical compositions for the very first time. The orchestra debuted Spang’s “The Selfish Giant,” a musical interpretation of the children’s story by Oscar Wilde, in the Weber Theatre.

“Each section in ‘The Selfish Giant’ corresponds to a scene in Wilde’s story,” noted Delvyn Case, assistant professor of music and orchestra director. “The music is very colorful, depicting the giant by using the timpani and brass, and the children with the piccolo and other woodwind instruments. The composition uses beautiful, rich harmonies reminiscent of jazz, though the style of the piece is certainly classical.”

[Read more...]