Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

A minute with…Lindsay Petrenchik ’13

Lindsay Petrenchik ’13Lindsay Petrenchik, a biochemistry major, has been working with Professor of Biology Barbara Brennessel conducting research on spotted turtles on Cape Cod. The project recently won a grant from the Nantucket Biodiversity Initiative. Turtle talk: “Spotted turtles are in rapid decline because their habitats are being fragmented and altered by humans. The objective of our study is to compare the genetic differences between spotted turtle populations on Nantucket Island and on the mainland, which allows us to determine how related the island populations are to the mainland populations. Because island populations are isolated, there is a high degree of inbreeding that can make animals less adaptable or more susceptible to disease. Once we have analyzed the data, we will submit a report to the Nantucket Conservation Foundation. Foundation officials have explained that a comparison between the island and mainland populations could possibly help to determine appropriate conservation and management methods of spotted turtles that have become isolated due to habitat fragmentation.” [Read more...]

Anne Crosman’s writing attracts attention

“As a child, I kept diaries, because my mother had kept a diary for me, starting the day I was born,” recalls Anne Crosman ’66. “I still have it! I continued her tradition and I wrote every day. I still do.” With a deeply rooted penchant for writing and a childhood love of radio shows, Crosman has forged her path as an author and news reporter in radio, television and print.

Recently, she gained attention for her self-published books. In January, Sedona.biz (Arizona) featured an article about her book The New Immigrants: American Success Stories (Book Publishers Network, 2012) and a panel that she hosted featuring the book subjects as guest speakers. The book delves into the stories of immigrants who live in her current home state, Arizona.

“These people prove the adage that America is a land of opportunity,” Crosman says. “I wanted to show that the majority of Arizona immigrants are legal, patriotic, hard-working residents, who have worked to improve their English and communication skills and have given back to their communities. All of them deeply appreciate the freedom to speak and live as they wish.”

Crosman’s other book, Young at Heart: Aging Gracefully with Attitude, a collection of personal portraits originally published in 2003 and reprinted in 2004 and 2005, won a national Benjamin Franklin Award. She also was interviewed on KNAU, Arizona Public Radio in Flagstaff, where she previously has hosted NPR’s “All Things Considered.”

While at Wheaton, Crosman, who continued to write in the journal that her mother started, honed her skills here as an English literature major and writer for the college newspaper. After graduating, she earned her master’s degree in journalism at the American University in Washington, D.C. At age 28, she was the first woman whom CBS radio had ever hired to do full-time hourly newscasts.

“The microphone is a magic tool,” she says. “Every night at CBS Radio, I talked to an estimated 18 million people. That was in 1973. Imagine today’s numbers.”

She moved on to cover political news for NBC Radio Network in Washington, D.C., and freelanced abroad in Switzerland, Rome, Warsaw and Cairo, before hosting at Arizona Public Radio from 2009 through 2011.

Throughout her career she has combined her love for journalism with curiosity for culture and the desire to tell the personal stories of others.

Now, when she’s not writing, the author is busy with various interests. She encourages others to mine their own experience by teaching memoir writing at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute in Sedona, Ariz. She leads yoga classes and silent meditative hikes. She continues to play piano and violin and has even learned how to play Scottish bagpipes.

In February, Crosman won a bronze medal at the Arizona Senior Olympics for racewalking. “I’m back in training for racewalking on the streets of Sedona,” she says. “Honk if you pass me. I’m the one walking fast, like a duck!”

Still on her agenda: “To climb Mount Snowden in northern Wales. My middle name is Snowden.”

Lesson plan

Aaron Bos-Lun ’12

Aaron Bos-Lun ’12 addresses children in a classroom in South Africa, as a Wheaton Fellow intern

Graduate will Teach For America

Aaron Bos-Lun ’12 has been chosen to join the Teach For America corps, a highly selective organization that trains recent college graduates who commit to teaching in a low-income community for two years. He will teach in an elementary school in Miami, Fla.

As a political science major, Bos-Lun has had a plan all along to combine a career in politics and education. “Education, democracy and international security are all about building a better world. Democracy creates the conditions for a peaceful and productive society, and education enables people to create the best version of themselves within such an environment,” he says.

He views Teach For America as an opportunity to combine education and social change in an up-close and personal way. In his second year of Teach For America, he plans to begin a master’s degree program in education and social change at the University of Miami. [Read more...]

Newsmaker: Jill Strandson Cote ’01 collaborates to help students, teachers

“In my opinion, an excellent school is one that embraces the community in which it lives,” says Jill Strandson Cote ’01, who is a part of just such a community. She is a math specialist for grades one through three at the Learning Community, a public charter school in Central Falls, R.I., among the state’s most densely populated and poorest communities. “I was drawn to the school’s commitment to teaching and challenging all students and including all families. Many people feel that poverty is a barrier to education, meaning that if you are poor, we should have a lower expectation for what you can achieve. At the Learning Community, we believe that attending a school that has high standards isn’t a privilege; it is a civil right.” A psychology and elementary education major while at Wheaton, Cote provides extra instructional services to students who need more support to perform at the national benchmark for their grade level, and works with teachers to help them set professional goals around improving reading instruction. She also plays an important role in the school’s collaboration with the local public school district. The Learning Community serves the same demographic population as the district public school system, but accepts students by lottery. In the true spirit of community, the charter school’s partnership provides coaches who share their instructional techniques with public school teachers. “In school systems, particularly larger urban systems, teacher voice and teacher leadership can get lost. …We need to equip them with the latest instructional strategies and create systems that will support the classroom teacher when students fall behind,” Cote says. This highly successful effort has drawn attention from the New York Times and the Washington Post, as well as from NBC Nightly News, where Cote was featured in an interview conducted by correspondent Chelsea Clinton in the “Making a Difference” segment. The segment focused on the fact that charter school and public school teachers are working together in the best interests of children.