Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Sandy Coleman

Sandy Coleman is the editor of the Wheaton Quarterly and Senior Associate Director in the Communications Office.

Lead the way

Class of 2016 Yes!

When President Hanno asked whether they were ready to graduate, the Class of 2016 had the answer: Yes!

In a world filled with inequities and the denial of basic human rights, often supported by widely held beliefs and opinions, keynote speaker Sunila Thomas George ’91 challenged Wheaton’s graduating seniors to courageously speak up for what needs to be changed.

“If you remember one thing from today’s Commencement address, remember this: Never stop questioning conventional wisdom,” she urged on a sunny May morning full of promise.

“No matter where you go from here, you will be faced with differing viewpoints, and Wheaton College—our Wheaton College—has prepared you for the world out there, where you will live alongside people who have backgrounds and beliefs different from your own, and where you will be confronted with opinions with which you disagree,” said George, a four-term commissioner for the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination.

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Teaching the power of presence

Paul Cuffee Charter School

Arielle Klopsis ’18, above left, and Hannah Zack ’18 teach mindfulness techniques to students in the first grade classroom of teacher Brooke Alam Beach ’07 at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I.

There is a difference between being present (showing up), and really being present (purposefully aware of everything that is happening in each moment). The students at the Paul Cuffee Charter School in Providence, R.I., learned to put into practice the latter, courtesy of Professor of Education Mary Lee Griffin and her student collaborators.

Griffin has been working to spread mindfulness techniques in five local schools for years, and has provided many Wheaton students with training to carry out the ongoing work and secured experiential learning opportunities for them. During the spring semester, Hannah Zack ’18 and Arielle Klopsis ’18 spent six weeks collaborating with Griffin and for the first time implementing on their own the mindfulness protocols developed by Griffin to help elementary school children improve their educational experience and even their interactions outside of the classroom. [Read more...]

Two professors win Whiting fellowships

Researchers headed to Denmark, Belgium, Ireland

Wheaton College professors M. Gabriela Torres and Montserrat Pérez-Toribio have received fellowships from the Marion and Jasper Whiting Foundation to fund travel and research that will facilitate the creation of new courses, transform existing classes and extend the faculty members’ scholarship.

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Cancer through a historical lens

Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Lanni Cancer. The word itself, perhaps, is one of the most feared in the English language. And the statistic presented in the description of the First-Year Seminar (FYS) that Assistant Professor of Biology Jennifer Lanni is teaching this fall is shocking: “Forty percent of us will be diagnosed with cancer at some point during our lifetime.” One of the biggest questions is: Are we getting anywhere in dealing with the disease? In the FYS “Cancer: Exploring the Enemy Within,” the professor and her students are delving into this question and others during the fall semester. We recently talked with her about the subject that touches too many lives.

First, what is the primary focus of your scholarship?

I am interested in how vertebrates grow. For instance, why do our arms grow to a certain length and then stop? I study this question using zebrafish, a tiny two-inch-long fish that shares over 60 percent of our genes. By comparing long-finned fish to normal fish, I hope to identify the genetic and biochemical signals that control size and proportion. [Read more...]