Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

What’s that ticking sound?

In November, while we were celebrating our art director’s birthday over breakfast, a colleague remarked that there were only four days of work remaining before Thanksgiving break.

We all let out a collective gasp of surprise, recognizing how fast time flies. (My summer clothes had yet to make it to the attic, for goodness’ sake!) This issue of the Quarterly takes a moment to honor the passing of time:

February marked five years for me as editor of the magazine. It seems like just yesterday I was having a cup of coffee with my boss on the deck at Balfour-Hood and telling him about my interest in working at Wheaton.

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Facebook flash forward

Take Facebook. Add students who crave intellectual conversation. Bring in experts on a variety of subjects. Post and share.

What do you get? Flash Seminars—a new series of quick lectures presented by professors, alums or students on interesting topics designed to create more opportunities for academic engagement outside of the classroom. Think flash mob brainiacs.

Kimberly Nash ’12, working in partnership with Thomas Bruemmer ’12, brought the idea to Wheaton this academic year with support from the Student Government Association (SGA). Nash, who is a member of the SGA’s executive board and the student representative to the Board of Trustees and alumnae/i, says she wanted to start the series to generate additional energy and excitement around learning.

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A minute with…Donghan Yang ’14

Donghan Yang ’14There are easier ways to build endurance and to learn important life lessons than going on a monthlong bike ride through China, but those ways likely aren’t as adventuresome as the time Donghan Yang had last summer. A native of Nanjing, Jiangsu, China, he and a friend rode their mountain bikes from Chengdu, Sichuan, China, to Lhasa, Tibet, China. That’s 1,300 miles—28 days of biking, four Donghan Yang ’14days of resting, and four days walking through a tropical rain forest in Tibet. But who’s counting? Road test: “A friend of mine did this a year ago and wrote about his trip on the Internet. I was inspired by his article and photos. So another friend and I agreed to do a trip like this. I wanted to challenge myself, see how persistent I could be in achieving a goal and see how well I react under difficult circumstances. Also, riding a bike over this kind of long distance is a way of life that not many modern-day people can experience.” Pedal power: “I have never done anything like this before. We went through 24 towns. We rode 70 to 80 kilometers a day. We climbed over 13 mountains—10 of them were over 4,000 meters high, two of them were over 5,000 meters high.” Wheel-y hard: “It was difficult. We were riding on high plateaus and there was a scarcity of oxygen. We also experienced extreme weather along the trip; heat, cold, rain, snow and hail were common. We encountered wild dogs chasing us. If the inner tire of one of our bikes broke, we had to fix it by ourselves. The road conditions were extremely varied. Sometimes we could not even ride because of the mud and rocks that were used to pave the roads. Sometimes we were immersed in the dust when cars and trucks drove by us. There were so many difficulties, but I learned to calm down and not let myself become anxious, because I knew only a strong body and a tough mind would help me get through it.” Moving forward: “I learned to never give up when faced with difficulties. This has helped me with my coursework at Wheaton because I’ve begun to get rid of my problem of procrastinating. I’ve learned to persist in my schoolwork, even when I am tired.”

Student’s research sheds light on homelessness

Iraimi Mercado ’12The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty estimates that more than 3 million people, 1.35 million of them children, experience homelessness in a given year. In today’s economy, even more people are at risk.

More than ever, it is crucial to understand how to help them. The key is in getting a handle on support systems, says sociology major Iraimi Mercado ’12. For her senior thesis, she spent months researching homelessness, focusing on how services impact the lives of women and children living in emergency shelters. She’s hoping her findings can offer policy makers guidance as they create regulations that impact families.

Her research involved one-on-one interviews with single mothers living at the Old Colony YMCA Family Life Center in Brockton, Mass. She explored which services over what period of time have helped them.

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