Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

First internship, lasting lessons

Brandon Williams ’16

Brandon Williams ’16 harvests sea lettuce on a beach at the southern tip of Biddeford Pool in Maine.

This summer, Brandon Williams ’16 had his first internship. Not only did he gain valuable experience, he also learned lessons about what it means to be a researcher.

Brandon Williams ’16

Brandon Williams ’16 works on the extraction process in the lab at the University of New England.

Williams, a biochemistry major and Community Merit Scholar, spent three months working as a research assistant at the University of New England in Biddeford, Maine, under the direction of Amy Deveau, an associate professor of chemistry at the university, and Kristin Burkholder, an assistant professor of biology.

The team’s research is centered on two types of sea lettuce that are common along the Maine coast. The primary focus of the research involves looking into the antimicrobial effects of sea lettuce extracts upon several clinically relevant pathogens; many types of seaweeds have been shown to exhibit antimicrobial activity.

“The significance of this is that with further research, the extracts from various types of seaweeds may potentially serve an important role in disease prevention and treatment in the future,” said Williams, who plans to go to medical school after graduating from Wheaton.

Looking back over the summer, he notes that the most enjoyable part of the internship was also the most challenging. [Read more...]

Preparation, connection lead to Good Housekeeping internship

Rachel Bowie ’04 with Abigail Matses ’15 at Good Housekeeping in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence J. Whritenour)

Rachel Bowie ’04 with Abigail Matses ’15 at Good Housekeeping in New York City. (Photo by Lawrence J. Whritenour)

There is plenty to be said for being in the right place at the right time—and then being prepared when those two things occur. Abigail Matses ’15 didn’t leave any of this to chance last spring when she attended the Liberal Education And Professional Success (LEAPS) event sponsored by the Wheaton Institute for the Interdisciplinary Humanities (WIIH). Consequently, she landed an editorial internship at Good Housekeeping in New York City.

She listened when her advisor and WIIH co-founder Professor Touba Ghadessi recommended that she pay close attention to the alum speakers discussing their careers at the LEAPS event. Matses saw that one of the presenters would be Rachel Bowie ’04, associate editor of digital editions at Good Housekeeping. So she did her homework.

“I spent the night researching her and the magazine so that I could speak with her after the event. It seemed too good to be true,” said Matses, who is double majoring in art history and studio art with a concentration in graphic design. “When the presentation finished, I found Professor Ghadessi and told her that I was pretty sure Rachel Bowie had my dream job. She whisked across the room and brought Rachel back with her to talk to me. Rachel ended up passing my résumé along and writing me a great recommendation. I will be forever grateful for that.” [Read more...]

Brad Sago directs new business and management major

Wheaton College Sophomore SymposiumWhen the search committee was looking for the founding faculty member to head Wheaton’s new business and management major, it had a tall order.

“We were searching for someone with extensive expertise in his or her field who had experience with and placed a high value upon the liberal arts,” said Professor of Psychology and Associate Provost Gail Sahar, who, along with Professor of Mathematics Michael Kahn, was co-chair of the search committee.

“We wanted someone who really believed in the mission of the college to provide a transformative education to our students; that is, the person had to be an excellent teacher,” said Sahar. “Our new colleague had to be a scholar doing significant work in his or her area of specialty. We also required experience in starting a new program, including curriculum development, hiring and all of the other tasks involved in launching a major.”

Meet Brad Sago; he fills the bill perfectly.

[Read more...]

Maker Feature

Making matters

Labs engage campus in creative hands-on learning, collaboration

WHALE LabLast semester, when William Cohen ’13 needed to tackle a term paper for his “Philosophy and Literature” course, he found help in an unexpected place—a box of Legos in the Wheaton Autonomous Learning Laboratory (WHALE Lab), courtesy of founder Professor Tom Armstrong.

“I spent a lot of time building things with Tom’s Legos,” says Cohen, who majored in English with a minor in studio art and computer science. “I find that focusing on some sort of immediate, often mechanical or tactile problem (such as building something with Legos), lets me work through larger, abstract problems. Some sort of organic problem solving happens when I’m otherwise occupied.”

Scattered about the WHALE research lab and FiberSpace, those Legos may seem like toys—well, they are—but they also are important brainteasers, notes Armstrong, assistant professor of computer science. “The goal is to create an environment of play and experimentation, to remind students, staff members and faculty that whimsy is important in fostering the joy of learning, and to encourage everyone to think differently about what ‘college’ is,” says Armstrong, who also founded FiberSpace. [Read more...]