Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

About Ted Nesi '07

Ted Nesi ’07, an award-winning journalist, is a digital reporter for WPRI-TV and FOX Providence at LIN Media.

Leading the way, helping researchers

Their fellow attendees may not have realized it, but an event at Washington, D.C.’s Kennedy Center last April included an impromptu meeting of two former presidents: Bill Clinton and Michael Zwolinski ’08, who was president of the Student Government Association during his senior year at Wheaton.

“It was a thrill to meet the former president,” Zwolinski said. “He’s as engaging in person as people say.”

The occasion was a fundraiser to benefit the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center, with Clinton as one of the headliners. Zwolinski was there along with his colleagues from ACT for NIH: Advancing Cures Today. The nonprofit, nonpartisan advocacy group is pushing Congress to restore funding to the National Institutes of Health. The group’s founder and chairman is on the MD Anderson board.

2008-Mike Zwolinski-and-President Clinton“After the main event was over, we expected President Clinton would leave,” Zwolinski said. “Instead, he came and visited with us for a long while. He was very generous with his time.”

Zwolinski, a 29-year-old Massachusetts native, moved to the nation’s capital after Wheaton to pursue his passion for politics. After working on campaigns and on Capitol Hill, he took a job at the trade association for college public-health programs; when his boss there was tapped to launch ACT for NIH, he asked Zwolinski to join him as its managing director.

ACT for NIH says federal funding for medical research has fallen nearly 25 percent since 2003, when adjusted for inflation. Zwolinski spends his days meeting with members of Congress and their staffers, tracking legislation, and working with others in the health advocacy community—all in an effort to reverse the trend. [Read more...]

The student becomes the teacher

Ted Nesi ’07I was blessed during my time at Wheaton to be taught by a long list of wonderful professors. Darlene Boroviak, Anni Baker, Jay Goodman, Jerry Murphy, Gerry Huiskamp—the list goes on. They were smart and commanding teachers, but generous with their time and knowledge. I idolized them.

So it was a bit surreal—not to mention delightfully flattering—when Wheaton asked me to join their ranks and become a part-time journalism instructor this past spring semester. The English Department’s leaders said they hoped my experiences in my day job, as a political reporter for Rhode Island’s CBS-TV affiliate, would yield some useful insights for the 10 students in my class.

[Read more...]

Wheaton College Professor Jay Goodman

50 years of inspiration

Professor Jay Goodman politically engages generations of students

Spring 1968 Wheaton Quarterly

Spring 1968 Wheaton Quarterly

In September 1965, with Lyndon B. Johnson as president and The Beatles topping the charts, a 25-year-old armed with a new Ph.D. from Brown University arrived on Wheaton’s campus to start teaching undergrads the fundamentals of American politics.

The young man’s name: Jay Goodman.

This fall found Barack Obama in LBJ’s place and Taylor Swift in the Fab Four’s. But Goodman was still in a Wheaton classroom—starting his 50th year of teaching at the college. And he seems as surprised as anyone by his own longevity.

“It’s shocking,” Goodman said—in his trademark deadpan—over coffee recently at the Starbucks near his home in Providence, R.I. “No one ever plans this kind of thing. It just happens.”

Planned or not, over the past half-century Goodman has become one of the most iconic and influential figures in Wheaton’s history. With his Einstein-esque shock of white hair and shuffling gait, today he is as much a part of the college as the Dimple or Peacock Pond. An oft-cited statistic estimates more than half of all living Wheaton alums have taken one of his classes. [Read more...]

Combating violence against women

Pictured left to right: Professors M. Gabriela Torres, Stephanie Burlington Daniels, Kersti Yllo and Charlotte Meehan on stage in Weber Theatre, where Meehan’s play What Happens When is scheduled to premiere this spring.

Pictured left to right: Professors M. Gabriela Torres, Stephanie Burlington Daniels, Kersti Yllo and Charlotte Meehan on stage in Weber Theatre, where Meehan’s play What Happens When is scheduled to premiere this spring.

The epidemic of sexual violence on America’s college campuses has garnered growing attention in recent years: President Obama has described the problem as “both deeply troubling and a call to action,” citing federal data that show roughly one in five women will experience sexual assault during their undergraduate years.

M. Gabriela Torres, associate professor of anthropology at Wheaton, said one reason sexual violence is such an important issue for colleges to address is because there is a high incidence of rape for women aged 18–24. “Women are particularly susceptible to being raped in this age group in the United States, regardless of whether they are enrolled in college. However, colleges, because they enroll women in this risk group, may be particularly effective in working to reduce the incidence of sexual assault.”

The Wheaton community’s strong commitment to address sexual assault and how the college deals with it has been ongoing for more than 30 years, including trainings for staff and resident advisors, continual review and updates of related policies, and the presentation of the biennial symposium on Violence Against Women that was begun in 1983. [Read more...]