Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

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...]

A delicious surprise

English major runs creamery, wins national cheese award 

39 Crooked Face Creamery012Wheaton’s English majors are frequently asked what exactly they plan to do with their degrees once they graduate. Back when Amy Rowbottom Clark ’06 was a student, though, she’d never have guessed what her answer would eventually be: Make cheese.

“Looking back I realize how natural this whole transition was,” Amy said, “but being a full-time farmer and cheese maker was not in my plan back in college.”

Amy and her husband, Josh, own and operate Crooked Face Creamery, a 200-acre dairy farm in the small town of Skowhegan in central Maine. The high-school sweethearts are already winning recognition just four years after they bought their herd of cows, and now operate their business at a farm Josh’s grandparents had owned for more than a century. [Read more...]

Alums stage spicy theater fun

Siblings Patricia (’97) and Alfred (’99) McKeever

Siblings Patricia (’97) and Alfred (’99) McKeever

Raunchy? Yes. Campy? Yes. Fun? Oh yeah.

That’s what Hidden Valley Ranch, a soap opera take off written by alum siblings Patricia and Alfred McKeever, offered audiences this fall in the Kresge Experimental Theatre.

It was the alums’ dramatic return to campus under the auspices of the Evelyn Danzig Haas ’39 Visiting Artists Program. The play they wrote featured a cast of 18 Wheaton students, and was one of three college productions last semester that provided more than 40 students with the opportunity to perform on stage.

For Patricia and Alfred, it was a return to Wheaton after more than a decade. After the pair graduated in 1997 and 1999, respectively, they bid farewell to their nearby hometown of Mansfield, Mass., for a destination common among their fellow theater majors: Broadway.

[Read more...]

Programmed for success

Computer whiz blends technology, liberal arts

RIchard Neal ’15

As a teaching assistant, RIchard Neal ’15 helps other students

Apple’s late founder Steve Jobs once said he believed that technology, on its own, is not enough: “It’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields the results that make our hearts sing,” he explained.

Richard Neal ’15 is a great example of what Jobs meant, and what Wheaton’s curriculum encourages. He is double majoring in computer science and mathematics and  also earning a minor in secondary education. Neal is deeply involved in some of the college’s most innovative initiatives, while also serving as a teaching assistant and a tutor. On top of all that, he plans to graduate in just three years.

Neal, who grew up in a suburb outside Boston, said that technology has always been a major part of his life, but he didn’t arrive at Wheaton planning to major in computer science. However, he was drawn in by a few introductory classes and encouragement from two professors of computer science, Mark LeBlanc and Tom Armstrong. Neal has done independent studies with both professors; during one he helped create cowDuck, a free iPhone app that provides Wheaton students with information about the college. [Read more...]