Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

National Science Foundation grant supports physics and chemistry research

Wheaton has won a National Science Foundation grant to acquire a cutting-edge laser system that will advance the research of three Wheaton scientists and their students.

The $255,865 grant from NSF’s Major Research Instrumentation Program will finance the purchase of a tunable laser and auxiliary equipment to support the work of chemistry professor Thandi Buthelezi and physics professors John Collins and Xuesheng Chen. The instrumentation will foster Wheaton’s interdisciplinary curriculum and promote interactions among science departments.

A tunable laser can emit at a wide variety of colors, or wavelengths, and the ability to control and vary the wavelength makes this instrument a powerful research tool.

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Professor Edmund Tong retires

Professor of Biology Edmund Tong

Professor of Biology Edmund Tong

In his 39 years at Wheaton, Professor of Biology Edmund Tong has developed innovative teaching programs, trained numerous students in his lab, and received impressive grants from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the National Science Foundation (NSF) and others.

This spring, he plans to retire. As he leaves, his legacy of inspired research continues through an impressive list of biology alumnae/i who sing his praises. During Commencement/Reunion Weekend, he will receive the newly established Heather J. Corbett ’86 Faculty/Staff Unsung Hero Award, which is based on nominations and is presented to a faculty or staff member who has made a significant contribution to community, career or volunteer service to Wheaton.

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Math + dance + theater = a balanced life

One feature film.

Five main roles.

Three hundred actors auditioning.

It doesn’t take a math major to know that the odds of ending up on the big screen in this scenario aren’t the greatest.

But Trisha Carr ’08—a math major—went for it anyway. And it paid off.

She received one of the five main roles in the full-length independent feature film Brilliant Mistakes, which is scheduled to be released this summer. Although she has performed on stage for many years, this was her first try at a film role. She plays Erin Penney, a college-age girl whose sister, Gabby, gets into a horrible accident. The Salisbury Film production centers on Gabby’s fiancé, Marcus, and how he and Gabby’s family react to and cope with the accident.

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Playing at work

Joseph Lavoine ’06 designs new computer game

When Joseph Lavoine ’06 graduated from Wheaton with a degree in computer science, the iPhone was still a year away from release and the iPad was just a gleam in Steve Jobs’s eye. Six years later, he’s using his education to create original games for Apple’s best-selling devices.

Lavoine has founded his own gaming company, Done Right Studios, which put out his first release in October 2011. The 99-cent puzzle game, “Origami Adventure,” challenges players to quickly choose between different colored animals to rack up points. “It’s a game about timing coordination—a bit like the old classic ‘Tetris,’” Lavoine explains. “Players choose between different origami animals—from cats to whales—that move at different speeds. The object of the game (to rack up points) is to get multiple animals of the same color in a row. But since the animals move at different speeds, players need to be crafty about which one they pick to make sure they keep having the same color hit the other end of the screen in sequence.”

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