Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts
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  • Drone Camp Drone Camp highlighted

    Wheaton’s first Drone Camp, held Saturday, November 22, was covered by the Sun Chronicle.

    Wheaton’s first ever Drone Camp got a mention in the Sun Chronicle over the weekend. The event, held Saturday, November 22, was open to students as well as members of the public.

    Drone Camp organizer Patrick Johnson, assistant professor of filmmaking, told the newspaper that the development and usage of drones, or unmanned aerial vehicles, could generate more than 100,000 jobs and $82 billion in the next decade and that the machines “are at the technical nexus of so many parts of our culture.”

    Last summer, Johnson used a drone—built and manned by Zevi Rubin ’16—to shoot scenes for his short science fiction film “Fangzi,” which he premiered at the fall faculty art show, “P3SF.”

    Along with offering people the chance to fly the quad-copters, the event included a panel discussion featuring Rubin, a computer science major, Associate Professor of Film Studies Josh Stenger, Assistant Professor of Psychology Matthew Gingo and visiting political science instructor Michael Sawyer.

    Drone Camp was funded by Wheaton’s new InterMedia Arts Group Innovation Network (IMAGINE).


  • ODonnellmug Attorney named to judicial commission

    Kathleen M. O’Donnell ’77 has been appointed to a special commission that investigates misconduct among Massachusetts judges.

    Kathleen M. O’Donnell ’77, an attorney practicing in Lowell, Mass., has been appointed to a special commission that investigates misconduct among state judges, the Lowell Sun reports.

    She will serve a six-year term on the Commission on Judicial Conduct, effective December 10, 2014.

    O’Donnell, who previously was named by the National Law Journal as one of the 12 most influential attorneys in Massachusetts, is a partner in the firm of Kazarosian, Costello and O’Donnell LLP, which has offices in Lowell, Haverhill and Salem. She was the first woman president of the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys, is past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association and has held numerous other leadership positions. She is also a graduate of Suffolk University Law School.

    O’Donnell received an honorary degree at Wheaton’s 172nd Commencement in 2007.


  • President Dennis Hanno The president talks

    President Dennis Hanno was interviewed this fall by WGBH News.

    This fall, President Dennis Hanno sat down with a reporter from WGBH News to discuss the liberal arts and his plans for guiding Wheaton as the college’s eighth president.

    In the interview, published just a few weeks after his inauguration, Hanno talks about his background, the value of a Wheaton education and about whether liberal arts is a “tough sell.”

    “When I look at the graduates of today, absolutely you need to be ready to jump in to that workforce,” the president told WGBH reporter Kirk Carapezza. “So I think one way that liberal arts colleges can do that is by providing real-world opportunities for students to apply what they're learning as they're in college. And that's one thing we're doing at Wheaton through internships, research projects, and helping students build their own organizations and commercialized ventures.”

    Audio and a written transcript of the five-minute interview can be heard and viewed on WGBH’s On Campus blog.

  • Lisa Gavigan, director of the Filene Center Tips for juniors

    Filene Center Director Lisa Gavigan ’83 shared advice for making the most of the junior year in an article published on NerdWallet.com.

    How can college juniors make the most out of their third year of college? Lisa Gavigan '83, director of the Filene Center for Academic Advising and Career Services, recently shared some advice on the matter, along with other experts in the field, for an article published on the website NerdWallet.com.

    Gavigan’s words of wisdom focus on studying abroad—an experience that fits in well with the junior year. She recommends that students arrange to work an internship while studying abroad or that they extend their stay with a job after classes end.

    “Not only will you gain the experience employers want to see, you’ll also learn more about your city’s culture than you might’ve otherwise,” the article suggests.

    Other junior-year tips outlined in the article include developing a professional online presence, interacting with alumnae/i and attending a career fair.

  • Chris Denorfia at bat Denorfia remembers his roots

    Chris Denorfia ’02, an outfielder for the San Diego Padres, had high praise for Wheaton baseball coach Eric Podbelski in an interview with MLB.com.

    Chris Denorfia ’02, an outfielder for the San Diego Padres, had high praise for Wheaton baseball coach Eric Podbelski in an interview with MLB.com. “It's something special, what coach Podbelski has done there," Denorfia said. “Two years before I went there, it was a JV program. When I left, it was a powerhouse.”

    Former Wheaton teammate and current athletics director John Sutyak ’00 was on hand with other alums when the Padres visited Fenway for two games in July.

    “It’s neat to see Chris continue to excel at the sport he loves at the professional level,” said Sutyak, who caught up with Denorfia after one of the games. “With San Diego playing in the National League, he doesn't get to Boston all that much, so it was special to see him play at Fenway Park again.”

    Reporter Corey Brock wrote in the MLB story: “At age 32, Denorfia has not only found a niche with the Padres, but appears to be getting better with age.”

  • Mancall-James Spring back

    Spring: it is the best of times and the worst of times.

    Well, it can be both of those things at once, if you’re not careful, says James Mancall, associate dean for academic advising.

    It is the best of times and the worst of times: spring.

    Well, it can be both of those things at once, if you're not careful, says James Mancall, associate dean for academic advising.

    “Students, particularly those in their first year who may be new to the college experience would do well to hit the ‘reset’ button when they return from spring break,” he says.

    The college edition of USA Today turned to Dean Mancall to gather some advice for an article, titled Persevering post-break in final push of semester.

    First thing to do, says Mancall: re-read the syllabus for each course and make a plan for tackling the assignments that will be coming due during the final eight to ten weeks of the semester.

    “Maybe it’s a New England phenomenon, but as soon as the temperatures hit 80 degrees, students are tempted to hang out in the quad after class,” said Mancall. “I like to remind my students that there will be a lot of sunny days in the summer.”

  • KDN_6601 So little means so much

    Students learn from an intensive, four-week course long after earning their final grades.

    Four weeks of intensive learning can last a long time.

    Such is the case with Anthropology 215:  Tanzania: Education and Development, a course that Professor of Anthropology Donna Kerner has lead each summer for the past four years.

    Students who enroll in the course say that the experience of living in and learning about Tanzania—and teaching classes in English there—are greatly influential.

    In recent years, the collaboration that Professor Kerner has struck up with the nearby Norton Middle School continues her students' education long after the course has ended.

    The Attleboro Sun Chronicle published a story about the  Wheaton students' visit to share what they have learned with local middle schoolers.

    Professer Kerner, who has been conducting research in Tanzania for more than 30 years, says her students' volunteer work in local schools here in the U.S. works on several levels.

    From the Wheaton students' perspective, this assembly presentation and the one-on-one volunteer work in the sixth grade geography classrooms during the school's "Africa Unit" gives them a particular opportunity to reflect on and understand what they learned during their month in Tanzania. They also learn the applied value of the knowledge they gained through experiential learning because they can use it to help teach middle schoolers in the U.S. about many aspects of life in rural Tanzania that could not be learned solely by reading books.The more opportunities that Wheaton students have to articulate what they have done, the better they are able to integrate the knowledge they gained in Tanzania.

    Of course, the local middle school students learn something, too.

    This partnership enables the faculty and students at the Norton Middle School to use some of the knowledge base of the college as a resource for their curriculum. At the culmination of the unit, the sixth grade class holds a fundraiser to provide money to purchase books and supplies for us to take back to the Tanzanian schools and letters for the next round of Wheaton students to use in their lessons in their EFL classes.  In designing and holding the fundraiser these students also learn the value of concrete steps they can take to help to make the world a better place for those less fortunate than themselves.

    The partnership also yields real benefits for the Tanzanian communities that host Wheaton students.

    They were overwhelmed by the donations of cash and sports equipment that we provided last year and touched by the letters from their new pen pals in Norton. The fact that American students cared enough to write letters, hold fundraisers and send college students as volunteer teachers gives them reason to hope because they have so little in the way of qualified teachers, classrooms, or supplies. In one school the headmaster said they would use the cash donation to purchase supplies for the school shop they had just built so with the proceeds from sales they could purchase school equipment. In another school the headmaster called for the captain of the girls soccer team so that she could receive the gift of the soccer balls because the girls' team had no balls and was playing with rolled up plastic bags.

    The lesson, says Kerner: "So little can mean so much to so many."


  • MoveIn Ready, set, move-in

    How did the entire Class of 2016 move onto campus in four hours? Fast. This time-lapse shows the pace in front of the Meadows Residence Hall complex.

    How did the entire Class of 2016 move onto campus in four hours? Fast. This time-lapse shows the pace in front of the Meadows Residence Hall complex.

  • The skinny on health justice

    Dean Craig Andrade writes for health justice

    Craig AndradeNew York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's ban on big gulps has inspired a lot of late-night jokes about the "nanny state" mentality of Manhattan.

    Craig Andrade, the college's Dean of Health and Wellness, isn't laughing. For him, New York's policy as well as a proposed tax in Richmond, Calif., are laudable steps aimed at stemming "the growing incidence of obesity, diabetes and other ills linked, in part, to the flood of sugar poured by an industry, some are now calling Big Soda."

    Dean Andrade laid out his case in an essay published by the Huffington Post.

    My rebuttal to all these arguments against promoting less sugary drinks is that it's time for a bigger helping of health justice. We need to create an environment where living healthy is the default choice. If asked, "Would you and your family like to live in a community where it's easy to find good food that's good for you at a good price?" Most of us would say, "Of course!" We all deserve equal access to the ingredients that help us live a good long life.

    The essay arises from Dean Andrade's ongoing campaign to keep a spotlight on health issues for the Wheaton community. A public health professional with a doctorate from Boston University, Andrade employs a variety of social media to regularly highlight health and wellness topics. Most recently, he started the blog, Sticky Health, to share material that's "meaningful and memorable — stuff that sticks with you and makes a difference."

    On campus, Dean Andrade has organized a number of initiatives, such as spearheading a campaign to help the college and its surrounding community of Norton achieve HeartSafe community status and founding a college-based and student-run emergency medical service. He also has collaborated with faculty in establishing two interdisciplinary minors in public health.


  • Computing for Poets Literary programming

    A Wheaton course exemplifies the trend toward technology use in the humanities

    When it comes to digital humanities, Wheaton faculty lead the way. A number of professors are incorporating technology into the classroom and scholarship in novel ways, from the use of Twitter to extend and document class discussions on literature to data analysis of texts.

    On Sunday, The New York Times picked up on the trend with an article headlined, Computer Science for the Rest of Us, which highlights how information technology and computer programming is being taught to students who are not majoring in computer science.

    The article included an interview with Professor of Computer Science Mark LeBlanc, who teaches the course Computing for Poets, in which students learn the Python programming language and use it to create software that analyzes large bodies of text.

    The course is part of Wheaton's Connections curriculum. Through the connection Computing and Texts, the course is linked with courses on Anglo-Saxon Literature and the works of the Old English scholar and Lord of the Rings author J.R.R. Tolkien.

    Professor LeBlanc says teaching such courses together demonstrates the contributions that different disciplines make to studying an issue, and it serves a very pragmatic purpose as well: preparing students for professional careers. The New York Times reported:

    [LeBlanc] believes that most graduates of Wheaton, a liberal arts college, will work in fields where they must learn how to program. The liberal arts college offers “a safe place to be a novice,” he says.

    And LeBlanc could offer proof for his point, For example, English major Mitchel Edwards, who developed an innovative app for the Android phone, identified the course as one of his favorites.

    I really enjoyed Professor Mark LeBlanc’s course “Computing for Poets,” not so much because I am a poet, but because it showed me that I didn’t have to have a background in technology to pursue my idea.