Wheaton College Norton, Massachusetts

Facebook flash forward

Take Facebook. Add students who crave intellectual conversation. Bring in experts on a variety of subjects. Post and share.

What do you get? Flash Seminars—a new series of quick lectures presented by professors, alums or students on interesting topics designed to create more opportunities for academic engagement outside of the classroom. Think flash mob brainiacs.

Kimberly Nash ’12, working in partnership with Thomas Bruemmer ’12, brought the idea to Wheaton this academic year with support from the Student Government Association (SGA). Nash, who is a member of the SGA’s executive board and the student representative to the Board of Trustees and alumnae/i, says she wanted to start the series to generate additional energy and excitement around learning.

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Learning from the masters

Opera star Dawn Upshaw

Opera star Dawn Upshaw (far right) shares a laugh with student vocalists during a master class.

Tenor Gavin Mackie ’13 finishes singing “A Simple Song,” from Leonard Bernstein’s Mass, then turns to a world-renowned soprano to hear her critique.

“Thank you for bringing this song,” says Dawn Upshaw, who is leading a master class for four student vocalists in the Woolley Room. “It was maybe the first song I sang in public, when I was in high school.”

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Student’s research sheds light on homelessness

Iraimi Mercado ’12The National Law Center on Homelessness and Poverty estimates that more than 3 million people, 1.35 million of them children, experience homelessness in a given year. In today’s economy, even more people are at risk.

More than ever, it is crucial to understand how to help them. The key is in getting a handle on support systems, says sociology major Iraimi Mercado ’12. For her senior thesis, she spent months researching homelessness, focusing on how services impact the lives of women and children living in emergency shelters. She’s hoping her findings can offer policy makers guidance as they create regulations that impact families.

Her research involved one-on-one interviews with single mothers living at the Old Colony YMCA Family Life Center in Brockton, Mass. She explored which services over what period of time have helped them.

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Podcasts extend reach of Permanent Collection

“Eve, no. 11 from the Unité Series, 65/130"

Detail from “Eve, no. 11 from the Unité Series, 65/130” by Le Corbusier, a gift of Dr. and Mrs. Harry L. Kozol (Ruth Massell, Class of 1925).

Wheaton’s Permanent Collection for years has been a resource for teaching students, for faculty research and for sharing with a variety of local audiences. Now, the reach of the collection is bigger than ever since the creation of audio podcasts in which students share their insights about the art they are studying in a way that is easily accessible via the World Wide Web.

The series titled “Watson Conversations” is designed to showcase digital interpretations of objects from the collection. Virtual visitors can listen to students talk about the works of art as images are displayed on the screen. Currently, the series features seven works and “conversations” by 12 students, but there are plans to add more in the future.

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