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Angela Yoo '15

(Photo by Olivia Drake)

We’re proud to share this interview with WesReads/WesMath coordinator Angela Yoo ’15! From Olivia Drake:

 Q: Angela, where are you from and why did you choose Wesleyan to further your education?

A: I am from Nanuet, New York but I went to a boarding school called Phillips Exeter Academy. I chose Wesleyan because I was intrigued by how people were given the freedom to pursue their interests, no matter how different these interests might be. I was also attracted by the collaborative atmosphere and how people seemed to encourage and support their peers.

Q: What are you majoring in?

A: I’m double majoring in chemistry and English, and I hope to write a thesis on non-beta lactam inhibitors of beta-lactamses. This entails synthesis of potential inhibitors as well as investigating the efficacy of these compounds through enzyme kinetics. I have been working in Professor Pratt’s lab in the Chemistry Department since sophomore spring. I chose to also pursue English because I was really interested exploring the different stories that people tell, the various ways in which they tell their stories and how we understand them.

Q: You’re currently the co-coordinator of a tutoring program called WesReads/WesMath. Tell us a bit about this program.

A: WesReads/WesMath allows Wesleyan students to tutor at two different local elementary schools. More than 70 Wesleyan students volunteer through the program and we help teachers with classroom activities or work with a small group of advanced learners on a math or reading curriculum that we developed or organized.

Q: How do the Wesleyan students and elementary school students benefit from this program?

A: Tutors and students mutually benefit from this relationship. I find that when the elementary school students are encouraged to collaborate on problem-solving or participate in discussion based reading, they are more excited and engaged about the material and concepts. For a Wesleyan student, the opportunity to physically leave campus and work with younger students is a refreshing and gratifying experience. It allows for a wider perspective and a greater understanding and connection to the community that exists outside of Wesleyan.

Q: Do you have other teaching or tutoring experience?

A: In high school, I did a similar tutoring program where I would work with small groups of third graders. We would read a book together and have group discussions. This is what initially got me interested in working with students. I worked as a TA for an organic chemistry lab course and I thought it was a really great experience, especially because I had been in a student in this course. As a TA, I learned how the same concepts could be understood in different ways by individuals. Communication/ dialogue is very important in learning and teaching. Being in lab for four hours a week as a TA allowed me to appreciate the teachers and their dedications as well as the students’ enthusiasm.
(I also learned how hard TAs work to facilitate the course!)

Q: Tell us about the Korean Dance group you co-founded. How many students are in this group. Do you need dance experience? Where do you practice and perform?

A: Hea-Ream Lee ’15 and I co-founded the Wesleyan Korean Fan Dance group last fall. There have been around a dozen students who have expressed interest and have joined in our dance practice. Although Hea-Ream and I both have dance experience in Korean Traditional Dance, many of our members do not have prior dance experience. We usually practice in Fayerweather, although sometimes if the weather is nice, then we will practice in the CFA courtyard. We have traditionally performed twice a year, once a semester. We perform during the Korean Culture Show and Mabuhay, Wesleyan’s annual Asian/Asian American show.

Q: What are your favorite classes this semester? And what classes have been most instrumental to your education at Wesleyan?

A: Currently my favorite classes this semester are Biochemistry and Advanced Inorganic Chemistry. Although they are both are rigorous courses, the concepts they cover are different but complementary. Biochemistry is also relevant to the research I do so it is has been a really interesting class. One of my favorite and most influential classes was Advanced Nonfiction Workshop with Professor Lisa Cohen. The way she taught me to appreciate the complexities and contradictions of stories, reading, and writing changed the way I approach almost anything. It was a truly inspiring class.

Q: You’ll be graduating this May! What will you miss most about Wesleyan and what are your future plans?

A: Of course, the thing I will miss most about Wesleyan is the people. I have met phenomenal friends, people who challenge me and have changed me. I am grateful that I was able to meet these people and that knowing them has allowed me to become who I am. But somehow, it doesn’t feel like a coincidence that we ended up here in the same place at the same time. After graduating from Wesleyan, I hope to attend medical school. However, my plans immediately after Wesleyan are not set and I am open to different possibilities.

Another excellent opportunity for seniors:

APPRISE is a nonprofit research institute dedicated to collecting and analyzing data and information to assess and improve public programs. The evaluation research will measure how well the programs achieve their goals and provide recommendations for how the programs should be modified. Our current research includes work for federal and state governments, agencies, utility companies, and nonprofit organizations. APPRISE has positions available for Policy Analysts to conduct research on energy efficiency and energy assistance programs.

Job responsibilities include program evaluation design, on-site observation of energy education and energy service delivery, design and management of client surveys, interviews with service providers, analysis of program evaluation data, and written reports.

The ideal candidate would have excellent writing, analytic, and interpersonal skills; and an interest in social programs and public policy. Familiarity with data analysis software and/or database software would be valuable.

Apply through Career Drive by Friday, October 17, 2014.

Katherine Lu ’15 was selected to receive an Enrichment Grant from the Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship to help support her community development work in Brazil. You can read Katherine’s story below, and visit the PCSE website to learn more about our grant programs.


Katherine Lu 0This summer I pursued an opportunity that aligns with my interests in volunteer work, culture, and Latin America, and so I reached out to the Yale chapter of AIESEC, the world’s largest student-run organization.  It paired me with Project Gira Mundo in the city of Ribeirão Preto, a city located four hours away from São Paulo.  I was there for two months volunteering at Obreiros do Bem, a local NGO that provides activities, classes, and community to the children in need in the neighborhood it was located.

My role was simple: I created my own curriculum for these children that centered on English language meanwhile giving them a more nuanced sense of what America is.  When I read the project description before heading to Obreiros do Bem, I had some hesitancies towards the paternalism that it may present.  Upon arriving and delving into the subject matter.  However, I lost all of these uncertainties upon arrival.  Rather, it is to help them gain a larger sense of the world that exists beyond their community through pictures, knowledge, and interactions with me.
One of the highlights of the experience was watching the kids interact with their peers in their indoor stadium.  Andrei took a break to sit down with me and asked me how to say the Katherine Lu 2numbers in English.  I repeated the numbers from one to 10, and he took careful note of how the sounds were produced by paying close attention to movement of my mouth, as each languages exercises different parts of the mouth and tongue to produce these language-specific sounds.  No longer know if he still remembers how to say “ten” as the “e” sound was a little off, but his enthusiasm, curiosity, and eagerness to learn still resonate with me.

Just as I taught them, I also firmly believe that they have imparted to me bits of knowledge that cannot be learned through books or other forms of media.  The cultural insight I have gained is absolutely priceless in that it was experiential—from my interactions with children, to taking public transportation, to my homestay, and also relocation of homestay (but I won’t get into that)—I have learned the nuances of Brazilian culture and social customs that gives me a deep sense of appreciation for its growth.  The experience has been filled with challenges as I did not have any knowledge of Portuguese beforehand except a few minutes spent on DuoLingo, but the experience has Katherine Lu 1helped me understand there are other means of communication and forming relationships beyond language, such as sympathy and curiosity for one another.  My time in Ribeirão Preto has inspired me to pursue a goal of connecting cultures and promoting intercultural dialogue, for this increasingly globalized world we are a part of will only continue to grow into a growing expanse of knowledge and communication.

Here’s some useful information for the Class of 2016 from Brent Packer ’15, the 2014 Clee Scholar, Wishing Well co-founder, and PCSE Peer Advisor:

I’m delighted to share with you an incredible opportunity. Arguably the best business scholarship in the world, and it’s only available to Wesleyan juniors.

The Gilbert Clee Scholarship was established to continue fostering the relationship between our University and the leading global management consulting firm, McKinsey & Company  Each year, one Wesleyan junior is selected who best demonstrates the qualities that defined Gilbert Clee: compassion, leadership, and commitment to Wesleyan. The scholarship recipient earns a suite of perks: $1,000 award, career guidance by a McKinsey representative, a paid summer internship with McKinsey, full coverage of travel & living expenses, and a big high-five by me.
To learn more about the Gilbert Clee Scholarship, management consulting, and tips on how to rock the application, come to the info session led by me, Brent Packer. I received this scholarship last year and enjoyed an incredible summer working in Toronto.
When: October 15, 7pm-8pm
Where: 41 Wyllys, Room 112
For more info on the scholarship and application details, check out this link and the Facebook event.

What would you do with $15,000? If you’re a graduating senior with big ideas and an interest in public service, apply for the Samuel Huntington Public Service Award to fund your year-long project:

The Samuel Huntington Public Service Award provides a $15,000 stipend for a graduating college senior to pursue one year of public service anywhere in the world. The award allows recipients to engage in a meaningful public service activity for one year before proceeding on to graduate school or a career. 

Students are encouraged to develop their own proposals for public service in the U.S. or abroad. The proposal
may encompass any activity that furthers the public good. It can be undertaken by the student alone or working
through established charitable, religious, educational, governmental, or other public service organizations.

Along with the application, please submit:

  1. A brief abstract of the proposal (no more than 100 words)
  2. Proposal in 1,000 words or less, including:
    1. Brief statement of need for the project (no more than a few sentences)
    2. Specific measurable target objectives
    3. Schedule for project tasks
    4. Sustainability of the project
  3. Budget (your application will be viewed more favorably if a significant portion of the funds are devoted to your project; award monies are not to be used for student loan repayment).
  4. Three letters of recommendation (each one-page only)
  5. Transcript (official)
  6. Résumé

Eligibility: All graduating students from accredited U.S. colleges are invited to apply by January 19, 2015.
Selection: Awards will be based on the quality of your proposal, your academic record, and other personal achievements.
Semi-finalists will be personally interviewed prior to selection of the award recipient(s).

MOOC PosterHuman-centered design a.k.a. design thinking is a methodology “in which the needs, wants, and limitations of end users of a product, service or process are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process” (Wikipedia). Here at ENGAGE, we attempt to design our programs with constituents or end-users in mind, and we strive to be cognizant of the human interactions and human impact of all of our work.

We are finding that there is a demand among students to learn concrete tools for doing human-centered work, and we will be offering programs and workshops along those lines in the months to come.

To start: Acumen and IDEO.org are offering a free online course entitled “Design Kit: The Course for Human-Centered Design,” and a group of students and staff from Wesleyan’s Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship have decided to gather on campus each week to experience this course together. The 7-week course will begin on October 14 and conclude on December 9. Group meetings will be Fridays 4-6 p.m. in the PCSE Board Room (Allbritton 022). Each week, participants will explore human-centered design concepts through readings, case studies, and short videos, then they will work in groups of 2-6 (“design teams”) to practicing the relevant human-centered design methods.

If you are interested in participating or would like to learn more, please contact Mika Reyes ’17 or Shirley Fang ’18. For more on human-centered design, watch this video.

The Middletown-based non-profit Artists for World Peace is looking for a Wesleyan student to assist with the organization of the financial side of their American-Tanzanian operation. The intern will work in the DeKoven House in downtown Middletown with founder and executive director Wendy Black-Nasta and her colleague Michele. Knowledge of Excel, economics, and bookkeeping would be helpful, and knowledge of Swahili would be an amazing plus. Determination, patience, Determination, patience, and perseverance are also important in untangling a papertrail that spans two languages, cultures, and continents. This is an excellent opportunity for students interested in nonprofit management.

To apply, email your resume and a cover letter explaining why the internship is appealing to Ms. Wendy Black-Nasta at afwp13[at]aol[dot]com. Applications are due Tuesday, October 14, 2014. Contact Cynthia Rockwell (crockwell@wes) with questions.

PCSE Peer Advisor Mika Reyes ’17 was one of several Wesleyan students who attended Startup Weekend Hartford: Education last month. She shared her reflections on Huffington Post’s “The Blog.” It is re-posted below, and you can read the original here.

“The Double Edged Sword of Start-Up Weekends” by Mika Reyes ’17

Mika Reyes '17 participated in Startup Weekend Hartford in September

Mika Reyes ’17 participated in Startup Weekend Hartford in September

After recently joining my first Start-Up weekend, I realized how the “start a company in 54-hours” format wasn’t as appealing to me as I thought it would be.

Don’t get me wrong. A lot of great things have been born out of these fast-paced weekends. These environments equip those with budding ideas with the right atmosphere to move forward, when they otherwise wouldn’t have the resources or motivation to. A team that believes in the idea is formed and more minds come together to brainstorm. If the cultivated business plan passes through the watchful eye of the judges, prizes await for the further development of these products or for the growth of the team members. Whether you take that win or not, you receive bragging rights, a bigger network, guidance and mentoring, a great learning experience and a basket full of free goodies!

The biggest reason why I initially found this set-up attractive was because of the short timeframe that pushed participants to hustle. Quick iteration and cheap, lo-fi prototypes achieve results in the most efficient way. Eric Ries, author of The Lean Startup, calls this the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), the least amount of effort needed to run an experiment and get ample feedback.

I do not mean to diminish Start-Up weekend’s positive outcomes in any way because my overall experience was great. I was surrounded by passionate minds and by an even more passionate leader. Thanks to an amazing team, we won the People’s Choice Award and got some investors on board with our idea. We’re currently moving forward with our project, which we hope will create a sustainable impact on the youth.

However, what concerned me about the concept was the lack of the user factor, the human core that should be guiding these innovations. This especially applied to ventures geared towards a social cause.

We separate the market from the user. The market is there to pay the big bucks. That’s what most of these start-up companies cater to so they can gain points from the judges and potential investors they’ll be pitching to. The users are the ones who use these products for their benefit. For example, you create an application that underprivileged students use to increase specific skills, but you market these to the teachers and schools that provide for them. In these weekends, we’re forced to create our models for our market, but sometimes we forget about the real needs of the user.

Participants, coaches, and mentors at Startup Weekend Hartford, September 2014

Participants, coaches, and mentors at Startup Weekend Hartford, September 2014

These environments may have avenues for you to send out surveys, call significant people or visit a community. But, these are most often geared towards your marketing needs: statistics and records that you can put in your PowerPoint. The opportunities don’t allow you to empathize enough with the people you’re creating the product for. While this model makes sense in terms of practicality, the current format doesn’t sit well for me.

I suppose I’m biased towards the concept of human-centered design (HCD). In this design process, the end users are given extensive attention through all stages. The first step always requires the designers to empathize with the user, in several such ways that go beyond mere surveys and interviews.

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO and author of “Change by Design” writes, “We build these bridges of insight through empathy, the effort to see the world through the eyes of others, understand the world through their experiences and feel the world through their emotions.”

For example, instead of asking people in a hospital how their experiences as patients are like, try pretending to be a patient yourself. Instead of getting a survey out about how people use a device, observe them in their natural habitat. Find ways to step into their shoes without disrupting their behavior to get genuine results. Several such methods can be found in the Stanford d.school Bootleg and other relevant sources.

As George Kembel of the Stanford d.school says, “Make the human element as important as the technical and business elements.” Sustainability in business models should still be factored in but the humans behind the design should also be focused on extensively. Otherwise, if you continue to create without the user’s best interests in mind, the product may go unused and innovation may be for naught.

If the users were more involved in the process of innovation for a product designed for their needs, if these weekends catered less to the “market-business-make a profit model,” or if human-centered design were more a part of the process, then start-up weekends might have more of a potential to do the good that it hopes to achieve.

Celebrate Pride Month with the Wesleyan community! There will be queer-related events throughout the week, and faculty and staff are also welcome to attend the reception for queer colleagues on Wednesday, October 22 from 4:30 pm to 6:30 pm.


There is rarely a dull moment at Wesleyan – especially inside the Allbritton Center - and with so much activity happening right here on campus, it’s easy to overlook opportunities to learn outside of the Wes bubble. Throughout the year and around the world, there are countless conferences, institutes, bootcamps, meetups, and startup weekends focused on social entrepreneurship, and if you find one that fits your schedule and budget, it will prove pivotal to your personal and professional experience as a social changemaker.

With that in mind, we’d like to share some of the biggest and most well-known events taking place this year. The price tags must surprise you, but don’t let the sticker shock scare you away: undergrads can always apply for a Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship (PCSE) Enrichment Grant to help defray costs, and there may be other sources of funding out there, such as the WSA’s Student Budget Committee if the event is closely related to your work with a student group. The conferences often overlap with classes, but if you find yourself stranded on campus, you can usually follow along online for free.

We’re eager to hear your thoughts on these events and hear about others you have attended. If you plan to attend any events this fall, we may be able to arrange rideshares. Please add a comment below or contact Makaela Kingsley ’98, Director of the PCSE.


Social Capital Markets (SOCAP) SOCAP14
September 2-5, 2014
San Francisco, CA
$1395 (Read the reports from our two scholarship winners)
“SOCAP14 is the world’s leading conference on impact investing and social enterprise. Held in San Francisco, September 2-5, SOCAP14 will unite innovators in business, tech, the sharing economy, health, philanthropy, and more to advance environmental and social causes. This year’s theme, ‘Igniting Vibrant Communities,’ challenges us all to look for vibrant communities when seeking evidence of successful impact.”

Leading Change Summit Leading Change
September 3-6, 2014
San Francisco, CA
“Engage with diverse voices to ignite new ideas. Activate your strategies with expert advice and planning tools. Change the way you create impact… Exclusively for nonprofit leaders, this event offers three tracks to accelerate your career development: Impact Leadership, Digital Strategy, and the Future of Technology.”

Better World by Design Better by Design
September 19-21, 2014
Providence, RI
Students: $25 for one day, $45 for three days
Professionals: $175 for one day, $245 for three days
Free tickets available for volunteers
“Each year, Better World by Design brings a global community of innovators to Providence, Rhode Island to reach across disciplines and unite under a common goal: building a better world. Presenters share engaging stories, workshops teach creative skills, and discussions reframe perspectives. Better World is an immersive experience that deepens our understanding of the power of design, technology, and enterprise to engage our communities and sustain our environment.”

Social Good Summit Social Good Summit
September 21-22, 2014
New York, NY
$70 per day
“The Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology and new media on social good initiatives around the world. Held during UN Week from September 21-22, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time.”
President Roth presented on the “Future of Education.”

Social Enterprise World Forum SEWF
October 14-16, 2014
Seoul, Korea
“The forum will look at how we can address social change specifically through examples of Social Innovation, Social Inclusion and Social Investment from some of the industry’s global leaders. This event will showcase innovative concepts for sustainable development and growth of social enterprise. It will also establish a strategy for social integration, the key driver for social value creation through social innovation and social enterprise.”

Kairos Global Summit Kairos
October 17-19 2014
Laguna Niguel, CA
“Young entrepreneurs and influential leaders gather to ask, ‘if you could focus the next generation of entrepreneurs on solving one problem, what would it be?’”
More information on registration coming soon.

PopTech PopTech
October 23-24, 2014
Camden, ME
“600 thought leaders in business, industry, science, technology, design, social and ecological innovation, the arts and humanities, philanthropy and other fields will convene to share ‘breakthrough ideas at the edge of change.’ The conference is designed to foster relationships and collaborations.”

Social Enterprise Conference by the Columbia Business School Columbia
October 31, 2014
New York, NY
“Help spark the conversation on driving sustainable change beyond the new millennium: How are companies successfully ingraining sustainability into the development of their corporate strategy and business practices? What are the challenges to harnessing the power of capital markets to create sustainable impact for the global community and environment? How can design thinking, new behavioral models, and socially-conscious marketing create the right incentives for lasting structural and systems-wide changes?”

Net Impact Conference net-impact-logo-1
November 6-8, 2014
Minneapolis, MN
Students: $429
“Engage with 350+ inspiring speakers from across sectors who are breaking new ground in social and environmental change. Learn from 100 sessions across 10 tracks – from Sustainable Food to International Development – designed to take your inspiration, innovation, and impact to the next level. Connect with 2,700 like-minded student and professional peers and thought leaders from our global Net Impact community.”

b5a59d_6618564bb25cdf8542b0a76c22b92380.png_srz_360_189_85_22_0.50_1.20_0Igniting Innovation Summit on Social Entrepreneurship
November 8, 2014
Harvard University
“The Igniting Innovation Summit unites students, academics, and leaders in the field who are passionate about developing innovative solutions to today’s most pressing problems. Over the past four years, the Summit has grown from a small-scale initiative of Harvard students to a nationally recognized forum for social change.”

cta_logo_used_in_letterheadFinger Lakes Social Entrepreneurship Institute
November 7-9, 2014
Cornell University, Ithaca, NY
$200 (Scholarships available)
Building on the success of the last two years, this Institute will feature tools that are essential to the success of a social venture, a keynote talk, plenary presentations with inspiring and innovative social entrepreneurs, a pitch session, a workshop on compassionate communication, and field trips that showcase transformative local efforts that are helping to create an ecological sound and socially just community that works for everyone.”

Student Community Engagement & Leadership Conferenceselfie.jpg2_-300x76
November 14, 2014
University of Connecticut – Storrs
“Connecticut Campus Compact (CTCC), in collaboration with its member campuses and strategic community partners including will hold its first annual student leadership one-day conference to create a dedicated space and platform for students who are committed to civic engagement, social justice, and social change. The 2014 theme of Beyond the Selfie: Linking Identity, Community, and Social Change is designed to provide a framework where students examine their motivations for service, enhance their understanding of social issues, and increase their capacity and skills to positively impact their campus and community.”

Lend for American Summit LFA
November 15-16, 2014
University of California, Berkeley
“The LFA Summit connects student leaders from across the country with national experts for a weekend of intensive training and peer learning. Through hands-on sessions that use real-life examples led by both students and professionals, attendees walk away with clear and ambitious plans for their Campus MFIs.”
LFA will also accept session proposals until September 21.

Social Entrepreneurship Institute
December 5, 2014
New Haven, CT
Students: $70
Non-Students: $90
Apply to present!
“The Social Entrepreneurship Institute will draw public health, social entrepreneurship, and education professionals and students for a focused, highly interactive and collaborative institute on quality, effective involvement in global health, social entrepreneurship, and international development. The expert speakers will offer key lessons, mentoring, and guidance about strategies that participants can apply to their work in global health, social entrepreneurship, international development, and education.”

Global Health and Innovation Conferenceglobal-health-innovation-conference-ghic-2012_500x286
March 28-29, 2015
New Haven, CT
Students: $130
Non-students: $185
Apply to present!
“The Global Health & Innovation Conference (#GHIC) is the world’s leading and largest global health conference as well as the largest social entrepreneurship conference, with 2,200 professionals and students from all 50 states and more than 55 countries. This must-attend, thought-leading conference convenes leaders, changemakers, and participants from all sectors of global health, international development, and social entrepreneurship.” We have blogged about this here.

Ashoka U Exchange AshokaU
February 26-28, 2015
University of Maryland, College Park, MD
Applications open now
Students: $475 (early bird rate)
Non-students: $650
“The Ashoka U Exchange is the world’s largest convening for social entrepreneurship in higher education. The Exchange brings together 650 university faculty, staff, and administrators representing 150 institutions to share new ways of teaching and learning that will shape the way educational institutions influence the world.”

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