Wes-Tech celebrates Dana Royer

Not long ago I wrote about Wade Hsu, a recent grad who was honored as having done the best undergraduate physics work in the country. This past weekend Dana Royer, an assistant professor in the Earth and Environmental Science department received the Donath Medal from the American Geological Society. The award recognizes young scientists (aged 35 or younger) for outstanding original research marking a major advance in the earth sciences. I’m delighted to cite the press release announcing the award.

“Dana is a true innovator who successfully tackles extremely important questions in paleoclimatology and paleoecology, in part using paleobotanical proxies calibrated with a remarkable series of careful modern analog studies,” said Peter D. Wilf of Pennsylvania State University in nominating Royer for the honor. “He often connects the deep-time climate and CO2 record to the present day in highly societally-relevant ways that are widely cited in the ‘modern’ climate change literature.” Wilf also said, “Without Dana’s contributions we would know much less about Earth’s climate history and its great importance to today’s world.”

“In the rapidly developing field of plant paleoecology and ecophysiology, Dana Royer stands out in terms of innovation and sheer breadth and depth of knowledge. He is truly an emerging leader in the geological sciences,” said Leo Hickey, professor of geology and Curator of Paleobotany at Yale University.

Dana is also part of our new College of the Environment. He describes his research as exploring “how plants can be used to reconstruct ancient environments and the (paleo-) physiological underpinnings behind these plant-environment relationships.” This basic research about our deep past is very relevant to understanding our contemporary ecological context. Isn’t that what our scholar-teacher model is all about? A dedicated teacher doing advanced research that opens onto pressing issues relevant to all of us.

And Dana received his award in Colorado, where a former Wesleyan geology student is the mayor of Denver and (today!) collecting votes in hopes of becoming the state’s next governor. How cool is that!

6 thoughts on “Wes-Tech celebrates Dana Royer”

  1. Does anyone else find the reference to Wesleyan as “Wes-tech” curious. I am not sure if President Roth knows the origins of the word.
    According to a Wesleying post last year: WesTech is a word that will pop up every once in a while (via the ACB): “WesTech refers to everyone NOT dke/beta or mostly the “very Wesleyan” population. It comes from the idea that Wesleyan has unattractive girls and bad sports and thus, might as well be a Technical school: WesTech.” Apparently, however, this is a term used mainly by other schools to make fun of Wesleyan, and has been appropriated by the sports teams as a label of pride (Sports teams doing the ironic appropriation? Only at Wesleyan). http://wesleying.org/2009/08/20/wesleying-unofficial-orientation-series-wes-lingo/
    Given this definition, it is quite inappropriate that President Roth would refer to Wesleyan in this way.

  2. “has been appropriated by the sports teams as a label of pride”

    I think this says it all. WesTech is a term of endearment. It doesn’t have a derogatory meaning anymore, at least not when used by an alum or current student, and Roth is class of ’78.

    Honestly, I find it amusing and I think most everyone else does as well. Also, being a liberal arts college, Wesleyan is the opposite of a technical school in terms of majors offered, so the term is ironic if nothing else.

    What about it is inappropriate?

  3. The term Quaker was intended as a mocking name for the religion, describing the intense physical trembling that would overcome some members during prayer.

    …Yet they have adopted this mockery into the official name of their religion. Not all labels come from genial origins…

    WesTech rules.

  4. CONCERNED STUDENT- Good points – classical view and pride in your school. Bravo!!

    NOT SO CONCERNED – your point is mininal at best. Therefore, since your concern for the vernacular does not offend thee and as you state are not of concern. Henceforth, from this day forward you shall be known as “Wheat and Oats processed by the bull”

    Alum ‘10 – What is not appropriate about it? It appears Wesleyan is trying to elevate its status to a technical school (sarcasm intended) and those who graduated from said technical school find it offense. Maybe ITT Tech should be known as ITT Wesleyan Tech…..


  5. Dana Royer
    Congratulations – your hard work and diligence to your profession are paying off.
    Keep up the good work and continued success to you.

    Climate change – nothing more than a giant ball of gas in the sky – that is not a constant object. -CME – coronal mass ejection –
    THINK! –

  6. To all you youngsters… Wesleyan is Wes-Tech! That’s absolutely what we called it in ’78, has everyone really forgotten? Are squidos gone too? As for having unattractive girls and bad sports, well…

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