Words: Benjamin Velaise '18
Photos: Joseph Nucci '16
Last Wednesday, February 17th, Psi Upsilon hosted their second annual “A Penny for Your Thoughts” talks in the Memorial Chapel. With the hopes of giving back and contributing more to both Wesleyan and the greater Middletown community, "Pennies" provides a platform for Wesleyan’s bright and talented student body to showcase their work in the form of short TED talks.
This semester’s talks were hosted by seniors Matt Siegelman and Rohan Shriram. Intermittently stepping in to introduce the speakers, the duo also urged the crowd to please donate to Psi U’s fund for McDonough Elementary School. You can donate here.
Oliver Goodman (’17) started the event discussing Death & Death Valley. Being a Biology and English double major, Goodman spoke of his experience with the desert as a “medium.”
Goodman continues, “If, for example, you look at a whale in the context of the ocean, the whale is the material and the ocean is the medium (in which the whale eats and sleeps and lives). That's what I'm interested in doing with these bacteria and with the desert; looking at Death Valley as a whole, biotic medium that life moves through, rather than dead rock and a few flowers that bloom up here and there.”
Will Richmond (’18), a brother of Psi U, took the stand, speaking on Social Delusions and Sobriety. Richmond delivered an incredibly powerful personal account of his experience with drugs and alcohol. Tapping into the social delusions and insecurities within us all, Richmond prefaced his talk,
Jesse Tarnas (’16), a summer researcher at the NASA Ames Space Academy, presented his research and interest with Physics and Astronomy talking on Lava Tubes and Life on Mars. Tarnas delved into “extremophile life forms,” maintaining that if there is life on Mars, it’s likely in zero-atmosphere lava tubes. Jesse left the talk with one piece of promising information that he believes will hold true in the future,
"If there is life on Mars, it’s below the surface."
- Jesse Tarnas
Last to speak was Brenna Tharnstrom (’16), who addressed her interest in Sex Positivity and Feminism in the 21st Century. Tharnstrom is an English and Psychology double major. Concerning her work at the Davidson Health Center as an intern focusing on sexual health, Tharstrom began her talk laying out a couple of important identification labels: clit-owner, penis-owner, and feminist.
Tharnstrom discussed the construction of virginity and the slut shaming inherently present in this social construction. Following her interest in advertising, Tharnstrom also projected a couple of advertisements and articles with titles such as, “Why It’s Better To Be The Girl No One Can Have,” focusing on the incredibly damaging effects this sort of content has on one’s agency in remaining sex positive. Brenna left the crowd with one piece of advice,
"Sex, of all kinds, is your prerogative."
- Brenna Tharnstrom
To find out more on these talks, to check out past talks hosted by Pennies, or to apply for the next Pennies, visit apenny4yourthoughts.org.
Stay tuned for more talks coming in the Spring and next Fall!