Trading Center at WMA

The Mark R. Shenkman Trading Center

Donated by Mark R. Shenkman '61, offers students the opportunity to use a state-of-the-art facility to engage in an active research and trading experience in order to gain understanding of the global financial environment. It also serves as WMA's showcase facility for economics, finance and entrepreneurship classes.

In addition, the real-time applications of the center give more opportunities for students to see the interconnectedness of their actions to others and how decisions made by them and by global institutions can have profound effects on local and international populations.

"The creation of this new facility, which is as contemporary as you can find in anyplace in the U.S., is also harkening back to the traditions of the Academy and of Wesleyan University as it connects individual development and the public sphere."
Michael RothWesleyan University President

WMA students Skype with Pulitzer Prize winner Anthony Doerr

After reading his latest novel, Ms. Hutcheson used a connection to have WMA's AP Literature students Skype with the 2015 Pulitzer Prize winner.

Wilbraham & Monson Academy Dean of Curriculum Meg Hutcheson was a fan of Anthony Doerr long before he became a best-selling author.

Twenty-three students and four faculty members enjoyed an hour-long video-conference session in the Mark Shenkman Trading Center Oct. 14 with Mr. Doerr, who thoughtfully and thoroughly answered questions from his home in Idaho.

"I've been reading him for years because he's my brother-in-law's friend from college," Ms. Hutcheson explained. "Fifteen years ago my brother-in-law gave me his collection of short stories: "The Shell Collector." When I read it I told my brother-in-law his friend was really talented. I've been tracking and reading his stuff for the last 15 years. When he came out with this novel I was astounded how far he had come with his writing."

Mr. Doerr's latest novel is "All The Light You Cannot See," which is set in Nazi-occupied France in the 1940s. Along with the Pulitzer Prize, the historical fiction piece earned the 2015 Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction.

"When 'All The Light You Cannot See' came out, I read it right away and realized how amazing it was, and many people were reading it also so I kept hearing his name from other sources," Ms. Hutcheson said. "I was happy to hear he had broken out. Mrs. (Royale) McCormack asked if I had read 'All The Light You Cannot See' and I said I loved that book. We agreed to have the book be the AP Literature read. Then I tried to get him."

The AP Literature students worked repeatedly on asking a detailed question, and their efforts were rewarded as Mr. Doerr responded with engaging answers.

"Those were their questions," Ms. Hutcheson said. "We did not feed them anything. They pulled them from what they analyzed and their personal questions, and they formulated what I thought were great questions. They had an opportunity to speak to a Pulitzer Prize winning author and I asked them to ask detailed questions. The level and sophistication of his answers were a result of the sophistication of their questions."

"I told my mom I was going to be Skyping with Mr. Doerr and she said she was just at Barnes & Noble and she saw his book in the entrance," Jordana Irzyk '17 said. "Over the summer I saw his books everywhere, so it was a little surreal to be Skyping with him. It's one of those things that when you're doing it you don't understand the scope of it until afterward."

Along with the novel, Mr. Doerr explained the process of writing a book. "All The Light You Cannot See" took him 10 years to complete, which included extensive research and traveling to Europe. More than 50,000 words were deleted from his original version. He also delved into the stereotypes of Hollywood.

"It was wonderful to have the kids see how generous a successful person can be and how real they can be," Ms. Hutcheson said. "One of the big takeaways was the kids realizing he's just a real human being just trying to follow his passion. He loves to write and he shared his love of literature. He was an English teacher's dream: he was promoting reading. I loved it when he said the best way to be a human being is to get into the shoes of another human being. That's what literature offers."

Morning Edition • NEPR Story

Hardware & Software

  • 16 computer stations with dual monitor displays
  • 2 65" High definition LCD monitors
  • LED dynamic stock ticker
  • Stocktrak market simulation software
  • Morningstar Financial Data
  • New video conferencing system
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