AMERICAN.EDU/CAS/CONNECTIONS | FALL 2014
Q&A with Kyle Dargan
Inspiring Pathways to Policy
Always a Teacher
NEUROSCIENCE AT AU, pg. 2
Letter from the Dean
On the cover
Erica Bullwinkle, MS biology ’15 // Fat cells photographed through confocal scope for neuroscience research
Publisher: College of Arts and Sciences // Dean: Peter Starr // Managing Editor: Patty Housman // Writers: Abbey Becker, Patty Housman, Jamie McCrary, Mike Rowan, Alyssa Röhricht // Editor: Ali Kahn, UCM // Designer: Nicky Lehming // Webmaster: Thomas Meal // Senior Advisor: Emily Schmidt // Send news items and comments to email@example.com.
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INNOVATION, COLLABORATION, AND BUILDING FOR THE FUTURE These are exciting times for the sciences at American University as we expand our Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, launch a new bachelor’s degree in neuroscience, and build a state-ofthe-art technology and innovation building. In this issue of Connections, you’ll learn how these interdisciplinary initiatives are transforming AU into a hub of research excellence. This fall, we welcome 10 exceptional new tenure-line colleagues. They join a rich community of educators who are conducting groundbreaking research, winning fellowships and grants, and serving as presidents of national scholarly organizations. In this issue, poet Kyle Dargan discusses teaching, his upcoming projects, and the state of poetry in our nation’s capital. Creative writing professor Rachel Louise Snyder shares the inspiration behind her first novel, What We’ve Lost Is Nothing. And history professor Peter Kuznick uses the lessons of Hiroshima and Nagasaki to promote nuclear disarmament and peace for future generations. We also take a look at the lives of three alumni and how the AU experience has impacted them personally and professionally. Scientist and entrepreneur Morey Kraus, BA ’81, developed his beliefs about life and work while studying religion at AU. Chazeman Jackson, MS ’04, is using her biology background to develop better health care policies for all Americans. Clara Londoner, BA ’63, who earned her degree in elementary education at AU, honors her husband’s legacy by endowing a scholarship for a graduate student committed to the field of special education. And we celebrate the legacy and continuing success of two outstanding programs. This fall marks the 40th anniversary of AU’s Arts Management Program and the 80th anniversary of the university’s choral ensembles. Today, our arts management graduates lead some of the finest cultural institutions in the nation, and our choral and chamber singers entertain audiences in DC and around the world. These are just a few of the many exciting things going on in the College all year long. To stay connected, please follow us on facebook.com/AUcollege or twitter.com/AUcollege.
Peter Starr Dean, College of Arts and Sciences
AMERICAN.EDU/CAS/CONNECTIONS | FALL 2014
Letter from the Dean Neuroscience at AU
Arts Management Hits the Big 4- 0
Q & A with Kyle Dargan
Pulling the Light
A Field Day for Joeva Rock
With new programs in the sciences, AU is growing as a hub of research excellence
AU and alumni mark the anniversary with an October celebration
The poet muses on his work, his process, and teaching
A first novel for creative writing professor Rachel Louise Snyder
Anthropology doctoral student conducts research in Ghana
New statistics professor Michael Baron exploring the possibilities of sequential analysis
Stem Cells Inc.
Teaching for Peace
Science + Policy for Health Parity
Inspiring Pathways to Policy
Always a Teacher
Morey Kraus, BA religion ’81, finds his niche at the intersection of science and business
Historian Peter Kuznick, Nuclear Studies Institute director, mines the past to provoke dialogue
Matt Waskiewicz ’16 travels to Wales on a Fulbright Summer Institute grant
Chazeman Jackson, MS biology ’04, putting science to work for public health initiatives
SETH faculty welcomes research and policy wonk Jennifer Steele
Scholarship for special education teachers established by Clara Londoner, BA ’63
NEUROSCIENCE AT AU by Patty Housman
AMERICAN UNIVERSITY is serious about the sciences.
In the past two years, the university has established the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, launched a new BS in neuroscience, hired prominent new faculty, and broken ground on the state-of-the-art Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building. “Together these initiatives are bringing together scientists and other faculty across AU into a growing hub of research excellence,” says Peter Starr, dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. “Our emphasis is on innovation, collaboration, and building the university’s physical and intellectual resources in the sciences.”
CENTER FOR BEHAVIORAL NEUROSCIENCE The Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, established in 2012, provides a research and training environment for faculty in different disciplines to work collaboratively to generate new ideas, methods, and discoveries about the brain and how it works. “Our center integrates knowledge in psychology, biology, chemistry, and physics with neuroanatomy and physiology to advance our understanding of the cognitive, emotional, sensory, and regulatory functions that underlie human
behavior,” says Terry Davidson, professor of psychology and founding director of the center. “We are adding faculty lines, hosting international symposiums, and building core research facilities. With exciting new hires like biology professor Mark Laubach, who studies what happens in our brains when our expectations are violated, and SETH professor Kathleen Holton, who focuses on nutritional neuroscience, we are greatly expanding our intellectual resources.” Neuroscience is a rapidly growing, multidisciplinary field. Neuroscientists tackle complex health-related problems, including obesity, depression, addiction, and cognitive dementia—some of the most costly and widespread threats to human well-being and quality of life. Davidson’s most recent research, for example, focuses on diet and obesity. It indicates that diets high in saturated fat and refined sugar may cause changes to the brains of obese people. These changes may fuel overconsumption of fatty and sugary foods and make weight loss more challenging, creating a vicious cycle. In his most recent paper, published by the journal Neurobiology of Learning and Memory, Davidson makes the case for treating obesity with therapies aimed at areas of the brain responsible for memory and other cognitive processes.
sciences This month the center will host its first Childhood Obesity and Cognition Symposium, which will bring together scientists to present their perspectives on the effects of obesity, diet, and physical exercise on the cognitive functioning of children and adolescents. “We are very excited about the symposium,” says Davidson. “AU faculty and other top scientists from around the world will share groundbreaking research that may make a real difference in treating these critical health issues.” The center also sponsors interdisciplinary events, like an ongoing speaker series, a lecture program, an annual retreat, and a journal club. “I believe the greatest strength of the center is its focus on research and scholarship across a diverse set of areas in behavioral neuroscience,” says Colin Saldanha, biology department chair and director of the neuroscience program. “This inclusive attitude promotes synergies across individuals and departments and strengthens AU’s reputation as a university that supports scientific investigation and teaching. I am looking forward to watching the center grow to include more faculty and more areas of neuroscience.”
BS IN NEUROSCIENCE This fall the College launched its first undergraduate degree in neuroscience. It focuses on preparing students to meet the interdisciplinary challenges of this expanding field, offering courses from different departments in the College. Students will take core courses in neuroscience and will do additional course work in basic biology, psychology,
chemistry, physics, and quantitative reasoning, all of which will provide them with a solid general science background. “Students will also receive training in using the scientific method, lab techniques, and computational science to address cutting-edge questions in neuroscience,” says Saldanha. “Our goal is to fully prepare students to work on a range of problems that are important for physical health, mental health, and, perhaps most importantly, to lay the foundation towards understanding what it means to be human.”
DON MYERS TECHNOLOGY AND INNOVATION BUILDING Work has begun on the Don Myers Technology and Innovation Building on the forthcoming East Campus. The building will provide a cutting-edge and collaborative learning environment for the departments of computer science, physics, mathematics and statistics, and the new game design and persuasive play program in partnership with the School of Communication. The building will feature flexible collaboration space, the AU Game Lab, a problem-based instructional studio, computer classrooms, seminar space, and faculty offices and research labs. “Substantial progress has already been made in gathering departments and programs together by similar disciplines to create purposeful learning spaces,” says Starr. “The new technology and innovation building is the next step, and it will serve as an incubator for new collaboration among the sciences at American University.”
Heady Business NEUROBIOLOGIST Mark
Laubach has devoted his career to learning how our brains work and how they allow us to change our plans when something unexpected happens or when things go wrong. “I grew up during the computer revolution when many people thought that brain function could be explained using principles from computer science,” Laubach says. “I have never been convinced of that.” And so he’s concentrated his research on how our brains enable us to act flexibly—something that computers are not very good at doing. Laubach joined AU’s Department of Biology and the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience this fall. Formerly an associate professor of neurobiology at Yale School of Medicine and an associate fellow at the John B. Pierce Laboratory in New Haven, Connecticut, Laubach will be teaching undergraduate and graduate students and conducting research through the center. “Professor Laubach is an outstanding, internationally known scientist who is eager to share his knowledge and skills to help others achieve their research goals,” says Terry Davidson, professor of psychology and center director. “That makes him a great fit with the mission of the center and with the philosophy of American University.” Laubach’s research focuses on understanding the neuronal circuit basis of
decision making, motivation, and self-control. He is especially interested in how decisions are adjusted when outcomes do not match expectations. His laboratory uses multi-electrode recordings, optogenetics, and computational methods to record brain cell activity and analyze the resulting data. “I am thrilled to be at AU, and I am delighted to take part in Professor Davidson’s new Center for Behavioral Neuroscience. The center offers an exciting new way for neuroscience researchers at AU to work together to solve problems of common interest,” says Laubach. This fall he is teaching a course based on President Obama’s BRAIN (Brain Research through Advancing Innovative Neurotechnologies) Initiative, which aims to develop methods for understanding brain function. In the spring, he will teach a course for the new neuroscience major that will focus on the cellular basis of brain function. Laubach is excited to be back in the classroom. “I have been at a medical school for the past 13 years and had limited interaction with undergraduate students,” he says. “I am very much looking forward to teaching courses for the new neuroscience major and hosting students for research in my lab. I can’t wait to see the first neuroscience majors graduate in a few years and go on to productive careers in science and medicine.”
Arts Management Hits the Big at American University is celebrating 40 years of training students to become successful arts and cultural managers in all areas of the visual and performing arts. AU will mark the program’s anniversary with a two-day celebration in the Katzen Arts Center in October, providing an opportunity for alumni to reconnect. The program offers a master’s degree, as well as graduate certificates in international arts management and technology in arts management. Students benefit from collaborations with the likes of Sotheby’s in London, the U.S. State Department, major foundations, and executive education programs around the world. Closer to home, the program prepares students for internships and jobs at many of DC’s leading cultural institutions. Arts management students take classes in marketing, fundraising, financial management, and cultural policy. “The reason programs like ours were founded is because people wanted to make sure arts organizations were being run effectively,” says director Ximena Varela. “It is not just about getting a degree in management. From the beginning, our program’s mission has been to serve the broader community.” What best showcases the program’s strength, however, is the success of its alumni: nearly 100 percent of graduates find work within six months of graduation. With more than 450 alumni arts managers, AU has had a broad impact on the arts across the nonprofit, public, and private sectors and a presence in such organizations as the National Endowment for the Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Strathmore, and IMG Artists. In the last seven years, six of AU’s arts management graduates received Fulbright scholarships, ARTS MANAGEMENT
by Jamie McCrary
making the program a top Fulbright contender. “One of the things that attracted me to the program was that our students and alumni are driven,” says Varela. “They’re problem solvers and make ideas happen in the field— they are out there doing things.” The program emerged out of a series of meetings between performing arts professor Valerie Morris and National Endowment for the Arts staff about the need for management training programs for nonprofit arts leaders. Morris directed AU’s program from 1974 until 1998, during which time it grew to nearly 80 students. Though the program has experienced much growth and change over its four decades, one thing has remained constant: its commitment to innovation. “The curriculum and the program have adapted through time,” Varela says. “We are focused on innovation, which means we anticipate what will happen in the field and make sure the program is aligned and ready for these changes.” One such innovation was a complete restructuring of the curriculum in 2010, resulting in more international arts management perspectives in the classroom and a new study-abroad program with Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Participants take classes at the institute for a semester and receive a diploma from Sotheby’s in addition to a master’s in arts management from AU. This offers students the opportunity to develop an understanding of the nonprofit arts world outside the United States and in different cultural settings. “The program has grown tremendously over the last 40 years in size, scope, and reputation,” says arts management senior professorial lecturer Sherburne Laughlin. “I look forward to its growth over the next 40 years.”
Courtesy of University Archives
Courtesy of University Archives
Eight Decades of Song Founded in 1934, AU’s choral ensembles celebrate their 80th anniversary this fall. DANIEL ABRAHAM, chair of the Department of Performing
Arts, says that AU’s choral and chamber singers serve as ambassadors of the university. “Not only do our music ensembles tour and do outreach in the community,” he says, “but there’s also an internal reach that’s really important. The fact that students can see their classmates creating incredible music is an opportunity we need to continue to cultivate and promote. . . . Our ensembles enable students to explore the arts in an interactive, experiential way and give them experiences that can be really life altering.” 5
humanities Courtesy of Kyle Dargan
with poet Kyle Dargan
Kyle G. Dargan is a professor of creative writing in the Department of Literature. He is the author of three collections of poetry published by the University of Georgia Press, most recently Logorrhea Dementia: A Self-Diagnosis (2010). His debut work, The Listening (2004), won the Cave Canem Prize, and his second, Bouquet of Hungers (2007), won the Hurston/Wright Legacy Award for poetry. Dargan’s work has appeared in Callaloo, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, Newark’s Star-Ledger, Ploughshares, Shenandoah, and theroot.com. He is the founding editor of Post No Ills magazine and postnoills.com and recently served as managing editor of Callaloo. In addition to writing and teaching at AU, Dargan has partnered with the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities to produce poetry programming at the White House and Library of Congress. He runs poetry workshops for DC high school students in conjunction with 826DC, a nonprofit organization that supports young writers ages 6 to 18 and their teachers. He recently returned from a two-month trip to China as a guest of the Chinese Writers Association. 6
Are you working on any new projects? My new poetry collection [Honest Engine] will be published in [March 2015], and I am working on another booklength project, Panzer Herz, which is a personal exploration and deconstruction of contemporary masculinity. I’m also editing an anthology with Wondaland [Arts Society] producer Chuck Lightning [Charles Joseph II] titled I Have a Scream: An Imagination Proclamation, which we envision to be a post-Obama snapshot of the cultural and sociopolitical zeitgeist.
I jokingly tell people that being a poet means I notice stuff for a living. To write is to first see or hear some element of the world and then attempt to render it with language, be that in a realist or fantastical manner. So the most important aspect of my writing process is the seeing; after that, there’s just a lot of tinkering and questioning what, aesthetically, the piece of writing needs in relation to its subject.
Do you think DC is a good place for poets and poetry? Any place is a good place for poetry—especially the places where free voices are repressed. These are the places where poetry’s disregard for the status quo is needed. DC has a great poetry infrastructure—the Library of Congress and the poet laureate, the Folger Shakespeare Library, etc.—but it is important that we do not allow those major institutions to overshadow all the ground-level poetry activity that (in the best sense) agitates this town.
What is the best part of teaching creative writing? Creative writing is a pedagogically pleasing discipline. In a creative writing class, we are all studying the ideas and experiences students bring to the class as well as their ability to frame and communicate them creatively, so being privy to that self-discovery and artistic evolution is always rewarding. Every student is different, and they all can’t be pushed with the same intensity. It is a delicate dynamic.
Can you tell us a little about your writing process?
by Patty Housman
RACHEL LOUISE SNYDER—
creative writing professor, investigative journalist, public radio commentator—can now add another line to her résumé: novelist. Her first novel, What We’ve Lost Is Nothing (Scribner, 2014), chronicles the 24 hours following a series of burglaries in a Chicago suburb. The book received glowing reviews. Booklist described it as “a muscular and fearless debut novel that boldly tackles the heady themes of prejudice, self-preservation, poverty, and privilege.” The Washington Post said it has “the stamp of authenticity.” Vogue.com named it one of the 10 best suspense novels in spring 2014. Snyder had been living and working as a journalist in Cambodia for six years when she decided to write a novel. She was interested in exploring the dual sides of a tragedy. “My mother died when I was very young, and I learned the importance of making one’s life count,” she explains. “Experiences like this shape how you see the world. I gravitate towards the dark—and how people manage to pull light out of those moments.” Snyder set her novel in the Oak Park neighborhood of Chicago, known for its racial diversity and progressive housing policies. After
graduate school, Snyder worked in Oak Park as a resident manager of an apartment building, which gave her insights into the community and its residents. It also provided the perfect setting for tackling issues of race and socioeconomics through fiction. “I’ve always been interested in social justice,” she says. Her career as a journalist reflects that passion. Snyder has traveled to more than 50 countries, writing about women’s rights in Afghanistan, the Dalai Lama’s exile in India, the tsunami in Indonesia, and genocide in Cambodia. In her first book, Fugitive Denim: A Moving Story of People and Pants in the Borderless World of Global Trade (W. W. Norton, 2007), she maps the global garment industry, beginning in a New York showroom and tracking backwards to a denim maker in Italy, a factory in Cambodia, and a cotton picker in Azerbaijan. Snyder also has written about a wide range of subjects closer to home, from missing soldiers to rock stars to domestic violence. Her 2013 article for the New Yorker, “A Raised Hand,” identified a new approach for preventing domestic violence from escalating into domestic homicide, and she currently
is writing a story for the New York Times Magazine about familicide. She has written for Slate, Salon, the Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, New Republic, Travel and Leisure, and Glamour, among others. She hosted the nationally syndicated global affairs series Latitudes on public radio, and her stories have aired on This American Life and All Things Considered. Snyder currently teaches literary journalism and other related courses in the College’s creative writing MFA program. She says she’s been lucky to see a lot of students get published in top-notch venues. “I’ve seen graduate students come in showing just an inkling of promise; then suddenly their writing explodes,” she says. “They come into themselves as writers. It’s an extraordinary process.” Opportunities and second chances for young people are very much on Snyder’s mind these days as she begins work on a memoir. “My story is about a life of movement,” she says. “I was kicked out of my house when I was 16, and I dropped out of high school and lived in my car for months. But eventually I found my way to college and then to grad school. I was offered not only one huge second chance—but chances again and again from so many different people and places.” Perhaps the biggest thing that makes good writers stand out both inside and outside the classroom, she says, is their determination. “I have written about everything from Canadian geese to suburban youth soccer. I never said no to a writing project. I’ve always just wanted to write.” 7
social sciences sciences
ANTHROPOLOGY PHD STUDENT Joeva Rock spent the summer in Ghana researching the country’s emerging food sovereignty movement. Supporters are fighting for the right of the Ghanaian people to determine their own food and agriculture policies. The movement emerged in response to recently proposed legislation that would allow genetically modified (GM) crops and seeds to enter the country. A typical day of fieldwork, reports Rock, went something like this (clockwise from right):
8 p.m. Finally make the two-hour trek home— arrive exhausted and crawl into bed.
6:30 p.m. I meet a friend at a local center that screens documentaries. This week’s film is about the foreigndominated copper industry in Zambia. The discussion afterwards focuses on extractive industries in Ghana: 95 percent of gold reserves and 87 percent of oil reserves are held by foreign companies. The wealth created by such operations flows out of the country.
Another break, which happens to coincide with a soccer match on television. I sit in a breezy room and watch.
3 p.m. I’m off for another unexpected meeting, this one with a lawyer who has been active in the food sovereignty movement. We talk about my research intentions. I tell him my parents have always wanted me to be a lawyer. He tells me it’s not too late.
2 p.m. I take a break at the chop bar (a small restaurant that serves Ghanaian dishes). I find a table in the shade and order jollof rice (a spicy tomato stew-based dish)—and catch up on my field notes for the day so far. 8
1 p.m. The activist offers to introduce me to a well-known local journalist whose office is nearby. I spend the next hour speaking with the journalist about Ghanaian and international politics.
for Joeva Rock
by Patty Housman
STATISTICIAN MICHAEL BARON
6 a.m. I’m up early to head into the heart of Accra to meet a local food activist. I follow my morning routine of coffee, news, and writing. I rely on Nescafé in Ghana, often doubling the recommended amount in order to get an adequate amount of caffeine. I log on to a Ghanaian online news outlet to read that the minister of information and media relations has denied that Ghana is undergoing a serious economic crisis. I’m surprised to read this, as the crisis is no secret, with the national currency depreciating daily, rising inflation and prices, and a possible IMF bailout.
9 a.m. After breakfast of coffee and a meat pie, I head out. The drill goes like this: I walk to the taxi run, take a shared taxi to the junction of a busy road, and wait for a tro-tro (a van or bus used as unofficial public transportation) to get to the junction of an even busier road. There, I wait again for another tro-tro to take me to Kwame Nkrumah Circle, the bustling center of Accra.
10 a.m. To my surprise there is no traffic today, and I arrive early. Luckily, I am right by Busy Internet, a large café popular for its highspeed Internet access and air conditioning. Due to frequent power outages caused by load shedding (intentional rolling blackouts), my access to the Internet and computer is limited, so I take advantage of it while I can.
11 a.m. A food activist picks me up on his motorbike and takes me to his office. We sit for a few hours and talk about the Plant Breeders’ Bill that is sitting in Parliament. Activists say its purpose is to usher in genetically modified seeds and foodstuffs to Ghana, a prospect that is opposed by a broad coalition of NGOs, faithbased organizations, trade unions, politicians, and other individuals. Opponents argue that the bill will allow foreign companies to dominate seed systems and harm Ghana’s small-scale farmers. They are also worried about potential health implications of GM seeds.
thinks big when it comes to his subject. The new faculty member in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics plans to continue his research on the expanded application of statistics. His focus is sequential analysis, an approach through which data is collected and evaluated sequentially in real time, with no fixed sample size. When significant results are observed, the sampling of data is stopped. This type of statistical analysis often leads to conclusions at an earlier stage than is possible with traditional techniques—and at a lower cost. Currently funded by a National Science Foundation grant, he and a former computer science colleague at the University of Texas–Dallas, where Baron worked previously, are working with the U.S. Defense Department’s Defense Threat Reduction Agency to study distribution changes in Internet traffic to improves the prediction of potential threats, such as terrorist attacks. “We look for frequencies of certain keywords in text data streams,” he says. “When some of their distributions suddenly change, we know there has to be a reason for it, maybe a potential threat.” Born in Russia, Baron received an MS in mathematics from Saint Petersburg State University. He subsequently came to the U.S. to enroll as a PhD student in statistics at the University of Maryland. While there, he discovered that sequential statistics would allow him to apply the elegant math theories he learned in Russia to solve the daily operational problems challenging many companies. “I worked at IBM for a year, and they were interested in finding out very quickly where the distribution changes on their factory lines were occurring,” he says. “In fields like epidemiology, security, and quality control, you want to know when something has changed—and why.”
by Abbey Becker
Baron likes the applicable outcomes he gets from sequential analysis. “I’m always satisfied when I can prove a result or derive a new method, something that people can actually implement and use,” he says. “It feels like a discovery.” He also likes to instill this feeling of accomplishment in his students. When asked to create a new undergraduate statistics course at the University of Texas–Dallas, Baron designed a class for computer science and software engineering majors weighted with stochastic modeling and simulation. “I didn’t want them to think this course was just a curriculum requirement,” he says. “I wanted to show them how statistics can be useful in their professional careers and everyday life.” It was a hit. Based on the success of that course, Baron wrote a book, Probability and Statistics for Computer Scientists (Chapman and Hall/CRC, 2007). The book generated a huge response from academics around the world; today, it is used as a classroom text at some 15 universities in eight countries, and a second edition was published in 2013. Baron likes to check in with his former PhD students and advisees to see what they’re up to. “Many of them pursued academic careers, and some have already graduated their own doctoral students,” he says. “That makes me an academic grandfather.” He also solicits their feedback to improve his teaching for current and future students. Now that he’s based in DC, Baron looks forward to partnering with organizations like the National Institutes of Health, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Department of Defense. But there’s one aspect of Washington he’s not sold on: “I’m a Dallas Cowboys fan,” he admits. “I guess I’ll have to become a Redskins fan now.” 9
Courtesy of Morey Kraus
Stem Cells Inc. MOREY KRAUS’S winding
career has led him through the worlds of science and technology and business. But his basic beliefs about life and work, which he developed while studying philosophy and religion at American University, have never changed. “You cannot step twice into the same river,” he says, quoting Greek philosopher Heraclitus. “When you look at different business opportunities, you make conclusions based on assumptions at that given time and place. But everything is always changing, and you must continuously adapt. This has been a big theme in my career.” Kraus, BA religion ’81, started out studying philosophy at AU after taking a class in great ideas that changed history. He took a year off between his sophomore and junior years to study at a yeshiva in Israel, where his interest in religion deepened. He ultimately graduated as a religion major with a minor in philosophy and considered becoming a rabbi. Instead, his life took one of those turns. He returned home to Pennsylvania to start a successful roofing business, installing rubber roofs for large buildings like schools, 10
by Patty Housman
churches, and shopping malls. “I enjoyed seeing what I had done afterwards,” he says. “I liked building something that would stand for a long time.” But he began to feel that he wasn’t fulfilling his intellectual goals. On the advice of an uncle, a professor of veterinary medicine, Kraus decided to go back to school at night to study science. “I was retooling. My classes gave me a new vocabulary and new ways of thinking,” he says. Then he heard about a new program in biotechnology at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI). He was intrigued. “I was optimistic about the possibilities of using science and business to change the world for the better,” he says. Within weeks, he sold his roofing business, moved to Massachusetts, and enrolled at WPI, where he became a doctoral candidate in the interdisciplinary program of biotechnology and chemical engineering. While at WPI, Kraus was asked to write a research proposal about stem cells, a subject completely unrelated to his field of study—and which altered his path. In 1994, he formed his own company, t.Breeders Inc.,
and focused his research on the growth of stem cells for treatment of life-threatening diseases. Kraus served as chairman and chief executive officer until 2000, when t.Breeders merged with ViaCord, a company that banks and preserves umbilical cord blood. When PerkinElmer Inc. acquired ViaCord in 2007, Kraus became chief science officer. “Once again, I learned that different types of leaders are necessary for different times. I went from the CEO of a technology company to the chief science officer of a very different type of commercial enterprise,” he says. “It’s astonishing to see how we took an idea in the field of hard science and got it financed and brought it all the way to this level of commercial success.” Kraus’s current research on the use of cord blood stem cells to treat disease involves a clinical trial in collaboration with Duke University Medical Center. The study focuses on the impact of cord blood infusion in children with autism. He also is exploring other ways to contribute to science and society: he serves as a mentor for the next generation of scientists at WPI, and he sits on the American University Science Council, an external advisory board working to advance scientific research and support students pursuing careers in scientific fields. Kraus says he still draws on his religion classes at AU. “I’ve learned that the river of opportunity is always changing. The most important thing is to learn how to learn—and that process really started for me at American University.”
FOR THE PAST 25 YEARS,
history professor Peter Kuznick has been focusing on a topic that most people would rather not touch: nuclear war. “One of the sad things for me,” he says, “is that nobody talks about nuclear history in the United States, and students don’t really learn about it.” This is mainly what prompted Kuznick to found the Nuclear Studies Institute at AU in 1995—50 years after the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Its mission is to educate the public about the history of nuclear weapons and the nuclear arms race. Kuznick was also inspired by AU alumna Akiko Naono, whose grandfather was killed in the Hiroshima bombing. During the institute’s inaugural summer, he worked with Naono
and fellow history professor Valerie French to host an exhibition of artifacts from Hiroshima and Nagasaki, the first such exhibit outside of Japan. Officials in the two cities were eager to find an alternative venue after the Smithsonian Institution cancelled its planned Enola Gay exhibit under political pressure from Congress and veterans groups. The AU exhibit, which included personal objects, like the lunchbox of an 11-year-old girl who was vaporized in the bombing, endeavored “to grapple honestly with the moral and military implications of the atomic bombings, including the fact that they knowingly opened the door to potentially ending all life on the planet,” says Kuznick. Since that first summer, Kuznick, who
directs the institute, has led AU students on an annual study-abroad trip to Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Nagasaki, during which they live, travel, and study with students and professors from two Japanese universities. The educational and cultural exchange is often a deeply emotional and sometimes life changing experience for students. This past summer, there was the added element of celebrity, when Academy Awardwinning director Oliver Stone, Kuznick’s collaborator on the New York Times best-selling book and 12-part Showtime television series The Untold History of the United States, joined the trip. “In Japan, we are looked upon as America’s peace university,” Kuznick explains.
by Alyssa Röhricht
Courtesy of Peter Kuznick
AU was selected to serve as the center of next year’s events in the United States commemorating the 70th anniversary of the bombings. The American University Museum at the Katzen Arts Center will display 6 of the 15 renowned Hiroshima Panels, a series of large murals by internationally
acclaimed artists Iri and Toshi Maruki. The works, which have not been shown in this country for decades, depict the suffering of the bombing victims. Kuznick likens them to Pablo Picasso’s painting Guernica and describes the figures depicted in the murals as “ghosts walking through hell.”
While the murals are controversial and haunting, says Kuznick, they provide a springboard to get people talking about our history—the bad as well as the good. “This is essential. Countries have to face their historical responsibility, and educating the public about our past is the first step.” 11
by Patty Housman
WHAT DO the
country of Wales and western Massachusetts have in common? Matt Waskiewicz; BS economics, BA political science ’16; spent six weeks in Wales exploring the answer to this question on a Fulbright Summer Institute grant. He began his trip at Cardiff University, located in the Welsh capital on the south coast, studying how shipping and mining have shaped the country’s economy. He then traveled north to Bangor to learn about traditional Welsh culture and how the local tourism industry is working to create jobs and preserve the region’s cultural heritage. Waskiewicz ended his trip 12
at Aberystwyth University in Mid Wales, an agricultural area known for its wind farming industry, where he looked at sustainable energy practices. “My Fulbright gave me the opportunity to examine a post-industrial society similar to the United States and its ability to adapt to the twentyfirst century realities of globalization and climate change,” he says. “The United States is grappling with many of the same challenges as contemporary Wales.” It was a photograph on the Fulbright website that first got Waskiewicz thinking about Wales. The image of the country’s rural north reminded him of home. “The rolling hills and
picturesque farms looked very similar to those of my small hometown of Hadley in western Massachusetts,” he says. He discovered that the two places have more in common than their landscapes. Like western Massachusetts, Wales has a large Polish population. Between 1945 and 1950, the United Kingdom opened its doors to refugees from Poland seeking to escape Soviet oppression behind the Iron Curtain, and a wave of immigrants poured into tiny Wales. A second wave of Polish immigrants has been arriving over the past decade, and Polish-born residents now outnumber all other immigrant populations.
“I was fascinated because I am half Polish,” says Waskiewicz. “Polish culture is very strong in the tiny community where I grew up. We went to polka concerts, celebrated Polish holidays, and made pierogi together at church. Wherever you go in western Massachusetts, you’ll find Polish music and food and culture.” The Fulbright gave him an opportunity to compare Polish immigrant culture in Wales and the United States. During his second week in Cardiff, he visited a familyowned Polish restaurant. “It made me think of my ancestors and other Polish families who came to the United
Science + Policy for Health Parity by Jamie McCrary
“FOR AS LONG as I can remember,” says
alumna Chazeman Jackson, “I’ve felt that my purpose is the pursuit of equity and helping those who are least able to help themselves.” She wanted a career that connected to this purpose. And she’s found it. Jackson, MS biology ’04, is the health science advisor in the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, a job that gives her the satisfaction of helping to improve public health for minority populations. An area of particular interest to Jackson is cardiovascular disease, which kills nearly 800,000 Americans and accounts for one in three deaths, with treatment costs totaling more than $300 billion each year. The statistics are even more discouraging for minorities: non-Hispanic black adults are about 50 percent more likely to die prematurely of heart disease or stroke than their non-Hispanic white counterparts. Jackson is committed to lowering these numbers through such projects as Million Hearts, an initiative that aims to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes by 2017. She works with agencies across the nation to translate science research into interventions that will improve the health of all Americans. “Health disparity is a major issue,” she says. “[Americans] are not achieving their best health. If we can create an environment where it’s easier to make healthy choices, it will help level the playing field.” A Gates Millennium Scholar at AU, Jackson received a full scholarship from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She was attracted to DC for its globalism—and to AU because it
Courtesy of Chazeman Jackson
States to create better lives. And in both Wales and in western Massachusetts, it was through hard work and determination that the dream of a good life became a reality.” Over the course of six weeks, Waskiewicz found other connections between Wales and western Massachusetts. Both places, he observed, face the challenge of providing a future that is both economically and environmentally sustainable. Both had been dominated at one time by industry and supported by agriculture. Though they thrived on different industries—coal in Wales and textiles in western Massachusetts—they share the challenge of regenerating their economies after the shuttering of their dominant industry. Waskiewicz hopes to apply what he learned in Wales toward a career in politics and public service. He’s already tested the political waters with two internships on Capitol Hill. At AU, he has been a member of the AU Honors Program, a resident assistant, a trumpeter in AU’s jazz band, and the president of the Student Honors Board. Eventually Waskiewicz plans to go to law school, but in the interim he wants to take time off from his studies to do political work in DC or Massachusetts. “Studying in Wales was an incredible experience,” he says. “The Fulbright program gave me an opportunity to see how we all impact each other economically, culturally, and environmentally, even across rivers and oceans. By studying the transformations in Wales, I better understand how similar changes might happen in the United States. Someday I want to help make changes like this happen.”
offered the opportunity to study science within a liberal arts setting.“AU was a place for discovering who I am and what I wanted out of life,” she says. “My mentors and professors helped transform me into who I wanted to become.” After working for a year as a biologist at the National Science Foundation, Jackson was offered a position at the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies through the Christine Mirzayan Science and Technology Policy Graduate Fellowship Program. The 12-week fellowship for early-career individuals served as a gateway for Jackson, enabling her to explore the development of policy— what worked and what did not. “That type of assessment really excited me,” Jackson says. “I felt like I had found my niche.” Jackson believes that policy work allows her to have the greatest impact on the largest number of people. Translating science to policy enables her to inform the big decisions that will affect individuals and communities on a daily basis. “Access to quality health care should be something attainable for everyone,” she says. “In order to make this happen, we need to make some significant progress,” she says, “and changes need to be made on a system level.” When asked about her hopes and ambitions for the future, Jackson prefers to talk instead about her legacy. “I want people to remember me as a service-scientist—as somebody who tackled the hardest questions and did so as a service to my community.” In short, she says, she wants to continue her evolution as “a better human being so I can contribute [to] making this a better world.” 13
Inspiring Pathways to Policy by Jamie McCrary
A PASSIONATE EDUCATOR and policy
researcher, Jennifer Steele believes that good education policy decisions come from good data analysis. “In education, we strive to do what we think is best for students, but we don’t always know what that is,” she says. “Careful evaluation of data and existing research can point us in the direction of what works.” Steele spent the last six years as a policy researcher at the RAND Corporation, a nonprofit dedicated to improving policy through research and analysis. This fall, she joined AU as an associate professor in the School of Education, Teaching, and Health (SETH), where she is teaching a graduate course in research methods. “I’m very excited to teach students how to make the best use of the data they find and how to accurately communicate their findings,” Steele says. “I want to help [them] become wellequipped education policy leaders.” Steele’s interest in education policy evolved from her own experience working as a teacher. After earning her master’s in education at Stanford University, she taught English in an urban high school in San Diego. During her tenure there, the school district underwent structural reforms intended to improve student learning. But Steele says those policy changes felt “top down” to many educators, including herself, and some of the changes did not seem to take context into account. “I became very 14
interested in how the policy decisions were made and how data and research were used to inform these policies.” About her new position at AU, Steele is most excited about having working teachers in her classroom; through them, she says, she can have the most direct impact in the training of current and future educators. She says, too, that SETH’s commitment to community makes it an ideal place for her to translate her research into practice. Through SETH, AU actively partners with DC public schools and teacher-service organizations, like the New Teacher Project and Teach for America, enabling student teachers to take their skills and knowledge out into the real world. “One reason I was really attracted to AU was because of its connection to the DC area. The university works to have an impact on the quality of instruction students are receiving in the District of Columbia,” Steele says. “Bringing my research to AU and being able to work with students who have a direct connection to the community is a dream opportunity.” More than anything, Steele hopes that by working with AU students, she will help create informed and passionate educators and education policy leaders. “Students may become teacher-leaders, school administrators, or state or federal leaders,” says Steele. “Whatever path [they] take, knowing that I’ve helped prepare the policy leaders of tomorrow is the most exciting impact I can imagine having in my career.”
BA elementary education ’63, understands how far a little extra support can go. At the age of 10, after her grades slipped in several subjects at school, Londoner was diagnosed with a vague learning disability, which she called a “word problem” (understood today as dyslexia). A dedicated teacher helped her to catch up with her classmates and succeed academically. Overcoming personal adversity in her own studies ignited Londoner’s passion to teach, which was further nurtured during her time on campus as she earned her degree in elementary education. After graduation, she taught CLARA LONDONER,
by Mike Rowan
and worked in art galleries in New York City while she raised a family. “Even when I worked in galleries, I used my teaching skills to educate people about art and art history,” she explains. Twenty-five years later, Londoner decided to return to school for a master’s in special education at the Bank Street Graduate School of Education. “My children were grown up and well on their way. I wanted to work as an educational therapist,” she says. “There is a real need for well-trained special education teachers and specialists, and I wanted to help fill this need.” Londoner and her husband, David, always believed in the
importance of education. For years, they were very involved at American University as donors and fundraisers. After his death in 2012, David left a legacy to the university. “Both David and I always believed the most valuable gift you can give a child is an education,” says Londoner. “My sons and I agreed that the best way to use David’s legacy was to endow a scholarship, to be awarded each year to a deserving graduate student in the field of special education.” Londoner worked with the College of Arts and Sciences to establish the Clara F. Londoner and David J.
Londoner Scholarship. The award provides financial assistance to graduate students demonstrating their commitment to the field of special education—and, in particular, to art integration and to teaching a diverse K–12 student body. Last year, Londoner returned to American University for her 50th reunion—and the official announcement of the scholarship. She also met the first recipient. “It was an important anniversary for me personally and an important anniversary for the school. At my commencement, President John F. Kennedy delivered his famous speech calling for an end to
the nuclear arms race with the Soviet Union. I still remember him flying onto campus in a helicopter. It was a very exciting and important time.” Londoner reflects on her years at AU. “I do not believe that I could have done all that I did,” she says, “without the motivation and inspiration that I received from the exceptional professors at American University. At AU, I learned how to teach, and I’ve used these skills throughout my career. Once you’re a teacher, you’re always a teacher.” This article was adapted from the original at american.edu/ giving/news/clara-londoner-2014celebration-of-scholarships.cfm. 15
—Michael Baron MICHAEL BARON
Areas of research: social dimensions of HIV/AIDS, local experiences with global change, gender and sexuality, field research methods, sub-Saharan Africa “My interest in studying the social dimensions of AIDS was inspired by my work as an HIV counselor in New York City working with communities experiencing the AIDS epidemic firsthand. An opportunity to work on related issues in Malawi as a graduate student research assistant, and later in South Africa as a postdoctoral fellow, led to my regional interest in sub-Saharan Africa (where HIV prevalence is disproportionately high) and to specific research about how local communities experience global HIV health interventions. AIDS is both a social disease and a biomedical one, and the tools of social science are suited uniquely to enhance efforts aimed at prevention and treatment. This drives the passion I have for my work. I hope I can create for students the same draw to sociology that captured my early interest and arm them with theoretical and methodological tools to [pursue] research questions about which they are passionate and that matter [in] people’s lives. I also hope to contribute meaningful, healthfocused social science research that keeps me in active dialogue with government entities, international organizations, funders, and biomedical researchers.”
“I hope I can create for students the same draw to sociology that captured my early interest and arm them with theoretical and methodological tools to [pursue] research questions about which they are passionate and that matter [in] people’s lives.” —Nicole Angotti
Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics »» PhD statistics, University of Maryland »» MS mathematics, Saint Petersburg State University Areas of research: sequential analysis and optimal sequential designs, change-point detection, multiple comparisons, Bayesian inference, application of statistics in epidemiology, clinical trials, semiconductor manufacturing, actuarial science, energy finance, cybersecurity (see p. 9) “Working in statistics opens endless opportunities to derive mathematically optimal decision-making tools under uncertainty and then work with scientists and practitioners in diverse fields to solve cuttingedge problems, often including the key areas of national interest. My main passion is a branch of statistics that is called sequential analysis. It covers all statistical methods designed for sequentially collected data. A statistician observes the data as they arrive and decides when it is best to stop collecting data and report results and [determine] what decision to take once sampling is seized. I enjoy the dynamics of sequential designs, their flexibility, and application to many fields. . . . For example, [sequential analysis] allows [us] to stop a [clinical] trial if a tested treatment is found to be inefficient or unsafe. On the other hand, it allows [us] to extend the study until a definite result about its efficacy is obtained. [By] optimizing the clinical trial, I can achieve the required accuracy at the minimal expected cost. This, in turn, means reduction of the cost of medicines—and ultimately, reduction in the cost of health care.”
Assistant professor, Department of Biology »» PhD biology, University of California–San Diego »» BS biology, New Mexico Tech Areas of research: genomics, cell biology, microbiology, epigenetics “My postdoctoral work, uncovering the epigenetic modifications of DNA in protozoa, answered one question but also revealed several new puzzles. For example, the protozoa I study don’t have the standard gene set that makes epigenetic modifications on DNA, so something fundamentally different, and unknown, must be involved. While at AU, I’d like to find the answer to that mystery. I also want to work on cancer drug discovery using single-celled organisms. And I also want to spend significant time teaching and mentoring—training the next generation of thinkers who are destined to be future leaders. This is yet another reason why working in Washington, DC, and [at] AU in particular, is exciting.”
“I also want to spend significant time teaching and mentoring—training the next generation of thinkers who are destined to be future leaders.” —John Bracht ANNE CLAUS Jeff Watts
Assistant professor, Department of Sociology »» PhD sociology, University of Texas–Austin »» MA international educational development, Columbia University Teachers College »» BA sociology, University of California–San Diego
“Working in statistics opens endless opportunities to derive mathematically optimal decision-making tools under uncertainty and then work with scientists and practitioners in diverse fields to solve cuttingedge problems.”
Assistant professor, Department of Anthropology »» PhD, MPhil anthropology and environmental studies; Yale University »» MA environmental anthropology; certificate, urban and regional planning; University of Hawaii »» BA anthropology and Japanese studies, University of Iowa
new faculty “I worked in a conservation organization for a couple of years and became curious about what was happening on the other side of projects we implemented. Being an anthropologist allowed me to investigate how people made conservation a meaningful part of their lives.
The ultimate goal for my research is to make evolutionary biology a more exact and applicable science. We want to be able to predict and manage evolutionary processes, including the development of antibiotic and HIV drug resistance. My vision is to involve AU students in this research, as well as to establish interdisciplinary collaborations at AU.”
The strong presence of policy, activist, and research communities makes DC a vibrant place to live and work. At AU there are so many opportunities for students to learn experientially through internships and study abroad, which in turn create a rich learning environment in the classroom. I hope to become a resource for the community both as a scholar of Japan and environmental anthropology.”
“The ultimate goal for my research is to make evolutionary biology a more exact and applicable science.”
“The strong presence of policy, activist, and research communities makes DC a vibrant place to live and work. At AU there are so many opportunities for students to learn experientially through internships and study abroad, which in turn create a rich learning environment.”
Courtesy of Kristina Crona
Assistant professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics »» PhD, BS mathematics; Stockholm University Areas of research: mathematical biology; applications of discrete and algebraic methods to evolutionary biology, specifically antimicrobial drug-resistance mutations, with goal of predicting, preventing, and managing drug-resistance problems “Mathematical biology is exceptionally interesting at this point in time. Thanks to DNA sequencing and other laboratory techniques, we can finally test conjectures phrased 100 years ago. New mathematical approaches are critical for interpretations of empirical data, theory development, and clinical applications.
—Kathleen Holton MARK LAUBACH
“While at AU, I am hoping to expand upon my research to identify what makes certain groups more susceptible to food additives and the extent to which underlying nutrient content of the diet affects this risk.”
Areas of research: conservation and development, ocean studies, political ecology, Okinawa and Japan
Associate professor, Department of Biology »» PhD neuroscience, Wake Forest University »» MA biology, Bryn Mawr College »» AB biology and chemistry, Lafayette College Assistant professor, School of Education, Teaching, and Health »» PhD nutrition, University of Arizona »» MPH epidemiology, University of Arizona »» BS marketing, University of Arizona Areas of research: nutritional neuroscience, excitotoxins, fibromyalgia, ADHD, cognitive function, epidemiology (see p. 2) “During graduate school I became very interested in nutritional neuroscience—and more specifically, the role of dietary glutamate in neurological symptoms. My interest was sparked by anecdotal reports of people with a wide range of neurological symptoms that improved when the people removed certain additives from their diet. I began researching these food additives in depth and created a diet that limited the consumption of the additives. I have tested the diet in individuals with fibromyalgia and ADHD—with very promising results. Optimizing diet may have profound effects on the ability to learn and may be especially crucial in those with disorders like ADHD and autism. While at AU, I am hoping to expand upon my research to identify what makes certain groups more susceptible to food additives and the extent to which underlying nutrient content of the diet affects this risk. I am also hoping to expand my research to assess how optimizing diet affects learning.”
Areas of research: role of the frontal cortex and basal ganglia in value-based decision making, foodseeking behavior, and the cognitive control of action (see p. 3) “I am looking forward to taking part in the development of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience and helping bring international recognition to the center throughout the neuroscience community. I am also looking forward to teaching courses for the new neuroscience major and hosting students for research in my lab. I have always had a wonderful impression of AU, and since I have arrived on campus, everything has matched my expectations. . . . Deans Starr and Sofia have developed a strong science community on campus. I am excited to explore new directions in my research, such as the large-scale deployment of optogenetic methods to study neural circuits that underlie decision making, [made] possible with the support that I have received from AU.”
“I am excited to explore new directions in my research, such as the large-scale deployment of optogenetic methods to study neural circuits that underlie decision making.” —Mark Laubach 17
Assistant professor, Department of Computer Science »» PhD, MS computer science; University of California–Santa Cruz »» BA computer science and sociologyanthropology, Earlham College
—Ying-Chen Peng YING-CHEN PENG
Areas of research: new video game experiences through game technology, social science, artificial intelligence, and design “A lifelong attraction to playable experiences, from video games to live-action role playing, [sparked my] curiosity to answer the question: what’s next in video games? My interest in computer science and artificial intelligence is in how they offer expressive ways to author technology that uncovers new game experiences. [After observing] the relatively weak ways [that] storytelling and social interactions are represented in video games, my research became focused on making those aspects of games more deeply playable. Consistent with my interests, this focus requires multidisciplinary research and the creation of new technologies. I hope to help turn AU into a leader in gaming, conduct interesting collaborative research, and create compelling playable experiences while providing an impactful education experience.”
“I hope to help turn AU into a leader in gaming, conduct interesting collaborative research, and create compelling playable experiences while providing an impactful education experience.” —Joshua McCoy
Assistant professor, Department of Art »» PhD art history, University of California–Los Angeles »» MA art history, Graduate Institute of Art History, National Taiwan University »» BA Japanese language and literature, National Taiwan University Areas of research: late imperial and modern Chinese art history, globalization in art, gender studies, Asian material culture “Globalization has largely reshaped the cultural, national, and ethnic boundaries of art since the fifteenth century. I am deeply interested in how China interacted with other cultural traditions in this world phenomenon. As a woman, I am also enthusiastic about gaining a better understanding of women’s role in art in the past and present. A strong focus on feminist art history in the art history program and the open, supportive environment for both faculty and students at AU brought me to this exciting university. My goal as a teacher is to enrich our students’ visual literacy in reading art and to broaden their understanding of Asian cultures to prepare them for a globalized world. As a researcher, I wish to help strengthen East Asian art research for AU as a hub of feminist art history.”
JENNIFER STEELE Jeff Watts
“My goal as a teacher is to enrich our students’ visual literacy in reading art and to broaden their understanding of Asian cultures to prepare them for a globalized world. As a researcher, I wish to help strengthen East Asian art research for AU as a hub of feminist art history.”
Courtesy of Ying-chen Peng
Courtesy of Joshua McCoy
Associate professor, School of Education, Teaching, and Health »» EdD administration, planning, and social policy; Harvard University »» MA education, Stanford University »» MA English, Georgetown University »» BA psychology and English, Georgetown University Areas of research: teacher and school leader effectiveness, dual language immersion education, competency-based and technology-enhanced education, transitions to postsecondary education (see p. 14) “What drew me into research was the observation that policy decisions made without a strong evidence base can do more harm than good. It’s critical that policy be guided by rigorous analysis of good data. My passion lies in conducting research that sheds light on what works and in helping policy makers and practitioners become informed consumers of research. AU has four features that attracted me: a vibrant faculty, a university-wide emphasis on public policy, a strong commitment to serving the District of Columbia, . . . and a dedication to the preparation of undergraduate and master’s degree students. When I was at RAND, I was lucky to work with several recent graduates of the School of Education, Teaching, and Health, and it was clear that they had received a great education. In joining AU, I am thrilled to have a chance to help prepare the next generation of educators and education policy leaders.”
“AU has four features that attracted me: a vibrant faculty, a university-wide emphasis on public policy, a strong commitment to serving the District of Columbia . . . and a dedication to the preparation of undergraduate and master’s degree students.” —Jennifer Steele
CAS 2012–2013 Honor Roll Thank you to everyone who donated to the College of Arts and Sciences. Your commitment and generosity sustain our mission to provide a challenging liberal arts education within a vibrant and diverse community. We are deeply moved by the number of alumni, faculty, staff, parents, and friends who have invested in the College. This list includes gifts made to the College of Arts and Sciences by individuals, estates, foundations, corporations, and other organizations during the fiscal year ending April 30, 2014. Every effort has been made to ensure the accuracy of this list. Please report inadvertent errors or omissions to Andrew Dean at firstname.lastname@example.org or 202-885-6607.
Lillian K. Abensohn ¿ê Alayne A. Adams, PhD ’71, and William T. Adams Bryant K. Adams Judith M. Alembik ’60 ê Sofia M. Ali ’87 ê Martin K. Alloy Carolyn S. Alper G ’68 ¿ê Nana An MEd ’84, MPA ’06, and Joe T. An ’90 ê Christine B. Anderson ’71, MS ’77 ê Radoslav D. Antonov ’92 ê Marilyn Armel ’63 ê Diane M. Hertz Asson, MS ’93, and Drew J. Asson, MA ’03 ê Ravi P. Bahethi, MS ’97 ê Karen Bailey P and Kenneth J. Tokarz Pê Georgette F. Ballance, MA ’75 Richard C. Barnett, MA ’74, and Caroline W. Barnett ê Albert Barnhart AU Alan Baron I. Christina Bartley P and R. Stewart Bartley Pê Joy H. Baxt and Leonard J. Baxt ê Barbara B. Beatty, MFA ’78, and Richard S. Beatty Gabriela Bebchick and Leonard Bebchick ê Robert L. Beisner AU ê Ellen B. Belkin and David H. Belkin Eliezer H. Benbassat AU and Miriam Benbassat Linda A. Bennett, PhD ’76 ê Dottie Bennett Stephanie M. Bennett-Smith and Orin Smith ê Marguerite S. Berger ’78, PhD ’89 ê Virginia W. Bergsten, MA ’77, and C. Fred Bergsten ê Dava A. Berkman ê Allan Berman ê
Gary C. Berman AU and Carol Berman ê Jeffrey M. Berman ’83 and Elizabeth A. Berman Mary W. Beyer ’70 ê Gordon Beyer ê Stuart L. Bindeman ’70 P and Martha K. Bindeman ê Donald K. Bischoff ’69 ê Adah R. Bitterbaum ê James David Blum ê David Blumenthal, MBA ’69, and Barbara Blumenthal ê Heather J. Bogdanoff AU, MA ’01, PhD ’05, and Felix J. Baker ê Ruth M. Bolduan, MFA ’80, and Charles F. Moeser Marla Boren AU, MA ’99, and Paul W. Boren ê David F. Borowski Sr., MS ’88, and Patricia Borowski ê Lillian C. Borrone ’68 and Edward J. Borrone ê Edward C. Bou, JD ’58 P ¿ê Christopher D. Breder ’85 and Christina Chang ê Richard D. Breitman AU and Carol R. Breitman ê Jana A. Brill Pê Shelley Brodecki P and Joseph M. Brodecki Pê Ivy E. Broder AU and John Morrall III P AU ê Roger H. Brown AU and Nancy Barrow Brown ¿ê Ronald Brown ’77 and Lisa S. Brown Hugh W. Buckingham ’64, MA ’68 Judith A. Byronê Nur Calikaê Ann L. Campbell P Fran A. Caplan P and David L. Eisenberg P Morris E. Carter ’72 ê Rosina Carter ê George P. Chambers Jr. ’92 ê
Colette A. Christie P and Gary D. Christie Pê Herbert Cohen, JD ’68, and Brenda Cohen P Jackie A. Cohen and Edward S. Cohen ê Melvin S. Cohen Ù¿ Naomi I. Cohen, JD ’98 Nehemiah M. Cohen Ù Michele C. Colburn AU, MFA ’12 Mary Ellen Condon ’66 and Carl Kimes ê Carl E. Cook AU ’66 ê Rebecca Cooke ê Ronald Cooper Sarah A. Corbett ê Deborah R. Kennedy Coster, MA ’88 ê Margaret Cowgill P and Thomas Cowgill Pê Laura K. Cutler AU and Michael B. Cutler ê Frauke E. De Looper, MA ’85 Dallas P. Dean ’62 ê Alice M. Denney ê George DenneyÙê Amy L. Deutsch ’78 and Arnold E. Glickman Pê Adrianne R. Devlin ’72 and Robert T. Devlin, PhD ’86, MA ’71 ê Sandra H. Dewey P and John C. Dewey Pê Constance T. Diamant AU, PhD ’91, P and James E. Girard AU ê Linda E. Doman, MS ’89 ê Palmer Dorn Beth Dozoretz and Ronald I. Dozoretz Marc N. Duber ’81 and Nancy E. Duber ’82 ¿ê Mary Ellen E. Duke, MA ’85 ê Steven Dunn Lois H. England P Eve Faber David J. Farber
Kathleen A. Feeney ’79, MPA ’82 ê Anne L. Foster ’87 ê William F. Fox Jr. ê Michael A. Freeling ’89 Elisabeth French ê Deborah Friedmann and Peter Friedmann ê Veronica M. Friel, MA ’74, PhD ’80 ê Ellen B. Fu, MS ’82, and Chi Liu Lynne Brenner Ganek AU and Jeffrey E. Ganek ê Karen E. Garrett AU ’01 ê Susan Gelman and Michael C. Gelman Jonah Gitlitz ’55 and Sallie Gitlitz ê Laura R. Goddard ’73 ê Carol B. Goldberg AU and Henry H. Goldberg ¿ê Gail W. Gorlitzz and Cris Smith ê Vicky H. Grady ’92 and Sean M. Grady ’92 ê Carol V. Graham P Maury J. Greenberg ’78 P and Judith A. Greenberg P Milton Greenberg AU ’93 H and Sonia B. Greenberg ¿ê Sylvia Kay Greenberg ¿ê Lynn C. Greenfield ’79 P and Stephen E. Greenfield Pê Deborah Greenspan and Jerald B. Greenspan ê Barbara Griffith Cecilia M. Grillo ’80 Charles Gurian ’72 ê Bruce R. Guthrie ê Ruby J. Halperin and Herbert Halperin ê Juanita Hardy and Mel Hardy Philip Hartmann ’68 and Helga M. Hartmann ê Heidi E. Hatfield Margot Heckman AUê Tina S. Fried Heller AU, MPA ’80 ê
Judith N. Herr, MA ’96 ê Louis Herr Ruth Herr Neil E. Heyden ’81 P and Robin J. Heyden Pê Kenneth R. Heyman ’72 and Mimi M. Heyman ê Nancy Hirshbein ê Jane Horn Giselle B. Huberman, JD ’80, and Benjamin Huberman ê Elsie Y. Hull, MA ’84 Janet E. Hutner ’73 ê Maureen F. Irion AU, MEd ’76, P and Albert J. Irion ê Steven H. Isaacson ’69, JD ’72, and Davida Isaacson ê Kurt P. Jaeger ê Blair Jones, MS ’78, MA ’95 ¿ ê Elnetta G. Jones, EdD ’79 ê Ron Kaplan P Karen R. Keats ’73 and Robert M. Keats ’62 Marjorie M. Kellner ’66 and John Kellner ê Barbara D. Kerne Cornelius M. Kerwin ’71 P and Ann L. Kerwin ’71 P ¿ê Cookie Kerxton ê Aeyoung Kim P and Jinsoo Kim P Marie P. Kissick and Ralph L. Kissick ê Micheline A. Klagsbrun and Ken Grossinger Jill A. Klein AU, MBA ’91, and Frederick L. Klein ê Russell Knapp Robert P. Kogod ’62 and Arlene R. Kogod ¿ê Julia L. Kogut ’93 and Boris R. Kogut ê Morey R. Kraus ’81 Lillian Kremer ê Anne L. Krueger P and Anthony Corapi Pê
donors Amy E. Krupsky and Kenneth Krupsky Stuart Kurlander ê Simki G. Kuznick ’01ê and Peter J. Kuznick AU Vivienne Lassman ê Martha Lazarakis P and Sam Lazarakis Pê Elisabeth D. Leach and James Leach Howard Lee ’69, JD ’73 ê Susan Carmel Lehrman ¿ê Joel L. Leibowitz ’62 ê Stuart H. Lessans Ellen Lessans Jean W. Libutti ’72 and Frank Libutti ê Joanne D. Lichty ’62, MA ’69, and Donald H. Lichty, MA ’64 ê Barrett Linde ¿ Nancy B. Lipoff P and Norman H. Lipoff P Angela T. Lipscomb ’93 and Daniel J. Atherton ’93 ê Clara F. Londoner ’63 David W. Lotocki ’68 ê Cynthia F. Lubin P and David B. Lorsch Pê Dalya Luttwak and Edward Luttwak ê Sarah L. Lutz AU, MFA ’92, and John A. Van Rens, MFA ’91 ê Patrick W. Marks, MS ’73, and Margit Marks ê David L. Martyn ê Alison Martyn and Jim Banks ê Robyn Rafferty Mathias ’71, JD ’92 ¿ê Alan O. Maurer, MA ’66, and Elayna N. Maurer ê Florence L. McCashin ’71 ¿ê Judith McKay ’73 ê Sue O. Edwards and Mark C. Medish ê Jacqueline J. CirilloMeisenberg ’87 P and Richard S. Meisenberg P ê Rona Mendelsohn and Allan Mendelsohn ê Carl Menninger AUê Jennifer Mizrahi Victor Mizrahi Nan W. Montgomery and Bruce L. Montgomery ê Angela B. Moon ’76 and James M. Moon ’75 ê Inhee I. Moon Marcia D. Moritz ’55 ê Annette G. Moshman and Jack Moshman ê Sidney I. Moskowitz ’73 Linda R. Moskowitz Kay J. Mussell AU P and Boris Weintraub Pê Donald J. Myers ê Patricia Nelson P and Raoul D. Nelson P
Carmen Niethammer ’93 ê Sara C. Nieves-Grafals ’75, MS ’79, PhD ’80, and Al Getz ê Melanie F. Nussdorf P and Lawrence C. Nussdorf P Amy A. Oliver AU and John A. Loughney Suzanne Oliwa Jon P. Olseth, MFA ’93 Daniel J. Olson ’66 and Janet Olson ê Stephanie S. O’Malley P and Michael N. O’Malley P Glenna D. Osnos and David M. Osnos ê Wendy Owen Wayne Paige Leslie L. Palmieri AU and Peter E. Palmieri ê David L. Parker, MS ’69 ê Kathleen W. Parks ’69 ê John S. Patton, PhD ’63, and Mary Miller Patton ê Alan E. Paul ’90 and Mary A. Paul ê Toni Harris Paul ’71 and Ronald A. Paul ê Joseph R. Pearce, PhD ’91 ê Karen Pierce P and Carey Weiss P ê Phyllis Peres AU and Rajat Sen ê Jarrett B. Perlow AU ’00, JD ’04 ê Arnold Polinger ê Susan Porter and Stephen W. Porter Diane E. Powell, PhD ’79 ê Kathy Z. Putnam P and George Putnam P ¿ê Dewain H. Rahe, MA ’69, and Joyce W. Rahe ê Jesmin Rahman AU, MA ’96, PhD ’98, and Bernhard G. Gunter, PhD ’98 ê Deborah M. Rappaport and Adam J. Rappaport ê Carol M. Ravenal AU and Earl C. Ravenal ¿ê Galia D. Reiss P and Ori M. Reiss P ê Nina L. Richardson ’97 and John D. Richardson Robert Roche Stephen M. Rose ’73 ê and Charlotte J. Word David Alan Rosenberg ’69, MS ’70, and Deborah L. Rosenberg ê Juanita M. Ross, MS ’83 Susan Rothfeld and Donald Rothfeld ¿ê Jeffrey S. Rum ’01 and Jessica Rum Thyagaraja Sarada, MS ’70, PhD ’72 ê Jeri S. Schaefer ’86 and Scott P. Schaefer Pê Peter L. Scher ’83, JD ’87 ¿ê and Kimberly H. Tilley, MA ’08
Michael S. Schiff ’71 Michael H. Schwartz ê Romeo A. Segnan AUê Jack A. Serber Peter J. Shanno ’66 ê Martha Morris Shannon and Joseph M. Shannon ê Stephen M. Shapiro ’69 and Susana F. Shapiro ê Levi Shemtov Joshua Z. Sickel ’78 Margaret A. Silver ’94 and Sidney J. Silver ê Shelley Singer and Michael B. Gross ê Myra W. Sklarew AUê Ulysses J. Sofia AU and Heidi Sofia ê Richard P. Solloway ê Jean P. Soman ê Lois S. Spear, MA ’62, MS ’85, and Moncreiff J. Spear ê James B. Sprague H. Karl Springob ’50, MA ’52, and Helen P. Springob ê Virginia Stallings AU Pê Carol Starley ê Peter T. Starr AU and Alice C. Hill ê Martin N. Stone ’69 and Maritza L. Stone ê Russell A. Stone AU and Rala Stone Margaret W. Studt ’73 ê Nuzhat Sultan-Khan and Anil Revri ê Cathy Sulzberger and Joseph G. Perpich Michelle L. Tafel AU ’04 ê Lee M. Tannenbaum ’80 and Melissa Tannenbaum ê James Tarbell ’72 Ann E. Taylor-Green, PhD ’87 ê Elizabeth Tebow and Duncan Tebow ê Janet L. Thomas ’74 Peter F. Trapp ’70 and Pamela F. Trapp ê Andrea Tschemplik AU and James H. Stam AU ê Patricia T. Van Der Vorm, MEd ’81, PhD ’95, and Jacob Van Der Vorm ê William M. Vincent ’95 and Amy N. Vincent ê Steven A. Vinisky ’97 ê Alan Voorhees Nathalie Voorhees Howard M. Wachtel AU and Marie A. Tyler-Mcgraw ê Marion M. Wall ’68 Edith B. Ward, MA ’64 ê Diane Wattenberg ê Carola Weil AU ê Shari Weisfisch AU and Ryan R. Weisfisch David S. Weisman ’80 ê Wendelin A. White and Paul M. Feinberg
Lowell G. Wise, JD ’65 Sharon A. Wolpoff ’74, MFA ’81, JD ’85 ¿ê Alexandra A. Wrage Stephen D. Wrage Svetlana Xu AU ê Ji Y. Yun Marvin Zelen, PhD ’57, and Thelma Zelen Ruth L. Zetlin ’79 ê Margot Zimmerman and Paul Zimmerman ê Robin L. Zisson ’93 and Adam L. Leader ê
Corporations, Foundations, and Other Organizations Abbe Berman Foundation Trust America-Israel Cultural Foundation B & R Knapp Foundation Inc. Baxt Family Foundation Inc. ê Berman Family Foundation ê Bou Family Foundation ¿ ê Busboys of Maryland Center on Global Interests ê Jack Chester Foundation Naomi and Nehemiah Cohen Foundation ¿ ê Ryna and Melvin Cohen Family Foundation ¿ê Community Foundation for the National Capital Region ê Crosscurrents Foundation Davis Foundation ¿ê Ronald I. Dozoretz Foundation Duber Family Foundation ê
Embassy of Israel Exxon Mobil Foundation Agustin Fernandez Foundation ê Robert M. Fisher Memorial Foundation Samuel and Grace Gorlitz Foundation ê Grace Charity Foundation Inc. Habonim Investment Club Aleph Louis Ruth Herr Foundation Israel Institute ê Eleanor M. and Herbert D. Katz Family Foundation ê Robert P. and Arlene R. Kogod Family Foundation ê Korean Cultural Center Maryland/Israel Development Center McGraw-Hill Companies ê Merrill Lynch Jack and Annette Moshman Charitable Foundation ê Photias Farmakides Educational Foundation Razoo Foundation Lois and Richard Rosenthal Center For Contemporary Art Silver Family Foundation ê Tarbell Family Foundation Township High School District 113 United Jewish Appeal Federation Vanguard Charitable Endowment Program ¿ ê Wall Foundation Washington Arts Museum Weil Barnett Family Fund II Wells Fargo ê Wells Fargo Foundation Wolpoff Family Foundation Inc. ¿ ê
1893 Society recognizes the commitment of loyal donors with five or more consecutive years of giving and the significant role they play in sustaining university life.
¿ Individuals who have made cumulative contributions totaling $100,000 or more are lifetime members of the President’s Circle. Ù Deceased AU
Current or former faculty or staff
Honorary degree recipient
Grants & Research CHAP KUSIMBA (anthropology) received a $27,335 grant from the University of California– Irvine for a study, “Mobile Money and Coming of Age in Western Kenya.” ELIZABETH MALLOY (mathematics and statistics) received an award of $16,282 from the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health for the project, “Exposure Response Relationships for CTS and Epicondylitis from Pooled Data.” MICHAEL ROBINSON (mathematics and statistics) received $13,488 from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory to research “Topological Methods for Semantic Sensor Integration: Use Case Development.” The New World Research Institute awarded RANDA SERHAN (sociology) $29,050 for her Palestinian American National Research Project. ANASTASIA SNELLING (SETH) received $165,524 from the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan in support of a project, “DC Healthy Schools Act: Measuring Implementation and Impact.”
PAUL WINTERS (economics) received a $106,7000 award from the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations to evaluate cash transfer programs throughout Africa.
Publications A poem, “The Robots Are Coming,” by KYLE DARGAN (literature) appears in the anthology Best American Nonrequired Reading 2014 (Mariner, 2014). EILEEN FINDLAY (history) published We Are Left without a Father Here: Masculinity, Domesticity, and Migration in Post-War Puerto Rico (Duke, 2014). MELANIE GEORGE (performing arts) published a chapter, “Jazz Dance, Pop Culture, and the Music Video Era,” in Jazz Dance: A History of the Roots and Branches (University Press of Florida, 2014). DESPINA KAKOUDAKI (literature) published Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema, and the Cultural Work of Artificial People (Rutgers, 2014). Warner Bros. released a Blu-ray box set of The Untold History of the United States by Oliver Stone and PETER KUZNICK (history). The book, published in paperback in 2013, was a New York Times best seller. JIN Y. PARK (philosophy and religion) published Reflections of a Zen Buddhist Nun: Essays by Zen Master Kim Iryop (Hawaii, 2014), a translation of writings by the Korean nun, philosopher, and pioneering feminist.
ROBERTA RUBENSTEIN (literature) published Literary Half-Lives: Doris Lessing, Clancy Sigal, and Roman à Clef (Palgrave Macmillan, 2014). RICHARD SHA (literature) published his latest book, Romanticism and the Emotions, coedited with Joel Faflak (Cambridge, 2014). A chapter by VIVIAN VASQUEZ (SETH), “Children’s Literature: A Critical Literacy Perspective,” is featured in Literacy Teacher Educators: Preparing Teachers for a Changing World (Sense, 2013). In 2014, ELIZABETH WORDEN (SETH) released National Identity and Educational Reform: Contested Classrooms, part of the Routledge Research in International and Comparative Education series.
Appointments & Honors JULIET BELLOW (art history) received a fellowship at NYU’s new Center for Ballet and the Arts for the 2015–16 academic year. KIM BLANKENSHIP (sociology) is the new director of the District of Columbia Developmental Center for AIDS Research Social and Behavioral Sciences Core. She is also co-leader of the Criminal Justice-Affected Communities Scientific Interest Group and AU’s institutional representative for DC D-CFAR. MICHAEL BRENNER (history) joined the boards of the Association for Israel Studies and the Israel Institute. He is the new advisory board chair of the Franz Rosenzweig Minerva Research Center at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. ESTHER CHOW (professor emerita, sociology) won a Jessie Bernard Award from the American Sociological Association. TERRY DAVIDSON (psychology) was elected president of the Eastern Psychological Association. His term will run from June 2015 to May 2016; in the interim, he is serving as president-elect. RICHARD DENT (anthropology) received a Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to archaeological knowledge of the Middle Atlantic region at the 2014 Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference.
ANITA SHERMAN (literature) won an ASECS/Folger Institute Fellowship to work on a book chapter, “The Skeptical Imagination of Margaret Cavendish.” In March, VIVIAN VASQUEZ (SETH) was named Routledge Education Author of the Month. ELIZABETH WORDEN (SETH) received a 2014–15 Fulbright U.S. scholar grant.
2014 University Faculty Award Recipients University Scholar/Teacher of the Year MAX PAUL FRIEDMAN (history)
Outstanding Service to the University Community ROBERT BLECKER (economics)
Outstanding Teaching in an Adjunct Appointment YULIYA GORENMAN (performing arts)
Promotions Professor DAN ABRAHAM performing arts ELLEN FEDER philosophy and religion MARIA FLORO economics DAVID KEPLINGER literature PETER KUZNICK history JOSHUA LANSKY mathematics and statistics STACEY SNELLING SETH
Associate Professor and Tenure KYLE DARGAN literature KATHLEEN DECICCOSKINNER biology DANIEL KERR history DANIEL SAYERS anthropology ANDREW TAYLOR performing arts XIMENA VARELA performing arts STEPHEN VASSALLO SETH ELIZABETH WORDEN SETH CHENYANG XIAO sociology
The 2014 Edgar Award for Best Critical/Biographical work went to America Is Elsewhere: The Noir Tradition in the Age of Consumer Culture (Oxford, 2013) by ERIK DUSSERE (literature).
DOLORES KOENIG (anthropology) is president-elect of the Society for Economic Anthropology; her two-year term begins in November 2015.
EMMANUEL ADDO mathematics and statistics SUSAN AGOLINI biology MELANIE GEORGE performing arts KENNETH KNIGHT WLC THOMAS NASSIF SETH
ROBERT LERMAN (economics) is president of the Society of Government Economists.
MARY ELLEN CURTIN history
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