Emory Magazine - Spring/Summer 2022

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Sustain + Ability Drug Hunters As Scene on Campus MAGAZINE


Read more than two dozen ways Emory is making a difference on its campuses and around the world by innovating and investing in the future of our planet.

Machine Mind, Human Heart

Artificial intelligence (AI) can amplify humanity’s worst flaws. Find out how Emory is working to make sure AI instead exemplifies our highest virtues.

Drug Hunters

Spanning decades of research, Emory scientists have played a critical role in developing 25 FDAapproved drugs that have helped save countless lives.

Emory On Screen

Find out how movies and TV shows are filmed on the university’s campuses, meet the alumnus behind Netflix’s Bridgerton, learn about Emory students forging their paths in filmmaking, and discover how big entertainment deals are made.

CONTENTS Emory Magazine VOL. 97 NO.1


Managing Editor

Roger Slavens

Executive Director of Content

Jennifer F. Checkner


Jim Auchmutey, Carol Clark, Laura Douglas-Brown, April Hunt, Tony Rehagen, Kelundra Smith, Rajee Suri

Copy Editor

Jane Howell

Magazine Intern

Ellie Purinton 24C

Art Director

Elizabeth Hautau Karp

Creative Director, Publications

Peta Westmaas


Kay Hinton

Stephen Nowland

Production Manager

Stuart Turner

Interim VP, Communications and Marketing

Cameron Taylor University President

Gregory L. Fenves

EMORY MAGAZINE (ISSN 00136727) is published by Emory’s Division of Communications and Marketing. Nonprofit postage paid at 3900 Crown Rd. SE, Atlanta, Georgia, 30304; and additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to Advancement and Alumni Engagement Office of Data Management, 1762 Clifton Road, Suite 1400, Atlanta, Georgia 30322.

Emory Magazine is distributed free to alumni and friends of the university. Address changes may be emailed to eurec@emory. edu or sent to the Advancement and Alumni Engagement Office of Data Management, 1762 Clifton Road, Suite 1400, Atlanta, Georgia 30322. If you are an individual with a disability and wish to acquire this publication in an alternative format, please contact Managing Editor Roger Slavens (address above). No. 22-EU-EMAG-0059 ©2022, a publication of the Division of Communications and Marketing.

The comments and opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily represent those of Emory University or the staff of Emory Magazine.

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Learn more about this
See more photos of Bridgerton, as well as TV and movie filming locations at Emory. ONLINE AT EMORY.EDU/MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPHY STEVE NOWLAND, GETTY IMAGES COURTESY OF ATLANTA CITY COUNCIL

the pandemic, our celebration was finally home, back to the traditional Commencement setting experienced by generations of Emory alumni.

Watching the procession of proud graduates, I saw the resilience and resolve that was required to adjust to lives upended by a pandemic. And yet, they adapted––learning both inside a classroom and on a laptop from home, discovering ways to connect with faculty and peers, and finding meaning in their experiences.

Seeing the joy that radiated from our new Emory alums, poised to launch their journeys, I reflected on everything that happened to create this day, across the past semester, the academic year, and throughout the disruptions of the past two years. And I was reminded of the determination of Emory faculty, staff, and students to keep the flame of our mission burning bright, to keep our university moving forward.

Emory University exists not only to create and share knowledge, but also to empower bold possibilities––discoveries that we can’t yet imagine, ideas that inspire progress, and breakthroughs designed to create a better world. In my time at Emory, I’ve seen that promise in so many ways:

• I saw it in the faces of dedicated public health faculty and students, who gathered earlier this year at the Rollins School of Public Health to learn about a landmark $100 million gift from the O. Wayne Rollins Foundation––the largest in the school’s history––to support faculty excellence and student flourishing.

to seeing our university provide an exceptional education that is within reach of all talented students, regardless of their backgrounds or financial resources.

That’s why, beginning this fall, Emory will eliminate need-based loans from the financial aid packages of domestic undergraduate students, replacing them with grants and scholarships. This will double the number of students eligible to receive loan-free financial aid, covering almost half of our undergraduate enrollment. The expanded Emory Advantage program will go far in reducing student debt, easing the transition from college to career for many.

Today, I’m looking across a Quad that is quiet and peaceful, the excitement of Commencement a recent memory, as the university takes a few moments to catch its breath. But it is a short break before we prepare for the next academic year, as we strive every day to achieve our promise and full potential.

For Emory graduates, the conclusion of their time on campus also marks a beginning, as each student––with heart and ambition––commences a lifetime of accomplishment, service, and impact.

Curran as dean of the Rollins School of Public Health.
FULFILLING EMORY’S PROMISE President Gregory L. Fenves

Dynamic Deans



Emory has appointed M. Daniele Fallin as the new James W. Curran Dean of Public Health at the Rollins School of Public Health. She will join Emory July 1, 2022.

Fallin has most recently served as chair of the Department of Mental Health for the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health and is the Sylvia and Harold Halpert Professor and Bloomberg Centennial Professor. She has held joint appointments in the Bloomberg School’s Departments of Epidemiology and Biostatistics and the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine’s Departments of Medicine and Psychiatry. Fallin also has served as director of the Wendy Klag Center for Autism and Developmental Disabilities and has led the center since its establishment by the Bloomberg School in 2013.

Fallin’s appointment follows an extensive international search. She succeeds James W. Curran, who joined the Rollins School of Public Health as dean and professor of epidemiology in 1995 following a twenty-five-year career at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Rollins ranks No. 4 by US News & World Report among accredited schools and programs of public health and ranks No. 4 nationally for National Institutes of Health funding.

“The world is acutely aware of the importance of public health, and we have an opportunity to translate this awareness into action,” Fallin says. “I am thrilled to lead the Rollins School of Public Health at this critical time and excited about the impact we will continue to make.”

Gareth James has been appointed dean of Emory’s Goizueta Business School. He will take up the deanship at the university on July 1, 2022. James comes to Emory from the University of Southern California’s Marshall School of Business, where he has served as deputy dean, E. Morgan Stanley Chair in Business Administration, and professor of data sciences and operations.

He describes himself as creative, mirthful, and optimistic. And he’s always ready to introduce others to rugby or cricket. He describes Goizueta students, faculty, and alumni as incredibly strong, truly cutting-edge, and passionate.

That’s why he’s so keen to begin his work at Goizueta, noting, “Emory and Goizueta have impressive ambitions to become even stronger institutions. I’m looking forward to working with President Gregory L. Fenves, Provost Ravi V. Bellamkonda, and our faculty, staff, and students to transform that ambition into a reality. I’m also excited to be at a school whose very name represents an important legacy for both Emory and the Atlanta region.”

James believes in building a strong leadership team, providing them with the resources and support they need, and then getting out of their way, so they are empowered to do their jobs. “People rise to the challenge when you demonstrate confidence in their abilities,” he says.

A statistician by training and a New Zealander by birth, James is an active scholar and a reknowned teacher who has won numerous awards in innovation and business education.





Maya Caron 23B wants to be a doctor. Ben Damon 23Ox wants to impact policy. Rosseirys De La Rosa 22C wants to support her family. Every student comes to college with a dream.

At Emory University, financial aid programs help make these dreams a reality. Through Emory’s need-based aid— using scholarships, grants, and the Emory Advantage program—students can make the most of their time on campus.

This winter, Emory announced it will eliminate need-based loans as part of undergraduate students’ financial aid packages, replacing them with institutional grants and scholarships beginning this fall for the 2022–2023 academic year. This expansion of the Emory Advantage program will give more students the opportunity to graduate debt free, reflecting the university’s commitment to making an Emory education accessible to talented students regardless of their financial resources.

“For Emory to fulfill our mission of

serving humanity in all that we do, we are continuing to invest in making an Emory education affordable to talented students of all financial backgrounds,” says President Gregory L. Fenves. “By eliminating need-based loans for undergraduates, our students have the opportunity to earn their Emory degrees with less debt as they embark on their extraordinary journeys after graduation.”

For students such as Rosseirys De La Rosa, financial aid makes college possible. The senior from Lynn, Massachusetts, is majoring in anthropology and human biology with a minor in African American studies. Through a combination of the Emory University Grant (awarded to students with demonstrated need) and the Emory Advantage Loan Replacement Grant, along with federal aid, De La Rosa has been able to maximize her experience. Her sophomore year, she conducted research on the DNA of Indigenous peoples in Uruguay, inspiring her to want to pursue a PhD after graduation.

“Not having to worry about using my job to pay off loans, buy books and groceries — there is no way I could have healthily done that, get good grades and still be an active member of the Emory community without financial aid,” says De La Rosa. “I am forever grateful because not having to worry about my financials at school allowed me to do all these amazing things that have given me a well-rounded education at Emory.”

For Maya Caron, a junior from Deltona, Florida, 1915 Scholars has been a boon to her education. The program provides mentorship for first-generation college students, who often receive need-based aid, to help them get from admission to Commencement.

Caron says she had never heard of Emory before a high school counselor suggested she apply. With ambitions of being a doctor, Caron says she knew she didn’t want a lot of undergraduate debt because of the cost of medical school. Caron receives need-based scholarships and grants from Emory, as well as federal grants to help fund her education.

“Without financial aid, I would not have been able to attend Emory,” says Caron, who is a business major. “Then I’d have to take out loans for med school. That would be a big stressor.”

Being at Emory has allowed Caron a myriad of hands-on learning opportunities, most notably conducting research through the Emory College SIRE program. Under the tutelage of Miranda Moore, an assistant professor focusing on health care delivery in Emory School of Medicine, Caron researched patient perceptions of different primary care models.

She also worked as a certified medical assistant at a hospital during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and shadowed a physician’s assistant. She is currently studying for the MCAT and taking prerequisite courses for medical school. With her business education, she plans to open an internal medicine practice.


With the expansion of Emory Advantage to eliminate need-based loans as part of undergraduate students’ financial aid packages, the loans will be replaced with institutional grants and scholarships beginning this fall for the 2022–2023 academic year.

“Because Emory meets full financial need for our undergraduate students, we provide a pathway to help our students and their families make an Emory education affordable,” says John Leach, associate vice provost for enrollment and university financial aid. “Emory joins a handful of elite institutions in replacing need-based loans with grants—thus giving our undergraduate students the opportunity to graduate debt free.”

Students such as Ben Damon, a first-year student from Austin, Texas, benefit from this investment. Damon took a gap year before coming to Oxford College. He was drawn to Oxford for the strong liberal arts curriculum and close-knit community. A combination of Emory grants and scholarships, an Emory Advantage loan replacement grant, and federal aid made it possible.

“The college application process was stressful, but Emory was appealing to me because I’d heard good things about Atlanta and the academic profile fit what I was looking for,” says Damon. “I was looking for a collaborative environment and a strong foundation in liberal arts, so I didn’t have to make a decision about my major right away.”

Damon is on the philosophy, politics, and law track, and is considering law school or business school. In the

meantime, he is keeping busy as a first-year Student Government Association senator on the budget and health and wellness committees, treasurer of chess club, and events coordinator for Oxford’s ballroom dance organization.

Nearly 42 percent of Emory’s undergraduate student body receives need-based financial aid. Investing in more need-based aid reflects one of the tenets of the 2O36 campaign: student flourishing. As part of the campaign, the university is hoping to raise $750 million for student scholarships.

“Through the student flourishing initiative, we are making further investments to nurture the whole student and ensure both their professional and personal success,” says Provost Ravi V. Bellamkonda. “We realize that students’ financial well-being can impact their Emory experience, which is why we are making scholarships such a central and critical part of our 2O36 campaign. We are fulfilling our promise to make Emory more accessible for all families, regardless of their socioeconomic status.”

When students have their financial need fully met, they perform better in the classroom. They also gain greater freedom to participate in extracurricular activities, research, service-learning, and internship/externship opportunities that give them an edge upon graduation. It helps students discover their passions and figure out where they can make a difference in the world.

Ranked Among Nation’s Best

According to the 2023 edition of US News & World Report’s “America’s Best Graduate Schools” guide, Emory’s graduate and professional schools and programs continue to rate among the best in the country. Here’s a look at the top rankings:

• The Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing master’s program ranks No. 2 in the nation. The school’s doctor of nursing practice program ranks No. 6.

• Emory’s Rollins School of Public Health ranks No. 4 in the nation.

• Goizueta Business School’s fulltime MBA program ranks No. 21, while its Evening MBA program No. 11 and its Executive MBA program No. 16.

• Emory School of Medicine ranks No. 22 nationally among research-oriented medical schools.

• Emory School of Law School ranks No. 30 in the nation.

• The Wallace H. Coulter Department of Biomedical Engineering PhD program, a joint effort between Emory School of Medicine, Emory’s Laney Graduate School, and Georgia Tech, ranks No. 2 in the country.

Through the student flourishing initiative, we are making further investments to nurture the whole student and ensure both their professional and personal success.
—Provost Ravi V. Bellamkonda

Shattering Assumptions


Ajunior in Emory College of Arts and Sciences made her literary debut this past winter with a book heralded as both one of the “best” and “most anticipated” young adult novels of 2022. But you can be forgiven if You Truly Assumed—published by Inkyard Press, a young adult imprint of HarperCollins—wasn’t on your radar.

The Robert W. Woodruff Scholar from the Washington, D.C., area has kept her accomplishment close.

Laila Sabreen 23C didn’t bring up the book with the professor who oversaw her yearlong research into the portrayal of Black girlhood in Black women’s fiction—a question her novel addresses through the story of three Black Muslim teens who become friends after a terrorist attack heightens the Islamophobia they face.

Sabreen did discuss her writing with friends. But, after they recorded her signing her agent contract as a first-year student in the Raoul Hall lounge, most conversations centered on more traditional college chatter like weekend plans, classes, and exams.

“My writing was originally just for me,” Sabreen says. “Then I realized it could go somewhere a lot of stories don’t, with Black Muslim characters written by a Black Muslim author. I hope (the novel) makes space for more Black Muslim authors to write whatever story is authentic to them.”


Growing up, Sabreen always enjoyed reading and writing. She ran a book blog with her reviews during her first two years of high school, then shifted to writing as a way to express her feelings as she watched anti-Muslim sentiment grow following the 2016 election.

Even as author Adiba Jaigirdar helped her with the novel’s revisions and provided other support through Author Mentor Match during her senior year of high school, Sabreen expected her writing would remain private.

At Emory, she initially planned a pre-health neuroscience and behavioral biology major or a quantitative methods major focused on health care. Days before starting her first year on campus, she completed Emory’s STEM Pathways pre-orientation program for students from underrepresented groups interested in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) fields. There, she cemented the close friendships that have marked her time at Emory. She told her friends she was a novelist in the same matter-of-fact way that others might describe a day as sunny, but it didn’t quite register.

“As STEM people, we didn’t really know what it meant to be a novelist other than it seemed serious to have an agent,” says junior Olivia Bautista 23C, a junior majoring in quantitative sciences with a concentration in biological anthropology. “Now I know Laila is always in the process of writing a novel, even

| SUMMER 2022

though she does all these other things at Emory.”

Though the pandemic ruptured Sabreen’s first year on campus, she has been active as both an executive board member with the Emory Black Student Alliance and as a tutor at the Emory Writing Center.

An introductory sociology class opened her eyes to analytical approaches to explaining how people interact with each other and the world around them. She declared a double major in English—literature, not creative writing— and sociology to explore that overlap.

“Working on the edits of my book made me more aware of what I was enjoying at Emory and gave me the confidence to follow that interest,” Sabreen says. “The writer in me is very interested in people’s motivations and what that means if I can create more realistic characters.”

When Sabreen reached out near the end of her first year to Meina Yates-Richard, an assistant professor of African American studies and English, it was not to discuss her own writing. Instead, she presented a reading list to begin the research she wanted Yates-Richard to guide. Sabreen is now submitting the resulting Scholarly Inquiry and Research Experience project to a peer-reviewed journal.

She also is expanding the project, focused on Black female authors in the twenty-

first century, to include authors from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries for her honors thesis. Her plan after that is a PhD in English literature.

“We met at least bimonthly, sometimes weekly, for an entire year, and she never mentioned [her novel]. Not one time,” Yates-Richard says. “Discovering Laila is an author makes such sense, though, because I can see her aligning herself with a specific tradition in African American literature

are overlooked in public understandings of Islam and marginalized within some Muslim communities.

“Laila’s engaging storytelling offers an important window into the multiple different ways Black Muslim girls and women negotiate their identities and experiences,” Deighton says.

To help readers, especially anyone unfamiliar with that intersectionality, students in Deighton’s class also created a readers’ guide for the novel. The guide included a glossary and chapter-by-chapter prompts, such as asking about Sabreen’s intentional use of

they are looking to read a book like Laila’s.”


It is also an exciting time to be Laila Sabreen, in both author and student form.

She had numerous book promotion events to attend to this spring, but she continued mentoring with Matriculate, helping low-income high schoolers navigate the college application process.

She also has begun digging in on her honors thesis and recently submitted her second novel. Written during the first book’s editing, the novel is an examination of grief and loss Sabreen wrote after the sudden death of a family member just before she came to Emory.

“A lot comes out in my writing. It’s my way of processing what I’m feeling and thinking,” she says.


Sabreen’s ties to the tradition of scholar-writers continued this spring, with You Truly Assumed being included in the cross-listed Muslim Women’s Storytelling course. Instructor Rose Deighton, a postdoctoral fellow in Emory’s Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, assigned the novel as the first text for the class. The unit paid particular attention to the ways Black Muslim women

slang and decision not to italicize Arabic words. Deighton will edit the guide, then give it to Little Shop of Stories, a local bookstore, to share with customers.

“As publishers recognize that more diverse stories need to be told, we’re seeing a lot more adults reading young adult novels now,” says store co-owner Diane Capriola. “It’s an exciting time to be a young adult bookseller. We have a lot more to offer readers when

Sabreen has told friends that a short story—part of an anthology due next year—was loosely inspired by her first semester on campus. She also drafted a third novel over winter break. That way she can focus on her favorite part of writing—the revision— while making time for her academic work.

“My interests change, so I want to be able to shift focus,” Sabreen says. “I want to reach as many people as I possibly can, when I’m ready.”

whose depth comes from a grounding in research that fuels the imagination.”



Emory historian Deborah E. Lipstadt has been confirmed by the US Senate as special envoy to monitor and combat antisemitism, a position in the Department of State with the rank of ambassador.

Described by the White House as “a renowned scholar of the Holocaust and modern antisemitism,” Lipstadt is Dorot Professor of Modern Jewish History and Holocaust Studies in Emory’s Tam Institute for Jewish Studies and the Department of Religion.

President Joe Biden announced Lipstadt’s nomination for the post July 30, 2021. On February 8, she testified before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, which voted March 29 to approve her nomination. She was confirmed by the US Senate on a voice vote March 30.

“There is no person more qualified for this important role than Deborah Lipstadt,” says Emory President Gregory L. Fenves. “During a time when antisemitism is on the rise across the country and world, she is the leader our nation needs to help us overcome and transform hatred through her peerless knowledge, scholarship, and expertise.”

At her confirmation hearing, Lipstadt was introduced by Sen. Jacky Rosen of Nevada, who described her as “arguably the nation’s foremost expert on antisemitism and Holocaust denial, with over four decades of groundbreaking scholarship.”

Lipstadt noted the January 15 attack on a synagogue in Colleyville, Texas, where a gunman held four people hostage. “Senators, this was no isolated incident. Increasingly, Jews have been singled out for slander, violence, and terrorism,” Lipstadt said. “Today’s rise in antisemitism is staggering. It is especially alarming that we witness such a surge less than eight decades after one out of three Jews on Earth was murdered.”

She praised the US government for recognizing “Jewhatred as a serious global challenge,” including by elevating the special envoy to the level of ambassador.

While she has taught about and studied antisemitism throughout her career, Lipstadt said that she has also “repeatedly confronted real world antisemitism” and listed three “life-changing” moments:

• In 1972, as a graduate student, she went to the Soviet Union to meet with Soviet Jews whose applications to go to Israel or the US were denied. They “spoke truth to tyranny and were profoundly liberated by doing so,” leaving Lipstadt “strengthened by them and acutely aware of democracy’s precious gift.”

• In 1996, while a professor at Emory, she was sued for libel in the UK by a Holocaust denier. While the years-long legal battle ended in a “resounding verdict” for Lipstadt and against antisemitism, she spent weeks in the courtroom “listening to a Hitler apologist spew Holocaust denial, antisemitism, and racism.”

• In 2021, Lipstadt served as an expert witness in the civil lawsuit against the organizers of the 2017 “Unite the Right” demonstration in Charlottesville, Virginia. “For those extremists, who came to Charlottesville ready to do battle, neo-Nazism, racism, and antisemitism are intimately intertwined,” she told the senators.

“As those episodes suggest, Jew-hatred can be found across the entire political spectrum,” she said.

Lipstadt will take a leave of absence from Emory to serve as special envoy. When her nomination was announced, she noted that should she be confirmed, “I will miss one thing: Being in the classroom with my Emory students.”


Valeda F. Dent has been selected as Emory University’s inaugural vice provost of libraries and museum, the Office of the Provost announced. In this newly formed position, Dent will work to unite Emory Libraries and the Michael C. Carlos Museum under a new leadership structure, working closely with the Office of the Provost and providing support in planning for the future of both areas—including advancing shared discovery and conservation of the university’s extraordinary collections while continuing to expand access, programming, and community engagement.

Dent comes to Emory from Hunter College of the City University of New York in New York City, where she serves as acting provost and vice president for academic affairs, as well as vice president for student success and learning innovation. Expected to formally take the role in July 2022, Dent has already begun to engage with Emory’s libraries and museum staff in a consultative way.

As a librarian who has consistently held leadership positions of increasing responsibility, Dent notes: “Leadership of today’s academic libraries and campus-based museums is anything but routine. These entities continue to evolve; thus, one’s ability to anticipate emerging trends and evaluate their potential is key.”

Among those movements? “The socialization of library and museum resources (open access), growing collections that support

Libraries Leader

social inclusion and justice, designing empirical models for demonstrating the value of the library and the museum, and emerging and entrepreneurial technology are all spaces where rich opportunities for dialogue and collaboration reside,” she says.

At Hunter College, Dent has served as co-chair of the Presidential Task Force for the Advancement of Racial Equity. Important to her work at Emory, Dent believes strongly in the role of the library and museum in civic outreach and has a deep understanding of libraries and museums as centers of community empowerment and civic responsibility.

Dent is an active scholar who travels, conducts and publishes

high-impact research, and presents globally. She has a robust and consistent record of scholarly achievement in the areas of chronic poverty and literacy, rural African libraries, and literacy culture development and is a Fulbright Scholar.

In her position at Emory, Dent will help shape the libraries’ and museum’s support of the student flourishing and AI.Humanity initiatives.

“Aligning teaching, learning, and research opportunities with the mission of Emory University can help build a community of caring, well-informed, and civically engaged students,” Dent says. “And the museum and libraries can all play a pivotal role.”


For the sixth consecutive year, Emory University has earned the distinction as a top producer nationally of students and alumni who receive US Fulbright Awards, according to rankings announced in February 2022. Emory had twelve recipients of the Fulbright Award teach or conduct research abroad during the 2021–2022 academic year. Emory has been a top-producing Fulbright research institution eight times in the past decade, with a total of 119 student Fulbright recipients.



emory-led study finds streptomycin used on crops negatively affects bumblebees.

AN ANTIBIOTIC SPRAYED ON ORCHARD CROPS to combat bacterial diseases slows the cognition of bumblebees and reduces their foraging efficiency, a recent laboratory study finds. Proceedings of the Royal Society B published the findings by scientists at Emory University and the University of Washington.

The research focuses on streptomycin, an antibiotic used increasingly in US agriculture during the past decade.

“No one has examined the potential impacts on pollinators of broadcast spraying of antibiotics in agriculture, despite their widespread use,” says Laura Avila, first author of the paper and a postdoctoral fellow in Emory’s Department of Biology.

Seventy-five percent of the world’s food crops depend on pollination by at least one of more than one hundred thousand species of pollinators, including twenty thousand species of bees, as well as other insects and vertebrates like birds and bats. And yet, many of the insect pollinator species, particularly bees, face risks of extinction.


Innovative approach in quest to develop cancer vaccines nets Emory chemist Rong Ma a Michelson Prize.

The current study was based on laboratory experiments using an upper-limit dietary exposure of streptomycin to bumblebees. It is not known whether wild bumblebees are affected by agricultural spraying of streptomycin, or whether they are exposed to the tested concentration in the field.

Funded by a US Department of Agricultural grant, the researchers will now conduct field studies where streptomycin is sprayed on fruit orchards. If a detrimental impact is found on bumblebees, the researchers hope to provide evidence to support recommendations for methods and policies that may better serve farmers.

Based on established evidence, the researchers hypothesize that the negative impact of streptomycin on bumblebees seen in the lab experiments may be due to the disruption of the insects’ microbiome.

“We know that antibiotics can deplete beneficial microbes, along with pathogens,” Avila says. “That’s true whether the consumers of the antibiotics are people, other animals, or insects.”—Carol Clark

Emory chemist Rong Ma 21G received a $150,000 Michelson Prize for her proposal to harness the mechanical processes of cells as a new approach in the long-running quest to develop cancer vaccines. Ma, who received a PhD from Emory in 2021, is a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Khalid Salaita, Emory professor of chemistry.

The Michelson Prizes: Next Generation Grants are annual awards to support young investigators who are “using disruptive concepts and inventive processes to significantly advance human immunology and vaccine and immunotherapy discovery research for major global diseases,” according to the Michelson Medical Research Foundation and the Human Vaccine Project, the organizations administering the awards.

Ma was one of three scientists selected through a rigorous global competition to receive a 2021 Michelson Prize for immunotherapy research.

“We need disruptive thinkers and doers who dare to change the trajectory of the world for the better,” says Gary Michelson, founder and co-chair of the Michelson Medical Research Foundation. “Yet promising young researchers too often lack the opportunities, resources, and freedom to explore their bold ideas. The pandemic has created additional roadblocks for many of them. With the Michelson Prizes, we aim to provide early-career investigators a vital boost for their forward-thinking approaches.”

“Rong Ma is a spectacular, highly motivated scientist,” Salaita says. “Sometimes I will tell her that a goal she sets is too lofty or difficult to pull off, but she will look back at me and say, ‘I want to do really big, difficult things.’ ”


“To find specific antigens on cancer cells for cancer vaccine development is extremely challenging, partly because of the ambiguity in predicting what antigens the body’s immune cells can recognize,” Ma says. “Many researchers are focused on using genetic sequencing techniques to find genetic mutations and predict tumor-specific antigens to achieve this goal.”

Ma’s proposal, however, is to use the mechanical forces transmitted by immune cells to antigens as a marker to identify and evaluate whether an antigen can trigger a potent immune response. If the method works in a mouse-model system, Ma explains, the long-range vision would be to isolate the immune cells that are mechanically active when recognizing cancer-specific antigens. The identified antigens and isolated immune cells could then be used to train the body to defend against cancer cells. Carol Clark


Three juniors in Emory College of Arts and Sciences have been named Goldwater Scholars for 2022, the fourth consecutive year that multiple students have won the nation’s top scholarship for undergraduates studying math, natural sciences, and engineering.

Anish “Max” Bagga 23C (mathematics and computer science), Noah Okada 23C (computer science and neurobiology), and Yena Woo 23C (chemistry) are among the 417 recipients chosen from more than 1,240 nominees from universities across the country. Emory has produced forty-five Goldwater Scholars since Congress established the program in 1986 to honor the work of the late Sen. Barry Goldwater. Each Goldwater Scholar will receive up to $7,500 per year for their studies, until they earn their undergraduate degrees.


Professor Darren Lenard Hutchinson was selected to lead the School of Law’s new Center for Civil Rights and Social Justice. The center will enhance the law school’s already rich focus on issues of civil rights, human rights, and social justice and will serve as a hub for interdisciplinary scholarship, research, teaching, evidence-based policy reform, and community outreach. The center was established in September, thanks to a transformative gift of $7 million from the Southern Company Foundation. Hutchinson is the law school’s inaugural John Lewis Chair for Civil Rights and Social Justice, which serves as a lasting tribute to the legacy of “good trouble” advocated by the late congressman.


Professor Hank Klibanoff and Gabrielle


Four Emory Healthcare hospitals have been named top Georgia and US hospitals, and one has been named a top global hospital, in Newsweek’s lists of the World’s Best Hospitals 2022. Emory hospitals took the top four spots in Georgia. Emory University Hospital was listed as the No. 1 hospital in Georgia, and it was the only Georgia hospital named in the top 250 global list, coming in at number 135 in the world. Emory Saint Joseph’s Hospital was listed as the No. 2 hospital in the state. Emory Johns Creek Hospital took third place, while Emory University Hospital Midtown ranked fourth. All four hospitals placed among the top 300 hospitals in the country.

Dudley, instruction archivist in Emory’s Stuart A. Rose Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library, were confirmed by the United States Senate to serve on the Civil Rights Cold Case Records Review Board. Dudley and Klibanoff were nominated by President Joseph R. Biden in June 2021. The review board will examine records of unpunished, racially motivated murders of Black Americans from 1940 to 1980. Dudley is a founding member of the Atlanta Black Archives Alliance and has been working with civil rights collections for more than a decade. Klibanoff is the director of the Georgia Civil Rights Cold Cases Project at Emory and the creator and host of the Buried Truths podcast, which delves into the stories of unpunished racially motivated killings.

Artificial intelligence can amplify humanity’s worst flaws. Emory is working to make sure AI instead exemplifies our highest virtues.

Our fear of artificial intelligence long predates AI’s actual existence. People have a natural apprehension in the face of any technology designed to replace us in some capacity. And as soon as we created the computer—a box of chips and circuits that almost seemed to think on its own (hello, HAL-9000)—the collective countdown to the robot apocalypse has been steadily ticking away.

But while we’ve been bracing to resist our automaton overlords in some winner-take-all technological sci-fi battle, a funny thing happened: The smart machines quietly took over our lives without our really noticing. The invasion didn’t come from the labs of Terminators from Skynet or Agents from The Matrix; it took place in our pockets, in the grocery checkout line, on our roads, in our hospitals, and at the bank.

“We are in the middle of an AI revolution,” says Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Emory University’s provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. “We have a sense of it. But we’re not yet fully comprehending what it’s doing to us.”

Bellamkonda and his colleagues at Emory are among the first in higher education to dedicate themselves, across disciplines, to figuring out precisely the impact the rapid spread of AI is having on us—and how we can better harness its power.

For the most part, this technology comes in peace. It exists to help us and make our lives easier, whether it’s ensuring more precise diagnoses of diseases, driving us safely from place to place, monitoring the weather, entertaining us, or connecting

We are in the middle of an AI revolution.
. . . We have a sense of it. But we’re not yet fully comprehending what it’s doing to us.
” “
— Ravi V. Bellamkonda, Emory University Provost
RAVI V. BELLAMKONDA, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs

us with each other. In fact, the real problem with AI isn’t the technology itself—it’s the human element. Because while true, autonomous artificial intelligence hasn’t been achieved (yet), the models of machine learning that have snuck into every facet of our lives are essentially algorithms created by humans, trained on datasets compiled and curated by humans, employed at the whims of humans, that produce results interpreted by humans. That means the use of AI is rife with human bias, greed, expectation, negligence, and opaqueness, and its output is subject to our reaction.

In fact, the emergence of AI presents an unprecedented test of our ethics and principles as a society. “Ethics is intrinsic to AI,” says Paul Root Wolpe, bioethicist and director of Emory’s Center for Ethics.

“If you think about the ethics of most things, the ethics are in how you use that thing. For instance, the ethics of organ transplantation is in asking ‘Should we perform the procedure?’ or ‘How should we go about it?’ Those are questions for the doctor—the person who develops the technology of organ transplantation may never have to ask that question,” Wolpe says.

“But AI makes decisions and because decisions have ethical implications, you can’t build algorithms without thinking about ethical outcomes.”

Of course, just because the scientists and engineers realize the implications of their creations doesn’t mean they are equipped to make those momentous decisions on their own, especially when some of their models will literally have life or death implications. These algorithms will do things like decide whether a spot on an Xray is a benign growth or a potentially life-threatening tumor, use facial recognition to identify potential suspects

in a crime, or use machine learning to determine who should qualify for a mortgage. Is it really better for society to have engineers working for private companies deciding what datasets most accurately represent the population? Is it even fair to place that burden on them? What is the alternative?

The answer might be the very thing we’ve already identified as AI’s key flaw—humanity. If the big-data technology is going to continue to take on more and more responsibility for making decisions in our lives—if AI is truly the cold, calculating brain of the future— then it’s up to us to provide the heart. And Bellamkonda and Wolpe are among the forward-thinking leaders who believe we can do that by incorporating the

humanities at every step of the process. One way to accomplish that is with existing ethics infrastructure. Ethics has long been a concern in medical science, for example, and there are many existing bioethics centers that are already handling AI-related questions in medicine.

At Emory, the Center for Ethics boasts a world-class bioethics program, but also includes ethicists with decades of experience tackling issues that extend far beyond medicine alone, such as business, law, and social justice—all realms that are being impacted by the emergence of machine learning.

“I’m a proponent of prophylactic ethics,” says Wolpe. “We need to

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PAUL ROOT WOLPE, bioethicist and director of Emory’s Center for Ethics

A N ew V i s i on for A I

Anant Madabhushi was ready for the next step in his career as a researcher and educator. He was already widely recognized as a pioneer in the emerging field of machine learning—specifically for medical imaging and computer-assisted diagnoses. He had authored more than 450 peer-reviewed publications and held over one hundred patents in AI, radiomics, computational pathology, and computer vision. He had even seen his name printed in major consumer publications such as Business Insider and Scientific American that spread the word about how algorithms he’s created have greatly improved the accuracy of diagnosing cancer.

But Madabhushi, a professor of biomedical engineering at Case Western Reserve University, wanted more. He wanted to break out of the lab and share his specialized knowledge of AI with doctors and clinicians who could put it to use in health care systems and hospitals. “I felt it was critical that I translate these algorithms into the medical ecosystem,” says Madabhushi. “It was time to move and deploy this technology into the clinical workflow.”

About the time Madabhushi was feeling this pull, he was contacted by Ravi Bellamkonda, a longtime friend and colleague who had recently been named provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at Emory. Bellamkonda told Madabhushi about a new initiative he was launching, called AI.Humanity, that would transform Emory into a cross-disciplinary community that takes the study of AI out of the research setting and puts it front and center in the fields of health, social justice, philosophy, business, law, literature, the arts, and every other aspect of our lives that this technology touches—which is to say practically everything.

Simply put, the goal is to position Emory as a thought leader in this increasingly omnipresent field and, as the name indicates, put the humanity in machine learning and AI. “Emory wants to work to understand and influence the interface between this explosion of data and data-driven decisions and how we think of ourselves as people, our


society, our commerce, and our way of being,” says Bellamkonda. “Emory wants to make an investment and build that capacity.”

In practice, AI.Humanity is an investment in people—a hiring initiative that will add to Emory’s existing strengths by bringing in between sixty and seventy-five new faculty across multiple departments, embedding expertise in AI and machine learning throughout campus and creating a larger community for the sharing of ideas.

Madabhushi is one of the initiative’s first hires. In July, he will join the Emory School of Medicine, where he can leverage the university’s renowned resources in health sciences to employ his AI and bioengineering algorithms. At the same time, he will be able to tap the expertise of the Emory Center for Ethics, the School of Law, Goizueta Business School, the Department of Political Science, and other arts and sciences programs. Having access to both sides of campus will help him and other hires to address ethics, legality, commerce, social justice, and other issues that inevitably arise when this technology—trained on human data, employed by humans, and used on other humans—goes out into the world.

“I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about health disparities and addressing the issues of bias where we’ve discounted underrepresented and minority populations in the construction of these AI models,” says Madabhushi. “Health care costs are out of control, and one reason is because we have a number of therapies that are really expensive—and a lot of them don’t work for all populations. Sixty percent of cancer patients

are bankrupt. I’m coming at it from a technical standpoint. I’m excited to work with people who work on this from the financial, ethical, and legal perspectives.”

Ethics is going to be at the heart of this initiative centered on machine minds. The questions of “should we?” and “if so, how?” are inherent in any consideration of deploying AI and machine learning to human life. And Emory already has a globally recognized foothold in this arena through the Center for Ethics.

That ethics infrastructure will be augmented by the creation of the inaugural James W. Wagner Chair in Ethics, an endowed position named in honor of the former Emory president and with a special focus on artificial intelligence. An international search is already underway to find the right person to lead multidisciplinary reflections, conversations, and challenges involving AI as its uses expand across campus and throughout society. “We’re very excited about this initiative,” says Gari Clifford, chair of the Department of Biomedical Informatics in Emory School of Medicine. “Ethics is at the core of what we do here. It’s critical that we instill ethics and health equality into both our applied models and our teaching pedagogy.”

Provost Bellamkonda has also convened a task force of faculty drawn from across the campus. This panel will not only identify promising candidates to fill these new cross-disciplinary positions, but it will also facilitate and build awareness and a community around this initiative through educational programming and seminars for faculty and students alike. “It’s a significant investment, but it’s just a seed of a broader initiative,” says Tim Holbrook, vice provost for faculty af-

AI VISIONARY Anant Madabhushi, incoming faculty member in biomedical engineering

fairs and co-convener of the task force. “Hopefully, it becomes self-propagating, and we continue to grow and bring in top-notch faculty to a more formal structure.”

Fellow task force leader Lanny S. Liebeskind, vice provost for strategic research initiatives, says he thinks the initiative will do more than just take advantage of Emory’s current strengths in health sciences, ethics, business, law, and liberal arts—by bringing in so many experts in AI and machine learning, it could also burnish the university’s credentials in other areas of study.

“Historically, we’ve had great success in, but haven’t necessarily been recognized for, things computational and computer science related,” says Liebeskind, who is also Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry. “Most everyone who gets hired will have very strong computational and data science expertise. You’re shifting Emory’s overall strengths in interesting ways.”

But Provost Bellamkonda emphasizes that AI.Humanity is not about moving away from Emory’s tradition in the humanities, nor is the initiative, in his opinion, inconsistent with the university’s liberal arts mission. AI is already incorporated into most facets of everyday life, and it is becoming a foundational area of study for higher education.

Ramnath K. Chellappa, associate dean and professor of information

systems and operations management for Goizueta Business School, says that while the development of AI methods and technologies falls squarely in the domain of hard sciences, their impact is felt throughout all areas of study. “Nowhere is it more evident than in the world of business where new models have emerged to personalize creation of content, services, and production,” Chellappa says. “Building a community around AI at Emory is great way to engage multiple perspectives and will have a significant impact on university-wide pedagogy.”

That’s why the initiative is not just about recruiting academics, faculty members, and renowned researchers to Emory. It’s also about the students, from undergrad to grad student to PhD candidate—in every college, school, major, and minor—being ready to not only enter, but also influence a world that is increasingly built around machine learning.

Through the initiative, the provost envisions not only a formal curriculum incorporating AI into multiple majors and minors, but also creating AI workshops, lectures, and library resources open to anyone on campus, for credit or not. “I would like to see AI-related topics be ubiquitous on campus,” says Provost Bellamkonda. “It’s important to prepare the leaders of tomorrow—and AI is both our today and our tomorrow.”

AI VISIONARIES Ramnath K. Chellappa (left), associate dean and professor of information systems and operations management at Goizueta Business School; and Gari Clifford, professor and chair for the Department of Biomedical Informatics at Emory School of

Continued from Page 15

think about the ethical implications of this AI before we put it in the field. The problem is this isn’t happening through a centralized entity, it’s happening through thousands of start-ups in dozens of industries all over the world. You have too much and too dispersed AI to centralize this thinking.”

Instead, these ethics centers could be used not only as review boards for big AI decisions, but also as training centers for people working in machine learning at research institutions, private companies, and government oversight agencies. “We’ve discussed developing an online certification program in AI ethics,” says John Banja, a professor of rehabilitation medicine and a medical ethicist at Emory. “There are already a lot of folks in the private sector who are concerned about the impacts of AI technologies and don’t want their work to be used in certain ways.”

A more grassroots—and potentially farther-reaching—way to tackle this problem might be to provide these statisticians, computer scientists, and engineers with students, teachers, and researchers across the humanities while they are still in school so they can collaborate in the design of AI moving forward.

At Emory, Provost Bellamkonda has launched a revolutionary initiative called AI.Humanity that seeks to build these partnerships by hiring between sixty and seventy-five new faculty across multiple departments, placing experts in AI and machine learning all over campus, and creating an intertwined community to advance AI-era education and the exchange of ideas.

“Our job as a liberal arts university is to think about what


Over nearly eighty years, artificial intelligence has advanced from the stuff of theory and science fiction to being stuffed into everyone’s pockets. Here are ten milestones that have ushered us to our ubiquitous AI reality.


Alan Turing, godfather of computer science and artificial intelligence, conceives the Turing Test aimed at determining if a machine can exhibit intelligent behavior indistinguishable from that of a human.


Computer scientist John McCarthy coins the term artificial intelligence in advance of a conference at Dartmouth University where top scientists would debate the merits of rules-based programming versus the creation of artificial neural networks.


Businesses start to buy into narrower applications of AI, with Digital Equipment Corporation deploying a so-called “expert system” that configures customer orders and saves the company millions of dollars annually.


Autonomous vacuum cleaner Roomba from iRobot becomes the first commercially successful robot designed for use in the home, employing simple sensors and minimal processing power to perform a specialized task.


Apple introduces Siri, a voice-controlled virtual assistant that puts ground-breaking AI into the pockets of iPhone users.


Author and biochemist Isaac Asimov imagined the future of AI in his sci-fi novel I, Robot, and devised the Three Laws of Robotics designed to prevent our future sentient creations from turning on us.


Shakey the Robot becomes the first mobile robot able to make decisions about its own actions by reasoning about its surroundings and building a spatial map of what it sees before moving.


IBM supercomputer Deep Blue defeats world chess champion Garry Kasparov in a hyped battle between man and machine.


Five autonomous vehicles complete the DARPA Grand Challenge off-road course, sparking major investment in self-driving technology by the likes of Waymo (Google), Tesla, and others.


Self-driving cars finally (and legally) hit the road when Waymo launches its self-driving taxi service in Arizona.

this technology is doing to us,” says Bellamkonda. “We can’t have technologists just say: ‘I created this, I’m not responsible for it.’ This will be a profound change at Emory—an intentional decision to put AI specialists and technologists not in one place, but to embed them across business, chemistry, medicine, and other disciplines, just as you would with any resource.”

While the AI.Humanity initiative has just begun, there are already several projects at Emory that have shown the potential of bringing ethics and a wide range of disciplines to bear when developing, implementing, and responding to AI in different settings.

Let’s look at four Emory examples that might serve as models for conscientious progress as AI and machine learn-

ing become even more commonplace in our day-to-day lives. Perhaps putting the human heart in AI will not only lead to a more efficient, equitable, and effective deployment of this technology, but it might also give humanity better insight and more control when the machines really do take over.


FOR MANY PEOPLE WHO WORK IN THE HUMANITIES, the advent of the digital age—the continuous integration of computers, internet, and machine learning into their work and research— has been incidental, something they’ve

merely had to adapt to. For Emory’s Lauren Klein, it was the realization of her dream job.

Klein grew up a bookworm who was also fascinated with the Macintosh computer her mother had bought for the family. But she spent much of her career searching for a way to combine reading and computers. Then came the advent of digital humanities—the study of the use of computing and digital technologies in the humanities. Specifically, Klein keyed into the intersection of data science and American culture, with a focus on gender and race. She co-wrote a book, Data Feminism (MIT Press, 2020), a groundbreaking look at how intersectional feminism can chart a course to more equitable and ethical data science.

The book also presents examples of how to use the teachings of feminist theory to direct data science toward more equitable outcomes. “In the year 2022, it’s not news that algorithmic systems are biased,” says Klein, now an associate professor in the departments of English and Quantitative Theory and Methods (QTM). “Because they are trained data that comes from the world right now, they cannot help but reflect the biases that exist in the world now: sexism, racism, ableism. But feminism has all sorts of strategies for addressing bias that data scientists can use.”

Klein’s hire between the English department and QTM is an example of the cross-pollination designed to foster thoughtful collaboration of new technologies. “She’s bringing a humanistic critique of the AI space,” says Cliff Carrubba, department chair of QTM at Emory. “A social scientist would call that looking at the mechanism of data collection. Each area has an expertise. Humanists have depth of knowledge of

LAUREN KLEIN, associate professor of English and quantitative theory and methods in Emory College of Arts and Sciences

history and origins, and we can merge that expertise with other areas.”

In addition to her own research, which currently includes compiling an interactive history of data visualization from the 1700s to present, a quantitative analysis of abolitionism in the 1800s, and a dive into census numbers that failed to note “invisible labor,” or work that takes place in the home, Klein is also co-teaching a course at Emory called Introduction to Data Justice. The goal is to help students across disciplines come to grips with the concepts of bias, fairness, and discrimination in data science, and how they play out when the datasets are used to train AI.

“It’s a way of thinking historically and contextually about these models in a way that humanists are best trained to do,” says Klein. “It’s a necessary complement to the work of model development, and it’s thrilling to bring these areas together. To me, the most exciting work is interdisciplinary work.”


WHILE AI AND MACHINE LEARNING ARE RELATIVELY NEW TO MANY FIELDS, the idea of computers using data to help us make decisions has been in our hospitals for decades. As a result, once big data and neural networks came around, they were readily adopted into clinical workflow—especially in the realm of radiology.

At first, these algorithms could be relied upon to relieve and double-check the eyesight of radiologists who typically

spend eight to ten hours a day staring at images until so benumbed that they’re bound to miss something. Eventually they were used to automate things even well-rested humans aren’t very good at—like measuring whether a tumor has grown, the space between discs in the spine, or the amount of plaque built up in an artery. But eventually, the technology evolved to be able to scan an image and identify, classify, and even predict the outcome of disease. And that’s when the real problems arose.

For instance, Judy Gichoya, a multidisciplinary researcher in both informatics and interventional radiology, was part of a team that found that AI designed to read medical images like

Xrays and CT scans could incidentally also predict the patient’s self-reported race just by looking at the scan, even from corrupted or cropped images. Perhaps even more concerning: Gichoya and her team could not figure out how or why the algorithm could pinpoint the person’s race.

Regardless of why, the results of the study indicate that, if these systems are somehow able to discern a person’s racial background so easily and accurately, these deep learning models they were trained on weren’t deep enough. “We need to better understand the consequences of deploying these systems,” says Gichoya, assistant professor in the Division of Interventional Radiology and Informatics

JUDY GICHOYA, assistant professor of interventional radiology and infomatics at Emory School of Medicine

at Emory. “The transparency is missing.”

She is now building a global network of AI researchers across disciplines (doctors, coders, scientists, etc.) who are concerned about bias in these systems and fairness in imaging. The self-described “AI Avengers” span six universities and three continents. Their goal is to build and provide diverse datasets to researchers and companies to better ensure that their systems work for everyone.

Meanwhile, her lab, the Healthcare Innovation and Translational Informatics Lab at Emory, which she co-leads with Hari Trivedi, has just released the EMory BrEast Imaging Dataset (EMBED), a racially diverse granular dataset of 3.5 million screening and diagnostic mammograms. This is one of the most diverse datasets for breast imaging ever compiled, representing 116,000 women divided equally between Black and white, in hopes of creating AI models that will better serve everyone.

“People think bias is always a bad thing,” says Gichoya. “It’s not. We just need to understand it and what it means for our patients.”


THERE HAS BEEN MUCH FOCUS ON WHAT TYPE OF DATA WE TRAIN THESE MACHINES on and how those algorithms work to produce actionable results. But then what? There’s a third part to this human-AI interface that is just as important as the first two—how humans and the larger systems we have in place react to this data.

“Causal mechanisms, the reason things happen, really matter,” says Carrubba. “At Emory, we have a community beyond machine learners from a variety of specializations—from statisticians to econometricians to formal theorists, with interests across the social sciences like law, businesses, and health—who can help us anticipate things like human response.”

One such person is Razieh Nabi, assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Rollins School of Public Health. Nabi is conducting groundbreaking research in the realm of causal inference as it pertains to AI— identifying the underlying causes of an event or behavior that predictive models fail to account for. These causes can be challenged by factors like missing or censored values, error in measurement, and dependent data.

“Machine learning and prediction models are useful in many settings, but they shouldn’t be naively deployed in critical decision making,” says Nabi. “Take when clinicians need to find the best time to initiate treatment for patients with HIV. An evidence-based answer to this question must take into account the consequences of hypothetical interventions and get rid of spurious correlations between the treatment and outcome of interest, which machine learning algorithms cannot

Machine learning and prediction models are popular, but one issue that is really hot is algorithmic fairness— the idea that, despite the illusion that these algorithms are objective, they can actually perpetuate the biases that are in the data.
“ ”
Razieh Nabi
RAZIEH NABI, assistant professor of biostatistics and bioinformatics at Rollins School of Public Health

do on their own. Furthermore, sometimes the full benefit of treatments is not realized, since patients often don’t fully adhere to the prescribed treatment plan, due to side effects or disinterest or forgetfulness. Causal inference provides us with the necessary machinery to properly tackle these kinds of challenges.”

Part of Nabi’s research has been motivated by the limitations of the methods proposed. For one example, there’s an emerging field of algorithmic fairness—the aforementioned idea that, despite the illusion that machine learning algorithms are objective, they can actually perpetuate the historical patterns of discrimination and biases reflected in the data, she says.

“In my opinion, AI and humans can complement each other well, but they can also reflect each other’s shortcomings,” Nabi says. “Algorithms rely on humans in every step of their development, from data collection and variable definition to how decisions and findings are placed into practice as policies. If you’re not using the training data carefully, it will be reflected poorly in the consequences.”

Nabi’s work combats these confounding variables by using statistical theory and graphical models to better illustrate the complete picture. “Graphical models tell the investigator what these mechanisms look like,” she says. “It’s a powerful tool when we want to know when and how we identify these confounding quantities.”

Her work is focused on health care, social justice, and public policy. But Nabi’s hope is that researchers will be able to better account for the human element when designing, applying, and interpreting the results of these predictive machine models across all fields.


OF COURSE, AS MACHINE LEARNING FINDS ITS WAY INTO THESE VARIOUS fields and daily interactions, there is an

overarching concern that goes hand in hand with the ethical considerations—how our use of AI impacts the law.

Kristin Johnson is the Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory’s School of Law. She is internationally known for her research focusing on digital assets and AI used in commercial transactions, and she has co-authored a forthcoming book about the ethical implications of machine learning and its place in a just society. “We’re looking at a number of ways that AI is altering how we apply and understand the law,” says Johnson. “It’s having a profound effect on our understanding of our Constitutional rights, competition law, and human rights.”

Johnson points out that, like most other professions and institutions, the justice system is experiencing a direct impact from this technology. This includes things like the use of predictive models to determine bail assessment, potential recidivism,

and eligibility for social benefits.

There are also the larger concerns of peoples’ rights when it comes to use of machine learning, particularly in regards to privacy when collecting the data on which these predictive models are trained. “We need to ensure this technology is adopted and applied in a way that is consistent with constitutional norms and protects the values those laws are intended to preserve,” she says.

But whether it’s our rights to protect our personal information or trying to negotiate a plea deal with a robot lawyer, Johnson echoes the concerns of her colleagues at Emory: Don’t forget the importance of the human element in the face of tranformational technological change.

“AI is limited in its ability to provide legal services,” she says, “because there remains a necessity for empathy and understanding that currently only humans bring to the profession.”

KRISTIN JOHNSON, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law at Emory School of Law


The Piedmont Project, the country’s LONGEST RUNNING FACULTY DEVELOPMENT PROGRAM IN SUSTAINABILITY, was launched at Emory in 2001. For 21 years, Emory has developed the curriculum, led, and hosted this national program for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), supporting more than 600 educators from across the country—including over 250 Emory faculty members—to integrate sustainability into their curriculum.

2. 3.

EMORY UNIVERSITY RANKS No. 6 in the United States out of 853 schools surveyed in The Princeton Review’s 2022 Guide to Green Colleges based on 2019 data evaluated for administrative and academic excellence in sustainability.

Emory in 2021 earned a “GOLD” RATING IN THE SUSTAINABILITY TRACKING, ASSESSMENT, AND RATING SYSTEM (STARS) Report for leadership and innovation in sustainability from AASHE—the 4th time in a row it has achieved this honor.


THROUGH ITS LEADERSHIP ACROSS EMORY UNIVERSITY, Emory Healthcare, and in the Atlanta community, the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, Resilience, and Economic Inclusion (OSI) and its partners have made tremendous impacts, not only on our campus environments, but also in our classrooms, laboratories, and health care facilities. And what’s been implemented locally thrives out in the greater world wherever the university’s cutting-edge research—and its sustainability-minded alumni—have taken root.

Two years ago, Emory signed a TRANSFORMATIVE SOLAR POWER AGREEMENT with Cherry Street Energy to install more than 15,000 solar panels on its campuses. These panels will generate approximately 10 percent of Emory’s peak energy requirements and reduce annual greenhouse gas emissions by about 4,300 metric tons.


A founding member of the SUSTAINABLE PURCHASING LEADERSHIP COUNCIL, Emory has helped create a shared, national platform for guiding, measuring, and recognizing leadership in sustainable purchasing.

LOFTY—BUT ATTAINABLE— SUSTAINABILITY GOALS for the university’s campuses include 45 percent carbon reduction by 2030 (from 2010 levels) and total carbon neutrality by 2050, 100 percent clean energy by 2035, 95 percent diversion of waste from landfills, and 50 percent reduction in the use of potable water, among many others.


In its most recent ranking, Business Insider placed Emory No. 20 AMONG UNIVERSITIES FOR STUDENTS WHO WANT TO CHANGE THE WORLD, with our sustainability leadership cited as a key factor.


Emory faculty have CREATED OR MODIFIED MORE THAN 400 COURSES IN 40 ACADEMIC DEPARTMENTS that are related to sustainability. Sixty-one percent of academic departments have sustainability course offerings.

Graduate students can work toward a MASTER’S DEGREE IN DEVELOPMENT PRACTICE at Laney Graduate School and a MASTER’S DEGREE OF PUBLIC HEALTH IN ENVIRONMENTAL HEALTH and CERTIFICATE IN CLIMATE AND HEALTH at the Rollins School of Public Health.


Emory’s School of Medicine received the No. 1 RANKING ON THE PLANETARY HEALTH REPORT CARD by medical students and faculty covering 62 medical schools in the US, UK, Ireland, and Canada based on curriculum that incorporates climate change and operational leadership.


The university has developed MINORS, CERTIFICATES, AND CONCENTRATIONS IN SUSTAINABILITY FOR BOTH UNDERGRADUATE AND GRADUATE STUDENTS that teach students sustainability as an integrated concept. Undergrads can earn a SUSTAINABILITY MINOR IN INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES OR A SUSTAINABILITY SCIENCES MINOR through Emory College’s Department of Environmental Sciences, or concentrate in environmental management through Goizueta Business School. They can also strengthen leadership skills while creating sustainable community change with the ETHICS AND SERVANT LEADERSHIP PROGRAM and the COMMUNITY BUILDING AND SOCIAL CHANGE MINOR. 10.

THE TURNER ENVIRONMENTAL LAW CLINIC and the ENVIRONMENTAL AND NATURAL RESOURCES LAW PROGRAM, directed by clinical professor of law Mindy Goldstein, train School of Law students to become sustainability leaders in environmental law.


THE EMORY OXFORD ORGANIC FARM, located on the edge of Oxford Campus, was created in 2014 on eleven acres of land donated by an Emory alumnus. This interactive outdoor classroom gives students HANDS-ON EXPERIENCE IN SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE and provides fresh food for Emory’s campuses and the surrounding communities.


NINETY-FIVE PERCENT of Emory students report an INCREASE IN SUSTAINABILITY-RELATED KNOWLEDGE during their time learning at the university. But more important, 46 PERCENT of students say they INCREASED THEIR OWN SUSTAINABLE BEHAVIORS while at Emory.

Just months later in October 2021, the EMORY CLIMATE COALITION—comprised of three student groups— enlisted President Fenves, on behalf of the university community, to join the GLOBAL RACE TO ZERO, an initiative backed by higher ed institutions devoted to achieving ZERO CARBON EMISSIONS.


Since its founding in 2006, the OSI has offered more than 170 INTERNSHIPS to Emory students who use research, data analysis, outreach, training, communications, and programmatic skills to integrate sustainability into all levels of the Emory enterprise.

Under the tutelage of associate professor of environmental sciences


Kaela Wilkinson 23C, Ryan Thorne

23G, Marlon Gant 23G, and Chiara Brust 23PH—had the incredible opportunity to share their voices on the world stage at the 2021 UN CLIMATE CHANGE CONFERENCE and gain invaluable experience as scholars and advocates for climate change solutions.

In June 2021, THE STUDENT-LED PLASTIC-FREE EMORY group worked with President Gregory L. Fenves to adopt a “BREAK FREE FROM PLASTICS PLEDGE” that commits the university to reduce its consumption of unnecessary single-use plastics. Co-founded by students Nithya Narayanaswamy 21Ox 23C and CJ O’Brien 21G, the group has built a broad coalition to collect data, engage the Emory community, and develop actionable solutions

At the same time, President Fenves also signed the SECOND NATURE CLIMATE LEADERSHIP NETWORK, joining 450 other universities and colleges that have agreed to take actionable and trackable steps toward REDUCING GREENHOUSE GAS EMISSIONS.

This spring, OSI is launching its INAUGURAL POSTGRADUATE FELLOWSHIP PROGRAM and adding a new CLIMATE SOLUTIONS FELLOW and A SUSTAINABILITY AND SOCIAL JUSTICE PROGRAMS FELLOW. Both will gain one full year of expertise and mentorship in these areas.

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Emory’s RESILIENCE AND SUSTAINABILITY COLLABORATORY (RSC) is a THINK-AND-DO tank that leverages the collective expertise of corporate leaders, university faculty and staff, government, and community organizations and plugs into actionable projects that generate innovative solutions to sustainability and resilience challenges. RSC projects are first tested locally, exploring on-the-ground solutions that may be translatable and scalable to communities across the globe.



One RSC project led by professor Eri Saikawa involves SOIL TESTING IN WEST ATLANTA, where exposure to heavy metals and metalloids can cause serious health consequences and even death. Having found slag dumps and high levels of these contaminants in the soil, the project is working to INCREASE AWARENESS IN THE COMMUNITY while encouraging systematic testing and communityengaged remediation.

The WORKING FARMS FUND, a partnership between Emory and The Conservation Fund, has acquired farmland within 100 miles of Atlanta that helps PROTECT AND PROMOTE SMALL AND MID-SIZED FARMS surrounding the metro area while generating a resilient food supply. This land is leased to a new generation of farmers with a five- to 10-year path to ownership. In November 2021, Emory started receiving the first produce from these farms.

Last fall, Emory HOSTED LEADERS OF THE MUSCOGEE NATION and adopted an OFFICIAL LAND ACKNOWLEDGMENT as early steps toward honoring the Indigenous peoples as the original inhabitants and stewards of the land on which Emory now sits. Important work still lies ahead to create a university community that is more inclusive of Native and Indigenous perspectives, learning, and scholarship, as well as to provide respectful stewardship of the land.


Join the Emory Alumni Environmental Network, which connects alumni who share an interest in preserving our environment. Led by alumni Mae Bowen 16C, Amy Hou

In 2020, Emory received a NATIONAL GRANT FROM THE EPA to establish an on-campus prototype for an ANAEROBIC DIGESTER This cutting-edge technology can turn food waste into biogas (renewable energy) and soil amendments (agricultural use).

THE WATERHUB AT EMORY is a WATER RECYCLING SYSTEM that uses eco-engineering processes to clean wastewater for future non-potable uses like heating and cooling buildings and flushing toilets. Installed in 2015, it was the first system of its kind in the US and now RECYCLES UP TO 400,000 GALLONS OF WATER DAILY.

15Ox 17C, and Taylor McNair 16B, the network provides learning experiences, networking events, and service opportunities year-round.


DRUG HUNTERS The Road to Discovery

ITis a rare honor to meet someone whose life you have saved.

Emory drug hunters Dennis C. Liotta, Raymond F. Schinazi, and Woo-Baeg Choi, however, know the feeling. The drugs they developed for HIV—Epivir and Emtriva—have saved countless lives.

At conferences, in restaurants, those who are still here because of the work of these scientists, or love someone who is, often step forward to express their thanks. It doesn’t get old. How could it?

Though rightly celebrated for the magnitude of their discoveries, Schinazi and Liotta, who remain at Emory, rub elbows with a host of colleagues whose work is also groundbreaking. During the past two decades, Emory scientists and clinicians have developed medications to treat influenza, cancer, hepatitis, hemophilia, measles, heart disease, dry eye, hot flashes, and other disorders.

In that time, a brass bell outside the Emory Office of Technology Transfer (OTT) has gotten a workout. Whenever the office signs a deal to license an Emory researcher’s invention to a company wanting to develop it as a new product or drug, Todd Sherer—associate vice president for research and OTT’s executive director—rings the bell outside his office, and everyone within earshot applauds.

In 2013, Sherer sounded the bell for an obscure drug called EIDD-2801, which Emory scientist George Painter developed as a countermeasure against Venezuelan equine encephalitis. Painter later found that it worked against respiratory viruses such as influenza and, eventually, a disease

no one had heard of until two years ago: COVID-19.

EIDD-2801 evolved into molnupiravir, the first oral antiviral pill approved in the world to treat symptoms of the novel coronavirus that has killed more than five million people worldwide. The medication received Emergency Use Authorization from the US Food and Drug Administration on December 23, 2021, and its manufacturer, Merck, rushed to make the red capsules available to highrisk patients.


But none of that was foreseeable when Painter synthesized the precursor of the drug and Sherer clanged his bell. “It was but a glimmer in the eyes of us all,” Sherer says. “This is standard fare for universities, where discovery occurs years before success becomes obvious.”

Molnupiravir is the twenty-fifth FDA-approved drug born at Emory. Thirteen others are in clinical testing, and six more are in preclinical trials.

Given the flurry of work by Emory researchers in response to the pandemic, molnupiravir isn’t even the first approved COVID-19 drug credited to Emory. That distinction goes to baricitinib, an arthritis medication marketed by Eli Lilly, which Emory researchers discovered could be used to treat the complications of severe COVID-19.

Emory has become a drug-development nexus because of a rare confluence of institutions and expertise. The presence of the Emory Healthcare system, Centers for Disease Control

Spanning decades of research, Emory scientists have played a critical role in developing twenty-five FDA-approved drugs—ranging from the treatment of HIV-AIDS to COVID-19—that have helped save countless lives.

and Prevention, Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and research partners such as Georgia Tech, Georgia State University, University of Georgia, and Morehouse School of Medicine have created a hothouse of drug innovation and attracted a growing number of renowned scientists to the university.

“We have a very broad-based faculty with interest in immunology, vaccinology, and drug discovery and development,” says Schinazi, a medical chemist who has helped generate some of Emory’s biggest drug breakthroughs.

The university counts more than 2,500 scientific researchers who received almost $900 million in funding from the US government, private foundations, and other sources in the past fiscal year. They carry out their discov-


When David S. Stephens, vice president for research in the Woodruff Health Sciences Center, was considering his career options in the early 1980s, he interviewed at Emory. His colleagues at Vanderbilt University advised him not to go there.

“Emory at the time was not known as a place of innovation or discovery,” he remembers. “We were known for clinical medicine, education, teaching. But we were not known for translational research. I think we’ve changed that paradigm.”

One of the early landmarks in that transformation, he believes, was the 1979 gift of $105 million from Coca-Cola magnate Robert W. Woodruff and his brother George W. Woodruff. That commitment continues. A 2018 pledge of $400 million from the Woodruff Foundation is helping to create a new home for drug

sentence to a manageable chronic disease,” he says.

Liotta partnered with Emory researchers Schinazi and Choi, and they patented an HIV drug in early 1990, just seven days ahead of their competition. It took a decade of laboratory refinement, testing, and patent prosecution and litigation before the compound could reach the market. “[The university] ended up spending over $20 million in legal fees,” Liotta says. “It took guts.”

The resulting medication, Epivir, became the first Emory-developed drug to win FDA approval in 2001. Emtriva, a second drug created by the same team, followed two years later. More than 90 percent of HIV patients in the United States have taken or are taking the drugs, as they became part of a once-a-day pill regimen that prevents the withering disease. Epivir is also widely used for the treatment of HBV, an infection affecting

“Our true north is in fact to ask: What impact do our discoveries make? How do they enable better care of those suffering from disease? And how do we prevent disease as well?”
Vikas Sukhatme, Dean Emory University School of Medicine

telbivudine, a drug highly effective and specific for HBV infections.

The collaboration that the three scientists demonstrated is a staple of the Emory program. When the overriding goal is the health of patients, every source of insight and expertise is welcome.

Jonathan Lewin, Emory’s executive vice president for health affairs and CEO of Emory Healthcare, believes the culture of collaboration across schools and disciplines is one of the university’s strengths. “The fact that

vice president for research; executive director, Office of Technology Transfer

our scientists work together—people across medicinal chemistry, the School of Medicine, and our other schools—has enabled us to tackle some of the most challenging diseases around,” he notes.

The success of the HIV medications helped secure the future of drug development at Emory. In one of the largest intellectual

property deals ever struck by a university, Emory in 2005 sold rights to future Emtriva royalties for $525 million. It reinvested most of the proceeds into research, in accordance with federal law, while Liotta gave millions from his lab’s share of earnings from the sale to create EIDD and DRIVE. The two entities work hand-in-glove—EIDD concentrating on science, DRIVE focusing on antivirals that address critical treatment gaps—and were instrumental in the discovery of molnupiravir.

Painter, DRIVE’s CEO, started working on what would become molnupiravir in 2013 after the Defense Threat Reduction Agency put out a call to develop countermeasures against equine encephalitis, a tropical infection that it feared could be used as a bioterrorism weapon. He learned that the drug could suppress a wide variety of viruses, especially coronaviruses, by stunting their ability to reproduce.

The promise of an oral medication against COVID-19 drew global attention. Painter found the glare distracting. “I have spent my career as a drug developer, nose down, getting things done,” he says.

When he heard the trial results from Merck confirming that molnupiravir could help treat COVID-19 patients at high risk for severe disease, he admits that his scientific detachment melted. He started weeping.

And then he got back to work. “Our continuing mission is to search for other antiviral agents that are usable by the general public to address other tough diseases,” Painter says. “So we are on it. That’s our job.”



MOLNUPIRAVIR: 1st antiviral pill approved for use against COVID-19.


BARICITINIB: Turning an existing drug to use against COVID-19.


BELATACEPT became the new standard of care in kidney transplant.


OBIZUR, an orphan drug, proved a gamechanger for individuals with acquired hemophilia A.


EPIVIR-HBV: 1st drug approved for hepatitis B infections.


EPIVIR AND EMTRIVA: Most HIV patients in the US take these drugs, which have helped increase life expectancy from 39 years in 1996–1997 to 77 years in 2014–2016.



As medications go, molnupiravir’s development— propelled by the pandemic—was rapid. It took only eight years from the time Painter started developing the drug to the time the FDA issued emergency authorization. Most drugs are tortoises, taking an average of ten years or longer to reach the public. The vast majority don’t finish the race.

“Most drug discoveries never go to market,” says Deborah Watkins Bruner, Emory’s senior vice president of research. “It’s only a very small percentage that make it through that entire pipeline, from animal trials to human trials to licensing to FDA approval to commercialization.”


Pete Lollar, an Emory hematologist, recalls seeing a cartoon that illustrated the long odds; thousands of pills were pouring into the open end of a huge funnel, while one measly survivor made it out of the bottom. The image resonated with him because he lived through the process with a drug he invented to treat acquired hemophilia A, a rare condition that usually strikes older people.

Lollar started investigating Factor VIII, a protein that helps blood clot, four decades ago. In 1992, he and his lab partners at Emory discovered a way to synthesize the substance to treat hemophilia patients. After failing to find a pharmaceutical company to license the technology, Lollar co-founded a company with the university to license the technology and develop a medication.

Twenty years later, after several pharmaceutical firms had licensed or sublicensed the technology, the drug had still not won federal approval. It was in the wilderness between research and commercialization, what people

in drug development call “the valley of death.” Lollar blames economics. The market for the medication was relatively small—in pharmaceutical parlance, it was an “orphan drug”—so none of the successive companies felt an urgent need to spend the money to finish testing. Lollar kept at it. Finally, in 2014—twenty-two years after Lollar disclosed his invention to Emory—Baxter International won FDA approval for his hemophilia drug, obizur.

“What I learned,” Lollar says, “is that getting a drug to market is an idiosyncratic process. There are no easy formulas, and there are many routes to failure. Once you disclose an invention, the university has to like it well enough to spend money to prosecute the patents. And then it has to try to find a company to license it. The company has to be willing to spend the money to perform preclinical work and do clinical trials. The longer it goes, the more expensive it gets.”

Even when a drug is approved, the struggle isn’t over.

Christian P. Larsen, professor of surgery in Emory’s Department of Transplantation, co-developed a drug called belatacept that reduces the chance of kidney transplant rejection. After nineteen years of development, Bristol Meyers Squibb secured FDA approval for the medication in 2011, and Larsen and his co-discoverer, Thomas C. Pearson, executive director of the Emory Transplant Center, marked the triumph by performing the first kidney transplant using the drug.

But that was just the beginning.

“We tell the story of belatacept like it was linear,” Larsen says, “but it wasn’t. There were so many fits and starts, peaks and valleys, other candidates that we decided not to pursue. And then when you get the drug approved, there really isn’t a moment when you get to declare victory.”

He continues. “That was a big revelation for me. It’s never over. You have to do follow-up studies, keep investigating the best way to use it, find the most effective companion drugs. If you take the long view of solving problems for patients, drug discovery is an ongoing process.”


One of the biggest changes in drug development has been the role of private industry. Research universities used to think their work had ended after scientific

10 YEARS Average minimal time from concept to a new drug of investigational drugs that make it clinical trials get approved
$2.6B Estimated cost for an approved drug

discovery; it was the job of pharmaceutical companies, not academia, to develop innovations into medications.

Now institutions such as Emory embrace partnerships with biotech and pharmaceutical companies.

“Ultimately, a lot of the ideas we’ve had only move forward if someone in the for-profit sector wants to move them forward,” says Vikas P. Sukhatme, dean of the Emory School of Medicine. “Most drugs are developed by indus try. And most devices are developed by industry. So, we do


CLOSE TO 50% of Emory start-ups discover and develop new drugs

62 Number of pharmaceutical start-ups

25 Number of FDA-approved drugs

have to keep an eye on how we can best commercialize things.”

Pulmonologist Louise Hecker left the University of Arizona to join Emory as an associate professor of medicine in 2020 in part because she believed Emory understood the role of private enterprise.

“They brought me here to be an academic entrepreneur,” she says. “To translate any science into something that helps people, you have to think of it as a product. I felt like this was a place where that mindset is valued. Even the dean has a company. You don’t see that everywhere.”

Hecker studies regenerative biology and the body’s declining ability to heal scar tissue as it ages. In a major discovery, she identified NOX4, an oxidizing agent that can go into overdrive and result in fatal organ damage after traumas like a heart attack. She set her sights on finding a compound that would curb NOX4 and allow organs to regenerate themselves.

She and her lab screened thirty-five thousand compounds to find candidates that looked likely to control

NOX4. It was a long, difficult search that took years and was filled with disappointment.

“Things fail all the time,” Hecker explains. “It’s a key part of being successful. I always try to fail as quickly as I can, because you’re not going to find out what works until you find out what doesn’t work. Each failure brings you a step closer to success.”

Now that she is ramping up her lab at Emory, she hopes to be filing “a lot” of invention disclosures in the coming years as new applications for her research are discovered.

In continuing her work on a new campus, Hecker is inspired by pioneer Emory drug hunters such as Dennis Liotta, whom she asked to be on her academic advisory board.

“To have people like Dennis around is fantastic,” Hecker says. “I mean, he’s done it.” When it comes to drug discovery, history seems to be repeating itself at Emory.

“It’s a key part of being successful. I always try to fail as quickly as I can, because you’re not going to find out what works until you find out what doesn’t work. Each failure brings you a step closer to success.”
Louise Hecker, associate professor of medicine



Following a statewide filming boom, Emory suddenly found itself a popular set location for movie and TV productions. Find out how the university has helped bring these creations— including Stranger Things and entries in the Marvel Cinematic Universe—to life.

In the Netflix TV series Stranger Things, few sights elicit shudders from viewers more than the foreboding presence of the Hawkins National Laboratory. Not only is this edifice of elemental evil home to the unspeakable experiments performed on the show’s Eggo-loving protagonist Eleven, but it’s also a portal to the malevolent Upside Down—a dark mirror world whose creatures terrorize the sci-fi show’s scrappy band of young heroes.

In real life, however, the Hawkins Lab is simply an old academic building—Building A, to be exact, located on Emory University’s Briarcliff Campus. Erected in the 1960s in the brutalist architecture style—a showcase of concrete, steel, and glass—it was originally used as a mental health treatment facility before being purchased by the university

decades later. Today, it’s a mostly empty, five-story complex filled with vacant offices, lobbies, conference rooms, auditoriums, and lab and clinical spaces. If that weren’t enough, Building A’s labyrinthian underground tunnels and eldritch elevators help Stranger Things achieve its creepy, Netherworldly vibes.

It’s no wonder why movie and TV productions hold the location in such high demand. “I had a production designer once refer to Building A as an exoskeleton that’s perfect for making it into just about any kind of institutional setting they need—from a bustling hospital to a sedate bank lobby to a nondescript government office,” says Denise Chandler, head of film production management for Emory. “And the building’s interiors are so varied you can shoot a number of scenes right next to each other and they’ll look like they’ve been filmed at completely different locations.”

The productions for Hidden Figures and First Man used Emory’s Briarcliff Campus to double as 1960s-era NASA control rooms and offices. Netflix’s Ozark briefly transformed a space into a modern-day mental institution, while Disney’s WandaVision turned a courtyard into an autopsy theater for a fallen superhero. “Film crews just love the look of the main building and its surrounding facilities, and they love that the interiors can be adapted into just about anything they might need,” Chandler says.

But Building A isn’t the only draw at Emory—including its Oxford Campus—to attract Hollywood and indie productions. With the state of Georgia now one of the nation’s top filming hubs, the university has become a popular locale for shooting movies and TV series of all types. In fact, a wide variety of Emory locations have been featured in dozens of productions over the past decade.

“Emory just has a beautiful campus—our landscape is visually striking and evokes that ideal collegiate feeling,” Chandler says. “Also, the university features a number of different architectural styles that give filming crews a lot of options. We can imitate Germany, we can imitate California, we can even imitate a colony in space.”

What Chandler herself will never imitate, however, is being a big fan of movies and TV shows. She freely admits she’d much rather curl up with a good book. On top of that, she’s rather indifferent to the cult of celebrity and

outsized personalities that might step foot on campus for a film production.

“A scout might say in passing that, you know, someone like Ryan Reynolds is in the movie, and I wouldn’t be impressed,” Chandler says. “I don’t care if a production is packed with A-list talent or a bunch of unknown, up-andcoming filmmakers. What I do care about is what they want to shoot and what we’ll need to do on our end to make it happen.”

All of this makes her perfect for the job, which she’s been working at full time since the end of 2015.

“And what I do find very interesting about my work, and about these productions, is how they can come to campus and completely transform a location overnight,” Chandler says, “then almost just as quick, film their scenes and move on. It’s an amazing feat of logistics and knowhow, and it’s exciting to be part of that.”

HAWKINS LABORATORY LOOMS Emory’s head of film production management Denise Chandler (left) stands in the shadows of the Emory Briarcliff Campus Building A's brutalist architecture, The building’s facade and versatlle interior spaces make it a perfect fit (right) for filming Netflix’s Stranger Things and numerous other shows and movies.




Ant-Man and the Wasp (Disney/Marvel)

Bobby Jones: Stroke of Genius (McDongall)

Copshop (Open Road Films)

Denial (Bleecker Street)

First Man (Universal)

Gifted (Fox Searchlight)

Hidden Figures (20th Century Fox)

Hillbilly Elegy (Netflix)

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (HBO)

Into the Wild (Paramount Vantage)

Jungle Cruise (Disney) Oxford Campus

Moonshot (HBO Max)

The Mule (Warner Bros)

Remember the Titans (Disney)

Reptile (Netflix)

Road Trip (DreamWorks)

The Suicide Squad (DC/Warner Bros)

The Tomorrow War (Amazon)


24: Legacy (Fox)

Black Lightning (The CW)


Doom Patrol (HBO Max)

The Dukes of Hazzard (CBS) Oxford Campus

Genius: Aretha (Nat Geo)

Naomi (DC/The CW)

Ozark (Netflix)

Stargirl (The CW)

Stranger Things (Netflix)

Sweet Magnolias (Netflix)

Vampire Diaries (The CW) Oxford Campus

WandaVision (Disney/Marvel)

The process starts when a film location scout reaches out to Chandler. “Often they know the spot on campus that they want to consider for a shoot, but sometimes they’re not quite sure,” she says. “They might just generally need a classroom or auditorium, and then I go through the specs on what’s available and they can decide whether or not they want to visit.”

But the far bigger consideration is the timing, which is dependent on the academic calendar.

“The timing has to work or it’s a definite no-go,” Chandler says. “During the school year, most places on campus are off limits for filming. It’s my job to protect Emory and the community from major disruptions of studying and teaching and research and other work. And I can tell you, these productions are very disruptive. They have a huge footprint. Major ones will bring in at least a hundred people with all their associated gear—and a great sense of urgency.”

When these crews come to film, Chandler says, they expect to take over a space completely and for whatever duration they have it scheduled. “They usually need at least a day to prep the space and build their sets, and then a day to shoot, and finally a day to strike (and restore) the space,” she says. “So it’s generally a minimum of three days they need, and trying to find three days of uninterrupted time that works for both them and the campus can be quite tricky. We try to book these productions on long weekends and during class breaks. Of course, summer is most ideal.”

That’s part of the reason why Briarcliff is so popular for filming. It’s not just visually appealing and versatile—it’s usually empty and available.

After the scouting process ends, and the film crew decides to use a specific Emory location, Chandler starts to plan the logistics—starting with getting approval from whichever university department normally uses the facility. “Say, if a produc-

tion wants to film in White Hall—which is the second most requested location on campus—then I have to check with Emory College to make sure the space and the dates are OK,” she says.

White Hall, like Briarcliff Building A, features brutalist-style architecture that’s appealing to set designers. Scenes from Marvel’s AntMan and the Wasp featuring Laurence Fishburne’s character—specifically his classroom and office—were filmed there, as were early moments in DC’s recent Suicide Squad sequel.

“Once the thumbs up is given from those who will be most affected, then there’s usually a back-and-forth with the designers about what they can do to the location,” Chandler says. “Can they paint a wall as long as they repaint it back to its original state? Can they use an adjoining classroom to store equipment? Are they allowed to use atmospheric smoke, and if so, can we have facilities staff members available to turn off the fire


alarm? We iron out all those types of details.”

Chandler says during these negotiations she finds herself having to say “No” to the crew’s requests. “Because they’re going to push you and ask for the moon, and my job is to push back and tell them what they can and can’t do,” she says.

Even though most productions typically only shoot for a few days on campus, those days are often long— one time Chandler stayed on set a whopping twenty-two hours. She has to chaperone them the entire time. “I have to be there to make sure the film crews are getting what they want from the shoot, but without damaging Emory property or causing any major disruptions to the university’s core mission.”

Sometimes, during those lengthy shoots, she wit-

nessed true movie-making magic. “I’m not that much of a fan girl, but I got a chance to watch Clint Eastwood direct a scene for his movie The Mule,” Chandler says. “I was in awe to see him work so quickly and efficiently, capturing a scene in just a couple takes and then moving on. I've watched some directors do take after take after take—for hours at a time. Eastwood’s work behind the camera did impress me.”

Unfortunately, students don’t get such a close-up

look at the filming process as often as Chandler would like. “For the most part, the shoots are kept very private, and they put up barriers to dissuade onlookers,” she says. But there have been a few instances—such as AntMan and the Wasp—where students got a chance to be extras. And there were a couple film students who got to shadow some of the production of the 24: Legacy TV show a few years back.”

Still, sometimes the will of the students can’t be denied. “In 2017, during the



filming of an indie movie called Gifted, somebody found out that moviestar Chris Evans was on campus,” Chandler says.

“One of the students apparently tweeted that none other than Captain America was inside White Hall. Soon a couple hundred students gathered outside to see if they could catch a glimpse of him. Some faculty and staff members got mad, but there was nothing we could do about it,” she says. “I mean, students will be students.”

TRANSFORMING SPACES (above left) Emory's Candler Mansion doubles as the superhero headquarters on Doom Patrol (above right) Laurence Fishburne "taught" in White Hall during Ant-Man and the Wasp. (bottom right) The Vision was dissected in Briarcliff Building A in WandaVision


long line of girls locked armin-arm with their fathers, tremble awaiting a chance to see Queen Charlotte. Sweat drips down their white dresses, and they stumble in high heels. Any curl out of place could mean marrying a man of lower birth, or worse—becoming a spinster. In early nineteenth-century London, young women in high society lived and died by the social season, where they were presented for marriage to the city’s most eligible bachelors.

This is the uncompromising, ornate world of the powerhouse Netflix series Bridgerton. The show, which debuted its much-anticipated second season this spring, was brought from page to screen by Emory alumnus Chris Van Dusen 01C.

When Bridgerton premiered in 2020, it broke Netflix records, reaching 82 million households in just its first month streaming. The show is based on the book series of the same name by Julia Quinn and follows the eight upper-class Bridgerton siblings on their quest for love and belonging.

How Emory alumnus Chris Van Dusen turned up the dial on period TV romance with smart writing, diverse casting, and modern twists.

For Van Dusen, the books presented the opportunity to indulge in the historical romance and elegance that fans of shows such as Downton Abbey and Belgravia love. But at the same time, he had ideas on how to add modern sensibilities to the genre, including diversifying the storytelling by writing Black and Brown characters into the narrative. Indeed, the two most powerful women in the series are Black: Queen Charlotte—who in real life is rumored to have been mixed race—and her friend, Lady Danbury.

The journey to creating Bridgerton is the latest of many career steps for Van Dusen, but the seeds for writing new worlds were planted more than two decades ago when he became a student at Emory University.


Van Dusen, who grew up in Maryland, majored in journalism and economics at Emory. He says he always has loved storytelling, which drew him to journalism because it scratched the writing itch. Courses with Loren Ghiglione, who was the James M. Cox Jr. Professor of Journalism at the time, challenged him to pay attention to details and listen to people. And outside of the classroom, Van Dusen found a creative community to help his imagination flourish. He believes both experiences have served him well in developing characters for television.

“I was very lucky because I found my circle of friends early on,” Van Dusen says. “We were creative individuals, and we were interested in nourishing each other. The university fostered that kind of community to go after your dreams and do what you want to do. I owe a lot [of my career successes] to my experiences at Emory.”

After graduating from Emory in 2001, Van Dusen attended the University of Southern California’s Peter Stark Producing program, where he learned how to take a project from script to screen. Two years later, while he was looking for his first professional job, he saw a listing for a writer’s assistant position for a show called Sex and the Surgery. Little did he know that the writer was Shonda Rhimes—now a television mogul—and the show would become the long-running ABC network medical drama, Grey’s Anatomy

Van Dusen recalls those hectic early days as a writer’s assistant: He managed Rhimes’s schedule, attended meetings, and tried to absorb all he could throughout the process. But his own writing always remained close to his heart.

He found opportunities to do so by writing fan fiction and promotional blogs for Grey’s

BEHIND THE SCENES Chris Van Dusen (above, center) oversaw creative production of both seasons one and two of Bridgerton, including filming in London.

Anatomy. This eventually led him to the series writer’s room, where he started to pen episodes of his own. Since then, he’s ridden all the rides in Shondaland—the name of Rhimes’ production company—working as a writer and producer on the hit shows Scandal, The Catch, and Private Practice.

“The best career advice I can give is that if you want to be a writer then you have to write,” Van Dusen says. “Even if it’s just a little bit of writing every single day. I challenged myself to write a paragraph every single day, which turned into a few paragraphs and full pages and then whole scripts.”

He’d wanted to lead a project for a long time when Rhimes introduced him to Quinn’s Bridgerton novels. Rhimes had secured a multiyear, multi-million-dollar deal with Netflix and was looking to do something unexpected. It was just the right fit for him, offering a mix of history and fantasy. Van Dusen also relished the chance to create juicy characters—something he learned from his fifteen years working on Rhimes’s projects.

“You have to know your characters on a deep level and be unafraid to put them in the worst position possible,” Van Dusen says. “Even if it’s just a writing exercise, dig a hole for them and figure out a way to get them out of it. I think that’s what makes for the type of riveting and compelling television that I like to write and that I like to watch.”


As executive producer and showrunner on Bridgerton, Van Dusen consulted with historians and immersed himself in the world of Regency-era London. As the keeper of story, as

he calls it, he also met with all the departments, the cast, and spent a lot of time in pre- and post-production to be sure the world came to life.

The most important aspect for Van Dusen was to make the world intentionally diverse. In Bridgerton, Black and Indian characters aren’t servants—they’re rivaling and reveling in high society with everyone else. At the same time, no one is colorblind. The characters address identity but aren’t stunted by it.

“I really wanted to figure out how to make a period piece look and feel different— especially when it came to casting, language, how stories are told, the speed at which stories are told—I wanted to reimagine that genre in a new exciting way,” Van Dusen says. “I’m always interested in making shows that reflect the world we live in today. Even though Bridgerton is set in the nineteenth century, it’s for a modern audience and I wanted a modern audience to see themselves onscreen.”

Van Dusen’s instincts were right. Bridgerton has resonated with audiences in more than one hundred countries. The dreamy series dropped in 2020 when the world needed an escape from a harrowing pandemic and painful racial reckoning. The heightened language, lush topiaries, lavish parties, and intricately beaded gowns create an enticing vortex of color and light that is easy to get swept up in. Plus, anachronistic touches such as using chamber music covers of pop hits like Ariana Grande’s Thank U, Next and Billie Eilish’s Bad Guy during the period dance scenes make the world of Bridgerton feel somehow contemporary.

The first season was nominated for twelve Emmy Awards, winning one for hairstyling; one only need to look at the hair


height to understand why. Bridgerton also won three NAACP Image Awards and has been lauded for its diversity and inclusion. Now, it’s slated for two spinoffs in addition to moving into its heralded second season.

Fans of the show may recall that last season, eldest daughter Daphne Bridgerton entered society and fell for a duke who professed to be a lifelong bachelor.

In season two, her brother—the viscount Anthony Bridgerton—is looking for a wife, but his checklist seems impossible for any woman to match. His younger sister, Eloise, is presented to society, though she goes kicking and screaming. Their neighbors, the Featheringtons, are still desperate to maintain their luxe lifestyle and marry off as quickly as possible. And of course, the town gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown, is scribbling about the scintillating scandals, much to the chagrin of everyone in town—especially Queen Charlotte.

This season, audiences also meet the Sharma family, which has recently moved back to London from Bombay with two beautiful and intelligent daughters. In the second episode of

season two, Lady Whistledown writes, “There are two things that lurk within the dark and shadowy places of our fair city: vermin and secrets. I will leave it to you, dear reader, as to which do the most harm.”

Needless to say, based on the episodes I had the opportunity to preview, in this new season the hair is higher, the hoop skirts are wider, and the chandeliers are shinier.

However, it’s not all fluff. Van Dusen and his team insert some modern sensibilities by commenting on how the women of color have to work twice as hard to be chosen and by inquiring about whether a woman’s worth resides in more than her ability to bear children—all debates that resonate today.


“Bridgerton is something I am always going to be immensely proud of,” Van Dusen says. “I never could have anticipated the response; even the music from the TikTok musical is nominated for a Grammy Award. A lot of doors have opened for me, and I’ve never

felt more excited. Bridgerton is just the beginning.”

Lately, Van Dusen has been trying to find the balance between being a husband and father to three young daughters, as well as venturing out on his own professionally.

He and his husband moved the whole family to London while Van Dusen worked on Bridgerton. Now that his time as showrunner for this series has concluded, he’s finding inspiration in his daughters’ imaginations and cracking open his idea pad.

In fact, he already has other projects up his sleeve outside of Shondaland, including a TV adaptation of Adam Silvera’s science fiction novel, They Both Die at the End.

With all of his successes, Van Dusen still looks back fondly on his time at Emory for teaching him how to be true to his creative instincts.

“Emory was such an incredible community for fostering creative development,” he says. “I had incredibly inspiring professors, and I remember [one of my writing professors] telling me I had a knack for storytelling. That really has stuck with me all this time.”

Though Van Dusen consulted with historians and immersed himself in the world of Regency-era London, he wasn't afraid to take some risks in updating the story with current sensibilities.

to a theater near you


Emory alumni are not the only ones making strides on screens big and small. From animators to actors and everything in between, students in film and media studies are already diving into the industry with impressive results. Read more to learn about them and their acclaimed work.


Kailey Albus 25C

an hour from her hometown of Chicago. Released in January 2022, Somebody Somewhere has drawn rave reviews from audiences and critics alike. Albus plays the part of Shannon, the niece of the show’s main character.

animation auteurs

Kheyal Roy-Meighoo 23C and Isaac Gazmararian 23C

when she completed her first acting audition at the age of nine, Kailey Albus was convinced she had flunked it. However, just a few days later, she got a call from a talent scout who promptly booked her with an agency. Since then, Albus has acted and performed voiceover work in commercials and short films throughout her youth. She got her big break in 2019, landing a supporting role in the major HBO series Somebody Somewhere, which filmed in Lockport, Illinois—

The now first-year Emory student was thrilled to land the role and says that the experience helped her become more comfortable with being on the set of a major production. Albus sees acting as a way for her to gain self-awareness. “It’s honestly kind of a type of therapy for me,” she says. To express the emotions of the characters she plays, she taps into her own personal feelings and experiences.

The nineteen-year-old student is studying film and media and considering a minor in theater. She loves that Emory is so closely situated to the bustling Atlanta film scene, and she appreciates how the university’s film program is rooted in both film theory and technical production skills.

kheyal Roy-Meighoo, stuck at home during the pandemic in the fall of 2020 and struck with boredom, decided to throw herself into making a stop-motion animated movie. Specifically, she wanted to use this down time to fulfill her dream of completing a Claymationstyle film that she’d show to the public. “I’ve always been interested in film, and as a kid I absolutely loved Wallace and Gromit,” she says. Using a clay figure and other accessories, she spent days in her room and created her first piece, titled Daydream. The same year, Roy-Meighoo took Emory’s Introduction to Film class, which solidified her moviemaking interest. And then in 2021, she took


her efforts up another notch. She conceived and made an animated short called My Bunny’s Story with the help of her friend and Emory classmate Isaac Gazmararian. The two created the piece for the nationwide 2021 Campus MovieFest. After months of preparation and countless hours teaching themselves new skills and techniques, the duo filmed for just five days—as required by contest

through his internship at Warner Media, where he helps with animations for NBA games and other major sports programming. Gazmararian’s own 2021 Campus MovieFest entry, a 3D-animated film titled The Drop, won several awards including the Jury Award, which placed him in the top twenty for the moviemaking week.


Alexis C. Jenkins 21Ox 23C

non-monolithic stories of communities that I respect and revere,” she says.

rules—spending twelve hours a day working on the piece. A mixture of stop-motion film and computer animation, My Bunny’s Story won thirteen awards, including three Golden Tripod Awards at the festival. (You can watch it on YouTube.)

Gazmararian first became interested in film as a 10-year-old, when he made stop-motion Lego videos using his Nintendo DS. He has now been working in the Atlanta film industry for five years, creating short films and music videos, and has spent his time focused on directing, cinematography, and animation. Gazmararian is currently expanding his skills in 3D animation

Roy-Meighoo and Gazmararian followed up My Bunny’s Story by collaborating on a personal project titled Doodle. This film tells the story of a high-school boy who has a crush on his classmate and sends him a note. When the crush does not find the note, a doodle on the paper comes alive to deliver itself to the boy. The two students have spent seven months teaching themselves 2D animation for the piece. But it’s not just about learning the technical skills; honing the storytelling is vitally important, too.

Roy-Meighoo is an advocate for what she calls “subtle diversity” in her pieces. The main character in My Bunny’s Story had brown skin, and the main character of Doodle is gay, but neither of the films draw unneeded attention to these qualities—the characters simply exist as themselves, she says.

Both Gazmararian and Roy-Meighoo credit their Emory film professors for being important mentors and encouraging them to follow their passions.

alexis C. Jenkins thought she was destined for a career in medicine when she fell in love with Grey’s Anatomy in high school. But after witnessing real surgeries during an internship, Jenkins realized that medicine was most definitely not for her—and she realized what she actually was interested in was what it took to film such a successful show.

“When I came to Emory, I started to meet other people who were film fanatics and who really had a passion for film,” Jenkins says. Most recently, she directed, produced, executive produced, and wardrobe styled a music video for up-and-coming pop artist Lila Jai. The video, titled Fate, won Best Music Video at the 2021 LA Femme International Film Festival. She appreciates how film allows her to explore her creativity. “I want to touch people and make them think differently about the worlds around them,” Jenkins says. She is especially focused on representing minority communities. “I want to make true impact by platforming

Jenkins’s early film works have earned her a place as a Stipe Scholar Fellow, a board of undergraduate fellows who have made large strides in both the arts and academics. She says that Emory’s liberal arts education

has allowed her to “think more holistically about the world,” and make sure that her videos appeal to a wide range of audiences. Jenkins cites Film 212 with Assistant Professor David Barba and Film 207 with Assistant Professor Dehanza Rogers as two incredibly formative classes during her time so far at Emory.

“The compassion, guidance, care, and attention to detail those professors had for the work and the students really pulled me in,” Jenkins says. It was these classes that made her realize she wanted to write, direct, and produce, and she's currently working on her debut narrative film.


Big kind of a



Ted Lasso. Stranger Things. Narcos. These immensely successful TV series might seem very different thematically, but one common thread unites them: They are blessed with top creative talent. And it’s Camille Rustia’s job to make sure the directors, showrunners, and actors behind these shows were signed, sealed, and delivered. As a business affairs executive and entertainment lawyer for Netflix and, now, Apple TV+, the Emory alumna negotiates these talent contracts, secures intellectual property rights, and works behind the scenes to help these productions run smoothly. Originally a journalist who got her start in TV as a student intern for CNN’s Inside Politics—and went on to become part of a Peabody Award–winning team at the news network—Rustia pivoted her career to the legal side of show business and couldn’t be happier. She talked to Emory Magazine about her work at these content-streaming giants that are upending where and how we watch TV.

EMORY MAGAZINE: So what exactly do you do as a business affairs executive and entertainment lawyer for Apple TV+?

RUSTIA: I negotiate talent agreements, from soup to nuts, from obtaining the rights to the underlying intellectual property to signing deals with the writers and directors and actors. Say, for example, we want to make a television show based on a compelling graphic novel or a book. I’d start by negotiating to get the audiovisual rights from whomever owns the intellectual property—sometimes it’s the author, sometimes the publisher. Then we’ll line up the showrunner and the writers. Often the project will be packaged with high-level directors or producers attached and all of these folks who bring the series to life creatively need their compensation and perqs negotiated. Finally, after all the talent is secured and production begins, my role shifts to helping make sure the entire project stays on budget. Much of my day consists of tackling problems that arise, such as talent relations or guild issues.

EM: What are some of the biggest challenges in doing this type of work?

RUSTIA: There really never seems to be enough hours in the day to get everything done. We shoot dozens of shows across multiple time zones and continents, so we are constantly on the move and need to be familiar with how production and labor laws work in different states and countries. Over the past two years we’ve faced the


same COVID-related challenges as other industries, including how to navigate shutdowns in the middle of a television season. This is always tricky. For example, if a child actor has a major growth spurt during a COVID shutdown, there could be continuity issues that need to be solved on set when production resumes or in post-production. No matter the challenge, one key to being effective in this industry is putting the right people together to tackle each issue. Another thing to keep in mind is that this is also a creative process, so making sure everything is running smoothly on set is essential to facilitating the type of environment where actors, directors, and producers are in a good headspace, and they feel like they can be creative and focused.

EM: What excites you about work on major TV series like these?

Rustia: I just love seeing the finished product. It is gratifying when a show finally launches and it brings audiences and critics joy or at least causes them to think differently. Ted Lasso was something extra special because the show provided some needed levity and positivity during a time when the news was horrific and doom scrolling was part of my daily routine. Playing a part in creating these shows is wildly different from the type of law I used to practice. In litigation, someone is always unhappy—when you work in the world of television there is always the potential to create something fun or funny or impactful—something that coworkers or families can bond over.

EM: What would surprise audiences the most about how these productions come to life?

Rustia: I think people don’t realize just how much research goes into all aspects of creating a TV show. A lot of

time is spent on the smallest details. On the creative side, it might be something like how the costumes are designed for a period piece or all the intricacies of building a fictional world—or recreating a historical one. That same attention to detail happens on the business and legal side, too.

EM: What’s been your favorite project to work on and why?

Rustia: That’s a tough one because I’ve had memorable experiences at nearly every step of my career. On my first day as a journalist at CNN, the levees in New Orleans broke and Hurricane Katrina coverage became a twenty-four-hour endeavor. In the aftermath of this terrible natural disaster, our crews investigated everything from the infrastructure problems that exacerbated socioeconomic issues to how the city would rebuild. We won a Peabody Award for our work. When we weren’t working in the newsroom, we were staffing a hotline to help reunite family members with their loved ones. The control room staff adopted abandoned animals from New Orleans. We were embedded there for months. On the entertainment side, I really enjoyed working on Narcos The show’s success proved that media companies could film a series that wasn’t solely based in English and that diverse stories about different parts of the world could be commercial and successful. I think it pushed networks to take a chance on shows like Netflix’s Squid Games and proved that hit shows don’t have to originate from familiar IP.

EM: How did studying political science and sociology at Emory help shape your career?

Rustia: It really opened up my world view and triggered a greater curiosity about how people interact with one another. I had some fantastic professors

who introduced me to concepts that are still fascinating and relevant, like globalization. I think about it every time I hear that a supply chain issue has caused delays in my everyday life. It was also incredible to study the history of Southern politics and see lessons I’ve learned continue to play out during each national election. Sociology and political science focus so much on how individuals operate in society. It seemed natural to transition into journalism where I could continue to explore these concepts in a nonacademic forum.

EM: What advice would you have for students and young alumni for their careers?

Rustia: I would say pick a ladder and climb it. And if somewhere along the way you find a better ladder, it’s OK to jump off and start over. But when you’re on that ladder, you have to commit yourself to the climb. Stay focused and fight for what you are passionate about and it will never feel like work (or at least almost never). Show business is a difficult industry to break into, and it’s not necessarily a meritocracy, which makes it ever harder. So much of it is relationship driven—and building relationships is a critical skill and talent unto itself. If you want a career in entertainment, you have to get to know the creatives, agents, and executives because it takes all of these people to turn an idea into an actual feature or series. When I see truly successful people in entertainment—these amazingly creative people that build fictional worlds from their minds—they are always people who can’t imagine themselves doing anything different. They pursue it as though there is nothing that they would rather do.



When Emory alumnus Douglas Hooker 87B made a trip to Antarctica in December 2021, he wasn’t expecting to connect with a fellow Eagle at the southernmost reaches of the Earth. But to his delighted surprise, he discovered that one of the leaders of the expedition was Alexandra Van Nostrand 09C, who has been working as a coordinator and lead guide for Trackers Earth for more than nine years. This picture was taken aboard ship on their return trip to Argentina where the ten-day adventure began.


Celebrating Changemakers


The annual Emory Alumni Awards are an opportunity to reflect on the everyday champions, luminary leaders, and changemakers who call Emory home. This year, the Alumni Association honored five alumni whose stories of triumph and trailblazing serve as an inspiration to all.


This award is Emory’s most prestigious alumni award and honors recipients who are leaders in their field as well as leaders in their local, national, and global communities. Emory Medal recipients stand out for their service to Emory and the Alumni Association, service to their communities, and professional achievements. This year’s recipients are:

Jean O’Connor 98C 01L 01PH

2022 Emory Medal Recipient

Jean O’Connor has spent more than two decades as a public health leader ensuring communities are healthy—and stay that way. She previously worked for the State of Georgia as the chief policy officer and chronic disease prevention director. In that role, she oversaw $30 million in statewide grants and programs related to risk factors for chronic disease, health equity, the state’s health improvement planning process, and partnership across sectors. She also worked at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for ten years as a health scientist and was the acting associate director for policy for the Center for Preparedness and Response.

OUR BEST AND BRIGHTEST This year’s award recipients were honored at a gala event held on campus in March.

She has taught at the Rollins School of Public Health since 2003 and the doctoral program at the University of Georgia since 2017. While working and teaching, she earned a doctorate in public health in 2009 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

O’Connor has always been deeply committed to public service. She is currently a principal at Abt Associates, an engine for social impact that provides health-related research and technical assistance for governments. She is the past-president of the US National Association of Chronic Disease Prevention Directors and serves on several nonprofit boards, including Heluna Health. In 2018, she was named to the Fulbright Specialist Roster for global health and law.

The same verve O’Connor has committed to public service has kept her involved with Emory. While attending Emory, she volunteered extensively for Emory EMS, and she has continued to contribute to many committees, organizations, and groups during the past twenty-five years.

Clarence Cooper 67L

2022 Emory Medal Recipient

Judge Clarence Cooper is accustomed to carving a path where there is none. He came to Emory’s School of Law in 1965 and was among the first full-time African American students to graduate from the program. Cooper began a career in law during the civil rights movement. This turbulent time of desegregation and denial of voting rights fueled Cooper in his ascent as a lawyer.

Throughout his early career, he was the first and only Black person in many of the offices he serviced. He served as the assistant district attorney for the Fulton County District Attorney’s Office for five years. Later, he was appointed to Atlanta’s Fulton County Superior Court, where he presided over the Wayne Williams / Atlanta Child Murder case. Cooper is currently a senior judge on the US District Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

He is a pioneer for African Americans in the field of law, and his legacy is one that all people can live by.


This award goes to alumni who demonstrate exceptional volunteer leadership and have provided extraordinary service to Emory through alumni organizations, regional clubs, class programs, and other related groups. The Tull Foundation makes a gift of $25,000 to Emory in honor of the Turman Award recipient. This year’s honoree is:

Lisa M. Carlson 93PH 2022 Alumni Service Award Recipient

Lisa Carlson has spent the last three decades dedicating her life to public health and Emory University. She first came to Emory in 1992 as a first-generation college student and Woodruff Scholar. The effortless sense of community she found as a student has kept her rooted to the university. Carlson carries dual roles at Emory as an affiliated instructor at Rollins School of Public Health and executive administrator of research administration at the Emory School of Medicine. She has inspired hundreds of students to think critically about today’s public health issues while championing public health on the national level.

Carlson has served as president of the American Public Health Association and made history as the youngest president to be elected to the Georgia Public Health Association. She has made it her mission to serve Emory in a multitude of ways, from committees and boards to fundraising and individual giving. She was instrumental in the Seating the Future Campaign, which invited donors to invest in plaques for the auditorium seats in Claudia Nance Rollins Building. The campaign inspired 134 donors to give $33,500 in funding for the Rollins School of Public Health.


Through this award, the Emory Alumni Association proudly recognizes the extraordinary commitment of alumni who contribute to the good of their communities. Whether through professional or volunteer service, they make a significant and positive impact on the lives of others and embody the values represented in the university’s vision. This year’s recipients are:

Gulshan Harjee 82M 85MR

2022 Community Impact Award Recipient

Gulshan Harjee’s life oftentimes has felt like a series of tests. She grew up in a small village in Tanzania with limited access to health care. In high school, she contracted malaria that nearly killed her. As nationalism began to sweep through East Africa, she decided to flee her home country. Later in her life, she suffered the unimaginable loss of her husband to a mass shooting. And when there seemed to be a respite from these unending tests, Harjee learned she had cancer, which she would inevitably beat.


While Harjee’s life has been one of struggle, it has also been one of resilience, tenderness, and an unrelenting wish to return the kindnesses she has received during hard times. Her crowning jewel in that mission is the Clarkston Community Health Center. She co-founded this free clinic, which serves the immigrant, refugee, uninsured, and underinsured population of Clarkston and metro Atlanta. The clinic has encountered more than ten thousand patients with a staff of only one part-time coordinator. The clinic is currently serving 5,900 patients on an annual basis. Harjee has made that possible by giving medical, nursing, and public health students from Emory and several other Georgia universities opportunities to train and become better, more empathetic practitioners.

Trish Miller 17PH 2022 Community Impact Award Recipient

Trish Miller was nineteen years old when she dove headfirst into twelve-foot-deep water. It was spring break, and after a fifteen-minute swim lesson from friends, she mustered the courage to take the leap. Adrenaline soaring, her body crashed into the water. It was a frantic few moments before Miller realized that she had no idea how to float or tread water. Luckily, her friends sprang into action and saved her life.

She went on to learn that experiences like hers were far too common. In fact, drowning deaths are the second-leading cause of death in children

seventeen years and under. For Black children, the rates are even higher than for their Hispanic and white counterparts.

Faced with her own experience and alarming statistics, Miller knew what she had to do.

In 2017, she founded SwemKids. The school-based water safety and swimming instruction program transports elementary and middle school students to local pools as part of their school’s curriculum. The organization aims to break two large barriers for Black children learning to swim: access and affordability.

Miller is shining a light on the racial disparities and health inequities that have persisted for generations. With each lesson given at SwemKids, she is envisioning a new way for Black communities to approach swimming.

lam alibusd andant. verum ipidestis sus, ut Aquibeat perovit, ium

Civic Leader

When Doug Shipman 95C moved to Atlanta to attend Emory, he never thought he would one day hold one of the highest offices in city government. Shipman, a graduate of Emory College of Arts and Sciences and former president of the Emory Alumni Board, was elected president of the Atlanta City Council in the November 30 runoff election last year.

“I came from a very small town in rural Arkansas, and I was in awe of the size of Atlanta,” Shipman recalled in an interview following the election. “I remember driving up the connector from the airport and just staring at the traffic and the buildings. I couldn’t have imagined then the journey in Atlanta that would include serving in city government as well as leading the Woodruff Arts Center and building the Center for Civil and Human Rights.”

A longtime civic leader in Atlanta, Shipman is a newcomer to elected office. He took the helm of the Atlanta City Council on January 3, 2022, when new city leaders were inaugurated, including incoming Mayor Andre Dickens. Shipman ran for the post because he felt it was an important crossroads moment for Atlanta, and he wanted to help build consensus across the city. He has considerable experience forging bridg-

es with communities across Atlanta and beyond through his roles as the founding CEO of the National Center for Civil and Human Rights, which he led from 2007 to 2015, and as CEO of the Woodruff Arts Center from 2017 to 2020.

As a volunteer, Shipman currently serves on the board of trustees of the Carter Center, which was founded in 1982 by President Jimmy Carter and his wife, Rosalynn Carter, in partnership with Emory. He is also a board member for the Atlanta International School and formerly served on the boards of the Metro Atlanta Chamber of Commerce, Midtown Alliance, and Atlanta Convention and Visitors Bureau.

After earning his undergraduate degree in political science and economics from Emory, Shipman continued his education with a master’s degree in theology and public policy from Harvard Divinity School and a master’s in public policy from Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government.

He has remained deeply engaged with Emory over the years, including previously serving as a member and president of the Emory Alumni Board. He currently serves on the Emory Arts Advisory Board and co-chaired the University Task Force on the Arts with Kevin Karnes, now associate dean for the arts in Emory College. In 2019, he received the Community Impact Arts Advocate Award from the Emory College Center for Creativity and Arts.

Shipman came to Emory in 1991 as a Woodruff Scholar. As senior class orator for Emory College in 1995, when he graduated magna cum laude, he called on his fellow graduates “to honestly assess our society and use our education to rectify its injustices.”

“Commit yourself to do more than live; challenge yourself to improve, to affect, to impact our world,” he then urged.

What he learned at Emory helped in many ways to prepare him to do just that, both in prior roles and now as Atlanta City Council president.

“Definitely classes regarding politics as well as data analysis set the stage for the way I think about policy and politics,” Shipman says. “I also studied issues of race, religion, gender, sexuality, and class while at Emory—all of which have long shaped my view on issues of inclusiveness, equity, and history.”

He lists his single most important experience at Emory as taking a course on theology and the civil rights movement taught by Robert Franklin—then a professor at Candler School of Theology and now Laney Professor in Moral Leadership— “which set me on the path of connecting history, religion, politics, and social justice.”

Shipman has often credited his Emory years with broadening his perspective, setting the stage for his future work.

SERVING ATLANTA Emory alumnus Doug Shipman began his tenure as City Council president in January 2022. Emory alumnus and community builder Doug Shipman elected Atlanta City Council president

class notes


Walter “Sonny” M. Deriso

68C 72L was named one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by GeorgiaTrend Deriso is chair and director of Atlantic Capital Bankshares and Atlantic Capital Bank in Atlanta. He is former chair of the Georgia Bankers Association, helps steer the executive committee of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, and recently joined the board of the Task Force for Global Health.

Larry Minnix 67Ox 69C 72T 77T was inducted into the Continuing Care Hall of Fame. Minnix was president and CEO of Washington, D.C.-based LeadingAge—a nonprofit organization that represents more than 5,000 aging services providers— from 2001 until his retirement in 2015, but he has been active in the aging services field since 1973. He was a leader at Wesley Woods in Atlanta for 28 years, the last decade of which he was executive director. In 2018, Minnix self-published the book Hallowed Ground: Stories of Successful Aging and today maintains a related website.


F. Walter (“Walt”) Bistlin Jr. 72C has retired as the photography instructor at Earlham College. He and his wife of 50 years, Rabun Huff Bistline 72C—both former attorneys—reside in Richmond, Indiana, where Walt continues his work as a fine art photographer.

Steven Livengood 73G was selected to serve on the Olmsted 200 Committee in Washington, D.C., to honor

the bicentennial of Frederick Law Olmsted, known as a creative genius who transformed the American landscape. Livengood has also been elected to the Board of National Association for Olmsted Parks.

John Diffey 76B was inducted into the Continuing Care Hall of Fame. Diffey is the former president and CEO of Pennsylvania-based Kendal Corp., an organization of senior living communities, which he joined in 1992 and from which he retired in 2016. During his 40-year career, he served LeadingAge—a nonprofit organization that represents more than 5,000 aging services providers—as a member of its board of directors, founding co-chair of its leadership development program, and president of its North Carolina affiliate. He also was vice chair of the Continuing Care Accreditation Commission. Diffey’s previous awards include LeadingAge’s highest recognition, the Award of Honor, which he received in 2006.

Jeffrey D. Goldstein 76M joined the faculty of the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA as the chief of clinical pediatric pathology. He is a member of the American Board of Pathology, and is serving as board president this year. He and his wife are happy to be close to their children and grandchildren, all of whom live in California, and he says he is having too much fun working with residents and fellows to retire.

Stephen Filreis 77B has joined SimpleFI Solutions as solutions director for planning, analytics, and consolidations. He and his wife are relocating to Rochester, New York, to be close to their grandchildren.

Michael Gibbs 81B recently announced his retirement as executive VP and general counsel for San Antoniobased fast-food chain Whataburger after a long and successful legal career. He helped the company navigate its sale to a private equity firm in one of the top ten private mergers and acquisitions transactions of 2019. He plans to increase his involvement with the San Antonio Legal Services Association and in serving on boards of private companies.

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Atlanta Business Chronicle, Championing Diversity Award from the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, being inducted in the GeorgiaTrend Hall of Fame in 2022, and winning the 2022 Dean George Griffin Community Service Award given to Georgia Tech alumni.


Cara Schroeder 88Ox 90C won the District 2 City Council runoff in Tucker, Georgia, and was sworn into office on January 11, 2022.

Jonathan Eady 84Ox 86C was named to Atlanta Magazine’s 2022 Atlanta 500, a list of the city’s most powerful leaders. Eady is managing partner at Arnall Golden Gregory, where he focuses on business and real estate development law and practices.

David Hart 87C was appointed CEO of the Bermuda Business Development Agency in October 2021. He formerly served as the executive vice president of the Florida Chamber of Commerce.

Carol Goodman 87B was elected to the executive committee for the New York City–based law firm Herrick, Feinstein LLP. She has worked for the firm for 25 years as a litigator and employment lawyer.

Douglas Hooker 87B will be retiring from the Atlanta Regional Commission after ten years of award-winning leadership and service. Recent awards include the Harry West Visionary Regional Leadership Award from the Atlanta Regional Commission, Lifetime Achievement Award from the

Shan Cooper 89C 95B was named the recipient of the 2021 Woman of Influence Lifetime Achievement Award by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Cooper currently serves as the executive director of the Atlanta Committee for Progress, and prior to that, enjoyed a long career as vice president and general manager of Lockheed Martin Aeronautics and chief transformation officer at WestRock.

George Abram Dusenbury 93L was named one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians” by GeorgiaTrend Formerly the head of the Atlanta Parks and Recreation Department, he now serves as the Southern Hub director for the Trust for Public Land.

William Hardy 95C was named executive director of the Knoxville Opera Company in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Perri Zeitz Ruckar 98PH earned her doctorate of public health from the University of Georgia on December 17, 2021.


AH: Allied Health

BBA: Goizueta Business School (undergraduate)

C: Emory College of Arts and Sciences

D: School of Dentistry

DNP: Doctor of Nursing Practice

FM: Fellowship in Medicine

G: James T. Laney School of Graduate Studies

H: Honorary degree

JM: Juris Master

L: School of Law

M: School of Medicine

MBA: Goizueta Business School (graduate)

MSN: School of Nursing (graduate)

MR: Medical resident

N: Nell Hodgson Woodruff School of Nursing

OX: Oxford College

MPH: Rollins School of Public Health (graduate)

PhD: All doctor of philosophy degrees

T: Candler School of Theology SUBMIT

CLASS NOTES TO: eurec@emory.edu

Cues: Master the Secret Language of Charismatic Communication

There is an invisible language being spoken all around us that has an incredible impact on our daily lives; the language of social cues are the tiny signals we send to others 24/7 through our body language, facial expressions, word choice, and vocal inflection. National bestselling author and Emory alumna Vanessa Van Edwards shares her extensive research decoding the meaning behind cues and why they remain one of the most powerful communication mechanisms we have. Van Edwards is a speaker and researcher whose behavior research lab, Science of People, has been featured in Fast Company, USA Today, CNN, and many more outlets. For over a decade, Van Edwards has been leading corporate trainings and workshops to audiences around the world, including at SXSW and MIT, and at companies including Google, Dove, Microsoft, and Comcast.

Walking Mannequins: How Race and Gender Inequalities Shape Retail Clothing Work

In malls across the United States, clothing retail workers navigate low wages and unpredictable schedules. Despite these problems, they devote time and money to mirror the sleek mannequins stylishly adorned with the latest merchandise. Bringing workers’ voices to the fore, sociologists Joya Misra and Kyla Walters demonstrate how employers reproduce gendered and racist “beauty” standards by regulating workers’ size and look. Interactions with customers, coworkers, and managers further reinforce racial hierarchies. New surveillance technologies also lead to ineffective corporate decision-making based on flawed data. By focusing on the interaction of race, gender, and surveillance, Walking Mannequins sheds important new light on the dynamics of retail work in the twenty-first century.

Odyssey: Young Charles Darwin, The Beagle, and the Voyage that Changed the World

Charles Darwin—alongside Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein—ranks among the world’s most famous scientists. In popular imagination, he peers at us from behind a bushy white Old Testament beard. This image of Darwin the sage, however, crowds out the vital younger man whose curiosities, risk-taking, and travels aboard HMS Beagle would shape his later theories and served as the foundation of his scientific breakthroughs. In Odyssey, acclaimed historian and Emory alumnus Tom Chaffin reveals young Darwin in all his complexities—the brashness that came from his privileged background, his abhorrence of slavery, and his ambition to carve a place amongst his era’s celebrated travelers and intellectual giants.

The Mind in Another Place: My Life as a Scholar

Former Emory faculty member Luke Timothy Johnson is one of the best-known and most influential New Testament scholars of recent decades. In this memoir, he draws on his rich experience to invite readers into the scholar’s life—its aims, commitments, and habits. In addition to sharing his own story, from childhood to retirement, Johnson reflects on the nature of scholarship more generally, showing how this vocation has changed over the past half-century and where it might be going in the future. He is as candid and unsparing about negative trends in academia as he is hopeful about the possibilities of steadfast, disciplined scholarship. In two closing chapters, he discusses the essential intellectual and moral virtues of scholarly excellence, including curiosity, imagination, courage, discipline, persistence, detachment, and contentment—much of which he developed during his time at Emory.


Daniel Gordon 99C 05B received a Leaders in Corporate Citizenship Award from the Atlanta Business Chronicle in the Executive Champion–Small Company category in January 2022. Gordon is the Atlanta Headquarters lead and office executive director for Jabian Consulting. He is a former VP and chief of staff for the Office of the President at Emory University and former chief operating officer for the City of Atlanta.

Kevin Gooch 99Ox 01C was named to Atlanta Magazine’s 2022 Atlanta 500, a list of the city’s most powerful leaders. Gooch is a financial services attorney in Holland & Knight’s Atlanta office, board chair for 100 Black Men of Atlanta, and an adjunct professor at the University of Georgia.


Nishima Chudasama 00Ox 02C married Natalie Johnson on June 10, 2020.

David Wender 03L, a partner in Alston & Bird’s Financial Restructuring & Reorganization Group, has been elected a fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, a US honorary public service association that recognizes bankruptcy professionals for their excellence and contributions to the fields of bankruptcy and insolvency.

Ying McPherson 04B was named to Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “40 Under Forty” list in November 2021. She is the chief strategy officer for Atlanta-based Unifi, an aviation services provider, where she leads development execution of strategic initiatives while heading up resource planning, business analytics, and corporate marketing.

Patrick Emery 05C 05G recently joined the law firm of FisherBroyles LLP in Atlanta as a partner.

Lauren Fernandez 06B 06L has been named to the Nation’s Restaurant News 2022 Power List. Fernandez is the founder and CEO of Full Course, a restaurant investment group dedicated to helping new and emerging restaurants grow their brands.

Donte A. Flanagan 04Ox 06N and Ashlee Yates Flanagan of New Orleans announced the birth of a daughter, Yates Brooklyn Flanagan, on April 30, 2021. A nurse anesthetist, Flanagan received the 2021 William Norton Outstanding Alumnus/a Award from the Oxford College Alumni Board.

Eric Hagen 04Ox 06B and his wife Shannon welcomed a baby daughter Madeline Helen Hagen born on June 30, 2021.

Kimberlynn Davis 08G co-founded a limited podcast series titled Sidebars by Kilpatrick Townsend, which showcases today’s leading women in the patent bar.

Each of the episodes is a candid conversation between groundbreaking women legal practitioners about their career paths, the obstacles they overcame in reaching success, and the steps we as a profession must still take to close the gender gap in intellectual property law and the patent bar.

Jamie Schletter 08C and Chris Whitworth 08B 14B of Atlanta were married May 23, 2021, in Bluffton, SC.

Goran Zangana 09 PH was named the Country Representative of the Year 2021 for Health Information

For All (HIFA), a global organization dedicated to providing health care information to lowand middle-income countries. Zangana is a medical doctor and the Iraq HIFA country representative for Iraq.

Manna of Toronto, Canada in November 2021. The alliance creates one of the largest consolidated research networks in North America, with more than 40 clinical research sites, access to 1.5 million patients, and more than 150 active investigators.

Kacey Littleton Nation 11N and Rebekah (Beka) Nation 15N welcomed their son Jack Paul Nation on April 24, 2021.

Meghan Friddle 12G 14G recently accepted the post of vice president with the National Association of Fellowship Advisors (NAFA) and after the two-year assignment, will assume the presidency of the association.

Johnny Lieberman 13C co-founded growth equity fund Worklyn Partners, which raised more than $35 million in committed capital to the intersection of cybersecurity and IT services.

Chas Nabi 12Ox 14C competed on the TV quiz show Jeopardy! In December 2021.

Tressie McMillan Cottom 15G has been added to the New York Times newsletter portfolio, offering her thoughts on everything from race to pop culture, from economics to beauty.

Sarah E. Seyler 15B and Joseph M. Gerth 16C 18PH of Boston were married on October 22, 2021, in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Jennifer F. Seitz 19N and Kyle Seitz of Nashville, Tenn., were married on November 24, 2020.

Nchedochukwu Ezeokoli 19PH started healing studio and public health consulting firm called Healing 4 Liberation in July 2021. The company provides innovative, integrative wellness and holistic healing plus health services, products, and spaces that center the healing of marginalized communities.


Anne Dunivin 38C 40G, of Atlanta, on November 10, 2021.


Hazel S. Beazley 40C, of Tallahassee, Florida, on September 16, 2018.

Thomas Darden Lipford 38Ox 40B, of Franklin, Georgia, on September 24, 2021.

William J. Pendergrast 40C 43M 43MR 48MR, of Atlanta, on February 3, 2022

William Hadley Brown Sr. 43B, of Brunswick, Georgia, on January 1, 2022.

Carolyn B. Stephens 43N, of Lake Wales, Florida, on February 5, 2021.

Erma Jean Ballagh 45N 48N, of Rockledge, Florida, on September 17, 2021.

Allen O. Jernigan 45C 48T, of Green Cove Springs, Florida, on June 8, 2016.

William R. Daniel 46C, of Atlantic Beach, Florida, on November 19, 2021.

William B. Johnson 46C, of Dallas, Texas, on November 12, 2021.

Ellis Barlow Keener 47C 50M, of Savannah, Georgia, on July 29, 2021.

Edward R. Covington 48C 50G 54G, of Henderson, Tennessee, on October 21, 2021.

Anne Broach Morris 48N, of Charlotte, North Carolina, on December 22, 2021.

Carlton A. Morrison 48C, of St. Simons Island, Georgia, on September 22, 2021.

Joseph F. Scoville 48C, of Lake Mary, Florida, on April 28, 2022.

Fred G. Shelnutt 49C 52T, of Newnan, Georgia, on October 31, 2021.


William “Bill” Ernest Aycock 50L, of Lexington, SC, on November 16, 2021.

Grady Ross Barringer 50C 53T, of Sherrills Ford, NC, on February 21, 2022.

Rembert O. Brown 48Ox 50C, of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware, on January 29, 2022.

D. Melson Butler 50B, of Macon, Georgia, on November 17, 2021.

Stephen Ford Dill 48Ox 50C 53T, of Mobile, Alabama, on January 14, 2022.

Richard E. Hodges 50C, of Marietta, Georgia, on January 29, 2022.

Malcolm Minsk 50B, of Atlanta, on February 13, 2022.

William Herrmann VanPelt 50B, of Aiken, SC, on January 19, 2022.

Roy C. Wicker Jr. 50D, of Quitman, Georgia, on October 4, 2021.

Charles Lindy Cooley Sr. 51Ox 56D, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, on October 4, 2021.

Winifred “Wini” Groover McDuffie 51N, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on October 8, 2021.

Martha H. Blackwell 52N, of Atlanta, on November 29, 2020.

Milton Palmer Fields 52L, of Rocky Mount, NC, on August 8, 2021.

David A. McIntosh 52T, of Madison, Mississippi, on September 16, 2021.

Ann Garner Rinaldi 52N, of Atlanta, on February 21, 2022.

Susan Alexander Brewer 53N 64N, of Kennesaw, Georgia, on December 15, 2021.

Stewart Roberts 51Ox 53C 59M 71MR, of Atlanta on January 7, 2022.

Jeff Kingsley 11B oversaw the merger of his Atlantabased clinical research company IACT Health with LMC

Robert Cunningham 49C 52M 53MR 57MR, of Atlanta, on November 4, 2021.

Urban Clyde Marquis 49C 58G, of Houston, Texas, on February 16, 2022.

Mary Eleanor Kidder Wall 53G, of Elmhurst, Illinois, on February 21, 2022.

Carrol Dadisman 54Ox, of Tallahassee, Florida, on August 19, 2021.

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Nelson Hitchcock 52Ox 54C, of Washington Township, Ohio, on December 22, 2021.

James H. Hinson 54G, of Tallahassee, Florida, on January 25, 2022.

Roy Leslie Howard 54T, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on September 19, 2020.

John T. King Jr. 54M, of Thomasville, Georgia, on October 18, 2021.

Tommy Beggs 51Ox 55C, of Madison, Florida, on February 22, 2022.

Joseph T. Bevan 55C, of Newtown, Connecticut, on November 17, 2021.

Alan Burnham 55B, of Atlanta, on September 21, 2021.

James D. Melton Jr. 55C 59M 60MR 61MR, of Lakeland, Florida, on October 9, 2021.

William L. Moore 55C, of San Antonio, Texas, on September 14, 2021.

William A. Story 55C 58M 59MR 62MR, of Shelby, NC, on October 27, 2021.

John Rufus Branscomb 53Ox 56C, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, on October 9, 2021.

Bob A. Dixon 56G, of Thomasville, Georgia, on April 10, 2021.

Hatler Hilton Smith 56C 62G, of Cornelia, Georgia, on November 21, 2021.

James J. Thomasson 56C 60M 61MR, of Newnan, Georgia, on November 23, 2021.

S. Carter Berkeley 57T, of Statesboro, Georgia, on November 12, 2021.

Gerald Fletcher 57C 61M 63FM, of Jacksonville Beach, Florida, on January 23, 2022.

George White Lumpkin 57B, of Atlanta, on October 28, 2021.

J. Lorin Mason Jr. 57C, of Florence, SC, on October 4, 2021.

Donna Moss 57N, of Warner Robins, Georgia, on May 6, 2021.

Robert N. Clarke 58T, of Decatur, Georgia, on September 7, 2021.

William E. Ensign 58C, of Chattanooga, Tennessee, on September 24, 2021.

Barbara Davis Fruit 58C, of Snellville, Georgia, on October 15, 2021.

John L. Glenn Jr. 58C, of Thomasville, Georgia, on June 24, 2021.

Gordon Clifton Goodgame Sr. 58T, of Lake Junaluska, NC, on October 27, 2021.

Otha Lamar Gray 58L, of Augusta, Georgia, on September 4, 2021.

Roger A. Hajosy 58C, of Cedartown, Georgia, on September 12, 2021.

John J. Hewitt Jr. 56Ox 58C, of Dallas, Texas, on January 13, 2022.

Melvin Franklin Jones 58C, of Camilla, Georgia, on November 1, 2021.

Fred Lemore Maddox 58T, of Statesboro, Georgia, on February 8, 2022.

Glenn Marsh 58G 61M, of Lexington, Kentucky, on January 4, 2022.

Sam Houston Parris 58D, of Houston, Texas, on December 27, 2021.

Lester Breen 59C, of Atlanta, on January 15, 2022.

John A. “Sonny” Lane 59Ox, of Macon, Georgia, on October 19, 2021.

Plato Shields Rhyne Jr. 59C, of Alpharetta, Georgia, on November 21, 2021.

L.R. Sanderson 59D, of Atlanta, on January 25, 2022.

Robert W. Slate 59C 62M 62MR, of Toccoa, Georgia, on September 3, 2021.

James Underwood 59C 62L, of Columbia, SC, on January 8, 2022.


Ronald G. Brooks 60C, of Atlanta, on December 20, 2021.

Paul Wesley Clayton 60T, of Jackson, Tennessee, on September 25, 2021.

Charles E. Harrison Jr. 60M 61MR, of North Palm Beach, Florida, on December 28, 2021.

Jack B. King 60T, of Lake Junaluska, NC, on December 29, 2021.

James H. Leathers 60B, of Decatur, Georgia, on October 16, 2021.

James Allen Raines Sr. 60T, of Greensboro, NC, on March 2, 2022.

A.Harley Smith Sr. 60D 65DR, of Atlanta, on January 31, 2022.

Leon Edwin Thompson 60T 88T, of Abbeville, SC, on January 15, 2022.

Vivian F. Barnett 61N, of Washington, Georgia, on June 19, 2021.

James Bayard Carson Jr. 61B, of Atlanta, on Sunday, October 31, 2021.

John D. Corbitt 61C 64M, of West Palm Beach, Florida, on April 28, 2021.

Jane David Grossman 61N, of Asheville, NC, on July 26, 2021.

Nora Savage Crawley King 61C, of Ebro, Florida, on January 18, 2022.

Robert McDonough 61C, of Decatur, Georgia, on January 15, 2022.

Stanley J. Bougas 62L, of Tampa, Florida, on January 11, 2007.

William H. Buntin Jr. 62C 68MR, of Albany, Georgia, on February 25, 2022.

Gerald Floyd Handley 60Ox 62C, of Newnan, Georgia, on July 27, 2021.

William W. Horlock Sr. 62T, of Atlanta, on October 2, 2021.

Joseph Irvin Miller Jr. 62C 65M 74MR, of Atlanta, on December 23, 2021.

Calvin Winton Parrish 62L, of Woodland, Georgia, on January 24, 2021.

W.S. Farabow 63M, of High Point, NC, on September 30, 2021.

Dallas Franklin Gay Jr. 63B, of Gainesville, Georgia, on February 21, 2022.

Arthur J. Mozley 63C 65L, of Atlanta, on October 4, 2021.

Russell J. Parker Sr. 63L, of Tucker, Georgia, on January 8, 2022.

Matthew Patton 63L, of Dallas, Texas, on January 6, 2022.

F. Stuart Taylor III 63T, of Scottsville, Virginia, on July 20, 2021.

George Thomas Abernathy 64C 68M 75FM, of Venice, Florida, on February 17, 2022.

Charles Wayne Barnes 64T, of Lilburn, Georgia, on August 28, 2021.

Arthur C. Feinstein 64C, of Atlanta, on December 14, 2021.

Donna Sheridan Hogg 64C, of Marietta, Georgia, on November 16, 2021.

Lynn Lisella 64C, of Decatur, Georgia, on February 15, 2022.

Mike R. Moutz 64Ox, of Myrtle Beach, SC, on October 13, 2020.

Jane C. Winterfield 64C, of Atlanta, on October 3, 2021.

Teressa G. Bradley 65C 68N, of Pensacola, Florida, on August 7, 2021.

Robert Allan Cobb 65C, of Lilburn, Georgia, on October 4, 2021.

James Kelly Dixon 65MR, of Greenville, SC, on June 15, 2019.

Kay Sloan Earnhardt 65G 68G, of Atlanta, on August 31, 2021.

David Francis Ellisor 65T, of San Diego, California, on January 1, 2022.

Richard S. Epstein 65MR, of Silver Spring, Maryland, on May 8, 2020.

Julian Cleon Josey 65MR, of Spartanburg, SC, on May 10, 2021.

George G. Martin 65C, of Jacksonville, Florida, on December 30, 2021.

Charles D. Preston 65G, of Fort Walton Beach, Florida, on August 27, 2021.

Lynda Landers Towe 65C, of Loganville, Georgia, on November 19, 2021.

William A. Gillaspie III 66C, of Atlanta, on December 18, 2022.

Mary Ellen Golich 66G, of Phoenix, Arizona, on January 2, 2022.

David Charles Jones 66Ox, of Sautee, Georgia, on January 10, 2022.

Richard Piper 66T, of Sacramento, California, on June 27, 2021.

Phyllis R. Schultz 66N, of Lebanon, New Hampshire, on September 8, 2020.

Martha C. Sullivan 66N, of Fayetteville, NC, on February 20, 2021.

James David Cooke Jr. 67C, of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, on February 9, 2021.

Harold Hellickson 67B, of Atlanta, on October 21, 2021.

Larry A. Jenkins 67T, of Lake Wylie, SC, on October 14, 2021.

Guy Williams Mayes Jr. 67C 68G, of Alameda, California, on September 17, 2021.

Jennings A. Neeld 67T, of Blairsville, Georgia, on September 7, 2020.

Ann G. Roberts 67N, of Alexander City, Alabama, on May 31, 2021.

C. Allen Senn 67T, of Spartanburg, SC, on January 18, 2022.

Margaret Ann Awad 68N, of Tallahassee, Florida, on August 28, 2020.

Max Cleland 68G, of Atlanta, on November 9, 2021.

Francis “Frank” A. Creegan 68N, of Gainesville, Georgia, on August 28, 2021.

Joseph E. Halstead 68N, of Tucker, Georgia, on June 8, 2021.

Wan Bang Lo 68G 70G, of El Cerrito, California, on September 21, 2020.

Eloise Ann Melson 68G, of Houston, Texas, on February 6, 2022.

Ruth Hausman Shaw 68G 73G, of Decatur, Georgia, on November 13, 2021.

Margaret Trawick 68G, of Decatur, Georgia, on January 14, 2022.

Georgia Elizabeth Walden 66Ox 68C, of Augusta, Georgia, on September 29, 2021.

Roland Bourie Williams 68C, of Savannah, Georgia, on September 30, 2021.

Jean Young 68C 72M, of Indianapolis, Indiana, on July 21, 2021.

Alfred L. Baker 69MR, of Hyde Park, Illinois, on March 1, 2022.

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Robert C. Young 69L, of Atlanta, on December 24, 2021.


Pat M. Battle 70D, of Gainesville, Georgia, on September 16, 2021.

Julian Maurice Duttera Jr. 70MR, of LaGrange, Georgia, on October 4, 2019.

Richard G. Garrett 70C 73L, of Coral Gables, Florida, on October 4, 2021

Christopher A.N. Rankine 70D, of Sandy Springs, Georgia, on September 24, 2021.

John M. Wieland 70M, of Wilmette, Illinois, on February 26, 2022.

Bruce A. Baber 71MR, of Newport News, Virginia, on December 16, 2021.

Larry Leon Caylor 71T, of Church Hill, Tennessee, on November 8, 2021.

Carol Bishop Fancher 68Ox 71N, of Fernandina Beach, Fla., on April 23, 2021.

Orville Keith Hamilton 71MR, of Dover, Delaware, on October 28, 2021.

Marilyn Henderson 71N, of Little Rock, Arkansas, on October 13, 2021.

Roy M. Lilly 71C, of Thomasville, Georgia, on August 3, 2021.

Margaret Stephens Martin 71G, of Travelers Rest, SC, on November 18, 2021.

Penelope Turner Musson, 68Ox 71N, of North Wilkesboro, NC, on November 29, 2021.

Ellwood F. Oakley 71G, of Atlanta, on January 16, 2022.

Jesse Shackelford 71T, of Daphne, Alabama, on February 6, 2022.

Shirley A. Sheehan 71G, of Fairhope, Alabama, on January 18, 2022.

Curtis Watkins 71C, of Carmel, NY, on January 31, 2022.

Annette Grubbs Bairan 72N, of Tallahassee, Florida, on December 16, 2021.

Richard Carson Pedigo 72T, of Green Cove Springs, Florida, on November 13, 2021.

William Thomas Sigman

70Ox 72C, of Conyers, Georgia, on October 1, 2021.

Ann Clark 73N, of Marietta, Georgia, on July 30, 2021.

Elizabeth Ann Hamilton 73N, of Acworth, Georgia, on February 12, 2022.

Suzanne Adrienne Kohn 74G, of Brookhaven, Georgia, on October 3, 2021.

George W. Henderson III 74B, of Charleston, SC, on February 15, 2022.

Mark Owens Shriver IV 73B 81L, of Williamsburg, Virginia, on October 25, 2021.

Jane K. Stimmler 73G, of Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, on September 23, 2021.

Chiquita A. Fye 74C 78M 80MR, of Montezuma, Georgia, on March 1, 2022.

William Eugene Jessup 74C 80L, of Duluth, Georgia, on February 3, 2022.

James D. Johnson 74G 84L, of Highlands, NC, on January 27, 2022.

Benjamin Thomas Jordan Jr. 74G, of Nashville, Tennessee, on February 21, 2022.

Richard Scott Sapp 72Ox 74C, of Cumming, Georgia, on January 26, 2022.

Robert Eugene Collum 75T, of Rome, Georgia, on September 28, 2021.

Terrence R. Cusack 75A of Wabash, Indiana, on September 15, 2021.

Brett Louis Eberle 75A 04A, of South Portland, Maine, on October 15, 2021.

Mary Evelyn Gibert 75G, of Atlanta, on October 13, 2021.

Carolyn Kee 75N, of Atlanta, on November 20, 2020.

Frances J. McKibben 75G 76G, of Atlanta, on January 29, 2022.

Joel Oliver D’Hue 76M, of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, on April 13, 2020.

Gerald Truesdale 77MR, of Greensboro, NC, on February 5, 2022.

Winona “Deets” Bius Herbik 78N, of Moultrie, Georgia, on June 30, 2021.

Max Benjamin Rittgers 78T, of Gainesville, Florida, on February 3, 2022.

Mary Dunham Scott 78G, of Stone Mountain, Georgia, on October 5, 2021.

Polly Ragsdale Taylor 78Ox, of Oak Ridge, Tennessee, on November 13, 2021.

Theodore Joseph Wingard 78MR, of Jacksonville, Florida, on October 8, 2021.


Thomas Witherspoon Jones 80B, of Dunwoody, Georgia, on December 20, 2021.

Steven Paul Seltzer 81C, of Manhasset, NY, on February 8, 2022.

Erich Wolfe Wouters 81C, of Jasper, Alabama, on January 26, 2022.

Joyce H. Bailey 82A. of McDonough, Georgia, on October 5, 2021.

David D. Meadows 73Ox 82C, of Marietta, Georgia, on December 4, 2021.

Edwin “Ed” Wadsworth Jr. 82T, of Lawrenceville, Georgia, on October 31, 2021.

John R. Wallace 82T, of Dayton, Ohio, on August 3, 2020.

Rodney Michael Dourron 83Ox, of Decatur, Georgia, on Nov 1 2021.

Lisa Hendrix 82Ox 83C, of Albany, Georgia, on February 23, 2022.

David J. Hurlbut 83Ox, of Birmingham, Alabama, on January 27, 2022.

Logan Remer Brady III 84T, of Statesboro, Georgia, on February 7, 2022.

Eugene A. Chiappetta III 84C, of Union, NJ, on January 23, 2022.

Janet Lee Thigpen 84N, of Tucker, Georgia, on February 23, 2022.

Bruce C. Henderson 86FM, of Shreveport, Louisiana, on October 6, 2021.

Carolyn Elaine Millen 86N, of Flowery Branch, Georgia, on January 1, 2022.

Margaret M. Blevins 87T, of Charlottesville, Virginia, on June 9, 2021.

James L. Bumbalo 87L, of Walhalla, North Dakota, on September 29, 2021.

Blair Curtis 87B, of Madison, Georgia, on October 16, 2021.

Lee N. FerDon 87T, of Madison, Florida, on December 30, 2021.

Jan Schroeder Rodd 88N of Albany, Georgia, on February 5, 2021.

Helen Schumpert Wagner 88T, of Greenville, SC, on February 19, 2022.

Stacey Robin Hill 89A 91PH, of Kennesaw, Georgia, on February 24, 2022.

Emily Mumaw Leonard 89T, of Ashtabula, Ohio, on August 31, 2021.

Michele Mordkoff 89L, of Wayne, NJ, on June 1, 2021.


Ronald R. Fearneyhough 90T, of Martinez, Georgia, on September 12, 2021.

Craig D. Tifford 90C, of Stamford, Connecticut, on December 19, 2021.

Carol Grace Schlichting Mallon 91T, of Atlanta, on February 2, 2022.

Paul Ellingson 92B, of Atlanta, on January 4, 2022.

Deborah Krotenberg 92L, of Atlanta, on February 10, 2022.

Lorna H. Martin 92N, of Canton, Georgia, on June 8, 2021.

Thomas Ralph Peters Jr. 94G, of Cave Spring, Georgia, on November 17, 2021.

Ajay Nanji Singadia 91Ox 94C, of Duluth, on January 8, 2022.

Roy Perry Dykes Jr. 95N, of Atlanta, on September 26, 2021.

Richard J. Tanner 95B, of Atlanta, on August 28, 2021.

Willie Adams 96L, of Atlanta, on February 19, 2022.

Kathryn A. Ginden 96C 11PH, of Dunwoody, Georgia, on September 21, 2021.

Gary Nicholas 97T, of Wichita, Kansas, on November 4, 2021.

Duncan Hamilton Adams 98L, of Savannah, Georgia, on September 5, 2021.

Fredine Sims Jordan 98T, of Atlanta, on November 16, 2021.

Michael Wilson 99T, of Marietta, Georgia, on October 7, 2021.


William Joseph Lahners 00MR, of Sarasota, Florida, on December 10, 2021.

Jonathan D. Rosen 00L, of Dunwoody, Georgia, on October 8, 2021.

Timothy Andrew Sturm 00B, of Wichita, Kansas, on February 7, 2022.

Paul Mebane Pritchett 01B, of Atlanta, on September 9, 2021.

Eric Remy Pelve 03B, of Frisco, Texas, on January 11, 2021.

Michael David Sayegh 03C, of Simpsonville, SC, on November 20, 2021.

Ronald Preston Peterson 07PH, of Atlanta, on March 7, 2022.


Taft N. Gearhart 16L, of Woodland Park, Colorado, on September 25, 2021.

Hope Margaret Meushaw 18MSN of Stonington, Connecticut, on November 23, 2021.

Mary W. Muigai 15C, of Columbus, Ohio, on November 17, 2021.


Samantha Katherine Armstrong 18Ox 21B, of Hamden, Connecticut, on October 17, 2021.

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“Cover” Story

It may seem strange to put a cover story on the back page. But this is not our actual cover story about Emory’s commitment to artificial intelligence. Instead, it’s a story about how we made the cover of this magazine—by using AI.

Once we knew the big topic for this issue, we could have gone our normal route and deployed our staff photographers or hired a freelance illustrator to capture the essence of AI in a single image. However, we quickly realized that the more interesting path would be to see if an artistic AI tool could paint a “selfie” of sorts.

We explored a number of AI artistic tools and ultimately chose WOMBO’s Dream app, which went viral on social channels late last year when throngs of people tried it out to see just what it could do. One of our main criteria for selecting this tool was that Dream was simple to use—type in a few keywords, select an artistic style, and then let the app perform its magic. But at the same time its creative output was surprisingly complex and stunning.

Since this AI app can’t do much without the human element, we reached out to Emory students to tap their imaginations. We launched a contest and received nearly forty intriguing submissions that explored a variety of styles and concepts. To the right, you’ll see some of the best.

There were many AI-powered works we loved, however we had to be judicious in selecting what could work as a cover. Harkening back to our idea of an AI selfie, we all agreed that Sharon Lee’s entry could be quickly recognized as distinctly futuristic, and the painting’s central robotic figure expressed both strength and compassion. Lee was awarded a cash prize for her winning entry, as well as the honor of her art gracing the cover of this magazine.


Sharon Lee 23M

“This was such a cool competition,” Lee says. “And I love using the Dream app for artistic inspiration. I’ve even saved a couple of images to use as a reference for future paintings.”


Eileen Guo 25C

Gabrielle Kroger

21Ox 24C


Mei Deng 24C

Michelle Wang 25C


Sara Wang 22B

Josie Chen 24C


Emory University

Office of Alumni and Development Records

ME! Finished with this issue of Emory Magazine? Pass along to a friend or colleague!
contain his excitement for the in-person, on-campus
of the
FLYING HIGH Swoop couldn’t
Class of 2022. EMO002
1762 Clifton Rd., Suite 1400 Atlanta, Georgia 30322

Articles inside

“Cover” Story

page 62

class notes

pages 57-61

Civic Leader

page 56

Celebrating Changemakers

pages 52-55


pages 48-49, 51

to a theater near you

pages 46-47


pages 42-45


pages 38-41


page 37


pages 36-37


pages 35-36

DRUG HUNTERS The Road to Discovery

pages 33-35


pages 28-31


page 27


pages 26-27


pages 25-26


pages 23-25

A N ew V i s i on for A I

pages 20-23


pages 14-16, 18-19


page 14

Libraries Leader

page 13


pages 12-13

Shattering Assumptions

pages 10-11


pages 8-9

Dynamic Deans

page 7
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