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About the College | Achievements

Please see below for recent student, alumni, faculty, and staff accomplishments:

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Recent Achievements

Terry DavidsonTerry Davidson (psychology) discussed How Childhood Diet Impacts Brain Development on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Martha StarrMartha Starr (economics) is serving as Senior Economic Advisor for Policy, Planning, and Legislation at FDA.

David KeplingerDavid Keplinger (literature) is Humanities Scholar of the Washington Performing Arts Society for the 2014-15 season.


Juliet Bellow (art history) received a fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts at NYU for the 2015-16 academic year.

Douglas Fox (chemistry) won a $300,000 NIST award for the project "Durable Flame-Retardant Coatings Derived from Natural Materials."

Harjant Gill, PhD anthropology '12, received a Fejos Postdoctoral Fellowship from the Wenner-Gren Foundation to work on his film Sent Away Boys.

Karen Knee (environmental science) won a $25,000 U.S. Department of the Interior - Bureau of Land award for the project "Hydrology: Implications for Storm Water Management and Biodiversity."

Sibel Kusimba (anthropology) won a $27,335 grant from the University of California-Irvine for the project "Mobile Money and Coming of Age in Western Kenya."

Mark Laubach (biology) received a $132,693 NSF award for the project "Neural Circuits for the Executive Control of Action in Rodents."

Mark Laubach (biology) won a $392,704 award from The Klarman Family Foundation to research the "Functional connectomics of cortico-striatal-hypothalamic circuits and the motivation control of feeding."

Stephen MacAvoy (environmental science) won a $15,000 grant from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for the project "Geochemical characteristics of an urban river: detecting the influences of an urban landscape."

Michael Robinson (mathematics and statistics) won a $13,488 award from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory for his project, "Topological Methods for Semantic Sensor Integration: Use Case Development."

Randa Serhan (sociology) won a New World Research Institute award of $29,050 for her Palestinian American National Research Project.

Anastasia Snelling (SETH) received a $165,524 Kaiser Foundation Health Plan, Inc. grant award for her project "D.C. Healthy Schools Act: Measuring Implementation and Impact."

Paul Winters (economics) won a $321,607 American Institutes for Research (AIR) award for the project "Evaluation of Plantwise - Kenya."



Abdul Ali, MFA creative writing '13, has won the 2014 New Issues Poetry Prize for Trouble Sleeping. Ali wins a $2,000 award and publication of his manuscript in the spring of 2015.

Kim Blankenship (sociology) is the new director of the DC D-CFAR Social and Behavioral Sciences Core. She is also co-lead of the Criminal Justice-Affected Communities Scientific Interest Group, and the DC D-CFAR's AU Institutional Representative.

Zoe Charlton's (art) artwork is featured in national "State of the Art" exhibition.

Elizabeth Cotter (SETH) is working with an Arlington Partnership for Affordable Housing (APAH) project to have Columbia Grove Apartment residents work towards reaching goals for enhancing their personal and family health, as well as the health of the community.

Terry Davidson (psychology) was elected President of the Eastern Psychology Association. He will be President-elect beginning June 2014 and President from June 2015-May 2016.

Richard Dent (anthropology) received a Lifetime Achievement Award for outstanding contributions to archaeological knowledge of the Middle Atlantic region at the 2014 Middle Atlantic Archaeological Conference.

Bette Dickerson (sociology) was elected as Member-at-Large to the Executive Council of the Association of Black Sociologists (ABS) for 2014-16.

Jen Dumiak, math master's student on the AU Women's Basketball team, won the Hannah Sandler Award and was named the GEICO AU Student-Athlete of the Week.

Matthew Hartings (chemistry) and Arthur Shapiro (psychology) were named Nifty Fifty (times 4) speakers by the USA Science and Engineering Festival. The Nifty Fifty (times 4) are the two hundred most inspiring STEM professionals who will help re-invigorate the interest of our young people in science.

Monica Jeffries Hazangeles, MA arts management '96, won a 2014 Alumni Achievement Award. This award is presented to alumni who demonstrate excellence through professional accomplishments.

David Keplinger (literature) won the Cavafy Prize from Poetry International for "The Life of Simone Weil."

David Keplinger (literature) was named the Humanities Scholar of the Washington Performing Arts Society for the 2014-15 season.

Dolores Koenig (anthropology) will serve the Society for Economic Anthropology (SEA) as president-elect beginning December 7, 2014, and will become president of the SEA in November 2015 to serve for two years.

Robert Lerman (economics) is currently the president of the Society of Government Economists.

Peter MacIver, BA psychology '15, won a Princeton Summer Undergraduate Research Experience fellowship. He conducted research with Dr. Elizabeth Gould of Princeton's Neuroscience Institute on the behavior of the brain's microglia cells in obese rodents. The fellowship includes a stipend, free room and board on Princeton's campus, GRE preparation, and a presentation at a national conference in July.

Richard McCann (literature) was reappointed for third term as Vice President of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation.

The Society for Neuroscience (SfN) invited Colin Saldanha (biology) to participate in a press conference on "Neuroinflammation: Causes and Effects" to discuss his research about neural estradiol as an anti-inflammatory following brain damage.

Anastasia Snelling (SETH) won a $25,000 District of Columbia Office of State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) award for the project "Farm to School Evaluation."

The French government named Dean Peter Starr a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Palmes Academiques, for his work in promoting French language and culture in the U.S.

Martha Starr is serving as the Senior Economic Advisor to the Deputy Commissioner for Policy, Planning and Legislation at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Andrew Taylor (performing arts) named as one of 2014’s "Top 50 Most Powerful and Influential People in the Nonprofit Arts" by Barry's Blog.

Vivian Vasquez (SETH) is an NCTE Early Career Educator of Color Award 2014 recipient mentor, was awarded lifetime member status by the NCTE Early Childhood Education Assembly, and joined the NCTE/International Reading Association Joint Task Force on Literacy Teacher Preparation.

Soccer standout Jake Weinreb, BA mathematics and economics '15, earned Capital One Academic All-America honors as selected by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA).

Elizabeth Worden (SETH) received a 2014-2015 Fulbright U.S. scholar grant.



Alida Anderson (SETH) published Arts Integration and Special Education: An Inclusive Theory of Action for Student Engagement (Routledge).

Norma Broude and Mary D. Garrard (emerita, art history) published a new e-book, Introducing Feminist Art History. The book brings together the essays and prefaces Broude and Garrard wrote for their five co-edited volumes on feminism and art history (1982–2005) and features a new preface (2014).

Robert Blecker (economics) and economics PhD alumni Yun Kim and Kevin Capehart presented at The Research Network Macroeconomics and Macroeconomic Policies (FMM) conference on Inequality and the Future of Capitalism in Berlin.

Nicholas Connor (MS environmental science '13), Stephanie Sarraino (MS environmental science '11), Deborah Frantz (BS marine biology '11), Karen Bushaw-Newton, and Stephen MacAvoy (environmental science) published "Geochemical characteristics of an urban river: influences of an anthropogenic landscape" in Applied Geochemistry.

Kyle Dargan's (literature) poem "The Robots Are Coming" is published in the 2014 Best Nonrequired Reading anthology.

Duke University published Eileen Findlay's (history) book 'We Are Left Without a Father Here': Migration, Domesticity, and Migration in Postwar Puerto Rico.

Phil Johnson (physics) published "Dynamically decoupled three-body interactions with applications to interaction-based quantum metrology" in the American Physical Society journal Physical Review A.

Despina Kakoudaki (literature) published a new book, Anatomy of a Robot: Literature, Cinema and the Cultural Work of Artificial People (Rutgers University Press).

Kimberly Kraeer (MS biology '11), Lynne Arneson (biology), and Stephen MacAvoy (environmental science) published "The intraspecies relationship between tissue turnover and metabolic rate in rats" in Ecological Research.

Alan Kraut (history) spoke to Slate about his research on the perennial concerns over the health of immigrants as part of a story about the migrant child crisis.

Peter Kuznick (history) was the keynote speaker at the September 2014 Assassination Archives and Research Center Conference, "The Warren Report and the JFK Assassination: A Half Century of Significant Disclosures."

Peter Kuznick (history) and Oliver Stone published The Concise Untold History of the United States, a book based on their Showtime documentary series of the same name. The first volume of the four volume young readers version of Untold History of the United States will be published in December with Simon & Schuster.

Eric Lohr (history) published Empire and Nationalism at War: The Russian Empire in WWI (Bloomington: Slavica).

Mehdi Owrang (computer science) published "Application of Data Mining Techniques for Breast Cancer Prognosis" in the Encyclopedia of Information Science and Technology, 3rd Edition (IGI Global). He presented his published paper "The Significance of the Race Factor in Breast Cancer Prognosis" at the 2014 International Conference on Data Mining. He is also a conference program committee member for the ISCA 30th International Conference on Computers and Their Applications.

Jin Y. Park (Philosophy and Religion) delivered the annual Ahnkook Lecture on Korean Buddhism at Harvard University (Oct 2014) on the topic: "Logic of Thinking, Logic of Engagement: Zen/Sŏn Buddhism in the Life-World." She spoke on Buddhist ethics at the University of Leipzig in Germany and on "Derrida and Buddhism" at the Jagiellonian University in Poland (May 2014). Park also discussed her new book, Reflections of a Zen Buddhist Nun: Essays by Zen Master Kim Iryŏp at Sudok Monastery in Korea (August 2014) and at St. Lawrence University (October 2014) in New York.

Michael Robinson (mathematics and statistics) published his book Topological Signal Processing (Springer, 2014).

Richard C. Sha (literature) will speak about his new book manuscript, "Science and Imagination in Romanticism, 1750-1850," at the University of Toronto in spring 2015. He has also been invited, courtesy of a Leverhulme Fellowship, to speak on "William Blake and the Mark of Cognition" at the University of Edinburgh in June 2015, through the History of Distributed Cognition Project. He spoke at the "Visual Cultures of Medicine" conference in September 2014, and talked about the famous neurologist and artist, Sir Charles Bell, discoverer of Bell's Palsy. He is once again a reader for the ACLS competition.

Richard C. Sha (literature) was just invited to contribute a chapter to the new Cambridge volume on Eighteenth-Century and Romantic Literature and Medicine. He is also a consultant to the new Cambridge Companion to Erotic Literature. Finally, the Asian American Literary Review has asked him to interview the novelist Zia Haider Rahmen.

Anastasia Snelling (SETH) published Introduction to Health Promotion (Jossey-Bass).

Melissa Scholes Young's (literature) short story, "People Counting," was published with Front Porch (Texas State University) and her poem, "Love Motel," was published in Poet Lore's 125th anniversary edition. The essay, "Parts Worth Saving," is forthcoming in Narrative. An interview with author Katherine Hill (The Violet Hour) was published with Fiction Writers Review where she is also a contributing editor. Last August, she attended the Bread Loaf Writer's Conference as a contributor in fiction.

Jurg Siegenthaler (professor emeritus, sociology) published “Glarus and Scranton: Benefits and Costs of Industrialization,” in the 2013 Yearbook of the Historical Association of Canton Glarus, Switzerland.



The Washington Post reviewed the Bach Sinfonia's recent Bach performance, directed by Daniel Abraham (performing arts).

Anthony Ahrens (psychology) was featured in an article about happiness on CCTV-America.

In an op-ed for the Chronicle of Higher Education, Naomi Baron (WLC), discussed her research and how the shift from reading in print to reading on digital devices is further reducing students' pursuit of work in the humanities.

In a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed, Naomi Baron (WLC) discussed her research findings about reading practices and preferences.

In an op-ed for, Naomi Baron (WCL) discussed the negative effects that PowerPoint has had on in-depth reading.

McClatchy Newspapers spoke to Robert Blecker (economics) about the labor market's slow recovery. 

Richard Breitman (history) appeared on WUSA TV-CBS9 to discuss the revelation that deported Nazis living abroad received Social Security benefits from the United States.

In a New York Times article, Richard Breitman (history) commented on how the American military, C.I.A. and F.B.I. employed at least 1,000 ex-Nazi's as spies during the Cold War.

For the NPR radio program Interfaith Voices, Michael Brenner (Israel Studies) provided historical context for the current struggle between Israelis and Palestinians.

Kyle Dargan (literature) wrote an op-ed discussing the silence of Black entertainers in positions of national and international influence regarding Ferguson.

South Africa's Mail & Guardian highlighted Terry Davidson's (psychology) research that found that there is a link between obesity-causing diets and changes in the brain's hippocampus, resulting in the overconsumption of food.

Terry Davidson (psychology) discussed how childhood diet impacts brain development on The Kojo Nnamdi Show.

Washingtonian magazine spoke to Anton Fedyashin (history) about his course on Cold War history and the spy novel.

Anton Fedyashin (history) appeared on China Central Television America to discuss the rhetoric and realities surrounding the NATO summit and events in Ukraine.

With CNN International, Anton Fedyashin (history) analyzed comments by Russia on Ukraine, saying that President Vladimir Putin intended to reach a political solution rather than a military one but Ukraine's reluctance is prolonging the conflict.

USA Today featured an AU Game Lab video game developed during the first-ever game jam event held at the White House.

Stephanie Grant's book The Passion of Alice was included in Bustle's list of the most realistic portrayals of mental illness in novels.

For WNEW-CBS Radio Washington, DC, Mary Gray (mathematics and statistics) spoke about the increased number of women in executive positions within the DC Metro area.

Mary Hansen (economics) spoke to Fortune online about fast-food restaurant strikes regarding minimum wage issues.

For CNN online, economics professor Mary Hansen commented on the issue of child poverty in the U.S., saying there are many policies that could be enacted to lift children out of poverty.

Anthropology PhD Candidate Erin Moriarty Harrelson spoke to National Geographic about her research on deaf Cambodians and Cambodian Sign Language.

With Business Insider, Matthew Hartings (chemistry) explained the chemical processes at work behind why certain foods become soft or hard when stale.

Kate Haulman (history) was featured on the American Apparel, A History of Fashion show on BackStory

Nathaniel Herr (psychology) was quoted in an article about what can lead to extreme cases of domestic violence.

In a op-ed, Katie Holton (SETH) explained how monosodium glutamate affects a subset of the population that consumes the chemical compound causing them ill effects.

Caleen Sinnette Jennings’ (DPA) play Not Enuf Lifetimes received a 5-star review from DC Metro Theatre Arts. It also received a review in the Washington Post.

Alan Kraut (history) talked about the historical context of President Obama's executive order on immigration with C-SPAN Washington Journal. featured student Dhaneshvaran Krishnarao's internship as a space weather forecaster for NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center.

For the Wall Street Journal, Robert Lerman (economics) discussed differing views of apprenticeships.

In a U.S. News & World Report co-authored op-ed, Robert Lerman (economics) explained how Israeli Arabs have been integrated into the Israeli economy, and therefore are working toward a peaceful resolution to conflict in the Middle East.

Allan Lichtman (history) appeared on MSNBC's Rachel Maddow Show to discuss President Obama's use of executive orders while Congress stalls on moving legislation as compared to his predecessors.

Allan Lichtman (history) wrote "The death of civil discourse?" for The Hill.

In his op-ed for The Hill, Allan Lichtman (history) called attention to a study about how ordinary Americans have nearly no impact on U.S. domestic policy making. Lichtman's piece was republished by more than 10 outlets, and he appeared on the Laura Ingraham Show.

Allan Lichtman (history) discussed President Obama's legacy with host Bill O'Reilly on FOX Television's The O'Reilly Factor

Daniel Lin (economics) discusses with the Atlantic if musicians should pay to play at the Super Bowl halftime show.

Gabriel Mathy (economics) talked with the National Journal about the potential economic consequences of a travel ban on flights from the U.S. to countries in West Africa affected by Ebola.

Glamour featured Evelyn Meier's (psychology PhD candidate) research in an article about women and body image. Meier is researching Facebook's effect on body image.

Martyn Oliver (philosophy and religion) published 10 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Religion on

For the PBS television series This is America & the World, Celine-Marie Pascale (sociology) participated in an expert, academic panel with host Dennis Wholey for a broad discussion about topical sociological issues such as changing the name of Washington, D.C.'s, NFL football team to distractions in society and racism.

Science News featured a study by Colin Saldanha (biology) and two of his students explaining how estrogen can protect the brain from harmful inflammation following traumatic injury.

The New York Times reviewed alumna Kristen Schiele's exhibition 'Spirit Girls' at La Magnus. 

On MSNBC, Rachel Louise Snyder (literature) discussed a program in Massachusetts that has successfully curbed domestic violence in nine communities, all while keeping victims out of shelters. 

For a WRCTV-NBC4 segment about the trend of smaller women's clothing sizes for sale in retail stores, Katharina Vester (history) discussed vanity sizing and how extremes in sizing, both small and large, can create pressure on women.

Teen Vogue featured Stef Woods' (American studies) course The Hunger Games: Class, Politics, and Marketing.

The Washington Post cited research by Chenyang Xiao (sociology) and his colleagues that was published in Nature Climate Change.