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About the College | Achievements

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

Please send achievements announcements to casnews@american.edu.


Recent Achievements

Naomi BaronNaomi Baron (WCL) published Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (Oxford University Press). 

Daniel SayersDaniel Sayers (anthropology) published A Desolate Place for a Defiant People: The Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp.

Kyle DarganKyle Dargan (literature) published Honest Engine (University of Georgia Press).


A $7.5 million grant from the National Institutes of Health will establish the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR), a new center devoted to research aimed at ending the AIDS epidemic. DC CFAR is a city-wide consortium representing six collaborating academic research institutions in DC. Kim Blankenship (sociology) is the director of the DC CFAR social and behavioral sciences core.

Stephen Casey, PI, Michael Robinson, and Kevin Duke (mathematics and statistics) won a $13,300 US Air Force Office of Scientific Research award for the Sampling Theory and Applications Conference (SampTA 2015). They are the AU component of the Local Organizing Committee. Information about the meeting can be found here.

Zoë Charlton (art) is a 2014 Rubys grantee in the literary and visual arts. Sponsored by the The Greater Baltimore Cultural Alliance, the artist grant will support work on the Cultural Currency: Tourists, Trophies, and Tokens series.

Kathleen Franz (history) won a $20,100 Smithsonian Institution award to continue her work on the American Enterprise exhibition.

Mary Hansen (economics) and Brian Yates (psychology) won a $39,444 Annie E. Casey Foundation award for the project "Costs and Benefits of Interventions that Reduce Group and Institutional Care." 

David Kearns (psychology) won a $1,582,528 NIH R01 award for the project "Addiction as Maladaptive Choice of Drugs over Non-Drug Rewards." Alan Silberberg (psychology) is a co-investigator. 

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

Michael Robinson (mathematics and statistics) won a $40,000 University of Pennsylvania (funding source: DARPA) award for the project "Sheaf-based Layered Track Management (SLTM)." 

Catherine Stoodley (psychology) won a $402,769 NIH/NIMH award for the project "Cerebellum and Autism: Neural Mechanisms and Modulation of Predictive Processing."

Caroline Vill (environmental science) has been awarded a Hollings Undergraduate Scholarship and a Killam Undergraduate Fellowship to study in Canada next spring.

Susie Vulpas has been awarded a Fulbright Grant and a Critical Language Scholarship to study mangrove deforestation and conservation in Indonesia. Vulpas is pursuing an MS degree in environmental science and also received a BA degree in international studies with a minor in Chinese language from AU.



Sarah Irvine Belson (SETH) won the 2015 Betty T. Bennett Award. The award recognizes a member of the College faculty who is an exemplary scholar and administrative leader.

John Bracht (biology) received the Center for Teaching, Research and Learning's 2015 Jack Child Teaching with Technology Award.

Zoë Charlton and Magnolia Laurie (art) are finalists for this year's Janet & Walter Sondheim Artscape Prize. Their work will be on display at the Baltimore Museum of Art from June 24 through August 9. 

Stefano Costanzi (chemistry) was named to the editorial board of the Journal of Receptors and Signal Transduction.

Stefano Costanzi (chemistry) received the national habilitation for full professorship in Italy in the fields of biochemistry and pharmaceutical chemistry, the only scholar to receive habilitation in both fields. He was one of twelve scholars awarded the habilitation in the field of pharmaceutical chemistry. 

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

Terry Davidson (psychology) won the university faculty award for Outstanding Scholarship, Research, Creative Activity, and Other Professional Contributions.

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

Eileen Findlay's (history) book, We Are Left without a Father Here, won the William M. LeoGrande Award for the best book or article in Latin American or Latino Studies published by a member of the American University community in 2013-14.

The District of Columbia Office of Motion Picture and Television Development (MPTD) recognized award-winning filmmaker and documentarian Harjant Gill (PhD anthropology '12), as the May Filmmaker of the Month in honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month. 

Kathleen Gunthert (psychology) won the university faculty award for Outstanding Teaching in a Full-Time Appointment.

David Haaga (psychology) and Evan Berry (philosophy and religion) received awards for excellence in graduate student mentoring for the 2014-15 academic year.

Laura Juliano and Anthony Ahrens (psychology) were included on list of 10 Must Take Psychology Professors in DC.

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

The British Institute in Eastern Africa invited Chap Kusimba (anthropology) to deliver the BIEA's annual Nairobi Lecture on January 23.

Mark Laubach (biology) was named to the editorial board of The Journal of Neuroscience.

Lisa Moses Leff (history) was named a 2016-17 Visiting Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies.

Elizabeth Malloy (mathematics and statistics) won the Morton Bender Prize, which recognizes important scholarly achievements and facilitates the faculty member's progress towards the rank of full professor.

Richard McCann (literature) was elected the next president of the PEN/Faulkner Foundation which, among its many programs, oversees the annual PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction. He will serve a two-year term, from July 2015 to July 2017.

Chemi Montes (art) was a Merit Winner in the poster category for the HOW International Design Awards.

Martyn Oliver (philosophy and religion) gave the MLK Day keynote address, "Muhammad Ali, Islam, and Civil Rights in Multi-Religious America," at Emory & Henry College.

The U.S. Senate confirmed Frank Rose (history BA '94) as the assistant secretary for verification and compliance at the State Department. 

Arthur Shapiro (psychology) spoke at an invited symposium on Mathematical and Psychological Explanations of Visual Illusion in Hong Kong. He gave two public lectures: one to the Young Brain Scientists organization; the other was a public lecture at the University of Hong Kong. 

Rachel Louise Snyder (literature) won the AU Green Teacher of the Year Award.

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

Stanley Weiss (emeritus, psychology) received a career achievement award from the Ohio State University, his alma mater.

Elizabeth Worden (SETH) was appointed a visiting professor for the Institute for Research in Social Sciences at Ulster University. The appointment is for four years and she will be in residence for research 10-14 days per year.



A story about Michael Bader's (sociology) research has published in the Science of Cities blog on Next City, a news website devoted to examination of innovation, policy and technology issues in metropolitan areas.

Economics undergraduate students Mike Bassett and Emily Ellis presented research at the Eastern Economic Association meetings. The research has also been accepted for publication in Issues in Political Economy, the journal of undergraduate student research in economics.

Naomi Baron (WCL) published "Is Reading Boring?" with the Huffington Post

Naomi Baron (WCL) published Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World (Oxford University Press, 2015).

Meg Bentley (biology) will present a poster at the prestigious Gordon Research Conference on Undergraduate Biology Education Research taking place at Bates College in July 2015.

Robert A. Blecker (economics) published "Structural Change, the Real Exchange Rate and the Balance of Payments in Mexico, 1960-2012" in Cambridge Journal of Economics. The paper was co-authored by Carlos A. Ibarra.

Robert A. Blecker (economics) participated in a panel discussion about the US trade deficit at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, DC.

Robert A. Blecker (economics) published "What would the Trans-Pacific Partnership offer the middle class?" in the Washington Post.

FDR and the Jews, by Richard Breitman and Allan J. Lichtman (history), was featured in the New York Times Sunday Book Review's Paperback Row column on January 16, 2015.

To the Gates of Jerusalem: The Diaries and Papers of James G. McDonald, 1945-1947 (Indiana University Press) was edited by Richard Breitman (history), Norman J.W. Goda, Barbara McDonald Stewart, and Severin Hochberg.

Sherrill S. Cannon (BA 1969) published her seventh children’s book, Mice & Spiders & Webs…Oh My! Her previous six children’s books have won 28 awards.  

Zoë Charlton's (art) work is featured in the State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now exhibition at the Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. Charlton was also a participant in the State of the Art Summit "Personal Stories: Inspiration to Creation" panel. Of the 102 artists in the exhibition, only 11 participating artists were invited to discuss their work at the summit.

Zoë Charlton's (art) work is featured in the group exhibition Venturing Out of the Heart of Darkness, curated by Rehema Barber at the Harvey B. Gantt Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, February 7 through June 26, 2015.

Kong F. Cheong (anthropology doctoral candidate) co-authored the chapter "Ancient Maya Musical Encore: Analysis of Ceramic Musical Instruments from Pacbitun, Belize and the Maya Subarea" in Flower World: Music Archaeology of the Americas, Vol.3. He also co-authored the article "Recovering Music from Pacbitun, Belize: New Evidence for Ancient Maya Instrument," published in Research Reports in Belizean Archaeology Vol.11.

Kristina Crona and Devin Greene (mathematics and statistics) published "Rational Design of Antibiotic Treatment Plans: A treatment strategy for managing evolution and reversing resistance" in PLOS ONE with Portia M. Mira, Juan C. Meza, Bernd Sturmfels, and Miriam Barlow.

Kristina Crona (mathematics and statistics) published "Adaptation and Fitness Graphs" in Algebraic and Discrete Mathematical Methods for Modern Biology (Elsevier).

Kyle Dargan's (literature) book Honest Engine (University of Georgia Press) was reviewed in Washington Independent Review of Books' April 2015 Exemplars: National Poetry Month’s Best Picks. It was also reviewed by the City Paper.

Kyle Dargan (literature) published his fourth poetry collection Honest Engine (University of Georgia Press). He also published the poem, “Two years from retirement, my neighbor contemplates Canada” on Proletarian Poetry.

Terry Davidson and Anthony Riley (psychology), members of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience, authored a feature article for American Scientist magazine about taste aversions and the implications for treating obesity and drug use. 

Sara Day (art history 1985) published Coded Letters, Concealed Love: The Larger Lives of Harriet Freeman and Edward Everett Hale (New Academia Publishing, 2014) and has spoken about her book at the Boston Athenaeum, the Harvard Divinity School, and the Library of Congress, in addition to various clubs and libraries. Her profile of Harriet Freeman has been published in American National Biography Online.

Rebecca Downey (public health '17) published an article on genome sequencing in Exceptional Parent magazine. 

Robert Feinberg and Thomas Husted (economics) published "Does State Antitrust Enforcement Drive Establishment Exit?" in Journal of Competition Law & Economics.

Robert Feinberg (economics) and Daniel Kuehn (PhD student, economics) published "Explaining Variation in Title Charges: A Study of Five Metropolitan Residential Real Estate Markets" in Review of Industrial Organization. The paper was co-authored with Signe-Mary McKernan, Doug Wissoker, and Sisi Zhang.

Robert Feinberg (economics) published "'Exports-at-Risk:' The Effect of Multimarket Contact in International Trade" in the Southern Economic Journal.

Robert Feinberg (economics) published "Pricing of First-Run Movies in Small U.S. Metropolitan Areas: Multimarket Contact and Chain Effects" in B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis and Policy (Topics).

Boris Gershman's (economics) paper “The Economic Origins of the Evil Eye Belief,” published in the Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, was reviewed in the Ideas section of the Boston Globe.

At the Society for Information Technology and Teacher Education Conference in Las Vegas, NV, Alex Hodges (SETH) completed his first year of a two-year term as chair of the Information Literacy Education and Library/Media Science special interest group. He also co-presented "Information Literacy, Libraries, and Virtual Schools: New Standards for New Modalities," a peer-reviewed discussion on the intersections of virtual schooling research and the recent 2015 Association of College & Research Libraries Framework for Information Literacy for Higher Education.

Andy Holtin (art) curated The Accuracy of the Ordinary exhibition at HilbertRaum in Berlin, Germany. The exhibition featured work by Berlin-based artists Isabel Manalo and Elizabeth McTernan February 1 through 22, 2015. 

The Women’s Voices Theatre Festival will feature two plays by Caleen Sinette Jennings. The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts will present Darius & Twig Oct. 31–Nov. 8 in the Kennedy Center Family Theater and Theater J will present Queens Girl in the World Sept. 16–Oct. 11.

Don Kimes (art) solo exhibition Finding Memory: New Works is featured at Denise Bibro Fine Art in New York City February 5 through March 14, 2015. This is Kimes's fourth solo exhibition in Chelsea and his tenth solo show in New York City.

Alicia Kopfstein-Penk (performing arts) published Leonard Bernstein and His Young People's Concert (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers).

Alumnus Gary Kremer published his 12th book, Race and Meaning: The African American Experience in Missouri (University of Missouri).

Peter Kuznick (history) published "Through Russian Eyes," co-authored with Oliver Stone, in the Japanese journal Shukan Kinyobi.

Peter Kuznick's (history) young readers edition of Untold History was featured on page three of the New York Times. The Untold History (Russian translation) was on Russian bestseller list for several weeks and the documentary series began airing on Russia One, Russia's largest TV network.

Anne L’Ecuyer (performing arts) is the lead planner and fundraiser for Art Lives Here, a regional visibility campaign for the Gateway Arts District in Prince George’s County, Maryland. The National Endowment for the Arts recently showcased the initiative in Exploring Our Town, a new national resource for creative placemaking. 

Jonathan Loesberg (literature) published a translation of Eugene Sue's The Mysteries of Paris with Carolyn Betensky (Penguin Classics, 2015).

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

Cynthia Miller-Idriss' (SETH) proposal for a new sponsored global research network on Radicalism and Violence (together with co-director Prof Fabian Virchow in Germany) was selected by the Council for European Studies for network support. The network will launch at a meeting in Paris in July 2015.

NOVELLA gallery in New York featured Danielle Mysliwiec's (art) solo exhibition Harbinger from January 17 through February 8, 2015. Taney Roniger reviewed the exhibit in the Brooklyn Rail.

Meghan Raham (performing arts) designed the set for the world premiere of Life Sucks (or the Present Ridiculous) at Theater J.

Kara Reynolds (economics) published "Trade Flows and Trade Disputes" in Review of International Organizations.

The Washington Post’s Wonkblog featured research by Kara Reynolds (economics). Reynolds’ research examined the Trade Adjustment Assistance program and found that retraining assistance did help people find new jobs, but they were at much lower wages than their previous positions.

Daniel Sayers (anthropology) published A Desolate Place for a Defiant People: The Archaeology of Maroons, Indigenous Americans, and Enslaved Laborers in the Great Dismal Swamp (University Press of Florida and The Society for Historical Archaeology).

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

Elke Stockreiter (history) published Islamic Law, Gender, and Social Change in Post-Abolition Zanzibar (Cambridge University Press, 2015).

Vivian Vasquez's (SETH) refereed article "Podcasting as Transformative Work" was published in the Theory into Practice journal, volume 54, issue 2. 

The Washington Post and Washington City Paper reviewed Naoko Wowsugi's (art) “Assignment: Happy Birthday” exhibition, which was displayed at Hamiltonian Gallery through Feb. 14. The exhibition was funded by an American University Mellon Grant.

Gay Young (sociology) published Gendering Globalization on the Ground: The Limits of Feminized Work for Mexican Women's Empowerment (Routledge).



Naomi Baron (WLC) discussed her book Words Onscreen with Wisconsin Public Radio's The Joy Cardin Show, University of Kentucky's New Books in Technology podcast, Los Angeles NPR station KCRW'S Press Play hosted by Madeleine Brand, Radio NZ (New Zealand) Calling, Baltimore NPR station WYPR's Midday with Dan Rodricks, and Barrow, Alaska's NPR station KBRW.

Naomi Baron (WCL) discussed alternative ways to say "yes" and reasons behind these alternatives with the Atlantic.

Naomi Baron (WCL) spoke to NPR affiliate WYPR-FM about her book, Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World, and her research on the advantages and disadvantages of print vs. digital books

A Washington Post feature piece about digital and print reading preferences featured Naomi Baron's (WCL) research and new book. 

The Chronicle Review featured Naomi Baron’s (WCL) piece about the decline in reading among professors and undergraduate students and the impact of “tl;dr." Baron also wrote an article about the irrelevance of page numbers for Slate, was featured in a Publisher's Weekly podcast to discuss digital reading, and  published Why Reading On A Screen Is Bad For Critical Thinking with the Huffington Post.

For WAMU’s The Kojo Nnamdi Show, Naomi Baron (WLC) discussed Internet dialects and the way online and offline speech affect each other. 

Naomi Baron (WLC) published a Washington Post op-ed about the demise of voicemail.

Naomi Baron (WLC) published "The case against e-readers: Why reading paper books is better for your mind" in the Washington Post. She also was interviewed by CBC Fresh Air on January 11.

Richard Breitman (history) discussed remembrances of the Holocaust on FOX's "Special Report with Bret Baier." 

Michael Brenner (history) wrote articles and was interviewed on the Israeli elections and on antisemitism in Europe in the leading speaking newspapers of Germany (Sueddeutsche Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung), Switzerland (Neue Zuercher Zeitung), and Brazil (Correio Brazilense).

For Sinclair Broadcast Group television news affiliates, Michael Brenner (history) addressed tension between the White House and Israel, saying that the countries shouldn’t let it affect their many common values and similar interests. The interview syndicated on more than 30 affiliates nationwide.

For WAMU's Diane Rehm Show on NPR, Michael Brenner (history) joined panelists for a wide-ranging discussion about what's behind recent acts of violence and rising anti-Semitism in Europe. 

The new chemistry student research program was featured in Science Magazine as an Editor's Choice for top research. 

In an interview with The Guardian (U.K. edition), David Culver (environmental science) spoke about the diverse species of life found in Southeast Asia caves.

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

Donna Dietz (mathmatics and statistics) discussed the importance of Pi on Fox 5 DC.

Anton Fedyashin (history) appeared on CNN International to discuss political and economic issues surrounding the Russian government's attempts to modernize its healthcare system. 

Kathleen Franz (history) spoke at a press conference with the writers and cast of Mad Men. She also gave interviews for the Smithsonian Channel, ARD (Germany's radio network), and Inc.com. More than 50 artifacts from the show were donated to the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History. Learn more.

For KSAT-TV online, Kathleen Franz (history) discussed her work to help bring a collection about Sosa, Bromley, and Aguilar and Associates, the top-billing Latino ad agency in the industry to the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Franz was also a featured guest on BackStory with the American History Guys, the "New & Improved, Advertising in America" episode.

For U.S. News & World Report, Jolynn Gardner (public health) spoke about the increase of minority students majoring in public health and the role personal connections with these communities play for these students.

Fox 5 News DC interviewed anthropology PhD student Anthony Gualtieri and United Nation of Individuals Fighting Impossibilities program director to discuss how plans to build job training facility are unfazed by Baltimore Riots.

Mary Hansen (economics) spoke to the Los Angeles Times about President Obama’s announcement to make paid family leave a new norm in America. 

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

Alan Kraut (history) appeared on C-SPAN's Washington Journal to discuss past presidential executive actions on immigration dating back to the Eisenhower administration. 

Peter Kuznick (history) was quoted in a Japan News article about the series of panels that depict the 1945 atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that will be exhibited at the AU Museum June 13 through August 16.

Nuclear Studies Institute director Peter Kuznick (history) spoke to Japan News about the art exhibit "The Hiroshima Panels," which will be shown at the American University Museum in the spring. 

Peter Kuznick (history) was interviewed by KARN Newsradio, Fox 16 TV, AETN, Soul of the South Radio, RTR TV (Russia), CCTV, Russia One TV, NHK (Japan's Public TV), Yale Daily News, Boston Globe, Cambridge Community TV, and the University of Connecticut's Daily Campus to discuss Untold History.

Allan Lichtman (history) appeared on BBC World News to discuss Clinton’s 2016 announcement compared to her announcement in 2008. Lichtman praised Clinton’s video, and pointed out examples of past candidates who failed the first time out but won the presidency after campaigning for a second time.

Allan J. Lichtman’s (history) comments on President Obama’s State of the Union address have appeared on ABC News, CBS News, MSNBC, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, Voice of America, San Angelo Standard Times, Euronews, Irish Times, Al Jazeera, Deutsche Welle, Washington Times, El Financiero, CRJENGLISH, NIYZ, Medill on the Hill, Report News Today, RIFE, Benton.org, The Maddow Blog, Israel News, Berliner Zeitung, L'Orient-Le Jour, Telam Mundo, Diario El Analista, El Periodico, Middle East Eye, Yomuri Shimbun, Slovenska Tiskovna Agencija, Latino Fox News, and the Strait Times.  

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke on WJLA-ABC7's NewsTalk to discuss the historical precedent for presidents acting unilaterally on immigration, emphasizing Herbert Hoover's executive action in 1930. Lichtman also wrote an op-ed for The Hill.

Gabriel Mathy (economics) was quoted in a Christian Science Monitor feature story about the potential and pitfalls for local governments trying to attract cybersecurity clusters as a economic development strategy for their communities. 

Cynthia Miller-Idriss (SETH) was quoted in an article, "Authoritarian Outfitters," in The New Republic.

Martyn Oliver (philosophy and religion) published "10 Things I Wish Everyone Knew About Islam" on faithstreet.com. The website's top 20 posts of 2014 featured his essay "10 Things Every College Student Needs to Know About Religion."

For NPR, Martyn Oliver (philosophy and religion) spoke about the Museum of the Bible, a new museum set to open in DC in 2017, and the artifacts that the museum will have on display.

In an op-ed for Talking Points Memo, Pedram Partovi (history) explained that there is no quick fix to the jihadist movement.

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.

Kendra Salois (performing arts) spoke to U.S. News & World Report about music and political leanings, and the reasons behind why country music tends to get seen as conservative.

NPR featured Daniel Sayers (anthropology) and his new book, A Desolate Place for a Defiant People. The segment aired on more than 70 NPR affiliates nationwide.

Arthur Shapiro (psychology) spoke to the Los Angeles Times for two separate articles about “The Dress” that went viral and the science behind the visual illusion. The articles syndicated more than 100 times. He also discussed #TheDress on ABC, NBC, and USA Today. 

Stacey Snelling and Sarah Irvine Belson (SETH) talked to CBS News about results from their recent research that that showed students who reported getting higher grades in school also tended to have higher levels of physical activity.

Stacey Snelling (SETH) participated in a live panel discussion about food insecurity and college students for the NPR affiliate for Kansas City.

Carol Weissbrod (psychology) discussed the stigma of men crying - and how to change it - with the Washington Post.

Gay Young (sociology) was a guest on the Kojo Namdi Show. She talked about gender relations and societal inequalities and how those structures contribute to violence against women, women's human right to live without violence, and her own research on militarized masculinity an its impact on violence.

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

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