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About the College | Achievements, 2009 Fall

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


Grants & Research

Department of Mathematics and Statistics professors Jeff Adler, Jeff Hakim, and Josh Lansky collaborated on a multi-institutional grant from the National Science Foundation to facilitate major research with academic institutions around the world. The total grant awarded for the group of institutions was $1.2 million, with AU earning the largest percentage of the grant with over $520,000. The grant will facilitate a three-year project called "Characters, Liftings and Types: Investigation in p-adic Representation Theory."

Anna Amirdjanova (mathematics and statistics) received a two-year project grant from the National Science Foundation for "Stochastic Evolution Equations Driven by Nonmartingale Random Fields and Related Topics." Her projected award is $81,330, to be distributed over two years.  

Vikki Connaughton (biology) is contributing to a research project that recently received a $427,758 grant from the National Institutes of Health. The project, which Connaughton is working with several colleagues from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, examines the way sensitivity to methylmercury, an environmental pollutant which can cause neurological problems in those exposed to it, changes in zebrafish when they express glutathione-related human genes.

Amos Golan (economics) has received a grant from the U.S. Department of Treasury to found an Info-Metrics Institute within the Department of Economics. The Info-Metrics Institute will offer courses, conferences, and workshops that promote interdisciplinary research that solves economic problems using real world data. He will receive $375,300 over the next four years.

Daniel Levin (school of education, teaching, and health) received $13,082 from the University of Maryland, College Park, to supplement an NSF grant entitled, "What Influences Teachers Modification of Curriculum?" He will be the lead writer on Educating the Responsive Practitioner, a book and DVD collection that will be for use in science teacher education and professional development settings.

Kathryn Muratore (chemistry) has received a $44,993 grant from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement for her research project entitled, "Knowledge-based Redesign of Enzymes to Identify Substrate Specificity Determinants." With the help of two graduate students, Muratore will create a computer program that will help identify patterns in the genetic codes of various organisms that lead to the production of certain enzymes.

Pamela Nadell (history) was awarded a $2,500 grant from the Foundation for Jewish Culture, to enhance Jewish cultural programming on campus. The grant will be used to bring Liz Lerman, MacArthur Foundation grant recipient and artistic director of Dance Exchange, to campus.  

The college’s School of Education, Teaching, and Health received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation to support a partnership between Math for America D.C. (MfA DC) and AU. AU is one of only 10 universities in four cities across the nation—and the only one in the D.C. area—to partner with Math for America, a program launched by the Carnegie Academy for Science Education (CASE) in 2008. The goal is to ensure the availability of qualified mathematics teachers for D.C.’s public and public charter secondary schools. 

Stacie Tate (SETH) received a $50,000 grant from the United Planning Organization for a program entitled “Providing Opportunities with Education Readiness Program (POWER) Summer 2009.” This program brings 40 D.C. public middle-school students in the Congress Heights area to American University for a summer course. The program’s ultimate goal is to positively motivate these students to attend college. 

Stanley Weiss (psychology) will continue his research on “Incentive Properties of Abused Drugs,” a NIH-funded project that examines how multiple drug-associated stimuli interact to motivate drug-related behavior. He will receive more than $1.3 million over five years.


Appointments & Honors

This June, Fernando Benadon (performing arts) was awarded a 2009 Guggenheim Fellowship in large part for his innovative debut album, Intuitivo, which was released this spring. For Intuitivo, Benadon took improvised solo recording sessions from seven musicians to the studio, where he melded the separate recordings into a series of cohesive compositions. Guggenheim Fellowships are awarded annually to scholars and artists who demonstrate both outstanding accomplishments and strong potential for continued achievement. Each year, the foundation chooses about 220 fellows from a pool of over 3500 applicants in a full range of academic fields.

In October, Jack Child (LFS/SIS) and Alan Kraut (history/SIS) were named University Professors. This is the university’s highest professorial rank and recognizes outstanding scholarship, teaching, and influence.

The D.C. Commission on the Arts granted Kyle Dargan (literature) a 2009-2010 Individual Artist Fellowship. He has upcoming engagements at the Folger Shakespeare Library and the 2010 AWP Conference.

In February, Kathleen Franz (history) became the first recipient of the AU Center for Teaching, Research and Learning's Teaching with Research Award. The Teaching with Research Award is designed to highlight exemplary faculty instructional practices that involve individual students or groups of students in conducting original research as part of the classroom experience. 

This May, James Girard (chemistry) was named a 2009 Franklin Fellow. In this year-long fellowship, he will serve as a science advisor to the U.S. Department of State. Sponsored by the U.S. Department of State, the Franklin Fellows program is an executive development vehicle designed to promote professionals’ public service work. Franklin Fellows work on global issues of vital importance to the United States, and they may collaborate with government entities, including the White House, Congress, and the Department of Defense.

Bill Leap (anthropology) won the 2009 Ruth Benedict Prize for Best Anthology for Out in Public: Reinventing Lesbian/Gay Anthropology in a Globalizing World, the third volume in his series on LGBTQ anthropology. Leap shared the prize with series coeditor Ellen Lewin of the University of Iowa. The prize is awarded annually by the American Anthropology Association's Society of Lesbian and Gay Anthropologists (SOLGA). It is the third time the pair has been presented with the award.

A recent book by Allan Lichtman (history), White Protestant Nation: The Rise of the American Conservative Movement (Atlantic, 2008), was nominated as a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award. The book examines the rise of the conservative movement in America.

Last December, the Republic of Hungary awarded Jack Rasmussen (American University Museum) with a Knight's Cross of the Order of Merit. Rasmussen was presented with this honor for his role bringing Hungarian art to the museum.

Jerzy Sapieyevski (performing arts) received an ASCAPLUS award from the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers. The award, which includes recognition and a monetary prize, is determined by a panel of music experts reviewing the applicant's recent body of work.

Jerzy Sapieyevski (performing arts) has been asked to be a case study for The U.S. Chamber of Commerce's project entitled, "Faces of Intellectual Property." The project will compile about 30 case studies from across the United States for use in the U.S. Congress's upcoming deliberations on intellectual property protections. Sapieyevski was chosen for the project because of his use of technology in his musical compositions and performances, which could be affected by property protection laws.

In September, Chris Tudge (biology) was the plenary speaker at the Crustacean Society Summer Meeting and the 47th Annual Meeting of Carcinological Society in Tokyo, Japan. He is the current Secretary of the international Crustacean Society; he will assume the role of President-Elect in January.

David Vine (Anthropology) was appointed an Associate Fellow at the Institute for Policy Studies for the spring 2010 term. The Institute for Policy Studies is a non-profit think tank focusing on progressive and liberal causes; its overarching policy goals focus on peace, justice, and environment. 


Publications & Productions

In October, conductor Daniel Abraham (performing arts) released the CD Passion and Lament: Choral Masterworks of the 17th Century (Dorian Recordings), performed by Bach Sinfonia and vocal ensemble Sinfonia Voci. The recording includes works Heinrich Biber, Salamone Rossi, and Giacomo Carissimi, and it features a solo by AU faculty member Barbara Hollinshead (performing arts).

Ohan Balian (PhD economics 2002) recently published the book The Secret of Dubai's Long-Term Economic Success: Counterintuition (Lambert Academic Publishing, 2009). The book looks at the factors leading to Dubai's recent economic downturn and its prospects for long term success.

Norma Broude (art history) published "G. B. Tiepolo at Valmarana: Gender Ideology in a Patrician Villa of the Settecento" in the June edition of Art Bulletin. The article explores what social dynamics the frescos for the palazzina of the villa Valmarana may have embodied.

Matthew Claven (PhD history '05) has published his first book, Toussaint Louverture and the American Civil War: The Promise of a Second Haitian Revolution (Penn Press, 2009). The book examines the United States's perception of the Second Haitian Revolution from its inception in 1791 until the time of its own civil war. Clavin is an assistant professor of history at the University of West Florida.

Works by 19 artists affiliated with the Department of Art appeared in Chautauqua: A Continuum of Creativity, an exhibit on display at Denise Bibro Fine Art in New York City's Chelsea Art District from January 5–February 13. Of the 50 Chautauqua faculty and alumni chosen for the exhibit, 19 have connections to AU's art department as professors, undergraduate and graduate students and alumni, and former visiting professors.

Bette Dickerson (sociology) and Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (sociology) each published chapters in two interdisciplinary anthologies about sexualities and race scholarship. Dickerson co-authored "Black Senior Women and Sexuality" in Black Sexualities (December 2009). Vidal-Ortiz authored "Religion/Spirituality, U.S. Latina/o Communities, and Sexuality Scholarship" and contributed to "Revisiting Activos and Pasivos," both for Latina/o Sexualities (November 2009). Both books were commissioned by the Ford Foundation to assess the state of the field of sexualities studies and published by Rutgers University Press.

In December, David Haaga (psychology),in collaboration with Melissa Tanner (PhD candidate, psychology) and researchers from the Maharishi University of Management, published a study in the American Journal of Hypertension indicating that practicing Transcendental Meditation (TM) at least once a day for 20 minutes may reduce depression, anxiety, and high blood pressure in college students. These findings have drawn attention from news outlets across the country, including the Los Angeles Times online and U.S. News and World Report.

In collaboration with researchers from the National Cancer Institute, Monica Jackson (mathematics and statistics) published a study in Cancer Causes and Control indicating that Californian women in urban areas have higher mammography screening rates than those in rural areas (May, 2009). The report was picked up by in December.

Peter Kuznick (history) is cowriting a 10-episode television series called Secret History of the United States with Oscar-winning filmmaker Oliver Stone. Scheduled to air on Showtime this year, the series will examine underexposed events and figures that have played a key role in the last 70 years of America's history.

Robert Lerman (economics) was a guest on KCRW Radio's program "'Job One' for the President: Creating Jobs," which discussed the current unemployment in America. The program, through NPR, has been widely distributed (Nov. 16, 2009).

Michael Manson (literature) contributed an article, entitled "Worrying the Lines: Versification in Sterling Brown's Southern Road," to After Winter: The Art and Life of Sterling A., edited by John Edgar Tidwell and Steven C. Tracy Brown (Oxford University Press, 2009).

This fall, celebrated film director Terence Davies optioned the right to Richard McCann's (literature) book Mother of Sorrows (Vintage, 2006). The short story collection presents ten interwoven stories of an American family starting out in the post-World War II suburbs of Washington, D.C.

In December, Anna Nelson (history) published "President Obama, Improve Your Declassification Order" in the Chronicle of Higher Education. The article explains the need for the Obama Administration to declassify many historical documents that could assist historians' research.

Roberta Rubenstein (literature) published Virginia Woolf and the Russian Point of View (Palgrave Macmillan, 2009). The book explores the influence of Russian literature on Woolf’s critical and personal approach to fiction writing.

Laura Sherbin (Econ PhD '07) was coauthor of the Harvard Business Review article "How Gen Y and Boomers Will Reshape Your Agenda" (July/August). Sherbin is a vice president at the Center for Work-Life Policy, where she heads up CWLP's survey research. She specializes in work-life issues and gender.

This January, Rachel Louise Snyder (literature) launched The Global Guru, a public radio spot that answers a different cultural question about somewhere in the world each week. It is distributed by World Vision Report and WAMU and sponsored by AU's College of Arts and Sciences.

Aaron Tobler (PhD candidate, anthropology) and Maria Amelia Viteri (PhD anthropology, ’08) coedited, Shifting Positionalities: The Local and International Geo-Politics of Surveillance and Policing (Cambridge Scholars Press, 2009). It includes chapters by Michelle Carnes (PhD candidate, anthropology) and Mysara Abu-Hashem (PhD candidate, anthropology). The book was inspired by the Interrogating Diversity Conference that AU’s Department of Anthropology held in March 2007.

Historian in Residence Melvin Urofsky (history) published Louis D. Brandeis: A Life (Pantheon Books, 2009). The book was reviewed in the New York Times Sunday Book Review in September.

In November, Vivian Vasquez (SETH) published her fourth book since coming to AU. Getting Beyond I Like the Book: Creating Spaces for Critical Literacy in K-6 Classrooms was published by the International Reading Association (IRA). The IRA is the premier organization in the field of reading research and education in North America.

Maria Eugenia Verdaguer (PhD sociology ’02) published Class, Ethnicity, Gender and Latino Entrepreneurship (Routledge, 2009).

David Vine (anthropology) published Island of Shame: The Secret History of the U.S. Military Base on Diego Garcia (Princeton University Press, 2009). Vine explores a largely unknown American military base on the island of Diego Garcia, near the center of the Indian Ocean, and the harsh actions taken by the United States and Britain against the island’s indigenous people. A review of Island of Shame was featured on the front page of the New York Review of Booksin May, and Vine has made national and international appearances in support of the book, including a recent interview that aired on C-SPAN's Book TV on September 19-21.


Speaker's Corner

Dave Angelini (biology) presented a seminar, titled "Extent with Modification: Insect Appendage Evolution as Variations on a Developmental Theme," at the University of Maryland and Indiana University. Angelini discussed the evolution of developmental genetic systems that produce structures that repeat themselves on organisms' bodies and presented data from recent experiments examining the function of genes in many different appendage types in species of beetles. This has implications for how we think about the ways in which evolution tinkers with development to produce subtly or radically different structures. 

In December, Bette Dickerson (sociology) presented "Intergenerational Trauma: Grandmothers' Experiences of Confronting HIV/AIDS in the Aftermath of Apartheid" at "Beyond Reconciliation: Dealing with the Aftermath of Mass Trauma and Political Violence," an international conference held at University of Cape Town, South Africa. Jennifer Fish, a 2003 AU doctoral sociology student and current women's studies professor at Old Dominion University, co-presented with Dickerson. The presentation was developed in conjunction with Grandmothers against Poverty and AIDS (GAPA).   

In January, Barry McCarthy (psychology) presented a free, day-long seminar entitled "Biopsychosocial Approach to Sexual Dysfunction" at Walter Reed Army Medical Center. The seminar touched on many aspects of sexual function, dysfunction, assessment and treatment, and couple issues.


In the Media

In December, Daniel Abraham (music) was interviewed by Washington Jewish Week for a feature on Bach Sinfonia's recent CD release, Passion & Lament: Choral Masterworks of the 17th Century. Abraham is artistic director of  the Maryland-based baroque and classical music performance group.  

Bob Karch (School of Education, Teaching, and Health) was featured in the NPR Morning Edition story "How Revving up Your Heart Rate, Even a Bit, Pays Off." In it, Karch explains how increasing your heart rate regularly can help people live longer, healthier lives.  

On January 19, Allan Lichtman (history) participated in a panel on the Kojo Nnamdi Show that examined the Obama presidency from a historical perspective. The radio show is produced through NPR affiliate WAMU 88.5.  

Richard McCann (literature) was interviewed on BBC World TV about the death of author J.D. Salinger. The January 28th interview reflected on the author's work and the future of any unpublished pieces.  

In October, Jennifer Yezek (MS health promotion management '08) was featured in an article in the Washington Post's Express. Yezek is currently implementing nation-wide health initiatives in the U.S. Marshall Islands.  


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