Examining Diversity Initiatives at Columbia University


Examining Diversity Initiatives at Columbia University
Volume 4, Issue 2
Summer 2014
The Graduate School of Arts & Sciences | Columbia University
Defining Identity:
Examining Diversity Initiatives at Columbia
GSAS Alumni Association
Board of Directors
Jillisa Brittan, President, M.A. ‘86, English
and Comparative Literature
Robert Greenberg, Vice President, M.A. ‘88,
Frank Chiodi, Secretary, M.A. ‘00,
American Studies
Tyler Anbinder, M.A. ’85, M.Phil. ’87, Ph.D.
’90, History
Gerrard Bushell, M.A. ’91, M.Phil. ’94, Ph.D.
’04, Political Science
Annette Clear, M.A. ’96, M.Phil. ’97, Ph.D.
’02, Political Science
Michael S. Cornfeld, M.A. ’73, Political
Elizabeth Debreu, M.A. ’93, Art History and
George Khouri, M.A. ’69, Classics
Lindsay Leard-Coolidge, M.Phil. ’87, Ph.D.
’92, Art History and Archaeology
Harriet Zuckerman, Ph.D. ’65, Sociology
Tracy Zwick, M.A. ’11, Modern Art
01From the Dean . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 2
02Defining Identity: Examining Diversity Initiatives at Columbia . . . . . . . . . . . 4
03A Meteorologist for the Millennial Generation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
04 Anna Karenina on a Roller Coaster . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
05The New Graduate Student Center . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
06 Alumni Profile: Anita Demkiv . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
07Alumni Profile: Daniel Duzdevich . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24
08On the Shelf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 26
09In Memoriam . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
10Dissertations Deposited Recently . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 32
11Announcements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 48
12Helpful Links . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50
Carlos J. Alonso
Letters to the Editor
To share your thoughts about anything you have read in this
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Robert Ast
Assistant Editor:
Andrew Ng
Senior Director for Alumni Relations:
Jill Galas-Hickey
SUPERSCRIPT is published twice annually by the Graduate
School of Arts & Sciences and the GSAS Alumni Association.
Design, Editing, and Production:
Columbia Creative
From the Dean
The professional development of our students is
one of the principal obligations of the Graduate
School of Arts and Sciences. I would like to
report to you on a related GSAS initiative recently
implemented, and which I had mentioned to you in
my column for the previous issue of SUPERSCRIPT:
the Internships in Academic Administration that
were inaugurated in spring 2014. In this program,
twelve advanced graduate students were placed in
academic offices throughout the University such as
the Office of the President, the Provost, Columbia
College, Columbia University Press, and several
others, so that they would experience firsthand for
one semester the inner workings of those offices
as they managed their tasks and responsibilities.
The participants came from a wide variety of
graduate departments and programs, and included
representatives from the three canonical divisions
of the Humanities, the Social Sciences, and the
Natural Sciences.
A survey of the initial class of interns in Columbia
academic offices, as well as one sent to the offices
in which they were placed, revealed that our
students’ involvement in their chosen administrative
units was everything we had hoped it would
be—and more. It seems clear from the survey
responses that this initiative channeled and satisfied
a significant interest among graduate students. In
the case of students who are considering the many
alternatives to academic careers, the experience
was a welcome opportunity to explore the everyday
life of an academic administrator and the work of
an academic office. For those students who wish
Article 01
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to go on to join the professoriate, it was a chance
to understand the workings of the University
beyond the familiar yet limited confines of their
departmental home base. I would like to share with
you some of the comments that we received both
from the participating students and the academic
offices that hosted them, because together they
provide a compelling account of the program’s
success. Three of the student responses contained
the following reflections:
• I was welcomed to the office’s weekly staff
meeting, which was a great chance for me to really
see what was going on in the entire office.
• I really enjoyed the opportunity to see how
a university operates on a day-to-day basis.
We are so far removed from this in our home
departments. I enjoyed being able to sit in on
important meetings to understand the issues the
University faces and how it will approach them.
This was helpful in terms of understanding how
universities operate and also how organizations in
general operate. As a result of this internship, I am
definitely considering academic administration as
a career option down the line. I am very happy I
had this opportunity at this point in my career.
• The workshops on the university and on
administrative career paths run by the Dean
of GSAS and by other academic officers from
throughout the University were very insightful.
The offices were no less enthusiastic about the value
added to their work by the students they hosted:
• [The intern] was a pleasure to work with. The
experience and insight that she brought to the
office were incredibly valuable. She caught on very
quickly, especially since these projects were more
technical in nature. She adapted, learned, and was
able to contribute to these efforts effectively.
• [The intern’s] previous experiences as both an
instructor and student provided great insight on
how best to approach the needs and end goal of
this project. He provided critical research/analysis
and regularly met with key members of our office
and outside units to help push this effort along.
One may lament the fact that academic
administration (as opposed to the faculty ranks)
is the fastest growing segment of academic
employment, but the reality is that the career
of university administrator typically requires the
doctoral degree as an entering qualification.
As such, academic administration will become
increasingly an employment path for our alwaysremarkable graduates. Hence, I am happy
to announce that Internships in Academic
Administration is slated to be repeated in fall of
2014 and that it will remain a fixture in the Graduate
School’s yearly programming for its students. We
are also hoping to expand the project soon to
nonacademic institutions in New York.
Carlos J. Alonso
Dean, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Morris A.
and Alma Schapiro Professor in the Humanities
These internships are also an excellent example of
the enriching opportunities that are made possible
by alumni contributions to the Graduate School’s
annual fund.
Examining Diversity Initiatives at Columbia
By Alexander Gelfand
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When Andrea Morris first came across a job listing
for the newly created position of Assistant Dean for
Academic Diversity in the Graduate School of Arts and
Sciences—a position she has held since September
2013—she wasn’t really looking to leave her post as a
tenured associate professor of biology at Haverford
College. Something about the ad caught her attention,
though—namely, the word academic.
Morris already had plenty of experience, both personal
and professional, on the front lines of the effort to
increase diversity in higher education. The daughter
of Jamaican immigrants and a Haverford alumna, she
was the first African-American woman to graduate
from Princeton with a Ph.D. in molecular biology. After
returning to Haverford, Morris served on the college’s
Committee on Diversity and as a faculty adviser
to its Multicultural Scholars and Chesick Scholars
programs, which provide support for first-generation,
underrepresented, and underprivileged students;
lectured widely on diversity in higher education;
and established herself as a prominent researcher,
earning the first National Institutes of Health Career
Development Award ever given to a faculty member at
a small liberal arts college.
Nonetheless, Morris says that she did not
necessarily think of diversity as something that
was tied to the academic mission of a college or
university, as opposed to something that lived
in the realm of social justice. Reading that GSAS
job posting sparked an epiphany of sorts. “This
is the heart of the matter, right? This is why it’s
really important,” Morris says of the University’s
decision to locate diversity at the center of its
intellectual mission. “We’re a better institution for
this commitment.”
That commitment to diversity as a core academic
responsibility is made manifest in a variety of
ways, from the five-year, $30 million commitment
the University announced in 2012 to advance the
recruitment of underrepresented minority and
female scholars, to the growing variety of pipeline
programs designed to encourage students from
such groups to pursue graduate studies in the first
place. It is a commitment that has been influenced
by the past decade or so of research into the
benefits of diversity, and by changing notions of
what diversity really means. And its effects can
already be seen in the day-to-day experiences of
those who make up the Columbia community.
Diversity and Doxa
Contemporary ideas of diversity—its meaning, its
value, how it can and ought to be addressed—have
been shaped by decades of legislation, litigation,
and research. Fueled by the civil rights movement
and by the executive orders issued by Presidents
Kennedy and Johnson that first introduced the
phrase “affirmative action” to the American lexicon,
early efforts at enhancing student diversity in higher
education focused on increasing the numbers of
historically underrepresented groups: racial and
ethnic minorities and, eventually, women. Over
time, however, the definition of campus diversity
expanded to encompass socioeconomic status,
sexual orientation, religious belief, and more.
This move toward what Carlos Alonso, Dean of
GSAS and Vice President for Graduate Education,
calls a more “ample” conception of diversity was
accompanied by a recognition that numbers alone
were not enough, and that intangibles such as
cultural climate—the extent to which difference was
accepted or even celebrated in an institution, and to
which members of a diverse community interacted
with one another and felt valued and respected
by their peers—also mattered, particularly if the
benefits of diversity were to be fully realized.
Those benefits, meanwhile, came into considerably
sharper focus, in part thanks to the repeated legal
assaults on affirmative action in higher education.
The 2003 Supreme Court cases of Gratz v. Bollinger
and Grutter v. Bollinger were especially influential.
Gratz successfully challenged the affirmative action
policies of the primary undergraduate college of
the University of Michigan when headed by Lee
C. Bollinger, now President of Columbia, while
Grutter unsuccessfully challenged those of its law
school. Both cases inspired a surge in social science
research on the role of diversity in higher education,
some of which was cited by the Court in its rulings.
When Justice Sandra Day O’Connor wrote for the
majority in Grutter that diversity “promotes learning
outcomes” and has “substantial, important, and
laudable educational benefits,” she was echoing the
work of Patricia Gurin, a professor of psychology at
Michigan, who submitted an expert report to the
Court asserting that diversity is “likely to increase
effortful, active thinking” and to spur “growth in
intellectual and academic skills.”
Nevertheless, attempts to overturn affirmative
action policies have continued. In 2012 the Court
heard the case Fisher v. University of Texas and
returned it to a lower court for review; in 2014 the
Court heard Schuette v. BAMN and upheld a ban
on affirmative action enacted by Michigan voters.
These challenges come even as researchers—such
as psychologist and former Columbia Provost
Claude Steele, whose work on stereotype threat
examines how a student’s social identity affects
classroom performance—have collected more data
showing that diversity leads to a wide variety of
benefits for minority and majority students alike.
Meanwhile, Scott Page, a professor of complex
systems, political science, and economics at
Michigan, began presenting formal proof for what
has come to be known as the business case for
diversity: the argument that diversity leads to more
innovation and better problem-solving. Though
Page was careful to point out that “identity diversity”
arising from differences in categories such as race
and ethnicity does not necessarily lead to “cognitive
diversity,” or variations in ways of thinking, he did
contend that the two were often strongly correlated,
thanks to the concomitant range of life experiences
that differences in personal history and background
tend to engender.
C3 Summit participants gather for the Saturday morning workshop “You, Me, We: Who Gets to Fully Participate in the Academy, and
How?” presented by Susan Sturm (George M. Jaffin Professor of Law and Social Responsibility and founding director of the Center for
Institutional and Social Change, Columbia Law School), and Shirley Collado, Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of the College,
and associate professor of psychology, Middlebury College. Photo by Lee Wexler.
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Undergraduate participants in the 2014 GSAS Summer Research Program
Page’s assertion that “in diversity lies value,” and
his claim that varied perspectives and cognitive
tools allow mixed groups of people to innovate and
solve problems more rapidly than homogeneous
ones, supported the growing consensus among
business leaders that diversity was good for the
bottom line—a consensus that was soon echoed in
the precincts of higher education. When Alonso, for
example, contends that “doxa” and “canonical ideas”
would arise if everyone at Columbia possessed the
same background, and that, by contrast, diversity
is a means of keeping the “creative juices of the
institution flowing,” he is in essence making the
business case for diversity in academia. So too
is Andrew Davidson, Vice Provost for Academic
Planning, when he describes a reciprocal
relationship between diversity and academic
excellence. “At the end of the day, we want to be
the go-to place for the world’s greatest academic
scholars,” says Davidson, whose office is responsible
for building a diverse body of faculty. “And we can’t
achieve that aspiration unless we can realize our
core values of inclusion and excellence.”
Expanding “Diversity”
Acknowledging the link between diversity and
academic quality is one thing, however. The trick lies
in creating the conditions under which diversity is not
only achieved, but under which it can yield the fruits
that Gurin, Page, et al. describe—a task that demands
an array of programs as diverse as the community of
scholars that the University seeks to foster.
If statistical diversity represents only one step in
this process, it is nonetheless the first one; and to
achieve it, the University must attract a variegated
population of students and faculty. Fortunately,
Columbia is hardly new to that game.
For the past 25 years, for instance, GSAS has hosted
the Summer Research Program (SRP), an 8- to 10week program for undergraduates from historically
underrepresented backgrounds. Since 1993, the
SRP, which belongs to a class of pipeline programs
designed to carry students from college to graduate
school, has been sponsored by the Leadership
Alliance, a consortium that was founded with the
ideal of increasing participation by ethnic and racial
minorities pursuing graduate studies in the sciences
at leading research universities. Yet GSAS has
broadened the definition of “underrepresented” to
match its expansive conception of diversity itself—a
conception that goes beyond the relatively narrow
categories of race and ethnicity to embrace the kind
of experiential diversity espoused by Page.
Andrea Morris, who now runs the program and is
actively involved in recruitment, says that this shift
in emphasis is already changing the face of the
SRP cohort, making it more racially and ethnically
mixed and opening the door to a broader range of
students. And while she doesn’t want to lose sight
of the need to redress the inequities that racial and
ethnic minorities have historically confronted on the
road to academia, she also believes that it is “a great
moment to say yes” to a prospective SRP student
who, for example, may be a white male, but is also
the first in his family to attend college.
In any event, the goals of the Summer Research
Program remain the same: to give underrepresented
students the opportunity to conduct graduate-level
research under the supervision of Columbia faculty,
in hopes that the experience will encourage them
to pursue academic careers. And it appears to be
working: SRP alumni have gone on to pursue Ph.D.’s
at Columbia in fields ranging from English literature
to the biomedical sciences.
Marcel Aguëros, ’96CC, a 1994 alumnus of the
SRP and assistant professor of astronomy at the
University, directs another pipeline program, Bridge
to the Ph.D. The Bridge program offers members of
underrepresented groups who hold undergraduate
degrees and intend to pursue doctorates in the
natural sciences the chance to conduct research
for two years under the supervision of Columbia
faculty, postdocs, and graduate students. Bridge
participants also receive services like writing
workshops and GRE prep to help them succeed in
the program and in the graduate school admission
process. (Bridge program graduates have gone on
to Ph.D. programs at such institutions as Dartmouth,
Johns Hopkins, the University of Michigan, the
Success is not guaranteed to anyone, regardless of race, color, social
status, or creed; but the challenges
faced by underrepresented groups
can make their path to the professoriate even rockier, and the
support provided by mentors and
cohorts even more crucial.
Article 02
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University of Washington, Yale, and Columbia,
among others.) The program is designed to patch
the infamously leaky pipeline for minorities in the
sciences: according to a 2010 report by the National
Academy of Sciences, underrepresented minorities
accounted for 30 percent of the U.S. population
in 2007, but only 6 percent of people earning
science and engineering doctorates. But like many
such initiatives, it could prove influential beyond
its original scope. For example, a study by Eric
Bettinger of Stanford University found that less
than half of all students who had intended to major
in a STEM field actually graduated with a degree in
one. In that context, the Bridge program’s successes
could illuminate strategies for helping anyone,
regardless of background or field of interest,
advance toward a terminal degree.
Creating Connections
The idea that programs intended to smooth the
path to academia for members of underrepresented
groups could serve the broader interests of the
University is central to another, more recent addition
to Columbia’s quiver of diversity initiatives: the
Creating Connections Consortium, or C3.
Emerging from conversations between members of
the Liberal Arts Diversity Officers (LADO) consortium
and administrators at Columbia and the University
of California at Berkeley, C3 is unusual among
programs of its kind insofar as its pipeline flows in
more than one direction.
LADO members wanted to increase faculty
diversity at their liberal arts colleges while sending
more of their undergraduates—especially ones
from underrepresented groups—on to graduate
programs at top-tier research institutions, while
Columbia and Berkeley wished to recruit a more
diverse body of graduate students and expose
their newly minted Ph.D.’s to an oft-overlooked
job market. The result was a uniquely reciprocal
arrangement, designed in conjunction with the
Center for Institutional and Social Change at
Columbia University Law School. Beginning this
year, underrepresented students from LADO
member colleges can apply for eight-week
summer research internships at either Columbia
or Berkeley, with mentoring
provided by doctoral students
and senior faculty, while
underrepresented graduate
students from Columbia and
Berkeley can apply for twoyear postdoctoral fellowships
at Middlebury, Connecticut,
and Williams Colleges. The
postdocs will be grouped into
cohorts of three per college.
First-generation college
student Nathaniel G. Nesmith,
Ph.D. ‘13, Theatre, has joined
the C3 Fellows at Middlebury,
while Seema Golestaneh,
who is completing her Ph.D. in
anthropology, is one of the C3
Fellows at Connecticut College.
Students and alumni of the Bridge to the Ph.D. Program
If the SRP and Bridge to the Ph.D. address
recruitment and retention, C3 adds professional
development to the mix. When a diverse squad of
tenured faculty from LADO member colleges came
to Columbia last November to speak with doctoral
students and recent graduates about C3, they
devoted an entire panel discussion to life at liberal
arts colleges—a discussion that dealt primarily with
the nitty-gritty of teaching, research, and promotion,
and touched only occasionally on issues of gender,
ethnicity, and the like. In the end, says Shirley
Collado, Vice President of Student Affairs and Dean
of Middlebury College and cofounder of LADO and
C3, the larger goal of the initiative is to reap the
lasting benefits of diversity, not, as Collado puts it, in
a “Kumbaya kind of way,” but in the practical sense
of helping everyone in the pipeline to succeed in
the academic communities they call home.
That success is not guaranteed to anyone, regardless
of race, color, social status, or creed; but the
challenges faced by underrepresented groups can
make their path to the professoriate even rockier,
and the support provided by mentors and cohorts
even more crucial. Collado, for example, credits the
Posse Foundation, a nonprofit that sends groups,
or “posses,” of urban students to schools across the
country and supports them with mentoring and other
services, with getting her through her undergraduate
years at Vanderbilt University. But she also recalls how
difficult it was to be the only Hispanic student in the
doctoral program in clinical psychology, and the only
woman in her cohort, at Duke University; and how
hard it was not to have a graduate school mentor
who could understand her lived experience. All in
all, she says, “It’s amazing that I made it through.”
Morris, meanwhile, recounts how one particular
Haverford professor took her by the hand and set
her on the road to a career in science at a time when
she “couldn’t imagine being at a place like Princeton
in molecular biology”; but she also speaks quite
candidly about how isolated she felt once she got
there (she was one of very few students of color in
the department), and how difficult it was to forge
close and supportive relationships with faculty who
simply could not identify with her on a personal level.
Morris’s mixed experiences with mentoring, and
the sense of isolation she experienced in graduate
school, are hardly uncommon. Devon Wade, a
doctoral candidate and Paul F. Lazarsfeld Fellow
in sociology, is equally candid about the ups and
downs of his own time here at Columbia.
As an undergraduate at Louisiana State University,
Wade was a McNair Scholar, receiving support
from a federally funded program that prepares
minorities and first-generation college students for
doctoral study. He also participated in the University
of Chicago’s Summer Research Program and has
received funding from the Ford Foundation and the
National Science Foundation while at Columbia.
Nevertheless, navigating the byways of Morningside
Heights has not always been easy.
When he arrived on campus, Wade found it difficult
to establish relationships with tenured faculty who
looked like him and shared his research interests (he
is black, and his scholarship focuses on race and
ethnicity, social inequality, and crime). And though
he has found support both inside and outside his
department, he did at first “long for faculty of color”
who were engaged in work similar to his own. He
also couldn’t help but notice how rarely he ran
across other graduate students of color, partly
because GSAS currently lacks a formal association
for underrepresented graduate students. “Grad
school in general is difficult because it’s isolating,”
Wade says; but he adds that it is even more isolating
when you are the only person of color in your
cohort, for example, or the only first-generation
college student from a state school. And that’s not
just bad for the individual who feels alienated; it’s
also bad for the University, which will never realize
the benefits of diversity unless everyone within its
walls is fully engaged in the academic community.
This is, in part, why Morris has been talking to
students like Wade about reestablishing an
organization for underrepresented students within
GSAS. It is also, in part, why the University intends
to use the $30 million pledged in 2012 not only
to recruit a diverse corps of graduate students,
postdocs, and faculty but also to provide them
with the mentoring and professional development
opportunities that will help them flourish.
Diverse Applications
There is, however, no one-size-fits-all solution to
either increasing or leveraging diversity across
an institution as large and as complex as the
University, which is itself composed of many
different schools and departments, each with
its own history, priorities, and needs. That is why
every school was asked to develop its own threeyear diversity plan and made responsible for
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Andrea Morris, Assistant Dean for Academic
Diversity at GSAS
determining how best to employ tools such as
the new Provost’s Fellowships, which are aimed
at recruiting Ph.D. students from traditionally
underrepresented groups. (While the School of
Nursing might legitimately consider men to be an
underrepresented minority, for example, The Fu
Foundation School of Engineering and Applied
Science would not.)
One can already see those plans in action,
often dovetailing with long-standing efforts at
encouraging diversity within the various schools—
some of which have their own compelling reasons
for pursuing greater inclusivity. Linda P. Fried, Dean
of the Mailman School of Public Health, cites both
general arguments in favor of diversity (e.g., our
responsibility as a society “not to permit the waste
of talent and intellect”) and ones that flow more
directly from the goals and responsibilities of her
institution: to train professionals who can work with
colleagues, not to mention populations, whose
backgrounds may be quite different from their
own; to untangle the factors that drive the serious
disparities in health outcomes that exist among
people both at home and abroad—factors that
include race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status.
Consequently, when the School overhauled its
curriculum two years ago, it added a daylong
orientation session on cultural awareness; and for
the past five years, it has been strengthening its
faculty and student pipelines. The federally funded
Initiative for Maximizing Student Development,
for example, aims to boost the numbers of
underrepresented students who receive graduate
training in public health by providing full-time
doctoral students with research assistantships,
strong mentoring relationships with Mailman faculty,
and workshops on topics like coping strategies for
graduate school.
Dean Bobbie Berkowitz, meanwhile, had already
made diversity one of the principal goal areas in
the School of Nursing’s broader strategic plan, a
decision that led to the appointment of Vivian Taylor
as the School’s first Associate Dean for Diversity and
Cultural Affairs in 2013. The push for greater diversity
aligns well with nursing’s historic commitment to
social justice; but according to both Berkowitz and
Taylor, it also has an eminently practical component.
Nurses, after all, work in interdisciplinary teams,
and they must often cooperate with, and care for,
people whose backgrounds they do not share.
Like their colleagues at Mailman, they must also
attend to what Berkowitz describes as the “social
determinants of health,” including the discrimination
and stereotyping that can lead to unequal treatment
and access to care. That, says Berkowitz, is a
problem the School would like to fix, in part by
ensuring that its own graduates don’t carry such
attitudes with them into the workplace.
Toward that end, the School has been weaving
training in cultural competencies—the skills required
to work effectively in cross-cultural situations—into
its curriculum, and engaging students and faculty
alike in conversations about diversity through
surveys, retreats, and committee work. It is also
working on recruitment and retention. For example,
the School’s Combined B.S./M.S. Entry to Practice
(ETP) Program, an accelerated nursing program
for non-nurse college graduates, recently began
awarding scholarships to enhance the diversity
of its students. Funding is provided by the Robert
Wood Johnson Foundation through its New Careers
in Nursing (NCIN) program, which requires that
mentorship and leadership development activities
be made available to all recipients.
Elizabeth Gary, a first-year ETP student and NCIN
scholar from Brooklyn, recognized that a lack of
effective mentoring played a significant role in her
decision to quit the premed program at Bowdoin
College. Gary, who is black, had dreamed of a
career in health care since her teens. But by her
junior year, the academic and social pressure she
felt had become overwhelming, especially since
her assigned adviser had gone AWOL. So Gary was
delighted when she received a survey asking her to
list her preferences for an NCIN mentor—”fitting me
to a mentor,” as she says, “rather than just assigning
me to one who doesn’t understand where I’m
coming from.” Gary describes her current faculty
mentor, Tawandra Rowell-Cunsolo, an assistant
professor of social welfare science, as part therapist,
part academic coach: someone to whom she can
speak candidly, and who has a knack for keeping
her on track. As a member of the Committee for
Diversity and Student Retention, Gary is now is
trying to figure out how the NCIN mentoring model
could be scaled up and applied to all incoming ETP
students—perhaps by assigning them peer mentors
or placing them in study groups with accompanying
faculty advisers.
What’s happening at Mailman and the School of
Nursing illustrates how Columbia’s commitment to
diversity is being realized at the local level, and how
the various initiatives being undertaken contribute
to what Alonso calls the goal of “normalizing”
diversity within the institution: of ensuring that
diversity does not “sit on the sidelines of academic
and intellectual life,” but instead “suffuses the
ongoing project of the pursuit of knowledge at the
University.” Yet it also demonstrates how programs
designed to enhance diversity can benefit not
only those at whom they are specifically targeted
but also the broader Columbia community; how
diversity initiatives not only serve a common good
but in fact represent one.
A Meteorologist
for the Millennial
By Andrew Ng
In September 2013, the United Nations’
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
(IPCC) released a 1,500-page report that stated,
in boldface, “It is extremely likely that human
influence has been the dominant cause of the
observed warming since the mid-20th century.” It
also stated, “Continued emissions of greenhouse
gases will cause further warming and changes in all
components of the climate system. Limiting climate
change will require substantial and sustained
reductions of greenhouse gas emissions.”
people, Holthaus drew international attention
when numerous news outlets publicized his
tweets with headlines such as “IPCC Report Makes
US Meteorologist Cry” (The Guardian) and “The
Meteorologist’s Meltdown” (The Daily Beast). During
the ensuing Internet frenzy, Holthaus gained his
share of supporters as well as critics, earning
monikers as varied as “rebel nerd” (Rolling Stone)
and “drama queen” (Fox News). Some commenters
even suggested that he commit suicide if he really
wanted to reduce his carbon footprint.
For meteorologist Eric Holthaus, M.A. ’06, Climate
and Society, this report hit especially hard. On
his medium of choice, Twitter, he broadcast the
following to his then roughly 15,000 followers:
Four months later, it was time for Holthaus to put
his very public vow to its first test. He had to travel
from his home in Wisconsin to the annual meeting
of the American Meteorological Society in Atlanta,
Georgia. He opted for a 400-mile bus ride, tweeting
the following on the road:
I just broke down in tears in boarding
area at SFO while on phone with my
wife. I’ve never cried because of a
science report before. #IPCC
I realized, just now: This has to be the
last flight I ever take. I’m committing
right now to stop flying. It’s not worth
the climate.
In today’s world, it’s not unusual to announce a
lifestyle change on social media. But unlike most
Article 03
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I’m taking a #noflybusride to #ams2014
because it’s the best mode of transit for
the climate.
Not everyone is going to choose to
take the bus over plane because of the
climate. We have to start somewhere.
Afterward, he wrote an article for Slate titled
“I Spent 28 Hours on a Bus. I Loved It.”
immediately into an M.S. program
in Meteorology at the University
of Oklahoma, chasing tornadoes
from New Mexico to South
Dakota. The transition from social
work to scientific research was
jarring. “My brain couldn’t handle
the extreme transition,” he says. “I
wanted something that blended
both worlds.”
So in 2005, he enrolled in
Columbia’s M.A. Program in
Climate and Society as part
of its second-ever cohort.
Housed at the Earth Institute,
Eric Holthaus. Photo by Karen Edquist.
this interdisciplinary program
explores the impacts of climate
scientific and social perspective,
with an emphasis on the developing world. As a
For the 33-year-old Holthaus, the journey to
student, Holthaus was able to continue the interest
becoming a “rebel nerd of meteorology” began in
that began with that seminal spring-break experience.
the American Midwest and includes stops in Latin
For his master’s thesis, “The Social Justice of Weather:
America, Columbia, and the villages of Ethiopia
Hurricane Risk Management for Development in Latin
along the way.
America and the Caribbean,” he traveled to Cuba
and Honduras to interview residents about their
His fascination with the weather started while
experiences with hurricanes and investigated the
growing up in Kansas. “The sky is so big there,” he
factors that make a country more or less vulnerable
says. “I would watch thunderstorms and wonder
to severe weather. Working with Columbia scientists
how they worked.” Later, while pursuing a bachelor’s
Mark Cane, John Mutter, and Walter Baethgen, he
degree in meteorology from St. Louis University,
created a vulnerability index based on correlations
he had an encounter that would forever focus his
between hurricane mortality and human development
professional interests on not just the weather but
indicators used by the United Nations, such as
the social justice of weather.
deforestation, infant mortality, and income.
“St. Louis University was big on service,” he says.
“The M.A. in Climate and Society does more than
“You thought of yourself as a citizen of the world
explain how the climate system works,” says Cynthia
first, and how you can make the world a better
Thomson, assistant director of the program. “It also
place. On a spring-break service trip to Mexico, I
covers the challenges it poses to people around the
met refugees from Honduras, who had just suffered
world and how to address them. We’re a great fit
through Hurricane Mitch. I realized these severe
for people like Eric who really want to help societies
weather events have big consequences outside the
cope with all the challenges that climate change
United States. In places like Central America, the
and climate variability throw at them.”
effect can linger for decades. That’s when I geared
my professional interests toward severe weather and
climate change—it’s what matters most in my field.”
Following graduation, he volunteered for a year
with migrant farm workers in Oregon, then jumped
Holthaus earned his M.A. in 2006 and stayed
on at the Earth Institute for another six years,
working for its International Research Institute
for Climate and Society (IRI), which is based at
Columbia’s Lamont campus in Palisades, New
York. As part of the institute’s Millennium Villages
Project, he helped scientist Cheryl Palm develop a
drought-based crop insurance program for villages
in Africa—a program that uses environmental
indicators like rainfall (or lack thereof) to trigger
automatic payments to farmers. Later, Oxfam
America approached the IRI to extend the same
idea to communities in Ethiopia.
“Eric came at a time when the project was
transitioning from an experimental pilot to
something bigger,” says Daniel Osgood, IRI research
scientist and Holthaus’s supervisor for the Ethiopia
project. “His personality and talent were valuable in
the field, where we were scaling it up from a couple
of villages to dozens of villages.”
To this day, Holthaus continues to consult on
drought-based insurance for subsistence farmers in
Ethiopia, this time in partnership with the Japanese
International Cooperation Agency. “These farmers
make about a dollar a day,” Holthaus says. “We’re
trying to provide a safety net for them when the
weather goes bad.”
While working at the IRI, Holthaus started dabbling
in two things that would eventually come to
dominate his professional life: journalism and
Twitter. In 2011 the Wall Street Journal decided to
start a local weather blog, and the editor reached
out to Holthaus through a mutual friend. Holthaus’s
blog gained some traction during Hurricane Irene
in August 2011, but it wasn’t until Superstorm Sandy
in October 2012 that his weather coverage really
caught on.
In the span of one week, he spent more than a
hundred hours tweeting and blogging about Sandy,
even though he was in Arizona at the time. He sent
the first tweet eight days prior to landfall, and his
tweets grew more and more breathless as Sandy
Odds are increasing that a hybrid
“snor’eastercane” could hit Greater New
York early next week.
Article 03
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Normally conservative HPC
[Hydrometeorological Prediction
Our latest snor’eastercane update. My
odds for NYC impacts from #Sandy are
now 2-in-3.
yikes. this is what #Sandy looks like
RIGHT NOW. yikes . . . yikes.
The government’s 7-day thoughts on
#Sandy. Look out, NYC.
#Sandy and its destined midwestern
cold front are starting to catch sight of
each other . . .
#Sandy’s circulation has grown to
about 1000mi diameter. This thing is a
As a result of his unflagging coverage, Holthaus’s
Twitter following grew from 2,000 to 14,000, and
he was invited to speak about the experience as
part of an American Meteorological Society panel
the following January.
“I tried to raise every alarm I could,” he says. “This
was the worst storm that New York City would see
in over 200 years. I tried to translate the technical
information coming from the National Weather
Service so that I and the public could understand it.”
The experience also inculcated in him the value of
Twitter. “It’s my primary source of story ideas and
for getting responses to what I write. I can’t imagine
my job without it now,” he says. (Until recently,
his @EricHolthaus profile page featured a photo
of the Empire State Building getting struck by
lightning, in front of a banner featuring Columbia’s
Schermerhorn Hall.)
A year after the Sandy experience, Holthaus’s
140-character communiqués received widespread
attention again, this time for a more personal
reason: his no-fly vow. “I had thought about giving
up flying before, on my flights to and from Ethiopia,”
he says. “But the IPCC report was the trigger. It
contained giant disaster scenarios out of sci-fi
movies, and yet society was doing nothing about it.
I thought, I have to start somewhere. To me, flying
was a symbol of continuing with our current system
without caring about the consequences. I couldn’t
live with that on a personal level.”
The ensuing media attention shocked Holthaus and
reinforced the notion that drastic lifestyle changes
spurred by concern over climate change are still
difficult to fathom. “I thought my vow wasn’t that
big of a deal. I understand the extreme reactions
to it, because the solutions to climate change are
extreme. People say I’m an alarmist, but if you look
at the numbers, extreme solutions are necessary.”
In January 2014 Holthaus joined Slate as a full-time
writer, reporting on weather and climate across
the country from his home base in Wisconsin. With
articles ranging from “Coming Winter Storm Will
Basically Make the South Like The Walking Dead” to
“California’s Rainiest Week in More Than Two Years
Is Freaking People Out,” Holthaus has found a niche
that leverages both his meteorology background and
his distinctive millennial-generation voice. In his very
first article, he interviewed Weather Channel CEO
David Kenny about the beloved network that he grew
up with in the eighties and nineties, even confessing
that he used to wait excitedly for the “Tropical
Update” at 58 minutes past the hour. In recent years,
however, the channel has shifted to more reality
programming like Highway Thru Hell and Coast
Guard Alaska. It’s a shift that disappoints Holthaus
and symbolizes the reduced emphasis on science in
popular culture.
“Carl Sagan used to talk on TV about nuclear
winter—he saved the world because he made us
terrified of nuclear war,” Holthaus says. “We have no
one like that now for climate change. The Weather
Channel has a chance to do it if they dedicate
themselves to the weather, science, and climate.
They realize they’ve gotten off track, and they’re
trying to steer it back.”
On a broader scale, communicating about climate
change—and getting past the politics of it—remains
an ongoing challenge for meteorologists, journalists,
and policymakers alike. Holthaus’s strategy is to take
the offensive. He’s critical of the disclaimer mentality
that pervades climate change communication:
“Every time there’s a severe weather event, it’s as if
scientists are required to say, ‘This event may not be
directly caused by climate change, but events like
it will become more typical with climate change.’
I think the science supports a link between every
extreme weather event and climate change, even
if it’s currently undetectable—it may be a small
connection today, but the connections will only
increase. To me, it’s irresponsible to say otherwise.”
Consider it another vow: As long as the Internet’s
around, Holthaus will continue to spread the word
about our changing planet, one tweet at a time.
Sandy images from NOAA and NASA
Anna Karenina
on a Roller Coaster
By Robert Ast
Article 04
page 16
Two men saw something on the top of a hill.
The first one said: “It’s a bird.”
The second one said: “No. It’s a goat.”
They argued—bird, goat, bird, goat—until the
first one threw a stone at it, and it flew away.
genre movie. To get
that balance was
the difficult part. We
spoke with everyone:
Israeli secret services,
Israeli army guys on the ground, Hamas militants,
Palestinian authorities, Christians in Bethlehem. The
details in the film are based on something real.”
The second one said: “That’s a goat, even if it flies!”
Half language game, half parable, this monologue
that appears near the climax of the film Bethlehem
is perhaps the only clue that the spare psychological
thriller was directed by a philosopher—Yuval Adler,
Ph.D. ’99, Philosophy.
After a varied career that,
in addition to his time
in academia, featured
stints in real estate and
as a quant for a hedge
fund, Adler turned to
filmmaking and made
his directorial debut
with Bethlehem, which
traces the complicated
Yuval Adler
relationship between a
Palestinian informant and
his Israeli handler during the second Intifada. Adler,
a native of Israel who currently resides in Tel Aviv
and worked in military intelligence during his service
in the Israel Defense Forces, cowrote the film with
Ali Waked, a Palestinian. The two worked for years to
collect materials and craft a script that would have
the correct tone.
“We worked together for three and a half, almost
four years. It’s a very complex thing,” Adler recalls.
“We wanted something that’s both authentic and a
The film begins in medias res, with the protagonist
Sanfur torn between his loyalty to his brother, a
Palestinian militant, and the closer relationship he
has with Razi, his handler.
“We thought about showing the recruitment, but we
couldn’t have a 12-hour film,” Adler remarks. “It’s a
long process; it can take a year before they start to
use an asset. The handler’s job is to create intimacy.
It’s about slowly developing a relationship with
someone, seeing what’s missing in their world and
giving it to them.”
Sanfur’s position between two worlds becomes
increasingly untenable as the story progresses,
and indeed much of the film’s power stems
from the escalating tension of the narrative. But
there are also small moments that go against the
plot-driven conventions of the thriller genre—a
character vomiting in the middle of a chase
sequence, for example—that give Bethlehem a
verisimilitude absent from most films of its type.
This attention to detail is the result not only of
Adler and Waked’s thorough research but also of
Adler’s philosophical training.
“Both philosophy and film come from a deeper
root,” Adler says. “You’re trying to understand the
world by being open to it. There’s something similar
in the way that philosophy and film offer a way to
explore the world after observing it.”
Adler combined his studies in analytic philosophy
with instruction in sculpture under the artist Judy
Pfaff, then a professor at Columbia’s School of
the Arts and now at Bard College. In fact, the two
come together in his dissertation, which examines
metaphysics and indexicality (the condition of
always being situated somewhere within the world
and seeing from a certain viewpoint) and, as an
example, discusses the ability to differentiate a
statue from a chunk of clay. Pfaff remarks that,
although it was somewhat unusual for a Ph.D.
candidate to request to study with her, admitting
Adler was “a no-brainer.”
“He was just so unusual for me in his intelligence and
his approach to art, and he took it on really, really
easily,” she recalls. “He was very knowledgeable of
aesthetics and the current art world. I’ve never seen
anyone as confident and as bright.
Images from Bethlehem courtesty of Adopt Films, LLC.
Article 04
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“Unlike most scholars or academicians, he’s very
physical. He’s an imposing man. It wasn’t just fun
working with him—he tested me, and I was forced to
kind of ask questions of him and of the work.”
Pfaff also remarked upon another quality that would
serve Adler well in preparing for Bethlehem.
“He doesn’t hang around with trendy art people or
egghead academics. He really likes the street—real
people with real lives, and some of those lives are
dangerous. He had kind of an instinct about the
underbelly of things.”
Ultimately, though, the experience of making a
film was quite different from either his art or his
“After being in art and academia, where you’re so
alone and so in control of what you’re doing, film
is the most opposite place you can be,” Adler says.
“You are constantly dealing with people and trying
to be creative and fight with people and answer
questions. It’s very difficult to deal with so many
people in such an intense environment in such a
short amount of time. There’s a famous director, I
forget who, who said it’s like trying to write Anna
Karenina on a roller coaster.”
Bethlehem was named Best Film in the Venice
Days section of the 2013 Venice Film Festival and
received six Ophirs (the Israeli Oscar), including
Best Screenplay for Adler and Waked, Best Director
for Adler, and Best Film. The film was released in
the United States this spring and earned positive
reviews: Manohla Dargis of The New York Times
praised its complexity; in Variety Leslie Felperin
remarked on Adler’s “confident grasp of pace, place
and thesp[ian] handling.”
Much of the praise for the film, however, has
focused on its nuanced treatment of IsraeliPalestinian relations—not on its cinematic qualities.
“In Israel reactions were remarkably positive, both
on the left and the right,” Adler says. “Outside
Israel, it’s been branded as right wing or left wing;
this wasn’t the case here. When the film opened in
France and Germany, they liked the film, but they
just talk about the politics. They don’t talk about the
film as a film at all—it’s completely about the politics.
“We tried with each of the three main characters
to make them as authentic, interesting, and threedimensional as possible: each is great in his own
way. We didn’t idolize, didn’t judge, and we didn’t
think about making some grand political statement.
I think when you see something like this, you should
be open to just looking at the people and not
looking for symbols. Let them be people.”
The success of Bethlehem, which featured largely
unprofessional actors and was produced on a
small budget, has presented new opportunities
in the film industry, and Adler has already begun
working on his next project. But, ever the polymath,
Adler continues to work in philosophy, teaching a
graduate seminar on Martin Heidegger at Bar-Ilan
University, and also plans to write a book on the
Book of Job. He notes, however, that cinema offers
something unique.
“When you sit at home alone in your underwear
and have an idea that no one cares about, and then
later there’s a film in the world, it’s amazing. There’s
nothing like it.”
The New Graduate
On April 9, 2014, the new Graduate Student Center
officially opened in 301 Philosophy Hall. Featuring
a lounge area, conference room, pantry, and other
enhancements, the Center offers a dedicated space
on campus for formal and informal interaction
among graduate students, postdoctoral researchers,
and faculty across a variety of disciplines.
On April 8 a ribbon-cutting ceremony took place
with President Lee Bollinger, GSAS Dean Carlos
J. Alonso, Provost John Coatsworth, Executive
Vice President David Madigan, GSAS Senior
Associate Dean Andrea Solomon, architect Robert
Siegel, GSAS Alumni Board Chair Louis Parks, and
representatives from the Graduate Student Advisory
Council. Also in attendance was a gathering of
alumni, students, faculty, and administrators.
S tudy P ods
L ounge
The Center was designed by Robert Siegel, ’90GSAPP.
Study Pods
E ntrance
Smaller areas to the side are ideal for small-group
discussions or individual study.
S eminar R oom
Seminar Room
Located in the adjacent room 302, a redesigned conference
room is available for seminars, meetings, and presentations.
Article 05
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Student Center
With ample natural light and a state-of-the-art acoustic
system designed to reduce background noise, the
lounge is the focal point of the new Center. The chairs
and tables can be reconfigured into different setups,
while an audiovisual system is available for presentations,
conferences, and film screenings.
C af é
The Center’s café, Nous Espresso Bar, offers food and
beverages for purchase.
P antry
Glass doors mark the entrance to the new Center on the
ground floor of Philosophy Hall.
M.A. ’04, Regional Studies: Russia, Eurasia, and Eastern Europe
Interview by Andrew Ng
Why did you decide to pursue a master’s degree
at Columbia?
What are your thoughts on the current political
and civil unrest in Ukraine?
I was assigned to Ukraine when I volunteered
for the Peace Corps from 1999 to 2001. I taught
at Odessa National University. The Peace Corps
volunteers not only taught classes but also engaged
in an exchange of cultures with the people there. I
became charmed by the culture and gained a level
of affection for the Ukrainian people. I stayed in the
country for another year and a half as a coordinator
for the International Renaissance Foundation, a
consultant for the World Bank in Kiev, and a Peace
Corps Volunteer trainer. So my experiences in
Ukraine were really the springboard for pursuing
an M.A. in Russian, Eurasian, and Eastern European
Studies. I became fascinated with the post-Soviet
legacy and its lasting influence.
I think that Ukraine is facing three main challenges.
The first is how the new government will represent
the eastern and southern parts of the country
effectively, so that Russian speakers and ethnic
Russians don’t feel marginalized. Citizens in those
areas tend to think that the conflict boils down
to an East-West dichotomy. But the uprising was
about overturning a corrupt government. Second,
the country is in an economic free fall. Ukraine
can borrow money from the European Union and
International Monetary Fund, but then they will have
to put austerity measures in place, like reforming
their energy policies and reducing gas and energy
subsidies. Austerity measures will breed public
dissatisfaction. Third, they have to build a new
government, one that is more transparent and
democratic. Many were disenchanted with the
previous government, so I hope this will be a new
step forward in democracy.
What was your master’s thesis topic?
I wrote about the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and
the influence of NGOs in facilitating that revolution.
Article 06
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student, I spent a lot of time in the School of
International and Public Affairs building. I was
exposed to events, conferences, and lectures that
brought me up to speed on global issues. In my job,
I focus mainly on the U.S. and Canada, but I also
look at the whole world, including the Middle East,
post-Soviet states, and China.
You are also a GSAS alumni volunteer. How did
you get involved?
How was your experience at Columbia?
Overall I loved my experience. I enjoyed the
atmosphere and the interaction with students and
professors. It was the chance of a lifetime. Regional
Studies is a multidisciplinary program, and it’s not
too easy to find those. Plus, I became interested in
energy issues through Columbia—it’s what led me
to my current profession as an oil market analyst. I
came to appreciate the huge role that energy plays
in Russia’s wealth and foreign affairs.
What do you do as an oil market analyst?
I research crude oil and respond to client inquiries
about the research we provide. I also write special
reports, which are in-depth studies on some aspect
of the oil market.
Are you able to leverage your M.A. experience in
your job?
Yes—besides giving me regional expertise, it also
helps me look at energy issues from a multifaceted,
geopolitical perspective. While I was an M.A.
I attended an alumni mixer where Dean Alonso
spoke sincerely and candidly about GSAS’s
dedication to its students. His speech was very
inspiring. That’s why I got involved. I’m part of
the Leadership Advisory Council of the Alumni
Association—I help to contact alumni on behalf of
GSAS to get them involved.
You received your Ph.D. in Global Affairs from
Rutgers University in 2012, and you recently
spoke at a “What Can You Be with a Ph.D.” event
at the Columbia Alumni Center. How did that
event go?
I enjoyed motivating the attendees and helping
them realize that a Ph.D. can open up a lot of
doors. As great as academia is, you can apply the
Ph.D. to many nonacademic areas. With today’s
job market, seeking alternatives to academia is a
reality that must be acknowledged. I imparted the
need to establish a network, and I emphasized
the value that a Ph.D. recipient can offer in terms
of researching, writing, and presenting data in a
clear and coherent way. I think that companies do
appreciate the skill set that Ph.D.’s can offer.
’09CC, M.A. ’12, M.Phil. ’13, Biological Sciences
Interview by Andrew Ng
On Darwin’s 205th birthday (February 12, 2014),
Indiana University Press published your first
book, Darwin’s On the Origin of Species: A
Modern Rendition. How did the idea for this
book come about?
Take me through your writing process.
I’ve known for a long time that I want to be a
biologist, so I tried to read On the Origin of Species
in high school. But I couldn’t get through it—the
writing was too convoluted. I came back to it in
college, when it was assigned reading for a class
taught by Professor Walter Bock. I have a habit of
notating what I read, and I realized that I was making
mostly stylistic changes to the text—changes
that made the language clearer. Professor Bock
suggested that I try ‘translating’ one chapter. I was
happy with the result, so I kept working on it.
My goal was to translate the Origin into stylistically
lucid and clear text, without sacrificing content. I
started with a paperback copy and broke it down
into sentences and paragraphs with penciled-in
notations, working piece by piece. This was slowly
translated into the working manuscript. Then I
meticulously cross-checked against the original
to make sure I hadn’t altered content or Darwin’s
meaning. After that—many, many rounds of
rereading and rechecking. I also asked biologists
and nonspecialists to critique the manuscript, which
was very helpful.
Has this been done before—a “translation” of
the entire Origin into modern language?
What was your biggest challenge in this project?
No, but other writers have handled the Origin in
different ways—for example, annotating it with
Article 07
detailed notes and references, or layering modern
science onto it. But no one had addressed the
language directly, which was very surprising to me.
page 24
In many ways, I’m an outsider. I’m a molecular
biologist, not an evolutionary biologist—but I
actually consider that an advantage because
and feedback, she agreed to contribute. She wrote
a terrific foreword with great details that will give
someone who’s unfamiliar with the Origin all the
necessary background.
Photo by Chris Smith
Having studied at both Columbia College
and GSAS, how would you compare the two
I approached the Origin without too many
preconceptions. Also, I’m just a student “messing
with” a masterpiece. But I didn’t undertake this
project to challenge Darwin. I did it to give him a
voice for a larger audience.
Did you have a hard time balancing this project
with all your obligations as a Ph.D. student?
Yes, definitely. But I was careful not to compromise
my graduate-school responsibilities. I’m an
insomniac, so my habit was to work on the book late
at night or early in the morning, after I had finished
all my other work. I enjoy the ritual of writing, of
having something else to turn to.
Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist and
award-winning writer, wrote the foreword for
your book. How did that come about?
Olivia Judson is one of my science-writing heroes.
She has a style that is immediately engaging but
also scientifically rigorous. I contacted her with
the manuscript, and after some correspondence
They’re very different. I chose the College for
the Core Curriculum, and all those humanities
classes—with students from every department
mingling and arguing—were a highlight of my
undergraduate years. As for the sciences, it was
important for me to be at a research university, to
be taught by active scientists.
In graduate school, my focus is on research,
engaging with the scientific community, designing
experiments, and exchanging ideas. It’s a wonderful
intellectual environment.
What is your Ph.D. research on?
I work at the Medical Center campus in the lab
of Professor Eric Greene. Overall, we study how
biological molecules interact with DNA, and my focus
is on systems that manipulate DNA in complicated
but very regulated ways. Using a technique originally
developed by Professor Greene called “DNA
curtains,” I can actually watch these interactions
happening between individual molecules. Everyone
in the Greene lab uses this technique, but we study
different biological systems.
How did you first get interested in biology?
My passion happens to be a grade-school subject,
so it was easy to discover. I was lucky to have
teachers who brought enthusiasm to science
classes, or otherwise encouraged me. At some
point in high school I realized that scientists get to
discover things. That did it for me.
This interview has been condensed and edited; read
the full interview on the GSAS website.
On the Shelf
Faculty Publications
Do Muslim Women Need
Reading Darwin in Arabic,
Lila Abu-Lughod, Anthropology
Marwa Elshakry, History
Offering detailed vignettes of
the lives of ordinary Muslim
women, Lila Abu-Lughod
investigates gender inequality
and the discourse surrounding it.
Marwa Elshakry examines how
Darwin’s ideas and other works
about evolution influenced
Arabic thought from the late
1860s to the mid-20th century.
Breaking Out: An Indian
Woman’s American Journey
Deaths in Venice: The Cases
of Gustav von Aschenbach
Padma Desai, Economics
Philip Kitcher, Philosophy
In this memoir, Padma Desai
describes her tumultuous
road to assimilation and
liberation with a scholar’s
insights into culture and
society and a novelist’s flair for language.
Philip Kitcher examines
Thomas Mann’s 1913 novella
Death in Venice, as well as
its subsequent adaptations
into opera and film, from a
philosophical perspective.
William Kentridge and Nalini
Malani: The Shadow Play as
Medium of Memory
Democracy Disfigured:
Opinion, Truth, and the People
Andreas Huyssen, Germanic
Nadia Urbinati focuses on
technocrats, demagogues, and
media operatives as covert
threats to democratic society
in an age of hyperpartisanship
and media monopolies.
Andreas Huyssen compares
the work of artists William
Kentridge of South Africa
and Nalini Malani of India, both of whom belong
to generations shaped by colonialism and
Article 08
page 26
Nadia Urbinati, Political Science
Alumni Publications
Mao’s Little Red Book:
A Global History
The Writers Afterlife
Richard Vetere, M.A. ’74,
English and Comparative
Alexander C. Cook (editor),
Ph.D. ’07, East Asian Languages
and Cultures
This pioneering volume brings
together a range of scholars
to explore Mao Zedong’s
Quotations from Chairman Mao as a phenomenon
of world history.
How to Write Anything:
A Complete Guide
In Richard Vetere’s novel, a
deceased author arrives at an
afterlife for writers—including
Shakespeare and Tolstoy—and
discovers a way to still achieve earthly fame.
Breathless: An American Girl
in Paris
Nancy K. Miller, Ph.D. ’74,
French and Romance Philology
Laura Brown, M.A. ’86, M.Phil.
’89, Ph.D. ’96, English and
Comparative Literature
Laura Brown provides more
than 200 how-to entries
and models—organized into
sections on work, school, and personal life—in this
practical guide to writing.
The Blazing World
Siri Hustvedt, M.A. ’79, M.Phil.
’82, Ph.D. ’86, English and
Comparative Literature
Nancy K. Miller’s memoir
chronicles her 1960s
adventures in Paris after
rebelling against the
conventional expectations of young middle-class
American women.
Balinese Food: The Traditional
Cuisine and Food Culture of Bali
Vivienne Kruger, M.A. ’74,
M.Phil. ’77, Ph.D. ’85, History
Vivienne Kruger presents the
full range of food experiences
available in Bali and explores
the island’s culinary art
within the context of its religion, culture, and
community life.
The latest novel from Siri
Hustvedt tells the story of a
female artist who presents
three successful exhibitions
under the guise of male artists and the
repercussions that follow.
In Light of Another’s Word:
European Ethnography in
the Middle Ages
Shirin A. Khanmohamadi,
M.A. ’98, M.Phil. ’00, Ph.D.
’05, English and Comparative
Shirin A. Khanmohamadi
challenges the traditional notion of medieval Europe
as insular and xenophobic by examining the work of
early ethnographic writers from that time.
Graduate School of Arts and Sciences
In Memoriam
Article 09
Kathryn Wasserman Davis
M.A. ’31, International Relations
Richard Heffner
’46CC, M.A. ’47, History
Philanthropist and
international relations
scholar Kathryn
Wasserman Davis
died in April 2013 at
106. She earned a
B.A. at Wellesley, an
M.A. at Columbia,
and a doctorate in
political science
from the University
of Geneva. Russia
long held special interest for her, inspiring her
book The Soviets at Geneva: The U.S.S.R. and the
League of Nations, 1919–1933. She and her late
husband, Shelby Cullom Davis, M.A. ’31, maintained
a remarkable record of philanthropy that included
extensive support for environmental charities,
humanitarian projects, and higher education. The
Davises’ gifts to Columbia have established a chair
in the practice of international diplomacy at SIPA, a
chair in economics and international affairs at GSAS,
and significant fellowship funding for international
graduate students at SIPA and GSAS beginning in
Richard Heffner,
professor of
and public policy at
Rutgers University,
died in December at
88. As host of public
television’s The Open
Mind from 1956 to
2013, he interviewed
many prominent
guests, including
Margaret Mead, Malcolm X, and Jimmy Carter. He
authored A Documentary History of the United
States and A Conversational History of Modern
page 28
John Eisenhower
M.A. ’50, English and Comparative Literature
John Eisenhower, son of President Dwight
Eisenhower, died in December at 91. A graduate of
West Point and Columbia, he served in World War II
and the Korean War and was appointed ambassador
to Belgium from 1969 to 1971. He authored several
books, including The Bitter Woods, about the Battle
of the Bulge; Strictly Personal, a memoir; So Far from
God: The U.S. War with Mexico, 1846–1848; Allies:
Pearl Harbor to D-Day; Yanks: The Epic Story of the
American Army in World War I; and General Ike: A
Personal Remembrance.
Arlene Swift Jones
M.A. ’50, English and Comparative Literature
Joyce Brothers
M.A. ’50, Ph.D. ’53, Psychology
Writer and educator Arlene Swift Jones died
in December at 84. As a teacher, lecturer, and
administrator, she worked at the elementary, high
school, and university level at institutions throughout
the world, including serving as principal of the
American School of Warsaw, as a lecturer at the
International School in Geneva, and as the assistant
academic dean at the Ethel Walker School in
Simsbury, Connecticut. She published three books
of poems, a memoir, and an autobiographical novel,
and received a number of awards for her writing.
Psychologist and media personality Joyce Brothers
died in May 2013 at 85. She was well known for
communicating psychological research in terms
that engaged the general public, from her work on
radio and television—including appearances on
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson and her
own shows on NBC and CBS—to writing a column
that was syndicated in 300 newspapers. The
American Psychological Association awarded her a
presidential citation for her pioneering work in the
mass media.
Arthur C. Danto
M.A. ’49, Ph.D. ’52, Philosophy
Kenneth Waltz
Ph.D. ’54, Political Science
Arthur C. Danto, a
prominent philosopher
who penned influential
essays on the meaning
of art, the definition of
art, and the end of art
history, died in October
at 89. Born in Michigan
and a veteran of
World War II, he began
teaching philosophy
at Columbia in 1951,
was named a full professor in 1966, and became
professor emeritus in 1992. He authored numerous
books, including Nietzsche as Philosopher,
Mysticism and Morality, The Transfiguration of
the Commonplace, Narration and Knowledge,
Connections to the World: The Basic Concepts of
Philosophy, and Encounters and Reflections: Art in
the Historical Present, a collection of art criticism
that won the National Book Critics Circle Prize for
Criticism in 1990. He also served as art critic for The
Nation from 1984 to 2009 and was editor of The
Journal of Philosophy.
International relations
scholar Kenneth Waltz
died in May 2013 at
88. Waltz was known
for both controversial
ideas and incisive
analysis, exemplified
in his books Man,
the State and War: A
Theoretical Analysis,
which grew out of
his dissertation, and
Theory of International Politics, where he articulated
his concept of neorealism, which emphasizes
the influence of inherent structural constraints
in the international system. Waltz earned his
undergraduate degree in economics at Oberlin
College, then began studying political science at
Columbia as a graduate student. His graduate study
was interrupted by service in the U.S. Army during
the Korean War. After completing his dissertation,
he taught at a number of institutions and eventually
returned to Columbia as a senior research scholar at
SIPA’s Saltzman Institute of War and Peace Studies
after retiring from the faculty of the University of
California at Berkeley.
James P. Gordon
Ph.D. ’55, Physics
Robert Fogel
M.A. ’60, Economics
Physicist James P. Gordon died in June 2013 at
85. As a graduate student working with Professor
Charles Townes, Gordon was instrumental in
developing the maser (an acronym for “microwave
amplification by stimulated emission of radiation”),
a precursor to the laser. After earning his Ph.D.,
Gordon joined Bell Laboratories, where he served
as head of the Quantum Electronics Research
Department from 1958 to 1980. Throughout his
career he received a number of awards from
the Optical Society, including being named an
honorary member, the society’s highest honor. He
was also a member of the U.S. National Academy
of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of
Economist and historian Robert Fogel died in June
2013 at 86. He won the Nobel Prize in Economics
in 1993 “for having renewed research in economic
history by applying economic theory and quantitative
methods in order to explain economic and
institutional change,” particularly for his data-driven
research on slavery and railroads in the United States.
He was a professor at the University of Chicago,
authored 22 books, and published 90 papers in
academic journals during the course of his career.
Robert L. Belknap
Ph.D. ’60, Slavic Languages and Literatures
Robert L. Belknap,
professor emeritus
in Columbia’s
Slavic Languages
Department, died in
March at 84. He was
an expert on Russian
literature, particularly
the work of Fyodor
Dostoevsky. He was
the author of two
major studies on The
Brothers Karamazov: The Structure of The Brothers
Karamazov (1967) and The Genesis of The Brothers
Karamazov (1992), both of which appeared in
Russian translation. Together with his Columbia
colleague Richard Kuhns, Belknap wrote Tradition
and Innovation: General Education and the
Reintegration of the University (1977), which stated
that interdisciplinary understanding, tolerance,
and humility are central to a whole, “reintegrated”
university. A native New Yorker, Belknap was
educated at Princeton, the University of Paris,
Leningrad (now St. Petersburg) State University,
and Columbia.
Article 09
page 30
Wayne Paton
M.A. ’60, English and Comparative Literature
Scholar and educator Wayne Paton died in January
at 78. He served as a lecturer in the School of
English at the University of Leeds from 1963 to 1998,
teaching English, American, and French literature.
James Emanuel
Ph.D. ’62, English and Comparative Literature
Poet James Emanuel died in September at 92. A
scholar of Langston Hughes, he was a professor at
City College in New York before moving permanently
to Europe. He published several books of poetry,
including The Treehouse and Other Poems, Black
Man Abroad, and Whole Grain: Collected Poems,
1958–1989, as well as The Force and the Reckoning, a
collection of different narrative forms.
James Sterling Young
Ph.D. ’64, Political Science
Oral historian James Sterling Young died in August
at 85. His doctoral dissertation was published
as The Washington Community, 1800–1828 and
won a Bancroft Prize at Columbia. He served
on the faculty and administration at Columbia
before joining the University of Virginia, where he
founded the Presidential Oral History Program at
the Miller Center. The program has documented
the presidencies of Jimmy Carter, Ronald Reagan,
George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W.
Bush through interviews with White House staff
and associates.
Owen Lynch
Ph.D. ’66, Anthropology
Anthropologist Owen Lynch died in April 2013 at
82. He taught at SUNY, Binghamton before joining
the faculty of New York University, where he was
professor of anthropology from 1974 to 2003. His
scholarship in the field of South Asian cultures
included studies on the Dalit community, emotions
in Indian life, and the politics of emancipation.
Jaime Alazraki
Ph.D. ’67, Spanish and Portuguese
Jaime Alazraki, a
specialist in Latin
American literatures
and cultures, died
in February at 80.
Twice distinguished
as a recipient of the
prestigious John Simon
Guggenheim Memorial
Fellowship, he was
world renowned for
his many scholarly
studies on Jorge Luis Borges. Alazraki was born
in Argentina and studied at Hebrew University in
Jerusalem before moving to New York City in 1962
to begin his doctoral studies at Columbia. After
professorial appointments at UC San Diego and
Harvard University, he returned to Columbia in 1988
and served as chair of the former Department of
Spanish and Portuguese for several years, until his
retirement in the early 1990s.
Lucia Lermond
Ph.D. ’85, Religion
Lucia Lermond died in February at 64. A graduate of
Queens College, she specialized in the philosophy of
religion. Her dissertation was published as The Form
of Man: Human Essence in Spinoza’s Ethic by E. J. Brill
and is considered a significant work in contemporary
Spinoza studies by scholars. She served as an
adjunct associate professor at Queens College,
teaching philosophy, religion, and feminist theory.
For additional and expanded obituaries, visit the
GSAS website.
Yixin Li. Tradition, change, and the
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Article 10
in a Tokamak plasma. Sponsor: Michael E. Mauel.
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Biochemistry and Molecular
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Biological Sciences
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Kathryn Anne Abele Henckels.
Mid-channel proteolysis of the L-type
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Oren Litvin. Heterogeneity and context-specificity in biological systems.
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Edward Prawira Judokusumo. A first
look on mechanosensing and triggering in T cells. Sponsor: Lance C. Kam.
Michael Ashraf Khalil. Development
of a vascular optical tomographic
imaging system for the diagnosis and
monitoring of peripheral arterial disease. Sponsor: Andreas H. Hielscher.
Luís Carlos Santos. Cell mechanics
regulate mesenchymal stem cell
morphology and T cell activation.
Sponsor: Michael P. Sheetz.
Dazhi Tan. Molecular basis for the
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RNAs. Sponsor: Liang Tong.
Kehui Xiang. Structural and biochemical characterizations of the Symplekin-Ssu72-CTD complex in pre-mRNA
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Manley and Liang Tong.
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Feifan Zhang. Gene regulatory factors
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Biomedical Engineering
Antonio Albanese. Physiology-based
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Jarett Evan Michaelson. Quantifying
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Ludguier D. Montejo. Computational
methods for the diagnosis of rheumatoid arthritis with diffuse optical
tomography. Sponsor: Andreas H.
Siddarth Devraj Subramony. Nanofiber-based scaffold for integrative anterior cruciate ligament reconstruction. Sponsor: Helen H. Lu.
Qi Wei. Roles of cell junctions and the
cytoskeleton in substrate-free cell
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Yi Hou. Biomechanical assessment
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Won Hee Lee. Noninvasive neuromodulation: Modeling and analysis
of transcranial brain stimulation with
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Jennifer M. Walz. Exposing internal attentional brain states using single-trial
EEG analysis with combined imaging
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Emmanuel Louis Pierre Dumont. Proteins at interfaces: Conformational
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Heon Goo Lee. Innate immune-like
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Andrea R. Tan. Toward clinical use of
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Matthew Bouchard. 2D and 3D highspeed multispectral optical imaging systems for in vivo biomedical
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Ofer Idan. Modeling nanoscale transport networks. Sponsor: Henry Hess.
David Coulter Jangraw. Neural and
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Sponsor: Paul Sajda.
Bianca Francesca Marcolino. Spatial,
temporal, and mechanistic characterization of apoptotic death in the
developing subventricular zone.
Sponsor: Lloyd Greene.
using Harmonic Motion Imaging for
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Xiaoning Yuan. Engineering the cell
environment for meniscus repair:
From micro- to macro-scale. Sponsor:
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Xiaowei Zou. Magnetic resonance
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Paul Sajda.
Biomedical Informatics
Hua-Sheng Chiu. Aberrantly expressed ceRNAs account for missing
genomic variability of cancer genes
via microRNA-mediated interactions.
Sponsor: Andrea Califano.
Wei-Jen Chung. Identification of microRNA biogenesis regulators and
activity modulators. Sponsor: Andrea
Sarah Roche Gilman. Network-based
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Tianle Chen. Statistical modeling and
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Chih-Chi Hu. Sequential quantile estimation using continuous outcomes
with applications in dose finding.
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Xiaoyu Jia. Two-stage continual reassessment method and patient heterogeneity for dose-finding studies.
Sponsor: Ying Kuen K. Cheung.
Jun Kyung Auh. Essays on corporate
credit. Sponsor: M. Suresh Sundaresan.
Hasan Tolga Bilgicer. Drivers and consequences. Sponsors: Kamel Jedidi
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Shira Cohen. Cash flow volatility and
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Fikret Caner Göçmen. Infrastructure
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Yonatan Gur. Optimization in changing environments: Theory and applications to online content recommendation services. Sponsors: Omar
Besbes and Assaf Zeevi.
Sang Won Kim. Design and evaluation of procurement combinatorial
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Mattia Landoni. Three essays on taxes
and asset pricing. Sponsor: Charles
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Hyung Il Oh. A new accounting approach to evaluate M&A prices and
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Oded Rozenbaum. Do firms contribute to the variation in employees’
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Cellular Physiology and Biophysics
Spiro Peter Pantazatos. Large-scale
functional connectivity in the human
brain reveals fundamental mechanisms of cognitive, sensory, and emotion processing in health and psychiatric disorders. Sponsor: Joy Hirsch.
Ying Wang. Roles of macrophage mitochondrial oxidative stress and mitochondrial fission in atherosclerosis.
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El-ad David Amir. viSNE and Wanderlust, two algorithms for the visualization and analysis of high-dimensional
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Joseph Howard Bylund. Improvements in molecular mechanics sampling and energy models. Sponsor:
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Ian Halsey Driver. Establishment and
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cell region of the Drosophila intestine.
Sponsor: Benjamin Ohlstein.
Ryan Rampersaud. Identification and
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Ciara A. Torres. Macroautophagy
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Chemical Engineering
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Civil Engineering and Engineering
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narratives of “conversion” in colonial
Korea. Sponsors: Theodore Hughes
and Tomi Suzuki.
Yurou Zhong. Script crisis and literary
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Ecology, Evolution, and
Environmental Biology
Matthew Easton Fagan. The changing
matrix: Reforestation and connectivity in a tropical habitat corridor. Sponsor: Ruth DeFries.
Ritam Chaurey. Essays on firm behavior in India. Sponsor: Eric Verhoogen.
Miguel Morin. General purpose technologies: Engines of changes? Sponsor: Ricardo Reis.
David Joseph Munroe. Essays on government policy in real estate markets.
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Thuy Lan Nguyen. Essays on business
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Ho and Michael H. Riordan.
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Nicolas Albert Franz Crouzet. Essays
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Jonathan Ivan Dingel. Essays in spatial economics. Sponsor: Donald R.
Wei-Yi Cheng. Attractor molecular
signatures and their applications for
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Dimitris Anastassiou.
Colin Patrick Kelley. Recent and future
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Anthropogenic forcing, natural variability, and social impacts. Sponsor:
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Ivan Mihajlov. The vulnerability of
low-arsenic aquifers in Bangladesh:
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Squamata): Morphometric and phylogenetic analytical approaches. Sponsor: Mark A. Norell.
Shannon M. Cannella. The path toward the other: Relational subjectivity
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1945. Sponsor: David Der-Wei Wang.
Jason Jweda. Geochemistry of the
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Miriam Elizabeth Marlier. Public health
impacts from fires in tropical landscapes. Sponsor: Ruth DeFries.
Article 10
East Asian Languages and Cultures
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Electrical Engineering
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Ryan Michael Field. High-speed widefield time-correlated single-photon
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Richard Ryan Grote. Nanophotonics
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Andrew Leren Lynn. Minstrels in the
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Sara Ann Murphy. Revised lives:
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Ben W. Parker. Unhappy consciousness: Recognition and reification in
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Anitta Caridad Santiago. Common
place: Rereading “nation” in the quoting age, 1776–1860. Sponsor: Ross
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Osgood Jr.
Tingyi Gu. Chip scale low-dimensional
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Junfeng He. Large-scale nearest
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Nader Wasfy Zaki. A correlated 1-D
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Environmental Health Sciences
Megan Marie Niedzwiecki. Mechanisms of arsenic toxicity in humans:
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English and Comparative Literature
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Jayanth Narasimhan Kuppambatti.
Design techniques for analog-to-digital converters in scaled CMOS technologies. Sponsor: Peter Kinget.
Elizabeth Bonnette Eliott Lockhart.
Remembering things: Tranformative
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1390. Sponsor: Patricia A. Dailey.
Baradwaj Vigraham. Power-efficient
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David Freedman. Neurodevelopmental risks for bipolar disorder. Sponsor:
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breast reconstruction. Sponsor: Dawn
Nicole Anastasia Stehling-Ariza. He
who dies with the most toys . . . A longitudinal look at materialism and physical health. Sponsor: Sharon Schwartz.
French and Romance Philology
Roderick Philip Cooke. From aesthetics to politics in the Dreyfus affair.
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Eric Todd Matheis. Capital, value, and
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Genetics and Development
Alyssa Bost. An investigation into
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Munevver Parla Makinistoglu. HDAC4
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Germanic Languages
Tim Albrecht. Confidence sans bound:
Staging trust and its vulnerabilities in
Tieck, Kleist, Grillparzes, and Nietzsche.
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Kári Driscoll. Toward a poetics of aminality: Hofmannsthal, Rilke, Pirandello,
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Adi Mahalel. The radical years of I. L.
Peretz. Sponsors: Jeremy Dauber and
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William Monroe Coleman IV. Making
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Joanna Dee Das. Choreographing a
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Abhishek Kaicker. Unquiet city: Making and unmaking politics in Mughal
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B. Dirks.
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Mae Ngai.
Nicholas Patrick Osborne. Little capitalists: The social economy of saving
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Meha Priyadarshini. From the Chinese
guan to the Mexican chocolatero:
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Water, development, and politics in
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Latin American and Iberian Cultures
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Juan Álvarez. La palabra y el fuego:
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Adam Lee Winkel. Zones of influence:
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Song-Hee Kim. Data-driven decisions
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Siu-Tang Leung.
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Thomas William Nyberg. Constant
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Herbert H. Toler Jr. Nothin’ but ‘ligion:
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Haowen Zhong. Two papers of financial engineering relating to the risks
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Mechanical Engineering
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John Joseph Seeley. MicroRNA regulation of endotoxin tolerance. Sponsor: Sankar Ghosh.
Middle Eastern, South Asian,
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Music (D.M.A.)
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Functional consequences of dendritic inhibition in the hippocampus.
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Article 10
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Allison Turza Bajger. Acute, repeated-dose, and residual effects of amphetamines derivatives on psychological measures in humans. Sponsor:
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Social Work
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Li Kuang. Neighborhood effects on
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Li-Wen Lin. The opaque champions.
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Sociomedical Sciences
Kristen Louise Gore. Unbiased penetrance estimates with unknown
ascertainment strategies. Sponsor:
Daniel Rabinowitz.
Chien-Hsun Huang. Interaction-based learning for high-dimensional data with continuous predictors. Sponsor: Shaw-Hwa Lo.
Timothy Teräväinen. Semiparametric
estimation of a gaptime-associated
hazard function. Sponsors: Michael
Sobel and Zhiliang Ying.
Ekaterina Olegovna Vinkovskaya. A
point process model for the dynamics of limit order books. Sponsor:
Rama Cont.
Scott Chandler Freeman. To conserve
and neglect: Haiti, soil, and the tyranny of the project. Sponsor: Lesley
Stephanie Shin-Hui Zhang. Statistical
inference and experimental design
for Q-matrixed–based cognitive diagnosis models. Sponsors: Jingchen Liu
and Zhiliang Ying.
Kiran Carder Jayaram. Hitting the
books and pounding the pavement:
Haitian educational and labor migrants in the Dominican Republic.
Sponsor: Hervé H. Varenne.
Sustainable Development
Anna Louise Tompsett. Essays on infrastructure and development. Sponsor: Eric Verhoogen.
Teachers College:
Anthropology and Education
Louise Lamphere Beryl. Ways with the
Word in the New World: Language
and literary socialization among BornAgain Christian African families in
Massachusetts. Sponsor: Charles C.
Leigh Llewellyn Graham. The “It” girls
of Arabia: Cybercultured bodies,
online learning practices, and the
networked lives of university women
in Saudi Arabia. Sponsor: Hervé H.
Stephanie Jean Phillips. The stage
and the dance in medias res: An ethnographic study of ideologies associated with tradition and continuity in a
French Ballet Academy in the United
States. Sponsor: Lambros Comitas.
Akiko Sawamoto. Vietnam’s rural-to-urban migrant families: Educational and social inequalities in a transitional society. Sponsor: Lambros
Karen Velasquez. Communication
and education at work: Latino immigrants making sense and dominating
language in Koreatown, New York
City. Sponsor: Hervé H. Varenne.
Teachers College:
Applied Anthropology
Mustafa Bal. Anatomy of a revolution:
The 2011 Egyptian uprising. Sponsor:
Lambros Comitas.
Janny Chang. A matter of trust: Three
case studies of Chinese and Zambian
relationships at the workplace. Sponsor: George C. Bond.
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Lamaozhuoma. Tibetan communities
in transition: An ethnographic study of
state-run formal education and social
change. Sponsor: Lambros Comitas.
Jennifer Margaret Van Tiem. Many
secrets are told around horses: An
ethnographic study of equine-assisted psychotherapy. Sponsor: Hervé H.
Teachers College:
Applied Behavioral Analysis
Katherine Anne Baker. The effects
of social listener reinforcement and
video modeling on the emergence of
social verbal operants in preschoolers
diagnosed with autism and language
delays. Sponsor: R. Douglas Greer.
Ananya Goswami. The effects of the
listener emersion protocol on rate
of learning and increases in naming
capability in preschool children with
developmental delays. Sponsor: R.
Douglas Greer.
Helena Song-A Han. Effects of the
elimination of stereotypy on the
emission of socially appropriate
verbal interactions for students with
autism who have audience control.
Sponsor: R. Douglas Greer.
Laura Elizabeth Lyons. The effects
of the mastery of auditory matching
of component sounds to words on
the rate and accuracy of textual and
spelling responses. Sponsor: R. Douglas Greer.
Petra Ann Wiehe. Establishment of
structural and functional metaphorical responses in 4th- and 5th-grade
students as a function of multiple
exemplar instruction across reader
and writer functions. Sponsor: R.
Douglas Greer.
Teachers College: Clinical Psychology
Bonita Schneider. Interpersonal distress and interpersonal problems
associated with depression. Sponsor:
Helen Verdeli.
Sara Emily Zoeterman. In the moment: Prenatal mindful awareness
and its relationship to depression,
anxiety, and birth experience. Sponsor: George A. Bonanno.
Teachers College:
Cognitive Studies in Education
Samantha Rae Creighan. Investigating the effects of the MathemAntics
number line activity on children’s
number sense. Sponsor: Herbert P.
Jessica Hammer. Playing prejudice:
The impact of game-play on attributions of gender and racial bias. Sponsor: Charles Kinzer.
Azadeh Jamalian. Grouping gestures
promote children’s effective counting
strategies by adding a layer of meaning through action. Sponsor: Barbara
Sungbong Kim. Neural correlates of
embodiment in action verb meaning:
Entrenched versus translated forms.
Sponsor: Peter Gordon.
Michael Wilson McGahan. Perspective switching in virtual environments.
Sponsor: Barbara Tversky.
Lisa Shaw Ling Pao. Effects of keyword generation and peer collaboration on metacomprehension
accuracy in middle school students.
Sponsor: Joanna P. Williams.
Stephanie Holstad Ramsey. How do
we develop multivariable thinkers? An
evaluation of a middle school scientific reasoning curriculum. Sponsor:
Deanna Kuhn.
Teachers College:
Counseling Psychology
Rebecca Rangel. The appropriated
racial oppression scale development
and initial validation. Sponsor: Robert
T. Carter.
Avy Alosha Skolnik. The burden of
suspicion: A grounded theory study
on the psychological and interpersonal consequences of criminalizing
stereotypes. Sponsor: Laura Smith.
Rodolfo Victoria. Exploring how skin color and racial identity modify the relationship between perceptions of racism
and psychological distress among
Latinas/os. Sponsor: Robert T. Carter.
Teachers College:
Developmental Psychology
Elizabeth Ann Jewett. Is problem-based learning effective in fostering the development of intellectual
skills? Sponsor: Deanna Kuhn.
Teachers College: Educational Policy
Teachers College: English Education
Alyshia Brooks Bowden. Estimating
the cost effectiveness of a national
program that impacts high school
graduation and postsecondary enrollment. Sponsor: Henry M. Levin.
Christine Gentry. Speak, memory:
Oral storytelling in the high school
classroom. Sponsor: Ruth Vinz.
Travis Bristol. Men of the classroom: An
exploration of how the organizational
conditions, characteristics, and dynamics in schools affect the recruitment, experiences, and retention of black male
teachers. Sponsor: Carolyn J. Riehl.
Brice Andrew Particelli. The spectral
city: Walking the literary landscapes
of New York City. Sponsor: Ruth Vinz.
Teachers College:
Intellectual Disabilities and Autism
Elizabeth Marie Chu. High school suspension and educational deprivation.
Sponsor: Douglas David Ready.
Sarah Beth Mallory. Factors associated
with peer aggression and peer victimization among children with autism
spectrum disorder, children with other
disabilities, and children without a disability. Sponsor: Linda Hickson.
Valerie Khait. Making use of the dual
functions of evidence in adolescents’
argumentation. Sponsor: Deanna Kuhn.
Teachers College:
Economics and Education
Emily Avelet Abrams. Food, health,
and choices: Development and formative evaluation of an innovative
intervention to reduce childhood
obesity. Sponsor: Isobel R. Contento.
Katharine McKinley Conn. Identifying
effective education interventions in
sub-Saharan Africa: A meta-analysis
of rigorous impact evaluations. Sponsor: Laura Elizabeth Tipton.
Fei Guo. The impact of term-time
working on college outcomes in China. Sponsor: Mun C. Tsang.
Charles Olufemi Ogundimu. Does the
mode of entry into teaching matter
in teacher retention? A discrete-time
survival analysis modeling of New
York City public school teachers.
Sponsor: Thomas R. Bailey.
Li Yu. The impact of college quality
on early labor market outcomes in
China. Sponsor: Mun C. Tsang.
Teachers College:
Educational Leadership
Jessica Carroll Blum. Teaching and
learning with self: Student perspectives on authenticity in alternative
education. Sponsor: Eleanor Drago-Severson.
and identities developed in a learning
community. Sponsor: Erica N. Walker.
Nicole C. Taylor-Buckner. The effects
of elementary departmentalization
on mathematics proficiency. Sponsor: Erica N. Walker.
Xiaoxi Tian. Mathematical modeling
in the People’s Republic of China:
Indicators of participation and performance on COMAP’s modeling contest. Sponsor: Bruce R. Vogeli.
Teachers College:
Measurement and Evaluation
Meng-Ta Chung. Estimating the
Q-matrix for cognitve diagnosis models in a Bayesian framework. Sponsor:
Matthew S. Johnson.
Teachers College:
Philosophy and Education
David Issac Backer. The distortion of
discussion. Sponsor: Megan Laverty.
Holly K. Brewster. The teacher as
mathematician: Problem solving for
today’s social context. Sponsor: Megan Laverty.
Stephanie Ann Burdick-Shepherd.
Reading for childhood in philosophy
and literature: An ethical practice for
educators. Sponsor: Megan Laverty.
Cara Elizabeth Furman. Supporting
practical wisdom: Reflective teacher narratives in teacher education.
Sponsor: David Hansen.
Kyung Hwa Jung. Moral perception
and education in the world today.
Sponsor: David Hansen.
Teachers College:
Mathematics Education
Benjamin Michael Dickman. Conceptions of creativity in elementary
school mathematical problem posing. Sponsor: Herbert P. Ginsburg.
Terri Lynne Germain-Williams. Mathematical modeling in algebra textbooks at the onset of the Common
Core state standards. Sponsor: Bruce
R. Vogeli.
Frida K. Grant. Cross national comparisons of excellence in university
mathematics instructions: An analysis
of key characteristics of excellent
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mathematics instructors based on
teacher evaluation forms. Sponsor:
Bruce R. Vogeli.
Gonzalo Ariel Obelleiro. Cosmopolitan education and the creation of
value. Sponsor: David Hansen.
Raeann Kyriakou. New York State elementary school teacher certification
and examinations in mathematics in
the nineteenth century. Sponsor: Alexander P. Karp.
Dror Post. Anteros: On friendship
between rivals and rivalry between
friends. Sponsor: Megan Laverty.
Anthony Michael Miele. The effects
of number theory on high school students’ metacognition and mathematics attitudes. Sponsor: Bruce R. Vogeli.
Joo-Young Park. Value creation
through mathematical modeling:
Students’ mathematical dispositions
Michael Ian Schapira. Historical perspectives on the crisis of the university. Sponsor: Megan Laverty.
Kazuaki Yoda. Simone Weil on attention and education: Can love be
taught? Sponsor: Megan Laverty.
Teachers College: School Psychology
Sayaka Aoki. Understanding isolated
and nonisolated victims of peer victimization in middle school. Sponsor:
Marla R. Brassard.
Christi Lee Browne. Professional
learning communities (PLCs) as a
means for school-based curriculum
change. Sponsor: Ann E. Rivet.
Arthur Francis Corvo. Utilizing the National Research Council’s (NRC) conceptual framework for the Next Gerneration Science Standards (NGSS): A
self-study in my science, engineering,
and mathematics classroom. Sponsor: Felicia Moore Mensah.
Clement V. Gomes. Sounding out
science: Incorporating audio technology to assist students with learning
differences in science education.
Sponsor: Felicia Moore Mensah.
Sarah Jaleh Ryan Hansen. Multimodal
study of visual problem solving in
chemistry with multiple representations. Sponsor: Felicia Moore Mensah.
Cheryl Ann Lyons. Relationships between conceptual knowledge and
reasoning about systems: Implications for fostering systems thinking
in secondary science. Sponsor: Ann
E. Rivet.
Stefania Macaluso. Exploring the
development of classroom group
identities in an urban high school
chemistry class. Sponsor: Felicia
Moore Mensah.
Denise Marcia Mahfood. Uncovering
Black/African American and Latina/o
students’ motivation to learn science:
Affordances to science identity development. Sponsor: Felicia Moore
Darcy Marie Ronan. Science specialists in urban elemantary schools: An
ethnography examing science teaching identity, motivation, and hierarchy in a high-stakes testing climate.
Sponsor: Felicia Moore Mensah.
Teachers College:
Social-Organizational Psychology
Apivat Paul Hanvongse. Leadership
behavioral complexity as an antecedent to scaling social impact and financial performance. Sponsor: Debra
A. Noumair.
John Krister Lowe. Conflict climates
in organizations: An integrated decision-making model of participation in
conflict resolution training. Sponsor:
James Westaby.
Teachers College:
Speech and Language Pathology
Paula Bibiana Garcia. Perception of
American English vowels by adult
Spanish-English bilingual listeners.
Sponsor: Karen Froud.
Kara Nicole Nizolek. Risk factors for
dysphagia in critically ill patients with
prolonged orotracheal intubation.
Sponsor: John H. Saxman.
Laura Virginia Sanchez. N170 visual word specialization on implicit
and explicit reading tasks in Spanish-speaking adult neoliterates. Sponsor: Karen Froud.
Teachers College:
Teaching of Social Studies
Amy Elise Mungur. Cultural representations in/as the global studies curriculum: Seeing and knowing China
in the United States. Sponsor: Sandra
Scott Spencer Wylie. The challenge
of critical pedagogy as a social studies teacher-educator. Sponsor: William Gaudelli.
Anne Reynolds Holt. Reading costume design: The rise of the costume
designer, 1850–1920. Sponsor: Arnold
Urban Planning
Andrea Catherine Rizvi. How planning
process impacts bus rapid transit
outcomes: A comparison of experiences in Delhi and Ahmedabad, India.
Sponsor: Elliott Sclar.
Ginger Shulick Porcella,
M.A. ’07, Anthropology, was
named executive director of
the San Diego Art Institute.
Umit S. Dhuga, M.A. ’02,
M.Phil. ’05, Ph.D. ’06, Classics,
was awarded a fellowship
at the Ludwig Maximilian
University, Munich, to
research Greek tragedy and
Christian Kleinbub, M.A. ’00,
M.Phil. ’02, Ph.D. ’06, Art
History and Archaeology,
won the Gustave O. Arlt
Award for his book Vision and
the Visionary in Raphael.
Wallace S. Broecker, Ph.D.
’58, Earth and Environmental
Sciences, received
the Dean’s Award for
Distinguished Achievement
at the 2014 GSAS Ph.D.
Convocation ceremony.
Neil deGrasse Tyson, M.Phil.
’91, Ph.D. ’92, Astronomy,
premiered as host of the
Cosmos television series on
Fox and National Geographic
Diane Ravitch, Ph.D. ’75,
History, won the Grawemeyer
Award in Education for her
book The Death and Life of
the Great American School
George Farmer, M.A. ’95, M.Phil. ’95, Ph.D. ’96,
Biological Sciences, was appointed chief executive
officer of Cortice Biosciences in New York City.
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Ethan V. Torrey, M.A. ’96, History, ’99LAW, was
named legal counsel for the Supreme Court.
Aurelia Bardon, Ph.D. candidate in Political Science,
became the first student to complete the Dual
Ph.D. Partnership program between Columbia and
Sciences Po in Paris.
The following Ph.D. students won the 2014
Presidential Awards for Outstanding Teaching at
Columbia: Royden Jay Kadyschuk, English and
Comparative Literature; Roberto Pesenti, Art History
and Archaeology; and Aya Wallwater, Industrial
Engineering and Operations Research.
The following faculty members were honored
with the Lenfest Distinguished Teaching Awards:
Elizabeth Blackmar, professor of history; Virginia
Page Fortna, professor of political science; Erik Gray,
associate professor of English and comparative
literature; Peter Kelemen, professor of earth and
environmental sciences; Ioannis Mylonopoulos,
The following GSAS alumni were awarded 2014
Guggenheim Fellowships: Devin Fore, Ph.D. ’05,
Germanic Languages; Arthur Kampela, D.M.A. ’98,
Music Composition; Joseph Thornton, Ph.D. ’00,
Biological Sciences; Lu Wang, D.M.A. ’12, Music
Composition; and Alexandra Wettlaufer, Ph.D. ’93,
French and Romance Philology.
assistant professor of art history and archaeology;
Christine Philliou, associate professor of history;
Valerie Purdie-Vaughns, assistant professor of
psychology; Joanna Stalnaker, associate professor
of French and Romance philology; Brent Stockwell,
associate professor of biological sciences; and
Rafael Yuste, professor of biological sciences.
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