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About the College | Achievements

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

Please send achievements announcements to emilyd@american.edu.

 

Recent Achievements

John Bracht John Willoughby (economics) received $421,223 from Open Society Foundations for his project titled "Proposal to Support the Organizational Strengthening of the Program for Gender Analysis of the Economy.

Nicole Caporino Nicole Caporino (psychology) received the first-ever Anne Marie Albano Early Career Award for Excellence in the Integration of Science and Practice from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) at ABCT’s 50th annual convention in New York.

U.J. Sophia  U.J. Sophia (physics) received $152,905 (represents year one of an expected five-year project totaling over $1.2 million) from NASA for his project titled "Investigations in Astrobiology: The Origins of Water and Pre-Biotic Organics."

 

GRANTS AND RESEARCH

Alida Anderson (School of Education) received $146,389 (represents year one of this project) from the Office of the State Superintendent of Education (OSSE) for the project titled “Master Teacher Cadre Program – Secondary Special Education Cohort.”

Anthony Ahrens (psychology) was awarded $23,817 from Catholic University of America (CUA) (CUA funding from: Saint Louis University and SLU funding from: John Templeton Foundation) for the project titled "Integrating Social Cognitive Theory and Virtue Ethics."

Boncho Bonev (physics) received $97,761 from NSF for the project "Comets and the History of Volatile Matter During Planetary System Formation;” $65,355 from John Hopkins University for the project "Parent Volatiles in Comets;" and $43,733 (represents partial funding of total $132,590 for a three-year project through December 7, 2019) from NASA for the project "Spatial-Spectral Studies of Water and the Physical Environment of Inner Cometary Atmospheres."

John Bracht (biology) received a $50,000 award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for his project titled "I-Corps: Using Genomics to Detect Pathogens."

Molly Dondero (sociology) was awarded $31,889 from Pennsylvania State University for the project "The Mexican Children of Immigrants Program."

Mark Laubach (biology) was awarded $10,078.20 from Yale University for his project "Remote Effects of Focal Hippocampal Seizures in Neocortical Function."

Stephen MacAvoy (environmental science) was awarded $14,445 from the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias for his project "Assessing the trophic ecology and climate change resilience of Stygobromus tenuis."

Laura Owens (School of Education) was awarded $42,398 from Harvard University (funding from US Department of Education) for her project titled "Digital Messaging for Improving College Enrollment and Success.”

David Pike (literature) was awarded $143,63 from ACLS for the project is entitled "Corruption Plots, Imagined Publics: Narrating Urban Space in the Global South," and will be conducting it in collaboration with Professors Malini Ranganathan (SIS) and Sapana Doshi (U of Arizona, School of Geography and Development).

Michael Robinson (mathematics and statistics) was awarded $32,704 from the Battelle Memorial Institute / Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for his project titled "Topological Data Modeling for High Performance Data Analytics."

Denise Saunders Thompson (performing arts) received a $500,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for her nonprofit the International Association of Blacks in Dance (IABD).

Anastasia Snelling (health studies) received $900,000 from the US Department of Agriculture for a five-year project titled, "Healthy Schoolhouse 2.0 Teachers and Parents Working to Improve Student Health"; $9,679 from the DC Department of Health for her project "Nutrition and Physical Fitness Bureau (NPFB) - Survey Instrument Design Training"; $35,999 from DC Central Kitchen for the project "Healthy Food Access Initiatives"; $29,950 from A Wider Circle from her project titled A Wider Circle "Wraparound Support” Program Evaluation; $76,552 from the District of Columbia Public Schools for the project titled “Strategies for Improving Consumption of Healthy Foods in DC Public Schools.”

U.J. Sophia (physics) received $152,905 (represents year one of an expected five-year project totaling $1,223,311) from NASA for his project titled "Investigations in Astrobiology: The Origins of Water and Pre-Biotic Organics."

Catherine Stoodley (psychology) was awarded $24,608 (represents year one of an expected two year project totaling $50,199) from Georgetown University (funded by NIH) for the project titled "Cerebellar tDCS: A Novel Treatment for Aphasia"; $19,518 (represents year one of an expected three year project totaling $98,513) from the University of Denver (funded by NIH) for the project titled "Cognitive and Neural Predictors of Comorbidity Between Reading and Attention Problems.”

John Willoughby (economics) received $421,223 from Open Society Foundations for his project titled "Proposal to Support the Organizational Strengthening of the Program for Gender Analysis of the Economy."

Isaiah M. Wooden (performing arts) received the 2017 Ford Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship and $45,000 sponsored by the Ford Foundation and administered by the Fellowships Office of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

 

APPOINTMENTS AND HONORS

Nicole Caporino (psychology) received the first-ever Anne Marie Albano Early Career Award for Excellence in the Integration of Science and Practice from the Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies (ABCT) at ABCT’s 50th annual convention in New York. She has been selected as a 2016 “Rising Star” by the Association for Psychological Science (APS). The Rising Star designation recognizes outstanding psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research career post-PhD whose innovative work has already advanced the field and signals great potential for their continued contributions.

Robb Hunter (Department of Performing Arts) was nominated for Outstanding Choreography for An Octoroon (Woolly Mammoth Theatre Company) for the 2017 Helen Hayes awards.

Philip Johnson (physics) was elected to represent the mid-atlantic region at the national council of representatives of the American Physical Society.

Natalie Konerth (BS applied mathematics) received the Patriot League Field Hockey Scholar-Athlete of the Year Award for her second consecutive season.

David Landstrom (Department of Performing Arts alumn) was nominated for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Musical for Next to Normal (The Keegan Theatre) for the 2017 Helen Hayes awards.

Aaron Posner (Department of Performing Arts) was nominated for Outstanding Play or Musical Adaptation for District Merchants (Folger Theatre) for the 2017 Helen Hayes awards.

Meghan Raham (Department of Performing Arts) was nomitated for Outstanding Set Design for Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (Round House Theatre) for the 2017 Helen Hayes awards.

Gautham Rao (history) was appointed editor-in-chief of the Law and History Review.

Craig Stevens (Anthropology '17) received the 2017 CfMA MAAC Student Award from the Council for Maryland Archaeology for his paper, Maryland's Josiah Henson: A Tale of Black Resistance, which was based on his senior capstone.

Jonelle Walker (Department of Performing Arts alumn) was nominated for Outstanding Play or Musical Adaptation for TAME (WSC Avant Bard) for the 2017 Helen Hayes awards.

 

PUBLICATIONS, PRODUCTIONS, AND EXHIBITIONS

Laura Beers (history) recently authored the book Red Ellen, which is about the British MP Ellen Wilkinson. Martin Rubin of The Wall Street Journal wrote a review of Red Ellen. Rubin writes that Beers, “draws a multifaceted portrait, capturing the woman herself as well as her remarkable political career.”

Kyle Dargan (literature) authored an article for Moyers & Company about the celebration of National Poetry Month. Dargan wrote, "Finding one's people can also mean finding one's writers."

Anton Fedyashin (history) authored an article for The National Interest about how former Russian leader Vladimir Lenin and former President Woodrow Wilson collaborated on the revitalization of modern day foreign policy. Fedyashin said, "Although they had little in common, Wilson and Lenin shared one similarity - they saw themselves as revolutionaries in the realm of diplomacy and geopolitics."

Douglas Fox (chemistry) co-authored an article on cellulose nanocrystals in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces.

Max Paul Friedman (history) authored an article in the Christian Science Monitor about the Monroe Doctrine. Friedman wrote, "If Trump revives the Monroe Doctrine's unilateralism more broadly in response to a perceived threat from China throughout the region, he may succeed only in making Latin America irate again." He also wrote about flag burning as a means of protest for New York Daily News. Friedman wrote, “No one should trample on the First Amendment's protection of free speech. But anyone readying to set the flag alight ought to reconsider. The problem with flag burning is that it is unintelligible speech.”

Consuelo Hernandez (world languages and cultures) read selections from the work of Cesar Vallejo, one of Latin America's most beloved poets of the 20th century, at the Library of Congress on April 6, 2017. She followed the homage by reading from her own work. 

Evan Kraft (economics) authored an article for The Hill about Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen's testimony on Capitol Hill. He noted, "She pointed to recent increases in inflation and the growth rate of wages as signs that the economy cannot be pushed a great deal further." He also wrote an opinion article for The Hill about an increase in the minimum wage that is taking effect in 19 states across the country.

Eric Lohr (history) authored an article titled, "Russian interventions in other's elections: A brief history", for The Conversation on how the Russia of the past informs the Russia of today. Lohr wrote, "Whether it reverts to 300-year-old patterns of expansion and intervention abroad or leaves its traditions behind will be one of the big questions in international relations in the coming years." The article published in U.S. News & World Report and more than a dozen mid-size news outlets online.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss (education and sociology) wrote the book The Extreme Gone Mainstream, Commercialization and Far Right Youth Culture in Germany. She also authored an article for The Washington Post about helping children and young adults cope with hate. Miller-Idriss noted, "Schools and colleges were the sites of more than a third of the nearly 900 hate incidents documented by the Southern Poverty Law Center in the first 10 days after the election." She previously wrote an article for Fortune regarding serious security threats that the Trump administration have been ignoring. Miller wrote, "Domestic terrorism poses a significant, if not greater, threat than Islamic terrorism."

Deborah Norris's (psychology) book In the Flow: Passion, Purpose and the Power of Mindfulness was published in November.

Dolen Perkins-Valdez (literature)authored an article for The Washington Post about the impact skin tones can have on families. Perkins-Valdez notes, “While darker skin subjects people to discrimination, a lighter hue also can pose problems.”

Jennifer Steele (education) authored an article for Education Week about how those on the left of the political spectrum should try to work with Education Secretary Betsy DeVos. Steele wrote, "What DeVos and her fellow Republicans must avoid is swinging the pendulum so far toward deregulation that the luck of geography, wealth, and parentage become even stronger educational determinants than they already are."

Christopher W. Totten's (art) book Level Design: Processes and Experiences was published December 2016 by A K Peters/CRC Press.

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz (sociology) authored an article for The Society Pages about uniting activists, trans-feminist scholars, and sociologists in the fight for equality. Vidal-Ortiz said, "My goal is to converse with (cisgender and trans*/transsexual) feminist scholars and activists, and although I center my remarks on the sociological discipline, I want to reach social scientists and non-academics alike."

 

IN THE MEDIA

Anthony Ahrens (psychology) spoke with NPR about the feeling of gratitude and his recent research into why some people are more grateful than others. “Autonomous folks who really value independence might feel that gratitude undermines that independence, says Ahrens.”

Naomi S. Baron (world languages and cultures) spoke to KCBS 740 AM about how the acronym MOAB received negative attention on social media. Baron said, "Languages change their meanings of words over time. This is not surprising to have happened." She also talked with The Washington Post about the great historical misquote: "Houston, we have a problem." Baron noted that the verb tense of the original quote was less dramatic. She previously spoke with The Washington Post about digital communication and voice assistants.

Robert Blecker (economics) spoke to Canada's CBCNews about Donald J. Trump and Carrier jobs in Indiana. "Can this work in the long run? Well, he's not going to negotiate with every company," Blecker said. He also talked with Salon about Donald Trump's threats against Mexico and the impact on consumers on both sides of the border. “For both the U.S. and Mexico, it's challenging because if you start putting tariffs on imports from the other country, you're essentially putting tariffs on some of the inputs of many of the things you want to make,” Blecker said. In addition, Blecker spoke to Politifact about Kellyanne Conway's inaccuracy regarding Mexico's primary source of income. Blecker noted, "Remittances are important -- just far from No. 1."

Ernesto Castaneda-Tinoco (sociology) spoke to Education Week about undocumented immigrants. Castaneda said, "People assume they are here taking advantage of opportunities that they are here and that means that the other kids are going to get less of something."

Kyle Dargan (literature) had his excerpt from scholar Adam Bradley's forthcoming novel, "The Poetry of Pop", featured in the Paris Review.

Terry Davidson (director of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience) talked to NPR about how poor eating habits can affect both the body and the brain. Davidson stated, "It's surprising to me that people would question that obesity would have a negative effect on the brain, because it has a negative effect on so many other bodily systems," he says, adding, why would "the brain would be spared?"

Tim Doud (art) had portraits featured in The Washington Post, which are currently in a show at Gallery Neptune and Brown. The reviewer writes, "...Doud doesn't work from photographs, and sometimes depicts gazes and poses at an angle to the picture plane. The approach is painterly yet precise, and strongly conveys specific likenesses. It's not just the clothing that gives Doud's subjects their individuality."

Ellen Feder (philosphy) spoke with Health.com about intersex. “Many of these surgeries are not necessary for the health and well-being of the child,” says Feder.

Anton Fedyashin (history) appeared on Hearst Television to discuss Russia-US relations. Fedyashin said, "I am cautiously optimistic precisly because it seems that both sides are willing to de-ideologize foreign policy." He also appeared on CGTN to discuss how Jeff Sessions is in hot water for not disclosing to Congress that he met with Russian leaders. He also spoke to NPR's KPCC affiliate about whether Russia poses any threat to its neighbors or allies.

Max Paul Friedman (history) spoke with New Orleans Public Radio about World War II history, specifically the Latin American deportation operation and Germans that lived there at the time. The Roosevelt administration asked FBI agents to go and find dangerous Nazis in Latin America, Friedman explained.

Douglas Fox (chemistry) spoke about the applicability of his research with cellulose nanoncrystals for a trade publication on wind energy.

Lindsay Grace (director of Game Lab) appeared on Al Jazeera to speak about the historical accuracy in video games. Grace also spoke to WalletHub about the problem of addiction to gambling.

Mustafa Gurbuz (sociology) spoke to USA Today about a poll of Arab citizens showing they believe intervention policies gave rise to ISIS. Gurbuz said, "The majority of the Arabs think that the U.S. invasion to Iraq was a huge mistake, primarily driven by American interest in controlling the oil fields; and they perceive ISIS as a continuation of Iraqi Sunni insurgency."

Matthew Hartings(chemistry) sat down with Thrillist to discuss the popularity of the Wendy's Frosty and French fry combination. "And why use a spoon when you can use fries, right?" Hartings said. He had research featured in a 3D printing forum in www.3ders.org. Hartings and fellow researchers successfully printed a chemically active structure by using nanocomposites and a 3D printer. Hartings said, “As a chemist…I wanted 3D printed objects to be able to do chemistry after they were printed.”

Cheryl Holcomb-Mccoy (dean of the School of Education) spoke with Diverse: Issues in Higher Education about the Senate education committee's decision to move forward with the nomination of Betsy DeVos. Holcomb-Mccoy said, “I thought we were really moving in the right direction of ensuring that all students that choose to go to college in the U.S. have access to fair education and equitable education across the board.”

Kathleen Holton (health studies) discussed her research on food additives and neurological illness with the Healthy U Radio Show on KMEM-FM. She also spoke to Prevention Magazine about food additives and fibromyalgia. Patients who abstain from certain food additives find their symptoms improve and they can live healthier lives. Holton's research on the connection between ADHD and exercise was featured in an article from The Pittsburgh Parent.

Monica Jackson (mathematics and statistics) spoke to The Hechinger Report about the importance of helping and encouraging more African-American women to go into the STEM fields. Jackson said, “Give them access to resources that can hone their skills.'' She also noted, “Help her to see the fun in math. Math is very challenging but there is a beautiful side to it that makes it all worthwhile.”

Don Kimes' (studio art) work was featured in The Studio Visit.

Alan Kraut (history) conducted a q-and-a with The Atlantic about immigration policy. Kraut said, "The United States has always had a kind of love-hate relationship with immigration." He also spoke with the Associated Press and USA Today about the flaws of immigration in the United States. Kraut said, “Here we are, the United States, a nation of nations, with the iconic symbol of the Statue of Liberty, and yet we are still arguing about the peopling of America.” The story ran in about 400 publications nationwide.

Peter Kuznick (history) spoke to the Pacific Standard about the social divide between scientists and political leaders. Kuznick said, "Most early-20th-century scientists were seen by the American public as conservatives." He also has talked with WTOP and shared his views on President Trump. He has shared his expertise about what happens next involving mass protests with Christian Science Monitor.

Robert Lerman (economics) spoke to Time about how companies in multiple industries are offering more apprenticeships. Lerman said, "The number of other companies offering apprenticeships -- where new workers learn while they earn a reduced salary -- has also risen sharply."

Allan Lichtman (history) appeared on MSNBC's AM Joy to discuss his new book, "The Case for Impeachment." Lichtman said, "The first rule of politics is self-preservation. If those Republicans in Congress believe that Trump has become a liability to them, they may be willing to jettison him." He also had his new book, "The Case for Impeachment", reviewed by The Washington Post. Lichtman said during an interview with the Post, "I make very clear that I do not believe Trump should be impeached because he's an unconventional president." He also appeared on CNN and MSNBC's Morning Joe. Previously he spoke with The Washington Post about his time-tested system that has successfully predicted the winner of presidential elections. Lichtman said, “Based on the 13 keys, it would predict a Donald Trump victory.”

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke with WTOP about President Obama's legacy. Lichtman said, “After all, Obama likely averted a financial meltdown [and] perhaps a descent into depression.” WTTG Fox 5 also spoke with Robert Lehrman, communications professor, about the president's farewell speech. In addition, he talked with Sinclair/WJLA online about President Obama’s decision to speak out against Trump and spoke with WTTG about President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration.

Juliana Martinez (World Languages and Culture) talked with US News & World Report about gender fluidity and coming out. Martinez said, "Even expressions like 'gender identity' are not familiar to most people,” so it is important to be prepared with clear definitions and setting expectations.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss (education and sociology) talked with Voice of America about a study on professors and service work. "Internal service doesn't bring the same kinds of advantages to the university in a visible way," Miller-Idriss said. She also spoke to Sinclair Broadcasting about the increase of black bloc protests. Miller-Idris said, "While it's very important to protect free speech on college campuses, I believe each campus has to decide for itself where the line gets drawn."

Pamela Nadell (history) talked with Hadassah Magazine about the uptick in anti-semitic incidents worldwide and provided historical context. Nadell said, “I turn to the past to look for lessons in the present. I like to think of a line from a poem by Muriel Rukeyser: “I am in the world/ to change the world,” and that's what I like my students to consider. They are here because we hope they are going to learn how to change the world for the better.”

Adrienne Pine (anthropology) spoke to Al Jazeera about free trade agreements between the United States and other countries. Pine said, "They have been disastrous for citizens of all countries involved (including the United States), yet hugely beneficial for corporations."

Malgorzata Rymsza-Pawlowska (history) spoke with Architectural Digest about how historians are coming together to save artifacts left behind from protesters across the country. She said, “So much contemporary activism is online, through social media platforms like Twitter, which museums and different historical societies are experimenting with collecting, but what those institutions work best with is tangible ephemera.”

Jennifer Steele (School of Education) spoke with NPR about her research on bilingual education. Steele said, "If it's just about moving the kids around that's not as exciting as if it's a way of teaching that makes you smarter."

Catherine Stoodley (psychology) was featured in a profile in The Lowell Sun. Stoodley studies the role of the brain's cerebellum in developmental disorders. Stoodley discussed the methods she and her students use to conduct research and said the best part of her job is being able to contribute to scientific knowledge in a rapidly changing field.

Ximena Varela (arts management) appeared on Marketplace to discuss the new Yayoi Kusama exhibit at Smithsonian's Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden. Varela said, "There's a lot riding on it for the Hirschhorn."

David Vine (anthropology) spoke with Time Magazine about the positive impact of shutting down military bases. Vine stated, “Our bases in the Philippines and Japan today risk sucking us into a clash with China because of territorial and maritime disputes between the countries along the South China Sea.”

Stef Woods (American studies) spoke with DC Metro Theatre Arts about a Smithsonian lecture she gave about the season 5 preview of "House of Cards" and Woods' "Politics, TV Series, and Ethics" class. In the discussion, Woods gave a breakdown of how the show compared with modern day politics.