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About the College | Achievements

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

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Recent Achievements

Kyle DarganKyle Dargan's (literature) poetry collection, Honest Engine, was named one of five finalists for the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Prize.

Lisa LeffLisa Leff's (history) book, The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust, won the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature.

Rachel Louise SnyderRachel Louise Snyder (literature) published "No Visible Bruises: Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury" in the New Yorker.


Michael Bader (sociology) won a $11,666 award for the project "Racial Health Disparities from Aging in Changing Places." The sponsor is University of Michigan and the federal awarding agency is the NIH/National Institute on Aging.

The Open Society Foundation contributed $20,000 to the Barbara and Fred Bergmann Fellowship Fund.

Kim Blankenship (sociology) won a $111,086 award (represents year one of an expected $490,278 award over five years) to work with the District of Columbia Center for AIDS Research (DC CFAR). The center is housed at George Washington University and includes AU as an institutional partner. The NIH/NIAID is the federal awarding agency.

Jeffry Hakim (mathematics and statistics) won a $40,000 NSF award. The funding from this grant will support 12 students and 3 faculty members to travel to Marseille-Provence, France to attend the May 2016 CIRM conference.

Jeffrey Kaplan (biology) won a $130,436 Kappa Biofilm, LLC award for the project "Antibiofilm Compounds from Marine Bacteria."

Dolores Koenig (anthropology) won a $101,037 (represents year one of an expected three year project totaling $230,783) National Science Foundation award for the project "The Long-Term Socioeconomic Dynamics of Resettlement."

Sibel Kusimba (anthropology) won a $30,000 Changa Labs award for the project "Exploring the role of mobile money, data science and product innovation in community fundraising."

Sibel Kusimba (anthropology) received a $30,000 award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation entitled "Exploring the Role of Mobile Money, Data Science, and Product Innovation in Community Fundraising."

Nancy Jo Snider (performing arts) was awarded a Cultural Fellowship by the Likhachev Foundation to do research and give a talk in Russia this coming May.


Brandon Adams (performing arts) was nominated for Bay Area Critics Choice Award for Musical Director, Anything Goes (Center Repertory Company).

Behavior, cognition, and neuroscience PhD student Linda Amarante won a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship for her ongoing research and also for her outreach activities in a STEM educational program with the Washington Nationals.

Evan Berry (philosophy and religion) won a AAR-Luce Fellowship in Religion and International Affairs as a US Department of State Franklin Fellow.

Kristina Crona (mathematics and statistics) and Miriam Barlow are co-winners of the 2015 World Technology Award for Health & Medicine.

Kyle Dargan's (literature) Honest Engine was named one of five finalists for the Kingsley-Tufts Poetry Prize, awarded by Claremont Graduate University.

Tim Doud and Naoko Wowsugi (studio art) are finalists in the 2016 Outwin Boochever Portrait Competition at the National Portrait Gallery. Their work is on view March 11, 2016 through January 8, 2017 and will travel the states throughout 2018.

Robert Feinberg (economics) was elected to the Board of Trustees of the Southern Economic Association, serving from 2015 through 2019.

The following members of the Department of Performing Arts received 2016 Helen Hayes nominations:

  • Melanie George- Outstanding Choreography In A Play Hayes Production: Women Laughing With Salad (Woolly Mammoth)
  • Caleen Sinnette Jennings: Outstanding Play: Queens Girl In The World (Theatre J)
  • Caleen Sinnette Jennings:The Charles Macarthur Award For Outstanding Original New Play: Queens Girl In The World (Theatre J)
  • Caleen Sinnette Jennings: Outstanding Original Play: Darius And Twig (The Kennedy Center)
  • The Welders (Caleen Jennings and many others): The John Aniello Award For Outstanding Emerging Theatre Company
  • Izabelle Smelkinson (junior in musical theatre)- Outstanding Lead Actress In A Musical Hayes Production: Dogfight (The Keegan Theatre)

David Haaga (psychology) is an Association for Psychological Science Fellow.

Jonathan Harper's (MFA creative writing ’10) Daydreamers received a Kirkus Starred Review.

Cheryl Holcomb-McCoy (education) was named a Fellow of the American Counseling Association.

The American Society for Engineering Education honored Teresa Larkin (physics) with an ASEE Fellow Member award.

The following professors won University Faculty Awards:

  • Mark Laubach (biology): Scholar/Teacher of the Year
  • Eileen Findlay (history): Outstanding Teaching in a Full-Time Appointment
  • Kyle Dargan (literature): Morton Bender Prize

Lisa Leff's (history) book, The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust, won the 2016 Sami Rohr Prize for Jewish Literature. It also was named a finalist for the 2015 National Jewish Book Award in the category of writing based on archival material.

Barry McCarthy (psychology) received the Masters and Johnson award for lifetime contributions to the sex therapy field from the Society for Sex Therapy and Research.

Chemi Montes (art) was selected as one of the top 100 artists, designers and photographers of 2015 by Creative Quarterly. A poster he designed for the Department of Performing Arts will be published in their 100 Best Annual publication.

Marianne Noble (literature) won a 2016-17 Fulbright US Scholar grant.

Deborah Payne's (literature) article, "Pepys and Theatrical Spectatorship," was just selected by the editors of the Review of English Studies as a "choice article" from 2015. The article has also been nominated for the James L. Clifford Prize, awarded annually by the American Society for Eighteenth-Century Studies.

Anthropology PhD student Becca Peixotto was awarded a scholarship from the Archaeology Society of Virginia for her dissertation research in the Great Dismal Swamp.

John Rolle (PhD economics) was appointed governor of the Central Bank of The Bahamas. 

Denise Saunders Thompson (performing arts) won a San Diego Black Film Festival award for the documentary she produced and created, Hamdan: Through the Gate of Tears. The award was for the category 'Shorts' - "Best Documentary."

A paper by Anastasia Snelling (health studies) and Sarah Irvine Belson (education), “Associations between grades and physical activity and food choices: Results from YRBS from a large urban school district,” published in Health Education, was selected by the journal’s editorial team as a Highly Commended Paper in the 2016 Emerald Literati Network Awards for Excellence.

Creative writing MFA student Bron Treanor's story "Dinner with a Friend" won third place in the Bethesda Magazine Fiction Contest. The work will be published online in the July 2016 edition of the magazine. She will be included in a public reading opening the Bethesda Literary Festival on April 15.


Anthony Ahrens (psychology) will give a lecture entitled Contemplating Contemplation: A Psychological Perspective on Mindfulness, Gratitude, and Ignatian Spiritual Practices at John Carroll University on April 6.

Fernando Benadon (performing arts) published "More Rhythmic Interactions in Two (or Three) Aksak Performances" in Empirical Musicology Review's special issue: Musical Rhythm Across Cultures. He is also joining the editorial board of Music Theory Spectrum, the field's flagship journal.

Arielle Bernstein (literature) published "Marie Kondo and the Privilege of Clutter" in The Atlantic.

Zoë Charlton’s (studio art) artwork has been included in the traveling exhibition State of the Art: Discovering American Art Now at the Telfair Museums, Savannah, GA.  Her work is also included in the group exhibition Carried Weight at The Delaware Contemporary, Wilmington, DE and will be a part of the semi-finalist exhibition for the Janet & Walter Sondheim Prize, Baltimore, MD.

Zoë Charlton and Tim Doud (art) participated in the New York Academy of Art Professional Practice lecture series, On Pedagogy and Collaboration: Sharon Louden in conversation with Tim Doud and Zoë Charlton.

Angela Dadak (college writing program) gave the plenary talk titled "Navigating the Global and the Local in Writing Assessment" at the 62nd TEFLIN (Teachers of English as a Foreign Language in Indonesia) International Conference in Denpassar. After the conference, she led a three-day teachers' workshop for Department of State English Language Fellows and their Indonesian counterparts. They created a series on Academic Writing for Publication in English.

Kyle Dargan (literature) published two poems in the February 2016 issue Poetry Magazine, Olympic Drive and Dear Echo.

The journal Appetite published The Proceedings of the American University Symposium on Childhood Obesity, a direct result of the Center for Behavioral Neuroscience's symposium held last year. Terry Davidson (psychology) served as one of the editors. 

Tim Doud’s (studio art) paintings were exhibited by Randall Scott Projects at the Texas Contemporary Art Fair, Houston TX and Miami Projects Art Fair, Miami FL.

Tim Doud's (art) artwork is included in the exhibition Geometrix, Line, Form, Subversion at the Curator's Office from January 14 through April 16.

Max Paul Friedman (history) wrote an op-ed for the New York Daily News in which he discusses how Trump’s rhetoric echoes the early efforts of the Nazis to separate Jewish Germans from Germany’s public life.

Boris Gershman (economics) published "Witchcraft Beliefs and the Erosion of Social Capital: Evidence from Sub-Saharan Africa and Beyond" in the Journal of Development Economics

Jim Girard's (chemistry) Principles of Environmental Chemistry, Second Edition was translated into Portuguese.

Stephanie Grant (literature) published "Postpartum" in the New Yorker online.

Gregory Harry (physics) coauthored an op-ed about the discovery of gravitational waves for USA Today.

Consuelo Hernández (WLC) published Mi reino sin orillas, a poetry collection in Spanish, with Editorial Torremozas in Madrid Spain. The poetry book has a foreword by the Chilean poet Astrid Fugellie and a comment on the cover by Edith Grossman.

Kiho Kim (environmental science) coauthored a chapter on Marine Debris of the First Global Integrated Marine Assessment, published by The Division for Ocean Affairs and the Law of the Sea, Office of Legal Affairs, United Nations.

Karen Knee (environmental science) coauthored "Balancing watershed nitrogen budgets: accounting for biogenic gases in streams" in Biogeochemistry. The article was profiled in Shorelines, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's blog.

Alan Kraut (history) chronicled the history of anti-immigrant sentiment in the US for The Center for Migration Studies of New York (CMS). 

Allan J. Lichtman (history) published two articles on his prediction system the Keys to the White in the World Financial Review (January-February 2016) and Social Education (February 2016). The sixth (2016) edition of his book The Keys to the White House will be published in April by Rowman & Littlefield. In February he co-directed (with Harvey Mansfield of Harvard) the seminar on presidential power for the Aspen Institute and this month he gave the press briefing on the American primary elections for the State Department’s Foreign Press Center. He has also provided commentary on politics for such media outlets as CNN, MSNBC, CNBC, PBS, NPR, BBC, CBS, CTV, Voice of America, Al Jazeera, EuroNews, and others. His work on voting rights has been cited in the Washington Post, the Richmond Times Dispatch, and the Miami Herald. He is also a regular contributor to The Hill.

Stephen MacAvoy, Katie Plank, Sydney Mucha, and Glenn Williamson (environmental science) published "Effectiveness of foam-based green surfaces in reducing nitrogen and suspended solids in an urban installation" in Ecological Engineering.

Stephen MacAvoy, Alyssa Braciszewski, Eric Tengi, and Daniel Fong (environmental science and biology) published "Trophic plasticity among spring versus cave populations of Gammarus minus: examining functional niches using stable isotopes and C/N ratios" in Ecological Research.

Richard McCann (literature) published "The Lonely Life" in the Washington Post Magazine.

Creative writing alumna Leslie Pietrzyk had a story featured on the cover of the Washington Post Magazine titled "When Your Spouse Dies."

John Nolan (mathematics and statistics) presented the talk, "Extremes, Copulas, and Actuarial Science," at the Centre International de Rencontres Mathématique.

Creative writing alumna Elizabeth Poliner published a new novel, As Close to Us as Breathing, which debuted at Politics and Prose on March 19.

Ellington Robinson (art) was featured in "Artists and Mentorship: David C. Driskell in Conversation with Ellington Robinson" at the National Gallery of Art. 

Colin Saldanha's (biology) recently published the article, “Centrally Synthesized Estradiol is a Potent Anti-Inflammatory in the Injured Zebra Finch Brain” (published in Endocrinology). The research was featured in several outlets including NeuroScientistNews, ScienceDaily, and Science News.

Creative writing alumna Chet'la Sebree has a poem featured in the anthology Monticello in Mind: Fifty Contemporary Poems on Jefferson.

Rachel Louise Snyder (literature) published "The Buddhist I am not: Reflecting on my conversation with the Dalai Lama about the Clinton-Lewinsky scandal" in Salon.

Rachel Louise Snyder (literature) published Chapter 9: The Danger, "For Women, Gun Violence Happens at Home," part of a Marie Claire magazine series on women and guns in America. Other contributors include Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, and Roxane Gay.

Rachel Louise Snyder (literature) published "No Visible Bruises: Domestic Violence and Traumatic Brain Injury" in the New Yorker.

Jennifer Steele's (education) coauthored article "Disentangling disadvantage: Can we distinguish good teaching from classroom composition?" was published in the Journal of Research on Educational Effectiveness.

Creative writing alumna Mary Switalski published "November Interval" in Newfound Journal

Katharina Vester (history) published A Taste of Power: Food and American Identities (University of California Press).

Núria Vilanova (WLC) published "Women Writing in the Andes: A Panoramic View Since Colonial Times" in The Cambridge History of Latin American Women´s Literature (Cambridge University Press).

Linda Voris's (literature) new book, The Composition of Sense in Gertrude Stein's Landscape Writing, will be published in August by Palgrave Macmillan.

Melissa Scholes Young (literature) published "Navigating Campus Together - First-generation faculty can steer first-generation college students toward success" in the Atlantic.




Noami Baron (WLC) discussed the future of print (with Monocle), the use of emogis (with Mashable), and reading on screens (with CBC -Canadian Broadcasting Corporation)

Naomi Baron (WLC) discussed the linguistics of 'YouTube Voice' with The Atlantic.

C&E News (the trade publication for the American Chemical Society) published a profile of our junior/senior level lab experience.

Art Forum featured Zoë Charlton (art) in a story about Baltimore-based artists and their responses to systemic violence in the city and the trauma residents are experiencing over police brutality. 

Elizabeth Cotter's (health studies) research was featured in a WalletHub article about obesity.

Kyle Dargan's (literature) Honest Engine and alumnus Abdul Ali's book Trouble Sleeping were included on the Split This Rock foundation's "2015 Poetry Books We Loved" list.

Kyle Dargan's (literature) gun violence poem "Death Toll" was featured in American Poetry Review.

Kyle Dargan's (literature) Honest Engine was listed as a Mosaic Magazine Best Book of 2015.

Kyle Dargan's (literature) Honest Engine was featured on WAMU's Metro Connection in December 2015.

Terry Davidson (psychology) was quoted in "How Obesity May Impair Memory" in Scientific American.

With Quartz, Matthew Hartings (chemistry) discussed the scientific reasons behind why chocolate chip cookies and milk taste good together. 

A recent review in the Wall Street Journal by the eminent arts critic, Terry Teachout, praised Alicia Kopfstein-Penk's (performing arts) book, Leonard Bernstein and His Young People’s Concerts, calling it a "bristingly well-informed monograph."

Evan Kraft (economics) was featured in WalletHub's financial predictions for 2016.

Alan Kraut (history) spoke to CBS Newspath about the announcement that Harriet Tubman would replace Andrew Jackson on the twenty dollar bill. He was also interviewed by Washingtonian Magazine.

Sibel Kusimba's (anthropology) research on mobile money platforms was featured in Business Daily. 

Sibel Kusimba’s (anthropology) research on women’s use of banks in the developing word was featured in an article in The Guardian.

C-SPAN filmed Peter Kuznick's (history) Social Forces class as part of a series of lectures by distinguished historians.

For CCTV America, Peter Kuznick (history) spoke about the G7 visit of Secretary of State John Kerry to Hiroshima. He was also quoted extensively in a Guardian article about the Nuclear Security Summit.

MFA alums Annette Isham, Randall Lear, Maggie Michael, Dan Perkins, Zac Willis, and studio art faculty Jeff Spaulding and Naoko Wowsugi were included in the Washington City Paper list of DC’s 12 Best Gallery Shows of 2015.

The Washington Post reviewed Lisa Leff's (history) new book, The Archive Thief: The Man Who Salvaged French Jewish History in the Wake of the Holocaust.  

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to CNBC about Nancy Reagan’s legacy.

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke with KYW-AM (Philadelphia) about the recent uproar by Republicans concerning President Obama’s use of executive order for gun safety. Lichtman also spoke to the New York Observer about Democrats and Election 2016.

Creative writing alumna Valzhyna Mort was featured on World Views: "Belarus’ Valzhyna Mort Details Her Passion For Poetry, The Power Of Language."

Dolen Perkins-Valdez's (literature) book Balm was listed in Esquire's "80 Books Every Person Should Read" and Clutch magazine's "2015's Top 12 Books by Black Women."

Simon Sheng (economics) spoke with Reuters about the economic projections of the Federal Reserve policymakers.

The National Council on Teacher Quality (NCTQ) recently featured Jennifer Steele's (education) Economics of Education Review article about the distribution and mobility of effective teachers in its Teacher Quality Bulletin newsletter.

Denise Saunders Thompson (performing arts) was featured in the New York Times article "A Chance to Dance for Minority Ballerinas."

David Vine (anthropology) appeared in a Pivot TV documentary about the plight of the Chagossian people exiled by the U.S. military base on Diego Garcia. The episode is called Camp Justice.

Reason TV interviewed David Vine (anthropology) for "ISIS Is Expanding. Should U.S. Military Bases Abroad Expand Too?" He was also featured on NPR's Here and Now.

David Vine (anthropology) was on NPR's "On Point" to discuss the Pentagon's recent proposal to build a supposedly new system of bases in and around the Middle East and Africa.  

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