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About the College | Achievements

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

Please send achievements announcements to casnews@american.edu.


Recent Achievements

David Haaga David Haaga (psychology) won a $321,750 award from NIH for his project titled "Looming Vulnerability and Smoking Cessation Attempts."

Maria FloroMaria Floro (economics) won a $25,000 award from the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) for her project titled "Exploring Migration and Food Insecurity Relationship: New Evidence from the Food & Agriculture Organization's Food Insecurity Experience Scale."

Douglas FoxDouglas Fox (chemistry) won a $104,675 award from the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities for his project titled "Fluorescent Cellulose Nanomaterial Development Project."

GRANTS AND RESEARCH

Kim Blankenship (sociology) won a $753,433 (funding for year one of five-year project) from National Institutes of Health (NIH) for her project titled "Social Determininants of HIV: The Intersecting Impacts of Mass Incarceration, Housing Stability, and Subsized Housing Policies."

Frederick Bruhweiler (physics) received $300,000 (partial funding for a $2,358,826 total award) from NASA for a five-year project through June 30, 2021 titled "Establishing the Legacy of the RHESSI Space Mission." He also won a $27,626 award from the Space Telescope Science Institute for his project "Identifying the Progenitor of a New Red Transient."

David Carlini (biology) won a $13,664 award from the Cave Conservancy of the Virginias for the project "Testing for Parallel Evolution in Gammarus Minus Cave Populations Using Whole Transciptome Data."

Terry Davidson (psychology) won a four-year $1,265,000 National Institutes of Health (NIH) award for the project "Signals to Feed: Biological and Associative Mechanisms," $316,417 of which will be received this year. 

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

Daniel Fong (biology) won a $33,000 award from the US Fish and Wildlife Service for the project "Molecular Genetic Variations among Lirceus usdagalum, L. culveri, and L. hargeri Populations using Next Generation Sequencing Methods."

Maria Floro (economics) won a $25,000 US Department of Agriculture (USDA) award for "Exploring Migration and Food Insecurity Relationship: New Evidence from the Food & Agriculture Organization's Food Insecurity Experience Scale" and a $70,000 award from the The William and Flora Hewlett Foundation for "AU Planning Workshop for Research Program on Gender–Sensitive Macroeconomic Models for Policy Analysis."

Douglas Fox (chemistry) won a $104,675 award from the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities for his project titled "Fluorescent Cellulose Nanomaterial Development Project."

David Haaga (psychology) won a $321,750 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for his project titled "Looming Vulnerability and Smoking Cessation Attempts."

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."

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."

Alan Silberberg and Maria Gomez (psychology) won a $428,866 award from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for this project titled "Experimental Tests of the Adequacy of Rat Models of Human Empathy." 

Kirsten Stoebenau (sociology) won a $50,000 DC Center for AIDS Research award from George Washington University for her project titled "Improving measures of the gender dimensions of adolescent girls and young women's risk of HIV through transactional sex."

APPOINTMENTS AND HONORS

Daniel Abraham (performing arts) was elected chair of the Committee on Monographs for the American Choral Directors Association.

Nicole Caporino (phsycology) 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.

Professor Kyle Dargan's (literature) poem “Honest Engine” was nominated for the 2016 Hurston/Wright Legacy Awards recognizing the best in Black literature. “Honest Engine” also received an Honorable Mention for the 2016 Eric Hoffer Book Award in Poetry and shortlisted for the Grand Prize.

David Keplinger (literature) received a 2017 National Endowment for the Arts fellowship in the area of Literary Translation. This is Keplinger's second NEA fellowship.

Professor Matthew Hartings (chemistry) has been selected to receive the STAM Altmetrics Award 2016 for his work, "The chemical, mechanical, and physical properties of 3D printed materials composed of TiO2-ABS nano composites."

Salvador Vidal-Ortiz's (sociology) recent book Queer Brown Voices: Personal Narratives of Latina/o LGBT Activism, edited with Quesada and Letita Gómez (U Texas Press, 2015) was awarded the 2016 Ruth Benedict Prize for Outstanding Edited Volume by the American Anthropological Association.

PUBLICATIONS, PRODUCTIONS, AND EXHIBITIONS

John Willoughby (economics) was featured in WalletHub’s recent piece about how demographics will shape future elections. 

Ernesto Castaneda and Michael Bader (sociology) wrote an op-ed for The Hill on the falsehoods of the so-called dangerous southwest border with Mexico. They wrote, "The border region contains some of the poorest areas in the United States. For the most part, it is a safe place."

Kyle Dargan's (literature) poem "Minefields" was featured in BuzzFeedNews.

Director of the Creative Writing Program Kyle Dargan's (literature) poem Points of Contact was featured in The New York Times Magazine. Dargan's poem is a ghazal or a lyric poem, which originated in the Arabian Peninsula. Dargan wrote, 'Name one revolution whose inception was unlike a fist. Factions disparate, then tucked together, coiled like a fist."

Douglas Fox (chemistry) published a paper on modifying cellulose nanocrystals for use in polymers in ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces (DOI: 10.1021/acsami.6b06083).

Edward Helfers (literature) wrote an article for The Rumpus on distance swimming. Helfers wrote, "Unlike athletes who play team sports, swimmers labor in solitary, submerged in a strangely silent medium. Absent conversation or choreography, one becomes uniquely attuned to the forces conspiring against the body - gravity, lactic acid, time."

The Oral History Review republished Dan Kerr's (history) “We Know What the Problem Is: Using Oral History to Develop a Collaborative Analysis of Homelessness from the Bottom Up”, in a separate anniversary issue that included the fifteen most influential oral history articles published in the OHR since its inception in 1973.

Dan Kerr's (history) article “Allan Nevis is not my Grandfather: the Roots of Radical Oral History Practice in the United States” was published in the 50th anniversary special issue of Oral History Review. He was also featured on Press Record, a podcast produced by the Southern Oral History Program. The episode focuses on "Oral History for Movement Building." 

Out Magazine features William Leap's (anthropology) forthcoming Language Before Stonewall project in Lavender Language, The Queer Way to Speak.

Allan Lichtman (history) wrote an article about Donald Trump for The Hill. Lichtman wrote, "We should not forget that when rich elites like Donald Trump avoid taxes, the rest of us pay the price, either through higher taxes or an increase in the deficit that Trump repeatedly decries."

For The Guardian, Juliana Martinez, (world languages and cultures) wrote an article on Jennifer Lopez's upcoming HBO biopic on Colombian drug-trafficking legend, Griselda Blanco. Martinez wrote, "These shows present Colombians as the bearers of a cocaine-filled Trojan horse and obscure the global dynamics that create and uphold the international drug trade."

Cynthia Miller-Idriss, director of the International Training and Education program, wrote an article for The New York Times on national symbols. Miller-Idriss wrote, "National symbols deserve respect not because they are static representations of unchanging ideals, but because they offer a focal point for diverse societies to express and navigate what it is that unites and represents them." 

Danielle Mysliwiec's (art) artwork has been included in the exhibition ESSENTIAL STRUCTURE at the Chandra Cerrito Contemporary gallery in Oakland, CA.

Christina Pierpaoli (CAS/BA '14) and Barry McCarthy (psychology) coauthored an article featured in Psychology Today. 

The Washington Post featured research by Stacey Snelling (health studies) and Sarah Irvine Belson (education). Snelling and Irvine Belson found that the amount of time students spend on physical activity in DC schools is linked to improvement in standardized math scores.

Jennifer Steele (education) penned an op-ed for The Washington Post about the recent executive order in Maryland delaying the opening of schools. Steele wrote, “Lengthening summer vacation will not help and may hurt student learning, especially for the children whose success depends the most on their schools. For a long-term economic boost, the governor should put education first.”

Lily Wong’s (literature) completed book manuscript, "Transpacific Attachments: Sex Work, Media Networks, and Affective Histories of Chineseness," was offered a contract by Columbia University Press to appear in their Global Chinese Culture series.

Naoko Wowsugi's (studio art) project, Permacounterculture, was featured on WAMU-FM, Washington City Paper, Riot Fest, Washington Post, Washingtonian, SHIFT, DC music download, On Tap Magazine, and Plantpop. Permacounterculture combines locally grown food with locally grown music. Wowsugi said, "We cultivate the wheatgrass, while D.C. local punk bands play punk music." 

Melissa Scholes Young (literature) wrote an article about first-generation college students for The Atlantic. Young wrote: "While students aren't required to disclose their parents' educational backgrounds - and many don't - self-identified first-generation students are often linked to or assumed to have economic disadvantage." Young's article also featured Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies Celine-Marie Pascale.

Melissa Scholes Young's (literature) novel, FLOOD, will be published in June 2017 by Hachette/Center Street.

In The Media

For National Catholic Reporter, Ernesto Castaneda (sociology) spoke about the Zapatista legacy in Chiapas. Castaneda said, "It is good the Pope is going to Chiapas because the issues raised by the Zapatistas have not been resolved."

Katie DeCicco-Skinner (biology) was interviewed for an article in HealthLine. Skinner said that the study, for which she is the lead author, shows that "Once a person with cancer is out of the normal weight category, their BMI is contributing to multiple myeloma growth and progression."

Anton Fedyashin (history) discussed recent events regarding Syria with KPCC's AirTalk with Larry Mantle. Fedyashin said, “We got here because the cease-fire that Russia and the US had negotiated so painstakingly started breaking down.”

Anton Fedyashin (history) spoke to CNN about the ceasefire in Syria and Russia's claim that a recent US strike was helping ISIS. Fedyashin said, “There are two reasons for Russia to make this claim. One this is PR posturing before the security council meeting and two this is a Russian signal to the Syrians that they are sticking by their ally.” 

Anton Fedyashin (history) spoke to CCTV about Russia and Ukraine relations. Fedyashin said, “I’m afraid at this point that Crimea will no longer be a bargaining chip because it is solidly within Russia's control, as is shown in the text of the Minsk agreement.”

For CNN, Anton Fedyashin (history) spoke about Putin. Fedyashin said, “The special aspect of this is the building of a special relationship between Moscow and Beijing, which was sped up by the western sanctions on Russia.”

Anton Fedyashin (history), director of the Carmel Institute of Russian Culture and History, spoke with NPR-affiliate KPCC Southern California about US-Russia relations. Fedyashin said, “One thing to remember about Vladimir Putin is that when he became Russian President in 2000, he was a westernizer and an integrationist.” 

History Professor Allan Lichtman talked to NPR's Hidden Brain about polling issues. The podcast hosts said, “Lichtman hopes that his success at predicting presidential winners—this is the ninth time in a row he has called a winner in a presidential election—will make people rethink, even a little bit, the way they look at elections and politics.” Lichtman also appeared on CNN, CNBC, and PBS NewsHour Weekend.

 

Allan Lichtman talked with the New York Times about his "13 Keys" election-prediction model and being the rare pundit who predicted a win by Donald J. Trump. Lichtman also spoke to NPR's All Things Considered and was named in a Washington Post "The Fix" column as one of 10 winners of Election 2016 for his prediction. Lichtman also spoke to AP about issues with polling, in a story that ran in more than 400 outlets.

Distinguished Professor of History Allan Lichtman spoke with CNN about the debate and election. Lichtman said, "Donald Trump had the opportunity to dampen the fears of the American people and to show that he is not a dangerous candidate, in the first two debates, but he only inflamed them." Lichtman also appeared on Fox Business Network. 

Distinguished Professor of History Allan Lichtman spoke to The Washington Post about the lack of precedent of a presidential candidate promoting his business ventures on the campaign trail. Lichtman said, "He's really the only candidate to do that in modern history." Lichtman also appeared on BBC World Service, CNN and CNBC to discuss the presidential election.

For AFP, Allan Lichtman (history) spoke about the unprecedented candidacy of Donald Trump. Lichtman said that "no candidate has ever savaged the media as Donald Trump has, making it a fundamental part of his message." Lichtman also spoke to Reuters about his election prediction and to Voice of America about Trump's tax returns. 

Allan Lichtman (history) was featured in The Washington Post for his prediction of the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. Lichtman, who has accurately predicted presidential elections for the last 32 years, predicts Donald Trump will be the winner. Lichtman's system, “The 13 Keys,” is based on the basic theory that elections are primarily a judgement on the party holding the White House. Nearly 400 print, online and broadcast outlets covered the prediction, and Lichtman made appearances on multiple programs for CNN, FOX News National, Fox Business Network, MSNBC, CBS (Interactive), Bloomberg News Television, and WTTG-Fox 5.

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to BBC World about the release of John Hinckley, Reagan's would-be assassin. Lichtman said, “The impact was enormous. This was a terrible tragedy, but ironically it saved the Reagan presidency and the Reagan White House.”

For Voice of America, Allan Lichtman (history) spoke about the possibility of Bill Clinton as first gentleman. Lichtman said of the former president, “He's going to have to learn. And I think he can at the age of 70. He's certainly smart enough to figure all of that out.” Lichtman also spoke to CNN International about his 13 Keys to the White House

For Fox News Shepard Smith Reporting, Allan Lichtman (history) spoke about his 13 Keys to the White House and why using his formula, which has successfully predicted decades of elections, is difficult to use this year. Lichtman said that one area of uncertainty is whether or not the sitting president will be able to illustrate to the American people a major foreign policy or military victory.  

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to CBC News about Hillary Clinton's speech on the 'Alt-Right.' Lichtman said, "Americans have a right to know about the alt-right because it's frightening to think that anti-Semites, racists, neo-Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan believe the Trump campaign is a signal that their time has come."

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke about his election prediction system, The 13 Keys, on C-SPAN. Lichtman said, "Elections are primarily referenda on the strength and performance of the party holding the White House and the opposition party doesn't matter much." The 13 Keys, which Lichtman has used to correctly predict every presidential election since 1981, are a series of simple true/false questions. Lichtman also said this election is difficult to call because of the ambiguity of the "party contest key."

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to USA Today about how President Obama and Hillary Clinton are closely associated in voters' minds. Lichtman said, "You can't run away from the president of your own party. You can try. It's never worked anytime in modern American political history." Lichtman also spoke to KNX AM.

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to WSLS Roanoke about the locations of the Republican and Democratic conventions. Underscoring the importance of the location choices, Lichtman said: "Where else would you want to put your convention other than in a critical swing state?"

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to Sinclair Broadcast Group about the upcoming conventions. Lichtman said, "I do see a Trump VP being quite influential because Trump is not up on the issues. He's not up on the policies, and he is going to need help if he is going to navigate his way through the presidency."  

Steve MacAvoy (environmental science) talked to Montgomery County Sentinel about urban runoff. MacAvoy said, "Since the precipitation enters the streams (and) channels very quickly, there is a lot of energy delivered to the streams in a short amount of time. This scours the banks, digging out sediments and causes flooding."

Anthropology Department Chair Daniel Sayers spoke to The Post and Courier about the legacy of maroons. Sayers said, "The stories have been shortchanged in the biased traditional histories written largely by whites, which played up the contributions of abolitionists and white Underground Railroad harborers." 

Dan Sayers (chair of anthropology department) was featured in Smithsonian Magazine for his work on the maroons of the Great Dismal Swamp. Sayers excavated at the site where possibly thousands of maroons, or self-liberated former slaves, lived in southeast Virginia and northeast North Carolina. He said, "I'll never forget seeing this place for the first time. It was one of the greatest moments of my life. I never dreamed of finding a 20-acre island, and I knew instantly it was livable." Sayers' work on the Great Dismal Swamp will also be on display at the new National Museum of African American History.

Jennifer Steele (education) spoke to WTOP about Governor Hogan's executive order mandating that Maryland schools start after Labor Day. Steele said one concern of compressing the school year is that the achievement gaps grows over the summer and most adversely affects disadvantaged students. 

David Vine (anthropology) spoke to The Economist about growing opposition to U.S. military bases abroad. Vine said most US Americans are "completely unaware" of the approximately 800 US bases overseas or the billions in additional costs of basing troops outside the United States. 

Buzzfeed featured Stef Woods, instructor of American Studies, and her new course "The Shonda Rhimes Experience." Woods designed the course using popular shows like Scandal, How to Get Away with Murder, and Grey's Anatomy as case studies to explore gender, sexuality, race and social media.

Melissa Scholes Young (literature) was in The Washington Post on August 19 talking about visiting the Frederick Douglass House and why teachers sometimes struggle to teach their own kids.


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