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Student and Faculty Highlights

May 12, 2009

Computer Science

Jeffrey Phillips (sixth-year doctoral student) had his paper on Algorithms for e-Approximations of Terrains selected as the Best Student paper at the 35th International Colloquium on Automata, Languages, and Programming (ICALP 2008) in Reykjavik, Iceland. (Jeff just completed his PhD and joins Pankaj Agarwal (CS) as a postdoctoral research associate.)

Anita Lungu (fifth-year doctoral student) is the recipient of an IBM PhD Scholarship for 2008-09 in recognition of her research collaboration and contributions with members of IBM’s TJ Watson Research Center in Hawthorne, NY. She is advised by Daniel Sorin.

Master of Arts in Teaching

Alan Teasley (MAT faculty) presented a session on November 23, 2008, entitled “From Book to Screen, SHIFT Happens: Moving Students beyond Fidelity Analysis in the Secondary English Classroom” at the annual convention of the National Council of Teachers of English in San Antonio, Texas. With colleague Nathan Phillips of Vanderbilt University, Dr. Teasley presented a framework for analyzing film adaptations of literary works. Specifically, Teasley focused on interrelationships between nonfiction books and documentary films. The session was attended by approximately 60 teachers and professors.

Medical Scientist Training Program

Robert J Lefkowitz, MD, is on the MSTP Steering Committee and a member of the MSTP Participating Faculty. He received the National Medal of Science from President Bush in September 2008.


Alex Kotch (second-year doctoral student in Compositi) has been accepted into the international program A Counterpoint of Tolerance, a special project of the Transatlantic Arts Consortium (TAC),” to bring together 10 talented young composer/performers from all over the world to work with David Rosenboom in creating a new, concert-length work exploring the potential of creative music making to enhance how we understand human conditions in the new era of Globalization. The project will be developed in two, two-week, summer residencies to be held in Southern California at Idyllwild Arts in July, 2008 and 2009. Composing will continue during the intervening year, and the final project will be premièred in the fall of 2009.

George Lam (fourth-year Ph.D. Composition student) has founded a new opera company, Rhymes With Opera, with Baltimore-based composer Ruby Fulton, a graduate student at the Peabody Conservatory of Music. The new company produced its first show, One-Track Mind, in May 2008 in collaboration with pulsoptional, Durham ‘s composer collective. Rhymes With Opera is dedicated to bringing new works of opera and music-theater into unconventional spaces.

R. Larry Todd (Arts & Sciences Professor of Music): On January 10, the Basel Chamber Orchestra with Mathias Kirschnereit presented the world premiere of Mendelssohn’s Piano Concerto in E minor, with the final movement transcribed by professor Todd. In February, professor Todd gave a pre-concert talk at the Lyric Chamber Music Society, NY at the world premiere of Mendelssohn’s Liederbuch for his wife Cécile, from the Juilliard Manuscript Collection, edition prepared by Duke doctoral student, Angela Mace.


Erich Jarvis, Associate Professor, was awarded an HHMI investigator position. “Jarvis, 43, is one of seven Duke University scientists who are now HHMI investigators, with their research supported by the institute. HHMI seeks out highly creative investigators at distinguished universities, research institutes and medical schools across the U.S. that span the full range of leading-edge biological and biomedical research. These scientists are widely recognized for their creativity and productivity.” (Duke Press release)


Theresa M. “Terry” Valiga, EdD, RN, FAAN, Clinical Professor and Director of the Institute for Educational Excellence in the School of Nursing, recently published the third edition of her co-authored book entitled, The New Leadership Challenge: Creating the Future of Nursing (F.A. Davis Publisher, 2009). This highly praised book clearly distinguishes leadership from management and provides thoughtful analyses that support its main assertions: (a) leadership is not tied to a position of authority, (b) each of us can and needs to be a leader in our field, (c) leadership is not an innate ability but one that can be learned and developed through conscious and purposeful effort, and (d) followership, a critical component of leadership, also is an ability that one can develop consciously.

Psychology & Neuroscience

Tori Willard (doctoral student) has been selected as a recipient of the competitive Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD) Dissertation Award.


David Moffitt (sixth-year doctoral student in New Testament) has two forthcoming publications: “Jesus the High Priest and the Mosaic Law: Reassessing the Appeal to the Heavenly Realm in the letter ‘To the Hebrews’” (Forthcoming proceedings of the Biblical Characters in Three Traditions Seminar, 2009) and “Unveiling Jesus’ Flesh: A Fresh Assessment of the Relationship Between the Veil and Jesus’ Body in Hebrews 10:20″ in Perspectives in Religious Studies, 2009.

Angela Tarango (sixth-year doctoral student in American Religion) has accepted a tenure-track position at Trinity University in San Antonio .

Statistical Science

Chunlin Ji (third-year doctoral student) was a collaborating author on the “invisible cloak” project recently published in Science. Chunlin contributed and applied mathematical and statistical methodologies and algorithms to the automatic design system for metamaterials, including transmission optics, experiments design, parameter estimation, regression, and optimization. The automatic design system is a breakthrough in research and development of metamaterials, and underpins the “Broadband Ground-Plane Cloak”.

Women’s Studies

A team of two interdisciplinary scholars, Leah Allen (program in Literature) and Lorien Olive (Cultural Anthropology) led the 2008-09 Women’s Studies Graduate Colloquium, which featured the work of three candidates for the certificate in Women’s Studies in spring 2009: Kartina Amin (Romance Studies) “Queer Social Formations”; Madhumita Lahiri (English) “A Cramped Space of Her Own”; Fiona Barnett (Literature) “Turning the Body Inside Out.”

On January 15 the Program in Women’s Studies hosted In Print, an event celebrating the recently published work of nine core and affiliated faculty:

Jennifer Brody (African & African American Studies)
Punctuation: Art, Politics and Play

Peter Burian (Classical Studies)
Euripides’ Helen

Tina Campt (Women’s Studies and History)
gendering diaspora: transnational feminism, diaspora and its hegemonies (special issue of Feminist Review)

Kathy Ewing (Cultural Anthropology)
Stolen Honor: Stigmatizing Muslim Men in Berlin

Esther Gabara (Romance Studies and Art, Art History, & Visual Studies)
Errant Modernism: The Ethos of Photography in Mexico and Brazil

Negar Mottahedeh (Program in Literature and Women’s Studies)
Displaced Allegories

Martha Reeves (Sociology)
“Queens of the Hill: Creative Destruction and the Emergence of Executive Leadership of Women”

Rebecca Stein (Cultural Anthropology and Women’s Studies)
Itineraries in Conflict: Israelis, Palestinians, and the Political Lives of Tourism