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Student and Faculty Highlights

Art, Art History & Visual Studies

Richard Powell (John Spencer Basset Professor of Art, Art History & Visual Studies) received the Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal for outstanding professional achievement from the Yale University Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. This award is the highest honor issued by the Yale Graduate School Alumni Association. Professor Powell received his Ph.D. from Yale in 1988.

Computational Biology and Bioinformatics

Cliburn Chan (Assistant Professor of Computational Biology and Bioinformatics) was awarded an American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Challenge Grant for a project titled “Immune Profiling of Multi-Parameter Flow Cytometry using Computational Statistics.”

Cultural Anthropology

Leigh Campoamor (seventh-year doctoral student), Yasmin Cho (first-year doctoral student), Jason Cross (seventh-year doctoral student), Dwayne Dixon (seventh-year doctoral student), Lisa Haro (sixth-year doctoral student), Giles Harrison-Conwill (seventh-year doctoral student), Gwen McCarter (first-year doctoral student), Tamar Shirinian (first-year doctoral student), Aaron Thornburg (seventh-year doctoral student), Netta van Vliet (eighth-year doctoral student), and Cagri Yoltar-Durukan (first-year doctoral student) attended the American Anthropology Association’s annual meetings in Philadelphia Dec. 3-6, 2009; advanced students presented papers based on their current research.

Diane Nelson (Associate Professor of Cultural Anthropology) received the Robert B. Cox Trinity College Distinguished Teaching Award at the Founders’ Day Convocation on October 1, 2009.


James S. Clark (H.L. Blomquist Professor of Environment). The Duke Forest/Harvard Forest experimental warming experiment was implemented this year, to determine how warmer winters and more arid summers will change the composition of eastern forests. With collaborators at Woods Hole and University of Georgia, Clark designed and constructed warming chambers, now being used to study growth and survival of seedlings at climates expected in the eastern U.S. by the mid 21st century.

Brian Lutz (fourth-year doctoral student) was recently awarded a joint fellowship from USA and Norwegian science funding agencies. Lutz spent the fall of 2009 working on research with collaborators at the University of Oslo. Lutz’s research explores interactions between major chemical element cycles through investigations of the biogeochemistry of organic matter in soil and aquatic ecosystems. Lutz has recently submitted the paper, “Organic nitrogen losses from forests with elevated N loading: implications for biogeochemical theory,” with scientists from around the USA.


John Clithero (fifth-year doctoral student) was awarded the Predoctoral Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health. The title of his grant is “Neural Mechanisms for the Construction of Subjective Value and Preferences.”

Marjorie McElroy (Professor of Economics) has been elected a fellow of the Society of Labor Economists in recognition of her contributions of unusual distinction to the field. Dr. McElroy’s latest work, funded by the National Science Foundation, focuses on the economics of the family in relation to bargain decision-making and marriage markets.

German Studies

Christophe Fricker (Acting Director of the German Language Program) received the 2009 Hermann Hesse Förderpreis for his volume of poetry, Das schöne Auge des Betrachters, which was the focus of an exhibition in Bostock Library earlier this year.

Thomas Pfau (Eads Family Professor of English and Professor of German) gave invitational lectures this Fall at Bard College, the University of Mannheim, Germany, and at a distinguished lecturer series hosted by Mississippi State University; together with Jonathan Hess, he is co-directing the new Carolina-Duke Joint Graduate Program in German Studies.

Ann Marie Rasmussen (Associate Professor of Germanic Languages and Literature), initiator and co-founder (with Professor Clayton Koelb, Germanic Languages and Literatures, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill) of the Carolina-Duke Graduate Program in German Studies, spent spring term 2009 as a Visiting Distinguished Professor of German at the University of California at Irvine.

Johanna Schuster-Craig (fourth-year doctoral student) developed a Duke German Service Learning Program last year with support from the Program in Education. This year, she continues to lead German-themed outreach events in collaboration with the Duke German Club and the SEEDS Elementary Afterschool program every other Wednesday.

Gabi Wurmitzer (sixth-year doctoral student) is participating in the international graduate colloquium “InterArt,” under the auspices of the the Sonderforschungsbereich Kulturen des Performativen in Berlin this year. Her dissertation is titled “Paper, Body, Celluloid: An Interdisciplinary Perspective on Performativity in Post-Second World War Austrian Literature, Performance Art, and Film.”

Chunjie Zhang (sixth-year doctoral student) won a Bass Completion Fellowship from the Graduate School and is on track to finish her dissertation, “Views from the Other Side: Colonial Culture and the Universalism of Sentiment in Germany around 1800″ this year.


Qi-Jing Li (Assistant Professor of Immunology) has been awarded a prestigious Duke Whitehead Scholar Award.

Literature and Latin American Studies

Ariel Dorfman (Walter Hines Page Professor of Literature and Latin American Studies) celebrates his 25th year at Duke University. Dorfman was pleased to have his play “Picasso’s Closet” given a staged reading at the Nasher Museum of Art during its exhibit “Picasso and the Allure of Language” at the end of October. On November 15, a benefit dinner was held in his honor at the Nasher. In September, his play “The Other Side,” with Charo Lopez, opened to great acclaim in Madrid. Dorfman also published the novel Americanos: Dos Pasos de Murieta in Chile and Argentina in May, and he is now preparing for the Spanish language premiere of his play “Purgatorio” in Madrid, featuring Viggo Mortensen, which opens Feb. 12, 2010. He continued his support for human rights by writing a “Letter to Obama,” printed in The Huffington Post and other papers worldwide, asking the president to bring U.S. torturers to justice.

Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science

Devendra Garg (Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Director of the Robotics and Manufacturing Automation Labratory) was honored in India by the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT), Roorkee, on November 14, 2009. He received the 2009 IIT/Roorkee Distinguished Alumnus Award at the Institute’s Commencement Ceremony. In addition, Dr. Garg was Chief Guest at the Prize Distribution Function where he made an inspiring presentation to the graduating students and awarded prizes to those who had excelled in their academics and extra-curricular activities.

Robert Ferris (second-year doctoral student) received honorable mention from the National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.


Yana Lowry (second-year doctoral student) gave a paper at the SGMC 2009 Conference at the University of Virginia. Her paper was titled, “Representing “the People”: Use of Folk Music in Art Music by Russian and Soviet Composers in the Nineteenth and Twentieth Centuries.”

Stephen Pysnik (second-year doctoral student) gave a paper during the American Musicological Society-Southeast Chapter meeting in October 2009. The paper was titled, “Swing Tanzen Verboten”: Swing Dance in Nazi Germany.”

Jacqueline Waeber (Associate Professor of Music) was invited to participate in a series of talks and events organized by the Centre de Musique Baroque de Versailles (CMBV) during the “Grandes Journées,” the annual Festival of the CMBV. This year the CMBV celebrated the composer André Modeste Grétry.


Jada Brooks (fourth-year doctoral student) presented a paper co-authored with Diane Holditch-Davis and titled, Effects of smoking in the household on the developmental, growth, and health outcomes of premature infants of African American mothers, at the 16th Biennial International Conference on Infant Studies, Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Ann Horigan (third-year doctoral student) presented a paper titled The State of the Science of Animal – assisted Therapy, at the Southern Nursing Research Society Meeting in Baltimore, Maryland in February, 2009.

Kate Rollins (first-year doctoral student) presented a paper titled Collaboration: Building capacity in your own backyard at the Association of Nurses in AIDS Care Annual Conference in Jacksonville, FL in November, 2009.

Bomin Shim (fourth-year doctoral student) presented a paper titled, Changes in Mutuality among Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s Disease Caregivers, at the Gerontological Society of America’s 62nd Annual Scientific Meeting in Atlanta, Georgia on November 18, 2009.


Hisani Horne (sixth-year doctoral student) was awarded a post-doctoral fellowship in the Cancer Prevention Fellowship Program (CPFP) at the National Cancer Institute (NCI) in Bethesda, Maryland, which will begin in June 2010 following graduation. The CPFP provides state-of-the-art training in cancer prevention and control. As a part of the program, Horne will be receiving her Master’s of Public Health during the first year, followed by mentored research with an investigator at the NCI.

Statistical Science

Jouchi Nakajima (first-year doctoral student) received an honorable mention from the 2009 Bayesian Efficient Strategic Trading (BEST) Award Committee for his research on “Bayesian Analysis of GARCH and Stochastic Volatility: Modeling Leverage, Jumps and Heavy-Tails for Financial Time Series.”

Hao Wang (fourth-year doctoral student) won a 2009 Bayesian Efficient Strategic Trading (BEST) Award for his research on “Sparse Seemingly Unrelated Regression Modeling: Applications in Econometrics and Finance.” The award includes a plaque and $4,000.

English for International Students

Maria Parker and Edie Allen have been awarded Center for Instructional Technology (CIT) Faculty Fellowships for spring 2010. The Faculty Fellowship program focuses on best practices in using oral assignments in classes. Fellows will meet in topic-focused working groups to look at pedagogical and technological approaches to help streamline assessing student oral production, and develop some best practices that would be useful for other faculty.