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Boston University Arts & Sciences
CAS News June 23, 2014
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The BU Fencing Club’s Kelly Miller (CAS'14) (left) won gold in the women's sabre individual round of the USACFC National Championships in April in Knoxville, Tenn. Sidney Leung (CAS'16) (not pictured) took the silver in the men's foil individual round. Photo by Rachel Power
Features
Giving Day Nets Over $1 Million; CAS Leads the Way
On April 30, members of the BU community from Boston to Beijing joined together for one unprecedented day of giving back. The College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences raised over $300,000 during the University’s first-ever Giving Day—the most raised by any of BU's colleges. Read more.
Saying Goodbye to the Class of 2014
Last month, we said goodbye (or "see you later") to our graduating seniors in BU's Class of 2014. Approximately 20,000 people were on hand to cheer for the graduates, 1,846 of whom are now CAS alumni. In case you missed the ceremony, you can relive the action by watching highlights from Commencement. You can also take a look at what members of the Class of 2014 will miss most about BU, read one CAS student’s reflections on his four years on campus, and listen to advice from BU faculty and staff for our departing seniors.
Big Bang Actress and Neuroscience PhD Mayim Bialik Speaks to BU's Future Female Scientists
There were many fans of the popular nerd-centric TV sitcom The Big Bang Theory at the BU Graduate Women in Science & Engineering (GWISE) luncheon last month with guest Mayim Bialik, who plays a neurobiologist on the show. But the 50 or so students and professors at the event, hosted by Beverly Brown, GWISE advisory board member and wife of President Robert A. Brown, also appreciated Bialik's lesser-known bona fides—she holds a doctorate in neuroscience and is a champion of science, technology, engineering, and mathematic (STEM) education for girls. Read more.
CAS Playwrights Triumph at Kennedy Center Festival
Of the hundreds of playwrights who competed in this year's Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival, two CAS graduate students and two alumni were honored. Stephanie Brownell (GRS'15) received the National Ten-Minute Play Award for her play Eskimo Pie, a moving glimpse of mental illness and how it colors the world of those touched by it. Abbey Fenbert (GRS’15) was awarded the Mark Twain Comedy Writing Award for her play Intentions, a story about a fictional community/urban farm on the outskirts of Chicago. Alumni Michael Parsons (GRS'12) and Steven Barkhimer (GRS'08) also won awards for their plays Sumner Falls and Windowmen, respectively. Read more.
Ha Jin Elected to American Academy of Arts and Letters
Ha Jin, author of nearly 20 books and CAS professor of creative writing, was recently inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Though membership in the honorary academy is among the highest recognitions of artistic merit in the US, Jin (GRS'94) is modest about his accomplishment. It’s the latest in a string of awards marking a writing career that began in the face of nearly impossible odds. Read more.

Read CAS News' interview with Ha Jin here.
Metcalf Award Goes to CAS Astrophysicist Alan Marscher
As a child, CAS Professor of Astronomy and Director of BU’s Institute for Astrophysical Research Alan Marscher dreamed about being an astronomer. Now many years later, his passion for the field and for teaching have earned him the University’s highest teaching honor, the Metcalf Award for Excellence in Teaching. Read more.
Where in the World is BU?
Ecuador's Mount Tungurahua erupting from its sleepy slumber. Argentina’s Perito Moreno glacier rising from the frozen tundra. Waves lapping against one of Venice's grand palaces. These are just some of the memorable images captured by BU faculty, staff, and students as they traveled the world over the last year. The two first-prize winners and one second-prize winner in BU's annual Global Programs Photo Contest were CAS students and alumni, just another example of the strength of CAS' global connections and explorations. Check out the photos.
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Ama la Vida by Sean Hacker Teper (CAS'15), first place tie
Announcements
Dean Names 2014 Templeton Advising Award Winners
Last month, Dean Sapiro announced the three winners of the 2014 Templeton Award for Excellence in Student Advising. Congratulations to Tereasa Brainerd, associate professor of astronomy; Julian Go, professor of sociology; and Andrea Mercurio, lecturer in the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences. These faculty members received strong praise from their advisees for their advice, encouragement, and willingness to go above and beyond to make themselves available to students. Read more.
2014 CAS Teaching Awards Announced
Last month, Dean Sapiro announced the winners of the 2014 CAS Teaching Awards. Each year, CAS honors a select group of faculty members for their outstanding work in the classroom—as instructors, motivators, and resources for their students. This year’s winners include: Andrew West, assistant professor of astronomy, Gitner Award for Distinguished Teaching; Charles Griswold, Borden Parker Bowne professor of philosophy, Neu Family Award for Excellence in Teaching; Brooke Blower, associate professor of history, Frank and Lynn Wisneski Award for Excellence in Teaching; Maria Gapotchenko and David Shawn, Writing Program senior lecturers, College of Arts & Sciences Award for Distinction in First-Year Undergraduate Education; Kyna Hamill, CAS Core Curriculum lecturer, College of Arts & Sciences Award for Distinction in First-Year Undergraduate Education; and Michael Lyons, chair and professor of the Department of Psychological & Brain Sciences, Dean’s Award for Excellence in Graduate Education. Congratulations to all! Read more (pdf)
The Center for the Humanities Announces New 2014–15 Junior Faculty Fellows
The BU Center for the Humanities has selected two CAS professors to join their Junior Faculty Fellows program for the 2014–15 academic year. The new fellows include Joanna Davidson, assistant professor of anthropology, and Yoon Sun Yang, assistant professor of modern languages & comparative literature. Junior Faculty Fellows participate in the Center for the Humanities' Fellows' Seminar, which serves as a forum for research, debate, and public dialogue among humanities faculty from different disciplines and between junior and senior faculty. The seminar assists junior fellows in the development of their careers and engages the larger questions of culture and imagination that the humanities have always examined.
Center for Systems Neuroscience to Open in July
As brain science takes a prominent position on the nation’s research agenda, BU is launching a new interdisciplinary research center to explore the roots of psychiatric diseases and neurological impairments. Read more.
more news
Faculty Meetings & Deadlines
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JUL
2014/15 Bulletin Published
Part-time faculty reappointment for Fall 2014 due
23
JUL
Dean's Summer Casuals
administrative calendar
Faculty News & Notes

The Society for Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (SBN) has awarded Michael Baum, professor of biology, the 2014 Daniel S. Lehrman Lifetime Achievement Award in Behavioral Neuroendocrinology. The award honors the lifetime achievement of the most distinguished investigators in the field. Baum has made many pivotal contributions to our understanding of the mechanisms underlying sex differences in the brain and behavior. His work on the organization of sexually dimorphic neural circuits by gonadal hormones has been particularly transformative in generating new conceptual frameworks that have withstood the test of time. He has been an active member of SBN since its inception and served as the organization’s third president from 2001 to 2003.

Computer Science Professor Ran Canetti was selected as a fellow of the International Association for Cryptologic Research (IACR) for its 2014 IACR Fellows Program. The IACR is a professional organization for cryptographers, running the top conferences and journal in the field. This award recognizes a select number of cryptographers worldwide who serve as “model citizens” of the community. It recognizes Canetti’s numerous contributions to the foundations of cryptography, one of his most important being his introduction and development of the Universal Composability Framework.

The Department of Chemistry's faculty and students have received many honors during the 2013–14 academic year, including the following three research awards. Associate Professor of Chemistry Sean Elliott and his group received a three-year award from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for their project, "Connections between Redox Chemistry and Catalysis in Multiheme Peroxidases." The group aims to provide molecular detail of how a model heme-based active site is controlled by redox reactions, proto transfers, and protein dynamics. The NSF also awarded Associate Professor of Chemistry Pinghua Liu and his laboratory funding for their three-year project, "Mechanistic Studies of New C-S Bond Formation Chemistries." The Liu group investigations will guide the future production of ergothioneine, a unique amino acid that plays many beneficial roles in human health, using a synthetic biology approach. Associate Professor and Director of the Nano-Bio Interface Laboratory Bjoern Reinhard and his students received funding from the US Department of Energy to develop "New Optoplasmonic Materials for Next Generation Energy Systems." The three-year project addresses key challenges in energy-related systems.

Pankaj Mehta, assistant professor of physics, received the Simons Foundation Investigator Award for Investigators in the Mathematical Modeling of Living Systems (MMLS). The program is meant to help scientists engaged in mathematical model-based research in the life sciences launch their careers. Mehta plans to use the award to continue his research at the interface of physics and biology and help graduate students and postdoctoral scholars working in his group. He is particularly interested in better understanding how the large-scale, emergent behaviors observed within the single cells and cellular populations arise from the interaction of many individual molecular elements, and how these interactions allow cells to perform complex computations in response to environmental cues.

At the 2014 Graduate Women in Science & Engineering (GWISE) luncheon, Andrew West, assistant professor in the Department of Astronomy, was honored with the Mentor of the Year Award for “providing exemplary support to women in STEM at Boston University.” GWISE strives to create a community to support and promote women in science, technology, engineering, and math fields. West has also been elected as a Divisional Councilor for Physics and Astronomy in the Council on Undergraduate Research (CUR). CUR’s mission is to support and promote high-quality undergraduate student-faculty collaborative research and scholarship.

Student News

Jennifer Chow, a third-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and member of the Whitty Group, received an NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award. Jennifer received the award for her initial submission, and was granted four years of support to pursue her project “Activation and Signaling Mechanism of the RET Tyrosine Kinase Receptor.” The goal of Jennifer’s project is to develop a system using Forster resonance energy transfer (FRET) to understand the changes that occur upon binding of ligand to growth factor receptors. The research will aid in the physical understanding of growth factor (GF) receptor activation and how aberrant GF receptor signaling in cancer might be therapeutically modulated.

Classical Studies PhD candidate Dustin Dixon was one of four graduate students awarded the first Graduate Dissertation Fellowship from the BU Center for the Humanities (BUCH) for his dissertation project, “Myth Making in Greek Comedy.” His work studied how Greek comic poets responded and contributed to their culture’s mythological tradition. The fellowship, which Dixon will hold in spring 2015, will allow him to complete his dissertation. He will also take part in a Fellows’ Seminar, which brings together BUCH senior faculty fellows, junior faculty fellows, and other graduate student fellows to exchange and discuss ideas.

Matthew Golder, a fourth-year graduate student in the Department of Chemistry and member of the Jasti group, was awarded the 2013–14 Vertex Scholar Award in recognition of his scientific creativity and leadership. Matt has been working for the past three years in the development of synthetic procedures to produce cycloparaphenylenes, the simplest sub-segment of a metallic armchair carbon nanotube. His efforts have lead to three publications thus far and several presentations at national meetings.

Six Boston University students won gold, silver, and bronze awards, as well as honorable mentions, in the National Post-Secondary Russian Essay Contest, sponsored by the American Council of Teachers of Russian. Over 1,000 students from all over the United States compete in the contest every year, where they must write about a topic that is announced immediately before they begin. This year’s topic was “An Important Decision in My Life.” Winners include Theodore Darenkov, Kseniya Rogulina, Rebecca Shipler, Marcin Swieczkowski, Joseph Weber, and Alexander Williams.

Colin Pang, a graduate student in the Department of Classical Studies, won a CAS Humanities Award this spring for his paper, "Notions of Masculinity in Catullus and Eminem." In his essay, Pang analyzed two poems written by Catullus (poems 50 and 51) and the song "Stan," by rap artist Eminem. He then examined whether a man could express his feelings for another man and maintain his masculinity. The paper is part of a larger work of related articles, which Pang is currently finalizing. He plans to use the funds from the award to proliferate his paper, either at conferences or in print.

Seven CAS students are participating in the Zanzibar study abroad program this summer, which will be the second year it's offered. The islands of Zanzibar provide a unique setting for students to explore issues of religion, ethnicity, race, gender, class, and politics in East Africa. Led by Peter Quella, assistant director of the African Studies Center, each student will take a course in Swahili politics and culture, as well as language. The trip will include tours of historic sights around Zanzibar, time at the beach, and a safari on the mainland. Students will also live with host families in Stone Town.

Alumni News

The term "post-racial" makes former Huntington Playwright Fellow Lydia R. Diamond (GRS'09) cringe. The African American playwright's new work, Smart People, examines the nature of personal responsibility and awareness in racial prejudice. Set against the backdrop of Barack Obama’s 2008 election to the presidency, the play holds an unsparing lens to the fractured, often self-deluded American conversation about race. Read more.

Let us know about news or upcoming events. Announcements about upcoming events, new faculty book publications, and news items can also be submitted online. If you prefer, you can send news items to cascom@bu.edu, or call Jeremy Schwab at 617-358-1056. Events geared toward students should be submitted to the Student Programs Office.

For all matters regarding your alumni, please contact Associate Director of Development & Alumni Relations Jeffrey Murphy at 617-353-5881.

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