December 2011

Graduate School Calendar GSAS News Online Yale University

Commemorating the Sesquicentennial
of the PhD Degree at Yale

This fall’s annual Association of Yale Alumni assembly celebrated Yale’s awarding of the first PhD in North America in 1861.

Graduate education was the focus of a day-long event attended by over 400 leaders from across the University’s alumni community. Faculty from each division presented their thoughts on the future of doctoral training, and a panel titled “Doctorates without Borders” explored the career paths of five distinguished Yale PhDs. Dozens of current graduate students presented talks on their research, providing alumni with a sense of the unique contributions to original knowledge that graduate education makes possible.   read more

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GSAS alumni Jonathan Fanton, former president of the MacArthur Foundation, and Ann Temkin, a chief curator at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, participate in the “Doctorates without Borders” panel at the Yale University Art Gallery on November 17.

Honoring Gifted
Teaching Fellows


Public Service Fellows Reach
Out to West Campus


International Students
Win New HHMI Fellowships

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Several graduate students are awarded prize fellowships each year to recognize their exceptional performance as teaching fellows. Nominated by the undergraduates they have taught and the faculty members who supervised them, this year’s cohort was recently honored at a dinner hosted by the deans of Yale College and the Graduate School.   read more


McDougal Center Public Service Fellows Deirdre Shannon (European and Russian Studies) and Jeremy Willsey (Genetics) organized a day of service in support of the Peabody Museum Community Education Center on Yale’s West Campus to assist in recovery efforts following Hurricane Irene.   read more


Weihua Guan (Electrical Engin-eering), Wenqi Han (Neurobiology, pictured above), and Sascha Kopic (Cellular and Molecular Physiology) have won a newly created and highly competitive HHMI fellowship designed specifically for international students who have “demonstrated exceptional talent for research.”   read more

  Student Research
Alumni Spotlight & Other News  

Theorizing Behavior within Informal Economies

Economic theories lead to certain predictions about human behavior, but conditions in the real world often put additional constraints on behavior. Melanie Morten (Economics) studies informal economies in developing countries, using both large-scale surveys and randomized trials. She formulates testable hypotheses based on economic theory and, after analyzing the resulting data, proposes practical applications. Her current research projects address the effects of migration on informal insurance and the use of text messaging to improve repayment of micro-financed loans.    read more

Saving Lives
with Smartphones

Louis Fazen (MD/PhD, Epidemiology and Public Health) is part of an international team of researchers that has been awarded a $250,000 grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation for a project that will reduce infant and maternal mortality in Kenya. As part of their “Saving Lives at Birth” project, Fazen and his colleagues will train Community Health Workers to access and share electronic medical records via smartphone to coordinate appropriate care for women and their newborns.   read more

First Impressions of
the "New World"

Hernán Pérez de Oliva (1494?-
1531) was a well-traveled humanist, philosopher, educator, artist, architect, and writer whose books were posthumously censored by the Inquisition. His most influential work was lost for 425 years, with the only extant copy of the manuscript now located in the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library. Elena Pellús Pérez (Spanish) hopes to restore Pérez de Oliva to his rightful place as a key figure in sixteenth-century Europe by highlighting his contribution to literature regarding America in the crucial period between the four voyages of Columbus and the explorations that would lead to the conquest of Peru.   read more


Laura Allen (Chemistry) was awarded an NSF Scholar travel award to attend and present her research at the Green Chemistry conference in Washington, D.C., in June of 2011. An aspect of the Yale Green Energy Consortium collaboration, her work focuses on the synthesis of light-absorbing molecules for use in solar energy applications.

Christopher Brody (Music) has won the Arthur J. Komar Award for Outstanding Student Paper, presented at the Music Theory Midwest Chapter meeting in May 2011 for “The V–I Paradigm in Bach’s Binary Dances and a New Subject Category for Fugal Gigues.” Chris has identified a “previously unnoticed harmonic pattern (or ‘schema’) that appears in nearly all of Bach’s dances for solo keyboard.”

Argyro Katsika (Linguistics) was honored with one of two Best Student Paper Awards in Speech Communication at the 161st meeting of the Acoustical Society of America. Her essay, “Boundary Tones as Gestures: Coordination Relations at Boundaries,” deals with the timing of tonal events (rising and falling pitch movements) that occur at prosodic boundaries (the ends of spoken phrases).   read more

Entman Wins Humboldt Research Award for Work on Politics and Media

Robert Entman (PhD 1977, Political Science), the Shapiro Professor of Media and Public Affairs and professor of international affairs at George Washington University, has won an Alexander von Humboldt Research Award for his ground-breaking contributions to the field of political communication. Entman's research focuses on media framing and bias and the media’s influence on foreign policy, race relations, and other aspects of American politics. In his forthcoming book, Scandal and Silence: Media Responses to Presidential Misconduct (Wiley, 2012), he challenges the conventional wisdom that the media actively seek out and publicize scandals, arguing that media actually neglect most instances of corruption, providing too little, not too much coverage.   read more

Crime and Cultural Practice in Urban Brazil

Amy Chazkel (PhD 2002, History), associate professor of history at Queens College of the City University of New York and the CUNY Graduate Center, is author of a new book, Laws of Chance: Brazil's Clandestine Lottery and the Making of Urban Public Life (Duke University Press, 2011). The book is a study of petty crime, urban culture, and the historical roots of an informal economy in Brazil. She traces the evolution of a late-nineteenth century raffle game first developed as a fundraiser for the Rio de Janeiro zoo into an illicit lottery that still exists today.   read more

Understanding “Global History”

Tonio Andrade (Ph.D. 2000, History), associate professor of history at Emory University, is helping establish a new field in historical studies known as “global history,” which focuses on commonalities and connections between societies rather than on traditionally-defined political or cultural units. His core geographical area of expertise is China, specifically Taiwan, with an emphasis on maritime interconnections in the early modern period (1500-1800). Andrade's latest book, Lost Colony: The Untold Story of China’s First Great Victory over the West (Princeton University Press, 2011) analyzes why sustained industrial growth began in Western Europe and not East Asia, despite surprising similarities between both regions.   read more

Graduate Student Assembly Update

The GSA is pleased to report the launch of a new shuttle route this fall between the East Rock neighborhood and Wall Street, as well as the success of the “Grad Night at the Gym” program, which has provided exclusive late-night access to Payne Whitney on Tuesday evenings for graduate and professional students. The Academic and Professional Development Committee has been working with the Graduate School deans to enhance the Dissertation Progress Report with clearer instructions for students and the capability to support meaningful dialogue  between students and advisors. The Assembly will soon be announcing a design competition for its first official logo.   read more

Please contact Gila Reinstein with news items.

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