May 2012

Graduate School Calendar GSAS News Online Yale University

The GSAA and GCS Collaborate on
“Where Do I Go from Yale?”

The Graduate School Alumni Association and Graduate Career Services will host a program for students facing the job market on Tuesday, May 15.

The event, open to students in all years of graduate study, is organized into three panels, each focused on a different set of career options: “Expanded Academia: Places for PhDs in the Broader Academic and Cultural World,” “Research and Industry: A Wide Spectrum of Opportunities,” and “Government and Policy: Careers in and around Governments.” The program will run from 1:00-4:15 pm at the Whitney Humanities Center, 100 Wall Street, followed by networking opportunities at the Graduate Club, 155 Elm Street, 4:30-6:00 pm.   read more

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“You can do anything with a Yale PhD!” says Valerie Hotchkiss (PhD 1990, Medieval Studies), who will moderate the first panel of the day, "Expanded Academia: Places for PhDs in the Broader Academic and Cultural World.” Her career path led to the University of Illinois, where she directs its Rare Book & Manuscript Library.

Spring Teaching Forum Affirms the Practical Value of a Liberal Arts Education


Reunion Reflects on Biology’s Achievements, Deliberates
Its Future


Commencement 2012:
Three Extraordinary Advisers to Receive Mentor Award

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The Spring Teaching Forum, organized by students and staff of the Graduate Teaching Center (GTC), was titled, “Have We Lost the Liberal Arts? Exploring a Teaching Tradition.” Bill Rando, director of the GTC, opened the Forum by asking “How do you define a liberal arts curriculum or college? Is there still value in teaching the liberal arts?”    read more


Ground-breaking researchers, scientist-entrepreneurs, and the CEOs of major scientific publishers spoke at the biological sciences reunion conference, which brought 200 participants together for a weekend of student poster sessions, scientific talks, social events, and lively discussion of biology in the academy, the private sector, and the publishing world.    read more


The Graduate School will celebrate Commencement 2012 with music, formal ceremonies, and receptions. Dean Thomas Pollard will preside over the annual Commencement Convocation on Sunday, May 20, beginning at 2:00 pm in the HGS courtyard. University Commencement will take place on Monday, May 21, on Old Campus.    read more

  Student Research   Alumni Spotlight & Other News  

Safety Net or Source of Conflict?

Susanna Fioratta (Anthropology) is writing her dissertation on what happens when migrant remittances become a source of social insecurity. Despite national poverty and the threat of political crisis, many people in the West African Republic of Guinea have managed to survive with the help of remittance money sent from relatives who have migrated to Europe, North America, Asia, North Africa, Central and Southern Africa – wherever they can find work or business opportunities. But disputes between Guineans at home and abroad over diverging understandings of Islam have sometimes transformed the remittance safety net into a source of social conflict.   read more

Using Robots to Study

In the Social Robotics Lab at Yale, Justin Hart (Computer Science) uses robots to study human behavior, specifically the way babies develop early social skills. Working with an upper-torso humanoid robot named Nico, Justin studies the process by which infants first learn about their sensory and physical abilities, where their bodies end and the rest of the world begins, and how they can use their eyes and hands to interact with the environment. These are the earliest forms of self-awareness to develop.   read more

Analyzing Cuneiform Communications

Mary Frazer (NELC) studies correspondence written in cuneiform on clay tablets, purportedly by rulers of the Assyrian and Babylonian states, which were located in what is now Iraq. The tablets, between 2200 and 2900 years old, are dispersed in museums around the world. Because of her research interests, she was invited to attend an Advanced Seminar in the Humanities on the island of San Servolo in Italy last fall. Several of the talks at the seminar in Venice touched on topics that relate closely to her research: royal letters from the ancient city of Ebla in modern Syria and Neo-Assyrian royal inscriptions.   read more


Christopher Bartley (MD/PhD, Neurobiology), Doug Chung (Management), Kenise Lyons (Italian), and Jedidah Isler (Astronomy) were inducted into the Edward Alexander Bouchet Graduate Honor Society at the ninth annual Bouchet Leadership Conference on Diversity in Graduate Education, held at Yale in March. The honor is named for Bouchet (PhD 1876, Physics), the first African American doctoral recipient in the United States.

Justin Sider (English) has written an article that will appear in Studies in English Literature. The essay, “‘Farewell farewell farewell’: Ruskin’s Valedictory Gestures,” focuses on a lecture delivered in 1868 by the writer at a point in his career when he thought his professional life was over.
Ryan Christensen (Cell Biology) has published a major paper in the journal Development describing his experimental studies using the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. His research, in Daniel Colon-Ramos’s lab, revealed a new molecular mechanism important for nerve cell development, which is in turn important for neural circuit formation during brain development.   read more

Anderson Wins Fellowship to Study Architecture of the Brain at Stanford

Michael Anderson (PhD 1996, Philosophy), assistant professor of psychology at Franklin & Marshall College, has been selected as a Fellow at the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University. He plans to work on a book on theories of brain architecture, building on his groundbreaking, controversial research on the evolution of cognitive functions. His work offers a new understanding of the evolution and development of the brain, arguing that regions of the brain interact, rather than specialize in specific tasks, and that the brain is not the sole organ used to gain knowledge.   read more

Insdorf Publishes New Book on Prizewinning Film Director

Annette Insdorf (PhD 1975, English), director of Undergraduate Film Studies at Columbia University and a professor in the Graduate Film Division of Columbia’s School of the Arts, has published a new book on the work of director/filmmaker Philip Kaufman. Philip Kaufman (University of Illinois Press), explores Kaufman’s work, which includes The Unbearable Lightness of Being, The Right Stuff, and Hemingway & Gellhorn (starring Nicole Kidman and Clive Owen), which will premiere on HBO on May 28. Insdorf has interviewed Martin Scorsese, Meryl Streep, Daniel Day-Lewis, and many other film actors and directors at Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y.   read more

Boyle Honored for Founding Yale Entrepreneurial Institute

James Boyle (PhD 1994, Engineering & Applied Science), co-founder and director of the Yale Entrepreneurial Institute (YEI), was honored with a Yale University Seton Elm-Ivy Award. The YEI helps students develop and launch their own innovative businesses in and around New Haven. Since its inception in 2007, YEI has helped foster over 45 student-founded ventures which have raised a total of $37 million of investment capital and created more than 130 full-time jobs. Seton Elm-Ivy Awards are given annually by the University and the City of New Haven to recognize outstanding contributions by members of the community.   read more

Graduate Student Assembly Update

As another academic year draws to a close, members of the GSA continue to work on new and existing initiatives to improve graduate students’ experiences at Yale. Here’s a round-up of the year's progress. In an effort to encourage and support graduate student mentoring, the Academic and Professional Development Committee has launched the “Common Grounds” program, providing students with vouchers to take a Yale faculty member out for a free coffee or tea at designated cafés on campus. In addition, committee members have produced and submitted a document summarizing the responses to Dean Pollard’s reports on graduate education. The Transit and Security Committee has been advocating for safer and more bike-friendly routes in New Haven, and the Facilities and Healthcare Committee has been working with the Office of the General Counsel and the New Haven County Bar Association to get access to affordable legal services for graduate students.   read more

Please contact Gila Reinstein with news items.

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