October 2012

Graduate School Calendar GSAS News Online Yale University

The Graduate School Ushers In
A New Academic Year

The Graduate School welcomed 637 new students to campus this fall, selected from an extraordinarily competitive pool of close to 11,300 applicants.

New students participated in a wide range of orientation sessions, both formal and informal, during their first two weeks on campus. The highlight of all these events was the annual Matriculation ceremony in Sprague Hall, when students were officially welcomed to the Graduate School by President Richard C. Levin and Dean Thomas Pollard. Following the ceremony, new students and their guests attended a reception on the lawn of the President’s house, where they mixed and mingled with one another and with faculty and administrators from the Graduate School.   read more

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Students were happy to sign the reception register at the President’s Reception after the matriculation ceremony Thursday, August 23, 2012.

Shogan named Deputy Director of the Congressional Research Service


Graduate Students Volunteer Time and Talent in the Community


Mellon Foundation Grant Will Broaden the Focus of the Humanities at Yale

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Colleen Shogan (PhD 2002, Political Science) planned to be an academic, but a post-doctoral fellowship in the Senate changed her mind. She loves “The excitement of being part of the policymaking and political process.” She credits Yale for giving her a “strong background in empirical analysis and research methodology.”   read more


The Graduate School encourages, facilitates, and honors community service in many ways. The largest single volunteer event of the year, the Yale Day of Service (YDOS), will take place on October 13, organized by the McDougal Public Service Fellows.    read more


Yale has received a $1.95 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to enhance humanities education throughout the University. This new funding will allow the Graduate School to offer new seminars in humanities topics that cut across disciplinary boundaries and departments.    read more

  Student Research   Alumni Spotlight & Other News  

Books That Travel Beyond Their Native Culture

Mary Anne Lewis (French) is writing a dissertation that focuses on literature from the former French colonies of North Africa, specifically Morocco, Tunisia, and Algeria, concentrating on books that reflect significant historical moments. She is fascinated by how books change when the text is translated and launched into a different national market than the one in which it was originally published. Recently she attended an international symposium for Francophone scholars, where she presented a paper analyzing how the memoir of a former member of the Moroccan royalty was transformed by becoming a bestseller in France and the U.S.    read more

Jacqueline Barker

the Neurobiology
of Alcoholism

Jacqueline Barker (Neuroscience) studies the mechanisms of learning and memory, and in particular the learning processes that underlie addiction. She was lead author of an article that appeared in a recent issue of the journal Nature Neuroscience describing a simple behavioral test that she and her colleagues used to predict which mice would exhibit alcoholism-related behaviors such as the inability to stop seeking alcohol. The study is part of her dissertation, which investigates differences in neural circuitry connected to reward seeking. She hopes her research that may help predict a propensity toward addictive behaviors and enable the identification of new therapeutic strategies to prevent and addictive disorders.    read more

Mark Celano

Why Do People Get Tattoos and How Do Tattoos Impact Relationships?

Mark Celano (Psychology) studies the psychological implications of tattooing, body piercing, and scarification. His research looks closely at why people get tattoos and how their body art is perceived by others. In one study, he examines the interpersonal consequences of tattoos using participants who interact with a series of people, some of whom have visible tattoos, in a lab setting. These interactions are videotaped and later coded for variables such as apparent friendliness. His second study will recruit tattooed volunteers who will complete online surveys about their lives and everyday experiences. And in case you were wondering, he has two tattoos of his own.    read more


Madeleine Saraceni (English, Medieval Studies) presented her research at an international conference in Poznan, Poland, with funding from the Charity Cannon Willard Scholarship. The conference focused on Europe’s first female professional writer, Christine de Pizan (1364-1431). Madeleine’s paper explored the way the author presented herself in words and illustrations, paradoxically displaying frailty as a way of communicating spiritual strength.

Erinn Staley (Religious Studies) published an article in the July issue of Modern Theology. Her essay, “Intellectual Disability and Mystical Unknowing: Contemporary Insights from Medieval Sources,” offers a reading of historical texts in light of contemporary disability theory, with a focus on the writings of thirteenth century Franciscan philosopher Bonaventure and early-fourteenth-century German mystic Meister Eckhart.
Three Yale researchers won awards at the Biotechnology Industry Organization Conference in June. Jenna Sullivan (Engineering & Applied Sciences) was honored for her work on PET-scan images of the brain showing dopamine released as a result of smoking. Jill Goldstein (MCDB) studies how stem cells become activated to maintain skin and hair in adults; and post-doctoral fellow Sorin Fedeles (PhD 2010, Genetics) explores the genetic and molecular causes of polycystic kidney and liver diseases.   read more

Wilbur Cross medal

Wilbur Cross Medalists
To Be Honored October 11

The Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal will be awarded on October 11 to John Aber (BS 1971; MFS 1973; PhD 1976, F&ES); Alfred W. McCoy (PhD 1977, History); Jonathan M. Rothberg (PhD 1991, Biology); and Sarah Grey Thomason (PhD 1968, Linguistics).

Aber, the University Professor and Provost of the University of New Hampshire, has done pioneering research in sustainable ecosystem management. McCoy, the J.R.W. Smail Professor of History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is an expert on Southeast Asian history, crime syndicates, the war against drugs, and political surveillance. Rothberg, founder and CEO of Ion Torrent Systems, Inc., launched several high-tech companies and developed rapid, inexpensive DNA sequencing systems. Thomason, the William J. Gedney Collegiate Professor of Linguistics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, is a specialist in historical linguistics, contact linguistics, and Native American languages of the Northwest.    read more

Alumnus Wins Pulitzer
Prize for Nonfiction

The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Harvard Professor Stephen Greenblatt (BA, 1964; PhD, 1969, English), won the National Book Award for Nonfiction and this year’s Pulitzer Prize for nonfiction. In his book, Greenblatt shows how On the Nature of Things, by the Roman philosopher Lucretius, influenced Renaissance writers and artists and laid the groundwork for Galileo, Darwin, Freud, and Einstein.   read more

Graduate School
Welcomes Assistant Dean Robin Ladouceur

The Graduate School has a new assistant dean: alumna Robin Ladouceur (PhD 2004, Slavic Languages and Literature). She comes to HGS from Yale’s Instructional Technology Group, where she worked with faculty to expand the uses of technology in undergraduate courses. In her new role, she will help administer academic programs and fellowships, oversee communications, and interface with the Association of Yale Alumni. “My new position will allow me to draw upon every aspect of my previous work history, from student advising to collaborating with faculty to working with social media,” says Dean Ladouceur. “I have traced several alternative career paths that have been highly satisfying, as each has been firmly entrenched within the lively intellectual setting that Yale provides.”    read more

Graduate Student Assembly Update

Lauren Tilton, GSA Chair, writes, “On behalf of the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), I would like to welcome you (back) to Yale. We hope the semester is settling in nicely. The GSA is already off to a busy start advocating for student needs and working to improve the graduate experience. Priorities for the upcoming year include sixth-year funding, teaching and placement, healthcare with a focus on improving mental health services and the dental plan, and graduate housing and safety. The goals will be addressed by our three advocacy committees: Academic & Professional Development, Facilities & Healthcare, and Transit & Security. These committees are open to any graduate student, and we encourage you to get involved if there is a particular issue you would like to see addressed.”   read more

Please contact Gila Reinstein with news items.

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