Yale Celebrates Spectacular Commencement, May 19 -  20, 2013


The University’s 312th Commencement was a two-day celebration of scholarship and achievement that combined academic ceremonies with festive social events.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences honored its students and faculty at Convocation in the HGS Courtyard on Sunday, and the following day President Richard C. Levin (PhD 1974, Economics) conferred 396 PhD, 393 MPhil, 299 MA, and 201 MS degrees at the University Commencement on Old Campus. This was the last Commencement over which President Levin would preside. Next year another Graduate School alumnus, Peter Salovey (PhD 1986, Psychology), will officiate at the proceedings.   read more

Convocation:       Photos    Program    

Commencement:    Photos    Program    Video

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Newly minted PhDs burst into applause when their degrees were awarded – in Latin – by President Levin. During this academic year, the Graduate School granted a total of 1289 MA, MS, MPhil, and PhD degrees.  Photo: Harold Shapiro

Yale Historian Heads New Digital Public Library of America


Three Faculty Members Honored at Convocation for Outstanding Mentorship


GSAS and the Yale Teaching Center Create a New Generation of Great Teachers

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Daniel J. Cohen (PhD 1999, History) is the founding executive director of the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA), which was launched in April. The DPLA connects all of America’s libraries, archives, and museums, providing free public access to all their collections.   read more


The Graduate Mentor Award honors faculty advisers who have provided exceptional support to the professional, scholarly, and personal development of their graduate students. This year, Professors Evan Morris, Kathryn Lofton, and Elisabeth Wood were recognized for superb mentoring.   read more


Many graduate students plan to have academic careers, and to help them become effective educators, the Yale Teaching Center offers workshops, consultations, and programs. In addition, every year, a small number of students are honored with Prize Teaching Fellowships (PTF).   read more

  Student Research   Alumni Spotlight & Other News  
Edgar Garcia

Tracing Traditional Mesoamerican Culture in 20th-century American Poetry

What links Mayan hieroglyphics, Mesoamerican cartography, Amazonian shamanism, and Latin American literature to 20th-century American poetry? Edgar Garcia (English) knows, and his dissertation explores the nature and significance of these fascinating connections. He analyzes poets like Charles Olson, Edward Dorn, William Burroughs, Alberto Urista, and Oscar Zeta Acosta, because their “literary innovations were based on encounters with the indigenous peoples, languages, and poetries of the Americas.” His interest in poetry began when he was 14 and has deepened over the years. Edgar is also a published poet. A chapbook of his work was recently published by Punch Press.   read more

Celia Paris

What’s Driving the Public’s Low Opinion of Congress?

The current political climate of negativity, polarization, and gridlock in Washington fascinates Celia Paris (Political Science). As part of her dissertation research, she looks at how ordinary people make sense of the political world and where they see themselves in it. Celia has found that while incivility, the failure to pass legislation, and partisanship may be related to each other, “they aren’t inevitably linked.” In order to identify how each of these elements affects citizens’ views of Congress and evaluations of individual representatives, she is conducting and analyzing online survey experiments.   read more

Stephan Sanders

New Data Offer ‘Strong Evidence’ that Autism Is A Genetic Disorder

Graduate student Stephan Sanders (Genetics), a pediatrician trained in the UK, is studying genetic mutations associated with autism for his PhD. So far, his team has identified three autism genes, and he estimates that they are on track to identify 37 more by the end of 2014. He and his colleagues have determined that about 1,000 genes in total play a role in autism. His preliminary findings are already transforming the way autism is understood. “The data are telling us that there is a fundamental defect in the way that stem cells differentiate to form the human brain in individuals with autism,” he says.   read more


Alissa Abrams (History), François Gerardin (History), and Andy Hogan (Classics) will present their research at the International Congress of Papyrology in Warsaw this summer. All three students work on documents dealing with the legal system that prevailed under the Ptolemies, who ruled Egypt from 323 BCE to 30 CE.

Valeria Yartseva (Genetics) was awarded the Edward L. Tatum Fellowship, which will fund her research on how a single-cell embryo develops into a mature animal. She uses genetic screening and sequencing experiments with zebrafish to identify the molecules involved during the earliest stages of embryonic development.

Kasey Christopher (Genetics) has won a Scholar Award to help fund her research in the formation and function of cilia – small cellular projections that act as sensory antennae. She studies their role in the Sonic Hedgehog pathway, a signaling cascade that is crucial for normal development of the limbs, brain, spinal cord, and many other parts of the embryo in mice and humans.   read more

Photo: Harold Shapiro

Fredrik Logevall

Alumnus Wins Pulitzer Prize for History of Vietnam War

Cornell Professor Fredrik Logevall (PhD 1993, History) has won the 2013 Pulitzer Prize for History for his latest book, Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House, 2012). Embers of War, which covers the years from 1919 to 1959, was listed as one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post and The Christian Science Monitor. A specialist on U.S. foreign relations, Logevall is director of the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies at Cornell University. He will become Cornell’s vice provost for international relations on July 1.   read more

Keith Whitener

Yale-trained Chemist Wins

Keith Whitener (PhD 2010, Chemistry), post-doctoral fellow at the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory (NRL) in Washington, D.C., won $100,000 in the JEOPARDY! Tournament of Champions in February after taking home more than $147,000 over the course of seven episodes during the regular season, making him one of the game show’s top fifteen winners ever. He and his wife Rachel Dexter (PhD 2010, Chemistry), a biologist at the National Institutes of Health, plan to use the winnings to buy a house. At the NRL, he conducts research on graphene, a substance composed of sheets of pure carbon, one atom thick.   read more

Adrienne G. Bloss

Computer Scientist Named Vice President of Shenandoah University

Adrienne G. Bloss (Ph.D. 1989, Computer Science), associate dean for academic affairs and institutional relations and professor of computer science at Roanoke College, will become vice president for academic affairs at Shenandoah University in Winchester, Virginia, in July. At Roanoke, she was instrumental in the development of an honors program and the expansion of the national scholarship program, while overseeing general education as well as curricular and faculty development. “I owe much to Yale, but am most indebted to my adviser, Paul Hudak, whose intellect, compassion, and love of life were so influential for me,” Bloss says.    read more

Graduate Student Assembly Update

The Graduate Student Assembly (GSA) enhanced several key aspects of the Yale graduate experience this year and will work on new initiatives over the summer and next fall. Recent accomplishments include providing free legal advice for students, improving bicycle safety on campus, locating study space for students who don’t have offices, arranging for extended hours at the gym and library, and expanding the popular Common Grounds coffee voucher program. Future plans call for efforts to guarantee funding for sixth-year students, increase teaching opportunities, enhance housing options, improve access to mental health services, further strengthen career services, and explore the idea of a University-wide student center. The GSA is proud of the accomplishments of graduate students living and working in New Haven this past year and excited to continue its work to improve the graduate school experience.   read more

Graduate School Alumni Association News

The GSAA plays a very active role, both on and off campus. Two major events took place in May: a day-long career workshop organized by the GSAA and attended by about 160 current students and 26 alumni eager to help them find their way in the work world, and the Yale Day of Service. More than 3,500 Yale alumni, graduate students, and friends – including over 170 from the Graduate School – donated their time, experience, and energy to community projects all over the world, as part of the fifth annual volunteer event. At more than 250 sites in 40 states and 20 countries, members of the Yale community acted upon the University’s strong tradition of community service.    read more

Please contact Gila Reinstein with news items.

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