New Haven is One of the University’s
Biggest Assets, and Vice Versa

Yale University sits in the middle of a small, vibrant city that is the cultural capital of the region between New York and Boston.

In addition to being physically intertwined, Yale and its host city have developed a thriving, highly collaborative relationship. In part because of Yale’s resources, New Haven draws some 2.8 million visitors a year to its museums and galleries, theaters and concert halls. Downtown there are great restaurants as well as coffee shops, clubs, bookstores, hotels, and boutiques, all within an easy walk from any point on campus. The pizza is world famous. Less well known are the partnerships that invest in the city, bring local residents to campus, and send Yale students into the community.   read more

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The Chapel Street Historic District is one of several shopping and dining destinations in downtown New Haven, with one-of-a-kind boutiques, bookstores, and restaurants as well as branches of national and international chains like L’Occitane and Ann Taylor. Photo: Harold Shapiro


Graduate School Alumna Janet Yellen Takes Charge of the Federal Reserve


Volunteers Help Local Kids Stretch Their Minds at New Haven Reads


Students Become Stronger Job Candidates by Learning to Teach Online

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Janet Yellen (PhD 1971, Economics) became chair of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors on February 1, the first woman and the first Yale PhD to hold that post. Her ties to Yale are many and strong, on both professional and personal levels. “Yale taught me the value of public service,” she says.   read more


New Haven Reads is a local non-profit that provides free tutoring for about 500 children. Graduate student tutors spend an hour or two every week helping kids improve their academic skills, gain self-esteem, and learn to love reading. The demand for tutors is so great that there’s a long waiting list.   read more


As Yale and other universities expand their digital offerings, graduate students increasingly want to have experience with online education. Sara Ronis (Judaic Studies), working with the Yale Teaching Center and the University Committee on Online Education, is helping make that happen.   read more

  Research and Honors at GSAS   Alumni Spotlight & Other News  
Victoria Blodgett

Assistant Dean of Career Services to Serve as President of the GCC

Victoria Blodgett, assistant dean and director of Graduate Career Services, has been elected to serve as the first president of the national Graduate Career Consortium (GCC). The Graduate Career Consortium supports career and professional development for doctoral students and postdoctoral scholars at U.S. and Canadian research universities and institutes, and medical schools, as well as at government and non-profit organizations that engage in or support research.   read more

Lexi Rovner

Creating New Life Forms in the Lab, One Codon at a Time

Scientists from Yale and Harvard have recoded the entire genome of a bacterium and in doing so, improved its ability to resist the attack of viruses. The research is a product of years of work in the emerging field of synthetic biology, which seeks to re-design natural biological systems for useful purposes. “This is the first time the genetic code has been fundamentally changed,” said Farren Isaacs, assistant professor of molecular, cellular, and developmental biology at Yale and a senior author of the paper published in the journal Science. One member of the team is graduate student Alexis (Lexi) Rovner (Molecular, Cellular, & Developmental Biology).   read more

Lexi Rovner

Studying Historic Changes in Combat Surgery, with Help from Kickstarter

Justin Barr (History) is writing a dissertation on how the Korean War revolutionized vascular surgery, enabling doctors to save arms and legs that would otherwise have been amputated. The project is being funded, in part, via Kickstarter. His Kickstarter goal was $600. By the end of the 35-day campaign, he had raised more than $1,600. In addition to earning his PhD in the History of Science and Medicine, he is also pursuing an MD degree from the University of Virginia’s Medical School, and he is on target to finish both programs in 2015.   read more

Lexi Rovner

What Killed Off the Giant “Elephant Bird” of Madagascar?

Kristina Guild Douglass (Anthropology) is an archaeologist studying the interaction of humans and the environment in a remote part of southwestern Madagascar, with a focus on how certain animals — notably the 10-foot-tall, 800-pound “elephant bird” — became extinct. “Madagascar is a fascinating example of an island that was colonized relatively late in human history,” she says. “With its high levels of endemic plants and animals and incredible biodiversity, it provides important case studies for human impacts on different kinds of ecologies.” She is also working on a project to expand eco-tourism and science education in the impoverished region.   read more

Kudos: Yoon, Gaikwad, Ideal


Doctoral student Bryan (Byungman) Yoon (Forestry & Environmental Science) was awarded the inaugural F. Herbert Bormann Prize for his study revealing the staggering amount of organic matter released into the Ashokan, New York, reservoir in the Catskills during Hurricane Irene in August 2011. It was “the biggest flux of carbon that’s ever been recorded in any one event,” he says.   read more

The Quarterly Journal of Political Science has published a paper by Nikhar Gaikwad (Political Science) that analyzes the links between a presidential candidate’s prospects, business donations to the campaign, and changes in the stock market. He analyzed the period that followed Osama Bin Laden’s capture in 2012 and its affect on President Obama’s re-election campaign.   read more

Emma Ideal (Physics) and a colleague edited Blazing the Trail: Essays by Leading Women in Science, a collection of personal essays by 35 physicists, engineers, and chemists. “This book was created to inspire a new generation of young women to consider scientific careers, attacking the problem of under-representation at its root,” Emma says.   read more

Please contact Gila Reinstein with news items.

Jill Lepore

Prize-winning Historian Delivers Walpole Lecture

Harvard University Professor Jill Lepore (PhD 1995, American Studies) presented the annual Lewis Walpole Library Lecture at Yale. Her talk, “The Ladies Library: Or, Benjamin Franklin’s Sister’s Books,” concerned the lost library of Jane Franklin (1712-1794) and was based on Lepore’s recently published Book of Ages: The Life and Opinions of Jane Franklin. This biography of Franklin’s youngest (and favorite) sister was one of five finalists for the 2013 National Book Award for Nonfiction, chosen from hundreds of entries. Time magazine named it the Best Nonfiction Book of the Year. Lepore is also a staff writer for The New Yorker magazine.   read more

David C. Ward

Ward Named Head Historian at National Portrait Gallery

The Smithsonian Institution’s National Portrait Gallery has named David C. Ward (MPhil 1984, History) as its senior historian. Ward joined the staff of the National Portrait Gallery in 1981 and has curated both temporary exhibitions and permanent collections, including the award-winning “Hide/Seek: Difference and Desire in American Portraiture” and “Poetic Likeness: Modern American Poets.” A published poet in his own right, his next book is Call Waiting. “David Ward excels at recognizing ongoing conversations about American identity and placing them in the context of history and the visual arts,” says Kim Sajet, director of the museum.   read more

Justin Zaremby

Bringing Legal Theory Together with Political Thought

Justin Zaremby (BA 2003; PhD 2007, Political Science; JD 2010) is author of Legal Realism and American Law. The book provides an introduction to the ideas behind an important movement in legal theory and situates it in the context of American politics and political thought. Zaremby earned his doctorate with a dissertation titled “Serving Two Masters: The Intellectual as Political Advisor” and went on to complete a law degree at Yale before going into private practice in New York City. He is a member of the Non-profit Organizations Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York.   read more

Graduate Student Assembly Update

The New Year brings a number of initiatives from the Graduate Student Assembly (GSA), including a seminar to help graduate students with the complicated issue of filing their taxes.

On January 30, the GSA offered an Ask-an-Accountant seminar at which trained tax experts discussed issues specific to graduate students and were available to answer questions and offer advice. Federal and state filing guidelines and tax credits were explained, and the experts answered questions on a wide variety of related issues. This program was spearheaded and planned by GSA representatives in response to requests from their constituents.   read more

Graduate School Alumni Association News

The GSAA Executive Committee is seeking alumni who would like to join the board for a three-year term beginning July 1, 2014. To submit your name for consideration by the GSAA Nominating Committee, please email Julia Downs at the Association of Yale Alumni by February 14, and include a paragraph or two about your current activities and interests, and why you would like to volunteer.   read more

From the window...

View from a peaceful, warm place on a frosty winter day. Photo: Robin Ladouceur

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