Achievements Selected recent feats by students, faculty, and staff

Please see below for recent student, alumni, faculty, and staff accomplishments:

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Vladimir Airapetian (physics) received $318,027 ($106,138 total in incremental funding through 8/13/20) from NASA for his project "Prebiotic Chemistry of the Young Earth and Mars From Theoretical and Experimental Studies."

Douglas Fox (chemistry) received $109,337 (previously awarded amount $104,675 – total award now $ 214,012) from the US Endowment for Forestry and Communities for his project "Fluorescent Cellulose Nanomaterial Development Project."

David Haaga (psychology) received $85,326 from the TLC Foundation for his project "Randomized Controlled Trail of the Comprehensive Behavioral (COMB) Model of Treatment for Trichotillomania."

Ethan Mereish (health studies) received $169,287 from NIH - NIAAA for his project "Minority Stress Reactivity and Hazardous Drinking."

Laura Owen (education) received $9,999 from the DC Public Schools for her project "DC Public Schools College Institute."

Kathryn Walters-Conte (director, Professional Sciences Masters in Biotechnology) received $49,270 from NSF for her project "Type I: Tenleytown I-Corps Site for Science."


Laura Beers (history) was co-winner of the 2017 Stansky Book Prize awarded by the North American Conference on British Studies for her book Red Ellen: The Life of Ellen Wilkinson, Socialist, Feminist, Internationalist (Harvard University Press, 2016).

Mary Gray (mathematics and statistics) was selected for the inaugural class of the Association for Women in Mathematics (AWM) Fellows Program.

Silvina Guidoni (physics) received the 2017 NASA Heliophysics Science Division Peer Award.

Matt Hartings (chemistry) was named among the "25 chemists to follow on Twitter" by Chemical and Engineering News.

Ibram X. Kendi (Director, Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center) was ranked #29 this year's Root 100 List, a list honoring the most influential African Americans, ages 25-45. In addition, he won the 2017 Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History for Black Perspectives (African American Intellectual History Society).


Ernesto Castañeda (sociology) authored an opinion article for US News & World Report about why lawmakers should work on a bipartisan deal for immigration reform. Castañeda wrote, "Keeping people undocumented or without a clear path to citizenship runs against American ideals of democracy and equality."

Evan Kraft (economics) authored an op-ed for The Hill on President Trump's Federal Reserve nominees. Kraft wrote, “As the extended deliberation process continues, it would be pretty difficult to say that we are reaching much clarity about what the administration plans for the Fed.”

Allan Lichtman (history) penned an op-ed for The Boston Globe about why America can't wait for the findings of the special counsel's investigation into possible Russia collusion. Lichtman wrote, "Beyond hard politics, it is time again for Republicans to choose patriotism above party and vote for a most necessary impeachment investigation."

Juliana Martinez (world languages and culture) authored a piece for Diverse: Issues in Higher Education about issues with how diversity and inclusion play out in businesses and higher education institutions. Martinez writes, "As a professor of humanities and cultural studies-and as someone who engages in diversity and inclusion work-I see my own institution and many others struggling to confront thorny questions about what constitutes diversity."

David Vine (anthropology) authored an opinion article for the Washington Post about why the United States still has colonies and citizens who lack full democratic rights by law.


Joanne Allen (art history) spoke to the Washington Post about the single privately owned property on the National Mall, the home to the American Pharmacists Association. "Pope's modest, restrained classicism conveys a sense of permanence and respectability while allowing for the display of iconography expressive of the aims and progress of the pharmaceutical profession," said Allen, referring to the building design.

Michael Bader (sociology) spoke to NPR affiliate KPCC about a paper he co-authored last year discussing how some racially integrated cities in Los Angeles were at risk of re-segregating. Bader said, "Segregation decreases the opportunities for blacks and Latinos and increases for whites and that leads to inequality."

Evan Berry (philosophy and religion) spoke to the Los Angeles Times about Pope Francis traveling to Colombia to promote a peace deal between the government and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia. Berry discussed how the pontiff has not shied away from political controversy in the pursuit of peace.

Margaret Biser (CAS/MA, public history '17) was interviewed at NPR for a podcast "Think" with Krys Boyd, to talk about her public history work on common misconceptions about slavery and African-American history.

EdScoop covered a move by American University to join Open Textbook Network, a consortium of universities and colleges using free, open educational resources. Max Paul Friedman (history) spoke to EdScoop about why he chooses to use OER. Students should not have to bear the financial burden of textbooks, said Friedman, who added: "Because it's open and it can be amended, it's much more flexible and can wind up working better."

Mary Hansen (economics) spoke to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the economic effects of a Super Bowl between two teams representing cities in the same state. Hansen said, "The most important thing in terms of improving economic outcomes in a city from events like this is how many out-of-towners the city can attract." In addition, Hansen spoke to the Wall Street Journal about the proposed House bill to end the adoption tax credit. Hansen said the credit gives "breathing room" to middle-class families that adopt. Hansen also talked about the issue with Vox.

Gregory Harry (physics) spoke to Xinhua about the detection of gravitational waves and the light from two stars colliding. Harry said, "Even though our detections have been very clear and strong compared to what we expected, there is still plenty of room for stronger, clearer detections." In addition, Washingtonian magazine featured Gregory Harry and student Maya Kinley-Hanlon, for their contributions to a scientific discovery of a gravitational-wave detection of two neutron stars colliding in space. Harry said, "We're really at the very beginning of a whole new field, and that's exciting."

Matt Hartings (chemistry) spoke to CNN Digital about whether dark chocolate really is healthy. "Higher percentage chocolates have the added benefit over the lower percentages and milk and white chocolates because they contain less sugar and less fat," said Hartings.

Cheryl Holcomb-Mccoy (dean, School of Education) talked to Diverse: Issues in Higher Education about the need for college counselors. Holcomb-McCoy said, "What we're seeing today on college campuses with increasing diversity of student populations is that there is not necessarily a tolerant community university campus."

Laura Juliano (psychology) spoke to The Wall Street Journal about coffee addiction, and tips to kick the habit. "Regular users will choose to take caffeine over money, over a placebo," Juliano said.

Ibram X. Kendi (director, Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center) and Cynthia Miller-Idriss (director, International Training and Education Program) talked with The Chronicle of Higher Education about free speech issues and college campuses. Kendi said, "What makes speech illegal - or what I would consider to be unfree - is when it's both dangerous and false. And I consider racist speech to be both dangerous and false." Miller-Idriss said, "One of my major concerns is that we're going to see additional violence coming out of the use of university campuses as a site to contest issues of academic freedom and to push universities to make these choices that are difficult about what is hate speech [and] what is free speech."

Ibram X. Kendi (director, Antiracist Research and Policy Center) spoke to The Undefeatedabout his role at AU, the new center, and how racism impacts US culture. Kendi said, "We have been taught that ignorance and hate lead to racist ideas, lead to racist policies. If the fundamental problem is ignorance and hate, then your solutions are going to be focused on education, and love and persuasion." In addition, he spoke to Al Jazeera about President Trump's response to the NFL protests. Kendi said, "Either Americans have the right to protest, or Americans don't. The president can't pick and choose who he's going to defend." Kendi also spoke to NPR's affiliate in Phoenix, and Theresa Runstedtler, associate professor of history, spoke to CBC's The Current about the issue.

Washington City Paper featured Ibram X. Kendi (founding director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center) in its 2017 edition of interesting and influential DC figures. Kendi spoke about the broad reach of the new center, saying, “We want to figure out ways to assist many of these different groups of people so they understand how to pursue what they already do from a more anti-racist standpoint.”

Alan Kraut (history) spoke to WESA Radio about US approaches to refugee resettlement. Kraut said, "Regret over how the United States handled refugee resettlement after World War II seemed to drive policy in the late seventies." In addition, he spoke to US News & World Report about the Trump administration's move to consider assimilation when deciding which refugees to admit. "Refugee admission is often a political act," said Kraut.

Peter Kuznick (history) spoke to Hearst Television and Al Jazeera English about the JFK files.

Allan Lichtman (history) spoke to MSNBC about soon-to-be unclassified documents about the assassination of John F. Kennedy. Lichtman said, "Nothing in these documents is going to kill off the industry of the JFK conspiracy theorists, although it may cast some new light." In addition, he appeared on CNN to speak about Trump's presidency. Speaking about Trump's propensity for telling lies, Lichtman said, "Trump has destroyed the concept of truth, even destroyed the concept of reality."

Ethan Mereish (health studies) spoke to NBC News about his research into how double discrimination and loneliness affect the mental health of individuals that identify as bisexual. Mereish said, "Bisexual people face double discrimination in multiple settings - bisexual people are often invisible, rejected, invalidated [and] stigmatized in the heterosexual community as well as the traditional LGBTQ communities." In addition, he spoke to the Washington Post about ways to improve health disparities faced by bisexual individuals in the LGBT community. Mereish said, "We know that bisexual people are often invisible, invalidated and stigmatized - experiencing multiple forms of discrimination from the heterosexual community and lesbian and gay community." The story ran in additional news outlets including the Philadelphia Inquirer, The Baltimore Sun, the Chicago Tribune, and The San Francisco Chronicle.

Cynthia Miller-Idriss (education) talked with Education Dive about concerns about international students and Trump administration policies.

Stef Woods (critical race, gender and culture studies) spoke with Voice of America about the rise in Snapchat use among youth.

Melissa Scholes Young's (literature) debut novel, Flood, was reviewed by the Washington Independent Review of Books.

Past Achievements