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2023 AchievementsRecent faculty, student, and alumni accomplishments

The distinct silhouette of AU's Hall of Science

Vladimir Airapetian (Physics) and his research on the role of the young Sun to the origin of life was the subject of a NASA press release

Valentina Aquila (Environmental Science) received a grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the project titled "Estimating the impacts of volcanic aerosol and pyroCb smoke on model forecasts and data assimilation using the GEOS Analysis Increments.”

Laura Beers (History) spoke with BBC News about President Biden not attending the coronation of King Charles. She also authored an article on CNN about Britain’s response to the coronation.

Meg Bentley (Biology) received a $12,626 grant from the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory for the project titled “Circuit Program 2023 (Rohan Singh).”

Robert Blecker (Economics) received the William M. LeoGrande Award Honorable Mention for his book chapter titled “Mexico: Unequal Integration and ‘Stabilizing Stagnation.’”

Zois Boukouvalas (Mathematics and Statistics) received a $54,950 grant (in addition to previous funding in the amount of $200,000) from the Energetics Technology Center for the project titled “Data-Driven Multi-modal Fusion for the Analysis of Energetic Material Systems.”

Ernesto Castañeda (Sociology, Center for Latin American and Latino Studies) spoke with Newsweek about the end of Title 42.

Matt Hartings (Chemistry) made an appearance on NPR’s All Things Considered on the topic of “the art and science of cooking low and slow barbecue.”

Philip Johnson (Physics) received a $127,500 grant (in addition to previous funding in the amount of $29,199.21) from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) for the project titled “Modeling of Exoplanet Atmospheres and Climates.”

Pankaj Kumar (Physics) received an $83,946 grant from the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA ) for the project titled “Grant - Single Source, Observational Studies of the Formation and Eruption of Solar Filament Channels.”

Caroline Kuo (Health Studies) received a $684,756 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project titled “Testing the Efficacy of Safe South Africa: An Intervention to Prevent HIV Risk and Interpersonal Violence Among Adolescent Boys.”

Peter Kuznick (History) spoke with WION TV India, RTVI, Channel One Russia, CGTN, NTV Russian Television, TVC, and REN TV Russia about a variety of topics ranging from the upcoming G7 summit in Japan to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Allan Lichtman (History) spoke with Gray DC about the rise of third-party candidates in American politics.

Jewish News Syndicate story highlighted the multimillion dollar gift by alum Alan Meltzer and his wife Amy, and Jaime and Andrew Schwartzberg, to American University’s Center for Israel Studies. The Center has been named the Meltzer Schwartzberg Center for Israel Studies.

Pamela Nadell (History, Jewish Studies Program) spoke with The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette about the politics of antisemitism in America. Nadell also authored an article for The Conversation about the history of antisemitism in the United States and the government’s plans to combat antisemitism.

Jessica Owens-Young (Health Studies) spoke with The Washington Post for a story about new research findings on health disparities and inequity.

Stacey Snelling (Health Studies) was featured as one of the Top Women Scholars in health promotion by the American Journal of Health Promotion (AJHP).

Rachel Louise Snyder (Literature) wrote an opinion for The New York Times based on her forthcoming memoir, “Women We Buried, Women We Burned” (Bloomsbury, 2023). Her work was also excerpted in an article in The New Yorker’s new online series “The Saturday Essay.”

Tracy Weitz (Sociology, Center for Health, Risk and Society) spoke with The New Yorker about Planned Parenthood’s focus on self-preservation and its impact on the pro-choice movement.


Kim Blankenship (Sociology) received a grant from the George Washington University for the project, “Latino Scholars in HIV/AIDS Research Education (SHARE).”

Michael Brenner (Center for Israel Studies) was appointed to the newly established historians’ commission to reappraise the attack at the Munich Olympics in 1972 as the only historian in the US.

Stephen Dashiell (postdoctoral fellow, Sociology) authored an article for The Conversation about the controversy surrounding the computer game “Hogwarts Legacy” and his research into gaming subcultures.

Andrew Demshuk (History) received the highly prestigious Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award from the Society of Architectural Historians for his book Three Cities after Hitler: Redemptive Reconstruction across Cold War Borders (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2022).

Lily Duboff (CAS undergrad) received the American University 2023 Scott A. Bass Outstanding Scholarship at the Undergraduate Level Award.

Jessica Emami (Sociology), spoke with PolitiFact about the dangers of attributing the actions of one person to a whole community. She noted that many recent mass shootings have been perpetrated by lone actors, rather than organized groups, and warned against generalizing the actions of one person to a whole group.

Jessica Gephart (Environmental Science) received a $47,739 grant from CGIAR for the project, “Identifying trade-offs in food systems.”

Ignacio González Garcia (Economics) received the 2023 Outstanding Contribution to Fostering Collaborative Scholarship Award at the American University Faculty Recognition Dinner.

Nathaniel Herr (Psychology) received the 2023 Outstanding Teaching in a Full-Time, Tenure-Line Appointment Award at the American University Faculty Recognition Dinner.

Maurizio Recordati Koen (History doctoral candidate) won the 2022 Trench Gascoigne essay competition for "The Stuff of Strategy: How Sublime Strategics Turned into a Real Thing" in RUSI Journal.

Peter Kuznick (History) spoke to WION News, Izvestia Media, RTVI, NTV Russian TV, and REN TV about a variety of topics ranging from the ongoing conflict in Ukraine to US foreign policy. Kuznick also spoke with The Hill about the concerns Americans have about nuclear war.

Michele Lansigan (Chemistry) was selected as the winner of this year’s Green Teacher of the Year Award by a committee of CTRL and the Office of Sustainability Staff.

Jon D. Wisman (Economics) received the 2023 Scholar/Teacher of the Year Award at the American University Faculty Recognition Dinner.


Mike Alonzo (Environmental Science) was featured in an Inside Climate News story about local climate change. 

Dan Arbell (History) spoke with BBC World News about the proposed judicial reforms in Israel and the protests that followed. 

Barbara Balestra and Jesse Meiller (Environmental Science) spoke with The Straits Times about her research into microplastics found in several tributaries of the Anacostia River. 

Mali Collins (CRGC) won an ACLS fellowship for her book project Scrap Theory: Reproductive Injustice in the Black Feminist Imagination.

Victoria Connaughton (Biology) received a grant from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for the project “Assessing cellular mechanisms underlying behavioral changes in larval fish raised in Anacostia River water.”

Jessica Emami (Sociology) spoke with The Jerusalem Post about the impact of Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq. 

Jessica Gephart (Environmental Science) received a $11,006 grant from Multiplier for the project titled “ARTEMIS Database Update.”

Zoltan Gluck (Anthropology) co-authored an article for The Conversation about police extortion and brutality in Kenya. 

Silvina Guidoni (Physics) received a $29,932 grant from NASA for the project “Connecting The Origins of Flux-Ropes In The Lower Corona With Their Evolution Heliosphere.”

Caroline Kuo (Health Studies) received a grant from Brown University for the project “Our Family Our Future: A resilience-oriented family intervention to prevent adolescent HIV/STI infection and depression in South Africa.”

Peter Kuznick (History) spoke with WION News, CGTN Europe, Russian Television (Soloviev LIVE), BBC, Faculti, RTVI, Izvestia Media, acTVism Munich, Republic Media Network India, NTV Russian Television, and TVC about a variety of topics ranging from China, Russia, and Ukraine to US foreign policy. 

Chenxi Liao’s (Neuroscience PhD candidate ) article, "Unsupervised learning reveals interpretable latent representations for translucency perception," is the cover story for PLOS Computational Biology.

Dennis Lucarelli (Physics) received a $32,088 grant (incrementally funded for a total of $63,241) from Dartmouth College for the project “Quantum Characterization and Model Reduction for Fault-Tolerant Quabit Networks.” 

Dolen Perkins-Valdez (Literature) won the 2023 NAACP Image Award for fiction for her most recent novel, Take My Hand

Michael Robinson (Mathematics and Statistics) received a $120,000 grant from the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) for the project “Modeling and Analytic Capabilities for KBase.”

Theresa Runstedtler, (History) spoke to The Los Angeles Times about her new book Black Ball: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Spencer Haywood, and the Generation That Saved the Soul of the NBA (Bold Type Books). Her book was also reviewed by The New Yorker.

Andrew Taylor (Arts Management) was recently appointed a co-editor of Artivate: A Journal of Entrepreneurship in the Arts

Jon D. Wisman (Economics) published “Why Ideology Exists” in the Journal of Economic Issues.

Buck Woodard (Anthropology) was invited by Catholic University’s Department of Anthropology to give this year’s Regina Flannery Herzfeld Symposium keynote address, an annual symposium lecture on the Cultural Heritage of Native America. 

Naoco Wowsugi (Art) was one of the organizers for the symposium How Can We Gather Now held at Eaton Elementary in DC and presented by the Washington Project for the Arts. Wowsugi’s presentations highlight her research on inclusive community building and fortifying local culture through art.

Bei Xiao (Computer Science) received a $420,538 grant from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project “Learning diagnostic latent representations for human material perception: common mechanisms and individual variability.”


Naomi Baron (World Languages and Cultures, professor emerita) spoke with NBC 4 and CNBC about the impact of ChatGPT and other AI tools on education.

Raychelle Burks (Chemistry) received the Research Corporation for Science Advancement's inaugural Robert Holland Jr. Award for Research Excellence and Contributions to Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion.

Alorie Clark (Arts Management, alumna) was appointed executive director of the DC Arts and Humanities Education Collaborative.

Robert Connelly (CRGC) is serving as the dramaturg for the St. Mark’s Players' production of Perfect Arrangement, a play about two closeted US State Department employees struggling to maintain their cover during the “Lavender Scare” of the early 1950s. Perfect Arrangement is directed by AU alumna Heather Danskin.

Ellen Feder (Philosophy and Religion) shared her expertise in a USA Today article on shoplifting and ethics.

Zoltan Gluck (Anthropology) was appointed as a lead researcher for the African Cities Research Consortium (a six-year, £32 million project based at the University of Manchester and funded by the UK’s Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office) to co-direct research safety and security in Nairobi, Kenya, with the goal of helping improve the living conditions, services, and life chances of Nairobi city residents, particularly for disadvantaged communities.

Ignacio Gonzalez-Garcia (Economics) received supplemental funding in the amount of $150,000 on a grant from the New Venture Fund, bringing the total to $748,097 to date. The grant supports his project “Aggregate, Sectorial and Distributional Effects of Corporate Taxation.”

Peter Kuznick (History) spoke with WION News, Channel One Russia, Izvestia, Zvezda, RTVI, TVC, NTV Russian Television, CGTN, and Faculti about a variety of topics, ranging from President Biden’s State of the Union address to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Allan Lichtman (History) gave an extensive Faculti interview discussing the most vulnerable areas in US democracy and explaining in historical context how President Trump exploited these weak spots.

Stephen MacAvoy (Environmental Science) received a $15,000 grant from the University of the District of Columbia (UDC) for the project “Emerging pollutants in the Anacostia River: Determining concentration of siloxanes (D4, D5, D6, and and specific PAHs.”

Patricia Park (Literature) published the young adult novel Imposter Syndrome and Other Confessions of Alejandra Kim with Random Penguin House.

Isabel Rivero-Vilá (World Languages and Cultures) has been named "Chevalier dans l'ordre des Palmes académiques" by the Ministère français de l'Éducation nationale.

Thurka Sangaramoorthy (Anthropology) published "A multinational Delphi consensus to end the COVID-19 public health threat" in Nature. She published a chapter titled "Marcellus Shale Public Health Study" in Profiles of Anthropological Praxis: An International Casebook (Berghahn Books, 2022). She also published "Teaching Ethnographic Methods: The State of the Art" in the Human Organization journal.

David Vazquez (Literature, CRGC) contributed to the response article What the New York Times Gets Wrong about the ‘American Dirt’ controversy in Salon.

Jon D. Wisman (Economics) gave an extensive interview in Faculti on his book, The Origins and Dynamics of Inequality: Sex, Politics, and Ideology (Oxford University Press, 2022).


Daniel Abraham (Music) released a CD, ALTISSIMA: Works for High Baroque Trumpet, a collaboration with trumpeter Josh Cohen. The CD was reviewed by the Cumbria Times, three BBC radio programs, and reached no. 7 on the UK Classical Lists, (specialist classical charts).

Nicole Angotti (Sociology) received a $176,677 grant (funded over two years for a total of $367,138) from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) for the project titled “Intergeneration Intervention: Employing Youth to Promote Aging Healthy with HIV in Rural South Africa.”

Naomi S. Baron (professor emerita, World Languages and Cultures) wrote an article for The Conversation about the impact ChatGPT will have on student motivation.

Laura Beers (History) spoke with CGTN about the challenges that will be faced by the United Kingdom in 2023.

Michael Brenner (Center for Israel Studies) wrote an article for The Conversation about Israel’s new right-wing and religious government. He also wrote an article for Moment Magazine marking International Holocaust Remembrance Day.

Ernesto Castaneda (Sociology) appeared in TV interviews on NTN24 Bogotá, France24, Alhurra TV, and NBC News Now. He was interviewed/quoted in articles by Edición USA, NBC 24 News, ABC7 News, KSNV News, Fox11News, Katu2ABC, Kalamazoo News, and Think GlobalClobal Health, for contributions on a variety of topics related to immigration, Latin America, and the North American Leaders’ Summit. 

Ying Chen-Peng’s (Art History) book Artful Subversion Empress Dowager Cixi's Image Making was published by Yale University Press.

Philip Johnson (Physics) received a $29,199 grant (funded over three years for a total of $887,417) from NASA for the project titled “Modeling of Exoplanet Atmospheres and Climates.”

Karen Knee (Environmental Science) spoke with WUSA about the science behind the efficacy of salt in melting ice during freezing temperatures.

Peter Kuznick (History) spoke with Faculti UK, RT, NYU Special Collections Library, RTVI, Postscript TVC, WION News, India TV, NTV Russian Television, acTVism Munich, and Iran Daily about a variety of topics ranging from political activism in history to the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.

Allan Lichtman (History) spoke with The Hill about the possibility of President Biden running for reelection.

Danielle Mysliwiec’s (Art) exhibition Pull at COUNTY, a gallery in Palm Beach, FL, closed on January 31. Mysliwiec gave an interview with Maake Magazine about the exhibit.

Jin Y. Park (Philosophy and Religion) was awarded the Uberoi Foundation Religious Studies Grant of $20,000 for a project on Buddhism and Nonviolence.

Shubha Pathak (Philosophy and Religion) published an article on “Demonic and Demidivine Beauty in the Eyes of the Demidivine and Demonic Beholders” in the Religions of South Asia (ROSA) journal. 

Aaron Posner (Theatre) spoke with Politico about the Shakespearean tragedy of Kevin McCarthy's contentious Speaker of the House confirmation.

Evan Reister (Health Studies) spoke with The Cut about the efficacy of greens-powder supplements.

Stacey Snelling (Health Studies) received a $50,000 grant from DC Central Kitchen for the project titled “Healthy Corners Program Evaluation.” Snelling also received $125,000 for the project “Food Matters: Nourishing the Body and Soul” and $199,488 for the project “Health Literacy in DC,” both from the DC Department of Health.

Nancy Snider (Performing Arts) received a $10,000 grant from the Marinus and Minna B. Koster Foundation for the project titled “Koster Foundation 2023 Study Grants for Music Majors.”

Ricardo Torres (Economics) spoke with The Associated Press about the Cuban government’s response to the country’s food shortages. 

David Vine (Anthropology) received a $10,000 grant from the Jubitz Family Foundation for the project titled “Strategy Summit to Dismantle the Military Industrial Complex.”

Andrew Wasserman (Art History) published the article “And the Mural Came Down: Race, Removal, and Reckoning in the Sunshine City,” in The Art Bulletin 104, no. 4 (December 2022).

Jon D. Wisman (Economics) was awarded as Winner of the 2023 Veblen-Commons Award, the highest honor given annually by the Association for Evolutionary Economics (AFEE) at the Allied Social Science Association Meetings in New Orleans, in recognition of significant contributions to evolutionary institutional economics. 

Xiaoquan Zhang (World Languages and Cultures) spoke with USA Today about the cultural significance of the Chinese Lunar New Year.



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