Faculty Highlights - Academic Year 2020-2021

Please submit news or announcements by email to news@tufts.edu.

Summer 2021

Tim Atherton

Tim Atherton, Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been selected as a recipient of the Cottrell Fellowship Award from the Research Corporation for Science Advancement. The award will support Dr. Anna Phillips, a postdoctoral scholar, who will be using the fellowship to work on Atherton’s physics education research program around how to create new educational environments to catalyze student learning of computation.

Brian Gravel

Brian Gravel, Assistant Professor, Department of Education, along with colleagues from Boston University, have been awarded a Lyle Spencer Research Award to Transform Education for the project “Re-imagining Alternative Education: Designing for Geographies of Care and Responsibility.”

Kareem Khubchandani

Kareem Khubchandani, Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been awarded the 2021 Outstanding Book of the Year from the Association for Theatre in Higher Education (ATHE) for his book Ishtyle: Accenting Gay Indian Nightlife (University of Michigan Press, 2020). ATHE selects award recipients, "on the basis of the study's potential to interrupt, change and/or challenge theatre practice and pedagogy--often emphasizing the interconnectedness of pedagogy and practice."    

Misha Kilmer

Misha Kilmer, William Walker Professor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics, has published a new article in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. The article is titled "Tensor-tensor algebra for optimal representation and compression of multiway data" and is co-authored by Elizabeth Newman, who received a PhD in Mathematics from Tufts in 2019.  

Natasha Warikoo

Natasha Warikoo, Professor, Department of Sociology, has been awarded Best Article by both the American Sociological Association's Sociology of Education Section and the Sociology of Emotions for her paper published in the American Journal of Sociology titled "Addressing Emotional Health while Protecting Status: Asian American and White Parents in Suburban America."

Lilian Mengesha

Lilian Mengesha, Fletcher Foundation Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been elected to the Executive Committee of the American Society for Theatre Research. Her term will begin in November 2021. 

Sarah Sobieraj

Professor of Sociology Sarah Sobieraj's book Credible Threat: Attacks Against Women Online and the Future of Democracy (Oxford University Press, 2020), which examines impact of the often anonymous attacks on women speaking up on social media, has been awarded the American Sociological Association's Section on Communication, Information Technologies, and Media Sociology's Book Award

Spring 2021

Milo Koretsky

Milo Koretsky, McDonnell Family Endowed Bridge Professor, Department of Education and Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering in the School of Engineering, has been awarded the Donald R. Woods Lectureship Award for Lifetime Achievement in Chemical Engineering Pedagogy from the ASEE Chemical Engineering Division.

Jacqueline Dejean

Laura Rogers, Jacqueline Dejean

Laura Rogers, Senior Lecturer Emerita, Department of Education, and Jacqueline Dejean, Assistant Dean of Research for Arts and Sciences, and Assistant Dean, Diversity & Inclusion, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, have been awarded a grant as co-principal investigators from the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), an agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The four year grant will support the establishment of the Behavioral Health Enhanced School-based Training (BHEST) Collaborative Program. BHEST brings together Boston-area universities, Tufts University, Northeastern University, and University of Massachusetts Boston, for a unique partnership that enhances graduate school psychology field placements among vulnerable, high-needs populations. The BHEST Collaborative will place a total of 114 school psychology graduate students over a four-year period in high-needs, racially and ethnically diverse schools to train with and under the supervision of school nurses and school psychologists using a collaborative, comprehensive behavioral services model.

Khary Saeed Jones

Khary Saeed Jones, professor of the practice, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been selected as the recipient of the 2021-2022 Film Study Center at Harvard University-LEF Foundation Fellowship. His forthcoming feature-length film Night Fight also won a grant from LEF's Moving Image Fund. Night Fight explores the interior life of a Black man living amid COVID-19, the racial reckoning catalyzed by the murder of George Floyd, and the countdown to the 2020 presidential election.  

Lilian Mengesha

Lilian Mengesha, Fletcher Foundation Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies, has been named as a 2021 Career Enhancement Fellow by the Institute for Citizens & Scholars. Funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Career Enhancement Fellowship seeks to increase the presence of underrepresented faculty members in the humanities, social sciences, and arts by supporting career development opportunities for outstanding faculty awardees. 

Todd Quinto

Kasso Okoudjou, Todd Quinto, Fulton Gonzalez

Kasso Okoudjou, professor, Department of Mathematics, and Todd Quinto, Robinson Professor of Mathematics, have been awarded a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) for the Visiting and Early Scholars’ Experiences in Mathematics Research Experiences for Undergraduates in Mathematics (VERSEIM-REU) program. VERSEIM-REU is an intensive 10-week summer research program in applied and pure mathematics, which will recruit students from groups underrepresented in mathematics. VERSEIM-REU is currently recruiting its first cohort for Summer 2021 and will run part of its activities with the VERSE program. Okoudjou will serve as principal investigator and Quinto will be co-principal investigator. Fulton Gonzalez, professor, Department of Mathematics, also contributed to the NSF proposal. The work will involve approximately 10 Math department faculty and some graduate students.

Kasso Okoudjou

In summer 2020 Kasso Okoudjou, professor, Department of Mathematics, was appointed as co-chair of an American Mathematical Society (AMS) task force to understand and document the organization's historical role in racial discrimination. The task force recently released a report of their findings as well as recommendations for actions for AMS to take to address systemic inequities.

Justin Hollander

Justin Hollander, A96, professor of urban and environmental policy and planning, has authored the first urban planning book to be published as a non-fungible token (NFT): Essays on City Planning: Volume I. The innovative publishing method “has swept the creative arts and investment world and is on the verge of disrupting scholarly publishing,” notes Hollander, whose  mix of essays explore a range of topics in urban planning, including economic development, brownfields reuse, public space, planned communities, and smart cities. 

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer Allen, professor, Department of Community Health, has published two new papers. The first paper titled "Factors associated with the intention to obtain a COVID-19 vaccine among a racially/ethnically diverse sample of women in the USA" was published in the journal Translational Behavioral Medicine. Rebecca Rose, A23, is a co-author on the paper. The second paper is titled "The Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic on the Brazilian Immigrant Community in the U.S: Results from a Qualitative Study" and was published in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health. Leticia Priebe Rocha, A20, Rebecca Rose, A23, Annmarie Hoch, A21, and Christiane Soares, senior lecturer, Department of Romance Studies, are co-authors on the paper.   

Keith Maddox

Keith Maddox, associate professor, Department of Psychology, has been named a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science (APS). APS Fellows are selected based on their outstanding contributions to the field of psychology. 

Natasha Warikoo

Natasha Warikoo, professor, Department of Sociology, has published a new article in the American Journal of Sociology titled "Addressing Emotional Health while Protecting Status: Asian American and White Parents in Suburban America." The paper examines parents' pursuit of their children's emotional well-being.  

Mimi Kao

Mimi Kao, assistant professor, Department of Biology, has co-authored a new paper titled "Variable but not random: temporal pattern coding in a songbird brain area necessary for song modification" in the Journal of Neurophysiology. Kao was recently featured on the journal's podcast to discuss the article and her research.   

Deborah Schildkraut, Jeffrey Berry, James Glaser

Professors of Political Science Deborah Schildkraut, Jeffrey Berry, and James Glaser, who is also Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences, have published two new co-authored articles. Their piece "Charge and Retreat: Asymmetric Patterns of Political Engagement among Liberals and Conservatives," is a chapter of the book compilation Dynamics of American Democracy: Partisan Polarization, Political Competition, and Government Performance (University Press of Kansas, 2020). Their article "Education and the Curious Case of Conservative Compromise," which examines the relationship of the level of education to the amount of support for political compromise was published in the journal Political Research Quarterly. 

Ayanna Thomas

Ayanna Thomas, professor, Department of Psychology, has been inducted into the Memory Disorders Research Society. She was also recently included on Cell Mentor's list of 1,000 inspiring Black scientists in America.

Fall 2020

Pamela Bower Basso

Pamela Bower-Basso

Pamela Bower-Basso, lecturer, SMFA at Tufts, has been named the Higher Education Art Educator of the year by the Massachusetts Art Education Association

Pearl Robinson

Pearl Robinson, associate professor, Department of Political Science, has been awarded the African Politics Conference Group’s (APCG) Distinguished Africanist Prize. In the award announcement the award committee cited Robinson’s “distinguished career through the publication of influential research, mentoring undergraduate students, many of whom have gone on to become African-studies researchers in their own right and in building institutions like the APCG and the African Studies Association.”

Justin Hollander

Justin Hollander, A96, professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, has published a new book Urban Experience and Design: Contemporary Perspectives on Improving the Public Realm (Routledge, 2020), co-edited with Ann Sussman, F86. The book includes contributions from a range of scholars, architects, and planners, including Tufts alums, Minyu Situ and Peter Milliken, both M.A. in Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning '19. The idea for the book was born at the  International Ux+Design conference on urban experience and design hosted at Tufts in April 2019.  

Zarin Machanda

Zarin Machanda, Usen Family Career Development Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology, is the author of a new paper published in the journal Science titled "Social selectivity in aging wild chimpanzees." The paper is about Machanda's research into relationships among male chimpanzees as they age. Machanda is director of long-term research at the Kibale Chimpanzee Project in Uganda. The paper and Machanda's work was recently highlighted in an article in the New York Times

Kerri Greenidge

Kerri Greenidge, Mellon Assistant Professor, Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora and director of American Studies, has received the 2020 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize from the Massachusetts Historical Society for her book Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter (Liveright, 2019). The prize recognizes the best book from the previous year that represents the history of Massachusetts. 

Robert Cook

Robert Cook, dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences and professor of psychology, is co-author of a new paper published in the journal Learning & Behavior. The paper, titled "Towards describing scenes by animals: Pigeons' ordinal discrimination of objects varying in depth," examines pictorial depth perception in birds. 

Pedro Palou

Pedro Palou, Fletcher Professor of Oratory and chair, Department of Romance Studies, has been inducted into Sistema Nacional de Creadores de Arte (SNCA) in Mexico. It is a three-year recognition. 

Sarah Luna

Sarah Luna, the Kathryn A. McCarthy, J45, AG46, Assistant Professor in Women's Studies, Department of Anthropology, has been awarded the Association for Queer Anthropology's 2020 Ruth Benedict Book Prize for Outstanding SingleAuthored Monograph for her book Love in the Drug War: Selling Sex & Finding Jesus on the Mexico-U.S. Border (University of Texas Press, 2020). The award announcement praised Luna's work stating, "Her vibrant ethnographic detail and deft work across conceptual fields creates an engrossing and illuminating text that helps us think in new ways about intimacies, economies, and value." Luna recently spoke with University of Texas Press about the book and her research. 

Jennifer Allen

Jennifer Allen, professor, Department of Community Health, has published a new paper in the journal Cancer Epidemiology, Biomarkers & Prevention. The article, titled "Effect of a Prostate Cancer Screening Decision Aid for African-American Men in Primary Care Settings," examines a pilot test of an online decision aid by surveying men before and after they used the tool. 

Felipe Dias

Felipe Dias, assistant professor, Department of Sociology, has published a new paper in the journal Research in Social Stratification and Mobility titled "The motherhood penalty and the fatherhood premium in employment during Covid-19: evidence from the United States." The paper examines the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on parental status and gender inequalities in employment in the U.S. Joseph Chance, a PhD student in Tufts' Economics and Public Policy program, and Arianna Buchanan, a Duke University undergraduate and Tufts VERSE program student are co-authors on the paper. 

Brian Gravel

Assistant Professor of Education Brian Gravel's book STEM Literacies in Makerspaces: Implications for Learning, Teaching, and Research (Routledge, 2019), which he co-authored with Eli Tucker-Raymond, has been awarded the 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award.

Yu-Shan Lin, James Murphy

Yu-Shan Lin, associate professor, Department of Chemistry, and James Murphy, assistant professor, Department of Mathematics, have been awarded a grant from the Dreyfus Foundation for a collaborative project titled "Low-supervision Machine Learning for Automated Analysis of Molecular Dynamics Simulations."

Julian Agyeman

Julian Agyeman, professor, Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, has been appointed to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning's (ACSP) Task Force on Climate Action. The task force will examine the ACSP's role in leadership in climate change research and in its programs' curricula as well as how the organization should respond to the threats of climate change with regard to all of the association's broader activities. 

Catherine Freudenreich, Benjamin Wolfe, Michael Reed

A group of Tufts faculty led by principal investigator Catherine Freudenreich, professor and chair, Department of Biology, and Biology faculty Benjamin Wolfe, associate professor, and Michael Reed, professor, as co-principal investigators, have received an award for 2 years of seed funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to develop a larger proposal to house an interdisciplinary "Integration Institute" at Tufts University. The institute would focus on the theme of biological resilience with the goal of developing a new generation of integrative biologists who understand system resilience at multiple biological scales. The overarching objective of the project is to bridge cellular, organismal, and community-level scales of biology by synthesizing the tools, lessons, and approaches used by the different research fields to study resilience. The project also involves as participants Department of Biology faculty Barry Trimmer, Mitch McVey, Colin Orians, Jan Pechenik, Elizabeth Crone, Erik Dopman, Zarin Machanda, Eric Tytell, Mimi Kao, Phil Starks, Michael Levin, Michael Romero, and Sergei Mirkin in addition to Lenore Cowen and David Kaplan from Tufts School of Engineering as affiliated stakeholders.