School Notes

School Notes

A supplement to the Yale Alumni Magazine from the fourteen schools of Yale.

School of Architecture

Robert A. M. Stern, Dean

Symposium considers the future of drawing
Distinguished architects, historians, theorists, and educators from multiple disciplines will convene at the Yale School of Architecture in February to explore the historic role of architectural drawing and illuminate the challenges faced by drawing in architectural practice today. Since the early Renaissance, the defining act of architecture has been the production of drawings, which help depict form, space, material, and structure, and at the same time offer designers the potential for control and authorship of the design process. But the proliferation of digital tools in recent years has wholly altered the historic role of drawing. “Is Drawing Dead?” will address the current and future role of drawing in the field of architecture.

Visual representation in architecture
The spring exhibition at the Architecture Gallery is the first US retrospective of the work of Massimo Scolari since 1976. In Scolari’s artistic universe, the built project and its images are equal participants in the adventure of representation. Some 50 paintings of architectural and urban subjects, chiefly watercolors and oils showing abandoned cities in stark natural and industrial landscapes, along with a monumental urban sculpture created for the 1991 Venice Biennale—replicated to scale for this showing—illustrate the ongoing exchange between architecture and other modes of visual representation that is central to Scolari’s work. “Massimo Scolari: The Representation of Architecture, 1967–2012” will remain on view until May 4.


School of Art

Robert Storr, Dean

Artists talk about their work
The Monday Night Lecture Series at the School of Art brings artists to campus on a (mostly) weekly basis to discuss their work. The “all-school” talks, which are free and open to the public, are held in the school’s 36 Edgewood building. Speakers during the fall semester included Justin Spring, Masashi Kawamura, Julie Ault, and Shirin Neshat, among others. Scheduled to appear this semester are Christine Hill and Helen Molesworth.

Undergraduate art on view
An ongoing exhibition in Sheffield-Sterling-Strathcona, cosponsored by the School of Art and the Yale College dean’s office, features works by Yale College art majors. The installation showcases several works by only a few students in order to convey a sense of each student’s artistic vision. Some of the small pieces are studies for larger works, giving the viewer a glimpse into the artistic process. “Undergraduate Work from the School of Art” is on view through the end of the semester.


Yale College

Mary E. Miller, Dean

Recent graduate wins writing prize
Elisa Gonzalez ’11 has won the Norman Mailer College Writing Award in creative nonfiction for her essay “All the Words I Knew,” a reflection on losing the Scripps National Spelling Bee. The three-year-old Mailer competition has quickly become a premier college writing contest, and Yale writers have been named finalists more often than students from any other college. Gonzalez, however, is the first Yalie to win the overall prize. In addition to a $10,000 cash award, she receives a scholarship to next summer’s Norman Mailer Writer’s Colony, and she was honored at the colony’s national award ceremony in November.

As a student in Anne Fadiman’s seminar Writing About Oneself, Elisa wrote the essay as her capstone assignment. “All the Words I Knew” is listed in the 2011 edition of Best American Essays. The essay also won Yale’s Wright Prize for best undergraduate nonfiction and earned publication in the Harvard Review.

Annual prizes celebrate outstanding junior faculty
In November, Dean Mary Miller conferred three prestigious teaching awards upon 12 junior faculty members. Each prize carries an award of funding to support further writing or research.

The Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research, awarded to junior faculty members in the natural or social sciences, went to André D. Taylor, assistant professor of chemical & environmental engineering; Ebonya Washington, Henry Kohn Associate Professor of Economics; Michael McGovern, assistant professor of anthropology; and Elsa Yan, assistant professor of chemistry. The Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research, for junior faculty members in the humanities, was awarded to Barry McCrea, associate professor of comparative literature; Brian Kane, assistant professor of music; Irene Peirano, assistant professor of classics; Paul North, assistant professor of German; and Alan Mikhail, assistant professor of history.

The Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching provides the means for faculty whose teaching spans disciplines to expand their scholarly efforts through summer research. Recipients for 2011 were GerShun Avilez, assistant professor of African American studies and English; J. D. Connor, assistant professor of history of art; and Paige McGinley, assistant professor of theater studies, American studies, and African American studies.


Divinity School

Harold W. Attridge, Dean

New attractions at convocation
Over 300 alumni and spouses, faculty, staff, and others took part in Convocation and Reunions 2011 in October. The events featured several dynamic new elements, including reunions for “interest groups” like the a cappella ensemble Sacramental Winers and the Ultimate Divinity Frisbee team; special lectures by YDS faculty; and reunion gatherings for recently graduated alumni. Combined with ever-popular fare such as the Beecher, Kavanagh and Pitt lectures; inspirational preaching; and alumni award celebrations; these new elements helped ensure the gathering had something for everyone.

Capital campaign concludes
The Divinity Tomorrow capital campaign, a joint effort of Yale Divinity School and Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, concluded in 2011 with a final tally of gifts and pledges totaling $37.4 million. Of that amount, YDS alumni contributed $10.8 million, and another $12 million came from alumni of the university’s other schools, including Yale College. Funds raised through the campaign, said Dean Harold Attridge, will provide “critical support for the future of YDS in several key areas, including scholarship aid, endowments for faculty chairs, and programs.”

Pastoral theologian appointed to named chair
Mary Clark Moschella, professor of pastoral care and counseling, has been appointed to the Roger J. Squire Chair in Pastoral Counseling, an endowed chair that was elevated from junior to senior faculty status in 1999. A pastoral theologian accomplished in academe and experienced as a pastor in the United Church of Christ, Moschella joined the YDS faculty in 2010–11. She is the author of two books and the coeditor of a third. She holds a BS from Southern Connecticut State University, an MDiv from Harvard Divinity School, and in 2001 received a PhD from the Claremont School of Theology.


School of Drama

James Bundy, Dean

Playwright receives prestigious award
Playwright Amy Herzog ’07MFA received the 2011 Whiting Writers’ Award in recognition of her plays After the Revolution and 4,000 Miles, which mine material about her Marxist grandparents. The selectors noted, “The relationships are authentic, difficult, complex, funny, frustrating, real. Here is a voice of her generation, generous about, if somewhat skeptical of, the passionate political debate that fueled meaning in her grandparents’ lives.”

Since 1985, the Whiting Foundation has supported creative writing through the Whiting Writers’ Awards, which are given annually to ten emerging writers in fiction, nonfiction, poetry, and plays. The awards, of $50,000 each, are based on accomplishment and promise.

Herzog’s critically acclaimed new play, Belleville, which was commissioned by Yale Repertory Theatre with support from the Yale Center for New Theatre, had its world premiere at Yale Rep this past fall. She is working on a second commission from Yale Rep.

Acting alumni in Broadway musical
Two School of Drama graduates, Bryce Pinkham ’08MFA and Da’Vine Joy Randolph ’11MFA, have been cast in the new musical Ghost, based on the hit 1990 film, which will open on Broadway this spring. Pinkham, who will play Carl Bruner, appeared in the Yale Rep production of A Woman of No Importance in 2008 and more recently in the Broadway production of Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson. Randolph, who made her Yale Rep debut in 2010’s The Servant of Two Masters, will play psychic Oda Mae Brown.


School of Engineering & Applied Science

T. Kyle Vanderlick, Dean

Grant will support HIV research
An award from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will help Kathryn Miller-Jensen, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, pursue a health research project dealing with HIV-infected cells. Miller-Jensen proposes to distinguish cells that are latently infected with HIV from uninfected cells by quantifying differences in their protein phosphorylation networks, which become apparent only after drug treatment. This “phosphorylation signature” can be used to selectively activate and purge latent infections. Funding for the grant comes from the Gates Foundation’s Grand Challenges initiative, which supports researchers worldwide who are pursuing innovative solutions to persistent global health and development challenges.

Professor honored by White House
André Taylor, assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering, was honored at the White House last fall as a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). Taylor’s research investigates nanomaterials to create systems that have the potential to renewably improve our quality of life. For instance, Taylor and his team designed a new fuel cell catalyst composed of amorphous nanowire alloys that can double the lifespan of fuel cell catalyst systems. He has also created nanocomposites for use as active layers in organic solar cells and batteries. “André has an exceptional talent for finding innovative ways to apply chemical engineering principles to real-world problems,” said SEAS dean Kyle Vanderlick. The PECASE recognizes the finest scientists and engineers who show exceptional potential for leadership at the frontiers of scientific knowledge. The award is considered the highest honor bestowed by the US government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their research careers.

New center begins to take shape
Construction has begun on the Center for Engineering Innovation and Design, which will strengthen the culture of engineering on campus and promote team-based, multi-disciplinary, engineering problem solving.  The engineering library has been temporarily accommodated in the Mann Student Center while the former library space is transformed into a physical and intellectual center for innovation, creation, and design. The first courses sponsored by the center will be offered in the fall semester of 2012.


School of Forestry & Environmental Studies

Peter Crane, Dean

Deforestation causes cooling in northern latitudes
Deforestation, considered by scientists to contribute significantly to global warming, has been shown by a Yale-led team to actually cool the local climate in northern latitudes, according to a paper published in November in Nature. “If you cut trees in the boreal region, north of 45 degrees latitude, you have a net cooling effect,” said Xuhui Lee, professor of meteorology and the study’s principal investigator. “You release carbon into the atmosphere by cutting down trees, but you increase the albedo effect—the reflection of sunlight.” Lee and a team of researchers from 20 other institutions found that surface temperatures in open areas were cooler because snow cover reflected the sun’s rays back into outer space, while nearby forested areas absorbed the sun’s heat.

US rivers and streams full of carbon
Rivers and streams in the United States are releasing enough carbon into the atmosphere to fuel 3.4 million car trips to the moon, according to Yale researchers in Nature Geoscience. Their findings could change the way scientists model the movement of carbon between land, water, and the atmosphere. David Butman, a doctoral student and coauthor of a study with Pete Raymond, professor of ecosystem ecology, says that rivers “are a source of CO2, just like we breathe CO2 and smokestacks emit CO2, and this has never been systematically estimated from a region as large as the United States.” The researchers assert that a significant amount of carbon contained in land, which first is absorbed by plants and forests through the air, is leaking into streams and rivers and then releasing into the atmosphere before reaching coastal waterways. This release of carbon, said Butman, is the same as a car burning 40 billion gallons of gasoline.

Grant to support reforestation efforts
A Yale program that aims to restore tropical forests and the livelihoods that depend on them has received a six-year, $5.5 million grant from the Arcadia Fund to continue its work in Latin America and Southeast Asia. The Environmental Leadership & Training Initiative (ELTI) for Biodiversity Conservation in Tropical Forest Regions trains environmental managers and local decision-makers to support conservation efforts where forests have been cleared and exploited in Borneo, Brazil, Colombia, Panama, the Philippines, and Sumatra.


Graduate School of Arts & Sciences

Thomas D. Pollard, Dean

Celebrating 150 Years of PhDs
The Graduate School was the focus of this fall’s AYA Assembly, with a daylong celebration marking the 150th anniversary of the first PhD degrees granted in North America. Highlights of the assembly included a panel, “Doctorates without Borders,” featuring a discussion of the challenges and leadership opportunities facing Graduate School alumni in the twenty-first century. Dean Thomas Pollard gave opening remarks, Provost Peter Salovey ’86PhD (psychology) moderated the discussion, and panel participants included prominent PhD alumni from various disciplines. In another session, former dean Jon Butler provided an overview of the history and mission of the Graduate School, followed by faculty panelists representing each of the three academic divisions. During breakout sessions, current students presented their ongoing research.

2011 Wilbur Cross medals
The Wilbur Lucius Cross Medal, the Graduate School’s highest honor, was awarded to four outstanding alumni on October 4 by the Graduate School Alumni Association. Stanley Fish ’62PhD (English) is one of today’s most prolific and important cultural critics. He is a distinguished university professor at Florida International University and dean emeritus of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This fall, he was a visiting professor of law and Oscar M. Ruebhausen Distinguished Senior Fellow at Yale Law School. Leslie F. Greengard ’87MD/PhD (computer science), professor of mathematics and computer science at New York University and director of NYU’s Courant Institute, is one of the world’s leading applied mathematicians and computational scientists. Bernice Pescosolido ’82PhD (sociology), Distinguished Professor of Sociology at Indiana University and director of the Indiana Consortium for Mental Health Services Research, is well known for her study of the processes that promote and inhibit access to medical and mental health care, especially among disadvantaged populations. Huntington F. Willard ’79PhD (genetics), the Nanaline H. Duke Professor of Genome Sciences at Duke University and the founding director of Duke’s Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, explores the structure and function of human chromosomes and the mechanism for X-chromosome inactivation.


Law School

Robert Post, Dean

New faculty at YLS
Amy Kapczynski ’03JD has joined the Yale Law School faculty as an associate professor of law, and Tom Tyler as a professor of law. Professor Kapczynski previously taught at the University of California at Berkeley Law School. Her research interests center on international law, intellectual property, and global health. Tom Tyler comes to Yale from New York University, where he taught in both the psychology department and the law school. His research and teaching have focused on social psychology and the psychology of procedural justice.

New program will promote free speech
A new initiative at the Law School, administered by the Yale Information Society Project, is dedicated to promoting freedom of speech, freedom of the press, and access to information as informed by the values of democracy and human freedom. The Floyd Abrams Institute for Freedom of Expression is made possible by a generous gift from Floyd Abrams ’59LLB, one of the country’s leading experts in freedom of speech and press issues. The institute will include a clinic for Yale Law students to engage in litigation, draft model legislation, and give advice to lawmakers and policy makers on issues of media freedom and informational access; it will promote scholarship and law reform on emerging questions concerning both traditional and new media, and it will hold scholarly conferences and events at Yale on First Amendment and other related issues.

Navajo Supreme Court comes to Yale
The Supreme Court of the Navajo Nation came to Yale Law School on November 14 to hear oral arguments in the appeal of the case, Navajo Nation v. RJN Construction Management, Inc., Robert J. Nelson and The Home for Women and Children. Chief Justice Herbert Yazzie, Justice Eleanor Shirley, and Justice Wilson Yellowhair presided. The case focused on one of the most nuanced and contentious issues American Indian governments face: the ownership of Indian land held in trust by the federal government. It also addressed the complex interplay between the community’s use of reservation land and business interests. It was the Navajo Nation Supreme Court’s first visit to Yale Law School.


School of Management

Edward A. Snyder, Dean

CEO Caucus launches in Washington
The Chief Executive Leadership Institute at the Yale School of Management hosted its inaugural Yale CEO Caucus in Washington, DC, on November 15. The quarterly roundtable convenes business leaders, political leaders, and scholars to discuss the business implications of urgent national and global events that span economics, diplomacy, security, energy, environment, regulation, and politics. The theme of the first event was “Putting America Back to Work,” showcasing what corporate leaders are doing to address the nation’s economic and employment challenges.

SOM team wins national competition
A team of second-year Yale SOM students won the Pioneer Employer Case Competition at the national Net Impact conference held October 28 in Portland, Oregon. Net Impact is a global organization of students and professionals dedicated to using business to improve the world. The Yale SOM group—Julia Otis, Emma Pollack-Pelzner, Julia Rozovsky, Matt Schmitt, and Jason Zahorchak—beat finalists from four other MBA programs: MIT, Rice, Washington University, and the University of Maryland. For the competition, teams were asked to analyze a case about Pioneer Employer QuikTrip, a convenience/gasoline retailer in the South that was considering how to expand into North Carolina. According to a press release, the Yale team “showed the highest quality analysis, but where they really shined was in their ability to defend their recommendations for the case.”

Lecture series features Yale scholars
A new lecture series called “Convening Yale,” aimed at presenting some of Yale’s most eminent minds to future business leaders, debuted last October. The first lecture was given by Ramamurti Shankar, the John Randolph Huffman Professor of Physics, who discussed the Theory of Relativity. Later speakers included Marvin Chun, professor of psychology, and Charles Hill, the Brady-Johnson Distinguished Fellow in Grand Strategy and senior lecturer in humanities. Shyam Sunder, the James L. Frank Professor of Accounting, Economics, and Finance, who helped organize the series, said the program illustrates how Yale SOM teaches students to comprehend issues of complexity, which has become more important to managers in an increasingly global workplace.


School of Medicine

Robert J. Alpern, Dean

Medical student first to receive new scholarship
Jeffrey Low, of the Class of 2015, is the first recipient of the Donald S. Baim ’75MD Scholarship, established by Boston Scientific Corporation in February 2011 with a $1.7 million endowment. The scholarship honors Baim, an interventional cardiology pioneer who served as Boston Scientific’s chief medical and scientific officer from 2006 until his death in 2009. The Baim scholarship will be awarded each year to an incoming Yale medical student according to both financial need and intellectual and clinical drive, and covers half of his or her tuition for four years. According to a press release, Low received the scholarship based on his “demonstrated pursuits in innovation, invention, and blending business and technology with a grounded interest in clinical medicine and biomedical science.”

Yale chemist named Packard Fellow
Seth B. Herzon, assistant professor of chemistry, has been named a 2011 Packard Fellow. The fellowship was established in 1988 by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation to support early career scientists in the physical sciences and engineering, and will support work in Herzon’s laboratory, which is focused on two areas of research. The first involves natural products synthesis, finding ways to recreate useful complex molecules produced in nature in the laboratory. The second research area is organometallic chemistry and the development of new catalytic reactions.

Looking at a virus-detecting RIG
Viruses ranging from common influenza to hepatitis C rely on strands of RNA to infect human cells and spread their genetic information. Yale researchers have now made a step toward understanding how the human immune system recognizes viral RNA strands to mount an immune response, work that could reveal new ways to target such viruses with drugs. Scientists knew that a protein called RIG-I binds to viral RNA that has entered a human cell and alerts the cell of its presence. As reported in the October 14 issue of Cell, the Yale research team discovered that when bound to dsRNA, RIG-I undergoes a dramatic change in shape, in which one section of the protein folds out to make room for the RNA. The authors write that their work on RIG-I’s structure “reveals multiple strategies for therapeutic design.”


School of Music

Robert Blocker, Dean

Two members of Tokyo String Quartet to retire in 2013
Violist Kazuhide Isomura and second violinist Kikuei Ikeda will retire from the Tokyo String Quartet in June 2013. One of the world’s most distinguished chamber music ensembles, the Tokyo String Quartet was founded in 1969 and has been the quartet-in-residence at the School of Music and the Yale Summer School of Music/Norfolk Chamber Music Festival since 1976. Isomura, who has been a member of the group since its inception, and Ikeda, who joined in 1974, will perform and teach with the quartet through the end of the 2012–2013 academic year. In the summer of 2013, a new violinist and violist will join Martin Beaver, first violin, and Clive Greensmith, cello. Both Ikeda and Isomura plan to teach and coach chamber music after stepping down from the quartet.

Yale Opera’s spring productions
The Yale Opera program at the School of Music has announced its plans for the spring semester of 2012. Under the artistic direction of Doris Yarick Cross, Yale Opera will present a new production of Mozart’s comedy Cosí fan tutte at New Haven’s historic Shubert Theater in February. Conducted by Speranza Scappucci and directed by Justin Way, the opera will be performed in Italian with English translations. Maestra Scappucci will be the first woman to conduct a Yale Opera production. In April, Yale Opera presents a new production of Britten’s The Rape of Lucretia, with stage direction by Vera Calabria and musical direction by Douglas Dickson and Timothy Shaindlin. Performances will take place in Morse Recital Hall.

YSM creates career strategies office
The School’s new Career Strategies Office offers training, resources, and programs that will assist students in launching and managing their careers, including career coaching sessions; seminars and workshops on career issues; access to job banks; and assistance with creating materials such as digital portfolios. In addition, Saturday Seminars bring leading thinkers in the arts to campus to discuss important issues facing musicians today. And a new class taught by director of career strategies Astrid Baumgardner, Creating Financially Sustainable Careers in the Arts, teaches the entrepreneurial skills that artists and cultural leaders need in order to create sustainable careers.


School of Nursing

Margaret Grey, Dean

Award for pediatric nurse practitioner
YSN associate professor Patricia Ryan-Krause has been awarded the Connecticut National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners (NAPNAP) PNP of the Year award for 2011. This award, given by the Connecticut chapter of NAPNAP, is offered to the member who best exemplifies the organization’s mission: promoting optimal health for children through leadership, practice, advocacy, education, or research. Ryan-Krause is in her 22nd year of clinical practice at Children’s Medical Group and is the 2003 and 2008 recipient of the YSN Annie W. Goodrich Award for Excellence in Teaching.

YSN professor receives double honors
Associate Professor Jacquelyn Taylor was recognized by the International Society of Nurses in Genetics with the Outstanding Research Award for her studies of hypertension in African American families. In addition, Taylor was inducted as a fellow of the American Academy of Nursing (AAN). Fellowship in AAN is awarded in recognition of outstanding contributions and achievements in the nursing profession.

Nurse-journalist is Poynter Fellow
On October 25, YSN hosted a talk by Theresa Brown, a 2011 Poynter Fellow in Journalism at Yale. Brown is a practicing nurse and a regular contributor to the New York Times blog “Well” and to She recently published the book, Critical Care: A New Nurse Faces Death, Life, and Everything in Between. Brown called the talk an opportunity to link nursing practice with nursing narratives: “Nurses must tell our stories to make our value clear.”

McCorkle awarded research prize
YSN professor Ruth McCorkle was presented the 2011 Yale Cancer Center Research Prize for her paper “Healthcare Utilization in Women After Abdominal Surgery for Ovarian Cancer,” published in the January/February issue of Nursing Research. McCorkle’s research outcomes have continually improved patient care and supportive services for our patients. She is the director of the psycho-oncology program at Yale Cancer Center, the Florence Wald Professor of Nursing at Yale School of Nursing, and a member of the Yale Cancer Center Cancer Prevention and Control Research Program.


School of Public Health

Paul D. Cleary, Dean

Downs Fellows present findings
Back from international research assignments in countries as diverse as Colombia and Malaysia, the 2011 Downs Fellows presented their findings at an annual symposium and poster session in late October. Fourteen Yale students from the schools of Public Health, Medicine, Nursing, and the physician associate program worked in countries around the world on health and medical issues such as diabetes control, maternal health, urban slum diseases, and AIDS. The Downs International Health Student Travel Fellowship was created to honor Wilbur G. Downs (1913–1991), professor of epidemiology and public health at Yale, and a renowned physician/scientist in the fields of tropical medicine and infectious diseases. The fellowship supports graduate and professional students who undertake health-related research primarily in low- and middle-income countries.

Novel anti-smoking effort to be launched in Connecticut
An unorthodox anti-smoking effort that offers at-risk people financial incentives if they successfully quit tobacco—and smaller rewards for progress toward doing so—has been designed by researchers at the YSPH and will be implemented statewide in coming months. The iQuit program will encourage both smokers and medical providers to participate in counseling and training sessions, peer coaching, and other smoking-cessation techniques. Financial incentives—up to a maximum of $350 per year—will be used to encourage smokers to attend these sessions and to achieve objective, verifiable goals in reducing and eliminating tobacco use.

A new tick-borne disease rises
Yale School of Public Health researchers, in collaboration with Russian scientists, have discovered a new tick-borne disease that they believe may occur in the United States. This new disease is caused by spirochete bacteria called Borrelia miyamotoi, which is distantly related to Borrelia burgdorferi, the spirochete that causes Lyme disease. Professor Durland Fish and colleagues found this new spirochete, previously known only from ticks in Japan, in deer ticks in Connecticut in 2001, but did not know then if it causes disease in humans. The bacteria have since been found in all ticks species that transmit Lyme disease throughout the United States and Europe.


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