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An Update from the Columbian College of Arts & Sciences

March 2013


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Alumni Events

Empire, Ideology, and the East: Thoughts on Nazism
March 20, 4:00 pm
Marvin Center, Room 307

Alumni Only Career Expo in Los Angeles
March 21, 10:30 am
Los Angeles, CA

GW LinkedIn Group Virtual Networking Hour
March 22, Noon

GWEBINAR: Winning Government Contracts in Turbulent Times
March 28, Noon

GW Culture Buffs: Picasso and Chicago
April 4, 5:30 pm

Sur la Table: Food, Identity and the Jews in Modern France
April 15, 7:15 pm
La Maison Française - French Embassy
Other Events

First Amendment Awards Dinner
March 14, 6:30 pm
The Ritz Carlton, 1150 22nd Street NW

Following the Scent: Development of Canine Training Aids
March 18, 4:00 pm
Mount Vernon Campus, Building 310

Graduate School Funding
March 18, 8:00 pm
Multicultural Student Services Center, Rm 209

Classroom to Career Series: Finding Your Focus
March 19, 4:30 pm
Phillips Hall, Room 411

Jewish Literature Live: David Bezmozgis
March 19, 5:00 pm
Marvin Center Amphitheater

Overcoming Procrastination
March 20, 5:00 pm
Phillips Hall, Room 411

Jessica Stockholder (in conversation with Klaus Ottmann)
March 21, 6:00 pm
Center for the Study of Modern Art

Comparative Politics Workshop: Stephen Kaplan
March 22, 12:30 pm
Hall of Government, Room 428

Chemistry Seminars
March 22, 29, 3:00 pm
Corcoran Hall, Room 101

Thacher Lecture: The Origin of Mind Reading
March 22, 4:30 pm
Phillips Hall, Room 411

Graduate School Funding Forum
March 25, 8:00 pm
Multicultural Student Services Center, Rm 209

Artist-in-Residence Lecture: Patrick Killoran
March 27, 6:15 pm
Smith Hall of Art, Room 114

Forecasting Seminar: Michael Adjemian
March 28, 12:30 pm
Monroe Hall, Room 321

Professor Bob Combs Lectures on Tony Kushner
March 28, 7:00 pm
Rome Hall, Room 771

March 28, 29, 30, 7:30 pm, March 31, 2:00 pm
Dorothy Betts Marvin Theatre

Reading Kushner: A Play Workshop
March 29, Noon
Rome Hall, Room 771

Forecasting Seminar: Theresa Firestine
April 4, 12:30
Monroe Hall, Room 321

Public Speaking Tips
April 9, 2:30 pm
1957 E Street NW, Suite 505

Acclaimed Playwright Tony Kushner Reads
April 9, 7:00 pm
Marvin Center Ballroom

Vocal Music Department Recital
April 9, 7:30 pm
Department of Music, B-120

Department News


Art Therapy


The Documentary Center

East Asian Languages and Literature


Fine Art and Art History

Forensic Sciences



Judaic Studies


Media and Public Affairs

Medieval and Early Modern Studies

Museum Studies




Political Science


Romance German and Slavic Languages and Literature

Science and Engineering Hall

The Solar Institute

Speech and Hearing Sciences


Theatre and Dance

University Writing Program

Womens Studies

First-of-Its-Kind Graduate Certificate in LGBT Health Launched
Columbian College has launched a new graduate certificate program in LGBT health to train current and future healthcare leaders and policy advocates on issues relating to the health and well-being of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community. The program is geared toward the growing need for healthcare and policy professionals to address challenges faced by the LGBT population. Read more.

A Strategy for Hope: Preventing Perinatal Depression among Low-Income Latinas
The negative impact of perinatal depression, which some women experience during pregnancy or after their baby is born, is well known. Feeling sad, anxious, overwhelmed, or confused not only affects a mother’s health but also the health and wellbeing of her child. Even more troubling is that women from low-income minority groups are more prone to perinatal depression than other women.

“The effects of perinatal depression are all well-documented, but there are fewer studies on prevention, particularly among low-income Latina women,” said Associate Professor of Psychology Huynh-Nhu (Mimi) Le. “That’s where my research is focused.” Read more.

GW Celebrates 50 Years of Public Service Education
More than 250 alumni, students and faculty gathered on campus last month to celebrate the 50th anniversary of public service education at GW and the achievements of those who graduated with a public policy or public administration degree. The Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration and the Columbian College Alumni Office hosted a number of events to mark the milestone, including a policy forum kicked off by former U.S. Rep. Thomas M. Davis, R-Va., a celebration reception honoring Distinguished Alumni Award winners, and a networking happy hour. The weekend was equal parts homecoming, celebration and food for thought. Read more.

Designing for the Future: GW Museum Summer Institute
What does it take to build a museum exhibit? A lot more effort than you might imagine. Registration is open for a summer institute in exhibition design that brings together graduate-level students and professionals to work as a team on the  design, fabrication, and installation of a “Coming Soon” exhibition to promote the new GW Museum.  

“Students will interact with museum professionals and gain real-life experience that goes beyond prototype classroom projects,” said Barbara Brennan, co-director of the institute. “This hands-on experience is critical to the learning process and will provide students with an installed exhibit for their portfolios, which is very important as they return to or embark upon their exhibit design careers.” Read more.

GW Awarded Spot in International Solar Decathlon
This year marks the first time that students from the District of Columbia have been awarded a spot in the Solar Decathlon, an international competition held every two years and sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. Students from GW will collaborate with peers from Catholic and American Universities to design and construct a solar-powered recycled steel house that will eventually become home to a veteran from the war in Iraq or Afghanistan. Among the members of Team Capitol DC are students from Columbian College’s Interior Architecture and Design Program. Read more.

Colonial Homecoming
Columbian College alumna Lisa Bowleg, an associate professor of psychology, might be newly hired to the Department of Psychology, but she’s not new to GW. She began her career here as a research analyst in the late 1980s and went on to earn two master’s degrees in 1991 and 1996, and a Ph.D. in 1997 from the university. After gaining career experience at several other universities and organizations, Bowleg is back at GW teaching and working on several projects to develop effective HIV prevention strategies. Her research is being funded by the National Institutes of Mental Health. Read more.

National Civil War Project Launched
GW and seven partner organizations, including three other universities and four professional theater companies, have launched a nationwide collaboration called the National Civil War Project. The project—which will generate original theatrical productions and innovative academic programming—commemorates the 150th anniversary of the American Civil War and investigates how it still reverberates in our present-day lives. The project was originally conceived by Liz Lerman (pictured in photo), a Columbian College alumna, choreographer, and 2002 MacArthur Foundation “genius” fellow. Read more.

Alumni Volunteer: Pursue Your Own Path
Aaron Kwittken, BA ’92, who co-founded the PR firm Kwittken + Company Worldwide, knows firsthand how GW can change the course of a student’s life. As an undergraduate, Kwittken took advantage of Columbian College’s unique internship opportunities and credits his professional success to those experiences, as well as the guidance he received as a Communications major and the volunteer leadership positions he held on the Intrafraternity Council. “It’s part of the culture at GW to keep moving forward,” he said. Kwittken recently demonstrated his gratitude to his alma mater by announcing his company will fund an annual award in support of Columbian College’s Luther Rice Undergraduate Research Fellowship program. Read more.

New Books
Handbook for the Humanities by Janetta Rebold Benton, MA ’69, and Robert DiYanni (Pearson/Prentice Hall Publishers)

American Hero: John Marshall, Chief Justice of the United States, by David Bruce Smith, BA '79, illustrated by Clarice Smith,  BFA '76, MFA '79, honorary doctorate 2012 (Belle Isle Books)

Baltimore and Ohio: The Passenger Trains and Services of America’s First Common Carrier Railroad, 1827-1971 by Joseph J. Snyder, BA ’68 (Juniper House Library Publications)

Reinventing Professionalism: Journalism and News in Global Perspective
by Silvio Waisbord, professor of media and public affairs (Polity Books)

The Handbook of Global Health Communication
, co-edited by Silvio Waisbord, professor of media and public affairs, with Rafael Obregon (Wiley-Blackwell)

Awards and Recognition
Karen Ahlquist, associate professor of music, won the 2013 Irving Lowens Article Award from the Society for American Music for her composition "Musical Assimilation and the 'German Element' at the Cincinnati Saengerfest, 1879."

Elizabeth Chacko, chair of the Department of Geography, has been awarded a Fulbright Fellowship for fall 2013. She will travel to Singapore, where she will be affiliated with the National University of Singapore.

John Lill, associate professor of biology, received a $200,000 grant from the National Science Foundation for his collaborative research on what ecological factors cause insects, such as the silver spotted skipper butterfly, to change their diets.

Thomas Mallon, director of the Creative Writing program, and author, most recently of Watergate: A Novel (Pantheon), is a finalist in the 2013 PEN/Faulkner Award for Fiction.

Michael O'Donnell, instructor in the Department of Speech and Hearing, was chosen by student athletes to receive the Professor of the Year award for his contributions to their academic success.

Alex Pyron, the Robert Griggs assistant professor of biology, has been awarded a $15,750 research grant from the National Geographic Society to conduct fieldwork in the jungles of Sri Lanka where he hopes to discover new species of rainforest lizards using DNA sequencing technology.

Alexandra Ratzlaff, BA ’03, received a Fulbright Grant to travel to Israel to conduct research on the “Roman Impact on a Multi-Ethnic Region: Achziv (Ecdippa) in the Western Galilee during the Roman Period”.

Akos Vertes, deputy chair of the Department of Chemistry, received the 2012 Hillebrand Prize from the Chemical Society of Washington.

Kerry Washington, BA ’98, was honored as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People Entertainer of the Year by Examiner.com.

The Documentary History of the First Federal Congress (DHFFC), volumes 18-20, produced by Columbian College’s First Federal Congress Project, will receive the Society for History in the Federal Government’s Thomas Jefferson Prize for excellence in a documentary edition. This will be the third time that DHFFC volumes have received the award.



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