Vanderbilt was one of 20 American universities commissioned by the German embassy to participate in the national “Freedom Without Walls” project celebrating the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall. Students replicated graffiti on a mock wall and checkpoint constructed between the Peabody and main campuses Nov. 1-6. The student-led event was sponsored by the Max Kade Center for European and German Studies at Vanderbilt.
Adam Albright, Andrew Pitman and Kyle Prete, who comprise the School of Engineering’s Gold Team, placed first in a regional round of the 34th annual Association for Computing Machinery International Collegiate Programming Contest. The Gold Team bested 23 teams from 10 colleges and universities in Tennessee and Alabama at Tennessee Tech University in Cookeville, Tenn., in a five-hour contest to solve nine real-world computer programming problems.
Camilla Benbow, the Patricia and Rodes Hart Dean of Education and Human Development, received the National Association for Gifted Children’s 2009 Presidential Award at the group’s annual convention held in St. Louis. The award reflects the body of work or significant impact an individual has made on gifted education.
Eric Bilbrey, Lindsay Goldman, Sarah Hultquist, Joe Parise, Kristen Schaefer and Heidi Wallenhorst, a team of students from the Owen Graduate School of Management, placed first at the 2009 National MBA Human Capital Case Competition. The third annual competition, hosted by Vanderbilt, included teams from 10 of the top graduate business schools in the country.
Chris Carroll, director of student media for Vanderbilt Student Communications, has been given the 2009 John A. Boyd Hall of Fame Award, which honors longtime members of the College Media Advisers association whose dedication, commitment and sacrifice have contributed to the betterment and value of student media programs both on their campuses and nationally.
Bruce Cooil, the Richmond Professor of Management, co-authored the paper “Because Customers Want to, Need to or Ought to: A Longitudinal Analysis of the Impact of Commitment on Share-of-Wallet,” which won the Best Practitioner Presentation Award at the 2009 Frontiers in Service Conference held in Honolulu. Co-authors were Cooil’s former student and Owen graduate Timothy Keiningham, global chief strategy officer and executive vice president of Ipsos Loyalty; Bart Lariviere of Ghent University in Belgium; and Lerzan Aksoy of Fordham University.
David Dickinson, professor of education and chair of the Department of Teaching and Learning, was a featured speaker at the Sixth International Convention on Early Child Development held in Porto Alegre, Brazil. Dickinson discussed the critical importance of supporting the language development of children from birth to age 3, and suggested strategies proven effective in promoting language development.
Musa Dube, a Vanderbilt alumna and Botswanan scholar and HIV/AIDS activist, has been given the Ann Reskovac Courage Award by the Scarritt-Bennett Center. The Rev. James Lawson, Vanderbilt Distinguished Professor, was given the Scarritt-Bennett Legacy Award for his efforts to bring about racial justice and his support of the center’s mission to eradicate racism.
Stephen Elliott, the Dunn Family Chair in Educational and Psychological Assessment and director of the Learning Sciences Institute, has been appointed for a three-year, renewable term to the Education Testing Services’ Visiting Research Panel, which reviews ETS’ major research initiatives and advises on needed new initiatives. Elliott also has been appointed for a three-year, renewable term as director of research and scientific practice of the Society for the Study of School Psychology, a selective foundation of senior researchers funded by royalties from the Journal of School Psychology.
David Ernst, professor of physics at Vanderbilt and an adjunct professor at Fisk University, represented the American Physical Society at the Fourth Canada-America-Mexico Graduate Student Physics Conference held in Acapulco, Mexico. Ernst gave a welcoming address, participated in a panel discussion on “Graduate Education in these Interdisciplinary Times,” and presented the invited talk “Neutrino Oscillations: An Overview.” He presented an invited talk of the same title at the annual conference of the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science held in Dallas. Additionally, Ernst has been named chair-elect of the Board of Trust of the Southeastern Universities Research Association and will rotate through the chair line over the next few years.
Earl E. Fitz, professor of Portuguese, Spanish and comparative literature, gave an invited talk, “Padre Antonio Vieira and his Re-creation in English: A History of Future Influence,” at a colloquium hosted by Rep. Barney Frank at the Library of Congress in Washington, D. C. This special symposium, titled “The Portuguese Renaissance and the Brazilian Baroque,” was sponsored by the embassies of Portugal and Brazil, the Hispanic Division of the Library of Congress and the Luso-American Foundation.
Marc Hetherington, research associate in political science, has co-authored Authoritarianism and Polarization in American Politics, published by Cambridge University Press. Jonathan Weiler of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is co-author.
Mark Hosford, associate professor of art, has been awarded a 2010 Individual Arts Fellowship in Visual Arts from the Tennessee Arts Commission. The fellowship, which includes a $5,000 prize, is one of the highest honors bestowed on a Tennessee artist. Hosford will use the money to purchase a large-format printmaking table, so that he and his students may expand their work into new territories and larger scales.
Woodrow “Woody” Lucas, a doctoral student at the Owen Graduate School of Management, was one of two recipients of a Ph.D. Trailblazer Award for 2009 from the National Black MBA Association at its annual meeting in New Orleans. Lucas received a joint MBA and master of theological studies degree from Vanderbilt in 2007 prior to pursuing his Ph.D. in management at Owen.
Velma McBride Murry, the Betts Chair of Education and Human Development and director of the Vanderbilt Center for Research on Rural Families and Communities, has been appointed to the Board of Directors of Children, Youth and Families of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine. The board is a joint activity of the Institute of Medicine and the National Research Council and serves as the focal point for authoritative analysis of research on children, youth and families and for the translation of this knowledge to guide policy decisions and professional practices.
The Owen Graduate School of Management’s Armed Forces Association hosted a “Salute to the Veterans” at the Owen School on Nov. 12. The event featured a performance by the USO Liberty Bells and appearances by an Abraham Lincoln impersonator, “Uncle Sam,” the Vanderbilt ROTC Color Guard and others.
Hip hop impresario Jay-Z wowed the crowd during a concert Nov. 13 at Memorial Gym. Rappers J.Cole and Wale opened the show.
In the News
VU leads team developing novel drug detection technology
When a person snorts cocaine, it doesn’t just go to his or her head – it also provokes a response in the immune system, creating special biomolecules that may serve as a permanent record of the exposure. With the support of a $2.7 million Recovery Act grant from the National Institute of Drug Abuse, an interdisciplinary team headed by Vanderbilt chemist John McLean and physicist John Wikswo will attempt to determine whether an individual’s white blood cells retain chemical memories of exposure to drugs and if they can be read reliably. The team is constructing a new class of instrument that can rapidly run thousands of virtual experiments and hundreds of actual experiments per day without human intervention. The brain of the system is a self-learning software program that can identify millions of biomolecules at one time. The technology may allow physicians to tailor drug treatment strategies on a case-by-case basis, and improve methods for drug testing.
Study looks at role of statins in reducing H1N1 mortality
Vanderbilt University Medical Center researchers are studying statins, the class of drugs long associated with lowering cholesterol, as a way to reduce H1N1-related deaths. Gordon Bernard, associate vice chancellor for research and a critical care pulmonologist, believes statins may reduce flu-related deaths in the intensive care unit by as much as half. “We know from studying infections that it’s not always the bacteria that will kill you, but your own reaction to the bacteria that can deal a lethal blow. We’re learning that statins have an impact on the immune system and can dampen down that deleterious component of the immune response,” he said. The study, which is just getting started at Vanderbilt, encompasses adults and children 13 and older with suspected or confirmed influenza admitted to the ICU due to respiratory distress. Bernard hopes to extend the study to 100 other medical centers in order to capture 2,240 patients before the end of the epidemic.
Surveillance doesn’t make schools safer, book finds
Many schools now employ surveillance measures such as closed-circuit TVs, metal detectors, gates, barbed wire and armed, uniformed police officers known as school resource officers – but are students any safer as a result? This issue and more is the topic of a new book, Schools Under Surveillance: Cultures of Control in Public Education, co-edited by Torin Monahan, associate professor of human and organizational development and medicine at Vanderbilt. “Any measures taken to protect children are seen as sacrosanct, but there is no discussion of the ramifications on students of being constantly surveilled,” Monahan said. “One of the things that we found interesting is that schools are some of the safest places for children to be … and were safe long before the latest security programs were implemented.” Co-editor of the book, published by Rutgers University Press, is Rodolfo Torres of the University of California-Irvine.
Eran Egozy (left), co-founder and chief technical officer of Harmonix Music Systems and a developer of the Rock Band video game, joined Bill Ivey, director of the Curb Center for Art, Enterprise and Public Policy, for a public conversation at the Student Life Center Nov. 17. The event was part of the Curb Creative Leadership Series and was followed by a Vanderbilt community-wide Rock Band competition.
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compiled by Kara Furlong