Congratulations to FAS faculty award winners (July 12, 2021)

[Summary: This memo announces the winners of the 2020-2021 Heyman and Greer prizes and the inaugural recipients of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Inclusion and Belonging. We hope you will join us in celebrating the achievements of our colleagues!] 

To: FAS Faculty and Staff

Cc: FAS Steering, FAS Dean’s Office, GSAS Dean’s Office, Yale College Dean’s Office, OPAC, Development, President’s Office, Provost’s Office

Dear colleagues, 

I am delighted to share the joyful news that several of our colleagues are the recipients of FAS-wide awards and prizes for their scholarship and their contributions to our community. 

FAS Dean’s Award for Inclusion and Belonging

This spring, I wrote to FAS Department and Program Chairs inviting nominations for a new award program: the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Dean’s Award for Inclusion and Belonging. Open to FAS ladder and instructional faculty, this award recognizes those who have made outstanding contributions to creating and sustaining a climate of inclusion and belonging in the FAS. The award recognizes up to four recipients each year. Like the Linda K. Lorimer and FLY (Future Leaders of Yale) Diversity Champion awards for staff; the Emerging Scholars Initiative for GSAS students; and the Belonging at Yale Grants for Diveristy Equity, Inclusion and Belonging, available to all Yale students; this award exemplifies Yale’s commitment to fostering excellence through diversity, inclusion, and belonging 

The nominations that we received for this award came from colleagues and chairs across the FAS divisions and school. For each nominee, a commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion shapes their day-to-day work in the classroom, in their research and mentoring, in their departments, and in numerous other ways. Their work has had a profound impact on the FAS. Selecting four recipients from the list of nominees was a challenging task.  

I am honored to announce the inaugural list of award recipients. These four FAS faculty members have made meaningful and significant contributions towards creating welcoming communities in their departments, in their disciplines, and in the broader community. They are exceptional university citizens who bring compassion to their work with faculty, students, and staff. Most significantly, each has made a palpable impact on the FAS: our community is more equitable because of their work. 

Anjelica Gonzalez
Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering; Faculty Director, Tsai Center for Innovative Thinking at Yale 

A biomedical engineer dedicated not only to scientific innovation but also to equipping the next generation of scientists with the tools to work and think across disciplines, Anjelica Gonzalez was described by her nominators as “a true leader in increasing diversity and promoting a sense of belonging and inclusion across all members and potential members of our community.” In her department she has created opportunities for faculty and students to engage meaningfully with questions around diversity. Her course on Global Health has served as a point of entry for many Yale students to understand challenges around health equity; and she fosters student creativity by supporting inclusivity in her new role as Faculty Director of Tsai City. Beyond Yale, Professor Gonzalez works with public schools around New Haven and nationally, promoting opportunities for underrepresented students and teachers to see themselves as scientists and engineers. Across her work, Professor Gonzalez shows that helping diverse students and scholars thrive enables creativity and innovation to flourish. 

Andrew Miranker
Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and Chemical & Environmental Engineering 

Andrew Miranker’s commitment to advocacy, teaching and mentorship has created lasting benefits to Yale and beyond. His efforts are exemplified by his work on the team-taught “Being Human in STEM” course, which focuses on sociological research to effect change in inclusive practice in any STEM department. As MB&B’s Director of Undergraduate Studies, Professor Miranker led MB&B faculty in the invention and adoption of a new requirement and coursework for their majors at the interface of identity and society with STEM. Most recently, Professor Miranker’s leadership enabled an MB&B faculty-search team to transform inclusive practice in faculty recruiting, a new path forward for hiring in MB&B that has garnered attention from other Yale departments as well as outside institutions. An advocate for students and faculty on campus-wide diversity issues, Andrew Miranker’s nominators described him as an exemplary colleague and ally whose work shows how “members of majority groups can lead critical DEI initiatives that improve institutional culture and climate.”

Stephen Pitti
Professor of History; American Studies; Ethnicity, Race, and Migration; and Spanish and Portuguese; Director, Center of the Study of Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration 

A noted scholar of Latinx history and the founding Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Indigeneity, and Transnational Migration, Stephen Pitti is, according to his nominator, “a leader in understanding how universities can implement equity, inclusion, and belonging in all they do.”  Professor Pitti is an engaged mentor to scores of graduate and undergraduate students, and he served as head of Ezra Stiles College for more than a decade. At RITM, Professor Pitti has implemented programs that advance student scholarship and that provide faculty with opportunities for collaboration and exchange. A dedicated community leader and advocate who has served on countless committees and advisory boards within and beyond Yale, Stephen is seen across our community as a campus leader on questions of inclusion and belonging.

James Tierney
Senior Lector I in English, Director, English Language Program 

An exceptionally gifted teacher, James Tierney has served as Director of the English Language Program since 2010. In that role, he has dedicated himself to Yale’s international students, faculty, and staff, in the FAS and beyond. The programs, courses, and workshops he has created have helped scholars and students for whom English is not a first language feel at home, navigate U.S. academic culture, and build not only linguistic confidence, but connections to a community. As his nominator wrote, James Tierney and his ELP staff have been exceptional over the years in making Yale’s international population truly feel at home at Yale.” By reaching out across departments and all of Yale’s professional schools to support nonnative speakers of English, James Tierney has made inclusion and belonging a foundation of his work in the FAS. 

I hope you will join me in thanking Anjelica, Andrew, Stephen, and James for their exemplary service to our community.  

Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize

The Samuel and Ronnie Heyman Prize recognizes outstanding scholarly publications or research by untenured ladder faculty in the humanities.  The recipient of the 2020-2021 prize is:

Jennifer Allen
Associate Professor of History

Professor Allen is a historian of modern Europe, addressing the politics of cultural preservation, practices of commemoration, and the pursuit of utopia. The prize recognizes the research that will culminate in her forthcoming book, Sustainable Utopias: The Art and Politics of Hope in Germany. In it, she charts the history of Germany’s relatively recent efforts to revitalize the concept of utopia after the wholesale collapse of Europe’s violent utopian social engineering projects by the end of the twentieth century

Arthur Greer Memorial Prize

The Arthur Greer Memorial Prize for Outstanding Scholarly Publication or Research recognizes outstanding research conducted by untenured ladder faculty members in the social or natural sciences, broadly construed. In 2020-2021, we recognize three faculty members: 

Yarrow Dunham
Associate Professor of Psychology 

Professor Dunham’s work focuses on intergroup social cognition, examining how and why humans come to affiliate with groups, and whether understanding group preferences can provide insight into how children develop intergroup attitudes and stereotypes. As director of the Social Cognitive Development Lab, Professor Dunham has advanced new revelations into how childrens minds work, how they come to understand hierarchies and fairness, and how they interpret the world around them.  

Alvaro Sanchez
Associate Professor of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology 

Professor Sanchez has shown how communities develop on a most minute level: among microbes. His work seeks to understand and predict how microbial communities assemble and evolve. This research uses a combination of biophysical tools, mathematical modeling, and systems and synthetic biology to shed light on the social behavior of microbes, and to ask whether that behavior is encoded in microbes’ DNA, and how it shapes the behavior of other species. 

Sarah Slavoff
Assistant Professor of Chemistry and of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry 

Professor Slavoff studies the “dark matter of the human genome”: the undiscovered small open reading frames that encode microproteins. Through this work, she provides answers to long-standing questions about RNA and its role in gene expression. Slavoff’s research has helped to identify new microproteins that are involved in a host of biological mechanisms and diseases, giving us new understanding of how the human genome functions. 

I hope you will join me in celebrating the achievements of our colleagues. I am thrilled to be able to celebrate their work, and I am grateful to all members of our community who help advance research and teaching in the FAS, and who help to make the FAS a place of welcome: thank you for all that you do for your colleagues, your students, and your community. 

With warmest wishes, 


Tamar Szabó Gendler
Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences
Vincent J. Scully Professor of Philosophy
Professor of Psychology and Cognitive Science