Congratulations to faculty and staff honorees

December 22, 2020

Dear Colleagues, 

As we begin the winter break, I write in gratitude and admiration. This year has presented enormous personal and professional challenges for so many of us. And yet, our faculty continue to be recognized for their pathbreaking work, our staff continue to be recognized for their excellence, and the FAS continues to grow as a community dedicated to scholarship, teaching, and service.  

In May, I wrote to you to share a lengthy list of remarkable faculty achievements, including Gregory Margulis’s Abel Prize in Mathematics, David Blight’s Gold Medal for History from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Greg Grandin’s Pulitzer Prize, Edyta Bojanowska’s Guggenheim, the winners of the Yale College teaching prizes, and the election of FAS faculty to distinguished bodies ranging from the Royal Society to the American Academy of Arts and Scientists. It’s an inspiring list, and I hope you’ll revisit it.  

I write today to share faculty and staff achievements that have been brought to our attention since the message that I sent in May of 2020. Recently, I wrote to FAS Department Chairs inviting them to share what they considered the most important achievements of their departments and faculty this year, and the response was overwhelming. It highlighted the enormous diversity of excellence among our faculty, staff, and students. While this message focuses only on faculty and staff awards and honors, you can look forward to future installments highlighting other achievements and accomplishments.

If there are other honors and awards that you would like to bring to our attention, please email; you may also share such news via the news submissions form on the FAS webpage

Faculty Achievements 

This fall, we were thrilled when Louise Glück, Professor Adjunct of English and Rosenkranz Writer-in-Residence, received the Nobel Prize in literature. This followed the news that James Scott, Sterling Professor of Political Science and Professor of Anthropology was awarded the Albert O. Hirschman Prize by the Social Science Research Council and was elected as a Fellow of the American Philosophical Society, the oldest scholarly society in the United States. Hazel Carby, Charles C. and Dorothea S. Dilley Professor Emeritus of African American Studies and Professor Emeritus of American Studies received the Nayaf Al-Rodhan Prize for Global Cultural Understanding from the British Academy. There was more cause for celebration when Joan Steitz, Sterling Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry was awarded the Prize Medal from the Microbiology Society and Margaret L. Kripke Legend Award from the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, which recognizes scientific and medical leaders who have made extraordinary efforts to advance women’s careers.  

Two of our colleagues have won Andrew Carnegie Fellowships: Rohit De, Associate Professor of History, and Jennifer Richeson, Philip R. Allen Professor of Psychology.  Two FAS faculty are finalists for Blavatnik Awards for Young Scientists: Maureen Long, Professor of Earth and Planetary Sciences, was selected as a National Finalist and Shruti Puri, Assistant Professor of Applied Physics, a Regional Finalist

A number of colleagues have received awards that recognize the profound impact of their body of work: 

  • Jeffrey Alexander (Lillian Chavenson Saden Professor of Sociology) was awarded the Distinguished Career Award by the Altruism, Morality and Social Solidarity Section of the American Sociological Association. 
  • Derek Briggs (G. Evelyn Hutchinson Professor of Earth & Planetary Sciences) was awarded the Lapworth Medal, the most prestigious award of the Palaeontological Association. 
  • BJ Casey (Professor of Psychology) received the 2021 Association for Psychological Science  Mentor Award, one of three APS lifetime achievement awards. 
  • Craig Crews (John C. Malone Professor of Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology and Professor of Chemistry, of Pharmacology, and of Management) has been awarded the international Heinrich Wieland Prize for his discovery of new methods to target disease-causing protein.
  • Enrique de la Cruz (Professor and Chair, Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry) has been named one of the most inspiring Hispanic/Latinx scientists in America by Cell Mentor. 
  • Jon Ellman (Eugene Higgins Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Pharmacology) received the 2021 ACS Award for Creative Work in Synthetic Organic Chemistry.
  • Roderick Ferguson, (Professor and Chair of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies and Professor of American Studies) received the 2020 Kessler Award, given each year to a scholar or activist who produces a substantive body of work with significant influence on LGBTQ Studies
  • Eduardo Fernandez-Duque (Professor of Anthropology and of Forestry and Environmental Studies) was invited to give the John P. McGovern Award Lecture in the Behavioral Sciences.
  • Jacob Hacker (Stanley B. Resor Professor of Political Science Political Science) was awarded the 2020 Robert M. Ball Award for Outstanding Achievements in Social Insurance. The National Academy of Social Insurance presents the award annually to an individual whose recent work has significantly impacted the U.S. social insurance system.
  • Sharon Hammes-Schiffer (John Gamble Kirkwood Professor of Chemistry and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry) received numerous honors since May, including the Willard Gibbs Award from the Chicago Section of the American Chemical Society; 2021 American Chemical Society Award in Theoretical Chemistry, and the Bourke Award from the Royal Society of Chemistry.
  • Thomas Allen Harris (Senior Lecturer of Film and Media Studies) was honored by Black Public Media as one of its 40 Game Changers. He was also awarded a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts to develop the second season of Family Pictures USA.  
  • Leandros Tassiulas (John C. Malone Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Computer Science) received the 2020 Association of Computing Machinery SIGMETRICS Achievement Award, given annually to an individual who has made long-lasting, influential contributions to the analysis and evaluation of computer/communication system performance. 
  • The Ahmed Zewail Prize in Molecular Sciences has been awarded to Professor Emeritus John C. Tully (Chemistry). 

Several of our colleagues have been recognized for exceptional early career achievements: 

Additional FAS and FAS-affiliated faculty have received dozens of awards for publications, projects, and papers. Highlights include: 

  • Marisa Bass (Associate Professor in the History of Art) received the Roland H. Bainton Book Prize from the Sixteenth Century Society & Conference for her most recent monograph, Insect Artifice: Nature and Art in the Dutch Revolt.
  • Alexandre Coppock (Assistant Professor of Political Science) and other contributors won a Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science Commendation for their project DeclareDesign.  
  • Molly Crockett (Assistant Professor of Psychology) has been named a Belfer Fellow by the Anti-Defamation League
  • Daniel DiMaio (Waldemar Von Zedtwitz Professor of Genetics and Professor of Molecular Biophysics and Biochemistry and of Therapeutic Radiology) received the Outstanding Investigator Award from the National Cancer Institute.  
  • Joan Feigenbaum (Grace Murray Hopper Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Economics) and co-authors won a Test of Time”award for the paper “Decentralized Trust Management” from the 1995-2006 IEEE Symposiums on Security and Privacy. 
  • Crystal Feimster (Associate Professor of African American Studies and of American Studies and of History) received the Collins Award from the Kentucky Historical Society for her article “Keeping a Disorderly House in Civil War Kentucky.”
  • Robert Harms (Henry J. Heinz Professor of History), and co-author Yair Listokin (Yale Law School) have been awarded book prizes by the MacMillan Center
  • Gregory Huber (Forst Family Professor of Political Science, Professor in the Institution for Social and Policy Studies, and Chair, Political Science) along with co-authors Dan Hopkins and Seth Hill, has been selected as co-winner of the 2020 APSA Migration and Citizenship Best Article Prize for their article “Local Demographic Changes and US Presidential Voting, 2012-2016.” 
  • Anurag Khandelwal’s (Assistant Professor, Computer Science) paper on “Pancake: Frequency Smoothing for Encrypted Data Stores” won the Distinguished Paper Award at the 29th USENIX Security Symposium in July 2020.  
  • Megan King (Associate Professor of Cell Biology and of Molecular, Cellular and Development Biology) and Simon Mochrie (Professor of Physics and of Applied Physics) were named Allen Distinguished Investigators
  • Smita Krishnaswamy (Associate Professor of Genetics and of Computer Science) and graduate student Alex Tong (Computer Science) won the best paper award for their paper on “Fixing bias in reconstruction-based anomaly detection with Lipschitz discriminators” at the IEEE Machine Learning for Signal Processing conference.
  • Albert Laguna (Associate Professor of Ethnicity, Race, & Migration and of American Studies) is the recipient of the 2020 Latin American Research Review-Pitt Best Article Award for his article “Before the Thaw: The Transnational Routes of Cuban Popular Culture.” 
  • Isabela Mares (Arnold Wolfers Professor of Political Science) has received several publications awards, including the William H. Riker Award for “Conditionality and Coercion: Electoral Clientelism in Eastern Europe,” with co-author Lauren Young; and, with co-author Ahmed Ezzeldin Mohamed two APSA awards: the European Politics and Society Section’s best paper prize and the Politics and History best paper award for paper “From Religious Violence to Political Compromise: The Historical Origins of Institutional Trust?”  
  • Daniel Mattingly’s (Assistant Professor of Political Science) book The Art of Political Control in China has been selected as one of the Best Books of 2020 by Foreign Affairs. 
  • Milan Svolik (Professor of Political Science) and graduate student Matthew Graham (Political Science) won the APSA Democracy and Autocracy sections’ Best Paper Award for “Democracy in America? Partisanship, Polarization, and the Robustness of Support for Democracy in the United States.”  
  • Alyson Waters (Managing Editor Yale French Studies, Lecturer of French) won the French-American Foundation Fiction Prize for her translation of “A King Alone” by Jean Giono. 

FAS faculty have been recognized as scholarly leaders through their election to a number of distinguished bodies: 

  • Joan Feigenbaum (Grace Murray Hopper Professor of Computer Science and Professor of Economics) has been elected to a two-year term as Vice-President of the Association for Computing Machinery.  
  • Joanne Freeman (Class of 1954 Professor of American History and of American Studies) has been elected president of the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic.  
  • Steve Girvin (Eugene Higgins Professor of Physics) will serve as Director of the Co-design Center for Quantum Advantage
  • Angelica Gonzalez (Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering) and Themis Kyriakides (Associate Professor of Pathology and of Biomedical Engineering) have been elected as fellows of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering. 
  • Karsten Heeger (Professor and Chair of Physics) has been chosen as the next co-Chair of the Coordinating Panel for Advanced Detectors (CPAD) of the Division of Particles and Fields (DPF) of the American Physical Society (APS), along with Petra Merkel from Fermilab. 
  • Avram Holmes (Associate Professor of Psychology) has been named a Fellow of the Association of Psychological Science.  
  • Rebecca Kramer-Bottiglio (John J. Lee Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering and Materials Science) was appointed to the Technology, Innovation and Engineering Committee of the NASA Advisory Council.
  • Shelly Lesher (Presidential Visiting Fellow, Physics) has been elected as a 2020 Fellow of the American Physical Society.
  • Reina Maruyama (Associate Professor of Physics and of Astronomy) was elected as a 2020 Fellow of the American Physical Society
  • Robert Schoelkopf (Sterling Professor of Applied Physics and Professor of Physics) was appointed as a member of the National Quantum Initiative Advisory Committee by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and the U.S. Department of Energy. 
  • Hong Tang (Llewellyn West Jones, Jr. Professor of Electrical Engineering and Professor of Physics) has been named a Fellow of Optical Society of America and received a Facebook Faculty Award. 

Finally, congratulations to the recipients of the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences’ Graduate Mentor Awards: Joanne Meyerowitz, Arthur Unobskey Professor of History and Professor of American Studies, winner in humanities; Pieter van Dokkum, Sol Goldman Family Professor of Astronomy and Professor of Physics, awardee for the sciences; and, from the School of Management, Michael Kraus, Assistant Professor of Organizational Behavior, winner of the social science award. 

Staff achievements 

FAS staff play an essential role in sustaining our community. This is perennially true, but their contributions were even more notable during this extraordinary year.  

I offer thanks and congratulations to those staff who received recognition for service milestones in 2020-21. In addition, special congratulations to those FAS staff who have received awards and recognition for their work within and beyond the university: 

  • Kristal Augustine, Financial Assistant in Psychology, was a recipient of a 2020 Yale University Women’s Organization Scholarship, which will help fund her Bachelor’s Degree in organizational psychology at Albertus Magnus College. 
  • Ann DeLauro, Administrative Coordinator and Registrar in the Department of Italian Studies, received the Community Catalyst award from the Working Women’s Network, recognizing her leadership and community engagement at Yale. 
  • Vanessa M. Epps, Assistant to the Chair in the Department of African American Studies received the Linda K. Lorimer Award for Distinguished Service, recognizing, in particular, her extraordinary efforts to foster an inclusive environment in her department. 

There is still much uncertainty ahead of us in the new year, but I am heartened to face that uncertainty as a member of this brilliant community. Congratulations to all, and thank you for all that you do for your colleagues, your students, for the FAS, and for Yale. 

With warmest wishes to you and your families for the new year, 


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