Mary Grant, Ph.D.’00, the president of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, received the Massachusetts National Network of Women’s Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Council on Education (ACE) in recognition of her leadership and promotion of women in the field of higher education. “Over her lifetime of working in higher education, Mary has been an exemplary role model and advocate for women in all stages of their career in higher education,” says Denise Hammon, state chairwoman of ACE. “She’s a tireless and dedicated person who gives so much of herself. She has all the attributes of a great leader.” Dong Zhang, Ph.D.’01, is an assistant professor at the Sanford School of Medicine at the University of South Dakota. Scott Lasensky, Ph.D.’01, is a senior research associate at the Center for Conflict Analysis and Prevention at the U.S. Institute of Peace in Washington, D.C. Along with co-author Daniel Kurtzer, he wrote “Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle East.” He is also an assistant visiting professor of Israel studies at the University of Maryland. Sonia Saltzman, M.A.’02, was named rabbi at Brookline’s Ohabei Shalom — the oldest Jewish congregation in Massachusetts. She had served as leader of the 60-family Shaarei Shalom in Ashland, Mass., which is about one-fifth the size of Ohabei Shalom. A native of Chile, Sonia raised two sons and had a career in microfinance before entering rabbinical school at Hebrew College. Says Sonia, “The community has this beautiful building, but the reality today is the size of the community is not what it used to be. That is the challenge. How do you honor the history and respond to the challenges?”

Marianna Bassham, M.F.A.’02, starred in “Matt & Ben,” a fictional look at Matt Damon and Ben Affleck on the brink of stardom trying to adapt “Catcher in the Rye” for film. The play was performed at the Central Square Theater, not far from where Damon and Affleck grew up in Cambridge, Mass. Sara Libby Robinson, M.A.’02, Ph.D.’08, writes in to say that her first book (based on her dissertation) was just published: “Blood Will Tell: Vampires as Political Metaphors Before World War I.” Ryan Jones, M.F.A.’02, Ph.D.’05, is an assistant professor of music at the University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, where he teaches courses in music history and theory. Before joining the UW–Eau Claire faculty, he taught at Brandeis, the Walnut Hill School and Gettysburg College. Ryan’s areas of musicological interest range from symphonic and operatic histories to American art music, jazz and rock. Melissa Bass, Ph.D.’04, is an assistant professor in the Department of Public Policy Leadership at the University of Mississippi. Emily Bernhard Jackson, Ph.D.’05, is an assistant professor of 19th-century British literature at the University of Arkansas. Liliokanaio Peaslee, M.A.’05, Ph.D.’08, is an assistant professor of public policy at James Madison University. Dartmouth biochemist James Moseley, Ph.D.’06, was one of 22 individuals selected by the Pew Charitable Trusts as Pew Scholars in the biomedical sciences, recognizing him as one of the country’s most promising scientists. The program encourages early-career scientists to advance research that leads to important medical breakthroughs and treatments. With his $240,000 award from Pew, the assistant professor of biochemistry at Dartmouth Medical School plans to spend the next four years exploring how cells use information about their size and shape to determine when to reproduce. John Aylward, M.F.A.’06, Ph.D.’08, assistant professor of music at Clark University in Worcester, Mass., received a Goddard Lieberson Fellowship. The $15,000 award is presented annually by the American Academy of Arts and Letters to midcareer composers of exceptional talent. In his compositions, Aylward uses experimental harmonic and textural concepts while not sacrificing rigorous technique, lyricism or rhythmic vitality. His debut album, featuring conductor Matthias Pintscher and soprano Jo Ellen Miller, was released in the spring. Behzad Dayanim, M.A./M.B.A.’06, was named the head of school at the nine-year-old MetroWest Jewish Day School (MWJDS) in Framingham, Mass. He had led the Solomon Schechter Day School of Greater Hartford in Connecticut. Behzad worked as creative arts director at MWJDS when it opened. The Boston Globe profiled Sam Sisakhti, M.A.’07, who created UsTrendy in 2008 to offer budding fashion designers an opportunity to sell their clothes to a worldwide audience. The site features 7,000 clothing lines and designers from more than 100 countries. He told the newspaper that he resigned from his job in corporate finance after four days to start the business. Julie Agris, Ph.D.’08, was named director of the Master of Health Administration Program at Hofstra University and will become a full-time faculty member in the Department of Health Professions and Kinesiology. Julie had been serving as corporate compliance director and privacy officer at North Shore–LIJ Health System, an adjunct professor at Hofstra, and a faculty member of the Hofstra North Shore–LIJ School of Medicine. Composer Richard Beaudoin, Ph.D.’08, was appointed preceptor in music at Harvard University. For the past three years, Richard served as a lecturer at Harvard. Students selected him as one of 10 Harvard professors to present brief talks at the “Harvard Thinks Big 2” symposium. Richard spoke about musical time, urging students to stop and listen to the songs. As music artistic director of Yishu-8 Art Space, composer Jeff Roberts, Ph.D.’08, founded and oversaw the first Music Beyond the Moongate International Chamber Music Festival in China in March 2010. The goal of the festival, in partnership with the Beijing Central Conservatory of Music, was to stimulate the city’s fledgling new-music scene by circulating new-music ensembles from throughout the world through Beijing. Jeff also worked as director of music ethnography for the Beijing Center for Chinese Studies’ excursions to remote parts of China, including Tibet, Xinjiang, Yunnan and Sichuan. He is a visiting professor at Williams College during this academic year. Elizabeth Paulhus, M.P.P.’10, is a policy analyst at the West Virginia Center on Budget and Policy. Prior to joining the center, she received a Fulbright research grant to study Germany’s immigration law and its impact on refugees and asylum seekers. John Jesse Hinson, M.F.A.’11, played the prince in the fairy tale “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” at the Berkshire Theatre Festival. Eric Hill, the Louis, Frances and Jeffrey Sachar Professor of Creative Arts at Brandeis, was the show’s co-director.
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