Newsmakers

Eve Marder ’69 has received the prestigious Kavli Prize. The Victor and Gwendolyn Beinfield Professor of Neuroscience at Brandeis shared the Kavli for neuroscience with two other researchers, for their individual lines of work in decoding how experience and neural activity remodel brain function. The trio splits $1 million in prize money. Marder’s research on small neural circuits found in lobsters and crabs has revolutionized scientists’ understanding of the fundamental nature of neuronal circuit operation.

David Rakowski, the Walter W. Naumberg Professor of Composition, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Letters — one of the highest recognitions of artistic merit in the U.S. — for his contributions to music composition. A two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, Rakowski is perhaps best known for his 100 high-energy piano études. He is one of three academy members who hail from Brandeis; the others are professor emeritus of music Martin Boykan and professor emeritus of composition Yehudi Wyner, who also serves as the academy’s president.

Susan S. Lanser, professor of comparative literature; English; and women’s, gender and sexuality studies, has received the American Historical Association’s Joan Kelly Memorial Prize for her book “The Sexuality of History: Modernity and the Sapphic, 1565-1830,” published by the University of Chicago Press. The prize is awarded annually for the women’s history or feminist theory book that best reflects the ideals exemplified by Joan Kelly, a pioneering feminist historian.

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has established the Diversity, Excellence and Inclusion Scholarship (DEIS) for students often overlooked in traditional admissions processes. In its inaugural year, the scholarship will provide five students admitted to master’s programs in the humanities, social sciences and arts with full-tuition credit, a $10,000 annual stipend and extra programmatic support. The program seeks to help students transition into elite doctoral programs at Brandeis, and beyond. The first DEIS scholars arrive on campus in August.

Jonathan D. Sarna ’75, MA’75, the Joseph H. and Belle R. Braun Professor of American Jewish History, has been named a University Professor. The title, the highest designation accorded to faculty at Brandeis, is reserved for those who have achieved exceptional scholarly or professional distinction, whose work cuts across traditional disciplinary boundaries, and whose appointment elevates the university’s reputation and prestige. Sarna joined the Brandeis faculty in 1990.

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