Around Campus

Anthropology professor Sarah Lamb named a 2019 Andrew Carnegie FellowPosted: April 23, 2019
Professor of Anthropology Sarah lamb, seated wearing glasses and gray checked blazerPhoto/Mike Lovett

Sarah Lamb

Professor of Anthropology Sarah Lamb, a cultural anthropologist who focuses on aging and gender, has been named a 2019 Andrew Carnegie Fellow. Lamb is the first Brandeis faculty member to receive a so-called “Brainy Award” from the program, in which scholars receive a $200,000 grant to devote time to research, writing and publishing in the humanities and social sciences.

The program has provided $32 million in grants to more than 160 fellows since 2015. Its overall objective is to offer fresh perspectives on the humanities and solutions to the urgent issues of today. Lamb was one of 32 fellows selected from more than 300 applicants nominated by their university presidents.

Lamb’s recent research has focused on perspectives of “successful aging,” the concept that individuals can postpone or even eliminate the negatives of old age by medical intervention and individual effort. She will use the grant to expand the cultural reach of her studies, adding more diverse populations in the U.S. and expanding her international research from India, where she has already engaged in research, to China. The research will be conducted over a two year period, and Lamb intends to publish her findings in a book.

“How societies construct aging culturally, legally, medically, and institutionally is a pressing global issue of human existence and human rights,” Lamb said. “By bringing together diverse perspectives, my aim is to illuminate taken-for-granted assumptions, helping people envision other, more humane possibilities for making lives meaningful in older age, and diminish social inequalities tied to current successful aging visions.”

A distinguished panel of 16 jurors chose the fellows based on the quality, originality, and potential impact of their proposals, as well as each scholar’s capacity to communicate the findings to a broad audience. The jurors are all scholars and intellectual leaders from some of the world’s leading educational institutions, foundations, and scholarly societies, and six are either current or former university presidents.

“Professor Lamb perfectly embodies anthropology’s mission to make the strange familiar and the familiar strange, in order to help us out of the cultural boxes in which we live — and age,” said Brandeis University Provost Lisa M. Lynch. “Her research will continue to provide us with a better understanding of how elders in diverse social circumstances and cultural contexts relate to the prevailing ideas of so-called successful aging.”
Brandeis students receive competitive study abroad scholarshipPosted: April 16, 2019
Out of an applicant pool of over 2,300 applicants, two Brandeis students have been selected as recipients of the Fund for Education Abroad (FEA) scholarship. This prestigious and competitive scholarship aims to increase access to study abroad for underrepresented students. This year, Brandeis University celebrates the accomplishment and selection of two students as FEA scholars, Jaila Allen ’21 and Arlenne Serna ’21.

Jaila Allen ’21 is a Health: Science, Society, and Policy, and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality studies major from Atlanta, Georgia. Jaila is studying abroad this fall 2019 semester in Copenhagen, Denmark. She received the FEA DIS study abroad scholarship for students studying abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark through the DIS program. Jaila’s top three goals for study abroad are: To learn about Denmark’s outlook on LGBTQ+ people and their healthcare system; To learn how to cook at least five Danish dishes; To build lasting relationships with both her host family and other DIS students.

Arlenne Serna ’21, is a Sociology, Education Studies, and International and Global Studies major from San Antonio, Texas. Arlenne is studying abroad this fall 2019 semester in Seoul, South Korea. She is a recipient of the Malú Alvarez Global Access Scholarship through FEA. Three of Arlenne’s goals for her semester is abroad are to visit historical places, learn to dance K-pop, and to try a lot of different Korean foods.

The Office of Study Abroad at Brandeis aims to make study abroad accessible for all students and provides help and resources for students in apply for the Fund for Education Abroad scholarship, as well as other scholarship opportunities.
Congressman Joe Kennedy III visits BrandeisPosted: April 15, 2019
Yehudah Mirsky and Representative Joe KennedyPhoto/Tarah Llewelyn

Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III (right) with professor Yehudah Mirsky

Massachusetts Congressman Joe Kennedy III visited Brandeis University on April 12 to discuss American politics and the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Kennedy, who has represented Massachusetts’ fourth congressional district since 2013, accepted an invitation to campus from the Brandeis Israel Public Affairs Committee (BIPAC).

In an hour-long discussion with near eastern and Judaic studies professor Yehudah Mirsky, who also previously served in the state department under President Bill Clinton, Kennedy stressed that the United States’ strong ties to the State of Israel will always out-weigh any policy disagreements that may arise between leaders in both countries.

He also discussed the Iran deal, Boycott, Divest, Sanctions (BDS), working with the Trump administration, and the Democratic Party's tactics heading into the 2020 campaigns.

Shai Feldman, director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies and Brandeis professor of Politics, named president of Sapir CollegePosted: April 12, 2019
Shai Feldman, the founding director of Brandeis University’s Crown Center for Middle East Studies and professor of politics, has been named the next president of Sapir College, near Sderot, Israel. Effective September 1, 2019, Feldman will take a leave from Brandeis University and the Crown Center to assume this exciting and challenging role.

Feldman has served as director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies since its inception in 2005. Succeeding him will be Gary Samore, the Crown Center’s current senior executive director and the former executive director of Harvard University’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Samore will become the Center’s next Crown Family Director effective September 1, and continue to serve and teach as professor of the practice of Politics at Brandeis University.

In addition, Naghmeh Sohrabi, the Charles (Corky) Goodman Professor of Middle East History and current associate director for research at the Crown Center, has been promoted to the new position of director for research at the Crown Center.

“While I will miss Shai’s engagement with our campus community and his leadership of the Crown Center, I am thrilled for these new opportunities for him. I look forward to working with Gary and Naghmeh as they advance the important work of the Crown Center,” said Brandeis University Provost Lisa M. Lynch.

“The Crown Center is known for its superb scholarship and commitment to recruit and encourage young academics studying the Middle East. As the new director of the Crown Center, I'm honored to have an opportunity to contribute to the critical mission of the center and build on its outstanding record of achievements." Samore said.

Naghmeh Sohrabi added, “I’m confident that the Crown Center's new leadership team will build on the excellence that under Shai's leadership has made us a premier Middle East research center.”

“I am very proud to have played a role in the Crown Center’s amazing development over the past 14 years from an embryo to a center of excellence, producing high-quality, policy-relevant research and analyses as well as balanced and dispassionate scholarship that meets the highest academic standards,” said Feldman. “I am also delighted to be leaving the center in the very able hands of Gary and Naghmeh, who I know will take it to new heights.”

Lester Crown, whose foundational gift launched the center, said, “Over 14 years, Shai Feldman has done the improbable – He has taken an idea and created a world-class center for Middle East studies by gathering together some of the most respected and knowledgeable experts from all areas of the region — Palestinian, Iranian, Egyptian and Israeli — and brought them together to produce and teach accurate, unbiased and balanced analyses and evaluations of the Middle East. As Shai leaves to lead Sapir College, we are exceptionally fortunate to have a superb international expert, Gary Samore, to succeed Shai.”

“I want to thank Shai Feldman for his extraordinary work in getting the Crown Center off the ground and developing it as one of the major centers of the study of the Middle East,” said Henry Bienen, Chairman of the Crown Center’s advisory board. “I look forward to working with Gary Samore, an eminent scholar and practitioner of international relations, security studies, and U.S. foreign policy.”
Exploring Israeli innovation ‘from all angles’Posted: April 3, 2019
left to right: Provost Lisa M. Lynch, former Israel Central Bank president Karnit Flug, and (with microphone) Gideon Argov, general partner at New Era Capital Partners seated in front of a Brandeis University banner

Brandeis Provost Lisa Lynch (left) moderates the Ilan Troen Lecture on Contemporary Israel Affairs featuring Karnit Flug, past governor of the Bank of Israel, and Gideon Argov, general partner at New Era Capital Partners.

The U.S. and Israeli economies share an “entrepreneurial spirit and willingness to take risks” that has led to flourishing technology sectors in both countries, former Bank of Israel governor Karnit Flug told a crowd of experts and academics gathered Sunday at Brandeis University for the Innovation in Israel: Economy and Society conference.

Flug, who served as the first female governor of Israel’s central bank from 2013 to 2018, said three factors are largely behind the country’s high-tech success to date: investments in education, effective bridge-building between universities and commercial enterprises — which helps get breakthrough innovations to market quickly — and the maturation of Israel’s venture capital industry.

But Flug cautioned it will take further investment in “human capital” before the economic benefits of the innovation boom are felt beyond just a select pocket of Israeli society.

“The main issue is education, from the very early start all the way up to adulthood, and vocational training,” said Flug. “The education system doesn't provide enough people with the right skills. … This is the area where we must invest much more.”

The two-day Innovation in Israel conference, which concluded Monday, served as a forum to explore the roots, future direction and societal impact of Israel's innovation economy. The event was sponsored by the Asper Center for Global Entrepreneurship at Brandeis International Business School and Schusterman Center for Israel Studies.

“We’re going to be debating innovation in Israel from all angles — what works, what doesn’t work and the implications for the future,” said Brandeis Provost Lisa Lynch, who moderated Sunday’s discussion with Flug and Gideon Argov of New Era Capital Partners, a venture capital investment firm with offices in Boston and Tel Aviv.

On Monday conference attendees engaged in in-depth lectures and panel discussions about Israel’s status as “startup nation,” a moniker frequently used to describe the country’s thriving innovation sector. Participants included Erran Carmel of the Kogod School of Business at American University; Shayna Weiss of the Schusterman Center; Aziz Kaddan, CEO and co-founder of Myndlift; Ilan Troen of Ben-Gurion University; Yehudah Mirsky of Brandeis; Jacob Cohen of MIT’s Sloan School of Management; Shana Krakowski of Tel Aviv Yafo municipality; and Ohad Elhelo '16, MA '17, founder of Our Generation Speaks (OGS).

Also Monday, Elhelo received the Brandeis Alumni Entrepreneurship Award for his work at OGS, a fellowship program and incubator for emerging Israeli and Palestinian leaders hosted at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. The honor, which was presented by Brandeis IBS Dean Kathryn Graddy, is given annually to a Brandeis alumnus that best exemplifies an entrepreneurial spirit and independent thinking.

“What started out as an idea Ohad conceived during his years as a Brandeis undergraduate has blossomed into a thriving organization promoting positive social change,” said Graddy. “Ohad, we are so proud that you are a part of our Brandeis family. And we are thrilled to give you this award today in recognition of everything you do to uphold the values on which our university was founded.”
Hiatt Career Center recognized for service to international studentsPosted: March 28, 2019

The Hiatt Career Center received the 2019 Service to International Students award from the National Career Development Association.

Hiatt won the award thanks to its efforts in delivering data-driven and evidence-based best practices for international students, engaging campus partners to develop institutional support, and leveraging technology.

The award recognizes a university career services center that has made an active commitment to partnering with and supporting the career development of international students.

“On behalf the Hiatt Career Center team and with gratitude to our partners, I am proud to receive the 2019 Service to International Students award," Hiatt Career Center executive director Andrea Dine said. "It is rewarding for our entire staff to be recognized nationally for its work in engaging and supporting students."

Here are some of the additional reasons the Hiatt Career Center was recognized:

  • Hiatt created a new, full-time staff position providing support for international students.

  • Hiatt actively partnering with more than 20 campus offices supporting international students 

  • Hiatt established a WeChat social media account that has engaged over 350 unique users since Fall 2017 

  • Hiatt created and delivered international student specific workshops

  • It engaged 58 percent of all undergraduate international students in Fall 2018 alone through appointments, workshops, and events

  • It developed international employer partners for educational and recruiting events, including a Career Opportunities in Asia Fair & Forum in 2018 and an International Student Career Fair in 2019
Provost Lisa Lynch named one of the top 35 women in higher educationPosted: March 26, 2019
Lisa LynchPhoto/Brandeis Communications

Brandeis University Provost Lisa Lynch

Brandeis University Provost Lisa Lynch was selected as one of the top 35 women in higher education in Diverse: Issues In Higher Education’s eighth annual special report recognizing the contributions of women to higher education. 

Diverse’s staff compiled the list in honor of the publication’s 35th anniversary and in celebration of Women’s History Month.

As provost, Lynch oversees, coordinates and promotes the university's educational activities, student life and research initiatives, seeking to catalyze growth while maintaining excellence. Lynch also plays a key role in institutional strategy and planning as well as advancing diversity, equity and inclusion at Brandeis.

Lynch, the former dean of the Heller School for Social Policy and Management, is an internationally-recognized economist and the Maurice B. Hexter Professor of Social and Economic Policy as well as the executive vice president of academic affairs.

Brandeis University announced as a Gilman top producing institutionPosted: March 21, 2019

For the second year in a row, Brandeis University has been recognized for its success in making international study and internships more accessible and inclusive for students of all backgrounds through the Gilman Scholarship Program. For 2017-2018, Brandeis University ranked 2ndoverall among small colleges and universities (under 5,000 students) in producing Gilman Scholars. In 2016, 2017, Brandeis ranked 4thoverall in the number of Gilman Scholars for small colleges and universities.

Overseen by the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs in the U.S. Department of State, the Gilman Scholarship program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad. The program offers undergraduate recipients awards of up to $5,000. Over the past five academic years, 65 students have been awarded $235,000 in scholarships through the Gilman Scholarship program. The Office of Study Abroad at Brandeis helps facilitate students in applying for Gilman Scholarships and fulfilling their study abroad experience.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program, with the support of the U.S. Congress, is reshaping study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students.  The Gilman Program broadens the U.S. student population studying and interning abroad by providing scholarships to outstanding undergraduates who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate.  Since the program’s establishment in 2001, over 1,300 U.S. institutions have sent more than 28,000 Gilman scholars to nearly 150 countries around the globe.

Brandeis to offer first of its kind precollege program in LGBTQIA+ scholarship and activismPosted: March 13, 2019

WALTHAM (March 13) — Brandeis University Precollege Programs is launching a new program this summer to provide LGBTQIA+ high school students with an academic and historic perspective to support them in their development as leaders and scholars.

The Queer Academics and Activism program (QAA), which will be held on the Brandeis campus from June 23 through June 28, will enable high school youth to grapple with issues that are urgent and relevant to the LGBTQIA+ community. This six-day residential seminar will offer high school students a thought-provoking examination of the American queer experience. While other queer youth programs provide a focus on identity formation and social development, the Queer Academics and Activism program will help LGBTQIA+ youth and their allies to apply a scholarly lens to better know their community’s histories and consider their own futures.

“Many of today’s LGBTQIA+ high school students and their allies have come of age as activists, working together in innovative ways to create new networks and advance LGBTQIA+ rights,” said Wendy Cadge, professor of sociology and women's, gender and sexuality studies at Brandeis and lead collaborator with the precollege programs office in developing the QAA program. “This is the first precollege program that provides high school students with a foundation in LGBTQIA+ history, sociology and other disciplines. The Queer Academics and Activism program will enable students to examine activism and scholarship together in a way that provides them with an intellectual foundation for their current and future work.”

The seminar is designed to create enduring networks along with memorable, lasting friendships. As with other internationally-recognized Brandeis pre-college programs in leadership, the arts, computer science, and medicine, students will benefit from keynote speakers, small-group faculty lectures, case studies, field trips and other experiential learning opportunities.

“We know that young people often do not have the opportunity to learn about queer people, queer history, or queer cultures in traditional high school environments. This program will allow young people to explore these topics, as well as to meet other young people with similar interests,” said QAA advisory board member C. J. Pascoe, associate professor of sociology at the University of Oregon.

Candidates will be selected by their demonstrated commitment to and interest in queer issues and academic achievement. Teachers, guidance counselors, and youth group leaders are also encouraged to nominate students who they believe will benefit from the QAA program.

“Brandeis precollege programs are thoughtfully designed to offer talented young people the opportunity to experience the university environment and pursue their passions,” said Sue Marsh, executive director of Brandeis precollege programs. “The Queer Academics and Activism program expands our portfolio of high-quality programs to help high school students prepare for college.”

Introducing SciLinkR.comPosted: March 12, 2019
Image of SciLinkR.com

Suppose you’re a teacher looking for a scientist to speak to your class. Where would you go to find one?

Suppose you’re a scientist with a grant that requires you to publicize your research. How would you find an outlet, such as a museum or library, where you could deliver a lecture series?

Suppose you’re a journalist who wants to find an expert on genetics. You could do a Google search, but then how would you choose from among all your options?

The answer to all of these questions is SciLinkR.com. A new national online platform launching on March 14, SciLinkR aims to be a meeting place for professionals interested in promoting and publicizing science. It will also enable users to document their outreach efforts.

While there are ways for these individuals to connect now, doing so can be burdensome and inconvenient. SciLinkR provides one central place for scientists, educators and science communicators to come together, creating new partnerships and enhancing the outreach already being done.

“The overall objective is to create networks of individuals committed to educating the public about science,” says Anique Olivier-Mason, who spearheaded the project.

SciLinkR will also emphasize connecting scientists with members of underrepresented groups in STEM fields, science, technology, engineering and math. This will be achieved by promoting the site with educators in underserved districts, who through participation in SciLinkR, can help their students become more aware, engaged and ready for professional preparation in those fields.

Olivier-Mason worked to develop SciLinkR with professors at Brandeis and Hampton University, a historically black university in Hampton, Virginia. Their work was funded by a grant from the National Science Foundation.

Olivier-Mason, the director of Education, Outreach and Diversity of the Brandeis Materials Research Science and Engineering Center (MRSEC), describes SciLinkR as “OkCupid meets LinkedIn for science.”

The OkCupid part will enable scientists, engineers, educators, librarians and science communicators to post profiles with information about their expertise, personal biography and location.

They can also indicate what they are looking for — for example, whether they want a cell biologist to talk to their kindergarten class or an aerospace engineer to speak at a planetarium.

The LinkedIn part will provide a way for users to network with collaborators in their area. Like LinkedIn, the site will recommend new contacts for users based on shared professional interests.

Meanwhile, scientists can input documentation of their outreach activities to the public.
The reports they file will be assigned a Digital Object Identifier, a string of numbers that permanently identifies a document and links to it on the web, so they can be shared and referenced by others. This will also ensure that scientists receive credit through documentation for what they’ve done.

“Currently, reports on public outreach are buried inside other reports that researchers make to grant agencies,” Olivier-Mason says. “SciLinkR’s outreach reports will greatly broaden their impact and make sure this important work gets seen and promoted.”

Finally, SciLinkR.com will allow users to upload public presentations they’ve given so others can use them as well. This site feature will promote best practices by letting researchers reuse or adapt materials and approaches that have worked for others.

Right now, Olivier-Mason says, scientists “often reinvent the wheel” even though other researchers have likely given similar talks in the past.

SciLinkR is free for users and hopes to quickly build a national presence. By 2020, project organizers expect to have more than a thousand users.