Of Note

Ilan Troen receives the Association for Israel Studies Lifetime Achievement AwardPosted: May 24, 2023

Ilan Troen, the Karl, Harry and Helen Stoll Professor of Israel Studies emeritus, is the co-recipient of the 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association for Israel Studies. The two winners will each receive a prize of $7,000.

The Association for Israel Studies is an international scholarly society devoted to the academic and professional study of Israel. The Association's membership is composed of scholars from all disciplines in the social sciences and many in the humanities.

The AIS Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes a senior scholar in any field of Israel Studies whose lasting and path-breaking contributions have significantly shaped the field.

Troen founded the book series, “Perspectives on Israel Studies.” The series, published by the Indiana University press, is composed of 17 books. Troen has served as an active member of the Association for Israel Studies for over two decades and served as the president between 2015 and 2017.

Troen received his bachelor's degree from Brandeis in 1963 before going on to earn his master’s degree and PhD in history at the University of Chicago. From there he served on the faculty  of the University of Missouri, Princeton and Oxford before becoming the founding Dean of Humanities and Social Sciences at Ben-Gurion of the Negev.

He returned to Brandeis in 1975 to undertake the first Chair in Israel Studies established outside Israel. Troen was also the founding director of the Schusterman Center for Israel Studies, a catalyst for spreading a new field in the academy across the world, from China through Europe and the Americas.

As an emeritus professor, he is focused on developing courses in Israel Studies, from undergraduate to graduate level, to expand teaching of faculty across the country.

Share your graduation news with local mediaPosted: May 18, 2023

Many local news outlets share graduation news about current or former residents. If you would like to share an announcement about your (or your child's) graduation, below is a template you can follow that will work for many news organizations. Some outlets allow you to include a photo - if you do, be sure to identify the graduate and any family members who may be in the photo.




[TOWN/CITY] resident graduates from Brandeis University

WALTHAM, Mass.—[STUDENT FIRST NAME LAST NAME] of [TOWN/CITY] graduated from Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass on Sunday, May 21.




About Brandeis University

Brandeis University was founded in 1948 by the American Jewish community at a time when Jews and other marginalized groups faced discrimination in higher education. Today, Brandeis is a leading research university for anyone, regardless of background, who wants to use their knowledge, skills and experience to improve the world. Nearly 6,000 Brandeis students and 550 faculty members collaborate across disciplines, interests and perspectives on scholarship that has a positive impact throughout society. Learn more at brandeis.edu.

Brandeis welcomes new class of Stroum Family ScholarsPosted: May 15, 2023
Photo/Gaelen Morse

Stroum Scholars Aishwarya Ramesh, Sarah Lozano, and Neha Edison speak with Brandeis President Ron Liebowitz.

Brandeis leaders joined with Waltham city officials to celebrate the latest class of Stroum Family Waltham Scholars at a breakfast on campus on May 11.

The scholarship is named for Samuel N. Stroum, a Waltham High School graduate, businessman and philanthropist. He created the scholarship in 1996 with his wife, Althea, to provide tuition for the top Waltham High School seniors who are accepted to Brandeis. So far the scholarship has provided full tuition to Brandeis for more than 100 students from Waltham High School. This year’s winners were Neha Edison, Dulce Maria Gonzalez Barrera, Sarah Lozano, and Aishwarya Ramesh.

“Their many impressive achievements demonstrate just how much they will add to our campus over the next four years,” said President Ron Liebowitz. “We are delighted that they will be coming to Brandeis.”

After detailing some of the accomplishments each of the scholars achieved while in high school, Liebowitz introduced Sonya Alam ’23, a Stroum Scholar and double major in biology and psychology who plans to pursue a career in medicine. 

“I took classes that made me fall in love with the complexities of the human body and human behavior,” she said.

She recalled her excitement and nervousness when she attended the breakfast as a high school senior in the fall of 2019. The following spring, just as she felt she was settling in at Brandeis, her classes, extracurriculars and social life were upended by the onset of COVID-19.

While the switch to remote learning was difficult, Alam said she found her connections to friends, classmates, and professors deepened in spite of distance.

“Brandeis continued to uphold an extremely supportive environment, providing students with as much assistance as possible,” she recalled. “I felt like Brandeis had my back, and still believed in my success.”

“I want to remind you that you are not alone. Everyone is here on this journey with you,” Alam said. “Brandeis and this scholarship are the keys to your ever-flowing journey of growth and self-discovery.” 

The scholars also heard from Waltham Mayor Jeannette McCarthy. 

“You will never, ever regret the opportunity you are being provided,” McCarthy said. “This opportunity will open tremendous doors for you, not only in the city of Waltham, but in the entire world.”

10 selected for Giumette Academic Achievement AwardsPosted: May 9, 2023
Giumette award winners

Each spring, a group of outstanding sophomores is selected for the Giumette Academic Achievement Award, which provides $5,000 each semester for their remaining two years at Brandeis.

The award recognizes students who have distinguished themselves and made a significant contribution to the community during their first two years at Brandeis. It was established in 2004 as the Brandeis Academic Achievement Award and was renamed in 2015 in honor of Peter Giumette P '03, who served as the dean of student financial services for over 20 years with a commitment to increasing access to educational opportunities for all students, especially first-generation and low-income students. The award recognizes outstanding scholarship and academic achievement as evidenced by grades, faculty recommendations, and personal accomplishment. 

The following 10 students have been selected as Giumette Academic Achievement Award recipients this year:

Leah Breakstone is majoring in American studies and minoring in journalism. She devotes much of her time to the student newspaper, The Justice, as a news editor and was recently selected to serve as a deputy editor beginning later this spring. Her interest in journalism stems from a desire to help reveal the threads of humanity that connect people and to amplify others’ voices. She is particularly passionate about investigative and feature journalism, which she has been able to put to practice through her work at The Justice and in her classes doing various storytelling projects including composing a podcast episode about the history of the Usen Castle. Last semester in JOUR 112B -- “Social Journalism: The Art of Engaging Audiences,” she created an Instagram account called “Brandeis Then and Now.” The goal of the account was to foster an intergenerational Brandeis community of current students and alumni by posting alumni anecdotes and photos, historical facts, and stories about the University with the help of the Robert D. Farber University Archives and the president of the Alumni Association. Additionally, Breakstone is active in the Jewish community on campus and is vice-president of Masorti. Outside of academics, she enjoys participating in the running club, yoga, and cooking for her friends.

Samuel Diaz is a current Posse scholar on the pre-med track, majoring in neuroscience with a minor in studio art. He is a Venezuelan immigrant in the United States since 2019, and has always had an interest in medicine as a career. Having found great opportunities in the arts here at Brandeis, Diaz has acquired an interest in exploring the relationship between art and wellness. He has joined Waltham’s art therapy center ArtRelief as a volunteer, where he has had the opportunity to work with children and preteens as they create art projects. Diaz has also joined the editorial team for Rise, a literary magazine celebrating the art of BIPOC communities at Brandeis. During the summer, he will intern at the University of Chicago Diversity in Cancer Research program. There, Diaz hopes to not only acquire laboratory and medical experience, but also work on creative projects portraying the experiences of cancer patients. 

Mandy Feuerman is double majoring in politics and English. She is from South Florida and intends to pursue a career in public policy when she graduates. As a research assistant and teaching assistant for professor Jytte Klausen’s Western Extremism Project, Feuerman studies terrorism in the Western Hemisphere. In addition, she studies campaign finance as a research assistant for professor Zachary Albert. Feuerman enjoys teaching English classes to immigrants in the Waltham area as a volunteer with the Waltham Group’s Language Empowering Action Project. She serves on the executive boards of Brandeis Democrats, Brandeis Parliamentary Debate, VoteDeis, and the Brandeis Journal of Politics. She also serves as the director of TEDxBrandeisU. In her free time, Feuerman likes to read, crochet, and play guitar.

Brandie Garcia is double-majoring in Latin American, Caribbean, and Latinx studies and music, but is currently in the process of creating a music-based Independent Interdisciplinary Major based on African-American Music. Originally from Chelsea, MA, they were raised in a low-income majority-Latino community and had very little access to adequate and culturally informed music education. Only when they had joined the Boston Children's Chorus in South Boston during sophomore year of high school were they able to access thorough music education. Garcia plans on redefining what music education is by searching into new forms of music pedagogy that serve low-income people of color. Garcia currently works as a sociology research assistant for professor Sarah Mayorga on racial capitalism and homeownership and stands as publicity manager for VoiceMale -- Brandeis' only masculine-centered and most racially diverse a cappella group on campus. You can also find Garcia at the Gender and Sexuality Center, assisting the staff as a Pride Rep or standing on the GSC's Leader's Roundtable, a coalition of student groups based on gender and sexuality. Their favorite artists are PinkPantheress, SZA, and Remi Wolf.

Samara Glazer is majoring in neuroscience with a special interest in substance use disorders. In professor James Howard’s lab, she uses chemosensory techniques to research the neural processes by which motivated decisions are made and adapted in changing environments. It has been an exceptional opportunity to explore behavioral neuropsychology and conduct research with applications in neurological disorders such as addiction. Outside of the lab, she holds a community advisor position in Massell Quad, supporting first-year students in their transition to college, and works in Sherman dining hall. Aside from academics and work, Glazer enjoys embroidery, playing “Just Dance,” and practicing the oboe. In the future, she hopes to conduct research on varied substance use disorders in an academic setting and advance her knowledge of the neurobiology of human disease.

Najla Khan is double majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy, and biology. She is a first-generation low-income student, whose determination to succeed is fueled by her desire to give back to her community in Pakistan. Khan is currently on the pre-health track and aspires to become an OB-GYN to help women in her community back home. Khan is an active member of several on-campus organizations. She serves as a Waltham Group coordinator for TAPS, where she helps to organize volunteer placements in classrooms. She is also a member of the Muslim Student Association Executive Board, where she contributes to the organization's events and initiatives. In addition, Khan is a Hiatt Career Center student advisor, where she meets with students to help them with their resumes, cover letters, and other career-related questions. When not studying or participating in campus activities, Khan enjoys spending her free time crocheting. Recently, she has also started learning how to embroider.

Destiny Kluck is a double major in biology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy. She aspires to become a physician specializing in serving children in the foster care and adoptee system. Having been adopted from China herself, Kluck is passionate about giving back to communities that have supported her. As a Posse scholar from Atlanta, Kluck is a leader in community engagement. She serves as a community engagement ambassador at the Department of Student Engagement, a digital specialist for the Samuels Center for Community Partnerships and Civic Transformation (COMPACT), a Rich Collins fellow, and the president of Brandeis Encourages Women in STEM. In addition to her community-building activities, Kluck works as a research assistant in the Suzanne Paradis’ neuroscience lab, where she focuses on the Rem2 gene in the hippocampus. Off campus, she teaches dance at the Center Stage Dance Studio, provides respite care for Adoption Journeys, and volunteers at Massachusetts General Hospital. Kluck’s passions range from science and medicine to choreography for Adagio, Ballet Club, and BAASA. Her core value of giving back to others drives her to make the Brandeis campus more creative, inclusive, and passionate about service to the foster care/adoptee community.

Hana Klempnauer Miller is pursuing a double major in anthropology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy, as well as a minor in legal studies. In her time at Brandeis, she has been driven to explore and understand the world around her—and help others do the same. As director of accessibility for the Student Union, she has spearheaded initiatives including the provision of free prescription medication delivery to campus and securing a $100,000 grant to make the Brandeis Counseling Center accessible. Additionally, she works as the advocacy lead for the Brandeis Chapter of Partners in Health Engage, where she helps promote global health legislation, and as an editor on the Brandeis Law Journal. Outside of Brandeis, she is passionate about advocating for reproductive freedom, particularly in her home state of Minnesota. She has helped lobby for the passage of numerous pro-choice bills in the Legislature, including the recently passed Pro Act (HF 1), which enshrines abortion rights into Minnesota law. This summer, she will be continuing her advocacy as an intern in the Offices of Congresswoman Betty McCollum. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors, videos of raccoons eating grapes, and the company of an interesting non-fiction book.

Megan Tan originally intended to major in biology, then spent a year studying applied math, but she finally settled on a double major in film, television, and interactive media and creative writing with the dream of one day becoming a screenwriter. But don’t let that fool you – one of her favorite courses at Brandeis is applied linear algebra with Carolyn Abbott, and she strongly believes that anyone who can take it, should take it. In her “free” time, Tan enjoys designing “Broadsides” with professor Elizabeth Bradfield, spending time in the WBRS studio and helping them plan events, and attending bible studies with ABSK. She plans on getting her own radio show next semester, and she hopes that anyone who’s interested in the radio station will come visit the studio in the SCC. She also loves hiking, playing tennis, and visiting her family back in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rashail Wasim is a major in economics with a minor in legal studies. In his study of economics, he has had the pleasure of conducting research with professor Geoff Clarke in his field of study, 19th century banking. Wasim is passionate about both the legal and economics fields, working in the summers as an intern at a financial advising firm, which provides a good intersection of his areas of interest. He is the president of the Pre-Law Society and the co-president and co-founder of the Brandeis Angling Student Society (BASS). Wasim also serves in the Brandeis Student Union as a member of the Allocations Board, and is the fleet manager for Brandeis’ Department of Student Engagement. He is also involved in the Brandeis chapter of Habitat for Humanity.

Professor Harry Mairson selected as this year’s Rieman and Baketel Fellow for Music at the Harvard-Radcliffe InstitutePosted: May 9, 2023
Harry Mairson holds instrument

Computer Science Professor Harry Mairson, with the 1700 Stradivari “Stauffer-ex Cristiani” violoncello (Museo del Violino, Cremona)

Harry Mairson, professor of computer science, has been selected as the Rieman and Baketel Fellow for Music for the 2023-2024 academic year at the Harvard-Radcliffe Institute. The Radcliffe Fellowships are annually awarded to a select group of scholars in the humanities, sciences, social sciences, and arts, as well as writers, journalists, and other distinguished professionals. 

The Radcliffe Institute’s announcement of the awards described the various projects as “the urgent, the beautiful, and the vast: from reckoning with the challenges of climate change to creating digital models of iconic Italian violins to detecting distant galaxies."

The fellowship will allow Mairson to continue his work on building an online library of CT data for the study of classical stringed instruments by Antonio Stradivari and other luminaries of the Italian “Golden Age” of violin making. This effort is intended to improve the “mind’s eye” of the instrument maker and musicologist alike.

Mairson’s curatorial and analytical efforts are complemented by his activity as an instrument maker; currently he is completing a violoncello based on the 1700 Stradivari “Stauffer-ex Cristiani” cello in the Museo del Violino in Cremona.  His last violoncello was recently played (by his son Simon, no less) as the soloist instrument in a performance of Max Bruch’s cello concerto “Kol Nidre."

Mairson’s computer science courses focus on the mathematical and logical aspects of computer science, including discrete structures, functional programming and their interpreters and compilers, and the relation of type systems for programming languages to topics in proof theory.

His Radcliffe work on a digital library of iconic stringed instruments will provide high-resolution open access to the geometry and construction of these remarkable, canonical instruments, for examination by musicologists, organologists, and luthiers. It is also intended as an exemplar of non-invasive museum curatorship, protecting valued artifacts while giving full digital access to them.

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Assistant professor Grace Han receives the Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar AwardPosted: May 5, 2023

Grace Han, assistant professor of chemistry and the Landsman Career Development Chair in the Sciences, is one of the recipients of the 2023 Camille Dreyfus Teacher-Scholar Award. Each of the 18 winners will receive an unrestricted research grant of $100,000.

Young faculty in the first five years of their academic careers are chosen for their commitment to education and outstanding independent body of research in the chemical sciences. Han was selected for her submission, Light-Responsive Organic Materials for a Sustainable Future.

A postdoc and PhD graduate of Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Han has an expansive repertoire of published research. Some of her recent awards include a 2023 Department of Defense University Research Instrumentation Program Award, a 2022 Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellow award, NSF CAREER Award, a FOSR Young Investigator Award, and more.

Her lab at Brandeis focuses on the light-matter interaction in a variety of material systems ranging from photo-switching molecules and phase change materials.
Composer and Professor Erin Gee wins the 29th Herb Alpert Award in the ArtsPosted: May 5, 2023

Professor of music composition, Erin Gee, is one of the recipients of the 29th Herb Alpert Award in the Arts. Each of the 11 winners will receive an unrestricted prize of $75,000 and participate in a residency at the California Institute of the Arts.

The Herb Alpert Award in the Arts honors artists in the disciplines of dance, music, theater, film, video, and visual arts. Gee was selected for her work as a composer and vocalist. Her well-known series, Mouthpieces, began as a solo voice piece before evolving into over 30 works for orchestra, opera, vocal ensemble, large chamber ensemble and string quartet. The series has been performed internationally with some of the top ensembles for new music. It was recently announced that Gee has been promoted to the rank of professor with tenure. 

Gee’s awards for composition include a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, the 2008 Rome Prize, the Award in Music and a Charles Ives Fellowship from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, Zürich Opera House’s Teatro Minimo, and the International Rostrum of Composers Award among others.

The music panel that selected Gee (composer and clarinetist Derek Bermel, composer and flutist Nicole Mitchell, composer/performer and media artist Pamela Z) shared with The Hollywood Reporter that she was selected for this award “for her groundbreaking explorations of the human voice, and her focused and sublime aural imagination. Creating micro-worlds brimming with nuanced and fresh colors, continuing to develop and deepen an innovative and personal musical vocabulary, she is carving out a potent and vital space within contemporary music.”

Christine Grienberger wins key early-career fellowshipPosted: Feb. 16, 2023
Christine Grienberger, assistant professor of biology, has been awarded a prestigious fellowship from The Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

Grienberger is among 125 early-career scholars to receive one of the 2023 Sloan Research Fellowships. The two-year, $75,000 fellowships are awarded to early career researchers in recognition of their outstanding research and potential to make substantial contributions to their field. They have been identified by the Sloan Foundation as representing the most promising scientific researchers working today, whose achievements and potential place them among the next generation of scientific leaders in the U.S. and Canada.

Grienberger’s lab investigates the synaptic, cellular, and circuit-level computations that allow animals’ brains to learn to execute tasks that ensure their survival. Specifically, she studies the entorhinal-hippocampal circuit, a network of connected brain areas known to be essential for spatial learning. Her research points toward future research in both the scientific and the clinical realms related to disease processes that prevent new memories from being formed.

In 2022, Grienberger won a Smith Family Award for Excellence in Biomedical Research.
Brandeis' computational linguistics program wins grant to help archive of historic public broadcasting materialPosted: Feb. 6, 2023
computer science professor James Pustejovsky speaks in front of a white board with blue writing on it. The perspective is over someone's shoulder.

Computer science professor James Pustejovsky

Brandeis University will receive a subgrant of $825,000 as part of a $16 million grant awarded by the Mellon Foundation to the WGBH Educational Foundation in support of the American Archive of Public Broadcasting.

The grant is part of a larger $16 million Mellon Foundation award to Boston public media producer GBH to support the AAPB, which is a collaboration of GBH with the Library of Congress aiming to digitize, preserve and make accessible historically significant public radio and television programs from producers and stations across the United States.

The grant continues a collaboration between James Pustejovsky's Research Lab for Linguistics and Computation and the GBH Archives. The Brandeis Lab will further develop and improve the set of open-source tools and workflows known as CLAMS (Computational Linguistics Applications for Multimedia Services). The work will mainly focus on applying CLAMS to a substantially larger and more diverse dataset by providing workflows and methodologies that allow archivists to adapt current AI and CL tools to new data. Pustejovsky is the TJX Feldberg Professor of Computer Science at Brandeis.

Pustejovsky's Lab for Linguistics and Computation is a CL research group located within the Computer Science Department at Brandeis, consisting of two senior research faculty, eight PhD students, one RA, and four MS grad students. The Lab conducts a range of grant-funded research, and has been developing the CLAMS platform since 2017, funded through two previous Mellon grants.

The AAPB contains nearly 100,000 items online available for the public to stream for free, dating back more than 70 years, with thousands more available for research access. Collections and content range from full episodes of groundbreaking public affairs programs like WNET’s Black Journal, unedited interviews recorded for series like Eyes on the Prize, the kid-driven ‘70s series ZOOM, and the entire “gavel-to-gavel” coverage of the Watergate Hearings. Exhibits delve into public media’s coverage of protests in America, Latino empowerment, Indigenous representation and much more. The AAPB was initiated by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting with a series of pilot projects before granting stewardship to the Library of Congress and GBH in 2013.

Professor Sabine von Mering honored with Volkmar and Margret Sander PrizePosted: Nov. 9, 2022

Professor of German and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Sabine von Mering has been named the winner of the Volkmar and Margret Sander Prize by Deutsches Haus at New York University.

The Volkmar and Margret Sander Prize honors individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the cultural, political, and academic relationship between the German-speaking world and the United States. It is awarded annually in the fall and is endowed with a $5000 grant.

Professor von Mering is the director of the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis, and she teaches courses in German language and culture, European perspectives on climate change, and antisemitism on social media. She co-edited the book “Antisemitism on Social Media,” published earlier this year, and is working on the forthcoming “Handbook of Global Climate Activism.” 

Von Mering will be formally awarded the prize at an event in New York on December 16, which will include remarks from Sultan Doughan, the Dr. Thomas Zand Visiting Assistant Professor in Holocaust Pedagogy and Antisemitism Studies at Clark University and a performance by German-born musician Uta Habbig.

Eric Chasalow awarded Koussevitzky commission for new compositionPosted: Sept. 27, 2022
Eric Chasalow, Irving Fine Professor of Music, has been awarded a prestigious commission from the Serge Koussevitzky Music Foundation in the Library of Congress for a major new original composition.

The commissioning prize, named for the famed early 20th-century Boston Symphony Orchestra conductor, provides recipients with $10,000 to support the creation of a new work. Chasalow’s composition will be a 20-minute-long song cycle for a large chamber ensemble, electronics and soprano. This is his second Koussevitzky commission, the maximum number allowed by the Foundation. His first Koussevitzky, in 2004, supported a flute concerto, composed for a nationwide consortium of ensembles.

Chasalow, who has received numerous awards for his compositions, has taught at Brandeis since 1990 and directs the Brandeis Electro-Acoustic Music Studio. His work has been commissioned by soloists and orchestras from around the world, and the Library of Congress established a collection of his papers in 2009.

Chasalow’s new work has been co-commissioned, and will be premiered by, Sound Icon, a Boston-based sinfonietta directed by conductor Jeffrey Mean. Sound Icon is dedicated to performing the most significant progessive works of the last several decades.

"I am deeply honored to be one of only seven composers commissioned by Koussevitzky this year and thrilled to be collaborating with Sound Icon, one of the most adventurous and capable ensembles anywhere," Chasalow said.

Serge Koussevitzky, conductor of the Boston Symphony Orchestra from 1924 to 1949, was a leading champion of contemporary music. Throughout his distinguished career, he played a vital role in the creation of new works by commissioning composers such as Béla Bartók, Leonard Bernstein, Aaron Copland, Arnold Schoenberg and Igor Stravinsky. He established the Koussevitzky Foundation in 1942 and passed operations to the Library of Congress in 1949 to continue his lifelong commitment to composers and new music. Original manuscripts of works commissioned by the Koussevitzky Foundation comprise an integral part of the Library’s unparalleled music collections.