Of Note

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.
Mellon Foundation grant will support rethinking of humanities centersPosted: Sept. 23, 2022

The Mellon Foundation has awarded Brandeis University a 15-month, $150,000 grant to support "Re-envisioning the Role of the Humanities Center in the 21st-Century University," under the direction of Professor Ulka Anjaria, the Director of the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel Center for the Humanities.

The project aims to help humanities centers at institutions of higher education position themselves as hubs of socially engaged research and learning on their campuses. Under the leadership of Anjaria, the Mandel Center will convene a group of leaders and staff from humanities centers at private, public and access-oriented institutions around the country to form a working group charged with giving humanities centers the tools to address some of the most critical challenges facing the university today, including:

  • The need to advance the scholarship of and by historically underrepresented groups;
  • The relationship of the university to surrounding communities;
  • The relationship between liberal arts and practical skills;
  • The future of liberal arts and doctoral education.

The leadership group will feature directors from Humanities Centers across the higher education sphere. “These directors are already working to foreground questions of social justice, diversity, equity and inclusion and the public humanities,” says Anjaria. The working group will meet twice over the 2022-23 academic year to share findings from their campuses and begin drafting a report in the summer of 2023 that will help humanities centers lead their universities in rethinking themselves.

By documenting what innovative humanities centers are already doing, how they fit into administrative structures, and what perceived or real obstacles remain, the report, which will be publicly available, will help institutions collectively imagine the multiple futures for humanities centers. The report will also reflect the ways that humanities centers can work with local communities and increase broader public engagement around social justice issues. Finally, it help to place faculty in the humanities in the foreground when it comes to institutional decision-making.

“Even when engaging department chairs, division heads, and other faculty leaders, university administrators rarely look to Humanities Centers as places where planning, ideas and strategies for institutional change can be developed,” says Anjaria. “Yet, Humanities Centers have the potential to be ideal sites from which to advance innovative programming, center questions of race, equity and social justice, and contribute to large-scale questions about the future of the university.”

Assistant professor Derron Wallace wins two prestigious fellowshipsPosted: June 6, 2022
Derron Wallace, assistant professor of sociology and education, has recently been named an 2022 NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow by the National Academy of Education, and has also received a Fulbright Scholar Award.

The NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship provides $70,000 to early-career scholars to focus on their research and attend professional development retreats. This year, the 25 postdoctoral fellows were selected from a pool of 258 applicants.

For his Fulbright, Wallace will work on a second major project related to policing in British schools. He will be based in the sociology department of Durham University in northeast England for a year as he engages in that work.

Wallace has been recognized for his work at Brandeis with several university awards, including a Provost’s Research Award and the Michael L. Walzer ’56 Award for Teaching.
Share your graduation news with local mediaPosted: May 16, 2022

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 22.




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.

Giumette awards granted to 11 studentsPosted: May 11, 2022
Seven students standing, smiling, in front of the remainder of the Castle

From left to right: Isabella Doulas, Ashna Kelkar, Jolie Black, Roshni Ray, Tanner Eustace, Sahil Muthuswami, Norah Khadraoui, all members of the class of 2024 and recipients of the Giumette Academic Achievement Award.

Late last month, 11 students celebrated receiving the the Giumette Academic Achievement Award (GAAA), which will provide them with $5,000 each semester for their remaining two years at Brandeis.

The GAAA recognizes currently enrolled sophomores who have distinguished themselves and made a significant contribution to the community during their first two years at Brandeis. The award, which began in 2004 as the Brandeis Academic Achievement Award, was renamed in 2015 in honor of Peter Giumette P '03, who served as the Dean of Student Financial Services for over 20 years and who had a deep commitment to increasing access to educational opportunities for first-generation and low-income students. The purpose of the award is to recognize outstanding scholarship and academic achievement as evidenced by grades, faculty recommendations, and personal accomplishment. 

Floriesha Bastien is a first-generation college student, double majoring in sociology and Critical Media and Cultural Studies (IIM). Floriesha is passionate about learning about why society functions the way it does and wishes to apply sociological theories to her IIM studies. Her IIM in Critical Media and Cultural Studies represents Floriesha’s interest in digital media and mass communication. She also felt it was important to capture the ways in which race and racism impact the media world. In addition to her majors, Floriesha also plans to minor in Psychology. She is currently on BASO’s (Brandeis African Student Organization) e-board as their communication coordinator. In BASO, Floriesha is able to find and cultivate community. Most importantly, she is passionate about youth empowerment. For that reason, she decided to become an SSSP peer mentor and has stayed engaged with her high school by serving as a resource for high school students in her community.

Jolie Black is double majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and psychology, a combination that allows her to pursue her interest in social and behavioral health sciences, health psychology, and public health policy. She is from New Jersey and was raised in a Russian-speaking family. Jolie works on-campus as a research assistant at the CasaLab for the Heller School, a health policy lab, and at the Memory and Cognition lab in the psychology department. Off-campus, she is the senior intern at Stop TB USA, a domestic tuberculosis advocacy group, and is a figure skating coach. Her love for learning applied quantitative methods and data analysis leads her to take different types of statistics courses. As Jolie was homeschooled in high school, she considers her hands-on experiences outside of the classroom an integral part of her academic education and experience and consistently seeks opportunities for work that complement the material taught in the classroom. Jolie is also the treasurer and rising president of the Brandeis Skating Club and is working directly with Ukrainian refugees globally to provide support for emigration, job applications, finding housing, obtaining medical insurance and care, enrolling in schools, learning English, and any other support families might need.

Isabella Doulas intends to double major in Health Science, Society, and Policy and biology with a business minor. She is a Bridge to Wellness Peer Health Educator and established Brandeis University’s Dental Brigades chapter that serves in partnership with the nonprofit organization Global Brigades, where she is currently organizing an upcoming dental service trip to Panama scheduled for January 2023. Last February, Bella and her team partnered with Waltham Partnership for Youth to design a specialized media platform, Circles, to connect local youth to resources and educational opportunities, which won the Non-Technical Game Changer Award as part of DeisHacks 2022. At Brandeis, she is a Brandeis Beacon and likes to spend her spare time in the MakerLab where she prints and assembles 3-D printed prosthetic hands for children as a member of the Prosthesis Club.

Tanner Eustace is pursuing a double major in biology and Health: Science, Society, and Policy, as well as a minor in psychology. He enjoys working as a Supplemental Instruction Leader for General Chemistry, where he creates activities for the students to engage in a collaborative learning environment, including Jeopardy-style review games. He also works as a Pride Rep at the Gender and Sexuality Center, advocating for equity in STEM, and he absolutely loves playing percussion in three musical ensembles on campus: Wind Ensemble, which plays a variety of genres; MAD Band, a student-run pep band that plays at various Brandeis events; and Top Score, a student-run group that specializes in movie and musical soundtracks, in which Tanner recently became a conductor. When he can, Tanner also enjoys going to Quiz Bowl practice, putting his trivia skills to the test.

Ashna Kelkar is double-majoring in Health: Science, Society, and Policy and business. At Brandeis, she serves on the EBoard of the Student Union as the Executive Senator and the Interim Vice President. In this role, she aims to connect students to administration and be an advocate for her peers, in hopes of making a real and meaningful change on campus. She is also a coordinator for the Waltham Group "Advocates for Community Transformation" where she works in partnership with a local Waltham organization called Watch CDC to advocate for various issues on and off campus. Finally, Ashna currently serves as a Community Engagement Ambassador for the Department of Community Service, where she works on campus outreach and marketing opportunities offered by the department. Ashna’s overarching goal within all her positions is to serve as a liaison and voice students' concerns to continue making our school an even better place to be!

Norah Khadraoui is a current sophomore and MLK Fellow majoring in sociology and minoring in legal studies, Social Justice and Social Policy, and studio art. She is co-president of the Women of Color Alliance (WOCA) and is involved in The Right to Immigration Institute (TRII) which provides pro-bono legal representation to immigrants in the Waltham area. Currently, Norah is working on a mural for PARC and GSC that centers around people of color and the communities she belongs to. With this project Norah really wanted to celebrate the community she had found here at Brandeis.

Sahil Muthuswami is majoring in biology with a minor in Health: Science, Society, and Policy, which allows him to examine overlapping variables that affect health outcomes. Sahil is actively involved on the Brandeis campus as a Senator in the Brandeis Student Union and on the E-board of the South Asian Student Association. Prior to attending Brandeis, Sahil voiced youth concerns as a leader of Courageous Conversations and Students Against Destructive Decisions. Now, as a volunteer in the Waltham Group’s Kids Connection and Advocates For Health, he can connect to the greater Waltham population by providing resources to youth groups. Sahil has been inspired by the strong research culture at Brandeis and will be expanding his passion for scientific discovery over the summer as a biomedical research intern at the University of Pennsylvania. Outside of the classroom, Sahil enjoys painting, playing tennis, running, and traveling whenever the opportunity arises.

Roshni Ray is a member of the Quantitative Biology Research Community honors program studying neuroscience and computer science. At the Paradis Lab, she uses molecular biology techniques to study the mechanisms of inhibitory and excitatory synapse formation. It has been tremendously exciting to explore developmental neurobiology and conduct research with applications in neurological disorders such as epilepsy. Outside of the lab, Roshni writes for The Hoot, where she covers campus news. Having had rewarding academic experiences at Brandeis, she is motivated to support other students through mentorship as a Neuroscience Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Roshni’s future goals include conducting neurobiology research, engaging in science entrepreneurship, and developing enriching science education resources.

Scarlett (Tong) Ren is an international midyear student, majoring in the International and Global Studies Program and minoring in journalism. Born and raised in Shanghai, China, she studied abroad alone starting at the age of eleven in Seattle, WA. Her humanities and social science interests span across religious studies, anthropology, and philosophy while maintaining a competitive GPA. She is heavily involved in campus initiatives and event planning as an E-Board director of the Student Union, Brandeis Chinese Cultural Connection (BC3), and TEDXBrandeis. In addition, she serves as an admissions ambassador, alumni weekend student coordinator, and a project connect facilitator to utilize campus resources and connections to bridge and provide for domestic and international students. Scarlett writes for the campus newspaper The Hoot, plays on the club tennis team, and will be studying at the National University of Singapore next spring, further embarking on her journey as a global citizen.

Noah Risley is an International and Global Studies Program and comparative literature double major and a legal studies minor. If you could help Noah pick a second minor, they'd greatly appreciate it. They're originally from Fort Smith, Arkansas, and love to talk about the South with anyone that will listen. On campus, they've been involved with the Brandeis Democrats, the Student Union, the Brandeis Law Journal, and helped to refound Brandeis Model United Nations, where they're currently working to create a conference for high schoolers called DeisMUN. They're also a Research Assistant for Professor Kerry Chase, where they're helping him assess how the United States has "named and shamed" genocides and mass atrocities, and previously helped him find videos for his POL15A class which made international relations feel real for students. Outside of extracurriculars, Noah's favorite spot on campus is Dunkin’.

Logan Shanks is a Posse Atlanta Scholar who majors in African and African American Studies and English, with an interest in the Sexuality and Queer Studies Program. Logan’s work enhances the places where Black people spend most of their time and energy by creating authentic spaces for community members to engage with their histories, cultural nuance, and aesthetics through more intentional means. Logan has done this through her “Dismantling White Patriarchy” lecture and The Sesa Wo Suban Project, a community service project that serves Black Students in Atlanta by transforming at-risk students into agents of change who push for liberation in their communities. Currently, through her "Exploring Black Intimate Dwellings: Black Bookstore," she is exploring how Black bookstores are spaces of liberation for the Black community. Logan defines herself as a “Black feminist curator” who demystifies traditional “academic” understandings of blackness by pairing Black theoretical knowledge with everyday, familiar encounters of Black culture and art to create spaces where Black ways of knowing are validated and elevated.

Brandeis named a Best Value College for 2022 by The Princeton ReviewPosted: May 11, 2022

The Princeton Review has once again chosen Brandeis as one of the best-value colleges in the U.S. The annually-released list names the public and private colleges that have earned the education services company's highest Return on Investment (ROI) rating—a score the company tallies using more than 40 data points.The ratings are based on analyses that review more than 40 data points. They cover academic offerings, cost/financial aid, career placement services, graduation rates, and student debt as well as alumni salary levels and job satisfaction.

The Princeton Review chose 209 schools for its 2022 list based on its survey of more than 650 institutions during the 2020-21 school year. To tally the ROI ratings, the company analyzed school-reported data on academics, cost/financial aid, career services, student debt, and graduation rates. Data on the levels of job satisfaction and salary of school alumni also factored into the tallies. The list of the 209 Best Value Colleges is not ranked hierarchically from 1 to 209.

"The schools we chose as our Best Value Colleges for 2022 are a select group: they comprise only about 7% of the nation’s four-year undergraduate institutions,” said Rob Franek, editor-in-chief of The Princeton Review. “We commend their administrators, faculties, staff, and alumni for all they are doing to educate their students and guide them to success in their careers. These colleges are also exceptional for the generous amount of financial aid they award to students with need and/or for their comparatively low cost of attendance.”

“Based on the overwhelming response to our offers of admission this year, it’s clear that talented high school students and their families recognize the great value in a Brandeis education,” said Jennifer Walker, Dean of Admissions and Financial Aid at Brandeis. “It is gratifying to have confirmation of what we already know; that Brandeis not only delivers top-notch academics and financial aid, but that students graduate ready to tackle their next challenges.”