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Honors & Other Things
April 15, 2008, Volume 54, No. 29

Two Truman Scholars

Daniel Lee Tavana and Thomas Hayling Price were recently named 2008 Truman Scholars by The Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation. Mr. Tavana, C ’09, a political science and international relations major, plans to continue his career in government focusing on American foreign policy after graduating. Mr. Price, C ’09, an urban studies major, plans to pursue a law degree and work in public-interest law. The scholarship provides up to $30,000 in merit-based scholarships to college students who plan to pursue graduate degrees in public service fields.

Mr. Benedetti: Goldwater Scholar

Phillip Benedetti, C ’10, was awarded the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship for his research in chemistry and biochemistry. Established by Congress, the Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship and Excellence in Education Foundation operates an educational scholarship program designed to provide opportunities for American undergraduate students with excellent academic records and outstanding potential.

Drs. Baumgart and Krieger: Sloan Research Fellows

Dr. Tobias Baumgart, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Joachim Krieger, assistant professor of mathematics, have been named Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellows for 2008. The Sloan Research Fellowships honor scientists for research at the frontiers of physics, chemistry, computational and evolutionary molecular biology, computer science, economics, mathematics and neuroscience. Dr. Baumgart researches the biophysical properties that define the composition and function of lipid bilayer membranes. Dr. Krieger studies partial differential equations, mathematical physics, harmonic analysis and differential geometry.

Dr. Pinto: ADA Evidence Reviewer

Dr. Andres Pinto, assistant professor of oral medicine-clinician educator in the School of Dental Medicine, was selected as an ADA Evidence Reviewer by the American Dental Association’s Research Institute and Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry. Evidence Reviewers are selected based on their commitment to evidence-based dentistry and research in oral health.

Penn Alexander School: Science Fair

The following Penn Alexander School students, grades 7-12, took home awards from the 29th Annual George Washington Carver Science Fair, held in March at Temple University:

Fahmida Sarmin, 8th grade: Best of Fair; 1st Place—Behavioral Science; Mensa Award for Excellent Research in Human Intelligence; Delaware Valley Behavioral Science Award

Farzana Rahman, 8th grade: 1st Place—Botany

Umar Farooqi, 7th grade: 1st Place—Microbiology

Keaton Naff, 8th grade: 2nd Place—Physics

Noor Jemy, 8th grade: Honorable Mention and Special Math and Science Award

Fran Haas, 7th grade: Honorable Mention and Special Math and Science Award   

Michael Burton, 7th grade: Honorable Mention Medicine and Health

Maxwell Gontarek, 7th grade: Honorable Mention—Botany

Joseph Ouwsu-Boateng, 7th grade: Honorable Mention—Botany

Dr. Kettl: John Gaus Award

Dr. Donald F. Kettl, Robert A. Fox Leadership Professor and professor of political science, has been named the recipient of this year’s John Gaus Award from the American Political Science Association. This lifetime achievement award in political science and public administration comes with the honor of delivering a major address at their annual meeting.

Dr. Kurzban: Distinguished Scientific Award

Dr. Robert Kurzban, assistant professor of psychology, was named the inaugural winner of the Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Human Behavior and Evolution. The new award is given by the Human Behavior and Evolution Society for outstanding contributions to the study of human behavior from an evolutionary perspective by someone who received their PhD ten or fewer years before. Dr. Kurzban’s research focuses on evolutionary approaches to social phenomena.

Coach Micahnik: Hall of Fame

Dave Micahnik, coach for the men’s and women’s fencing teams, will be inducted into the United States Fencing Hall of Fame this summer. Mr. Micahnik has won numerous Ivy League and national titles. This year, Quaker fencers won four medals and had a total of eight fencers finish in the top eight in their weapon at the Intercollegiate Fencing Association Championships in February.  Mr. Micahnik was inducted into Penn’s Athletic Hall of Fame in 1996.

Mayor Nutter: Honorary PDE Fraternity Member

Philadelphia Mayor Michael A. Nutter, W ’79, was inducted as an honorary member of the Alpha Chapter of Pi Delta Epsilon (PDE), a business fraternity for adult working professionals, executive students and alumni at the Wharton School. PDE celebrated its 100th year on campus with the recent event that featured Mayor Nutter as the keynote speaker.

Genome Frontiers Institute Grants

The Penn Genome Frontiers Institute (PGFI) announced the recipients of grants from the recent PGFI grant competition, “Quantitation of Biological Processes Real-Time in Live Cells.” The recipients are:

Dr. Marija Drndic, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, SAS, Real-time sizing/mass measurements and multi-channel detection of protein molecules extracted from electroporated live cells, $120,000 for 2 years.

Dr. Anna Kashina, assistant professor of biochemistry, School of Veterinary Medicine, with co-principle investigator Dr. Sergei Vinogradov, assistant professor of biochemistry and biophysics, School of Medicine, In vivo imaging of vesicle trafficking and its regulation by protein arginylation, $60,000 for 1 year.

Dr. Samuel Lamitina, assistant professor of physiology, School of Medicine, with co-private investigator Dr. Barry S. Cooperman, professor of chemistry, SAS, Real-time proteomics (RTP) by single molecule fluorescence microscopy, $60,000 for 1 year.

Dr. Michael Lampson, assistant professor of biology, SAS, Measuring phosphorylation dynamics in living cells:  from local signaling networks to tumorigenesis, $60,000 for 1 year.

2008 Guggenheim Fellows

Dr. Michael Leja, professor of history of art, and Dr. Don Mitchell, visiting scholar in the Annenberg School for Communications, were recently named among the 2008 recipients of Guggenheim Fellowship Awards by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation. Dr. Leja studies visual arts including painting, sculpture, film, photography, prints and illustrations; he was recognized for his work concerning “the flood of pictures in the mid-19th century.” Dr. Mitchell will continue his research on “Bracero: Remaking the California Landscape, 1942-1964.”

Beacon Award from TCPW: The Hon. Sandra Day O’Connor


Retired US Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor received the 2008 Beacon Award from the Trustees’ Council of Penn Women (TCPW) on April 10.

The Hon.  O’Connor was the first woman appointed to the US Supreme Court, where she served for nearly 25 years before retiring in 2006. Prior to that, she was an assistant attorney general, state senator, trial judge and Court of Appeals judge in Arizona. She is chancellor at the College of William and Mary and on the board of the Rockefeller Foundation.

The Beacon Award recognizes an outstanding person or institution that has taken the lead in furthering the advancement of women, through dedicated pursuit of and commitment to issues affecting women, with results that enhance the status of women.

TCPW, celebrating its 20th anniversary, is a national network of Penn alumnae who support, foster and promote the advancement of women and women’s issues within the University.

Alumni Awards of Merit

The 73rd Alumni Award of Merit Gala on April 5 sponsored by Penn Alumni, celebrated Penn’s “most passionate and dedicated alumni volunteers.” The Alumni Award of Merit and Young Alumni Award, given for outstanding service to the University, are the highest honors bestowed by the organized alumni.

Alumni Award of Merit

Benjamin H. Craine, W ’65; vice president of communications, Penn & Wharton Club of Michigan

Elin C. Danien, CGS ’82, G ’89, GR ’98; research associate, Penn Museum; founder and chair, Bread Upon the Waters Scholarships

Lolita K. Jackson, ENG ’89; vice president of leadership development, Penn Alumni Board of Directors

Susan T. Marx, CW ’66; co-chair of the grants committee, Trustees’ Council of Penn Women; vice president and treasurer, The Penn Club of New York Board of Directors

Young Alumni Award

Timothy J. Carlsen, ENG ’92; leader, Penn Engineering Alumni Society Board

Meesh Joslyn Pierce, W ’93, WG ’98; president, Wharton Club of Southern California


Almanac - April 15, 2008 , Volume 54, No. 29