Michelle H. Brown-Nevers, associate vice president for student services in student registration and financial services at University of Pennsylvania, was honored with the Outstanding Alumni Award for Achievement and Leadership during the 14th Biennial Conference of the Tri-State Consortium of Opportunity Programs in Higher Education, a non-profit association in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania that offers opportunity programs for college students from educationally and financially disadvantaged backgrounds. Dr. Brown-Nevers, a first-generation college graduate, was a student member of the Percy Ellis Sutton SEEK Program at the City University of New York (CUNY) at Baruch College where she completed both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees before obtaining a master’s and a doctorate from Columbia University. The SEEK Program, now in its 51st year of existence, was signed into law in 1966, and was the first “opportunity program” in the nation.
Amy Gutmann: Honorary Degree from Johns Hopkins
Penn President Amy Gutmann was recently awarded an honorary degree from Johns Hopkins University. The degree was awarded during the university’s commencement ceremony on May 24 in Baltimore.
A statement from Johns Hopkins described President Gutmann as a “renowned political scientist, philosopher, bioethicist, professor and author ”who is internationally recognized for championing access to higher education.”
University of Pennsylvania professor Nancy Hirschmann has been named a fellow of the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Humanities Center and the European University Institute.
Dr. Hirschmann is director of the gender, sexuality and women’s studies program at Penn and director of Penn’s Alice Paul Center for Research on Women, Gender & Sexuality. Her work focuses on the history of political thought, analytical philosophy, feminist theory, the intersection of political theory and public policy. She received the 2017 American Council of Learned Societies Fellowship for her book project Freedom, Power and Disability.
As a fellow of the National Humanities Center, Dr. Hirschmann will spend the upcoming fall semester working on her book as a resident fellow at the National Humanities Center campus in Research Triangle Park in Durham, North Carolina. Then she will spend the Spring 2018 semester at the European University Institute in Florence, Italy, as a Fernand Braudel Senior Fellow.
Jason Moore: American
Statistical Association Fellow
Jason H. Moore, the Edward Rose and Elizabeth Kirk Rose Professor of Informatics at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and director of the Penn Institute for Biomedical Informatics, was recently elected as a fellow of the American Statistical Association. ASA Fellowships are awarded to only one-third of 1% of ASA members each year.
Dr. Moore is an expert in genetics and biomedical informatics whose research focuses on developing and applying artificial intelligence and machine learning methods for uncovering complex patterns in biomedical big data. The research could help identify combinations of DNA-sequence variations and environmental factors that predict human health and genetic disorders.
Diana Mutz: Carnegie Fellow
Diana Mutz, the Samuel A. Stouffer Professor of Political Science and Communication at the University of Pennsylvania, is the recipient of a 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from the Carnegie Corporation of New York. Dr. Mutz holds appointments in the Annenberg School for Communication and the political science department in the School of Arts and Sciences.
She is one of 35 fellows chosen from among 200 nominees. The two-year fellowship supports academic research in the social sciences and humanities.
During her fellowship, Dr. Mutz plans to study the growing backlash against globalization and why increasing numbers of people are leaning toward isolationism, despite the world being more connected than ever. She will examine the ways in which people process proximity and how this could impact their perspective on foreign affairs.
Dr. Mutz is an expert on public opinion, political psychology and mass political behavior, with an emphasis on political communication. Her project will culminate in a conference of journalists and academics hosted at Penn.
Daniel Rader: Award for
Outstanding Work in Science
as Related to Medicine
The American College of Physicians recently presented Daniel J. Rader with the Award for Outstanding Work in Science as Related to Medicine. Dr. Rader, the Seymour Gray Professor of Molecular Medicine and chair of the department of genetics in the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, is an internationally recognized authority in the genetics and physiology of lipoprotein metabolism and atherosclerosis (hardening of the arteries).
Dr. Rader and colleagues helped identify the molecular defect in a rare genetic disorder that causes extremely low levels of low-density lipoproteins, or LDL. This discovery resulted in the development of inhibitors of this pathway which reduced levels of LDL. Dr. Rader then spent a decade converting one such potential inhibitor, which had been abandoned by its pharmaceutical developer, into a treatment for the orphan disease homozygous familial hypercholesterolemia (HoFH), which is characterized by extremely high levels of LDL and heart disease in children. This led to FDA and European approval of lomitapide, the first effective medication for the treatment of HoFH.
Dr. Rader’s work also has refined the knowledge of the metabolism of high-density lipoprotein (HDL—”good cholesterol”) and its relationship to atherosclerosis.
Chubb Rule of Law Fellowship
Patricia Stottlemyer, L’17, has been awarded this year’s Chubb Rule of Law Fellowship to support her work in international law and human rights. Upon graduation from Penn Law, she will have the opportunity to work in the Washington, DC, office of Human Rights First in the refugee advocacy and national security advocacy departments.
The fellowship was established by the Chubb Charitable Foundation and Penn Law alumnus Robert Cusumano, L’80, to create new avenues for students to build careers in international rule of law and human rights.
“We are excited to have Patricia join us as our new Chubb Rule of Law Fellow,” said Human Rights First president and CEO Elisa Massimino. She added, “We are deeply grateful for our partnership with Penn Law. Together, we are tackling some of the most challenging human rights issues of our time and preparing a new generation of talented lawyers to lead.”
Four Penn Faculty: National Academy of Sciences Members
The National Academy of Sciences has elected four faculty members from the University of Pennsylvania: Yale E. Goldman and Mitchell A. Lazar of the Perelman School of Medicine, Robert Seyfarth of the School of Arts & Sciences and Sarah Tishkoff, a Penn Integrates Knowledge Professor with appointments in Medicine and Arts & Sciences. embers are elected for “their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”
Dr. Goldman is a professor of physiology, former director of the Pennsylvania Muscle Institute and associate director of the Nano/Bio Interface Center. His laboratory is widely renowned for its studies of molecular motors and protein synthesis.
Dr. Lazar is the Willard and Rhoda Ware Professor in Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases; founding director of the Penn Institute for Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism; and chief of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism. His groundbreaking research has uncovered genetic and epigenomic mechanisms by which the environment interacts with the genome to regulate circadian rhythms and metabolism and how these impact the epidemics of obesity and diabetes.
Dr. Seyfarth is a retired professor of psychology who remains an active researcher specializing in animal behavior and communication. With his wife, Dorothy Cheney, a professor of biology at Penn who was elected to the NAS in 2015, Dr. Seyfarth has conducted field studies of monkeys and apes in their natural habitats in order to clarify how nonhuman primate relationships, communication and cognition differ from humans and to explore how and why these animals form close social bonds.
Dr. Tishkoff, the David and Lyn Silfen University Professor in Genetics and Biology, studies human genetic diversity, specifically that of African populations, blending field, lab and computational approaches. Her work has not only elucidated African population history but also how genetic variation affects traits such as disease susceptibility or ability to metabolize drugs.
Four Penn Students: NSF Graduate Research Fellowships
Four young scholars participating in the University of Pennsylvania Post-Baccalaureate Research Education (PennPREP) program have been awarded National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowships. PennPREP students Nohely Abreu, Tré Artis, Nicole Palacio and Ronald Rodriguez were chosen for the fellowships, which support outstanding graduate students in the areas of science, technology, engineering and mathematics who plan to pursue research-based graduate degrees.
Students in the PennPREP program have completed college and want to pursue a doctoral degree in the biomedical sciences. PennPREP offers them a one-to-two-year research experience.
“The NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program is a prestigious award that honors the potential of students in STEM disciplines,” said PennPREP’s program director, Arnaldo J. Diaz, assistant dean for research training programs and director of recruitment and retention of diversity scholars for the Perelman School of Medicine. “Each year, thousands of students apply, but only a small fraction of those applicants are awarded the fellowship. The fact that four of the seven PREP scholars who applied this year received this honor is a strong indicator of the effectiveness of our program in preparing our students for success in their next level of training.”
NSF fellows receive a three-year annual stipend of $34,000 along with a $12,000 cost of education allowance for tuition and fees (paid to the institution), opportunities for international research and professional development, and the freedom to conduct their own research.
Mr. Rodriguez will study the molecular mechanisms involved in protein anchoring with a goal to develop effective approaches for disrupting anchoring of specific proteins, such as toxins and virulence factors in bacteria.
Ms. Palacio will study mechanisms of inflammasome responses to bacterial infection. She will explore the contribution of flagellin as an inflammasome activator in Legionella pneumophila infection (Legionnaires’ disease).
Mr. Artis will explore the function of DNA methylation in the honeybee. He hopes to determine the effects on gene expression, brain development, behavior and reproductive outcomes when DNA methylation levels in these tissues are altered by silencing the regulatory enzyme AmTET.
Ms. Abreu will study dense core vesicle trafficking in order to define its regulatory mechanism. Dense core vesicles in neurons contain peptide neurotransmitters, whose signaling modulates basic human behaviors. The appropriate transport and delivery of these vesicles to release sites along the axon is important for normal neuronal activity.
James Brister Society Awards
The University of Pennsylvania’s James Brister Society recently hosted its annual Student and Faculty Leadership Awards ceremony.
The following awardees were honored:
Vivian L. Gadsden, the William T. Carter Professor of Child Development and Education, director of the National Center on Fathers and Families and associate director of the National Center on Adult Literacy, received the James Brister Society’s Dr. Gloria Twine Chisum Award for Distinguished Faculty.
Megan Yan, C’16, W’16, received the James Brister Society’s Student Leadership Award.
Divya Karunanithi, GEE’17, received the James Brister Society’s Graduate Student Leadership Award.
Bianca Molina, C’17, received the Association of Latino Alumni’s Student Leadership Award.
Tyler Hallmark, GEd’17, received the Association of Native Alumni’s Student Leadership Award.
Krisna Maddy, C’18, received the Black Alumni Society’s Student Leadership Award.
William Wang, C’17, W’17, received the University of Pennsylvania Asian Alumni Network’s Student Leadership Award.
Michael Karam, C’17, received the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Alumni Association’s Student Leadership Award.
Class of 2017 Ivy Stone
Senior Honor Awards
Althea K. Hottel Shield Award: Temilola M. Ransome-Kuti, W’17
Gaylord P. Harnwell Flag Award: Hannah E. Fagin, C’17
David R. Goddard Loving Cup Award: Tunmise A. Fawole, C’17
R. Jean Brownlee Skimmer Hat Award: Olivia Nelson, W’17
Spoon Award: Darren R. Tomasso, C’17
Bowl Award: Michael E. Karam, C’17
Cane Award: Jonathan C. Muruako, C’17
Spade Award: Ian E. Jeong, NU’17
*Association of Alumnae Fathers’ Trophy: Sydney A. Stipanovich, C’17
*Class of 1915 Award: Casey S. Kent, ENG’16, GEN’17
*James Howard Weiss Memorial Award: Daniel B. Durham, ENG’17
*Penn Student Agencies Award: Megan C. Yan, C’16, W‘16
*Penn Alumni Student Awards of Merit: Sophie Y. Beren, C’17; Lauren D’Amore, W’17; Jared M. Fenton, C’17; Werner A. Glass, C’17; Sarah M. Gubara, C’17; and Lukas Vacek, ENG’17, W’17
*Sol Feinstone Undergraduate Awards: Rebecca C. Brown, C’17; Christopher J. D’Urso, C’18; and Alexis-Amanda Malcolm, W’18
Trustees’ Council of Penn Women Leadership Award: Aimee C.Knaus, C’17, W’17
William A. Levi Kite & Key Society Award for Service and Scholarship: Meredith R. Kline, C’17
Note: Awards marked with an asterisk (*) were presented during the Ivy Day ceremony on May 13. The other awards were presented at different award ceremonies this semester.
Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Awards
The University of Pennsylvania’s Graduate School of Education (Penn GSE) and the Milken Family Foundation recently announced the winners of the eighth annual Milken-Penn GSE Education Business Plan Competition (EBPC). The competition required finalists to pitch their ventures to an audience of investors, researchers, and practitioners.
SPEAK MODalities, of Indiana, won both the Milken Family Foundation Grand Prize ($40,000) and ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education Prize ($20,000). The company provides evidence-based language learning tools for minimally verbal students.
Awear Technologies, of Minnesota, was awarded the ACT Prize ($20,000). The company designs neurocognitive eyewear to help correct wearers’ attention deficits and improve reading comprehension and learning.
GraphLock, of Arizona, received the American Public University System Prize ($20,000). GraphLock offers an affordable scientific and graphing calculator app with a patent-pending lockdown mode. GraphLock also won the Voter’s Choice award of $1,000, determined with a live poll at the event.
DOT LEARN, of Massachusetts, received the iTutor Group Prize ($20,000). DOT LEARN uses compression technology to make hours of video learning more affordable for emerging markets.
“Our competition is a place for entrepreneurs with bold ideas to create new opportunities for learners at all stages of life,” said Bobbi Kurshan, Penn GSE executive director of academic innovation. “We’re proud of how past winners have already helped educators, students and families, and we’re excited to see how this year’s participants make their mark.”
The EBPC is made possible through the generous support of the Milken Family Foundation, ACT, American Public University System, ChanceLight Behavioral Health and Education, iTutorGroup and McGraw-Hill Education.
Penn IUR Urban Leadership Awards
The Penn Institute for Urban Research (Penn IUR) recently announced Rose Molokoane and Victor Santiago Pineda as recipients of its 13th annual Urban Leadership Awards, which recognize leaders who have demonstrated a vision to move cities toward a sustainable and vibrant future. Ms. Molokoane is deputy president of Shack/Slum Dwellers International (SDI), a global network of slum dweller federations in 33 countries across the Global South; national coordinator of the South Africa SDI Alliance and the Federation of the Urban Poor (FEDUP); and co-chair of the UN-Habitat’s World Urban Campaign. Mr. Pineda is president of World ENABLED and adjunct professor in the department of city and regional planning at the University of California-Berkeley.
Ms. Molokoane, a resident of Oukasie township outside Pretoria, South Africa, is a veteran of the anti-apartheid struggle and one of the most internationally recognized grassroots activists involved in land tenure and housing issues.
Through FEDUP, Ms. Molokoane has worked to help slum dwellers to pool their savings and improve their lives while negotiating with government for progressive housing policy. She has initiated federations of savings schemes throughout Africa, Asia and Latin America. She was awarded the UN-Habitat Scroll of Honour Award in 2005 for her struggle to bring land and homes to the poor.
Mr. Pineda is a globally recognized expert on disability policy who teaches courses on planning theory, policy evaluation, and international community development and serves as a public member of the US Architectural and Transportation Barriers Compliance Board. He founded World ENABLED in 2003 to improve the participation outcomes for youth with disabilities through inclusive research and educational programs.
Women Against Abuse:
Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize
The Wharton School announced the 2017 winner of the annual Barry & Marie Lipman Family Prize is Women Against Abuse, the leading domestic violence service provider in Philadelphia. Women Against Abuse provides a continuum of care from telephone crisis counseling to long-term supportive housing for people experiencing intimate partner violence.
Women Against Abuse received $250,000 and official recognition at an award ceremony in April.
Wharton also recognized Seeding Labs, which helps talented scientists in developing countries conduct life-changing research by equipping them with tools, training and connections; and We Care Solar, which makes portable, cost-effective solar suitcases that power critical lighting, mobile communication devices and medical devices in low-resource areas without reliable electricity. These two organizations each received $50,000.
The Lipman Family Prize, which was founded in 2012, is an annual global prize that advances creative solutions by inspiring people to think together in new ways. It is administered by the Wharton School on behalf of the University of Pennsylvania.
All three honorees will receive executive training and ongoing support from the Wharton School and Penn.
Penn: Most Beautiful Campus in Pennsylvania
In a March list of the most beautiful colleges in each state, Travel + Leisure named the University of Pennsylvania the most beautiful college in Pennsylvania. In its description, the magazine stated: “Penn has it all: eclectic and varied architecture, plenty of trees, and even a park with views of the Philadelphia skyline.”
The magazine chose winners based on setting and scenery, building design, upkeep of campus grounds and other details such as in-person visits and online research.