Bobbi Patterson Receives 2015 Thomas Jefferson Award

patterson-bobbiBobbi Patterson, a longtime Emory administrator and faculty member in the Department of Religion, has been named the 2015 recipient of the Thomas Jefferson Award, which honors a member of the faculty or staff for significant service to the university through personal activities, influence and leadership.

Patterson joined Emory professionally in 1981 as associate university chaplain and, in the intervening decades, has served as dean of students, director of the Emory Scholars Program, founder of the Theory-Practice Learning (TPL) Program, a faculty associate of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives, and now professor of pedagogy in the Department of Religion. She earned her PhD in interdisciplinary studies from Emory in 1994.

In addition, she served on the task force that led to the creation of the Emory Center for Women and on the Task Force on Dissent, Protest and Community that led to the university’s current Open Expression Policy; and chaired the first president’s task force on LGBT issues.

Through her scholarship on community-partnered learning and service, she founded the TPL Program, which offered workshops, trainings and placement coordination for faculty and community leaders. She has remained engaged in community-partnered teaching and research through Emory’s Center for Community Partnerships.

Among other programs she has initiated is Emory as Place, a program of the Office of Sustainability Initiatives designed to educate students, staff and faculty about Emory’s living systems, built environments, human histories and values.

See news article


Trethewey and Young (English & Creative Writing) Selected for MoMA Honor

tretheweywebpage2Nathasha Trethewey (Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing) and Kevin Young (Atticus Haygood Professor of English and Creative Writing) have been commissioned by the New York Museum of Modern Art (MoMA) to write poems inspired by the centennial of the Great Migration.

youngwebpageThese poems will be published online as part of MoMA’s current exhibit “One-Way Ticket: Jacob Lawrence’s Migration Series and Other Visions of the Great Movement North,” which includes materials on loan from Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL). Trethewey and Young are among 10 poets selected for this honor.

More information is available here.

Source: Emory’s Center for Faculty Development and Excellence

Congratulations to Faculty Promoted to Named Professorships

Congratulations to faculty who were promoted to named professorships in the fall 2014 semester!

Eric Weeks as the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Physics

Dan Reiter as the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Political Science

Scott Lilienfeld as the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Psycholgoy

Tao Zha as the Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics

Gary Laderman as the Goodrich C. White Professor of Religion

Kevin Young as the Charles Howard Candler Professor of Creative Writing and English

Joseph Crespino as the Jimmy Carter Endowed Chair

Valérie Loichot Awarded Top MLA Prize

Loichot-ValerieThe Modern Language Association of America is awarding its 22nd annual Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies to Valérie Loichot, Professor of French and English, for her book The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature, published by the University of Minnesota Press. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding scholarly work in its field—a literary or linguistic study, a critical edition of an important work, or a critical biography—written by a member of the association.

The Scaglione Prize for French and Francophone Literary Studies is one of 16 awards that will be presented on January 10, 2015, during the association’s annual convention, to be held in Vancouver. The committee’s citation for Loichot’s book reads:

In The Tropics Bite Back: Culinary Coups in Caribbean Literature, Valérie Loichot offers an ambitious, at times audacious, and ultimately compelling analysis of the cultural construction of a Caribbean self, both individual and collective. Judiciously combining archival research, literary analysis, and cultural critique, The Tropics Bite Back presents an insightful reflection on creolization in its culinary, linguistic, literary, cultural, and psychic dimension. Thanks to a series of deftly conducted readings of major Caribbean theorists and authors, Loichot sheds new light on Caribbean writing, providing a fresh and critical understanding of the place the Caribbean occupies in the contemporary cultural imaginary.

The Modern Language Association of America and its 30,000 members in 100 countries work to strengthen the study and teaching of languages and literature. Founded in 1883, the MLA provides opportunities for its members to share their scholarly findings and teaching experiences with colleagues and to discuss trends in the academy. The MLA sustains one of the finest publication programs in the humanities, producing a variety of publications for language and literature professionals and for the general public. The association publishes the MLA International Bibliography, the only comprehensive bibliography in language and literature, available online. The MLA Annual Convention features meetings on a wide variety of subjects; this year’s convention in Vancouver is expected to draw 8,000 attendees. More information on MLA programs is available at

Profs. Blumenthal, Hofmann, Lesser and Goldstein Receive Recognition

David Blumenthal, Jay & Leslie Cohen Professor of Judaic Studies in the Department of Religion, is the subject of a recently published book, David R. Blumenthal: Living with God and Humanity. Edited by Hava Tirosh-Samuelson and Aaron W. Hughes, the book is the seventh in the series Library of Contemporary Jewish Philosophers.

Richie Hofmann, a Creative Writing Fellow in Emory College, has won the Beatrice Hawley Award for Poetry, given annually by Alice James Books. The award includes publication of a book-length poetry manuscript and a cash prize of $2,000. Hofmann’s first book of poetry, Second Empire, will be published in November 2015 by Alice James Books.

Jeffrey Lesser, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of History and chair of the Department of History, and Eric Goldstein, associate professor of history, are among contributing authors to the winner of the National Jewish Book Award. Both have chapters in the anthology 1929: Mapping the Jewish World, edited by Hasia R. Diner and Gennady Estraikh and published by New York University Press.

Source: Emory Report’s “Acclaim” Feature

College Seniors and Alumni Receive Fulbright Awards


Eight Emory students have received national Fulbright scholarships to travel internationally to teach English or conduct research for one year.

The Emory awardees were Michal Schatz (‘13C), Kari Leibowitz (‘12C), College seniors Alizeh Ahmad (photo above), Celeste Banks, Bryan Cronan, Christopher Linnan, Ben Sollenberger and Abigail Weisberger. College seniors received English Teaching Assistantships (ETA), with Banks headed to Taiwan, Ahmad and Cronan to Malaysia, Linnan to Indonesia, Sollenberger to Turkey and Weisberger to Germany. Schatz and Leibowitz were awarded research grants in France and Norway, respectively.

Ahmad (see link below to YouTube video) said she was interested in Malaysia because she has family ties to the country. Her uncle emigrated from Pakistan to Malaysia, and his experiences have taught her the parallels between her own Pakistani heritage and Malaysian culture. Specifically, as an International Studies and Religion major, Ahmad said she is excited to learn about the diverse Muslim communities in Malaysia.

See full article in Emory Wheel

See YouTube video of Alizeh Ahmad talking about her passion for the study of religion at Emory.


McMullan and Brittain Awards Recognize Top Students

matthew_pesce520Matthew Pesce 14C, a political science major, has been named the 2014 recipient of the Lucius Lamar McMullan Award, recognizing an Emory College graduate who shows extraordinary promise of becoming a future leader and rare potential for service to their community, the nation, and the world. The McMullan Award carries with it $25,000 –no strings attached. Described by nominators as “a Renaissance student, a scholar, leader, and friend” who “combines his thinking with practice,” Pesce has taken on difficult leadership roles as chair of the Honor Council and chair of the Emory Elections Board, where he reformed the Student Government Association’s election codes (after other unsuccessful efforts throughout the years), tying together 18 separate elections that happened throughout the year into a much simpler, streamlined process. He has provided strong leadership to other groups as well, serving as president of Omicron Delta Kappa Honor Society and as a student representative on the Committee on Class & Labor, the Committee on Campus Life, and the College Curriculum Committee. The Atlanta native came to Emory ranked third in the nation as a high school debater and his success continued with regular college tournament wins and top 10 national rankings during his four years here. He’s also worked to bring the skills and benefits of debate training to Atlanta Public School students as a coach and mentor through the Emory-founded Urban Debate League (UDL).

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megan_light520Megan Light 14C
, an anthropology and human biology major, has been named the 2014 recipient of the university’s highest student honor, the Marion Luther Brittain Award. The award is presented each year to a graduate who has demonstrated exemplary service to both the university and the greater community without expectation of recognition. Candidates are required to demonstrate a strong character, meritorious service and sense of integrity. Light receives the award, which also comes with $5,000, during the central Commencement ceremony on May 12th. In addition to athletics (a member of Emory’s women’s softball team, she earned 2013 UAA Most Valuable Player, 2011 and 2013 All-America honors, and 2013 Academic All-America honors), Light embraced Emory’s culture of service, working with Volunteer Emory since her freshman year, volunteering at a homeless shelter, coaching softball for younger students in local leagues, and serving on Emory’s Student-Athlete Advisory Committee to coordinate educational, community-service, and leadership-development opportunities for all student-athletes. Light has worked in the Department of Global Health at RSPH with assistant research professor Jorge Vidal doing quantitative DNA analysis for a study on pneumonia in South Africa and at the Global Center for Safe Water, where she worked on a rapid assessment tool to examine fecal contamination for rural or urban low-income areas with director Christine Moe, the Eugene J. Gangarosa Professor of Safe Water and Sanitation.

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Photos by Emory Photo/Video 



Bonna Wescoat (Art History) and Joyce Flueckiger (Religion) Win Guggenheims

guggenheim_awards520(Wescoat, left, and Flueckiger — Photo by Emory Photo/Video)

Bonna Wescoat, professor of art history, and  Joyce Flueckiger, professor of religion, are among 178 scholars, artists and scientists honored with Guggenheim Fellowships for 2014.

Wescoat will draw on more than a quarter century of field experience on the Greek island of Samothrace to write about the mystery cult of the Megaloi Theoi, the “Great Gods,” and its sanctuary, where she serves as director of excavations under the auspices of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens.

Flueckiger will spend the 2014–2015 academic year writing “Material Acts: The Agency of Materiality in India,” a book that will build on her three previous ethnographic research projects to examine a range of different kinds of material that are not usually included in the study of religion, such as saris and wedding pendants.

See news release

Related Video

Seeing Is Believing (Emory students under the direction of Bonna Wescoat, Professor of Greek Art and Architecture, address the longstanding question of why an ornate frieze was located in a seemingly obscure position high on the outside wall of the Parthenon.)

2014 Woodruff Library Undergraduate Research Award Winners Announced


Fiona O’Carroll — “‘The Instinct of Every Real Woman’: The Ideas of the Anti-Suffrage Movement in the U.S., 1868-1920.” Faculty sponsor: Patrick Allitt.

Laurabeth Goldsmith — “Theresienstadt: Concentration Camp Camouflaged as the ‘Model Jewish Settlement’.” Faculty sponsor: Carol Anderson.

Ryan Sutherland — “Exoticism and Musical Appropriation: The Javanese Gamelan in Debussy’s ‘Pagodes’ (1903) and Russian Folk Music in Stravinsky’s ‘Le Sacre du Printemps’ (1913).” Faculty sponsor: Elizabeth Clendinning.

Honorable Mention

Chloe Burrell—”Cruelty: The Shifting Historical Definition of Marriage.” Faculty sponsor: Judith Miller.

read more

Photo by Brian Methot.

Bobby Jones Scholars Selected for 2014-15

Four Emory University seniors—Lauren Ball, Rachel Cawkwell, Blake Mayes and Fiona O’Carroll—are the 2014-2015 recipients of the prestigious Robert T. Jones Scholarship Award for a year of study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

They will represent Emory as ambassadors to St. Andrews and were selected based on their established records of leadership, academic excellence and interests that can be pursued through the offerings at the venerable Scottish institution.

Widely known as the Bobby Jones Scholarship, the award was established in 1976 and recognizes individuals who will be excellent representatives of Emory at St. Andrews. The late Bobby Jones, an internationally renowned golfer, was an Emory School of Law alumnus remembered by those who knew him as an extraordinary man of rare loyalty, compassion and integrity.

The scholars for the competitive award receive full tuition, room, board and a travel stipend for their year of study. In addition, four St. Andrews students are chosen to spend a year at Emory.

The 2014-15 Bobby Jones Scholars represent a wide range of academic interests:

ball_lauren Ball, a double major in mathematics and physics and astronomy from Grayson, Ga., plans to complete a conversion to psychology degree at St. Andrews. She entered Emory as a Questbridge Scholar, and has played for Emory’s varsity basketball team for three years. Ball has led both the Society for Physics Students and the Emory Astronomy Club, and has served as an athletic and academic coach in the local and international communities. During the summers, she assisted with the Appalachia Service Project and traveled to Dharamsala, India, as part of Emory’s Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences program.



, an English major from Bedford, N.Y., is a Woodruff Scholar, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and was named to the 100 Senior Honorary Society. She represented Emory on a four-person slam poetry team in 2011, and received the Academy of American Poets Award in 2012. Cawkwell is completing an undergraduate honors thesis on the representation of charitable works in Victorian novels, and plans to pursue a degree on Victorian Studies at St. Andrews. She has been a leader with the Emory College Tour Guide program, a fellow in the Community Building and Social Change program, and is in her second year as co-director of Volunteer Emory. Cawkwell also is president of the women’s ultimate frisbee club team.



mayes_blakeMayes, a religion major with a minor in Community Building and Social Change from Knoxville, Tenn., plans to study systematic and historic theology in St. Mary’s College at St. Andrews. A Woodruff Scholar, Mayes helped develop a mentoring program for new Emory Scholars and is a fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, completing his honors thesis on contemporary monastic communities. As a fellow in the Community Building and Social Change program, he worked on strategic planning in south DeKalb County. He co-chaired the Student Visioning Process for University Center Renovations, and advocated for civic engagement programs for Emory students.



ocarroll_fionaO’Carroll, a double major in history and French studies from Seattle, Wash., plans to seek a master’s in intellectual history at St. Andrews. She has studied abroad in Paris and at the T.S. Eliot International Summer School in London, leading to her involvement as a CIPA peer advisor helping other students study abroad. A Woodruff Scholar, she has been active with Emory Student Ambassadors and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. The recipient of a SIRE research grant, O’Carroll is completing an undergraduate honors thesis in history on women’s suffrage in the U.S. Progressive era, and is a fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.



See full news release