Around Campus

Brandeis receives grant to enhance diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM classesPosted: Feb. 20, 2019

Brandeis University has received a $20,000 grant from the Association of American Universities (AAU) to complement and enhance current efforts at the university to foster student success in STEM.

Through the grant, Brandeis will implement a program of student-faculty pedagogical partnerships. Faculty and students will work together, as partners, to improve instruction and inclusivity in a set of selected courses.

“This grant will enable Brandeis to better help faculty to support students enrolled in STEM education,” said Irving R. Epstein, the Henry F. Fischbach Professor of Chemistry and Howard Hughes Medical Institute Professor. “We know that nationally, less than half of the students who enter university planning to major in science, technology, engineering and mathematics actually complete a STEM major. We at Brandeis have been dedicated to improving our students’ ability to succeed in those fields.”

Prior to the start of the fall 2019 semester, students and faculty paired in the AAU grant-supported program will participate in workshops designed by Alison Cook-Sather, Woodworth Professor of Education at Bryn Mawr College. During the semester, the student partners will attend class and take notes on what is working well and what could be improved.

Each student-faculty partnership will meet weekly to share observations about how the course is going and how it might be strengthened. These meetings are expected not only to provide criticism of aspects of the course that are less than ideal, but equally important, to affirm and reinforce features of the course that contribute positively to student learning and involvement. The focus will be not only on issues of curriculum and pedagogy but also on how to make the classroom more welcoming and responsive to students with diverse backgrounds and levels of preparation.

Project leaders are Epstein; Melissa S. Kosinski-Collins, Professor of Biology; and Kim Godsoe, Associate Provost for Academic Affairs.

Brandeis has been involved in efforts to strengthen STEM education for over a decade. STEM Posse, a cohort-based model for enhancing the success of students through innovative selection, pre-college preparation and mentoring, began at Brandeis in 2006 and has now been adopted by 10 other schools across the country. The AAU grant follows on the heels of a $1 million grant from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Inclusive Excellence Initiative, received in June 2018, aimed at supporting more students in the sciences.

Biochemist Jeff Gelles honored by Biophysical SocietyPosted: Feb. 14, 2019
Jeff Gelles with laserPhoto by Mike Lovett

Gelles in his lab.

The Biophysical Society has recognized Jeff Gelles, the Aron and Imre Tauber Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Pharmacology, with one of its highest honors.

Gelles will receive the Kazuhiko Kinosita Award in Single-Molecule Biophysics for “pioneering research that established new approaches in nanometer precision imaging and single-molecule biochemistry of DNA motors, RNA polymerase from binding through transcription initiation, transcription, and release, and recently the spliceosome, which has encouraged new (and new-to-single-molecules) investigators,” the Society said in announcing the prize on its website.

"I'm honored that the Biophysical Society has chosen to recognize our work with the Kinosita Award," Gelles said. "Science is a group enterprise, and I'm deeply indebted to present and former lab members — including numerous Brandeis students — who made essential contributions to my research."

Gelles is a pioneer in the application of optical microscopy to the direct observation of individual biological macromolecules such as proteins, DNA, RNA and the molecular assemblies that they form.

He initially developed a way to observe single molecules of kinesin, a molecular motor protein, moving in real time, locating their positions in a microscope image to a precision over 100 times better than the theoretical resolution limit of conventional microscopes.

This breakthrough enabled him to watch individual kinesin molecules chugging along cellular ‘railroad tracks’ so as to carry molecular cargoes to distant regions of cells.

Single-molecule observations open up a previously unseen world of molecular behaviors that allows scientists to tease out the physical-chemical mechanisms by which macromolecules work.

Gelles has since extended single-molecule light microscopy approaches, now used in labs throughout the world, to examining the mechanisms by which genes are expressed.

The award will be presented at the 2019 Biophysical Society Annual Meeting in Baltimore on March 5.
Elias Rosenfeld '20 to speak at Reform Judaisim conferencePosted: Feb. 7, 2019

Elias Rosenfeld '20, a Brandeis undergraduate who is an advocate for immigrants' rights in the U.S., is a featured speaker at the Religious Action Center for Reform Judaism's Consultation on Conscience 2019 conference in Washington in May.

Rosenfeld will speak alongside Rev. Al Sharpton, president of the National Action Network; Desmond Meade, president of the Florida Rights Restoration Commission, and Sr. Norma Pimentel, executive director of Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley.

Rosenfeld is a DACA recipient or a "DREAMer," living in the United States under a Obama-era program that allows relief from the threat of deportation to more than 700,000 young adults who came to the U.S. as children. He came to the U.S. from Venezuela at age 6, on a visa granted to his mother through a program for business executives. When she died of cancer when he was in the sixth grade, he lost his own legal status in the U.S. He has spoken on behalf of DACA recipients across the country. The long-term status of DACA recipients has been the subject of longstanding political debate.

The Religious Action Center, based in Washington, serves as the hub of the Reform Movement’s social justice work.


Watch the 'Starving Artists' compete in WGBH's 'Sing That Thing'Posted: Feb. 5, 2019

Brandeis University’s “Starving Artists” will make its second appearance on Sing That Thing, a televised competition on Boston's WGBH television station.

“Starving Artists” has been performing on and off campus for more than 20 years and is known for its innovative arrangements and eclectic style. They will compete on Thursday, Feb. 7 at 7:45 p.m. and fans can sign up for free tickets to watch them compete against "South Avenue" at the WGBH studios in Brighton. The show will air on April 12th at 8 p.m. on WGBH 2.

Sing That Thing, which is entering its fifth season, brings together 18 ensembles that represent myriad genres – from pop to gospel and everything in between.

The competition is split over seven episodes.

These outstanding and long-serving Brandeis employees were honored for their workPosted: Jan. 31, 2019
Nearly 100 Brandeis employees were honored in December for reaching significant anniversaries of their years of service at Brandeis, and two employees were acknowledged for their outstanding service.

Judy Salvucci, who works in the Office of the Provost, received the Lou Ennis Staff Award. The Ennis Award recognizes an individual who demonstrates loyalty and dedication to the university and its mission by surpassing the requirements of the job.
Kimberly Ann Richard, who works in Facilities Administration, was given the Louis and Helen Zirkel Staff Award. The Zirkel Award recognizes an individual who has made a consistent contribution to improving the service and operation of his or her department and the university and has gone above and beyond the call of duty.

Joe Fahey, who works in Dining Services, now Sodexo, was the employee with the longest service to be recognized, with 45 years working at Brandeis.

Employees with 10 years of service:
Joanne Arnish, Near Eastern and Judaic Studies; Jennifer Bartes, ITS Technology Services; Jenny Benavides, Facilities Administration; Mangok Bol, MSF'13, Mandel Center for Humanities; Matthew Boxer, MA'02, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies; Geraldine Brehm, International Business School; Denise Campbell, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller; Jay Chen, ITS Technology Services; Jonathan Church, Financial Affairs and Treasury Services; Melinda Cimino, Human Resources; Jaime Cowles, Sponsored Programs Accounting; Michael de Bethencourt, Public Safety; Deborah DeWolfe, Heller; Andrea Dine, Hiatt Career Center; Lori Dougherty, Human Resources; Pamella Endo, Mandel Center for Studies in Jewish Education; Brian Koslowski, Academic Services; Provost Lisa Lynch, P'17; Roland Maher, Provost’s Office; Robin Mancini, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences; Stephen Monti, Financial Affairs and Treasury Services; Viola Morse, International Business School; Seyed Razavi, MS '06, MA '08, PhD '11, Schneider Institutes For Health Policy, Heller; Meredith Robitaille, International Business School; Palmira Santos, PhD '01, P'16, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller; Cynthia Shulak Rome, Mandel Center for Humanities; Jennifer Siegel, Library Services; Chris Tedford, Theater Arts; Cary Weir Lytle '98, Hiatt Career Center; Deborah Wieder, Creative Services; Lisa Zeidenberg, Library Services; Minjia Zhang, Biology

Employees with 15 years of service:
Catherine Broderick, Division of Science; Cathy Burack, Center for Youth and Communities,  Heller; Anthony Celona, Public Safety; Roy Dawes, Rose Art Museum; Norma DeMattos, Heller; Jesus Flores, Facilities Administration; Kate Goldfield, International Business School; Anne Gudaitis, Division of Science; Roberto Guerrero, Facilities Administration; Shahar Hecht, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies; Della Hughes, Center for Youth and Communities, Heller; Judith Jaffe, Planning and Institutional Research; Lorna Laurent, Office of the Dean of Arts Sciences; Elena Motto, Facilities Administration; Karen Muise, International Business School;
Kristen Mullin, Womens Studies Research Center; Guadalupe Ordaz, Facilities Administration; Caroline O'Shea '03, Hiatt Career Center; Nonna Otmakhova, Biology; Mike Rigney, Biochemistry; Alyson Saykin, Alumni Relations; Rise Singer, Schusterman Center; David Tighe, Facilities Administration; Thomas Valicenti, Library Services; Marjorie Warfield, PhD '91, Heller; So Wai Wong-Chan, ITS Technology Services

Employees with 20 years of service:
Stephanie Grimes, Student Activities; Claudia Huntley, Student Financial Services; Clare Hurley, MM'05, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller; John Manoukian, Facilities  Administration; Nadynne Stamps, Human Resources; Jennifer Stern '91, Fine Arts; Stephen Terrazano, P'19, Facilities Administration; Jean Wong, Division of Science 05; Roel Yanes, Facilities Administration

Employees with 25 years of service:
Silva Bedrossian, Student Financial Services; Carlos Cardona, Dining Services; Edward Dougherty, Division of Science; Michael Hayes, Facilities Administration; Elaine Kennen, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller; Linda Purrini, Schneider Institutes for Health Policy, Heller; Amy Sales, Cohen Center for Modern Jewish Studies; Charlie Yu, Dining Services; Yen Lin Yu, Dining Services

Employees with 30 years of service:
Dennis    Belyea, P'18, Facilities Administration; Eddie Garcia, Facilities Administration; Joanna Gould, Tauber Institute; Fred Lee, Facilities Administration; Marie Martin, Dining Services; Misael Pena, Facilities Administration; Marie Spicer, Facilities Administration; Neal Sugawara, Biology; Joel Ventura, MA '72, PhD '80, Graybiel Lab; Joyceline Zimmerman, Sponsored Programs Accounting

Employees with 35 years of service:
Tobey Fidler, Health Center; Kenneth Hayes, Biology; Janna Kaplan, Graybiel Lab

Employees with 40 years of service:
Edward Callahan, P'11, Public Safety; Daniel Perlman '68, Physics; Jim Zotz, P'11, Athletics

Employees with 45 years of service:
Joe Fahey, Dining Services
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Brandeis students selected for Gilman ScholarshipsPosted: Jan. 18, 2019

Ten Brandeis students have been selected for Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships to support study abroad opportunities around the world this spring.

Each year the Office of Study Abroad assists students in applying to the study abroad scholarships, including Gilman Scholarships. The Gilman Scholarship program is sponsored by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to study or intern abroad. It provides students up to $5,000 toward study abroad program costs.

The following Brandeis students received scholarships for the spring 2019 term:

Samantha Barrett ’20: Hansard Society for Parliamentary Government; London, United Kingdom

Lillian Bickerstaff-Richard ’20: SIT/ Morocco: Multiculturalism and Human Rights; Rabat, Morocco

Danbing Chen ’20: IES/ Berlin: Language & Area Studies; Berlin, Germany

Tamar Harrison ’20: CIEE/ Community Public Health Program; Khon Kaen, Thailand

Carmen Huang ’20: Singapore Management University; Singapore, Singapore

Hawa Ibrahim ’20: Korea University (Exchange); Seoul, South Korea

Jamie Jason ’20: CIEE/ Liberal Arts; Madrid, Spain

Elaina Pevide ’20: CIEE/ Central European Studies; Prague, Czech Republic

Jehman Williams ’20: CIEE/ Liberal Arts in Santiago; Santiago, Dominican Republic

Jennie Yun ’20: CIEE/ University of Cape Town; Cape Town, South Africa

Berry, Cassidy, honored by Association for Psychological SciencePosted: Jan. 17, 2019

Two faculty members with Brandeis connections have been honored by the Association for Psychological Science.

Incoming faculty member Dr. Anne Berry and Dr. Brittany Cassidy, PhD’14, received the association's Rising Star Award, which is given to psychological scientists in the earliest stages of their research careers.

The award celebrates innovative work that already advances the field of psychology and signals great potential for continued contributions.

Berry, who is joining Brandeis from the University of California-Berkeley, researches how neuromodulators like dopamine and acetylcholine impact learning and attention, while Cassidy studies younger and older adults form impressions.

Brandeis and Boston University School of Theology awarded Henry Luce Foundation grant for Educating Effective Chaplains Project Posted: Dec. 17, 2018

Brandeis University and Boston University School of Theology (BUSTH)  are pleased to announce that the Henry Luce Foundation has awarded a three-year $500,000 grant to support the Educating Effective Chaplains Project, which will focus on three elements critical for preparing professional chaplains for effective ministry. The project is led by the team of BUSTH Associate Professor of Theology Dr. Shelly Rambo, and Brandeis University Professor of Sociology and Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies, Dr. Wendy Cadge.

The Educating Effective Chaplains Project seeks to create a network of scholars and practitioners who will reshape the field of chaplaincy by developing foundational research and creating a common curriculum for spiritual care. Bringing representatives from diverse faith traditions and theological schools across the U.S. together, this project builds a network of scholars and practitioners (social scientists, clinical supervisors, professional chaplains, and theological educators) who will examine what education and training is needed to provide expert spiritual care in public spaces.

The three primary elements of the project are:

  • The synthesis of current scholarship and practitioner expertise about the nature of effective chaplaincy, in order to evaluate how theological schools can and should support development of successful chaplains
  • The identification of specific skills required for chaplaincy, both universally and in specific fields, such as in the military, within healthcare, and at correctional facilities, and the analysis of how theological education currently supports the development of these competencies, and
  • Support for theological educators in strengthening their scholarship, curricula, and partnerships with clinical educators to better train future generations of chaplains.

With the goal of effectively equipping chaplains for all professional settings, the project will attend to the spaces where chaplains and religious leaders are working in today’s society. Even as religious affiliations are declining, spiritual needs and questions are as significant and important as ever, and therefore the need for refining chaplaincy education is opportune.

“We are honored to receive this grant from the Henry Luce Foundation in support of cultivating religious leaders of the future,” said Professor Rambo. “In the rapidly changing landscape of theological education, this network has the potential to transform models of education for religious leaders doing frontline spiritual care.”

Professor Cadge, who is also the founder of the Chaplaincy Innovation Lab, said she is eager to bring theological educators together in a way that advances a common conversation. “This is exactly why we launched the Lab and we're so pleased to collaborate with Professor Rambo. Innovation in chaplaincy won't happen unless the next generation of chaplains


the very best training and education. This grant is going to help us build new curricula and new models of education to make that happen.”

For more information, visit


About Brandeis University
As a top-tier private research university with a focus on the liberal arts, Brandeis University is dedicated to teaching and mentorship of undergraduate and graduate students, engaging them meaningfully in the groundbreaking research of our faculty. Founded by the American Jewish community in 1948 as a nonsectarian institution at a time when exclusionary practices prevented equal access to some of the nation’s best universities, Brandeis has always welcomed talented students and faculty of every ethnicity, religion and cultural background. Our 235-acre campus is located in Waltham, Massachusetts, in the suburbs of Boston, a global hub for higher education and innovation.

About Boston University School of Theology
Since 1839, Boston University School of Theology has been preparing leaders to do good. A seminary of the United Methodist Church, Boston University School of Theology is a robustly ecumenical institution that welcomes students from diverse faith traditions who are pursuing a wide range of vocations – parish ministry, conflict transformation, chaplaincy, campus ministry, administration, non-profit management, social work, teaching, justice advocacy, peacemaking, interfaith dialogue, and more. Our world-renowned faculty and strong heritage help students nurture their academic goals and realize any ministry imaginable. For more information, please visit

Two Women's Studies Research Center scholars honoredPosted: Dec. 10, 2018

Two scholars from the Brandeis University Women’s Studies Research Center (WSRC) received honors this fall.

Resident scholar Margaret Morganroth Gullette has received the Modern Language Association Prize for Independent Scholars. 

Gullette won the award for her book “Ending Ageism; or, How Not to Shoot Old” (Rutgers University Press). The prize honors distinguished published research in the fields of modern languages and literatures, including English, and recognizes achievements and contributions of independent scholars.

Meanwhile, WSRC board member and resident scholar Annette Liberman-Miller has received the 2018 Berkshire Theatre Critics Association Award for "Outstanding Lead Actress in a Play" for her role as Katherine in Shakespeare and Company's recent production of "Mothers and Sons.”

Creating a network for art makers in areas of conflictPosted: Dec. 3, 2018
Cindy Cohen speaking to a crowd at an event in August.Photo/Mike Lovett

Cynthia Cohen, director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, speaks at a design lab held earlier this year.

In the face of violent conflict, the arts can play powerful, constructive roles. A project overseen by the Peacebuilding in the Arts program at Brandeis is leading the way to create a support system for the people behind such cultural productions. 

"The biggest challenges of the twenty-first century -- war, inequality, climate change, migration -- these problems require solutions that can't be found through linear processes alone," said Cynthia Cohen, director of the Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts. “Solutions will arise through creative, transdisciplinary approaches, and arts and culture will likely play leading roles.”

IMPACT (Imagining Together Platform for Arts, Culture and Conflict Transformation) is an 18-month initiative to design an infrastructure to organize and support the diverse, global, and growing arts and culture already contributing to more vibrant, less violent communities and a more just, sustainable and peaceful world. The infrastructure will engage university-based programs, researchers, cultural institutions, artists, funders and policy-makers in regions around the world.

Launched in September 2017 with a year of intensive, global research, the initiative has already started to connect people from all over the world. Its team of researchers includes scholar-practitioners from Cambodia, Kenya, Cyprus, Australia, Japan and France. The project is led by Brandeis’ Program in Peacebuilding and the Arts, in collaboration with the Baker Institute of Peace and Conflict at Juniata College and Maseno University in Kisumu, Kenya, and is funded by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

A three-day design lab, held on campus at the beginning of the fall semester, brought together 25 practitioners, scholars, and policy-makers from Argentina, Australia, Colombia, Europe, Kenya, Israel, the US, Pakistan and the Philippines to discuss the needs of the field and ways to strengthen practice and influence policy. Participants generated ideas for fostering exchanges, strengthening ties between researchers and practitioners, and improve relationships between donors and grantees.

Cohen envisions the initiative will lead to a global network of cultural leaders, researchers, and artists that will be held together by a shared set of values related to the unequal distribution of resources across the field.  The emerging plan will address the sense of isolation that face many working in the field, through a network of regional hubs and a series of virtual learning exchanges, both of which will foster inclusion and connectivity. This infrastructure would connect existing networks, build communities of practice, and engender systems of influence that will have an impact on cultural policies and funding resources.

IMPACT aims to have established a framework by early 2019, which will include recommendations for approaches to strengthening coordination among university-based cultural entities and others working in the field of arts, culture and conflict transformation.  It will propose priority activities for the next 3 to 5 years; and a dynamic set of ethical principles and tools for implementing them and improving them, based on practice. As that work is underway, Cohen said they will aim to find ways to make priority structures and processes sustainable.

“We're intending to establish an advocacy arm to generate more resources for creative approaches to urgent social issues and to link with related fields such as human rights, sustainable development, transitional justice, and arts education. We’d like to see opportunities for global learning exchanges become an on-going part of IMPACT,” Cohen said. “We would like to find ways for them to become self-sustaining."