CAS - Ampersand E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

February 2015

Dean John SloopDear College of Arts and Science friends:

Regardless of how often I have this experience, I never get immune to how innovative and forward-thinking our students are. Recently, I had a conversation with junior Ariel Helms. She told me that she had participated in the Vanderbilt Minority Summer Research Program, headed by Biological Science’s Jim Patton. In this program, a subset of the Vanderbilt Summer Science Academy, Ariel worked on diabetes research in Dr. Al Powers’ lab at the Vanderbilt University Medical Center. By the end of the summer, she not only had learned a lot as a researcher, but also learned about VUMC labs and opportunities of which she had been unaware at the beginning of the summer.

Her research experience is one that I would love to see repeated throughout the College of Arts and Science—and one that Provost Susan Wente is also championing. Recently, the Office of the Provost launched a new website for undergraduates interested in research opportunities throughout the university. Not only does it provide the foundation that students need to begin the research experience, but it also provides resources and suggestions for finding faculty mentors.

In Arts and Science, we want the undergraduate experience to be the best mix of a liberal arts education with the opportunities of a world-class research university. Ariel is a great example of students who incorporate both. I’m in awe of their vision, effort and initiative.

Also, please join me in welcoming Lauren A. Benton, who was announced Feb. 19 as the new dean of the College of Arts and Science. A noted scholar in international legal history and currently the dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science at NYU, she will join us on July 1. See the article on the right for more about her.

Dean John Sloop's signature

John M. Sloop


End human trafficking and slavery

Assistant Professor of Political Science Cecilia Mo has won a $1 million grant to help develop solutions to human trafficking and forced labor worldwide.


Mental Time Travel

Arts and Science in the news

Ever experienced "mental time travel?" RedOrbit, Huffington Post and other media wanted to know more about the study from psychology’s Sean Polyn ; history’s Paul Kramer spoke to NPR about the century-old fight between the U.S. and Cuba over Guantanamo Bay; John Wikswo’s promising organ-on-a-chip drew the attention of Nature and Scientific American; and Moses Ochonu talked with Time about the long history behind Boko Haram.

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Lauren Benton

NYU leader named new A&S dean

Lauren Benton, a distinguished historian, NYU professor and dean of the Graduate School of Arts and Science, will be the new dean of the College of Arts and Science.


Chancellor Faculty Fellows

Congratulations to the four Arts and Science professors selected for the inaugural class of the Chancellor Faculty Fellows. Meet Bunmi Olatunji and the other outstanding faculty.


Playboy bunnies and women’s protests

Communication studies professor Bonnie Dow talks about her new book, Watching Women’s Liberation, 1970, and shows TV news footage from that pivotal year.

Students dance marathon 2015

13 years of dancing

More than 1,200 participants danced 13.1 hours and raised $161,923.15 for the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt through Dance Marathon on Feb. 7.


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Ampersand  |  Vanderbilt University College of Arts and Science
301 Kirkland Hall  |  Nashville, TN 37240

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