CAS - Ampersand E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

April 2015

Dean John SloopDear College of Arts and Science friends:

Imagine you’re a senior approaching graduation. You’re making plans for going into the workforce or graduate school when you’re handed a present: funding to travel the world and make art for a year.

That was the unexpected gift given to art major Alexis Jackson. The senior from Memphis, Tennessee, received this year’s prestigious Margaret Stonewall Wooldridge Hamblet Award. The award was created by Margaret Hamblet’s husband and daughter in honor of the 1926 alumna who loved art. It’s the Department of Art’s highest prize and awarded to a senior who shows outstanding merit in studio art.

Alexis’ work is powerful, moving and sobering. She uses art to explore the histories and complexities of systematic racism in America. Her goal is to start a dialogue using the photographs, digital images, text, audio and video in her art.

I love that. Her art isn’t just to entertain, please or show off her skill. Alexis’ goal is to help people communicate, connect and think — and perhaps change.

That goes right to the heart of our mission. The College of Arts and Science is dedicated to education, service to society, and engaging in significant and innovative research, scholarship and creative expression in the humanities, natural sciences and social sciences.

Alexis’ art — and that of our other graduating seniors — embodies creative expression, talent, skill and innovation. I encourage you to see it for yourself. Their work is on display in the Senior Show 2015 at the E. Bronson Ingram Studio Art Center through May 9.

Dean John Sloop's signature

Vice Adm. Nora TysonBy her command

Vice Adm. Nora Wingfield Tyson, BA’79, is poised to command the U.S. 3rd Fleet based in San Diego. If confirmed by the Senate, the three-star admiral will be the first woman to lead a U.S. ship fleet. The 3rd Fleet covers the water from the Western coast of the United States to the international date line in the Pacific. See this Vanderbilt Magazine profile for more about the admiral and her Vanderbilt ties.

Hubble telescope imageA&S in the News

In connection with the 25th anniversary of the Hubble Telescope, its chief scientist revealed what it took to get the project off the ground (literally). Our own C. Robert O’Dell shared with The Conversation, Quartz and Scientific American online. Nature talked to John Wikswo about efforts to develop artificial organs while reported that a trans-institutional team will co-lead a new EPA center to identify toxins. American Public Media, Science Blog, CBS News and National Geographic were intrigued by Neil Kelley’s research showing how land mammals became marine dwellers (and sometimes reverted back to land again). And in the oldie but goodie category, the History Channel’s Ancient Aliens mentions research our physicists reported in 1991 regarding the connection between the Big Bang and wormholes.

AS logo items

Longtime history professor dies
J. León Helguera , who helped shape Vanderbilt’s Latin American Studies program, died April 20 at 88.

Ariel Helms
Striking gold twice
Ariel Helms has been named both a Goldwater and Truman scholar. The unusual happenstance will provide funding for her senior year and graduate school, where she intends to earn an M.D./Ph.D.

Sara Nance
Through Sara’s eyes
Sara Nance’s parents choose to celebrate their daughter with what she loved.

Callie House
Callie House Research Center
The black studies program research center has been named for the former slave who fought for mass reparation.

Isabel Gauthier
SEC faculty award
Vanderbilt’s  2015 Southeastern Conference Faculty Achievement Award winner is psychology’s Isabel Gauthier. The annual award recognizes one professor from each SEC school.


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

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