Having trouble viewing this email?
View as a webpage.

CAS - Ampersand E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

September 2015

Dean Lauren BentonDear Friends of the College of Arts and Science:

My first full month as dean of the College of Arts and Science has been a whirlwind of meeting faculty, students, staff, alumni, and families.

I have had inspiring conversations with undergraduates engaged in cutting-edge research and innovative service. I have met graduate students working to help solve some of the world’s most pressing problems. I have been amazed by the dynamism and soaring reputations of our faculty. And I have marveled at the depth of affection that alumni hold for Vanderbilt.

During our recent Family Weekend, I learned more about all that Vanderbilt families do to support the success of our students. I was proud to hear stories confirming that a great many of our extraordinary undergraduates find here a rare combination of individual encouragement and high academic standards.

In October, I look forward to meeting alumni who come from across the country and globe for Reunion and Homecoming Weekend. The College of Arts and Science will host some fascinating educational sessions on campus. Topics will range from the reasons people meddle presented by Centennial Professor of Philosophy John Lachs to a look at new technology and privacy issues by a panel that will feature Associate Professor of History Sarah Igo’s research on the public-private divide in American history.

During the weekend and the months to come, I hope to meet as many of you as I can. If you see me, on campus or off, please introduce yourself. I want to hear about your Vanderbilt experience.

With best wishes for an exciting and productive fall season,

Lauren Benton

Dean, College of Arts and Science
Nelson O. Tyrone, Jr. Chair in History

Best Rank Ever

Vanderbilt earned its highest position ever in the annual U.S. News & World Report Best Colleges rankings, as well as kudos for its commitments to undergraduate teaching and affordability. VU came in at No. 15 on the list of best national universities.

Students with cactus flowerJust One Night

The flowers of the night-blooming cactus last only one night. That’s what drew 14 students to the biological studies’ greenhouse at 10 p.m. on a Tuesday. Greenhouse manager Jonathan Ertelt cultivates several species of night-blooming cacti like Hylocereus undatus on the top floor of SCII. The students included greenhouse volunteers, Vanderbilt’s Orbis environmental magazine staff members and a few students curious as to why their friends were headed to the greenhouse at night.

Alumnus Nate MarshallA&S in the Media

American Public Media’s Marketplace talked to psychology professor David Zald about fear and the recent stock market drop. The London School of Economics published political science professor Cecilia Hyunjung Mo’s findings that a bias against women leaders may mean many U.S. voters are unlikely to vote for a woman. Chicago Magazine featured poet and alumnus Nate Marshall, BA’12, (pictured) and his first book, Wild Hundreds. He wrote half of the collection of poems while a student in the College of Arts and Science. The UK’s Daily Mail was one of several media outlets fascinated by Earth and environmental sciences’ Simon Darroch’s account that Earth’s first mass extinction was caused by critters, not catastrophe.
Ad for A&S items

Video of Jessica Oster

Clues in Caves
Assistant professor Jessica Oster uses mineral deposits in stalagmites to learn about prehistoric climate. Watch video.

Alumnus Keith Alkberstadt

Laughing Matter

Comedian and alumnus Keith Alberstadt, BA’95, ruled the @DoresAtWork Twitter feed when Vanderbilt e-shadowed him last month.

Kelly Holley Bockelmann

New Bridge Builder

Physics and astronomy’s Kelly Holley-Bockelmann now heads up the Fisk-Vanderbilt Master’s-to-Ph.D. Bridge Program working to improve diversity in STEM fields.

MFA student Tiana Clark

Poetry Prize

“Equilibrium,” a poem by Tiana Clark, a student in the MFA Program in Creative Writing, was selected from more than 15,000 poems to win the Rattle Poetry Prize.

A&S endowed chairs 9.2015


A&S’s Cindy Kam, Robert Talisse, Dean Lauren Benton and Joshua Clinton were honored with endowed chairs this month.


VU Connect logo



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

Send us your news  |  Arts and Science home  |  Alumni  |   Subscribe  |  Archives  |  Contact us