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CAS - Ampersand E-Newsletter [Vanderbilt University]

October 2015

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

One reason I was drawn to Vanderbilt was its community of scholars—in particular, the outstanding faculty in Arts and Science. In August, our community welcomed 22 new faculty members. I’d like to introduce you to a few of them.

Anna Marie Bohmann is a new assistant professor of mathematics who comes to us from Northwestern University. Her research area, algebraic topology, uses algebra to understand three-dimensional and multidimensional spaces. As an undergraduate, she found advanced mathematics compelling. This semester, she’s making multivariable calculus compelling to her students.

Assistant Professor of English Jessie Hock received her Ph.D. from University of California-Berkeley and studies 16th- and 17th-century English and French poetry. Her research explores how literary texts intersect with science and with ancient natural philosophy. This semester in her Renaissance poetry class, she has students writing poetry to be able to read it more critically.

New Assistant Professor of Psychology Joseph Franklin researches severe psychopathology, particularly suicidal behaviors and self-injury. He comes to Vanderbilt from a Harvard University postdoctoral fellowship. He’s especially interested in how technology—mobile apps and social media, for example—might help people reduce their self-injurious thoughts and behaviors.

These new professors join a faculty that is passionate about scholarship, creative expression and teaching. Arts and Science professors teach by example—by modeling critical thinking and drawing students into research.

I hope you will join me in welcoming these and 19 other gifted new faculty members into the Vanderbilt community.

Lauren Benton

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

metamorpheses Metamorphoses
Theatre audiences are used to seeing wonderful spectacles through the magic of lighting and set design, but VUTheatre’s recent Metamorphoses was extraordinary. Technical director Matthew Stratton and set designer Phillip Franck constructed a swimming pool holding 2,000 gallons of water (nearly 15,000 pounds) on the Neely Auditorium stage. The actors interacted with the pool almost as if it was another character. Shown are first-year student Kat Ko as Alcyone and junior Sammy Lyons as Ceyx.

Jonathan MetzlMental illness and mass shootings
The Associated Press, Christian Science Monitor, PBS Newshour and other media reached out to Medicine, Health and Society’s Jonathan Metzl to talk about school shootings in the wake of recent campus tragedies. A Vanderbilt story with Metzl received almost 90,000 online views in early October.

FossilArts and Science in the media
Research by psychology’s Steve Hollon about the effectiveness of therapy drew the attention of the New York Times, NPR and Cosmopolitan; political science’s Marc Hetherington and Bruce Oppenheimer talked to NPR and International Business Times about John Boehner’s resignation; and Smithsonian Science News asked Earth and environmental science’s Simon Darroch if worms caused the world’s first mass extinction.

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zeppos and students

‘Wildest Dreams’
Students joined Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos in the school’s box seats for a recent Taylor Swift concert. The students won the #VUSwift social media contest.


Reunion fun
Campus was bursting with alumni during Reunion Oct. 23–25. Thanks to all who attended the A&S Dean's Open House. It set the tone for the entire weekend.


Beating malnutrition
Malnutrition will be on the run in Guatemala thanks to the startup of a new facility to make Mani+, a supplement for children. Anthropology’s Ted Fischer is the force behind the project.

Alumnus Harry Lopez

First gen
The first person in a family to go to college can have challenges other students don’t. Meet some pioneers.

Alumnus David Halpern

Capturing light
How does someone become a National Park Service artist-in-residence? Find out from photographer David Halpern, BA’58.

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

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