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Profiles

Professor uses centuries-old martial arts form to educate students about Brazilian democracy

Sep. 15, 2020—On a hot, muggy August evening, a group of masked students followed Gilman Whiting, associate professor of African American and Diaspora Studies, onto the lawn in front of Wilson Hall. There, they took up socially distanced positions and began working their way through a series of exercises designed to encourage rhythm, flexibility, balance, and cooperation....

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Seizing the Opportunity to Accomplish Lifelong Goals: Alfred Prah, BA’19

Sep. 4, 2020—As a student in Ghana, Alfred Prah, BA’19, didn’t have access to a laptop or personal cell phone at the boarding school he attended. Despite that, he was captivated by the potential of technology to enrich his education and had dreams of using AI to make technology more useful and accessible to everyone. He knew...

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The Power of Mentoring: Susan Gessner Stewart, BS’90

Jul. 20, 2020—When Susan Gessner Stewart, BS’90, first came to the College of Arts and Science, her mind was firmly grounded on this planet—in the world of architecture, to be precise. Then a string of unexpected circumstances led her to the Department of Physics and Astronomy, where one professor’s mentoring changed the path of her life. Now...

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Biological Sciences Ph.D. Student Finds Creative Outlet in Science-Themed Art

Jun. 30, 2020—It’s no surprise that Jacob Steenwyk became interested in art at a young age. Both his parents are artists: his father served as art director for the Los Angeles Dodgers, and his mother was a recognized art critic who has published in major magazines in the Philippines. Steenwyk loved making art as a child and...

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College of Arts and Science Faculty Fight COVID-19 in Latin America

Jun. 17, 2020—Vanderbilt’s College of Arts and Science has long had connections to Latin America. Through the Center for Latin American Studies, the work of Latin American specialists in departments such as history and anthropology, and numerous student and faculty research trips, the college has forged strong ties to the region, its universities, and its people. So...

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Jana Harper: Creating performance art during COVID-19

Jun. 9, 2020—THE WORK “What are the burdens we carry?” For three years, Associate Professor of the Practice of Art Jana Harper has been exploring and answering that question through her project This Holding. “That question multiplied into other questions,” Harper said. “What might those burdens look like? What do they look like for us as individuals?...

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Serving Through Health Care: Founder’s Medalist Sumanth Chennareddy BA’20

May. 21, 2020—Sumanth Chennareddy BA’20, a neuroscience major and Spanish minor, is this year’s Founder’s Medalist for the College of Arts and Science. The Founder’s Medal is a 143-year-old tradition that recognizes the top graduating student from each of Vanderbilt’s 10 schools and colleges. The recipient of the Martin F. McNamara, Jr. Honor Scholarship, Chennareddy served as...

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Conversations to Empower and Build Community: Tommy Oswalt, BA’20

May. 20, 2020—Psychology and communications studies double-major Tommy Oswalt came to Vanderbilt as a first-generation college student with a dream of finding a creative and supportive community like the large Cuban family he left in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. As head resident adviser of West House on The Martha Rivers Ingram Commons, vice president of VUcept, and volunteer at the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at...

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A Bus Ride to Smile About: Dara Johnson, BA’20

May. 20, 2020—Dara Johnson insists she wants to spend time after graduation on a bus—a mobile dental clinic, to be exact. The Montgomery, Alabama, native is well-versed in the power of buses for social change. From Rosa Parks to the Freedom Riders, buses have been a potent symbol of change in Johnson’s hometown, and she’s working to...

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Communication Studies Professor Organizes Pandemic Help for Healthcare Workers

May. 4, 2020—Claire Sisco King will be the first to say that she isn’t an activist. But, looking at her pursuits over the past six weeks, you might have a hard time envisioning her as anything but. From working with physicians to create a petition for stay-at-home orders in Tennessee to her current campaign to provide resources...

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