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Summer 2014 Honor Roll

Faculty, students and staff recognized for distinguished achievement

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July 3, 2014

Noshir Contractor, the Jane S. and William J. White Professor of Behavior Sciences in the McCormick School of Engineering, has been awarded a Distinguished Scholar Award from the National Communication Association (NCA). The award is given annually to recognize and reward NCA members for a lifetime of scholarly achievement in the study of human communication. Contractor is honored for his work investigating factors that lead to the formation, maintenance and dissolution of dynamically linked social and knowledge networks in communities. Contractor will be presented with the award during NCA’s annual convention in November. 

Laurel Cohen, a student in the School of Communication, has been awarded a Princess Grace Award in film by the Princess Grace Foundation-USA. The annual awards single out emerging artists in dance, theatre and film. Winners receive funding in the form of scholarships, apprenticeships and fellowships. They also receive a piece of jewelry by artist Alex Soldier. A committee of Northwestern faculty members nominated Cohen, who is recognized for two short films and a music video she wrote and directed during her time at Northwestern. 

Karen Willoughby, a student in the School of Continuing Studies, won first place in the Family Film Category of the 2014 Chicago Screenplay Contest. Willoughby’s script “Godmother” tells the story of a modern-day fairy godmother living in Chicago and the career opportunity of a lifetime. Winners from each category of the Chicago Screenplay Contest receive a cash award and prize packages consisting of literary agency and talent manager introductions and production company meetings and consultations.

David Tolchinsky, the Charles Deering McCormick Professor in the department of radio, television and film, has been awarded a 2014 Artist Fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA). Fellowships are awarded to Illinois artists in the discipline categories of ethnic and folk arts, media arts, music composition, literature, performance-based arts and visual-based arts. Tolchinsky, a screenwriter and sound designer, won in the literature category. Recipients of the fellowship receive $15,000 in recognition of their outstanding work and commitment within the arts. 

Melika Bass, a lecturer in the School of Communication, has been awarded a 2014 artist fellowship from the Illinois Arts Council Agency (IACA). Fellowships are awarded to Illinois artists in the discipline categories of ethnic and folk arts, media arts, music composition, literature, performance-based arts and visual-based arts. Bass, a filmmaker and installation artist, won in the media arts category. Recipients of the fellowship receive $15,000 in recognition of their outstanding work and commitment within the arts.

John Holcomb, a graduate student in the School of Education and Social Policy, has been awarded a five-year teaching fellowship from the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation (KTSF). KSTF seeks to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education by building a stable, sustainable community of networked leading teachers, who are trained and supported as leaders from the beginning of their careers. Fellowships are awarded to early-career STEM teachers. Holcomb will begin his first year of teaching this fall at UIC College Prep.

Institute for Policy Research economist Charles F. Manski is one of 59 distinguished scholars and honorary members recently elected to the British Academy at its annual meeting. Manski, Board of Trustees Professor in the department of economics in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, was elected to the economics and economic history section as a corresponding fellow, or one who lives outside of the U.K. at the time of his or her election. Fellows are elected for their distinguished scholarship to one of the Academy’s 18 sections, which include law, medieval studies and philosophy. The British Academy seeks to recognize and support outstanding research in the humanities and social sciences, both in the U.K. and abroad. 

Steven Jacobsen, associate professor of earth and planetary sciences, is the recipient of a Friedrich Wilhelm Bessel Research Award from the Alexander Von Humboldt Foundation. Award winners are honored for their outstanding research and are invited to spend a period of up to one year cooperating on a long-term research project with specialist colleagues at a research institution in Germany. Jacobsen will spend the coming year at the Bayeriches Geoinstitut in Bayreuth, Germany, where he was previously a Humboldt Postdoctoral Fellow. 

Kari Vilonen, professor of mathematics, is the recipient of a 2014 Simons Fellowship from the Simons Foundation. Award winners are honored for their scientific accomplishments over the last five years. Vilonen’s research focuses on representation theory and the geometric Langlands program using methods from topology and algebraic geometry.

Caitlin Fitz, assistant professor of history, has been awarded an ACLS Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Fellowships are awarded to scholars working in the humanities and related social sciences. Fitz is recognized for her project, “Our Sister Republics: The United States in an Age of American Revolutions,” that shows how the Latin American independence movements of the 1810s and 1820s shaped America.

John Murphy, a Ph.D. candidate in art history, has been awarded a Luce/ACLS Dissertation Fellowship in American Art from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Fellowships are awarded to graduate students in any stage of Ph.D. dissertation research or writing, for scholarship on a topic in the history of the visual arts of the United States. Murphy is recognized for his dissertation, “Comrades in Craft: Arts and Crafts Colonies in the United States, 1894-1915,” that investigates three American attempts to map a utopian society.

Amy Myrick, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, has been awarded a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences in the last year of Ph.D. dissertation writing. Myrick is recognized for her dissertation, “The Politics of Text: How Textual Norms Shape Substantive Agendas in U.S. Constitutional Amendment Advocacy, 1900-2010,” that analyzes patterns in U.S. constitutional amendment activism to understand why beliefs about words come to collide with visions for sociopolitical change.

Cassidy Cody Puckett, a Ph.D. candidate in sociology, has been awarded a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS). Fellowships support a year of research and writing to help advanced graduate students in the humanities and social sciences in the last year of Ph.D. dissertation writing. Puckett is recognized for her dissertation, “The Geek Instinct: Technological Change, Digital Adaptability, and Social Inequality,” that investigates what it means to be a successful learner in the digital age.

Tom Bernstein, chairman of the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C., and Sara Bloomfield, the institution’s director, appointed Northwestern professor Peter Hayes as chair of the museum’s academic committee, the advisory body of the Mandel Center for Advanced Holocaust Studies. Hayes is a professor of history in the Weinberg College of Arts and Sciences, with a focus on Germany in the 20th century, holocaust and genocide, and modern Europe. He has been a member of the Holocaust Museum’s academic committee since 2000 and has also served as the Shapiro Senior Scholar in Residence (1997-98), director of the Silberman Seminar for college teachers (2009) and Joseph and Rebecca Meyerhoff Lecturer (2013).