People Notes

People Notes May 2016

Welcome | Kudos | Ideas & Travel | Alumni



Monika Bankowski is the new faculty affairs officer for the School of Dental Medicine. Before coming to Tufts, she worked at Harvard in various positions, including as assistant director for academic event planning for the Department of Molecular and Cellular Biology. She holds a B.S. in international business and marketing from Northeastern and a master’s in liberal arts in information technology, digital arts media and instructional design from Harvard.

Leanna Kakambouras has joined the Fletcher School as the new alumni relations coordinator. Kakambouras comes to Tufts from the English Language Center, where she was a marketing associate. She holds a B.A. in communications from Worcester State University.

Kalimah Redd Knight will join the Office of Public Relations later this month as associate director for the Medford/Somerville campus. She comes to Tufts from Simmons College, where she was a public relations manager. Her journalism career includes work as a reporter for the Boston Globe, a sports writer for the Philadelphia Inquirer and a metro beat writer for the Portland Press Herald/Maine Sunday Telegram. She holds a B.A. in print journalism from Hampton University and an M.A. in communications management from Simmons.

Merideth LaClair joined the clinical pathology lab at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine as a certified medical technologist. She previously worked in a 350-bed hospital in Tennessee.

Stephanie Meyer has joined the Fletcher School as assistant director of stewardship and donor relations. She earned both a B.A. and an M.S. from Boston College.


The Arts, Sciences and Engineering committee elections results were reported at the AS&E faculty meeting on March 30 as follows:

Budget and Priorities Committee: Klaus Miczek, Psychology, and Ujjayant Chakravorty, Economics

Committee on Committees: David Gute, Civil and Environmental Engineering; Sarah Sobieraj, Sociology; and Modhumita Roy, English

Executive Committee: Vickie Sullivan, Political Science; Mark Cronin-Golomb, Biomedical Engineering; and Douglas Matson, Mechanical Engineering. Bruce Hitchner, Classics, will begin a full term on the Executive Committee in 2017.

Faculty Advisory Board: Anne Gardulski, Earth and Ocean Sciences, and Yannis Ioannides, Economics 

Grievance Panel: Hugh Roberts, History; Kris Manjapra, History; and Kamran Rastegar, German, Russian and Asian Languages and Literatures

Tenure and Promotion Committee: Andrew McClellan, Art and Art History, and Krzysztof Sliwa, Physics and Astronomy

Emily Finnan, N16, has won the Stanley N. Gershoff, Simon J. Simonian and Arpi A. Simonian Prize for Research Excellence in Nutrition Science and Policy, presented by the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy. She is planning a career as a pediatric clinical dietician. She has worked in the Vitamin K Laboratory at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts and contributes to the Healthy Eating and Active Living program, creating curricula to help childhood cancer survivors. She also has worked part-time as a dietitian at Franciscan Children’s in Brighton.

Sara C. Folta, an assistant professor at the Friedman School, received an Outstanding Oral Abstract Submission for Early Career Investigator Award from the Ethnic Minority and Multicultural Health Special Interest Group of the Society of Behavioral Medicine for her study “Improving Heart Health Behaviors among African-American Women: Civic Engagement as a Novel Approach to Behavior Change.” 

Soha Hassoun, professor and chair of the Department of Computer Science, has received the Marie R. Pistilli Women in Electronic Design Automation (EDA) Achievement Award. In receiving the award, she was lauded for her work in executive and leadership positions in conferences and workshops for computer-aided design, design automation, logic synthesis, timing issues in the specification and synthesis of digital systems, and bio-design automation. She has created educational and research programs for the EDA community and enhanced the creation of a coherent and connected research community. She co-founded the International Workshop on Bio-Design Automation in 2009.

Research excellence at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy was recognized with several awards at the Experimental Biology 2016 meeting in San Diego. Elizabeth Killion, N13, won the DuPont Award for best abstract in the session, “Lipid & Fatty Acid Metabolism and Transport,” and second place in the Emerging Leaders in Nutrition Science poster competition. She was also a finalist for the graduate student research award competition; her work was among the top 12 abstracts from more than 500 graduate student submissions. Emily Mohn, N13, won the Carotenoids and Retinoids Interest Group’s poster competition, and Lee Margolis, N16, won the American Physiological Society Cell and Molecular Physiology section student award. 

Ellen Patterson, an assistant professor and director of interprofessional education at the School of Dental Medicine, was recognized as a champion fighting the stigma of mental illness. The Massachusetts branch of the National Alliance on Mental Illness applauded her work to add material about treating patients with mental illness to the curriculum.

James Stavridis, F83, F84, the dean of the Fletcher School, has been elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

John Westwig, a freshman majoring in computer science, on May 3 had his second crossword puzzle published in the New York Times, where he debuted last July. On that occasion he told the New York Times that tackling the back-page crossword puzzles in Games magazine prompted him to start developing his own ideas. The latest puzzle, increasing slightly in difficulty from a Monday to a Tuesday publication, involved cars and famous people. He joins other wordplay wizards at Tufts finding success in the New York Times.

Esther Wilkins, D49, DG66, a clinical professor of periodontology emerita at the School of Dental Medicine, received the Lucy Hobbs Project Industry Icon award last fall at the first Massachusetts Dental Society Women’s Dental Summit.



Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine was well represented at the Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges (AAVMC) annual conference, which took place in March in Washington, D.C. Sawkat Anwer, professor of biomedical sciences and associate dean, chaired the meeting of the AAVMC research committee and organized an educational session titled “Veterinary Research Workforce: Current State and Future Directions”; he also gave a presentation on developing a veterinary research workforce. Nicholas Frank, professor and chair of clinical sciences, gave a presentation on “Development of a Clinical Reasoning Course for Third-Year Veterinary Students,” and Virginia Rentko, medical director of the Foster Hospital and the Hospital for Large Animals (with Dana Zimmel, University of Florida), talked about “How to Use the Past to Shape the Future of Clinical Academic Veterinary Medicine.” Deborah Kochevar, dean of Cummings School and chair of the AAVMC Task Force for International Engagement, participated in the launch of a Council on International Veterinary Medical Education.

Jeffrey Ashe, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), attended a meeting at the Peace Corps in Washington, D.C., to introduce the idea of savings groups as a tool for Peace Corps volunteers to use in their village work. He also gave the keynote address at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School microfinance conference. He recorded a video interview on the history of the savings group model, how it improves upon microfinance, and why it doesn’t get as much attention as microfinance.

Jeronim Capaldo, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), participated on a panel April 1 that discussed the impact of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP): “Making Sense of the Trans-Pacific Partnership.” The event, hosted at the University of Ottawa, featured a keynote speech by Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. In his talk, Stiglitz mentioned GDAE’s research, saying, “Tufts University says the [benefits of TPP] are negative, and I think they are probably right.” Capaldo followed with a talk on “Unemployment, Inequality and Other Risks in the TPP,” which detailed the findings of his GDAE working paper on the topic.

Jonathan Harris, director of the Theory and Education Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), was interviewed by Toward Ecological Civilization ( as part of its effort to develop a multidisciplinary research program on the ecological and social basis for a sustainable civilization. Harris drew on his experience as ecological economics researcher and president of the U.S. Society of Ecological Economics to provide insights into the development of green macroeconomics.

Justin Hollander, A96, an associate professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, was an invited speaker at the University of Michigan Law School symposium Return of the American City: Redeeming the American Dream on March 11. Hollander gave a lecture on “Urban Space: Making Place for Thriving People.” In addition, a recent New York magazine article, “The Psychological Cost of Boring Buildings,” references the book he co-authored with Ann Sussman, F86, Cognitive Architecture: Designing for How We Respond to the Built Environment. In it, they make the case that people crave variety, not “big, blank, boxy buildings.”

Stacy Heen Lennon, F04, spoke on April 21 at the Environmental Business Council’s Young Environmental Professional Program: Interest-Based Negotiation in Boston. Lennon, a negotiation and conflict management trainer, facilitator, and coach, leads the conflict resolution course at Tufts’ Gordon Institute.

William Moomaw, co-director of the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), co-authored the GDAE policy brief “Forests, Soils, Grasslands and Wetlands: Key Allies in Meeting Climate Goals” [PDF] with Seth Itzkan, Karl Thidemann and Jonathan Harris, which was released on Earth Day, April 22. The day before, the New York Times mentioned the letter to Congress [PDF] from scientists and environmentalists, which Moomaw co-signed; it expressed concern about the burning of wood for fuel.

Julie Nelson, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), gave a plenary talk at the conference Markets and Morals: Conversations on Meaning and Economic Life Today at the University of Virginia on April 15.

Sarina Selleck, V17, received the Dr. Jack Walther Leadership Award at the Western Veterinary Conference on March 8 in Las Vegas.

Timothy A. Wise, G05, director of research and policy at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), spoke in Los Angeles on April 19 as part of the debate “GMOs: Global Solution or Global Risk?” hosted by UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. Wise also traveled to Zambia and South Africa, continuing his research on the right to food. He worked with the Zambia Land Alliance on its efforts to shape a new national land policy to slow and regulate large-scale land acquisitions and promote food security. In South Africa, Wise participated in a research workshop on food rights and land, water and energy in the context of large corporate land-based investments in southern Africa. Wise gave a presentation there on “Food Systems and Land Governance in a Global Context.”



Melissa Norden, J94, has been named executive director of Bottomless Closet, a nonprofit that helps disadvantaged New York City women enter the workforce and achieve success. Norden previously served as senior vice president and chief of staff at the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals.