People Notes

January 2021


Noel Heim, lecturer in the Department of Earth and Ocean Sciences, is consulting with Mass.  State Rep. Jack Lewis on a bill to designate a state dinosaur. Media coverage (Boston Globe and an interview on NECN) highlight how the effort aims to help pique the interest of young children in the legislative process. “Dinosaurs are a great hook,” said Heim, a paleontologist. Lewis plans to file legislation on Jan. 15 after tallying results of an online survey that will recommend the best Jurassic candidate—Podokesaurus holyokensis, a bipedal carnivore or Anchisaurus polyzelus, a long-necked herbivore. Learn more about the campaign and the Commonwealth contenders on Facebook.

Justin Hollander, A96, professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy, was quoted in the Bloomberg story “Even Before Covid 2,600 People a Week Were Leaving New York City,” which also appeared in many news outlets.


Emelyn Chiang, a 2022 master’s degree candidate in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Smith College collaborators, have won a 2020 Campus Sustainability Research Award. The Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education recognized the team’s proposal “Reducing Smith College’s Dining GHG Emissions: An analysis of beef and milk substitutions,” which examines purchasing practices at Smith Dining Services and quantifies the environmental and financial impact of replacing beef and milk products with environmentally conscious alternatives. Read more about it here.

Prashant Deshlahra, assistant professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering, has received a CAREER Award from the U.S. National Science Foundation (NSF). The NSF’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Program supports outstanding early career faculty with the potential to lead advances in research and serve as academic role models. Deshlahra leads an experimental and computational catalysis research group working to develop better catalytic materials and processes for the clean and efficient production of fuels and chemicals.

Research led by Michael Levin, A92, Vannevar Bush Professor of Biology and director of the Allen Discovery Center at Tufts, made the “photos of the year” feature in The Scientist. The researchers used cells derived from a frog embryo to create living robots designed to carry out different tasks, the magazine wrote, showing an image of a xenobot slowing working its way across a petri dish.

Ayanna Thomas, professor of psychology and director of the graduate program in psychology, was recently elected as a member of the Memory Disorders Research Society. A co-founder of the SPARK Society, a group of cognitive scientists of color seeking to mentor junior cognitive psychologists of color, Thomas was recently named to the list of 1,000 Inspiring Black Scientists in America by Cell Mentor.


Aimee Fukuchi Bryant, A06, has been elected a partner at Nutter. A member of the Boston law firm’s nonprofit and social impact practice group, she has also chaired the Boston chapter of the International Association of Advisors in Philanthropy. She is a member of the Boston Bar Foundation, Women’s Bar Association, and Planned Giving Group of New England. In 2017, the Women’s Bar Association of Massachusetts selected Bryant as a member of the Women’s Leadership Initiative, and in 2014 she was named to the Lawyers of Color’s Second Annual Hot List, which recognizes early to mid-career minority attorneys throughout the United States.

Julie Carrick Dalton, a recent graduate of a training program offered by the New Entry Sustainable Farming Project at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, will be a guest speaker at an April 8 event co-hosted by the Environmental Studies Program’s Hoch Cunningham Environmental Lecture Series and Tisch College’s Civic Life Lunch series. The talk, Cli-Fi: The Intersection of Climate and Fiction, will draw on her perspective as both a farmer and a writer advocating for climate action. Register for the Zoom event here. The first 20 people to register will receive a free copy of her book Waiting for the Night Song (Forge Books, 2021), a debut novel in which threats to a cherished rural and forested ecosystem—drought, foreclosures, and wildfire—provide a tension-filled backdrop. Dalton has published in such outlets as the Boston Globe and BusinessWeek and won several awards, including the 2017 William Faulkner Literary Competition. 

Jeffrey E. Dodge, D86, has been honored with the Rhode Island Public Health Association Distinguished Service Award for his role as lead dentist on CareLink’s Mobile Dentistry team, as well as his long-time leadership role with Rhode Island’s Mission of Mercy free dental service program. The CareLink team made 14,083 visits and served more than 3,000 patients at 53 nursing homes throughout the state last year. In addition to his role as a dentist at CareLink, Dodge maintains a private practice in Woonsocket and is an adjunct professor at the School of Dental Medicine. 

Lindsay Dubbs, A00, has won a national clean energy award in the education category from Clean Energy Education & Empowerment (C3E), a U.S. Department of Energy program run in collaboration with the MIT Energy Initiative, Stanford’s Precourt Institute for Energy, and the Texas A&M Energy Institute. She and eight other winners were celebrated at the C3E Symposium in early December.