People Notes October 2017


Alex Chiu has joined the Tufts University Chaplaincy as chaplaincy coordinator. Previously she worked with the Safe Schools Program for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer and Questioning (LGBTQ) Students, a partnership between the Massachusetts Department for Elementary and Secondary Education and the Massachusetts Commission on LGBTQ Youth. She also taught in the Peace Corps in Lamongan, East Java, Indonesia. She is a graduate of Smith College.

Julia Crane has joined Tufts as the assistant director of the Fletcher Fund. Previously she was assistant director of annual giving at Endicott College and a development director at Catholic Schools in Boston. She is a graduate of Stonehill College and earned an M.B.A. from the Van Loan School at Endicott College.

Sananda Ghatak, AG17, has joined Tufts as a senior data analyst in Communications and Marketing. She brings experience in marketing analytics in the pharma and finance sectors, as well as in consumer lending and mortgage sectors for HSBC. She holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in economics from the University of Calcutta and a master’s in quantitative economics and econometrics from Tufts.

Scott Handler, V88, has a new role at Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine: associate medical director of operations at the Foster Hospital for Small Animals. His recent position at the hospital was as a staff retention and recruitment specialist. A 1988 graduate of Cummings School, he also holds an M.B.A. from Clark University’s Graduate School of Management. He has been a manager, director and strategist in the veterinary medical field, including at Hill’s Pet Nutrition, Biopure, Patterson Veterinary Supply, and Zoetis. He also has been a part-time practitioner in Fitchburg, Massachusetts for more than 15 years and volunteers at Tufts at Tech Community Veterinary Clinic. He is a past president of the Massachusetts Veterinary Medical Association of the Tufts University Veterinary Alumni Association.

Sarah Stockwell, J95, AG12, has joined the Office of Alumni Relations as the new senior associate director for Alumni Council and Volunteer Management. Previously she was a lecturer at the Gordon Institute at Tufts and a training director for reacHIRE, a company that helps women re-enter the workforce after a career break. During a nine-year stint at the Fletcher School, she also developed, managed, and facilitated a professional development program for graduate students. She earned her B.A. in American Studies, and her M.A. in Museum Education, both from Tufts.


Micaela Karlsen, a Ph.D. candidate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy and trainee in the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging’s nutritional epidemiology program, has had an abstract accepted by the NIH Office of Disease Prevention’s Pathways to Prevention Program for a workshop called “Methods for Evaluating Natural Experiments in Obesity.” She also received an emerging researcher travel award.

Rajendra Kumar-Singh, professor of developmental, molecular, and chemical biology in the School of Medicine, and Sheldon Rowan, scientist II in the Laboratory for Nutrition and Vision Research at the Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts, have been awarded grants from the BrightFocus Foundation. Kumar-Singh directs a laboratory at the Sackler School of Graduate Biomedical Sciences developing genetic therapies for retinal diseases, including macular degeneration. Rowan, who is also an assistant professor of ophthalmology at the School of Medicine, explores relationships between eye health, diet, aging, and metabolism.

Richard Lerner, a professor in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, has been chosen by Pope Francis to be appointed to a five-year term as a corresponding member of the Pontifical Academy for Life. New members from 27 countries and from a multitude of backgrounds and beliefs have been appointed. Lerner will be traveling to the Vatican for a meeting of the Academy in October, which will include an audience with Pope Francis.

Devin Lockett, A20, this summer participated in Credit Suisse’s BA Explorer Program, and will be a Steps to Success Scholar next summer. The program offers outstanding college sophomores a ten-week summer internship program in the financial services industry.  

Chrystal Nguyen, V18, recently returned from two weeks of volunteer veterinary service in Thailand. Nguyen, traveling with Loop Abroad, was part of a volunteer team that provided veterinary services at a dog shelter and the Elephant Nature Park—home to more than 60 elephants who have been rescued from trekking, logging, or forced breeding programs—and to  cats, dogs, water buffalo, horses, and cows.


Veterinary students Ezra Frager, V20; Deanna Ineson V20; and Alyssa McDonagh, V19, presented summer research projects at the recent National Veterinary Scholars Symposium in Bethesda, Maryland. Cummings School, in collaboration with MIT, will host the conference in 2019.

Jonathan Harris, director of the Theory and Education Program at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), gave a presentation this summer on the economics of climate changebased on GDAE’s newly updated climate change teaching module, to students in the College Experience in Boston program.

Jeffrey Mariner, V87, research professor at Cummings School, was featured on NPR’s global health and development blog Goats and Soda, discussing his efforts, along with collaborators at University of Florida, to eradicate goat plague in Uganda. The virus, which is found in goats and sheep along with wild animals like antelope and camels, can wipe out 90 percent of a herd. This can mean economic disaster for the many folks who depend on livestock to make a living in developing parts of the world. (Read the related Tufts Now story “The Fight Against Goat Plague.”)

David Matsas, an assistant professor at Cummings School, in August traveled to Fort Collins, Colorado, to attend the annual conference of the Society for Theriogenology, an organization of veterinarians dedicated to animal reproduction. He is a member of the Theriogenology Foundation board of directors and chairs its public awareness and education committee.

Julie Nelson, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), published a new book, Gender and Risk-Taking: Economics, Evidence, and Why the Answer Matters.

Karen Panetta, dean of graduate engineering at the School of Engineering and editor-in-chief of IEEE Women in Engineering Magazine, addressed artificial intelligence software and how early-stage humanoid robots are playing a growing role in pre-K and kindergarten in a recent edition of Business Insider, India edition.

June Sekera, a research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), released Public Goods Post Vol. 2, No. 9 on “Losing Our Libraries,” about the potential loss or degradation of public libraries due to privatization. In August, Sekera released Public Goods Post Vol. 2, No. 8, on “Is Democracy Doomed?” which argues that we must value and rebuild the professional capacity of government.

Liz Stanton, a senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), filed testimony [PDF] on June 14 in the matter of CLEAN WATER ACTION, et al., v. E. SCOTT PRUITT, Administrator, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, et al. She states states that any delay in implementing the Effluent Limitation Guidelines on Steam-Electric Generating Units will result in harm to the public. 

Dennis Rasmussen, an associate professor of political science, is the author of The Infidel and the Professor: David Hume, Adam Smith, and the Friendship That Shaped Modern Thought (Princeton University Press). The book chronicles the friendship between philosopher David Hume and professor of moral philosophy Adam Smith during the Scottish Enlightenment. It was named Book of the Week by Times Higher Education and received praise from reviews in The National Interest and Prospect.

Chris Whittier, a research assistant professor at Cummings School, and Linda Jarvin, also at Cumming School, recently traveled to Senegal to lead a workshop on wildlife mapping and course design.

Timothy A. Wise, G05, senior research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), published “Tuning in to Farmers’ Water Needs: Radio broadcasts aid to Malawi irrigation efforts” on August 31 via Food Tank. On August 28, he was quoted in a Boston Herald article, “Talking Tough On Trade” about Trump’s renegotiation of NAFTA.

Yifei Zhang, visiting research fellow at the Global Development and Environment Institute (GDAE), joined GDAE in August as a visiting research fellow from the Research Center of Climate Change and Green Economy at the Shanghai University of International Business and Economics.


Kevin Gureckis, D76, has been named Texas Dentist of the Year by the Texas by the Academy of General Dentistry. The award recognizes his dedication to dental organizations and to his commitment to lifelong learning, including nearly 25 years as colonel and program director of a residency program at Wilford Hall Medical Center, Lackland Air Force Base, Texas. His influence helped improve dental services for 350,000 Air Force members at 80 dental clinic locations worldwide, and mentorship for more than 700 general dentists. Upon retirement, he was awarded the Legion of Merit medal. He is currently a professor of comprehensive dentistry at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio.