Professional News

Honors and Highlights from Duke Faculty, Staff, Students and Alumni

Duke Professional News
Duke Professional News

For the latest grants and contracts awarded to Duke faculty, click here.

Duke second-year medical student Joshua D’Arcy, M’19, has been chosen as the inaugural recipient of the new Barr-Spach Medicine and Engineering Scholarship.

The scholarship was created by a gift from Maynard Ramsey III, M’69, G’75, who established an endowment to honor his Duke mentors, biomedical engineering professor and associate professor of pediatrics Roger C. Barr, BS’64, PhD’68, and pediatric cardiologist Madison S. Spach, T’50, MD’54, HS’54-59. Read more.

Thomas F. DeFrantz has won the 2017 Award for Outstanding Scholarly Research in Dance from the Congress on Research in Dance. The award recognizes an exceptional scholar for sustained contributions to dance research.

In making the announcement, the awards committee scholarship by DeFrantz has contributed substantially to understanding of aesthetics and race politics and has inspired a reevaluation of race and dance history. Read more.


Philip Napoli, James R. Shepley Professor at the Sanford School of Public Policy, and Christopher Bail, Douglas and Ellen Lowey Assistant Professor of Sociology at Duke, were named 2017 Andrew Carnegie Fellows, the Carnegie Corporation of New York announced April 25.

They are among 35 scholars selected for the prestigious fellowship, which includes a $200,000 award. Read more.


Damon Tweedy, MD, has been named the Solomon Carter Fuller Award recipient for his pioneering work in addressing disparities in the medical profession. Tweedy, assistant professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Duke School of Medicine, is a New York Times bestselling author of the book Black Man in a White Coat: A Doctor’s Reflections on Race and Medicine.

Tweedy graduated from Duke University School of Medicine in 2000 and subsequently graduated from Yale Law School in 2003 before returning to Duke to complete his medical and psychiatric training in 2007. Read more.


Beth Holmgren was recently honored for her scholarship in Polish history. Holmgren, a professor of Slavic and Eurasian Studies, received the Wacław Jędrzejewicz History Award from the Jozef Pilsudski Institute of America in recognition of her work in Polish history. Read more here.


Nathaniel Mackey, Reynolds Price Professor of Creative Writing at Duke, has been tapped to receive another of poetry’s top honors. Mackey will receive the 2016 Rebekah Johnson Bobbitt National Prize for Poetry from the Library of Congress in honor of his lifetime achievement.

Mackey will receive the award and deliver a reading at the Library of Congress at 6:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 20. Read more here.


Laverne Myers, executive assistant to Elizabeth Merwin, executive vice dean of the School of Nursing, is the recipient of the 10th-annual Susan B. Clark Administrative Leadership Award.

The prestigious honor, established in 2007, is awarded annually to a Duke Health administrative professional who demonstrates the qualities exemplified by Clark during her sterling 33-year career: dedication to the institution, service to others, and personal strength of character. Read more here.


David Schaad, professor of the practice of civil and environmental engineering, has been elected a Fellow in the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE). Schaad joins the fewer than 3.5 percent of members to hold the prestigious honor recognizing those who have made celebrated contributions and developed creative solutions that have enhanced lives. Read more here.


The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded two grant fellowships to Duke University faculty members for their respective work in humanities-based advanced research programs —one focusing on post-apartheid mobility, while the other is digital catalog connected to an upcoming Duke exhibit.

Anne-Maria Makhulu, associate professor in the Department of Cultural Anthropology and African and African American Studies, and Kristin Huffman Lanzoni, instructor in the Department of Art, Art History & Visual Studies, were among university teachers and independent scholars who received the awards. The NEH recently announced it would help fund 290 humanities projects, including 86 instructor/scholar fellowships. Read more here.


David B. Dunson has been selected for the prestigious Carnegie Centenary Professorship, an award that enables senior scholars to contribute to the academic and scientific fields at 15 universities throughout Scotland. Dunson is an Arts & Sciences Professor of Statistical Science, and also holds appointments as a Professor in the Department of Electrical and Computing Engineering, and the Department of Mathematics.

The Carnegie Centenary Professorship is awarded annually to two distinguished international faculty members. Read more here.


North Carolina Campus Compact, a network of public and private colleges and universities committed to civic and community engagement, has named David M. Malone of Duke University the recipient of the 2017 Robert L. Sigmon Service-Learning Award.

The Sigmon Award, created in 2006, recognizes one faculty member in the state for significant contributions to the practice of service-learning, a teaching strategy that links community service to classroom study and reflection. Malone is a Professor of the Practice in Duke’s Program in Education. Read more.


Five School of Medicine faculty members have been elected to the American Society for Clinical Investigation (ASCI) Class of 2017. Membership in this organization is a distinction recognizing excellence and outstanding achievement for physician-scientists representing a diverse range of disciplines and specialties. 

The honored faculty members are: Nicole Calakos, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Neurology; Manesh Patel, MD, Associate Professor of Medicine; John Sampson, MD, PhD, Professor and Chair, Department of Neurosurgery; Stefanie Sarantopoulos, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine; and Dorothy Sipkins, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Medicine. Read more.


Mary “Missy” Cummings, professor of mechanical engineering and materials science at Duke University, has been named to a new Federal Committee on Automation established this month by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT).

Focused on automation across a number of modes, the new committee includes 25 leading professionals and experts in their field, who will work on some of the most pressing and relevant matters facing transportation today. Read more.


For the fourth year in a row, Sanford professors Charles Clotfelter and Helen F. Ladd were in the top 100 of the most influential scholars in education in the list released by Education Week on Jan. 11. The 2017 RHSU Edu-Scholar Public Influence list was created by Frederick M. Hess, a member of the American Enterprise Institute (AEI) and blogger at the Education Week website, and a selection committee of 2 academics in the field. Read More.


Guglielmo Scovazzi, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering (CEE) and mechanical engineering and materials science (MEMS) at Duke University, has been named a recipient of the Presidential Early Career Awards for Scientists and Engineers (PECASE). The recognition is highest honor bestowed by the United States government on science and engineering professionals in the early stages of their independent research careers. Read More.


Emily Derbyshire, an assistant professor of chemistry at Duke, has been named one of five recipients of the 2017 Marion Milligan Mason Award for Women in the Chemical Sciences by the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The awards, granted every other year to leading early-career female scientists, provide $50,000 in research funding as well as leadership development and mentoring opportunities.

Derbyshire, who holds a secondary appointment in the Molecular Genetics and Microbiology Department, leads a research team that is harnessing a variety of chemical and biological tools to understand the biology of malarial parasites with the goal of identifying new treatments. Read More.


Phail Wynn, vice president for Durham and regional affairs, received the N.C. State University School of Education Distinguished Alumnus Award.

He was honored for his leadership inNorth Carolina’s community colleges, providing "a deep and far-reaching impact for students and communities." As president of Durham Tech -- the first African American president in the state's community college system, Wynn "helped displaced workers connect to new jobs, give technical skills to those who struggle to find employment, help recent immigrants acclimate to a new society through ESL classes, and provide a platform for students to transfer to four-year universities." Read More.


Paula D. McClain, dean of The Graduate School, has been elected to a three-year term on the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) Board of Directors, the organization’s governing body.

McClain was one of three new board members announced at the CGS’s annual meeting in Washington, D.C., on December 7-10. She will begin her term on January 1, 2017. Read More.


Walter Mignolo, William H. Wannamaker Professor of Literature and director of the Center for Global Studies and the Humanities at Duke, received an honorary degree (Dr Honoris Causa)  in the Humanities from the Facultad de Filosofía y Letras, National University of Buenos Aires, on Nov. 23 in Argentina.

The university cited Mignolo for his scholarship and teaching at Duke and elsewhere and as “an intellectual committed to social struggles and the expansion of human rights” and for his “theoretical contributions in the philosophical, political and literary fields, through innovative, challenging and provocative conceptualizations.” Read more.


Xin Li, newly hired professor of electrical and computer engineering, was recently named a Fellow of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). Li was cited for his “contributions to modeling, analysis, and optimization of variability of integrated circuits and systems.” For more, click here.


Professor Jian-Guo Liu has been named a member of the 2017 Class of the Fellows of the American Mathematical Society (AMS). The fellows of the AMS program recognizes members for their outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and use of mathematics.

Liu, a professor of mathematics and physics, is the 14th AMS fellow from Duke. 


Kenneth A. Dodge, the founding director of the Duke Center for Child and Family Policy, has received the 2017 Distinguished Scientist Award from the Child Mind Institute, a nonprofit dedicated to transforming the lives of children struggling with mental health and learning disorders. Read more here.


Inderdeep Chatrath, assistant vice president for affirmative action and equal opportunity at Duke’s Office of Institutional Equity, has been selected to act as a representative to the U.S. Bureau of the Census' National Advisory Committee on Racial, Ethnic and Other Populations.

Chatrath, who has worked at Duke for 34 years, will represent the American Association for Access, Equity and Diversity, which nominated her to take part in the committee. Chatrath has held several leadership roles with the association, including acting on the Board of Directors. She was also instrumental in launching and continuing to teach in the organization’s Professional Development and Training Institute. Read more.


Biomolecular chemist Emily Derbyshire has been selected as one of five women researchers to receive the 2017 Marion Milligan Mason Awards for Women in the Chemical Sciences. Derbyshire is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry and holds a secondary appointment in the Department of Molecular Genetics & Microbiology.

The awards, presented by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), include $50,000 to each chemist for her research projects while continuing to mentor her own students. The awards are presented every other year. Read more.


Shannon Switzer Swanson, a 2015 Master of Environmental Management (MEM) graduate of the Nicholas School of the Environment, has been selected as one of National Geographic’s 10 Adventurers of the Year.

The Adventurer of the Year program was launched 12 years ago by Nat Geo to recognize extraordinary achievement in exploration, adventure sports, conservation or humanitarianism. Read more here.


Economics doctoral candidate Kate Maxwell Koegel has been selected to receive the Kauffman Dissertation Fellowship, an academic recognition program established by the Kauffman Foundation to advance entrepreneurship research. She is one of 20 students to receive the $20,000 stipend to support the completion of her dissertation.

This program helps launch the careers of emerging world-class entrepreneurship scholars who are conducting research with immediate application for policymakers, educators, service providers and entrepreneurs. Read more here.


Eduardo Bonilla-Silva, Professor and Chair of Sociology at Duke, has been elected the 109th President of the American Sociological Association (ASA). Bonilla-Silva will serve as President -elect for one year before succeeding Harvard University’s Michèle Lamont in August 2017. “I was humbled and honored by my election as ASA President,” said Bonilla-Silva. “I was particularly excited because my brand of sociology — critical, change-oriented, and committed to making the world more democratic, inclusive, and equal — is viewed in some sociological quarters as ‘political’ and I still got elected.” 

The President-Elect of the Southern Sociological Society, Bonilla-Silva earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He has held several ASA leadership positions in the past, including Council Member, Member of the Committee on Nominations, and Chair of the Section on Racial and Ethnic Minorities. “ASA Presidents can help effect change in the organization and leave a historical imprint through the theme they choose and the program they put together for the Annual Meeting, as well as the special projects they work on,” said Bonilla-Silva. Read more.


Kate Meyer, an assistant professor in the department of biochemistry in the medical school, has been named a regional finalist in the Blavatnik Awards administered by the New York Academy of Sciences.Three winners and six finalists are chosen from the fields of Life Sciences, Chemistry, and Physical Sciences and Engineering. Each finalist receives a $10,000 prize at the academy's gala in November. Meyer was nominated for her work on RNA biology while working at Weill Cornell Medical College.


The American Bar Foundation has appointed Laura F. Edwards, the Peabody Family Professor of History at Duke University, as the 2016-17 William H. Neukom Fellows Research Chair in Diversity and Law. An award-winning historian, Edwards is an expert on race, gender, and the law. Her research focuses on how disadvantaged and dependent groups such as slaves, women, and children used the law in the nineteenth century to empower themselves and shape their communities. 

The Neukom Fellows Research Chair was established in 2014 to lead the ABF’s empirical research on law and legal processes, relating to issues of diversity and inequality that woman, people of color, people with disabilities, and persons from the LGBTQ community face in the justice system. It was created to build upon the work of the ABF’s Research Group on Legal Diversity, a network of scholars who conduct empirical research on diversity in the legal profession and institutions of justice, as well as the impact of diversity on legal processes and institutions. Read more.


Maiken H. Mikkelsen, the Nortel Networks Assistant Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and assistant professor of physics at Duke, has won two new highly competitive research awards—the Young Investigator Program award from the Army Research Office (ARO) and a $2 million Emerging Frontiers in Research and Innovation (EFRI) award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).

The Army Young Investigator award recognizes outstanding young university faculty members to support their research and to encourage their teaching and research careers. Mikkelsen’ research is focused on creating hybrid nanoscale materials to realize unique optical properties that cannot be found in the natural world. For more, read here.


William G. Kaelin Jr. has been named a recipient of the 2016 Albert Lasker Basic Medical Research Award. The Lasker Awards are widely considered among the highest scientific honors and recognize the most outstanding and seminal contributions to biomedical science.

Dr. Kaelin received his undergraduate degree from Duke and his MD from Duke Medical School. He is a Howard Hughes Medical Institute investigator and professor in the Department of Medicine at the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Harvard Medical School, and associate director, Basic Science, for the Dana-Farber/Harvard Cancer Center. To read more, click here.


Michel Bagnat, an associate professor of cell biology, has been named an HHMI Faculty Scholar by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Simons Foundation and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Bagnat, who studies how forces within cells can help determine the shape and size of organs, is one of 84 early-career scientists slected this year because of their potential to make unique contributions to their fields. The new Faculty Scholars program will spend about $83 million over five years to support these scientists. Read More.


Eric Toone, vice provost and director of Duke’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, was one of 30 national leaders named by U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE).

Council members will offer recommendations for policies and programs designed to make U.S. communities, businesses, and the workforce more globally competitive. Read More.


Robin Kirk, co-director of the Duke Human Rights Center at the Franklin Humanities Institute, published "When the Shooting Stops," in World Policy Journal, published by Duke University Press. 

The article explores the role of transitional justice in ending long-standing international conflicts. It uses the recent peace agreement between the Colombian government and FARC, the main armed opposition group, following seven decades of rebellion. Read the article here.


Ben Reese, who has worked at Duke for 20 years in various roles supporting diversity and inclusion, was recognized last week by the Triangle Business Journal for his career’s work.

The media outlet celebrated Reese with its Lifetime Achievement Award at the Journal’s annual Leaders in Diversity Awards Sept. 9. For more information, click here.


Duke postdoctoral associate Max Villa was one of 15 scholars selected to receive the 2016 Postdoctoral Enrichment Program Award from the Burroughs Wellcome Fund. The fellowship grants a total of $60,000 over three years to support the career development of underrepresented minorities conducting postdoctoral research in the United States or Canada. To read more, click here.


Duke University Athletics Director Kevin White, a pivotal figure in NCAA efforts to further diversify the talent pool in athletics administration, has been named by the NCAA Minority Opportunities and Interests Committee as this quarter’s Champion of Diversity and Inclusion.

Women and men of various races, colors and backgrounds have thrived as young associates working under White at all of his career stops. All told, 24 of his former aides have flourished and advanced to athletics director positions in college departments across the nation.  For more, click here.


Chantel Morey, a 2012 graduate of Duke, has been awarded the most prestigious scholarship available at East Carolina University’s Brody School of Medicine.

Morey is one of three students in the medical school’s Class of 2020 chosen for the Brody Scholar award, valued at approximately $112,000. She will receive four years of medical school tuition, living expenses and the opportunity to design her own summer enrichment program that can include travel abroad. The award will also support community service projects she may undertake while in medical school. For more, see here.


Research Triangle Nobel laureates Paul Modrich of Duke and Aziz Sancar of UNC-Chapel Hill are picking up another prize on Thursday, Sept. 22, when they receive the North Carolina Award, the state’s highest honor.

Modrich, the James B. Duke professor of biochemistry, and Sancar, the Sarah Graham Kenan Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UNC, shared the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 2015 for their independent discoveries on DNA repair mechanisms. Now, they’re being honored for their contributions to the state and the nation. For more, see here.


Tirtha Banerjee, a 2016 doctoral graduate of Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment, has been awarded a Mahatma Gandhi Pravasi Samman award by the Non-Resident Indians (NRI) Welfare Society of India.  For more, see here.


Pate Skene ’14 has been named the 2016-17 Judicial Branch Fellow by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Science & Technology Policy Fellows program. For more, see here.


Ingrid Daubechies, a prominent mathematician whose pioneering work on wavelets is the foundation for millions of consumer products, has received a $1.5 million grant from the Simons Foundation. For more, see here.