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2003 - 2004 News

2003 - 2004 archived News

Sociology and Anthropology graduate student, Nanlai Cao, is the recipient of the 2003 Robert J. McNamara Award for Best Graduate Student Paper from the Association for the Sociology of Religion. Cao's paper, titled "Negotiating the Sacred in the Ethnic Enclave: Youth Adaptation Processes in a Chinatown Church," researched a Chinese Christian church in New York City's Chinatown. The paper is an ethnography of working class immigrant Chinese youth involved in church. Cao based the paper on his 2000 Master's thesis, and developed the topic over the following three years. Dr. Mark Warren, whose 1999 graduate seminar "Social Capital and Urban Communities" inspired the topic, served as Cao's thesis advisor. The Association for the Sociology of Religion, established in 1938 as the American Catholic Sociological Society, is an international scholarly organization with over 800 members on all continents ( The association encourages advance theory and research in the field of sociology of religion as well as social criticism from teachings of the church.

  Fordham graduate psychology student, Collen McClain, received a research fellowship from the National Institute of Health, National Center for complementary and Alternative Medicine (NIDA). Her project, titled "Spirituality, Religiosity and Immune Functioning", assesses the impact of spiritual well-being and religiosity on cytokine levels in terminally ill cancer patients. It evaluates the relationship between physical and emotional health, in particular connections between religious beliefs, spirituality, depression and medical illness. Psychology professor, Dr. Barry Rosenfeld, acted as mentor for McClain's research. Her project was accomplished in conjunction with an ongoing study by Rosenfeld and colleagues at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and Calvary Hospital.
Dr. Doron Ben-Atar, professor of History, is currently a fellow at the Dorothy and Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. His fellowship will be used to research a book on the history of Litchfield, Connecticut, at the turn of the 19th century. During the early republic, Litchfield was one of the seminal locations in the nation; home of the first law school in the US, one of the pioneer institutions of female education, center of Federalist politics, cradle of religious revivals and reforms from temperance to anti-slavery.
In addition to the book, Ben-Atar has launched a project, "Crossroads of Revolution to Cradle of Reform: Litchfield Connecticut 1774-1833", including Fordham and the Litchfield Historical Society. The project seeks to digitize the town's rich archival resources, including materials found outside the community as well as those housed at the Litchfield Historical Society and the Litchfield Town Hall. The result will be a three-dimensional picture of the community at its early republican zenith, available on the internet for researchers to study primary resources of the town and its inhabitants and teach the process of historical research. The proposal won a planning grant from the Connecticut Humanities Council..

Ben-Atar has recently completed two more books. The first, Trade Secrets: Intellectual Piracy and the Origins of American Industrial Power, published by the Yale University Press will be available in April 2004. The second book co-written with his mother, The Death and Rebirth of Zosia Somosha, is a memoir of her surviving the holocaust and is to be published by the Holocaust Museum in 2005.

Professor of Political Science, Paul Kantor, received the award for Best Book in Urban Politics from the American Political Science Association (APSA), Urban Politics Section, for his book, Cities in the International Marketplace. Kantor, former President of the Urban Politics Section of the APSA, researched this book for over seven years, which involved site visits to ten cities in Western Europe, Canada and the United States. Kantor and co-author, H.V. Savitch, conducted first hand research by utilizing sabbatical leave, fellowships and other small grants. Kantor's book will be published in paper later this year.

Kantor was also selected for a five year Senior Specialist Fellowship program in 2003. This program gives Kantor eligibility for invitation from overseas academic institutions for the purposes of lecturing and research. Last year, he was awarded two Fulbright grants. The first was to conduct seminars in Italy at the University of Milan and University of Bari. The second Fulbright grant, in October, was a series of undergraduate lectures and graduate-faculty seminars at the University of Amsterdam. His teaching focused on how to conduct comparative urban research and methodological matters as well as the politics of globalization. He assessed whether Western industrial cities are converging in politics, power distribution and economic policy over time in response to increasing international economic competition. Kantor took this opportunity to gather data on regional politics in Holland, which will eventually be used for a multi-nation study of regionalism and economic development in the USA and Western Europe.

Elizabeth A. Johnson, C.S.J., Distinguished Professor of Theology, was recently named the recipient of the Catholic Library Association’s 2004 Jerome Award. Each year the Academic Libraries Section selects a theologian based on outstanding contribution and commitment to excellence in scholarship which embody the ideals of the Catholic Library Association. Past recipients of the Jerome Award include Avery Cardinal Dulles S.J.. In addition to receiving the Jerome Award, Sister Johnson has recently published Truly Our Sister, whichcontinues her studies and development of feminist theology. In her book, "Johnson gently moves aside the symbolism that surrounds Mary, mother of Jesus, to paint a loving and respectful portrait of a young Middle Eastern woman ‘with heron life to compose,’ as Johnson writes" (Fordham Magazine Fall 2003). Sister Johnson was also named Fordham Teacher of the Year in 1998 and is the 1993 Recipient of the Louisville Grawemeyer Award for her book She Who Is: The Mystery of God in Feminist Theological Discourse. Read a review of Truly Our Sister

Dan Mroczek, professor of Psychology, was recently appointed to the panel for Risk Health and Prevention Behavior in the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This panel r reviews medical and scientific grant applications dealing with behavior and health, a subject on which Mroczek has written various articles. This panel of about forty members is one of 135 in the NIH. Together these panels review all medical and scientific research applications submitted to the NIH, each of which contributes to advances in medicine, and extending and improving health and quality of life for Americans. In 2000, Mroczek received a five-year grant from the NIH for further research on the connection between psychological and physical health.

In addition to that 5-year grant, Mroczek also heads Fordham in the participation of an interdisciplinary 16-university, $26 million NIH program project grant led by the University of Wisconsin. This grant, titled "Integrative Pathways to Health and Illness" unites universities including Wisconsin, Michigan, UCLA, Georgetown Medical School, Penn State, Minnesota, Cornell, Princeton, Harvard Medical School, Columbia Medical School, and Fordham in the quest to understand how psychological factors such as stress lead to physical illness such as heart disease. The largest portion of this multi-university grant sponsors the work of the Institute of Aging at the University of Wisconsin, leady Dr. Carol Ryff, former Fordham professor (`78-`85). The specific goals of this grant are to examine psychological and social predictors of biomedical outcomes, including development of physical disease. Stress and poor social support can cause psychological damage and negatively impact the immune system. Intense and extended stress can cause problems with the heart, arteries and brain. The investigators in this 16-university grant will also strive to find ways of alleviating these problems, such as meditation, prayer and good social support.

Robert J. Penella, professor of Classics, held a Guggenheim Fellowship in 2002. He used this fellowship for his ongoing work on a book on the fourth century sophist Himerius. A teacher of rhetoric in Athens, Himerius has left us much information in his surviving orations on school life in the late Roman Empire. He was well connected socially and politically. He spoke in honor of high Roman officials and was summoned to play a role in the regime of Emperor Julian. His orations shed light on society and politics as well as on the rhetorical culture and higher education of Himerius’s times. Penella’s book includes an English translation of these orations, commentary and critical essays. When finished, it will be a companion volume to his book titled “the Private Orations of Themistius” published by the University of California Pressing 2000.

Founded in 1925 by former US Senator and Mrs. Simon Guggenheim, the fellowship remembers their son, John Simon Guggenheim, who died in 1922. Grants are given up to a year in order to allow individuals to work with as much creative freedom as possible. Recipients have demonstrated exceptional capacity for productive scholarship or creative ability in the arts. Senator Guggenheim wrote in his first gift letter he hoped the fellowship would “add to the educational, literary, artistic, and scientific power of this country, and also to provide for the cause of better international understanding” (

Fordham graduate students follow the Jesuit tradition through volunteer work in Sarajevo, Bosnia-Herzegovina. 2002 IPED graduate, Michelle Born has been working in Sarajevo since July as part of Catholic Relief Services (CRS) International Development Fellows Program. This program sends workers interested in a career of international relief overseas for one year. It intends to increase overseas experience and gain broad exposure to different sectors of CRS, including development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation. Born has been working in each of these areas to create a new youth center for creative development. The center will offer opportunities for youth to participate in shaping a more open and tolerant culture.

Fellow IPED student and Freedom House worker, Christina Hartman visited Born this fall in Sarajevo. Hartman was working on Freedom House civil society development in Belgrade. She spent three days in Sarajevo and participated in the reconstruction of a local road. The repair project was a teambuilding exercise for U.S. Embassy staff; Born helped as a CRS representative. Hartman wrote of her weekend experience in Sarajevo.

Faculty and administration from Fordham and the Universidad Iberoamericana of Mexico City joined in the President’s Office on Monday, November 17th, to honor the beginning of an academic collaboration between the two universities. President McShane, S.J. and President Enrique Gonzáles-Torres, S.J. of Iberoamericana, thanked dedicated organizers of the union and exchanged commemorative gifts before signing the official agreement. This relationship, initiated by Fordham’s IPED program, benefits the two universities by encouraging student exchange, faculty and researchers’ exchange, joint research and international aid programs. The Universidad Iberoamericana is one of the largest Jesuit universities, and this union expands international opportunities for all members of the GSAS community.

Elisabeth Frost, Ph.D., of the English Department, has been awarded a Rockefeller Foundation grant to the Bellagio Study and Conference Center, located on a historic estate on Lake Como, Italy. The Bellagio Study and Conference Center offers an atmosphere of solitude, contemplation and productivity for scholars, scientists, artists, writers, policymakers and practitioners to pursue their creative and scholarly work. During her one-month stay at Bellagio, Dr. Frost will be revising a short essay and turning it into a chapter for her book In Another Tongue: Image, Text, and the Body in Contemporary Feminist Art and Poetry--on the poet Leslie Scalapino. She chose this chapter for her stay becausethe Bellagio does not have a research center and she has written about and researched Leslie Scalapino extensively in the past, including three articles and a full-length interview. Dr. Frost has also been awarded a MacDowell Residency to the MacDowell Colony located in Peterborough, New Hampshire, for the third time. The colony's mission is to provide an environment in which creative artists are free to pursue their work without interruption. Dr. Frost likens the MacDowell Colony to "paradise for poets". During her stay at the colony Dr. Frost will be working on her second manuscript of poetry entitled "Grace".

Guy Robinson, Ph.D. in Biological Sciences at Fordham (’03), recently had his research on the paleoecology of southeastern New York State written up in a news article published in the journal, Science [Science, 300: 885]. He also presented his research at a joint meeting of the Geological Society of America’s Northeastern Section and the Atlantic Geoscience Society, in Nova Scotia, as well as at the Third International Mammoth Conference in the Yukon Territory, Canada. Dr. Robinson, a 2002 Alumni Dissertation Fellowship recipient, is also the second author of "Sporormiella and the late Holocene extinctions in Madagascar" published by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences [PNAS, 100:19]. One of our publications specialists, Pamela Renner, interviewed Dr. Robinson about his research.

Celia B. Fisher, Ph.D., Director of the Fordham University Center for Ethics Education and Marie Ward Doty Professor of Psychology, recently published Decoding the Ethics Code: A Practical Guide for Psychologists. Dr. Fisher has contributed to psychology in the public interest through her empirical and scholarly work and her professional leadership roles in developing ethical standards for the discipline of psychology and federal guidelines for the protection of vulnerable populations in research. She recently returned to Fordham from her Bioethicist-in-Residence position at Yale University, and is currently a member of the DHHS Secretary's Advisory Committee on Human Research Protections (SACHRP), the Ethics Working Group of the National Children's Study, and the National Academy of Science's Institute of Medicine's Committee on Clinical Research Involving Children. Dr. Fisher has directed several federally funded projects on ethics education, ethics in adolescent research, and assessment and enhancement of informed consent in vulnerable populations. She has published over 100 articles and chapters on scientific and research ethics and developmental psychology

H. Ashley Hall, a graduate student in Theology (Patristic Studies/Early Church), was awarded a research fellowship at the Institute for European History in Mainz, Germany through the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst -- German Academic Exchange Service).The fellowship is for one calendar year, beginning October 2004. Ashley's research project is entitled 'Philipp Melanchthon and the Cappadocians,' which will be a study of the function of these fourth-century Greek Patristic authors (St. Basil the Great, St. Gregory Nazianzen, and St. Gregory of Nyssa) in the work of Philipp Melanchthon, a sixteenth-century Christian Humanist and Lutheran reformer. As Greek patristic texts became available in western Europe, they were used by Melanchthon, Erasmus and others as a means to condemn Scholasticism and reform the German university curriculum. Cappadocian works were also used by Melanchthon against the Radical Reformers in order to demonstrate both the necessity of philosophy in theology and defend the orthodox creedal formulations of the Trinity and Incarnation. The Institute was founded in 1950 as an ecumenical center for historical research, particularly in Reformation studies. The Institute awards twenty fellowships to young historians from Europe and overseas. Ashley will be living and working in the domus universitatis, the home of the Institute of European History & will receive a monthly grant in accordance with guidelines set up by the DAAD (Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst- German Academic Exchange Service).

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