Points of Pride

  • Ralph Vacca

    In April Ralph Vacca, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Communication and Media Studies, received a major grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to fund the project, "Critical Data Stories: Co-Designing Remixing Tools with Teachers to Support Critical Data Literacy with Middle School Youth." The 3-year design-based research investigation is a collaboration with NYU and the Education Development Center (EDC), and focuses on co-designing technology and curricular units with Math and ELA teachers, to examine how to support youth in creating nuanced, data-based arguments around personally relevant topics that attend to the sociopolitical systems that impact them. The project builds on prior NSF-funded work connecting data literacy to art-making with youth in public schools across the U.S. Professor Vacca shared, “we’re seeing all this scholarship on the importance of engaging youth with topics of data and artificial intelligence, and we hope to develop some publicly available digital tools and curriculum together with teachers as partners, and reimagine another data literacy learning approach with media - one that centers youth culture, creativity, and social justice.”

  • FAS improved support for faculty research and teaching by providing $126,577 through the Challenge Grant program in 2022-23. Primarily funded by restricted gifts, Challenge Grants are a vital resource to support faculty research and teaching. Activities funded by Challenge Grants included, for example, workshops to disseminate research to revise the traditional understanding of the Renaissance, a conference on traffic in the global eighteenth century, a conference on cultural exchanges between Italy and the world, and a composers’ workshop.

  • On April 11, the Department of Economics, with support from CASD and the Office of Research, held the Data Science Symposium: Doing Good with Data at Lincoln Center. The symposium reflected the current and increasing importance of data science in our society, as well as its potential as a tool to benefit society. Showcasing the diversity in the vast amount of interdisciplinary data science research at Fordham, the symposium included eighteen presentations from the following eight departments in the Arts and Sciences: Biological Sciences, Chemistry, Communication & Media Studies, Computer & Information Sciences, Economics, Natural Sciences, Psychology, and Physics and Engineering Physics. Presenters included faculty and students ranging from the doctoral to the undergraduate level. Congratulations to organizers, Johanna Francis (Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Economics), Gary Weiss (Professor, Department of Computer & Information Sciences), and Yijun Zhao (Assistant Professor, Department of Computer & Information Sciences), on a successful event (see photo above).

  • Fordham’s annual Research Day Celebration, sponsored by the Office of Research, took place on March 22. Of the five research awards, faculty in Arts and Sciences took home three. Let’s raise a glass to our esteemed colleagues and the stellar work they have been doing to advance their fields:

    Ipsita Banerjee profile picture

    Ipsita Banerjee, Ph.D. Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry

    Distinguished Research Award in the Sciences and Mathematics

    Professor Asif Siddiqi

    Asif Siddiqi, Ph.D. Professor of History

    Distinguished Research Award in the Humanities

    Fordham Ram with Letter F New Logo

    Juntao Chen, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Sciences

    Distinguished Research Award for Junior Faculty

    Photo of Ruhul Amin seated outdoors

    Mohammad Ruhul Amin, Ph.D., Assistant Professor in Computer and Information Sciences, received a $2 million grant from the Bangladesh government to strengthen the country’s ability to use artificial intelligence. Even though Bangla is one of the most widely spoken languages in the world and is the national language of Bangladesh, search results in Bangla yield few results, as search engines like Google do not process the language correctly. Over the next two years, Ruhul will be working with Giga Tech, a global technology company in his native Bangladesh, to develop the first Bangla corpus.

    Eduardo Gallo in his lab in Larkin Hall, smiling in a light blue dress shirt with his arms crossed.

    Eduardo Gallo, Ph.D., a Honduran-American neuroscientist, is an Assistant Professor in Biological Sciences, who teaches cell biology to undergraduates at Fordham College at Rose Hill and students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. Through his research, he is trying to understand how an overlooked group of brain cells can control our impulses. His research, which was funded by a nearly $2 million research grant from the National Institutes of Health, could eventually contribute to the development of treatments and prevention methods for people with substance use and mental health disorders.

    David Swinarski, Ph.D., Associate Professor and Chair, Department of Mathematics, received the Napier Shaw Bronze Medal from the CIBSE (Chartered Institution of Building Services Engineers in the UK) for his paper "Modelling elevator traffic with social distancing in a university classroom building," which was published in one of their journals in January 2021. Professor Swinarski developed a simulation tool to assess the impact of various interventions on traffic carrying capacity of lift groups during the COVID-19 pandemic, when occupancy of lifts was curtailed as a means to reduce transmission risks.

  • In November 2021, Stephen Grimm, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy, received a three-year, $300,000 grant to launch the program, “Visions of the Good in the Bronx,” that aims to work with students from the borough, particularly those who are underserved or might not have access to the same resources as their peers. Students in the seminar tackle questions about what it means to live a good and fulfilling human life, and the program kicked off last summer with sixteen Bronx high school students who lived in the dorms of the Rose Hill campus (see photo below). With much excitement and enthusiasm, the program will be continuing this summer under the leadership of Lauren Kopajtic, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy, and Nicholas Smyth, Ph.D., Assistant Professor of Philosophy. The three-week seminar will run from July 5-25 on the Rose Hill campus, and the summer program will be followed by a year-long mentoring program where students reinforce essential life and college-readiness skills, and successful students will receive letters of recommendation from their summer professors to accompany their college applications. Professor Grimm notes that "It was a pure pleasure to be part of the seminar last year. The discussions were great, everyone worked hard and had fun, and we all learned a lot from one another."

    Varsha Panjwani, holding up a red book with Shakespeare on it. She is behind a book shelf and smiling. There is a play button graphic over here.

    Varsha Panjwani, Ph.D., an Adjunct in the Department of English at Fordham’s London campus, teaches Shakespeare with a 21st-century twist. Her course shows students how to use the famous plays to relate to their lives regardless of their ethnicity, culture, or sexual orientation. She is a Shakespeare expert who has contributed her research to journals and film festivals and has been invited to deliver talks at prestigious institutions, including the Royal Shakespeare Company and the University of Oxford. Watch this 1-minute video to learn more about her class!

  • For the 2022-2023 academic year, A&S faculty published 23 books (single or co-authored); 2 manuscripts; more than 5 book chapters; and 170 articles (including journal articles, conference papers, op-eds, and essays). There were over 30 articles that mentioned and quoted A&S faculty; a citation in the 2023 Economic Report of the President, 12 podcast guest segments; 4 radio segments; 12 television guest appearances; 1 major performance and commission; 1 world premiere of a play; 6 screenings; 18 art/photography gallery/exhibitions; 4 artist residencies; and 63 presentations (including workshops, panels, keynote addresses, and presentations of papers). Faculty were awarded 11 fellowships and 41 awards/prizes/recognitions, in addition to 31 grants, including major grants from the National Science Foundation, the National Institutes of Health, the Greenwall Foundation, the Cummings Foundation, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

    Here’s a glance at the most recent achievements.

    Ipsita Banerjee, Ph.D., Professor and Chair, Department of Chemistry, received the Middle Atlantic Region American Chemical Society’s 2023 E. Emmet Reid Award in Chemistry Teaching at Small Colleges, in addition to being named the Distinguished Scientist Award from the Westchester Chemical Society. In March, she received Fordham’s Distinguished Research Award in the Sciences and Mathematics.

    Dr. David Budescu

    David Budescu, Ph.D., Anne Anastasi Professor of Psychometrics and Quantitative Psychology, received the 2023 Frank P. Ramsey Medal from the Ramsey Award Committee of the Decision Analysis Society for his distinguished contributions to Decision Analysis. This is the highest honor bestowed by the society.

    Annika Hinze

    Annika Hinze, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, and Director, Urban Studies Program, has been appointed editor of the International Political Science Review, a major journal in political science. She will serve a six year term beginning in July 2023. “I am deeply honored to be appointed co-editor of such a prestigious journal! I hope to bring my expertise in comparative urban politics and immigration policy to this new position and I am excited to be exposed on a daily basis to the kind of breadth and depth of international politics research this journal publishes! This editorship means a great step in my career as well as a brand new perspective on the profession for me!”

    Mimi Lien

    Mimi Lien was named Fordham’s new Denzel Washington Endowed Chair in Theatre. She is the winner of a 2017 Tony Award for her set design in the musical Natasha, Pierre, & the Great Comet of 1812, and the first set designer to earn a prestigious MacArthur Fellowship. She is the second set designer to serve as a Denzel Washington Endowed Chair at Fordham since the program began in 2011. Watch this 1-minute video to learn more about her!

    Magda Teter

    Magda Teter, Ph.D., Professor of History and Shvidler Chair in Judaic Studies, published the book Christian Supremacy: Reckoning with the Roots of Antisemitism and Racism. It demonstrates how theological and legal frameworks created by the church centuries ago laid the seeds of antisemitism and anti-Black racism and reveals why Christian identity lies at the heart of white supremacy movements.

    Congratulations to the Most Recent Tenure Awardees!

    • Elissa Aminoff, Ph.D., Department of Psychology
    • Emanuel Fiano, Ph.D., Department of Theology
    • Sarah Grey, Ph.D., Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
    • Boris Heersink, Ph.D., Department of Political Science
    • Paul Jung, Ph.D., Department of Mathematics
    • Tyesha Maddox, Ph.D., Department of African & African American Studies
    • Ying Mao, Ph.D., Department of Computer & Information Sciences
    • Zein Murib, Ph.D., Department of Political Science
    • Shellae Versey, Ph.D., Department of Psychology
    • Yijun Zhao, Ph.D., Department of Computer & Information Sciences

    We are thrilled to welcome new tenured and instructional faculty members to FAS during the 2023-2024 academic year.

  • The neighborhood of San Juan Hill was razed in the 1950’s to make way for Fordham College at Lincoln Center, the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, and other developments, as part ofthe Lincoln Center Urban Renewal Plan. With the support of Fordham’s Center for Community Engaged Learning and an Interdisciplinary Research Grant, Catalina Alvarez, Assistant Professor of Visual Arts/Art & Engagement, will be teaching VART 2222: Archival Reenactments at Lincoln Center in the fall. This course will create an archive of new oral history interviews with former and current residents of the geographical area impacted by this urban renewal program, culminating in works of media art directed by students. Professor Alvarez shares, “I’m excited to learn more about our history and to be doing this meaningful research with students. I’ll be guiding them inlistening deeply, collaborating, and working with primary sources as poetic and musical material.”

    In May the A&S Council voted to approve a new bi-campus interdisciplinary Islamic Studies minor. The Islamic Studies minor aims to further Fordham’s mission by challenging students to view the world through non-western European constructs of nature, epistemology, aesthetics, ethics, cosmic realities, and corporeal experience. To complete the minor, students will take six courses in Islamic Studies, which are defined as courses that deal with some aspect of Islamic civilization. We congratulate the leaders of this effort, Sarah Eltantawi, Ph.D., intellectual historian of Contemporary Islam and Associate Professor of Modern Islam, and Kathy Kueny, Ph.D., 

    Fordham’s Department of Chemistry received the Jean Dreyfus Lectureship Award, a highly competitive award from the Dreyfus Foundation that was only given to seven universities in the United States this year. The award enables the department to host a lecturer of their choosing, and Fordham proposed Taekjip Ha, Ph.D., a Bloomberg Distinguished Professor of Biophysics and Biophysical Chemistry at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Ha, who has done pioneering research in the field of single-molecule fluorescence spectroscopy and is a leader in the field of CRISPR technology, delivered two lectures at the Rose Hill campus on April 12 and 13 (see image below). One, titled “Light, CRISPR and DNA Repair” was geared toward the scientific community, while the other, “Single Molecule Views of Nature’s Nanomachines” was crafted for the general public. The latter focused on how biophysicists are using light-based tools to examineproteins—nature’s nanomachines—one molecule at a time.

  • We are so proud of our faculty who are continually making a difference and building local partnerships. Check out a small sample of recent collaborative and interdisciplinary efforts, where our faculty are serving as catalysts for change in our own backyard!

    Led by Robert J. Hume, Ph.D., Professor and Associate Dean, Faculty of Arts and Sciences, and Robert J. Parmach, Ph.D.,Director of Ignatian Mission Initiatives in the Office of the Vice President for Mission Integration and Ministry, West Wing – now in its final semester –has been an Integrated Learning Community (ILC) of Ignatian Leadership and Civic Service for sophomores and juniors of Fordham College at Rose Hill, as well as the Gabelli School of Business. Earlier this month the group traveled to The Boogie Down Grind Cafe in Hunts Point (see photo below), to sit with owner, urban revitalization strategist, Peabody Award-winning broadcaster, and author of “Reclaiming Your Community: You Don’t Have to Move out of Your Neighborhood to Live in a Better One,” Majora Carter, who spoke with students about the Bronx and the importance of community-engaged work. In reflecting back on the visit, Bob Hume is truly proud of the work the students are doing to deepen our engagement with the Bronx community.  To learn more about The West Wing’s visit, please click here.

    Dawn Fariello, Ph.D., Lecturer in Biology, and Andrew Simons, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Economics, taught a new course in the fall called Ecology and Economics of Food Systems. Professor Fariello created the course in May 2021, after the Provost issued a request for an interdisciplinary STEM course with a Center for Community Engaged Learning (CCEL) connection. The class is a small part of Fordham’s larger efforts to address the effects of climate change, as food insecurity is emphasized during the first half of the course and sustainability is the crux of the second half.

    Stephen Holler, Ph.D., Chair & Associate Professor, Department of Physics and Engineering Physics, and Usha Sankar, Ph.D., Advanced Lecturer in Biology, have been busy moving forward with Project FRESH Air (a Reimagining Higher Education Incubator Project), which has expanded further into Queens and Brooklyn. Earlier this year, they hosted a webinar featuring updates about the project, as well as guest speaker Dr. Sunit Jariwala, Professor of Allergy and Immunology, Co-Director of the Montefiore Asthma Center, and Director of Clinical & Research Innovation of the Department of Medicine at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine and Montefiore Medical Center.