Feliks Gross and Henry Wasser Awards

The Feliks Gross and Henry Wasser Awards are presented each year to assistant professors at CUNY in recognition of outstanding research, or potential for such, in the humanities or sciences, including social and life sciences. The awardees are selected among a large group of nominees of assistant professors from all CUNY campuses and receive university wide recognition of their work. The awards are partially supported by the Feliks Gross memorial fund and sponsored by the University Faculty Senate and the CUNY Office of Academic Affairs. The awards are named after two founders of the CUNY Academy for the Humanities and Sciences, and after the awardees are selected, half receive the Feliks Gross award and half receive the Henry Wasser award – this is random and not based on merit. Awardees will also give a research talk, virtually or in person, presenting their research. The announcement of call for nominations for the each cycle is sent out in January of the cycle year.

2023 Awardees


Headshot of Renato Bettiol

Renato Ghini Bettiol, Math, Lehman College







Vincent Ryan Martinez headshot

Vincent Ryan Martinez, Math, Hunter College






João Luiz headshot

João Luiz Rezende Lopes, Music, Hunter College







Fidel Tavarez headshot

Fidel J. Tavárez, History, Queens College






Tarun Banerjee headshot

Tarun Banerjee, Sociology, John Jay College



Mateusz Marianski headshot

Mateusz Marianski, Chemistry, Hunter College



Erin Mayo Adam headshot

Erin Mayo-Adam, Political Science, Hunter College
Twitter: @erinadam0





Roxanne Shirazi headshot

Roxanne Shirazi, Library, Graduate Center
Twitter: @RoxanneShirazi




Schneur Zalman Newfield headshot

Schneur Zalman Newfield, Social Sciences, Borough of Manhattan CC







Nerve Macaspac headshot

Nerve V. Macaspac
Twitter: @DrNerveV





We are now accepting nominations for 2023 Feliks Gross and Henry Wasser awards. Download this nomination form 


Submit the nomination packet as one pdf file by 11:59 pm on Wednesday March 15, 2023, to feliksgrossaward@gmail.com 

If you have any questions email Professor Sarah Danielsson: SDanielsson@gc.cuny.edu

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One of the founders of the CUNY Academy, Feliks Gross was born June 17, 1906, in Krakow. At that time Krakow was part of the autonomous Austrian province of Galicia and a vibrant center of Polish intellectual and cultural life. Gross was raised and educated in this city and studied at the esteemed Jagiellonian University where he earned a Doctorate in Jurisprudence. Later, on a fellowship to the University of London, he came to know the great anthropologist Bronislaw Malinowski whose influence led him into the social sciences. As a member of a prominent Jewish Polish family, Gross became a courageous and respected social and political activist as well as a scholar. He was the founder and Director of the Labor Social Science School in Krakow (1934-38), a committed and energetic labor lawyer, and a member of the prewar Polish Socialist Party. Despite all his ample credentials however, he was denied the opportunity for a university appointment as he once put it, “because of my religion, origin, and political views” (Gross, 1986).

There is no need to explain why he and his wife, Priva, hastily left Poland in 1939, fleeing both Nazis, and, later, Soviet Communists, before making his way to the United States. It is also understandable that, without ignoring its all too many lapses, Gross sees America as a model Civic State; a multiethnic state founded upon the principles of democracy. After settling in New York City, he became a member of the Polish Institute of Arts and Sciences of America, which was established in 1942 by Malinowski along with other prominent Polish scholars. Gross helped convince Malinowski to become PIASA’s first President. The Institute has served as a democratic and independent beacon for Polish scholars and scholarship until Poland again became “free” in 1989. He and Priva were married for 55 years and he has frequently said that if not for her, he could not have done as much as he did.

Teacher, Author, Awardee, Idealist

From 1946-77, Gross was a faculty member at the Brooklyn College Sociology Department and lectured at the CUNY Graduate Center on political sociology. Over the years his interests expanded to include American issues of civil rights and developing African nations. Over his long career he held positions at the League of Nations, the London School of Economics, Eastern European Planning Board, and lectured at New York University, University of Wyoming, University of Virginia, and the Universities of Florence, Paris, Rome, and the College of Europe. He authored more than 20 books beginning with The Polish Worker (1945) and countless articles, which have been published in many different languages including, Chinese. His Ideologies Goals and Values (1985) is an important synthesis of his work. During the last decade, he published The Civic and the Tribal State (1998), Citizenship and Ethnicity (1999). His many honors come from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Polish Academy of Arts and Sciences, Order of Polonia Restituta, Polish National Archive, and the Phoenix King of Greece. Gross also received awards from the Public Affairs, Sloan, Rockefeller, Fulbright, and Columbia University Foundations.

For Feliks Gross the answer to the question of what makes it possible for people who are different from each other to live in peace has been a perennial quest. He notes that diverse groups can be bound together by coercive means, but that to do so with consensus calls for different techniques and principles. “Such an association of different peoples, ethnic groups with equal rights for all, free of discrimination by public authorities, necessitates the need for a common bond that would embrace all, a broad bond, and in the hierarchy of accepted standards, one that rises above ethnic or racial identification; in a word, a common denominator for all. Citizenship is such a bond; it is also a vital common denominator” (Gross, 1999).


  • Gross, Feliks. 1986. “Young Malinowski and His Later Years.” American Ethnologist 13:556–70.
  • Gross, Feliks. 1999. Citizenship and Ethnicity: The Growth and Development of a Democratic Multiethnic Institution. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press.
  • (Above written by Jerome Krase, Ph.D., Emeritus and Murray Koppelman Professor, Brooklyn College, CUNY)


Feliks Gross Awardees

Columba de la Parra - Assistant Professor -  profile photo

Columba de la Parra

Lehman College



Sarbani Ghoshal headshot

Sarbani Ghoshal

Biological Sciences and Geology


Steven Swarbrick headshot

Steven Swarbrick

Baruch College
Website | Twitter




Steven Trasino headshot

Steven Trasino

Nutrition Program, School of Urban Public Health
Hunter College



Leora Yetnikoff headshot

Leora Yetnikoff

College of Staten Island

Henry Wasser Awardees

Christina Hagedorn headshot

Christina M. Hagedorn

College of Staten Island




Yasha Klots headshot

Yasha Klots

Russian and Slavic Studies
Hunter College



Nazanin Hedayat Munroe headshot

Nazanin Hedayat Munroe

Business/ Fashion
NYC College of Technology
Website | City Tech Website



Mara Steinberg Lowe headshot

Mara Steinberg Lowe

Linguistics and Communications Disorders
Queens College




Kebedech Tekleab headshot

Kebedech Tekleab

Art and Design

Feliks Gross Awardees


Clarence Jefferson Hall

Clarence Jefferson Hall

Website | Twitter



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Juana M. Ramos

Language, Literature & Humanities
York College
Website | YouTube






Matthew Reilly

City College
Website | Project Website | Facebook | Instagram


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Pablo Soberon-Bravo





Henry Wasser Awardees



Kelly Britt

Brooklyn College
Website | Twitter | Instagram






James Cantres

Africana and Puerto Rican Studies
Website | Instagram






James Lowry

Library and Information Studies
Queens College
Website | Twitter





Boukary Sawadogo

Media Studies
City College
LinkedIn | Twitter | Instagram

Feliks Gross Awardees

Jillian Bellovary, Department of Physics, Queensborough; Gabriele Grosso, Department of Physics, Graduate Center; Stephanie Hershinow, Department of English, Baruch; Lynda Klich, Department of Art and Art History, Hunter; Jennifer Laird, Department of Sociology, Lehman; David Schwab, Department of Biology, Graduate Center.

Henry Wasser Awardees

Andrew Connolly, Department of English, Hostos; Shana Elbaum-Garfinkle, Department of Biochemistry, Graduate Center; Eugenia Giannopoulou, Department of Biology, City Tech; Yuliya Zabyelina, Department of Political Science, John Jay; Alexander Zevin, Department of History, College of Staten Island.

Feliks Gross Awardees

Andrew Obus, Department of Mathematics, Baruch College; Elise Crull, Department of Philosophy, City College; James Booth, Department of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, City College; Ekaterina Likhtik, Department of Biological Sciences, Hunter College and the Graduate Center; Reynaldo Ortiz-Minaya, Department of Puerto Rican and Latino Studies, Brooklyn College; Kevin Wolff, Department of Criminal Justice, John Jay College.

Henry Wasser Awardees

Allyson Friedman, Department of Biological Sciences, Hunter College; Guillermo Gerona-Navarro, Department of Chemistry, Brooklyn College; Carlo Invernizzi Accetti, Department of Political Science, City College; Carla Macchiavello, Department of Music and Art, Borough of Manhattan CC; Michael Yarbrough, Department of Political Science, John Jay College; Mohammad-Ali Miri, Department of Physics, Queens College.