Alumni News

November 8, 2011

Alumni news received since Spring 2011:

Sharon Aronson-Lehavi (Theatre, 2004), assistant professor of theatre and performance studies in the department of comparative literature at Bar Ilan University, Tel Aviv District, Israel, published Street Scenes: Late Medieval Acting and Performance (Macmillan, 2011). Her book offers a theory of late medieval acting and performance through an original reading of the Tretise of Miraclis Pleyinge, whereby she examines actor and character dialectics, religious theatre, and the complexity of late medieval theatricalities.

Leon Arredondo (Anthropology, 2005), who was appointed to a tenure-rack position at West Chester University of Pennsylvania, received a Fulbright Scholar grant to spend spring and summer 2011 in Costa Rica, where he taught “The Global Cocaine Industry: Development, Politics and Control Systems” in the University of Costa Rica’s doctoral program in culture and society studies and conducted research on labor and nation-state formation.

Carol Kitzes Baron (Music, 1987), Fellow-for-Life, Stony Brook University, presented new insights about Arnold Schoenberg’s early music at meetings of the Israeli Musicological Society and the German Studies Association in 2010 and also at the American Musicological Society in 2011. Her book, Bach’s Changing World: Voices in the Community (University of Rochester Press, 2006), sold out two printings.

Philip Beitchman (Comparative Literature, 1986), an adjunct professor of English at Medgar Evers College, recently published The Theatre of Naturalism: Disappearing Act (Peter Lang, 2011).

Linda B. Benbow (Sociology, 2006), assistant professor of sociology at SUNY–New Paltz, published Sorting Letters, Sorting Lives: Delivering
Diversity in the United States Postal Service
(Lexington Books, 2011).

Mark L. Berenson (Business, 1974), professor emeritus at the Zicklin School of Business, Baruch College, coauthored, with two others, Basic Business Statistics: Concepts and Applications, now in its 12th edition (Prentice Hall, 2012).

Celia Braxton (Theatre, 2011), adjunct assistant professor of speech communication at QCC and adjunct lecturer in English composition at Kean University in New Jersey, was appointed program manager for the New Perspectives Theatre Company’s award-winning, fourth annual “Women’s Work Project” in May. The plays tackling this year’s theme, “Justified,” included An Apple a Day, which Braxton directed.

Adam M. Brickman (Psychology/Neuropsychology, 2004), the Herbert Irving Assistant Professor of Neuropsychology at the Taub Institute for Research on Alzheimer’s Disease and the Aging Brain in the Cognitive Neuroscience Division, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, won the American Psychological Association’s (APA) Division 40 Early Career Award in Neuropsychology and the International Neuropsychological Society (INS) Early Career Research Award. He gave a talk about his research at the APA annual convention in August and will talk about it again at the INS annual meeting in Montreal, Canada, next year.

Virginia Fabbri Butera (Art History, 2002), director of the Therese A. Maloney Art Gallery ( and chair of the exhibition review panel at the Visual Art Center of New Jersey, has recently been promoted to professor of art history at the College of Saint Elizabeth, where she chairs the art and music departments. She received the 2010 Outstanding Arts Advocate of the Year Award for Morris County, New Jersey, from the Arts Council of the Morris Area. She gave a presentation on “The Art of Healing,” an exhibition she curated, to the Healing Arts Coalition of Morris County, and opened her fourteenth major exhibition, “Who We Are: Contemporary Portraits,” at the Maloney Art Gallery.

Jennifer Danby (Theatre, 2004) took the stage as Vivien Leigh, Hollywood star and wife of Sir Laurence Olivier, on March 19 at Long Beach Public Library, where she and her company, Mississippi Mud Productions, presented Marcy Lafferty’s Vivien Leigh: The Last Press Conference, a one-woman show directed by Austin Pendleton. The show was part of a lineup of performances that honor Women’s History Month at the library.

Diane P. Fischer (Art History, 1993) on May 31 assumed her new position as chief curator to the Allentown Art Museum of Lehigh Valley and, as such, leads the curatorial and collections staff, develops and coordinates the museum’s special exhibition program, and manages all activities associated with the maintenance and growth of the collection.

Earl E. Fitz (Comparative Literature, 1977), professor of Portuguese, Spanish, and comparative literature at Vanderbilt University, has given four talks on inter-American literature: “Translation and Inter-American Literature: The Key Roles of Brazil and Spanish America” at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; “Canadian Literature in the Early Twenty-first Century: The Emergence of an Inter-American Perspective” at the McGill University/Vanderbilt University Initiative; and “Inter-American Literature as an Emerging Field” and “Native American Literature and its Place in the Inter-American Project” at the University of Graz, Austria.

Gennifer Furst (Criminal Justice, 2006), assistant professor of sociology at William Paterson University, New Jersey, provides a comprehensive look at prison-based animal programs and an innovative approach to rehabilitation that draws on the benefits of human-animal interactions in Animal Programs in Prison: A Comprehensive Assessment (Lynne Rienner, 2011).

Ajay Gehlawat (Theatre, 2007), assistant professor of theatre and film at Sonoma State University, published his first book, Reframing Bollywood: Theories of Popular Hindi Cinema (Sage, 2010), which the Asian Journal of Communication has called “an interesting and solid attempt to fuse multiple theoretical influences into a coherent defense of the complexities involved in the study of contemporary Hindi cinema.”

Mark Goldblatt (English, 1990), novelist, columnist, book reviewer, and a professor at the Fashion Institute of Technology, published Sloth, a timeless love story with a “pulse-quickening mystery” (Greenpoint Press, 2010).

David Hamilton Golland (History, 2008), an adjunct assistant professor at Bronx Community College and the College of Staten Island, published Constructing Affirmative Action: The Struggle for Equal Employment Opportunity (University Press of Kentucky, 2011).

Carol Siri Johnson (English, 1995), associate professor in the department of humanities, New Jersey Institute of Technology, received the 2010 National Council of Teachers of English Award (NCTE) in Technical and Scientific Communication for The Language of Work: Technical Communication at Lukens Steel, 1810–1925 (Baywood Publishing Company, 2009), which illustrates how writing and literacy have become an essential part of the industrial process.

Maggie Johnson (Computer Science, 1992), as director of education and university relations for Google, manages technical training and leadership development programs for company engineers and operations staff, the information management and technical writing teams, and Google’s educational outreach efforts, and she supervises the university relations area, building strategic partnerships with faculty and labs globally. Prior to joining Google, Maggie was a faculty member and director of undergraduate studies in the department of computer science, Stanford University.

Krysia Jopek (English, 2001), an instructor at Westfield State University in Massachusetts, authored Maps and Shadows (Aquila Polonica, 2010), which is based on her family’s experience of forced deportation from Poland to Russia during World War II and juxtaposes poetry and prose. The book won the Silver 2011 Benjamin Franklin Award for Best Novel, which recognizes excellence in independent publishing.

Mitchell A. Kaplan (Sociology, 1987), with his colleague Marian M. Inguanzo, coauthored “The Social Implications of Health Care Reform: Reducing Access Barriers to Health Care Services for Uninsured Hispanic and Latino Americans in the United States,” Harvard Journal of Hispanic Policy 23 (June 2011).

Nechama Kramer-Hellinix (Spanish, 1988) published two articles: “Resonancias, protagonistas y temas inspiradas en el Antiguo Testamento y la literature judía, en la obra de Antonio Enríquez Gómez (1660–1663)” in Calíope, Journal of the Society for Renaissance and Baroque Hispanic Poetry (2011) and “Señor, abre mis labios y mi boca publicará tu grandeza” in Poesía Hispano-Hebrea y Judeo-Conversa de los Albores de la Edad Moderna (2011).

Natasha Kurchanova (Art History, 2005) received a nice accolade from Art Forum’s “Critics’ Picks,” which pointed to an exhibition she curated: “Who’s Afraid of Ornament?” at Nurture Art, Williamsburg, Brooklyn (April 23–May 29, 2010). Her article “Osip Brik and the Politics of the Avant Garde” appeared in October 134 (Fall 2010), a journal of the Society of Contemporary Art Historians.

Valerie Ann Leeds (Art History, 2000), an independent curator and specialist on the work of Robert Henri, co-organized, with Jonathan Stuhlman, “From New York to Corrymore: Robert Henri and Ireland” at the Mind Museum of Art, Charlotte, North Carolina. The exhibition and its accompanying publication (Mint Museum, 2011) were the first to explore this noted American artist’s Irish themes within the context of his oeuvre. The exhibition traveled to the Georgia O’Keeffe Museum, Santa Fe, and the Hyde Collection, Glen Falls, New York.

Catherine Liu (French, 1994) director of the University of California–Irvine’s Humanities Collective and an associate professor in film, media studies, and visual studies, published American Idyll: Academic Antielitism as Cultural Critique (University of Iowa Press, 2011).

Aleksandra Majstorac-Kobiljski (History, 2010), a former Japan Foundation Fellow at D?shina University in Kyoto, Japan, received a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of History of Modern Science and Technology in East Asian Studies at Harvard University last spring.

Lloyd Makarowitz (Physics, 1974), chair of the department of physics, Farmingdale State College, received the State University of New York Chancellor’s Award for Excellence in Faculty Service for 2011. The award was conferred May 15 at the college’s commencement.

Hayes Peter Mauro (Art History, 2007) published The Art of Americanization at the Carlisle Indian School (University of New Mexico Press, 2011). In this historical study, Mauro analyzes the visual imagery produced at the school as a specific instance of the aesthetics of Americanization at work. His book combines a consideration of cultural contexts and themes specific to that period in the United States and critical theory to flesh out innovative historical readings of the photographic materials.

J. Patrice McSherry (Political Science, 1994) was awarded her second Fulbright Senior Scholar Grant for a new project in Chile. In a departure from her long-term focus on political violence and state terror in Latin America, she conducted field work in summer 2011 on the relationships between the Chilean New Song Movement and the popular political struggles and movements of the 1960s and 1970s. She was based at the Institute of Advanced Studies, University of Santiago.

Henry D. Miller (Theatre, 2003), director, playwright, and veteran of the 1960s and 1970s black theatre movement, presented Theorizing Black Theatre: Art Versus Protest in Critical Writings, 1898–1965 (McFarland, 2010) at the Authors’ Series of UCLA’s Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies on October 14. The African American Playwrights Exchange (AAPEX) review noted, “Theorizing Black Theatre is about the dialectic between Art and Propaganda in African American drama, but in pursuing this line of discourse, Dr. Miller gives us a whole new look at our country and begins to undo the damage that segregation has done to our historical perspective.”

Naci Mocan (Economics, 1989) coedited, along with Mike Grossman (Dist. Prof., GC, Business, Economics), Economic Aspects of Obesity (University of Chicago Press, 2011), which focuses on obese adults and children in the United States and analyzes the costs and benefits of various proposals designed to control obesity rates.

Sara Palmer (Psychology, 1982), psychologist and assistant professor in the department of physical medicine and rehabilitation at Johns Hopkins University, published When Your Spouse Has a Stroke: Caring for Your Partner, Yourself and Your Relationship (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2011).

Gianni Pirelli (Psychology/Forensic Psychology, 2010), a level 3 clinical psychologist in the Forensic Unit at Greystone Park Psychiatric Hospital, Morris Plains, New Jersey, published “A Meta-Analytic Review of Competency to Stand Trial Research” in Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 17(1) (February 2011) with coauthors William H. Gottdiener (Assoc. Prof., John Jay, Criminal Justice, Psychology) and Patricia A. Zapf (Prof., John Jay, Criminal Justice).

Carrie Pitzulo (History, 2008) published Bachelors and Bunnies: The Sexual Politics of Playboy (University of Chicago Press, 2011), which delves into the history of the magazine to reveal its strong record of support for women’s rights and the modernization of sexual and gender roles. Taking readers behind the scenes of Playboy’s heyday, Pitzulo shows how publisher Hugh Hefner’s own complicated but thoughtful perspective on modern manhood, sexual liberation, and feminism acknowledged and even honored the changing roles of women in postwar America.

Dick Rauh (Biology, 2001), a fellow of the Brooklyn Botanical Garden Florilegium, president of the American Society of Botanical Artists Board of Directors, and botanical painter, will have his painting Paeonia (Peony Follicles) featured in the 14th Annual International Juried Botanical Art Exhibition, on view through November 23 at the Horticultural Society of New York. Rauh’s exceptional work has earned him awards at the 2006 Royal Horticultural Society Flower Show in London, as well as inclusion in such notable collections as the Lindley Library, London; New York State Museum, Albany; and the Hunt Institute for Botanical Documentation, Pittsburgh.

William Seraile (History, 1977), professor emeritus at Lehman College in African and African-American Studies, published Angels of Mercy: White Women and the History of New York’s Colored Orphan Asylum (Fordham University Press, 2011).

James H. Sweet (History, 1999), associate professor of history at the University of Wisconsin–Madison and author of Recreating Africa: Culture, Kinship, and Religion in the African-Portuguese World, 1441–1770 (University of North Carolina Press, 2006), which won the American Historical Association’s 2004 Wesley-Logan Prize, recently published Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

Andrew Tatarsky (Psychology, 1986), clinical psychologist at the Center for Integrative Psychotherapy for Substance Misuse, appeared on Paul DeRienzo and Miss Joan Marie Moossy’s “Let Them Talk” TV show. Their discussion was about the history of the criminalization of drugs, the limitations of abstinence-only treatment, and the value of harm reduction psychotherapy for engaging substance users. View the show online at

Ben Tyner (History, 2010) accepted a tenure-track job in the history department at Union College in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Eva Cristina Vásquez (Theatre, 2001) wrote Carmen Loisaida, a theatrical adaptation of the opera “Carmen” danced to the rhythms of salsa, merengue, and bachata, which played in Spanish with English supertitles at Teatro Círculo in New York, in May.

Debra Gonsher Vinik (Theatre, 1980), producer, writer, and winner of three Emmys, received her seventh Emmy nomination for A Place for All: Faith and Community for Persons with Disabilities. The interfaith program was previously given the highest honor in the Broadcast Programming Category from the DeRose-Hinkhouse Memorial Awards.

Eric G. Wilson (English, 1996), Thomas H. Pritchard Professor of English at Wake Forest University, published My Business Is to Create: Blake’s Infinite Writing (University of Iowa Press, 2011).

Adrian S. Wisnicki (English, 2003), assistant professor of British literature and codirector of the Center for Digital Humanities and Culture at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, heads a team that rescued from obscurity an 1871 field diary by Scottish missionary and explorer David Livingstone. Using spectral imaging technology, the team was able to decipher Livingstone’s now faded red ink, made from the seeds of a local berry, on the fragile 140-year-old newspaper, the only kind of paper he had at hand. Wisnicki discovered the diary at the David Livingstone Center, Scotland. His project to decipher, analyze, and publish the diary has been the subject of a BBC report and articles in the Washington Post and the New York Times. While Wisnicki continues to analyze the diary, he and his colleagues have ensured the full text and complementary materials are available worldwide as a free resource on the Internet. Livingstone’s 1871 Field Diary: A Multispectral Critical Edition is hosted by UCLA’s library,

Song-Yu Yang (Biochemistry, 1984) coauthored and published the comment “Why so far the best microbial converting glucose to long chain fatty acids is the E. coli strain RB03?” on Nature (, which reports progress in producing biological fuels and alternative energy sources.

Maggie Zellner (Psychology/Neuropsychology, 2008), an adjunct professor at Rockefeller University and executive director of the Neuropsychoanalysis Foundation, curated an exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History called “Brain: The Inside Story.” She is affiliated with the National Psychological Association and has taught neuroscience since 2003 at the yearly congresses of the International Neuropsychoanalysis Society, the Psychoanalytic Institute of Northern California, and the National Institute for the Psychotherapies.