Kudos: Read about faculty, staff and student awards, appointments and achievements


Larisa DeSantis, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, participated in a George Bush Presidential Library and Museum panel discussion commemorating the 25th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act. The event was held Nov. 5 at the Annenberg Presidential Conference Center on the campus of Texas A&M University. DeSantis was invited to participate on the panel because she is a former child spokesperson for the Epilepsy Society of America and at age 9 lobbied President George H.W. Bush about the ADA.

Two Vanderbilt students have been awarded scholarships by the German Academic Exchange Service, or Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst (DAAD). Clara Fisher was awarded a Graduate Study Scholarship, and Arrush Choudhary was accepted into the Research Internships in Science and Engineering program. DAAD programs aim to create goodwill and professional relationships in order to strengthen relations between Germany and North America.

Anjali Forber-Pratt, assistant professor of human and organizational development, was a plenary speaker at the 2015 Association of University Centers on Disabilities annual conference held in Washington, D.C. The AUCD is the umbrella organization of the national network of Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities Research Centers, University Centers for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, and Leadership Education in Neurodevelopmental and Related Disabilities training programs.

Samantha Goldman, who recently completed her third year in the Department of Special Education’s doctoral program in severe disabilities and is a long-term trainee in the VKC University Center for Excellence in Developmental Disabilities, has received the inaugural CORE Research Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities. Goldman received the first-ever Network Trainee Research Award of AUCD’s Council on Research and Evaluation (CORE). The award recognizes outstanding research accomplished by a current or recent AUCD trainee and the AUCD center/program in which the research was accomplished.

Terryl Hallquist, associate professor of theatre, presented a paper for the theatre practice symposium at the Mid-America Theatre Conference in Kansas City, Missouri, in March. In June she presented a paper for the “Wilder in Production” panel and also chaired the professional directing panel at the Second International Thornton Wilder Conference in Newport, Rhode Island. In addition, her interview about Vanderbilt Theatre’s production of The Beaux’ Stratagem was published in the 2015 Thornton Wilder Society Newsletter, Vol. 10.

Robert Jiménez, professor of language, literacy and culture, and Lisa Pray, professor of the practice of English language learners, were among a team selected to receive the Alan C. Purves Award by the National Council of Teachers of English for the article “Using Translation to Drive Conceptual Development for Students Becoming Literate in English as an Additional Language.” It was published in Research in the Teaching of English.

Pablo Juárez, director of the Treatment and Research Institute for Autism Spectrum Disorders in the Vanderbilt Kennedy Center and a behavior analyst in the departments of pediatrics and psychiatry, has received the 2015 Young Professional Award from the Association of University Centers on Disabilities.

Ralph McKenzie, Distinguished Professor of Mathematics, has been named to the 2016 class of fellows of the American Mathematical Society. The AMS fellows program recognizes members who have made outstanding contributions to the creation, exposition, advancement, communication and utilization of mathematics.

Carol Nies, adjunct senior artist teacher of conducting at Blair School of Music, has been named the 2015 Carol Crittenden Arts Advocate of the Year by the Nashville Singers. Nies serves as director of the Curb Youth Symphony, the Nashville Youth Orchestra, and the Nashville Summer Orchestral Institute.

Arik Ohnstad has been appointed associate director of Vanderbilt’s Global Education Office. Ohnstad has worked with the GEO since 2010. He has a master’s degree in anthropology from Vanderbilt and a bachelor’s in English literature from Macalester College. He has done fieldwork in Bolivia, Guatemala and Belize and previously has done editorial work both inside and outside academia.