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What Makes Atlanta a Great College Town

2014 March 4
by Hal Jacobs

Take a city tour from Kristen Ellingboe 14C (Journalism and Political Science), who co-authored a piece in Atlanta Magazine about why the term ‘college town’ should be among Atlanta’s synonyms.

When you think of metro Atlanta, many things may come to mind. Capital of the New South, for example. Or worst place to be a Pepsi fan. “College town” probably isn’t on your list. But the area’s 6 million residents include more than 250,000 college students, according to the Atlanta Regional Council for Higher Education. Each year this quarter-million-strong cohort studies at one of the metro area’s fifty-seven colleges and universities.

And while Atlanta is hardly a typical college town, its borders contain a wealth of student experiences. From the refurbished dot-com building that houses SCAD Atlanta to the picturesque quad of Agnes Scott, you can find any college vibe imaginable.

We’re both students at Atlanta-area schools, and drew on our experiences here—as well as input from dozens of fellow scholars—to take you on a tour of the city’s neighborhoods.

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Ralph Savarese Looks at Autistic Writers

2014 March 4
by Hal Jacobs

savareseIn his recent talk at Emory (see YouTube video), Ralph Savarese of Grinnell College advances the notion of a much less human-centered empathy by exploring the propensity in autism to attend to objects more than people (February 19, 2014). Focusing on the work of two autistic writers, Dawn Prince and Tito Mukhopadhyay, he investigates the trope of personification, appealing to neuroscientific investigations of the phenomenon in order to distinguish between a categorical and a precategorical engagement with experience. Lyric writing, especially poetry, plays a controlled game with categories, dwelling in the sensory and blurring distinctions through a range of literary devices such as personification and metaphor. For Prince and for Mukhopadhyay, the space of lyric writing appears to welcome autistic difference.

Ralph James Savarese is the author of “Reasonable People: A Memoir of Autism and Adoption,” which Newsweek called “a real life love story and an urgent manifesto for the rights of people with neurological disabilities,” and the co-editor of three collections, including “Autism and the Concept of Neurodiversity,” a special issue of Disability Studies Quarterly. The winner of the Herman Melville Society’s Hennig Cohen Prize and fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation, he spent the academic year 2012/2013 as a neurohumanities fellow at Duke University’s Institute for Brain Sciences. He teaches at Grinnell College in Iowa.

The Disability Studies Initiative at Emory is a new working group (beginning Fall 2013) generated across departments and schools that is dedicated to interdisciplinary research and teaching by faculty and students. The Initiative is led by a group of faculty and students who are interested in the social, cultural, historical, political, and legal dimensions of disability in our world.

See YouTube Playlist

Bobby Jones Scholars Selected for 2014-15

2014 March 4
by Hal Jacobs

Four Emory University seniors—Lauren Ball, Rachel Cawkwell, Blake Mayes and Fiona O’Carroll—are the 2014-2015 recipients of the prestigious Robert T. Jones Scholarship Award for a year of study at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland.

They will represent Emory as ambassadors to St. Andrews and were selected based on their established records of leadership, academic excellence and interests that can be pursued through the offerings at the venerable Scottish institution.

Widely known as the Bobby Jones Scholarship, the award was established in 1976 and recognizes individuals who will be excellent representatives of Emory at St. Andrews. The late Bobby Jones, an internationally renowned golfer, was an Emory School of Law alumnus remembered by those who knew him as an extraordinary man of rare loyalty, compassion and integrity.

The scholars for the competitive award receive full tuition, room, board and a travel stipend for their year of study. In addition, four St. Andrews students are chosen to spend a year at Emory.

The 2014-15 Bobby Jones Scholars represent a wide range of academic interests:

ball_lauren Ball, a double major in mathematics and physics and astronomy from Grayson, Ga., plans to complete a conversion to psychology degree at St. Andrews. She entered Emory as a Questbridge Scholar, and has played for Emory’s varsity basketball team for three years. Ball has led both the Society for Physics Students and the Emory Astronomy Club, and has served as an athletic and academic coach in the local and international communities. During the summers, she assisted with the Appalachia Service Project and traveled to Dharamsala, India, as part of Emory’s Tibetan Mind/Body Sciences program.



, an English major from Bedford, N.Y., is a Woodruff Scholar, a member of the Phi Beta Kappa honor society, and was named to the 100 Senior Honorary Society. She represented Emory on a four-person slam poetry team in 2011, and received the Academy of American Poets Award in 2012. Cawkwell is completing an undergraduate honors thesis on the representation of charitable works in Victorian novels, and plans to pursue a degree on Victorian Studies at St. Andrews. She has been a leader with the Emory College Tour Guide program, a fellow in the Community Building and Social Change program, and is in her second year as co-director of Volunteer Emory. Cawkwell also is president of the women’s ultimate frisbee club team.



mayes_blakeMayes, a religion major with a minor in Community Building and Social Change from Knoxville, Tenn., plans to study systematic and historic theology in St. Mary’s College at St. Andrews. A Woodruff Scholar, Mayes helped develop a mentoring program for new Emory Scholars and is a fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, completing his honors thesis on contemporary monastic communities. As a fellow in the Community Building and Social Change program, he worked on strategic planning in south DeKalb County. He co-chaired the Student Visioning Process for University Center Renovations, and advocated for civic engagement programs for Emory students.



ocarroll_fionaO’Carroll, a double major in history and French studies from Seattle, Wash., plans to seek a master’s in intellectual history at St. Andrews. She has studied abroad in Paris and at the T.S. Eliot International Summer School in London, leading to her involvement as a CIPA peer advisor helping other students study abroad. A Woodruff Scholar, she has been active with Emory Student Ambassadors and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. The recipient of a SIRE research grant, O’Carroll is completing an undergraduate honors thesis in history on women’s suffrage in the U.S. Progressive era, and is a fellow at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry.



See full news release



Comedian Josh Blue on Disabled Athletes and Paralympics (among other things)

2014 February 20
by Hal Jacobs

Disability0131Comedian Josh Blue and Jon McCullough of Blaze Sports talk about their experiences as Paralympic athletes and more in this engaging, often humorous conversation (see YouTube video) held January 31, 2014, at Emory University. They are also joined by Benjamin Reiss, Professor of English and co-chair of the Disability Studies Initiative at Emory. Blue was a winner of the Last Comic Standing competition and a disability advocate. Blaze Sports is a Decatur nonprofit adaptive sports organization.

Emory’s Disability Studies Initiative is a new working group (beginning Fall 2013) generated across departments and schools that is dedicated to interdisciplinary research and teaching by faculty and students. The Initiative is led by a group of faculty and students who are interested in the social, cultural, historical, political, and legal dimensions of disability in our world.


Dennis Liotta Named to National Academy of Inventors

2014 February 18
by Hal Jacobs

LiottaDennis Liotta, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Chemistry and executive director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, has been named to the 2013 class of National Academy of Inventors Fellows along with 143 innovators from 94 prestigious research universities, governmental agencies, and non-profit research institutions. Election to NAI Fellow status is an honor given to academic inventors who have created or helped to create or facilitate inventions that have had a positive impact on quality of life, economic development, and the welfare of society.

Liotta, who has been at Emory since 1976, developed an HIV antiviral drug for the treatment of HIV called Emtriva, now used by more than 90 percent of HIV/AIDS patients in the United States. His collaborators in the project were postdoctoral researcher Woo-Baeg Choi and Emory virologist Raymond Schinazi (who was named a charter NAI Fellow in 2012). Liotta has also had a hand in developing therapies for cancer, rheumatoid arthritis, and hepatitis B in his lab at Emory. In addition to serving as the executive director of the Emory Institute for Drug Development, Liotta also serves as the co-director of the Republic of South Africa Drug Discovery Training Program and acts as editor-in-chief of ACS Medicinal Chemistry Letters. He was also recently inducted into the Medicinal Chemistry Hall of Fame. While at Emory, Liotta has received the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award, the Emory University Distinguished Faculty Lecturer Award, and the Thomas Jefferson Award, among many others.

See full story at Emory News Center

Related Media

The Drug Discovery Process: Dennis Liotta on Emtriva (YouTube)


In Memorium: Randy Strahan

2014 January 17
by Hal Jacobs

From Dean Robin Forman to the Faculty and Staff of Emory College:
strahanI write with very sad news.  Randy Strahan, Professor of Political Science, passed away last night from complications related to cancer.  Randy began his career at Emory in 1985, just as he was finishing his doctorate from the University of Virginia.  His research covered a wide range of questions about American Politics and the workings of the U.S. Congress, ranging from the politics of the slave issue in the pre-Civil War U.S. to the role of partisanship in contemporary political dynamics.  More recently, he had been working on projects related to the methodological foundations of Tocqueville’s political thought. Randy was a devoted, effective, and highly decorated teacher, and had received both the Crystal Apple for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching and the Emory Williams Distinguished Teaching Award.  Many of you outside of Political Science will know Randy as a generous colleague from his work as the chair of the faculty life course committee for the University Faculty Council, his time as a fellow at the Fox Center, or his role as the coordinator of the voluntary core program.  I first met him in his role as Faculty Counselor to the Finance Committee of the Board of Trustees, where I witnessed his forceful and effective advocacy for Emory College in particular, and the liberal arts more generally. We will miss him a great deal.

A memorial service for Randy Strahan will be held at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, January 20th, at the Episcopal Church of the Epiphany, 2089 Ponce de Leon Ave., NE, Atlanta, GA 30307.  In lieu of flowers, the family requests that donations be made to Emory College’s Voluntary Core Program (link to the donation page).  A service on the Emory campus will be held at a future date. Reflections of Randy to be included in a bound volume to be given to Annie Strahan may be submitted to or to the dropbox created for this purpose.

See Emory NewsCenter article



Out-of-the-classroom Experiences This Spring

2014 January 17
by Hal Jacobs

In an Emory News Center feature on innovative classes this semester, the work of several College faculty is highlighted, including those below.


Black Odyssey, Black Migration

Instructors: Dwight Andrews, associate professor of music theory and Mark Sanders, professor of African American studies and English and chair of African American Studies

Cool factor: Ties in with Michael C. Carlos Museum exhibit of Romare Bearden’s collages and watercolors based on Homer’s epic poem “The Odyssey.” Also ties in with the related exhibit, “Southern Connections: Bearden in Atlanta” that features materials from Emory’s Manuscript, Archives, and Rare Book Library (MARBL).

Course description: Examines artistic interpretations of African American identity through music, literature, film and the visual arts, notably including the campus exhibit of Romare Bearden’s Odysseus series and the related exhibit about the artist’s regional connections that draw on resources from Emory’s special collections. A meditation on the Western epic tradition and African American mobility, the series invites a broader examination of African American culture and issues of migration, escape, home and belonging.

Department: African American Studies; cross-listed in Music

Coastal Biology with Lab

Instructor: Leslie A. Real, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Biology

Cool factor: Field trip to study preserved areas of the Georgia coast.

Course description: Introduces students to coastal Georgia’s major ecosystems and to plant and animal communities through an intensive field experience on St. Simon’s, Cumberland, Blackbeard, Sapelo and Jekyll islands. Includes excursions in small boats to Blackbeard Island and on the Georgia Department of Natural Resources’ research trawler, “Anna,” to study organisms in the sound surrounding the islands.

Department: Biology

Freshman Seminar: Vaccines and Society

Instructor: Elena Conis, assistant professor of history

Cool factor: First-year students study vaccines on the campus of a leading research university and in proximity to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Course description: Explores the history of vaccination against infectious diseases such as smallpox, polio and measles as well as the opposition among some groups to vaccines. Uses these case examples to think critically about the state’s interest in protecting public health and about the nature of medical controversies.

Department: History; cross-listed with Human Health Program

Risk & Resilience in Shaping Identity

Instructors: David Lynn, Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Chemistry and Biology, and chair of chemistry department and Leslie Taylor, professor of theater studies and director of the Center for Creativity and Arts.

Also, graduate students Julia Haas, philosophy; Brian Dias, behavioral neuroscience and psychiatric disorders; Carolina Campanella, psychology; Constance Harrell, neuroscience; Ashley Coleman, religion; Daniel Pierce and Jillian E. Smith, chemistry.

Cool factor: Interdisciplinary capstone course, combining aspects of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, that helps seniors capture their liberal arts experience in a research university and allows them to present their lessons through novel artistic expressions.

Course description: Helps students ask, “What has made me a stronger, smarter and more resilient student at Emory University and what strengths have allowed me to successfully navigate college?” Provides them with an opportunity to develop a research idea for possible funding while being mentored on grant proposal writing and research design.

Department: Senior Seminar

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Humanities Fellowships at the Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry

2014 January 13

The Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry, with the Emory College Honors Program, offers up to four undergraduate fellowships to support work on completing projects for one semester. SIRE grants support independent research and scholarly projects by undergraduate students. In partnership with the College of Arts and Sciences, grants for students in the humanities who may not need research funds, will be awarded office space in the FCHI for one semester.

The Bill and Carol Fox Center for Humanistic Inquiry stands for the central role of the humanities in the life of Emory University and beyond. The Center promotes individual research, while also increasing the impact of the humanities across the University and, ultimately, the world.

Fellows’ information

Fox Center Undergraduate Blog

Related Videos

Sharon Strocchia, Professor of History at Emory University, Senior Fellow (2013-14)

Michael Moon, Professor of American Studies and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies; director, Studies in Sexualities;  Senior Fellow (2013-14)

Jennifer Rhee, Assistant Professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-14)

Michael Ursell, University of California Santa Cruz, Postdoctoral Fellow (2013-14)

Craig Perry (History Department, Emory University), Graduate Dissertation Completion Fellow (2013-14)

Blake Mayes 14C (Religion), Undergraduate Fellow (2013-14)

Hannah Smagh 15C (Ancient Mediterranean Studies and Anthropology), Undergraduate Fellow (2013-14)

Healthy Eating Partners Program Shares Nutrition Tips in the DUC

2013 December 27
by Hal Jacobs

cshh-HealthyEatPartners-stillIn this new YouTube video, Kylie McKenzie 14C (Biology with a Predictive Health minor) and Brooke Woodward 13C (Anthropology with a Predictive Health minor) talk about the new Healthy Eating Partners program that they developed with the help of the Center for the Study of Human Health and Emory Dining. The program illustrates a growing emphasis on the part of the College to translate academics into the real world to make positive changes.

Emory’s Center for the Study of Human Health brings together the resources of a major research university to advance knowledge and undergraduate education in the area of human health.

QuanTM News — New Major & Speaker Series

2013 December 27
by Hal Jacobs

Beginning fall 2014, Emory students interested in the social sciences will have the opportunity to learn its real-world applications by receiving thorough quantitative training while they study subjects like Political Science, Anthropology, Economics, and Psychology, preparing them for graduate school and making them competitive on the job market. The quantitative courses are housed in the QuanTM Institute.

See more information

QuanTM is also offering its first annual quantitative humanities speaker series. Each event will take place Wednesdays from 12:00-1:30pm in the Jones Room in Woodruff Library unless otherwise specified. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP at if you are interested in attending.

Ted Underwood: Wednesday, March 26th, 2014, 12:00-1:30pm

Matthew Jockers: Monday, April 14th, 2013, 12:00-1:30pm

See more information