Hernan Diaz Wins a Pulitzer Prize for His Novel, ‘Trust,’ and More Milestones

From science to engineering, writing to social sciences, here are the Columbians who received awards recently.

May 17, 2023

Columbia News produces a biweekly newsletter (subscribe here!) and article series featuring a roundup of awards and milestones that Columbia faculty, staff, and students have received in recent days. In this edition, you’ll find awards and milestones from May 4 to May 18, 2023.

Have an award or milestone you’d like to have featured in the newsletter or article online? Please send an email to [email protected]. Note that we’ll be running this series every other week. 

You can take a look at past accomplishments on our Awards & Milestones page. And you can subscribe to receive the newsletter in your inbox



Hernan Diaz, managing editor, Latin American/Iberian Cultures, in the Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures, won a Pulitzer Prize in Fiction for his novel, Trust. Diaz was a finalist for the same award in 2018 for his novel, In the Distance.

Four faculty members and one student were named recipients of the Berlin Prize for fall 2023/spring 2024 by the American Academy in Berlin. They are: Camila Agosto, DMA Student in Composition; Michael W. Doyle, University Professor, School of International and Public Affairs; Mabel O. Wilson, Nancy and George Rupp Professor of Architecture, Planning and Preservation and professor in African American and African Diaspora Studies; Heidi Julavits, associate professor of writing and undergraduate creative writing in School of the Arts; and James Shapiro, Larry Miller Professor of English and Comparative Literature.


Ishmail Abdus-Saboor, assistant professor of biological sciences, and Bianca Jones Marlin, Herbert and Florence Irving Assistant Professor of Cell Research, both neuroscientists at Columbia’s Zuckerman Institute, were named to the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s inaugural class of Freeman Hrabowski Scholars. The program aims to boost momentum in the scientific community for embracing and enacting diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Elaine J. Abrams, professor of pediatrics and epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center, was named the 2023 Virginia Apgar Academy for Medical Educators Mentor of the Year.

Kellie Bryant, associate professor of nursing, received the Virginia Commonwealth University Lectureship Award for her lecture titled “Reimagining Nursing Education: Fostering the Next Generation of Health Equity Advocates.”

Richard L. Garwin, who has for many years been an adjunct professor at Columbia, was recognized by the National Science Board as the 2023 Vannevar Bush Award recipient. The Vannevar Bush Award honors exceptional lifelong leaders in science and technology. The Board established this award in 1980 in memory of Vannevar Bush, who inspired the creation of the National Science Foundation. 

Stephanie Le Melle, associate clinical professor of psychiatry, received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Judges and Psychiatrists Leadership Initiative.

Owen Lewis, clinical professor of psychiatry in medical humanities and ethics, received first place in the Guernsey International Poetry Competition for his poem, “On the Hospital Bed.” 

Ana Navas-Acien, professor of environmental health sciences, was awarded $9,381,875 over five years from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences for “Columbia University and Northern Plains Partnership for the Superfund Research Program.”

Rodney Rothstein, professor of genetics and development (in systems biology), was honored with the Alumni Achievement Award by the University of Illinois Chicago.

Michael N. Shadlen, professor of neuroscience at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons, a principal investigator at Columbia's Zuckerman Institute, and an investigator at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences.

Olajide Williams, professor of neurology and associate dean of community research and engagement, received the 2023 ACTS Addressing Health Equity Through Partnership and Innovation Award.


Joseph Stiglitz, University Professor, was recently awarded the 36th International Catalonia Prize. Pere Aragonès, President of the Government of Catalonia, announced the award and  highlighted Stiglitz's “transformative economic pragmatism.” 


Shakeeb Asrar (JRN’22) and Tavleen Alexandra Tarrant(JRN’22) are recipients of a 2023 RFK Book and Journalism Award in the category of College Journalism for their film Allies Welcome, which they produced while at Columbia Journalism School. 

Chinmayi Balusu, student at Mailman School of Public Health, received a “One to Watch” Award from the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference Neuroscience Next.

Runnie Exuma (GS’23) and Ruby Mendelsund (CC’23) were named 2023 Catherine Medalia Johannet Senior Thesis Prize winners. The prize is awarded by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

David Hong (CC’24) and Davey Liu (GS’24) were awarded 2023 Catherine Medalia Johannet Summer Fellowships. The fellowships are also awarded by the Institute for Comparative Literature and Society.

Khadeeja Majoka, PhD student in the Religion Department, has received a Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Innovation Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies.