A Steele Prize, Moonshot Award, and Student Honors

Here are all the recent awards for Columbia students, faculty, and staff.

February 09, 2022

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 January 27, 2022 to February 10, 2022.

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


Khatchig Mouradian, Lecturer in Middle Eastern, South Asian, and African Studies, received an honorable mention for The Resistance Network from the Syrian Studies Association. 

Avinoam Shalem, Professor of Art History, and Alina Payne of the I Tatti Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies, have been awarded a major grant from the Getty Foundation for their joint project Black Mediterranean/Mediterraneo Nero Artistic Encounters and Counter-narratives/Incontri artistici e contronarrazioni.


Suzanne Bakken, Alumni Professor of the School of Nursing, and Billy Caceres, Assistant Professor of Nursing, won a Paper of the Year award from the American Journal of Health Promotion for their manuscript titled, “Sexual Identity and Racial/Ethnic Differences in Awareness of Heart Attack and Stroke Symptoms: Findings from the National Health Interview Survey.”

Veronica Barcelona, Assistant Professor of Nursing, received the International Society of Nurses in Genetics Founders' Award, which was established in 1996 to honor individual ISONG members who have demonstrated excellence in genomic nursing education, research, or service. Veronica Barcelona is also the recipient of a two-year award, funded for $150,000, to use machine learning to measure racial/ethnic bias in obstetric settings. 

Johan de Jong, Professor, Department of Mathematics, was awarded one of The American Mathematical Society’s highest honors, the Steele Prize, for his contributions to the field. 

Clare Cardo McKegney, Assistant Professor of Nursing, was named among the NJ Favorite Kids’ Docs 2021 by New Jersey Family magazine.

Amanda Hessels, Assistant Professor of Nursing, was one of seven New Jersey nurses inducted into the American Academy of Nursing as cited in the January 22, 2022, issue of New Jersey Nurse.

Indrani Pal, a lecturer at the School of Professional Studies, received a Moonshot Award for her project, “Where’s My Water?: Predicting Renewable Freshwater Resource & Filling in Crucial Data Gaps.” The award — administered by California’s State Water Resources Control Board and the West Big Data Innovation Hub — celebrates the most ambitious projects with the highest potential for impact.

Maureen E. Raymo, Co-Founding Dean, Columbia Climate School; Director, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory; G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, has been elected a Member of The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences in the Class for Geosciences.

Marie-Pierre St-Onge, Associate Professor of Nutritional Medicine and Director, Columbia University Irving Medical Center Sleep Center of Excellence, was nominated to serve as a program consultant for the NIH Common Fund's Nutrition for Precision Health.


President Lee C. Bollinger appointed Samuel Sia, Professor of Biomedical Engineering, to be Vice Provost for the Fourth Purpose and Strategic Impact. The role was created at the recommendation of the Fourth Purpose Task Force to support Columbia’s efforts to bring knowledge to directed action for public good, which Bollinger has identified as Columbia’s Fourth Purpose – one distinct from, but deeply entwined with, research, education, and service.


Eight outstanding junior faculty who contribute to the diversity goals of the university by their research, teaching, and mentoring activities were awarded Junior Faculty Grants for Fall 2021, which are designed to support schools’ diversity plans. You can read more about the awardees here

Muḥsin Jāsim al-Mūsawī, Professor of Middle Eastern, South Asian and African Studies, has been awarded the 2022 King Faisal Prize for Arabic Language and Literature. This year's prize acknowledges Professor al-Mūsawī's work in the subject area of "Classical Arabic Stories and Modern Theory.”

Robert Downs, Senior Digital Archivist at Columbia’s Center for International Earth Science Network was given the President’s Award by Earth Science Information Partners for his work ensuring that spatial data is managed, preserved, and accessible to all. 

Jeffrey Sachs, University Professor, and Director, Center for Sustainable Development, was awarded the first honorary doctorate ever conferred by Amrita University alongside Nobel Laureate Kailash Satyarthi. A fellowship was also established in Sachs’ name. 


Ten students were named recipients of University Life’s 2022 Racial Justice Mini-Grants.

April Ancheta, Nursing Ph.D. student, was elected student chair of the American Public Health Association LGBTQ Health Caucus.

Mailman School of Public Health student Taylor Hirschberg was nominated for a GLAAD Media Award for his print article in Out Magazine, "The Hearts of Venezuela."

Nikita Manjuluri (SEAS’23) was awarded the prestigious Brooke Owens Fellowship in the most competitive year yet. Manjuluri was selected as 1 of 51 students out of 1,000+ applications worldwide.