Truman Scholars, NSF Fellowships, National Academy of Sciences Elections, WNBA Draft, and More

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

May 02, 2024

Columbia News produces a monthly 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 March 21 to May 1, 2024. 

If you have an accomplishment you'd like to be considered for inclusion, please email [email protected] with your name, title, school, department, and a link to the relevant award or milestone. 

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


The following professors are recipients of the 2024 Lenfest Distinguished Faculty Awards. The annual honor, established by former University Trustee Gerry Lenfest, recognizes faculty excellence across the arts and sciences: David Blei, professor of Statistics and Computer Science; Anne Bogart, concentration head, directing professor, Theatre Arts; Donald Green, Burgess Professor of Political Science; Gil Hochberg, Ransford Professor of Hebrew and Comparative Literature, and Middle East Studies; Karl Jacoby, Allan Nevins Professor of American History; Kathryn Johnston, professor of Astronomy; Agnieszka Legutko, senior lecturer in Yiddish; and Nim Tottenham, professor of Psychology.


The following professors have received 2024 Guggenheim fellowships: Bruno Bosteels, dean of Humanities and Jesse and George Siegel Professor in the Humanities, Department of Latin American and Iberian Cultures; Adama Delphine Fawundu, assistant professor, Visual Arts Program, School of the Arts; Jack Halberstam, David Feinson Professor of Humanities, Department of English and Comparative Literature; and Nicola López, associate professor, Visual Arts Program, School of the Arts.

The following professors have been elected members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: Quarraisha Abdool Karim, professor of Epidemiology at Columbia University Irving Medical Center; Daniel Alarcón, associate professor of Journalism; Paul Beatty, associate professor of Writing at School of the Arts; Mamadou Diouf, Leitner Family Professor of African Studies; Fredrick Cornelius Harris, Class of 1933 Professor of Political Science and former dean of faculty in Social Sciences; Serena Ng, Edwin W. Rickert Professor of Economics; Eric Talley, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law; Nim Tottenham, chair of the Psychology Department; and Gauri Viswanathan, Class of 1933 Professor of English and Comparative Literature.

The 2024 Awards for Community Building and Engagement were presented to the following teachers and staffers in the humanities, who have shown dedication to their students, colleagues, department, campus, or field, through teaching, mentoring, and other service: Juliana Driever, director of Academic Administration and Finance, English & Comparative Literature; Mana Kia, associate professor, MESAAS; Meredith Landman, lecturer, Linguistics, Slavic Languages; José Antonio Castellanos-Pazos, senior lecturer, LAIC; Jutta Schmiers-Heller, senior lecturer, German; and Konstantina Zanou, associate professor, Italian.

Julia Bryan-Wilson, professor in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, has been named president of the 2024 International Jury for the Venice Biennale.

Nina Cooke John, adjunct assistant professor at the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, is the recipient of the New Perspectives Award from the New York chapter of the American Institute of Architects.

Madeleine Dobie, professor of French and Comparative Literature, is the 2024 recipient of a Humanities Faculty Award for Academic Excellence, which recognizes distinction in any field of the humanities at Columbia.

Andrés Jaque, dean of the Graduate School of Architecture, Planning and Preservation, has received the 2024 UNESCO Global Award for Sustainable Architecture. Each year, UNESCO recognizes five architects leading the future of sustainable development, and fostering research, experimentation, and transmission in the fields of sustainable architecture, urban renewal, and academic social responsibility in the Global North and the Global South.

Subhashini Kaligotla, Barbara Stoler-Miller Associate Professor in Indian and South Asian Art in the Department of Art History and Archaeology, is the 2024 recipient of the Alice Davis Hitchcock Book Award, given by the Society of Architectural Historians, for her book, Shiva’s Waterfront Temples: Architects and Their Audiences in Medieval India.


Paul S. Appelbaum, Elizabeth K. Dollard Professor of Psychiatry, Medicine and Law, was appointed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine to a committee that will study the handling of deaths in custody.

Veronica Barcelona, assistant professor of Nursing, was named a fellow of the New York Academy of Medicine.

Five Columbia professors were elected this week to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, which recognizes distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. Membership is a widely accepted mark of excellence in science and is considered one of the highest honors that a scientist can receive. The elected professors are Scott Barrett, Lenfest-Earth Institute Professor of Natural Resource Economics; Jessica Fanzo, professor of Climate; Oliver Hobert, professor of Biological Sciences and of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics; Arthur G. Palmer, Robert Wood Johnson Jr. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics; and Duong H. Phong, professor of Mathematics.

Steven Cohen, senior vice dean and director of the Sustainability Management program at the School of Professional Studies, director of the Environmental Science and Policy program at the School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA), and director of the research program on Sustainability Policy and Management at Columbia Climate School, was named among this year’s Notable Leaders in Sustainability by Crain’s New York Business.

Hachung Chung, assistant professor of Microbiology and Immunology, and Xuebing Wu, assistant professor of Medical Sciences, are among the winners of the MIND Prize (Maximizing Innovation in Neuroscience Discovery). 

Lars Dietrich, associate professor of Biological Sciences, was awarded a Hypothesis Fund seed grant for his project, "Understanding how Pseudomonas aeruginosa uses R-bodies to kill phagocytic cells from the inside." The project was selected “for the boldness of the science, his willingness to take risks and go after a big idea, and the potential long-term impact of his work.”

Jonathan Dworkin, professor of Microbiology and Immunology, Gisela Winckler, Lamont Research Professor, and Tian Zheng, professor and chair of Statistics, were elected as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Izak Faiena, assistant clinical professor of Urology, was named among the 2024 cohort of the Urology Scientific Mentoring and Research Training Academy by the American Urological Association.

Donna L. Farber, George H. Humphreys II Professor of Surgical Sciences, was elected as councilor for the American Association of Immunologists.

Ruby Fayorsey, deputy director of the Clinical and Laboratory Unit at ICAP, received $47,000,000 from the U.S. Agency for International Development for "HIV Care and Treatment Activity."

Robert Kertzner, associate clinical professor of Psychiatry, has been awarded the 2024 John Fryer Award by the American Psychiatric Association.

Anil Lalwani, professor of Otolaryngology/Head and Neck Surgery; Mathew Maurer, Arnold and Arlene Goldstein Professor of Cardiology; and Jianwen Que, professor of Medicine, were elected to the Association of American Physicians.

Annie Lee, assistant professor of Neurology Science, received a Junior Faculty Award at the 2024 International Conference on Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases Conference in Lisbon.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, associate professor of Medicine, will deliver the address at the 2024 University of Pennsylvania Commencement and receive an honorary doctor of sciences degree.

Pamela Scorza, John P. Lambert Assistant Professor of Child Psychiatry, has been selected as a NY-CHAMP Scholar for Columbia University-Weill Cornell Medicine’s Center of Excellence in Maternal Health

Milton L. Wainberg, professor of Psychiatry, has been appointed a member of the “Future DSM VI Strategic Committee.” The latest version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, DSM V-TR, was published in 2022, and the committee is considering adjustments for the next edition. Among the core topics to be explored are the social determinants of mental health and the role of race, ethnicity, gender, and culture.

The American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering (AIMBE) has announced the induction of Harris H. Wang, associate professor, to its College of Fellows. Election to the AIMBE College of Fellows is among the highest professional distinctions accorded to medical and biological engineers, comprised of the top two percent of engineers in these fields.

Zenebe Yirsaw, associate research scientist in the Center for AIDS and Treatment Programs at Columbia’s ICAP, will receive $22,000,000 over five years from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for "Technical Assistance to National Entities and Regional Health Bureaus (RHBs) in the Implementation of HIV Programs across Ethiopia under PEPFAR."

Columbia University scientists have been awarded a $15 million grant from the NIH’s Ultra-rare Gene-based Therapy Network to design tailor-made gene-based therapies for nine people with rare forms of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). The new grant will fund the Silence ALS program to develop new tailor-made treatments for such patients. 


Kimberlé Crenshaw, Isidor and Seville Sulzbacher Professor of Law, was recently inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame. The National Women’s Hall of Fame is the nation’s first and oldest non-profit dedicated to honoring distinguished American women. Crenshaw is among ten changemakers whose contributions have and will continue to leave a mark on society — including Ruby Bridges, Peggy McIntosh, and Serena Williams. This year’s inductees also include Patricia Bath (1942-2019), who was a fellow at CUIMC when she first started to develop her ideas and research about community ophthalmology. 

Elsa Stamatopoulou, director of Columbia’s Institute for the Study of Human Rights’ Indigenous Peoples’ Rights Program, was recently awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award from the New York City Bar Association. The award, established in 2020, recognizes women and women-centric organizations focusing on justice work. 


Thirty-three students and alumni of Columbia’s three undergraduate programs have been awarded graduate research fellowships through the National Science Foundation.

Ronil Awalegaonkar (CC’25) recently went to Duke as a grand prize winner in the New Ideas: A Dialogue Project Competition, where he discussed his idea of bridging the digital divide in Chicago Public Schools focusing on corporate social responsibility with a panel of senior business leaders. The competition is part of The Dialogue Project, an initiative housed at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business that explores the role of business in reducing polarization and improving society.

Five students have been awarded Goldwater Scholarships, the preeminent undergraduate award in the fields of mathematics, natural sciences, and engineering: Pablo Buitrago (SEAS’25), Zachary Lihn (CC’25), Neha Mani (CC’25), Will Specht (SEAS’25), and Clara Victorio (SEAS’25).

Jasmine Dearman (SSW’24) was voted Outstanding Student of the Year by the Congressional Research Institute for Social Work and Policy (CRISP). Dearman was given the award for Social Work Votes, a program that organizes students to register voters and educate community residents on the political process. Dana Saltoon (SSW’24) is also a 2024 Centre for Research in Schemes and Policies (CRISP) Fellow

Abbey Hsu (CC’24) and Kaitlyn Davis (CC’23) were both selected in the 2024 WNBA Draft. Hsu and Davis are the first two WNBA Draft selections in Columbia Women's Basketball history. Hsu was selected by the Connecticut Sun in Round 3 with the 34th overall pick. Moments later, Davis was selected by the New York Liberty with the 35th overall pick.

Stavros Kariofillis, postdoctoral research scientist in Chemistry, was selected for the 2024 CAS Future Leaders program. The program provides opportunities for early-career scientists to learn leadership skills, engage in scientific discourse, and connect with peer scientists and innovators from around the world.

Tara Isabel Lago (CC’27) is the grand prize winner of the New York Public Library’s National Teen Writing Contest, which asked teens across the country to answer the question, “Why is the freedom to read important to you?” You can read her prize-winning essay titled “The Luminosity of Reading: The Morningside Lights Parade Encourages Freedom to Read” in Teen Vogue.

Jude Okonkwo, third-year medical student, won first place in the 42nd annual William Carlos Williams Poetry Competition. Sydney Gray, first-year medical student, was awarded honorable mention.

Alex Taylor (CC’25) and Wena Teng (CC’25), have been named 2024 Truman Scholars. The Truman Scholarship is the premier graduate scholarship for aspiring public service leaders in the United States. This year’s 60 new Truman Scholars were selected from 709 candidates nominated by 285 colleges and universities, with Columbia recognized as one of only a handful of institutions with multiple named scholars.

Tim Vanable (CC'24) was named a fellow for the 2024-2025 United States Teaching Assistantship Program in Austria. 


Jessica Prata Cianciara, assistant vice president for the Office of Sustainability, part of Columbia University Facilities and Operations, was named among this year’s Notable Leaders in Sustainability by Crain’s New York Business.

Jennifer Crewe, associate provost and director of Columbia University Press, was awarded the Insignia of Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of Arts and Letters by Mohamed Bouabdallah, cultural counselor of France in the United States and director of Villa Albertine. 


Carolyn Eisenberg (GSAS’69,’71), history professor at Hofstra University, was a co-winner of the 2024 Bancroft Prize in American History, given by Columbia Libraries, for her book, Fire and Rain: Nixon, Kissinger, and the Wars in Southeast Asia.