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Thomas A. Lewis named Interim Dean of Graduate School

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Professor of Religious Studies Thomas A. Lewis, known to most as Tal, has been appointed the Interim Dean of Brown’s Graduate School, effective July 1, 2022. He currently serves as the Co-Deputy Dean and Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at the Graduate School, and will serve as Interim Dean for academic year 2022-23.

Lewis will succeed Andrew Campbell, who will return to the faculty after completing his current term as Dean in June. In this role, Tal will be responsible for advancing the excellence of Brown's graduate programs, increasing support for our graduate students, and strengthening the broader structure for graduate education across the University.

Andrew Campbell to step down as Graduate School dean, return to Brown faculty

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Andrew G. Campbell, the 15th dean of the Graduate School of Brown University, will step down after six years of leadership effective June 30, 2022, to return to research and teaching as a professor of medical science at Brown.

Campbell’s six-year tenure as dean has included record enrollment growth and a marked increase in diversity among Brown graduate students. He has been responsible for engaging and supporting more than 2,600 students enrolled in doctoral and master’s programs in more than 40 departments, centers and institutes, including the Division of Biology and Medicine, the School of Engineering, the School of Public Health and the School of Professional Studies. Read more.

Community Announcement on Assistant Director of Graduate Academic Diversity Position

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The Graduate School is pleased to announce the appointment of Maija Hallsmith as the inaugural Assistant Director of Academic Diversity for the Graduate School. In this role she will be responsible for developing and building on work with graduate programs, faculty and students that advances recruitment, student academic success, and retention to promote increased diversity in all of Brown’s graduate programs. Read more.

For physics Ph.D. student, exploring the unknown universe and mentoring the next generation

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In speaking with Farrah Simpson, the excitement in her voice when the conversation turns to physics — and mentoring young students who might pursue the science she loves — is unmistakable.

“I love being able to have a positive impact on other people’s lives,” said Simpson, a Ph.D. student at Brown University. “I was always curious growing up. I remember I would always ask random questions that my physics teacher wasn’t able to answer, and I’d go off and try to figure it out myself.”

Simpson, who is from Jamaica, enrolled at Brown in 2018 after earning a bachelor’s degree at Columbia University. Last fall, Fermilab — the U.S. Department of Energy’s particle physics and accelerator laboratory — named her as one of two students in the nation appointed as 2022 Graduate Scholars to work at the lab’s Large Hadron Collider Physics Center. Read more.

Guido Imbens '91 Ph.D. Wins Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences

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Guido Imbens, a Stanford University economist who earned his Ph.D. from Brown University in 1991, is one of three recipients of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences, the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences announced on Monday, Oct. 11, in a live-streamed presentation. Imbens and colleague Joshua Angrist, an economist at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, were awarded the prize in recognition of their methodological contributions to the analysis of causal relationships, according to the academy. The pair split the prize with David Card of the University of California, Berkeley, whose empirical contributions to labor economics helped launch a new era of natural experiments across the social sciences. Imbens was also awarded the 2017 Horace Mann Medal — an annual honor to a Brown Graduate School graduate who has made important contributions in their field — in recognition of his important contributions to the field of economics. Read more.

Dr. Alycia Mosley Austin to Join the Graduate School

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The Graduate School is delighted to share that Dr. Alycia Mosley Austin will be joining the Graduate School as Associate Dean of Diversity and Inclusion, effective September 8.

Dr. Alycia Mosley Austin is an accomplished leader of diversity and inclusion initiatives in graduate education. She has led work in this area for over a decade, serving as a visible national leader, with notable experience building programming for graduate students and incentivizing transformational change within graduate programs. Dr. Austin comes to Brown from the University of Rhode Island, where she served as Interim Associate Dean in the Graduate School.

Initiative to expand Ph.D. student diversity in STEM graduate programs has lasting positive effects

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For more than a decade, leaders of the Initiative to Maximize Student Development at Brown University have worked not only to expand diversity among doctoral students in the University’s science, technology, engineering and math programs, but also to propel the career success of underrepresented students over the long term — in effect, increasing diversity in STEM on a much larger scale. A new study in the Journal for STEM Education Research shows that the program is doing exactly that. Read more.

In socially distanced Graduate School ceremony, speakers call on peers to ‘show up’ and ‘do good work’

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For brief moments, a casual onlooker could be forgiven for assuming Brown’s Graduate School Ceremony during Commencement Weekend was no different than ever.

Like the ceremonies of years past, the event on Saturday, May 1, opened with a stirring rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by one of Brown’s own — Arlen Austin, a Ph.D. graduate in modern culture and media. As usual, Graduate School Dean Andrew G. Campbell took to the podium to preside, welcoming and congratulating the 763 master’s and Ph.D. graduates. Read more.

Student Research: Thick lithosphere casts doubt on plate tectonics in Venus’s geologically recent past

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At some point between 300 million and 1 billion years ago, a cosmic object smashed into the planet Venus, leaving a crater more than 170 miles in diameter. A team of Brown University researchers, including doctoral student Evan Bjonnes, has used the ancient impact scar to explore the possibility that Venus once had Earth-like plate tectonics. For a study published in Nature Astronomy, the researchers used computer models to recreate the impact that carved out Mead crater, Venus’s largest impact basin. Mead is surrounded by two clifflike faults — rocky ripples frozen in time after the basin-forming impact. Read more.

Student Research: A new tool discovered for reconstructing ancient sea ice to study climate change

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Sea ice is a critical indicator of changes in the Earth’s climate. A new discovery by Brown University researchers, including Karen Wang, a doctoral student in Earth, Environmental and Planetary Sciences, could provide scientists a new way to reconstruct sea ice abundance and distribution information from the ancient past, which could aid in understanding human-induced climate change happening now. In a study published in Nature Communications, the researchers show that an organic molecule often found in high-latitude ocean sediments, known as tetra-unsaturated alkenone (C37:4), is produced by one or more previously unknown species of ice-dwelling algae. As sea ice concentration ebbs and flows, so do the algae associated with it, as well as the molecules they leave behind. Read more.