by Heather Rodriguez
Two College of Liberal Arts faculty members have been recognized as Presidential Impactful Fellows in recognition of their transformational teaching, innovation, and impact on Texas and the world.
Laura Mandell, a professor in the Department of English and director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture (IDHMC), and Steve Maren, a professor in the Department of Psychology and Claude H. Everett, Jr. ‘47 Chair of Liberal Arts, were honored by Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young and Provost Karan L. Watson at a ceremony on March 7, 2017. Joining Mandell and Maren were 22 other faculty members from across Texas A&M’s colleges, schools, branch campuses, and libraries.
“Today, we acknowledge a new investment in the excellence of select faculty who through their scholarship, personal commitment and results demonstrate they are rising to meet the challenges of their field and demonstrating impact towards creating a better world,” said Young. “I am proud to name these faculty as the inaugural Presidential Impact Fellows.”
The Presidential Impact Fellows program includes the use of the honorific title for life and an annual stipend of $25,000 each of the next three fiscal years to accelerate each recipient’s pedagogy, research and service impacts. Identified by his or her dean and confirmed by academic leadership, these faculty are considered candidates for continued or new national and international acclaim and will utilize this honor to participate in national dialogue, advance their scholarship and create new partnerships.
As part of her work with IDHMC, and in collaboration with Tim Stinson from North Carolina State, Mandell developed a one-of-a-kind software used to aggregate information vital to humanities research. Big Data Infrastructure Visualization Application (BigDIVA), has changed the way humanists interact with rare archives necessary to their research.
The program, conceptualized by Mandell and developed at Texas A&M, and allows researchers to access high-quality digital media from libraries and archives from around the world without leaving their institution. Scholars and students can use BigDIVA to easily obtain open-access digital resources and proprietary materials.
Mandell and BigDIVA will be showcased at this year’s South By Southwest Conference (SXSW) in Austin, Texas, March 11-13, 2017, at Hotel Van Zandt, which will be known as the “Texas A&M House.”
Mandell came to Texas A&M in 2011 from Miami University, where teaches English literature. She is the author of Breaking the Book: Print Humanities in the Digital Age (2015).
Maren joined the Liberal Arts faculty in 2012. His research expertise is in behavioral and cellular neuroscience, investigating the brain circuits responsible for fear, stress, and anxiety. He also studies how dysfunction of that system contributes to trauma and anxiety disorders such as post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
He is the recipient of the American Psychological Association’s Distinguished Scientific Award for an Early Career Contribution to Psychology, and more recently the D.O. Distinguished Scientific Contributions Award.
He has been continuously funded by the National Institutes of Health since 1995 and is a recipient of the 2015 McKnight Memory and Cognitive Disorders award.