The Columbian College of Arts & Sciences (CCAS) celebrated the Class of 2020 during four livestreamed ceremonies showcasing graduates of the CCAS doctoral, master's and undergraduate programs. Among the featured speakers was President and CEO of The Metropolitan Museum of Art Daniel Weiss, BA ’79, who challenged graduates to embrace this “unprecedented” moment. “When the world is disrupted, there are opportunities to learn...chances to do things better.” CCAS Dean Paul Wahlbeck congratulated graduates for their “resilience in the face of difficulty” and encouraged them to resist the temptation to look inward. GW's university-wide Commencement also featured remarks from scholars and students, and video messages from the graduates themselves.
The noon ceremony recognized students majoring in cognitive neuroscience, criminal justice, economics, human services and social justice, journalism and mass communication, political communication, political science, political science: public policy focus, psychology and sociology. Speakers were Distinguished Scholar recipient and philosophy and political science major Zach Hollander and Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs Imani M. Cheers.
The 3:30 p.m. ceremony recognized students majoring in American studies, anthropology, Arabic studies, archaeology, art history, astronomy, astrophysics, biological anthropology, biological sciences, biophysics, chemistry, Chinese language and literature, classical and ancient Near Eastern studies, classical studies, communication, creative writing and English, dance, English, environmental studies, fine art, fine art photography, fine arts, art history and fine arts, French language, literature and culture, general studies, geography, geological sciences, German language and literature, graphic design, history, interior architecture, Japanese language and literature, Judaic studies, mathematics, music, neuroscience, organizational sciences, peace studies, philosophy, photojournalism, physics, religion, Russian language and literature, Spanish and Latin American languages, literatures and cultures, special interdisciplinary major, speech, language and hearing sciences, statistics, theatre, women's, gender, and sexuality studies, and Associate of Arts. Speakers were Distinguished Scholar recipient and mathematics major Margaret Steiner and Associate Professor of Media and Public Affairs Imani M. Cheers.
Speakers at the Master's Ceremony included Distinguished Scholar recipients Brendan Danner (leadership education and development) and Sarah-Anne Gresham (women’s, gender, and sexuality studies), as well as Associate Professor of English Holly Dugan. Eiko Strader, assistant professor of public policy, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies and sociology, received the Graduate Advising Award for excellence in graduate faculty mentoring.
Congratulations From CCAS Alumni
Please download the program PDFs to view digitally. If you would like a PDF formatted for professional printing, please email us at [email protected] for the undergraduate program or [email protected] for the master's and doctoral hooding programs.
The Robert W. Kenny Prize for Innovation in Teaching of Introductory Courses is awarded annually to a faculty member in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences who has shown innovation, creativity and originality in teaching an introductory course in the arts and sciences. The recipient, who is among the most talented of our teachers, teaches an introductory or basic course during the academic year in a novel and innovative way. Professors receiving this award have encouraged their students to think differently, allowing them to take advantage of their academic experience at the George Washington University. The Kenny Prize honors former Dean Robert Kenny and his special dedication to stimulating experiences for GW students and his emphasis on the importance of introductory courses as students undertake their studies in the liberal arts and sciences.
David Costanza is an associate professor of organizational sciences and of psychology and has served as department chair and program director. He earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia and his master's and doctoral degrees from George Mason University. He is also a senior consortium fellow for the U.S. Army Research Institute. His research, teaching and consulting are in the areas of organizational processes, generational differences, leadership and culture, as well as statistics and research methods. His work has been published in journals including the Journal of Business and Psychology, Personnel Psychology and Work, Aging and Retirement. He has written for Slate on generational differences and has been interviewed by The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Financial Times, TIME Magazine, VOX and Yahoo! Finance. In 2009, he was given the Distinguished Alumni Award in I/O Psychology by George Mason University.
Robin Alva Marcus is a teaching instructor in writing in the University Writing Program. She received her MFA in creative writing from the University of Maryland, College Park, her BA in English from Trinity University and is a proud member of the Howard University Alumni Association. Her courses focus on race in America using a number of intersections to activate student interest and research. An active member of the GW community, she has served as panelist, judge, moderator and/or advisor to a number of campus organizations including the Honey Nashman Center’s Public Service Grant Commission and The ACE Magazine and has received or was nominated for several awards at GW including the Bender Teaching Award, the Faculty Engagement Award, Professor of the Year by the Black Student Association and the Faculty Excellence Award. A writer first and academic second, her work has appeared in Grace and Gravity, It’s All Love, Black Writers on Love, Family and Relationships, and she has received numerous grants and fellowships among them the Katherine Anne Porter Fiction Contest, two literary fellowships from the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities and the Mary Boyle McCrory Award for Excellence in Writing.
The Columbian Prize for Teaching and Mentoring Advanced Undergraduate Students is awarded to a regular, full- time faculty member in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences who demonstrates excellence in the teaching and mentoring of advanced undergraduate students. With this prize, we recognize exceptional achievement in one or more of the following areas of work: teaching an advanced undergraduate course, advising students, directing undergraduate research, designing a capstone experience or mentoring students who achieve departmental honors and other distinctions.
Elizabeth Vaquera received her doctorate in sociology from the University of Pennsylvania in 2007. She recently joined GW as associate professor and director of the Cisneros Hispanic Leadership Institute. She holds appointments in the Department of Sociology and the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration. Before joining GW, she spent almost a decade at the University of South Florida where she was associate professor of sociology. Her research focuses on the physical, emotional and social wellbeing of vulnerable and diverse groups, particularly Latinos/as, immigrants and children. Her work has been published in leading peer-reviewed academic journals including Social Science Research, Social Science and Medicine, and Child Development. She is also co-author of several books, the most recent of which, Education and Immigration, examines the educational experiences of immigrants and their children living in the U.S. Vaquera is the recipient of several federal grants by the National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health.
The Award for Excellence in Graduate Faculty Mentoring is given to a faculty member nominated by graduate students. Mentoring and advising are crucial to the intellectual life and career trajectories of graduate students across the arts, sciences and professions. A good mentor is a source of wisdom and expertise, an inspiring role model, a compassionate critic, a sounding board, an advocate and a career counselor.
Eiko Strader is an assistant professor of public policy, women’s, gender, and sexuality studies, and sociology. She joined the faculty of the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences in the fall of 2017. A sociologist who studies gender inequality and public policy, Strader is engaged in research that seeks to understand how and under what conditions gender becomes relevant in predicting life chances across different levels of geographical location. In studies focused on the regional wage effect of immigration, marriage and motherhood penalties in the U.S. military, and the job performance of ex-felons, she employs intersectionality-informed multilevel models to examine intersecting sources of inequality, such as race, ethnicity, parenthood and class, while simultaneously analyzing labor market policies or conditions that impact gender inequality.
Strader teaches graduate courses in policy analysis at the Trachtenberg School of Public Policy and Public Administration, the graduate capstone seminar in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies (WGSS) Program and a graduate course focused on women, welfare and poverty that is offered jointly by the WGSS Program and the Department of Sociology. She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Students speak highly of Strader’s work as an instructor, academic advisor and “practical example of what the future may hold for us as scholars.” She is recognized as “passionate teacher” who “wants everyone to succeed and meet the degree requirements of the program” but who “also wants everyone to do their best individual work so that they will be set up for success later on.” One student remarks that Dr. Strader has a particular knack for “draw[ing] knowledge out of students, assisting when they need it, but also pushing us to work a little bit harder.”
Her students are especially grateful for the care that she takes to monitor not only their academic progress but also their personal wellbeing. “I really enjoy the fact that she has asked me personal questions about myself and career interests,” one student reported, and “the fact that she starts each class asking if we are doing okay personally, acknowledging that this semester has been hard because of COVID-19 both academically and in our personal lives,” is especially valued. In short, students report, “Dr. Strader goes above and beyond to offer counsel to her students....She steps up and makes herself available in a way other professors don’t.