Eminent Scholars announced for 2019-20

The College of Humanities and Sciences Eminent Scholars program serves to recognize mid-career faculty scholars and reward them for their scholarly contributions to their discipline, the College and the university.
Amanda Dickinson, Ph.D., Kathleen Graber, Ph.D., and Gregory Smithers, Ph.D.

The three faculty members selected for this honor are:

These faculty join the three eminent scholars selected last year during the inaugural year of the award:

  • Robin Everhart, Ph.D., associate professor in the Department of Psychology
  • Marcus Messner, Ph.D., associate professor and associate director in the Robertson School
  • Jason Reed, Ph.D., Department of Physics

Eligible faculty for the award must hold tenure at the associate or full professor level, and full professors must be within the first three years of achieving the rank of professor. The financial compensation for this award is a $5,000 salary supplement per year for five consecutive years (a total award of $25,000). The recipient holds the title of 'CHS Eminent Scholar.' The selection committee consists of members of the research advisory board to the CHS associate dean of research.

Amanda Dickinson, Ph.D.

Dickinson is a developmental biologist who focuses on craniofacial development. She has conducted pioneering work using frogs to understand human orofacial clefting and embryonic mouth development. She also examines the impact of e-cigarettes on craniofacial development.

An NSF career award, two awards from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (R01 and R56) and one from National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (R03) have supported her research.

Her lab has uncovered key mechanisms underlying craniofacial development and disorders and has identified important gene-environment interactions in cleft palate. Her lab was also the first to report on the dangers of e-cigarette use for orofacial clefting and this research received international attention and was covered in Atlantic magazine.

Kathleen Graber, Ph.D.

Graber is a contemporary poet who has won numerous prestigious awards, including a Guggenheim fellowship, a National Endowment for the Arts fellowship and the Library of Virginia Literary Award in Poetry.

Princeton University Press published her two most recent poetry collections, The River Twice (2019) and The Eternal City (2010). Her poetry has appeared in many mainstream publications, including The New Yorker, and two of her poems have been selected for inclusion in annual Best American Poetry anthologies.

Graber's work has received national and international praise; a chancellor of the American Academy of Poets writes that she is “one of the two or three finest poets working in America today."

Gregory Smithers, Ph.D.

Smithers is a historian of racial and ethnic culture and identity who focuses on the histories of racial groups that have been displaced or enslaved. He is particularly interested in the history and culture of the Cherokee people.

He has already authored five single authored books on these topics and two co-authored books. In addition, he has 16 peer-reviewed essays in scholarly journals, an edited anthology and a co-edited anthology. His 2015 book The Cherokee Diaspora won three prestigious awards, including the Gold Medal in Multicultural Non-Fiction from the Independent Publishers Books Awards.

Smithers also writes for mass media audiences and has published in the New York Times, Slate Time, The Atlantic, Politico and the Sydney Morning Herald.

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