Yale Graduate School Names Outstanding Faculty Mentors

For the second year in a row, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has selected faculty members to honor for their exemplary mentoring of graduate students.

For the second year in a row, the Yale Graduate School of Arts and Sciences has selected faculty members to honor for their exemplary mentoring of graduate students.

This year’s winning faculty mentors are Daniel DiMaio, professor of genetics; John Mack Faragher, the Arthur Unobskey Professor of American History; and Joshua Gamson, professor of sociology.

The honorees were chosen by the Graduate Student Assembly’s Awards and Evaluation Committee, working with the Office of Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development, from among 38 faculty nominated by students. The committee chose one mentor from the humanities, one from the natural sciences and one from the social sciences. Each will be presented with a Yale chair following the Convocation ceremony, which is set for Sunday, May 20, in the Hall of Graduate Studies courtyard.

“It is rare that an award taps so directly into people’s deepest sense of appreciation and gratitude,” said Bill Rando, director of the Office of Teaching Fellow Preparation and Development at the Graduate School. “The Graduate Mentoring Award does that for graduate students at Yale. The letters of nomination written by the students have told of unwavering guidance, challenge, caring, and deep personal and intellectual commitment. Anyone who ever wondered what it means to be a great mentor should read these letters. It’s all there.”

“Reading the many detailed nominating letters and working with the committee’s dedicated faculty and student members has underscored the tremendous commitment and respect that Yale faculty and grad students have for one another,” said Gilbert Joseph, the Farnam Professor of History and a recipient of last year’s Mentoring Award for the humanities. Joseph served on the selection committee this year.

It’s not only the students who benefit from a good mentoring relationship. Speaking from his perspective as a faculty member, Joseph continued on a more personal level, “There is nothing I do at this university that is more deeply rewarding than teaching (and learning from) my enormously talented doctoral students. I take great satisfaction in knowing that the bonds we forge will endure for decades and help to shape the field-Latin American history-to which we are mutually committed.”

DiMaio echoed Joseph’s sentiments when he said, “Being a mentor of graduate students is one of the most rewarding aspects of being on the Yale faculty. It is wonderful to help transform entering students with limited research experience into confident and accomplished young scientists ready to make their own discoveries and contributions.”

Daniel DiMaio, Professor of Genetics
After graduating summa cum laude from Yale College in 1974, Daniel DiMaio went on to earn both M.D. and Ph.D. degrees from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, where he carried out dissertation research with Nobel laureate Daniel Nathans. Following a post-doctoral fellowship at Harvard, he joined the Yale faculty as the first recipient of a Mallinckrodt Scholar Award.

His research focuses on the molecular biology of tumor viruses, and the mechanisms by which they affect cell proliferation and induce the development of cancer. He also studies the molecular basis of cell growth regulation.

DiMaio is the director of the Molecular Virology Research Program of the Yale Comprehensive Cancer Center, an editor of the Journal of Virology, a former chair of the DNA Virus Division of the American Society for Microbiology, and the principal investigator of a multi-investigator grant from the National Institutes of Health studying the role of viruses and gene mutations in cancer formation.

In recognition of his research contributions, DiMaio has received a MERIT Award from the National Institutes of Health and has been elected a Fellow of the American Academy of Microbiology.

Placing DiMaio’s name in nomination for the mentoring award, one student wrote, “In every aspect of my graduate training, he has been the perfect mentor for me. He has made me a more accountable scientist, a better critical thinker, and has inspired me toward a career in academic research and teaching.”

John Mack Faragher, the Arthur Unobskey Professor of American History
Placing Faragher’s name in nomination for the award, one of his students noted, “In addition to what I have learned from him as a historian, he has helped me to better understand and negotiate the academic world.”

Faragher joined the Yale faculty in 1993, after teaching at the University of Massachusetts, Mount Holyoke College and the University of Hartford. He earned his B.A. degree from the University of California (Riverside) in 1967 and his Ph.D. degree from Yale in 1977, winning both the John Addison Porter and Frederick W. Beinecke Prizes at graduation.

Faragher’s primary area of research is the American West. He is author or editor of nine books, most recently “The American West: An Interpretative History,” a revision of Robert V. Hine’s monumental work. “The American West” was awarded the Western Heritage Award of the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum of Oklahoma City for most outstanding non-fiction book on the American West for the year 2000. His other books include “Out of Many: A History of the American People” (with M. Buhl, D. Czitrom and S. Armitage), “Daniel Boone: The Life and Legend of an American Pioneer,” “Sugar Creek: Life on the Illinois Prairie” and “Women and Men on the Overland Trail”-newly re-released in paper. He has published many scholarly articles and consulted on films, television documentaries and radio programs about the West. “Daniel Boone” received the State of Kentucky Governor’s Award, the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and an award from the American Revolution Round Table of New York. “Sugar Creek” also won several prestigious book prizes.

Joshua Gamson, Professor of Sociology
Gamson joined the Yale faculty in 1993 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of California (Berkeley) in 1992 and his B.A. from Swarthmore College in 1985. He studies the sociology of culture, mass media and communications, social movements and the sociology of sex and gender.

One student wrote in his nominating letter, “I knew that when I came to Yale that I would have access to great books and great minds. I did not know how important it would be to have great teachers, mentors and friends. I have found Professor Gamson to be all of these things at once, and I believe that he made my graduate experience something for which I will always be grateful.”

Extending his mentoring beyond Yale, Gamson organized a workshop on “Making the Most of Your Dissertation: Publishing Opportunities,” for the American Sociological Association in 1998. His scholarly books on popular culture include “Freaks Talk Back: Tabloid Talk Shows and Sexual Nonconformity” and “Claims to Fame: Celebrity in Contemporary America.” “Freaks Talk Back” won awards from the Society for Cinema Studies, the American Sociological Association’s Culture Section, and was designated one of the Voice Literary Supplement’s 25 favorite books of 1998. “Ethnography Unbound: Power and Resistance in the Modern Metropolis,” with Michael Burawoy, covers urban ethnography, also known as participant-observation in sociology.

Gamson has won several grants from Yale, as well as the Wayne F. Placek Award from the American Psychological Association, an American Sociological Association grant and a Woodrow Wilson Fellowship.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325