Yale College honors recipients of Poorvu award for excellence in teaching

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun to honor recipients of the annual Poorvu Family Fund for Academic Innovation award, created to recognize excellence in teaching.
Wendy Gilbert, Jonas Elbousty, Aimee Cox, Jennifer Allen.

Top left clockwise: Wendy Gilbert, Jonas Elbousty, Aimee Cox, Jennifer Allen.

Yale College Dean Marvin Chun will host a virtual reception on March 2 to honor the recipients of the annual Poorvu Family Fund for Academic Innovation award, created to recognize excellence in teaching. This year’s recipients are Yale faculty members Jennifer Allen, Aimee Cox, Wendy Gilbert, and Jonas Elbousty.

The award, given to outstanding junior faculty members at Yale who have demonstrated excellence in teaching in undergraduate programs, enables them to dedicate the summer to research essential to their development as scholars and teachers.

Allen is an assistant professor of history who studies late-20th-century European cultural practices. She is currently working on a book manuscript titled “Sustainable Utopias: Art, Political Culture, and Historical Practice in Late Twentieth-Century Germany.” In it, she charts the history of Germany’s relatively recent efforts to revitalize the concept of utopia after the wholesale collapse of Europe’s violent social engineering projects. In a related research project, Allen traces how Germany’s grassroots commemorative practices became a model for international communities as diverse as Moscow and Buenos Aires over the past 30 years. In Yale College, she teaches courses on modern German history, modern European history, the theories and practices of memory, and the history of the Holocaust.

Cox is an associate professor in African American studies and anthropology. Her research and teaching interests lie at the intersection of anthropology, Black studies, and performance studies. Her first monograph, “Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship” (Duke 2015), won a 2016 Victor Turner Book Prize in Ethnographic Writing, and honorable mention from the 2016 Gloria E. Anzaldúa Book Prize, given by the National Women’s Studies Association. Her next ethnographic project, “Living Past Slow Death,” explores the creative protest strategies individuals and communities enact to reclaim Black life in the urban United States — specifically in Cincinnati, Ohio; Jackson, Mississippi; and Clarksburg, West Virginia. In Yale College, she has developed and taught new courses including: “The Theory and Methods of Performance Ethnography,” “The Roots and Routes of Black Feminist Theory,” and “Anthropology of the Young and the Dispossessed.”

Elbousty is director of undergraduate studies in the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations. He previously taught at Al Akhawyeen University, Emory University, Georgia Institute of Technology, and Columbia University. He has taught widely in the areas of North African and Middle Eastern studies, with a special focus on literary narratives. His research interests focus on the theories of world literature and its tie to Eurocentrism, problematics of literary translation, cultural history, the image of the Arab in U.S literary narratives, postcolonial literature, modern Arabic fiction, Maghrebi studies, and the life and works of Mohamed Choukri. Besides his academic responsibilities, he is a literary translator and a short story writer. In Yale College, he teaches courses in elementary to advanced “Modern Standard Arabic,” “The Trilogy of Mosteghanemi,” and “Mohamed Choukri's Narratives.”

Gilbert is an associate professor of molecular biophysics and biochemistry. Her work focuses on regulatory elements in messenger RNA that control the cellular expression of the information stored in the genetic code. In recent years, her work has expanded to include studying the biological functions of chemical RNA modifications. She was recognized with the RNA Society’s Early Career Award in 2017 for her “paradigm-altering contributions to the field of post-transcriptional gene regulation.” She teaches “Methods and Logic in Molecular Biology” and “Advanced Eukaryotic Molecular Biology.” Her teaching engages students to evaluate the experimental evidence that forms the basis for understanding biological processes.

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