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Honors and Awards





As part of ARHU's campaign to address race, equity and justice, Dean Bonnie Thornton Dill added a special purpose fund to award projects that directly contribute to antiracism, equity, and/or social justice efforts. The three awardees include: 

Tamanika Ferguson, Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Department of Communication
Awarded a Special Purpose Innovation Grant for her Voices From the Inside: Incarcerated Women Speak book project.

Anita Atwell Seate, Associate Professor, Department of Communication
Awarded a Special Purpose Innovation Grant for her ‘I Can’t Breathe’ and Police Brutality: Expanding Our Understanding of Group-based Conflict through Methodolical Innovation project.  

Siv Lie, Assistant Professor, School of Music
Awarded a Special Purpose Innovation Grant for her Django Generations: Hearing Ethnorace, Citizenship, and Jazz Manouche in France book project



By Jessica Weiss ’05

Barbara Haggh-Huglo, professor of musicology in the University of Maryland School of Music, was elected an honorary member of the American Musicological Society (AMS), the largest musicological organization in the world. Honorary members are those scholars “who have made outstanding contributions to furthering its stated object and whom the Society wishes to honor.” The award is the highest honor of the AMS, reserved for the most esteemed of scholars.
Haggh-Huglo, who specializes in medieval and Renaissance music, has conducted extensive research in libraries and archives across Europe and the British Isles, as well as in the United States and Mexico, and has published widely on the music and musicians of northwest Europe from 800–1600. The AMS called Haggh-Huglo “a committed pedagogue.”
The “author of over 100 articles and chapters, Dr. Haggh-Huglo is a reservoir of knowledge on medieval and Renaissance music whose expertise has made for a significant international presence and enduring impact at her institution,” the AMS statement said.
Haggh-Huglo became immersed in the history of medieval music thanks in large part to her multilingual upbringing; by the time she was 20, she read English, French and German and had taken lessons in Dutch. During her doctoral research at the University of Illinois, she took several research trips to Europe and began working with early archives.
In Lille, France, Haggh-Huglo found documents to prove that Guillaume Du Fay, considered by many the greatest composer of the 15th century, composed a day’s worth of plainchant, or music with a single melodic line.
“No one had known about it and still, to this day, it is an exception in the history of music because we don’t know of any well-known composer of choral music who also composed chant,” Haggh-Huglo said.
She went on to write the first histories of music in the cities of late medieval Brussels and Ghent in her dissertation and articles, and later became known for her editions and studies of pre-modern plainchant offices, which were sung from one evening to the next in churches and told the lives of patron saints. During her research on offices, she rediscovered a lost 15th-century office used by the Burgundian Order of the Golden Fleece.
Haggh-Huglo has also published articles on topics ranging from Old Hispanic and Irish chant to German radio dramas of the 1950s and 1960s.
She has been at the University of Maryland since 2000, where she has taught courses on early music, notation and theory, research methods, and the survey of music history. She will teach a course on music, art and architecture from Vitruvius to the present for the first time in Spring 2022.
Her forthcoming three-volume book is “Recollecting the Virgin Mary with Music: Guillaume Du Fay's Chant across Five Centuries.” She will lecture about the book to the Belgian Academy of Sciences next spring.
“This was very unexpected and I am deeply honored,” Haggh-Huglo said about the award. “I have dedicated my life to this scholarship and this puts me in the company of a very elite group of people in the field. I hope this distinction will help me to continue and encourage others to pursue this research.”


By Rosie Grant

Professor of English and Comparative Literature Ralph Bauer’s work “The Alchemy of Conquest: Science, Religion, and the Secrets of the New World” has been awarded the Modern Language Association of America’s (MLA) Aldo and Jeanne Scaglione Prize for Comparative Literary Studies.

“The Alchemy of Conquest” examines the historical relationship between European expansionism in the Americas and the Scientific Revolution during the so-called Age of Discovery. It focuses particularly on the “language” of alchemy—the ancient speculative art of transforming base metals—in the Spanish, English and French literatures of discovery during the early modern period (ca. 1500-1700).

The book’s inquiry into the violent connections between conquest, discovery and alchemy in the early Americas was inspired by Gabriel García Márquez’s novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” said Bauer.

In the novel, an alchemist named Melchíades appears in the remote South American town of Macondo and writes an enigmatic manuscript in the ancient Indo-European language of Sanskrit. When it’s finally deciphered at the end of the novel, it turns out to be a prophecy of Macondo’s destruction. “The Alchemy of Conquest” is “conceived as a literary and cultural history of Melchíades’s apocalyptic manuscript,” according to Bauer.       

Encapsulating 16 years of Bauer’s research, the work provides a deep exploration of the role that alchemy played in the literature of the discovery of the Americas and in the rise of an early modern paradigm of discovery in both science and international law.

For example, alchemy had been rather marginal in medieval science and primarily an artisanal endeavor often practiced by friars in the mendicant orders. Bauer explains that during the age of European expansionism, it moved into the courts of monarchies eager to harness its methods and operations for military technology in their competition for global dominance during the 16th century. Alchemical language and ideas laid the foundations for a modern rhetoric of science in the aftermath of the conquest of America, during the Scientific Revolution of the 17th century.

The book traces the legacies of late medieval alchemists such as Roger Bacon, Arnald of Villanova and Ramon Llull in the early modern literature of the conquest of America in texts written by authors such as Christopher Columbus, Amerigo Vespucci, José de Acosta, Nicolás Monardes, Walter Raleigh, Thomas Harriot, Francis Bacon and Alexander von Humboldt.

The award will be presented on January  8, 2022, during the Modern Language Association’s annual convention in Washington, D.C. UMD English alum Allison Bigelow ‘03, whose honors thesis was directed by Bauer, will also be awarded the MLA’s Prize for a First Book. Bigelow is an associate professor of Spanish at the University of Virginia.

Bauer specializes in the literatures and cultures of the early Americas, comparative literature, critical science studies, as well as hemispheric American and early modern Atlantic studies. He is the general editor of the Early Americas Digital Archive and is currently serving as associate dean for academic affairs in the College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland.


By Maryland Today Staff 

While the world contended with a pandemic, social media platforms and other sources spewed billions of misleading health messages at users—more than 3.8 billion times on Facebook over the course of a year, according to one study—a dynamic that University of Maryland researchers and their colleagues say can lead to adverse public health outcomes ranging from mistrust in reliable information sources to deaths from disease.

Now, these risk communication experts in the Department of Communication and at the University of Georgia (UGA) are collaborating with researchers at the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to develop and test messaging strategies that can help overcome misinformation during public health emergencies.

Supported by a three-year, nearly $225,000 award from the FDA, communication Professor Brooke Fisher Liu and Yan Jin, professor of public relations and Georgia Athletic Association professor at UGA, will develop and test message strategies concerning vital health information that can help keep people safe.

“Past research found a clear link between COVID-19 misinformation exposure and vaccine hesitancy,” said Liu, the project’s principal investigator. “Research also connects misinformation exposure to lower compliance with government health and safety guidance. In short, misinformation is just as great of a threat to public health as the virus that causes the COVID-19 disease, but our knowledge is limited on how to combat misinformation.”

The researchers will be among the first to explore how public health misinformation can be corrected through strategic risk communication and what methods work best in thwarting misinformation. They will conduct two large-scale online experiments on how messages containing misinformation and various types of corrective responses are interpreted by U.S. adults.

“This project exemplifies the importance and promising future for more collaborative risk and crisis communication research across universities and with the government to provide theory-driven, evidenced-based insights to protect public health and safety,” said Jin, co-principal investigator.

Liu and Jin’s research collaborations date back to 2001, when they both studied in the graduate program at the Missouri School of Journalism. Now they are joined by graduate research assistants Tori McDermott from UMD, and Xuerong Lu from UGA.

In addition to the experimental results, the research team will also provide a targeted deep-dive analysis of previous research, and will recommend best practices for how public health agencies can combat health misinformation for current and future threats.

This article was adapted from a news release by the University of Georgia.


By Jessica Weiss ’05

Students of science in the United States are likely to recognize the names and discoveries of Sir Isaac Newton, Galileo and Charles Darwin. Fewer may know of the many influential curanderos, cosmologists and agriculturists from across the Americas whose work has impacted science across the globe for centuries. 

Thanks to a $400,000 grant from the National Science Foundation, a new project led by Professor of History Karin Rosemblatt aims to establish how Latin America’s popular, Indigenous and Afro-descendant communities were “never on the periphery of scientific developments.” 

“We aim to shift emphasis away from the discoveries of a few scientific geniuses and to foreground instead the many contributors to scientific work—porters, local guides, wives and family members, technicians, herbal specialists,” said Rosemblatt, who is also the director of UMD’s Nathan and Jeanette Miller Center for Historical Studies. 

The project, “Placing Latin America and the Caribbean in the History of Science, Technology, Environment, and Medicine,” will bring together senior and established researchers and graduate students in the field of HSTEM (History of Science, Technology, Environment and Medicine) in Latin America and the Caribbean. The network will secure ties among researchers in North and South America, produce publications that make their research widely available and provide training and mentoring to graduate students.  

Rosemblatt, whose research focuses on the transnational study of gender, race, ethnicity and class, has already coordinated a 13-person steering committee made up of scholars at different stages of their careers working in Latin America and the United States. The committee members specialize in different time periods, geographic regions and topics. They include: Miruna Achim (Universidad Autónoma Metropolitana-Cuajimalpa, Mexico City); Eve Buckley (University of Delaware); Marcos Cueto (Oswaldo Cruz Foundation, Rio de Janeiro); Sebastián Gil-Riaño (University of Pennsylvania); Pablo F. Gómez (University of Wisconsin-Madison); Carlos López Beltrán (National Autonomous University of Mexico); Camilo Quintero (UNIANDES, Colombia); Megan Raby (University of Texas at Austin); Julia Rodriguez (University of New Hampshire); Carlos Sanhueza Cerda (Universidad de Chile); Elisa Sevilla Perez (Universidad de San Francisco, Quito); and Adam Warren (University of Washington, Seattle). Ana Luísa Reis Castro (MIT) will serve as graduate student representative. 

Next steps involve growing the network and building out a website. 

Through the materials produced by the network, teachers of students of all ages will also gain access to bibliographies, lesson plans, essays and collections of syllabi that allow them to cover a broader range of scientific endeavors and a more diverse community of scientists, Rosemblatt said. 

“We hope to convince other historians, students and the broader public that the Western scientific tradition developed in conversation with other, often colonized, peoples,” she said.   

Image: “Two views of Cabo Tres Montes” (Chile), 1891, via memoriachilena.cl


There are myriad benefits to learning a new language—from conversing with people from other backgrounds, to easing international travel, to advancing your career. But acquiring a new language as an adult is not always easy, particularly if a person is trying to distinguish phonetic sounds not often heard in their native language.

With funding from the National Science Foundation (NSF), researchers in the Computational Linguistics and Information Processing (CLIP) Laboratory at the University of Maryland are exploring this phenomenon, using computational modeling to investigate learning mechanisms that can help listeners adapt their speech perception of a new language.

Naomi Feldman (left), an associate professor of linguistics with an appointment in the University of Maryland Institute for Advanced Computer Studies, is principal investigator of the $496K grant(link is external).

Feldman is overseeing five students in the CLIP Lab who are heavily involved in the project, including two who are pictured below. Craig Thorburn(link is external) (right), is a fourth-year doctoral student in linguistics, and Saahiti Potluri (left), is an undergraduate double majoring in applied mathematics and finances.

For their initial work, the researchers are taking a closer look at the specific difficulties native Japanese speakers face when learning English.

As an adult, it is often difficult to alter the speech categories that people have experienced since childhood, particularly as it relates to non-native or unfamiliar speech sounds. For example, native English speakers can easily distinguish between the “r” and “l” sound, which native Japanese speakers are not accustomed to.

Feldman’s research team is developing two types of computational models based on adult perceptual learning data: probabilistic cue weighting models, which are designed to capture fast, trial-by-trial changes in listeners’ reliance on different parts of the speech signal; and reinforcement learning models, which are designed to capture longer term, implicit perceptual learning of speech sounds. Thorburn and Potluri are working on the latter models.

With guidance from Feldman, the two researchers are exploring a reward-based mechanism that research suggests is particularly effective in helping adults acquire difficult sound contrasts when learning a second language.

“We're trying to uncover the precise mechanism that makes learning so effective in this paradigm,” Thorburn says. “This appears to be a situation in which people are able to change what they learned as an infant, something we refer to as having plasticity—the ability of the brain to adapt—in one’s representations. If we can pin down what is happening in this experiment, then we might be able understand what causes plasticity more generally.”

Potluri says that the powerful computational resources provided by UMIACS are critical to the project, noting that the model they are working with goes through hundreds of audio clips and “learns” over thousands of trials.

“The lab's servers can run these experiments in a matter of hours. Whereas with less computational power, it would literally take days to run a single experiment,” she says. “After running the model, we also need to analyze the massive datasets generated by the trials, and they are easier to store and manipulate—without concerning memory issues—on the lab's servers.”

Potluri says it was her interest in learning languages and a desire to get involved in linguistics research that drew her to apply to work in CLIP as an undergraduate. Despite having very little previous coursework in the subject, she and Feldman found that the NSF-funded project was a great area for her to exercise her knowledge in math while gaining new skills.

Feldman says the complementary skill sets of Thorburn and Potluri make them a good team to assist on the project.

“Craig and Saahiti have interests that are very interdisciplinary—spanning everything from language science to computer science to applied math—which makes them a perfect fit for research that uses computational models to study how people learn language,” she says. “Their collaborative work has already proven to be very impressive, and I am glad to have them on our team.”

—Story by Melissa Brachfeld


PRIDE Awards – Outstanding Book/Monograph:

Aldoory, L, & Toth, E. (2021). The Future of Feminism in Public Relations and Strategic CommunicationA Socio-Ecological Model of Influences. Rowman & Littlefield.



The PRIDE awards are given by the PR Division of the National Communication Association, which is comprised primarily of faculty in the area of communication. Winners have proven to be some of the seminal works in the field.

The awards date back to at least 1989 and are designed to recognize achievement in public relations research. The number of categories has varied over the years, but some version of the best book/monograph and best research article have existed since the start. Some years include a best PR textbook category.

The winners are determined by a committee of three NCA PR Division members. Two are elected at the business meeting the preceding year. The third member, and chair, is the immediate past chair of the division. The committee automatically reviews all articles in Public Relations Review and Journal of Public Relations Journal, but accepts nominations from other journals.



By Jessica Weiss ’05

Starting next summer, University of Maryland language scholars will have a new place to conduct their research and a new source of participants for their studies: the Planet Word museum in downtown Washington, D.C. and its visitors.

A new $440,000 grant from the National Science Foundation funds a partnership between UMD, Howard University and Gallaudet University and Planet Word to advance research and public understanding about the science of language.

For example, experiments may look at what non-signing people believe about what makes various American Sign Language signs hard or easy to learn, why it’s easier to understand the speech of people we know rather than strangers, or whether we think differently when reading a text message versus formal writing.

The experiments will be interactive and fun, said Assistant Research Professor in UMD’s Maryland Language Science Center Charlotte Vaughn, who is leading the project.

“Language is already the topic of conversation at the museum, so there’s an unparalleled opportunity for our studies and activities about language science to be a seamless and memorable part of visitors’ experience,” she said.

Planet Word, opened in late 2020 and housed in the historic Franklin School building, aims to show the depth, breadth and fun of words, language and reading. Faculty from UMD’s Maryland Language Science Center, the Department of Linguistics, the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences and the Department of English were involved in shaping the museum’s vision and programming. It has been a hope of the museum’s founder, Ann Friedman, to also have it be a space for research and discovery.

In addition to Vaughn, the lead project team includes Associate Professor in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences Yi Ting Huang and postdoc affiliate in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences Julie Cohen at UMD, as well as Assistant Professor of Psychology at Howard University Patrick Plummer and Assistant Professor of Linguistics at Gallaudet University Deanna Gagne. Other personnel include Jan Edwards and Rochelle Newman, both professors in the Department of Hearing and Speech Sciences at UMD; Colin Phillips, professor in the Department of Linguistics at UMD; and Laura Wagner, professor in the Department of Psychology at the Ohio State University.

Vaughn said the opportunity to partner with a historically Black university and the world's only liberal arts university for Deaf and hard-of-hearing people will allow for significant progress on issues central to the field.

“Engaging the diverse Planet Word audience in our activities will make our research stronger, more representative, and more widely accessible,” Vaughn said. “At the same time, our collaborative partnership, plus offering unique research experiences to students underrepresented in the field, works toward diversifying the future of the language sciences.”

The grant also funds the development of a training course in public-facing research, which will be offered for the first time at Planet Word next summer. Though offered through UMD, the course will be open to students from across the region. Those who take part will help lead the research studies, set to begin around the same time.

“Participating in public-facing research is an excellent opportunity for students,” said Huang. “Communicating science to broad audiences involves developing ways to hook people into engaging with questions when they have limited familiarity with the topic and unraveling scientific puzzles through the format of conversations.”


Professor GerShun Avilez's book Black Queer Freedom: Spaces of Injury and Paths of Desire is nominated for the P. Sterling Stuckey Book Prize. The award is given by The Association for the Study of The Worldwide African Diaspora (ASWAD), a non profit organization of international scholars seeking to further their understanding of Africa and the African Diaspora. The award committee will consider scholarly articles on any period and from any discipline published in English and is particularly interested in publications that are methodologically and conceptually innovative and demonstrate academic excellence.

About Black Queer Freedom

From the publisher: Whether engaged in same-sex desire or gender nonconformity, black queer individuals live with being perceived as a threat while simultaneously being subjected to the threat of physical, psychological, and socioeconomic injury. Attending to and challenging threats has become a defining element in queer black artists’ work throughout the black diaspora. GerShun Avilez analyzes the work of diasporic artists who, denied government protections, have used art to create spaces for justice. He first focuses on how the state seeks to inhibit the movement of black queer bodies through public spaces, whether on the street or across borders. From there, he pivots to institutional spaces--specifically prisons and hospitals--and the ways such places seek to expose queer bodies in order to control them. Throughout, he reveals how desire and art open routes to black queer freedom when policy, the law, racism, and homophobia threaten physical safety, civil rights, and social mobility.


William Robin (musicology) was awarded the Society for American Music’s Sight and Sound Subvention to help fund seasons two and three of his podcast, “Sound Expertise.” The critically-acclaimed podcast, which features interviews with important scholars in music studies about their research, has received more than 29,000 downloads to date. The first two seasons are available for free online, and the third will air in 2022.


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