Year in Review: Our Top Stories of 2021
From new beginnings to worldwide recognition, it was a memorable year for NC State's College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
2021 was a year of change and resilience — but also, new beginnings and optimism. Each step of the way, our Pack rose to the challenge.
Humanities and Social Sciences students stuck together, navigating a hybrid course load and a “new normal” on campus. Our faculty made great strides in revolutionary research. And our alumni made their voices heard, tackling issues at home and abroad.
Take a look at some of our top stories of the year.
Brown Family Donates $1M to MFA in Creative Writing Program
Tony Brown and his family are opening new doors for NC State students with a $1 million gift to support the MFA in Creative Writing program. It’s the largest gift for a humanities department at NC State and one of the largest funded endowments in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.
The Brown family’s gift will allow MFA faculty to provide rigorous professional development for their students, including intensive workshops that address grant writing, residencies, teaching and other opportunities. The program will also expand its efforts to recruit students from myriad and diverse backgrounds.
Honors, Awards and Accomplishments
From the 2020 Summer Olympics to top Forbes’ lists, our students, faculty, staff and alumni are making a name for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences. They garnered significant recognition for their accomplishments over the past year — and we couldn’t be more proud.
Psychology alumnus Andreas Vazaios competed in swimming at the 2020 Summer Olympics in the men’s 4×100-meter freestyle relay, 4×100-meter medley relay and 200-meter individual medley.
Communication undergraduate Kacper Stokowski competed in swimming at the 2020 Summer Olympics in the men’s 50-meter backstroke and 4×100-meter medley relay.
Science, technology and society alumnus Simonas Bilis competed in swimming at the 2020 Summer Olympics in the men’s 4×100-meter medley relay.
Communication alumna Gabriele Cunningham competed at the 2020 Summer Olympics in the women’s 100-meter hurdles.
Alumnus Trea Turner played in the 91st Major League Baseball All-Star Game.
Veljko Dubljevic, associate professor in the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, received an Early Career Development Program Award from the National Science Foundation for a project that explores the ethical programming of autonomous vehicles.
Julia Rudolph, professor in the Department of History, was awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for her research into the history of gender, law and economics of early modern Europe.
Jason Coupet, associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, was named a 2020-21 University Faculty Scholar.
Huiling Ding, professor in the Department of English and director of the Master of Science in Technical Communication program, was named a 2020-21 University Faculty Scholar.
Elan Hope, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, was named a 2020-21 University Faculty Scholar.
Kelly Lynn Mulvey, associate professor in the Department of Psychology, was named a 2020-21 University Faculty Scholar.
Angelina Joy, Ph.D. student in the Department of Psychology, received a Graduate Research Fellowship Program award from the National Science Foundation for work in STEM education and learning research.
Christopher Galik, associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, received the Outstanding Teacher Award and was inducted into NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers.
Dru McGill, assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology, received the Outstanding Teacher Award and was inducted into NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers.
Anne McLaughlin, professor in the Department of Psychology, received the Outstanding Teacher Award and was inducted into NC State’s Academy of Outstanding Teachers. She was also named a fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society.
Timothy Stinson, associate professor in the Department of English, was named a fellow of the National Humanities Center.
Karen Bullock, professor and head of the School of Social Work, was named a 2021 Gerontological Society of America Fellow.
Cynthia Zuckerman-Hyman, senior lecturer and director of undergraduate advising in the Department of Communication, received the Outstanding Advising Award in the primary advising category from NACADA: The Global Community for Academic Advising. She also received the Barbara Soloman Award in the 2020-21 Undergraduate Academic Advising Awards.
Political science alumna Gentry Smith was named assistant secretary of state for diplomatic security with the U.S. Department of State.
Liberal studies alumnus Erik Hooks was nominated by President Joe Biden to the position of deputy administrator at the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
Political science alumnus Andrew Bates was named White House deputy press secretary.
Kaitlin Fritz, alumna of the Department of English, and Arielle Chambers, alumna of the Department of Communication, were named to the Forbes 30 Under 30 Europe list for arts and culture.
Starr Gibens, undergraduate majoring in political science and communication, received the Gilman Scholarship.
Anthony Ramsey, undergraduate majoring in international studies and Arabic, received the Gilman Scholarship.
Alumna Ashley Christensen was awarded an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters by NC State.
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences received the Chancellor’s Creating Community Award for Outstanding College, Organization or Unit.
Savannah Collins, undergraduate majoring in anthropology and English with a concentration in creative writing, received the Alex Miller Outstanding University Scholar Award.
S. Thomas Parker, professor in the Department of History, received the Michael Dickey Outstanding Research Mentor Award from the Office of Undergraduate Research.
Emma Nussman, undergraduate majoring in genetics with minors in music performance and psychology, received the Toni Christine Masini Memorial Music Scholarship from the Department of Music.
Nina Kaur, master’s student in the School of Public and International Affairs, received a Boren Fellowship for Turkish language study.
Dani Dalton, undergraduate in the Department of Interdisciplinary Studies, received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Hindi.
Political science major Ashtyn Hill received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Urdu.
Gloria McComas, undergraduate majoring in psychology and biological sciences with a certificate in global perspectives, received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Swahili.
Sefiane Semir, alumnus of the Department of History, received the Critical Language Scholarship to study Arabic.
Rani Madhiwala, undergraduate majoring in international studies and business administration, received a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Costa Rica.
Mary Estrada, lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, was recognized as an accessibility champion by the NC State IT Accessibility Office.
The online bachelor’s degree program, Leadership in the Public Sector, was ranked 14th in the nation on the annual list of the best online college programs compiled by U.S. News & World Report.
Bruce D. McDonald III, associate professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, received the 2020 Outstanding Extension and Engagement Award from the Office of Outreach and Engagement.
Keiko Ueda, lecturer in the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures, received the 2020 Outstanding Extension and Engagement Award from the Office of Outreach and Engagement.
Robin Dodsworth, professor in the Department of English, was named to NC State’s first class of Strengthening the Impact of Research Scholars.
Eduardo C. Corral, associate professor in the Department of English, received a Lambda Literary Award from the Lambda Literary Foundation.
Moses Khisa, assistant professor in the School of Public and International Affairs, was named a fellow of the Stellenbosch Institute for Advanced Study.
Christine Cranford, senior lecturer in the Department of English, was named a DELTA Faculty Fellow.
Steve Wiley, associate professor in the Department of Communication, received the Alumni Association Distinguished Graduate Professorship Award.
Grad Students Showcase Innovative Work at First-Ever Virtual Research Symposium
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences brought together 23 presenters from seven departments at its first-ever virtual Graduate Student Research Symposium.
Sponsored by the Dean’s Office, the symposium showcased a wide variety of research at the master’s and doctoral levels through 5-minute video presentations judged by faculty. It also provided students with the opportunity to practice presenting their innovative research to the public.
Donors Raise $1.4M for Humanities and Social Sciences
College of Humanities and Social Sciences donors gave back in a big way during the university’s 2021 Day of Giving, donating a combined $1.4 million. More than 500 individual donors from 26 states and four countries contributed to our various funds.
The record total, which nearly tripled last year’s sum, will provide tangible aid for students, create hands-on learning opportunities and address persistent needs across the college.
Student Commencement Speaker Reflects on the Power of Community
Community. Supportive. Inclusive. Those are the words Talya Ozbelli uses to describe her experience at NC State. They were also at the heart of the message the communication major gave in her speech at the university’s Spring 2021 commencement at Carter-Finley Stadium.
“It is a place that cherishes community,” Ozbelli says. “Everyone is very encouraging and uplifting.”
After much time apart, the in-person event brought back at least some of the tradition lost last year due to COVID-19 and signaled another small step toward normalcy.
Leading from the Heart: Meet Dean Dannels
The College of Humanities and Social Sciences welcomed Deanna Dannels as dean in July 2021, following a nationwide search. Dannels took the leadership position from Jeff Braden, who returned to the Department of Psychology after serving as dean for more than 13 years.
Dannels, a professor of communication at NC State since 1999, served as the college’s associate dean of academic affairs for six years. She holds a B.A. in communication from Gonzaga University, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in communication from the University of Utah.
Student Researchers Create Database of Sustainability-Related Courses
An interdisciplinary student project is advancing sustainability goals on NC State’s campus. Based on a 15-month study of more than 3,000 undergraduate courses, the undergraduate researchers created a database of classes aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
The universitywide resource allows students to identify sustainability-related courses on campus — and supports NC State’s vision as a leading research university addressing world challenges. The UN’s 17 SDGs are a universal call to tackle social and environmental issues such as eliminating hunger and reducing systemic inequalities by 2030.
New Training Program Aids Effort to Reduce Overdoses
A new NC State specialist certificate program — a team effort among several Humanities and Social Sciences groups — is helping paraprofessionals around the state tackle opioid-use disorder in their communities.
The NC State Addictions Specialist Certificate Program for Paraprofessionals offers courses that cover topics such as treatment of opioid disorders, medication-assisted recovery and nutrition during recovery, all of which count toward requirements for substance-abuse counselor state certification.
Clare Jordan Named 2021 Distinguished Alumna
Clare Jordan was named the 2021 Humanities and Social Sciences Distinguished Alumna at the annual Alumni Association Evening of Stars Gala in October.
Jordan, who earned a bachelor’s degree in English, has worked or volunteered for different organizations and assisted hundreds over her career. For the past 15 years, she has worked in nonprofit consulting at Capital Development Services and was recently promoted to vice president of the Winston-Salem-based company.
Transforming Research in Arabic-Based Languages
With support from a $476,483 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities — the largest NEH grant to NC State to date — researchers at the Moise A. Khayrallah Center for Lebanese Diaspora Studies are developing the largest searchable database of Arabic documents.
“We intend to revolutionize research by making historical data easily and readily accessible to scholars and the general public,” says Akram Khater, a University Faculty Scholar and professor of history.
More than 1,000 users from the Middle East and the U.S. have already used the project’s initial database.
Student Commencement Speaker’s Message: Keep Moving Forward
A dream deferred. That’s one way to describe Shannon Fuller’s more than two-decades-long quest to obtain a bachelor’s degree. The leadership in the public sector student shared her you-can-achieve-anything attitude with thousands of fellow graduates during her Fall 2021 commencement address at PNC Arena.
“Nothing is out of reach as long as you are willing to do the work,” Fuller says.“No one is perfect. We all fail, make bad choices and get off track from time to time. The important thing is that you own it, learn from it and keep moving forward.”