GSAS Announces Recipients of 2018 Alumni Awards

January 01, 2018

The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences is pleased to announce the recipients of the 2018 GSAS Alumni Awards, which celebrate the outstanding achievements of master’s and doctoral graduates.

Daniel Kurtzer (’76PhD, Political Science) and Madeleine Grynsztejn (’85MA, Art History) will be honored with the Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement. Christine Ann Denny (’12PhD, Biological Sciences) and Elan Kriegel (’10MA, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences) will receive the Outstanding Recent Alumni Award.

“The Graduate School of Arts and Sciences holds in highest regard intellectual inquiry that exerts a profound impact not only in academia, but in the larger world as well,” said Carlos J. Alonso, Dean of GSAS. “These GSAS graduates represent the very best in our alumni body.”

The honorees will receive their awards at a ceremony to be held on June 5, 2018.

About the Awardees

Daniel Kurtzer (’76PhD, Political Science)

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement

Daniel Kurtzer

Daniel Kurtzer is the S. Daniel Abraham Professor of Middle East Policy Studies at Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs. Following a twenty-nine-year career in the US Foreign Service, Dr. Kurtzer retired in 2005 with the rank of Career-Minister. From 1997 to 2001 he served as the United States Ambassador to Egypt, and from 2001 to 2005, as the United States Ambassador to Israel. He served as a political officer at the American embassies in Cairo and Tel Aviv, Deputy Director of the Office of Egyptian Affairs, speechwriter on the Policy Planning Staff, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs, and Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Intelligence and Research. Throughout his career, Dr. Kurtzer was instrumental in formulating and executing US policy toward the Middle East peace process, and remains active in Track II diplomacy related to the Middle East. Secretary of State John Kerry appointed Dr. Kurtzer to the Secretary's Foreign Affairs Policy Board. Previously, Dr. Kurtzer served as an advisor to the bipartisan Iraq Study Group, and as a member of the Advisory Council of the American Bar Association's Middle East Rule of Law Initiative. He is the coauthor of Negotiating Arab-Israeli Peace: American Leadership in the Middle Eastcoauthor of The Peace Puzzle: America’s Quest for Arab-Israeli Peace, 1989-2011; and editor of Pathways to Peace: America and the Arab-Israeli Conflict.

Madeleine Grynsztejn (’85MA, Art History)

Dean’s Award for Distinguished Achievement

Madeleine Grynsztejn

Madeleine Grynsztejn is Pritzker Director of the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago (MCA). Under her leadership, the MCA has become a model for twenty-first-century contemporary art museums: an artist-activated, audience-engaged space for generating art, ideas, and conversation around the creative process. For the MCA’s fiftieth anniversary in 2017, Ms. Grynsztejn completed an $80-million campaign, including a redesign of the museum that interweaves art, food, design, and learning throughout its public spaces. Ms. Grynsztejn has curated many major exhibitions on renowned contemporary artists, including Doris Salcedo, Luc Tuymans, and Alfredo Jaar, for whom she was commissioner for the Chilean Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale. Prior to the MCA, Ms. Grynsztejn was Senior Curator of Painting and Sculpture at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, where she curated the critically acclaimed traveling exhibitions Take your time: Olafur Eliasson and The Art of Richard Tuttle, which received a “Best US Monographic Museum Show” award from the Association of International Art Critics. She was named a “Chicagoan of the Year” by the Chicago Tribune in 2017 and is the new President of the Association of Art Museum Directors (AAMD), a member of the International Council of Museums (ICOM). She was recently knighted to the National Order of the Legion of Honour of France by President François Hollande.

Christine Ann Denny (’12PhD, Biological Sciences)

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

Christine Ann Denny

Christine Ann Denny is an Assistant Professor of Clinical Neurobiology in Psychiatry at Columbia University and a Research Scientist V in the Division of Integrative Neuroscience at the New York State Psychiatric Institute. She received her BS from Boston College in 2005, her MS from Boston College in 2006, and her PhD in Biological Sciences in 2012 from Columbia University, where she investigated the impact of adult hippocampal neurogenesis on behavior in the laboratory of Dr. René Hen. She then completed a short post-doctoral fellowship with Dr. Hen and started her own laboratory in 2013. Dr. Denny studies the neural basis of learning and memory in disease states, such as in depression, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), aging, and Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, she created a novel genetic murine line, the ArcCreERT2 mice, which allows for the permanent labeling of individual memories. This mouse line allows for a comparison of the neural ensembles activated during memory encoding and those activated during memory retrieval. In addition, Dr. Denny’s laboratory is developing novel prophylactics against stress-induced depressive-like behavior. Dr. Denny is trying to develop preventative approaches against stress-induced psychiatric disorders and has found that a single injection of ketamine before stress prevents the induction of depressive-like behavior.

Elan Kriegel (’10MA, Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences)

Outstanding Recent Alumni Award

Elan Kriegel

Elan Kriegel is a data scientist and the cofounder of BlueLabs, an analytics and technology company based in Washington, DC. Before joining BlueLabs, Mr. Kriegel was the Battleground States Analytics Director for Obama for America. In 2015, he joined Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign as the Chief Analytics Officer. He earned his BS in Mathematics and Anthropology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his MA in Quantitative Methods in the Social Sciences from Columbia University.