Emerging Researcher, Scholar, Creator Awardees Presented

Posted: November 4, 2010 at 1:03 am, Last Updated: November 3, 2010 at 3:56 pm

By Jason Jacks

Each year, Mason selects three faculty members who show exceptional promise in their disciplines to receive Emerging Researcher, Scholar, Creator Awards. This year, the awards were announced and presented at the Nov. 3 Celebrations of Achievement event.

To qualify for this award and its $3,000 stipend, the faculty member must be within 10 years of receiving his or her terminal degree and have growing national and international recognition for his or her work.

The 2010 winners are Nicole Darnall, associate professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Policy; Jessica Rosenberg, assistant professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy; and Courtney Brkic, assistant professor of creative writing in the English Department.

Brkic, author of two books that focus on the Bosnian War, has been teaching at Mason since 2006.

A first-generation American of Croatian descent, Brkic got the idea for her 2004 book, “The Stone Fields: An Epitaph for the Living,” while working in the 1990s as a forensic archaeologist in the former Yugoslavia, where she helped identify the dead from the Bosnian War. In this nonfiction memoir, Brkic also interweaves her grandmother’s struggles in Bosnia-Herzegovina during World War II.

In Brkic’s other book, “Stillness and Other Stories,” she chronicles the Bosnian War through a collection of short stories. In 2003, it was named a Chicago Tribune Best Book and a New York Times Notable Book.

Most recently, Brkic has been working on a novel, “The Sun in Another Sky,” which is set in both New York City and Croatia, as well as a collection of short stories about immigrating to the United States. She is also writing a libretto for the opera “Sarajevo Vespers.”

She is a recipient of a Fulbright Scholarship, a New York Times fellowship, and a Whiting Writers’ Award. Her work has appeared in Zoetrope, Harpers & Queen, the New York Times, the Washington Post Magazine, National Geographic, Dissent and the Alaska Quarterly Review.

She has a BA in anthropology from the College of William and Mary and an MFA from New York University.

Nicole Darnall. Creative Services photo

Darnall has been at Mason since 2005. Her research focuses on how businesses make “green” choices and how they incorporate sustainability practices into their business strategies.

She also investigates whether these strategies improve the environment and whether companies that improve the natural environment also derive business value. Recently, she has been studying consumers’ demand for corporate green strategies and how this demand might be influenced through public policy or business initiatives.

Between 2008 and 2009, she gave 10 invited presentations on her research at settings around the world.

Darnall, who has been published often, is a Collaborative Visiting Fellow with the Economic and Social Research Council and the Social Science Research Council. She also is an Erasmus Mundus International Scholar.

In 2008, the Academy of Management’s Organizations and the Natural Environment Division honored her with its Emerging Scholar Award for research excellence. In 2007, the Decision Sciences Institute gave her a distinguished paper award.

A former assistant professor at North Carolina State University, Darnall earned a BA from New Mexico State University. She also has an MA in economics from the University of Texas, an MS in policy development and program evaluation from Vanderbilt University and a PhD in public policy analysis from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jessica Rosenberg. Creative Services photo

Rosenberg is an expert in the study of gas and stellar content. She’s been at Mason since 2007.

Regularly appearing in such journals as Astrophysical Journal and Astronomical Journal, Rosenberg’s research centers on one of the most fundamental questions in astrophysics: How do galaxies form and evolve?

Currently, she is undertaking the largest statistical study of the stars and gas in the local universe to date, work that will likely lead to a number of high-profile collaborative projects and increase Mason’s visibility in the astrophysics community.

Since 2000, Rosenberg has been the primary investigator on nine successful grant proposals, totaling $1.2 million. In addition, she has written 31 peer-reviewed articles, including nine as first author, and has given 10 invited national and international seminars since 2005 at such places as Yale University, the University of Maryland and Greenbank Observatory.

In 2008, she received much media attention when one of her undergraduate research students discovered a new galaxy.

A former National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, Rosenberg has a BA in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan College and a PhD in astronomy from the University of Massachusetts. She has held research positions at the University of Colorado and the University of Massachusetts.

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