Announcing the Recipients of the 2017 President's Awards for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers

Dear Members of the Georgetown University Community:
It is with great pleasure that I write to share with you this year’s recipients of the President’s Awards for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers at Georgetown University.  These awards celebrate individuals who have made an exceptional impact on our community through the integration of ambitious research and extraordinary student engagement.   

James K. Freericks, Ph.D.
Robert L. McDevitt, K.S.G., K.C.H.S. and Catherine H. McDevitt L.C.H.S. Chair in Physics
Department of Physics

G. William Rebeck, Ph.D.
Professor of Neuroscience
Department of Neuroscience

Alexander Sens, Ph.D.
Markos and Eleni Tsakopoulos-Kounalakis Professor of Hellenic Studies
Department of Classics

Dr. Freericks joined our community in 1994 and was named the inaugural holder of our McDevitt Chair in Physics at Georgetown in 2010.  During his time on our Hilltop, he has engaged in cutting-edge research in mathematical, condensed matter, and cold atomic physics.  He currently operates a research group that is funded by the National Science Foundation, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Army Research Office, the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, and the Department of Energy.  Dr. Freericks has also served as a Fellow of the American Physical Society from the Division of Condensed Matter Physics since 2006.  We are pleased to honor his exceptional research and years of dedication to his field—and our Georgetown community—with this award.

Dr. Rebeck leads our Laboratory of Aging and Neurodegeneration and oversees a group of graduate and undergraduate researchers who study the molecular mechanisms of Alzheimer’s disease through the use of animal models, biochemistry, immunohistochemistry, and cell biology.  Much of the Lab’s research focuses on the APOE gene—one of the strongest genetic risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease—and many of Dr. Rebeck’s research assistants have gone on to pursue advanced degrees and post-doctoral fellowships in medical and disease research.  He has been a dedicated member of our University community since 2003—serving as Interim Dean of our Graduate School of Arts and Sciences from July 2013 through December 2014—and it is a pleasure to honor his extraordinary work with this award.

Dr. Sens is an exceptional teacher and researcher who specializes in late Classical and early Hellenistic Greek literature.  Through his classes, he has helped our students understand how poets from these periods engage with broader literary traditions as a way of creating meaning in their work.  He is the author or co-author of six books, including: The Alexandra of Lycophron: A Literary Study (2016); Asclepiades of Samos: Epigrams and Fragments (2010); and Archestratos of Gela: Greek Cuisine and Culture in the Fourth Century BCE (2000).  Dr. Sens is a dedicated member of our community who has contributed to many University and faculty committees, including serving as Chair of our University Committee on Rank and Tenure from 2005 to 2006, and again from 2008 to 2009.  We are grateful to honor his exemplary scholarship and teaching with this award.

Our pool of nominees this year was an extraordinary representation of the dynamic group of teachers, scholars, and researchers who make up our University faculty.  This year’s awardees emerged following a rigorous selection process in which a committee of fellow distinguished faculty members—led by James Collins, Ph.D., Professor in our Department of History—identified a small group of finalists.  I wish to thank all of you who submitted nominations earlier this spring.

I hope that you will all join me in congratulating our awardees and celebrating the many ways they have enriched our community through their dedication to our dual research and teaching mission.  We will have the opportunity to formally recognize them with the President’s Award for Distinguished Scholar-Teachers at our upcoming Fall Faculty Convocation on Tuesday, October 24, 2017—I very much hope you will be able to attend.
You have my very best wishes.

John J. DeGioia