Three Columbia alumni are among this year’s twenty-four MacArthur Fellows. They are Tyshawn Sorey ’17GSAS, a prolific composer and performer known for working across an extensive range of musical idioms; Regina Barzilay ’03SEAS, a computer scientist at MIT who studies natural-language processing and machine learning; and Damon Rich ’97CC, an adjunct professor of architecture at Columbia who is also the founder of the Center for Urban Pedagogy, which uses art and design to promote civic engagement. Kate Orff, director of the Urban Design Program at Columbia’s Graduate School of Architecture, Planning, and Preservation, was also a winner this year.

Los Comandos, a film by Juliana Schatz Preston ’11JRN, won the award for best documentary short at the Austin Film Festival this fall. The movie follows two teenagers working in an emergency medical unit in gang-ridden El Salvador.

Four Columbia Law School alumnae were awarded US Supreme Court clerkships. Beatrice Franklin ’14LAW and Alyssa Barnard ’15LAW are both clerking for Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’59LAW, ’94HON — Franklin began this past summer, and Barnard will start in 2019; Lena Husani Hughes ’12LAW for Justice Elena Kagan; and Sarah Hartman Sloan ’16LAW for retired justice John Paul Stevens.

Four Columbia alumni made the National Book Awards longlist this year. Erica Armstrong Dunbar ’00GSAS was nominated in the nonfiction category for Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge; Daniel Alarcón ’99CC was nominated in the fiction category for The King Is Always Above the People (see our review here); and Marie Howe ’83SOA and Mai Der Vang ’14SOA were honored for their respective poetry collections, Magdalene and Afterland.

Columbia President Emeritus Michael Sovern ’53CC, ’55LAW received a Gold Honor Medal for Distinguished Service to Humanity from the National Institute of Social Sciences. He was one of three scholars to receive the award this year. Sovern joined the Columbia faculty in 1957 and is now the Chancellor Kent Professor of Law.

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— Carolina Castro

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