Perdikaris receives achievement award from CUNY Graduate Center

Photo Credit: Sophia Perdikaris
Sophia Perdikaris
Mon, 05/22/2023 - 11:10

Sophia Perdikaris, director of the School of Global Integrative Studies, earned an Alumni Achievement Award from the City University of New York's Graduate Center. The award recognizes alumni of exceptional distinction who have made exemplary contributions to their field demonstrating outstanding dedication and achievement.

Perdikaris' "illustrious" career and many contributions to our understanding of human-environment interactions were noted by Robin Garrell, the center's president. Her nomination was supported by the school's Alumni and Friends Advisory Board, Dean Mark Button, and Chancellor Ronnie Green.

Perdikaris is Happold Professor of Anthropology and an environmental archaeologist with a specialty in animal bones from archaeological sites-zooarchaeology.


Her acceptance speech:

"Dear family, friends, colleagues, fellow allumni,

"I am overwhelmed with gratitude to have been selected to receive the Graduate Center Alumni Achievement Award. Thank you all so much for being here to share in this occasion. I am so honored to have my work recognized in this way by my alma mater!

"Thank you, GC!

"Many years went into discovering my scientific voice and working in Barbuda in creating science of relevance for an empowered community. My latest edited volume Barbuda: Changing Times, Changing Tides is part of the extensive scholarship and transdisciplinary collaboration that is aimed at working with marginalized communities that find themselves doubly affected by climate change and unsavory capitalist ventures that follow disasters. It means so much to me that the work I am so passionate about also resonates with others and the core of what made this possible are my experiences and interactions with the Graduate Center community of academics, staff and students.

"This accomplishment is not something that I did alone, and there are many others who deserve to share in this award. I would like to thank my recommenders Bruce Rippetau, Tom Riley, Mark Button, Ray Hames, Jim Kohler, Pete Zandbergen and Susan Traub. In talking with them they underscored the importance of being a nominator and I thank them dearly for this honor. Thank you to my unit coordinator at UNL Kat Krutak Bickert who keeps the ball rolling and my colleagues LuAnn Wandsnider, Bill Belcher, Heather Richards-Rissetto and Emira Ibrahipasic for understanding the vision. I also would like to thank Jim Cronin for shepherding this process and all the hard work along with Tara in organizing this wonderful event and bringing all of us here together.

"Dr. Fine for taking the time to prepare this introduction and as someone who has been very inspiring to me, and I hold great admiration for.

"Dr. Jane Schneider the EO in Anthropology at the time that I started my PhD, Dr. Louise Lennihan the EO when I was invited for a one semester in Anthropology as Visiting Assistant Professor, Dr. Adje Henderson for supporting the vision and being such a powerful role model for my work as Founding director of the GC based Human Ecodynamics Research Center and the work in Barbuda more specifically,  Dr. Edith Gonzalez for being my research partner in crime since Ed Koch was mayor of New York City, Dr. Matthew Gold, for his leadership in MALS and for supporting the Sustainability Science and Education MA that I had the pleasure of leading. Assistant Program Officers Ellen DeRiso in Anthropology and Kathy Koutsis in MALS as none of this would have moved forward without them. The team at the Registrar’s office led by, Associate Registrar Diane Forst, along with John and Carmen, for being my mentors in the inner workings of the GC and for helping me see all the components of what Academia entails during my time as a work study there. Tania Domi for disseminating the work that I do and making sure it did not end up as a well-kept secret!

"I also wanted to thank all my collaborators and friends, students and colleagues over the years from GC, UNL, NY, Norway, Iceland and Barbuda who worked on projects with me. The support is not always academic. It has been financial, emotional, sharing expertise and just simply being there to pave the road that sometimes feels that it is always under construction! 

"I would also like to thank my family Oystein, Reidun and Elin. Along with the amazing people that became my family in Norway when I worked on my PhD (Ingrid, Tone, Jarle, Anne, Martin and Sindre) and my Barbudan family in this current work over the last 20 years (Reg Murphy, Louise, Dwight, Calvin and Sheville).

"Last, but not least, thank you to the Graduate Center and Dr. Robin Garrell and her team for offering recognition to alumni like me. I hope that this recognition of my work can serve as an inspiration to others in the field.

"As a first gen, a mother, a working student, and an academic, thank you to all at GC that helped me discover my academic voice and thank you to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, my current academic home for allowing my GC training, research, ideas, leadership and entrepreneurship to take flight.

"I am humbled and appreciative in receiving this award in recognition that research is a team sport, and I am accepting it on the behalf of all the people and places that I have mentioned.

"Thank you and good night."