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Purser, Koch named 2016 Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Teaching and Research recipients

Assistant Professor of Sociology Gretchen Purser and Assistant Professor of Geography Natalie Koch are the recipients of this year's Daniel Patrick Moynihan Award for Teaching and Research, which was established by the former Senator and Maxwell professor to recognize outstanding non-tenured faculty members. The Award is presented at the school’s annual Graduate Convocation Ceremony and is “the most valued recognition earned by a junior Maxwell faculty member” according to Dean James B. Steinberg.

At the ceremony, Steinberg spoke of both professor’s contributions to research and scholarship in their respective fields as well as their exceptional work both in the classroom and in the community. 

Pursar, GretchenOf Purser, he said: “Her scholarship is a model of engaged research in which serious social scientific inquiry is driven by a principled dedication to social justice. Purser’s areas of focus are low-wage work, urban poverty, and punishment. Her book manuscript, Labor on Demand: Dispatching the Urban Poor, won the Center for a Public Anthropology’s 2014 book award and also earned her a Visiting Scholar position at the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. In addition to her book manuscript, Purser has published widely on topics such as eviction in urban centers, immigrant worker rights, precarious labor, and the intersection of punishment and low-wage labor. In addition to her research, Purser is extremely committed to teaching and service. She received the Meredith Outstanding Teaching Award in 2013. She has taught at both the undergraduate and graduate levels, and is currently on an astounding 12 dissertation committees across the Maxwell School. Her impressive service record—within the department, university profession, and also across the community—is deeply integrated with her teaching and research. She is the founding member of the Labor Studies Working Group in Maxwell, which has recently been featured as one of the Maxwell Tenth Decade Projects on “Work, Labor and Citizenship.” Most remarkable and inspiring is her exemplary service to the Syracuse community. In addition to serving on the boards of directors for community centers across the city (Center for Community Alternatives in Syracuse; Workers’ Center of CNY), she has secured grants totaling over $20,000 for several community-based organizations in Syracuse. Her community leadership, evidenced in her training and support of low-wage workers, her placement of Syracuse student volunteers across the city, and her efforts at social justice organization, embody the spirit of citizenship and engagement that the Moynihan Award represents.

Koch,-NatalieOf Koch, Steinberg noted: “Natalie’s research is prolific and wide-ranging. A political geographer, her interests focus on nationalism, geopolitics, and state formation, especially in authoritarian contexts. She has not only published over 20 articles, 10 book chapters, and multiple policy memos, her published work covers a wide range of topics: urban sustainability in Qatar, the geopolitics of higher education in Central Asia and the Persian Gulf, urban development in Kazakhstan, and the geographies of sport.  In addition, her doctoral dissertation and postdoctoral work will culminate in her book manuscript to be completed this year, Spectacular Cities: Authoritarianism and the New Capitals of Asia. In recognition of her rising prominence in the field she was awarded the Stanley D. Brunn Young Scholar award of the Association of American Geographers’ Political Geography Specialty Group in 2014. She has also been awarded funding from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, and Fulbright.  In recognition of her teaching innovation and excellence, she received the 2016 Meredith Teaching Recognition Award for outstanding teaching at Syracuse University.  Professor Koch also covers a wide range of courses from large 100-level lecture courses to advanced doctoral seminars.  Professor Koch also makes key service contributions.  In her department, she is an active and helpful member of the Undergraduate Committee in Geography. In the profession, she chairs the Political Geography Specialty Group for the Association of American Geographers.”