Wesleyan Welcomes New Faculty
This fall, Wesleyan welcomes 60 new faculty members to campus. The group contains 24 new visiting faculty members, 20 assistant professors, four Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral fellows, three Distinguished Writers in Residence, six teaching fellows, one university and one associate professor, and a Van Vleck post-doctoral fellow.
The new faculty bring a diverse skill set to campus. Among them are experts in art, multi-lingual ASL, astronomy, biology, chemistry, dance, digital storytelling, economics, education, environmental studies, fiction, French, German, government, Italian, mathematics, media literacy, music, philosophy, physics, poetry, psychology, public history, public policy, religion, Spanish, and theater.
Bios of the new faculty are below:
Elan Abrell, assistant professor of the practice in Environmental Studies holds a Ph.D. in cultural anthropology from the City University of New York Graduate Center and a JD from Berkeley Law. His research and writing focus on human-animal interactions, animal law, scientific knowledge production, and agricultural technological innovation in the contemporary United States. His ethnography of animal sanctuaries, “Saving Animals: Practices of Care and Rescue in the US Animal Sanctuary Movement” (2021 University of Minnesota Press), examines how sanctuary caregivers respond to a range of ethical dilemmas and material constraints while attempting to meet the various and sometimes conflicting needs of rescued animals. He was previously a Visiting Assistant Professor in Animal Studies at Wesleyan University, a Visiting Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies at New York University, and a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Urban Studies Department at Queens College, CUNY. He was also a 2017-18 Farmed Animal Law & Policy Fellow at the Animal Law & Policy Program at Harvard University.
Phil Arevalo, assistant professor of the practice in Biology and College of Integrative Sciences received his Ph.D. in Microbiology from MIT after receiving his Sc.B. in Applied Math-Biology from Brown University. His graduate work with Prof. Martin Polz investigated the role of horizontal gene transfer in maintaining cohesive microbial populations. As a postdoctoral fellow with Prof. Sarah Cobey at the University of Chicago, he studied how a person’s infection history impacts their susceptibility to influenza infection and the efficacy of the influenza vaccine. In collaboration with teams from the University of Chicago, Argonne National Lab, Northwestern University, and the University of Illinois, he developed epidemic models to assist the Governor’s Office of Illinois in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Arevalo will teach courses that focus on using mathematical models to solve biological problems. The Biology Department and the College of Integrative Sciences are pleased to welcome Dr. Arevalo and his timely expertise.
Jerriod Avant, teaching fellow – Poetry was born and raised in Longtown, Mississippi. A graduate of Jackson State University, he has earned MFA degrees from Spalding University and New York University. Jerriod has received two winter poetry fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and an emerging artist grant from the St. Botolph Club Foundation. His first book, “Muscadine,” will be published with Four Way Books in September 2023. At Wesleyan, Jerriod will be teaching Intermediate Poetry Workshop (fall 2022) and Techniques of Poetry (spring 2023).
Patricia Beaman is university professor in the Dance Department at Wesleyan University. As a longtime member of the New York Baroque Dance Company, she toured the United States, Latin America, and Europe, performing in numerous opera-ballets with the company, and has been a guest artist with numerous early music ensembles. Ms. Beaman has choreographed for French and English historical plays, as well as for Italian commedia dell’arte. Embarking on a Neo-Baroque staging of the passacailles of Venus, Armide, and Scylla by reconstructing theatrical dances from 18th century notation, she performed her triptych, “Goddess, Siren, Monster” at Wesleyan, in NYC, Toronto, and Avignon, France. Other Neo-Baroque works include “The Narcoleptic Countess,” “Medea,” and “The Seven Deadly Sins.” Ms. Beaman has also performed, choreographed, and taught contemporary dance and ballet in the United States and Europe. She received a Mellon grant to reconstruct Yvonne Rainer’s Trio A and Chair/Pillow, which inspired her research in juxtaposing formulaic similarities between 18th century French theatrical dances and analytic Postmodern dance of the 1960s. Her dance articles have appeared in Dance Research Journal, The NY State Encyclopedia of the Arts, The Book of Knowledge, and Dance Chronicle. She is the author of “World Dance Cultures: from Ritual to Spectacle” (Routledge Press, 2017). www.patriciabeaman.net
Mahogany L. Browne, selected as Kennedy Center’s Next 50 and Wesleyan’s 2022-23 Distinguished Writer-in-Residence, the Executive Director of JustMedia, Artistic Director of Urban Word, a writer, playwright, organizer, & educator. Browne has received fellowships from Arts for Justice, Air Serenbe, Cave Canem, Poets House, Mellon Research & Rauschenberg. She is the author of recent works: “Vinyl Moon,” “Chlorine Sky,” “Woke: A Young Poets Call to Justice,” “Woke Baby,” & “Black Girl Magic.” Founder of the diverse lit initiative Woke Baby Book Fair, Browne’s latest poetry collection “Chrome Valley” is a promissory note to survival and available from Norton Spring 2023. As she readies for her stage debut of “Chlorine Sky” at Steppenwolf Theater in Chicago, Illinois, she drinks coffee while living in Brooklyn, NY. She is the first ever poet-in-residence at Lincoln Center.
Raquel Bryant (she/her) assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences is a paleoceanographer, singer, and iconoclast. She holds a Ph.D. in Geosciences from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst where she was a Randolph and Cecile Bromery Graduate Fellow and an NSF Graduate Research Fellow. Raquel is a leader in integrating micropaleontological and geochemical archives to understand how the ocean and its ecosystems respond to intervals of global warmth in the geologic past. Her research leverages the interscalar potential of fossil foraminifera to detect earth system change at the individual and community level. Raquel is also interested in transforming the discipline of geoscience by pursuing convergent and urgent research topics at the nexus of geoscience education, earth justice, and critical ecologies. She is passionate about developing new methods to cultivate leadership skills among Geoscientists and to foster radical earth-learning environments through artistic and creative expression. Raquel grew up in West Hartford, CT and completed her B.A. in Geology and Biology at Brown University. She joins Wesleyan after a postdoctoral fellowship at Texas A&M University as a Geosciences Future Faculty Fellow.
Robert Cassidy, assistant professor of the practice in Center for the Study of Public Life is a retired U.S. Army colonel who has studied and practiced strategy and war for about four decades. He earned his doctorate at the Fletcher School (Tufts University) and has published three books, along with a number of articles. Bob previously taught strategy at the U.S. Naval War College and international relations at West Point. He has served in combat or contingency operations in Afghanistan, Grenada, Haiti, Iraq, and the Persian Gulf.
James Cavallaro, is a professor of the practice in public policy and co-director of the Human Rights Advocacy Minor at Wesleyan. He is also the Executive Director of the University Network for Human Rights. Cavallaro teaches human rights at Columbia, UCLA, and Yale Law Schools. He served as a professor of law at Stanford Law School (2011-2019) and a clinical professor of law at Harvard Law School (2002-2011). At both Harvard and Stanford, he established and directed human rights clinics and centers. Cavallaro has overseen dozens of projects with scores of students in over twenty countries. In June 2013, he was elected to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and served as President of that body from 2016 to 2017. He is fluent in English, Spanish and Portuguese and is the author or editor of scores of reports, books, articles, and chapters on human rights issues in those languages.
Yu-Chan Chang, teaching fellow, received his Ph.D. in Mathematics from Louisiana State University in 2019. He also holds M.S. degrees from Louisiana State University and National Central University (Taiwan). He received his B.S. in Mathematics from National Central University. Since leaving LSU, he has held visiting assistant professor positions at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and Oxford College of Emory University. Yu-Chan’s research is in the area of geometric group theory, a field which seeks to study algebraic and geometric properties of groups through their actions on related spaces. He is especially interested in subgroups of right-angled Artin groups, and their invariants.
Shawn Chi, visiting assistant professor of economics, received a master’s degree from the Peking University and a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado- Boulder. As an applied economist, his research interests span financial economics and economic demography. He is particularly interested in quantitative policy evaluation and its interface with interregional disparity. He has received research funding from the Institute for Humane Studies and the Chiang Ching-kuo Foundation. During this academic year, he will be teaching courses in public economics, investment finance, and probabilities & statistics.
Carla Coste Sanchez, assistant professor of the practice in chemistry, earned her B.S. degree in Chemistry from the University of Puerto Rico at Rio Piedras and her Ph.D. in Pharmacoengineering and Molecular Pharmaceutics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research has focused on metallo- pharmaceuticals, and she has characterized the solid-state structures of metal-binding small molecules as well as investigated strategies for binding and removing excess metal ions from living systems. Her published research also includes contributions to the science education literature. This year Prof. Coste Sanchez will be teaching the Intermediate Chemistry Laboratory and the Organic Chemistry Laboratory.
Udaya Dahal, visiting assistant professor of physics, earned his B.S. and M.S. degree in Physics from Tribhuvan University in Nepal. He joined University of Connecticut as a Ph.D. student and completed his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics with focus on computational polymer physics. His research was focused in understanding the interaction between water and biopolymer in solutions, under confinement and in nanostructures. After completing his Ph.D., he joined Boston University’s chemistry department as a postdoctoral researcher where he utilized his computational chemistry skills to investigate nano-bio interactions. During postdoctoral research, Udaya worked under NSF-Center for Sustainable Nanotechnology (https://susnano.wisc.edu/) where he collaborated with various theoretical and experimental groups at various universities. Udaya worked as a visiting assistant professor in Springfield College before joining the department of physics at Wesleyan University. This year, Dr. Udaya Dahal will be teaching introductory physics and electrodynamics.
Carolina Díaz, assistant professor of Spanish, is new to the Spanish Department. She received her B.A. from Universidad Católica de Chile in Hispanic Literature and Linguistics and her dual Ph.D. in Spanish and Women’s Studies from Rutgers University. Her research and teaching interests are Latin American art and literature, Chilean culture and politics, feminist philosophy, and ecology. Her current book project recasts the figure of the elements, -water, air, fire, and earth-, as conceptual and material tools with which to read the intersection between bio and ecopolitics in post-1973 Chilean art and literature. She examines how literary and aesthetic cultures decolonize the elements from their historical and political confiscation. This semester she will be teaching Introduction to Hispanic Literature and The Abya Yala Connection: Latin American Ecological Literature and Art.
Emma Copley Eisenberg, visiting assistant professor of English, is a queer writer of fiction and nonfiction. Her work has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, Granta, The Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House, Esquire, Guernica, The Washington Post Magazine, and others. She has received fellowships, grants and residencies from Bread Loaf, the Tin House Summer Workshop, the Millay Colony, Jentel Foundation, the Robert Rauschenberg Foundation, and the Elizabeth George Foundation. Her first book of nonfiction is The Third Rainbow Girl: The Long Life of a Double Murder in Appalachia which was named a New York Times Notable Book and Editor’s Choice of 2020 as well as nominated for an Edgar Award, a Lambda Literary Award, and an Anthony Bouchercon Award among other honors. She has taught creative writing at Bryn Mawr College, the University of Virginia, Temple University, Catapult, and others. Raised in New York City, she lives in Philadelphia, where she co-founded Blue Stoop, a community hub for the literary arts. Her next two books, a novel and a collection of short stories, are forthcoming from Hogarth (Penguin Random House). At Wesleyan, Emma is teaching Techniques of Fiction and Intermediate Fiction Workshop (fall 2022) and Techniques of Nonfiction (spring 2023).
Merve Gül Emre, Distinguished Writer in Residence, is associate professor of English at the University of Oxford. She earned a B.A. from Harvard and a Ph.D. from Yale. She is the author of “Paraliterary: The Making of Bad Readers in Postwar America” (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2017), “The Ferrante Letters” (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019), and “The Personality Brokers” (Doubleday: New York, 2018), which was selected as one of the best books of 2018 by the New York Times, the Economist, NPR, CBC, and the Spectator, and informs the CNN/HBO Max documentary feature film Persona. She is the editor of “Once and Future Feminist” (Cambridge: MIT, 2018), “The Annotated Mrs. Dalloway” (New York: Liveright, 2021), and “The Norton Modern Library Mrs. Dalloway” (New York: Norton, 2021). She is finishing a book titled “Post-Discipline: Literature, Professionalism, and the Crisis of the Humanities” (under contract with the University of Chicago Press) and writing a book called “Love and Other Useless Pursuits” (under contract with Doubleday US / Harper Collins UK). She is a contributing writer at The New Yorker. Her essays and criticism have appeared in publications ranging from The New York Review of Books, Harper’s, The New York Times Magazine, The Atlantic, and the London Review of Books to American Literature, American Literary History, and Modernism/modernity. In 2019, she was awarded a Philip Leverhulme Prize. In 2021, she was awarded the Robert B. Silvers Prize for Literary Criticism and the Nona Balakian Citation for Excellence in Reviewing by the National Book Critics Circle. Her work has been supported by the Whiting Foundation, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the Leverhulme Trust, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Quebec, and the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, where she was a fellow from 2021-22. In 2022, she is serving as one of the judges of the International Booker Prize.
Emily Eyestone, visiting assistant professor of French joins the Department of Romances Languages and Literatures. She is completing her Ph.D. in the Department of French & Italian at Princeton University, where she also received her M.A. Emily received her B.A. in French Literature and Religious Studies from the College of William & Mary. Her research examines the impact of geo-climatic disaster on the literature, cultural identity, and postcolonial political trajectories of islands in the French Caribbean. Her dissertation, “Developing Disasters: Geopoetics of Catastrophe in the French Caribbean,” explores how Afro-Caribbean writers like Aimé Césaire, Edouard Glissant, and Suzanne Césaire aesthetically link the human catastrophe of colonization and transatlantic slavery with contemporary forms of ecological disaster, thereby troubling the perception of disasters as purely “natural”. Emily’s course offerings this year include French 101 and 102, as well seminars on Cannibalism in the Colonial Encounter and an Introduction to French and Francophone Cinema.
Ni Feng, visiting assistant professor of Biology, received her B.S. from UCLA, where she became fascinated with hormones and animal behavior after studying steroid hormone regulation of the dancing courtship display of a neotropical bird. She went on to receive a Ph.D. in Neurobiology and Behavior from Cornell University, where she worked with Dr. Andy Bass to study circadian and melatonin regulation of courtship singing behavior in the plainfin midshipman fish. Dr. Feng is completing her post- doctoral training at Yale School of Medicine in Dr. Elena Gracheva’s laboratory, where she is examining changes in the fluid homeostasis pathway during hibernation in thirteen-lined ground squirrels. In recognition of her post-doctoral work, Dr. Feng received the Warren Alpert Distinguished Scholars Award, which supported her current work to adapt modern neuroscience tools in a non-traditional model, the hibernating squirrels. The Biology Department is eager for Dr. Feng to join Wesleyan’s faculty in January and continue her research on the neurobiology of hibernation.
David Finitsis, visiting assistant professor of psychology focuses his area of expertise in clinical and health psychology, and his research interest is engagement in care, treatment adherence, quality of life, stress, anxiety, and existential issues affecting discrete medical populations (cancer, HIV). He received his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut in 2016 and he has been a staff psychologist and research scientist at Hartford Hospital. He is currently an Assistant Professor on the clinical faculty in the Psychiatry Department at the Yale School of Medicine. He was the recipient of a T32 NIH predoctoral fellowship and has numerous publications in leading journals at the intersection of health and psychology. This fall Dr. Finitsis will be teaching Psychopathology and two sections of Intro Psychology. In the spring he will be teaching two sections of Research Methods in Clinical Psychology and Health Psychology: The Psychology of Illness and Wellness (a new seminar). We are enthused to welcome him to our department and the broader Wesleyan community.
Zachary Ramon Fitzpatrick, teaching fellow, earned his Ph.D. in German Studies from the University of Illinois at Chicago this summer. As Teaching Fellow, Zach will be able to draw on his experience in curricular development and language coordination, as well as on his pedagogical and scholarly expertise in German multiculturalism, race, and migration, and in cinema and media studies. Zach is already a well-known presence in the field of Asian German Studies. His dissertation is a critical archival project that unearths the blurry, distorted presence of Asian subjects in German cinema since 1910. Based on a corpus of over 300 films, Zach’s dissertation constructs a counter-history of German cinema that looks beyond the traditional notions of national cinema and the canon. What emerges in his encyclopedic and sophisticated work is a more heterogeneous, nuanced picture of who and what comprises German cinema and culture. Zach is the author of numerous publications, including three peer-reviewed articles. His most recent essay is titled “Feeling at Home in Munich and Mongolia: Dis/Orientation and Queer Diaspora in Schau mich nicht so an (2015),” and is forthcoming in the journal Feminist German Studies.
Elaine Gan, assistant professor of science in society, is a transdisciplinary scholar-artist who comes to Wesleyan from a post-doctoral appointment at NYU’s Center for Experimental Humanities and Social Engagement and prior teaching at USC and UCSC. She received her Ph.D. in Film and Digital Media and Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Cruz, working with science studies scholar Karen Barad and environmental anthropologist Anna Lowenhaupt Tsing. Her research in feminist science and technology studies, environmental/digital arts and humanities, multispecies anthropology, and experimental media has initiated two book projects. A conjoined book and digital project is based in her ethnographic study of the multispecies temporalities of rice cultivation as forms of historical and evolutionary change. Rice is multiply manifest on overlapping temporal scales as flowering grasses, companion species, technoscientifically engineered seeds, genomic datasets, and patented inventions. She is also developing a second project on the extinction and transgenic revival of American chestnut trees in the eastern US. Professor Gan is co-editor and contributor to the interdisciplinary anthology, “Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet: Ghosts and Monsters of the Anthropocene,” and she directs the Multispecies Worldbuilding Lab which produces a podcast on climate change. This semester she is teaching a course on “Feminist Technoscience” and a seminar, “Unsettling Times: Clocks for Ghosts, Monsters, and Aliens.”
Caroline Gates, visiting assistant professor of French returns to the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures as Visiting Assistant Professor, bringing close to twenty years of teaching experience to the French section. Caroline received an M.A. and Ph.D. in French from the University of Virginia and a B.A. in French from the University of Arizona. Her research focuses on travel writing in sixteenth- century French literature, exploratory narrative forms, and representations of community. Caroline’s courses this year include language classes, a course on French theater and its adaptations into film, and a course on Renaissance women writers.
Daniel Mark Griffith, visiting assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, received his B.A. from Vassar College, his Ph.D. from Wake Forest University, and has held academic positions at Oregon State University as well as the U.S. Geological Survey and NASA. Daniel Griffith is a biogeographer and plant ecologist, with a background in evolutionary biology, community ecology, and plant-herbivore interactions in savannas. His research has a primary focus on the role of biogeographic and evolutionary history on ecosystem function. For example, his work has explored evolutionary trade-offs in Serengeti grasses and has shown that grass distributions at a continental extent can be modified by local ecosystem ecology. Key extensions of these basic research endeavors include conservation of at-risk ecosystems, the improvement of Earth System Models to better forecast climate change, and mentoring/teaching. Dan once hiked the entire CT Appalachian Trail section in one day.
Ilana Harris-Babou, assistant professor of art, received her B.A. in Art from Yale University in 2013 and her M.F.A. in New Genres from Columbia University in 2016. Ilana’s practice is interdisciplinary– spanning sculpture and installation and grounded in video. She asks her audiences to consider how the artist’s studio might be analogous to other spaces of creation and invites them to consider why some creative labor is revered and some overlooked. Ilana’s work has been featured in the 2019 Whitney Biennial, the National Academy, the de Young Museum, the Studio Museum, the Istanbul Design Biennial, the Queens Museum, and numerous other galleries and museums throughout the world. Her work is included in many prestigious public collections and has been written about in Art in America, the New York Times, the New Yorker, Sculpture Magazine and Artforum. Ilana was our Sullivan Fellow last year and has taught at Williams College, Bennington College, Virginia Commonwealth University, and the School of Visual Arts. You’ll have a chance to experience her work firsthand in her solo exhibition: Revelations at Art Space in New Haven, on September 17th.
Daniel Hernández, visiting assistant professor of Spanish, joins the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures as Visiting Assistant Professor of Spanish. He received a Ph.D. in Iberian and Latin American Cultures from Stanford University. Born in Bogotá, Colombia, he received a B.A. in Literary Studies from Universidad Javeriana. Daniel’s research examines how ethnographic practice and the use of cutting-edge recording technologies helped transform early twentieth-century Latin American literature by leading it to incorporate non-western worldviews and images. His courses this year include an advanced Spanish language class, an introduction to Hispanic literature, and a seminar on sound in modern and contemporary works from the Hispanic Caribbean basin.
Yuri Herrera, Distinguished Writer in Residence was born in Actopan, Mexico, in 1970, studied Politics in Mexico, Creative Writing in El Paso and took his Ph.D. in literature at Berkeley. His first novel to appear in English, “Signs Preceding the End of the World,” was published to great critical acclaim in 2015 and included in many Best-of-Year lists, including The Guardian’s Best Fiction and NBC News’s Ten Great Latino Books, going on to win the 2016 Best Translated Book Award. He is currently teaching at the Tulane University, in New Orleans.
Liam Hynes-Tawa, visiting assistant professor of Music is a music theorist specializing in modern Japanese and Renaissance European forms of tonality. This research usually involves trying to figure out how irreconcilable ways of thinking about pitch have dealt with each other, as well as the entertainingly vexing question of what modes and keys are. Liam has earned a B.A. in Music and East Asian Studies from Brown University, a Ph.D. in Music Theory from Yale University, and recent publications in the journals Intégral and Analytical Approaches to World Music. Liam also continues to play cello, sing (especially from earlier notations), and write music when possible.
Ledina Imami, visiting assistant professor of Psychology is welcomed by the department of with delight. Dr. Imami’s area of expertise is social and health psychology, and her research interest is in socioeconomic disadvantage and physical health and well-being; power, status, and inequality and their consequences for goal pursuit; power and status dynamics in the context of romantic relationships; and goal pursuit from a motivational perspective. She received her Ph.D. from Wayne State University in 2019 and completed a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at Purdue University. Dr. Imami has published extensively in a variety of respected academic outlets including Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and Psychoneuroendocrinology. This fall Dr. Imami will be teaching two sections of Research Methods in Social Psychology and a first-year seminar. In the spring she will be teaching Social Psychology and Psychology of Power, Status, & Inequality (a new seminar).
Jonathan Jackson, teaching fellow, received his Ph.D. in Astronomy and Astrophysics from The Pennsylvania State University in 2022 after receiving his B.A. from Harvard University. Jonathan is a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow in the interdisciplinary Planetary Science Group, which includes faculty from the Astronomy and E&ES departments. Jonathan’s research involves evaluating the population of planetary systems, discovered in abundance by recent NASA missions, Kepler and TESS. In particular, his work explores how planets can migrate from their birth locations to very different orbits, often driven by tidal forces from warm-Jupiter planets. We are excited that he brings to Wesleyan computational modeling expertise in exoplanet formation and dynamical evolution. Jonathan is also the co-founder of TaMIA, Towards a More Inclusive Astronomy, a far-reaching organization that started as a grass-roots effort at Penn State. TaMIA serves as a central hub for equity and inclusion groups in different departments, by providing resources and a space to share best practices and new ideas. We are thrilled to welcome Jonathan to Wesleyan and are thankful for his broad experience creating new pedagogical and research opportunities in Planetary Science.
Catharine Judson, visiting assistant professor of Classical Studies earned her B.A. from Bryn Mawr and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her scholarship focuses on the archaeology and social structure of early Iron Age Crete, along with the broader phenomena of migration and community formation. She has extensive experience as a field archaeologist in Crete and elsewhere in Greece. She comes to Wesleyan after a year in Belgium as a Marie Curie research fellow at the Université libre de Bruxelles. She will be teaching Greek language at different levels as well as Greek art and archaeology.
Yu Nong Khew, assistant professor of art, received her B.A. in Architecture from the National University of Singapore in 2005 and her Master of Architecture from Southern California Institute of Architecture in 2007. Her research focuses on zero waste and biodegradable design in the built environment and investigates how collaborating with living organisms in the design process can lead to more sustainable built environments. She was named one of ten emerging design voices by Architectural Review, received the Verg award from the American Institute of Architects, was named one of the “Women of Our Time” by Singapore Press Holdings, and currently serves as a World Cities Summit Young Leader in addition to cofounding Cyklr Inc., a cleantech startup focused on building systems supporting urban composting for farmers. She has taught at Parsons, The New School for Design, Columbia University, and Singapore University of Technology and Design. Yu Nong has worked with Zaha Hadid Architecture and was Project Director at Asymptote Architecture where she directed numerous projects ranging from a line of smart lighting products to a master plan for a new city incorporating interior robotic and smart technologies.
Giovanni Miglianti, visiting assistant professor of Italian, joins the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures for 2022-2023. Giovanni earned a B.A. in Humanities from the University of Udine, a MPhil in Comparative Literature from the University of Cambridge, and a Ph.D. in Italian Studies from Yale University. His doctoral dissertation analyzed the notion of pudore (a sense of modesty, decency, and privacy) in Primo Levi’s work. Expanding on this research, his current book project – “Affect and the Holocaust: Rethinking Representation in Italian Culture (1944-2022)” – rethinks Holocaust memory through the lenses of emotion and sexuality, providing the first affective history of cultural representations of the Holocaust in Italy. Giovanni’s courses this year include elementary language classes and an advanced seminar on Crises and Emergencies in Modern Italy.
Kathleen Miller, visiting assistant professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences returns to Wesleyan where she earned a Ph.D. in Biology and has taught as part-time faculty. She has an interdisciplinary academic and professional background, with a B.A. in Anthropology and Sociology (Tufts), and a Master’s in Environmental Studies (Yale). Kate has held full-time positions at University of New Haven (UNH) and Middlesex Community College (MxCC), and part-time faculty positions at Trinity and elsewhere. At UNH Kate coordinated non-majors biology lectures and labs, building content that helped more than 500 students per year make connections between biological concepts and processes, and issues of social relevance such as climate change, vaccines, addiction, gender, race and ethnicity. While teaching at MxCC she coordinated federal grants, training workers for brownfield remediation, and collaborating with a statewide consortium to develop academic programs with career pathways and state system articulation. Outside of academia Kate has had a successful career in community organizing and environmental advocacy, education, policy and program implementation for non-profit and governmental agencies. Her doctoral work in the Chernoff Lab focused on trophic interactions in stream ecosystems, where she also helped monitor aquatic community response to dam removal. She continues to work with students on applied ecology and sustainability projects. She was past Chair, and is a current active member, of the City of Middletown’s Commission on Conservation and Agriculture. Kate will be teaching Introduction to Environmental Studies, and an FYS course, Knowing the Natural World.
Christian Nakarado, assistant professor of art, received his B.A. and Master of Architecture from Yale University in 2007 and 2012, respectively. His research and design work focuses on the aesthetic lifespan of architecture, reciprocal relationships with and obligations to materials and resources, and strategies for de-growth born from traditional ecological knowledge. He is Principal of Slow Built Studio and providing pro bono architectural services to the Saginaw Chippewa Tribal Nation, focusing on the renovation of the historic buildings and site of the former Mount Pleasant Indian Industrial Boarding School on sacred lands in Isabella County, Michigan. Additionally, he is working on a book project entitled Impermanent: Building an Anishinaabe Future for the Great Lakes that proposes ways to transition from heavy, resource-intensive models of building and development to simpler, lighter methods of low-carbon fabrication, including objects that are designed to degrade. Before arriving at Wesleyan, Christian taught at Birmingham School of Architecture and Design.
Okechukwu Nwafor, assistant professor of art history, earned his B.A. from the University of Nigeria in 1998, his M.F.A. from Nnamdi Azikiwe University in 2004, and his Ph.D. from the University of the Western Cape in 2012. His scholarship broadly addresses African Art history, African Visual Culture, Visual History, Museum Studies, and Curatorship and focuses on political, economic, and social networks that circulate around material culture. His work questions deeper, intricate transactions in the materials of everyday life, to uncover the wider artistic and aesthetic promise of marginal things. His book Aso ebi: Dress, Fashion, Visual Culture and Urban Cosmopolitanism in West Africa (University of Michigan Press, 2021) investigates how Aso ebi (family dress), fashion, and photography engendered a new visual culture that redefined the urban cosmopolitan experience in West Africa. He has taught at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, was a Forsyth Postdoctoral Fellow, a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, a Ford Foundation Fellow, a Carnegie Fellow, and a Visiting Scholar in Residence at Princeton University. In 2016 He won the Presidential Fellow Award from the African Studies Association. His articles have appeared in journals, including Cultural Critique, African Arts, African Studies, Nka: Journal of Contemporary African Art, Fashion Theory, Critical Intervention: Journal of African Art History and Visual Culture. Additionally, he is a curator and a visual artist.
Rosemary Ostfeld, assistant professor of the practice in environmental studies has served as a Visiting Assistant Professor for the past four years. Rosemary is a Wesleyan alum and majored in Biology, Earth and Environmental Sciences, completed the Certificate in Environmental Studies and the B.A./M.A. program in Earth and Environmental Sciences. She received an MPhil in Environmental Policy and Ph.D. in Land Economy at the University of Cambridge in England where she was a Cambridge Trust Scholar. Her Ph.D. Research was on sustainable agriculture and was featured on BBC Radio 4. She did her postdoc at the Cambridge University Judge Business School and researched renewable energy and climate policy in Scotland. Rosemary is the founder of a local sustainable food tech startup called Healthy PlanEat (https://HealthyPlanEat.com) that is an online marketplace where people can order food directly from local farms and food artisans. She writes for edible CT East food magazine.
Tyrone Palmer, assistant professor of English, is a writer and critical theorist who received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in 2019. His research interests include Black critical thought, affect theory, poetics, negativity, and metaphysics. His book manuscript in-progress explores how key Black literary and political texts theorize the failures of a universalist conception of affect to account for the grammars of feeling that emerge from the singularity of Blackness. His work has previously been published or is forthcoming in Qui Parle, Critical Ethnic Studies, TOPIA: Canadian Journal of Cultural Studies, and Callaloo. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Palmer has published cultural criticism and poetry in a number of venues, including The New Inquiry, Gawker, The Offing, Vinyl Poetry, and Complex. In fall 2022 Tyrone is teaching Poetics of Blackness and a first-year seminar, Reading Black Culture; in spring 2023, he is teaching Vitalism and Black Aesthetics, as well as his iteration of the English gateway course, Ways of Reading: Literature and/as Philosophy.
Pedro Pascual Villanueva, assistant professor of the practice in American Sign Language, is a teacher at heart. Pedro’s lifelong career focuses on sign language teaching, as both Level 1 and Level 2. Pascual strives to keep abreast of the best practices in teaching languages and to follow the latest developments in the study of deaf cultures and sign languages. He is working on a phonological writing system for sign languages that is practical to use in everyday life, as opposed to the notation systems used for the analysis and research of sign languages. He is also interested in sign language etymology. After graduating from the Universidad de Deusto in Spain with a Master’s in Computer Engineering, Pascual participated in research projects on advanced technology at Cerfacs in France. At the request of parents of deaf children, a multidisciplinary team, including Pascual, designed an innovative bilingual high school program for Deaf students in Toulouse, France, which is still operating since its creation in 1995. He also became a teacher in this pioneering program for a few years. This educational endeavor captivated Pascual, redirecting his career to the teaching of sign languages. Pascual married an American fellow teacher in 2008 and moved to Connecticut. Thanks to living and working in Spain, France, and the United States, he is fluent in six languages: Spanish, French, English, and the Spanish, French, and American Sign Languages. He also has meaningful insights into the cultures of the three countries and their respective deaf communities. Before his appointment as Assistant Professor of the Practice in American Sign Language at Wesleyan University in 2022, Pascual taught American Sign Language and Deaf Studies at the University of Connecticut, Central Connecticut State University, Quinnipiac University, and Northwestern Connecticut Community College. A learner at heart, Pascual continually seeks to learn about languages and cultures by traveling, reading, and connecting with local communities. He also loves science fiction because it satisfies his curiosity about different topics including society, history, politics, science, and technology. He and his spouse enjoy spending quality time with their family and walking on trails, along with the occasional fine dining.
Areins Pelayo, visiting assistant professor of philosophy received her BA in Philosophy from the University of South Florida, and then went on to receive her Ph.D.in Philosophy with a minor in Linguistics from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Her current research concerns the nature of hypotheses in the early modern period, specifically in Newton and Descartes. Two additional projects include exploring hypotheses and ‘principles of discovery’ in Leibniz’s and Du Châtelet’s thought. She is working on a manuscript contracted with Bloomsbury Press on hypotheses in natural philosophy during the 1700s. She volunteers for the Philosophy Science Association’s Women’s Caucus as webmistress and was an editor for their newsletter, Science Visions. She will be teaching early modern philosophy, a seminar on Du Châtelet, Latinx philosophy, and feminist epistemology at Wesleyan.
Juan Esteban Plaza, Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, is a Chilean literary critic and translator whose work on Caribbean and Latin American literatures and film of the 20th and 21st centuries stand at the intersection of post- humanism, racial critique, gender, and postcolonial theory. Juan Esteban defended his dissertation, Cuban Gothic: Horror Writing and Racial Democracy in the Republic, in 2022 at Stanford University. His articles have been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes in Chile, Colombia, Mexico, and the United States. In 2019, his translation of Stan Brakhage’s book “Film Biographies” was released by Ediciones Bastante in Santiago, Chile, under the title “El asedio de las imágenes.” He will be teaching the course “Secrets, Lies, and Fictions in the Americas” this fall.
Joya Powell, assistant professor of the practice in Dance is a multiethnic Harlemite, and is passionate about community, activism, and dances of the African Diaspora. She has danced with choreographers such as Nicole Stanton, Paloma McGregor, and Mar Parrilla. In 2005, Joya founded Movement of the People Dance Company, dedicated to addressing sociocultural injustices through multidisciplinary immersive contemporary dance. Her work has appeared in venues such as: BAM, Lincoln Center, SummerStage, La Mama, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, The Dance Complex (Cambridge), Movement Research @ Judson Church, among others. Joya has choreographed such Off-Broadway plays as “Fit for a Queen” by Betty Shamieh (The Classical Theatre of Harlem), “JOB” by Thomas Bradshaw (The FLEA Theater), “Songs About Trains” by Beto O’Byrne (The New Ohio Theatre). Her latest chapter “How do you hold when you need to be held?: Dance and the embodied practice of grieving,” is featured in Pandemic Performance: Resilience, Liveness, and Protest in Quarantine Times – Routledge. Joya has taught and studied in Brazil, Puerto Rico, Cuba, France, and Israel. Her research revolves around dance as activism, movement rituals, Afrofuturism, and decolonizing dance. Awards and recognition include: The Outstanding Emerging Choreographer Bessie Award, Women in Motion Commissioned Artist, Angela’s Pulse’s North Star Arts Incubator, The Unsettling Dramaturgy Award. She is a collaborating member of Dance Caribbean Collective, Radical Evolution, and is a part of the Dancing While Black shared leadership team. Higher education includes an MFA in Dance from University of the Arts, M.A. in Dance Education from NYU, and a B.A. in Latin American Studies and Creative Writing from Columbia University.
Liana Pshevorska, associate professor of the practice in French, joins the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures as Associate Professor of the Practice in French, strengthening the language program curriculum within the French section. Prior to her arrival at Wesleyan, Liana was an Assistant Professor of French at the US Military Academy (West Point). Before earning her Ph.D. from Princeton University, she received a M.A. in French and a B.A. in Education and French from the University of Arizona. Liana is interested in curriculum design and materials development, grounded in the pedagogy of multiliteracies. In addition to this work in applied linguistics, she also specializes in 20th–21st-century French and Francophone studies, with a focus on migration, multilingualism, and identity in the works of contemporary authors of French expression from historically non-Francophone countries. Liana’s courses this year include Beginner and Intermediate French. She will also serve as the House Advisor to the Maison Francophone.
Alejandro Salinas-Albrecht, visiting assistant professor of film studies, is a successful cinematographer and editor who has shot features, short films, documentaries, and commercial videos in Mexico City, Kobe, Los Angeles, and New York. His work has been recognized by 8 film festival awards and his clients include Variety Inc., the Skimm, Rolling Stone, and Condé Nast. Alex earned an M.F.A. from UCLA, and he co-owns and runs the Blue Pine Lodge production company. He will teach courses in Digital Filmmaking and oversee the CFILM soundstage.
Yaya Simakov, visiting assistant professor of film is a Russian-American screenwriter and director. “Keep It Quiet,” Yaya’s directing debut, won Best Live Action Short at the Warsaw Film Festival (Oscar-qualifying), was nominated for Best U.S. Short at the Palm Springs ShortFest, and selected as a Vimeo Staff Pick after its online premiere on Short of the Week and Directors’ Library. Yaya has a background in lighting and cinematography and experience in producing and editing. Currently, Yaya is finishing post-production on a new short film, co-produced with Stereotactic. Yaya earned an M.F.A. from Temple University, was previously an Associate Professor of Film Studies at Saint Cloud State University and will teach Advanced Filmmaking and Screenwriting courses at Wesleyan.
Zaira Simon, assistant professor of African American Studies, is welcomed by the department. After defending her dissertation, Discursive Spatialities of Repair: Examining Reparatory Claims in the Caribbean, at the CUNY Graduate Center, Zaira was awarded the Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Wesleyan. Her research focuses on reparations claims and discourses in the Caribbean and has manifold and deep implications for how we understand what particular pasts can mean when they are understood in light of performed harm and potential repair. Her dissertation was written under the auspices of the Department of Geography, and a great part of this illuminating study is what it shows us about the geographical imagination in which what are physically small nations make claims against large spatial categories, like England or Europe. She stood out during our search last year for someone who brings to AFAM a particular specialization in Black Ecologies. She has spent part of this summer conducting preliminary interviews with Indo-Caribbean activists, cane farmers and scholars in her ongoing exploration of the intimacies of cane and repair. She has also been invited by the Gender Studies Institute at University of the West Indies to write a chapter on the relationship between grief and repair. She brings a special set of interests and a very promising set of courses to our offerings in African American Studies and to our Wesleyan curriculum.
Joseph Slaughter, assistant professor of the practice in religion joins the Department of Religion after having been a visiting assistant professor of History and Chamberlain Project Fellow. He received his Ph.D. in U.S. History from the University of Maryland in 2017, and his research and teaching focuses on North American Christianity, capitalism, and war. Since arriving at Wesleyan in 2019, he has published articles in the Seattle University Law Review, Enterprise & Society, and the Journal of the Early Republic, while Columbia University Press will release his current book project, Faith in Markets: Christian Capitalism in the Early Republic, next fall. Previously, he was a pilot in the U.S. Navy and taught U.S. and world history at Annapolis. Joe will also be serving as Associate Director for Wesleyan’s new Center for the Study of Guns and Society.
Nancy Somera, visiting assistant professor of Physical Education, joins Wesleyan as the catalyst behind the meteoric rise of the Johnson & Wales University women’s volleyball. Somera took over a Johnson & Wales program in 2014 that was coming off three-straight losing seasons. In her first season, she had the Wildcats back in the Great Northeast Athletic Conference Tournament finals and the following year JWU hoisted the first of six GNAC championship trophies, to go along with its 2017 NCAA New England Region Championship and 2018 and 2019 Regional championship final appearances. In addition to her coaching duties, Somera served as the department’s Assistant Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator. Nancy was named AVCA National Coach of the Year (2017) and three times was awarded the AVCA New England Region Coach of the Year (2016, 2017, 2018). Somera has more than 25 years of volleyball coaching experience, including 17 years at the Division I college level. She served as head coach at the University of South Carolina for two seasons in 2005 and 2006, before leaving the coaching profession to work in the private business sector for several years. Somera graduated in 1989 with a Bachelor of Arts in journalism/broadcasting, and in 1994, she earned her master’s degree in education from the University of Southern California. She also is a freelance editor and writer for several publications. Somera and her husband Ben, have two children: son, Sam, and daughter, Maile.
Teresa Speciale, visiting assistant professor of Education Studies joins the College of Education in Global and Comparative Education. Dr. Speciale completed her Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2021. Her dissertation and expertise focus on the relationship between migration, language, and education, with a geographic focus on Senegal, and her work has been supported by a Fulbright as well as other awards. She holds a B.A. in Applied Linguistics from Boston University with a minor in French language and literature, and a Masters in International Education from the George Washington University. Dr. Speciale has also completed teacher certification requirements for middle and high school social studies and Teaching of English as a Second Language, and she taught English in Senegal for two years. Dr. Speciale will be teaching courses at various levels on the intersection of globalization, migration, human rights, and education.
Elizabeth A. Stein, visiting assistant professor of Government, earned her doctorate in political science from the University of California, Los Angeles. She also has a master’s degree from Northwestern’s Medill School of Journalism and a B.A. in journalism and mass communication from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on media, politics and mass mobilization, particularly in non-democratic environments. She also studies the relationship between media ownership and subnational electoral outcomes in Brazil as well as the role of declining media freedom and the erosion of the quality of democracy in several Latin American countries. She specializes in Latin America with an emphasis on the Southern Cone countries and Brazil. Stein is an academic nomad. She was a Shorenstein Fellow of Media, Politics and Public Policy at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government; she had a summer research fellowship sponsored by The Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies at Yale University and was the inaugural Mark Helmke Postdoctoral Fellow on Global Media, Development, and Democracy, co-sponsored by the National Endowment for Democracy’s Center for International Media Assistance (CIMA) and Indiana University Bloomington’s School of Global and International Studies, where she also served as a visiting assistant professor in the international studies department. Stein joins Wesleyan as a visiting assistant professor in the Government Department after having worked as an assistant professor of political science at the University of New Orleans, the State University of Rio de Janeiro’s Institute for Social and Political Studies and Clarkson University.
Jeremy Tiang, teaching fellow in fiction writing, is a novelist, playwright and literary translator. They have translated over twenty books from across the Chinese-speaking world, including novels by Yeng Pway Ngon, Yan Ge, Lo Yi-Chin, Liu Xinwu and Zhang Yueran. Their plays include Salesman之死 and A Dream of Red Pavilions, and translations of plays by Chen Si’an and Wei Yu-Chia. Their novel State of Emergency won the Singapore Literature Prize in 2018, and their short story collection It Never Rains on National Day was shortlisted for the same prize. They are the co-editor with Dr. Kavita Bhanot of Violent Phenomena: 21 Essays on Translation. In 2022, Tiang was the Princeton University Translator-in-Residence and an International Booker Prize judge. Originally from Singapore, they now live in Flushing, Queens. At Wesleyan, Jeremy is teaching Intermediate Fiction Workshop and Writing Multilingually (fall 2022) and Techniques of Fiction (spring 2023).
Alexander van Abel, teaching fellow in statistics, received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the City University of New York in 2022. He holds an M.S. and a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, as well as a B.F.A. in acting from UW-Milwaukee. While completing his dissertation, Alex held teaching positions at Lehman College of the City University of New York and at Vassar College. Alex’s research is in model theory, a branch of mathematical logic. In particular, he studies pseudofinite structures and the notion of pseudofinite dimension.
Lauren van Haaften-Schick, Andrew W. Mellon postdoctoral fellow, earned her Ph.D. in the History of Art & Visual Studies at Cornell University in 2022. Bridging art and legal history, her dissertation and book-in-progress trace the origins and afterlives of The Artist’s Reserved Rights Transfer and Sale Agreement, an iconic “Artist’s Contract” developed by conceptual art curator Seth Siegelaub in New York in 1971, which aimed equitably to transform the art market. Guided by archival research and interviews, Lauren’s project maps evolving concepts of artists’ rights, ownership, and equity in American art over the past century. Her research has been supported by fellowships from the Smithsonian Institution and New York University Law School among others. In 2020 she co- edited the major anthology Seth Siegelaub: “Better Read Than Dead,” Writings and Interviews 1964–2013. Lauren also maintains a curatorial practice and serves as co-chair of the College Art Association’s Committee on Intellectual Property, among other advisory roles. A career in art galleries and non-profits prior to graduate study inspires her research.
Nikos Valance, visiting assistant professor in the Department of Economics, has degrees in both economics and law. His legal work is currently focused on International Human Rights and Native American legal issues with specific emphasis on economic development, tribal justice and natural resources, and particularly tribal water rights. He has worked as a consultant to the Office of the Attorney General of the San Carlos Apache Nation in Arizona and with the Indigenous Economic Development and Sustainability Fund in Tucson, Arizona. He has also worked on antitrust, and on securities fraud. Nikos comes to Wesleyan from the University of Saint Joseph in West Hartford, where he was the Director of the Program in Criminal and Restorative Justice. He has a Master’s degree in Economics from The New School for Social Research, a J.D. from Fordham University and an LL.M. in Indigenous People’s Law and Policy from the University of Arizona, Rogers College of Law.
Muhammad Velji, visiting assistant professor of Philosophy, completed his undergraduate work at the University of Toronto, an M.A. from Carleton University in Ottawa, and a Ph.D. from McGill University. He was previously the James A. and Susan K. Keller Post-Doctoral Teaching Fellow at Wofford College in South Carolina. His work focuses on political philosophy, philosophy of law, feminist philosophy and the philosophy of race and colonialism. His dissertation sought to decolonize different conceptions of autonomy using the empirical engine of anthropological work on Muslim women who wear the veil. He has a forthcoming article in Hypatia entitled “From Resistance to Creativity: A Post-Colonial Critique of Feminist Teleology.” He will be teaching courses on critical philosophy of race, on self and social transformation, and political philosophy at Wesleyan.
Tanner Walker, visiting assistant professor of religion, holds a B.A in Classics and Literature from the University of California: Santa Cruz, an M.A.R. from Yale Divinity, and a Ph.D. in Religions of the Ancient Mediterranean from Brown University, where he taught last year as a Dean’s Faculty Fellow. His research focuses on the way humans perceive themselves both in the ancient and modern world, and how that perception shapes their interactions with both animals and the environment around them. He is currently working on a book manuscript which analyzes the way in which the concept of what is and is not “human,” and conversely what is and isn’t “animal” is portrayed in the Hebrew Bible and other ancient West Asian texts. This year he will be teaching our regular Hebrew Bible class as well as courses in his area of expertise, on the co- construction of Humans and Animals in the Hebrew Bible, on The Environment, the Bible and Moral Debate, which looks at how scripture is brought into environmental arguments, and on how religion is represented in popular culture through Dungeons and Dragons.
Henry Washington Jr., assistant professor of feminist, gender, and sexuality studies, is an interdisciplinary scholar of race, gender, and aesthetics in the post- slavery United States. He recently received his Ph.D. from the Program in Modern Thought & Literature at Stanford University, where he also earned Ph.D. minors in Feminist, Gender & Sexuality Studies and Theater & Performance Studies. He is at work on his first book project, Enfleshing the Criminal: Producing and Policing Black Sexual Difference in the Criminological Imagination, 1871-1960 which scrutinizes the truth claims that undergirded the postbellum emergence of the “criminal” in both the science of criminality and the practice of policing. More specifically, it examines how visual-cultural consensus about the black female body’s supposedly inherent difference enabled the trajectory of criminological “empiricism,” satisfying particular postbellum political needs by reinvigorating the logics of antebellum anti-blackness with positivist rationale. The project simultaneously attends to how black artists in the period expressively experimented with the supposedly “objective” terms on which racialized gender subsequently appeared in the law and in the social world. Henry also has published writing on the work black mothers have done since slavery to problematize the pathologization and erasure of black youth murdered by the state, and work forthcoming on the alternative historiographic method modeled by the black trans stars of Ryan Murphy’s Pose. This fall he will teach one course on black feminist and trans theory and another on the performativity of identity. In the spring, he will be a faculty fellow at the Center for Humanities.
Charles A. Weisenberger, Mellon postdoctoral fellow in Public History specializes in African-American history, slavery, and abolition in the early United States. He is an alumnus of Washington College in Chestertown, Maryland, and defended his doctoral dissertation this summer at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His dissertation examines the history of the Telfair family of Savannah, Georgia, the state’s largest slaveowners before the Civil War. It examines the family’s social, political, and economic connections beyond the South, and the implications of those connections for the people they enslaved. His secondary research interest is the history of abolition in the Connecticut River Valley. Dr. Weisenberger is a committed public historian and has worked previously for the Legacy of Slavery project at the Maryland State Archives, the David Ruggles Center for History and Education, the Emily Dickinson Museum, and the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation.
Sarah Wellons, assistant professor of astronomy earned her Bachelor’s degree at Princeton University and her Ph.D. at Harvard University in Astronomy and Astrophysics with a secondary field in Computational Science and Engineering. She did her postdoctoral work at Northwestern University, first as a CIERA fellow and then as a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics postdoctoral fellow. She is a theoretical astrophysicist who uses numerical simulations to study how galaxies form and evolve. Her work investigates the physical processes involved in galaxy formation, from the large-scale gravitational collapse of dark matter structure to the formation of stars from cool dense gas and the role played by supermassive black holes. A critical component of her research involves comparisons of theory with observations of the most massive and distant galaxies seen by the Hubble and James Webb Space Telescopes.
Bryan Winston, Mellon postdoctoral fellow in digital and visual storytelling, received his Bachelor’s Degree in history from Hunter College, and his Master’s and Doctorate Degrees in history from Saint Louis University. He specializes in migration history, oral history, and digital humanities. His book, tentatively titled “Mexican Corridors: Migration and Placemaking in the Lower Midwest,” is a transnational account and analysis of ethnic Mexican life in Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska during the first half of the twentieth century. Bryan interest in digital humanities has led to his digital history project, titled “Mapping the Mexican Midwest,” which complements the book and visualizes Mexican migration routes, institutions, and social networks in the region. Before coming to Wesleyan, he was the project manager and postdoctoral fellow for the Dartmouth Digital History Initiative, a digital humanities project that developed and launched open-source tools that make oral histories more searchable and accessible. The project was just awarded an NEH Level III Digital Humanities Advancement Grant to continue development. In addition to his academic interests, he enjoys exploring hiking trails and local breweries.
Jeffrey Yelton, Van Vleck postdoctoral fellow in mathematics, received his Ph.D. in mathematics from the Pennsylvania State University in 2015, and also holds a B.S. from the University of Florida. Since leaving Penn State he has held a postdoctoral fellow position at the University of Milan and a visiting assistant professorship at Emory University. Jeff’s research is in arithmetic geometry with a focus on Galois representations associated to hyperelliptic curves. He is the author of 9 published research papers.
Lauren Yeoman, assistant professor of theater, holds an MFA in Acting from Columbia University and a B.A. from Tufts University. She is a designated Linklater Voice Teacher and certified Colaianni Speech Teacher. Lauren teaches voice, movement, and dialects, and coaches professionally. She has taught at the University of Southern California’s School of Dramatic Arts, The Rossier School of Education, USC’s Summer Conservatory, Stella Adler, Theatricum Botanicum, the Summer Institute for International Actors, the EdVentures Program, STAR Education, and Columbia University’s Senior Executive Program, to name a few. Lauren’s vocal coaching credits include the University of Southern California, the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts, the Mark Taper Forum, the Kirk Douglas Theater, A Noise Within, Theatricum Botanicum, and Classic Stage Company. In addition, Lauren has an extensive performance record as an actor in New York, Los Angeles, and regionally. Her published work includes articles such as “Acting Lessons for Zoom.” Yeoman, Lauren, et al., Training Magazine 2021; “Dramatic Arts Pedagogy & Online Learning: Potential Tool for Learning in a Knowledge Society?” Yeoman, Lauren, et al., EKS magazine, 2018 and a forthcoming publication about the work of her mentor, Louis Colaianni, whose approach to voice and speech for actors is rooted in centering and amplifying each actor’s personal cultural heritage, entitled “Vocal Traditions: Colaianni Speech”, Routledge 2022, forthcoming. At Wesleyan, Lauren will be teaching multiple sections of Acting 1, and Voice & Movement courses.