Oxy Welcomes New Faculty
After conducting a series of national searches, Occidental has welcomed 12 new tenure-track faculty in the sciences, humanities and social sciences for the 2006-07 academic year.
Occidental’s reputation for outstanding students and scholarship drew more than 1,000 applications from across the country, and once again we were able to hire the top candidate for each position,” said Eric Frank, interim dean of the College. “We expect them to have an immediate impact – not only because of their numbers, but because of the superb qualifications they bring to campus.”
The new faculty are:
Adelina Alegria, assistant professor of education, earned her doctorate at UC Santa Barbara after serving as a science teacher for Los Angeles Unified School District and as a mathematics and science educator at the graduate level. Her research involves the investigation of how science is learned at the secondary level and the relationship between high school science curriculums and English learners.
Lan Chu, assistant professor of diplomacy and world affairs, earned her Ph.D. at George Washington University. Lan’s fields of expertise include comparative politics and political theory, religion, and democracy in Poland, Cuba, and Vietnam.
Motoko Ezaki, assistant professor of Asian studies, received her doctorate from UCLA and earned a master’s degree from Seinan Gakuin University in Fukuoka, Japan. Ezaki works in the field of Japanese linguistics with an emphasis on a cognitive approach to grammar and semantics, and also is interested in women’s literature in pre-modern Japan. Her current research focuses on the newly discovered travel journals by women in the 17th through 19th centuries.
Sharla Fett, assistant professor of history, earned her doctorate at Rutgers University. Already a prize-winning historian (her 2002 book Working Cures: Healing, Health, and Power on Southern Slave Plantations was honored by the Organization of American Historians and other groups) Fett’s work engages issues of gender, power and race in antebellum America.
Caroline Heldman, assistant professor of politics, also earned her Ph.D. at Rutgers. Formerly on the faculty at Whittier College, Heldman’s research focuses on a variety of areas, including the intersection of politics, consumerism and the media in the United States. A special interest of hers is the American female politician—both historically and in the future.
Brian Kim, instructor in psychology, earned his doctorate at Michigan State University. His area of expertise is in industrial and organizational psychology, with publications that include “Individual differences in academic growth patterns: Do they exist and can we predict them?” and “Do employers and colleges see eye-to-eye?”
Mary Lopez, assistant professor in economics, received her Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame. An economist with a particular interest in the economics of labor, immigration, demographics and public policy, Lopez’s research and teaching interests are particularly relevant to Southern California. Two recent papers are “The impact of High-Skill Immigrants on Native Wages” and “The Use of Non-Citizens to Alleviate Information Technology Labor Shortages.”
Richard Mora, instructor in sociology, is completing his doctoral dissertation at Harvard University. Mora is a sociologist whose interests include the investigation and analysis of youth culture, youth violence, gender, education and urban poverty. An example of his research is a recent paper, “Smile Now, Cry Later: Mothers of Victims of Gang-Related Violence Speak Out.”
Leila Neti, assistant professor of English and comparative literary studies, received her Ph.D. at UC Irvine. Neti works in the field of postcolonial literature of the South Asian and African diaspora. Her research incorporates literary and cultural theory in order to examine discourses of race, difference, and power.
Eric Sundberg ’97, assistant professor of mathematics, earned his doctorate at Rutgers University. Sundberg was a member of the faculty at Whittier College where he taught a variety of courses, including quantitative reasoning, abstract thinking, calculus and complex variables. He is an expert on probability, combinatorics and graph theory. His research area is in positional game theory.
Kristi Upson-Saia, assistant professor of religious studies, received her Ph.D. at Duke University and has a master’s in divinity from Princeton Theological Seminary. Upson-Saia specializes in the history and literature of early Christian communities, with an emphasis on the disputed boundaries between orthodoxy and heresy. She is also interested in issues of gender and sexuality and has most recently researched the social significance of early Christian dress with these issues in mind.
Lisa Wade, assistant professor of sociology, earned her doctorate at the University of Wisconsin. Wade’s interdisciplinary work intersects sociology, women’s studies, and the history of medicine. She is particularly interested in issues of female sexuality and its relationship to public medical and media discourse, behavior and identity.