“Extraordinary Caliber”: Meet the New Faculty Members of A&S
The College of Arts and Sciences welcomes nearly 30 new professors this fall.
From advancing methods of drug delivery with materials innovation to addressing injustices through social activism, new faculty joining the College of Arts and Sciences (A&S) are working to make the world healthier, more hopeful and more human.
A&S Interim Dean Lois Agnew says the extraordinary caliber of research talent and teaching expertise within this cohort will enhance the experience for students both in labs and in classrooms across the College.
“Students in departments from ‘A’ to ‘W’ will benefit from their perspective and innovation,” notes Agnew. “As we prepare the next generation to take on society’s urgent challenges, these new faculty members, along with our entire professoriate, will play a crucial role in both honing students’ subject matter knowledge and shaping their critical thinking, problem-solving and leadership skills.”
The following are new faculty for 2022:
African American Studies
Tanisha Jackson, assistant professor and executive director of the Community Folk Art Center
Jackson’s research focuses on the representation of Black women’s wellness in contemporary art and popular culture. She also focuses on community-based arts and arts education as liberation and social activism.
Mario Nisbett, visiting assistant teaching professor
Nisbett’s research interests are in the history and politics of Africa and the African diaspora.
Art and Music Histories
Margaret Innes, assistant professor
Innes specializes in the history and theory of photography and lens-based media. Her research focuses on the photographic public sphere from the mid-nineteenth century to the present, particularly photography as a socialist form.
Christopher W. Fernandez, assistant professor
Fernandez’s research program aims to understand processes at the interface of plant, microbial and ecosystem ecology in both managed and natural systems, specifically, the role of mycorrhizal fungi.
Austin M. Garner, assistant professor
Garner’s research focuses on how animals interface with their environment, with a particular emphasis on the functional morphology and biomechanics of how animals, such as lizards and sea urchins, attach to surfaces.
Ankita Juneja, professor of practice
Juneja’s research focuses on bioprocessing for sustainable production of value-added products and biofuels, using integration of engineering and biology.
Louis J (Jamie) Lamit, assistant professor
Lamit’s research explores two themes: 1) connections between global change and soil microbial communities, and 2) the role of the specific plant type in plant-fungal interactions.
Angela M. Oliverio, assistant professor
Oliverio’s research identifies the genetic mechanisms driving ecological and evolutionary dynamics in microbial systems across a range of environments, and the consequences of these relationships on system-level functions.
Atanu Acharya, assistant professor
Acharya’s research is focused on multiscale computational modeling to investigate complex biological systems spanning bacteria, viruses, and light-sensitive proteins, particularly in their native biochemical environments.
Xiaoran Hu, assistant professor
Hu is interested in developing programmable smart materials and providing chemistry solutions to global challenges in materials innovation and health. Hu works to exploit molecular design and the synthetic organic toolbox to construct advanced material systems for sensing and drug delivery applications.
Communication Sciences and Disorders
Brianna Hammerle, assistant teaching professor
Hammerle’s clinical and teaching interests include evaluation and treatment of adults with aphasia, apraxia, dysarthria, cognitive-linguistic impairment, swallowing disorders, traumatic brain injury, voice, and augmentative/alternative communication.
Deepika Das, assistant teaching professor
Das’s research interests include creating active learning environments in STEM classrooms, promoting student engagement in research, and studying protein structure-function relationships.
Geography and the environment (with Maxwell)
Chie Sakakibara, associate professor (January 2022)
Sakakibara’s research encompasses Indigenous geographies, environmental humanities, humanistic geography and Arctic studies.
Read more about Sakakibara’s research and scholarship.
Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics
Nicole Karam, assistant teaching professor (French)
Karam’s research and teaching interests include the history of the idea of taste and Enlightenment-era theories of judicial utopia. She is particularly interested in the ways in which legal eloquence was defined in the legal profession and beyond from the sixteenth century to the French Revolution.
Cristina Pardo Porto, assistant professor
Pardo Porto’s research focuses on contemporary Latin American and Latinx literatures and cultures, with an emphasis on Central American and Caribbean diasporas.
Martín Abreu Zavaleta, assistant professor
Martín Abreu Zavaleta’s research concerns the nature of communication and disagreement, as well as the semantics of attitude reports.
Erica Shumener, assistant professor
Shumener works primarily in metaphysics with interests in the philosophy of science and epistemology. Her current research is on the metaphysics of laws of nature.
Rafael Silva Coutinho, assistant professor
Silva Coutinho’s research focuses on studying b-hadron decay to understand what is beyond the Standard Model description of fundamental particles. He is also interested in confirming or refuting the hints for a new fundamental force of nature.
Jayme Kim, visiting assistant teaching professor
Kim's research focuses on quantization of gravity and related topics. Kim has contributed to papers such as “Asymptotic symmetries of colored gravity in three dimensions,” published in the Journal of High Energy Physics.
Jeewon Oh, assistant professor
Oh is a social-personality psychologist who takes a lifespan development perspective to study the good life. Specifically, she is a relationships/singlehood researcher interested in how people find health and happiness inside and out of close relationships.
Huilin “Linda” Sun, assistant professor
Sun’s research is focused on using neurophysiological methods such as eye tracking and EEG to study academic and emotional development in children.
Women’s and Gender Studies
Jiwoon Yulee, visiting assistant teaching professor
Yulee’s research centers on the political economy of labor precarity, care intimacy, and feminist social reproduction. Her teaching interests include contemporary feminist activism, intersectionality, and racial capitalism.
Writing, Rhetoric and Composition
Peter Astras, assistant teaching professor
Astras’ research focuses on writing studies, in particular a “sense of place” in composition and rhetoric. He is also a researcher in ecocriticism and environmental studies.
Melanie Haas, assistant teaching professor
Haas’s research interests focus on rhetorics of power structures, diversity and inclusion, and intersectionality, and is examining the effects of the 13th Amendment on incarcerated individuals, particularly Black males.
Alexandria Hanson, assistant teaching professor
Hanson’s research focuses on the experiences of single moms in higher education, specifically their composition practices and rhetorical strategies.
Alicia K. Hatcher, assistant professor
Hatcher’s research focuses on Black rhetorical practices, including those used by Black athletes as tools of resistance. She uses these contexts to build an analytical framework for understanding resistant actions as rhetorical acts and literacy practices.
Todd Miller, assistant teaching professor
Miller's research examines the epistemological implications of visual and acoustic technologies in the first half of the twentieth century. He is working on a project that investigates the disciplinary function of objects in the writing of William Faulkner.
Akram Zouaui, assistant teaching professor
Zouaui’s teaching draws on critical, cultural and anti-racist educational theories. He is interested in intercultural communication, user experience and linguistic accessibility.