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ICYMI: Faculty Comment On the News

Stack of newspapers.

From the pandemic to politics, A&S faculty found plenty to comment on in national news outlets this year. They are established experts in their fields and valued sources who can unpack the nuance of today’s trending topics. Enjoy this selection of faculty media appearances.

Biological and Environmental Sciences

Tripti Bhattacharya

Tripti Bhattacharya, Thonis Family Professor: Paleoclimate Dynamics and assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences, contributed to a CNBC report on climate change and what factors led to 2020 being one of the three warmest years on record.

Jeff Karson

Jeff Karson, the Jessie Page Heroy Professor of Earth and environmental sciences, was quoted in a Forbes article exploring what lava might look like on a metallic planetary body.

Christa Kelleher

Christa Kelleher, assistant professor of Earth and environmental sciences, wrote an op-ed for Newsweek about the impact of the COVID-19 on women and women of color in STEM fields and how to overcome setbacks caused by the pandemic. Kelleher was also quoted in a Newsweek article highlighting women scientists who defied the odds and changed science.

Susan Parks

Susan Parks, associate professor of biology, was quoted in a National Geographic article exploring the social interactions of North Atlantic right whales. The article addressed a rare image captured by scientists: two male North Atlantic right whales swimming together at the ocean's surface in an affectionate way. Parks noted that social surface interactions such as the one documented are actually very common within the North Atlantic right whale habitat.

Kari Segraves

Kari Segraves, professor of biology, was interviewed by Science Friday about the intricacies of studying beetle intimacy, and the implications for evolutionary biology.

The interview was based on research by Segraves and a team of scientists from the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing that was published in the journal Chemoecology.

Julia Zeh 300x300 headshot.jpg

Julia Zeh, a doctoral student in the biology department, was featured in a New York Times piece regarding the communication behaviors and increased sightings of whales in New York City.

Mental Health

Kevin Antshel 300x300.jpg

Psychology professor Kevin Antshel was quoted in two articles by CNBC. In the first, titled “One year into Covid: A comprehensive guide to vaccinations, mask-wearing, self-care, productivity and more,” he discussed the psychological toll of the pandemic and offered methods to manage it. In another article addressing ways to cope with pandemic life, Antshel explained that the high levels of uncertainty people are experiencing during the pandemic go against how they have advanced as human beings.

Afton Kapuscinski 300x300.jpg

Afton Kapuscinski, assistant teaching professor of psychology, was quoted in a USA Today article about coping with feelings of anxiety and fear caused by the riots in Washington, D.C. in January. In a second USA Today article, Kapuscinski offered tips for overcoming emotional exhaustion.

Martin De Vita

Clinical psychology Ph.D. candidate Martin De Vita was recently featured in major media outlets, including CBS News, The Hill and Yahoo!, for his research on pain relief and cannabidiol (CBD), a chemical compound found in marijuana and hemp.

Other media placements include:

Music and Literature

Theo Cateforis

Theo Cateforis, associate professor of art and music histories, was quoted in an NBC News article documenting the sale of Bob Dylan’s song catalog to Universal Media Group.

George Saunders

Author George Saunders G’88, professor of creative writing in the Department of English, was recently featured in several major media outlets following the publication of his book, A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (Penguin Random House, 2021).

Media placements include:

Dana Spiotta

An excerpt from professor of English Dana Spiotta’s novel, Wayward (Penguin Random House, 2021), was featured in Vogue.

The critically acclaimed book, which features the story of a woman who flees her suburban life – and her family – as she grapples with how to be a wife, a mother, and a daughter, was named one of Vogue's “Best Books to Read in 2021."

James Gordon Williams

James Gordon Williams, assistant professor of African American Studies, was quoted by Smithsonian Magazine in an article running down the books, songs and films created in 1925 that became part of the public domain on January 1, 2021. Of the new songs added to the public domain, Williams said, “These works will continue to be reimagined in unimagined ways across instrumental mediums or multimedia platforms.”


Walter Freeman 300x300

Physics professor Walter Freeman was interviewed by CNN for a story on the close approach of planets Saturn and Jupiter on December 21, 2020. The extremely rare event earned the nickname, the “Christmas Star.”

Sheldon Stone

Sheldon Stone, Distinguished Professor of Physics, was featured in a segment on Science Friday regarding new data from the LHCb (Large Hadron Collider beauty) detector and new evidence for an unexplained discrepancy in the behavior of electrons and their heavier cousins, muons.

Politics and Democracy

Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson

Verena Erlenbusch-Anderson, associate professor of philosophy, was quoted in an Insider article exploring why the U.S. government doesn’t designate domestic terrorist groups. Erlenbusch-Anderson also wrote an op-ed appearing in the History News Network titled, “Confronting ‘Who We Are.’”

Danielle Smith

Danielle Smith, professor of African American studies, wrote an op-ed for LA Progressive titled, “The Crisis of Democracy: A Marshall Plan for the Biden Administration,” and another for the History News Network titled, “Images of the Capitol Riot Reflect a National Crisis.”