New College faculty members arrive on campus

new faculty members Aug 2016

The university is pleased to welcome 13 new tenure-track faculty members in the College, as well as other new faculty members and the Brown Foundation Fellows for 2016-2017. Information about each new appointment follows; more detail can be found on the specific department websites.

Katherine Cammack, assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience, earned a B.S. from Santa Clara University and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University. Her research explores how drugs of abuse impact normal behavior and cognitive processes, using rodents as a model. She explores the ways abused drugs alter normal brain processes such as learning, memory, and motivation; how social or environmental enrichment impacts drug seeking; and why similar individuals respond differently to the same drug.

John Coffey, assistant professor of psychology, has a B.A. (Psychology) from Creighton University, an M.S.W. from the University of Michigan, and a master’s and Ph.D. (Developmental Psychology) from Claremont Graduate University. His research integrates contemporary developmental theories of relationships and emotions with positive psychology theories of well-being to test how early life experiences (e.g., caregiver-child relationship, emotions) affect adolescent and adult indicators of well-being and maladaptation.

Jim Crawford is an award-winning actor who has appeared on stage at regional theaters across the country and who headed the B.F.A. and M.F.A. acting programs at Southern Methodist University. There he directed productions of plays including Tom Stoppard’s Arcadia, Oscar Wilde’s An Ideal Husband, Moliere’s The Miser, and Wallace Shawn’s Aunt Dan and Lemon. Sewanee’s new associate professor of theatre and dance, Crawford has a B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from University of California at San Diego.

Kati Curts joins the University as assistant professor of religious studies. She specializes in American religious history, researching at the intersections of religion, capitalism, and popular culture in the 19th and 20th centuries. She is working on a book about Henry Ford and the Ford Motor Company, tentatively titled “Fording Religion in the Automobile Age.” She earned a B.B.A. from Washburn University, an M.A. from New York University, an M.Phil./M.A. and a Ph.D. from Yale University.

JoyAnna S. Hopper, assistant professor of politics, researches public policy and administration, with a focus on environmental policy in the American states. In addition to environmental policy, she is interested in social welfare policy and the interaction between state legislatures and bureaucracies as it relates to oversight. Hopper has a B.A. from Eastern Illinois University, an M.A. from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. from the University of Missouri.

Maha Jafri, assistant professor of English, has a B.A. from the Johns Hopkins University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from Northwestern University. She specializes in Victorian literature, with research interests in the history of the novel, literary theory, intellectual history, psychology, and ethics. She is currently completing a book manuscript entitled "Between Us: Gossip, Sociability, and the Victorian Novel."

Evan Joslin joins the University as assistant professor of chemistry. Joslin plans an organometallic approach in her research and teaching students in the disciplines of organic and inorganic chemistry, because the futures of these two fields are inextricably linked. She earned a B.A. (with ACS certification) from Agnes Scott College and a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

Arturo Marquez-Gomez, assistant professor of Spanish, focuses in his work on contemporary cinematic arts and literature in Latin America, and hopes to develop future research on contemporary women film directors, photography and audiovisual cultures of the South Cone Region. He has a B.A. from the University of Chile, an M.A. in Spanish from Middlebury College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University.

Sean O’Rourke, last year’s Brown Foundation Fellow, joins the University as professor of rhetoric and director of the Center for Speaking and Listening. He has a B.A. and M.A. from Humboldt State University, and a J.D. and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon. O’Rourke’s primary concern is with the communication arts of an engaged citizenry—public speaking, freedom of speech, robust and responsible debate, reasoned deliberation, constructive argument in controversy—at the center of democratic civic life.

Lucia Garcia-Santana, instructor/assistant professor of Spanish, earned a B.A. from Universidad de La Laguna, Spain, and an M.A. and Ph.D. Spanish studies in from the University of Connecticut. Originally from the Canary Islands, Spain, Garcia-Santana works on the manifold manifestations of displacement—exile, internal and external migration—as reflected in the literature and culture of Spain and Latin America.

Shu Yang, instructor/assistant professor of Asian studies (Chinese), is interested in the role of women in modern Chinese literary and cultural construction, with particular attention to the images and social practices of the new woman, as a powerful and independent social actor, across China’s 20th century. She has a B.A. and M.A. from Beijing Normal University, China, and a Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.

Everett “Clint” Smith, assistant professor of biology, has a B.S. from the University of Central Arkansas, and a Ph.D. from the University of Kentucky. Since 2011, Smith has been a postdoctoral fellow in the division of Pediatric Infectious Disease at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. His research aims to understand the intricate protein machinery driving replication and evolution in coronaviruses, such as SARS and MERS. It draws heavily on virology, biochemistry, genetics, and evolutionary biology.

Brad Sturgill, assistant professor of economics, is a macroeconomist with research interests in the areas of economic growth and development. His primary focus is the theoretical and empirical study of factor eliminating technological progress, with interest also in the effects of regulation and institutional quality on economic growth. He earned a B.S./B.A from Appalachian State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from North Carolina State University.

The Brown Foundation Faculty Fellows this year are:

Antonio Momplet is a familiar face at Sewanee. He lives in Madrid, but has spent a total of more than two and a half years in Sewanee during the last 15 years. Momplet’s interests include medieval art and architecture, Spanish Romanesque art and architecture, Islamic art, Spanish Islamic (Andalusi) art, and the mosque of Cordoba. He has a Licenciado (B.A.) and Ph.D. in art history from Universidad Complutense de Madrid.

Karen Proctor is the founder and principal of Harbour Workshop LLC, a social innovation firm. She advises business, nonprofit, and philanthropic leaders on how to design effective solutions for lasting social change, working with more than 300 organizations in her career. She also teaches collaborative leadership for the Masters in Design for Social Innovation

Other new faculty members this fall are:

Stephanie Batkie, visiting associate professor of English and director of Writing-Across-the-Curriculum, has a B.A. from Northwestern University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Her area of research is in the literature and culture of the later Middle Ages in England, working on texts and manuscripts in English, Latin, and Anglo-Norman. Other research interests include material culture/manuscript studies, formal poetics, and medieval theology and devotion.

Anne Duffee, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, works in the field of harmonic analysis, with an emphasis on maximal operators and singular integral operators. She is also interested in wavelet analysis. Duffee earned a B.A. from St. John's College, and a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama.

Alejandro Mylonas-Leegstra, visiting assistant professor of Spanish, has a B.A. from Universidad de La Laguna, an M.A. from Universidad de La Laguna, and an M.A. in Spanish studies from the University of Connecticut. His research interests include maritime texts, the history of science and religion in Early Modern Spain, and Colonial literature.

Jessica Mecellem, visiting instructor/assistant professor of politics, has a B.A. from Whitworth University, an M.A. from Université de Provence, and a Ph.D. from Loyola University Chicago. Her research focuses on law and society, post-conflict and transitional justice, and the relations between human rights and gender. She has carried out fieldwork in Algeria and Turkey.

Jessica Usherwood, visiting assistant professor of music, has research interests in music entrepreneurship, music education, vocal chamber music, and community engagement, among others. She has a B.A. from Lee University, an M.M. and a Professional Diploma in Opera from Chicago College of Performing Arts, Roosevelt University, and a D.M. from the Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University.