April 2018






Adams, Mortl Honored with Presidential Medal

Two longtime Occidental employees were honored by President Jonathan Veitch with the Presidential Medal for Distinguished Service in an April 10 campus ceremony.

3 Students, Alumni Awarded NSF Fellowships

Three Occidental students and alumni have been awarded prestigious National Science Foundation Graduate Research fellowships, awarded annually to candidates in the sciences and social sciences who are pursuing a master’s degree or Ph.D.

Oxy Law Society Competes in Mock Trial

Three forward-thinking first-years with a love of law and mock-trial competitions—Chuanjie "Felix" Hong ’20, Maria Salter ’20 and Henry Yue ’20—together founded the Oxy Law Society last year.

Occidental Among Peace Corps' 2018 Top Volunteer Colleges

Occidental is one of the top producers of Peace Corps volunteers among the country’s small colleges—a reflection of its long tradition of global engagement.







Regina Booth, department services coordinator, chemistry
Jamila Chambers, senior associate director, career education and advising, Hameetman Career Center
Caryn Rothschild, senior director of major gifts, Institutional Advancement


Courtney R. Baker, associate professor of American studies and black studies, has been named an alternate for the American Council of Learned Society’s Frederick Burkhardt residential fellowship for liberal arts faculty. The fellowship recognized Baker’s project, "The Tyranny of Realism: Twenty-First Century Blackness and the Ends of Cinema," and is designed to "support ambitious research in the humanities and encourage intellectual networks." Baker also provided comments and context for the film Black Panther’s fictional African nation of Wakanda in a recent Vice article.

Mijin Cha, assistant professor of urban and environmental policy, has published "A Just Transition: Why Transitioning Workers Into a New Clean Energy Economy Should Be at the Center of Climate Change Policies," a new paper that argues that transitioning workers and communities must be at the center of climate change policies. Cha analyzes successful transition programs and proposes a framework for just transition programs.

The Center for Media & Social Impact recently profiled media arts and culture associate professor Broderick Fox and his latest book, Documentary Media: History, Theory, Practice. The profile highlights the importance of understanding "fair use" in documentary practice.

Associate directors for the Center for Digital Liberal Arts Christopher Gilman and Jacob Sargent traveled to Transylvania University to present on the digital arts initiatives they have spearheaded at Occidental. At this conference, Sargent and Gilman offered a variety of ideas on how colleges might integrate digital literacy into liberal arts curriculum.

The research that associate professor of biology Shana Goffredi is diving into, alongside recent Oxy graduates, is shedding light on the complex deep-sea ecosystem. The Los Angeles Times followed along on a recent expedition into Monterey Canyon.

Associate professor of politics Caroline Heldman recently was honored by Stanford University’s Program in Writing and Rhetoric and with a Women in Leadership Award by the City of West Hollywood for her work on issues of race and gender representation in the media and her advocacy on behalf of sexual assault survivors.

After a last-minute headliner cancellation, the Office of Student Life staff (Tamara Himmelstein, Amy Hill, Katja Livingston, Diego Silva, Analysis Arroyo), along with Hilary Polak, Linda Schraeder, Jim Tranquada and Officer Rodney Smith and all of Campus Safety, made quick decisions on how to proceed and successfully produced an exceptional Springfest for students. Congratulations to the OSL team on rallying to push forward and provide a great experience.

The American Council on Education (ACE) has named Eileen Spain, Carl F. Braun Professor of Chemistry and Associate Dean of the College, an ACE Fellow for academic year 2018-19. Nominated by President Jonathan Veitch, Spain is one of 45 Fellows selected this year after a rigorous application process. She is one of only three Fellows in this year’s class from a small liberal arts college.

Biology professor Gretchen North has been appointed by the National Science Foundation for a two-year term on the Advisory Committee for the Biological Sciences Directorate. The Advisory Committee advises the directorate on how its mission, programs and goals can best serve the scientific community and promote quality graduate and undergraduate education in the biological sciences.

Amy Tahani-Bidmeshki has contributed to the spring issue of Iran Namag: A Quarterly Journal of Iranian Studies with the article "Queering the Iranian Nation: Be Like Others and Resistance to Heteronormative Nationalism." In this paper, Tahani-Bidmeshki argues that the documentary Be Like Others: Transexual in Iran (2008) presents a daunting challenge to the self-ascribed progressive policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran and highlights the regime's homophobia, which mirrors the problematic project of modernity in the Global North.

Amanda Zellmer, assistant professor of biology, in collaboration with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles, is reaching out to the L.A. community to promote citizen-science as a way to not only collect scientific data on salamanders but also to provide a great way to engage with the community in research through outreach and education. Read Zellmer’s blog post here.

For more information on faculty scholarship and accomplishments, visit the Center for Research & Scholarship.



Laura Paisley, associate director, Marketing and Communications

I hail from: Kalispell, Mont.

I graduated from: Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn.

I've been involved with Oxy for: Two months that have flown by!

A typical day on the job looks like: Managing written and other content on the oxy.edu website, working on the redesign of said website (scheduled to launch at the end of 2018), helping people with website requests and taking part in a few meetings.

The favorite part of my job is: Getting to meet and work with many different people across campus.

My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Getting out in nature, whether hiking or going to the ocean or just talking a walk around this gorgeous campus.

A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: Baking my first three-layer cake (and having it turn out well).

Cooler or Marketplace?: Marketplace

If I could invite any famous person—living or dead—to a dinner party it would be: I think Ernest Hemingway would be a hoot.

My nickname is: Newt (bestowed by my older brother when I was 6).

Something people don't know about me is: I don't own a TV.

A good book I've read lately is: I'm reading book four of four in Elena Ferrante's Neapolitan Novels series. The books are about female friendship, identity, family and romantic love and are told in a very rich, honest style. The story takes place in Italy from the 1950s to the present, and I've been loving it.


  • Tuesday, April 24: Jack Kemp ’57 Distinguished Lecturer Tal Becker
  • Sunday, April 29: Glee Club and College Chorus Spring Concert
  • Thursday, May 24: Employee Recognition Day

For more events on campus, visit oxy.edu/calendar.


Grover and Flower, companions to Courtney Robertson, associate director of Strategic Initiatives

Grover (the dog—full name: Super Grover) and Flower (the cat) are two unlikely friends brought together by the mutual location of their food dishes. Flower has been sleeping like a queen and covering couches in fur since 2011. An avid talker, Flower is best known for her ability to fit herself into any box, bag or gap between furniture and the wall, as well as her disdain of most humans (unless they're feeding her spinach).

Grover, 20 lbs of pure energy, joined the pack in 2014 when he escaped his cage at the Best Friends Animal Society to come find Courtney as she was on the lookout for a canine companion. A playful dachshund mix, his favorite pastimes include eating anything but his dog food, chasing his tail and practicing doing the opposite of any command he's been taught. Currently, he's hard at work mastering his next trick-he'll-perform-only-sometimes-when-no-one-else-is-around, a fist bump.

When they aren't lounging in their respective beds, this dynamic duo can be found chasing each other around the kitchen, biting each other's tails and working together to open and empty all the cupboards.