August 2017

Summer activity didn't slow down for the Occidental community. Take a moment to catch up on campus news and join us in a virtual cheers to a new school year.


Congrats Welcome to the Class of 2021!

This week brought 560+ new students to Oxy this week as the Class of 2021 officially matriculated. They were welcomed at a lively Convocation featuring traditional Taiko drummers in Thorne Hall where faculty members were honored for their teaching, scholarship and service.

Occidental Adds Computer Science Department, Major

Acknowledging that computers now impact nearly every aspect of our everyday lives, as well as strong student demand, a new computer science major and department is rolling out this fall.

Oxy Tops for Economic Diversity

For the third consecutive year, the New York Times has ranked Occidental College as one of the country’s most economically diverse colleges, based on enrollments of lower- and middle-income students and the net price it charges those students.

Student-Athletes Rise to the Top

Delaney Nolin ’17 was named one of two SCIAC finalists for the prestigious NCAA Woman of the Year Award. The top 30 honorees will be announced in early September. Giselle Kaneda ’19 represented the U.S. at the Pan American karate championship in Argentina this month. This is one more step in her journey toward qualifying for the Olympic Games in 2020.

Take an Aerial Tour of Campus

Over 160 people shared views of our beautiful campus in a recently posted aerial tour video, stirring up excitement from alumni, students and staff members. Find the video on Oxy's Facebook page.



Shane Allen, Facilities Management, HVAC Helper
Holly Aviles, Biology, stockroom assistant/animal care technician
Marcus Benigno, media arts and culture, PT NTT Instructor
Mariano Bertucci, diplomacy & world affairs, PT NTT assistant professor
Alma Bezares Calderon, politics, PT NTT Instructor
Mariska Bolyanatz, Spanish & French studies, PT NTT assistant professor
Kalzang Dorjee Bhutia, history, PT NTT asst. professor
Brian Chambers, Library Services, assessment/user experience specialist
Yating Chuang, economics, PT NTT asst. professor
Christine Chuong, UEPI: urban & environmental policy, grants manager
Are Corbett, writing & rhetoric, PT NTT asst. professor
Robert Cushman, Athletics-Administration, head coach football
Corey Davis, urban & environmental program, PT NTT Instructor
Sandra de la Loza, art and art history, PT NTT asst. professor
Emmanuelle Despagnet-Ayoub, chemistry, PT NTT assistant professor
Benjamin Ehrenreich, English, PT NTT Instructor
Lilly Margaret Eluvathingal, biology, PT NTT assistant professor
Linda Escobar, Human Resources, HR staffing specialist
Rob Flot, dean of students, vice president for student affairs
Gabriel Freiman, physics, FT NTT assistant professor
Jose Gaspar, Neighborhood Partnership Program, academic advisor
Peter Hajnal, CORE, NTT assistant professor
Joseph Hankins, critical theory & social justice, PT NTT assistant professor
Kenyatta Hinkle, art and art history, Wanlass Artist in Residence
Amy Holmes-Tagchungdarpa, religious studies, associate professor
Trace T Konerko, theater, PT NTT asst. professor
Viola Lasmana, media arts and culture, PT NTT asst. professor
Kathryn Leonard, cognitive science, professor
Calvin Lesko, music, concert manager
Tonya Lira, Human Resources, faculty services assistant
Melissa Lopez, Health Center, staff therapist
Jacob Mackey, comparative studies in literature and culture, assistant professor
Viviana MacManus, critical theory & social justice, FT NTT visiting asst. professor
Susanna Maing, art and art history, PT NTT assistant professor
Elli Menounou, diplomacy & world affairs PT NTT assistant professor
Kerri A. Miller, Dean of Students, executive assistant for VP Student Affairs
Natalie Muren, chemistry, NTT assistant professor
Michelle Naito-Lo, assistant dean of Admission
Raul Navarro, chemistry, assistant professor
John Nguyen, Intercultural Community Center, assistant director/diversity training
Spencer O'Karma, Library Services, circulation supervisor
Greg Ochoa, Facilities Management, senior project manager
Rosa Pastor, Neighborhood Partnership Program, academic advisor
Meyer Pesenson, physics, PT NTT asst. professor
Courtney Powers, diplomacy & world affairs, PT NTT assistant professor
Erica Preston-Roedder, Office of the Dean of the College, Post-Doctoral Fellow
Tatiana Prytkova, chemistry, PT NTT assistant professor
 Amy Ramnarine, economics, FT NTT Instructor
Ricardo Salinas, theater, PT NTT asst. professor
Leanne Sappington, Alumni and Parent Engagement, AVP, Asst. Dir.of Engagement Events
Ekaterina Savchenkova, mathematics, adjunct faculty
Lizbeth Simmons, critical theory & social justice, PT NTT assistant professor
Jenilee Sneed, Health Center, Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellow
Joaquin Solis, Campus Safety Officer
Jenilee Sneed, Health Center, Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellow
Jessica Stacy, Health Center, Post-Doctoral Psychology Fellow
Wendy Sternberg, Office of the Dean of the College, VP Academic Affairs/Dean of College
Kailee Stovall, Arts Programming, Oxy Arts - Post Bac. Fellow
Amber D. Stubler, biology, assistant professor
Kevin Urstadt, cognitive science, PT NTT Instructor
Agustin Vasquez-Lopez, Neighborhood Partnership Program, Senior Academic Advisor
Sybil Venegas, art and art history, PT NTT asst. professor
Angelique Villalobos, Neighborhood Partnership Program, Academic Advisor
Yurika Wakamatsu, art and art history, assistant professor
Lauren Wagner, Training Quarter, assistant athletic trainer
Christopher Wawrinofsky, art and art history, art studio manager
Eva Zhou, Campus Safety Officer


Associate professor and chair of the media arts and culture department Broderick Fox won the feature script category at this year’s University Film & Video Association’s 2017 Juried Scriptwriting Competition. Fox’s screenplay, One Degree, shared the themes of the association’s conference, "Media Diversity: Inclusion and Convergence."

Scientific American profiled the work of associate professor of biology Shana Goffredi and her scientific colleagues, who spent much of the summer on a research boat in the Gulf of California studying "bizarro" marine ecosystems. According to the magazine, the team’s "findings add a layer of complexity to how highly specialized animals colonized these unique environments."

Last spring, assistant professor of sociology Krystale Littlejohn was an invited speaker on a panel on reproductive justice at the Women's Health and Empowerment Symposium at Scripps College. Her talk examined race differences in how women respond to gender inequality around birth control use in relationships. Littlejohn was also awarded a $6,000 fellowship from the American Association of University Women to support work on her book manuscript, His Condom & Her Birth Control: Pregnancy Prevention and the Social Construction of Sex and Gender.

Professor Amy Lyford’s new project on American surrealist artist Dorothea Tanning has been funded with a grant from the Terra Foundation for American Art through their International Research Travel Grant Program. Lyford will use the grant to conduct research on Tanning in Europe during her upcoming sabbatical this spring semester.

Julie Prebel, associate professor of writing and rhetoric and writing programs director, has been appointed to the editorial staff of a top-tier, peer-reviewed journal, WLN: A Journal of Writing Center Scholarship. As associate editor, Prebel will provide mentorship to scholars seeking to publish in the journal and develop a collaborative mentorship program to support the work of junior scholars and scholars of color.

Oxy’s Upward Bound program—one of the oldest Upward Bound programs in the country—will continue its work with motivated low-income high school students and first-gen students thanks to a renewed $2.68-million grant from the U.S. Department of Education. Led by program director Jesus Maldonado, the year-round program serves 122 local students annually and encourages them to reach their academic potential and complete a postsecondary degree.

At the Joint Meeting of the Ichthyologists and Herpetologists (JMIH)  in Austin, Texas, assistant professor of biology Amanda Zellmer received the Raymond D. Semlitsch Award for her research on integrating genomics, citizen science, and fine-scale niche modeling to quantify microgeographic diversification of urban Batrachoseps salamanders. This early-career research award provides $5,000 for research funds for Zellmer’s work on studying impacts of urbanization on salamander distributions.

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


Renae Cotero, Master Calendar coordinator

I hail from:  El Monte, Calif.

I graduated from: Oxy!

I've been involved with Oxy for: Four years as an undergraduate working in the bookstore, four years in the biology department and one year in the Master Calendar position, so nine years total.

A typical day on the job looks like: There are a lot of emails, phone calls and meetings with students, faculty and staff about scheduling spaces on campus for academic and non-academic events.

The favorite part of my job is: Getting to work with so many great people in the Hospitality Department. There is never a dull moment in our office!

My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Go to a concert or a Dodgers game.

A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: I am not a morning person, but ​I have somehow managed to make it to all of the Oxy summer morning spin classes.

Cooler or Marketplace?: Marketplace

If I could invite any famous person — living or dead — to a dinner party it would be:  Vin Scully. I can listen to his stories all day.

My nickname is: Nae Nae

Something people don't know about me is: I love animals and have worked in the Education Department at the Los Angeles Zoo and the Audubon Zoo in New Orleans.

A good book I've read lately is: Travels with Charley by John Steinbeck


For more events on campus, visit


Companions to the Vantuna Research Group’s Chelsea Muñoz Williams, research associate and grants manager, and Jonathan Williams, research scientist and biology instructor.

Meet Alice and Theo, the dynamic pug duo! Alice was adopted when she was 2 months old and has been spoiled rotten during her eight years of life. In her free time, she enjoys basking in the sun, barking at other four-legged animals and cuddling under blankets with her humans. Theo joined our family in December 2016 via Pug Nation LA. Theo, a rather portly pug at the time, ambled into our lives with a nametag that read "Teddy 5YO." (Turns out he’s more like seven or eight.) After learning about the terrible conditions he endured at his original homes and knowing that he had spent a year at an L.A. city shelter before a failed rescue, there was no turning back. Teddy (now Theo) came home with us that day! Despite his rough upbringing, he is the sweetest and happiest pup! His favorite activities are snorting in people’s faces, chasing cats and hiding toys from his sister.