September 2019 On Campus


• The search for Oxy’s next president is ongoing. For the latest updates, including the September 17 message from the search committee co-chairs, visit the Presidential Search webpage.
• On September 23, Amos Himmelstein announced via email that the College will be offering Blue Shield for 2020 in place of HealthNet. More information about this and about 2020 open enrollment will follow from HR in October.
• On September 17, Amos updated the community via email on the search for Oxy’s Chief Human Resources officer. The job description for this important role can be found here. Over 100 applications have been received to date and the College hopes to announce an appointment before the end of the calendar year.
• Mark your calendars for the first all-staff meeting of the semester on October 30.


College Guides Rank Occidental Among Top U.S. Schools
This year’s results are in: Occidental College is once again one of the top-ranked liberal arts colleges in the country.

New Program Makes Faculty and Students International Research Partners
The next chapter of Richter research at Occidental College allows students to engage closely with faculty as research partners and mentees during intensive international field study.

Sabrina Degnan '19 Named Top Candidate for NCAA Woman of the Year
Track & field and volleyball star Sabrina Degnan ’19 has been named a top candidate for the NCAA Woman of the Year Award.

Karalee Nakatsuka '89 Named California History Teacher of the Year
Middle school history teacher Karalee Wong Nakatsuka ’89 has an unmistakable passion for her subject. “I like to make history come alive for my students,” says the 30-year Arcadia Unified School District veteran.

NCSA Ranks Oxy No. 5 Place for Football
Occidental was named the No. 5 NCAA Division III school for football by the NCSA last month.


Hsing-Hau Chen, computer science: full-time non-tenure track assistant professor
Erin Jaco, Vantuna Research Group: research associate
Elena Lopez, urban & environmental policy: project coordinator
Alicia Pentico, biology: laboratory technician
Marcus Rodriguez, SLICE: director
Sepehr Sassani, institutional advancement: assistant director of the Oxy Annual Fund



In an extended interview with The Fair Observer, Diplomacy and World Affairs Professor Anthony Chase offers his thoughts on recent developments in Palestinian politics, with reference to Israeli and U.S. policies with a particular impact on Palestine.

Art & Art History Professor Mary Beth Heffernan’s 2015 social practice art response to the West Africa Ebola epidemic is curated in a permanent exhibition entitled Being Human at the Wellcome Collection in London. The PPE Portrait Project humanized healthcare workers by placing adhesive portrait photos on the outside of the frightening hazmat suits so that patients could identify their caregivers.

Andrea Hopmeyer, professor of psychology, has published three papers on recent studies she has conducted relating to peer crowd affiliations as well as social media associations. In a paper for Emerging Adulthood, Hopmeyer's study showed that the peer landscape was best described by four crowd dimensions, and that students' crowd identifications predicted their sense of well-being (i.e., loneliness, or belonging at the institution), and their risk-taking behavior. In the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, a study examining the effects of adolescents' use of various communication technologies finds that avid use of social media can be a marker of academic, behavioral, or social difficulties in school. A study examining peer crowd landscape among LGBT-identified emerging adults showed that students' self-reported crowd affiliations were associated with their sense of well-being and behavioral adjustment, and can be read in the Journal of Homosexuality.

In August 2019, Assistant Professor of Theater Sarah Kozinn had the first public reading of her new play, 21.06, The Lawrence v. Texas Project. The play is based on the events leading up to the 2003 U.S. Supreme Court case of Lawrence v. Texas. The Court’s decision marked the first major victory towards equal citizenship for LGBTQIA Americans by ruling that state sodomy laws are unconstitutional. Kozinn weaves together legal documents, testimony, interviews, and news footage with constructed history to reinvigorate the story with the lives of the men whose arrest was used to contest the constitutionality of state sodomy laws.

History Professor Lisa Sousa’s chapter titled “Flowers and Speech in Discourses on Deviance in Book 10” was published in The Florentine Codex: An Encyclopedia of the Nahua World in Sixteenth-Century Mexico. The Florentine Codex is a 12-volume work on Nahua (Aztec) society, religion, political history, and the natural history of central Mexico written in the mid-sixteenth century by Nahua noblemen under the direction of a Spanish friar, Bernardino de Sahagún.

According to Economics Assistant Professor Kevin Williams' new paper for Science Direct, "Academic Achievement Across the Day: Evidence from Randomized Class Schedules," if students fall asleep in class, maybe their schedule is to blame. Williams and his co-author quantify "scheduling effects" in higher education and show that students with sub-optimal schedules (e.g., early classes, many back-to-back classes) are at a significant disadvantage and end up earning lower grades.

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

Campus Kudos - recognizing outstanding work on campus
Luz Jaramillo was recognized by Assistant Professor of Chemistry Anne Yu and department Services Coordinator Regina Booth for her excellent work in the Chemistry Department as the cleaning services staff member assigned to the chemistry labs. She was recognized for her thoroughness and positivity.  Anne and Regina also wanted to acknowledge cleaning services manager Mario Bonilla for helping coordinate various improvements within their department.



Kevin Mulroy, College Librarian

I hail from: England
I graduated from: Keele University
I've been involved with Oxy for: Two months.
A typical day on the job looks like: A mixture of big picture planning and smaller picture managing.
The favorite part of my job is: Meeting with faculty, staff, and students.
My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: See a Dodgers game
A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: Being selected to be the Occidental College Librarian
Cooler or Marketplace?: Marketplace (disclaimer: I haven't visited the Cooler yet . . .)
If I could invite any famous person — living or dead — to a dinner party it would be: Shakespeare ("did you really write all those plays?")
My nickname is: Man of Steel (just kidding!)
Something people don't know about me is: I'm pretty good at classic rock trivia
A good book I've read lately is: Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI


Tuesday, October 8: Talking Books and Moore Lab of Zoology present a talk by the authors of Wild L.A.
Wednesday, October 9: Oxy Arts - The Art of Food Writing
Thursday, October 10: Occidental Symphony Orchestra Fall Concert
Friday–Saturday, October 18–19: Homecoming & Family Weekend
Thursday, October 31: Boo Bash