Nine new and familiar faces step into the classroom in tenure-track positions as the College cultivates the next generation of great minds
Nine new tenure-track professors—the largest incoming class in years—have joined the Oxy faculty this fall. "They come from the top graduate programs in their fields, they are great teachers, and their research careers are off to impressive starts," says Jorge Gonzalez, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. "Their areas of expertise fit perfectly with our Strategic Plan, and they will expand the choice of classes we offer our students. I am thrilled with the quality of our new faculty."
Treena Basu, an assistant professor of mathematics, comes to Oxy from Rhodes College in Memphis, Tenn. Her research interests revolve around applied mathematics and scientific computing. Born in England, Basu spent most of her life in the United States before moving as a teen with her family to India. Basu received her doctorate from the University of South Carolina in 2012.
Jeffrey Cannon '07, an assistant professor of chemistry, taught as an adjunct assistant professor at Oxy last year. A typical Occidental alumnus, besides being a synthetic organic chemist, he is a singer (he was a member of Glee Club) and conversant in Japanese. Cannon received his Ph.D. from UC Irvine in 2012 and completed his postdoc at Caltech.
Sophal Ear, an associate professor of diplomacy and world affairs, previously taught in the department of national security affairs at the U.S. Naval Postgraduate School. He leads research on post-conflict countries, looking at the effectiveness of foreign aid and the challenge of development in places like his native land, Cambodia. Ear came to the United States at age 10 as a Cambodian refugee via France after his mother escaped with her five children from the Khmer Rouge. He received his doctorate from UC Berkeley in 2006.
Jane Hong, an assistant professor of history, comes to Oxy from the faculty of Seton Hall University. Hong researches and teaches 20th-century U.S. history, with a focus on American immigration and engagement with the world, comparative civil rights, and Asian American history. She is an alumna of Teach for America in Newark, N.J., and did her undergraduate studies at Yale, her master's at Brown University, and her doctoral work in history at Harvard.
The department of art history and the visual arts welcomes back Ari Laskin as an assistant professor. Laskin received his Ph.D. from UC Irvine in 2012 and was previously a Mellon postdoctoral fellow and adjunct assistant professor at Oxy. His interests include transnational film, the history of photography, postcolonial studies, and new media.
Diana Ngo, an assistant professor of economics, has a particular interest in poverty measurement and health interventions in developing countries. Her specialties include development, health, and labor economics. Ngo received her B.S. from Harvard in biomedical engineering and was a post-bachelor fellow at the Harvard Institute for Global Health. She received her doctorate from UC Berkeley in 2014.
Native American arts and culture expert Nancy Marie Mithlo will teach three courses as an associate professor of art history and visual arts while also working at the Autry National Center in program development, exhibition planning, and community outreach. She comes to Oxy from the University of Wisconsin at Madison, where she was an associate professor. Mithlo received her doctorate in anthropology from Stanford in 1993 and is the author of Our Indian Princess: Subverting the Stereotype (2009).
Marcella Raney '01, who joined the Oxy faculty as an adjunct assistant professor of kinesiology in 2008, has been promoted to assistant professor. Her interests relate to the prevention of chronic disease as well as higher-education science pedagogy. She leads a community-based directed-research team that provides physical activity and nutrition support for low-income Los Angeles families. A biochemistry major at Oxy, Raney received her Ph.D. in kinesiology from USC in 2006.
Aleksandra Sherman has joined the cognitive science department as an assistant professor, having received her Ph.D. from Northwestern earlier this year. Her research interests include multisensory perception, aesthetics, visual perception, emotion, neuroaesthetics, visual attention, and human perception and performance.
In addition, Frank Guridy is on special appointment as the Ray A. Billington Visiting Professor of History. Guridy comes to Oxy from the University of Texas at Austin, where he is director of the John L. Warfield Center for African and African-American Studies. Guridy is the author of Forging Diaspora: Afro-Cubans and African Americans in a World of Empire and Jim Crow (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), which won book prizes from the Association of Caribbean Historians and the American Historical Association. His recent research includes a history of race and masculinity in black diasporic sporting cultures; and the role of stadiums in U.S. cities during the 20th century.