October 2017

While the weather may not always agree, pumpkin season is here! In between readying your Boo Bash entries, catch up on the latest news and accomplishments from your campus community.


Three Tigers, One Team Inducted Into Hall of Fame

The Occidental athletics program celebrated its rich history with the induction of three more Tigers and one team into the Oxy Athletics Hall of Fame during Homecoming & Family Weekend.

Oxy Karate Champ Has Olympics in Her Sights

Giselle Kaneda ’19 of Cupertino represented the United States at the Pan-American karate championship in Argentina in August. It was one more step in her journey toward qualifying for the Olympic Games in 2020.

New Spotlight on Student Experiences

Head over to oxy.edu to find a new feature showcasing a variety of student experiences, including stories of traveling abroad to conduct undergraduate research, exciting internships and campus leaders who are leaving their stamp on Oxy.

Stranger Tigers Premiere

When an Oxy student doesn't show up to class, his three friends head out on a mission to find him and come across a mysterious stranger on the way. Watch the latest Oxy video and get set for a happy Halloween!




Desanka Beslic, development coordinator, Institutional Advancement
Greg Costido, Campus Safety officer
Salvador Gonzalez, Campus Safety officer
Andrew Jackwin, strategic enrollment analyst, Admission
Casey K. Landry, associate director of the Oxy Annual Fund
Corinth E. Lightner, registrar’s assistant
Marisela Ramirez, assistant to the executive director, campaign planning, Institutional Advancement
Naomi Sweo, enrollment communications specialist, Admission
Delia Vazquez, dish room assistant, Campus Dining
Sarah N. Zuno, facilities work center coordinator, Support Services


The 63rd Kubota Annual All-Star Karate Championships was held at Oxy's Rush Gym on October 1. Competitors from all over the world traveled to compete as well as Oxy students, alumni and staff. Among the participants were Oxy's karate instructor and Postal Operations Center manager, Victor Chico, who placed first in black belt weapons kata division (forms), and UEPI senior program coordinator Sylvia Chico, who placed first and third, respectively, in the 45 years and older black belt Japanese traditional kata division.

Nancy Dess, professor of psychology, published two articles in the past year. ​For t​he first study, "Gut microbiota and a selectively bred taste phenotype: A novel model of microbiome-behavior relationships," ​she collaborated with associate professor Clinton Dale Chapman in psychology and professor Gary Martin in biology and colleagues at three other institutions. This paper demonstrates for the first time that rodent lines created through selective pressure on taste and differing on functionally related correlates host different microbial communities. These findings encourage further inquiry on the relationship of the microbiome to taste, dietary habits, emotion, ​social behavior, ​and health.
​​The second study, "Sweetener intake by rats selectively bred for differential saccharin intake: sucralose, stevia, and acesulfame potassium,"​ was a collaboration with Chapman and Oxy graduates Kiana Dobson and Brandon Roberts. It​ extends prior work by examining intake of custom mixtures of ​several nutritive and nonnutritive sweeteners. Results indicate that aversive side tastes limit intake of ​nonnutritive sweeteners

A study published in the journal The Social Psychology of Education by psychology professor Andrea Hopmeyer has resulted in findings that indicate that emerging adults identity with peer crowds in college and that those affiliations have implications for their academic success and adjustment. The study was designed to validate the College Peer Crowd Questionnaire (CPCQ) as a useful tool for researchers studying peer dynamics in college. Co-authors of the study include Oxy alums Tal Medavoy ’17 and Jesse Fischer ’10.

History professor Maryanne Cline Horowitz has published a comparative article on a rarely studied topic in the history of ideas—the idea of imagination in 16th- and early 17th-century thought—focusing on two distinct streams of writing: meditational aids to spirituality and humorous portrayal of human arrogance. Independent research from Oxy alums Undine Darney and Hye Soo Oh (Connie) was incorporated into the article, which appears in the essay compilation From Rome to Zurich, Between Ignatius and Vermigli.

This September, assistant director of utilities Chris Reyes received a certificate of graduation from the APPA Leadership Academy. The courses at the Leadership Academy provide opportunities for professionals in the education industry to increase their effectiveness skills on a variety of levels, from individual to organizational. Reyes seeks to create a positive impact within Oxy’s educational facilities with these added skills.

Oxy Arts director Deena Selenow will be co-curating the REDCAT Fall 2017 Studio. This Studio Series was created to give new artists an opportunity to hone their skills and offer established artists a chance to test new material and works in progress before an audience. Performances will take place on December 10 and 11.

Assistant professors Aleksandra Sherman (cognitive science) and Amanda Zellmer (biology) co-wrote a letter published in this month’s Science magazine outlining the need for creating more culturally inclusive STEM courses in higher education. The letter was a culmination of discussions with faculty here at Oxy, as well as undergraduate research by Marjorie Morales '17 and Lindsay Opoku-Achaempong '16, and from discussions that arose out of the occupation two years ago.

Fashion and beauty media site Racked recently created a Facebook video using information from a study co-authored by assistant professor of urban and environmental policy Bhavna Shamasunder. The video showcases the research done on toxic chemical exposure found in beauty products, particularly those aimed at women of color. Read more about the study here.

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



Teresa Williams, assistant controller, business office

I hail from: Yankton, South Dakota

I graduated from: University of Notre Dame

I've been involved with Oxy for: 3 years

A typical day on the job looks like: Spreadsheets and lots of numbers.

The favorite part of my job is: Being on a college campus and getting firsthand exposure to the issues our students care about.

My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Going to the Hollywood Bowl.

A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: Bike riding through Glacier National Park. It was unique to ride through the U.S./Canada border checkpoint on a bicycle.

Cooler or Marketplace?: I'm usually at the gym. Oxy has a terrific lunchtime yoga class.

If I could invite any famous person — living or dead — to a dinner party it would be:  Only people named Joe because there is no such thing as an "Ordinary Joe."

My nickname is: Terri

Something people don't know about me is: I love watching spelling bee finals.

A good book I've read lately is: Britt-Marie Was Here by Fredrik Backman


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



Henry and Basil, companions to Allison Keeler, assistant director, Office of Strategic Initiatives

Henry and Basil (Bazz) are fluffy angels. Henry (gray), 8, was adopted as a kitten from Greenhill Humane Society in Eugene, Ore. in 2009. At 20 lbs, Henry is a big boy who doesn’t fit in all the places he used to, but still makes all his jumps. He is very vocal, and uses his loud meows to communicate his wants. Bazz (tuxedo), 3, was adopted from a rescue group in Los Angeles in 2014. He is a docile kitty that likes to drink water by dipping his paw in it and licking it off. They both like to stroll outside on their leashes, where they roll around in the dirt like chinchillas and eat grass (which inevitably comes back up). Much of the time, you can find them perching on windowsills to stare at birds and intimidate the outdoor neighborhood cats that wander into their yard. They’re simple men, preferring to play with a piece of string or a chopstick rather than store-bought toys. Like most kitties, they go nuts for catnip and belly rubs. They are deeply loved and perfectly pampered.