On Campus September 21 2023


It's been an exciting week as the US News & World Report's 2024 Best College rankings saw Occidental rise two places, landing at No. 35 nationally, a 14-year high. The College also jumped a whopping 44 spots to No. 26 in the publication’s Top Performers on Social Mobility index, which looks to measure how well schools graduate economically disadvantaged students. Read more here.



Occidental and OXY ARTS Present Oxy Live!: A Series of Engaging Conversations with Cultural Icons
Occidental is pleased to announce the launch of “Oxy Live!”, a conversation series highlighting a diverse lineup of cultural luminaries at the forefront of their fields.

Kinzinger Makes the Case for Democracy as Kemp Distinguished Speaker
Adam Kinzinger, a former congressman and member of the Select Committee that investigated the January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol, made his case for the protection of democracy and stressed the importance of the 2024 presidential election in a spirited address as Occidental College’s 2023 Jack Kemp ’57 Distinguished Lecturer.

Occidental Student Wins Obama-Chesky Voyager Scholarship for Public Service
James Steinberger ’25 will receive up to $50,000 in financial aid as part of the two-year scholarship, created to support young leaders in bridging divides and taking on global challenges.

Prof. Jane Hong Wins National Endowment for the Humanities Grant
The associate professor of history will use the funds to help bridge the gap between academic research and K-12 education by leading a two-week summer institute on AAPI histories for middle and high school teachers.

Mercedes Dorame Named 2023-24 Wanlass Artist-in-Residence at Oxy Arts
The yearlong residency program allows an artist to investigate aspects of their practice and share it with the College and community. The program encourages cross-campus collaboration and thoughtful sustained interaction between the artist, students and the community.



Mark your calendars:

  • September 28: A representative from Oxy's 403(b) retirement plan administrator, TIAA, will be conducting group information sessions at 10 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 3:30 p.m. in the Bengal Room, Johnson Student Center. 
  • October 5: HR will be hosting an Employee Wellness Fair from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the Academic Quad. This is your opportunity to learn more about Oxy's health and retirement benefits. The Kaiser mobile will be offering free biometric screenings to all employees enrolled in an Oxy medical plan. Attendees will be entered in an opportunity drawing for vendor-sponsored giveaways.
  • October 23 is the kickoff date for Oxy's Annual Open Enrollment. More details to follow.
  • October 31: HR will be hosting the annual Boo Bash outdoors on the North Patio surrounding AGC from 10 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. Highlights include: a musical performance by CDC children led by “Mr. Mario” Hidalgo ’80, staff costume contests, department pumpkin carving contests, and Halloween-inspired refreshments.

Here is the latest list of arrivals and departures from August 19 to September 16:

Maryo Botros, Library Materials, User Services Specialist                
Jordan Brown, Admission, Associate Dean of Admission/Coordinator of Athletic Recruitment Admission                
April Chagoya, Residence Life, Residential Director            
Estela Oajaca Estrada, Campus Dining, Cook B                
Katharine Kealey, Marketing and Communications, Director of Enrollment Marketing        
Zoe Kitchel, Vantuna Research Group, Postdoctoral Researcher        
Chloe Lahham, Admission, Admission Counselor                
Isabel Merel, Sustainability, Assistant Sustainability Coordinator                
Tia Phillip, Library Materials, Resource Sharing Specialist  

Jazmyne Cortinas, Assistant Coach, Softball    
Martha Matlock, Residence Life, Associate Director of Student Conduct & Restoration    
Marjorieclaire Pollock, Biology, NSF REPS Participant    
Brittany Maciel, Neighborhood Partnership Program, Academic Adviser


From Allie Gordon, director of advancement communications: I'd love to shout out Albert Tovar in Master Calendar, Julie Tanaka in Special Collections and Brian Chambers in Academic Commons for being so supportive and accommodating for a video project. 

From Caryn Rothschild, senior director of major gifts: Allison Keeler has been an absolute rock star in her newish role as associate director of prospect management and research in IA. She has been the point person for the work plan process for gift officers and has been so thoughtful, thorough, patient, and detail-oriented. I am so grateful to her and wanted to say a huge thank you!

From Cris Sevilla-Pappas, resource acquisition specialist: shout-out to my colleagues, Robert Fung (Catalog Data Specialist) and Theresa Clock (Serials Data & Materials Specialist), for their tireless hard work in keeping the behind-the-scenes services impeccable for the patrons of the library, year after year. Also, a big welcome to Tia Phillip (Resource Sharing Specialist), our newest member of the Technical Services team.

From Jennifer Locke, director of national and international fellowships: A huge thanks to Oxy Library staff members Sarah Parramore, Alanna Quan, Cris Sevilla-Pappas, Julie Tanaka and Nick Velkavrh for volunteering to help with our 31 Fulbright interviews this application cycle! Your support has helped Oxy students grow in their communication and goal-setting skills as they plan for life after Oxy.

From Kimberly Diaz, Visiting Instructor, Department of Religious Studies: I'd like to send a special shout-out to Linh Vo, who goes above and beyond as department service coordinator specifically for religious studies, but she also works in the economics and mathematics department. Linh, thank you so much for always making sure faculty has what they need in order for their courses to run smoothly. I appreciate you always asking me if I need a specific item restocked before I actually run out of it! Thank you for all that you do Linh!

From Lizzy Denny, director of Project SAFE and survivor advocate: I'd love to shout out my team at Project SAFE! Joaquin and Stephani have done an amazing job the past month, coordinating trainings for our PAs, orientation for first-years, and providing quality prevention and advocacy services to our students. If you see them around (which you likely will, at a training or on the Quad) give them a big "thanks" for all they do for our community!



Resident Professor of Theater and Performance Studies Jamie Angell recently worked as story editor for the popular Netflix series Disenchantment. Created by Matt Groening, the series dropped its last 10 episodes on September 1. Angell also wrote the script for episode 4, “I Hear Your Noggin, But You Can't Come In.”

Visiting Assistant Professor Chris Blakley published a book titled Empire of Brutality: Enslaved People and Animals in the British Atlantic World. In Empire of Brutality, Blakley explores how material relationships between enslaved people and animals bolstered the intellectual dehumanization of the enslaved.

In a new chapter, Assistant Professor of Spanish & Linguistics Mariska Bolyanatz finds that creaky voice (aka vocal fry) is used by speakers of Chilean Spanish to organize discourse and invoke the listener's alignment with their messages or stances. In a separate article in Studies in Hispanic and Lusophone Linguistics, Bolyanatz finds that velar palatalization (that is, pronunciation of Spanish words such as "mujer" as "mujier") in Chile is present for all 61 speakers in her sample, and appears to be a strengthening phenomenon (salient to listeners) among speakers of this Spanish dialect.

Associate Professor of History and Asian Studies Alexander F. “Sasha” Day was the historical consultant for a new Warner Bros. Animation series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai, which aired on Max in May. The series is a prequel to the original movie, following a young Sam Wing and Gizmo through 1920s China. Day is also the editor of On Rural Society and Village Governance in Contemporary China, which collects 12 key essays translated from Chinese on the rapid transformation of rural society and governance through the marketization of rural labor, agricultural products and land over the last 20 years.

Instructor of Rock Guitar Steve Gregory recently played on an album featuring jazz vocalist Tierney Sutton and the San Gabriel Seven to be released soon. He will be releasing his own album of guitar instrumentals with band in the coming months.

In a new article in the Journal of Race, Ethnicity, and Politics, Assistant Professor of Politics Isaac Hale and his co-author find that political participation and racial attitudes are linked among white Americans. There is partisan asymmetry, with racial animus motivating participation among white Republicans and depressing it among white Democrats. Hale was also interviewed by Spectrum News about a number of topics, including former President Donald Trump's indictments, and was interviewed by LiveNOW following the first Republican presidential debate.  

In a new article in Current Musicology, Assistant Professor of Music Stephen Hudson describes how many songs by hip-hop/R&B superstar Drake will loop a chord progression, then add a new bass line that has notes which are not in the original chords, creating plural and multi-layered hearings which go beyond traditional harmonic theory, and reflect the conflicted emotions in Drake's lyrics.

Assistant Professor of Sociology Benjamin Weiss’ paper in Qualitative Sociology, drawing on ethnographic data from a rape crisis center, reveals that inexperienced victim advocates struggle with contradictory directives that expert advocates navigate tacitly. For organizational scholars, Weiss theorizes inexperience as a lens through which contradictions become visible.

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