February 2020 On Campus


Harry J. Elam Jr. of Stanford University Named Occidental’s 16th President
Harry J. Elam Jr., vice provost for undergraduate education at Stanford University, has been selected as the 16th president of Occidental, the College’s Board of Trustees announced.

Oxy Top Fulbright Producer for 15th Year
For the 15th consecutive year, Occidental is one of the country’s top producers of student Fulbright Awards, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education’s annual Fulbright rankings.

$1 Million Mellon Grant to Fund Oxy Arts Community-Based Arts Education Program
A five-year, $1 million grant from the Mellon Foundation will make it possible to widen Oxy’s network of community partners in Northeast L.A. and expand arts education programs to enhance local residents’ engagement with the issues that matter to them.

Barack Obama Scholars Program Speaker Series Presents “Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’”
“Repealing ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’: Lessons Learned and Where We Are Today,” the third in the Obama Scholars Program Speaker Series, will be presented on Thursday, February 27 at 3:30 p.m. in Choi Auditorium.



Emily Bomersback, Associate Director of Marketing, Admission & Enrollment, Marketing and Communications
Evelyn Chan, Nurse Practitioner, Emmons Wellness Center
Elias Chavez, Assistant Director of Annual Fund, Annual Fund
Ashley Claiborne, Assistant Director of Housing Services, ResEd
Amanda Frazier, Campus Safety Officer
Alexandra Fulcher, Title IX Coordinator
Maribel Reyes, Campus Safety Officer
Isaiah Thomas, Assistant Dean and Director of Residential Education and Housing, Residential Education
Sarah Truby, Associate Director of Athletics Giving, Institutional Advancement



Mathematics Professor Jim Brown has been awarded a $23,750 grant by the National Security Agency and a $19,125 grant by the National Science Foundation to support the conference "Building Bridges: 5th EU/US Workshop on Automorphic Forms and Related Topics." This workshop will bring together researchers from around the world at the University of Sarajevo to share their research results in the field of automorphic forms.

Patrice Cablayan, Associate Director Gift Planning and Stewardship, has completed her CSPG designation (Certified Specialist in Planned Giving). This is a year-long rigorous program that is taught out of Cal State Long Beach. The entire Institutional Advancement team is very proud of this accomplishment.

Assistant Professor of Chemistry Jeff Cannon, Emeritus Professor of Chemistry Don Deardorff, and Oxy co-authors Hilary Brown '14, Christopher Finlayson '07, Collrane Frivold '15, Scott Niman '18, Mark Paulsen '10, Anasheh Sookezian '14, and Meghan Whalen '19 have published a new article, "Development of a Combined Enzyme- and Transition Metal-Catalyzed Strategy for the Synthesis of Heterocycles: Enantioselective Syntheses of (–)-Coniine, DAB-1, and Nectrisine." Their work used an enzyme found in store-bought raw almonds to catalyze one of the key reactions. The work centers around strategies to utilize this reaction to synthesize complex molecules from the building blocks it provides.     

Diplomacy and World Affairs Professor Anthony Chase has co-written “Broadening Human Rights: The Case for Pluralistic Approach,” a chapter in the new book Why Human Rights Still Matter in Contemporary Global Affairs. The book presents the argument that to inform a powerful alternative to global xenophobia, human rights must be reconceptualized to more ambitiously advance economic equity and political pluralism.

History Professor Sharla Fett's new chapter in Liberated Africans and the Abolition of the Slave Trade, 1807-1896 looks at the experiences of African youth "liberated" from illegal slave ships and placed into apprenticeships in Liberia during the mid-19th century. Although U.S. and Liberian officials viewed these arrangements as humanitarian antislavery efforts, many young "recaptured Africans" (as they were called at the time) resisted their apprenticeships as a new form of slavery.

Associate Professor of English James Ford's first book, Thinking through Crisis: Depression-Era Black Literature, Theory, and Politics, has been published by Fordham University Press. Ford’s book examines the works of Richard Wright, Ida B. Wells, W.E.B. Du Bois, Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes during the 1930s in order to articulate a materialist theory of trauma. The book intervenes in debates on the 1930s, radical subjectivity and states of emergency.

Small and medium multifamily properties—defined as buildings having between two and 49 units—house over 20% of the U.S. population, yet they remain an understudied segment of the housing market. Using a rich, transaction-level dataset in 11 major urban counties, Urban & Environmental Policy Assistant Professor Seva Rodnyansky and co-authors' new paper, "Why Are Small and Medium Multifamily Properties So Inexpensive?," finds that prices per square foot in residential buildings with two to 49 units are priced lower than those in smaller or larger buildings. This price discount highlights an opportunity for preserving pockets of naturally affordable rental units.

In a newly published article, "The high speed radular prey strike of a fish-hunting cone snail," Biology Professor Joseph Schulz and his co-authors, including student collaborators Ian Jan '20 and Gerleen Sangha '17, document that cone snails utilize an ultra high-speed prey strike to deliver the venom, the fastest prey strike in molluscs.  The work establishes that soft-tissue latch systems are capable of generating incredibly rapid accelerations.

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



Tirzah Blanche, Program Coordinator and Prevention Education Specialist, Project SAFE

I hail from: The East Bay Area: Alameda/Oakland/Berkeley. (Go A’s!)
I graduated from: UC Berkeley (B.A.) ’11; UI Chicago (M.Ed.) ’16
I've been involved with Oxy: About five months; I started in October 2019.
A typical day on the job looks like: Every day is different, but typically it involves responding to emails, meeting with our student PAs who I supervise, coordinating Project SAFE trainings and activities and making connections with folks across campus, reading up on best practices for sexual violence prevention on college campuses, and working on a long(er) term program evaluation project.
The favorite part of my job is: having conversations about consent, healthy relationships, rape culture, and prevention! I’m always down to talk about these subjects. :)
My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Doing anything outdoors in January (because I just moved here from Chicago—muahahaha); second favorite: all things FOOD!
A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: Getting hired to do what I love at Oxy!
Cooler or Marketplace?: Cooler—love those sushi rolls for a quick lunch.
If I could invite any famous person — living or dead — to a dinner party it would be: bell hooks
My nickname is: With a name like Tirzah I have a lot of nicknames. A small sampling includes Zah, Zazarina, Tiz, Tazzly, and T.
Something people don't know about me is: I have traveled to six continents.
A good book I've read lately is: Born a Crime by Trevor Noah.



  • Zumba with Monica Jones  - Thursday, March 5 at 5 p.m. in the Dance Studio
  • Street Smarts Session with Victor Chico, Beatrice Gonzales, and Sylvia Chico - March TBD. Stay tuned for more information.


February 29–March 3: California Vote Center at Oxy

March 9–13: Spring break, no classes

March 27: Statute 21.06: Homosexual Conduct, A new play by Sarah Kozinn