January 2020 On Campus


Record Participation in 2020 MLK Day of Service
More than 250 students, faculty, alumni and staff participated in Occidental’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service event on Jan. 25, with volunteers at 12 sites across Los Angeles.

Jeff Flake to Speak Feb. 5 as Distinguished Kemp Lecturer
Former U.S. Senator Jeff Flake of Arizona will discuss the current state of conservatism and partisan politics with former Arizona Attorney General Grant Woods ’76 on February 5 as Occidental’s 2020 Jack Kemp ’57 Distinguished Lecturer.

C. Riley Snorton Named 2020 Stafford Ellison Wright Black Alumni Scholar-in-Residence
University of Chicago cultural theorist C. Riley Snorton has been named Occidental College’s 2020 Stafford Ellison Wright Black Alumni Scholar-in-Residence.

“Shizu Saldamando: L.A. Intersections” opens Feb. 6 at Oxy Arts
Los Angeles visual artist Shizu Saldamando’s newest solo exhibition, “Shizu Saldamando: L.A. Intersections,” opens February 6 in the gallery of Oxy Arts community art center.

Oxy Upward Bound Celebrates 55 Years of Success
On February 1, Occidental alumni who served as the program’s first tutors will gather on campus with Upward Bound graduates and current program staff to celebrate 55 years of success in what is now one of the country’s oldest and most successful Upward Bound programs.



Nadia Ben-Marzouk, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, CORE Program
Lucas Carden, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Psychology
Alejandra Castellanos, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Spanish & French Studies
Evelyn del cid Corado, cleaning services B, Facilities Management
Dustin Delaney, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Art and Art History
Jacqueline Elam, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, CORE Program
Christopher Fennessy, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Diplomacy & World Affairs
Caitlin Fong, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Biology
Max Foreman, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Music
Emma Funes, cleaning services B, Facilities Management
Diane Garcia-Gonzales, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Urban & Environmental Policy
Randy Glazer, associate vice president, Human Resources
Emily Goulding, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, CORE Program
Allison Hellmich-Iserson, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Biology
Matthew Lesenyie, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Politics
Ana Menjivar, cook B, Campus Dining
Lara Nassar, associate director of Oxy Fund, Institutional Advancement
Jesse Randolph, resource sharing specialist, Library Services
Peter Julian Reonisto, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Kinesiology
Ana Reyes, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, CORE Program
Jose Rodriguez-Gomez, grounds laborer, Facilities Management
Sandy Rodriguez, dishroom assistant, Campus Dining
Pablo Roldan, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Spanish & French Studies
Ryan Terrill, post-doctoral researcher, Biology
Anthony Trochez, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, Education
Anita Zachary, part-time non-tenure track assistant professor, CORE Program
Jekaterina Zyuzin, lab manager, Biology



Samantha Alfrey, instruction and research specialist for arts and humanities, has been elected to the board of directors of CARL (California Academic & Research Libraries) as the director-at-large for private and independent institutions. The appointment will last for two years.

Diplomacy and World Affairs Assistant Professor Phillip Ayoub focuses on LGBTQI rights in two new published articles. In Political Research Quarterly, he and co-author Douglas Page analyze survey data from Europe and Latin America and make the argument that state- promoted political homophobia against the LGBT community decreases efficacy among pro-LGBT people. In another piece, Ayoub reflects on Htun and Weldon's book The Logics of Gender Justice. It comments on the book's theoretical and methodical innovations around the complexities of gender politics, before moving on to the multi-faceted role of religion in gender justice, and then theoretical assumptions around visibility of the marginalized.

James Irvine Distinguished Professor of Art and Art History Professor Linda Besemer presented a solo exhibition, "An Abundance of Errors," at the Vielmetter gallery in Los Angeles this past November and December. The exhibition was comprised of Besemer’s "glitch" paintings, in which the configuration of each painting is derived from a process of digital manipulation. Through this process, Besemer paints something new, something invented; open up new possibilities, and in the artist’s words is able "to abstract the abstract.” Besemer's work was previously featured in the Vielmetter's group show, "The Light Touch," in fall 2019.

Besemer's art work can also be currently seen in the queer abstraction exhibition at the Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art in Overland Park, Kansas, which features the work of 20 artists who create abstract art to convey the complexities of sexuality and gender identity in the 21st century.

A scholarly video essay by Associate Professor of Media Arts and Culture Allison de Fren, titled "Mad Science/Mad Love and the Female Body in Pieces (2018)," examines a sub-genre of the Frankenstein film in which a mad doctor attempts to revive a disfigured/dead daughter/fiancée by stealing parts from female victims. The video essay was recently included in Sight & Sound's best video essays of 2019 list.

Associate Professor of Biology Shana Goffredi has been awarded a $213,809 grant from the National Science Foundation to study the identity and role of symbiotic bacteria in numerous groups of blood-feeding marine invertebrates, from leeches to isopods. The proposed research combines a variety of molecular, imaging, and experimental approaches to examine whether internal bacteria positively influence the success of this unusual group of marine parasites. Integrated with this proposal are research opportunities for undergraduates during the summer and academic semesters.

Assistant Professor of Media Arts and Culture Aleem Hossain won the Best Director prize at the Berlin Sci-Fi Film Festival in November for his feature film After We Leave. Film Threat's review of the film scored it at 9 out of 10, calling it "a shining example of indie filmmaking at its finest."

Professor of Computer Science Kathryn Leonard has been elected as president-elect of the Association for Women in Mathematics, an international professional organization that is a member of the Conference Board of Mathematical Sciences.

Professor of Education Ronald W. Solorzano's new article, "High stakes testing and educational inequality in K-12," examines the historical and current day uses of high-stakes standardized tests in K-12 schools and discusses their relation to education inequality, especially towards students of color.

Survey of STEM participants conducted by Assistant Professor of Biology Amber Stubler shows that unprofessional comments are pervasive in the peer review process and can disproportionately impact the perceived scientific aptitude, productivity, and career advancement of underrepresented groups in STEM. The study sheds light on yet another barrier to equity in STEM. Stubler's survey was recently highlighted in Science Magazine.

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



Chris Arguedas, Interim Director, Intercultural Community Center

I hail from: Costa Rica and Mississippi
I graduated from: Florida International University
I've been involved with Oxy: 1.5 years
A typical day on the job looks like: Building relationships across campus with students, faculty and staff as well as co-creating spaces, training, and programming for underrepresented students at the college.
The favorite part of my job is: The remarkable student leaders who take our programming and initiatives to the next level. The passion they have for equity and justice is inspiring to me and propels our work forward.
My favorite thing to do in Los Angeles is: Eat.
A recent accomplishment I'm proud of is: The opening of the Lavender Lounge (a space for LGBTQIA+ students in Pauley) as well as the "Belonging in the Academic Commons" project, a collaboration between the ICC and the Library. This fall, we recognized and celebrated LGBTQIA+ History Month together (all semester long). We will dedicate the same amount of attention to Black History Month in the spring.
Cooler or Marketplace?: Cooler when I'm in a hurry. Marketplace when I'm catching up with folks on campus.
If I could invite any famous person — living or dead — to a dinner party it would be: Malcom X
My nickname is: Just Chris.
Something people don't know about me is: I was born in Costa Rica and spent part of my childhood there.
A good book I've read lately is: On Earth We're Briefly Gorgeous by Ocean Vuong



  • Oxy Book Club: When the Cheering Stopped: The Last Years of Woodrow Wilson by Gene Smith - Wednesday, February 26, 12-1 p.m. in Swan 227
  • 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 1-2: Pacific Opera Project presents Gianni Schicchi & L'enfant et les Sortilèges

February 5: U.S. Senator Jeff Flake at Occidental

February 10-13: United Nations Week 2020

February 17: President's Day, all offices closed

February 23: Caltech-Oxy Wind Orchestra Concert

February 27: Obama Scholars Speaker Series presents Joe Solmonese on "Repealing 'Don't Ask Don't Tell': Lessons Learned and Where We Are Today"