Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

February 2023

Nicholas Ball, associate professor of chemistry, gave two research seminars about his work with Claremont Colleges students: at the Houk-Jung Organic Symposium at UCLA and at San Diego State University. The talks featured research in the Ball lab centered around developing new reactions that add sulfur into organic molecules. These sulfur-based molecules are important targets in drug candidates, agrochemicals, molecular biology and material chemistry.

Ball was featured in an article in Cell Reports Physical Sciences titled “Conduction Research at Primarily Undergraduate Institutions.” The “Voices” article features an invited international group of principal investigators in science who conduct research with undergraduates and their comments on the opportunities and challenges of conducting research at a PUI.

Malachai Komanoff Bandy, assistant professor of music, published the article “‘With the base Viall placed between my Thighes’: musical instruments and sexual subtext in Titian’s Venus with musician series” in the journal Early Music (Oxford University Press).

As a director of the early music ensemble Artifex Consort, Bandy presented a lecture-performance about symbolism and alchemical puzzle-canons titled “Mercurial Multimedia: Chasing Music and Image in Michael Maier’s Atalanta fugiens (1617)” at the Benton Museum of Art’s Captured Vision: Art/Science Colloquium on February 23.

Bandy programmed, directed and played viola da gamba in Artifex Consort’s out-of-state debut with their programFeste Champêtre: Courtly Delicacies for Viols, Rustic and Refined” on the Taylor Johnston Early Music Series at Michigan State University on February 28. This project featured virtuosic French Baroque viol music from Marin Marais’s Pièces de Viole Livre IV (1717), including a new harpsichord transcription by Joseph Gascho (University of Michigan).

Graydon Beeks, professor emeritus of music, presented a paper on “The Use of Cannons Material in Handel’s Op.2 Trio Sonatas” at the American Handel Society Conference held at Indiana University in Bloomington from February 24-26.

Paul Cahill, associate professor of Spanish, presented a paper, “Cántaro, cuenco, hueco: Multistable Poetics and Supplementary Material in José Ángel Valente’s ‘Container’ Poems,” at the 50th Annual Louisville Conference on Literature and Culture, held online through the University of Louisville on February 21.

Cahill was invited as a guest lecturer for the course “Spain and the Holocaust” at Technological University, Dublin, on February 27, where he presented “Witnessing Evil in Marifé Santiago Bolaños’s Nos mira la piedad desde las alambradas (2013)” online.

Karla Cordova, visiting assistant professor of economics, participated in the enCOREage workshop hosted by the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences at Stanford University from February 16-18.

Kevin Dettmar, W. M. Keck Professor of English and director of the Humanities Studio, published a piece on the impact of the band Blondie in The Atlantic on February 2.

Erica Dobbs, assistant professor of politics, with colleagues at Amherst, Wellesley and Villanova, published a book, Transnational Social Protection: Social Welfare Across National Borders, with Oxford University Press.

Jennifer Friedlander, Edgar E. and Elizabeth S. Pankey Professor of Media Studies and chair of media studies, published “Hoping Against Hope: Žižek, Jouissance, and the Impossible” in Žižek Responds! (edited by Dominik Finkelde and Todd McGowan and published by Bloomsbury). Žižek Responds! combines philosophers and theorists engaging with Žižek’s philosophy followed by responses from Žižek himself.

Stephan Ramon Garcia, W.M. Keck Distinguished Service Professor and chair of mathematics and statistics, published a new book, Operator Theory by Example (with Javad Mashreghi and William T. Ross), published by Oxford University Press.

Garcia gave an hour-long talk, “Undergraduate Research: Choosing Problems and Getting Published,” at the Conference on Strengthening Community in Research Mathematics at Pomona College on February 17.

Melissa Givens, assistant professor of music, performed at “Music at Noon” for Repertory Opera Company with Twyla Meyer, piano, at Trinity United Methodist Church in Pomona on February 22. Joshua Suh ’23, tenor, also performed. The recital included the local premiere of “Black: My People” from the song cycle Shades of Hues by Sylvia T. Hollifield.

Ernie González, Jr., visiting assistant professor of theatre, served as a panel judge for the summer college internship program at the Academy of Television of Arts and Sciences in the categories of directing, casting, comedy writing, and new media from February 21 to March 7. Students nationwide apply for these highly competitive and paid opportunities to receive direct mentorship and access to top studios, networks and production companies.

Gizem Karaali, professor of mathematics and statistics, together with colleagues Feryal Alayont and Lerna Pehlivan, published an article titled “Analysis of Calculus Textbook Problems via Bloom’s Taxonomy” in PRIMUS.

Nina Karnovsky, Willard George Halstead Zoology Professor of Biology, attended the 50th Pacific Seabird Group meeting in La Jolla, California, along with five current Pomona College students. Karnovsky chaired two sessions, “Foraging” and “Plagues, Pestilence and Cats,” and served as a judge of non-Pomona student presentations and posters. Bella Ah-Moo ’25, Lucas Florsheim ’24, Eliana Prosnitz ’24 and Eli Taub ’25, along with co-authors Leilani Fowlke, Lindsay Young and Karnovsky, presented the poster, “Foraging in a Plastic Ocean: Characterization of Natural and Non-Natural Diet Items Ingested by Laysan Albatross.” Jacob Ligorria ’23 presented part of his senior thesis in the poster, “Hake, Herring or Saury? Common Terns Use Distinct Foraging Areas for Different Fish in the Gulf of Maine” with co-authors Keenan Yakola and Karnovsky. Ligorria won honorable mention for best undergraduate student poster.    

Gary Kates, H. Russell Smith Foundation Chair in the Social Sciences and professor of history, had his book The Books That Made the European Enlightenment reviewed by author David Wootton. The review was featured on the front page of Arts and Letters Daily, and Wootton writes: “Gary Kates’s important book….is not a history of ideas, nor book history, nor cultural history, nor a study in reception. It is, in parts, all of these, but much more than the sum of its parts….Scholars will have much to learn from this book; more importantly, it now represents the best introduction to the Enlightenment. It also (quietly) provides an effective refutation of the widespread postmodern belief that the Enlightenment stands for imperialism, patriarchy and cold-blooded, scientific rationalism.”

Susan McWilliams Barndt, professor of politics, was awarded the James Laughton Ken Kesey Fellowship from the University of Oregon for her current project on the 1960s counterculture.

On February 25, McWilliams Barndt spoke on a panel titled “What Can Be Done? Where do we go from here? The Case for Liberal Education on Campus, the Truly Free Exchange of Ideas, and Academic Freedom” as part of a conference on “Ideological Conformity on Campus and in American Society” at the School for Civic and Economic Thought and Leadership at Arizona State University. The conference was also recorded for broadcast on Arizona PBS.

In February, McWilliams Barndt joined the academic council of the Jack Miller Center for Teaching America’s Founding Principles and History. The academic council works to build and sustain a leadership cadre of distinguished scholars in the fields of American political thought and history and to advise the board and staff of the Jack Miller Center on its programs and connections with rising scholars. McWilliams Barndt also joined the council of advisors for The Vital Center, a new publication that aims to promote and explore liberal ideas through commentary on politics, culture, history, philosophy, religion, foreign affairs and other topics.

Wallace Meyer, director of the Bernard Field Station, with Andre Cavalcanti, professor of biology, EJ Crane, professor of biology, Pomona students and collaborators in Hawaii, published an article titled “The trail less traveled: Envisioning a new approach to identifying key food resources for threatened Hawaiian arboreal snails.”

Meyer was invited to and attended the Hawaiian governor’s proclamation of 2023 as year of the Kāhuli (snail) because of his research contributions to protecting snail diversity in Hawaii.

Char Miller, W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History, was interviewed on several podcasts. His book West Side Rising: How San Antonio’s 1921 Flood Devastated a City and Sparked a Latino Environmental Justice Movement was the subject of the New Books on the American West podcast. His book Natural Consequences: Intimate Essays for a Planet in Peril was also the focus of a New Books Network podcast.

West Side Rising received a 2023 Book Award from the San Antonio Conservation Society.

Miller delivered talks on Natural Consequences to the Pomona College class of 1958; at Barnes and Noble Bookstore in Walnut Creek, California; to the Mono Basin Historical Society; and at Oregon Literary Arts. He spoke on “Why Open Access? Because.” to the 10th anniversary celebrations of Scholarship@Claremont at the Claremont Colleges Library.

Nivia Montenegro, professor of Spanish and Latin American Studies, published a piece about composer Aurelio de la Vega in Diario de Cuba (digital publication) on February 12.

An opinion piece by Duanel Diaz Infante about the second, revised edition of Libro de Arenas, co-edited by Montenegro, titled “Canon Arenas,” appeared in El Estornudo.

Jorge Moreno, assistant professor of physics and astronomy, was selected to be the 2023-2024 IDEA Scholar at the Flatiron Institute (Simons Foundation).

Moreno delivered a talk entitled “Galaxies lacking dark matter” at the International Astronomy Union Symposium (IAUS 377) meeting on “Early disk galaxy formation from JWST to the Milky Way” in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Kendra Pintor, manager of communications & digital media at the Career Development Office, had her short story “The Harvester” published by Fast Flesh Literary Journal. This was her third fiction piece to be accepted for publication.

Maddalena Poli, Rand Postdoctoral Fellow in Asian Studies, was invited to present her research on representations of ruler-minister interactions at the Tang Center for Early China, Columbia University. On February 10, she presented her paper “Crafting the past. The reconstitution of ‘Command to Yue’ 說命 in the Shangshu 尚書and the fashioning of the ruler-minister relationship in ancient China,” which will appear in a forthcoming volume.

Carolyn Ratteray, associate professor of theatre, is the actor, writer and director of her pilot titled “(UN)CLAIMED,” which was just accepted into the London Lesbian Film Festival in Canada. This follows a successful run of this project at Outfest, Urbanworld, Downtown LA Film Festival, Seattle Queer Film Festival, aGLIFF, Atlanta Black Pride Film Festival and the Baltimore International Film Festival.

Teddy A. Rodriguez-Velez, visiting instructor of physics and astronomy, is currently presenting his original play Daddy Date at the Frida Kahlo Festival. Rodriguez-Velez also directed and acted in Daddy Date.

Rodriguez-Velez appeared as a special co-host on TAGS podcast. TAGS is an award-winning podcast that deals with topics affecting the LGBT+ culture and its intersectionalities.

Rodriguez-Velez’s short film MEGAGrindr achieved Official Selection status at the Kalakari Film Festival.

Rosalía Romero, assistant professor of art history, inaugurated the exhibitions Land of Milk & Honey and MexiCali Biennial: Art, Action, Exchanges at the Cheech Marin Center for Chicano Art and Culture in Riverside, California. The exhibition showcases the work of 35 contemporary artists from California and Baja California and invited artistic reflection on agricultural practices in the region. The exhibitions will be on view until May 28. Support for the project came from the Mellon Foundation, California Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies (ACLS) Sustaining Public Engagement Grant.

Larissa Rudova, Yale B. and Lucille D. Griffith Professor in Modern Languages and professor of German and Russian, co-edited a volume of scholarly articles, Historical and Cultural Transformations of Russian Childhood, published by Routledge. The volume examines Russian childhood as a philosophical, literary and visual category. Her introduction to this volume is titled “The World of Russian Childhood.”

Adolfo Rumbos, Joseph N. Fiske Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, published an article in Results in Applied Mathematics with co-authors Noah Benjamin ’23 and Leandro Recôva (Cal Poly Pomona). Rumbos presented this joint work at the Applied Mathematics Seminar at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro, on February 13. The title of the presentation was “Existence and multiplicity of periodic solutions for a second-order ODE at resonance with an Ahmad–Lazer–Paul condition.”

Monique Saigal Escudero, professor emerita of French, gave a presentation, “My Hidden Childhood in WWII Occupied France,” at Mt. San Antonio Gardens in Pomona, California, on February 22.

Mark Sbertole, technical support and facilities manager of biology, led Pomona College through the successful process of becoming certified by The Association for Assessment and Accreditation of Laboratory Animal Care International (AAALAC). This certification establishes that the highest level of humane care is given to vertebrates used in teaching and research including lab animals, chickens at the farm and animals observed during field studies.

John Seery, George Irving Thompson Memorial Professor of Government and Professor of Politics, had his feature film screenplay Jone named as a quarter finalist in the 2023 Atlanta Screenwriting Competition.

Seery played baritone saxophone in the City of Pomona Concert Band Winter Concert on February 24 in Pomona, California.

Patricia Smiley, professor emerita of psychological science, published a brief report with her Claremont Mckenna College colleague Stacey N. Doan and others titled “A relational savoring intervention predicts higher levels of adherence to COVID-19 health recommendations” in Couple and Family Psychology: Research and Practice.

Gary Smith, Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics, had his book Distrust: Big Data, Data-Torturing, and the Assault on Science published by Oxford University Press, his fourth OUP book in the past five years.

Smith was interviewed on February 8 by The Daily Beast about ChatGPT, was quoted extensively on February 9 in Yardeni Research, “Financials, Cruise Lines & AI Search,” about the limitations of GPT3 and wrote four opinion pieces: “Basic Growth Rates Are a Sign That Apple Remains a Good Long-Term Buy” (RealClearMarkets, February 9); “AI chatbots are having their ‘tulip mania’ moment” (Salon, February 21); “Let’s Take the ‘I’ Out of AI” (MindMatters, February 27) and “If you’re investing in AI stocks, watch out for these revenue and earning tricks” (MarketWatch, February 27).

Keri Wilson, visiting assistant professor of biology, published a review in the Journal of Neuroendocrinology titled “The Parental Umwelt: Effects of Parenthood on Sensory Processing in Rodents,” which details how the senses of smell, hearing and touch change as a result of becoming a parent.

Wilson was a co-author on an article in Animal Behaviour titled “Fatherhood increases attraction to sensory stimuli from unrelated pups in male California mice, Peromyscus californicus.”