Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

January 2024

Lise Abrams, Peter W. Stanley Chair of Linguistics and Cognitive Science, co-authored the introduction to the special issue of American PsychologistEthical Challenges in the Use of Digital Technologies in Psychological Science” along with co-editors Leah Light (Pitzer College), Sangeeta Panicker (Public Responsibility in Medicine and Research) and Jina Huh-Yoo (Drexel University).

Malachai Komanoff Bandy, assistant professor of music, recorded viola da gamba and tanbur solos for the soundtrack to the television series Masters of the Universe: Revolution. The show, whose score features musical themes by Bear McCreary and music by Sparks & Shadows, premiered on Netflix on January 25.

Mietek Boduszyński, associate professor of politics and international relations, was awarded a $40,000 Korea Foundation grant to design and implement a simulation on the geopolitical and economic consequences of a supply chain disruption originating with the People’s Republic of China. His co-principal investigator for the project is Ben Radd, visiting assistant professor of politics in 2022-23.

Charlotte Chang, assistant professor of biology and environmental analysis, published an article led by Hanna Kim ’23 in the journal Conservation Science & Practice. This article compared environmental NGOs in terms of their social media strategy across multiple platforms, ranging from TikTok to Facebook, and found several organizations that were influencers, or positive deviates for public reach online. This research was the product of a RAISE award earned by Kim in the summer of 2021.

Chang co-authored two manuscripts related to conservation planning and public outreach. Chang was the lead author in an article published in Trends in Ecology & Evolution showing that after Elon Musk’s takeover of Twitter, environmental and climate voices declined markedly. This manuscript received press attention from venues including The Guardian, Quartz, New York Times, Le Monde and Gizmodo. Chang worked with an interdisciplinary team convened as a NIMBioS working group to mathematically model how incorporating information on conservation threats improves landscape planning outcomes; this article was published in Conservation Biology.

Chang gave invited seminars to Nanyang Technological University, Asian School of the Environment; Centre for Wildlife Studies, Banglore, India; National University of Singapore, Department of Biological Sciences; and University of Nottingham, Malaysia, Sustainable Environments Research Group.

Stephan Ramon Garcia, W.M. Keck Distinguished Service Professor and chair of the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, delivered the International Linear Algebra Society (ILAS) invited address “Fast food for thought: what can chicken nuggets tell us about linear algebra?” at the 2024 Joint Mathematics Meeting (JMM) in San Francisco on January 4. This honor was recognized at the Prizes and Awards ceremony on January 3. He also gave an hour-long lecture, “A second course in linear algebra: a call for the early introduction of complex numbers,” at the AMS Special Session on Issues, Challenges, and Innovations in Instruction of Linear Algebra on January 5, also at the JMM (a meeting attended by over 5,500). Garcia also co-organized, with Konrad Aguilar, assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, the ILAS Special Session on Linear Algebra, Matrix Theory, and its Applications on January 4-5.

On January 11, Garcia gave a talk titled “The quaternionic structure of 2x2 matrix inner functions” at the 2024 Workshop on Schur Analysis and applications to Hypercomplex Analysis, Neural Networks, and Linear Systems held at Chapman University.

Melissa Givens, assistant professor of music, was one of nine musicians who collaborated with Southwestern University Professor of Music John Michael Cooper on a video project in conjunction with the release of three volumes of previously unpublished volumes of music by Florence B. Price on January 1. Givens and Genevieve Feiwen Lee, Everett S. Olive Professor of Music, gave the world-premiere performance of Price’s “Lullaby (for a Black Mother),” a setting of a Langston Hughes text. The three volumes, published by ClarNan Editions and distributed by Classical Vocal Reprints, are “Twelve Pieces for Piano Solo,” “Seven Songs on Texts of African American Poets (Paul Laurence Dunbar, Langston Hughes, Florence Price, and Melvin B. Tolson) (original keys / medium voice)” and “Seven Songs on Texts of African American Poets (transposed for high voice).”

Elizabeth Glater, associate professor of neuroscience, and Charles Taylor, chair and professor of chemistry, with Victor Chai ’23, Tiam Farajzadeh ’23, Yufei Meng ’25, Sokhna Lo ’25 and Tymmaa Asaed ’25, published the paper “Chemical basis of microbiome preference in the nematode C. elegansin Scientific Reports in January.

Edray Herber Goins, professor of mathematics and statistics, attended the 2024 Joint Mathematics Meetings in San Francisco. The annual conference is the largest meeting of mathematicians in the world. On January 3, Goins organized and moderated a panel titled “What Makes Successful Research Careers.’’ Goins brought several Claremont Colleges students with him as part of his summer program experience: Tesfa Asmara ’24, Louis Burns ’24, Matilda LaFortune SCR ’23, Eli Pregerson HMC ’24 and Melinda Yang ’23.

Goins was featured in a new documentary on African American mathematical scientists. “Journeys of Black Mathematicians: Forging Resilience,” directed by George Csicsery, had its world premiere at the Joint Mathematics Meetings on January 6. The hour-long film “traces the evolution of a culture of Black scholars, scientists and educators in the United States. The film follows the stories of prominent pioneers, showing how the challenges they faced and their triumphs are reflected in the experiences of today’s mid-career Black mathematicians.” Goins is credited in the film as a consulting scholar.

On January 23, Goins gave a virtual colloquium talk at Alabama A&M University on “Clocks, Parking Garages, and the Solvability of the Quintic: A Friendly Introduction to Monodromy.”

Esther Hernández-Medina, assistant professor of Latin American studies and gender and women’s studies, presented the paper “The Legacy of the Institutional Route of the 1990s on the Dominican Feminist Movement Today: NGOization, Beijing, and Collaborating with the State” on January 27 at the 2024 Winter Meeting of Sociologists for Women in Society (SWS) in the Santa Ana Pueblo in New Mexico. Hernández-Medina was also part of the panel “Queering Spaces of Social Action: Integrating Teaching, Research, and Activism for Radical Inclusion” on January 27 at the same SWS conference. She shared her remarks on her trajectory as a scholar-activist who teaches and does research about how marginalized groups are able to influence public policy in Latin America while also being a member of the Dominican feminist movement for 30 years.

Gizem Karaali, professor of mathematics and statistics, gave a talk on January 3 titled “ChatGPT and New Ethical Considerations for the Mathematics Classroom” at the American Mathematical Society Special Session on Ethics in the Mathematics Classroom that was a part of the Joint Mathematics Meetings 2024 held in San Francisco. At the same meeting, she gave a second talk on January 6 titled “Oblique Strategies for Classroom Poetry” at the Association for Women in Mathematics Special Session on Mathematics in the Literary Arts and Pedagogy in Creative Settings. Karaali was also one of two panelists invited to present at the Project NExT Session on Fostering a Growth Mindset in the Classroom (organized by Adam Yassine, visiting assistant professor of mathematics and statistics, and held on January 5) and gave a talk titled “From Growth Mindset to (Re)humanizing Mathematics.”

Karaali participated in the Claremont Center for Teaching and Learning Teaching Tune-Up for Spring 2024 and gave a presentation January 11 titled “Using ChatGPT for Fun and for Profit” as part of the Introduction to Generative AI session organized by Keri Wilson, assistant professor of biology.

Jun Lang, assistant professor of Chinese, published the article “The blurry lines between popular media and party propaganda: China’s convergence culture through a linguistic lens” with Zhuo Jing-Schmidt in PLOS One.

Lang participated in the online conference “Grading Less-Learning More through Ungrading in World Languages, Cultures and Literatures organized by the University of Southern California and shared her pedagogical exploration of collaborative grading, focusing on “Peer Evaluation of Student Presentations” on January 26. 

Genevieve Lee, Everett S. Olive Professor of Music, performed as a member of the Redfish Piano Trio at three Oregon venues (Port Orford, North Bend and Bandon) and at the Cultural Center of Crescent City, California, in early January. They presented works of Joseph Haydn, Joaquin Turina, Jennifer Higdon and Ludwig van Beethoven. These concerts are part of the off-season events of the Redfish Music Festival.

Miriam Merrill, professor of physical education, guest lectured at Hartwick College on January 5. Merrill's session discussed the impact of emotional intelligence on leadership.

Thomas Muzart, assistant professor of Romance languages and literatures, presented the paper titled “Matrice nature: Repenser la crise d’un point de vue écoféministe et subsaharien avec Léonora Miano” in the panel Représentations francophones de la crise écologique organized by the International Council of Francophone Studies at the MLA 2024 Convention in Philadelphia.

Sheila Pinkel, professor emerita of art and art history, has a large mural about the history of the Tongva People exhibited at the Autry Museum beginning in January.

Carolyn Ratteray, associate professor of theatre, performed her one woman show, Both And (A Play About Laughing While Black), at the Wallis Center for Performing Arts from January 13-28.

Monique Saigal Escudero, emerita professor of French, was awarded a proclamation presentation by Pomona Unified School District on January 17.

Prageeta Sharma, Henry G. Lee ’37 Professor of English, had her Claremont-based photograph and poem “What is Sovereignty for the Hindu Today?” appear in this most recent Places Journal, a journal focused on public scholarship on architecture, landscape and urbanism.

Sharma’s “Ode to Badminton” appeared on The Slowdown podcast on January 16.

Patricia Smiley, professor emerita of psychological science, published a research paper, “Undoing mothers’ avoidant coping with children’s negative emotion: A randomized controlled trial of relational savoring” in Journal of Family Psychology in January. The work is a collaboration with colleagues and students in Claremont and at UC Irvine.

Gary Smith, Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics, wrote five opinion pieces: “Let’s Dispose of Exploding Pie Charts” (MindMatters, January 2), “When it Comes to New Technologies Like AI, Tempers Run Hot” (MindMatters, January 8), “Computers still do not ‘understand’” (MindMatters, January 9), “Internet pollution—if you tell a lie long enough…” (MindMatters, January 15) and “Monetarist Madness” (MarketWatch, January 22).

Smith’s latest book The Power of Modern Value Investing: Beyond Indexing, Algos, and Alpha, co-authored with Margaret Smith, was published by Palgrave Macmillan on January 13. “Gary and Margaret have hit the ball out of the park. Both amateur and professional investors would be well-rewarded by reading and re-reading The Power of Modern Value Investing” (Brian Nelson, President, Valuentum Securities); “A book about investing that every investor should read” (Ed Yardeni, President & Chief Investment Strategist, Yardeni Research, Inc.).

Sharon Stranford, professor of biology and faculty co-director for the Institute for Inclusive Excellence (IIE), and Malcolm Oliver II, assistant director for academic affairs and interim assistant director for the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship Program, presented at the American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) Annual Conference in Washington, DC (January 17-19). In their presentation they spoke about IIE programming, which emphasizes inclusive teaching, building community and sustained engagement. In particular, they highlighted the New Faculty Cohort (NFC) Program, DEI Faculty Cohorts and the new DEI Faculty Project Pairs Program.

Stef Torralba, visiting assistant professor of English, accepted a tenure-track position as assistant professor of English and gender, women’s, and sexuality studies at Grinnell College to begin fall 2024.

Feng Xiao, associate professor of Asian languages and literatures, was elected to the board of directors of Chinese Language Teachers Association (CLTA) USA on January 4. His three-year term will commence this May, during which he will serve as the sole CLTA board member representing a liberal arts college.

Samuel Yamashita, Henry E. Sheffield Professor of History, gave a talk January 7 titled “Chinese Food Along the Pacific Rim” to a group of alumni in San Francisco. It was the 21st alumni talk he has given since he arrived at the College in 1983.