Faculty and Staff Accomplishments

June 2022

Ellie Anderson, assistant professor of philosophy, gave a talk titled “Inventing Fidelity: Beauvoir on Polyamory” at the International Conference of the Simone de Beauvoir Society. Her article “My Heart is Yours: The Phenomenology of Self-Revelation in Affective Consciousness” was published in Phenomenology and Perspectives on the Heart, ed. Anthony Steinbock (Springer 2022).

Nicholas Ball, associate professor of chemistry, published a paper in Inorganic Chemistry titled “Calcium Bistriflimide-Mediated Sulfur(VI)–Fluoride Exchange (SuFEx): Mechanistic Insights toward Instigating Catalysis.” This was a collaboration between the Ball group and former Robbins Postdoctoral Fellow at Pomona and now Assistant Professor of Chemistry Maduka Ogba at Chapman University. The paper features work from two undergraduate labs and is funded by an NIH grant.

Ball will serve on the advisory board of the journal Tetrahedron Chem for a term of two years. Tetrahedron Chem is a new organic chemistry-focused journal from Elsevier. It is an open-access journal which aims to publish cutting-edge research in synthetic chemistry.

Graydon Beeks, emeritus professor of music, presented a paper titled “Pre-Publication Circulation and Scoring of Handel's Op.2 Trio Sonatas” at the conference Orlando und die Geschichte der Opern Handels im 20. und 21. Jahrhundert sponsored by the Georg Friedrich Händel Gesellschaft in association with the annual Handel Festival in Halle, Germany.

Charlotte Chang, assistant professor of biology and environmental analysis, published an article titled “Twitter data reveal six distinct environmental personas” at Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Marilyn Thomsen, associate director, news & strategic content, wrote a description of the project. Chang’s work has been featured by The Nature Conservancy and the New Scientist and highlighted by the Society for Conservation Biology Social Science Working Group and the International Environmental Communication Association.

Donna M. Di Grazia, David J. Baldwin Professor of Music, authored a book chapter titled “Franz Liszt as Conductor” for Liszt in Context (ed. Joanne Cormac, Cambridge University Press, 2022).

Di Grazia co-authored the essay, “‘Pope Marcellus Mass’ (Palestrina—The Roger Wagner Chorale (1951),” with Jessie Ann Owens, Distinguished Professor Emerita, University of California, Davis for the Library of Congress National Registry of Recorded Music.

Di Grazia led the 2022 Glee Club on a six-day mini tour that included performances at the Getty Center in Los Angeles, the Unitarian Society in Santa Barbara, the Benton Museum of Art in Claremont and the Artists Council Artists Center in Palm Desert. The ensemble also sang at Pomona’s 2022 Commencement and at its “Take Two” Commencement with eleven alumni from the Classes of 2020 and 2021.

David Divita, professor of Romance languages and literatures, published “The gendered semiotics of far-right populism on Instagram: A case from Spain,” an article in the journal Discourse & Society.

Joanna L. Dyl, visiting assistant professor of environmental analysis, published a book review of Flood on the Tracks: Living, Dying, and the Nature of Disaster in the Elkhorn River Basin by Todd M. Kerstetter in the journal Environmental History.

Dyl and Heather Williams, professor of politics, presented the paper “SONGS of the Southland: A History of Nuclear and Water in Southern California” at The Nuclear-Water Nexus: An International Workshop at KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm.

J Finley, assistant professor of Africana Studies, was elected to serve a two-year term as co-vice president of the American Humor Studies Association beginning June 2022.

Esther Hernández-Medina, visiting assistant professor of sociology, presented the paper “Hablemos de Igualdad: The Dominican Feminist Movement and the Conservative Backlash in Latin America” at the 9th Latin American and Caribbean Social Sciences Conference in Mexico City on June 9. The conference takes place every three years hosted by the Latin American Social Sciences Council (CLACSO), the most important academic network of its kind in the region. Her paper was part of the panel “Feminismos, disidencias y justicia de género” (Feminisms, dissident groups and gender justice), which included colleagues from Chile, Brazil and Cuba.

Hernández-Medina was interviewed on Univisión Los Angeles on June 16 about the significance of Juneteenth after it was transformed into a federal holiday last year and the prospects for ending racism in the United States.

On June 30, Hernández-Medina was one of the three experts on a virtual panel convened on “SMEs as Potential Allies in Closing Gender Gaps” organized by the Dominican Women’s Ministry. She talked about some of the most important gender gaps women face regarding their economic autonomy as well as the potential role Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) can play in this regard based on her previous work as a consultant for the Ministry and the National Procurement Office.

Benjamin Keim, associate professor of classics, participated in the Honour in Classical Greece conference held June 9-13 at the University of Edinburgh. This international conference marked the culmination of an interdisciplinary five-year project funded by the European Union. His lecture on “The Use and Abuse of Athenian Honour in Demosthenes’ Macedonian Speeches” will be published as part of the revised conference proceedings next year.

Genevieve Lee, Everett S. Olive Professor of Music, was part of the Brightwork ensemble, taking part in the world premiere of an opera, The Double, by Vera Ivanova. There were two performances, June 4 and 5, at Boston Court in Pasadena.

On June 12, Lee and Melissa Givens, assistant professor of music, presented a program of art songs by Black composers as part of the All Saints’ Music Guild concert season. The concert took place at All Saints’ Episcopal church in Beverly Hills. This program is part of a CD recording project.

Givens and Lee performed songs by Byron Adams as part of UC Riverside’s Florence Bays Music Series.

Rachel Levin, associate professor of biology and neuroscience, Tanya Paris ’94 and Janet Bester-Meredith ’95, had their research paper “The development of sex differences in song in a tropical duetting wren” accepted by Proceedings of the Royal Society B- Biological Sciences. This is the first study to reveal social versus genetic influences in the development of sex differences in a complex vertebrate behavior where both sexes exhibit the behavior but do so differently. It is also the first time researchers have been able to successfully hand raise and song tutor tropical, insectivorous songbirds in the lab.

Win McLaughlin, visiting assistant professor of geology, published “Total Dental Occlusal Area as a Feeding Constraint Feature in Extant Walruses (Odobenus rosmarus), and Implications for the Evolution of Molluscivory in Odobenidae” in Journal of Mammalian Evolution.

Miriam Merrill, chair of physical education and director of athletics, served as a panelist during the NCAA's Inclusion Forum on June 16. The panel investigated the trans/non-binary student athlete experience and how athletic administrators can support TGNB student athletes.

Merrill served as a panelist for the AAUW-New York State’s Annual Meeting on June 25. The panel discussed the impact of Title IX in sports 50 years later.

Merrill presented on using restorative justice practices to manage student athlete conduct issues at the National Association of Division III Athletic Administrators in Las Vegas, Nev., on June 27.

Char Miller, W.M. Keck Professor of Environmental Analysis and History, was a respondent at a CMC/Cornell University Press-sponsored book-manuscript workshop on ““Liquid Geographies: The Yalu River.” His book West Side Rising was featured at the San Antonio Book Festival in the panel “Mythos in Texas History.” He gave a talk to the Pomona College Class of 1958 titled “Of Smudge Pots and Oak Trees: Claremont Over Time.” West Side Rising was featured in a panel discussion that the Association for the Study of Literature and the Environment sponsored June 10.

Miller was quoted in Pew Charitable Trusts/Stateside on California’s flawed water-conservation policies and in a series of articles in the San Antonio Express News about the city’s history of redlining, flood-control developments and its affordable housing crisis.

Nivia Montenegro, professor of Spanish and Latin American studies, published with Editorial Casa Vacía a second revised and expanded edition of gay icon and dissident Cuban exile writer Reinaldo Arenas’s Libro de Arenas: Prosa Dispersa (1965-1990). The book gathers together previously uncollected material in 400 pages and includes critical introductions and an interview of the author by Montenegro.

Jorge Moreno, assistant professor of astronomy, delivered a lecture titled “Hockney late: Depicting intergalactic encounters with Jorge Moreno” at the Heong Gallery, University of Cambridge.

Moreno published three peer-reviewed articles in the Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society: “The observability of galaxy merger signatures in nearby gas-rich spirals” with Angela Twum ’17 as a co-author; “Extinguishing the FIRE: environmental quenching of satellite galaxies around Milky Way-mass hosts in simulations;” and “Hot-mode accretion and the physics of thin-disk galaxy formation.”

Moreno delivered a seminar titled “Galaxies lacking dark matter in the LCDM paradigm” at the Instituto de Astrofísica de Canarias (Tenerife, Spain).

Gilda L. Ochoa, professor of Chicana/o Latina/o studies, co-authored “Framing and Containing Ethnic Studies in Southern California Schools: Between Add-on, Power-Evasive Programs and Transformational Intersectional Ethnic Studies” in Race Frames in Education, edited by Sophia Rodriguez and Gilberto Q. Conchas.

Mary Paster, professor of linguistics and cognitive science, was reappointed for a second year as a program director for the Linguistics Program and the Dynamic Language Infrastructure—Documenting Endangered Languages (DLI-DEL) Program at the National Science Foundation and will be on leave from Pomona College for the 2022-23 academic year.

Adam Pearson, associate professor of psychological science, worked with the American Psychological Association to help provide federal policy guidance to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the HHS and Biden Administration’s 2022 Environmental Justice Strategy and Implementation Plan. The plan will inform NIH, FDA, CDC and Surgeon General research and training priorities and federal health and environmental policy. Their letter addressed psychology’s critical role in advancing individual and collective health and well-being, and emphasized that an effective environmental justice plan must increase resources for mental health and social services, partner with community stakeholders and equip environmental justice communities with effective tools to reduce environmental health disparities.

Shannon Randolph, director of community and global impact at the Hive, co-authored a paper titled “Research participation influences willingness to reduce zoonotic exposure in Uganda” in the journal EcoHealth. This article highlights the potential of human-centered design paired with ongoing research to influence health attitudes.

Nikia Robert, 2021 Chau Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow, was awarded a summer visiting faculty research position at New York University to work on her first manuscript. In her first week in New York City, she met the mayor, was a featured speaker at JusticeCon, and marched for gun violence and reproductive rights in Harlem and Washington Square Park.

Colleen Ruth Rosenfeld, associate professor of English, published an essay on tone in a special issue of Spenser Studies 36 (June, 2022) titled “Do You Hear What I Hear?”

Larissa Rudova, Yale B. and Lucille D. Griffith Professor in Modern Languages and professor of German and Russian, gave a plenary talk titled “Restructuring Social and Educational Ecosystems: New Literature on Nature in Early Soviet Russia” at the international conference, The Environmental Turn in the Study of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, at the University of Wrocław, Poland, on June 17-19.

Gibb Schreffler, associate professor of music, presented the paper “Reclaiming Shenandoah: A Musicological Recovery of Working Chanty Form” at the 2022 Symposium on the Music of the Sea in Essex, Conn. on June 10.

Prageeta Sharma, Henry G. Lee ’37 Professor of English, was interviewed by poet Rachel Zucker for Commonplace: Conversations with Poets (and Other People) on June 10.

Gary Smith, Fletcher Jones Professor of Economics, published a response in the Journal of Information Technology to comments on Ananya Sen ’22; Gary Smith; Claire Van Note ’23 (2021), Statistical Significance Versus Practical Importance in Information Systems Research, Journal of Information Technology.

Smith published op-eds in MarketWatch (June 13): Delivery drones, robotaxis, even insurance — wildly hyped dreams for AI startups are giving tech investors nightmares, MindMatters (June 13) AI: Is thinking humanly more important than acting rationally? and Bloomberg (June 30) Tesla May Be Driving Itself Out of the Running, which was carried by dozens of media outlets, including the Washington Post.

Valorie Thomas (she/her), Spalding Professor of English and Africana Studies, living and working on Tongva land, was certified in Equine Facilitated Learning (EFL). She co-organized and co-facilitated “EFL: Environment, Community Building, and Decolonizing Relational Connections” workshops for ENG/AFR 170J Toni Morrison Senior Seminar and ENG/AFR 125C Introduction to African American Literature, Spring 2022. EFL (sometimes known as Equine Assisted Learning or Equine Assisted Experiential Learning) doesn’t involve “horseback riding” or force; participants interact on the ground with horses at liberty. EFL/EAL workshops present opportunities to practice emotional intelligence, leadership competencies, problem solving, critical analysis, and to reconsider terms such as “human,” “nature/natural,” “freedom,” “privilege,” “thought,” “feeling,” “connection,” “fear,” “force,” “objects,” “suffering,” “captivity,” “incarceration” – in the process of partnering with horses to develop deeper awareness of the stories we tell ourselves about ourselves and the Other. In addition, in EFL work she centers inclusion, intersectionality with emphasis on race and antiblackness, indigenous philosophy and critiques of settler colonial dominance, and narratives of racialized landscapes such as the mythic “American West.” Back in the classroom she and her students bring these experiences into conversation with the literature, films, visual art, music, poetry, pop culture, history, and criticism they study, as they work toward critical writing and creative projects.

Feng Xiao, associate professor of Asian languages and literatures, did an invited panel presentation June 24 with Jing Wang, associate director of the Chinese program at Princeton University, about the history and challenges of Chinese programs in research universities and liberal arts colleges for the U.S. Chinese Teachers Association.