Two Pomona Professors Earn The Claremont Colleges Diversity Awards for 2020

Professor Janice Hudgings (left) and Professor Jorge Moreno (right).

Janice Hudgings, the Seeley W. Mudd Professor of Physics is being recognized with the Claremont Colleges Diversity Mentor Award that honors faculty members who have provided consistent and meaningful support and encouragement to students, staff or colleagues from historically underrepresented populations. Jorge Moreno, assistant professor of physics and astronomy is receiving the Claremont Colleges Diversity Teaching Award that honors innovative pedagogical activities that effectively address issues or concerns related to diversity and inclusion in classroom or other structured settings.

Janice Hudgings

Hudgings’ work focuses on practical applications in optics and semiconductor devices—including solar cells, energy-efficient lighting and lasers. She joined Pomona College in 2013 after serving as professor of physics, associate dean of faculty for science, and as associate dean of the faculty at Mount Holyoke College.

Hudgings serves as a faculty adviser to ALPHA and Quantum, student organizations focused on women in physics and queer STEM students respectively. She regularly attends conferences for the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS), and the National Society of Black Physicists (NSBP). Hudgings has also established a partnership with the Femineers, a group of 30 STEM-interested Latina high school girls from the city of Pomona.

“Janice Hudgings is a legendary mentor of Pomona students, and runs one of the most diverse laboratory groups to be found at any of the 5Cs. Student testimonials to her promotion of diversity within the field speak volumes to her contributions to Pomona and the wider world of physics,” says Robert Gaines, vice president of academic affairs and dean of the College.

Hudgings’ dedication to teaching and mentoring has been recognized by the National Science Foundation, the Optical Society of America and by Pomona College—having received the 2018 Wig Distinguished Professor Award.

Jorge Moreno

Moreno is a theoretical astrophysicist whose work focuses on galaxy evolution, specifically using high-performance supercomputing to simulate galaxy encounters and investigating the role of merging in shaping the structure of the interstellar medium in galaxies. An active scholar in his field, he has produced 28 publications and delivered more than 140 talks. His grant-writing activities have been equally robust—receiving external funding totaling nearly $980,000. Moreno joined Pomona in 2017 after three years at Cal Poly Pomona.

Central to Moreno’s pedagogical practice is the foundational work that is done to create an anti-hierarchical space. This framework calls for Moreno and his students to invest time designing a classroom community focused on trust, community, class climate, restorative justice, affirmation and accountability.

“Although only recently arrived at Pomona College from Cal Poly Pomona, Jorge Moreno has already left his mark with his groundbreaking Decolonizing Physics course, which allows students to understand the development of one of the foundational natural sciences from the perspectives of its first practitioners, highlighting the vast contribution made by non-western Europeans,” says Gaines.

Moreno’s dedication to teaching and mentorship of students was recently recognized with a 2020 Wig Distinguished Professor Award at Pomona College.