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Reed Welcomes New Professors

Twenty outstanding teacher-scholars join the Reed faculty.

By Randall Barton | October 12, 2018

Reed welcomes 20 new professors this semester who bring to campus a dizzying array of intellectual expertise and teaching experience.

Mark Beck, Professor of Physics

Prof. Mark Beck comes to Reed from Whitman College, where he was the Benjamin H. Brown Professor of Physics. He fills a tenure-track position at Reed where he was a visiting assistant professor of physics from 1994 to 1996. Beck got his PhD in optics at the Institute of Optics at the University of Rochester. His main fields of study are quantum optics and laser optics. He wrote the book Quantum Mechanics: Theory and Experiment (Oxford University 2012). “I’m an experimentalist interested in producing light fields which cannot be described using classical mechanics,” he says on his website. The physics department was seeking a candidate with a particular interest in experimental physics.

Naomi Caffee, Assistant Professor of Russian

Filling tenure-track appointment in Russian and the humanities, Prof. Naomi Caffee holds a PhD in Slavic languages and literatures from UCLA. Before Reed she taught at the University of Arizona and the UCLA Department of Slavic, East European, and Eurasian Languages and Cultures. Her research interests include postcolonial approaches to Russian and Central Asian literatures, indigenous literature, global and transnational studies, ecocriticism, and literary translation.

Rachel Carrico, Visiting Assistant Professor of Dance

A scholar and practitioner of dance and performance, Prof. Rachel Carrico is filling a one-year visiting position in the dance department. She has a PhD in critical dance studies from the UC–Riverside, and has published her research on second lining, an improvisational dance form rooted in New Orleans’s African diaspora parading traditions. In 2008, she co-founded Goat in the Road Productions—a performance ensemble based in New Orleans that is dedicated to the production of original and invigorating new works of theatre, dance, performance art, and educational programming. Before Reed, she was a visiting assistant professor at Colorado College, and an instructor at the University of Oregon. She is also a consultant for the forthcoming documentary film on New Orleans vernacular dance, Buckjumping by Lily Keber.

Jake Fraser, Assistant Professor of German and Humanities

Prof. Jake Fraser has been selected to fill a tenure-track appointment in German and humanities. He received his PhD from the Department of Germanic Studies at the University of Chicago, where he taught a course on German through fairy tales. Fraser’s research interests include 18th to 20th century German literature, media theory and history, Begriffsgeschichte, structuralist and post-structuralist literary theory, German and French lyric poetry, and systems theory. From 2016–17 he was a fellow in the Berlin Program for Advanced German and European Studies.

Elizabeth Fretwell, Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Humanities

Prof. Elizabeth Fretwell has been tapped for the position of visiting assistant professor of history and humanities. Fretwell holds a PhD in history from the University of Chicago and has lectured on African civilizations, African colonialism, and gender and sexuality in Africa. Her dissertation, “Tailoring Benin: Gender, Material Culture, and Artisan Production in Urban West Africa,” explored how ordinary men and women experienced and negotiated modernity, urbanization, and political transformation during the 20th century.

Mark Hopkins, Visiting Associate Professor of Computer Science

Mark Hopkins is a visiting computer science professor on a two-year appointment. He got his PhD in computer science at UCLA and has been a senior research scientist and senior research manager at the Allen Institute of Artificial Intelligence. In this capacity, he managed Project Euclid, one of the four major research projects at the institute.

Michaela Hulstyn, Visiting Assistant Professor of French

Michaela Hulstyn fills a two-year position as a visiting assistant professor of French. She has a PhD in French from Stanford University, where she taught both language and literature and lectured in the Structured Liberal Education program. Hulstyn is preparing her dissertation, Unselfing Interpreted: Altered States and the Ethics of Insight, for publication. Her research has been published in Modern Language Notes and Women in French Studies, among other places, and shows that while reducing the claims of the self may make someone more empathetic, it often does little to make that person more altruistic.

Sara Jaffe, Visiting Assistant Professor of Creative Writing

Sara Jaffe comes to Reed as a visiting assistant professor of creative writing. She has an MFA in creative writing from the University of Massachusetts, has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Portland, and a visiting assistant professor in the creative writing program at the University of Oregon. In 2015, she published a novel, Dryland, (Tin House Books) the chronicle of a teenage girl in Portland circa 1992. Jaffe is a co-founding editor of New Herring Press, a publisher of prose chapbooks.

David Krumm, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics

David Krum is a visiting assistant professor in mathematics who has previously taught at Colby College and Claremont McKenna College. He has a PhD in mathematics from the University of Georgia, and his areas of expertise include arithmetic dynamics, Diophantine geometry, and algebraic number theory.

Mónica López Lerma, Assistant Professor of Spanish and Humanities

Mónica López Lerma, who has been a visiting professor at Reed since 2015, returns in a tenure-track, assistant professor position teaching Spanish and humanities. She has a PhD in comparative literature from the University of Michigan. Prior to coming to Reed, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the Faculty of Law at the University of Helsinki, and taught courses on law and cinema, law and gender, and jurisprudence. López Lerma also has a D.E.A in law from the University of Valencia in Spain and a graduate certificate in film studies from the University of Michigan. Her research interests include contemporary Spanish film and literature, with particular emphasis on aesthetics, film theory, gender, and cultural and theoretical aspects of law.

Kelly McConville, Assistant Professor of Statistics

Kelly McConville comes to Reed as an assistant professor of statistics in a tenure-track position in the mathematics department. She has a PhD in statistics from Colorado State University and has been an assistant professor of statistics at Swarthmore since 2014. Prior to that she was an assistant professor of math at Whitman College.

Fabiola Menchelli, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art

Fabiola Menchelli has a one-year appointment as visiting professor of studio art, teaching five one-semester courses over the year, including introductory and advanced courses in photography and expanded or digital media, as well as advising undergraduate studio arts theses. Menchelli has a master’s in fine art in photography from the Massachusetts College of Art and Design, has been an assistant professor in the photography department at the Universidad Iberoamericana in Guanajuato, Mexico, and an adjunct professor at the Academia de Artes Visuales in Mexico City. Her dramatic abstract photo compositions of light and shadow create an impression of three-dimensional space.

Tristan Nighswander, Assistant Professor of Economics

Tristan Nighswander received his PhD from the University of Oregon and comes to Reed as an  assistant professor of economics. His fields of interest include macroeconomics, behavioral, computational, wealth inequality, and human capital. As a behavioral macroeconomist, Nighswander is interested in the application of large-scale heterogeneous agent models to address pervasive questions in the macroeconomic literature pertaining to inequality and investment in higher education. “My primary research interest lies in understanding the extent to which observed inequality is dictated by initial conditions relative to luck, skill, and effort applied over one’s working life,” he says. “Given the significant rise in income and wealth inequality since the late 1970s, coupled with a dramatic increase in college tuition and enrollment since the early 1990s, a more complete understanding of the root of inequality and education investment is of paramount importance for a myriad of policy agendas.”

Jaclyn Pryor, Assistant Professor of Theatre

A performance studies scholar and devised theatre practitioner, Pryor’s primary research interests include queer theory and cultural production at the intersection of race, trauma, affect, disability, settler colonialism, transgender politics, and experimental aesthetics. Pryor holds a PhD in theatre history, criticism, theory, and text from the University of Texas, and was a visiting assistant professor at Haverford College. Their first book, Time Slips: Queer Temporalities, Contemporary Performance, and the Hole of History, examines the capacity of performance to rewrite histories of racial and sexual violence, as well as to reveal queer futures not determined by past harm. Profiling their work, the Austin Chronicle said, “Pryor is an artist who thinks big and works big … making the familiar unfamiliar, drenching the known in mystery and opening one to wonder and change.” Pryor fills a tenure-track, assistant professor position.

Nicole Reisnour, Visiting Assistant Professor of Music

Nicole Reisnour has been appointed visiting assistant professor of ethnomusicology and will teach general courses in ethnomusicology as well as seminars related to her research on Southeast Asian music, religion, and ethics. She has a PhD in musicology with a minor concentration in socio-cultural anthropology from Cornell University. Reisnour has been performing Balinese music since 2000. She has worked with many master Balinese musicians and dancers and has performed at numerous concert series and festivals in the U.S. and Bali.

Eric Roberts, Visiting Professor of Computer Science

A visiting professor of computer science, Eric Roberts comes to Reed from Stanford University where he was the Charles Simonyi Professor of Computer Science, emeritus, as well as a Bass University fellow in undergraduate education. His areas of principal interest include computer science education, programming languages, programming environments, multiprocessor systems, social implications of computing, and public policy. He received his PhD in applied mathematics from Harvard University and taught at Wellesley College from 1980–85, where he chaired the computer science department. Roberts has written a number of books including Programming Abstractions in Java and the The Intellectual Excitement of Computer Science.

Jennifer Sakai, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art History and Humanities

Jennifer Sakai, who has a PhD in the history of art from UC Berkeley, comes to Reed on a one-year appointment as visiting assistant professor of art history and humanities. She has lectured at the University of Tennessee and was a visiting assistant professor at the College of Wooster and Kenyon College. Sakai’s research interests include early modern urbanism, decay, iconoclasm, reception and the uses of art, the status of representation, materiality, and the relationship between power and painting.

Paul Vadan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics and Humanities

A native of Transylvania, Paul Vadan, visiting assistant professor of classics and humanities, earned his PhD in classics from the University of Chicago. His scholarly interests include Hellenistic history and culture, inter-state interaction, decision theory, Greek epigraphy and numismatics, the history of the Black Sea, Imitatio Alexandri, and ancient Egyptian culture and history. Vadan is also trained in Greek epigraphy and numismatics.

Li Wei, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chinese and Humanities

Raised in the southern Chinese city of Hangzhou, Li Wei comes to Reed for a one-year position as a visiting assistant professor in Chinese and humanities. She received her PhD in Chinese languages and literature from Washington University in St. Louis, and is a scholar of premodern Chinese language. Her teaching interests include classical Chinese literature, early modern Chinese fiction, Chinese drama, Chinese civilization, Chinese language, women’s writings, East Asian thoughts, Buddhism, and Confucianism. Her research focuses on Chinese popular and religious literature of the early modern period, especially fiction and drama in the Ming and Qing dynasties.

Laura Zientek, Visiting Assistant Professor of Classics and Humanities

Laura Zientek fills a two-year position as visiting assistant professor of classics and humanities. She has a PhD in classics from the University of Washington and for the past three years has been a visiting assistant professor of classical studies at Brigham Young University. Her research focuses on the intersection of landscape representation and natural philosophy in Roman epic poetry as well as on poetic treatments of built environments, architecture that mirrors the natural world, and the sublime as a multisensory aesthetic experience.

Tags: Academics