Brandeis welcomes new faculty members and postdoctoral fellows

September 28, 2018

Brandeis recently welcomed 28 new faculty members from over 20 different disciplines, ranging from fine arts to the International Business School, according to a recent BrandeisNOW article. These faculty members started either in the Spring of 2018 or the Fall of 2018.

The new Dean of Arts and Science, Dorothy Hodgson (ANTH), is a recent addition to the anthropology department. Her research as a cultural and historical anthropologist has taken part mostly in East Africa over a 30 year period. Her research topics span across questions of gender and nationalism, among other things.

Barry Shrage (HRNS) is a new professor of Practice in the Hornstein Jewish Professional Leadership Program. Shrage is known internationally as an advocate for Jewish education and served as president of the Combined Jewish Philanthropies of Greater Boston program for 30 years. “I came to Brandeis because there is no other university with the kind of human and technical resources that Brandeis has to address critical issues like the nature Jewish identity and Jewish peoplehood,” said Shrage in an email to The Brandeis Hoot.

A majority of the new professors and postdoctoral fellows encompass the division of sciences. Niels Bradshaw (BCHM) joins as an assistant professor in the biochemistry department along with assistant professor Julia Kardon (BCHM). Kardon was previously a postdoctoral scholar at MIT in the biology department.

Grace Han (CHEM) joins the chemistry department as an assistant professor and came to Brandeis after being a postdoctoral associate in the department of material sciences and engineering at MIT. Her research focus is on finding solutions to energy problems through chemistry and the material sciences. Rebecca Gieseking (CHEM) also joined the chemistry department. She was a postdoctoral fellow in the department of chemistry at Northwestern University before coming to Brandeis and studies different approaches to energy technology.

Hongfu Liu (COSI) comes to Brandeis as an assistant professor in the computer science department. Prior to coming to Brandeis, Liu worked as a data scientist intern at Adobe Research and at Microsoft Research Asia.

Two professors join the mathematics department, Thomas Fai (MATH) and John Wilmes (MATH). Wilmes works in discrete mathematics, specifically with the applications to the analysis of algorithms. Wilmes appreciates how his interdisciplinary research profile between mathematics and computer science is valued, unlike at some other universities, in an email to The Hoot. Fai was a postdoctoral research fellow in applied mathematics at Harvard University before coming to Brandeis. His research interests are mathematical biology and computational fluid dynamics.

In the social sciences, assistant professor Alejandro Trelles (POL) joined the politics department. He is a political scientist, political analyst and expert in electoral matters, according to a BrandeisNOW article. His specialties include the comparative study of public institutions.

Gary Samore (POL) is the new Professor of the Practice in the department of politics and Senior Executive Director of the Crown Center for Middle East Studies. Samore previously worked at the Department of State, the National Security Council and was the executive director for research at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government.

The Sociology department has added Siri Suh (SOC) as a new assistant professor. Suh’s research forms a relationship between global maternal and reproductive health, population and development studies and feminist studies of technology, medicine and science, according to a BrandeisNOW article.

Amber Spry (AAAS) is a new assistant professor in the African and Afro-American studies and politics departments. Her research primarily examines the relationship between group identities and political attitudes and behaviors within American politics.

Lee Bloch (ANTH and AMST) joins the faculty as the Florence Levy Kay Fellow in Native American and indigenous studies and a Lecturer in anthropology and American studies. Bloch is excited about the reception that Native American and indigenous studies have by members of the Brandeis community. “It’s an exciting opportunity to bring scholars, tribal leaders and activists to campus and learn from their work… I hope to see that energy around Native American and indigenous study continue and grow,” he wrote in an email to The Hoot.

In the fine arts department, Sheida Soleimani (FA) has joined as an assistant professor in the division of creative arts and is researching the intersection of art and activism and the manner in which social media has shaped our current socio-political affairs and uprising. Soleimani has a “holding court” at the beginning of each class period to discuss the current events happening around the world. “It has set the tone for how we apply these discussions to the artwork we are making and looking at,” explained Soleimani in an email to The Hoot.

Eight new professors joined the division of humanities, spanning from the classics department to Near Eastern and Judaic studies. Assistant Professor Caitlin Gillespie (CLAS) joined the classics department and focuses on the intersection of social history and historiography, specifically women of the early Roman Empire.

Assistant Professor Dorothy Kim (ENG) and Chen Chen (ENG), the Jacob Ziskind Poet-in-Residence, joined the English department. Kim studies Early Middle English culture as well as the digital humanities. Chen’s full-length poetry book, “When I Grow Up I Want to Be a List of Further Possibilities,” received the A. Poulin, Jr. Poetry Prize, according to a BrandeisNOW article.

Hassan Almohammed (IMES) joined the Islamic and Middle Eastern studies department as the Madeleine Haas Russell Visiting Professor in the Islamic and Middle Eastern studies program. His work looks specifically at the relationship between text and images in a social and political context and works as an interpreter and journalist in France. Almohammed became a refugee after deserting the Syrian army in 2012.

Alexander Kaye (NEJS) and Lynn Kaye (NEJS) both joined the Near Eastern and Judaic studies department. A. Kaye is an assistant professor as well as the Karl, Harry and Helen Stoll Family Chair in Israel studies. He specializes in legal and political thought of religious Zionists in the 20th century, according to a BrandeisNOW article. L. Kaye joins as an assistant professor whose area of expertise is in Rabbinic literature with a focus on the application of methods in comparative literature, philosophy and gender studies to classical text.

Brendan Cline (PHIL and NBIO) joined Brandeis faculty as the Florence Levy Kay Fellow in philosophy and neuroscience. Cline specializes in ethics and moral psychology, where his interests lie in environmental ethics, bioethics and philosophy of mind and science, according to an article by BrandeisNOW.

The romance studies has two new additions—Andrew Sewick (ROMS) and Kristen Turpin (ROMS). Sewick used to be a lecturer in Spanish at Old Dominion University before coming to Brandeis and will be a lecturer in Hispanic studies while at Brandeis. Turpin is also a lecturer in Hispanic studies whose research and teaching fields focus on writing and second language pedagogy, Latin American literature and culture as well as disability and gender studies.

In the graduate schools, Joanne Nicholson (HS) joined as a Professor of the Practice in the Heller School for Social Policy and Management. She is a clinical and research psychologist that is currently an adjunct professor of psychiatry and University of Massachusetts Medical School. Nicholson is the co-principal investigator for the National Research Center on Parents with Disabilities at the Lurie Institute on Disability Policy at the Heller School.

Three new professors are joined the International Business School (IBS). Sava Berhané (IBS) joins the faculty as a senior lecturer. Berhané received a 2018 Brandeis Provost Research Grant to focus on the future of work, leadership in an evolving society and women in the workplace, according to a BrandeisNOW article.

Ahmad Namini (IBS) joins as a Professor of Practice of business analytics. Namini was previously the executive director of the quantitative finance program at the Questrom School of Business at Boston University. The final addition to IBS is Steve XIa (IBS) as a Professor of the Practice of finance. Xia led the quantitative research effort of over 200 billion of multi-asset funds at Fidelity Investments. He was also a quantitative analyst lead at Vanguard Group to develop trading strategies and manage credit long-short hedged strategies.

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