New faculty to advance campus teaching, research

From left: CPEVC Marlene Tromp speaking with Aliah Darke and Micha Cárdenas, both assistant professors in games and playable media. (Photo by Lindsey Vande Wege)
From left: CPEVC Marlene Tromp speaking with Aliah Darke and Micha Cárdenas, both assistant professors in games and playable media. (Photo by Lindsey Vande Wege)
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
shj@ucsc.edu (Scott Hernandez-Jason)

UC Santa Cruz is welcoming more than 35 new faculty members this year, bringing the campus total to 603.

The new professors and lecturers with security of employment, spread across all five divisions, further build on campus strengths in many key areas—from artificial intelligence to the environment.

Below is a list of the senate faculty members who were hired for this academic year, as well as research summaries they provided.

Wolfgang Altmannshofer, assistant professor
Physics
I am performing research in the field of theoretical particle physics. My research addresses fundamental questions about the basic constituents of nature. What is the origin of mass of the elementary particles? What distinguishes the different types (“flavors”) of matter particles?

Lily Balloffet, assistant professor
Latin American and Latino Studies
I study histories and cultures of migration in the Global South. In particular, I look at the ways in which migration between Latin America and the Middle East has connected these two regions since the late nineteenth century.

Natalie Batalha, professor
Astronomy and astrophysics
Batalha is an astrophysicist working on the detection and characterization of planets orbiting other stars in the galaxy with the objective of finding evidence of life beyond the solar system.

Scott Beamer, assistant professor
Computer science and engineering
Beamer’s research develops techniques to more efficiently move data within computing systems, which in turn enables new applications by making larger datasets and richer algorithms more tractable. His communication-centric approach improves data movement efficiency by considering both hardware and software perspectives.

Courtney Bonam, assistant professor
Psychology
Broadly, Bonam studies racial stereotyping and discrimination processes as they impact social perception, interpersonal interaction, and person-environment interaction. Bonam is particularly interested in how racial stereotyping reinforces environmental inequality and social identity threat, and how social justice education can mitigate both of these social problems.

Alvaro Cardenas, associate professor
Electrical and computer engineering
Cardenas studies security and privacy in cyberphysical systems.

Micha Cárdenas, assistant professor
Arts
Cárdenas is currently writing a book using algorithms to extend intersectionality, based on digital media made by trans women of color. Cárdenas uses practice-based research, at the intersection of media art, gender studies and media studies, creating games, performance and electronic literature as art.

Saskias Casanova, assistant professor
Psychology
As a cultural psychologist, Casanova researches individual and contextual factors that relate to the psychological processes and educational outcomes of Latinx and immigrant-origin students. She examines how these students’ experiences with stigmatization and discrimination relate to their educational outcomes, and the influence multiple contexts have on students’ learning and identity development.

Yasmeen Daifallah, assistant professor
Politics
Daifallah’s areas of expertise are Arab and Islamic political thought, postcolonial theory, comparative political theory, critical theory, and Middle East politics. She earned her Ph.D. in political science from UC Berkeley in 2012.

Aliah Darke, assistant professor
Arts
Darke creates subversive art and games with a focus on maximizing agency for marginalized bodies, while disrupting systems of oppression.

Jeff Erbig, assistant professor
Latin American and Latino Studies
Erbig’s research examines relationships between colonialism, migration, and indigeneity in southeastern South America (Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay). It draws upon geographic information systems (GIS) to reconceptualize archival knowledge and to reconstruct Indigenous histories.

Aura Alegra Eroy-Reveles, assistant teaching professor/LPSOE
Chemistry
Eroy-Reveles works on developing (1) engaging and supportive learning environments for large enrollment general chemistry courses, and (2) interventions that increase the performance and retention of historically underrepresented students in STEM courses and majors.

Laura Giuliano, professor
Economics
Giuliano’s research focuses on the economics of labor and education and much of it is concerned with the barriers facing disadvantaged groups.

Stefania Gori, assistant professor
Physics
Gori’s research is on particle physics. Her work has ranged over several topics, including Higgs physics, the physics of dark matter, flavor physics, and neutrino physics. At present, her research focuses on novel theories for the Higgs particle and their connection to dark matter. She collaborates with experimentalists working at several different experiments both in the U.S. and worldwide, with the aim of discovering new, fundamental constituents of nature.

Camilla Hawthorne, acting assistant professor
Sociology
Hawthorne is a critical human geographer and interdisciplinary social scientist broadly interested in the racial politics of migration and citizenship, inequality, social movements, and Black geographies. Hawthorne’s current project explores the politics of race and citizenship in Italy.

Michael John, teaching professor
Computational media
John is a video game designer specializing in level design, and game production, especially in making both accessible to a larger audience. He also builds game-like applications (a.k.a. “alt-control”) for microcontroller and sensor technologies.

Timothy Johnstone, assistant professor
Chemistry
Johnstone studies medicinal inorganic chemistry and biomaterials research aimed at solving problems in the arena of human health; particularly carbon monoxide poisoning, neglected tropical diseases, and cancer.

Isaac Julien, acting professor
Arts
Julien is a British artist whose work draws from and comments on a range of artistic disciplines and practices (film, dance, photography, music, theatre, painting and sculpture) and uniting them in dramatic audiovisual film installations, photographic works and documentary films.

Anne Kapuscinski, professor
Environmental studies
Kapuscinski’s research stresses a systems approach to sustainability challenges, integrating across ecological, social, and economic domains of the problem, with a current emphasis on shifting aquaculture to sustainability.

Jennifer Kelly, assistant professor
Feminist studies
Kelly’s research broadly engages questions of settler colonialism, U.S. empire, and the fraught politics of both tourism and solidarity. She is currently completing the manuscript for her first book, Invited to Witness: Solidarity Tourism Across Occupied Palestine, a multi-sited ethnographic study that analyzes the ways in which solidarity tourism has emerged in Palestine as an organizing strategy that is both embedded in and working against histories of sustained displacement.

Euiseok Kim, assistant professor
Molecular, cell, and developmental biology
Kim is interested in studying development, functions, connectivity, and genetic identity of mammalian brain circuits.

Lindsey Kuper, assistant professor
Computer science and engineering
Kuper works on programming-language-based approaches to building parallel and distributed software systems that are correct and efficient.

Cynthia Lewis, professor
Education
Lewis’ research examines the sociopolitical dimensions of literacy and learning, with particular interest in critical literacy and classroom discourse.

Yang Liu, assistant professor
Computer science and engineering
Liu’s research broadly focus on the interactions between people, our society and Artificial Intelligence (AI). For instance, he is interested in questions that sit at the intersections between crowdsourcing, data collection and Machine Learning.

Edward Melcer, assistant professor
Computational media
Melcer’s research focuses on incorporating augmented reality, tangibles, and other alternative forms of input into the design of educational games to enhance learning outcomes.

Pedro Morales, assistant teaching professor/LPSOE
Math
Morales focuses on mathematical methods in regularization problems for quantum field theory.

Olena Morozova, assistant professor
Molecular, cell, and developmental biology
Morozova’s research focuses on developing personalized medicine approaches for pediatric cancers and other genetic diseases

Mark Nash, acting professor
Arts

Juan Pedroza, acting assistant professor
Sociology
Pedroza’s areas of expertise span immigration, social inequalities, and public policy. He employs social demographic, statistical, and geographic information systems methods and tools. His research concerns the vast inequalities present in immigrants’ access to justice, the social safety net, and poverty.

Jason Samaha, acting assistant professor
Psychology
Samaha studies human cognition and perception using neuroscience methods. The focus is on the role of neural oscillations in visual awareness, attention, and decision-making.

Brenda Samaniego de la Parra, assistant professor
Economics
Samaniego de la Parra’s research lies in the intersection between applied macroeconomics, labor markets, and development. Samaniego de la Parra uses micro-level data to understand firm and worker decisions, and their impact on aggregate outcomes.

Beren Sanders, assistant professor
Math
Sanders works in algebra and topology. More specifically, Sanders uses the abstract world of triangulated categories as a platform for transferring ideas between different areas of pure mathematics (especially between algebraic geometry, algebraic topology, and representation theory).

Upasna Sharma, assistant professor
Molecular, cell, and developmental biology
Sharma studies the role of small RNA in sperm in intergenerational inheritance.

Anjuli Verma, assistant professor
Politics
Verma is a criminologist and legal scholar who studies punishment, law, and inequality from an interdisciplinary perspective using multiple methods. Verma’s research examines de-carceration and deinstitutionalization in California and the prospects and perils of legal reform for America’s criminal justice system.

Amy Vidali, teaching professor/LSOE
Writing program
Vidali’s scholarship is motivated by the idea that conceptions of rhetoric and student writing are fundamentally informed and altered by disability; that disability must not only be the “subject” of rhetorical analysis but reshape theories of language; and that work in disability and rhetoric should facilitate social justice for disabled people, particularly in higher education.