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Announcing New Faculty 2012-2013...

Publication Date: 8/3/2012

As Rhodes prepares for the arrival of new students, the college is happy to announce the following new faculty:

Kimberly Brien joins the Department of Chemistry as assistant professor. She received her Ph.D. in Organometallic Chemistry from Texas Christian University and has a master’s in Organic Chemistry from Baylor University. Dr. Brien’s research interests include organic synthesis, bioorganic and bioinorganic chemistry. Most recently, she was a postdoctoral associate at Hope College where she was researching “Small molecule-DNA interactions and anti-cancer drug design.”

Maya Evans, assistant professor of Political Science, received her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of Illinois at Chicago; her dissertation topic was “The Path to Political Incorporation: Place and Race Matter.” She taught courses at Mount Mary College and Northwestern University’s Center for Talent Development. Her research interests include urban politics and policy; politics of race and ethnicity; participation, engagement and representation; and social and political theory.

Angela Frederick joins the Department of Anthropology and Sociology as assistant professor of Sociology. In spring 2012, she received her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Texas at Austin. In her dissertation, Dr. Frederick examined women’s paths to public office in Texas and the stories women tell to account for their decisions whether or not to run for office. Her research interests include gender, political sociology and social movements.

Ernest L. Gibson III, assistant professor of English with a specialization in African American Literature, recently received his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The title of his dissertation was “In Search of the Fraternal: Salvific Manhood and Male Intimacy in the Novels of James Baldwin.” His research interests include African American literature, male studies, black popular culture and literary/cultural theory. Most recently Dr. Gibson completed his tenure as the Thurgood Marshall Fellow of African/African American Studies at Dartmouth College.

Rhiannon Graybill joins the Department of Religious Studies as assistant professor. She received her Ph.D. in Near Eastern Studies, with a designated emphasis in Critical Theory, from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Graybill’s research focuses on the intersection of traditional biblical studies, religious studies, and feminist and queer theory. She has published her research in the Journal of Bible and Critical Theory and has articles forthcoming in a SBL Semeia Studies volume on the Bible and Posthumanism and in a volume on the Oracles Against the Nations. She is currently working on a book manuscript about prophecy, masculinity, and embodiment. She also received an Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor award in spring 2010.

Ben Holder, assistant professor of Physics, received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Texas at Austin. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral fellow at Ryerson University where he studied virus infection dynamics and taught courses in Engineering Physics and Numerical Methods. His research interests include modeling infectious disease, complex systems, “quantum chaos” and astrophysics.

Kendra Hotz, who has been a faculty member of the Department of Religious Studies at Rhodes for six years, continues her work in a new tenure-track position. Dr. Hotz received her Ph.D. from the Department of Historical Studies in the Graduate Division of Religion at Emory University. Her research interests and published projects center on practical theology, especially on questions of how faith and health care practices intersect. She serves as senior scholar in religion and ethics at the Center of Excellence in Faith and Health at Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare and as theologian-in-residence at the Church Health Center.

Charles Hughes joins the Department of History as the Memphis Center’s Mellon post-doctoral fellow. He received his Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2012; his dissertation topic was “Country-Soul: Race and the Recording Industry in the U.S. South, 1960-1980.” Most recently he taught African-American History at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research interests include connections between race, work and popular music, paying particular attention to the music produced in Memphis, Muscle Shoals and Nashville.

Amy Jasperson, associate professor and chair of the Department of Political Science, received her Ph.D. in Political Science from University of Minnesota. She has been at the University of Texas at San Antonio since 1999, earning tenure and promotion to associate professor there in 2005. She taught courses in American Politics, Political Psychology, and Political Communication and Behavior and served as the director of the Media and Elections Studio since 2002. She received the University of Texas System Regents’ Outstanding Teaching Award in 2011 and the President’s Distinguished Achievement Award in Recognition of Teaching Excellence at UTSA in 2010. Dr. Jasperson, whose research focuses on politics and the media, has 14 articles in print and a book contract with the University of Minnesota Press.

Sherry Jensen joins the Department of Economics as visiting assistant professor. Dr. Jensen, who received her Ph.D. in Economics from Clemson University, comes to Rhodes from the University of North Florida, where she taught courses in Contemporary International Economics, International Trade, and Statistics for Business and Economics. Her research interests include labor, industrial organization, and economics of education.

Phillip Kirlin joins the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science as assistant professor. In December 2012, he expects to receive his Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he was presented the Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award from the Department of Computer Science in 2008. His research interests include artificial intelligence, machine learning, and particularly music informatics—the study and development of new computational techniques for the processing and creation of musical data.

Jesse-Douglas Mathewson joins the Department of International Studies as visiting assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. and M.A. in Government and Politics from the University of Maryland. His research interests include occupations, democratization, alliance formation and political economy. He has taught courses at the University of Maryland in International Political Relations, American Government, and Laws and Society.

Ronald Pepino, assistant professor of Physics, received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Colorado. At the University of Colorado’s JILA (formerly called the Joint Institute for Laboratory Astrophysics) and Harvard University’s Institute for Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics, Dr. Pepino has performed research in a variety of fields of physics and mathematics.

Jade Planchon ′05 joins the Department of Commerce and Business as instructor of Finance. She earned a MBA with honors from Columbia Business School, and has most recently worked for AGC Partners, a technology-focused investment bank in Boston, where she advised numerous companies on M&A and growth capital transactions. Ms. Planchon’s experience in the financial field in Memphis, New York and Boston will be an asset to our Commerce and Business Department.

Jason Richards, who has been a faculty member at Rhodes for four years, continues his work in the Department of English in a new tenure-track position. Dr. Richards received his Ph.D. in English from the University of Florida. His research and teaching interests include early and 19th-century American literature, gothic studies, postcolonial studies and critical race theory. He has taught a wide range of courses at Rhodes, including first-year writing seminars, intermediate topics courses in postcolonial studies and advanced courses in literary theory and early American literature.

Jae Shin joins the Department of International Studies as assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. in Political Science from University of California, Los Angeles; his dissertation topic was “Electoral system choice and Personalistic Parties in New Democracies.” Dr. Shin’s research interests include Asian politics, electoral systems, parties, legislative politics and democratization. Most recently he taught courses at Duke University on comparative politics in Asia and foreign relations of China.

Oliver Sturm, assistant professor of Biology, received his Ph.D. in Bioanalytical Chemistry from Imperial College. He has most recently worked at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital as a postdoctoral research fellow where he had the opportunity to participate in the Rhodes Teaching Fellowship, a program in which St. Jude postdocs teach courses at Rhodes.

Catherine Sundt joins the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures as visiting assistant professor of Spanish. She received her Ph.D. in Iberian Literatures and Cultures from The Ohio State University where she also received a M.A. in Peninsular Spanish Literature. She has taught introductory and intermediate Spanish language courses, as well as major/minor courses in composition and literature.

Daniel Ullucci continues his work in the Department of Religious Studies in his new tenure-track position as assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. in Religious Studies from Brown University. For the last year he was a visiting assistant professor at Rhodes, where he taught courses in The Bible: Texts and Contexts, Seeking a Historical Jesus, and Probing the Mind of God: Cognitive Theories of Religions. His current research is centered on the practice of animal sacrifice in the ancient Mediterranean and the ways in which philosophical groups, Judeans and early Christians responded to and interpreted this key ritual.

Caki Wilkinson ′03 joins the Department of English as assistant professor. She received her Ph.D. in English and Comparative Literature from University of Cincinnati and her M.F.A. in Poetry from The Johns Hopkins University. Most recently she taught at Sewanee and was the programs manager for the Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her first collection of poems, Circles Where the Head Should Be, won the 2010 Vassar Miller Prize and was published last spring.

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