People Notes

September 2020

WELCOME

Elaine Chen has joined the School of Engineering and the Tufts Gordon Institute as director of the Tufts Entrepreneurship Center and Cummings Family Professor of the Practice in Entrepreneurship. An educator, entrepreneur, and technologist, Chen bring nearly three decades of building new ventures in startup, corporate, and nonprofit settings. She is founder and managing director of ConceptSpring, a corporate innovation and entrepreneurship consulting firm, and was a senior lecturer and entrepreneur-in-residence at the Martin Trust Center for MIT Entrepreneurship. She was also a board director for the MIT Enterprise Forum of Cambridge. Chen began her career as a mechanical and firmware engineer at EXOS, Inc., and has served as a vice president of engineering or product management at six companies, including Rethink Robotics and SensAble Technologies. She holds bachelor of science and master of science degrees in mechanical engineering from MIT. More on Chen can be found in the School of Engineering announcement.

Melissa McCracken has joined The Fletcher School and the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP) as an assistant professor of international environmental policy.

NEW FACULTY MEMBERS IN ARTS, SCIENCES AND ENGINEERING

Kimberly Bain will teach in the Department of English as an assistant professor. She comes to Tufts from Princeton University, where she earned a Ph.D. In 2019 she was named as a University of Maryland African American History, Culture, and Digital Humanities Scholar. Her interests include questions of the history, theory, and philosophy of diaspora, race, gender, postcolonialism, enslavement, and environmental racism.

Stephanie Badde has joined the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. A postdoctoral associate at New York University, she earned her Ph.D. at the University of Hamburg in Germany. Recognition of her work includes the biannual Best Dissertation Award by the German Psychological Society and the Lucien Levy Best Research Article Award by the American Journal of Neuroradiology.  

Leone Brown joins the university as a lecturer in Environmental Studies. She earned her Ph.D. at Stony Brook University, and was a postdoctoral researcher at the Crone Lab at Tufts. She also did research at the University of Connecticut and the University of Georgia. Her interests include population ecology and the intersections of art and science.

Ira Caspari joins the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor from the University of Massachusetts, Boston, where she was a postdoctoral research associate studying science instruction. She completed her Ph.D. at Justus Liebig University in Germany.

Steve Cicala comes to the Department of Economics as an assistant professor from the University of Chicago, where he was an assistant professor at the Harris School of Public Policy. A Faculty Research Fellow with the National Bureau of Economic Research, he earned his Ph.D. at Harvard University. His research focuses on the economics of regulation.

Sarah Fong has joined the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora, as an assistant professor. She comes to Tufts from the University of Southern California, where she recently completed her Ph.D. in American Studies and Ethnicity.  

Qiang (John) Fu is a new professor in the Department of Community Health. He comes to Tufts from Saint Louis University and holds a Ph.D. from the University of Alabama and an M.D. from Southern Medical University in China. He has worked on statistical modeling of genetic and environmental effects on the co-morbidity of substance abuse and psychiatric disorders, with particular emphasis on latent variable models.

Bert Huang joins the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering as an assistant professor from Virginia Tech, where he directed the Machine Learning Laboratory. His research addresses topics surrounding machine learning, including structured prediction, weakly supervised learning, and algorithmic fairness.

Theo Klimstra is a new lecturer in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Study and Human Development, coming to Tufts from Tilburg University in the Netherlands, where he was an associate professor. A visiting scholar at Tufts in 2018, his research focuses on personality and identity development in adolescence and young adulthood. He earned his Ph.D. from Utrecht University in the Netherlands.

David Lillethun joins the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering as an assistant teaching professor; previously he was at Seattle University. He teaches in the areas of operating systems, networking, distributed systems, and cloud computing systems. He has additional interests in computer science education and cybersecurity. Lillethun has worked with both undergraduate and graduate students in his research on distributed systems for performing live stream analysis in Fog Computing, as well as security topics related to that and to the Internet of Things.

Jasmine Mote joins the Department of Occupational Therapy as an assistant professor. She was previously a postdoctoral research associate at Boston University. Interested in understanding and improving the social and emotional lives of people with serious mental illness, she completed her Ph.D. in clinical science at the University of California, Berkeley and was a postdoctoral research fellow in the Social and Community Reintegration Research Program at Edith Nourse Rogers Memorial Veterans Hospital.  

Kasso Akochaye Okoudjou is a new professor in the Department of Mathematics. He comes to Tufts from the University of Maryland, where he was a preofessor; he also previously served as the Martin Luther King Visiting Professor at Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His interests lie in pure as well as applied and computational harmonic analysis, especially frame theory, time-frequency and wavelet analysis, and multilinear pseudodifferential operators.  

Jessica “JP” Pizzuti is a new lecturer in the Department of Theatre, Dance, and Performance Studies. They joined Tufts in 2017 as the assistant technical director and has served as the interim technical director for the past two years. They completed their undergraduate degree at Brandeis University before joining the Huntington Theatre Company for a year-long apprenticeship and held design and technical positions with numerous local companies throughout the last five years. Most recently, Pizzuti worked as the technical director for SpeakEasy Stage Company and holds a recurring position as scenic supervisor with the Provincetown Tennessee Williams Theater Festival. 

Caleb Scoville has joined Tufts as assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. He recently completed his Ph.D. at University of California, Berkeley. His research interests span social and political theory, cultural sociology, science and technology studies, environmental sociology, political sociology/economy/ecology, economic sociology, and law and society. Scoville’s article “Hydraulic Society and a ‘Stupid Little Fish’: Toward a Historical Ontology of Endangerment,” was awarded the 2017 American Sociological Association Animals and Society Section’s Jane Goodall Award for Distinguished Graduate Student Scholarship.

Philip Shushkov is the Dr. Charles W. Fotis A37, AG39 assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. He comes Tufts from the California Institute of Technology, where he was a postdoctoral fellow. His research focuses on the development and application of mixed quantum-classical methods to study chemical processes at interfaces. He earned a Ph.D. at Yale University and held a postdoctoral position at the University of Bonn in Germany.

Daniel Votipka, visiting assistant professor, will join the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering in January. He comes from the University of Maryland, where he won the 2020 John Karat Usable Privacy and Security Student Research Award, in acknowledgment of his excellence in research, mentorship, and community service. His research interests include computer security and privacy, secure development, security professionals, human-computer interaction, and mobile security. 

ARTS, SCIENCES, AND ENGINEERING PROMOTIONS, TENURE, AND NAMED PROFESSORSHIPS

Alex Blanchette has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Anthropology.

Fahad Dogar has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Computer Science in the School of Engineering.

John Durant has been promoted to professor in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Kyle Emerick has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Economics.

Jennifer Eyl has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Religion.

Anjuli Fahlberg has been promoted to assistant professor in the Department of Sociology. 

Emily Gephart has been promoted to lecturer in Visual and Material Studies, School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts.

Julia Gouvea has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Education.

Kerri Greenidge has been promoted to Mellon Assistant Professor in the Department of Studies in Race, Colonialism, and Diaspora.

Jeffrey Guasto has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Andrew Kemp has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Earth & Ocean Sciences.

Babak Moaveni has been promoted to professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

Nikhil Nair has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering.

Jason Rife has been promoted to professor and chair of the Department of Mechanical Engineering.

Benjamin Wolfe has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Biology.

KUDOS

Julian Agyeman, professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Policy and Planning, has been appointed to the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning’s Task Force on Climate Action. The task force will examine the ACSP’s role in leadership in climate change research and in its programs’ curricula, as well as how the organization should respond to the threats of climate change with regard to all of the association’s broader activities.

Brian Gravel, assistant professor in the Department of Education, reports that his book STEM Literacies in Makerspaces: Implications for Learning, Teaching, and Research (Routledge, 2019), co-authored with Eli Tucker-Raymond, has been awarded a 2020 Society of Professors of Education Outstanding Book Award.

Alice H. Lichtenstein, Stanley N. Gershoff Professor of Nutrition Science and Policy at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy, has won the first annual Mozaffarian Family Award for Public Impact. Lichtenstein is highly regarded for her research in diet and cardiovascular health and groundbreaking research in dietary fat and her role in shaping federal nutrition guidance and public policy. The Mozaffarian Family Award for Public Impact is awarded annually to a Friedman School faculty member who has demonstrated exceptional public impact by working to improve regional, national, and/or international well-being for better health, equity, and/or sustainability.  

Yu-Shan Lin, associate professor of chemistry, is among the leading scientists recognized by the inaugural Dreyfus Program for Machine Learning in the Chemical Sciences and Engineering Awards, supported by the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Foundation. Lin will use the award to study low-supervision machine learning for automated analysis of molecular dynamics simulations.

ALUMNI

Sunshine de Leon, J93, reports that her documentary filmCuriosity, Adventure & Love, in which de Leon’s 106-year-old grandmother shares her adventures that began when she left America for the Philippines at age 16, is now available with Spanish subtitles and in all Spanish speaking countries.  

Jim Wake, A73, who fronts for the Netherlands-based band Katvanger, announces the debut album for the blues-roots trio. Find out more online and order at the group’s Bandcamp site. Wake also shares that his life post-graduation has taken him from his hometown of Niagara Falls, N.Y., to Ouagadougou (capital of Burkina Faso) with the Peace Corps, to Menlo Park, California, where he worked for Humanitas International, and eventually to the Netherlands, where he works as a freelance writer while playing music. The “unexpected (but still modest) success” with music began after age 40 when he joined a “real” band for the first time, Jim Wake & Sleepwalker, and with whom he went on to produce three albums between 1994 and 2014. “It’s perhaps noteworthy that at age 68, I’m still managing to play rock and roll, though of course, the gigs have been suspended since the pandemic reached the Netherlands in March,” he writes. Checkout his website at jimwake.com.