People Notes

July 2020


Kim Ryan has joined Tufts as vice president for human resources. Previously, she was vice president for human resources at Campbell Soup Company, where she created and implemented the firm’s first global diversity and inclusion strategy, and vice president for human resources at Pepperidge Farm Inc., a subsidiary of Campbell Soup. Other positions she held include director for human resources at Georgia Pacific. She is a graduate of Syracuse University.


David Antonio Cruz, professor of the practice at the School of the Museum of Fine Arts at Tufts (SMFA),  has had his portrait “heboysdon’tplaynice-withanyone, portrait of april and june” selected for The Outwin 2019: American Portraiture Today at the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C.

Dina Deitsch, director and chief curator of the Tufts University Art Galleries, is a collaborator on a project awarded funding by the New England Humanities Consortium. Tufts University Art Galleries, Mead Art Museum at Amherst College, and Colby College Museum of Art will explore “Curating at a Distance,” and focus on innovative online solutions “that go beyond digital renderings of physical exhibitions.”

Maya Erdelyi-Perez, professor of the practice at the SMFA and an award-winning animator/designer and director, is one of five local artists selected to receive the City of Boston's second round of Artist Fellowship Awards.

Justin Hollander, A96, professor in the Department of Urban and Environmental Planning and Policy, was interviewed for an article for the Canadian Broadcasting Company regarding “the road ahead” for Calgary, and related to his recent book, A Research Agenda for Shrinking Cities.

Helen Marrow, associate professor in the Department of Sociology, is chair-elect of the American Sociological Association’s International Migration section.

Lilian Mengesha, Fletcher Foundation Assistant Professor of Dramatic Literature, and Kareem Khubchandani, Mellon Bridge Assistant Professor, both with the Department of Theatre, Dance, & Performance Studies, have been awarded a New England Humanities Consortium grant for a project with faculty at Colby College and University of Rhode Island called “Undisciplining Performance.”

Kasso Okoudjou, who joins the Department of Mathematics from the University Maryland this fall as a professor, will chair an American Mathematical Society task force to understand and document the organization’s historical role in racial discrimination.

Justin Bjorn Steffensen, professor and chair of the Department of Periodontology at the School of Dental Medicine, has been named a fellow of the American Association for Dental Research (AADR). Steffensen previously was awarded the first Irwin D. Mandel Distinguished Mentoring Award by the AADR.

Alex Vilenkin, Leonard and Jane Holmes Bernstein Professor in Evolutionary Science in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, has been elected to the National Academy of Sciences, considered one of the highest possible honors for scientists. Members are elected “in recognition of their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research.”


Silvia Bottinelli, senior lecturer in the Visual and Material Studies Department at the SMFA, was invited by TRT World, an international TV station based in Turkey, to speak about Germano Celant, the founder of Arte Povera and renowned curator at the Guggenheim Museum in New York and the Fondazione Prada in Milan, for a program dedicated to artists and art world personalities who died due to COVID-19.

Kelly Sims Gallagher, F00, F03, professor of energy and environmental policy, co-director of the Center for International Environment and Resource Policy (CIERP), and recently appointed academic dean at The Fletcher School, was a guest lecturer at West Point, where she discussed her book, Titans of the Climate, on how China and the United States navigate the climate crisis.

Barbara Kates-Garnick, F85, professor of  practice and a senior research fellow at The Fletcher School; Michael Semeraro, F20, and Austin Shiner, F20, worked this spring on drafting an energy road map for the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority (MBTA); recommendations will guide procurement and system design decisions in the coming decades. 

David Valdes, lecturer in English in the School of Arts and Sciences, will have his YA book Spin Me Right Round, about an out-and-proud Latinx teen who accidentally time travels to his parents’ era and makes it his mission to save a closeted classmate from a tragic end, published in fall 2021 by Bloombury, the first in a two-book deal he recently signed.


Justine Bowe, A12, who performs as Photocomfort, was featured in a WGBH Facebook Watch Premiere on June 16. The stream (watch the recorded concert on Facebook and read interview) showcased her range and originality as a song writer, singer, and performer on piano and synthesizer.

Grace Talusan, J94, wrote her first book review for the New York Times on The Dragons, the Giant, the Women, a memoir by Wayétu Moore that is framed by her family’s escape from civil war in Liberia. “This memoir adds an essential voice to the genre of migrant literature, challenging false popular narratives that migration is optional, permanent and always results in a better life,” writes Talusan, author of The Body Papers and Fannie Hurst Writer-in-Residence at Brandeis University.