New faculty in Arts & Sciences: Fall 2021

This semester, Arts & Sciences welcomed tenure-track and teaching-track faculty to departments and programs across the natural sciences, social sciences, and humanities! Meet the newest members of our faculty community.


Joint Appointments

Jianqing Chen, PhD, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures and Film and Media Studies as an assistant professor as part of the Digital Transformation Initiative. Chen researches new media technologies and aesthetics, surveillance, global techno-capitalism, post-socialist structure and critique, and cinema and media culture in China, Hong Kong, and Taiwan. She is working on a book project which examines the global dissemination of touchscreen media and their radical transformation of our interactions with media objects.


Ian Hollenbaugh, PhD, joins the Department of Classics and the program in Linguistics as an assistant professor. Hollenbaugh’s research focuses on the tense and aspect systems of Indo-European languages from both diachronic and synchronic perspectives. His current projects include annotated digital corpora of Rigveda and the Illiad, tagged for morphological and semantic information. He is also working on a book about the Indo-European verb.



Raven Maragh-Lloyd, PhD, joins the Department of African and African American Studies and Film and Media Studies as an assistant professor as part of the Digital Transformation Initiative. Most recently, Maragh-Lloyd was an assistant professor of communication studies at Gonzaga University. Her research focuses on Black digital media practices and their connections to power, resistance, and longstanding efforts of community building and preservation. She is working on her first book, “Reshaping Black Resistance: Strategic Rearticulations in the Digital Age,” which is under contract with University of California Press. 


Eliza Williamson, PhD, has accepted a joint lecturer position in Latin American Studies and the Department of Romance Languages and Literatures. Williamson is a cultural medical anthropologist whose research focuses on reproduction, disability, and healthcare in Brazil. She is currently writing a book on “humanized birth” and public health policy in Bahia, Brazil as well as conducting longitudinal ethnographic research on Bahian families raising children with congenital Zika syndrome. 


African and African American Studies

Robin McDowell, PhD, joins the Department of African and African American Studies as an assistant professor. McDowell’s interdisciplinary research draws on archives, oral histories, earth sciences, design, multimedia art making, and experiences from years of grassroots community organizing in the greater New Orleans area. Her work explores the historical dimensions of environmental racism and visions for environmental justice for Black communities. McDowell earned her doctorate at Harvard University.


American Culture Studies

Zachary Manditch-Prottas, PhD, joins American Culture Studies and the Department of African and African American Studies as a lecturer. Manditch-Prottas’s research is based in the nexus between African American literature, Black cultural studies, and theories of gender and sexuality. He is currently working on a project about the Black Arts Movement, the origins of Black pulp fiction, and the novels of Donald Goines. In the fall and winter of 2021, his writing will be featured in forthcoming issues of The Black Scholar: Journal of Black Studies and Research and African American Review.



Haijun Liu, PhD, joins the Department of Biology as a research assistant professor. Liu’s interdisciplinary research in biochemistry focuses on molecular mechanisms of photosynthesis, a process that supplies energy for most life on Earth. Liu's lab uses techniques such as mass spectrometry and molecular spectrophotometry to understand multiple pigment protein complexes that are critical for solar energy capture, photochemical conversion, and regulation using both photosynthetic microbes and higher plants. Before joining biology, Liu was a research scientist in the Department of Chemistry. His recent work includes a DOE-funded project on how certain proteins help cyanobacteria achieve optimized photochemistry and photosynthetic efficiency. Liu earned his doctorate at Louisiana State University.


Corey Westfall, PhD, transitions to the role of lecturer in the Department of Biology. Westfall earned his doctorate from Washington University and won the Beckman Foundation’s Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2015. Westfall’s postdoctoral research in Petra Levin’s lab focused on investigating the role of central carbon metabolism in the regulation of bacterial growth and morphology. This semester, Westfall is sharing his expertise in biochemistry and genetics, teaching “Principles of Biology II,” which provides a broad overview of genetics, and “General Biochemistry I,” which covers biological structures, enzymes, membranes, energy production, and an introduction to metabolism.



Julie Hamdi, PhD, joins the Department of Chemistry as a senior lecturer. Hamdi is passionate about making science relatable for students through real-life examples and practical applications. As a member of the WashU chemistry department, she is excited to leverage her diverse experience to teach tomorrow’s leaders the fundamentals of chemistry that are key to their further mastery of this central science. Hamdi earned her doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of California, Los Angeles. Prior to joining WashU, she taught a wide variety of chemistry classes both nationally and internationally.


Courtney Reichhardt, PhD, joins the Department of Chemistry as an assistant professor. Reichhardt’s research program leverages her multidisciplinary training in physical chemistry and microbiology to answer important questions about the fundamental biophysical principles of biofilm assembly. To study the composition of biofilms, Reichhardt uses a technique she pioneered that integrates solid-state NMR and electron microscopy analyses. Reichhardt earned her doctorate at Stanford University, where her graduate research was supported by the Althouse Family Stanford Graduate Fellowship. She completed postdoctoral training at the University of Washington with support from both the NIH and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.


Earth and Planetary Sciences

Paul Byrne, PhD, joins the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences as an associate professor. Byrne's research focuses on comparative planetary geology — comparing and contrasting the surfaces and interiors of planetary bodies, including Earth, to understand geological phenomena. His projects span the solar system from Mercury to Pluto and, increasingly, to the study of extrasolar planets. He uses remotely sensed data, numerical and physical models, and fieldwork in analog settings on Earth to understand why planets look the way they do. Byrne earned his doctorate at Trinity College, Dublin. Prior to joining the faculty at WashU, Byrne was a professor at North Carolina State University. Read more from the Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences.


East Asian Languages and Cultures

Hea-Young Chun, MA, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer in Korean. Chun studied Korean classical literature at Seoul National University, where she focused on the poetry of the ruling class (Yang-ban) during the Choson Dynasty. She has a strong interest in strengthening pedagogical practice and curriculum development in the teaching of Korean.



Megumi Iida, MA, has accepted a lecturer position in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures, where she will teach Japanese language. Megumi previously taught Japanese at Claflin University and studied Japanese linguistics at the University of Arizona. She has also worked with young heritage language learners at the Tucson Japanese Language School. 



Hyeok Hweon Kang, PhD, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as an assistant professor. Kang researches the history of science and technology, material culture, and global history of early modern Korea and East Asia. His dissertation won two prizes, the Turriano Prize for the best book on the history of technology and the International Convention of Asia Scholars Book Prize for best dissertation. His current book project, “The Artisanal Heart: Craft and Experimentalism in Early Modern Korea,” recasts the history of early modern science from the perspective of artisans and practitioners in Choson Korea (1392–1910).


Tae Hyun Kim, PhD, has accepted a visiting lecturer position in the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures. Kim’s research re-assesses the intellectual and religious history of China in the formative stage of the civilization by reading newly excavated manuscripts such as oracle-bone inscriptions, bronze inscriptions, or bamboo-slip manuscripts alongside classics of the same period. At WashU, Kim will teach courses on pre-modern Chinese literature and East Asian religions.



Jiyoon Lee, MA, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer in Korean language. As a graduate student at the University of Oregon, Lee focused on computer-assisted language learning, pragmatics, and course design. Before coming to WashU, she specialized in teaching Korean heritage learners at the University of California, Berkeley.



Mano Yasuda, PhD, joins the Department of East Asian Languages and Cultures as a lecturer in Japanese language. Most recently, Yasuda completed her graduate studies at the University of Oklahoma, where she focused on foreign language curriculum and pedagogy in higher education, transformative learning, and teacher development. In the classroom, she aims to broaden students’ perspectives of the world by giving them experiences with new materials and opportunities to reflect upon themselves.



Andrew Jordan, PhD, joins the Department of Economics as an assistant professor. Jordan uses the tools of economics to study labor markets, discrimination, and criminal justice. By applying economic modeling, reduced form, and structural methods to data from courts and other criminal justice institutions, he seeks to understand how agents in the criminal justice system respond to incentives and why different groups have different experiences within that system. In 2020, Jordan earned his doctorate from the University of Chicago and served as a resident scholar at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago. He joins the Washington University faculty through the Digital Transformation Initiative in Arts & Sciences.



Lyndsie Schultz, PhD, joins the Department of Education as a lecturer. Schultz specializes in social contexts of education for designated English Learner (EL) students, language policy, and geographic access to opportunity for marginalized youth. As a formerly certified teacher, she has worked with teachers of designated ELs in Illinois and Missouri for over a decade. Her current research focuses on how context of reception for EL children varies geographically and how it is locally created and interpreted by teachers and children in the Midwest. After earning her doctorate here at Washington University in St. Louis, she held a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Missouri-Columbia.



G’Ra Asim, MFA, joins the Department of English as an assistant professor. Asim is a writer and musician whose work has appeared in Slate, Salon, Guernica, The Baffler, and The New Republic and whose DIY pop punk quintet babygotbacktalk was named one of Alternative Press’s 17 rising Black alternative bands that are leading the next generation. He is the author of Boyz n the Void: a mixtape to my brother.

Niki Herd, PhD, joins the Department of English as a visiting writer in residence. She is the author of The Language of Shedding Skin and won the 2021 Inprint Donald Bartheleme Prize in Nonfiction. Most recently, she was the Inprint C. Glenn Cambor Fellow of Literature and Creative Writing at the University of Houston.


Film and Media Studies

Ian Bogost, PhD, joins Film and Media Studies as director and professor. Bogost is internationally recognized for his writing on video games and media studies. He is the author of 10 books, most recently Play Anything: The Pleasure of Limits, the Uses of Boredom, and the Secret of Games, and is a contributing writer at The Atlantic. His research approaches media studies from the perspective of both a critic and a practitioner. After completing his doctorate at UCLA, Bogost joined the faculty at Georgia Tech, where he held appointments in media studies, interactive computing, business, and architecture. At WashU, he holds a joint appointment in the McKelvey School of Engineering and an affiliation with the Humanities Digital Workshop.


Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies

Eyal Tamir, MA, joins the Department of Jewish, Islamic, and Middle Eastern Studies as a lecturer in Hebrew. Tamir completed his doctorate in comparative literature at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, where his research focused on twentieth-century popular culture and science fiction. At WashU, Tamir will teach modern Hebrew.


Mathematics and Statistics

Henri Martikainen, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. Martikainen’s research concerns harmonic analysis, a field of mathematics rooted in representing functions as the superposition of basic waves. Martikainen is also interested in geometric measure theory and its connections with singular integrals and other parts of harmonic analysis. Martikainen earned his doctorate at the University of Helsinki, Finland. Before joining the Washington University faculty, Martikainen was an Academy Research Fellow at the University of Helsinki, where he worked on complex research plans while developing academic leadership skills and establishing himself as an independent researcher in the international scientific community.


Debashis Mondal, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an associate professor. Mondal’s research interests include spatial statistics; computational science and machine learning; and applications in environmental sciences and ecology, including microbial ecology. Mondal won an NSF CAREER Award in 2014 and the International Indian Statistical Association’s Young Researcher Award in 2015. He is also an elected member of the International Statistical Institute. Mondal earned his doctorate in statistics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Before he joined the WashU faculty, Mondal was most recently an associate professor of statistics at Oregon State University.


Donsub Rim, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics and Statistics as an assistant professor. Rim’s research interests include numerical analysis of partial differential equations and inverse problems. His current projects range from nonlinear model reduction methods using deep neural networks to computational applications in aerospace engineering, geophysics, and medical imaging, including rocket combustion dynamics, probabilistic tsunami hazard assessment, storm surge prediction, and coupled-physics imaging. Rim earned his doctorate in applied mathematics at the University of Washington, Seattle. Most recently, Rim was a postdoctoral research associate at the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences at New York University and a Chu Assistant Professor at Columbia University.



Christopher Douthitt, MA, joins the Department of Music as a lecturer in electronic music. Douthitt is a composer and scholar whose work explores how technology can be used to create new contexts for song and songlike expression. He directed the Princeton Laptop Orchestra (PLOrk) for the 2020–21 season and co-directed Underwolf Records from 2017–20. He is completing his doctorate at Princeton University.


Performing Arts

Elizabeth Hunter, PhD, has accepted a position as assistant professor of drama in the Performing Arts Department. Hunter is a critical theorist and digital maker exploring the future of live performance and emergent technologies. Her research asks what happens when we inhabit the space of a famous story, and the story seeps into ours. Most recently, Hunter was assistant professor of theatre studies at San Francisco State University.



Matthew McGrath, PhD, joins the Department of Philosophy as a professor. One of McGrath’s continuing research interests is in the relationship between epistemic notions – notions of knowledge and rational belief – and practical notions – notions of action, preference, intention. Another abiding interest is in the nature of appearances and how they afford us knowledge of reality. With Jeremy Fantl, he is the coauthor of Knowledge in an Uncertain World (Oxford University Press). Prior to coming to WashU, McGrath was Distinguished Professor of Philosophy at Rutgers University. He is thrilled to join the vibrant philosophical and intellectual scene at WashU.



Chong Zu, PhD, joins the Department of Physics as an assistant professor. Zu's research interests lie at the interface between atomic, molecular, and optical physics; condensed matter physics; and quantum information. Advances in the intersections of these fields hold the potential for revolutionizing computing, communication protocols, and sensors. Zu focuses on using solid-state spin defects for quantum sensing, simulation, and computation. His current projects include quantum-enhanced sensing, non-equilibrium quantum dynamics, and quantum computation. Zu earned his doctorate at Tsinghua University in Beijing. Prior to joining the Washington University faculty, Zu was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Berkeley.


Political Science

Zachary Bowersox, PhD, joins the Department of Political Science as a lecturer. Bowersox is a human rights scholar whose main focus is human trafficking. Since earning his doctorate at the University of Missouri, Columbia, in 2016, he has taught at Emory University, the University of Georgia, and Columbia College. He is the author of International Sporting Events and Human Rights: Does the Host Nation Play Fair? (2018, Lexington Books) and has recently published articles in the Journal of Human Trafficking and International Migration. This fall, Bowersox’s courses include “Human Migration” and “Environmental Policy and Governance.”


Daniel Butler, PhD, joins the Department of Political Science as a professor. Butler’s research and teaching focus primarily on American politics. In his research, he uses experiments to study issues of representation and the behavior of elites. He is the coauthor of Rejecting Compromise: Legislators’ Fear of Primary Voters (2020) and author of Representing the Advantaged: How Politicians Reinforce Inequality (2014), both published by Cambridge University Press. Prior to his appointment at Washington University, Butler was a professor at the University of California, San Diego, where he ran the Center for American Politics and the Laboratories of Democracy. He currently serves as associate editor of the Journal of Experimental Political Science.



Michael Esposito, PhD, joins the Department of Sociology as an assistant professor. Esposito specializes in using statistical methods – counterfactual-based mediation and Bayesian approaches in particular – to clarify how structural racism shapes population health. This work includes studies that demonstrate how broad, racialized social structures, and their constituent institutions, (e.g., mass incarceration; racial residential segregation; socio-cultural environments), are connected to population health disparities, as well as work that examines how structural racism enters and distorts social processes that are foundational to well-being. Prior to his appointment at Washington University in St. Louis, Esposito earned a doctorate at the University of Washington and completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of Michigan.  


Zakiya Luna, PhD, joins the Department of Sociology as a Dean’s Distinguished Professorial Scholar and associate professor. Luna’s research is in the areas of social change, sociology of law, health, and inequality. Specifically, she is interested in social movements, human rights, and reproduction with an emphasis on the effects of intersecting inequalities within and across these sites. She is author of the recently published Reproductive Rights as Human Rights: Women of Color and the Fight for Reproductive Justice. Luna joins the WashU faculty through the ongoing race and cluster hire initiative. She previously served on the faculty at the University of California, Santa Barbara.