(Top, l-r): Amy Elkins (English), Bret Jackson (Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science), Crystal Moten (History), (bottom, l-r): Jessica Pearson-Patel (History), Katrina Phillips (History), and Leah Witus (Chemistry)

St. Paul, Minn. – Six tenure-track faculty members have joined Macalester this fall. They are: Amy Elkins (English), Bret Jackson (Mathematics, Statistics and Computer Science), Crystal Moten (History), Jessica Pearson-Patel (History), Katrina Phillips (History), and Leah Witus (Chemistry).

Elkins studies the shared evolution of British art and literature. In her book project, Crafting Modernity, she explores the history of art and craft media as an important site of social critique in 20th-21st century literature from the U.K. and Caribbean.  She historicizes art making as it intersects with new technologies, literary experimentation, post-colonial identity, human rights, and feminist critique.  She also examines the role of archives and hybrid texts with an eye to preservation, transnational circulation, and gendered visual histories. In addition to winning several essay prizes for her work in archives, Elkins was awarded a Women of Excellence Award for her pedagogy and won a grant to build a digital repository featuring a turn-of-the-century women’s art and literature collective.  This year she’ll be teaching “On Beauty,” “Twentieth Century British Literature: The Politics of Place,” and “Bloomsbury to Brexit: British Visual Culture and Literature.” She received her PhD from Emory University, her MA from the University of Virginia and her BA from Hendrix College.

Combining the areas of visualization, computer graphics and human-computer interaction, Jackson’s research explores how high-dimensional input devices that allow natural, fluid 3D interaction can be combined with haptic (touch) feedback.  He creates software-based tools and interaction techniques that enable people to understand data and create virtual content in powerful ways. His research investigates how to interact, with spatial data more effectively using new computer interfaces, such as virtual reality. This year he’s teaching “Object-Oriented Programming and Data Structures,” “Interactive Computer Graphics” and “Software Design and Development.” He received his PhD and Masters degrees from the University of Minnesota, and his BA from Carleton College.

A Chicago native, Moten was an assistant professor of History at Dickinson College before joining Macalester’s faculty.  Her research interests focus on the intersection of race, class, and gender, and she writes about black women’s economic activism in civil rights era Milwaukee.  Her forthcoming book is entitled, This Woman’s Work: Black Women’s Economic Activism in Postwar Milwaukee. Moten has been the recipient of numerous awards and recognitions and most recently was honored by NerdWallet, a national college information website, as one of “40 Under 40 Professors Who Inspire.” This year she’ll be teaching “Narrating African American Women’s 20th Century Resistance,” “Debating the Civil Rights Movement through film,” “Public History in Action-Remembering Rondo: An Oral History Practicum,” and “Modern African American History: Reconstruction to Obama.” She received her PhD and MA from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and her AB from Washington University.

Pearson-Patel’s research uses global public health as a lens to explore the intersection of internationalism and imperialism in Francophone Africa in the 1940s and 1950s. She has conducted archival research in Dakar, New York, Washington D.C., London, and in cities across France. Prior to joining the history department at Macalester, Pearson-Patel was an assistant professor of European Studies at the University of Oklahoma’s College of International Studies, and from 2013-2014 she was a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities at Tulane University in New Orleans. The classes she’ll be teaching this year include “Women, Gender and the Family in Contemporary Europe,” “Revolutionary Europe in the Long Nineteenth Century,” “Europe in the Era of World War,” and “Governing the Body: Health, Eugenics, and Population Control in Global Perspective.” A Minnesota native, Pearson-Patel received her PhD and MA from New York University and her BA from Kalamazoo College, magna cum laude.

Phillips, an enrolled member of the Red Cliff Band of Lake Superior Ojibwe, joined the Macalester faculty in 2016 as an assistant professor of American Indian History, after two years as a Consortium for Faculty Diversity fellow at Macalester.  At the University of Minnesota, she served as a co-chair for the University’s Interdisciplinary American Indian and Indigenous Studies Workshop.  She is a past recipient of the University’s prestigious Doctoral Dissertation Fellowship as well as the Graduate Research Partnership Program grant.  This year, Phillips will teach “American Indian History to 1871,” “American Indian History since 1871,” and “Imagining the American West.”  Her current research focuses on the role of American Indian historical pageants in the development of regional tourist economies in the 20th and 21st centuries. She earned her PhD and BA in History from the University of Minnesota.

With a background in chemical biology, Witus is interested in exploring new routes to protein-mimetic materials in her research at Macalester. Witus’s PhD research at the University of California, Berkeley, was on the development of protein bioconjugation reactions. As a National Institutes of Health NRSA (National Research Service Award) postdoctoral fellow at Northwestern University, she synthesized mechanically interlocked molecules for biological applications and was involved in drug delivery and development projects. Witus has been a visiting assistant professor at Macalester for the last year, where she served as the faculty mentor for Macalester’s HHMI (Howard Hughes Medical Institute) Young Researchers Program. Witus will teach classes in general chemistry, biochemistry, chemical biology and lab courses. She received her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BS from Rice University, magna cum laude.

August 25 2016

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