(top l-r): Matthew Burgess (English), Brianna Heggeseth (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Mary Heskel (Biology), Morgan Jerald (Psychology), Abigail Marsh (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), (Bottom, l-r): Lauren Milne (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), and Leslie Myint (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Robin Shields-Cutler (Biology), and Morgan Sleeper ‘11 (Linguistics)

St. Paul, Minn. – Nine new tenure-track faculty members have joined Macalester this fall. They are: Matthew Burgess, English, Brianna Heggeseth, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Mary Heskel, Biology, Morgan Jerald, Psychology, Abigail Marsh, Lauren Milne, and Leslie Myint, all Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Robin Shields-Cutler, Biology, and Morgan Sleeper ‘11, Linguistics.

Burgess has been a visiting assistant professor at Macalester since 2011. He is the author of the critically acclaimed literary crime novels Dogfight, a Love Story, and Uncle Janice. In his courses at Macalester, he works alongside his students to help them discover and nurture their voices; then, through discussion, assigned reading, directed writing exercises, and workshops, allow them to express that voice with force and conviction. Courses he’ll be reaching this fall include “Introduction to Creative Writing,” and “Crafts of Writing: Fiction.” Burgess received his MFA from the University of Minnesota and his AB from Dartmouth College.

Heggeseth is a statistician who broadly seeks to transform data into knowledge through the study and application of statistical models in scientific fields. Her recent work has focused on uncovering group structure in longitudinal data using cluster analysis, probability models, as well as machine learning algorithms. She began teaching at Williams College in 2013 where she taught a variety of courses ranging from Introductory Statistics to a senior seminar in Data Mining and Computational Statistics. As a teacher, her goal is to empower students to be curious, tackle difficult problems, and make decisions in the midst of uncertainty. She designs and cultivates her classrooms so that every student, no matter their background or identity, may feel empowered to thrive. Heggeseth earned her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley, and her BA from St. Olaf College.

Heskel is a plant physiological ecologist interested in environmental and climate change impacts on carbon cycling. Her research seeks to scale quantitatively between leaf-level processes and ecosystem function with the goals of understanding fundamental controls of carbon cycling in plants in changing environments; using field and experimental data to refine regional and global representations of carbon cycling; and developing more informed projections of carbon cycling under future climate scenarios.  Heskel received her ​PhD from Columbia University, her MA from City College of New York, and her BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

Jerald’s research examines gender beliefs, sexuality, and sexualization among Black women. She is also interested in the role of the media as an agent of gender and sexual socialization. Her current work explores how awareness of dominant stereotypes about Black women influences their physical, mental, and sexual wellbeing. Her dissertation specifically focused on the impact of negative sexual stereotypes on Black women’s sexual agency, sexual risk, and experiences of sexualization. One of the classes she’ll be teaching this fall is “The Psychology of Gender.” Jerald earned her PhD and MS from the University of Michigan and her BA from Spelman College.

For her dissertation, Marsh investigated adolescent digital privacy, the risks and benefits of teens’ online activities and their parents’ concerns, and the subsequent tension between parents and teens. She also researched how technology can ease parental concerns while preserving online private spaces established by teens. This fall, she’ll be teaching “Computer Systems Organization.” Marsh received her PhD from Carnegie Mellon University and her BA from Oberlin College.

Milne’s research focuses on Human Computer Interaction (HCI), especially accessibility. She creates technology to bridge communication and information boundaries for people with disabilities, and looks towards the potential for smart devices (phones and tablets) to help with numerous accessibility problems, especially in education. During her time at the University of Washington, she was an NSF Graduate Research Fellow (2014-2017). This fall she’ll be teaching “Core Concepts in Computer Science.” Milne earned her PhD and MS from the University of Washington and her BA from Carleton College.

Myint is interested in biostatistics, statistical methodology for high-throughput biology and understanding the role of human behavior in data analysis. Her dissertation was titled, “Evidence-Based Methods in Studies of Biology and Data Analysis.” She’ll be teaching “Intro to Statistical Modeling” this fall. Myint received her PhD from Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and her BS from Johns Hopkins University.

Shields-Cutler has taught at Grinnell College and has been completing his postdoctoral research at the University of Minnesota. His research interests involve studying the biochemical roles bacteria play in complex microbiome communities. To accomplish this, he uses both “wet” experimental work and “dry” computational data analysis and tool development. At Washington University School of Medicine he studied the role of bacterial siderophores in urinary tract infections and has worked at the National Institutes of Health. This fall, he’ll be teaching “Microbiology.” Shields-Cutler has a PhD from Washington University School of Medicine and a BA from Grinnell College.

Sleeper’s primary research interests are music and language, Patagonian Welsh, language in Japanese popular media, phonetics, VOT (voice onset time), phonation, code-switching, Cherokee, Bergamasque, Ainu, and manga in translation. His dissertation describes new methodologies for integrating musical and linguistic data in structural linguistics, sociocultural linguistics, and language revitalization. This fall, Sleeper will teach “Language and Music” and “Linguistic Analysis.” Sleeper received his PhD and MA from the University of California, Santa Barbara, and his BA from Macalester in 2011.

Learn more about Macalester College at macalester.edu.

August 31 2018

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