(Top, l-r): Taryn Flock (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science), Ariel James (Psychology), Gabriel Lade (Economics), William Mitchell (Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science). (Bottom, l-r): Christine Sierra O'Connell (Environmental Studies), Michael Prior (English), Anna Williams (Physics and Astronomy).

St. Paul, Minn. – Seven new tenure-track faculty members have joined Macalester this fall. They are: Taryn Flock, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Ariel James, Psychology, Gabriel Lade, Economics, William Mitchell, Mathematics, Statistics, and Computer Science, Christine Sierra O’Connell, Environmental Studies, Michael Prior, English, and Anna Williams, Physics and Astronomy.

Flock’s field of mathematical research is analysis. She asks the question, “When is an inequality actually an equality?” As a teacher, her goal is to help students develop the deep, confident understanding of fundamental concepts and the critical reasoning skills that will allow them to solve problems within the discipline and bring a mathematical perspective to problems outside the classroom. She grew up in Santa Fe, N.M. This fall she’ll be teaching Applied Multivariable Calculus II. Flock received her PhD from the University of California–Berkeley, and her BS from Yale University. She worked in England (University of Birmingham) and Massachusetts (University of Massachusetts–Amherst) before joining the faculty at Macalester.

James’s research concerns the relationship between language processing and other cognitive abilities. She’s especially interested in how an individual’s experience with their language (both recent and habitual exposure) and their cognitive abilities (like working memory) impact language comprehension in real time. Her current work is focused on the measurement issues that are particular to this line of work, which is at the intersection of correlational and experimental psychology. This fall James will teach Cognitive Psychology and a seminar on Intelligence, as well as advising student research experience. She received her PhD and MA at the University of Illinois–Urbana-Champaign and her BA from Stanford University.

Lade is an economist, studying the need for and efficiency of environmental policies in the energy and agricultural sectors. Recent research projects include studying natural gas flaring restrictions in North Dakota; the effects of air pollution on visitation at U.S. National Parks; and the impacts of the Flint water crisis on local housing markets and avoidance behaviors. He was an assistant professor of economics at Iowa State University from 2015 to 2019. Lade received his PhD from the University of California–Davis, an MA from Rutgers University, and a BA from the George Washington University.

Mitchell studies viscous fluid mechanics, the field of mathematical physics that describes the motion of swimming bacteria and sliding ice sheets. Mitchell’s current work focuses on flows containing thin solid fibers such as flagella using mathematical tools from numerical analysis, partial differential equations, and integral equations. At Macalester, Mitchell will teach applied courses including calculus, differential equations, and numerical linear algebra in addition to supervising student research projects in the summer. A former U.S. Peace Corps Volunteer, Mitchell received a PhD from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, an MS from the University of Alaska–Fairbanks and a BA from St. Olaf College.

O’Connell is an ecosystem ecologist who asks questions about tropical ecosystems on a changing planet. Broadly, her research focuses on the impacts of global change on tropical belowground nutrient cycling. She is currently investigating how climate-connected events like severe droughts or hurricane disturbance influence soil greenhouse gas emissions in a Puerto Rican wet tropical forest. She has also done research on the impacts of agricultural production on Amazonian landscapes, using a combination of statistical modeling and field work in Mato Grosso, Brazil. This fall, she will be teaching Ecology and the Environment and looks forward to working with students in the classroom, and over summers, out in the forest. O’Connell conducted postdoctoral research at the University of California–Berkeley, received her PhD from the University of Minnesota and her BS from Stanford University.

Prior is a writer and teacher. His poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous magazines and anthologies across North America and the UK, including Poetry, The New Republic, Narrative, Poetry Northwest, The Margins, Verse Daily, Global Poetry Anthology 2015, The Next Wave: An Anthology of 21st Century Canadian Poetry, and the Academy of American Poets’ Poem-A-Day series. His first full-length book of poems, Model Disciple, was published by Véhicule Press in 2016 and was named one of the best books of the year by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. His second book, Burning Province, which will be published by McClelland & Stewart/Penguin Random House in Spring 2020, explores intergenerational memory and cultural trauma. Prior holds an MFA from Cornell University, and an MA from the University of Toronto, and a BA from the University of British Columbia.

Williams is an observational astronomer who primarily uses radio telescopes to detect magnetic fields in distant galaxies. These observations are driven by two main questions: 1) “What is the origin of galactic-scale magnetic fields in galaxies?” and 2) “How do these magnetic fields affect the star formation and evolution of galaxies?” Williams is excited to teach Modern Astronomy I and Electromagnetic Theory this fall and looks forward to getting more students involved with her research. She received her PhD and MA from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and her BA from Wesleyan University.

September 6 2019

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