College Welcomes Innovative Class of New Faculty for 2022-2023 Year

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Georgetown University’s College of Arts & Sciences is excited to welcome 19 new full-time faculty members with primary appointments in 14 College departments and programs.

“I am delighted to welcome this cohort of exceptional scholars to Georgetown’s College of Arts & Sciences,” said Dean Rosario Ceballo. “Each of their respective departments, programs and institutes will be vitalized by their important and innovative scholarly contributions and their dedication to teaching and mentoring our students.”

Read more about each new faculty member, their background and areas of expertise.

Brienne A. Adams is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park in American Studies. She holds certificates from the University of Maryland, College Park in Digital Studies in the Arts and Humanities and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies. She received her M.A. in African American Studies from the University of California, Los Angeles, and a B.A. in Literature Studies from Beloit College. Her research utilizes Black feminisms, queer and affect theories as centering frameworks to study intimate world building and meaning, making fans created from Black popular culture productions on social media platforms. Through studying the quotidian act of social media usage, her work intervenes in examining interiority in Black cultural productions and fandom expression as an example of Black digital knowledge production and public intimacy.

She was a 2019-2020 AADHum (African American History, Culture and Digital Humanities) Scholar at the University of Maryland, College Park, an invited participant to the Understanding Digital Culture: Humanist Lens for Internet Research institute at the University of Florida, the Future of American Studies Institute at Dartmouth College and Digital IDEAS: A Summer Institute for Anti-Racist Critical Digital Studies from the DISCO (Digital Inquiry, Speculation, Critique, and Optimism) Network at the University of Michigan. She has presented at ASA, SCMS, Fan Studies Network North America Conference, DC Queer Studies Conference, and moderated a panel at NWSA. Brienne has an article titled “Whole Self to the World: Creating Affective Worlds and Black Digital Intimacy in the Fandom of The Misadventures of Awkward Black Girl and Insecure” published in a special edition of Digital Humanities Quarterly on Black Digital Humanities in the Rising Generation.

Sarah Adel Bargal, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science and a Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow. Bargal served as a Research Assistant Professor of Computer Science at Boston University. She has also served as core faculty of the Hariri Institute’s Artificial Intelligence Research Initiative and co-director of AI4ALL at Boston University. Bargal received a Ph.D. in Computer Science in 2019 from Boston University. She is a recipient of the IBM Ph.D. Fellowship, Hariri Graduate Fellowship and Outstanding Teaching Fellow Award, among other recognitions. Sarah is currently serving as a guest editor for a special issue of Frontiers in Computer Science. Previously, Bargal received a M.Sc. in Computer Science from the American University in Cairo after which she served as a lecturer of Computer Science and Mathematics at the Gulf University for Science and Technology. Bargal received her B.Sc. in Computer Science from Kuwait University. Her research interests are in machine learning, computer vision and explainable artificial intelligence, with a current focus on making artificial intelligence systems explainable and accountable to humans and society.

Casey Brown is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Her research focuses on interpersonal emotional processes in connection with healthy aging. Her research is currently funded through an R00 Pathway to Independence Award from the National Institute on Aging focused on emotion regulation in dementia caregiving. Casey earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of California, Berkeley, completed her clinical internship at the University of California, San Francisco and received her B.A. in cognitive science and psychology from the University of Virginia. She is excited to join the faculty at Georgetown!

Nicolás Campisi is an Assistant Professor and Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Department of Spanish and Portuguese. He received a B.A. in Art History and Hispanic Studies from Washington College and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. He works on contemporary Latin American literature and visual culture, with an emphasis on ecocriticism and environmental humanities. His first book manuscript, The Return of the Contemporary: The Latin American Novel in the End Times, explores how the contemporary Latin American novel is narrating our present era of apocalyptic catastrophes marked by forced migration, memory struggles and environmental precariousness by returning to the 19th century and colonial past. His second book project, tentatively titled Continental Ruins: Art and Literature of Ecohorror in the Americas, examines contemporary art and literature through the lens of ecohorror, focusing on issues such as pesticide poisoning, deforestation and mining and oil extraction, as well as the labor conditions in the meatpacking and slaughterhouse industries. His interests also include Latin American football (soccer) literature, Indigenous narratives and cultural dialogues between Latin America and the US Latinx world. He is originally from Santa Rosa, Argentina. Before coming to Georgetown, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Tulane University in New Orleans.

Will Fleisher, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Fleisher is affiliated with the Center for Digital Ethics and the Initiative on Technology and Society. His areas of specialization are in the ethics of AI and in epistemology. His research concerns the ethical, political and epistemic implications of contemporary and near-term AI systems, particularly those developed using machine learning techniques. Fleisher has written about algorithmic fairness and explainable AI. He also maintains a research program in the epistemology of inquiry. His work has been published in AAAI/ACM conference proceedings and in leading philosophy journals, including Noûs, Philosophical Studies, and Philosophy of Science. Before coming to Georgetown, Will was a postdoctoral fellow in the Experiential AI program at Northeastern University and a McDonnell Postdoctoral Fellow in the Philosophy-Neuroscience-Psychology program at Washington University in St. Louis. He received his PhD in Philosophy from Rutgers University.

Gözde Güran, Ph.D., joins Georgetown with a joint appointment in the Department of Sociology and the School of Foreign Service. She received her Ph.D. in Sociology from Princeton University. Güran’s research spans the fields of economic sociology, migration studies and conflict studies. She is particularly interested in the emergence of trust networks and informal markets in times of crisis. Her current book project traces the informal networks that enable money transfers in the context of Syria’s protracted civil war and refugee crisis. In another line of research, she studies rating and ranking systems, and how they reshape global inequalities. Before joining Georgetown, Güran was an assistant professor at the London School of Economics and a postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Academy for International and Area Studies. Güran is from Turkey and conducts most of her fieldwork in the Middle East. 

Benjamin Harrop-Griffiths, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics. His research focuses on the analysis of partial differential equations. In particular, he is interested in problems arising from the study of nonlinear waves and fluid dynamics. Before joining Georgetown, Harrop-Griffiths was a Simons Junior Fellow at the Courant Institute, NYU and a Hedrick Assistant Adjunct Professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. He completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Oxford and his Ph.D. at the University of California, Berkeley.

A smiling woman with braided hair stands in front of a bright background.
Professor Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, photo by Lakesha Miner.

Mecca Jamilah Sullivan, Ph.D., is the author of Big Girl (W.W. Norton & Co., 2022), a New York Times Editors’ Choice selection and a best books selection from Time, Essence, Vulture, Ms, Goodreads, Library Reads and the New York Public Library. Her previous books are the short story collection, Blue Talk and Love, winner of the 2018 Judith Markowitz Award for LGBTQ Writers and The Poetics of Difference: Queer Feminist Forms in the African Diaspora (University of Illinois Press, 2021). In her creative and scholarly work, she considers the links between language, imagination and bodily life in Black queer and feminist experience. Her stories and essays have appeared in Best New Writing, The Kenyon Review, Callaloo, Feminist Studies, American Fiction, Prairie Schooner, Crab Orchard Review, TriQuarterly, GLQ: Lesbian and Gay Studies Quarterly, American Literary History, The Scholar and Feminist, American Quarterly, Public Books, Ebony.com, TheRoot.com, BET.com and others. She has earned support and honors from the Bread Loaf Writers Conference, Yaddo, Hedgebrook, the Woodrow Wilson Foundation, the Mellon Foundation, the Center for Fiction, and the National Endowment for the Arts. A proud native of Harlem, NY, she holds a B.A. in Afro-American Studies from Smith College, an M.A. in Creative Writing from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Pennsylvania. She is Associate Professor of English at Georgetown University and lives in Washington DC.

Johann Le Guelte, Ph.D., is a cultural studies scholar and Assistant Professor of Francophone Studies in the Department of French and Francophone Studies. He received his Master’s degree and Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in French and Francophone Studies following a Master’s degree in French Language and Literature from Ohio University. Le Guelte is a Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow. From 2019 to 2022, he was assistant professor of French and Francophone studies and directed the French and Francophone studies program at Xavier University in Cincinnati. Le Guelte’s research focuses on visual culture, colonial history and propaganda and critical race studies. 
His academic interests range from diaspora and migration studies, French and Francophone literatures, art history, media studies and postcolonial history. His book in progress, Uncovering the Colonial Lens: Creation and Subversion of the French Visual Empire, examines the production and reception of colonial photographic propaganda to determine how state-sponsored photographs became official colonial information in the minds of many French citizens. His work explores the nuanced ways in which photography has been used both as a device for colonial propaganda in interwar France and a powerful mode of resistance for colonized peoples who used the camera to reclaim their subjugated identities. Le Guelte is the recipient of the 2019 Alumni Association Dissertation Award from the Penn State Alumni Association and two awards for teaching excellence from Penn State. In his free time, he enjoys reading, craft beer, horror films, spending time with family and cats and unsuccessfully trying to start a collection of good wine bottles.

Peggy Kyoungwon Lee, Ph.D., is Assistant Professor of English and Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow with a focus on critical race and ethnic studies. Her research has been supported by pre- and post-doctoral fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania, American Council of Learned Societies, Mellon Foundation and the University of California President’s at Berkeley in the Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies. She received her Ph.D.  in American Culture from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and her M.A. in Performance Studies from New York University. Lee received her B.A. in Women’s Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. 

Alyssa M. Newman is a Senior Research Scholar at the Kennedy Institute of Ethics and Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology. Previously, she was a Hecht-Levi Postdoctoral Fellow at the Johns Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics and the Hixon-Riggs Early Career Fellow in Science and Technology Studies at Harvey Mudd College. Her research currently focuses on race and assisted reproductive technologies, as well as on institutional solutions to racial health disparities. She has also published extensively on multiraciality, exploring the topic through a variety of research projects relating to collective identity formation; biology and genetics; the intersection of mixedness and masculinity; immigration; as well as family relationships and reproduction. Alyssa received her Ph.D. in Sociology with a doctoral emphasis in Black Studies from the University of California Santa Barbara. Her undergraduate degree is also in Sociology from the University of California Berkeley, where she minored in African American Studies and Demography. 

Carla Shedd, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Sociology whose research and teaching focus on race and ethnicity; criminalization and criminal justice; education; law; social inequality; and urban policy. Shedd received her doctorate from Northwestern University, and has previously served on the faculty at Columbia University and The Graduate Center, CUNY. Shedd’s award-winning first book, Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of Injustice, examines the symbiosis between public school systems and the criminal justice system, specifically highlighting the racially stratified social and physical terrain youth traverse between home and school in Chicago. Shedd’s second book project, When Protection and Punishment Collide: America’s Juvenile Court System and the Carceral Continuum, draws on one-of-a-kind empirical data to interrogate the deftly intertwined contexts of  schools, neighborhoods, and courts in this dynamic moment of public policy shifts in and beyond NYC.

Kyle Shernuk, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Modern Chinese Literature and Culture. He is a scholar of modern and contemporary Chinese and Sinophone literatures, with a particular interest in disempowered and minoritized populations. His current book project focuses on issues of ethnicity and indigeneity in Chinese-language literatures from China and Taiwan. Before coming to Georgetown, Shernuk was Assistant Professor of Chinese Studies at Queen Mary University of London. He also previously served as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at Yale University after earning his doctorate in East Asian Languages & Civilizations and Comparative Literature from Harvard University.

Nadja Tadic, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Linguistics. She is originally from Serbia and first moved to the United States for graduate school. She received her doctorate in Applied Linguistics from Columbia University, Teachers College in New York. Her research examines issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in interaction, with a primary focus on classroom interaction.

Karolyn Tyson is Professor and Chair of the Department of Sociology. She is a graduate of Spelman College and earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, Berkeley. Tyson comes to Georgetown from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she spent the first 23 years of her career.

Tyson’s areas of expertise include sociology of education, social inequality and qualitative research methods. Her program of research centers on understanding racial inequality in educational outcomes and how race matters in educational experiences, particularly for black students. She uses qualitative research methods to study the critical role of institutions and the ways in which people make sense of and respond to their environments. By investigating the interplay between institutions and actors, her research has revealed important mechanisms driving racial disparities. Her research has been published in outlets such as Social Forces, Sociology of Education, the American Sociological Review, Law and Society, and the Annual Review of Sociology. She is the author of the award-winning book Integration Interrupted: Tracking, Black Students, and Acting White after Brown (2011, Oxford University Press). She is currently working on a project on trust and power dynamics in schooling processes and the implications for inequality.

Professor Tyson is a member of the National Academy of Education.

Radha Venkatagiri, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Computer Science. Venkatagiri received her doctoral degree in Computer Science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2020. Her research interests lie in the area of Computer Architecture and Systems. 

Venkatagiri’s dissertation work aims to build efficient computing systems that redefine “correctness” as producing results that are good enough to ensure an acceptable user experience. Radha’s research work has been nominated to the IBM Pat Goldberg Memorial Best Paper Award for 2019 and she is the recipient of the W. J. Poppelbaum Memorial Award for 2020. She was among a select few people invited to participate in an exploratory workshop on error-efficient computing systems initiated by the Swiss National Science Foundation and is one of 200 young researchers in Math and Computer Science worldwide to be selected for the prestigious 2018 Heidelberg Laureate Forum. Venkatagiri was selected for the Rising Stars in EECS and the Rising Stars in Computer Architecture (RISC-A) workshops for the year 2019. 

Prior to Georgetown, Venkatagiri worked as an assistant professor in the EECS department at Oregon State University for a year (2021-2022). Before her doctoral work, Radha was a CPU/Silicon validation engineer at Intel where her work won a divisional award for key contributions in validating new industry standard CPU features. Prior to that, she worked briefly at Qualcomm on architectural verification of the Snapdragon processor. 

Kristia Wantchekon, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Psychology and a Provost’s Distinguished Fellow at Georgetown University. Broadly, her research seeks to integrate the literatures on context-embedded adolescent development, identity processes and academic adjustment to understand the factors that inform ethno-racially minoritized adolescents’ positive development in and out of schools. Kristia earned her B.A. from Yale University and received her Ed.M. in Human Development and Psychology from Harvard University in Spring 2017. She received her Ph.D. in Human Development, Learning and Teaching in Spring 2021 from Harvard University.

Melanie White, Ph.D., is a Provost’s Distinguished Faculty Fellow in the Department of African American Studies and the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. White earned her Ph.D. in Africana Studies from Brown University, her M.A. in African and African Diaspora Studies from the University of Texas at Austin and her B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. Her research and teaching interests include hemispheric Black feminist politics, Black diasporic women’s art, and the histories, politics and visual cultures of Black Latin America and the Caribbean. Her first book project traces a history of sexual and gender-based colonial violence against Black and Afro-Indigenous women and girls from the Mosquito Coast in Caribbean Central America, as well as a genealogy of contemporary art by Black women visual artists in the region that addresses this legacy.

Thomas Williams is the Isabelle A. and Henry D. Martin Professor of Medieval Philosophy. He received his B.A. from Vanderbilt University in 1988 and his Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame in 1994. He comes to Georgetown from the University of South Florida, where he taught for sixteen years following nine years at the University of Iowa. He began his career with the Jesuits at Creighton University and is happy to be returning to the world of Jesuit education. Williams has written widely on medieval philosophy and theology, with particular interests in ethics, philosophy of religion, and the theology of atonement. An Episcopal priest, Williams has served for several years as the Canon Theologian of the Cathedral Church of St Peter in St Petersburg, Florida. He is an avid choral singer and a reasonably competent pianist. His husband, Marty Gould, is Associate Professor of English at the University of South Florida, specializing in Victorian literature. Thomas and Marty have an American Pit Bull Terrier named Tess.