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News & Events for the Smith College Community
News of Note September 11, 2019

Smith College Welcomes New Faculty Members

Detail shot of the top of the Grecourt Gates

Seven new tenure-track professors have joined the Smith faculty this year.

Anaiis Cisco, assistant professor of film and media studies, received her master’s in cinema from San Francisco State University in the spring of 2019. Cisco’s work focuses on the experiences of underrepresented racial, ethnic, queer and gendered identities. Her 2017 short film, “Breathless,” inspired by the murder of Eric Garner, has won numerous awards and has screened at various film festivals. Cisco is a 2018 Princess Grace Foundation Fellow whose thesis film, “Drip Like Coffee,” explores Black womanhood, desire and space, while rendering the Black female body as fluid.

Stephanie Jones, assistant professor of exercise and sport study, is a biomechanist whose research focuses on two themes: understanding how movement performed throughout our lives may impact our susceptibility to injury; and understanding how pain and musculoskeletal or neurological dysfunction impact stability. Her doctoral work at McGill University investigated the relationship between altered movement patterns and low back pain, and her postdoctoral work at the University of Massachusetts Amherst examined the influence of sensory dysfunction and fatigue on balance in individuals with multiple sclerosis. Her current work examines how somatosensory feedback impacts stability within the context of athletic performance and among individuals with pain or balance impairment.

Sarah Mazza, assistant professor in the Department of Geosciences, received both her M.S. and Ph.D. in geosciences from Virginia Tech. Prior to joining the faculty at Smith, she was a postdoctoral research scientist at the University of Münster, Germany. Mazza  is interested in understanding the formation of igneous rocks (former lavas and magmas) that make up our planet and what those tell us about ancient plate movements. For example, her past and current research have aimed to understand how areas that are thought to be no longer “active” tectonically still show evidence for volcanism, as in Virginia and Bermuda.

Assistant Professor Javier Puente joins the Latin American and Latino/a Studies Department at Smith College this fall. Trained as a historian of the Andes at Georgetown, Puente has spent the last decade researching and teaching about the trajectories of Latin American agrarian reforms, the land struggles of campesinos and, more recently, their experiences of socio-environmental suffering. At Smith, Puente will complete a number of scholarly projects and teach a series of courses that combine his focal core interests: the past, present and future of rural peoples and places and the sociopolitical impacts of climate events.

Candice Price, assistant professor in the Department of Mathematics and Statistics, received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Iowa in 2012. Price is an applied mathematician whose primary area of research is mathematical modeling for the biological and social sciences. Price enjoys collaborating on interesting applied problems with effective and diverse research teams. Her service mission is to create and contribute to programs that broaden the participation of underrepresented groups by focusing on strong mentoring and research networks. She is the co-founder of the web site Mathematically Gifted and Black, which features the contributions of contemporary black mathematicians.

Rebecca Worsham, assistant professor in the Department of Classical Languages and Literature, received both her M.A. and Ph.D. in classical archaeology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Worsham’s area of research involves a study, through survey and excavation, of the Bronze Age settlement of Malthi in southwestern Greece. She is also revising a manuscript concerning the treatment of houses during the Middle to Late Bronze Age (roughly 2100-1400 B.C.). In addition to topics in archaeology, she enjoys teaching the introductory levels of Latin and ancient Greek. 

Rachel Wright comes to Smith as assistant professor of biological sciences. Work in the Wright lab addresses how corals respond to environmental threats. This work serves first to inform ecosystem managers on best practices to maintain healthy reefs, and second to explore basic biological principles related to adaptation under climate change. The lab uses a variety of cnidarian model systems (corals, anemones, jellyfish) to answer the following questions:

  • Genetics: How heritable are stress response phenotypes?
  • Population Genomics: What genetic variants are associated with resistance phenotypes?
  • Transcriptomics: What gene expression signatures distinguish survivors from susceptible individuals?
  • Functional Genomics: What is the mechanism of action for candidate stress response genes?