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News & Events for the Smith College Community
News of Note April 28, 2022

People News, April 2022

A student on a laptop under a tree
Photograph by Jeff Baker

Three Smith teams received Spirit Awards for venture concepts from the Harold Grinspoon Foundation’s Entrepreneurship Initiative: Sarah Bingham ’22 (Ritual Glaze); Asmae Lichir AC ’23 (PathoPacket); and Belen Rugerio Mejia ’22 and Julieta Michelin Salomon ’25 (Lucrativity). Bingham’s Ritual Glaze also won second place in Smith’s 2022 Draper Competition for Collegiate Women Entrepreneurs, while Mejia and Michelin Salomon’s Lucrativity was awarded a “Keep it Going” prize in the Draper competition. Juliana Makonise ’25 participated in a live Elevator Pitch at the Grinspoon Foundation competition banquet and won a cash prize for "Impumelelo Career Network."

Veronica Uribe-Kessler AC ’22 shared her story, “My Journey: From Rural Colombia to the United States,” on the iDiaspora blog for International Women’s Day in March. Uribe-Kessler is majoring in government and international relations and is currently interning at the International Organization for Migration during a semester abroad in Geneva, Switzerland.

Statistical and data sciences major Kathleen Hablutzel ’23J is participating in the Spring 2022 Cybersecurity Mentorship Program at MassCyberCenter, a state initiative that aims to enhance conditions for economic growth and foster cybersecurity resiliency in Massachusetts.

Ruth Kendall ’25 performed “Freedom’s Anthem” at Carnegie Hall for the “AfroCosmic Melatopia,” a February showcase of original art and music by young creators that was part of Carnegie Hall’s Afrofuturism Festival.

Ibtissam Bouachrine, professor of Spanish, has been named one of nine visiting scholars at the Institute for Rebooting Social Media at Harvard University. The three-year research initiative is designed to accelerate progress addressing social media’s most urgent problems.

Patricia Cahn, Phyllis Cohen Rappaport ’68 New Century Term Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Statistics, is the recipient of a $498,201 grant from the National Sciences Foundation for “CAREER: Branched Covers in Dimensions Three and Four.”

Floyd Cheung, vice president for inclusion and equity and professor of English language and literature and American studies, published an essay, “Five Techniques for Better Class Discussions,” in the March 23 edition of Faculty Focus.

""Jordan Crouser ’08 (left), associate professor of computer science, is the recipient of a $107,658 grant from the Department of Defense for a project with the North Carolina State Laboratory for Analytic Sciences, “Personalizing the Delivery of Analytic Products for Individual Decision-Makers 2022.”

Kris Evans, director of the Schacht Center for Health and Wellness, was featured in the Smith College School for Social Work’s InDepth magazine in an article on “Slowing the Spread: How Kris Evans Led in Smith’s COVID-19 Planning.”

Jay Garfield, Doris Silbert Professor in the Humanities and professor of philosophy, logic and Buddhist studies, is the author of “Buddhist Ethics: A Philosophical Exploration” (Oxford University Press).

Tim Johnson, director of the Smith College Botanic Garden, introduced the film “Adaptation” at a March Science-on Screen event at Amherst Cinema.

Joel Kaminsky, Morningstar Professor of Jewish Studies and professor of religion, discussed “The Meaning and Telos of Israel’s Election” on the March 16 edition of The Two Cities podcast.

Sabina Knight, professor of Chinese and comparative literature, recently published “China’s Minority Fiction” in World Literature Today. Knight is also featured in an Arts of Travel podcast about “Daoism, Confucianism and Anti-War Poetry.”

""Caroline Melly (left), associate professor of anthropology, has been appointed to a three-year term as director of Smith’s Sherrerd Center for Teaching and Learning. Melly, who received a Sherrerd Teaching award in 2014 and is currently a teaching mentor at the center, joined the Smith faculty in 2008. 

Paul Joseph López Oro, assistant professor of Africana studies, was featured in a recent Strictly Facts podcast episode, “The History of the Garifuna: Indigenous Legacies in the Caribbean.”

Irhe Sohn, assistant professor of Korean language and literature, is the recipient of a $19,350 grant from the Academy of Korean Studies for “Promises of Failure: Dream of Cinema in Colonial Korea.”

Provost Michael Thurston, Helen Means Professor of English Language and Literature, is featured in a One True Podcast episode, “Bill Gorton in the Sun Also Rises,” a conversation about one of Hemingway’s most beloved secondary characters. Thurston is the editor of the 2022 Norton Critical Edition of “The Sun Also Rises.”

Dano Weisbord, associate vice president for campus planning and sustainability, was a panelist for “Tear Down or Transform: Sustainable Solutions for Renovating Campus Buildings,” at the Society for College and University Planning’s North Atlantic ’22 Regional Conference in March.

Kimberly Scott headshotSmith Trustee Kimberly Scott ’91 (left), a professor at Arizona State University, is the recipient of a Distinguished Contributions to Gender Equity in Education Research Award from the American Educational Research Association.

Nolvia Delgado ’11 is the new executive director of the Kaplan Educational Foundation. Delgado, who majored in government at Smith, was a Kaplan Leadership Scholar in 2008 and previously served as community outreach coordinator for Cypress Hills Local Development Corp. in New York.

Ivy Estabrooke ’98 has been appointed as a director of Energy Fuels, Inc. Estabrooke, who majored in biological sciences at Smith, received a master of science from National Defense University and a Ph.D. in neuroscience from Georgetown University.

Attorney Lada Soljan ’96 gave the keynote speech for a recent “Thinking of War” conference at the University of Pittsburgh. Her talk was on “Bodies of Evidence: Local Memory and the Prosecution of War Crimes.”

Amy Freitag ’85 has been appointed president of The New York Community Trust, effective this summer. Freitag previously led the New York Restoration Project and the Tortora Silicox Family Foundation, and served as deputy commissioner for New York City Parks and Recreation during the Bloomberg Administration. She earned a master’s degree in landscape architecture and historic preservation at the University of Pennsylvania.

Suzanne Laporte ’85 is the new president and CEO of the American Horticulture Society. Laporte previously worked as a consultant and magazine editor, and her early career included positions at Smith Barney and Chase Manhattan Bank. She earned an undergraduate degree in history at Smith and an M.B.A. at Harvard.

Joanne Horwood Heyman ’84 has been elected chair of the board of the GroundTruth Project, a nonprofit news organization. Heyman, who majored in comparative literature at Smith and earned a master’s degree in international studies at Columbia University, is founder and CEO of Heyman Partners.

Cynthia Telles ’74 is the first Latina to be sworn in as U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica. Telles, who has served for decades as clinical professor in the department of psychiatry at UCLA David Geffen School of Medicine, majored in psychology at Smith and earned a Ph.D. in clinical psychology at Boston University. Her father, Raymond Telles, served as the first Latino U.S. Ambassador to Costa Rica under the Kennedy Administration.

Light comes through a window and animates the important focus of the photo, the Nixi potter’s hands and his art.“Faces and Place,” a photography exhibit by Jean Merrill ’69, is on display in April at The Gallery Steiner in Vienna, Austria. Merrill, a retired neuroimmunologist and author, majored in biological sciences at Smith, then earned a Ph.D. in immunology and an M.B.A. from the University of California Los Angeles.