College Welcomes 18 New Faculty Members

Eighteen new full-time faculty members will teach at Smith this coming year on subjects ranging from Africana studies to statistical and data sciences. New faculty members are listed below by their respective disciplines.


Africana Studies

Samuel Ng, assistant professor, is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University. His research and teaching interests center on African-American history and culture—including a dissertation on the politics of black mourning. Ng will join the Smith faculty in 2017.


American Studies

Sarah Orem, McPherson/Eveillard Postdoctoral Fellow and lecturer, earned her Ph.D. in English from the University of Texas at Austin in 2016 and holds a master’s degree in performance studies from New York University. Her research interests include disability studies, feminist theory and U.S. theater and performance history.



Assistant professor Yanlong Guo will join the Smith faculty in 2017, when he will teach courses in early Chinese art and material culture, ink art and popular culture in East Asia and the visual culture of science. His research focuses on the art and material culture of early imperial China. The recipient of undergraduate and master’s degrees in art from Sun Yat-sen University, he is finishing his Ph.D. in art history at the University of British Columbia.


Biological Sciences

Laura Walker, postdoctoral research fellow, has served as a research associate at Washington University, where she earned a master’s degree in biology, and the University of Arkansas, where she also taught. She was finishing a Ph.D. this summer in biology at the University of Arkansas.


Classical Languages and Literatures

Rebecca Worsham, visiting assistant professor, is a Ph.D. candidate in classical archaeology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research focuses on the Aegean Bronze Age, including domestic architecture and settlement structures.


Computer Science

Sadi Seker, visiting assistant professor, is currently associate professor in the Department of Management Information Systems at Istanbul Sehir University. A former research fellow in the computer science department at the University of Texas, Seker has research interests that include artificial neural networks and analysis of social media data.


East Asian Languages and Literatures

Joannah Peterson, lecturer (Japanese literature and language), was finishing her Ph.D. in East Asian languages and cultures this summer at Indiana University. Her dissertation focuses on modes of representation in 11th– and 12th-century Japan, including the translation of visual images into text and text into visual images.

Lu Yu, lecturer in Chinese literature and language, earned a master of arts in Chinese language and literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst in 2010 and a master of arts in Chinese classical texts from Nanjing University in 2006. In addition to Nanjing, she has also taught at Brown and Brandeis universities.


English Language and Literature

Lily Gurton-Wachter, assistant professor, earned a Ph.D. in comparative literature in 2011 from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at the University of Missouri-Columbia since 2011. Her scholarly interests include the history of emotions, interdisciplinary approaches to Romanticism and the history of poetics. At Smith, she will teach courses on Romantic poetry, a seminar on Blake and a class on the literature of war.


Exercise and Sport Studies

Erica Tibbetts, lecturer, earned a Ph.D. in sport psychology at Temple University in 2015. Her work centers on understanding how to engage minority and underserved populations in physical activity. Tibbetts spent five years working for a bicycle advocacy nonprofit in Philadelphia and has also worked with elite and amateur athletes as a coach and mental skills consultant.


Film Studies

Jennifer Malkowsi, assistant professor, earned her Ph.D. in film and media from the University of California, Berkeley, and served as a Mellon postdoctoral fellow at Smith. Her research interests include new media—especially video games, Internet video and digital cinema—and their relationship with “old” media. She taught comparative media studies and film studies at Miami University.



Erin Pineda, assistant professor, earned her Ph.D. in politics from Yale University in 2015, and is currently a provost’s postdoctoral scholar in political science at the University of Chicago. Pineda—whose scholarly interests include the history and politics of American democratic practice, racial justice and collective power—will join the Smith faculty in the fall of 2017.

Shan-Jan Sarah Liu, lecturer, was finishing a Ph.D. in women’s studies and political science this summer at Pennsylvania State University. Her research focuses on cross-national comparisons of gender and politics; at Smith, she will teach courses on East Asian politics, the politics of China, immigration and global feminisms.


Mathematics and Statistics

Jennifer Beichman, lecturer, received her Ph.D. in 2013 from the University of Michigan for her work on “nonstandard dispersive estimates and linearized water waves.” She has also taught at the University of Wisconsin.

Daniel Shultheis, lecturer, received his Ph.D. from the University of San Diego in 2011 for his work on “Virtual invariants on Quot schemes over Fano surfaces.” He was a research fellow at the University of Arizona and taught at MathCEP, a liberal arts program at the University of Minnesota.



Katherine Clemans, lecturer, received her Ph.D. in development psychology in 2010 from the University of Florida. A former Amherst College visiting assistant professor whose research focuses on antisocial behavior in adolescents, she will teach courses at Smith in research methods, development psychology and moral psychology.


Statistical and Data Sciences

Randi Garcia, assistant professor, earned a Ph.D. in social psychology in 2012, and a master of science in statistics in 2011 from the University of Connecticut. Her research focuses on how interpersonal interactions are affected by differences in group demographic characteristics, status and power. At Smith, she will teach courses in statistical and data sciences and psychology.


Study of Women and Gender

Laura Sachiko Fugikawa, visiting assistant professor in the Study of Women and Gender program and the Department of English Language and Literature, earned a Ph.D. in American studies and ethnicity with a certificate in gender studies from the University of Southern California. An interdisciplinary scholar in gender and sexuality and comparative ethnic studies, Fugikawa is co-founder of the Queer Asian American Archives, an oral history archive at the University of Illinois Chicago.