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People News, September 2023

Research & Inquiry

Students in the lounge in the campus center

Published August 28, 2023

Tania Novosolova ’24 (neuroscience) and Stella Alphas ’24J (biological sciences) won first and second place John Doctor Education Prizes at the Society for Developmental Biology’s annual conference in July in Chicago for video documentaries their teams created in Professor Michael Barresi’s Topics in Developmental Biology seminar course. Novosolova produced the video “Cortical organoids” and Alphas produced “Ovarian Cancer Organoid” for the competition.

Tint Tha Ra Wun ’24 (biological sciences), Swaha Bhattacharya ’23 (mathematics and statistical and data sciences) and Naylynn Tañón Reyes AC ’23 (statistical and data sciences) published “A higher-ed game changer?: Could MassReconnect change college education in Massachusetts?” in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Arda Collins, lecturer in English language and literature, gave a poetry reading August 8 in Bryant Park, New York City. Collins’ book Star Lake was nominated for the Massachusetts Book Award and her poems have appeared in The New Yorker and American Poetry Review.

Kelsey Conrad, lecturer in exercise and sport studies, is co-author of  “Gut Microbiota-Derived Trimethylamine N-Oxide Contributes to Abdominal Aortic Aneurysm Through Inflammatory and Apoptotic Mechanisms,” published in the journal Circulation.

Matt Donovan, director of the Boutelle-Day Poetry Center, gave a poetry reading in July in Bryant Park in New York City. His newest collection is The Dug-Up Gun Museum.

Michael Gorra, Mary August Jordan Professor of English Language and Literature, gave a three-session online seminar in August, “Reading Faulkner: Chronicler of the Deep South in Literature,” for the Smithsonian in Washington, D.C. 

Yael Granot, assistant professor of psychology, is the co-author of “Psychological perspectives on the presentation of video evidence: How perceivers weigh what is seen and unseen,” published in First Monday.

Efadul Huq, assistant professor of environmental science and policy, co-authored “Climate Chasm: the yawning gap between policy and reality,” published on the International Institute for Environment and Development’s blog collection, The transition to a predominantly urban world.

Albert Y. Kim, assistant professor of statistical and data sciences, is the recipient of the American Statistical Association’s 2023 Waller Education Award for innovative teaching of statistics.

Katherine Kinnaird, Claire Booth Luce Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Statistical and Data Sciences, is the recipient of a $49,900 grant from the National Science Foundation to support travel for 50-100 graduate and post-doctoral students to the prestigious annual “Workshop for Women in Machine Learning” conference to be held in New Orleans in December.

Professor of Theatre Daniel Elihu Kramer directed a recent production of Annie Baker’s Circle Mirror Transformation at Chester Theatre Company, where he previously served as producing artistic director. Hero Hendrick-Baker ’23 was a member of the cast.

Patricia Mahar, area managing director for Smith Dining Services, has been appointed to the board of the nonprofit scholarship organization, Northampton Dollars for Scholars. Mahar’s family has been involved with the organization for more than 30 years.

Pamela Petro, lecturer in English language and literature, read from her memoir, The Long Field, on September 14 at Wellesley Books in Wellesley, Massachusetts.

Geremias Polanco, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, is the recipient of a $245,354 grant from the National Science Foundation for “LEAPS-MPS: Number-Theoretic and Combinatorial Properties of Increasing Sequences of Positive Integers.”

Sara Pruss, Esther Cloudman Dunn Professor of Geosciences, is the recipient of a $70,000 grant from the American Chemical Society for “Examining Links Between Reef Development, Skeletal Abundance, and Oxygen Cases of the Early Ordovician.”

Loretta Ross, associate professor of the study of women and gender, gave the keynote address on human rights in August at the Massachusetts Teachers Association’s summer conference.

Smith Provost Michael Thurston, Helen Means Professor of English Language and Literature, published a review—“Endless, Right? Endless? Write”—of a book by Kieron Pim about the life of Joseph Roth in the summer 2023 issue of The Hudson Review.

Vivian Almaraz ’23 (psychology and statistical and data sciences), Victoria Georgiou ’23 (neuroscience) and Clara Li ’23 (statistical and data sciences) recently published “Combating the crises: Northampton organizations eye ways to address mental health challenges among LGBTQ+ youth,” in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Emily Widra M.S.W. ’17 published “The Aging Prison Population: Causes, Costs and Consequences” in the August 3 edition of The Beto Chronicle. Widra is a senior research analyst at the Prison Policy Initiative.

Paintings by Julia Jo ’16 were on exhibition in July at James Fuentes in Los Angeles. “Point of No Return” was the artist’s first West Coast solo exhibition. Jo majored in studio art at Smith and earned a master of fine arts degree from Parsons School of Design. Her work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions in New York, Los Angeles and London.

Research by Kelsey Moore ’15 and Alyssa Pascuzzo ’15, “Diverse organic-mineral associations in Jezero crater, Mars,” was published in July in Nature. Both alums majored in geosciences at Smith. Moore, who is currently studying for a doctorate at Johns Hopkins University, is the recipient of the Geological Society of America’s Doris M. Curtis Outstanding Women in Science Award. 

Sophie Ong ’12 gave a talk recently at the Toledo Museum of Art on “An Excellent Bit of Teaching Equipment Encountering the Global Middle Ages.” Ong, who served at the museum as a Smith curatorial intern as an undergraduate, is now a Brian P. Kennedy Leadership Fellow there. She earned her Smith degree in art history and a master’s and Ph.D. in that subject from Rutgers University.

Cheryl Monska ’11 is the new executive director of the Women’s Fund Southcoast based in New Bedford, Massachusetts. Monska, who majored in government at Smith, earned a master of science degree from New York University.

Jess Reback ’11 has been named director of emerging leaders fellowship at the Wexner Foundation in Columbus, Ohio. Reback previously served as senior director of talent and culture at JewishColumbus and has experience in K-12 education. She earned her Smith degree in arts and a master of science degree in education from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

Sharon Durkan ’04 has been elected to the Boston City Council. Durkan, who earned her Smith degree in government and has worked for Boston Mayor Michelle Wu and U.S. Senator Edward Markey, handily won the special election for an open seat in Boston’s District 8.

Silvia Newell ’04 is the new director of Michigan Sea Grant, an organization dedicated to the protection and sustainable use of the Great Lakes and coastal resources. She earned her Smith degree in biogeochemistry and a Ph.D. in geological sciences from Princeton.

Simone Chess ’02, now an assistant professor of English at Wayne State University, authored a proposal that led to the creation of the university’s new Center for Gender and Sexuality. Chess majored in English language and literature at Smith and earned a Ph.D. in the subject at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Amy Cahillane ’93 is the new community and economic development director for Greenfield, Massachusetts. Cahillane, who majored in French studies and government at Smith, received a master’s degree from Suffolk University and a law degree from the University of Washington, Seattle. She had served since 2016 as the first executive director of the Downtown Northampton Association.

Tulaine Montgomery ’92 is the new chief executive officer of New Profit, a Boston-based venture philanthropy. Montgomery—who majored in government at Smith and earned a master’s degree in public policy at Tufts—had served as co-CEO of New Profit for the past two years. She also serves as board chair of GirlTrek.

Felicia Heywood ’91 is the inaugural executive vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion for the Brockton, Massachusetts–based human service organization BAMSI. Heywood, who majored in government and psychology at Smith, earned an M.S.W. from Salem State University. A licensed social worker, she most recently served as senior vice president of administrative operations at Advocates.

Mitsuru Claire Chino ’88 was the moderator for an August 27 panel at the Asia Society Museum in New York, “Meiji Modern: What Women’s Education Means Then and Now.” Chino, who is managing executive officer and general manager for the corporate communications division of ITOCHU Corp., earned her Smith degree in government and a law degree from Cornell University.

Sculptures by Carolyn Wirth ’78 were on display in July and August at Installation Space in North Adams, Massachusetts, as part of the FeministFuturist collective’s “Automatic Aura” exhibition. Wirth earned her Smith degree in art and a master of arts degree in sculpture and environmental art at New York University. Anna Farrington ’89 (studio art) is director of installation space.

A sailing team led by Wendy Schmidt ’77 won the 27,000-mile Ocean Race in June—the first U.S. entry to do so in the race’s 50-year history. Schmidt, a competitive sailor and founder of 11th Hour Racing, also serves as president of the Schmidt Family Foundation and the Schmidt Ocean Institute. She earned her Smith degree in sociology and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of California Berkeley.

Emery Covington ’74 was appointed to the board of directors of Sixth Street Specialty Lending, Inc. Covington retired as executive vice president and head of commercial credit risk at Truist Bank. She earned her Smith degree in English language and literature.