Meet 6 of the New College of Arts and Sciences Faculty of the League
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Syracuse University has hired 11 new faculty at the College of Arts and Sciences for the fall semester of 2021.
The Orange Daily spoke to the six professors who responded to the comments to ask them how their past experiences will serve in their teaching and research as well as what they hope for the future of their departments.
Corrine Occhino: language, literature and linguistics
Originally from Wisconsin, Occhino earned his doctorate. in Linguistics from the University of New Mexico. She is focusing on sign language research at the SU, and she has said she will take over the American Sign Language program at the School of Education at the SU. Prior to coming to SU, she worked at the NTID Culture and Language Research Center at the Rochester Institute of Technology.
âWhat I really liked about SU is that they take a very proactive approach to center diversity and inclusion in their plan to expand and grow this ASL program, which in turn, my opinion is very important, âOcchino said.
Occhino said one of his goals is to have the ASL curriculum approved for language credits at the College of Arts and Sciences.
Delali Kumavie: English department
Delali Kumavie is originally from Ghana and she moved to the United States 10 years ago to pursue her graduate studies at Northwestern University. Before coming to the League, Kumavie did a scholarship at Harvard University.
Kumavie said she hopes to offer more black literature classes in the English department, as well as create reading groups with students and faculty to discuss issues in all areas of literary studies.
â(SU) was a university that cared about the work I was doing. When I came for my campus visit, I met several people who would be researching or interested in the area I was looking for, âsaid Kumavie. âBecause I researched something that is not necessarily the most well-known area of ââblack studies, it was good to know that these kinds of resources existed. “
As an international scholar away from home, Kumavie said she had battled homesickness during the pandemic. She was considering returning to Ghana or staying in the United States, and ended up accepting an offer to teach in the League. Her husband, Ethan Madarieta, who is also a new SU professor in the English department, was there to support her in this transition.
âWhen I first came to America, someone told me it was going to take nine months to feel at home hereâ¦ Actually, it took about a year. So I understand that this is part of the growing difficulties of getting used to (Syracuse), âKumavie said. âAny path we choose in life we ââhave to question it a bit. “
Ethan Madarieta: English department
Ethan Madarieta has said that one of his main reasons for coming to the League is because of his partner, Kumavie. Prior to coming to SU, he taught at SUNY New Paltz.
âMy partner is here, and we have both been able to be hired into tenure-track positions, which is rare and wonderful,â Madarieta said.
Madarieta said he also hopes to create reading groups between students and teachers, and wants to expand reading groups to other departments.
Madarieta is excited to teach an âExperimental Courseâ next semester that incorporates many embodied practices that he calls âread to fixâ.
âIt’s a way of engaging, what I call the word and the world, throughâ¦ all of our senses, not just some kind of cognition in terms of reading in the text. We’re going to be doing a lot of field trips, going to the world and walking, putting things together and writing about our experiences, âMadarieta said.
Ivan Pechenezhskiy: physics department
Ivan Pechenezhskiy obtained his doctorate. in 2014 at the University of California at Berkeley. Shortly before graduation, he realized he was interested in the field of quantum computing.
âIn physics, you go to graduate school, post-doctorate, and then you become a professor,â Pechenezhskiy said. âThere are no meanders. For me, (the pandemic) was an opportunity to explore different options. “
Pechenezhskiy said he sees the League as a new opportunity to continue his career and research. It is a challenge for him to teach in person again, he said, but he hopes that, collectively, students and faculty can overcome this period of trial and error.
Ruth Opara: Department of History of Art and Music
Ruth Opara, originally from Nigeria, moved to Syracuse after completing her postdoctoral research in the Music Department at Columbia University.
Opara said one of the reasons she came to SU was to continue her research at an R1 university. She also said that she strives to make lectures relevant to students and encourages them to talk about their personal experiences.
âI found the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences to be very kind and very attentive to issues regarding diversity,â said Opara. âWe are not all perfect. This is a good thing. I hope I will thrive and be successful because I want to call this home.
Yiming Zhao, Department of Mathematics
Yiming Zhao, assistant professor of mathematics, said the League’s capabilities as a research institution sparked his interest in coming to the League.
âIt has been an R1 research university for many years according to the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Educationâ¦ which means to me that the university clearly supports faculty research. And once I come here, there is a good chance that I will continue to thrive as a researcher, âZhao said.
Zhao said he was the first convex geometer – a person who studies the geometry of convex sets – in the math department, and he hopes his current research will add to research already existing in the math department. Zhao said he plans to add a course in convex geometry to the math curriculum.
Posted on September 29, 2021 at 1:07 am
Contact Ivana: [emailÂ protected]