Welcome New Faculty!

Photo of the outside of Rome Hall
August 01, 2011

From award-winning researchers to international artists and sculptors, 17 new full-time faculty members will be joining Columbian College this fall. They join a community of more than 450 full-time scholars teaching undergraduate and graduate courses in the arts, the humanities, the social sciences, and the sciences.

Andrei Afanasev, Gus Weiss Professor of Theoretical Physics in the Department of Physics, holds a PhD in Theoretical Nuclear and Particle Physics from the Kharkov National University of Ukraine. His research is energy-focused and includes theory and phenomology of nuclear and hadronic structures, physics of dark-matter candidates probed with high-powered lasers, and theory, modeling and simulations of electromagnetic processes with elementary particles.

Olla Najah Al-Shalchi, Department of Classical and Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations, holds an MA in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language form the American University in Cairo. He comes to GW from the College of William and Mary where he was a visiting instructor in Arabic, Arabic literature, and Iraqi Arabic.

Rene Bobe, Department of Anthropology, received his PhD in Anthropology from the University of Washington. He comes to GW from The University of Georgia where he worked as an Assistant Professor. His research focus is on the interaction between climate change and the evolutionary processes of humans and other mammals.

Julia Brown, Department of Fine Arts and Art History, holds an MFA in Fine Art from The California Institute of the Arts. She comes to GW from Milan, Italy, where she served as Artist in Residence at Via Farini. She was a guest lecturer at a number of institutions, including France’s European School of Visual Arts.

Tonya Dodge, Department of Psychology, holds a PhD in Social & Personality Psychology from the State University of New York at Albany. She comes to GW from Skidmore College where she was an assistant professor of psychology. Her research and teaching interests include adolescent health, physical activity and health promotion, social cognition, motivation and intervention.

Evangeline Downie, Department of Physics, holds a PhD in Physics and a MS in Physics from the University of Glasgow. In 2010, she received the Carl Zeiss Stiftung Postdoctoral Fellowship to study the spin polarizabilities of the proton via Compton Scattering. She comes to GW from the Universit ät Mainz where she was a research assistant with the A2 Collaboration.

James Hansell, Professional Psychology Program, holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology from the University of Michigan. He comes to GW from the University of Michigan where he served as the director of the Philosophy of Science in the Clinical Psychology Lab and as an adjunct associate professor of psychology and psychiatry. He has co-authored three books, including Iran’s National Cinema.

Carson Murray, Department of Anthropology, holds a PhD in Behavioral Ecology from the University of Minnesota. She comes to GW from Northwestern University where she was an adjunct faculty member in the Environmental Policy and Culture Program. A post-doctoral fellow at the Lincoln Park Zoo and at the University of Chicago’s Institute of Mind and Biology, Murray is currently investigating how maternal stress influences offspring health and development among chimpanzees at Gombe National Park in Tanzania.

Damien O’Halloran, Department of Biological Sciences, holds a PhD in Animal Genetics Laboratory from the National University of Ireland. He comes to GW from the University of California, Davis, where he has been a post-doctoral fellow at the Center for Neuroscience. His research interests include biochemistry, genetics and molecular biology, agricultural and biological sciences, medicine, and immunology and microbiology.

James Sham, Department of Fine Arts and Art History, holds an MFA in Sculpture and Extended Media from Virginia Commonwealth University. He comes to GW from North Dakota State University where he was granted the James Rosenquist Artist Residency. He has held exhibitions across the United States and in a number of countries including Germany, Romania and Argentina.

Nikki Usher, School of Media and Public Affairs, holds a PhD in Communication from the University of Southern California. Her past research has examined the impact of new media technology on traditional news organizations, minority journalists, gay and lesbian reporting, as well as public service and journalism. Before joining GW. she was a sports reporter for some of the nation’s major media outlets.

Adelina Mitova Voutchkova, Department of Chemistry, holds a PhD in Chemistry from Yale University where she was also a postdoctoral research fellow. Her areas of research include green chemistry, sustainability, toxicity and hazard reduction of commercial chemicals, alternative designer solvents, and microwave chemistry.

Calvin Warren, Department of American Studies, comes to GW from Yale where he received his PhD in American Studies and African American Studies. His research is focused on Lacanian psychoanalysis, deconstruction, semiotics, and African American philosophical thought. Fellowships include the Ford Foundation Pre-doctoral Diversity Fellowship, the Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship, and the Mellon Mays Dissertation Fellowship.