College of Arts & Sciences Newsletter
New Faculty Spotlight: The College is Pleased to Introduce Several New Assistant Professors
Dr. Manu Vimalassery
Manu Vimalassery specializes in the history of U.S. imperialism, with a focus on the U.S. West. His manuscript, "Skew Tracks: Racial Capitalism and the Transcontinental Railroad," rethinks capitalism through American Indian and Chinese migrant histories. In this work, he restages familiar understandings of railroad history and the emergence of industrial capitalism, moving from a national frame of analysis into an imperial one. Vimalassery earned his doctorate at New York University, his B.A. at Oberlin College, and his B.M. at Oberlin Conservatory. He teaches courses on the frontier, race, capitalism, slavery, American Indians and indigenous peoples, migration and diaspora, and imperialism.
Department of History
Dr. Michael Jordan
Michael P. Jordan, Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work, received his doctorate in Sociocultural Anthropology from the University of Oklahoma. His research focuses on the ethnohistory and expressive culture of the indigenous inhabitants of the Southern Plains. Michael is committed to exploring the ways in which digital technologies can be harnessed to serve indigenous communities’ ongoing efforts to preserve and promote their heritage. He is particularly interested in drawing upon his existing contacts with Native American communities in Oklahoma to identify collaborative projects in which undergraduate and graduate students could play an active role. He is also excited about the possibility of offering an ethnographic field school in the Kiowa community that would allow students to gain firsthand experience in conducting ethnographic research, while contributing to the community’s ongoing cultural preservation efforts.
Department of Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work
Dr. Dustin Sweet
Dustin Sweet, Assistant Professor, Department of Geosciences, received his doctorate in Geology from the University of Oklahoma. His doctoral research focused on recognizing tectonic and climatic signatures from 300 million year old sedimentary rocks in Colorado. Specifically, Dr. Sweet documented that these strata were glacially influenced, a significant finding given that these sediments were deposited in an equatorial setting. His work was also utilized in reconfiguring the paleogeography of the Ancestral Rocky Mountains as well as understanding how these mountains were built. Dr. Sweet spent the last three years with Chevron Energy Technology Company where he worked as an exploration geologist. Sweet indicated that he thought learning is at its best when “standard lecture is combined with hands-on experience in the laboratory," thus he plans to incorporate these tactics in both undergraduate and graduate teaching and research.
Department of Geoscience
Dr. Leif Ellingson
Leif Ellingson, Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics, specializes in statistical shape analysis. He is currently focused on the development of computationally fast methodology for applications in the study of planar contours and protein function prediction. Planar contours are 2-D outlines of objects in images and frequently appear in the fields of computer vision and medical imaging. Proteins are molecules that are key for biological processes. As such, studying the relationship between the structure and functions of proteins can help lead to a better understanding of their behavior. He is enthusiastic for the opportunity to work with students on these growing areas of research. In the classroom, he believes that it is important for students to learn how statistics play a role in both everyday life and their particular disciplines.
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Michael Findlater
Michael Findlater is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. Michael's labotrory group conducts research in organic chemistry, and is focused, currently, on the activation of small molecules using metal-based catalysts. Transformations of this type are relevant to improved stewardship of our dwindling and non-renewable carbon-based energy sources. Through teaching large chemistry classes and also working one-on-one with undergraduates in the lab, he hopes to pass on to the next generation of scientists this idea of using classical chemistry to solve current environmental problems. Michael received his doctorate in chemistry from the University of Texas at Austin and joined the faculty at Texas Tech after a postdoctoral research stay at the University of North Carolina. Michael looks forward to incorporating undergraduate students in his research as a means of nurturing a love of experimental science at the earliest possible stages of a person's career.
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Carie Steele
Carie Steele, Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science, received her doctorate in political science with an emphasis on international and comparative political economy at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Her research addresses how interactions between international and domestic politics affect the distribution of public goods in health and environmental management. She is joining the faculty of the Public Administration program and will be serving as advisor for the Health Policy and Administration track.
Department of Political Science