New College Faculty 2009–2010

Jody Agius Vallejo
Assistant Professor of Sociology
Ph.D., Sociology, 2008, University of California, Irvine
Previous Institution: University of California, San Diego

Jody Agius Vallejo specializes in international migration, immigrant integration, race/ethnicity and the Mexican-origin population. She is currently writing a book manuscript, Brown Picket Fences, which examines patterns of mobility and socioeconomic incorporation among the Mexican-origin middle class in Southern California.


Aravind Asok
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Ph.D., Mathematics, 2004, Princeton University
Previous Institution: Mathematical Sciences Research Institute

Aravind Asok’s areas of expertise include algebraic geometry and representation theory. In June 2009, he received a three-year National Science Foundation grant in the Division of Mathematical Sciences for research on rationality problems and homotopy theory for varieties.


Alexander Benderskii
Associate Professor of Chemistry
Ph.D., Chemistry, 1996, The University of Utah
Previous Institution: Wayne State University

Alexander Benderskii specializes in laser spectroscopy, an area of physical chemistry that interrogates structure and motion of molecules using laser pulses. His research interests range from fundamental questions about how molecules vibrate and rotate near surfaces and interfaces to characterization of molecules on surfaces of nanostructures and novel materials, self-assembled monolayers, and chemically functionalized surfaces encountered in novel nano-and biotechnology applications.


Youngmin Choe
Assistant Professor of East Asian Languages and Cultures
Ph.D., Asian Studies, 2007, University of California, Berkeley
Previous Institution: University of Illinois, Urbana–Champaign

Youngmin Choe specializes in Korean and pan-Asian cinema; Korean and East Asian visual cultures; cultural studies; tourism studies; and travel and leisure in modern Korea. From 2008 to 2009, she was a Korea Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her published works include “Transitional Emotions: Boredom and Distraction in Hong Sangsu’s Holiday Films,” Korean Studies Vol. 33 (University of Hawai‘i Press, 2009).


Matthew Dean
Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Ph.D., Evolutionary Genetics, 2003, The University of Iowa
Previous Institution: The University of Arizona

Matthew Dean specializes in evolutionary genetics, population genetics and reproduction. His lab focuses on reproductive genetics using genomic, transcriptomic and proteomic data in an evolutionary, population genetic and quantitative genetic framework. He is a recipient of a three-year National Research Service Award Postdoctoral Fellowship from the National Institute of Health.


Moh El-Naggar
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Mechanical Engineering, 2006, California Institute of Technology
Previous Institution: University of Southern California Geobiology Department

Moh El-Naggar’s expertise involves the intersection of nanoscience, biophysics and microbiology. His research targets the interface between biotic and abiotic systems, with an emphasis on bioenergy and biomaterials applications. He was an Applied Materials, Inc. Fellow from 2004 to 2006.


Julien Emile-Geay
Assistant Professor of Earth Sciences
Ph.D., Climate Dynamics, 2007, Columbia University
Previous Institution:  Georgia Institute of Technology

Julien Emile-Geay’s research focuses on extracting dynamical information from records of past climates, with a particular emphasis on the El Niño phenomenon. He uses numerical models, geological data and sophisticated statistical techniques to understand low-frequency tropical climate variability of the past few millennia, with the goal of better predicting the future evolution of our climate under human influence.


Jacques E.C. Hymans
Assistant Professor of International Relations
Ph.D., Political Science, 2001, Harvard University
Previous Institution: Smith College

Jacques E.C. Hymans studies international security and foreign policy. He is the author of The Psychology of Nuclear Proliferation: Identity, Emotions, and Foreign Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2006), which received the Mershon Center for International Security Studies’ Edgar S. Furniss Book Award for best first book in national and international security, and the International Society of Political Psychology’s Alexander L. George Book Award for best book in political psychology. He spent the 2008–09 academic year as an Abe Fellow at Keio University in Tokyo, Japan.


Jane Junn
Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., Political Science, 1994, The University of Chicago
Previous Institution: Rutgers University

Jane Junn researches political behavior and attitudes in the United States, race and ethnicity, and the politics of immigration. She is the co-author of Civic Education: What Makes Students Learn (Yale University Press, 1998), and editor of New Race Politics: Understanding Minority and Immigrant Politics (Cambridge University Press, 2008). She was chosen as a Fulbright Senior Scholar in 1998 and received an Outstanding Teacher Award from Columbia University Teachers College in 2003. She is currently writing a book about political participation and racial and ethnic identity in the U.S.


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