A Dozen Women Scholars Taking on New Assignments in Higher Education

Jianwei Niu was appointed interim academic director of the new School of Data Science at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Dr. Niu is a professor of computer science at the university, whose research is focused on software engineering and security.

Professor Niu holds a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Waterloo in Ontario, Canada.

Candis Smith was appointed associate professor of political science at Pennsylvania State University. Dr. Smith previously taught at Texas A&M University, Williams College in Massachusetts, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is the author of Black Mosaic: The Politics of Black Pan-Ethnic Identity (New York University Press, 2014).

Dr. Smith holds bachelor’s, master’s, and doctoral degrees in political science, all from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Polly Arnold has been appointed director of the Chemical Sciences Division at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She will join the chemistry department faculty at the University of California, Berkeley in January 2020. Professor Arnold has been serving as the Crum Brown chair of chemistry at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland.

Dr. Arnold is a graduate of the University of Oxford. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry at the University of Sussex in England.

Narketta Sparkman-Key, an associate professor of counseling and human services at Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia, was given the added duties of academic affairs director for faculty diversity at the university.

Dr. Sparkman-Key is a graduate of Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan, where she majored in sociology. She earned a master’s degree at the University of Michigan at Dearborn and a Ph.D. in human service through Capella University.

Rhonda Reymond has been named interim director of the Humanities Center at West Virginia University. She is an associate professor of art history in the uninversity’s School of Art & Design. Her research focuses on art, architecture, and visual culture of the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries and addresses issues of identity, especially in African American artists.

Dr. Reymond is a graduate of the Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, where she double-majored in historic preservation and interior design. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. both in art history from the University of Georgia.

Tracey Rutherford has been named head of the department of agricultural, leadership, and community education at Virginia Tech. She most recently served as associate department head of academic programs and associate department head of undergraduate programs in the department of agricultural leadership, education, and communications at Texas A&M University.

Dr. Rutherford is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she majored in animal science. She holds a master’s degree and doctorate from Texas A&M University.

Mona Domosh has been named director of the Society of Fellows at Dartmouth College. She is the Joan P. and Edward J. Foley Jr. 1933 Professor of Geography and has been Dartmouth faculty member since 2000. She is the author or co-author of American Commodities in an Age of Empire (Routledge, 2006), Putting Women in Place: Feminist Geographers Make Sense of the World (Guilford Publications, 2001), and Invented Cities: The Creation of Landscape in Nineteenth Century New York and Boston (Yale University Press, 1996), among others.

Dr. Domosh holds a bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. all from Clark University in Worcester, Massachsuetts.

LaKami Baker has been named interim executive director of the Government and Economic Development Institute at Auburn University in Alabama. She is an associate professor of management and the managing director of the Lowder Center for Family Business and Entrepreneurship in Auburn’s Harbert College of Business.

Dr. Baker is a graduate of Prairie View A&M University in Texas, where she majored in electrical engineering. She holds a master’s degree in technology commercialization from the University of Texas at Austin and a Ph.D. in management from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

Kristine Hurst-Wajszczuk has been named associate dean of the Honors College at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She is an associate professor of voice and director of opera in the department of music.

Dr. Hurst-Wajszczuk holds a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree both in voice performance and pedagogy from Westminster Choir College of Rider University in New Jersey, as well as a doctor of musical arts degree in voice performance and pedagogy from the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Claudia Cruz has been named director of internships and experiential learning in the Reynolds School of Journalism at the University of Nevada Reno. She was a Spanish-language technology reporter for CNET en Espaol.

Cruz is a graduate of Wesleyan University in Middletown, Connecticut, where she double majored in international relations and Latin American studies. She holds a master’s degree from the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism at the City University of New York and a juris doctorate from Ohio State University.

Dorrie Main has been named interim chair of the department of horticulture at Washington State University. She has been a faculty member at the university since 2005. She leads the university’s research in bioinformatics.

A native of Scotland, Dr. Main holds a doctorate in bioscience and biotechnology from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland.

Kristen “Brent” Venable has been named the inaugural director of the Ph.D. in Intelligent Systems and Robotics program, a joint program between the Florida Institute for Human and Machine Cognition (IHMC) and the University of West Florida. Most recently, she held a joint appointment as a professor of computer science at Tulane University in New Orleans and research scientist at IHMC.

Dr. Venable holds a degree in mathematics and a doctorate in computer science both from the University of Padova in Italy.

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