Six Women Scholars Who Have Been Appointed to Named Professorships at the University of Rochester

The University of Rochester in New York has announced the appointment of 134 scholars to named professorships. Six of these appointments went to women.

Natalya Antonova, a professor of piano at the Eastman School of Music, was named the Wentworth Family Professor. She made her debut with the Leningrad Philharmonic at the age of 16. When she accepted an invitation from the Leningrad Conservatory, she became the youngest professor ever appointed for this position in the history of the school. She later was a professor of piano at the Russian Academy of Music in Moscow.

Danielle Benoit, a professor and chair of the department of biomedical engineering, was appointed the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor. A member of the University of Rochester faculty since 2010, Professor Benoit develops therapeutic biomaterials for tissue regeneration and the targeted delivery of therapeutic drugs. Dr. Benoit holds a Ph.D. from the University of Colorado Boulder.

Gretchen Helmke, a professor of political science, was appointed the Thomas H. Jackson Distinguished University Professor. Dr. Helmke studies political institutions, judicial politics and the rule of law, informal institutions and norms, and democratic erosion in Latin America and the United States. She is the author of several books including Institutions on the Edge: The Origins and Consequences of Institutional Instability in Latin America (Cambridge University Press, 2017). Professor Helmke holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees in political science from the University of California, Berkeley. She earned a Ph.D. in political science at the University of Chicago.

Lisa Kahn, a professor of economics, was named the Helen F. and Fred H. Gowen Professor in the Social Sciences. Dr. Kahn’s research focuses primarily on labor economics, with interests in organizations and education. She joined the faculty in 2018 after teaching at the Yale School of Management. Professor Kahn is a graduate of the University of Chicago, where she majored in economics. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in economics from Harvard University.

M. Patricia Rivera, a professor of medicine and a professor of oncology is now the C. Jane Davis and C. Robert Davis Distinguished Professor in Pulmonary Medicine. Her research focuses on lung cancer screening, disparities across the continuum of lung cancer care, and immunotherapy-related lung diseases. Dr. Rivera joined the faculty earlier this year after teaching at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She is currently the president-elect of the American Thoracic Society. Professor Rivera earned her medical degree at Stony Brook University in New York.

Sharon Willis, a professor of art and art history, was appointed the Fanny Knapp Allen Professor of Fine Arts. Her research interests include film history and theory, visual and cultural studies, feminist theory, comparative literature, and critical theory, as well as U.S. and French cinema. Professor Willis is the author of several books including The Poitier Effect: Racial Melodrama and Fantasies of Reconciliation (University of Minnesota Press, 2015). She joined the faculty in 1986 and was promoted to full professor in 2000. Dr. Willis holds a bachelor’s degree in the history of art and a Ph.D. in French literature from Cornell University.



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