Eight Women Faculty Members Who Have Been Assigned to New Positions or Duties

Tarissa Spoonhunter, was appointed professor in the Haub School of Environment and Natural Resources at the University of Wyoming and director of the High Plains American Indian Research Institute at the university. She was an associate professor at Central Wyoming College.

Dr. Spoonhunter grew up on Montana’s Blackfeet Indian Reservation. She is a graduate of the University of Montana, where she majored in anthropology. Professor Spoonhunter holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American Indian studies from the University of Arizona.

Selfa A. Chew Meléndez, a professor of history at the University of Texas at El Paso, was named associate dean of undergraduate studies for the College of Liberal Arts at the university.

Born and raised in Mexico City, Dr. Chew Meléndez earned a bachelor’s degree in communication sciences at Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico. She holds master’s degrees in creative writing and history and a Ph.D. in borderlands history from the University of Texas at El Paso.

Yolanda Covington-Ward was appointed professor and chair of the W.E.B. DuBois Department of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She was an associate professor and department chair in Africana studies at the University of Pittsburgh.  Professor Covington-Ward is the president of the Association for Africanist Anthropology. She is the author of Gesture and Power: Religion, Nationalism, and Everyday Performance in Congo (Duke University Press, 2015). She is co-editor of Embodying Black Religions in Africa and Its Disaporas (Duke University Press, 2021) and co-author of African Performance Arts and Political Acts (University of Michigan Press, 2021).

Dr. Covington-Ward is a graduate of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in anthropology from the University of Michigan.

Gemma Reguera, a professor in the department of microbiology and molecular genetics at Michigan State University, has been given the added duties of associate dean for faculty affairs and development. Dr. Reguera joined the faculty in 2006. Her research focuses on how microbes adaptively respond to changes in their environment and to use this knowledge to develop technologies that prevent human exposure to contaminants, pollutants, and pathogens.

Professor Reguera holds Ph.D.’s in microbiology from the University of Oviedo in Spain, and the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Lori D. Watson is a new assistant professor of mathematics at Trinty College in Hartford, Connecticut. She was a Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in the department of mathematics and statistics at Wake Forest University in North Carolina. Her research focuses on determining solutions to polynomial equations and on understanding families of algebraic curves.

Dr. Watson is a graduate of Florida Atlantic University where she studied mathematics and computer science. She received her Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Georgia.

Kylene Kehn-Hall, professor of virology at the Virginia-Maryland College of Veterinary Medicine, has been appointed director of the Center for Emerging, Zoonotic, and Arthropod-borne Pathogens n the Fralin Life Sciences Institute at Virginia Tech. Earlier, Dr. Kehn-Hall was the director of the biosciences doctoral graduate program and the associate director of the School of Systems Biology at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Dr. Kehn-Hall is a graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, where she majored in chemistry and biology. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in biochemistry and molecular biology from George Washington University.

Kristen Warner is a new associate professor of performing and media art in the College of Arts & Science at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. She was on the faculty at the University of Alabama from 2010 to 2022.

Dr. Warner is a graduate of Louisiana State University. She holds a master’s degree in media arts from the University of Arizona and a Ph.D. in radio, television, and film from the University of Texas.

Christa Bentley is a new assistant professor of musicology at the University of Arkansas. Her research focuses on the politics of music at the intersection of folk and popular song. She is the author of the forthcoming book Feeling Free: The Politics of the Singer-Songwriter Movement in the United States (University of Michigan Press).

Dr. Bentley is a graduate of Texas Christian University in Fort Worth. She holds a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

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