Six Women Scholars Who Are Taking on New Roles or Duties at Universities

Neelam Azad, University Endowed Professor of Pharmacy at Hampton University in Virginia, has been given the added duties of vice president for research at the university. She joined the faculty in 2008 and was promoted to full professor in 2019. In 2014, Dr. Azad was named chair of the department of pharmaceutical sciences. Her biomedical research focuses on lung pathology and cancer cell biology.

Dr. Azad is a native of Mumbai, India, where she completed her bachelor of pharmacy degree in 2001. She earned a Ph.D. in pharmaceutical and pharmacological sciences at West Virginia University.

Gretchen Minton, a professor in the department of English at Montana State University since 2006, has been appointed Distinguished Professor in the College of Letters and Science, the highest honor the college bestows upon a member of its faculty. Dr. Minton’s scholarly contributions have included writing in-depth annotations and footnotes to Shakespeare’s works, as well as those of many other 16th- and 17th-century playwrights. She is the author of six books including Shakespeare in Montana: Big Sky Country’s Love Affair with the World’s Most Famous Writer (University of New Mexico Press, 2020).

Dr. Minton is a graduate of the University of Washington. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in English literature from the University of British Columbia.

Amber Polk is a new assistant professor of law at Florida International University in Miami. She was the teaching fellow for the Environmental Law and Policy LLM program at Stanford Law School. Dr. Polk’s research focuses on rights-based environmentalism as a legal, political and moral movement.

Dr. Polk is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh. She holds a master’s degree, a juris doctorate, and a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois.

Laura Vandenberg, associate dean for undergraduate academic affairs in the School of Public Health & Health Sciences and professor of environmental health sciences at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, has been given the added duties of associate vice chancellor for research and engagement. She joined the faculty in 2013 after teaching at Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts.

Dr. Vandenberg is a graduate of Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, where she majored in biology. She holds a Ph.D. in cell, molecular & developmental biology from the Tufts University School of Medicine in Boston.

Adrienne Brown, an associate professor of English and race, diaspora, and indigeneity at the University of Chicago, has been appointed director of the University of Chicago’s Arts + Public Life initiative. Founded in 2011, the Arts + Public Life initiative is a dynamic hub of exploration, expression, and exchange on the South Side of Chicago that centers people of color and fosters neighborhood vibrancy through the arts. Dr. Brown is the author of The Black Skyscraper: Architecture and the Perception of Race (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2019).

Dr. Brown joined the faculty at the University of Chicago in 2011 after earning a Ph.D. at Princeton University in New Jersey.

Molly Ohainie is a new assistant professor of biology at the University of California, Berkeley. Her research is focused on how cells are protected from infection by viruses and how viruses get around these blocks to infection.

Dr. Ohainie is a graduate of the University of California, Davis where she majored in biological sciences and Spanish. She holds a Ph.D. in molecular and cellular biology from the University of Washington.

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