Five Women Faculty Members Taking on New Assignments at Universities

Rice University has promoted Naomi Halas to University Professor, the institution’s highest academic rank. She becomes only the tenth person and second woman to earn the title in Rice’s 111-year history. An engineer, chemist, physicist, and pioneer in the field of nanophotonics, Dr. Halas is the only member of Rice’s faculty elected to both the National Academy of Sciences and the National Academy of Engineering for research done entirely at Rice. She joined the university in 1989.

Professor Halas holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry and a science doctorate from La Salle University in Philadelphia. She earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in physics from Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania.

Tennille Presley was promoted to professor of chemistry at Winston-Salem State University in North Carolina. Her research focuses on providing an understanding of contributing factors to vascular dysfunction and blood disorders as they relate to overall functional health in diabetic individuals in the African American population.

Dr. Pressley is a graduate of North Carolina A&T State University. She earned a Ph.D. in biophysics from Ohio State University.

Lauren Surovi is a new assistant teaching professor and Italian language program coordinator at Syracuse University in New York. She specializes in Italian Renaissance literature and culture and has extensive experience with college-in-prison initiatives.

Dr. Surovi is a graduate of Syracuse University, where she majored in Italian and international relations. She holds a master’s degree in Italian from Middlebury College in Vermont and a Ph.D. in Italian from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Tatiana Engel was appointed assistant professor at the Princeton Neuroscience Institute. She is a specialist in theoretical and computational neuroscience. She joined the faculty at Princeton from the Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory in New York.

Dr. Engel holds a master’s degree from Lomonosov Moscow State University in Russia and a Ph.D. from Humboldt University in Berlin Germany.

Soyica Colbert, former interim dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and the Idol Family Professor of Performing Arts and African American Studies, was given the added duties of vice president for interdisciplinary initiatives at the university. She joined the faculty in 2013 and has served as chair of the department of performing arts and director of the Theater and Performance Studies Program. She is the author of Radical Vision: A Biography of Lorraine Hansberry (Yale University Press, 2021),

Dr. Colbert is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she majored in English. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in New Brunswick, New Jersey.

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