Five Women Faculty Members Who Are Taking on New Positions or Duties

Elaine A. Peña was appointed professor of performing arts and American culture studies at Washington University in St. Louis. She was a professor of American studies at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. She has been on the faculty there since 2007. She is the author of Performing Piety: Making Space Sacred with the Virgin of Guadalupe (University of California Press, 2011).

Dr. Peña is a graduate of Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas, where she majored in English and drama. She holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois.

Fanta Waterman has been appointed a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Community Health Sciences in the School of Public Health at the University of Illinois Chicago. Before her academic career, she spent more than 15 years in the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. Her interests focus on how health systems and services research relates to community health outcomes of globally underserved and under-investigated populations.

Dr. Waterman earned a bachelor’s degree in integrated science business and technology from LaSalle University in Philadelphia. She holds a master of public health degree and a Ph.D. in public health policy and economics from Temple University in Philadelphia. She completed postdoctoral research in public health services and systems research at the University of Kentucky.

Sharon Hammes-Schiffer was appointed professor of chemistry at Princeton University in New Jersey, effective in January. She specializes in quantum chemistry. Dr. Hammes-Schiffer comes to Princeton from Yale University, where she has been a professor of chemistry since 2018. She previously was on the faculty at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Pennsylvania State University, and the University of Notre Dame.

Dr. Hammes-Schiffer is a summa cum laude graduate of Princeton University. She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stanford University.

Ahkinyala Abdullah is the new executive director of the Union National Research Institute at Virginia Union University. In 2021, Dr. Abdullah was appointed as dean of the School of Arts and Sciences at the university. She joined the university’s faculty in 2016 as an associate professor of environmental science and ecology.

Dr. Abdullah holds a bachelor’s degree in biology from Tuskegee University in Alabama. She earned a master’s degree in molecular biology and a doctorate in environmental science from Florida A&M University.

Hope Ballentine was appointed director of the Wally Cordes Teaching and Faculty Support Center at the University of Arkansas. She is a teaching associate professor in the Eleanor Mann School of Nursing in the College of Education and Health Professions at the university. She has served on the university’s faculty since 2012.

Dr. Ballentine is a graduate of Harding University in Searcy, Arkansas. She holds a master’s degree from Vanderbilt University in Nashville and a doctor of nursing practice degree from the University of Arkansas.

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