Seven Women Faculty Members Who Are Taking on New Duties at Major Universities

Bandana Purkayastha was named to a Board of Trustees Distinguished Professor at the University of Connecticut. She is a professor of sociology and Asian and Asian American Studies and associate dean for social sciences, regional campuses, and community engagement at the university. Her research focuses on the structures of inequalities and social transformation, with specific focus on migrants and migration, gender and intersectionality from a global perspective, and critical human rights.

Dr. Purkayastha is a graduate of Presidency College in India, where she majored in geography. She holds a master’s degree in geography from the University of Calcutta and a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Connecticut.

Paula Austin was promoted to associate professor of history and African American studies at Boston University. She was also granted tenure. Dr. Austin joined the faculty at the university in 2019 after teaching at California State University, Sacramento. She is the author of Coming of Age in Jim Crow DC: Navigating the Politics of Everyday Life (New York University Press, 2019).

Dr. Austin is a graduate of North Carolina Central University, where she majored in American history. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in American history from the City University of New York.

Kelly Pender, a professor of rhetoric and writing at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, was appointed chair of the department of English. She has been serving as interim chair since December 2022. She has been on the faculty at the university for 17 years.

Professor Pender earned a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She holds a master’s degree in English from North Carolina State University and a Ph.D. in English from Purdue University in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Katia Obraczka, professor of computer science and engineering at the University of California, Santa Cruz, has been given the added duties as director of the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute. CITRIS and the Banatao Institute is a multi-campus research center that includes the Santa Cruz, Berkeley, Davis, and Merced campuses of the University of California. It is focused on information technology research with societal and economic benefits. Professor Obraczke joined the faculty at the university in 2001.

Dr. Obraczka received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in electrical and computer engineering from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro. She holds a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Southern California.

Kari Nadeau was appointed chair of the department of environmental health at the T. H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University. She previously served on the faculty at Stanford University for 20 years. Dr. Nadeau’s research focuses on the environmental factors affecting the development of asthma and allergies.

Dr. Nadeau studied biology at Haverford College in Pennsylvania. She went on to earn a medical doctorate and a Ph.D. from Harvard Medical School.

Mary Klotman, dean of the School of Medicine at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, since 2017, was given the added duties as executive vice president for health affairs at the university. An infectious diseases specialist, Dr. Klotman is the R.J. Reynolds Distinguished Professor of Medicine at Duke.

Dr. Klotman is a magna cum laude graduate of Duke University, where she majored in zoology. She earned her medical degree and completed her residency in infectious diseases at the Duke University School of Medicine.

Megan Saylor, professor of psychology and human development at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, has been appointed chair of the department of psychology and human development at the university. Professor Saylor joined the faculty at the university in 2001 and was promoted to full professor in 2020. Her research is focused on how infants and young children understand language and human behavior.

Dr. Saylor earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley. She holds master’s and doctoral degrees from the University of Oregon.

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