Five Women Scholars Named to Endowed Positions in Higher Education

Paulina Mena has been named to the Ruth and Marvin Denekas Endowed Chair in Science and Humanities at Central College in Iowa. She is a professor of biology who has been with the college since 2009. In addition to her teaching position, she was recently named the Faculty Fellow for Inclusive Pedagogy.

Dr. Mena holds a bachelor’s degree from Universidad Catolica de Valparaiso in Chile and a Ph.D. from the University of Iowa.

Sarah Ganz Blythe has been appointed as the Elizabeth and John Moors Cabot Director of the Harvard Art Museums. She currently serves as deputy director of exhibitions, education, and programs at the Rhode Island School of Design Museum, where she has worked for the past 15 years. She has authored several publications on various art history topics including Nancy Elizabeth Prophet: I Will Not Bend an Inch (Yale University Press, 2024) and Why Art Museums?: The Unfinished Work of Alexander Dorner (The Massachusetts Institute of Technology Press, 2018).

Dr. Blythe holds a bachelor’s degree in art history from Wellesley College in Massachusetts and a Ph.D. in modern art from the Institute of Fine Arts at New York University.

Sylvie Lorente has been named the inaugural William M. Brown Endowed Chair in Mechanical Engineering at Villanova University in Pennsylvania. She has been with the university for the past five years, currently serving as a professor and associate dean for research and innovation in the College of Engineering. She is among the top 2 percent most cited scientists globally and the author of several engineering textbooks including Design With Constructal Theory (Wiley, 2008).

Dr. Lorente received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Toulouse, INSA in France.

Janeen Salak-Johnson has been promoted to full professor and named the Temple Grandin Professor in Animal Behavior and Well Being at Oklahoma State University. She has taught in the university’s animal and food sciences department since 2018. Prior to joining the Oklahoma State University faculty, she served on the faculty of the department of animal sciences at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Salak-Johnson holds a Ph.D. in animal science, neuroscience, and immunology from Texas Tech University.

Mary-Hunter “Mae” McDonnell has been named the inaugural Bantwal Family Goldman Sachs Presidential Associate Professor at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. She first joined the university in 2015 as an assistant professor of management, and was promoted to associate professor in 2020. She currently serves as co-director of the Zicklin Center for Governance and Business Ethics.

Dr. McDonnell is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she majored in philosophy. She holds a juris doctorate from Harvard Law School and a Ph.D. in management and organizations from Northwestern University.

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