Seven Women Scholars Appointed to New Faculty Positions

Christina L. Boyd has joined the faculty at Washington University in St. Louis as a professor of law. She most recently served as a professor of political science and the Thomas P. and M. Jean Lauth Public Affairs Professor in the School of Public and International Affairs at the University of Georgia. Her academic research led her to co-authoring Supreme Bias: Gender and Race in the U.S. Supreme Court Confirmation Hearings (Stanford University Press, 2023).

Dr. Boyd received her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Florida and her juris doctorate from Wake Forest University. She holds a master’s degree and Ph.D. in political science from Washington University in St. Louis.

Sonya Smith has been named executive director of the Research Institute Autonomy at Howard University in Washington, D.C. She joined the faculty at Howard University in 1995, and became the first woman tenured professor in the university’s department of mechanical engineering. In addition to her teaching appointment, she serves as director of the Atmospheric Sciences Program within the College of Engineering and Architecture.

Dr. Smith is a graduate of Valdosta State University in Georgia, where she majored in mathematics with an emphasis in computer science. She was the first Black woman to receive a Ph.D in mechanical and aerospace engineering from the University of Virginia.

Jeanie Murphy has been promoted to full professor of Spanish and Latin American studies at Goucher College in Baltimore. Her faculty position includes an affiliation with the Center for Hispanic and Latinx Studies. She teaches a wide range of courses on Latin American history, gender studies, cultural studies, and literature.

Dr. Murphy received her bachelor’s degree from Rutgers University in New Jersey and master’s degree from American University in Washington, D.C. She holds a Ph.D. in contemporary Latin American literature from the University of Arizona.

Christine Julien has been named head of the department of computer science at Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Since 2004, she has served on the faculty at the University of Texas, where she held the title of Annis & Jake Bowen Professor in Engineering. She also served as the associate dean for broadening participation in engineering for the Cockrell School of Engineering and director of the Mobile and Pervasive Computing Group.

Dr. Julien is a three-time graduate of Washington University in St. Louis, where she received her bachelor’s degree, master’s degree, and doctorate in computer science.

Kim Grainger has been promoted to senior vice provost for faculty excellence at North Carolina State University. She has been with the university since 2021, serving as the associate vice provost for academic personnel and policy. Previously, she was the assistant vice president of academic administration at the New College of Florida.

Grainger is a graduate of Hampton University in Virginia, where she majored in molecular biology. She holds a master’s degree in public health and a juris doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Kelly Lester has been named associate vice provost for faculty success at the University of Southern Mississippi. She has been with the university for 16 years, serving as a professor of dance, the inaugural director of the Center for Faculty Development, and associate vice provost for teaching and learning.

Dr. Lester is a graduate of the University of Memphis, where she majored in theatre with a concentration in dance. She holds a master of fine arts degree in dance choreography and performance from the State University of New York at Brockport and a doctorate in higher education administration from the University of Southern Mississippi.

Kathleen Gallagher has been appointed director of the Early Childhood Education Institute at the University of Oklahoma. She comes to her new position from the University of Nebraska System, where she served as chair and professor of education and director of research and evaluation for the Buffet Early Childhood Institute.

Dr. Gallagher is a graduate of Cardinal Stritch University in Milwaukee, where she majored in early childhood education and special education. She holds a master’s degree in education policy and foundations from Marquette University in Milwaukee and a Ph.D. in educational psychology and human development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

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