Faculty Highlights

Our faculty members in the College of Humanities and Sciences are an amazing group of educators, academics and researchers. Here are just a few faculty news highlights from the year.

Cover art of four books: The Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde, Isolation and Engagement, Shakti and A Decolonizing Ear

David Chan, Ph.D., and Candy Kent, Ph.D. (Mathematics), published “Analysis of a Model for Epilepsy: Application of a Max-Type Difference Equation to Mesial Temporal Lobe Epilepsy.”

Victor Chen

Victor Chen, Ph.D. (Sociology) was awarded the inaugural Joyce Rothschild Book Prize, an award given by the Rutgers Institute for the Study of Employee Ownership and Profit Sharing, for his book “Organizational Imaginaries: Tempering Capitalism and Tending to Communities Through Cooperatives and Collectivist Democracy.” The award recognizes a work’s significant contributions to the advancement of economic democracy.

Ye Chen, Ph.D. (Statistics), was awarded INFORMS’ 2022 Transportation Science and Logistics Best Paper Award for “Data-Driven Robust Resource Allocation with Monotonic Cost Functions,” which he co-authored. The award recognizes papers presenting innovative approaches to complex problems in transportation.

Carolyn Eastman, Ph.D. (History) received the Library of Virginia’s 2022 Literary Award for Nonfiction for her book “The Strange Genius of Mr. O: The World of the United States’ First Forgotten Celebrity.

David Edwards, Ph.D. (Statistics), was elected as a 2023 Fellow of the American Statistical Association (ASA). Fellows must have an established reputation and have made outstanding contributions to statistical science.

Samy El-Shall, Ph.D. (Chemistry), was appointed as a program director of the Chemical Structure, Dynamics and Mechanisms Program in the Division of Chemistry at the National Science Foundation. 

Nicholas Frankel, Ph.D. (English), edited and annotated a new collection of Oscar Wilde’s early writings, “The Critical Writings of Oscar Wilde: An Annotated Selection.” The collection features Wilde’s reviews, critiques and journalistic contributions in his day.

Puru Jena, Ph.D. (Physics), won the Professor A. K. Chandra Memorial Award, an annual award of the Indian Chemical Society that recognizes scholastic contributions to the field of chemical sciences.

Alex Keena, Ph.D. (Political Science), shared expertise on gerrymandering for “CBS Sunday Morning.” Keena discussed why gerrymandering happens, where it happens and how it affects voters’ power.

Shiv Khanna, Ph.D., and Joseph Reiner, Ph.D. (Physics), were two of 22 VCU researchers inducted into the National Academy of Inventors, which recognizes inventors who hold U.S. patents. 

Olivia Landry, Ph.D. (School of World Studies), published “A Decolonizing Ear: Documentary Film Disrupts the Archive.” The book investigates how documentary film can challenge conventions of listening and recording shaped by histories of colonial ethnography and extraction. 

Brooke Newman, Ph.D. (History) served as lead researcher for The Guardian’s investigation of the British monarchy’s ties to slavery in a project titled “Cost of the Crown.” Newman was also the recipient of a prestigious MacDowell creative fellowship

William W. Newmann, Ph.D. (Political Science), published “Isolation and Engagement: Presidential Decision Making on China from Kennedy to Nixon.” The book focuses on the decisions presidents and their advisers made from 1961-1972 on whether to engage or isolate China and the international impact of those decisions.

Jan Rychtar, Ph.D. (Mathematics), published the second edition of “Game-Theoretical Models in Biology,” which covers the main topics of evolutionary game theory.

SJ Sindu, Ph.D. (English), published her first graphic novel, “Shakti.” The middle-grade story blends Tamil mythology from her native Sri Lanka, manga inspirations from childhood, LGBTQIA+ narratives and life lessons on emotions and bullying. Sindu also published a hybrid collection of poetry and lyric essays, “Dominant Genes,” exploring family, heritage and the construction of nonbinary and queer identities. 

Cristina Stanciu, Ph.D. (English), published “The Makings and Unmakings of Americans: Indians and Immigrants in American Literature and Culture, 1879-1924.” The book explores how immigrants and Native Americans shaped the country’s Progressive Era.

Arnethea Sutton

Arnethea Sutton, Ph.D. (Kinesiology and Health Sciences) was named to the second cohort of the National Cancer Institute’s Early Investigator Advancement Program. The program aims to enhance professional skills, guide preparation of an R01 grant application, provide access to a mentoring and peer network and grow a community of emerging independent investigators from diverse backgrounds.

Shawn Utsey, Ph.D. (Psychology) premiered his fourth feature-length documentary, “The Central Lunatic Asylum for the Colored Insane.” The documentary takes viewers through the history of the Central State Hospital, located in Petersburg, Virginia, a site at the intersection of race and health.