Beau Alward, Ph.D. – Psychology
Beau Alward joins the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. He received his Ph.D. from Johns Hopkins University and his B.S. from the University of California, Davis. Following his graduate work, Alward pursued postdoctoral research at Stanford University. While at Stanford, Alward received an Arnold O. Beckman Postdoctoral Research Fellowship to study the biology and social behavior of the African cichlid fish. At the University of Houston, Alward’s research program aims to identify the molecular and neural mechanisms governing flexible social behavior through the dissection of social status in the African cichlid fish.
Junmo An, Ph.D. – Health and Human Performance
Junmo An is joining the Department of Health and Human Performance as a research assistant professor. An received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Houston while teaching various undergraduate and graduate courses. He received his M.S. and B.S. in computer science and engineering from Konkuk University in South Korea. An worked as a senior software engineer for five years and completed his postdoctoral fellowship in biomedical engineering at the University of Houston. His research focuses on understanding the promise of the brain and biological signals in improving machine learning.
Allison M.N. Archer, Ph.D. – Political Science and Valenti School of Communication
Allison M.N. Archer is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science and the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in political science, with specializations in political communication, political psychology, and experimental methods, from Vanderbilt University; her B.A. in political science and journalism is from Emory University. As a former journalist, Archer examines questions related to media, politics and the influence of media owners on news content. She also studies gender and politics. Prior to joining the faculty at UH, she was an assistant professor in the Jepson School of Leadership Studies at the University of Richmond.
Erin Belieu, M.F.A. – English
Photo credit: Gesi Schilling
Erin Belieu is a professor in the Department of English. She received her M.F.A. from Ohio State University and her M.A. from Boston University. Belieu has authored five poetry collections from Copper Canyon Press, and her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, and multiple editions of the annual Best American Poetry anthology. Belieu’s work focuses on gender, love and history, filtering wide-ranging subject matter through a variety of theoretical frameworks.
Tshepo Masango Chéry, Ph.D. – History
Tshepo Masango Chéry joins the University of Houston's Department of History as an assistant professor of African history. She is a South African scholar who earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in African History at the University of Pennsylvania. Her work traces the history of liberation struggles in southern Africa, with an emphasis on racial formation and religious expression within these political movements. Her current book project, “Kingdom Come: Archbishop Alexander’s Transnational Practices of Faith and Freedom in South Africa and Beyond,” uncovers the ways early-twentieth-century African Christians built their own religious institutions in response to the changing racial landscape of segregationist South Africa. Prior to joining the faculty at the University of Houston, Chéry was an assistant professor at the University of Texas at Austin.
Adam K. Fetterman, Ph.D. – Psychology
Adam Fetterman is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Fetterman received his Ph.D. and M.S. in social/health psychology from North Dakota State University and a B.A. in psychology from St. Cloud State University. His research interests lie at the intersection of social psychology, personality, and cognitive psychology. Utilizing methods from each of these fields, he investigates the cognitive processes involved in humanity’s understanding of social worlds. He also focuses on conceptual metaphors, nostalgia, and mental imagery. Fetterman’s previous research topics include doomsday preppers, political ideology, evolution, narcissism, and linguistic analysis.
N.L.A. Gharala, Ph.D. – History
N.L.A. Gharala is an assistant professor in the Department of History. Gharala holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in history from Johns Hopkins University and a B.A. in Latin American studies from Wesleyan University. The author of “Taxing Blackness: Free Afromexican Tribute in Bourbon New Spain” and various scholarly articles, Gharala is currently researching the connections of colonial Mexico to the worlds of the Indian Ocean and the Pacific in the 17th century. Gharala has been selected for 2020 fellowships at the John Carter Brown Library and the International Institute for Asian Studies. Gharala has taught courses in Latin American and world history.
Francine J. Harris, M.F.A. – English
Francine J. Harris joins the University of Houston as an associate professor in the Department of English. She holds an M.F.A. from University of Michigan and a B.A. in English from Arizona State University. She is the author of the poetry collections “Play Dead” and “allegiance”. Her third collection, ”Here is the Sweet Hand,” is forthcoming in 2020. Harris has taught at Centre College, University of Michigan, and Washington University in St. Louis. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Cave Canem, and MacDowell Colony. She was the 2018/2019 Rona Jaffe Foundation Fellow at the Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers at the New York Public Library. Her work has been awarded a Pushcart Prize, Lambda Literary Award and an Audre Lorde Award.
Debbie Z. Harwell, Ph.D. – History
Debbie Z. Harwell joins the Department of History as instructional assistant faculty. Harwell received a Ph.D. in U.S. history from the University of Houston, an M.A. in women’s studies, inequality and social policy from the University of Memphis, and a B.A. in speech communication from Texas Christian University. She has served as managing editor and editor of the Center for Public History’s Houston History magazine since 2009. Her classes examine Houston’s social, cultural, economic, and political history, as well as the ways in which migration and immigration have contributed to the city’s diversity. She is the author of “Wednesday in Mississippi: Proper Ladies Working for Radical Change, Freedom Summer 1964,” which won the 2015 SAWH Julia Cherry Spruill Prize for the best book in southern women’s history.
Kevin Hoff, Ph.D. – Psychology
Kevin Hoff joins the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor. Hoff received his Ph.D. in industrial-organizational psychology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where he also received an M.S. in educational psychology and a B.S. in Earth systems and environmental science. His research focuses on individual differences as predictors of career and life outcomes. He is particularly interested in understanding how vocational interests and personality traits develop across the lifespan. Hoff also studies technology in the workplace, including how employees develop trust in automated systems. He teaches courses related to personnel selection and organizational psychology.
Yang Huang, Ph.D. – Valenti School of Communication
Yang Huang is an assistant professor of integrated strategic communication in the Jack J. Valenti School of Communication. She holds a Ph.D. in mass communication from Pennsylvania State University. Huang’s M.A. in mass communication and B.A. in Chinese literature are from the University of Peking in Beijing. Huang previously taught at Southern Methodist University, and her research is at the intersection of strategic communication, persuasion, and media psychology. Huang investigates how technological aspects of media messaging shape audience responses to health initiatives, nonprofit organizations, and other prosocial campaigns. Her work has appeared in such journals as American Behavioral Scientist, Health Communication, and the Journal of Communication.
Conrad James, Ph.D. – Modern and Classical Languages
Conrad James is an associate professor of world cultures and literatures. He received his Ph.D. in Latin American literature from the University of Cambridge. He has taught at the University of Durham and the University of Birmingham in the United Kingdom. He has also held visiting positions at the University of Maryland and the University of California, Santa Cruz. Dr James’s research focuses on Spanish Caribbean literature and visual culture and Afro-Hispanic cultural production. He is mainly interested in exploring what Caribbean and Afro-Hispanic sites of creativity reveal about race thinking, the politics of movement, diaspora transformations and the emergence of new world philosophies. He has published widely on Afro-Cuban writing of the late 20 th century and has also written on contemporary Dominican fiction. His current research includes a project on cultural transactions in Cuban literature and visual culture and another on the transnational geographies of 21st-century Caribbean narratives.
Libby Jenke, Ph.D. – Political Science
Libby Jenke is an assistant professor in the Department of Political Science. She received her Ph.D. and B.A. from Duke University, where she was also a member of the Huettel Laboratory. Jenke’s research uses eye tracking, mouse tracking, and experimental methods to explore questions of voter behavior. At UH, she will teach courses in political psychology.
Caralee Jones-Obeng, Ph.D. – African American Studies
Caralee Jones-Obeng is a visiting scholar in the African American Studies program. She earned her Ph.D. and M.A. in African American and African diaspora studies from Indiana University and her B.A. from DePauw University. Her scholarly interests include race, ethnicity, immigration, identity and the African diaspora. Her research investigates how Jamaicans, Nigerians, and African Americans identify themselves in racial and ethnic terms, cope with racism, and relate to one another in the present-day United States. Jones-Obeng teaches courses on race and ethnicity, the African diaspora, and comparative race relations.
Kathleen Kidder, Ph.D. – Modern and Classical Languages
Kathleen Kidder joins the Department of Modern and Classical Languages as a visiting scholar. Kidder received a Ph.D. in Classics from the University in Cincinnati and a B.A. in Classics from the University of Texas at Austin. Kidder was previously a visiting scholar at the College of William and Mary, and her research interests include Hellenistic poetry, mythology, and epistemology. Her current book project, “Representations of Truth in Falsehood in Hellenistic Poetry,” assesses five different Hellenistic poets and their methods of evaluating truth and falsehood. Kidder has also written on the relationship between Hellenistic poetry and Ptolemaic queenship.
Vincent Ng, Ph.D. – Psychology
Vincent Ng is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. Ng earned his Ph.D. and M.S. in industrial-organizational psychology from Purdue University and his B.A. in psychology from Vassar College. His research interests include the assessment and development of virtuous character, the morality of work and occupations, and quantitative methodology.
Vegard Mokleiv Nygaard, Ph.D. – Economics
Vegard Mokleiv Nygaard is an assistant professor of economics at the University of Houston. He received his Ph.D. in economics from the University of Minnesota and his M.A. and B.A. in economics from the University of Oslo in Norway. Nygaard’s research focuses on the macroeconomic effects of health inequality, healthcare policy, and aging.
Josiah Rector, Ph.D. – History
Josiah Rector joins the Department of History as an assistant professor. Rector earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in history from Wayne State University and his B.A. in English from Temple University. He is an urban historian specializing in environmental history of the 20th century, the environmental justice movement, and the history of capitalism. His current book project, “Toxic Debt: Race, Environmental Justice, and the History of Capitalism in Detroit,” is a history of environmental inequality in metropolitan Detroit from the late 19th century to the present. Prior to joining the CLASS faculty, Rector was a visiting professor of U.S. and environmental history at Northland College.
Gabriela Sánchez-Soto, Ph.D.– Mexican American Studies
Gabriela Sánchez-Soto joins the Center for Mexican American Studies (CMAS) as a visiting scholar. Sánchez-Soto received her Ph.D. and an M.A. in sociology from Brown University and her B.A. in international relations from El Colegio de San Luis in Mexico. Her research focuses on the influence of migration on the lives of immigrants and their families. Sánchez-Soto’s recent work has focused on the occupational status of Latin Americans in the United States. as well as on the educational outcomes of young people in Mexico and in the United States. Her work for CMAS will focus on the intersection between educational achievement and family formation among young Mexican migrants. She has previously held positions at the University of Texas at San Antonio and Princeton University.
Mamiko Suzuki, Ph.D. – Modern and Classical Languages
Mamiko Suzuki joins the Department of Modern and Classical Languages as a lecturer. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Chicago and her B.A. from Haverford College. Suzuki’s teaching and research interests include women’s writing and education in Japan’s Meiji era. Her book, “Gendered Power: Educated Women of the Meiji Empress' Court,” focuses on the emergence of modern women's education and writing in the late 19th and early 20th centuries and on the diaries, essays, poetry, and fiction of female intellectuals affiliated with the Meiji empress. Prior to moving to Houston, Suzuki taught at the University of Utah.
Bhavya Tiwari, Ph.D. – Modern and Classical Languages
Bhavya Tiwari is an assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. Tiwari received a Ph.D. in comparative literature (English, Hindi, Urdu, Bengali, and Spanish) from the University of Texas at Austin, an M.A. in comparative literature from Jadavpur University in India, and a B.A. in English literature from the University of Calcutta. Her research engages with world literature, postcolonial studies, translation theory, global modernism, and South Asian literature. Her book, “Modern Indian Literature as World Literature,” is under contract with Bloomsbury Academic Press. She is also coediting the Journal of World Literature’s double-volume issue, “World Literature and Postcolonial Studies,” for publication in 2019-2020. From 2015 to 2019, Tiwari worked at the University of Houston as an instructional assistant professor.
Wei Wang, Ph.D. – Modern and Classical Languages
Wei Wang is an assistant professor in the Department of Modern and Classical Languages. She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, her Master of Philosophy in linguistics from Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and a B.A. in Chinese language and culture from Peking University in Beijing. Her research examines language as used in everyday conversation, its structures, sound patterns, and the collaboration of multiple resources in accomplishing social actions. She focuses on the intersection of grammar, prosody, and social interaction. Wang also investigates the pragmatic development of second-language learners of Mandarin Chinese. Before joining the University of Houston, Wang was a postdoctoral fellow at the Georgia Institute of Technology, teaching both linguistics and Chinese language courses.
Michael W. Williams, Ph.D. – Psychology
Michael W. Williams is an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. He holds a Ph.D. and M.A. in psychology, with a focus in clinical neuropsychology and advanced statistical methods, from Wayne State University. He received his B.S. in psychology from Morehouse College. Williams completed his postdoctoral fellowship in the Adult Rehabilitation and Clinical Neuropsychology program at Johns Hopkins University. He is a licensed clinical psychologist, and the goal of his research program is to improve outcomes for those who have suffered brain injuries.
Céline Wilson, M.A. – Modern and Classical Languages
Céline Wilson joins the University of Houston as an instructional lecturer in French. She received her M.A. and B.A. at the University of Avignon in France. Her research and teaching center on the mechanics of the language, cultural diversity, and challenges faced by translators and interpreters. Wilson is a certified translator and interpreter, and she is regularly called to participate in international conferences. She has substantial expertise in the creation and delivery of language programs in both traditional and online formats. Wilson is the author of numerous papers, state programs and publications on language-teaching methods.