UC Santa Cruz welcomes new faculty to campus

This academic year, UC Santa Cruz welcomes 54 new faculty members to the campus, bringing the number of Senate Faculty  to 686. They bring a wide array of expertise in research and creative scholarship that will open new areas of investigation and expression and expand existing areas of work. 

“I’m thrilled to welcome our new faculty members,” Campus Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor Lori Kletzer said. “These dynamic scholars and educators join a vital faculty community committed to creative and innovative research and scholarship, teaching, mentoring and service that enriches our campus, our diverse communities, the state and far beyond.”

The  research, scholarship and creative endeavors of the new faculty, often interdisciplinary, traverse the arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences and social sciences. Their distinct areas of inquiry and performance include Afro-Latin social dances; game design; machine learning; refugees, borders and colonialism; climate change; aquatic ecosystems, human-computer interaction; food systems and economic equity; and archeological preservation.

UC Santa Cruz prioritizes inclusive hiring practices. We are in the process of adding 100 additional Senate faculty members by 2032. Coupled with an anticipated 200 to 250 additional faculty hires to replace departures due to retirement and separations, UCSC has an unparalleled opportunity to advance its research impact, bolster student success and increase the diversity of our faculty to better reflect our campus and the state of California. Of the new senate faculty, 35% identify as American Indian/Alaskan Native, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx or Multiple Races, 28% as white and 13% as Asian. 

Overall, the ethnic identification of non-emeriti senate faculty is 55% white, 17% Asian, 9% Multiple Races, 7% Hispanic/Latino/a/x, 3% Black/African American, 1% identify as either American Indian/Alaskan Native or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander. 

Arts Division

Jonathan Alonso, Assistant Professor 

Film and Digital Media

Jon Ayon Alonso is a Mestizo (Comcáac/Pipil/Xicano/Salvadoreño) filmmaker whose work explores the Mestize/Latine-“American” experience with a critical focus on broken Indigenous kinship systems, internalized racism, cultural xenophobia, Ulysses syndrome and generational trauma.

Martin Rizzo-Martinez, Assistant Professor 

Film and Digital Media

Martin Rizzo-Martinez is a public historian who creates and works on audio and video projects centering Indigenous voices and perspectives. His work focuses on Indigenous histories, politics, and stories from 19th Century California. His research and writings emphasize Indigenous politics of survival and perseverance by centering stories on Indigenous peoples rather than colonial institutions, such as the missions.  

Yi Yi Mon (Rosaline) Kyo, Assistant Professor

History of Art & Visual Culture

Yi Yi Mon (Rosaline) Kyo’s research focuses on modern and contemporary Chinese and Tibetan art and visual cultures. Her areas of research include visual representations and constructions of race, ethnicity, and gender in China, visual arts of the Tibetan diaspora, socialist propaganda imagery, and colonial spatial constructions.

Jay Afrisando, Assistant Professor 


Jay Afrisando is a composer, multimedia artist, researcher, and educator. He works on aural diversity, acoustic ecology, and cultural identity, focusing on disability and environmental justice, accessibility, and decolonization of arts practices.

Marina Magalhães, Assistant Professor  

Performance, Play & Design

Marina Magalhães is a border-crosser, bridge-builder, and dance-maker from Brazil. Her work centers Black, Indigenous and People of Color (BIPOC) practices of radical embodiment, with special focus on Afro-Latin & Latin social dances, locating them as fertile sites for choreographic inquiry, pedagogic encounters, and political possibilities.

mattie brice, Assistant Professor

Performance, Play & Design

mattie brice is a transdisciplinary artist and designer working at the intersection of play and activism. Her practice-based research explores experimental methodologies for decolonizing game design and activating play for community empowerment.

LisaMarie Rollins, Assistant Professor

Performance, Play & Design

LisaMarie Rollins is joining the department of Performance Play and Design as Assistant Professor of Playwriting and Black Drama. She is a longtime theater director, writer and new play developer. Her research focuses on Black diasporic feminist performance practices and worldmaking for liberation. Her most recent new work, KARA, funded by The Wallace Alexander Gerbode Foundation, is in investigative workshop this November with Crowded Fire Theater in San Francisco. 

Don Williams, Teaching Professor

Performance, Play & Design

Donald G. Williams is a producer, director, educator, and technical advisor. He has presented plays, presentations, and workshops throughout California. Williams is the founder and director of the UCSC African American Theater Arts Troupe in 1991 and producer of Rainbow Theater in 1993, focusing on African Americans, Asian Americans, and Chicanx/ Latinx Americans’ culture and experiences.

Baskin Engineering

Tela Favaloro, Associate Teaching Professor 


Tela Favaloro is an electrical engineer whose research aims at developing a holistic model for co-learning and co-development of sustainable energy solutions among students in global communities. As a member of the new experiential learning faculty, her focus will be on bringing inclusion-centered and skills-based design early in the curriculum, where advanced students mentor learners new to the university. 

Scott Hersey, Associate Teaching Professor


Scott Hersey conducts environmental justice research that aims to support community organizations in achieving their advocacy-related goals related to air quality through his Air Partners research group.

Ashesh Chattopadhyay, Assistant Professor

Applied Mathematics

Ashesh Chattopadhyay is an expert in theoretical scientific machine learning and its application in nonlinear dynamical systems, at scale, for example, turbulent flows in engineering and natural sciences, geophysical fluid dynamics, and climate modeling. His current areas of interest are: developing theoretical frameworks to understand generalization in deep neural networks, bridging the gap between traditional numerical analysis and modern deep learning theory, and applying these frameworks to large-scale HPC systems for building digital twins of nonlinear systems.

Javier González-Rocha, Assistant Professor

Applied Mathematics

Javier Gonzalez-Rocha’s research explores how aerial robotic systems can increase the fidelity of micrometeorological and air composition observations in the lower atmosphere, which is critical for solving today’s most pressing global challenges related to climate change, air pollution, food security, and advanced air mobility.

Christina Chung, Assistant Professor

Computational Media

Christina Chung’s research focuses on the intersection of human-computer interaction and health/well-being. She conducts research on how ubiquitous computing and personal informatics technology can be designed to enhance relationships, motivate health behavior, and support clinical care.

Samantha Gorman, Assistant Teaching Professor

Computational Media 

Samantha Gorman is the co-director/founder of Tender Claws, a game, art and tech studio that walks the line between art, innovation, and entertainment. She specializes in writing for interactive media and performance/theater across genres including expanded cinema, games and virtual reality. Her most recent project is Stranger Things VR.

Niloofar Montazeri, Assistant Teaching Professor

Computer Science & Engineering

Niloofar Montazeri’s research interest is natural language understanding, and its applications to social good. Her doctoral dissertation aimed to make it possible for machines to deeply understand text beyond statistical representations of meaning by connecting word meaning to theories of world knowledge. She is interested in spreading awareness about and motivating action for local and global social problems through classification, personalization and gamification.

Yuanchao Xu, Acting Assistant  Professor

Computer Science & Engineering

Yuanchao Xu’s research focuses on computer architecture and computer security, with a focus on improving memory security, reliability, and performance through computer architecture and system software (compilers, runtime, etc.). His research goal is to provide vertically-integrated solutions for compound challenges of data-centric computing.

Humanities Division 

Kriti Sharma, Assistant Professor 

Critical Race & Ethnic Studies

Kriti Sharma is a microbiologist and microbial ecologist working at the intersection of science, philosophy, poetics and justice, and is the author of Interdependence: Biology and Beyond (Fordham University Press, 2015). In her new role as assistant professor of critical race and ethnic studies , she will work closely with the Science & Justice Research Center to help develop the new Science & Justice undergraduate minor and spark transdisciplinary experiments across campus.

Jennifer Mogannam, Assistant Professor

Critical Race & Ethnic Studies

Jennifer Mogannam’s work intervenes in the critical study of refugees, borders, colonialism and imperialism, global scales of race and indigeneity, and resistance and is grounded in transnational, women of color, indigenous, and Palestinian methods and lenses of liberation. Her current book project frames the stakes and limits of revolution and coalition for the stateless, the refugee, and the citizen as defined by active participant narrations of alliance-building between Lebanese and Palestinian revolutionaries in 1970s Lebanon.

Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu, Assistant Professor

Critical Race & Ethnic Studies

Fuifuilupe Niumeitolu is a Tongan, Oceanian/Pacific Islander, story teller, scholar and community organizer. Her work centers on ending violence against Native and Indigenous women and girls and she draws connections to the cycles of violence committed against Indigenous Lands and Waters. She focuses on Tonga, Oceania/Pacific Islands and California.

Robert Nichols, Professor

History of Consciousness 

Robert Nichols is an expert in contemporary social and political philosophy – especially Critical Theory; the history of social and political thought – especially pertaining to imperialism and colonialism in the 19th century; and the contemporary politics of settler colonialism and indigeneity in the Anglo-American world. His work in social and political theory has been published in several books, including Theft is Property! Dispossession and Critical Theory (2020) and The Dispossessed: Karl Marx’s Debates on Wood Theft and the Right of the Poor, ed. and trans., (2021)

Dimitris Papadopoulos, Professor

History of Consciousness 

Dimitris Papadopoulos is a science and technology studies scholar, and research photographer. He works at the intersections of technoscience studies, socio-cultural theory, constructivist photography, and political ecology. His most recent books include Ecological Reparation. Repair, Remediation and Resurgence in Social and Environmental Conflict  (Bristol UP, 2023) and  Reactivating Elements: Chemistry, Ecology, Practice (Duke UP, 2021). Professor Papadopoulos is currently completing a monograph entitled Substance and its Milieu. Anthropochemicals, Autonomy, and Geo-Ecological Justice and a theory photobook entitled Landscape After the Event: Constructivist Photography and Ecocidal Vision.

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa, Professor 

History of Consciousness

Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s research interests and teaching connect science and technology studies, feminist theory, and the environmental humanities. With a background in contemporary continental philosophy and constructivist and process theory, her earlier work was on feminist epistemologies and the politics of knowledge. She is currently working on a new monograph with the title When the Name for World is Soil, examining ongoing formations of ecological cultures around changes in human-soils relations.

Saori Hoshi, Assistant Professor

Languages & Applied Linguistics

Saori Hoshi’s research focuses on foreign language teaching and learning of Japanese as an additional language, L2 pragmatics, pedagogy, and critical content-based instruction.

Rodrigo Lazo, Professor


Rodrigo Lazo is a literary historian who works on print culture and the Spanish language in the nineteenth-century United States. His research focuses on writers who crossed the Americas and/or conceptualized migratory processes as part of anti-colonial movements.

Rachel Achs, Assistant Professor 


Rachel Achs is a philosopher specializing in ethics and moral psychology. She writes about emotional responses, their normative evaluation, and their role in interpersonal morality.

Carolina Flores, Assistant Professor


Carolina Flores is a philosopher working on how our beliefs can be hijacked by bad social structures and how we can fight back. She is especially interested in social identities and their cognitive roles, evidence-resistance, and how structural factors affect how we reason and how we should reason.

Dev Bose, Associate Teaching Professor

Education – Writing Program

Having taught in and directed various university writing programs across the United States, Dev Bose’s research focuses on critical disability studies and its applications in rhetoric and writing studies, particularly among neurodiverse individuals in higher education.

Physical and Biological Sciences Division 

Bryan Gaensler, Dean, Professor

Astronomy & Astrophysics 

Bryan Gaensler uses innovative approaches to large data sets in order to answer fundamental problems in astrophysics. He uses arrays of radio telescopes to determine the origin of magnetism in the Universe, and to study the ways in which celestial objects change, flicker, flare, and explode.

Aleksandra Skrajna, Assistant Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistr

Aleksandra Skrajna uses biochemistry, biophysics, structural biology, and genomics to delineate the histone life cycle, uncover mechanisms of histone turnover and identify enzymes engaged in histone degradation. Histone proteins organize the human genome into a polymeric chromatin structure and play an active role in regulating genome-templated processes (e.g., transcription, DNA replication and DNA damage repair), which are critical for human health and disease, especially cancer. 

Anne Sizemore, Assistant Teaching Professor

Chemistry & Biochemistr

Anne Sizemore is an organic chemist that has developed synthetic routes for natural products, pharmaceuticals, and fluorescent dyes. Her current research focuses on the development and implementation of new pedagogical methods to improve undergraduate organic chemistry education.

Adina Paytan, Professor

Earth & Planetary Sciences

Adina Paytan’s primary research interests lie in the fields of biogeochemistry, chemical oceanography, and paleoceanography. Her lab uses both chemical and isotopic tracers in diverse environmental samples such as water, sediments, aerosol, and vegetation in order to study present and past biogeochemical processes on a wide range of temporal and spatial scales. An overarching goal of our research is to link changes observed in the earth and ocean systems to global changes in climate and tectonics with an emphasis on human impacts.

Abraham Borker, Assistant Teaching Professor 

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Abraham Borker’s research focuses on equity minded, field and inquiry-based teaching in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Aide Macias-Muñoz, Assistant Professor

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Aide Macias-Muñoz is interested in understanding the evolution of complex traits. She is using Cnidaria (jellyfish and relatives) as a model to investigate the genetics underlying the evolution of vision, development, and regeneration.

Ari Martinez, Assistant Professor

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Ari Martinez is interested in understanding how information about food and predators across species explains why certain species are found together in space and time.

Malin Pinsky, Associate Professor 

Ecology & Evolutionary Biology

Malin Pinsky studies how species adapt to rapidly changing environments, particularly climate variability and climate change. He leads the Global Change Research Group, which examines the ecological and evolutionary mechanisms driving global biodiversity change across scales of biological organization, from genomes to communities, by integrating ecological theory with big data and population genomics to guide global stewardship and train the next generation of scientific leaders.

Roozbeh Gharakhloo, Assistant Professor


Roozbeh Gharakhloo’s research is focused on the asymptotic analysis of structured determinants and the associated system of orthogonal polynomials arising in mathematical physics and random matrix theory.

Audrie Lin, Assistant Professor

Microbiology & Environmental Toxicology

Audrie Lin’s group conducts evidence-based and policy-relevant research to advance programs that promote nutrition and environmental justice in low-resource settings. Using a Developmental Origins of Health and Disease framework, her research focuses on the role of the exposome in the biological embedding of childhood adversity. Major areas of her research include early childhood nutrition, water, sanitation, and hygiene interventions, environmental enteric dysfunction, infectious diseases, stress physiology, immune function, telomere biology, child growth and development, and gender-based violence.

Allison Moreno, Assistant Professor

Ocean Sciences

Allison Moreno is a marine biogeochemist who studies the interactions between phytoplankton and nutrients, with strong emphasis on oxygen and carbon. In her interdisciplinary lab, she utilizes lab experiments, field work and models to quantify the impacts from natural and climate change factors on global oxygen and its impact on the ecosystem as a whole. 

Kendra Turk-Kubo, Assistant Professor

Ocean Science

Kendra Turk-Kubo is a marine microbial ecologist studying specialized microbes that supply the oceans with nitrogen, an element vital for all life. Her research focuses on understanding their ecophysiologies and interactions within the ocean microbiome to improve our ability to predict nitrogen fixation in our contemporary and future ocean. 

Ryan Baumbach, Acting Associate Professor


Ryan Baumbach is focused on developing the next generation of quantum materials, which are expected to be foundational for progress in quantum computing and sensing, fusion technologies, particle accelerators, magnetic resonance imaging, and green energy applications. Their strategy is to identify new materials with potential for remarkable electronic/magnetic/structural behavior, synthesize them using advanced chemical and metallurgical techniques, and characterize their properties over a wide range of temperatures, pressures, and magnetic fields, thereby revealing states such as magnetism, superconductivity, protected electronic/magnetic topologies, and other behaviors.

Amy Furniss, Associate Teaching Professor


Amy Furniss studies gamma-ray astrophysics and explores high impact teaching practices in physics courses and develops her own activity-based modular teaching practices and resources. She is also the spokesperson for the international VERITAS Collaboration. 

Social Sciences Division

Dolly Kikon, Professor


Dolly Kikon’s scholarly work looks at a wide range of topics whose central core is the predicament of Indigenous people in Northeast India. Through writings on natural resource extraction and ecological justice, conflict violence and migration, and more recently on food and sovereignty, she has positioned herself as a leader in Indigenous studies, feminist studies, sensory ethnography and decolonizing methodologies.

Joseph (Jay) Reti, Assistant Teaching Professor


Joseph Reti’s research studies the evolutionary origin of human culture through our reliance on stone tool technologies. He also works with Native American communities on cultural preservation of archaeological materials and planning for the increased erosion of cultural materials due to climate change.

Alison Alkon, Associate Teaching Professor

Community Studies

Alison Hope Alkon is a scholar of food and environmental justice. Using qualitative and community-based methodologies, she approaches food as a lens through which to explore the intersections of racial inequalities, health and urban development in the context of our changing climate. She is author or editor of university press four books and numerous articles and book chapters aimed at academics, students and multiple publics. 

Pascal Michaillat, Associate Professor 


Pascal Michaillat is a macroeconomist developing models of the business cycle. His research tries to understand why unemployment and economic slack exist, why they fluctuate so much over the business cycle, and how monetary and fiscal policy should respond to these cyclical fluctuations.

Emily Reigh, Assistant Professor


Emily Reigh studies how to create opportunities for students from minoritized language backgrounds to engage in the disciplinary practices of science.  She studies how teachers engage students’ existing cultural and linguistic practices and resist the institutional structures that systematically devalue these resources.  Her recent work investigates how newcomer students make sense of climate justice issues, focusing on how they connect personal narratives to reasoning about large-scale datasets.

Scott Winton, Assistant Professor

Environmental Studies

Scott Winton studies how elements flow through aquatic ecosystems such as wetlands and streams. He uses knowledge of biogeochemistry to find solutions to the climate crisis and other environmental challenges.

Hannah Waterhouse, Assistant Professor 

Environmental Studies

Hannah Waterhouse is a soil biogeochemist interested in creating sustainable and resilient agroecosystems for healthy communities and watersheds. Her research is grounded in a coupled natural-human systems framework to develop socio ecological relevant solutions for reducing nutrient loading from agricultural systems to the environment. She leverages collaborations with rural sociologists, economists, and hydrologists to understand barriers and provide frameworks for holistically realizing sustainable and just agroecosystems.

Kira Tait, Assistant Professor


In her research, Kira Tait explores the ways ordinary people encounter laws and institutions to improve their material reality. Dr. Tait is committed to studying the meanings people make about the law, rights, and state institutions to assess the political actions people can and do take to improve their material conditions in light of these laws and rights. 

Danny Rahal, Assistant Professor 


Danny Rahal’s research is focused on understanding the daily experiences of racially and socioeconomically diverse youth throughout development. Projects are unified by the focus on understanding how marginalization can negatively impact youth health and development. His work often focuses on cultural stressors including discrimination as well as feeling of lower status. 

David Menendez, Assistant Professor


David Menendez is a developmental psychologist interested in how children and adults learn from the world around them. His work focuses on how people learn STEM concepts in formal and informal environments, and how changing the language or representations in these environments changes what people learn and generalize. Additionally, David is interested in the role of culture on children’s cognitive development.

Julissa Muñiz, Assistant Professor


Julissa Muñiz is an educational ethnographer and learning scientist that examines teaching, learning, and identity development in the carceral context with an interest in better understanding how young people live and learn in confinement. Using institutional theory and critical race theory, she also studies organizational sense-making and how organizational logics mediate juvenile practitioners decision-making when developing programming for incarcerated youth.

Sanjay Barbora, Associate Professor


Sanjay Barbora is a sociologist who works on political ecology, conservation, migration, media and social movements. He focuses on politics in South Asia, with an emphasis on contestations between marginal groups, corporate interests, and the state.

Mengyang (Zoe) Zhao, Acting Assistant Professor


Zoe Zhao’s interdisciplinary research centers on digital labor, platformization, and social movements, with a particular focus on new forms of work, technology, diaspora and labor activism under platform and venture capitalism. Their art practice leverages gamification to reimagine ways of commoning and queering the care infrastructure.

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