Colby welcomed nine new tenure-track faculty members this fall—a dynamic group of individuals that spans the disciplines and brings innovative scholarship to the vibrant academic culture on Mayflower Hill.
“Our newest faculty members are teacher-scholars of exceptional promise,” said Provost and Dean of Faculty Margaret T. McFadden. “We are delighted to welcome them into Colby’s extraordinary culture of teaching and learning, and we are confident that they will contribute in important ways to strengthening and expanding our intellectual community.”
Eric Aaron, assistant professor of computer science, earned his Ph.D. from Cornell and brings an interest in interdisciplinary computer science that bridges science, theory, and applications. His research focuses on robotics—with applications to adaptive, intelligent systems in dynamic environments—and computational modeling and simulation for interdisciplinary science, specifically cognitive science and biology. He’s deeply engaged with students in the classroom, and he anticipates building connections with the arts and sciences.
Yang Fan comes to Colby following his doctoral work at the University of Washington, Seattle. An assistant professor of economics, he researches corporate governance—structures and policies at the board level that lead to better firm outcomes. Fan was drawn to Colby as a place where both teaching and scholarship are honored and celebrated, and he will be appointed the Todger Anderson Chair in Behavioral Finance.
Laura Sachiko Fugikawa earned a doctorate from the University of Southern California and specializes in queer, Asian-American, Native, and indigenous studies. Fugikawa reports being thrilled to be at Colby with a joint appointment as an assistant professor in their two academic homes—American studies and women, gender, and sexuality studies—and is excited to create new classes in Asian-American, Native American, and comparative ethnic studies and teach classes focused on race, gender, and sexuality through film, literature, and graphic novels.
Erin Giffin’s areas of expertise are behavioral and experimental economics. Now an assistant professor of economics, she studied at the University of California, San Diego, and uses experiments to test economic theories, employing those findings to build new models that capture how individuals make economic decisions. She focuses on gender differences in decision-making and on how memory limitations impact our ability to make economic decisions. In addition to developing courses in behavioral and experimental economics, Giffin is excited to build an experimental lab for her own research and as a resource for Colby faculty and students.
Oliver Layton was drawn to Colby’s “impressive” students and to the College’s interdisciplinary, collaborative culture. Coming from graduate work at the University of Boston, he’s an assistant professor of computer science specializing in computational neuroscience. He’s interested in developing computer models to understand brain mechanisms that allow people to navigate through crowded areas, drive on dynamic roadways, and fly drones through cluttered environments. He plans to collaborate with students on creative research projects at the intersection of computer science, neuroscience, and technology.
Lindsey Madison, who received her doctorate from Northwestern, specializes in theoretical physical chemistry. She uses computational methods to study properties of a phase of ice called clathrate hydrates, which naturally occur in Earth’s polar regions and contain carbon dioxide and methane. She’s already impressed with Colby students’ intellectual curiosity and plans to capitalize on it by teaching them to use the scientific method to make discoveries in physical chemistry. She also aims to develop an advanced course in computational chemistry modeling.
Jennifer Meredith is an environmental economist who joins Colby after receiving her doctorate from the University of Washington. She studies the impact of fisheries management shifts in areas from West Africa to rural Alaska, and most recently studied household survey data on the role of transferable salmon permits in migration and employment choices of rural Alaskans. Her prior experience integrating undergraduate research assistants in data collection, as well as her own liberal arts education, drew her to Colby’s small classes that prioritize student engagement and intellectual curiosity. She’s eager to work with students to analyze local environmental issues.
Jerzy Wieczorek, assistant professor of statistics, earned his Ph.D. from Carnegie Mellon University. His work involves model selection and assessment, and he has contributed statistical expertise to research in many different fields, including analyses of poverty, health, and human rights.
Arisa White earned an M.F.A. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and joins Colby as an assistant professor of English (creative writing). Her academic specialty is creative writing with a focus on documentary and contemporary poetry. White’s written four books and six chapbooks, and at Colby, she aims to cultivate ways to make the writing of poetry an immersive experience while also honing and refining her pedagogy.