Home In the News Dr. Jessica Pratt as one of the 2024 Newkirk Faculty Fellows

Dr. Jessica Pratt as one of the 2024 Newkirk Faculty Fellows

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  2024 Newkirk Faculty Fellows
The Newkirk Center for Science & Society is excited to announce and congratulate the
2024 Newkirk Faculty Fellows!

The 10 Newkirk Faculty Fellows will join the Center as scholars in residence. The goals of the Newkirk Faculty Fellows Program are to: 1) provide a forum for cross-disciplinary interaction; 2) increase the visibility of UCI scholars and their activities within and outside the university; 3) build community around the strategic mission of the Newkirk Center (see below).

Solmaz Kia is an associate professor at the mechanical and aerospace engineering department of UCI. Additionally, she has a joint appointment with the computer science department at UCI. Her research focuses on optimal decision making and estimation theory for networked systems, with applications in multi-robot motion planning and navigation.

Charis E. Kubrin is a Professor of Criminology, Law and Society. She is co-author or co-editor of 6 books and has published dozens of journal articles, many of which focus on the intersection of music, culture, and social identity, particularly as it applies to hip-hop and youth of color in disadvantaged communities.  

Jung-Ah Lee is a Professor and Associate Dean for Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, and Belongings in Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing at UC Irvine. Lee is a nurse scientist with expertise in gerontological research using mixed methods. Her research focuses on translational approaches to improve care delivery and quality of life of patients and caregivers.

Annie Loui works as a director/choreographer, and is the Artistic Director of Counter-Balance Theater. She trained with dancer Carolyn Carlson (at the Paris Opera), and studied in France with Etienne Decroux, Ella Jarosivitcz and Jerzy Grotowski. Original physical theater pieces have been seen in France, Monaco, West Germany, Italy, and in the United States at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, among other venues.  

Michael Méndez is an assistant professor of environmental policy and planning at the University of California, Irvine, an Andrew Carnegie Fellow, and Visiting Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (through a National Science Foundation Early Faculty Career Award).  

Simon Penny is an artist and theorist with a longstanding focus on emerging technologies, embodied and situated aspects of artistic practices, and critical analysis of computer culture. Much of his career has been at the intersection of engineering and art – developing custom immersive, sensor-based systems for embodied interaction.  

Kris Peterson is an anthropologist who focuses on science and technology studies, political economy, African studies, and political theory. Kris has written two books, Speculative Markets: Drug Circuits and Derivative Life in Nigeria (2014) and (with Valerie Olson) The Ethnographer’s Way: A Handbook for Multidimensional Research Design (2024).  

Jessica Pratt is a community ecologist and teaching professor in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology. She is broadly interested in the application of ecological theory to environmental problem-solving and in effective pedagogy to train the next generation of environmental leaders and Earth stewards.

Tanya Vasylyeva is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Population Health and Disease Prevention. After completing her DPhil (PhD) in Molecular Epidemiology degree at the University of Oxford (UK), she obtained a Junior Research Fellowship in Biological Sciences at the New College (University of Oxford) and a Branco Weiss Fellowship (Branco Weiss Society in Science).  

S. Ama Wray, Professor of Dance at UC Irvine is the custodian of Embodiology®, an award-winning neo-African improvisation practice. Redefining practices for human flourishing, she is a Fellow of the Mind and Life Institute and 2023 California established Artists Awardee. Formerly a performer with London Contemporary Dance Theatre and Rambert Dance Company, for over 30 years she advanced the integration of music and dance through JazzXchange.  

About the Newkirk Center for Science & Society
Established in 2001 with a generous donation from Martha and James Newkirk, the Newkirk Center focuses on the interaction between science and society, including the role of society in the production of scientific knowledge and technological systems and artifacts and the effects of scientific knowledge on society. It seeks to explore and think critically about the process by which scientific information is communicated to the public and policy-makers. It fosters the use of science to enhance the environment, education, health care, public infrastructure, and justice. The Center carries out its mission through support of research, public engagement, and events.
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