|MLK Professors and Scholars 2013-2014
Modupe Akinola, MLK Visiting Assistant Professor, Management
Erika Camacho, MLK Visiting Assistant Professor, Mathematics
Sophia Cisneros, MLK Visiting Scholar, Physics
Ta-Nehisi Coates, MLK Visiting Scholar, Writing
Karilyn Crockett, MLK Visiting Scholar, Urban Studies and Planning
Julio D’Arcy, MLK Visiting Scholar, Chemical Engineering
Miloon Kothari, MLK Visiting Scholar, Urban Studies and Planning
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein, MLK Visiting Scholar, Physics
Christopher Rose, MLK Visiting Professor, Electrical Engineering and Computer Science
Jason K. Sello, MLK Visiting Associate Professor, Biology
Stephen Wirkus, MLK Visiting Associate Professor, Math
Modupe Akinola is currently an Assistant Professor of Management at Columbia Business School. Modupe uses a multi-method approach that includes behavioral observation, implicit and reaction time measures, and physiological responses to examine how cognitive outcomes are affected by stress. In addition, Modupe examines workforce diversity. Specifically, she explores the strategies organizations employ to increase the diversity of their talent pool, and examines the biases that affect the recruitment and retention of women and minorities in organizations. As an MLK Visiting Assistant Professor, she will be hosted by JoAnne Yates in the Work and Organization Studies Group at the Sloan School of Management. Modupe holds a B.A. and M.A. in Psychology from Harvard University, as well as a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior. She also holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School.
Erika Tatiana Camacho grew up in East Los Angeles and was taught by Jaime Escalante at Garfield High School. She received her Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics from Cornell University. She has held positions at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Loyola Marymount University, and ASU. She co-founded and co-directed the Applied Mathematical Sciences Summer Institute (AMSSI), dedicated to the recruitment of undergraduate women, underrepresented minorities, and those that might not otherwise have the opportunity. She is summer co-director of the Mathematical & Theoretical Biology Institute (MTBI) focused on similar efforts. Her current research is at the interface of mathematics, biology, physiology, and sociology and involves mathematically modeling degenerative eye diseases, gene networks within yeast, social networks, alcohol effects on a neuron firing, and fungal resistance under selective pressure. Her leadership, scholarship, and mentoring has won her national recognition including the SACNAS Distinguished Undergraduate Mentoring Award in 2012 and the National Hispanic Women Corporation Latina Leadership Award in 2011, recognition as one of 12 Emerging Scholars of 2010 by Diverse: Issues in Higher Education, and a citation for mentoring and guiding undergraduates in research by the U.S. National Security Agency. Some of her local recognitions include the Dr. Manuel Servin Faculty Award for excellence in exemplifying achievement in research, mentorship of Hispanic students, leadership at ASU and in the community in 2013, the New College of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences Faculty Service Award in 2013, the 40 Hispanic Leaders Under 40 Award in 2012 and the ASU Faculty Women’s Association Outstanding Faculty Mentor Award in 2011. She is currently an MLK Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
Sophia Inzunza-Cisneros, earned her Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Mexico. She has been re-appointed as an MLK Visiting Scholar for a third year in the Department of Physics working in the Neutrino and Dark Matter Research Group led by Professor Joseph Formaggio. Her focus has been the Lumious Convolution Model, which predicts a constraint to luminous and dark matter investigations based upon observed galactic rotation curves. Her research focuses on novel applications of Special and General Relativity. Sophia has also been instrumental in instituting an on campus Native-American support system. Her future research will be to extend the LCM to a yield the best luminous matter profile in spiral galaxies, a neutrino toy-model and a bench-top black hole analog investigation.
Ta-Nehisi Coates is currently a Senior Editor at The Alantic. He is a leading journalist and public intellectual whose work centers on politics, culture, and society from a point of view that recognizes that the United States is not yet a race-blind society. As an MLK Scholar, Mr. Coates will teach one course per semester and give a public lecture on work in progress in the Program in Writing and Humanistic Studies.
Karilyn Crockett received her PhD from the American Studies Program at Yale in 2013. Her research investigates large-scale land use changes in the U.S. and how these changes propel new kinds of twentieth century social movements and political organizations among grassroots actors. In addition to a spatialized approach to historical investigation, Crockett privileges memory studies as fundamental for destabilizing the hegemony of “expert-generated” official histories and for interrogating the formal limits of the archive as an exclusive site for local and national knowledge production. As an MLK Visiting Scholar she is working with Professors Larry Vale, Anne Spirn, and Bish Sanyal in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning.
Julio D’Arcy received his Ph.D in Chemistry at UCLA in June 2012. His areas of expertise are conjugated polymers, electrochemistry, and thin film composite devices with a particular interest in energy applications. As an MLK Visiting Scholar he will work closely with Prof. Paula Hammond’s research group in the Department of Chemical Engineering.
Mr. Kothari is a public scholar/activist from India and an outspoken critic of the countries and institutions that see the neo-liberal and military/security policies as a means to achieving democracy and human rights. His work covers the areas of housing, land rights, homelessness; evictions and displacement; the right to the city; the human rights dimensions of poverty, segregation and ghettoization; economic globalisation and its impact on human rights. He was the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on Adequate Housing with the UN Human Rights Council; founder and former Executive Director of the Housing and Land Rights Network, India and co-founder and former Convenor of the Working Group on Human Rights in India and the UN. As an MLK Scholar, Mr. Kothari will guide the development of the MIT Displacement Research and Action Network, teach a graduate course at the MIT Department of Urban Studies and Planning and be available for public lectures and consultations with faculty and students.
Chanda Prescod-Weinstein hails from east Los Angeles and was a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in the Observational Cosmology Lab at Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD before coming to MIT. She is hosted by Prof. Ed Bertschinger in the Department of Physics. Her interests include studying quantum fields in curved spaces for the purposes of cosmological calculations, novel relativistic and field theoretic dark matter models and predictions, and quantum gravity formalism and phenomenology. She has been re-appointed for a third year as an MLK Visiting Scholar. Dr. Prescod-Weinstein enjoys mentoring and is an active member in the National Society of Black Physicists, the National Society of Hispanic Physicists, and the Society for the Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS).
Christopher Rose was a semi-lifer at MIT from 1975 to 1985. He was paroled by his new wife and new baby in 1985 when he graduated with a Ph.D. in EECS. Almost immediately afterward he began what is now a 28-year-and-counting postdoc in communication theory starting at Bell Laboratories Research where he rubbed shoulders with a wide range of brilliant and uniformly delightful technical angels and curmudgeons. He's currently an ECE professor at Rutgers, WINLAB, an IEEE Fellow cited for "contributions to wireless systems theory" and a full member of the Army Science Board.
Chris, always confused about his technical identity, has roamed over a wide research terrain. His proudest moment? -- an interview on NPR where a caller asked him about crop circles and ET communication. That interview (and the 2004 cover-story Nature paper counterpoint to MIT-legend Phil Morrison's famous 1959 Nature paper on interstellar communication) has done wonders for his reputation as an expert witness on patent matters.
His master research plan is to cast life, the universe and everything in a communication theory framework, including such seemingly disparate subjects as SuperSymmetry and biomolecular communication. His current passion, however, is thinking about ways to make the under-represented minority (URM) STEM professoriat dramatically larger by developing academic cohorts whose technical breadth, social consciousness and natural cohesion (all typical URM characteristics) can provide an especially keen vantage point from which to formulate and attack high profile high impact problems of great interest to society. Chris holds his MLK Visiting Professorship in the Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Jason K. Sello is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry at Brown University. Prior to his appointment at Brown, Prof. Sello was a visiting scientist at the John Innes Centre in Norwich, England and a post-doctoral research fellow at Harvard Medical School. He earned a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard University in 2002 and a B.S. in biology from Morehouse College in 1997. In his independent career, Prof. Sello has been synergistically using experimental methods from chemistry, molecular biology, biochemistry, and genomics to develop new anti-infectives and biotechnology platforms for the conversion of plant biomass to biofuels and commodity chemicals. At MIT, he is working collaboratively with Prof. Robert T. Sauer in the Department of Biology on antibacterial agents that act by critically perturbing protein turnover in bacteria.
Stephen Wirkus earned his Ph.D. in applied mathematics at Cornell University in 1999. After holding academic appointments at Cornell and Cal Poly Pomona, Dr. Wirkus came to ASU in 2007 as a tenured Associate Professor. In 2013, Dr. Wirkus was named the Professor of the Year at Arizona State University. Among Dr. Wirkus' scholarly interests are mathematical biology, differential equations, dynamical systems, mathematical methods in physics, mathematical modeling, and numerical methods. His interest in mathematical biology is evidenced by his current work focusing on mathematical models of diffusely interacting populations, the retina, and gene networks. Dr. Wirkus published the textbook "A Course in Ordinary Differential Equations" with Chapman & Hall/CRC Press in 2006 that incorporates the popular mathematical software MATLAB, Maple, and Mathematica and is currently working on the second edition of this book. He is MLK Visiting Associate Professor in the Math Department.