Five female faculty receive tenure

Publication Date

Five faculty members – all women – have been granted tenure and promoted to associate professor by the College’s Board of Trustees.

“These five women represent the best of Union,” said Jennifer Fredricks, dean of academic departments and programs. “They are exceptional teachers who create engaging and intellectually rich learning environments, and are also renowned and nationally recognized scholars and artists in their fields. I am so happy that they will be long-term members of our Union community."

The newly-tenured faculty are:

Ellen Gasparovic

Ellen Gasparovic

Ellen Gasparovic, Mathematics

Her teaching covers areas including calculus, geometry, logic and set theory and linear and abstract algebra. Her primary research area is applied topology, a field that seeks to identify underlying patterns and mathematical structure in data from areas ranging from medical imaging to networks of sensor arrays.

She has received a National Science Foundation Computing and Communicating Foundations (CCF) conference grant (Award 1841455) to support the attendance of 10 U.S. based mathematicians at the Workshop for Women in Computational Topology, as conference aimed at growing the network of women in the field.

She holds a B.A. from College of the Holy Cross; and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Jennifer Mitchell '04

Jennifer Mitchell '04

Jennifer Mitchell ’04, English and Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies

Mitchell teaches courses on modern and contemporary British literatures; gender, sexuality, and queer studies; and critical theory.

Her own writing covers topics including gender and sexuality, modernist literature and adolescent fiction.

She is the author of a new book, Ordinary Masochisms: Agency and Desire in Victorian and Modernist Fiction. University Press of Florida (2020). She also is co-editor (with Lizzie Harris McCormick and Rebecca Soares) of The Female Fantastic: Gendering the Supernatural in the 1890s and 1920s (2018).

She holds a B.A. from Union, M.A. from Washington University, and Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center.

Nelia Mann

Nelia Mann

Nelia Mann, Physics and Astronomy

Mann said she loves teaching quantum mechanics (”It really illuminates the interplay between physics and mathematics.”), statistical mechanics (“It provides a wonderful balance between concrete physical phenomena and deep theoretical structures.”) and computational physics (“It provides students with a toolkit that dramatically increases the number of systems they can reasonably analyze.”)

As a researcher, Mann is a string theorist, studying nature at the shortest distance scales and highest energy scales to find the most fundamental laws underlying physical processes. She uses string theory to model particles such as protons and neutrons, and their interactions. She also has an interest in computational physics as applied to string theory and other subfields of physics.

She has received a KITP Scholars Award from the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics at UC Santa Barbara, which supports faculty from primarily undergraduate institutions who are active in theoretical physics.

She holds B.S. from Stanford University, and M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Laini Nemett

Laini Nemett

Laini Nemett, Visual Arts

Nemett, who joined Union in 2015, teaches painting and drawing. Her own work responds to the lived, remembered, and imagined histories that emerge from man-made and natural architecture. Her paintings combine details from old and new construction, and chronicle the effects of time and climate change on vulnerable communities such as the Lower Ninth Ward in New Orleans and ancient cliff dwellings in the American Southwest.

She has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Joan Mitchell Foundation and Fulbright Foundation.

She holds an M.F.A. from the Hoffberger School of Painting at Maryland Institute College of Art and a dual B.A. from Brown University in visual arts and the history of art and architecture. She has exhibited her work nationally and abroad, including in solo exhibitions at the Paul Mahder Gallery in Healdsburg, Calif.; Mandeville Gallery in the Nott Memorial; Guilin Art Museum in China, VisArts in Rockville, Md., and the Institute for Contemporary Art at Platform Gallery in Baltimore, Md.

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Heather Watson

Heather Watson

Heather Watson, Physics and Astronomy

Watson teaches a range of physics, astronomy, and planetary science courses at Union. She has advised many students on experimental and modeling research projects related to planet formation and evolution, as well as material properties and characterization.

Her primary research interests are in the closely related fields of planetary science and mineral physics. She uses a wide variety of experimental and analytical techniques to understand the processes that contribute to the earliest formation and the dynamic evolution of the Earth and other terrestrial planets. A new area of research involves investigations related to the icy moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

She was recently awarded $50,000 from the National Science Foundation’s Early-Concept Grants for Exploratory Research (EAGER) program, which supports potentially transformative research. The project, with Union student researchers, could impact how radioactive “clocks” are used to measure the ages of certain events in geologic history as well as understanding what happens to nuclear waste containment materials over time.

She holds a B.S. from the University of Toronto; and M.S. and Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.