Faculty brought on board through new hiring process

Newswise — Olin College announces nine new faculty will join the College over the next two years. Four full-time faculty and two visiting faculty will arrive in the upcoming 2018-19 academic year and three more full-time faculty will arrive in the subsequent academic year.

“We are delighted to welcome these new colleagues to Olin. Each one of them has impressive and distinct academic credentials and life experiences. They will add significant strength to our ability to develop students, continue to build Olin and impact the world beyond our campus,” said Provost and Dean of Faculty Vincent Manno. 

Many of these new hires came to Olin as a result of an innovative search process conducted under the leadership of Associate Dean for Faculty Affairs and Development, Sarah Spence Adams.

Initially all candidates went through an extensive vetting process, including written responses to detailed questions and video interviews. Those who made it through these initial stages were then invited to campus in two large groups to immerse themselves in a new two-day collaborative interview process.  

At each of the two-day events, the candidates interacted with faculty, staff, students, and other fellow candidates. More than three-dozen students gave up a week of winter break to be part of the recruiting process, and the vast majority of faculty and staff participated in some way, whether attending sample classes, engaging in question & answer sessions with the candidates, or attending course co-design sessions wherein pairs of candidates collaborated to pitch a new course idea. Throughout the two days, candidates were given and asked to provide feedback on a variety of performance tasks.  

“Our new collaborative faculty Interview events were designed to be culture-setting, developmental, transparent, and efficient. The events were carefully designed to showcase Olin’s unique learning culture and to build camaraderie, as opposed to competition, among the candidates. Our yield was unprecedented, and we believe this cadre of faculty will quickly become leaders in Olin’s mission to prepare students to become exemplary engineering innovators who do good in the world,”” said Adams.

This collaborative interview approach is not without some precedent at Olin. Since the beginning of the college, there has been a two-step admission process for prospective students, which involves an application process followed by a weekend visit to campus where the candidates engage in team building activities and in-depth interviews with alumni, staff and faculty.

The selected full time and visiting faculty include: 

Alessandra Ferzoco Visiting Assistant Professor of Measurement Science. Ferzoco’s lab combines mass spectrometry and laser spectroscopy to study molecules. She earned her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Erhardt Graeff Assistant Professor of Social and Computer Science. Graeff studies creative uses of technology for civic and political engagement. He will receive his Ph.D. in June from the Center for Civic Media at the MIT Media Lab. 

Kelsey Houston-Edwards Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Houston-Edwards studies probability theory. She has worked as a science journalist and has a YouTube show exploring mathematics. She is a doctoral candidate in math at Cornell University.

Whitney Lohmeyer Assistant Professor of Engineering. Lohmeyer is a systems engineer at OneWeb and received her Ph.D. and M.S. in Aerospace Engineering from MIT.

Steve Matsumoto Assistant Professor of Computer Science and Engineering. Matsumoto’s research focuses on computer security, as it interests with economics and game theory. He is a Ph.D. candidate at Carnegie Mellon University. 

Carrie Nugent Assistant Professor of Computational Physics and Planetary Science. Nugent discovers and studies asteroids. She is the author of Asteroid Hunters, a popular science book. She earned her Ph.D. in Geophysics and Space Physics from UCLA.

Alice Paul Assistant Professor of Applied Mathematics and Computer Science. Paul’s research focuses on the design and analysis of algorithms for optimization problems. Paul earned her Ph.D. in Operations Research from Cornell University.

Emily Tow Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering. Tow studies biofilms that form during wastewater recycling. She is also a visual artist. She has a Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from MIT.

Linda Vanasupa Visiting Professor of Materials Engineering. Vanasupa is a professor of Materials Engineering and the founding Associate Director of the Center for Sustainability in Engineering at California Polytechnic State University. Vanasupa earned her graduate degrees at Stanford.