Past Humanities Welcome Speakers
2017 Faculty, Student and Alumni Speakers
Faculty Spotlight: Associate Professor Jessica Rett, Linguistics Department
Jessica Rett (BA, University of Michigan, 2001; PhD, Rutgers University, 2008) is Director of Undergraduate Studies and Associate Professor in Linguistics at UCLA. Her research — which has been published by Oxford University Press and in many top journals — focuses on how languages encode meaning, and spans the subfields of semantics, pragmatics, psycholinguistics, and the philosophy of language. The languages she has researched or advised on include: Bole (Chadic; Nigeria), Cheyenne (Algonquian; Montana), Chickasaw (Muskogean; Oklahoma), Efik (Niger-Congo; Nigeria), Egyptian Arabic (Semitic; Egypt), Georgian (Kartvelian; Georgia), Pomo (Pomoan; California), Q’anjob’al (Mayan; Guatemala), Romanian (Romance; Romania), and Serbo-Croatian (Balto-Slavic; Serbia and Croatia). The logics she has used to model meaning in these languages include or involve: predicate logic; lambda calculus; fuzzy logic; degree semantics; vector semantics; possible world semantics; dynamic predicate logic; and game-theoretic pragmatics.
Student Spotlight: Eva Yguico
Eva Yguico (BA in Philosophy, expected Spring 2018) is a fourth-year Philosophy major who transferred to UCLA in 2016. She is a recipient of the Frederick R. Waingrow and Undergraduate Interdisciplinary Research Scholarships. Her research is focused on racial bias in the jury and the practical demands of impartiality – interests she developed while clerking for the LA Superior Court. She is also president of the Undergraduate Philosophy Club, and a member of Alpha Gamma Delta and the UCLA Snowteam. After graduation, Eva hopes to pursue a J.D. and Ph.D. in Philosophy.
Alumni Spotlight: Ming Loong Teo, 12′
Ming Loong Teo, B.A. Korean Language and Culture, MSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker currently working with the Los Angeles County Department of Mental Health at their Downtown Mental Health Center in the Skid Row area. Ming also serves as the Vice President of AFSCME District Council 36, Local 2712; which is a labor union representing the approximately 1400 Psychiatric Social Workers and Mental Health Clinicians working for the County of Los Angeles. Prior to his time at UCLA, Ming worked with various social service agencies in the Korean-American community. Ming earned his Master of Social Work in 2014 from the USC School of Social Work.
Dean David Schaberg
David Schaberg (BA, Stanford, 1986; PhD, Harvard, 1996) is Dean of Humanities and Professor in Asian Languages & Cultures at UCLA. Past chair of Asian Languages & Cultures and Co-Director of the Center for Chinese Studies, Schaberg has published articles on early Chinese literature, historiography, and philosophy as well as Greek/Chinese comparative issues. He is author of A Patterned Past: Form and Thought in Early Chinese Historiography, which was awarded the 2003 Levenson Prize for Books in Chinese Studies (Pre-1900 Category). His translation of the Zuo Tradition (with Stephen Durrant and Wai-yee Li) will appear in 2016. His most recent work addresses the history of oratory and ritual speech genres in early China.
2016 Faculty, Student and Alumni Speakers
Professor Charlene Villaseñor, Art History and Chicana/o Studies
Charlene Villaseñor Black is Professor of Art History and Chicana/o Studies, and the 2016 recipient of UCLA’s Gold Shield Faculty Prize for Academic Excellence. She recently edited Tradition and Transformation: Chicana/o Art from the 1970s to the 1990s, and a dossier in Aztlán dedicated to teaching Latina/o art. Her widely reviewed 2006 book, Creating the Cult of St. Joseph: Art and Gender in the Spanish Empire, was awarded the College Art Association Millard Meiss prize. She has held grants from the Fulbright, Mellon, and Woodrow Wilson Foundations as well as the NEH, the ACLS, and the Getty. While much of her research investigates the politics of religious art and transatlantic exchange in the Iberian world, Villaseñor Black is also actively engaged in the Chicana/o art scene. Her upbringing as a working class, Catholic Chicana from Arizona forged her identity as a border-crossing early modernist and inspirational teacher.
Samantha Matamoros Rangel, B.A. Spanish Language & Literature
Samantha Matamoros-Rangel became the Director of Human Capital for Green Dot Public Schools in July of 2013 after serving as Principal for one of Green Dot’s founding schools, Ánimo Venice Charter High School. Prior to her work as a school leader, Samantha was a Spanish teacher for several years focusing on the language, culture and diversity of Spanish speaking countries. She is the daughter of Honduran immigrants and was the first in her family to graduate college. Mrs. Matamoros-Rangel holds a BA from the University of California, Los Angeles where she majored in Spanish Literature and minored in Public Policy. In her undergraduate studies she was afforded the opportunity to explore the inequities of public education in urban communities, and this sparked a deep passion for education reform and a desire to be a part of a movement that is impacting students across the country.
Austin Beltrand, Philosophy and Neuroscience, Class of 2017
Austin Beltrand is Philosophy and Neuroscience double from Texas, as well as the President of the Undergraduate Philosophy Club and Lavender Health Alliance. He attends UCLA on a full scholarship from the Stamps Family Foundation, and currently researches agency-based ethics and addiction induced by neuropathic pain. Austin hopes to pursue an MD/PhD with his PhD in philosophy for a concentration in bioethics.
2015 Faculty and Alumni Speakers
Professor Olga Kagan, Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures
Olga Kagan is a professor in the UCLA Department of Slavic, East European and Eurasian Languages and Cultures, director of the Title VI National Heritage Language Resource Center and the Center for World languages, UCLA. She received her Ph.D. from the Pushkin Russian Language Institute, Moscow, Russia. Her main research interests are in the field of applied linguistics and include language loss and maintenance by heritage language learners. In the past several years she has been working on developing curricula that would allow heritage learners to regain and improve their language competencies. She is the co-author of twelve textbooks, both for heritage speakers of Russian and learners of Russian as a foreign language. She is co-editor of Teaching and Learning of Slavic Languages and Cultures (Slavica Publishers,2000) that received an award for the Best Contribution to Pedagogy from AATSEEL and the volume Heritage language Education: A New Field Emerging (Routledge, 2008). Kagan is the founding editor of the Heritage Language Journal. In January 2015 she received an MLA Award for Distinguished Service to the Profession.
Professor Helen Deutsch, English
Helen Deutsch teaches and researches at the crossroads of eighteenth-century studies and disability studies, with particular emphases on questions of authorship, originality, and embodiment across a variety of genres. Her ongoing research questions include the relation of eighteenth-century authors to classical models (in shaping literary style, authorial careers and gendered identities), the multifaceted connection between physical embodiment and literary form, the interplay between visual and printed cults of authorship and the phenomenon of author-love more broadly considered, and the formative relationship between bodily difference and modern individuality. She is the author of Resemblance and Disgrace: Alexander Pope and the Deformation of Culture (Harvard UP, 1996), and Loving Dr. Johnson (U of Chicago P, 2005). Some of her recent articles have considered the anecdote as literary “thing,” the exemplary queer intimacy of Jonathan Swift’s Stella poems, the formative role of disability in the construction of the eighteenth-century English canon, and the paradoxes of bodily individuality and moral exemplarity inherent in the history of the essay form from Montaigne to Randolph Bourne. In 2016 she will hold an ACLS fellowship for the completion of her book in progress: The Last Amateur: Jonathan Swift, Edward Said, and the Profession of Literature.
Stacy Schroeder, B.A. Linguistics and Computer Science
Stacy graduated UCLA in 2009 with a degree in Linguistics and Computer Science. Knowing that she wanted to work for The Walt Disney Company, Stacy spent her undergraduate time interning at Disneyland, ABC, and Disney Channel. After graduation, Stacy became Disney Channel’s multi-platform programming coordinator, scheduling episodes across iTunes, Netflix, and more. Now Stacy is Radio Disney’s manager of Digital Communities. In this role she runs Radio Disney’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat, programs RadioDisney.com, and produces videos for Radio Disney’s YouTube page and app.
Bear Allen-Blaine, B.A English
Bear graduated from UCLA in 2010 with a degree in English Literature and an emphasis in creative writing. She minored in Theatre. At UCLA she was a student leader and volunteer tutor. After graduation, Bear enrolled in a dual Master’s of Public Policy and Juris Doctorate program at Pepperdine University. She focused on education policy and criminal law, and continued to pursue her modeling and acting career. Having recently taken the bar, Bear looks forward to interviewing for jobs that will allow her to serve the public sector as either a District Attorney or Public Defender. Ultimately, she would love to be involved in forming education policy through an administrative position at the collegiate level.
2014 Faculty and Alumni Speakers
Professor Kathryn Morgan, Classics
Kathryn Morgan received her BA degree from Bryn Mawr College and her PhD from the University of California, Berkeley. She taught four years at the Ohio State University before joining the UCLA faculty in 1996. Her interests range broadly over Greek literature of the fifth and fourth centuries BC. Professor Morgan teaches graduate seminars in Attic tragedy, Pindar, and Plato, and her research oscillates between projects connected with Plato and with Pindar. The former is represented by her 2000 book Myth and Philosophy from the Presocratics to Plato, and by her ongoing involvement in the series Studies in Ancient Greek Narrative (published by Brill), where she is responsible for the chapters covering Plato. Pindar is the subject of her current book project, Talking to Tyrants. Pindar and the Construction of Sicilian Monarchy, where she examines Pindar’s victory odes for his Sicilian patrons and the programs of tyrannical self-representation to which they contribute.
Professor David MacFadyen, Comparative Literature and Musicology
David MacFadyen is the author of multiple books on the history of Slavic music, specifically the popular traditions of Russia, Ukraine, and Belarus. Having begun his research in the field of Russian poetry, MacFadyen’s attention turned slowly to the role of song. This led to a number of monographs documenting the meaning of sung texts both within and without ideology during the Soviet period.
Over the same research term, a major collection of sound recordings developed, and Professor MacFadyen now oversees an archive of more than half a million compositions from Slavic, Baltic, and Central Asian lands. One impetus for that explosion of audio materials has been the rapid growth of the Russian internet – and the damage done to the music industry in the world’s biggest country. For reasons cultural, political, economic, and geographic, music has become the (illegal) fuel of Europe’s most powerful social networks. People gather in order to share, cut, and paste sounds. In studying the development of Russian music, therefore, all manner of cultural activities are dragged into the same multimedial space: literature, feature films, amateur video production, role-play gaming, and so forth. Music proves itself a vital bridge across them all; it both amplifies and enables an accelerating interface of traditions. Such rapid changes need to be documented, of course, and Professor MacFadyen operates a website dedicated to daily musical developments across nine time zones: Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, Latvia, Lithuania, and Belarus. They can all be followed at the resource “Far from Moscow”: http://www.farfrommoscow.com
Professor MacFadyen, as a reflection of these wide interests, teaches both in the Musicology and Comparative Literature Depts at UCLA. His offerings include classes dedicated to musical, literary, cinematic, and technical issues of a rapidly changing world.
Elizabeth Kimura, B.A. Chinese
Elizabeth Kimura graduated from UCLA with a B.A. in Chinese. During her studies at UCLA, she participated in the University of California- Education Abroad Program in Beijing, China and lived abroad studying at Peking University for a year right before the Beijing Olympics. After graduating, using her fluency in Chinese-English, obtained one of her first jobs working at a Chinese bank within the Law & Compliance department supporting the Senior Vice President of the business area. She gained her experience dealing with regulatory related matters from working with the FDIC and Chinese banking regulators and quickly excelled in the Compliance realm. She later moved on to other financial institutions to gain more regulatory knowledge and experience in the financial services industry. Today Elizabeth resides in Irvine, CA and is a Senior Compliance Consultant at Discover Card. The company’s headquarters is located in the Chicago area, and she regularly travels to the windy city for work, but is fortunate to be based out of sunny Southern California.
Shirley Sher, B.A. French/Comparative Literature
At UCLA, Shirley Sher double-majored in French Literature and Comparative Literature and graduated in 2002 with departmental honors from both majors. She spent her junior year abroad in Bordeaux, France, where she studied French literature at the University of Bordeaux 3 and concurrently taught English under the French Ministry of Education at a high school in a town called Parentis-en-Born. Shirley’s love for the French language led her to pursue her legal studies at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, where she received dual law degrees in the Common Law (LL.B.) and Civil Law (B.C.L.) systems. In 2005, she was one of the first law students from McGill to be recruited as a Summer Associate by a French law firm in Paris, France. In her final year of law school, Shirley competed as a finalist in the world’s first French-language international arbitration moot competition, held at Sciences-Po Paris, where she pleaded in French before arbitrators such as the President of the Cour de Cassation (the French Supreme Court) and former Prime Minister Alain Juppé. After graduating in Summer of 2006, Shirley clerked at the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris, where she was the first American clerk to work for the Francophone team. After passing the New York and California Bar exams, Shirley returned to her hometown of Los Angeles, CA and worked as an international trade litigator for a small firm. After representing unaccompanied minors pro bono through the non-profit Kids In Need of Defense (KIND) and finding immense satisfaction in being able to help those who needed it most, Shirley hung up her shingle and opened an immigration law practice in Marina Del Rey. Through immigration law, Shirley is able to utilize her foreign language skills – which validates her humanities experience – and meet people of diverse nationalities and backgrounds. Shirley is very active in her community; she is Treasurer of the Southern California Chinese Lawyers Association, President of the McGill Alumni Association in Los Angeles, and serves on the Neighborhood Advisory Committee of Westchester in Council District 11. Shirley is also a mother of two young boys.
2013 Faculty and Alumni Speakers
Professor Kathlyn Cooney, Near Eastern Languages & Cultures
Dr. Kathlyn (Kara) Cooney is Associate Professor of Egyptian Art and Architecture at UCLA is the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. She earned her PhD in Near Eastern Studies from Johns Hopkins University in 2002. She has been part of archaeological excavations in Egypt at the craftsmen’s village of Deir el Medina, the royal temple site of Dahshur and various elite Theban tombs. Kara produced a comparative archaeology series with her husband Neil Crawford entitled OUT OF EGYPT, which aired 2009 on the Discovery Channel and is still airing on Planet Green and streaming on Netflix.
Professor Todd Presner, Germanic Languages
Todd Presner is Professor of Germanic Languages and Comparative Literature. He is the Sady and Ludwig Kahn Director of the UCLA Center for Jewish Studies and is also the Chair of the Digital Humanities Program. His research focuses on European intel-lectual history, the history of media, visual culture, digital humanities, and cultural geography. He is also part of the core faculty for a new initiative at UCLA called “Urban Humanities,” which bridges architecture, urban planning, and the humanities.
Alex Ross, B.A. Chinese, B.S. Economics
Alex is a co-founder and CTO of Enplug, where he has overseen the technical and engineering design of both its network infrastructure and interactive screen soft-ware, while leading one of LA’s strongest teams of seasoned engineers. He is a UCLA Bruin, speaks and reads Mandarin Chinese, and is a self-trained engineer. Alex is passionate about constant learning and challenging oneself with new frontiers. Enplug has built a network of next-generation interactive billboards featured in high-end restaurants, bars, and clubs. It has been featured in the WSJ, Forbes, Fast Company and others.
Katie Meschke, B.A. Music History
Katie Meschke is originally from Little Falls, Minnesota, where she grew up on her family’s farm. She moved to Los Angeles in 2007 to attend UCLA for her undergraduate education. At UCLA, Katie double majored in Communications Studies and Music History while participating in the UCLA Bruin Marching Band, the Daily Bruin, and the Dance Marathon committee. Katie is currently specializing in Entertainment, Media, and Intellectual Property at the UCLA School of Law. She will complete her J.D. May 2014.