Holy Cross Welcomes Six New Tenure-Track Faculty, Representing an Array of Academic Disciplines

August 18th, 2014 by 

Clockwise from top left: Matthew Gamber, assistant professor of visual arts; Alvaro Jarrin, assistant professor of sociology and anthropology; Lynna Gabriela Avila-Bront, assistant professor of chemistry; Octavian E. Robinson, assistant professor of modern languages and literatures; and Jorge J. Santos, assistant professor of English. Not pictured is Lauren Capotosto, assistant professor of education. Image by John Buckingham

As the 2014-2015 academic year begins, Margaret Freije, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College, announced the hiring of six new faculty members in tenure-track positions.

“We are delighted that these highly accomplished scholars and teachers are joining the Holy Cross Community,” Freije said.  “They come to us from the finest graduate programs in the nation, and will bring new perspectives to their departments and colleagues across campus.  This is an exciting time at the College with the launch of cross-disciplinary programs, innovative new research opportunities, and planning well underway to realize institutional priorities in the academic enterprise.”

She added:  “In addition, this group of tenure-track hires may be the most diverse—in terms of both scholarship and personal backgrounds—in Holy Cross history.”

They are:

  • Lynna Gabriela Avila-Bront (assistant professor, chemistry) specializes in the study of surface-absorbate systems and their electronic and chemical relationships. She earned her B.A. in chemistry at Columbia University, and both her M.S. and Ph.D. in physical chemistry at the University of Chicago. She has presented at various symposiums and has received multiple fellowships, including a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship. She has been a leader and participant of multiple educational outreach programs in Chicago and New York City.
  • Lauren Capotosto (assistant professor, education) focuses on adult and family literacy in her research. She has a masters of education from Lesley University and another from Harvard University, where she earned her doctorate in human development and education. In addition to her work as a research assistant for READS for Summer Learning in Cambridge, Mass., she has received multiple fellowships and travel grants to conduct research. She has also presented at an array of conferences both internationally and throughout the U.S. and is a member of the Society for the Scientific Study of Reading.
  • Matthew Gamber (assistant professor, visual arts) is an artist/photographer who earned his B.F.A. at Bowling Green State University and  M.F.A. at Tufts University. Among his many accolades, he received a traveling fellowship from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and the New Photography Grant from the Humble Arts Foundation. He also collaborated on the recently published interpretive textbook, “Matter” (Vandret Publications, 2014), and his latest exhibitions include “Still Life Lives,” at the Fitchburg Art Museum (2013-2014), and “Basic Ingredients of a Complex World,” at the Gallery Kayafas (2013). He previously taught at Holy Cross in the 2008-2009 academic year.
  • Alvaro Jarrin (assistant professor, sociology and anthropology) has been examining the development of new biotechnologies and their relationship to the anthropological study of medicine, the body, and inequality in Latin America. He earned his B.A. at Williams College, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in cultural anthropology at Duke University. He has been featured in multiple publications including Medical Anthropology and “Girls’ Sexualities and the Media” (Peter Lang, 2013). He has also conducted extensive research in Brazil, with the support of national fellowships from the Wenner-Gren Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies.
  • Octavian E. Robinson (assistant professor, modern languages and literatures) specializes in the history of the American Deaf community. He earned his B.A. in history and M.A. in Deaf studies at Gallaudet University, and his Ph.D. in modern U.S. history at The Ohio State University. His extensive publication includes encyclopedia entries in The Deaf Studies Encyclopedia and Encyclopedia of American Disability History. He currently serves as the editor of H-Disability for H-Net, an international online consortium of scholars in the humanities and social sciences. He had previously been a visiting faculty member at Holy Cross in 2013.
  • Jorge J. Santos (assistant professor, English) specializes in 20th century ethnic American literature, particularly in the intersections between race and religious experience. He earned his B.A. in English at Sam Houston State University, his M.A. in English at Texas Southern University, and his Ph.D. at the University of Connecticut. He has presented at conferences across the country, and was awarded the Aetna Critical Writing prize in 2014 for his work on Rhode Montijo’s Pablo’s Inferno, which is currently under consideration for publication. He is also a member of the Multi-Ethnic Literature of the United States Association and the Modern Language Association.
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