New faculty members collage

Meet UCR’s new faculty members

The campus welcomed 34 permanent faculty members this year

October 10, 2022
Author: Imran Ghori
October 10, 2022

For fall quarter 2022, UC Riverside welcomed 34 new permanent faculty members from a variety of disciplines.

Learn more about the new faculty below:


College of Humanities Arts and Social Sciences

Sahin Acikgoz, an assistant professor of religious studies, is a member of the executive committee of the Middle East and Islamic Studies Program. They received a doctorate in comparative literature and LGBTQ studies from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. They were a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellow in religious studies at UCR and received the 2019 Sarah Pettit Doctoral Fellowship at Yale University and the Holstein Dissertation Fellowship at UCR. Their research areas include queer and trans studies in Islam; and slavery, gender and sexuality in Islamic societies.




Elyse Ambrose, an assistant professor of religious studies, received their doctorate in religious studies from Drew University. Ambrose is a blackqueer ethicist, creative, and educator whose research, art, and teaching lie at the intersections of race, sexuality, gender, and spirituality. Their forthcoming book is titled “A Living Archive: Embodying a Black Queer Ethics.” They served as postdoctoral fellow at the Louisville Institute for the Study of American Religion and have had their research supported by Columbia University's Center on African American Religion, Sexual Politics, and Social Justice; the Henry Luce Foundation; the Forum for Theological Exploration; and Yale University’s Sarah Pettit Fund. 





Bradley Butterworth, an assistant professor of teaching music, is a multi-instrumentalist, composer, educator, music producer, audio engineer, and owner of the recording studio and music publishing company Studio B Music Group. Bradley composes and performs music from a wide range of genres including funk, electronic, pop, and world music and has performed hundreds of shows across the country and worked as an audio engineer at dozens of venues. He received a bachelor’s of fine arts in guitar performance from Columbia College, Chicago, and a master of fine arts in performance and composition from the California Institute of the Arts.





Jalondra Davis, an assistant professor in English, received her doctorate in ethnic studies at UCR. A Black feminist artist-intellectual, her research interests include Black cultural politics and political thought in speculative fiction and expressive culture. Her current project is on African diasporic mermaid narratives in literature, art, and performance. She also writes fiction and has worked at arts nonprofits and lectured in the California State University system. 





Barry Lam, a professor of philosophy, received his doctorate from Princeton University and taught at Vassar College for 16 years before joining UCR. His research is in epistemology, philosophy of language, and applied social philosophy. He is working on a book called "Discretion" about police, prosecutorial, and judicial discretionary enforcement of laws. Lam is the host and executive producer of Slate's Hi-Phi Nation podcast.





Veronica Sovero, an assistant professor of teaching in economics, earned her doctorate in economics from UCLA. Her research focuses on the economics of higher education, investigating institutional roadblocks for low income and minority students and contract uncertainty with instructor gender and race.






William Wohleb, an assistant professor in Theatre, Film and Digital Production, is an artist/cinematographer who has worked as a camera operator in the television and film industry for over 10 years. His work includes director on Spike Lee’s “Red Hook Summer” and as director of photography for “The Innovators" documentary series. He holds a BFA in digital media from UC San Diego and is a graduate of NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts with an MFA in Film Production/Cinematography.





Joshua Wood, an assistant professor of teaching in philosophy and political science, researches the history of early modern philosophy with an emphasis on John Locke and David Hume. His teaching interests include clarifying ethical and political issues such as the stratification of society into rich and poor and the concentration of political power in the hands of a minority.






College of Natural & Agricultural Sciences

Zhe Fei, an assistant professor in statistics, received his doctorate in biostatistics from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He was an assistant professor in residence at the UCLA Biostatistics Department. His research interests include statistical methodology for big data; high dimensional modeling and inference; machine learning and deep learning methods for medical images; and survival analysis, longitudinal analysis. He has collaborated with bioinformaticians, epidemiologists, psychiatrists, ophthalmologists on various projects in genetics, epigenetics, and other medical areas.





Joshua D. Hartman, an assistant professor of teaching in chemistry, earned his doctorate in computational chemistry at UCR. He taught general chemistry for six years at Mt. San Jacinto College and served as the chemistry department chair for two years. His research interests include using technology to explore ways to improve student engagement, method development work in computational chemistry, and expanding undergraduate research opportunities.




Wei Vivian Li, an assistant professor of statistics, earned her doctorate in statistics from UCLA. She was an assistant professor at Rutgers University in the Department of Biostatistics and Epidemiology for three years. Her research team is interested in statistical modeling, machine learning, and algorithm development, as well as their applications to high-throughput sequencing data in bioinformatics and clinical research. Her recent research has contributed a series of computational models and tools for analyzing and interpreting single-cell genomic data.




Yiwei Wang, an assistant professor of mathematics, earned his doctorate in computational mathematics at Peking University in China. His research centers around mathematical modeling and scientific computing with applications in physics, material science, biology, and data science. His current research interests include multiscale modeling and simulation of complex fluids; structure-preserving variational numerical methods for gradient flows and generalized diffusions; nonequilibrium thermodynamics and its application; and machine learning, especially probabilistic Inference.





Shawn Westerdale, an assistant professor in physics and astronomy, earned his doctorate from Princeton University and did postdoctoral work at Carleton University in Ottawa, Istituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare, Sezione di Cagliari in Sardinia, and Princeton. His work focuses on directly detecting dark matter by building multi-tonne detectors with ultra-low levels of radioactive contamination and placing them in deep underground laboratories. He plans to continue searching for dark matter with those detectors while doing research and development to design lower-threshold detectors and to develop low-background techniques. He is also interested in applying these technologies to study neutrinos from various sources.



Sarah Yeakel, an assistant professor of teaching in mathematics, earned her doctorate at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Maryland and spent a year at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute. Her research is in algebraic topology, an area of pure mathematics that uses algebraic invariants to determine whether a space can be deformed to another. In particular, she is interested in using homotropy theory to investigate differences between geometric objects.






Agnieszka Zelerowicz, an assistant professor of mathematics, earned her doctorate from Pennsylvania State University. She worked as a Brin postdoctoral fellow at the University of Maryland. Her research interests lie in the theory of dynamical systems, more specifically in smooth ergodic theory and thermodynamic formalism. One of her current projects is devoted to the study of certain chaotic billiards.  






Learn more about them at the CNAS website.





Marlan and Rosemary Bourns College of Engineering

Yue Dong, an assistant professor in computer science and engineering, completed her doctorate in computer science at McGill University and MILA research institute in Montreal, Quebec. Her research interests are in trustworthy and efficient natural language processing. She has published more than 10 papers at top-tier conferences. Her past industrial experience includes internships with Google, Microsoft, AI2, and Huawei Noah's Ark.






Amanda Rupiper, an assistant professor of teaching in chemical and environmental engineering, earned her doctorate in environmental engineering from UC Davis, where she worked as a postdoctoral researcher for the Center for Water-Energy Efficiency. Her work includes tackling onsite water reuse projects and regulations; addressing data challenges; developing optimized water loss models for state regulations; and modeling water system operations to minimize energy consumption. Her research interests include engineering education and sustainable water management, efficiency, and reuse. 



Mingxun Wang, an assistant professor of computer science and engineering, earned his doctorate in computer science at UC San Diego. Wang’s research interests are in bioinformatics, computational mass spectrometry, and analytical chemistry. His work has led to the development of computational tools and infrastructure that are used by thousands of chemists and biologists from around the world. Wang co-founded Ometa Labs in 2017 that commercialized the computational tools he developed during his doctoral and postdoctoral studies.



Dmytro Zagrebelnyy, an assistant professor of teaching in the Mechanical Engineering, Materials Science and Engineering program, earned his doctorate in materials, science and engineering from Purdue University.  Dmytro’s research interests lie in the areas of secondary metallurgy as well as forging and thermal processing. Prior to joining UCR, Dmytro gained industry experience as a technology manager at Patriot Special Metals in North Jackson, Ohio and as a quality manager with Bodycote in Vernon, Calif.



Jiamin Zhang, an assistant professor of teaching in chemical and environmental engineering, earned a doctorate in chemical engineering with a research focus on rheology and soft matter at UC Santa Barbara. She was a postdoctoral fellow in engineering education research at Auburn University. Her research focuses on studying authentic problem-solving in undergraduate engineering programs, how students assess their own learning, and helping students develop effective study habits. 




Qian Zhang, an assistant professor in computer science and engineering, earned her doctorate at the Chinese University of Hong Kong. She worked as a postdoctoral researcher at UCLA. Her research reinvents software tools for emerging computing paradigms to improve developer productivity, bringing together ideas from software engineering and hardware systems. 






Also joining the college’s faculty are Cong Liu, an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering; Greg ver Steeg, associate professor of computer science and engineering; Hang Qiu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering; Tingting Xiang, assistant professor of bioengineering; and Ke Du, an assistant professor of chemical and environmental engineering. Profiles and photos were not available for them.


School of Business

Richard Carrizosa, an assistant professor in accounting, earned his doctorate in accounting at New York University. His primary areas of research include financial contracting with an emphasis on debt and compensation contracts, corporate governance, and financial reporting and disclosure. 





Demetrius Lewis, an assistant professor in management, earned his doctorate in organizational theory at Stanford University. His research uses a network analytics perspective to study entrepreneurship and innovation and how people and organizations collaborate through networks to integrate new information and resources. His work also explores investors, social status and innovation, and creative innovation. 




Sanjoy Moulik, an assistant professor of teaching in Information Systems, earned his doctorate in information systems from Claremont Graduate University. He was a continuing lecturer at the UC Irvine Paul Merage School of Business and managing partner of CAL2CAL Corp. His research focuses on the effect of emerging technologies on consumer’s behavior, and business strategy. He is also interested in developing technology solutions for chronic disease management for better clinical outcomes. 




Adrienne Reynolds, an assistant professor of teaching in management, holds a doctorate in organization and management from Capella University. Her research focuses on expatriate adjustment, cross-cultural influence on disability policy, and experiential learning in international business courses. With extensive industry experience, she has worked and taught in the United Arab Emirates, Indonesia, and Saudi Arabia. 







School of Education

Suneal Kolluri, an assistant professor in teaching courses on Education Policy, Social Studies Teaching Methods, and the Sociology of Education, earned his doctorate in urban education policy from the University of Southern California. His research looks at how curriculum and college readiness practices in high schools produce social stratifications by race, ethnicity, gender, and class.






Michael W. Moses II, an assistant professor of higher education and qualitative methods, earned his doctorate in education from UCLA. Drawing upon critical race and social theories, his research includes three interrelated lines of inquiry that seek to question and understand the mismatch between institutional diversity rhetoric and practice at traditionally white institutions.





José Del Real Viramontes, an assistant professor in the higher education administration and policy program, earned his doctorate in curriculum and instruction with a specialization in cultural studies in education from the University of Texas at Austin. He previously taught at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. His research explores the transfer receptive culture for Latinx community college transfer students at predominantly white institutions and highlighting how Latinx community college transfer students navigate the process. 





Learn more about them at the School of Education website.





School of Medicine

Mario Sims, a professor of Social Medicine, Population, and Public Health, earned his doctorate in medical sociology/demography at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.  Sims’s research interests are in the areas of social epidemiology, health disparities, psychosocial risk factors, cardiovascular disease epidemiology, and social inequality and health. In addition to work focused on cardiovascular disease among African Americans, Sims has published important work on heart disease and stroke among American Indians and Alaska Natives and Latinx populations/ Sims has held faculty positions at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Medical College of Wisconsin, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center.  




Daniel Novak, an assistant professor in the Department of Social Medicine, Population, and Public Health and director of scholarly activities, earned his doctorate in educational technology from the University of Washington. His research focuses on cutting-edge educational technologies to support professional development. He came to UCR from the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, where he was an instructional designer at the Center for Innovative Medical Education and Technology and an assistant professor of clinical medical education.





School of Public Policy

Robynn Cox, an assistant professor of public policy and faculty affiliate at the Presley Center for Crime & Justice, earned her doctorate in economics from Georgia State University. She previously was on the faculty at the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and the Economics Department at Spelman College. Her expertise is centered at the intersection of the criminal legal system and inequality faced by marginalized communities with an emphasis on those disproportionately faced by the Black community.





Tony Grubesic, a professor of public policy and director of the Center for Geospatial Sciences, earned his doctorate in geographic information science at Ohio State University.  His research and teaching interests include spatial data science, geocomputation, transportation, public health, regional development, and telecommunications policy. His recent work focuses on using drones for urban spatial analysis, evaluating community vulnerability, and mitigating hazards.





Learn more about them at the School of Public Policy website.