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A personal aide to Vice President Kamala Harris
Opal Vadhan ’15, Communication Studies, has been selected by Vice President Kamala Harris to serve as her new personal aide. Prior to this role, Vadhan was an intern in the White House during the Obama Administration, and after graduation from Pace, she worked on Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign and later as an executive assistant to Clinton. She had recently connected with Pace as a guest speaker in a Communication Studies course, during which she discussed careers in political communication with students.

An Emmy Award–winning creative
Neil Garguilo, Liberal Studies, is a prolific writer, accomplished actor and filmmaker, and Emmy Award winner who uses humor to call out systemic inequality and stereotypes in entertainment. A showrunner for the TV series MOCKpocalpyse and founding member of the improv comedy group Dr. God, Garguilo is also co-creator, showrunner, and star of Syfy channel’s series Hell Den, a dystopian social satire that combines original animation with old, liveaction and re-dubbed clips. For his Funny or Die series, Brainwashed by Toons, he co-wrote songs about the normalization of bigotry and sexism over the past century, resulting in a 2020 Daytime Emmy win for Outstanding Original Song and a nomination for Outstanding Writing for a Special Class Series.

A career coach with a background in STEM
Jasmine Escalera ’04, Biochemistry, is a New York-based certified career and life coach with a focus on job search and career strategies for women of color. As a Latina in STEM with a PhD in Pharmacology from Yale University, she recognized throughout her journey that it was challenging to find career development resources that spoke to her specific background, identity, and needs. She decided to utilize her experiences and the ten years of management and leadership experience working within nonprofit settings to found her business. Today, she helps women of color gain the confidence they need to craft their career path, become recognized at work, and achieve the success they deserve.

The first director of racial and social justice for the City of Somerville
Denise Molina Capers ’01, Journalism and Political Science, has been supporting civil rights and equity, diversity and inclusion, and advocacy on many important issues throughout her career. In March 2021, she was hired as the City of Somerville, Massachusetts’s first director of racial and social justice, charged with eliminating institutional and structural racism within its systems. A great task, and a collaborative one. “Transformative change doesn’t happen overnight, and it doesn’t happen in isolation. It includes all the stakeholders that will be impacted by the decisions that we ultimately make.” A Latina attorney with a background in education, she decided to go into diversity practice because it was another way for her to both serve her community and merge her love for education and helping others empower themselves.


Dyson Student Wins Watson Award
Jonathan Gerweck ’23, Communication Studies and Language, Culture, and World Trade, has been selected for a prestigious Jeannette K. Watson Fellowship for the class of 2023. The three-year program provides funded paid summer internships, mentoring, and enhanced educational opportunities to New York City undergraduates who demonstrate exceptional promise, outstanding leadership skills, and commitment to the common good. In summer 2021, Gerweck will be working remotely as a legal intern and translator for children with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES), an organization that provides legal assistance and ensures due process and human rights for migrant families and individuals from Central and South America.


Dyson Professors Receive Kenan Award for Teaching Excellence

Sarah Blackwood, PhD, associate professor, English, is a scholar of nineteenth-century US literature and art and author of The Portrait’s Subject: Inventing Inner Life in the Nineteenth-Century United States; multiple peer-reviewed articles on race, realism, and nineteenth-century visual culture; as well as works of literary criticism written for general audiences in The New Yorker, The New York Review of Books, and elsewhere. At Pace, she guides student exploration of gender, race, and creative expression in classes including Early American Black Lives Matter, a seminar on Black US writers and thinkers from before the Civil War, and Selfies and Literature, a course on the visual culture of selfhood from 1839 to the present.

Michelle D. Land, ’02, JD, clinical associate professor, environmental studies and science, and founding director of the MA in Environmental Policy program (now the MA in Environmental Science and Policy), is an expert in the theory and practice of environmental policy and law. She has enabled graduate and undergraduate students to be architects of groundbreaking policy design and regularly involves them in her areas of research, the intersection of animal welfare and conservation policy with a focus on local and statewide animal protection. Her passion is helping students realize their career aspirations of becoming effective environmental stewards.

Chemistry Professor Receives Homer Pace Award

Elmer-Rico E. Mojica, PhD, associate professor, chemistry and physical sciences, is the recipient of the 2021 Homer and Charles Pace Faculty Award, given at the Spirit of Pace Awards ceremony. The award is bestowed upon a faculty member whose commitment to education has had a transformative effect on students, as voted by Pace alumni. A professor at Pace since 1998, Mojica has incorporated a practice of using popular media in teaching chemistry, and closely mentors students, giving them opportunities to conduct research, present their results at conferences, and become authors and co-authors in publications.

Professor of Sociology, Anthropology Awarded Fulbright

Amy Foerster, PhD, associate professor, sociology and anthropology, has received a Fulbright Scholar Award to travel to Belgium, where she will conduct research at the Centre d’Etudes de l’Ethnicité et des Migrations (Center for Ethnic and Migration Studies), University of Liège, as part of a project to examine municipal and national responses to undocumented/irregular migration. The Fulbright will be a continuation of Foerster’s research, which began in 2019, on the reception of migrants, the undocumented, and the sans-papiers (without documentation) cross-nationally, examining municipal efforts in Belgium, Germany, and the United States.

CRJ Professor Receives Corrections Award

Kimberly Collica-Cox, PhD, professor, criminal justice and security, was honored in April with the John Howard Award at the Corrections Section of the annual Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences (ACJS) conference for significant and sustained contributions to corrections in both her academic work and practice. ACJS is an international association created to promote criminal justice scholarship, education, and policy, and the John Howard Award is based on the work of John Howard, a well-known corrections reformer.

Iride Lamartina-Lens Awarded Title of Distinguished Professor

Iride Lamartina-Lens, PhD, professor, modern languages and cultures, has been awarded the title of Distinguished Professor. Lamartina-Lens has an established national and international reputation as a scholar and translator of contemporary theater of Spain. She has published numerous articles in the field, co-authored several critical Spanish theater anthologies that are widely used in academic courses throughout the nation, and contributed a substantial number of book chapters, encyclopedia entries, prologues, and introductions included in academic manuscripts or anthologies on contemporary Spanish theater. Since her arrival at Pace in 1984, Lamartina-Lens has been a teacher and scholar intent on linking classroom learning of foreign language with scholarship, and on cultural and linguistic immersion.

Society of Fellows: Dyson College’s premier honors organization

On April 16, 2021, 18 students and seven faculty members were inducted into the Dyson College Society of Fellows, the college’s premier honors organization, as members of the Joan G. Roland Class of Fellows at a virtual initiation ceremony. Each new class is named for a longstanding fellow who has made a significant contribution to the ideals and activities of the society. Professor of History Joan G. Roland, PhD, who retired in spring 2021 after 54 years of service to Pace University, was recognized as the 2021 class honoree and delivered the keynote address.

The inductees were Giovanni Fardella ’21, Biochemistry (PLV), Gerardo E. Gomez ’21, Biological Psychology (PLV), Anna Holland Bartsch ’21, Global Studies (NYC), Pooja Dhar ’21, Economics (NYC), Jelena Hayley Goldstein ’21, Economics (NYC), Arianna Seeley Goodhand ’21, Psychology, Women’s and Gender Studies (NYC), Elena Rudolph Brooks Guzman ’21, Film and Screen Studies (NYC), Marissa Anne Kleinbauer ’21, Economics (NYC), Victoria Michelle Kubena ’20, English Language and Literature (NYC), Nino Mamisashvili ’21, Behavioral Neuroscience (NYC), Alexandrea Claire Papadelias ’21, Forensic Science (NYC), Naomi Marie Rhoa ’21, Film and Screen Studies (NYC), Racine N. Robinson ’21, Environmental Studies (NYC), Autumn Laurel Sancho ’21, Film and Screen Studies (NYC), Lizabeth L. Singh ’22, Business Economics (NYC), Rachael H. Summers ’22, Chemistry (NYC), Jamellah Dionna Sweeting ’21, English Language and Literature, Philosophy and Religious Studies (NYC), Leif A. Tystad ’21, English Language and Literature, Film and Screen Studies (NYC), Yesenia Vazquez ’18, Psychology (NYC), and Emma L. Wolkenstein ’21, Communication Studies, Sociology and Anthropology (NYC).

Farewell Setters

We send our best wishes to these dedicated faculty on their retirement!

Daniel Bender, PhD, 32 years of service, associate professor, English and modern language studies

Mark Hussey, PhD, 37 years of service, distinguished professor, English

Antonia Garcia-Rodriguez, PhD, 33 years of service, professor, modern languages and cultures

Joan Roland, PhD, 54 years of service, professor, history