University Reports

Winter 2021

Professional Activities


Mesoamerica Symposium photo of faculty and dean

Melina Abdullah

Melina Abdullah (Pan-African Studies) was a keynote speaker at the Colorado State University’s 20th Annual Diversity Symposium on Oct. 19, 2020. She was also the keynote speaker for the YMCA’s 18th annual Women for Racial Justice Breakfast: Strong Foundation, Stronger Futures on Oct. 19, 2020.

Shaunelle Curry

Shaunelle Curry

Shaunelle Curry (TV, Film and Media Studies), who founded Media Done Responsibly, an organization committed to empowering future media professionals to create more diverse and socially responsible content, was one of the presenters at the virtual Berkeley Forum held on Nov. 17, 2020. She discussed "Developing Anti-Racist Technology and Re-Imagining Digital Safe Spaces.”

Ramani Durvasula

Ramani Durvasula

Ramani Durvasula (Psychology) was a keynote speaker at the virtual 2020 American Psychological Association (APA) conference, where she presented a talk on “Gaslighting and Grief: Talking about Narcissism and Narcissistic Abuse,” Aug. 6-9, 2020.

AIDS2020 23rd International Aids Conference Virtual

Christiaan Kier

Christiaan Kier (Special Education and Counseling) was a speaker for the panel, “Transgender Challenges Around the World,” as part of the virtual International AIDS Conference, sponsored by the AIDS Healthcare Foundation, July 8, 2020.

William M. London

William M. London

William M. London (Public Health) presented on the topic, “When You Think Science is on Your Side, But It Isn’t,” at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Jamestown virtual service on Oct. 4, 2020.

Sandra So Hee Chi Kim

Sandra So Hee Chi Kim

Sandra So Hee Chi Kim (Liberal Studies) was a facilitator for the webinar, “The Model Minority Myth,” as part of the Asian American Justice Innovation Lab’s Racial Justice Training Series on Aug. 7, 2020.

Anita Tijerina Revilla

Anita Tijerina Revilla

Anita Tijerina Revilla (Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies) was a speaker for the Latinx Speaker Series, which was a part of New Mexico State University’s National Hispanic Heritage Month virtual livestream programming, Sept. 15, 2020.

Tonatiuh Rodriguez-Nikl

Tonatiuh Rodriguez-Nikl

Tonatiuh Rodriguez-Nikl (Civil Engineering) presented a lecture on “Engineering the Via Negativa” as part of the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Climate Change Series at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY, Feb. 19, 2020.

Pamela Scott-Johnson

Pamela Scott-Johnson

Pamela Scott-Johnson (College of Natural and Social Sciences) was a featured panelist on “Overcoming Barriers for Women of Color in STEM Fields” live table talk on July 1, 2020. The webinar doubled as a book reveal for Overcoming Barriers for Women of Color in STEM: Emerging Research Opportunities. Scott-Johnson was a contributor.

Miguel Zavala

Miguel Zavala

Miguel Zavala (Urban Learning Program) was one of the presenters for a webinar on “Effective and Reliable Anti-Racist Teaching Practice,” as part of an anti-racist teaching series presented by Cal State Fullerton’s College of Education, Sept. 22, 2020.



A woman walking down the street with a guitar

Kamran Afary

Kamran Afary (Communication Studies) coauthored a book with Cal State LA alumna Ziba Shirazi, entitled Iranian Diaspora Identities: Stories and Songs, published by Hamilton Books, June 15, 2020.

Covid 19 rendering

Okezie Aruoma

Okezie Aruoma (Chemistry and Biochemistry) authored an article, “Suggestions for Combatting COVID-19 by Natural Means in the Absence of Standard Medical Regimens,” which was published in the Journal of American College of Nutrition on July 2, 2020.

Eugene, Oregon

Mohamed Hassan Awad

Mohamed Hassan Awad (Management) authored an article, “3 innovations helping the homeless in Eugene, Oregon,” in The Conversation, April 17, 2020.

Disposable mask on street in urban setting

Evelyn Alvarez

Evelyn Alvarez (Public Health) authored an article, “Pandemic PPE Waste: An Environmental Health Educational Opportunity,” in The Medical Care Blog, Sept. 3, 2020.

Book cover of Chabrancan

Pablo Baler

Pablo Baler (Modern Languages and Literatures) authored a novel, Chabrancán, published by Ediciones del Camino on Oct. 8, 2020. The book is described as a work of literary fiction that combines the traditions of the absurd with the apocalyptic genre.

Stone carving of war elephants in India

Stanley Burstein

Stanley Burstein (Emeritus, History) authored the following articles: “The War Elephant: East and West,” in World History Connected, vol. 17, no. 2, June 2020; “‘The Essence of Classical Culture’: Werner Jaeger’s First Public Address in the United States,” in the History of Classical Scholarship, vol. 2, no. 115-130, 2020; and “The Subject of P. Oxy. 4458: A Suggestion,” in Zeitschrift fur Papyrologie und Epigraphik, vol. 216, no. 53-54, 2020.

Cover art of an illustrated page in Piers Plowman: The A Version

Michael Calabrese

Michael Calabrese (English) edited a book, Piers Plowman: The A Version, published by The Catholic University of America Press, annotated edition, Oct. 2, 2020.

Cover art for Mexican Mural Art

Roberto Cantú

Roberto Cantú (Emeritus, English/Chicano Studies) edited a book, Mexican Mural Art: Critical Essays on a Belligerent Aesthetic, published by Cambridge Scholars Publishing, Dec. 7, 2020. 

Applied Economics Letters Journal cover art

Zhen Cui and Yalan Feng

Zhen Cui (Economics and Statistics) and Yalan Feng (Finance, Law and Real Estate) coauthored an article, “Can Social Sentiment Affect Spouse-Based Immigration?,” in the Applied Economics Letters, vol. 26, no. 5, 2019.

Abstract cover art of gold and teal. Title: Redefining Murder, Transforming Emotion: An Exploration of Forgiveness after Loss due to Homicide

Kristen Discola

Kristen Discola (Sociology) authored a book, Redefining Murder, Transforming Emotion: An Exploration of Forgiveness after Loss due to Homicide, published by Routledge on Nov. 9, 2020.

Mojave Desert

Kirsten Fisher

Kirsten Fisher (Biological Sciences) and Cal State LA alumna Jenna Ekwealor made a surprise discovery in the Mojave Desert where moss use quartz as protection from the sun's heat. Their research article, “Life under quartz: Hypolithic mosses in the Mojave Desert,” was published in PLoS ONE, vol. 15, no. 7, July 22, 2020.

Silvia Heubach

Silvia Heubach

Silvia Heubach (Mathematics) coauthored an article, entitled “Slow k-Nim,” on impartial combinatorial game theory that was published in the INTEGERS journal, vol. 20, on April 13, 2020.

One woman washing her hands another woman putting on a mask and a man spraying disinfectant

William London

William London (Public Health), along with Evelyn Alvarez (Public Health) and Cal State LA alumna Yazmin Amado Vu, updated the article, “The Precautionary Principle, in the Oxford Bibliographies: Public Health, Feb. 24, 2021. He also authored the following articles in the Consumer Health column at Skeptical Inquirer (online): “Trump and COVID-19: Population Health Neglect, Hydroxychloroquine Hype, and a Gambler’s Fallacy,” Aug. 13, 2020, and “Trust, Truth, and Trump in the Time of ‘COVID, COVID, COVID’,” Dec. 14, 2020.

Cover art of people cutouts with gender symbols for faces.

Heidi Riggio

Heidi Riggio (Psychology) authored her first textbook, Sex and Gender: A Biopsychological Approach, published by Routledge on Sept. 3, 2020.

Portrait of Henrietta, cover art for Henrietta: Promises in the Sky!

Carol F. Tuntland

Carol F. Tuntland (Emerita, Art) authored a memoir, Henrietta: Promises in the Sky!, published by LifeRich Publishing, May 10, 2020.

Cover of Ecological Applications journal

Eric M. Wood

Eric M. Wood (Biological Sciences) authored an article, “The importance of street trees to urban avifauna,” that was published in the journal Ecological Applications, April 27, 2020.

Cover of Ecological Applications journal

Alexandra (Sasha) Wright

Alexandra (Sasha) Wright (Biological Sciences), along with Cal State LA alumna Beatriz A. Aguirre, alumnus Brian Hsieh and graduate student Samantha J. Watson, coauthored an article, “The experimental manipulation of atmospheric drought: Teasing out the role of microclimate in biodiversity experiments,” that was published in the Journal of Ecology, Feb. 22, 2021.



David Blekhman

David Blekhman

David Blekhman (Technology) was featured as an expert in the field of hydrogen infrastructure in a documentary, The Hydrogen House, September 2020. The documentary was produced while he was serving as a Fulbright Distinguished Chair of Alternative Energy Technology in Sweden. He was also recognized by the Student Veterans of America as a distinguished advocate for veterans of the military on Aug. 17, 2020. The organization saluted his efforts to advance veterans through result-driven projects and his advocacy for veterans to succeed in higher education and after graduation.

James Brady

James Brady

James Brady (Anthropology) has been named a recipient of the 2020 Faculty Innovation and Leadership Award for his mentorship of students. Brady is one of only 25 faculty members in the California State University system to receive the award, which recognizes faculty leaders who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in advancing student success. He was recognized during the CSU Graduation Initiative 2025 Convening on Oct. 23, 2020.

William A.Covino

William A. Covino

President William A. Covino (Cal State LA) was elected president of the executive committee of the Coalition of Urban and Metropolitan Universities (CUMU). Elections were held virtually on Oct. 27, 2020 during the CUMU president’s council meeting. CUMU member institutions are dedicated to engaging and enriching their communities through strategic partnerships that provide pathways to higher education and promote economic development and urban revitalization.

William London

William M. London

William M. London (Public Health) was inducted as a 2020 Fellow of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, Nov. 23, 2020. He was elected as one of 10 remarkable individuals to make meaningful contributions to the promotion of scientific inquiry, critical investigation, and the use of reason in examining controversial and extraordinary claims.

Sylke Rene Meyer

Sylke Rene Meyer

Sylke Rene Meyer (Television, Film & Media Studies) was awarded a $32,000 MegaGrant from Epic Games that will support a three-unit summer intensive designed to provide participants with the fundamentals of game design, mobile games, desktop games, interactive storytelling, and digital storyworld design using Unreal Engine, a game engine developed by Epic Games.

four students in a classroom

Cheryl Ney and Kimberly Persiani

Cheryl Ney (Charter College of Education) and Kimberly Persiani (Curriculum and Instruction) have been awarded a three-year, $586,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to train future teachers in math and science instruction using a simulation lab. The grant will establish Simulations for Minority Interactive Learning Environments (SMILE): A Design and Development Project at Cal State LA.

Cynthia Wang

Cynthia Wang

Cynthia Wang (Communication Studies) has been named a 2021 Emerging Scholar by the magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education. Wang will be featured in the Jan. 21, 2021 issue of Diverse, which highlights 15 minority scholars who are making their marks in academia and setting the standard for the next generation of leaders.

Elaine Wittenberg

Elaine Wittenberg

Elaine Wittenberg (Communication Studies) received a grant from the Archstone Foundation, in collaboration with the university’s Patricia A. Chin School of Nursing, to support the development and integration of COVID-19 pandemic response communication tools for the Health Communication iOS Application. The app will be disseminated as an educational resource for current healthcare providers and nursing educators as they work to prepare nurses for the frontlines of the pandemic.


University Reports is an online publication that features faculty and staff news. It is published by the Office of Communications and Public Affairs at Cal State LA.

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