Fall 2023 News & Notes

October 28, 2023

Campus News & Notes

There are some new faces in the College of Arts & Sciences this fall,
as well as familiar faces in new roles.
Dr. Garritt Tucker

Dr. Garritt Tucker has begun serving this fall as the inaugural holder of The Eula Mae and John Baugh Chair in Physics, created through an estate gift by longtime Baylor benefactors John and Eula Mae Baugh. The new chair will focus on innovative research and teaching in the area of materials science. Before coming to Baylor, Tucker was a professor and director of graduate studies in the Materials Science Program at the Colorado School of Mines. “Dr. Tucker will be a critical piece of Baylor’s materials science initiative because his research bridges the two most important areas of materials science — physics and engineering,” said Dr. Lee C. Nordt, dean of the Baylor University College of Arts & Sciences. “It is important that the sciences play a key role in this signature strategic initiative of Illuminate, and the Department of Physics in the College of Arts & Sciences will be at forefront of this effort.”

Dr. Coretta Pittman

Dr. Coretta Pittman, associate professor of English and a member of the Baylor faculty since 2003, is now serving in the newly created position of associate dean for diversity and belonging in the College of Arts & Sciences. Among other duties, she chairs the Arts & Sciences Diversity and Belonging Committee, which deals with emerging issues related to these topics, and she is helping to guide the implementation of the Arts & Sciences Diversity and Belonging Plan. “The world is changing rapidly, and as a result we need to be able to respond thoughtfully to these emerging issues,” Dean Nordt said. “We are fortunate to have Dr. Pittman to help us think through these topics and find ways to provide greater outreach to our students who represent a variety of ethnicities and cultures.”

Dr. Felipe Hinojosa

This fall, Dr. Felipe Hinojosa has begun serving as the inaugural Jackson Family Chair for Baylor in Latin America within the history department in the College of Arts & Sciences. The Jackson Family Chair is designed to expand Baylor’s international footprint and support the Baylor in Latin America initiative. Hinojosa comes to Baylor from Texas A&M, where he served as assistant provost for Hispanic Serving Institution initiatives and director for the Carlos H. Cantu Hispanic Education & Opportunity Endowment. A civil rights historian, his research focuses on Chicana/o and Latina/o studies, American religion, race and ethnicity, and social movements.

Christian Clark

The Marketing and Communications Department in the College of Arts & Sciences

Dean’s Office has added its first social media coordinator. Christian Clark, who formerly directed social media efforts for both the campus recreation department and Morehead Observatory at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, started this July in the new position. Follow the College’s social media accounts on Facebook, X, LinkedIn, Instagram and YouTube.

Faculty/Staff News & Notes

Faculty and staff from the College of Arts & Sciences won a number of the top academic and administrative awards presented during the latter part of the 2022-2023 academic year.
Dr. Thomas McGrath

Dr. Thomas D. McGrath, senior lecturer of chemistry and undergraduate program director in the chemistry department, was selected by the Baylor senior class as the 2023 Collins Outstanding Professor. In nine of the last 10 years, the Collins Award, provided by the Carr P. Collins Foundation, has been won by Arts & Sciences faculty.

Outstanding Faculty Dr. Zhrenrong Zhang, physics (tenured faculty scholarship award), Dr. David Bridge, political science (tenured faculty teaching award) and Dr. David A. Smith, history (non-tenure track faculty teaching award).

Three Arts & Sciences faculty members are among those who received Baylor Outstanding Faculty awards for 2022-2023 from the University. They include Dr. Zhrenrong Zhang, physics (tenured faculty scholarship award), Dr. David Bridge, political science (tenured faculty teaching award) and Dr. David A. Smith, history (non-tenure track faculty teaching award).

Dr. Richard Rankin Russell

Dr. Richard Rankin Russell, professor of English and graduate program director of English, was named the 2023 Cornelia Marschall Smith Professor of the Year. The award recognizes a Baylor faculty member who makes a superlative contribution to the learning environment at the University.

Dr. Annie Ginty

Dr. Annie Ginty, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience, received the 2023 Early Career Impact Award from the Federation of Associations in Behavioral and Brain Sciences for what the organization said is Ginty’s “groundbreaking work in uncovering relationships between biological and cognitive stress responses, physical health, and mental health, as well as her commitment to using science for societal impact.” The Award honors scientists for their contributions during the first 10 years after they earned a Ph.D.

Dr. George Cobb

Dr. George Cobb, chair and professor of environmental science, was selected to serve as chair of the Science Advisory Committee on Chemicals, which advises the Environmental Protection Agency on toxic substance concerns.

Dr. Julie deGraffenried

Dr. Julie deGraffenried, history department chair and associate professor of history, was one of two recipients of the 2023 Centennial Professor Award from Baylor University. The Centennial Award, created by the Baylor Class of 1945, honors two tenured faculty members with a $5,000 award to fund summer projects that may include travel for study or research, the development of innovative teaching materials or other professional development activities.

Core Curriculum Virtues Recognition Award

Arts & Sciences faculty members make up the five recipients of Baylor’s 2022-2023 Core Curriculum Virtues Recognition Award. The awards are given annually to faculty members who have inspired moral, intellectual and/or spiritual virtues through the process of teaching a course in Baylor’s Unified Core Curriculum during the previous academic year. The winners include: Dr. Jerry Park, associate professor of sociology; Dr. Jo-Ann Tsang, associate professor of psychology and neuroscience; Dr. Karenna Malavanti, senior lecturer in psychology and neuroscience; Dr. Meredith Palm, lecturer in psychology and neuroscience; and Dr. Hugh Riley, senior lecturer in psychology and neuroscience.

Dr. Daniel Benyousky

Dr. Daniel Benyousky, director of major fellowship and awards in the Office of Engaged Learning, and Kristie Curttright, a senior studio art major and a financial administrator in the Department of Biology, were the two representatives from the College of Arts & Sciences to win 2022 Baylor Outstanding Staff Awards.


Dr. John S. Belew, Provost Emeritus and a former Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences, died August 9 at age 102.

Student News & Notes

Averi Carlson

Sophomore communication major Averi Carlson was one of two Baylor volleyball players selected for the 2023 USA Women’s Collegiate National Team this past summer. Carlson and Baylor junior Lauren Briseño trained in California in June alongside the U.S. Women’s National Team as it prepared for the final preliminary round of Volleyball Nations League.

Jonathan Samudio

Jonathan Samudio, a graduate student in physics at Baylor, received the 2023 National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship in Physics and Astronomy — Particle Physics.

Many students majoring in subjects within the College of Arts & Sciences were among the more than 5,000 Baylor students named to the Spring 2023 Dean’s Academic Honor List, which recognizes undergraduates for their outstanding academic work during each semester. Students honored on the Dean’s List earned a minimum semester grade-point average of 3.70 with no grade lower than a “C” while enrolled in at least 12 graded semester hours.

Heidi Pullmann-Lindsley

Heidi Pullmann-Lindsley, a doctoral candidate in biology, was selected to make a presentation about her mosquito control research at the Rising Stars in Entomology Symposium at the Entomological Society of America annual meeting in November 2023. The purpose of the symposium is “to provide a high-profile opportunity for graduate students near the completion of their degrees to present a more in-depth overview of their thesis research.”

Nine Baylor students were honored for their poetry and fiction

Nine Baylor students were honored for their poetry and fiction at the annual Student Literary Awards during the 2023 Beall Poetry Festival. Winners include (left to right): Matt Hawk, Jourdyn Adams, Destiny McElroy, Laura Smith, Jonathan Diaz, Susannah Bumstead, Clara Garcia, Made Harrell and Kristen Nakamura.

Alumni News & Notes

Dewayne Gibson

Dewayne Gibson (BA ’98) is the newly elected president of the Collin County Black Chamber of Commerce. Gibson had previously served on the Chamber’s board of directors, and brings his experience in finance from Bank of America and in marketing as assistant vice president of sales and media for a Black-owned newspaper in North Texas.

Dr. Steven D. Reece

Dr. Steven D. Reece (BS ’78) has been selected as the Person of Reconciliation for 2022 by the Polish Council of Christians and Jews. He’s the founder and president of the Matzevah Foundation, a Christian nonprofit organization that seeks to preserve and honor the Jewish heritage of Poland through restoring and caring for Jewish cemeteries.

Dr. Monica Anderson

A TEDx talk given by dentist and author Dr. Monica Anderson (BA ’84) titled “How Dentistry Offers a Powerful, Effective Guide to Curbing Racism” is garnering thousands of views on YouTube. Anderson uses lessons learned by preventing dental disease through early education to discuss preventing racism using the same approach, and believes the advice she has given her patients for more than 30 years can help combat deep-rooted racial discrimination and social inequity.

Yasmene McDaniel

Yasmene McDaniel (BS ’03) was named chief executive officer of HCA Houston Healthcare Southeast. Driven by her calling to increase healthcare access and quality for communities in need, McDaniel has served in several healthcare leadership roles in her 15 years in hospital and physician group operations.

Stan Moore

Emmy Award-winning filmmaker Stan Moore (BS ’78) was awarded best documentary for his film, Beyond The Bullseye, at the Hollywood Blvd Film Festival in Hollywood, California. The film was also awarded the Most Impactful Documentary Award Winner at the Hollywood Florida Film Festival.

Sue Steakley

Emeritus College of Arts & Sciences Board of Advocates member Sue Steakley (BA ’71) was able to fulfill a lifelong dream when she traveled to Antarctica with her niece and two good friends aboard the National Geographic Explorer. The professionals on board were able to guide passengers to places that a normal cruise ship could not, as they traveled further inland in dinghies and kayaks.