CC Welcomes Seven New Faculty Members, Two New Riley Scholars

This fall, CC welcomes seven new faculty members and two new Riley’s Scholars to our community.

New faculty members at CC include:

Anbegwon Atuire, Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies

Atuire earned his MFA in English and Ph.D. in ethnic studies from the University of Colorado Boulder. His research lies at the intersection of Africana critical theory, Pan-African social movements, and indigenous Ghanaian Studies. His dissertation unearths indigenous Bulsa narratives to counter heritage tourism's fossilizing of Ghanaians and exploitation of African Americans to recenter meaningful dialogue and collective liberation as focal points of relations between Africa and her Diasporas.

Atuire teaches according to an interdisciplinary model, emphasizing continental and Diasporan African people's perspectives, gender politics, racial and class formations, Africana critical theory, black feminist theory, decolonial theory, and West African cultural expression.

Celeste Diaz Ferraro, Economics and Business 

Diaz Ferraro is a social scientist interested in entrepreneurship and social innovation as a means of fostering more equitable, resilient, and sustainable communities of well-being. She is a qualitative researcher in organization theory and entrepreneurship, with particular interest in the roles of power and agency in shaping the governance and social orientation of emergent fields and ecosystems. Diaz Ferraro focuses her teaching on societal problems and the potential for responsible business to generate solutions to those problems. 

Prior to entering academia, Diaz Ferraro was an award-winning strategist working with global marketing firms, grass-roots advocacy organizations, and multilateral development institutions. She also founded a social enterprise consulting firm supporting mission-driven startups. A first-generation college graduate, she holds a B.A. in communication from Trinity University, an MBA from Georgetown University, was previously a Bunton-Waller Fellow at Penn State University, and an International Humanistic Management Association Research Fellow. She is completing her Ph.D. in management and organization studies at the University of Texas, San Antonio, where her work examines historical inequity in regional economic development while identifying forms of community-based innovation among entrepreneurs in historically marginalized Black and Latinx communities.

Varsha Koushik, Mathematics and Computer Science

Koushik holds a Ph.D. and M.S. in computer science from the University of Colorado Boulder. Koushik won the 3MT Thesis Competition at the University of Colorado Boulder this year, and the Hope Schultz Jozsa Award last year. Koushik was a lead teaching assistant in the university’s computer science department.

Koushik was a Coleman Institute of Cognitive Disabilities Coleman Fellow in 2018 and 2019, and her research focuses on exploring accessible smart technology to empower people with disabilities. She has given guest lectures at the University of Denver, Haverford College, and the University of Colorado Boulder.

Koushik’s “StoryBlocks: A Tangible Programming Game to Create Accessible Audio Stories,” received a best paper honorable mention at ACM CHI 2019.  

Dhanesh Krishnarao, Physics

Krishnarao received his Ph.D. in astronomy from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2020, with a minor in physics. Before starting at CC this fall, he was a National Science Foundation Astronomy and Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellow at John’s Hopkins University, as well as a block visitor at CC last year. 

Krishnarao was recently awarded a $66,902 grant from the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is a research arm of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). As part of the grant, Krishnarao will be working with four other institutions on a three-year program, entitled “The LMC’s Galactic Wind through the Eyes of ULLYSES.” Krishnarao had a paper related to his research published in Nature last month.

Krishnarao is interested in the Milky Way and uses data from ground-based and space-based telescopes across the entire electromagnetic spectrum to study everything inside of and surrounding thousands of galaxies, including the Milky Way.

Maria Sanchez, Political Science

Sanchez holds a Ph.D. in political science from the University of Minnesota and a B.A. in international relations from Gonzaga University.

Sanchez’s research explores the politics of how international institutions exert authority over national governments, with a focus on human rights and post-conflict reconciliation.  

Sanchez is working on a book based on her dissertation, which investigates how the European Court of Human Rights, Inter-American Court of Human Rights, and African Court on Human and People’s Rights have developed different approaches to interpreting the boundaries of their authority over member state governments. This phenomenon has resulted in uneven regional application of purportedly global human rights principles.  

Steven Schwartz, Anthropology

Schwartz holds a Ph.D. in sociocultural anthropology and an M.A. in social sciences from the University of Chicago, as well as a B.A. in anthropology from the Universidad Central de Venezuela.

Schwartz focuses his research on how the global rise of renewable energy intersects with Indigenous peoples’ environmental relations, practices of resistance, and political and economic life in Latin America. Additionally, his research is centered on environmental conflicts and forms of dispossession that arise amidst wind energy developments in the Global South.

Schwartz is working on his first book project, which is tentatively titled, Wind Futures: Indigeneity, Aerial Worlds, and the Making of Renewable Energy in Colombia.” Schwartz is working on a new project with CC students on Colorado’s energy transition in and around the wind farms of Limon.

Schwartz was born and raised in Venezuela.

Leland Tabares, Race, Ethnicity, and Migration Studies

Tabares holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Pennsylvania State University, as well as a B.A. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His book project, Professionalizing Asian America: Race and Labor in the Twenty-First Century, examines how the increasing representation of Asian Americans in a range of contemporary industry professions enculturates new meanings of race, belonging, and solidarity.  

Tabares was the managing editor for Verge: Studies in Global Asias, an Asian and Asian American Studies journal published by the University of Minnesota Press. He now serves on the advisory board for the Circle for Asian American Literary Studies.  

Tabares has two research publications forthcoming: a peer-reviewed article, “Consider the Crawfish: The Messy Politics of Viet-Cajun Fusion in the Gulf Coast,” coming out in Verge, and a book chapter, “Working Futures After Asians,” in Techno-Orientalism, Vol. II, an edited collection of scholarly essays published by Rutgers University Press. 

Tabares previously taught at Washington University in St. Louis, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Pennsylvania State University, and Loyola University New Orleans.

Additionally, CC welcomes two new Riley Scholars in Residence:

Oscar Ulloa, Spanish and Portuguese

Óscar Ulloa received his Ph.D. from the Hispanic Studies Department at the University of California, Riverside. Ulloa is currently a Post-Doctoral Riley Scholar-in-Residence and Visiting Instructor in the Spanish and Portuguese Department at Colorado College. 

His research focuses on Latin American slang, fútbol criollo, and communal music. What it seeks to demonstrate is that every day play with language, football, and music are, due to their popular nature, prime platforms of contestation for sectors of the population that are typically targets of discrimination. His broader research interests are in popular productions, storages, and transferences of knowledges in the Ibero-American world. Ulloa is the host the first Spanish Radio show, Radio Entrepuentes, for UCRs radio station, KUCR 88.3 FM, where he features music produced by Spanish-speaking cultures from the United States and organizes community outreach events promoting Ibero-American culture in Riverside, trying to provide a bridge between the university and the community as well as a platform for local Spanish-speakers to express themselves. 

Preston Waltrip, English

Waltrip received his Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Riverside. He holds an M.A. in English from Texas Christian University and a B.A. in English from the University of Dallas.

Waltrip is currently working on a project entitled, Presentist Historical Fictions: Race, Biopolitics, and Anachronism in the Contemporary American Novel,” which examines how contemporary historical novelists use anachronism and non-realist techniques to reimagine past individuals whose lives have been omitted by dominant histories. 

Waltrip’s research areas include biopolitical theory, historical fiction, and 21st century American literature. He has taught at the University of California, Riverside and Texas Christian University.


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