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Southwestern Welcomes Four New Faculty Members

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    New faculty members (l-r) Patrick Van Horn, Katherine Grooms, Jessica Hower and Michael Gesinski.

New professors to teach chemistry, economics and history

In addition to a new president, Southwestern is welcoming four new faculty members this fall.

Two of the new faculty members will be teaching in the Department of Economics and Business. They are Katherine Grooms, assistant professor of economics, and Patrick Van Horn, assistant professor of economics.

Grooms recently received her Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received her undergraduate degree in business administration from Trinity University in San Antonio.

Grooms is an environmental economist and will be teaching classes this fall on Environmental Economics and Econometrics. Her research focuses on enforcement of environmental policies such as the Clean Water Act.

Van Horn is an economic historian. He received his undergraduate degree in economics from Stephen F. Austin State University and his Ph.D. in economics from the University of California at Irvine. He taught economics at the University of Michigan-Dearborn from 2007-2010 and at The New College of Florida from 2010 until this year.

Van Horn will be teaching Finance and History of Financial Crises this fall. He said he is glad to be back in Texas.

“I was born and raised in Houston and we had a weekend house on Lake Travis since I was 6 years old,” he said. “I always wanted to get back to Texas at some point and really wanted it to be in the Austin area. I never thought that would happen until I saw the job posted for Southwestern. My best friend and best man went to Southwestern for his undergraduate degree, so I had been to the campus many times and knew how good of a school it was.”

Michael Gesinski is joining the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry as an assistant professor of chemistry. Gesinski earned his undergraduate degree from Rice University and his Ph.D. at UC-Irvine. He just completed a postdoctoral fellowship at  UC-Berkeley in the laboratory of F. Dean Toste, professor of chemistry.

Gesinski will be teaching Organic Chemistry. His research interests focus on utilizing synthetic organic chemistry to solve problems of industrial and biological importance.  He is particularly interested in utilizing organotitanium and organogold chemistry to synthesize environmentally benign pesticides that help alleviate parasitic diseases such as malaria and schistosomiasis.

Jessica Hower is joining the History Department as an assistant professor of history. This fall she will be teaching classes in British History since 1688 and the History of Early Modern Europe. Hower earned her undergraduate degree in history and political science from Union College in New York and her Ph.D. in history from Georgetown University.

Hower said she is excited to be joining the faculty at the same time that Southwestern is welcoming a new president and re-imagining its Paideia program.

“From the moment I first stepped foot on campus, I found myself enamored with and energized by the atmosphere at Southwestern,” she said. “The university really puts together everything that is wonderful about a small, liberal arts education − like small class sizes, close student-faculty interactions, and well-rounded, interdisciplinary study to name only a few − and multiplies that, several fold, while retaining the commitment to rigorous scholarship, specialization, and faculty development that is usually the mainstay of a much larger school.”