Humanities Welcomes New Professors and Staff

New Faculty

Josefina Bittar, Assistant Professor, Languages ​​and Applied Linguistics

Josefina bittar got his doctorate. in Linguistics at the University of New Mexico. After earning her BA in Spanish Language and Literature from the Universidad Nacional de Asunción (Paraguay), she was awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to earn an MA in Linguistics, also at UNM. Being born and raised in a highly bilingual country like Paraguay sparked Josefina’s interest in bilingualism and the mutual influences between languages. Josefina’s research focuses on the syntactic influences between Spanish and Paraguayan Guaraní, the two official languages ​​of her country of origin. She has taught linguistics courses at UNM and the Universidad Nacional de Asunción, and looks forward to serving UCSC students.

Fun fact: if you’re nice to Josefina, she’ll make you Paraguayan empanadas (which are usually fried and really tasty).


Marisol LeBrón, Associate Professor, Feminist Studies

Marisol LeBrón is an interdisciplinary scholar whose research and teaching focuses on race, social inequality, policing, violence and protest. Prior to joining UCSC, she held positions at the University of Texas at Austin, Dickinson College, and Duke University. She got her doctorate. in American Studies from New York University and his BA in Comparative American Studies and Latin American Studies from Oberlin College.

She is currently working on a new book project, Against the Wall: Maintaining Order and Making Latinxes, which aims to discover the central role of policing in the emergence and consolidation of the Latinx identity in the United States. She is currently Vice-President / President-elect of the Association of Puerto Rican Studies and member of the executive committee of the Association for American Studies.

Fun Fact: Marisol loves cooking, reality TV, sports documentaries, and building Lego Brickheadz in her spare time (which she hasn’t had a lot of lately since welcoming her daughter Isla to her home in June. ).


Rachel Walker, Professor, Linguistics

Rachel Walker is a theoretical phonologist, with central contributions to the cognitive representation of consonants and vowels, positional prominence, and long-distance processes in sound models of world languages. In recent research, she has examined the complex nature of liquid consonants and studied the phonology of Ladin, an endangered minority language spoken in northern Italy.

Fun fact: Rachel has a deep appreciation for mountains, especially for hiking around lakes and alpine meadows. His love of the mountains pairs well with his love of processed alpine cheese, especially in the form of cheese fondue and raclette.

New employees and promotions

Sarah Arantza Amador, Manager, Linguistics

Sarah Arantza Amador brings a wealth of experience from across the university, including undergraduate education, graduate counseling and program management. She obtained a BA in Literature and Philosophy (Honors) from UCSC in 2005. She then obtained an MA in Spanish and Portuguese Languages ​​and Literatures at NYU in 2010. She returned to UCSC in 2010 as a lecturer at Merrill & Stevenson colleges. Since then, she has served as Graduate Programs Coordinator and Advisor for Politics, Latin American and Latin American Studies, MCD Biology, and Evolutionary Ecology and Biology. Most recently, she supported community studies as an administrative director.

Sarah’s deep love for universities, their students and research is reflected in her commitment to student success, her strategic vision for program sustainability, and her agile leadership in our ever-changing environment.

Fun fact: Sarah is a flash fiction writer and is currently working on her first novel. She is also an avid knitter and has not worn commercially made socks for at least five years.

Ruby Barnett, Manager, History of Consciousness

Ruby (Ruthanna) Barnett has always been interested in communication, conflict resolution and the development of a meaningful life. She has over twenty years of experience in project and people management, in academia, the non-profit sector, social justice and legal environments. After obtaining his doctorate. in Linguistics from Lancaster University, she entered the nonprofit sector, championing housing and homelessness, debt, employment and welfare. As a lawyer at Oxford, she specialized in immigration and human rights.

After moving to Santa Cruz in 2012, Ruby worked in the DA office and then at UCSC where she conducted climate research for an environmental artist professor. She is deeply aware of the urgency of our climate emergency and is committed to working on the transitions necessary for a paradigm shift. She is a former student of the Capra course where she leads a study group.

Fun fact: Ruby lived on a barge on the Oxford Canal.

Kimberly Hwe, Divisional Humanities Liaison

Kim hwe (pronouns: she / she) has been promoted to the post of Divisional Humanities Liaison Officer. Kim’s experience as a local IT specialist over the past three years has enhanced the division’s technical support, in addition to continuing the services offered through the Humanities University Service Center. She supported the division’s rapid transition to distance education while launching the campus-wide Zoom Corps pedagogical support model, which she continues to oversee today; and his leadership has been instrumental in the modernization of the boardroom and classroom planned for this academic year. Kim was the first chair of the Diversity and Inclusion Group for the ITS Division (DIG IT), an advisory group to the Vice Chancellor of Information Technology that reviews diversity and inclusion efforts within of the STI division, and its advocacy led to the engagement of STI to think about how to approach inclusiveness through system improvements. Kim is leading an effort to pilot an inclusive STI internship program to support students’ personal and professional development and success.

Fun fact: Kim is vegan and has her own vegan cookbook online! If you want some great vegan recipes, feel free to email her.

Sarah Jordan, Assistant Director of Marketing and Communications, Human Sciences

Sarah jordan comes to us with deep ties with UC Santa Cruz and the Santa Cruz region. As a former student with a bachelor’s degree in environmental policy and planning and a minor in journalism, Sarah recently worked at the UCSC Arboretum as a media and events specialist. Prior to working at the Arboretum, Sarah was a publications and communications specialist at the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS), where she helped update their brand and messages to reach a bipartisan audience around the world. . Sarah supports the Humanities Division in its marketing communications efforts, from distributing news articles to promoting events and supporting strategic outreach.

Fun Fact: Sarah loves swimming in the ocean all year round and shares homemade snacks with her swimming buddies to warm up on the beach.

Jessica McKenna, Director of University Programs and Planning

Jessica mckenna received her BA in English, a minor in American Studies from the University of Wittenberg, an MA in English from Simmons University, and master’s degree courses in curriculum and teaching from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She also received a Certificate in Equity and Diversity from the University of Minnesota.

Jessica spent nine years as Associate Director of Curriculum and Teaching in the English Department at the University of Minnesota, where she managed the English Literature and Creative Writing program and was responsible for the interim management and training of study programs for other departments of the College of Liberal Arts. .

Fun fact: Jessica has run twelve marathons, including Boston and New York, and plans to run the Chicago Marathon in 2022.

Laura Wilson, Department Director, Feminist Studies

Laura Wilson is a UCSC alumnus, who received her Masters from UC Santa Barbara and a PhD. from the California Institute of Integral Studies. For the past five years, she has worked in Colleges 9 and 10, first as an assistant to the college director of studies and then as a college studies manager.

Laura has extensive administrative experience in managing schedules, curricula, budgeting and special projects; research and apply university policies; conduct staff reviews, recruit and assist new teachers. Her colleagues praise her ability to think big while being attentive to detail, and her kind, caring and supportive presence.

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