Faculty honored with named professorships, chairs
In fall, four faculty members were named to endowed chairs and professorships, recognizing their contributions to advancing Beloit through their teaching, leadership, and scholarship. Provost Eric Boynton announced the honors at the November Academic Senate meeting.
Sonya Maria Johnson
Sonya Maria Johnson is the Mouat Junior Professor of International Studies. An assistant professor of religious studies in the department of critical identity studies, Johnson began teaching at Beloit in 2016 and joined the faculty in 2017. Three years later, she received the Underkofler Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching, the highest recognition given by the Alliant Energy Foundation to faculty in Wisconsin, and Beloit’s most prestigious teaching award.
Her areas of interest include religion and ritual, culture, identity, and power in the African Atlantic diaspora, Cuba, African American studies, anthropology of religion, and qualitative field research methods. She has a dual B.A. in anthropology and ethnic studies from the University of Colorado-Boulder (summa cum laude distinction), an M.A. in anthropology, and a dual major Ph.D. in anthropology and African American & African Studies from Michigan State University.
Tamara Ketabgian, professor of English and chair of the English department, holds the Gayle and William Keefer Chair in the Humanities. Ketabgian, who joined Beloit’s faculty in 2004, has primary academic interests in Victorian literature and culture, environmental studies, the history of science and technology, the novel, science fiction, neo-Victorian/steampunk literature, global fin de siècles, and utopian literature.
Her book, The Lives of Machines: The Industrial Imaginary in Victorian Literature and Culture, (University of Michigan Press, 2011) was shortlisted by the British Society for Literature and Science’s Annual Book Prize. Her B.A. is from Harvard University; her Ph.D. is from Princeton University.
Obioma Ohia, assistant professor of physics, is the Dobson Endowed Professor in Physics. Ohia first joined Beloit as a visiting professor in 2018 and was appointed assistant professor in 2020. His undergraduate degree from Iowa State University is in electrical engineering, and his Ph.D. in physics is from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
He most recently held a postdoctoral position at Los Alamos National Laboratory. His research areas include plasma physics and computational work, and he has strong academic interests in STEM education, active learning methodology, and the field of physics education research.
Leslie Lea Williams
Leslie Lea Williams, associate professor of anthropology and co-chair of the anthropology department, holds the William S. Godfrey Chair in Anthropology.
Her research interests include bioarchaeology, mass disasters and human populations, human health and disease, climate change and health, mortuary archaeology, gender archaeology, and data analytics and visualization. Her B.A. in anthropology is from the University of California-Berkeley. She holds a master’s degree in human osteology and funerary archaeology from the University of Sheffield and a Ph.D. in anthropology from Ohio State.