New Kids on the Block

Grey City sat down with five new faculty members appointed within the last year and half: Kenneth Pomeranz (history), Amie Wilkinson (mathematics), Patrick Jagoda (English), Nicolas Brunel (statistics and neurobiology), and Paul Nealey (the new Institute for Molecular Engineering). You might not know their names yet. But you may well soon. .


Sydney Combs, Tiffany Tan

Clockwise from top left, professors Patrick Jagoda (English), Amie Wilkinson (mathematics), Nicolas Brunel (statistics and neurobiology), and Ken Pomeranz (history)

By Adam Janofsky

The University of Chicago, for most, is a transient part of life. Undergraduates spend four years living here—some a little more, some a little less—before they find jobs in different cities and different countries. For some at the law and business schools, the University is seen as a two or three year stepping stone into their professions. Postdocs and graduate students can spend one to a dozen years specializing in their fields, but the vast majority of them eventually move to different Universities and take on new titles. Sometimes it feels like the only permanent fixtures on campus, along with the neo-gothic buildings, are the professors who walk the century-old halls. But all professors have their unique beginnings here.

Grey City profiled five newly-appointed faculty—each one having arrived at the University within the past year-and-a-half. They are all, however, at radically different stages of their academic careers: One is involved in starting a new institute, one is a University Professor, two are established researchers, and one recently finished his postdoc. They represent five separate departments, but their stories aren’t necessarily the ones you would expect: a developer of computer chips who is a self-described “technophobe,” an English professor who often studies video games instead of books, and an expert on China who started his Ph.D. studying European History. It may be too soon to have taken one of their classes, worked in their research labs, or seen them on the quad. But they have big plans for the future, and in time may become fixtures of the University.

Patrick Jagoda, Assistant Professor, English.

Ken Pomeranz, University Professor, History.

Amie Wilkinson, Professor, Mathematics.

Nicolas Brunel, Professor, Statistics and Neurobiology.

Paul Nealey, Brady W. Dougan Professor, Institute for Molecular Engineering.