Welcome, New Faculty in 2020–21!

October 07, 2020

About 2 dozen tenure-track and term faculty from art history to theatre and dance joined the Grinnell College community in fall 2020. The new faculty members’ varied research and teaching interests present students with even more compelling choices for rounding out their unique curriculum plans for the year.

Robert P. Robinson
Robert P. Robinson

Robert P. Robinson, assistant professor in education, offered an especially timely course given the racial justice protests in 2020 — Black Freedom Movement Education, a 2-credit, special topics course during Fall 1.

“I thought this was a great course to introduce students to long-standing Black pedagogical traditions,” says Robinson. “I help students think through ways to interrogate contemporary education.” The topic comes from his dissertation research, which examined the history of the Oakland Community School in California and Black education in the United States.

Robinson was an English language arts teacher in San Diego before completing his doctorate. He’ll teach English Language Arts Methods in Spring 1 and 2, Reading and Writing Youth Culture in Spring 2.

Sheahan Virgin
Sheahan Virgin

Sheahan Virgin ’08, assistant professor in political science, majored in political science when he was at Grinnell and is happy to have found his way back to the College and community he loves.

His research focuses mainly on election rules and electoral reform. “I’m excited to teach an electoral systems course in the spring and a 300-level seminar currently named Trump and Democratic Decline,” he says.

In Fall 1 he taught Political Behavior and Public Opinion and in Fall 2 he’ll take on Introduction to Political Science.

For information about the new faculty members’ teaching and research interests, follow the links below to their bios.

Art History

Michael “Mac” Mackenzie, professor. B.F.A., University of Illinois; M.A.; Ph.D. (1999), University of Chicago.


Kathleen Hershberger, assistant professor. B.S., Case Western Reserve University; Ph.D. (2017), Duke University.

Peter Meyers, instructor. B.S.; M.S., Brigham Young University; Ph.D. (in progress), University of Notre Dame.

Ravi Ranjan, assistant professor. B.S.; M.S., Bhagalpur University, India; Ph.D. (1996), Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India.


Kristi Peters, assistant professor. B.S., University of Northern Iowa; Ph.D. (1997), University of Nebraska Medical Center.

Diana Thatcher, instructor. B.S.; M.S.; Ph.D. (in progress), Iowa State University.

Chinese and Japanese

Rachel Zhang, assistant professor. B.A.; M.A., Hebei Normal University, China; Ph.D. (2019), Arizona State University.

Computer Science

Fernanda Eliott, assistant professor. B.A.; Licentiate, University of Sao Paulo, Brazil; M.S., Institute of Technology, Brazil; Ph.D. (2016), Aeronautics Institute of Technology, Brazil.


Andrea Kelly, assistant professor. B.S., University of South Dakota; Ph.D. (2020), Texas A&M University.

Ruoyun Mao, assistant professor. B.A., Sun Yat-sen University, China; M.A.; Ph.D. (2020), Indiana University.


Robert P. Robinson, assistant professor. B.A., Humboldt State University; M.A., San Diego State University; Ph.D. (2020), The Graduate Center, City University of New York.


Garth Greenwell, visiting assistant professor. B.A., Purchase College; M.F.A. (2003), Washington University; M.A., Harvard University; M.F.A. (2015), University of Iowa.


Brigitte Stepanov, Mellon post-doctoral fellow. B.A., Queen’s University, Canada; Ph.D. (in progress), Brown University.


Laura Michelson, assistant professor. B.A., Cornell College; M.A., University of Iowa.

Petrouchka Moise, Mellon post-doctoral fellow. B.S., University of Phoenix; M.B.A., Southeastern Louisiana University; Ph.D. (in progress), Louisiana State University.

Mathematics and Statistics

Sean McMannamy, instructor. B.A., University of North Carolina at Asheville; M.S., North Carolina A&T State University; Ph.D. (in progress), Central Michigan University.

Edward Price, instructor. B.S., Benedictine University; Ph.D. (in progress), Purdue University.

Physical Education

Sarah Burnell ’14, assistant professor. B.A., Grinnell College; M.S. (2020), Smith College.

Political Science

Sheahan Virgin ’08, assistant professor. B.A., Grinnell College; M.A., University of Chicago; M.A.; Ph.D. (2019), Vanderbilt University.


James Zabel, assistant professor. B.S.; University of Texas; M.S.; Ph.D. (2017), Rice University.

Religious Studies

Elliot Ratzman, assistant professor. B.A.; M.A., Ohio University; M.T.S., Harvard Divinity School; Ph.D. (2009), Princeton University.


Roshan Pandian, instructor. B.S., Georgia Institute of Technology; M.A.; M.S.; Ph.D. (in progress), Indiana University.

Theatre and Dance

Elaigwu Ameh, instructor. B.A., University of Zimbabwe; M.A., Ahmadu Bello University; Ph.D. (in progress), Cornell University.


We use cookies to enable essential services and functionality on our site, enhance your user experience, provide better service through personalized content, collect data on how visitors interact with our site, and enable advertising services.

To accept the use of cookies and continue on to the site, click "I Agree." For more information about our use of cookies and how to opt out, please refer to our website privacy policy.