Nine faculty honored as new McCausland Fellows for 2023
Posted on: January 6, 2023; Updated on: January 3, 2023
Clean water access, autism intervention for infants, safer streets. These are only
a few of the areas where the new McCausland Faculty Fellows in the College of Arts
and Sciences are making major research contributions.
Nine new faculty members have been named to the fellowship in 2023. The three-year
fellowship supports early-career faculty with a salary supplement as well as funding
“I am inspired by the broad range and high quality of research being conducted by
this group of McCausland Faculty Fellows,” said Joel Samuels, dean of the College
of Arts and Sciences. “They have distinguished themselves as educators and mentors
for our students even as their research and service make an impact here in Columbia,
throughout South Carolina, and beyond. On behalf of the entire College, I am grateful
to Peter and Bonnie McCausland for their sustained support of our outstanding early
Meet our 2023 McCausland Faculty Fellows:
Ray Bai, Department of Statistics
Ray Bai’s expertise in modern data science methods has made him an asset both to the
statistics department and the mathematics department. Bai was instrumental in obtaining
funding from the National Science Foundation for a collaborative research project.
In addition to advising a number of Ph.D. students, he creates outstanding course
materials for his classes, with a level of detail beyond compare.
Joshua Tebbs, statistics department chair, says, “Everything Ray does demands excellence—not
only of himself but from those around him. All of my colleagues value Ray and the
immediate impact he has made here.”
Jessica Bradshaw, Department of Psychology
Jessica Bradshaw’s research focuses on early neurobehavioral markers of autism spectrum
disorder and developing novel behavioral interventions for infants in the first year
of life. Bradshaw directs USC’s Early Social Development Lab and is one of very few
clinical scientists who have piloted behavioral interventions for infants as young
as six months old.
Internationally known for her work, Bradshaw serves families in the community through
free public lectures, workshops and events. Amanda Fairchild, an associate department
chair, calls Bradshaw, “a rising star in her field,” and “among the most productive
and high-achieving early career scholars” in the department.
Besim Dragovic, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment
Besim Dragovic, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment
Besim Dragovic’s research on plate tectonics and fluid-rock interactions extends beyond
traditional geochronology to uncover new knowledge of Earth’s processes that are more
important now than ever before. His focus on geothermal pathways and rates of change
is key to understanding Earth’s continued evolution, particularly in the face of climate
Dragovic has brought an impressive amount of external funding to the university, while
simultaneously exceeding research productivity, publication and impact goals. His
students consistently provide excellent feedback on his classroom and mentoring presence.
Peter Chametzky, interim director of SEOE, noted that Dragovic’s accomplishments are
a “remarkable contribution from an early-career researcher.”
David Fuente, School of the Earth, Ocean and Environment (SEOE)
David Fuente’s research brings together sanitation, economics and urban planning.
His work on the water infrastructure of sub-Saharan Africa has had global ramifications.
His recent work in Alaska included data from nearly inaccessible people groups, which
he could obtain only by building long-term trust. His gift for working with people,
communities and governments has made him an influential voice in his field.
Peter Chemetsky, Interim Director of the SEOE says: “His work produces practical results
that draw serious interest from such organizations as the World Health Organization
and the World Bank. This breadth is extraordinary, and he has an extremely bright
Hyunji Kwon, School of Visual Art and Design
Hyunji Kwon’s work in community-based art education has positively impacted local
communities while producing exemplary scholarship. Kwon’s research expertise lies
in developing programs that support people who have experienced trauma. Most recently,
Kwon and her art education students developed community-based art workshops for adults
in underserved communities in Columbia.
As a core faculty member serving the Women’s Well-Being Initiative at USC, Kwon has
provided art workshops for women in transitional homes and sexual violence survivors
on campus. Such prolific service work is mirrored in her dedication to teaching. Kwon’s
students regularly praise her as a “motivating” instructor who consistently creates
a “safe space” and inspires their career goals.
Seulghee Lee, Department of English Language and Literature, Joint appointment in
the Department of African American Studies
Seulghee Lee’s research brings together Black studies, Asian studies and gender studies.
He currently has two book projects in progress and has published numerous articles
since he came to USC for a joint tenure-track position in 2017. His teaching has also
been exemplary, with often perfect reviews by his classes. As one of his recent students
“My most glowing praise for Dr. Lee would not come close to adequately describing
the absolute gift this man is to the university and the lives of his students. His
wisdom is only outdone by his kindness. His class offered me a world class introduction
to these topics.”
Cory Schnell, Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice
Cory Schnell’s research focuses on improving the policies and practices of police
agencies so they may better serve their communities. He has applied his expertise
in spatial analysis to topics including police use of force, violent crime hot spots
and place-based policing strategies, allowing him to build key partnerships with criminal
justice agencies. Schnell has received contracts and grants to support his research
and collaborations with local law enforcement agencies, including the Columbia Police
Department and Richland County Sheriff’s Department.
“Dr. Schnell is not only a gifted young scholar and committed teacher, he is also
a warm, kind, spirited person who brings a great deal of positive energy to our department,”
says department chair Wendy C. Regoeczi.
Magdalena E. Stawkowski, Department of Anthropology
Magdalena Stawkowski specializes in cultural and medical anthropology, focusing on
militarized and nuclear spaces and the political economy of health. Her current research
examines the socio-cultural legacies of Soviet-era nuclear testing in Kazakhstan and
how people navigate everyday life in an environment polluted with residual radioactivity.
Closer to home, Stawkowski is introducing more students to the field of anthropology
through her co-created medical anthropology minor program, which is available to all
non-major students at USC. Anthropology department chair Jennifer Reynolds notes that
Stawkowski continues to generate excitement for anthropology research at USC among
undergraduate and graduate students alike.
Jaclyn Wong, Department of Sociology
Jaclyn Wong’s research focuses on the intersections of gender, family, work, aging
and the life course. Wong has received praise from her colleagues and department leadership
for her highly-creative research, as well as going above and beyond in her service
work to the university, even beyond her own department. She serves as a faculty affiliate
for both the Women’s and Gender Studies Program and Carolina Consortium on Health,
Inequalities, and Populations at USC.
Students, both undergraduate and graduate, routinely praise Wong’s commitment in her
mentorship capacities. In her research, teaching and mentorship, department chair
Brent Simpsons says Wong is “exceptional at every level.”
The Faculty Fellowship is part of the McCausland Foundation Programs in the College of Arts and Sciences. It was established in 2013 through a generous
endowment from alumnus Peter McCausland (’71 history) and his wife, Bonnie. To date,
more than 50 McCausland Faculty Fellows have been named. In addition to the Faculty Fellowship, the endowment supports the McCausland Visiting Scholars program and the McCausland Innovation Fund.