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College of Arts and Sciences

Nine faculty honored as new McCausland Fellows for 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 for research.

“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 career faculty.” 

Meet our 2023 McCausland Faculty Fellows:

Photo of Ray Bai

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.” 

Photo of Jessica Bradshaw

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. 

Photo of Besim Dragovic

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 change.  

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.”  

Photo of David Fuent

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 future.” 

Photo of H. Kwon

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.

Photo of Lee Seulghe

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 says: 
“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.”

Photo of Corey Schnell

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.

Photo of Magdalena

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.

Photo of Jaclyn Wong

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.   


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