Skip to main content

Meet 4 new faculty members

By IU Bloomington Today

August 30, 2021

Each year, new faculty bring exciting research and fresh perspectives to Indiana University. The 2021-22 academic year is no different, and below are just a handful of the new educators and researchers joining IU Bloomington.

Elena Guzman. Photo courtesy of Elena Guzman Elena Guzman. Photo courtesy of Elena GuzmanElena Guzman

Assistant professor of African American and African diaspora studies and anthropology, College of Arts and Sciences

Elena Guzman is an Afro-Boricua documentary filmmaker, educator and anthropologist. She earned her doctorate in anthropology and a specialization in ethnographic film from Cornell University. She completed a Mellon postdoctoral fellowship in the Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities and was a visiting assistant professor of anthropology and visual studies at Haverford College.

Question: What is the focus of your research?
Answer: My research focuses on the way Black women and non-binary people use ritual and spiritual performance in African diaspora religion to forge Black feminist borderlands. I investigate the spiritual uses of dance, film, song, sound and illustration as sites in which people create alternate time and space that counter the neoliberal, patriarchal and white supremacist spaces that they encounter daily. I am also a filmmaker, and my film work explores the representation of African diaspora spirituality in film. This includes my current film “Smile4Kime” that focuses on friendship, mental health and Afro-Puerto Rican spirituality.

Q: How would you describe your teaching style?
A: My teaching style is collaborative, experimental and student centered. I see teaching as an always-evolving process and consider syllabus creation an art form. My classes incorporate creative assignments such as annotated playlists, short films and photo essays as assignments that relate to the themes and readings of the course. This allows students to take full control of their critical engagement while also exploring their own unique voices.

Q: Why did you pursue a career as a professor and what do you enjoy about it?
A: I grew up not thinking that my stories or the things I experienced mattered. That was until I read a book by a Latina author that completely changed my life and made me realize I could write about the worlds I experienced and someone could care. I pursued this career to foreground the poetry of my grandmothers, the theory of the streets I grew up in and the everyday histories that are ignored and erased.

As a first-generation Black Latina student, I struggled with learning the ways of academia, but it was the tireless mentorship and friendship of women of color professors who got me to where I am. My passion lies in passing the torch to the next generation, who can help historically marginalized students pursue a career that often seems unreachable for many. I am always learning; no matter what age or level I am at, I see the class and my students as a way to continue learning and being in dialogue.

Oscar Patron. Photo by Bradford Rogne Photography Oscar Patron. Photo by Bradford Rogne PhotographyOscar E. Patrón

Assistant professor of educational leadership and policy studies, IU School of Education

Oscar Patrón joins the Department of Educational Leadership and Policy Studies following his position as a postdoctoral scholar with the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society, known as CRRES, at IU. Patrón earned his doctorate in administrative and policy studies at the University of Pittsburgh. Before coming to IU, he spent the last two years of his doctorate as a predoctoral scholar and research associate at the USC Race and Equity Center at the University of Southern California.

Q: What is the focus of your research?
A: My research examines the ways that historical and contemporary forms of oppression (e.g., racism, heterosexism) influence the lives of minoritized people within postsecondary contexts. Specifically, I study the successes of Latina/o students at undergraduate and graduate levels, men of color, social identities and resilience through the employing of critical frameworks.

Q: Why are you pursuing this career?
A: I pursued this career because I enjoy doing research. As such, most of my work is with communities of color. In doing this research, I try to translate my work into practical things that we, society and higher education stakeholders, can do to improve the lives of people that have historically — and to this day — continue to be marginalized. I also like working with students and colleagues through teaching and collaborative projects, and this position allows me to do that.

Q: How did completing your postdoctoral work here at IU influence your decision to stay?
A: Choosing to undertake my postdoctoral work with CRRES was a great decision! It was an excellent way to connect with colleagues from different disciplines who, in some way, are doing research that centers race. With this fellowship, you are given an appointment with a department or school of your choice along with a mentor, which played an important role in my decision to stay at IU. During my fellowship, it was clear to me that I would be supported, and so IU was the perfect place for me to start my role as assistant professor.

Patricia Silveyra. Photo courtesy of Patricia Silveyra Patricia Silveyra. Photo courtesy of Patricia SilveyraPatricia Silveyra

Associate professor of environmental and occupational health, IU School of Public Health-Bloomington

Patricia Silveyra joins IU from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Before that, she was on the faculty at Penn State College of Medicine. Silveyra earned a Master of Science in molecular biology and Ph.D. in biochemistry from the University of Buenos Aires in her home country of Argentina. Her research focuses on the effects of air pollution exposure on the lung health of men and women with asthma and other lung diseases.

Q: How would you describe your teaching style?
A: I like to engage students in discussions about current research studies and learn concepts through the “researcher’s lens.” Rather than learning about a biological process or environmental effect, I have students investigate the story behind the experiments or population studies that were designed to discover it.

Q: What do you enjoy about being a professor?
A: I love knowledge. Teaching keeps me up to date with the scientific discoveries. I am also passionate about training the next generation of scientists, so I want to ensure I equip students with the best tools to succeed in their careers.

Q: What is something from your research that you found particularly interesting?
A: Our research studies are unveiling differential vulnerabilities to air pollution from different populations, especially between male and female individuals. We are learning how sex and gender intersect to affect lung disease and the negative effects of environmental exposures.

Q: When you aren’t working, how do you spend your time?
A: I try to stay active as much as possible because my job requires long hours sitting down and writing. I go for a run in the mornings, I bike to work, and sometimes I go for a bike ride with my little dog in her bike carrier in the evenings. I also love to meet with friends and share a meal or coffee.

Andrew Goldman. Photo courtesy of Andrew Goldman Andrew Goldman. Photo courtesy of Andrew GoldmanAndrew Goldman

Assistant professor of music theory and cognitive science, Jacobs School of Music

Andrew Goldman joins the Department of Music Theory following postdoctoral work at Western University and, before that, serving as a Presidential Scholar in Society and Neuroscience at Columbia University. Goldman earned his doctorate from the University of Cambridge, and his work involves neuroscientific experimentation, composing common-practice tonal music and teaching music analysis.

Q: What is the focus of your research?

A: My research uses behavioral, corpus studies and electroencephalographic methods to investigate various topics within music cognition. My previous work has focused on the neuroscience of musical improvisation. I have also published on the relationship between music and language, musical form, the neuroscience of dance improvisation and perception-action coupling in guitarists. I also write about how we can use science in principle to answer questions about topics traditionally within the remit of the humanities, like music.

Q: How would you describe your teaching style?
A: I’m thankful to have the opportunity at IU to teach from both my scientific side and my musical side. For my music teaching, I incorporate counterfactual thinking to learn music theoretical concepts (how could this have gone?). Taking an active compositional role brings the music alive, and in so doing can help de-immortalize canonical composers. My CogSci teaching tries to get students to recognize the rich diversity of mental processes in everyday life that beg for explanation (decision-making, memory, attention, creativity, etc.). Many of the philosophical questions around cognitive science are also quite inspiring, perhaps especially for undergraduate students who may be developing their views of human nature!

Q: What is something from your research, studies or teaching that you found particularly interesting and notable?

A: Working at the intersection of science and the humanities, I think, helps me see the contingency of the scientific questions that get asked in the laboratory. I study the neuroscience of improvisation, but I’m also an improviser. Like many others in the music cognition community, I’m able to recognize how our musical lives influence how we ask questions in the laboratory. I’m thankful to have that perspective, lest we think that science is serving as a singular, objective or final authority on musical matters.

Q: When you aren’t working, how do you spend your time?
A: I’m an avid chess player. I hope to compete in some in-person (“over the board”) tournaments once things get safer. For now, I play mostly online. I’ve also written a musical called “Science! The Musical” which you can find on my website.

An infographic detailing new full-time faculty at IU Bloomington.