Each academic year the School of Arts and Sciences Newark welcomes new faculty to our family from across the liberal arts disciplines. This year’s group is diverse, spanning the social sciences, humanities, arts and physical sciences. Below, in Part 1 of our series, we profile two of the professors making their SASN debut during the fall semester.
Georgiy Akopov | Chemistry
Georgiy Akopov is an Assistant Professor of Chemistry at RU-N. He received his B.A. in Chemistry from Rutgers University-Newark, where he won the Harold A. Fales Memorial Award, Rutgers University-Newark, then completed his Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), where he received the ACS Inorganic Young Investigator Award. Akopov then served as a Postdoctoral Researcher at Iowa State University before conducting independent research at Ames National Laboratory, part of the U.S. Department of Energy, as part of the Spedding Postdoctoral Fellowship. His research focuses on inorganic materials chemistry (magnetic, nonlinear optical (lasers) and mechanical properties (cutting tools and abrasives)), crystal structure-property relationships and solid-state synthesis (targeted synthesis, phase purity and scalability). His research group at RU-N will focus on synthesis-enabled exploration of uncharted areas of phase space, superhardness in metal borocarbides through crystal structure tuning and using multinary sulfides for photocatalysis.
Akopov will start the fall 2022 semester by teaching the upper-level undergraduate Inorganic Chemistry II class.
Being able to return to the same Chemistry Department as a faculty member, work and collaborate with many of my former teachers, and advise a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students is exciting and inspiring.
“Getting my B.A. degree from RU-N allowed me to have a fruitful research career during graduate school and the postdoctoral fellowship,” said Akopov. “Being able to return to the same Chemistry Department as a faculty member, work and collaborate with many of my former teachers, and advise a new generation of undergraduate and graduate students is exciting and inspiring.”
Karen Smith | Psychology
Karen Smith is an Assistant Professor of Psychology at RU-N. She earned both her B.A. and Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Chicago. Following her graduate studies, she spent four years conducting research as a postdoctoral scholar at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Smith’s research examines the biological and psychological mechanisms underlying differences in individuals’ responses to stress, with a focus on stress occurring in early childhood. Her work takes an integrative and multi-level approach, using methods and theories across fields including social neuroscience, developmental psychology, and psychophysiology. Smith’s broader goal with this research is to provide insight into the mechanisms through which stress shapes development across the lifespan, which can be used to inform more targeted and effective interventions.
At RU-N, Smith will head the Stress Psychophysiology and Affective Neuroscience (SPAN) Lab and will start her tenure teaching an undergraduate course on the psychology and neurobiology of stress.
“I am excited to be part of an institution pairing innovative, integrative scholarship and education with a mission focused on community engagement and civic-oriented outreach,” said Smith. “I look forward to working and collaborating with the outstanding faculty and students at RU-N both within the Psychology Department and across the University.”