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 2 of our series, we profile some of the professors making their SASN debut during the fall semester.
Ou Liu | Economics
Ou Liu is joining the Department of Economics as an Assistant Professor this Fall. She received her Ph.D. in Economics from Columbia University in May 2023. Prior to that, she received an M.A. in Economics from Columbia University, a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Rutgers University, and a B.S. in Pharmaceutical Sciences from Peking University. During the fall 2023 semester she will teach the course “Analysis of Current Economic Conditions,” where students get exposure to topics that are of central relevance to the macroeconomy, encompassing firm dynamics, innovation, the labor market and the financial market.
Her research interests lie at the intersection of macroeconomics, innovation and finance, with a special focus on firm dynamics and inequality. In recent works, she combines empirical methods and random growth theory to shed light on the origins of firm growth and the causes of widening inequality among U.S. business firms. A central theme of her research is how small and large firms interact to shape the dynamics in the upper tail of firm-size distribution through merger and acquisition (M&A) and entrepreneurial finance. This interaction has important implications for the innovation ecosystem, business dynamism and, ultimately, economic growth.
“As a former graduate student who has spent six years (from 2009 to 2015) at Rutgers, I am beyond thrilled to return as a faculty member,” says Ou. “I am particularly looking forward to interacting with my colleagues and students, together with members of the broader Rutgers community, fostering discussions on economic research and finding solutions to real-world economic problems.”
Lance Thurner | History
Lance C. Thurner is Assistant Teaching Professor in the Federated Department of History. He earned his PhD in history from Rutgers, New Brunswick (2018) and holds a Master of Arts in Oral History from Columbia University (2010). His research concerns the intersections of race, gender, and scientific and medical practice in colonial Mexico and the American Southwest at the turn of the 19th century. He looks at how scientists and doctors —as well as lay healers, patients, consumers, and indigenous suppliers—made claims to authoritative knowledge in the contexts of imperialism, conquest, and slavery.
Drawing on this scholarship, Professor Thurner’s courses prepare students to become empowered and critical consumers and producers of knowledge. His classes stress core information literacy skills, and train students to evaluate how truth claims are made and how these are situated in social and political contexts. Our current political crisis of truth highlights the centrality of these skills to effective citizenship. Drawing on his background as an oral historian, Professor Thurner also makes the classroom a space where students’ diverse backgrounds, cultures, and experiences are not only welcome but serve as the foundation of exploration, growth and discovery. He is especially interested in how digital tools and experiential learning can help achieve these goals. (For examples, see his digital class projects Empire’s Progeny and States of Belonging.)
During the 2023-2024 year, Thurner will be teaching History of Colonial Latin America, History of Modern Latin America, History of the Caribbean, and Latin American Lives Across Borders. He has taught regularly as a Part Time Lecturer at RU-N since 2019 and is excited to begin in his new role.
“Rutgers-Newark has the best students in the world,” Thurner said. “Every time I walk across campus or enter a classroom, I’m blown away by their creativity, brilliance, resourcefulness and commitment. They are the highlight of my career.”
Marisol Marroquin | Social Work
Marisol Marroquin joins the Social Work department as a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow. She recently received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University’s School of Social Work and has a master’s in social work (MSW) degree with a specialization in Integrated Health from California State University, Long Beach. A first-generation Guatemalan-American Latina, she is a Licensed Master Social Worker in the state of Arizona with extensive clinical practice and research experience focused on improving health and mental health equity for historically marginalized communities, in particular those who are Latinx and autistic.
Marroquín’s work addresses the need to understand health equity through intersectional and systematic frameworks and responds to the underdiagnosis and lack of adequate support for families from racially diverse backgrounds who have autism. These efforts include acknowledging the impact of social and cultural factors like racism and ableism that can hinder optimal health opportunities throughout the life span. Marroquín was previously awarded the Interdisciplinary Minority Fellowship through of American Psychological Association, where she worked to address the mental health of historically minoritized students.
As a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow at Rutgers University, Marroquín will teach about Human Diversity, will create a Health Equity course within the Department of Social Work, and will continue creating equity and Inclusion through teaching, research and service at RU-N and the local community.
“I am thrilled to be part of the Rutgers-Newark community and to be a Presidential Postdoctoral Fellow in the Social Work Department,” said Marroquin. “I feel honored to have the opportunity to be enriched by the cultural diversity and knowledge within RU-N faculty, staff and students, and look forward to being part of the intentional efforts to continue advancing health equity and addressing race and racism in ways that can contribute to social justice.”