New College Welcomes New Faculty Members

With the academic year opening on Monday, August 26, New College of Florida welcomes nine new professors to its faculty.
The hiring is the result of a careful budgeting plan, developed in cooperation with the College’s academic departments. In response to state budget cuts, the College held nine tenure-track positions open for two years until lawmakers restored higher education aid.
The restored funding allowed the College to fill six of those positions this year. Five are newcomers to the College, while one is a professor already on staff. The other four new faculty members are visiting professors, who will fill in for faculty conducting research or serving in administrative roles.
“It was a major success for the College to undertake that many searches and get exactly the people we wanted,” said Dr. Stephen Miles, provost and vice president for academic affairs.
The five new tenure-track faculty members are David Gillman, assistant professor of computational science; Jack Reilly, assistant professor of political science; Tyrone Ryba, assistant professor of biology; Xia Shi, assistant professor of history; and Q. Meccasia Zabriskie, assistant professor of sociology.
The sixth new tenure-track faculty member is Tracy M. Collins, assistant professor of economics. Prof. Collins has taught at New College for two years via a postdoctoral fellowship. She received her doctorate and master’s degrees from North Carolina State University and her bachelor’s degree from The University of Paderborn, Germany. Her research interests include technology diffusion, economic development and entrepreneurship.
The new visiting assistant professors are: Naomi Campa, classics; Eric Greenwood, physics; Melanie Hubbard, English; and Travis Lee, mathematics. Campa, Hubbard and Lee are graduates of New College.
Full profiles of the newly hired tenure-track faculty follow.
David Gillman, Assistant Professor of Computational Science
Prof. Gillman returns to teaching after a career in technology. He most recently was senior architect at Akamai Technologies, where he designed and managed systems that optimized utilization of the company’s network of more than 100,000 servers. He also has taught computer science at University of Toronto. His research interests include Internet data analysis, image processing and statistical inference on large data sets. In his spare time, he has tutored reading at a community center, and conducts and sings folk music. Gillman received his doctorate in mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Yale University.
Jack Reilly, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Prof. Reilly recently completed his doctoral program at University of California, Davis, where his dissertation examined how communication barriers influence the spread of ideas through social networks, and change the way people behave politically and how they interact with the social world around them. He moved to the field of political science after receiving his bachelor’s degree in philosophy from Reed College. At UC-Davis in 2011, he won an award for outstanding instruction by a graduate student. Reilly is an avid bicyclist and hiker. He has climbed all 46 of the highest peaks of the Adirondacks, in upstate New York, and is working on a personal quest to visit all U.S. national parks, with 22 of 59 remaining.
Tyrone Ryba, Assistant Professor of Biology and Bioinformatics
Prof. Ryba is a New College alumnus, having graduated in 2004 with a concentration in biology and chemistry. He completed his doctoral program at Florida State University in 2012 and has been a post-doctoral assistant to FSU’s Dr. David Gilbert. In Dr. Gilbert’s laboratory, he has been studying the structure and function of the replication timing program, which determines when each segment of the genome replicates, and the effects of its misregulation in leukemia. He is experienced in both with large genomic datasets, laboratory techniques and classroom teaching, and is looking forward to continuing the College’s tradition of individualized teaching and cultivating independent thinking. Ryba is originally from Naples, Fla., and his outside interests include strategy games like chess and Go, and baseball and softball.
Xia Shi, Assistant Professor of History
Prof. Shi specializes in the history of modern China, with an emphasis on issues of gender and religion. Her dissertation investigated how women emerged from domestic seclusion and entered public life in the early 1900s. At Irvine, she taught classes in modern Chinese history and other aspects of East Asia. She recently completed her doctoral program at University of California, Irvine, received her master’s degree in world history from Peking University and her bachelor’s degree from Beijing Normal University. She is a native speaker of Mandarin Chinese, reads Classical Chinese, and is studying Japanese and French.
Q. Meccasia “Mecca” Zabriskie, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Prof. Zabriskie comes to New College from Northwestern University, where she recently completed her doctoral program. Her dissertation examined practices within the West African dance and drum world in Chicago from the 1960s to the present, and drew on interviews with practitioners, and her own experience as a practitioner. She received her master’s degree from Northwestern and her bachelor’s degree in economics and African and American studies from Duke University. She also completed coursework in the theatre and performance studies departments at Northwestern and has studied abroad in Cuba and Ghana.

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