Over the four weeks up to mid-September our indefatigable Membership Committee processed a record number of member applications, accepting seventeen of them: 14 Full Members and 3 Associate Members, from the USA, England, Germany, Spain, India, Egypt and Russia. Their research specialisms are as fascinating as they are diverse. Welcome one and all!
Dr Joselyn Almeida (USA/SPAIN) holds a PhD in English from Boston College, and a Masters in foreign language teaching from the University of Madrid. She has been Associate Professor at the Universities of Massachusetts, Long Island, and Boston, and her extensive publications include monographs and edited collections. Dr Almeida’s research focuses on the long nineteenth century; poetry; Atlantic Studies; slavery and abolition; interculturality; and bi- and multilingualism, and she is currently co-editing (with Amelia Worsley) a book on Romantic Anti-Slavery Literature in the Era of Black Lives: Pedagogies and Contexts.
Dr Christy Cannariato (USA) earned her PhD in English in 2007 at the University of California, Santa Barbara and has taught graduate and undergraduate courses at Mount St. Mary’s University in Los Angeles.  Her research interests are narrative theory, the history of science, and the theory/history of the novel; she is presently working on a book-length project exploring the intersection of eugenics and literary and narrative form in the early twentieth century.
Dr Amy L. Collins (USA) is a Research Psychologist focused on relationships among aging, health and psychological well-being.  Dr. Collins received a PhD in Developmental Psychology from Boston College and was a postdoctoral Research Associate at Princeton University.  She is an interdisciplinary scholar, publishing and presenting work in the fields of psychology, gerontology, epidemiology, public health and medicine. Dr. Collins’ research centers on how cognitive and emotional evaluations of life such as level of life satisfaction, optimism, and perceived social status are related to morbidity and mortality. Her current work examines perceived loneliness from a life course perspective. She is interested in how the experience of loneliness differs among subpopulations, and how technology and the arts may play a role in mitigating the effect of loneliness on health and well-being.
Dr Ildiko Csengei (ENGLAND) earned her PhD from the University of Cambridge. Following this she held a lectureship at the University of Southampton, was R. A. Butler Research Fellow at Pembroke College, Cambridge and Leverhulme Early Career Fellow at the Faculty of English at Cambridge. She was also Fellow and Director of Studies in English at Newnham College, Cambridge. Most recently she held the position of Senior Lecturer and Course Leader at the University of Huddersfield. Ildiko researches eighteenth-century and Romantic period literature. She has published widely on the culture of sensibility and the literature of war in the long eighteenth century, especially the Napoleonic period.
Dr Safinaz El Tarouty (EGYPT/BULGARIA) earned a PhD in politics from the University of East Anglia in the UK. She also holds an MA in Middle East Studies and a BA in Political Science both from the American University in Cairo.  Her areas of interests include Middle Eastern politics, and the political economy of authoritarianism. She is the author of Businessmen Clientelism and Authoritarianism in Egypt (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015) and she is currently doing historical research on 19th century Egypt.
Dr Anne Leader (USA) received her PhD from the Institute of Fine Arts (New York University). She was the 2008-9 Rush H. Kress Fellow at Villa I Tatti, The Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies in Florence. Her publications explore a range of topics in Italian medieval and early modern art, architecture, urbanism, and religious tradition. She is especially interested in sacred art and architecture, specifically in how images and buildings were used by individuals and institutions for devotional practice, doctrinal instruction, propaganda, and social status. She is currently building Digital Sepoltuario, an online database of Florentine tombs.
Dr.Urmila Patil (USA) gained her PhD from the University of Texas at Austin, and is an independent researcher working in the greater LA metropolitan area. Her research focuses on the interrelationship between the classical language Sanskrit, a regional language of Western India called Marathi, and the elite community of Brahmans that comprised local priests, scholars, and administrators. Specifically, she examines the changing contours of language selection which was inextricably tied with the Brahmans' competition with one another over a higher place in the social and ritual hierarchy in early modern and colonial Western India. Urmila has taught Sanskrit, Yoga philosophy, and Asian Religions at universities such as UC Irvine, UCLA, and Loyola Marymount University. She is also a founder of a language academy called Akshara Sanskrit which caters to all those who are interested in learning Sanskrit.
Dr Aghaghia Rahimzadeh (INDIA/USA) (PhD, Environmental Science, Policy, and Management, UC Berkeley, 2016) is an independent scholar working on the social implications of climate change in mountain regions. She has spent the last decade conducting research in remote mountain communities in Kinnaur, Western Himalaya. As a Fulbright fellow, her dissertation investigated the transformation of Kinnaur, examining responses to rapid social and environmental change associated with development initiatives and market economy. Her most recent research project examines the intersection of climate change and tourism in Kinnaur, and she has worked on gender issues with UNDP and UNIFEM in Tajikistan, and with the IUCN in Iran researching issues related to transhumant pastoralists. When not writing, she takes educational and adventure tours to the Himalaya, practices Iyengar yoga, backpacks, and hikes the trails of her beloved Mt. Tamalpais.   
James Sheldon (USA) holds three master’s degrees in Mathematics, Special Education, and Equity and Social Justice in Education respectively, and expects to complete their Ph.D. in Teaching and Teacher Education from the University of Arizona in 2021. James has taught mathematics courses at Pima Community College, the Art of Problem Solving Online, and the University of Arizona, and recently published a co-authored book on mathematics disability, Humanizing Disability in Mathematics Education: Forging New Paths. As well as some pending articles with educational journals about approaches and methods to teaching they have also been collaborating with NCIS member with Kai Rands on some projects related to queer disability, and are presently working on autoethnographic writing about gay youth, currently under consideration with a journal.
Elena Stepanova (RUSSIA) is an independent scholar with a multi-disciplinary background: she earned her MA in creative media practice (2011) from the Middlesex University/SAE Institute (London, UK) and is currently working independently on a PhD thesis dedicated to artistic research in music. Her professional experience includes working as an electronic music composer, sound producer, and recording engineer. Her past research was dedicated to online music collaboration. Her current research interests involve visual music, sound art, and artistic collaboration. Since 2011 she has published several articles on history of music technologies, musical composition, and counterculture studies.
Dr. John Turner (USA) is an independent scholar of Italian Renaissance sculpture who earned his AM and PhD at Brown University. His scholarly work has always emphasized engagement with original works of art, and he has been the recipient of a Fulbright Fellowship for research in Italy, and a Mellon Fellowship in the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. He has held teaching positions at Butler University and most recently, Indiana University-Purdue University, Indianapolis. As a writer and teacher, the topics he covers reflect specialization and a wider range, including eighteenth and nineteenth century art and the representation of Black Africans in Western art. He is currently in the final stages of a book project, Michelangelo’s Visual World.
Kevin Hans Waitkuweit (USA) earned his MA in Sociology from the University of Notre Dame in January 2020. His undergraduate degrees include a BA in History with minors in Chicana/o Studies, Disability Studies, and Public Affairs from the University of California, Los Angeles (2015) and AAs in French and Mathematics from Los Angeles Valley College (2012). His research analyzes medical discourse as it relates to social phenomena such as social structures and identity. His ongoing projects include works on social theory and research exploring medical documents to investigate meaning making processes in medicine.
Dr Gretchen Lefever Watson (USA) gained her PhD in Clinical and Developmental Psychology from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and her research focuses on ADHD, psychiatric epidemiology, drug abuse and addiction. Dr Watson has been Professor of Behavioral Sciences and Foundations of Clinical Medicine, Ross University School of Medicine; Professor of Education and Director of Research, Eastern Virginia Medical School; adjunct faculty at Old Dominion University; and Associate Professor at the affiliated Children’s Hospital of The King’s Daughters. Since 2008 she has been president of Safety &Leadership Solutions, organizational safety and change management consulting services.
Dr Eschelle English (USA) holds a PhD in economics from the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London; an MA from University of Singapore; and a BA from the University of Cambridge, England. Her research interests span political economy, political science, and economic development, with a particular focus on the political economy of ideas, and how political entrepreneurs and ideology influence social phenomena and institutional change. In addition to having taught economics, Dr English has extensive experience in both for-profit and international NGOs, and after several years for motherhood she is now returning to research and writing as an independent researcher.
Stefan Kaspar (GERMANY) was trained as IT-specialist for application development (2002-2004) and earned a diploma in mathematics from the TU Dortmund University (2009). During and after his studies, he collaborated with researchers working in industry. His topics of research included combining algebraic and numerical methods as well as research in pure mathematics. Since 2012 he has been working as a professional full-time software developer. Still hearing the call of science, in 2014 he resumed exploring open problems in mathematics and computer science in his spare time. As an independent researcher he is currently working to advance infinite matroid theory.
Dr. Charles Ogundimu (USA) studied Economics and Education at Columbia University’s Teachers College, receiving his M.Phil. and Ph.D. in 2013 and 2014 respectively.  He also has an MS (Honors) in Computing from Iona College, in New Rochelle, New York.  He is a retired high school principal with a keen interest in educational research and its meaningful dissemination.  As a lifelong K-12 educator and academic, his research interests naturally tilted more toward teaching and learning in the K-12 sector.  His dissertation explores teacher labor markets in the New York City public school system, and he is currently researching principal preparation and performance, the superintendency, teacher preparation and performance, the science of learning, socio-emotional learning (SEL), school climate, tone, and culture, student achievement, school improvement, dropout prevention, teacher retention, mathematics education, educational leadership, and economics of education. 

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