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ORG CHART: New Leaders in Engineering, HIA – University of California, Davis

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The College of Engineering announced two appointments to its leadership team:
Professor Raissa D’Souza, as the associate dean for research, “will play a central role in advancing the college’s new strategic research vision by developing and overseeing new initiatives across the college and between the college and strategic partners across campus and beyond.”
She succeeds Cristina Davis, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, who moved to the Office of Research as the associate vice chancellor of Interdisciplinary Research and Strategic Initiatives.
D’Souza holds appointments in the Department of Computer Science and the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering. In addition, she is an external professor at the Santa Fe Institute and the Complexity Sciences Hub Vienna. She is the lead editor of Physical Review Research and a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors at Science.
“I am deeply honored and excited for this opportunity to help advance the outstanding research in the college, in particular the transformative research required to tackle society’s grand challenges as laid out in our new strategic vision,” she said. “These are problems that require inherently interdisciplinary thinking, and which have engineering at the core of the solutions.”
In her own research, she uses the tools of statistical physics and applied math to reveal the underlying principles of organization in complex systems, with a focus on the interplay of structure and function in network systems. The resulting theoretical principles provide insights into the behaviors of real-world networks, such as infrastructure networks and social networks and opportunities to identify tipping points and small interventions to control the self-organizing, collective behaviors displayed in these systems. 
Elissa Roeser is the new executive assistant dean for administration and finance in the College of Engineering, as of July 1. She has close to 21 years of experience in the UC system, most recently as the assistant dean, chief of staff in the dean’s office of the School of Medicine.
Before joining UC Davis, Roeser spent 18 years at UC San Francisco in financial and administrative leadership roles overseeing clinical, research and educational programs.
Jessie Catacutan is retiring as executive assistant dean on July 19 and will ensure a smooth transition with training and support during Roeser’s first few weeks.
Juan Diego Díaz, associate professor of music, has been named the new director of the Hemispheric Institute on the Americas. He is an ethnomusicologist with a geographic research interest in Africa and its diaspora, particularly Brazil and West Africa.
He succeeds history professor Charles “Chuck” Walker, who has stepped down after 15 years. Walker thanked Diaz for filling in for him as the HIA director last fall when Walker was on leave, and said he is certain the HIA is in good hands.
“It’s been a great adventure for me and an honor,” Walker said in a farewell message. “We did lots of wonderful things, distributing research grants to grad students, sponsoring or supporting an amazing variety of events, mentoring HIA minors, holding an acclaimed ‘movie night’ that people always tell me they miss, and continuing our mission to rethink Latin American and area studies.”
Instead of a goodbye party, Walker said, “we decided to hold a reception in fall to mark Juan Diego’s new position and to bring these different communities together.”
Law professor Elizabeth Joh has been appointed to the Committee on Facial Recognition: Current Capabilities, Future Prospects and Governance, which has been convened under the auspices of the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine. The committee will study facial recognition technologies and develop recommendations for their use to increase public safety and to safeguard privacy, civil liberties, and human rights.
Professor Joh’s scholarship focuses on criminal procedure and policing, with a special emphasis on DNA evidence, undercover policing and new surveillance technologies.
Dateline UC Davis welcomes news of appointments of various kinds for faculty and staff, for publication in Org Chart (formerly titled Transitions). Send information to dateline@ucdavis.edu.
Dateline Staff: Dave Jones, editor, 530-752-6556, dateline@ucdavis.edu; Cody Kitaura, News and Media Relations specialist, 530-752-1932, kitaura@ucdavis.edu.
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