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A New Colleague, and Center Affiliates Off to Further Adventures

Oct 4 2018

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We welcome a new colleague, Catherine Wright, and fondly wish two of our associates good luck in their exciting new undertakings.

A New Administrator

Introducing Catherine Wright

We are pleased to introduce Catherine Wright, our Finance and Administrative Associate, who joined the Center in late August. Five weeks in, she’s been learning to dodge bicycle traffic and to chip in on the complex logistics of our Sophomore College field course in the Southwest. It’s taking some time, she says, “to wrap my head around the many programs, initiatives, courses and events sponsored by the Center.” She is relieved to have completed the hours of training required to access Stanford’s financial systems.

Catherine joins us after two years with the City of San Mateo and over 15 at the School of Public Health at UC Berkeley. She brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in financial transactions, budgeting, grant administration, and research project/program coordination. Catherine is thrilled to be back in an academic setting, and is ready to take on whatever is needed to support the Bill Lane Center and its mission.

This fall, she’ll be working closely with Center staff and affiliated scholars to ensure the success of 2018-19 programming – including a colorful upcoming event on the Burning Man festival. In the spirit of the Burners, we’d like to offer Catherine “radical inclusion” in our team.

Center Affiliates Take Their Next Steps

Natalie Pellolio

The Center's sixth Thomas D. Dee II Dissertation Fellow, Natalie successfully defended her dissertation, “Return to Sender: Photography, Art, and the Mail, 1845-1945,” this past spring. In her dissertation, she explored how the growing international postal system helped shape American photographic practice in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Citing work by artists such as William Henry Jackson, Alfred Stieglitz, Anne Brigman, among others, she argued that photographic scholars should take seriously not just formalist aesthetics, but also processes of photographic dissemination and transmission. Over the summer, Natalie remained with the Center to work with her advisor, Alexander Nemerov of the Department of Art & Art History, and complete a coda to her dissertation, which examined the work of the AIDS-era New York artist Félix González-Torres. In the article, she focused on works that the Cuban-born González-Torres created as posthumous letters to his deceased lover.

This month, Natalie started a new job that already is enabling her to engage with photographic history: Assistant Curator at the California Historical Society in San Francisco. She joins CHS as they are getting ready to launch a new show, Boomtowns: How Photography Shaped Los Angeles and San Francisco. Natalie says she’s excited to help curate exhibitions about California history at a time when people seem more interested in the state's technological future than in its past. Seeking a more comprehensive and inclusive history, she says, “We want to retell and re-examine the story of California, and not just reaffirm the story that's already been told.”

Esteban Guerrero

After working on several research projects and an international conference, the Center’s Entrepreneur in Residence moved down to the Baylands and an important new position with Facebook. Esteban, who launched a startup pursuing sustainable seawater desalination, is now helping the social media giant improve the energy efficiency and performance of their sprawling data centers. His goal is to run big data analytics on their network hardware for optimization and automated maintenance.

This year at the Center, Esteban helped organize a conference in Mexico on reducing the carbon footprint of its petroleum industry, and worked on forthcoming research papers looking at the prospects of water desalination for agricultural purposes – one on the engineering challenges, the other focusing on regulatory and environmental questions. The papers looked at the San Quintín Valley in Baja California – which Felicity Barringer explored recently in our ‘...& the West’ blog – and California’s Salinas Valley. The research was part of an ongoing collaboration between the Center and El Colegio de la Frontera Norte (COLEF), a university and research center in Tijuana.

At the Center, the graduate research fellow Gemma Smith is continuing to pursue this research project, along with Lauren Block of the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment.


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