Trinity College Welcomes Six New Tenure-Track Faculty Members

Trinity Alumnus is Among Professors Who Join College Community This Semester

​Hartford, Connecticut, September 8, 2017—Six new tenure-track faculty members began their appointments at Trinity College on July 1 and were officially welcomed by their colleagues at the first faculty meeting of the 2017-18 academic year. The six individuals are: Susan M. Bush, assistant professor of biology; Lindsey A. Hanson, assistant professor of chemistry; Kevin Huang ’12, assistant professor of engineering; David Souto Alcalde, assistant professor of language and culture studies; Alyson K. Spurgas, assistant professor of sociology; and Hilary E. Wyss, Allan K. Smith and Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of English.

We are very excited to greet these new members of Trinity’s faculty,  said Dean of the Faculty and Vice President for Academic Affairs Tim Cresswell. I am sure they will provide new energy to our community of scholars with their broad range of expertise and diverse backgrounds.


Susan M. BushAssistant Professor of Biology

Bush has been excited about plant biology since high school, when she wrote a paper about genetically modified organisms (GMOs). She earned her B.A. at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and completed a doctorate of plant breeding and plant genetics at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. She traveled to University of California, Davis to do a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Plant Biology before returning to Macalester as a visiting professor for three years.

Bush looks forward to working with undergraduate researchers at Trinity to learn more about plant stress tolerance in tomato plants and the model plant Arabidopsis. She combines her experiences in classical genetic research and bioinformatics with an interest in environmental stress responses, and will use tools like genetic engineering, plant growth and physiology, and gene expression to study plants’ growth during aluminum stress, cold stress, and other trying conditions. Her research interests include the genetic modification of plants, plant physiology, natural genetic variation in wild tomato species, and genetic diversity underlying phenotypic diversity in plants. At Trinity, Bush will teach “Recombinant DNA Technology,” among other courses.


Lindsey A. HansonAssistant Professor of Chemistry

Hanson grew up in central Maryland, where she developed a lifelong interest in Russian music as well as a passion for biomedical research. In pursuit of both, she majored in chemistry and minored in Slavic languages and literature at Duke University, where she received her B.S. It was there that she discovered the joy of applying the principles and techniques of the physical sciences to biological questions. She continued that approach in her graduate studies at Stanford University, where she leveraged recent advances in nanoscale fabrication to develop probes of cellular function, and her postdoctoral research at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, where she investigated the effect of pressure on the optical properties of nanoscale materials.

At Trinity, Hanson is studying the conversion of mechanical forces into optical signals and developing nanoscale materials to study the role of mechanical cues in biology. Her research interests include bionanotechnology, the effect of pressure on material properties, and the role of force in biological function. Among the courses Hanson will teach is “Physical Chemistry I.”


Kevin Huang ’12Assistant Professor of Engineering

Huang received his B.S. from Trinity with majors in engineering and mathematics before earning an M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering, with a concentration in systems, controls, and robotics, at the University of Washington. Huang is a proponent of active learning strategies; he encourages students to engage in learning and research opportunities outside the classroom and to foster communication and teamwork skills in the context of an engineering education.

As a Trinity alumnus, Huang said that he can relate to students in a unique way. “It’s great having taken the exact courses I’m teaching,” he said. “I went into robotics for my grad studies and being part of the robotics team here played a large role in that.” Huang added that he had great appreciation for the distinct opportunity to be involved in research as an undergraduate at Trinity. “The College gave a lot to me and I felt really lucky. Now I feel great to be in a place where I can contribute to something impactful to students,” he said.

Huang’s research interests include human factors in human robot interaction, usability engineering, telerobotics, and mobile robotics. Huang will be teaching “Digital Circuits and Systems” and “Introduction to Microelectronics Circuits.”


David Souto AlcaldeAssistant Professor of Language and Culture Studies

Souto Alcalde teaches early modern Hispanic literature, with a focus on the Spanish Baroque in a transatlantic and transpacific context, questions of political theory, poetics/aesthetics, and ecology. His current project explores the emergence of an ecological consciousness in the early modern Hispanic world from an early modern historical, philosophical, and literary perspective. He is also a published fiction writer and has taught creative writing courses at the college level.

Before coming to Trinity, Souto  Alcalde taught courses on early modern Hispanic literature, Spanish language, Hispanic literature and culture, and creative writing at Wesleyan University, New York University, and the University of Colorado at Boulder. Souto Alcalde received his B.A. from Universidade de Santiago de Compostela, his M.A. from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and his Ph.D. in Spanish and Portuguese literatures from New York University.

His areas of specialty include early modern Spanish literature (16-17th centuries), colonial literature, Cervantes, modern and contemporary transatlantic poetry, modern and contemporary peninsular, literatures with a focus on Galician literature, and critical theory. Among the courses he will teach at Trinity are “Intermediate Spanish,” “Iberian and Latin American Film and Conversation,” and “Iberian Culture I (Middle Ages to the 19th Century).”


Alyson K. SpurgasAssistant Professor of Sociology           

Spurgas received her doctorate in sociology and doctoral certificate in women’s and gender studies from The Graduate Center at the City University of New York (CUNY). She earned her B.A. and M.A. in sociology from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. She is currently at work on her first book, which interrogates the medical regulation and technoscientific production of “low” sexual desire in women. Through her qualitative research and cultural analysis, Spurgas complicates reductive explanations of gender differences in sexual desire patterns, highlighting instead the embodied, psychic, and material effects of gendered trauma and feminine socialization.

Spurgas has been recognized internationally for her innovative work on gender, sexuality, and desire. In the classroom, her teaching style is fundamentally collaborative, as she seeks to create a space wherein both student and teacher work together to think more deeply and more critically. Her research interests include sex, gender, and sexuality; medical, scientific, and popular accounts of gender differences in sexual desire, arousal, and behavior; histories of sexology, sex therapy, and sexual medicine; critical neuroscience, psychology, and biology; science and technology studies (STS); and feminist psychiatric disability studies. The Trinity courses she will teach include “Classical and Contemporary Theory” and “Sociology of Gender.”


Hilary E. WyssAllan K. Smith and Gwendolyn Miles Smith Professor of English

Wyss comes to Trinity after nearly 20 years at Auburn University, where she taught courses on early American women writers, transatlantic eighteenth-century writing, Native American literature, and early American life-writing. She is the author of more than a dozen articles and book chapters as well as three books on Native American literacy practices in early America. She has served on the editorial board of the journals Studies in Eighteenth-Century Culture and Early American Literature, and as president of the Society of Early Americanists. Wyss earned her Ph.D. and M.A. at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and her B.A. at Hamilton College.

Wyss said that Trinity’s English Department has impressed her with its collegiality and the scholarship that its faculty produces. “It feels like a real honor to be part of such a dynamic group of people,” she said. “In addition, of course, the students at Trinity are great, and I look forward to working with them and to exploring the interdisciplinary potential of the American Studies Program and the English Department.”

Her teaching is guided by the idea that bringing forward materials by underrepresented figures complicates and enriches our understanding of American literature. At Trinity, Wyss will teach “Introduction to Literary Studies,” “Early American Women’s Literature,” and courses on Native American literature.


For a complete list of the faculty members joining Trinity College this fall, please click here.