Stellar Scholars

A sampling of recent honors and accolades received by UC Santa Barbara faculty

Cultural anthropologist Jeffrey Hoelle has been selected to direct the Fulbright Program’s new $1 million Amazonia Initiative, with Carlos Valério Aguiar Gomes, of the Federal University of Pará, Brazil. Hoelle and Aguiar Gomes will lead a collaborative group of 16 Amazonian scholars from the U.S., Brazil and seven other Amazonian nations to address key research and policy questions for the Amazon Basin, including how to support the integrity of the basin’s ecosystems and the well-being of its communities.   



For his steadfast scholarship spanning four decades, Professor Richard Durán of the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education has been elected to the National Academy of Education (NAEd). Fewer than 300 professors worldwide are members of the prestigious association, selected on the basis of outstanding scholarship related to education. Durán’s research focuses on literacy and learning for people of varied language and cultural backgrounds, with an eye toward improved instruction and academic outcomes. He joins only one other UC Santa Barbara professor in the NAEd, Professor Emeritus Russell Rumberger.



Bringing a high-octane adaptation of Charles Dickens’ famous “prince of thieves” to the screen, James McNamara, a lecturer in film and media studies, has started production on the Disney+ series “The Artful Dodger.” McNamara is the co-creator and showrunner of the character drama that takes place 15 years on from the events of “Oliver Twist” and is set in the frontier colonies of 1850s Australia.



With a recently awarded $1.5 million National Institutes of Health Director’s New Innovator Award, Michael Beyeler, assistant professor of computer science and psychological and brain sciences, aims to bring to the mainstream an AI-powered bionic eye that can generate artificial vision. The five-year grant is given to exceptionally creative early-career scientists to push the boundaries of biomedical science.



João Pedro Oliveira, professor and Corwin Chair of Composition, was honored in the audiovisual category at the MA/IN festival for his piece “Coalescence.” The international festival — held annually in south Italy — celebrates innovations in electroacoustic music and digital art. Originally from Portugal, Oliveira uses his music to explore the interaction between acoustic instruments and electronic sounds as well as the relationship between sound and images. Rodney Duplessis Ph.D. ’22, a composition alumnus, and current Ph.D. candidate Dariush Derakhshani, also were honored at MA/IN.

Fall / Winter 2022


Researcher holding a piece of custom made material for quantum research

Research Highlights

Dawn Wright in the sub

The Weight of Water

Circle of legos

Circular Thinking