New faculty, staff bring many talents
Yvonne Chiu Hays &Steven Schultz
The fall marks a new beginning not only for students, but for some faculty and staff as well.
Some 170 people have joined the University community in the last few months. Here are a few of the new faces on campus:
Kastner is a specialist in the neurobiology of visual perception. Her research seeks to uncover the mechanisms our brain uses to pay attention to a specific object and disregard others in a cluttered field of view.
"How do we filter out all the distracting information we are confronted with? That question is related to our everyday life experience, but it is also very relevant to some patient groups," she said, noting that disorders such as schizophrenia and attention deficit disorder are characterized by loss of ability to focus attention. "This may be a very basic mechanism that fails in certain diseases."
Kastner specializes in addressing questions that cross between medicine and basic research. She earned an M.D. degree in 1993 from Heinrich-Heine University in Dusseldorf, Germany, and a Ph.D. degree in 1994 from Georg-August University in Gottingen. She was a research fellow at the Max-Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry from 1994 to 1995, then joined the faculty of the University of Gottingen Medical School. For the last four years, she held research positions at the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health.
Kastner will be affiliated with the University's newly established Center for the Study of Brain, Mind and Behavior. The center is installing a powerful brain-scanning device, called fMRI, which is critical for research such as Kastner's. The availability of this device, usually found in medical schools rather than academic departments, was attractive to Kastner in her decision to come to Princeton.
She also looks forward to returning to "a truly academic position and atmosphere" after being focused solely on research. "I enjoy teaching and interacting with students and having responsibilities beyond my research," she said.
"Many of the issues in law that I was most interested in are, at an abstract level, at the heart of my philosophical work as well, " he said.
He started in math and logic as an undergraduate, then went on to law school. After earning his law degree and spending a year as a Fulbright Scholar in Sweden, Greenberg worked as a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who was then a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit.
In 1987, he left for Oxford University as a Marshall Scholar to pursue graduate work in philosophy. A summer stint as a litigation associate in Boston for Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz gave him a short respite from those studies. After he received a graduate degree in philosophy from Oxford in 1990, he taught law and philosophy there while working on his doctorate.
In 1994, Greenberg made another interim appearance as a lawyer. He took a leave of absence from Oxford to work in the U.S. Department of Justice, where he was appointed a deputy assistant attorney general and specialized in constitutional and criminal law. During the same period, he worked as a federal prosecutor, investigating and prosecuting both white collar and violent crime.
This summer, he wrapped up his philosophy dissertation, "Thoughts Without Masters: Incomplete Understanding and the Content of Mind," which he plans to turn into a book for Oxford University Press. He is teaching his first Princeton class, a graduate philosophy seminar on the nature of thought, this fall. His research interests span philosophy of mind, cognitive science, metaphysics and moral philosophy.
"I think it was a terrific luxury that, while working in philosophy, I was able to take time out to have a fascinating, practical interlude as a prosecutor and policy official," Greenberg said. "It's been great, but I'm pleased to be settling down to teach and to write."
"I was always interested in sports," she said. "In college, I didn't compete in sports but I still wanted to be involved in athletics. I didn't even know Coe (College in Cedar Rapids, Iowa) had an athletic training program until the middle of my freshman year, and then I got really interested."
After obtaining her master's degree in athletic training from the University of Tennessee-Chattanooga, Gratias (pronounced gracious) spent a year working with athletes at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs. Every three months, she rotated through different teams, which included judo, tae kwon do, men's gymnastics, short track speed skating and wrestling.
At Princeton, she will work with sprint football, women's ice hockey and men's and women's volleyball teams.
Her duties will go far beyond taping players' ankles. As someone who has worked on rehabilitation programs for two U.S. Olympic skiers, Gratias is trained to take full charge of an individual's wellbeing and physical workouts. Her experience includes providing preventative care, treating injuries, making orthotics, evaluating fitness and formulating programs to enhance competitive performance.