Academics

Fresh faces: Meet a few of the College’s new faculty

These fab five new Tar Heels are among the many talented teachers and researchers who are joining departments within the College of Arts and Sciences this fall.

New faculty joining the College of Arts and Sciences this year include, from left, Senay Yitbarek, Antwain Hunter, Sean Singh Matharoo, Keren He and Maya Shipman, professionally known as Suzi Analogue.
New faculty joining the College of Arts and Sciences this year include, from left, Senay Yitbarek, Antwain Hunter, Sean Singh Matharoo, Keren He and Maya Shipman, professionally known as Suzi Analogue.

What do a hip-hop artist and entrepreneur, a historian and hurler, an Eagle Scout noise musician, a biologist and Noam Chomsky fan and a Chinese lit expert and Oculus quester have in common?

They are all new Tar Heels, just a few of the 54 new permanent faculty members joining the College of Arts and Sciences this fall. Find out more about them below.

Keren He

Keren He

Keren He

Title: Assistant professor in the Asian and Middle Eastern studies department.

Degrees: Doctorate from Stanford University, bachelor’s degree from Renmin University of China.

Came to Carolina from: The University of Pennsylvania, where she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities, and Dickinson College, where she was an assistant professor of East Asian Studies.

Research/area of expertise: Modern Chinese literature and media, aging and suicide studies, gender and sexuality, game studies.

Fun fact: He spoke earlier this year on “Sassy Mother, Naughty Father: Queering Later-Life Desire in Chinese and Sinophone Cinema” in a series organized by the Asian and Middle Eastern studies department.

Interests outside of class: Everything about bunnies, houseplants and Oculus virtual reality headsets.

What I’m looking forward to this fall: Getting to know more Carolina people and touring the restaurants in the Triangle area.

Antwain Hunter

Antwain Hunter

Antwain Hunter (Jon Gardiner/UNC-Chapel Hill)

Title: Assistant professor in the history department.

Degrees: Doctorate from Pennsylvania State University, master’s degree from the University of Connecticut, bachelor’s degree from Westfield State University.

Came to Carolina from: Butler University, where he was an associate professor of history.

Research/area of expertise: Slavery and freedom in North America, with a current focus on North Carolina. Hunter is working on a book on the legal and community dynamics of free and enslaved black North Carolinians’ firearm use in the Colonial and antebellum eras. His next book project will explore Black North Carolinians’ engagement with vice, especially gambling, alcohol and sex work, as understood by antebellum Americans. 

Fun fact: Back in summer 2001, he was on an episode of “Family Feud” with his parents and two of his brothers.

Interests outside of class: Golf, hurling and Gaelic football (two sports from Ireland), travel, kayaking, gardening and spending time with friends and family.

What I’m looking forward to this fall: Getting to know this campus community, particularly the students.

Read Antwain Hunter’s bio.

Sean Singh Matharoo

Sean Singh Matharoo

Sean Singh Matharoo

Title: Assistant professor of French in the Romance studies department.

Degrees: Master’s degree and doctorate in comparative literature (interdisciplinary studies) from University of California, Riverside; bachelor’s degree in English from the University of Florida.

Came to Carolina from: The Carolina Postdoctoral Program for Faculty Diversity.

Research/area of expertise: Environmental humanities, energy futures in speculative fiction, French and post-colonial studies.

Fun fact: Matharoo was an Eagle Scout whose service project was xeriscaping a community garden in his hometown of Inverness, Florida.

Interests outside of class: Making noise music, hiking, playing video games and tennis, and watching cheesy horror movies.

What I’m looking forward to this fall: Working with the undergraduate students at Carolina.

Read Sean Singh Matharoo’s bio.

Maya Shipman, professionally known as Suzi Analogue

Maya Shipman

Maya Shipman

Title: Teaching assistant professor and first full-time hip-hop instructor in the music department.

Accomplishments: Producer, songwriter, composer and creator of Never Normal Records based in Miami, Florida, whose music has found homes on Billboard charts, New York Fashion Week runways, collaborations with Networks like Nickelodeon, Comedy Central, Boiler Room and worldwide radio including BBC.

Came to Carolina from: Performing and teaching workshops on beat making as part of Team Ghana in the Next Level program, a hip-hop diplomacy program founded at Carolina.

Research/area of expertise: Electronic music production.

Fun fact: “I experience synesthesia, a neurological experience that virtually allows me to see sounds. With my synesthesia, I can see the shape, form and direction of many sounds I hear around me. It helps motivate my music journey.”

Interests outside of class: Creating music for TV and film as a recent winner of director/actor Issa Rae’s “Raedio Creator’s Program,” sponsored by Google, that helps to uplift women of color in film and TV music composition.

What I’m looking forward to this fall: Hearing all of the beats my students will be making during our class, developing the University’s first hip-hop ensemble and journeying through the artform of hip-hop.

Read Maya Shipman’s bio.

Senay Yitbarek

Senay Yitbarek

Senay Yitbarek

Title: Assistant professor in the biology department.

Degrees: Master’s degree and doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from the University of Michigan, bachelor’s degree in development studies from University of California, Berkeley.

Came to Carolina from: The University of California, Berkeley, where he was a National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow, to become a Carolina Fellow for Faculty Diversity and U.S. Department of Agriculture National Institute of Food and Agriculture Fellow.

Research/area of expertise: Ecology and evolution of host-microbe interactions.

Fun fact: As an undergraduate, Yitbarek worked with local coffee farmer communities in Brazil to help them benefit from environmentally sound practices.

Interests outside of class: Avant-garde jazz, soccer and books by Noam Chomsky.

What I’m looking forward to this fall: To interact with Carolina’s outstanding students and faculty, enjoy the beautiful fall colors on campus and explore biking trails around the Triangle.

Read Senay Yitbarek’s bio.