New Faculty: Veronica Montes and David Schaffner
Each week for the next several weeks we'll be highlighting Bryn Mawr's newest faculty members. The College supports faculty excellence in both research and teaching and is committed to social justice and inclusion in the classroom and in the community at large.
I am a sociologist whose main areas of research include: immigration, gender, globalization and Latinos in the U.S. My research uses qualitative methods to investigate household economic strategies in Mexican families, in both sending and receiving migrant communities. Through a grounded nuanced examination of individuals' migratory experiences, my work illuminates broader political and socioeconomic dynamics occurring at local, national, and international levels. Particularly, I examine the role that gender plays in the design and maintenance of these household economies, and how in many cases these household strategies evolve into small-sized ethnic business. In addition to my own research project. I am involved in an ongoing project - sponsored by the USC Center for the Study of Immigrant Integration—aimed at examining the interplay between place, race, and identity in the new South Los Angeles.
My research focuses on measuring and understanding the turbulent nature of hot ionized gases called plasmas. After using strong electrical discharges to form a magnetized hydrogen plasma called a spheromak, I study the resulting fluctuations in magnetic field, density, and velocity of these structures. My main interest lies in comparing the turbulent nature of these laboratory-based plasmas to astrophysically relevant versions such as that found in the solar wind (a plasma ejected by the sun at Mach 10 out into the solar system) or in the magnetosphere (the plasma which surrounds the Earth and is confined by the Earth’s magnetic field). While much of my work will center on the new laboratory to be built at Bryn Mawr, I am also heavily involved with continuing work at Swarthmore College on the Swarthmore Spheromak Experiment (SSX) and at UCLA on the Large Plasma Device (LAPD). I have also been actively forming collaborations with space plasma physicists and have recently begun analyzing data from satellites imbedded within the solar wind and magnetosphere and which directly measure the turbulent properties of these space plasmas. Much of the information gathered from this work has implications on space weather and fusion energy.