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We are immensely grateful for the effort and leadership provided by our Faculty Directors.

Alain Plante

Dr. Alain Plante

Faculty Director, University Scholars

Alain Plante received his Ph.D. in Soil Science from the University of Alberta, in Canada. His research interests lie in the field of terrestrial carbon biogeochemistry, soil science, ecosystem ecology, environmental science and global change. He teaches a large introductory course in environmental science, and courses in soil science, biogeochemistry, and the Anthropocene. As Faculty Director of the University Scholars, Prof. Plante seeks to foster an inclusive and passionate fellowship of undergraduates interested in conducting research in any filed spanning the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences in all of the undergraduate schools. He helps direct programming through the academic year, coordinates the applications process into the program, and the funding of summer research projects.

Plante Lab

Dr. Kimberly Bowes

Faculty Director, Benjamin Franklin Scholars

Kimberly D. Bowes is an American archaeologist and professor of Classical Studies at the University of Pennsylvania. She specializes in archeology, material culture and economics of the Roman and the later Roman world. Bowes obtained her Bachelor of Arts at Williams College in 1992 and a Masters of Arts with distinction from the Courtauld Institute of Art in 1993. She was a visiting fellow at Harvard University in 2001, completed her PhD at Princeton University, and began her career as a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer at Yale University in 2002. Prior to beginning at the University of Pennsylvania in 2010, Bowes taught at Fordham University (2004–2007), Cornell University (2007–2010), and the American Academy in Rome (2012–2014). She has previously served as the director of Integrated Studies Program, a freshman-year intensive liberal arts course for the Benjamin Franklin Scholars at the University of Pennsylvania.

From 2009-2015, Bowes co-directed the Roman Peasant Project in Italy with colleagues. The Project was the first systematic study of the lifestyles and experiences of Roman peasants in Italy, and was supported by the National Science Foundation, the Loeb Foundation and the Penn Museum. The final two-volume publication, The Roman Peasant Project 2009-2015: Excavating the Roman Rural Poor, was published by the Penn Museum and University of Pennsylvania Press in February 2021. She is currently writing a book on poor economics for the Roman empire. Tentatively entitled, Getting by under the Roman Empire: An Economic History of the 90%, the volume offers a critique of growth-centered, top-down models of Roman economic history, and posits in their place a series of household-level studies, grounded in new work in development economics, that interrogate the opportunities and stresses experienced by working people. 

Dr. Bowes' Faculty Page
Dr. Kimberly Bowes
Margo Natalie Crawford

Dr. Margo Natalie Crawford

Faculty Director, Undergraduate Research

Margo Natalie Crawford received her Ph.D. from Yale University's American Studies Program. She is a scholar of 20th and 21st century African American literature and visual culture and global black studies. Crossing boundaries between literature, visual art, and cultural movements, her scholarship opens up new ways of understanding black radical imaginations. Her other research interests include performance studies, comparative ethnic studies, radical feminism, and transnational modernism.

Her most recent book is Black Post-Blackness: The Black Arts Movement and 21st Century Black Aesthetics (University of Illinois Press, 2017). Her earlier work includes Dilution Anxiety and the Black Phallus (2008), New Thoughts on the Black Arts Movement (coedited with Lisa Gail Collins, 2006), and Global Black Consciousness (NKA Journal, Duke University Press, 2018).

Black Post-Blackness compares the black avant-garde of the 1960s and 70s Black Arts movement and some of the most innovative spins of 21st century black aesthetics. Black Arts movement writers and visual artists are compared to a wide range of African American visual artists and writers who are at the forefront of 21st century black aesthetics. She shows that the mood of the 1970s “second wave” of the Black Arts movement is as “black post-black” as the cultural mood of 21st century black aesthetics. 

Her essays appear in a wide range of books and journals, including The Psychic Hold of Slavery, The Trouble With Post-BlacknessWant to Start a Revolution?, The Modernist Party, The Cambridge Companion to American Poetry Post-1945CallalooAmerican LiteratureModern DramaBlack Renaissance Noire, Black CameraPublishing Blackness, and the exhibition catalog for the 2013 AfriCOBRA exhibit at the DuSable Museum. She is on the editorial board of the Society for Textual Scholarship, the James Baldwin Review, and the Wiley Blackwell Anthology of African American Literature.

She is now completing What is African American Literature? Through a focus on textual production, diasporic tensions, and the ongoing, repetitive production of the contemporary, What is African American Literature? shows how tensions between the material and ephemeral make the textual production of African American literature become the textual production of black affect.

Dr. Crawford's Faculty Page

Dr. Sarah Kagan

Faculty Director, Fellowships

Sarah H. Kagan is the Lucy Walker Honorary Term Professor of Gerontological Nursing at Penn and Gerontological Clinical Nurse Specialist in the Joan Karnell Supportive Care Program for the Abramson Cancer Center at the Pennsylvania Hospital. She holds several international appointments in Nursing and in Public Health, in countries spanning Europe to Asia. These appointments, like her primary appointments at the University of Pennsylvania entail analysis and synthesis of considerations for aged populations, health and well-being in later life, and improving clinical practice in health and social care to the benefit of older people and their families. Professor Kagan is Editor in Chief of the International Journal of Older People Nursing. She serves on the Editorial Boards of four other journals – Cancer Nursing, Cancer Care Research Online, Geriatric Nursing, and Research in Gerontological Nursing. Professor Kagan’s education and training includes a Bachelor of Arts in Behavioral Science from the University of Chicago, a Bachelor of Science degree in Nursing from Rush University, and a Master of Science degree in Gerontological Nursing and a PhD from the University of California San Francisco. Since arriving at the University of Pennsylvania over two decades ago, Professor Kagan has focused her scholarship on undergraduate nursing education, care of older people, and qualitative research. She currently directs the University of Pennsylvania Benjamin Franklin Scholars in Nursing Program and two clinically-based undergraduate international exchange programs in nursing – one in the United Kingdom and one in Australia. In addition, Professor Kagan teaches virtually for the University of Pennsylvania in partnership with the University of Hong Kong focusing on comparative elder care and in a multinational nursing and midwifery exchange focused the Climate Crisis to achieve healthy climate. Professor Kagan maintains an active program of clinical scholarship and practice in Gero-Oncology nursing - a term she introduced into the literature in 2004. Her practice serves as a wellspring for her clinical scholarship and pedagogy as well as anchoring her understanding of the clinician-patient relationship and provision nursing care that is centered on the person and family. Commentators acknowledge Professor Kagan’s nationally and internationally as innovative, sophisticated, and clinically relevant. She is a fellow of the Gerontological Society of America and the American Academy of Nursing. Among the awards she has received for her practice, research, and teaching are the Sigma Theta Tau International Founders Award for Excellence in Nursing Practice. Professor Kagan was named a John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Fellow in October 2003 and received an Honorary Doctor of Science degree from Oxford Brookes University in June 2013.

Dr. Kagan's Faculty Page
Dr. Sarah Kagan