Bennington Welcomes New Faculty for 2023-2024
After extensive searches, the College is thrilled to welcome eight new faculty beginning in Fall 2023 and Spring 2024.
Each is a proven practitioner coming to Bennington with a rich array of projects and research. All have an interest in participating in Bennington’s unique educational model and serving as mentors to Bennington students.
“We are so thrilled to have been successful in recruiting each and every one of these new faculty members, and we can’t wait to welcome them to Bennington,” said Sarah Harris, Dean of Faculty. “As a group of accomplished and skilled teacher-practitioners, they are poised to contribute to Bennington in substantive ways for years to come.”
- Beverly Acha is a New York-based visual artist working in painting, printmaking, and drawing. Her work has been exhibited widely including at El Museo del Barrio and the Albuquerque Museum, and is in the public collections of the Soho House (Austin, TX and Miami, FL), the Allen Memorial Art Museum (Oberlin, OH), and others. Acha is the recipient of many fellowships and residencies and has taught at institutions including Yale School of Art, Oberlin College, and others. She holds an MFA from Yale School of Art and a bachelor’s from Williams College. For more information, visit Acha’s website and faculty profile.
- Tilly Grimes is an award-winning Irish/Greek theater, opera, and film designer based in New York. She received her MFA from New York University Tisch School of the Arts and has been a guest artist and guest designer at many prestigious colleges and universities, including Duke University, University of Rochester, Rutgers University, New York University, Brown-Trinity Graduate program, Fordham University, PPAS in NYC, and Trinity College Dublin. You can see her most recent work in Shucked!, a raucous rural comedy, on Broadway. Visit Grimes’s website or faculty profile for more information.
- Virginia Kelsey is an original member of the critically acclaimed Grammy© Award-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth. She has served as a soloist with several groups, including the Boston Early Music Festival Opera, San Francisco Symphony, and San Francisco Opera among several others and has taught at more than seventy institutions of higher learning, including Princeton University, Yale University, and Williams College. Kelsey received her Bachelor of Music from Manhattan School of Music and a Master’s Degree from the Yale School of Music and Institute of Sacred Music at Yale University. Learn more at Kelsey’s faculty profile or website
Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie
- Darcy Otto is a computer scientist who studies the foundations of computation, artificial intelligence, quantum computing, and AI Ethics. Otto is currently finishing his book, The Promise of Artificial Intelligence and Quantum Computing, where he discusses the limits of computation in the face of emerging technologies. Otto has taught at Quest University and in McMaster University’s prestigious Arts and Science program. His PhD is from McMaster University. He will join the faculty in Spring 2024.
- Caitlin McDonough MacKenzie is a plant ecologist with roots in conservation. Her research draws on natural history, field manipulations, historical ecology, and paleoecology to understand and predict the ecological impacts of climate change on plant communities. Her research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including Ecology, Ecology Letters, Northeastern Naturalist, and many others and funded by the National Science Foundation and others. McDonough MacKenzie received her bachelor’s at Harvard University, master’s at University of Vermont and doctorate at Boston University. She completed postdoctoral work at University of Maine. Visit her website or faculty profile for more information.
- Fortune Ononiwu is an organic chemist. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Covenant University (Nigeria) and a doctorate at Syracuse University, where he conducted research on the synthesis of the platelet aggregating factor inhibitor, phomactin A, and a second synthetic target, the adenylyl cyclase activator, forskolin. More information is available on his faculty profile.
- Mariam Rahmani is a writer and translator. Her fiction and essays have appeared in Granta, Gulf Coast, BOMB Magazine, the Los Angeles Review of Books, The Rumpus. Her first book-length translation of the 2008 Iranian cult hit, In Case of Emergency by Mahsa Mohebali, was on The New Yorker’s Best Books of 2022 list. Rahmani holds a PhD in Comparative Literature from University of California, Los Angeles and an MFA from Columbia University. She is the winner of the 2021 Henfield Prize, a 2018 PEN/Heim translation grant, and a U.S. Fulbright fellowship. More information is available on her website and faculty profile.
- John Umphlett MFA ’99 is a new faculty in sculpture. His work includes installation, video, performance, and drawing. He has shown at Emory Community Art Center/ University of Maine Farmington; Collar Works, Troy, NY; and Vermont Studio Center, Johnson, VT to name a few. Umphlett has also worked with numerous artists, architects, and engineers in New York and around the world as a fabricator and designer. He previously served as the Technical Instructor in Visual Arts at Bennington College from 2000-2023. He received his bachelors of fine arts from Virginia Commonwealth University and his masters of fine arts from Bennington College. Visit his website and faculty profile for more information.