Three Black Women Join the Faculty at Wesleyan University in Connecticut as Assistant Professors

Wesleyan University, the highly rated liberal arts educational institution in Middletown Connecticut, has announced that there are 16 new tenure or tenure-track faculty on campus this fall. Three of the new faculty members are Black women.

Kaisha Esty is a new assistant professor of African American studies. Her current manuscript project, A Crusade Against the Despoiler of Virtue: Black Women and the Struggle for Sexual Sovereignty, 1840-1920, examines “feminine virtue” in African American women’s meanings of freedom. A native of London, Dr. Esty earned a bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree in American studies from the University of Nottingham. She holds a Ph.D. from Rutgers University in New Jersey.

Laverne Melón was hired as an assistant professor of biology. Her research has focused on women and binge drinking, the effects of stress on female infertility, and neurophysiological mechanisms linking postpartum depression and adaptation in stress signaling during peripartum periods. Dr. Melón is a graduate of Middlebury College in Vermont, where she majored in neuroscience. She holds master’s degree in behavioral neuroscience from Binghamton University in New York, and a Ph.D in addiction neuroscience from Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Chinwe Ezinna Oriji joined the faculty as an assistant professor of sociology. Her research is focused on on race, racialization, Nigerian studies, Western imperialism and immigration, Black feminism and anti-Black capitalism. Her book manuscript tentatively titled Black African Flight charts how colonial capitalism and oil imperialism impact internal migratory flight in Nigeria and to the U.S. Dr. Oriji is a graduate of Rutgers University in New Jerey. She earned a master’s degree at the University of Cambridge in England and a Ph.D. in African and African diaspora studies at the University of Texas at Austin.


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