Queens College Names Kate Pechenkina as Dean of Social Sciences

— A physical anthropologist, bioarchaeologist, scholar of human epidemiology, and specialist on ancient China, she will advocate for diverse social sciences –

Flushing, New York, March 24, 2022—President Frank H. Wu has announced the appointment of Kate Pechenkina as dean of the School of Social Sciences. Pechenkina has been serving in this position on an interim basis since July 2020. 

“We are delighted to name Kate Pechenkina as our new dean of social sciences,” says Wu. “With her international outlook, excellence in teaching and scholarship, and interdisciplinary knowledge and research skills, she is the ideal person to represent and bridge the many disciplines included in the School of Social Sciences. She brings very current, socially and scientifically engaged awareness to bear on our 21st-century mission, in accordance with our Strategic Plan.”

Strategic Plan

A principal emphasis in Pechenkina’s research is on how past environmental and cultural changes have shaped human epidemiology. Her research interests include stable isotope reconstruction of past human and animal diets, gender inequality in health, and bone and dental pathology. Since 2004, she has been conducting fieldwork in Henan Province, China, where she excavates at the ancient city of Zhenghan, which served as a capital of Zheng and Han kingdoms during early dynasties. 

“I am truly grateful to President Wu for offering me this appointment,” says Pechenkina. “I am inspired by the opportunity to contribute to the growth of an institution that has been my academic home for almost two decades.” 

Pechenkina co-edited a research anthology, Bioarchaeology of East Asia: Movement, Contact, Health, and has published over two dozen research articles and book chapters.

As interim dean, Pechenkina was instrumental in developing the new Queens College Business School, which was launched on Thursday, March 3. She has been coordinating the 4+1 program in public health with the CUNY Graduate School of Public Heath, supervising the redesign of the pre-law advisory program, and overseeing the faculty diversity enhancement program sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. 

Pechenkina earned a BS in biology and an MS in biology/anthropology from Moscow State University in Russia. She received a PhD in anthropology from the University of Missouri–Columbia in 2002 and shortly after joined the faculty at Queens College and the CUNY Graduate Center, where she currently has the rank of professor. 

Pechenkina’s appointment followed a national search, chaired by Daniel Weinstein, dean of the School of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.

Pechenkina resides in Glen Head, New York.

About Queens College
Queens College produces more education graduates who become principals, teachers, and counselors for the city’s public schools than any other college in the metropolitan area. The college contributes to the local talent pool as a powerful economic engine and a leader in tech education. Students from across the country and around the world are attracted to study at the Aaron Copland School of Music. Its renowned faculty and alumni include nationally recognized composers, conductors, and performers who have received over 100 Grammy Awards and nominations.

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Maria Matteo

Media and College Relations