Queens College announces Kate Pechenkina as dean of the School of Social Sciences

Queens College
Kate Pechenkina, the new dean of School of Social Sciences at Queens College (Photo courtesy of Queens College)

Queens College announced the appointment of Kate Pechenkina as dean of the School of Social Sciences.

Pechenkina has been serving in the position on an interim basis since July 2020. 

“We are delighted to name Kate Pechenkina as our new dean of social sciences,” Queens College President Frank Wu said. “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.”

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

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

“I am truly grateful to President Wu for offering me this appointment,” Pechenkina said. “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. 

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 the capital of Zheng and Han kingdoms during early dynasties. 

Pechenkina earned a B.S. in biology and an M.S. in biology and anthropology from Moscow State University in Russia. She received a Ph.D. 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.