Mark LeVine is a professor of history at UCI. Steve Zylius/UCI

Irvine, Calif., April 14, 2020 — Four professors at the University of California, Irvine – historian Mark LeVine, scientist Andrej Lupták, sculptor Jennifer Pastor and journalist Amy Wilentz – have been named 2020 Guggenheim Fellows.

Jennifer Pastor. UCI

The faculty members were among 175 U.S. and Canadian scholars, researchers, artists and writers chosen by the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation from a pool of nearly 3,000 applicants.

“It’s an honor to congratulate UCI’s faculty members being awarded Guggenheim Fellowships for 2020,” said Hal S. Stern, UCI interim provost and executive vice chancellor. “With fields of study ranging from biochemistry and molecular biology to music and culture, fine arts and writing, these scholars exemplify academic excellence and bring great recognition to UCI with their outstanding contributions.”

With the fellowship, LeVine, a professor of history, will supply musical instruments and training to a refugee camp in Africa and produce a study exploring how music functions as a mediator for interpersonal and intercommunal conflict within the camp.

Amy Wilenz. Credit: Paula Goldman

Lupták, a professor of pharmaceutical sciences, chemistry, and molecular biology & biochemistry, plans to work on the discovery and development of RNAs regulated by light.

Pastor, a professor of art whose work has been exhibited in such venues as the Museum of Modern Art in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, will complete a group of sculptures made from parts of a cockfighting pit that was shut down during a federal raid.

Wilentz, a professor of English in UCI’s literary journalism program, intends to write a book about cultural appropriation in art and music in Haiti, France, the U.S. and elsewhere. Noting the coronavirus pandemic, she said, “It’s a strange moment to receive this generous award and contemplate travel, reporting and research. But I feel immensely grateful for the recognition and hopeful about my project and ideas.”

Andrej Lupták

Established in 1925, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation has granted more than $375 million in fellowships to over 18,000 individuals, based on their “prior achievement and exceptional promise.

UCI now has 37 Guggenheim Fellows from various backgrounds and fields of study.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 36,000 students and offers 222 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $5 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit

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