UVA Darden Welcomes 12 New Professors Ahead of 2022-23 Academic Year

23 August 2022

By Dave Hendrick

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business welcomed 12 new faculty members ahead of the 2022-23 academic year. The newest additions to the world’s best business school faculty will bolster existing areas of strength and break new ground, notably with the addition of the first-ever Bodily Bicentennial Professor in Analytics.

The new professors at Darden include:

es-Alexander headshotLes Alexander, who will work in the Finance and Strategy, Ethics & Entrepreneurship areas as a professor of practice and the John Glynn Professor in Venture Capital. Alexander has extensive professional experience in investment banking, venture capital and private equity. He was a professor of practice at the Freeman School of Business at Tulane University where he taught classes on venture capital and private equity, investment banking, advanced financial management and entrepreneurial finance. Alexander earned his undergraduate degree from the UVA McIntire School of Commerce (where he lived on the Lawn), and his MBA from the University of North Carolina.

Ian Appel headshotIan Appel, who is joining the Finance area as an associate professor. His main area of interest is empirical corporate finance. His recent work studies different types of institutional investors (e.g., index funds, activist hedge funds), corporate environmental behaviors, and governance in decentralized finance. He has won several awards for his research, including the 2021 Brattle Group Prize Distinguished Paper from the Journal of Finance. His research has been featured by various media outlets, including The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and Harvard Business Review. Prior to joining Darden, Appel held positions at Georgetown University and Boston College. He earned an MS and Ph.D. in finance from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Lily Ellis headshotLillien Ellis, who is joining the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area as an assistant professor. Her research interests are idea theft, creativity and innovation, entrepreneurship, and social dynamics in corporate knowledge work. Ellis is coming from the ILR School at Cornell University, where she received a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior.

Serena Hagerty headshotSerena Hagerty, who will be a member of the Marketing area as an assistant professor. Her research focuses on the social consequences of economic inequality that determine what is permissible to buy or sell at either end of the wealth distribution. Hagerty was a Stone Ph.D. Scholar in inequality and wealth concentration at the Harvard Kennedy School. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Harvard College and her Ph.D. in marketing from Harvard Business School.

Lauren Kaufmann headshotLauren Kaufmann, who is joining the Strategy, Ethics and Entrepreneurship area and will be teaching ethics as an Assistant Professor. Kaufmann’s research is in the area of behavioral ethics, social impact, and impact investing.  She was the inaugural doctoral fellow at the Wharton Social Impact Initiative. Kaufmann received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Pennsylvania, a master’s degree from the London School of Economics, and her Ph.D. in business ethics from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

Matt McBrady headshotMatt McBrady, who is transitioning to a full-time appointment in the Finance area as a professor of practice in business administration. McBrady returns to academia following a career as an investor, both independently and with hedge funds and private equity. He has also been a successful entrepreneur, establishing two companies that went public. McBrady earned his bachelor’s degree from Harvard College, a master’s degree from Oxford, and a Ph.D. in business economics from Harvard University.

Anthony Polumba headshotAnthony Palomba, who has transitioned from a visiting appointment to joining the Communication area as an assistant professor. Palomba’s teaching focuses on how business professionals can present data results and actionable insights to key stakeholders through storytelling.  His research focuses on how and why audiences consume entertainment, and he strives to understand how consumer behavior models can be built to predict consumptions patterns.  He received his bachelor’s degree from Manhattanville College, master’s degree from Syracuse University and Ph.D. in mass communications from the University of Florida.

Melanie Prengler headshotMelanie Prengler, who will be a member of the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area as an assistant professor. Prengler’s research interests focus on diversity, work arrangements and allyship.  She earned her Ph.D. from the Mays Business School at Texas A&M University, master’s in counseling from Sam Houston State University and bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University.

Eric Siegel headshotEric Siegel, who is the inaugural Bodily Bicentennial Professor in Analytics joining Darden as a visiting scholar. Siegel will be in residence periodically at Darden and will focus his attention on writing, industry research and curriculum development. In this role, he will share his expertise as a consultant and professor who bridges the business and tech sides of machine learning. Siegel earned his bachelor’s degree from Brandeis University and his master’s degree and Ph.D. in computer science from Columbia University.

Bo Sun headshotBo Sun, who is joining the Global Economies and Markets area as an associate professor after working at the Federal Reserve as a principal economist. Sun’s research focuses on contracting and asset pricing implications of information frictions. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Peking University, and her master’s degree and Ph.D. in economics from the University of Virginia.

Ayana Younge headshotAyana Younge, who will be an assistant professor in the Leadership and Organizational Behavior area. Her research interests are emotions (e.g., gratitude), social hierarchy, and their impact in interpersonal relationships at work. Younge was a postdoctoral research associate and the behavioral lab manager at the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School, where she also earned her M.S. and Ph.D. in organizational behavior. She received her B.A. and M.A. from California State University, Los Angeles.

Zhihao Zhang headshotZhihao Zhang, who is joining the Marketing area as an Assistant Professor. He has been a postdoctoral scholar at the UC Berkeley Haas School of Business. Zhang’s research draws upon cognitive neuroscience and data science to study consumer behavior. His research agenda focuses on understanding the cognitive and computational mechanisms by which memory and knowledge shape decisions. Zhang earned his bachelor’s degree from Tsinghua University, and his master’s degree and Ph.D. from Yale University in neuroscience.


About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business prepares responsible global leaders through unparalleled transformational learning experiences. Darden’s graduate degree programs (MBA, MSBA and Ph.D.) and Executive Education & Lifelong Learning programs offered by the Darden School Foundation set the stage for a lifetime of career advancement and impact. Darden’s top-ranked faculty, renowned for teaching excellence, inspires and shapes modern business leadership worldwide through research, thought leadership and business publishing. Darden has Grounds in Charlottesville, Virginia, and the Washington, D.C., area and a global community that includes 18,000 alumni in 90 countries. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


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