Bowles Hall Live-In Faculty
Our residential college experience is guided by a professional team that lives in-residence alongside students. Working closely with the Bowles Hall Foundation Board of Directors as well as an active alumni group, this leadership group guides residents towards achieving success both on and off campus – staying on track academically, promoting readiness for advanced studies and/or careers, and becoming meaningful contributors to society.
Gasper Begus, PhD
Prof. Gasper Begus has been the College Principal of Bowles Hall since January 2022. He is an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at UC Berkeley, where he also directs the Berkeley Speech and Computation Lab. He received his undergraduate education at the University of Ljubljana and graduated with a Ph.D. from Harvard. Before coming to Berkeley, he was an Assistant Professor of Linguistics at the University of Washington. His research combines machine learning, cognitive science, and linguistics to answer two major questions: how neural networks learn internal representations and how humans learn to speak. Prof. Begus is also a historical linguist and Indo-Europeanist and has done research on languages such as Vedic Sanskrit, Austronesian languages, and languages of the Caucasus.
Prof. Begus is dedicated to creating supportive and welcoming communities and comes to Bowles Hall with years of experience in residential colleges. At Harvard, he served as Resident Tutor in Mather House, one of Harvard's twelve residential colleges. In his leadership role as a Sophomore Advising Coordinator, he led training for advisers, consulted with university administration, and co-coordinated a pilot project to welcome incoming sophomore students into the house community that later became a model for other houses at Harvard. As a Fellowships Tutor, he advised undergraduate students on applications to post-graduate fellowships (Rhodes, Marshall, Fulbright).
As our College Principal Prof. Begus serves as our foremost academic leader, working to ensure the successful implementation of a wide array of programs and services that support the College in fulfilling its goals, including enrichment programs, traditions and resident self-government. Serving as our official representative to the University’s Administration and Academic Senate, he also plays a key role in identifying and hosting guest speakers and visitors who may have temporary residence in the Hall.
He loves to make up fairy tales for his kids and to bake very complicated things. He also likes to study old dead languages (Tocharian, Luwian, Avestan) and spend time on his grandpa’s remote farm in Slovenian hills.
Prof. Begus resides in Bowles with his spouse Nina Begus and their three sons. Nina is a ToftH senior researcher and will start as a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley in July 2022. She graduated from Harvard with a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature, where she also served as a Consent Advocate and Relationship Educator for Mather House and did programming for first gen students. Her work focuses on the intersection of philosophy, literature, and cutting-edge technologies and ranges from academic research to consulting.
Antje Postema, PhD
Dean of Students
Dr Antje Postema has been at Bowles since January 2019. As Dean of Students, her primary purview is academic advising and programing, as well as career guidance. She also heads up alumni outreach with the aim of bringing together Bowlesfolk from all eras. Dr Postema is an active presence in the Hall, sharing meals with residents, accompanying them on trips into SF, and mentoring them through the challenges they face as Cal students and young adults.
On campus, Dr Postema is a Lecturer in the Department of Slavic Languages and Literatures, where she teaches all levels of Bosnian/Croatian/Serbian language, as well as courses on Yugoslav literature, graphic novels, childhood in literature, and émigré writing. Dr Postema grew up in Tokyo, Japan. Before joining the faculty at Cal, she received her BA and PhD from the University of Chicago. Dr Postema’s research focuses on representations of traumatic memory in Southeast European literature, film, and public spheres. She conducts annual field research in Bosnia and Serbia and is currently completing a book on postwar Bosnian memory cultures. Dr Postema’s work has been supported by a number of grants and fellowships, including a Fulbright-Hays fellowship and several US Department of State and Department of Education grants.
Dr Postema is a voracious reader and a podcast fanatic. She loves hiking and exploring her new home state of California with her fiancé, Gerry. You will invariably see Dr Postema zipping around on her bike, usually with a full cup of coffee balanced on her handlebars.
Astha Agarwal (she/her) joined Bowles Hall as Program Director in July 2022. As Program Director, Astha collaborates with student committees to plan and facilitate exciting programming and events for the Hall. Astha is a doctoral student in School Psychology at the Berkeley School of Education and a Graduate Student Researcher for the California Child Welfare Indicators Project. Astha’s graduate research is focused on expanding access to higher education for former foster youth. Astha grew up in Newton, Massachusetts and earned a BA in Psychology and Economics at McGill University in Montreal, Canada before moving to the Bay Area to begin her studies at Cal in 2019. At McGill University, Astha worked for two years as a Floor Fellow in Residence Life, facilitating programming and providing support to first-year students living in student residences.
Outside of school, Astha works as an advocate for survivors of domestic violence in the Bay Area. In her free time, you can usually find Astha grabbing boba at Asha Tea House on University Ave or hiking one of the many trails around Berkeley.