New Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty 2018
Meredith Bagwell-Gray, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, was most recently a Postdoctoral Scholar for the Office of Gender-Based Violence in the School of Social Welfare at Arizona State University. She received her Ph.D. from Arizona State University School of Social Work and is a licensed Master Social Worker through the State of Arizona Board of Behavioral Health Examiners. Her research focuses on prevention, intervention, and treatment for domestic violence and sexual assault, specifically pertaining to women's sexual health.
Betsy Barnhart, Assistant Professor of Design, was most recently an Assistant Professor of Industrial Design at Iowa State University. Betsy received her Master of Fine Arts in Industrial Design at Rochester Institute of Technology in Rochester, New York. Her research interests focused on building and hosting Lecture Series for emerging designers in an effort to create dialogue about gender equality in Public Design, and she also conducted weekly Skype Studio Tours of professionals in practice to provide a broader range of mentorship opportunities for students in rural Iowa.
Steven Bloom, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, was recently the Head Teaching Assistant for Advanced Organic Synthesis at John Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland. He also received his Ph.D. from John Hopkins in Organic Chemistry. Steven is a Postdoctoral Research in the Department of Chemistry at Princeton University, and his research deals with the use of photoredox catalysis for the construction of medicinally relevant products.
Zarko Boskovic, Assistant Professor of Medicinal Chemistry, was most recently a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Broad Institute of MIT and Harvard. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests focus on the synthesis of bioactive molecules and the study of their mechanism of action.
Brian Boyd, Director of the Juniper Gardens Children’s Project, Assistant Scientist, and Associate Professor in Applied Behavioral Science, was most recently an Associate Professor for the Department of Allied Health Sciences within the Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy at the University of North Carolina. He earned his Ph.D. in Special Education at the University of Florida and was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, specializing in autism. The central focus of Dr. Boyd’s research is on the development and evaluation of behavioral interventions for individuals with autism spectrum disorders.
Andrea Brookfield, Assistant Professor in Resource Management in the Department of Geography and Atmospheric Sciences, was recently an Assistant Scientist for the Kansas Geological Survey at the University of Kansas. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Waterloo in the Department of Earth Sciences. Her research interests lie within the development and use of efficient yet effective numerical tools for water resource management.
Paul Cazeaux, Adams Assistant Professor of Mathematics, was most recently a Postdoctorate in the School of Mathematics at the University of Minnesota. He earned his Ph.D. in Applied Mathematics at the Université Pierre et Marie Curie in Paris VI. He has a wide range of research interests that span from numerical analysis, to partial differential equations, to the scientific computations of algorithms and direct numerical simulations.
Gjergji Cici, Associate Professor of Finance, was recently an Associate Professor of Finance at William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He also held the Thomas L. Owen Professorship in Finance at William & Mary. He received his Ph.D. in Finance from the University of Minnesota. His research studies the behavior and incentives of large institutional investors and security analysts in the financial markets.
Ryan Clifford, Assistant Professor of Design, was most recently an Assistant Professor of Graphic Design at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa. He received his Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design at Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, Maryland.
Crystal Coles, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, was most recently an Assistant Professor of Social Work at Eastern Michigan University in Ypsilanti, Michigan. She earned her Ph.D. in Social Work at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, Virginia. Her research focuses on child welfare and the intersection of the African-American/Black diaspora through the lens of health disparities in rural and urban communities.
Hannah Collins, Assistant Professor of Music, most recently was a Graduate Teaching Fellow at Queens College in Queens, New York and she is a cellist in the New Morse Code, a duo that advocates for contemporary music and interdisciplinary collaboration. She is working towards her DMA at City University of New York and her latest album in production is Simplicity Itself.
Drew Davidson, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, is a Founding Engineer and Principal Investigator at Tala Security, a Silicon Valley start-up company that focuses on the automatic creation and enforcement of security policies for the web. He received his Ph.D. in Computer Science at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and his research focuses on computer security and privacy.
Meghan Davidson, Assistant Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing, most recently was a Postdoctoral Fellow for the Callier Center for Communication Disorders at the University of Texas at Dallas. She earned her Ph.D. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, with her research interesting dealing in spoken and written language comprehension, particularly in children with autism spectrum disorder.
Dan Dixon, Associate Professor in Cancer Biology for Molecular Biosciences, is the Co-Leader of the Cancer Prevention and Survivorship Program at the University of Kansas Cancer center. Most recently he was an Associate Professor in the Department of Cancer Biology and the Molecular & Integrative Physiology at the University of Kansas Medical Center. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry.
Shima Fardad, Assistant Professor of Metamaterials & Nano-photonics in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, most recently was a Research Associate at the University of Kansas, ITTC. She was also a Postdoctoral Researcher at KU. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Central Florida in the College of Optics and Photonics. Her research focuses on soft-matter photonics.
Tera Fazzino, Assistant Professor of Psychology, recently was the NIH Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award recipient and Postdoctoral Fellow at the University of Kansas Medical Center in the Department of Preventative Medicine and Public Health. She earned her Ph.D. in Experimental Psychology with a research focus on Clinical Health in the Human Behavioral Psychopharmacology Cluster at the University of Vermont in Burlington, Vermont. Her most recent research focused on heavy alcohol use and obesity in young adults.
Anthony Fehr, Assistant Professor in Infectious Diseases in the Department of Molecular Biosciences, most recently was a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Laboratory of Stanley Perlman in the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at the University of Iowa, in Iowa City, Iowa. He earned his Ph.D. from Washington University in the Molecular Microbiology Department. Dr. Fehr’s research examines coronavirus replication and pathogenesis.
Teri Finneman, Assistant Professor of News / Multimedia Journalism in the School of Journalism, most recently was an Assistant Professor at South Dakota State University who taught courses on social media writing, the history of journalism, and online women in the media. She received her Ph.D. in Journalism from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She studies the press portrayals of women in politics and first ladies as well as journalism history and ethics.
Zak Foste, Assistant Professor of Educational Leadership & Policy Studies, was recently Postdoctoral Researcher and Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Department of Higher Education & Student Affairs at Ohio State University. He also received his Ph.D. in Higher Education & Student Affairs at Ohio State University. His research looks at how college students with dominant social identities come to think about matters of power and privilege in increasingly complex ways.
Arpita Ghosh, Assistant Professor of Counseling Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology, most recently was an Advanced Fellow in Women’s Health at the William S. Middleton Memorial Veterans Hospital and she was also an Honorary Fellow at the Center for Women’s Health Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She conducted an independent research study aimed at developing a new conceptual model to understand veteran’s post-military transition. She earned her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology, specializing in Counseling Psychology, from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Her research broadly centers on the realm of vocational psychology, focusing specifically on Veterans' academic and career development.
John Gluckman, Assistant Professor of Linguistics, more recently was an Instructor at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). He received his Ph.D. in Linguistics from UCLA. His central research interests are on African languages, particularly in East Africa.
Omar Gudino, Associate Professor of Clinical Child Psychology in the Department of Applied Behavioral Sciences (.50) and Psychology (.50), most recently was an Assistant Professor in the Child Clinical Area in the Department of Psychology at the University of Denver in Denver, Colorado. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles. His research interests are focused on racial/ethnic disparities in children's mental health services and risk/resilience for youth exposed to violence.
Jean Hall, Professor (.50FTE) of Applied Behavioral Science and Senior Scientist (.50FTE) of the Life Span Institute, more recently was a Professor in the Department of Health Policy & Management at the University of Kansas Medical Center. She received her Ph.D. in Disability Studies from the University of Kansas. Currently, Dr. Hall is conducting research on health care policy for people with disabilities and its effects on their employment and participation in the community.
Amy Hansen, Assistant Professor of Water Resources for the Department of Civil, Environments, and Architectural Engineering, recently was a Research Associate at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory at the University of Minnesota. As a Research Associate, Dr. Hansen was conducting research for a grant to assess the basin-wide ecological and economic implications of modifying hydrologic connectivity of wetlands to enhance nitrate retention. She received her Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on the ecohydrology of wetlands and river networks in human-impacted ecosystems, where she then investigates the linkages between streamflow, biota and water chemistry that could be leveraged to improve water quality.
Moretza Hashemi, Assistant Professor of Communication Systems in the Department of Electrical Engineering & Computer Sciences, most recently was a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Computer Science and Engineering at Ohio State University and a Postdoctoral Researcher. He earned his Ph.D. from Boston University in Electrical and Computer Engineering. His research interests span from the broad areas of communications systems, real-time data networking, control, learning, and cyber-physical systems.
Mesha Hayes, Resident Librarian for Undergraduate Engagement in the KU Libraries, is passionate about connecting people with resources and providing access to information. She earned her Master of Science from the University of Michigan School of Information and has a BA in English Language and Literature from Creighton University. Her research interests include historical and contemporary library services and programs offered to diverse and/or underserved populations.
Mei He, Assistant Professor Chemical & Petroleum Engineering (.50) and Chemistry (.50), most recently was an Assistant Professor in Biological Engineering at Kansas State University. She received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Alberta in Canada. Dr. He has worked to develop a combination of 3D cell culture and bioprinting, 3D microfabrication of nano-biomaterials, biomedical microfluidic devices and sensing approaches, for designing, programming and monitoring biomimetic immunity, associated with extracellular vesicles-based communications. The long-standing interest is to understand immunity communication and delivery for translating into novel therapeutics and immunotherapy treatments against cancer and infectious diseases.
Ashley Herda, Assistant Professor of Health, Sport, & Exercise Sciences, is the Program Director for the Undergraduate Exercise Science Program at the University of Kansas’ Edwards and Lawrence campuses. She also is the Academic Program Associate/ Lecturer in the Department of Health, Sport, & Exercise Sciences at the University of Kansas Edwards Campus. She received her Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology-Health and Exercise Science from the University of Oklahoma-Norman in Norman, Oklahoma. Her research interests include the investigation of the effects of nutritional supplements and/or exercise interventions on performance and body composition in men and women across the lifespan.
Cynthia Hunter, Assistant Professor of Speech-Language-Hearing, most recently was a Postdoctoral Fellow (NIH/NCATS) for the Indiana Clinical and Translational Sciences Institute. She received her Ph.D. in Psychology from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Her current research interest is about the role of cognition in spoken language processing, particularly in terms of listening effort and fatigue in people with hearing loss.
Admin Husic, Assistant Professor of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, most recently was a Graduate Research Assistant in the Hydrosystems Lab at the University of Kentucky. He was also a Graduate Mentor and teacher at his University. He received his Ph.D. in Civil Engineering from the University of Kentucky. His research interests focus on how sediment, carbon, and nitrogen transform as they move downstream.
Justin Hutchison, Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering, most recently was a Graduate Research Assistant and Advisor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in Environmental Engineering. His research focuses on the development of novel protein-based technologies to address micropollutant contamination in drinking water.
Drew Isenberg, Distinguished Professor of History and the Hall Chair in American History, most recently was a Professor of History at Temple University. He received his Ph.D. in History from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. His research focuses on environmental history of the nineteenth-century American West.
Sarah Jen, Assistant Professor of Social Welfare, most recently was an In-Home Caregiver providing companionship and assistance to older adults living with dementia at Home Instead Senior Care. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in Social Welfare. Her research focuses on the experience of sexuality and sexual identity in later life, particularly among older women and LGTBQ-identified individuals.
Allison Kirkpatrick, Assistant Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics. She enjoys measuring how the growth of supermassive black holes impacts their host galaxies throughout the history of the universe. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts.
Marcy Lascano, Professor in Philosophy. She enjoys working on the metaphysical and moral views of 17th and 18th century women philosophers. She received her Ph.D. From the University of Mass-Amherst.
Shaobo Li, Assistant Professor in Business Analytics. He enjoys business analytics, statistics, and machine learning. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati.
Araceli Masterson-Algar Assistant Professor in 20th/21st Century Latin American Literature. She enjoys human mobility, urban cultural studies and received her Ph.D. from the University of Arizona.
Robert McDonald, Assistant Professor in Communication Studies. He employs contemporary rhetorical theory and the work of psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan to study representations of economics in popular and political culture and received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Joel Mendez, Acting Assistant Professor in Urban Planning and Public Affairs. He received his Ph.D. from Florida State University.
Lauren Min, Assistant Professor in Marketing. Lauren received her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado-Boulder. Her research focuses on the affective, cognitive, and motivational processes underlying consumer behavior.
Matthew Moore, Assistant Professor in Computer Science. Matthew received his Ph.D. from the University of Colorado. Most recently, he was a visiting researcher at the Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic. Matthew’s current research interest lie in the intersection of foundational computer science and mathematics -- the Constraint Satisfaction Problem, Universal Algebra, Logic, and complexity.
Matthew enjoys cycling, reading, listening to music, and travelling.
Kevin Mullinix, Assistant Professor in Political Science. He received his Ph.D. from Northwestern University. His areas of research include public opinion and public policy in American politics. Most recently, he was an Assistant Professor at Appalachian State University.
Christopher Niileksela, Assistant Professor in Educational Psychology. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. Most recently, Chris worked as a Licensed Psychologist for the Midwest Neuroeducational Services. His research includes the assessment of cognitive and academic skills, especially as it relates to the identification of individuals with learning disabilities.
Chenyun Pan, Assistant Professor in Computer Engineering. He received his Ph.D. from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Most recently, he served as a Research Engineer at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta, GA. His research interests including designing and optimizing VLSI systems using beyond-CMOS technologies.
Hannah Park, Assistant Professor in the School of Architecture and Design, most recently was an Assistant Professor of Communication Design at Texas State University, San Marcos. She currently is an Independent Consultant for the Texas International Education Consortium. She received her MDes from York University in Toronto, Canada. Her research interests include design, design thinking, service learning, social design, UIUX, service design, healthcare, and mental health.
Hartwin Peelaers, Assistant Professor in Condensed Matter, most recently was an Associate Specialist at the University of California, Santa Barbara. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Antwerp in Science and Physics. His research uses advanced atomic-scale simulations of materials to understand, improve, and design the next generation of device materials.
Cameron Piercy, Assistant Professor in Communication Studies, most recently served as an Assistant Professor of Business Communication at the University of Central Missouri. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma in Communication. His research focuses on how social networks change through the use of technology, especially in organizational contexts.
Kevin Pisciotta Assistant Professor of Finance, more recently was a Teaching Assistant at Pennsylvania State University. He received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University in Business Administration with a Finance concentration. His research interests include empirical corporate finance, consequences to equity financing, and information intermediaries.
Tim Pleskac, Professor of Psychology, most recently was the Senior Research Scientist for the Center for Adaptive Rationality. He received his Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. He studies how people make judgments and decisions, how these processes shape behavior at the individual, group, and organizational level, and how to help people make better judgments and decisions.
Markus Potter, Assistant Professor in Dance and Theatre, is the Founding Producing Artistic Director of New York Rep, which is a company that produces innovative new plays and musicals that inspire and compel social change. He also was the Interim Artistic Director of Theater Aspen. He received his MFA from Columbia University. His research explores theatre for social justice and artistic leadership.
Jason Raibley, Associate Professor of Philosophy, most recently was the Director of the California State University, Long Beach Applied Ethics Forum and an Associate Professor. He received his Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on well-being, quality of life, and ethical theory.
Jenny Robinson, Assistant Professor of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, is a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the Biomedical Engineering and College of Dental Medicine at Columbia University and is a Postdoctoral Trainee at Colombia. She received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Engineering from Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on engineer biomaterials to promote sex- and age-dependent regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues.
Nilou Vakil, Assistant Professor and Director of Strategic Initiatives in the School of Architecture & Design in the Interior Architecture & Design Program, has been a lecturer at KU before entering a tenure-track role this year. She has over 20 years in the design profession, and has contributed to academia in an adjunct role for many years both in the U.S. and abroad. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Summa Cum Laude) in Visual Communications and Design from the University of the Arts in Tehran, Iran. She earned a Master of Architecture from the University of Colorado. Her research interests are in the design of learning environments, specifically in understanding the role interiors can play in stimulating the mind.
Boris Vayner, Assistant Professor of Viola in the School of Music, most recently was a Lecturer in Viola at the University of Kansas. He was also a Graduate Orchestra Conductor Assistant at the Conservatory of Music and Dance at the University of Missouri-Kansas City (UMKC). He is pursuing a DMA in Orchestra Conducting from UMCK and earned his Master of Music in Viola Performance from the New England Conservatory in Boston.
His interests center on national and international performance, instructing Master classes, and producing recordings and arrangements.
Daniel Velasco, Assistant Professor of Flute in the School of Music, most recently was an Assistant Professor of Flute at the University of Akron’s School of Music. He is also a Flutist for Solaris Woodwind Quintet, Principal Flutist for NuDeco Ensemble, and a Performing Artist in the Yamaha Corporation. He received his DMA in Flute Performance from the University of Miami.
Kyle Velte, Associate Professor in the School of Law, recently was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Torts, Evidence, Conflict of Law, Professional Responsibility, and Gender, Sexuality, and the Law at Texas Tech University. She earned an LL.M from Harvard Law School and a JD from Washington College of Law at American University in Washington, D.C. Her research interests include LGBT civil rights and anti-discrimination law.
Yuanqi Wang, Assistant Professor of Geometry, most recently was a Visiting Research Assistant Professor for the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook University. He was also a Visiting Postdoctoral Lecturer in the Department of Mathematic at Stony Brook University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Mathematics. His research interests include differential geometry, gauge theory, geometric analysis, partial differential equations, complex and Kahler geometry, and Ricci flows.
Carolyn Watson, Director of Orchestral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music, recently was a guest conductor in the UK, United States, and Australia. She also was the Director of Orchestral Studies at Texas State University in San Marcos, Texas, where she led the State Symphony Orchestra and Chamber Orchestra through rehearsals, concerts, tours, and other performances. She received her Ph.D. in Performance and Conducting from the Conservatorium of Music at the University of Sydney in Australia. Her research looks as gesture and nonverbal communication in conducting.
Gina White, Assistant Professor of Classics, most recently was Lecturer in Classics and Mediterranean Studies at Vanderbilt University and had been invited to lecture at numerous professional talking engagements. She received her Ph.D. in Classics from Princeton University. Her research focuses on Roman literature and intellectual history, and, in particular, the way that Greek philosophy enters the Roman world.
Richard Yi, Director of the Addiction Research & Treatment Center (.50) and Professor of Psychology (.50), most recently was a member of the Research Faculty at the University of Florida Center for Addiction Research and Education as well as an Associate Professor in the Department of Health and Behavior. He earned his Ph.D. from Stony Brook University in Experimental Psychology. He research interests studies the impulsive choices and decision making associated with addiction.
Rami Zeedan, Assistant Professor in the Jewish Studies Program (.50FTE) and Political Sciences (.50FTE), is a member of the Board of Directors for the Association of Israel Studies (AIS). He recently was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the University of California, Berkeley who taught courses over comparative politics of the Middle East and North Africa. He received his Ph.D. in Israel Studies from the University of Haifa in Israel. His teaching interests focus on the politics and government of Israel, the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, and research methods in Political Sciences.
Kathleen Zimmerman, Assistant Professor of Special education, most recently was a Pre-doctoral Research Assistant in Special Education at Vanderbilt University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Special Education and Early Childhood Special Education from Vanderbilt University. Her research interests include the identification of evidence-based instructional practices for students exhibiting problem behavior in general education settings and improving the methodology and synthesis of single case research design studies.