Opportunities to research, mentor appealing for newly tenured faculty

The backgrounds and academic interests of the six faculty members who were recently named to receive tenure are as diverse as can be, but it was many of the same things about Gettysburg College that drew each of them here.

With interests in epidemiology, DNA packing in the body, literacy and special education, facial perception, energy and behavioral economics, and Caribbean literature and film, this diverse group of individuals brings valuable expertise and skills to the College and our students.

The prospect of exploring research interests that were not only potentially impactful, but also of great interest to them personally, was a big draw for these six professors, who represent the health sciences, physics, economics, education, psychology, and Spanish departments.

Also appealing was the opportunity to work closely with students in a liberal arts setting, not only in the classroom, but also through research and other engaged learning opportunities.

Faculty support and enhancement of Gettysburg College’s first-class faculty is a priority of Gettysburg Great: The Campaign for Our College.

Take a few moments and get to know the six faculty members who have been selected to receive tenure for the upcoming 2015-16 academic year:

Amy Dailey – Health Sciences

Amy Dailey

Amy Dailey is proud of the public health focus she’s brought to the health sciences department since she came here in 2010. The former epidemiologist in Florida’s Duval County Health Department hopes to expand the public health offerings even more and continue her community-based research, which has involved a number of students.

“I went to small liberal arts college, and it was a great fit for me as a student. I was in a tenure track position at a larger institution before coming here, and I wanted more of a connection with students and autonomy over my research. Coming to Gettysburg gave me the opportunity to engage more meaningfully with students and do the community-based research I feel is important. This type of environment is a better fit for me,” she said.

Dailey enjoys the opportunities to connect with student, both in a larger class setting – like her epidemiology class’ community research project analyzing community health assessment data with Healthy Adams County – or one-on-one through career counseling or other research opportunities.

“I love this time in students’ lives when they’re figuring out what they want to do with their careers. I love interacting with students and showing them what public health is all about. Seeing students get excited about public health and go into those careers is really rewarding,” she said.

Read more about Dailey’s research on the availability of health resources, her work with Helena Yang ’14, and the faculty seminar on food insecurity and global health she attended in India.

Kurt Andresen – Physics

Kurt Andresen

Kurt Andresen’s research in biophysics analyzes how DNA packs in our bodies. The active parts of our DNA, may “turn on” a disease like cancer, for example. Through his work in the physics department, Andresen hopes to figure out how active and passive DNA determinations are made and how to modify the packing of the DNA – thereby having some relevance for research on diseases.

“I’ve always loved physics, and I want to use it to help people,” he said.

Andresen says the opportunity to both teach and conduct meaningful research made him want to come to Gettysburg.

“When I was finishing my Ph.D., I realized I didn’t just want to research, I wanted to teach. During my undergrad at a larger school, my classes were taught by physicists whose job was to do research and stand in a classroom every once and a while. Once I saw a structure where people were being rewarded for good teaching, I knew a school like Gettysburg was the place from me,” he said. “When I interviewed at Gettysburg, my choice was clear. I loved the town, college, and the physics department. This is a unique department, with strengths in and a commitment to research and teaching.

Like many of his colleagues, Andresen, who spent a recent sabbatical at Leiden University in the Netherlands, involves a number of students in his research.

“The excellent thing about having students involved is that the experience is vital to both them and me. As a student of physics, you’ll need to do research at some point – that’s how we create science,” he said. “I’ve set up my lab in a way that I depend on students to do research. Then I can keep multiple projects moving along – a similar model to grad schools. I’m able to involve students at all levels.”

Read more about Andresen’s DNA packing research, his poster presentation with John Giannini ’12, and summer research opportunities.

Divonna Stebick – Education

Prof. Stebick

Divonna Stebick started in the education department as a lecturer in 2003, and more recently moved into a tenure-track position. The former teacher in Carroll County, Md. and Pittsburgh, Pa. is the epitome of someone who practices the very things she’s talking about in the classroom.

In fact, Stebick still spends one day a week working in the field with teachers to keep up her skills and stay informed on teaching practices. She and her husband also co-founded the Enlightened Learning Center in Hanover, and Stebick volunteers there two nights a week, enabling her to share even more real-world teaching stories with her students.

“One of the most satisfying experiences I’ve had since I’ve been here is when I took students to a conference with me. Things came full circle, and they could see that I’m an action researcher. I don’t just preach, I practice,” she said.

Stebick’s research interests are centered around literacy, special education, and education policy. She’s involved students in her work for more than a decade, and her students’ work also serves to inform her research – so, not only do Gettysburg College students benefit from Stebick’s expertise and practical experience, but her research is made better because of the relationships she forms with students.

Read more about Stebick’s book and the faculty seminar on food insecurity and global health she attended in India – an experience that enables her to revamp one of her classes, giving it a global focus.

Richard Russell – Psychology

Prof. Richard Russell

Psychology Prof. Richard Russell’s facial processing research has been referenced in media outlets and magazines across the country and throughout the world, including Allure and the New York Times.

In his research, the perceptual psychologist asks questions like, “How do we perceive people from their face,” and “How can makeup change our impressions of an individual?”

Russell always has students working with him in the lab, and he says that one of the things he enjoys most about his position is mentoring students and teaching them to do research.

“I went to small liberal arts school, and that connection was key. A lot of people don’t know what this kind of school is all about unless you’ve experienced it. I knew the psychology department here was particularly strong, and I would have good colleagues here. That was important to me when I was considering the type of environment I wanted to work in.”

Read more about Russell’s collaboration with Chanel R&T on facial age perception, and the follow-up article.

Rimvydas Baltaduonis – Economics

Prof. Rim Baltaduonis

Rimvydas (Rim) Baltaduonis has brought important global viewpoints and experiences to the economics department. With connections to labs and institutions of higher education across the globe, including Guatemala, Australia, and Qatar, Baltaduonis can offer his students unmatched global opportunities and perspectives.

“Those connections gave my scholarship the opportunity to connect with global world, and go beyond the U.S. They also gave students chance to engage with global issues. Given globalization focus of college, that makes perfect sense. Last semester, I submitted grant proposals with colleagues at Qatar University, and if those proposals are accepted, there will be even more opportunities for students and I to engage on global energy issues,” he said.

Baltaduonis says he wears two hats as an economist – examining the energy sector as well as experimental or behavioral economics. In his energy-related research, he asks provocative questions about ensuring reliable, affordable energy for future generations, for example. In the experimental or behavioral realm, he takes advantage of the Gettysburg Lab for Experimental Economics, creating virtual economies and studying how individuals make decisions under particular conditions.

He involves students at every level, and has worked with two or three research assistants each year since he arrived. Students have helped develop his research questions, conducted literature surveys, and programmed software.

“Comparing Gettysburg to my other experiences, what stands out is how closely faculty works with undergrads. Those opportunities to engage at a deeper level, and do more research based education has been valuable to me,” Baltaduonis said.” To work with students and see them move into careers has been great. That’s hard to do at larger universities.”

Read more about the impact of Baltaduonis’ First-Year Seminar on KJ Sanger ’17, his work on the Australian electricity market with Taylor Smart ’13, and his partnership with an experimental economics lab in Guatemala.

Radost Rangelova – Spanish

Prof. Rangelova

Since coming to Gettysburg, Radost (Radi) Rangelova has enjoyed the opportunity to combine her research interests with teaching a variety of classes, both in the Spanish department and beyond.

“I have been able to develop courses that benefit from my research and offer students exposure to a variety of topics and contexts, including gender and sexuality in contemporary Caribbean culture, Caribbean detective literature, Latin American cinema, and more,” said the Spanish prof who also speaks Bulgarian, Italian, English, French, and Russian, to name a few.

Rangelova’s research focuses on Caribbean literature and film, gender and sexuality, cultural geography and national discourses. Her recent publications address the construction of space in Hispanic Caribbean literature and film, the intersections of race, gender and power in the work of Afro-Puerto Rican writers, and the emergence of alternative communities around issues of gender, sexuality and solidarity in Caribbean cultural texts.

“I’m proud of the new focus on Caribbean literature and cultural studies I’ve been able to bring to the College,” she said. “We can offer students the opportunity to learn and think critically about that region while breaking stereotypes. They’re also able to think more broadly about the relationship between their own personal history and broader history.”

She’s looking forward to the upcoming release of her book, “Gendered Geographies in Puerto Rican Culture: Spaces, Sexuality, Solidarities.”

Watch this video on Rangelova and check out her interview with Musselman Library.


Founded in 1832, Gettysburg College is a highly selective four-year residential college of liberal arts and sciences with a strong academic tradition. Alumni include Rhodes Scholars, a Nobel laureate, and other distinguished scholars. The college enrolls 2,600 undergraduate students and is located on a 200-acre campus adjacent to the Gettysburg National Military Park in Pennsylvania.

Posted: Fri, 27 Feb 2015

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