New faculty hires bring wealth of knowledge to campus

Fifteen new tenure-track faculty members were appointed at Gettysburg College before the start of the 2011-2012 academic year.

With expertise ranging from musical composition to Arabic language to sleep-wake patterns, these new faculty members bring unique and varied perspectives to campus.

"I'm delighted to welcome these outstanding teacher-scholars to our intellectual community," said Provost Christopher J. Zappe. "In addition to their exceptional educational backgrounds, these new tenure-track faculty members bring a wealth of diverse perspectives and experiences to their work as teachers and mentors for our students across campus."

Read more about the new faculty hires' educational, research, and work experiences below, and find out why they are excited to be teaching at Gettysburg College.

New tenure-track hires for the 2011-2012 academic year

Veronica Calvillo, assistant professor of SpanishVeronica Calvillo, assistant professor of Spanish, has her Ph.D., M.A., and B.A. from the University of New Mexico (UNM). Her primary research is on contemporary Chicana/o literature and Latina/o contemporary literature. Calvillo also taught Spanish courses at UNM and served as an interpreter and translator for the city of Albuquerque, N.M.

"Gettysburg College is an institution that gives me the opportunity to truly teach my passion on a one-on-one basis with students," said Calvillo. "The College sets the atmosphere for an interdisciplinary learning approach, which I implement in all my classes. It is a way to prepare students for worldly experiences and encounters."

Lucas Thompson, assistant professor of chemistryLucas Thompson, assistant professor of chemistry, has a Ph.D. from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a B.A. from The College of Wooster. Thompson's research interests are within the realm of materials chemistry, but focus more specifically on gold nanoparticles and gold nanostructured thin films.

"I believe that the foundation a high-quality undergraduate liberal arts education provides, coupled with a focus on rigorous scientific inquiry, can help students to better learn the basic principles of chemistry and of science as a whole," said Thompson. "Joining the chemistry faculty at Gettysburg College, where the atmosphere is one of collaboration with colleagues as we share our academic passions with an earnest and engaged student body, is an extraordinary opportunity."

Cassie Hays, assistant professor of sociologyCassie Hays, assistant professor of sociology, earned her Ph.D. in sociology and master's in environmental science from Yale University, and her B.A. in biology is from Smith College. Her work regularly takes her to Tanzania, where she conducts ethnographic research and interviews in Swahili. Her dissertation was on the sociology of safari in East Africa and she is working on a book, "Safari: Nature, Race and Technologies of Travel." Hays comes to Gettysburg from a two-year postdoctoral fellowship at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African American and African Studies at the University of Virginia. She's also worked for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) on a fishing boat in the Gulf of Alaska, as a researcher at the African Wildlife Foundation in Tanzania, and as a visiting professor at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts.

"Having attended a liberal arts college as an undergraduate, I always imagined myself at a place that emphasized teaching and student-faculty research. I benefitted greatly from the opportunity to conduct biological research during several summers of my undergraduate career," said Hays. "Not only are the students here at Gettysburg bright and engaging, but the faculty and administration are wholly committed to the creation of challenging learning environments in the classroom."

Avner Dorman, assistant professor in the Sunderman Conservatory of MusicAvner Dorman, assistant professor in the Sunderman Conservatory of Music, was awarded a one-year appointment in 2010 and appointed to tenure-track in 2011. He has a D.M.A. from The Julliard School and an M.A., M.M., and B.A. from Tel Aviv University in Israel. Dorman is a world-renown composer whose compositions have been played by orchestras like the Israel Philharmonic and the San Francisco Symphony.

Read more about Dorman here.

Kerry Wallach, assistant professor of German (pictured at top right), has a Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. from Wesleyan University. Within the field of German Studies, much of her research focuses on the literature, history, and culture of Jews in Germany in the early twentieth century. Her work in Jewish Studies extends to the literature and culture of East European and American Jews. Additional interests include visual and consumer culture, and women, gender, and sexuality. Wallach also taught at The Jewish Theological Seminary and held a short-term postdoctoral fellowship at the German Historical Institute in Washington, D.C.

"As the product of a liberal arts environment, I am thrilled to be teaching at Gettysburg. Gettysburg's focus on study abroad and learning about global issues is critical for an interdisciplinary liberal arts education. The wide-ranging curricular requirements also prompt students tolearn about a variety of subjects," said Wallach. "From what I have experienced thus far, the students are one of the best things about teaching at Gettysburg, as they are invested in and excited about the course material, and also want to get to know their professors."

Joseph Radzevick, assistant professor of management (OMS),  earned a Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. from Carnegie Mellon University. His research focuses on behavioral decision-making, with an emphasis on how individuals acquire and process information in competitive environments, and how those actions influence outcomes for individuals, groups, and organizations. His dissertation title was, "The Market for Overconfidence."

"Combined with Gettysburg College's fine liberal arts tradition, the OMS program has the kind of innovative curriculum that I feel is necessary to provide the next generation of managers with the knowledge, problem solving tools, and communication skills they will need to succeed," said Radzevick. "I welcome the opportunity to contribute to the program and train the business leaders of tomorrow."

Cecilia Diniz Behn, assistant professor of mathematics, earned a Ph.D. from Boston University, M.A. from the University of Texas, and an A.B. from Bryn Mawr College. Her dissertation was, "A Mathematical Model of Network Dynamics Governing Sleep-Wake Patterns in Mice."

Kathy Berenson, assistant professor of psychology, has a Ph.D. and M.A. from New York University and a B.A. from Macalester College. Her Ph.D. thesis was, "Implications of Parental Physical Abuse for Transference in Adult Interpersonal Relations."

Eric Berninghausen, assistant professor of theatre arts, earned his M.F.A. from Boston University and his B.S. from Skidmore College. His M.F.A. thesis was, "A Stage and Costume Design for ‘She Stoops to Conquer' by Oliver Goldsmith."

Jennifer Dumont, assistant professor of Spanish, earned her Ph.D. and M.A. from the University of New Mexico, and her B.A. from the University of Cincinnati. Her dissertation was, "NPs in Conversation and Narratives: The Effects of Genre on Information Flow and Interaction."

Amer Kobaslija, assistant professor of art and art history, is a practicing artist and teacher. Kobaslija has an M.F.A from Montclair School of the Arts at Montclair State University and a B.F.A from Ringling School of Art and Design.

Kaoru Miyazawa, assistant professor of education, was given a one-year appointment in 2010 and appointed to tenure-track in 2011. Miyazawa received an Ed.D from Columbia University, M.S. from Oklahoma State University, M.Ed. from Langston University, and B.A. from Sophia University in Tokyo, Japan. Miyazawa's dissertation was, "Home Away from Home: Paradoxes of Nostalgia in the Lives of Immigrant Girls."

John Murphy, assistant professor of French, earned his Ph.D. and M.A. from New York University and his B.S.L.A. from Georgetown University. Murphy's dissertation was entitled, "A Question of Class: ‘Struggling Youth' and the Concept of Social Destiny in Contemporary France."

Abdulkareem Said Ramadan, assistant professor of Arabic and Islamic studies, earned his Ph.D. in Arabic and Applied Linguistics at the University of Damascus, Syria where he also earned an M.A. in Arabic Syntax and Morphology and a B.A. in Arabic Language and Literature. Abdulkareem has taught Arabic at the French Institute for the Middle East (IFPO), the British Council, and the Arabic Department at the University of Damascus. He was the coordinator of the Arabic program at the Arabic Language Center at the University of Damascus where he taught Arabic as a Second Language. He has taught at the Middlebury College Arabic School each summer since 2006. In previous years, he taught at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Virginia where he coordinated the Arabic program.

Charles Wessell, assistant professor of mathematics, has his Ph.D., M.S., and B.S. from North Carolina State University. He has conducted research on stochastic data clustering.

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.

Contact: Nikki Rhoads, assistant director of communications, 717.337.6803

Posted: Mon, 3 Oct 2011

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