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Eberly College Welcomes New Faculty Members

Eberly College of Arts and Sciences welcomes to its faculty a group of educators and researchers from West Virginia University and institutions across the world.

"I am delighted to have this exceptional group of scholars join us at Eberly College," said Dean Gregory Dunaway. "They will not only provide students with an excellent education in a variety of subject areas, but they will also contribute to the breadth of scholarship produced by Eberly's faculty."

Meet Eberly College's new faculty:

Christopher Arnold

Biology Christopher Arnold

Dr. Arnold got his bachelor's degree from UCSD in Molecular Biology. He earned his doctoral degree from Stanford University, where he studied stem cell self-renewal using mouse models. Unfortunately, as a graduate student he developed an allergy to mice, forcing him to seek out a new (and less furry) animal model to pursue his scientific interests. For his postdoctoral research, he joined the laboratory of Dr. Alejandro Sánchez Alvarado at the Stowers Institute. There he studied a relatively new stem cell research organism, the planarian Schmidtea mediterranea. These invertebrate flatworms have stem cells that allow them to perpetually grow, renew and regenerate all of their organs and tissues. If you cut a piece of tissue from a planarian, it will regrow what was lost in less than a week. At the same time, that small piece of tissue will regenerate into an entirely new worm. Planaria use these regenerative abilities to asexually reproduce, tearing off small pieces of their tissue to make new copies of themselves. In his work, Dr. Arnold studies how highly conserved genes used in human development are utilized to establish the growth, regenerative and asexual reproductive capabilities of planaria. Dr. Arnold plans to use this simple animal model as a tool to better understand developmental, stem cell and regeneration biology with the aim of inspiring new approaches to the treatment of human disease.

Dr. Arnold is interested in working with a number of Biology faculty in their areas of expertise, including: Dr. Bergeron, Dr. Horstick, Dr. Masat, Dr. Dacks, and Dr. Daly. Arnold is also interested in collaborating with Dr. Huebert Lima to develop undergraduate and graduate level courses on topics of stem cell biology and regenerative medicine. 

Dr. Arnold would be interested in hosting undergraduates from the Research Apprenticeship Program and similar programs. Working with local high schools would be an exciting opportunity, as planaria are well suited for biology experiments in the classroom.

B.S. in Molecular Biology, University of California, San Diego
Ph.D. in Immunology, Stanford University

Nisan Hubbard


Dr. Hubbard’s interests revolve around creating and facilitating an effective, productive and safe learning environment that is beneficial for all students who come into his classes/courses. He means to design courses to implement the valuable concepts and skills necessary for every student’s endeavors throughout their undergraduate experience. Currently, he will teach Biology Orientation (BIOL 191) and Advanced Human Physiology (BIOL 344) and has interests in teaching Reproductive Biology and History in the future. His hope and ambition are to train students to be autonomous, critical thinkers and the next generation of leaders in the science field. As an advisor for Biology majors, Dr. Hubbard hopes to assist students in their academic journey through constructing and implementing a personalized plan of success that they will use to achieve their goals in their undergraduate experience.

Dr. Hubbard’s past research experience and background revolve around Reproductive Biology and Physiology. His doctoral thesis studies (Northwestern University) focused on understanding how certain signaling pathways affected mammalian ovarian biology, specifically how early-stage follicle development is affected by the activation/inactivation of Notch Signaling.

Past community engagement that Dr. Hubbard has participated in involved mentoring and teaching in various capacities in scientific outreach programs within local and national clubs such as the Boys and Girls Club of America, conducting activities and science days for K-12 students, and judging in local and regional science fairs. He has also participated in numerous seminars involving research and career development, speaking in local community settings and businesses.

Dr. Hubbard has also participated in and facilitated Diversity, Equity and Inclusion initiatives and programs on college campuses, notably serving as an intern for The Graduate School at Northwestern University, facilitating efforts for campuses to create safe spaces and places for a diverse workforce and students as they contribute to the dynamic scientific community. He hopes to continue these endeavors and community service here in Morgantown.

B.S. in Biology, Virginia Commonwealth University
Ph.D. in Molecular Biosciences (Reproductive Biology), Northwestern University

Carolyn A. Kitchens

Biology and Chemistry Kitchens headshot

Dr. Kitchens received her doctoral degree in Molecular Pharmacology from the University of Pittsburgh (2011), where she specialized in Cancer Drug Discovery Research. From 2011 to 2012, she held a post-doctoral position in the Women’s Cancer Research Institute at the University of Pittsburgh, where she specialized in Genomic Breast Cancer Research.

From 2012 to 2021, Dr. Kitchens primarily taught Organic Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmacology at Bethany College in Bethany, West Virginia. While at Bethany, she was the pre-health professions advisor and served on several committees including the Faculty Welfare and College Budget Committee. She also worked with Representative David McKinley on the Ohio Valley Research Consortium, a collaboration between the eight colleges and universities within the Ohio Valley. The primary initiative of this group was to recognize and address the Opioid Epidemic in the Ohio Valley and West Virginia overall. Unfortunately, this initiative was put on hold once the COVID pandemic began.

In addition to her academic career, Dr. Kitchens also pursued a career in athletics, playing basketball at Appalachian State for two years, then throwing the javelin at both Appalachian State and the University of Pittsburgh for three years overall. While at Bethany College, she served as the head throws coach for both the Men’s and Women’s track team and helped the Men’s Indoor Track team win back-to-back championships. She also coached multiple individual champions in Javelin, Shot Put, Discus and the Weight Throw.

Dr. Kitchens is interested in researching and collaborating on ways to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion within the classroom, science majors, and science careers. She is also interested in building more collaborations within the sciences to help bridge the gaps between chemistry, biology, physics, mathematics, agricultural, and health sciences. 
She would like to get involved with the LGBTQ+ community and help mentor those in need. She also loves sports and coaching and would really enjoy getting involved in athletics in the Morgantown area.

B.S. in Chemistry, Appalachian State University
Ph.D. in Molecular Pharmacology, University of Pittsburgh

Hacer Karatas Bristow

Chemistry Hacer Bristow

Dr. Karatas Bristow received her doctoral degree in Medicinal Chemistry at the University of Michigan under the direction of Prof. Shaomeng Wang. After graduation, she was a postdoctoral fellow at EPFL (Switzerland), and then at the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology (Germany). She worked as an assistant professor in Istanbul Medipol University (Turkiye) before joining WVU. Her research focuses on addressing unmet needs in disease treatment. Her group explores new drug targets by developing protein-protein interaction inhibitors, identifying the inhibitors’ mechanism of action, and establishing assays to determine the inhibitor binding to the target protein.

Dr. Karatas Bristow focuses on exploring novel protein targets for therapeutic applications. By nature, her research is highly collaborative, combining efforts from a range of disciplines such as chemistry, biochemistry and molecular biology. 

B.Sc. in Faculty of Pharmacy, Ankara University, Turkiye
M.Sc. in Pharmaceutical Chemistry, Ankara University, Turkiye
Ph.D. in Medicinal Chemistry, University of Michigan, USA

Dave Mersing

Chemistry David Mersing

Dr. Mersing was born and raised in Terra Alta, WV and graduated from Preston High School in 1993. He enlisted in the US Army in 1993 served till October 1997 and completed a tour of duty in Bosnia and Herzegovina. After returning to civilian life, he began working in logistics managing transportation hubs for several trucking companies throughout Michigan and Ohio. During that time, he met his wife and had three children. Dr. Mersing returned to West Virginia in 2006 and he made the decision to attend college. While finishing my BS at WVU, he applied and was accepted to the McNair Scholars Program. After completing this program, he made the decision to attend graduate school at WVU. Mersing joined Dr. Ken Showatler’s group and finished the PHD program in the spring of 2022. During that spring semester he also had the opportunity to teach General Chemistry at the United States Naval Academy.

Dr. Mersing would like to collaborate with the computer science department and determine if any CS majors would be interested in undergraduate research. His main focus is increasing diversity in the chemistry department by investigating the reason why students do not choose chemistry as a major.

B.S. Chemistry, West Virginia University
Ph.D. Chemistry, West Virginia University

Brian Nichols

Chemistry Nichols photo

Dr. Brian Nichols was born and raised in central Massachusetts. After earning a bachelor's degree at Drew University and a master’s degree at the University of Vermont, he moved on to complete his doctoral degree in organic/organometallic chemistry under Dr. Brian Popp at West Virginia University. His doctoral research focused on studying the effects of pendant Lewis acid containing ligands on the second coordination sphere of late transition metal complexes of rhodium and iridium.

After the completion of his doctoral degree from WVU in 2018, Dr. Nichols was hired as an assistant professor of chemistry at West Liberty University, where he taught general chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry and advanced synthetic laboratories. He is now rejoining the chemistry department in Morgantown for the Fall 2022 semester as a teaching assistant professor. Dr. Nichols currently resides in Morgantown with his wife, Trina, whom he married on New Year’s Eve of 2021. In his spare time, he is an avid New England sports fan and enjoys spending time with family and friends.

B.A. in Chemistry, Drew University
M.S. in Analytical Chemistry, University of Vermont
Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, West Virginia University

Oluwatobi (Tobi) Odeleye

Chemistry Odeleye headshot

Dr. Oluwatobi (Tobi) Odeleye is an assistant professor in the Department of Chemistry. She is a chemical education researcher, and her research interests revolve around different factors that influence student attitudes towards chemistry specifically, and STEM fields in general. She believes in a learner-centered classroom and continues to investigate ways to make her classroom environment learner-oriented. Tobi is an avid tennis fan and enjoys playing and watching tennis whenever she can.

Oluwatobi is interested in STEM Education research, discipline-based education research (DBER), equity in STEM fields, increasing representation of minoritized groups in STEM fields, increasing student engagement in the classroom, and inclusive learning environments. She would be interested in collaborating to implement student-centered teaching strategies in STEM courses.

Ph.D. in Chemistry, South Dakota State University 

Lindsay Morris-Neuberger

Communication Studies Morris-Neuberger headshot

Dr. Lindsay Morris-Neuberger is Woodburn Professor and chair of the Department of Communication Studies at West Virginia University. She earned her doctoral degree at Michigan State University and received bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Wake Forest University. She previously served as associate director for academic programs and student services in the Nicholson School of Communication and Media and was a fellow in the College of Undergraduate Studies and the Office of the Provost at the University of Central Florida.

Dr. Morris-Neuberger primarily conducts research in the areas of health campaigns, translational research and risk communication and has worked on projects funded by groups including the National Science Foundation, Department of Health and Human Services and the World Health Organization. Her work uses persuasion, formative research, information seeking and program evaluation concepts, and has covered varied topics from the opioid crisis and breast cancer to risk assessment and environmental concerns. One recent research project helped guide policymakers and keep the public informed about COVID-19. Another is creating messages to encourage eligible citizens to claim their earned income tax credit. Though diverse in context, her research focuses on making effective messages that encourage people to make decisions that are good for themselves, their families and society, and interdisciplinary collaboration is core to her work.

Dr. Morris-Neuberger is ready to establish new research partnerships with those interested in promoting public health and well-being or effectively communicating science. The specific context is not as important as the desire to create messages to help people. Dr. Morris-Neuberger has extensive experience working with interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary teams. Please reach out to discuss potential research collaboration where effective communication, whether it be campaign work or findings translation, could enhance impact and help publics. 

Dr. Morris-Neuberger is eager to partner with community organizations that need assistance in crafting effective communication campaigns to promote public health and well-being or effectively communicate scientific concepts.

B.A., Wake Forest University
M.A., Wake Forest University
Ph.D., Michigan State University

Brian Broome

English Broome headshot

Brian Broome’s debut memoir, Punch Me Up to the Gods, is an New York Times Editor’s Pick and the winner of the 2021 Kirkus Prize for Nonfiction and the 2021 Randy Shilts Award from The Publishing Triangle, and a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. He is a contributing columnist at The Washington Post. His work has also appeared in Hippocampus, Poets and Writers, Medium and more. Brian was a K. Leroy Irvis Fellow and an instructor in the Writing Program at the University of Pittsburgh.
He has been a finalist in The Moth storytelling competition and won the grand prize in Carnegie Mellon University’s Martin Luther King Writing Awards. Brian also won a VANN Award from the Pittsburgh Black Media Federation for journalism in 2019. His film, Garbage, won the Audience Choice Award at the Cortada Short Film Festival and was a semi-finalist in the Portland Short Fest.

A.A., Community College of Allegheny County
B.F.A., Chatham University
M.F.A., University of Pittsburgh

Ann Pancake

English Pancake photo

Dr. Ann Pancake is a native of West Virginia and an alumna of West Virginia University. She’s published two short story collections, Given Ground (UPNE 2001) and Me and My Daddy Listen to Bob Marley (Counterpoint 2015), and a novel, Strange As This Weather Has Been (Counterpoint 2007), which was one of Kirkus Review’s Top Ten Fiction Books of the year, won the best Appalachian Book of the Year, and was a finalist for the Orion Book Award and the Washington State Book Award. She has also received a Whiting Award, an NEA grant, a Pushcart Prize, the Breadloaf Bakeless Prize, the Barry Lopez Visiting Writer in Ethics and the Community Fellowship, and has been inducted into the Fellowship of Southern Writers. 

Dr. Pancake earned her doctoral degree in English Literature from the University of Washington, and her academic work focuses on social class issues, Appalachian Studies and environmental literature. Her stories, essays, scholarly articles and journalism have appeared in venues like Orion, The Georgia Review, Poets and Writers, The Journal of Appalachian Studies, and New Stories from the South, the Year’s Best. She returned to WVU four years ago to work for the Humanities Center and is now very happy to be taking a position with Eberly in the English Department.

B.A. English, West Virginia University
M.A. English, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill
Ph.D. English, University of Washington

Jennifer Sano-Franchini

English Sano-Franchini headshot

Dr. Jennifer Sano-Franchini is the incoming Gaziano Family Legacy Professor of Rhetoric and Writing and associate professor in the Department English. Previously, she served as director of professional and technical writing and associate professor of English at Virginia Tech. Her research and teaching interests are in the cultural politics of user experience design, cultural and digital rhetorics, Asian American rhetoric and the rhetorical work of institutions.

Dr. Sano-Franchini has published on a range of topics including Facebook’s interface design, Asian American sonic rhetorics and emotional labor on the academic job search in journals such as College Composition and Communication; Technical Communication Quarterly; Technical Communication; and Rhetoric, Professional Communication, and Globalization, amongst others. Her works also appear in the edited collections Equipping Technical Communicators for Social Justice Work, Rhetoric and Experience Architecture, and Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities, which won the 2016 Computers and Composition Distinguished Book Award. She has also held many leadership roles in a number of national professional organizations. Currently, she co-chairs the 2022 Association of Teachers of Technical Writing Virtual Conference, as well as a Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC) Task Force on Equitable and Ethical Scholarship in Writing, Rhetoric, and Composition Studies. She is also on the Executive Committee of the Modern Language Association (MLA) Rhetoric, Composition, and Writing Studies (RCWS) History and Theory of Rhetoric Form. She is originally from Hawai‘i, where she was born and raised, and has seven years of previous industry experience as a document designer and professional writer.
Dr. Sano-Franchini is interested in collaborating on projects related to race and inequality in tech, professional and technical writing, Asian American issues, UX and interaction design. Sano-Franchini would also be interested in initiatives related to writing and literacy in the community.

Ph.D., Rhetoric and Writing in Michigan State University
M.A., English in University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa
B.A., in English, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa

Amanda Berardi Tennant

English Tennant headshot

Originally from Fairmont, West Virginia, Dr. Amanda Berardi Tennant completed her bachelor's degree in English at West Virginia University in 2010. After earning her doctoral degree in Rhetoric from Carnegie Mellon University, Tennant worked for Duke University as a post-doctoral fellow for the Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education, where she taught digital storytelling to middle school girls in Appalachian North Carolina. For the past five years, she has worked as an assistant professor of English and director of the writing center at West Liberty University. Dr. Tennant lives in Fairview, W.Va. with her husband and two young sons.

Dr. Tennant researches how Appalachian college students negotiate cultural identity and respond to stereotypes in their academic writing. Her current project examines the types of challenges Appalachian students face when they are from low-income or under-resourced backgrounds, speak rural dialects, or encounter stereotypes of their home communities. She is interested in collaborating with researchers who question how students from similarly marginalized backgrounds, within and beyond Appalachia, navigate different educational settings. 
Dr. Tennant has experience practicing and studying community-based writing initiatives. She has worked with Carnegie Mellon University’s Community Literacy Center and mentored Duke University undergraduate interns for the Partnership for Appalachian Girls’ Education in Madison County, North Carolina. She is interested in collaborating with others on service-learning courses or community/university projects.

B.A. in English with a concentration in Professional Writing and Editing, West Virginia University
M.A. in Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University
Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Carnegie Mellon University

Lisa Licata

Forensics & Investigative Sciences Licata headshot

Lisa Licata attended West Virginia University for her undergraduate education, completing a dual degree program in Biology and Forensic and Investigative Science in 2013. She then went on to continue her education at the University of North Texas-Health Science Center, receiving a master's of science degree in Forensic Genetics in 2015. From there Mrs. Licata began a career as a DNA analyst with the US Army Criminal Investigation Laboratory in Atlanta, Georgia. She concluded her time there and moved to Norfolk, Virginia with her husband, where she later began working as a forensic technician with the Chesapeake Police Department. After several years in Virginia she has made it back to the Mountain State and back to Oglebay Hall where her Forensic career began.

B.S. in Biology and B.S. in FIS-Forensic Biology, West Virginia University
M.S. in Forensic Genetics, University of North Texas - Health Science Center

Vikas Agrawal

Geology & Geography Agrawal headshot

Dr. Vikas Agrawal is assistant visiting professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University. He utilizes geochemical, data analytical and numerical modeling tools to address a wide variety of issues related to energy and environment. His research focuses on improving efficiency of energy systems in an environmentally sustainable manner. His research areas include critical mineral exploration and separation, geologic carbon and hydrogen storage, geothermal energy systems, and unconventional petroleum systems. He has published several articles in energy and environment journals and has presented his work at national and international meetings. At WVU, he teaches the following courses: Critical Minerals, Introduction to Minerals and Rocks, Introduction to Petroleum Geology, and Planet Earth.

Dr. Agrawal is interested in collaborating with Geochemists, Geophysicists, Chemical engineers, Computational chemists, and data scientists in academia, government agencies, and industries whose research focusses environmentally sustainable development of renewable and non-renewable energy systems. 

To transition in the near future to cleaner energy sources, like solar, wind, and geothermal, there is a critical need to develop a skilled workforce. Dr. Agrawal would like to conduct workshops and lab tours for high school students and other young professionals to create awareness about the need to develop environmentally sustainable energy systems. He would also like to collaborate with other faculty to generate external grants to develop research programs especially for underrepresented groups and first-generation students.

Ph.D. in Geology, West Virginia University
B.S.-M.S. dual degree in Geological Sciences (Chemistry minor), Indian Institute of Science Education and Research Kolkata, India

Michael Harman

Geology & Geography

Dr. Michael Harman is classically trained as an applied scientist in Agricultural Sciences. He understands the importance of space and champions the utilization of Geographic Information Systems as the cornerstone of solution building. His doctoral research focused on the use of predictive geospatial modeling in complex biogeochemical systems. His personal tradecraft is in mixed method data analytics with geovisualization and geospatial modeling. Dr. Harman was program head for Geographic Information Systems at Northern Virginia Community College (NOVA), the largest public educational institution in Virginia and the second-largest community college in the United States, with over 75,000 students. He is the new teaching associate professor in charge of the online master's program in Geographic Information Systems at West Virginia University. He is from Pendleton County.
In his spare time Dr. Harman makes knives and enjoys shooting sports, and he loves the outdoors.

Dr. Harman looks forward to working with faculty across the university to solve any problems with a spatial component. GIS can be an amazing enhancement to most any field of study. If you want to incorporate physical space, enhanced visualizations, or mapping into what you do, he would love the opportunity to work with you. 

He has historically worked with professional organizations and political entities, but he wants to expand my professional memberships, continue or renew old relationships, and expand the geospatial footprint across the mountain state and beyond.

A.A.S Potomac State College
BS.Agr. West Virginia University
Cert. P.A. Indiana State University
M.S. West Virginia University
Ph.D. West Virginia University

Joshua Lohnes

Geology & Geography Lohnes photo

Dr. Joshua Lohnes is a broadly trained human geographer well versed in theories of development, political ecology and food studies. He serves as a research assistant professor in the Department of Geology and Geography at West Virginia University, advancing questions related to agri-food systems governance with an emphasis on the political economy of nutrition assistance programs. His doctoral dissertation T he Food Bank Fix: Hunger, Capitalism and Humanitarian Reason (2019) drew on a multi-sited institutional ethnography of emergency food networks in West Virginia to uncover the relationships between the state, private businesses and the nonprofit sector that maintain feeding lines in place and linked across space. He is building on this work to continue to study the moral, political and economic place of expanding humanitarian food networks across the world and how these might fit within broader debates about sustainable food futures and human rights.

Josh directs the work of the Food Justice Lab at the Center for Resilient Communities and offers support to the Food System Development and Community Economies Labs. He is actively engaged with local, national and international coalitions that seek to advance the right to food through principles of food sovereignty and food justice. He is passionate about popular education in the Freirean tradition of critical pedagogy and committed to participatory action research that advances more just and sustainable economic systems.

Dr. Lohnes is interested in collaborating with researchers in the fields of human rights, food systems, cooperative development, and law. Engaging with faculty interested in developing and advancing popular education curricula around food system issues is of interest to him. 

He is currently engaged in a number of community-based initiatives including the WV Agrarian Commons, WV Food for All, Voices of Hunger WV, the National Right to Food Community of Practice, The Global Solidarity Alliance for Food, and Health and Social Justice. Dr. Lohnes is interested in engaging with opportunities that align with advancing the right to food and food sovereignty in West Virginia and beyond.

B.A., San Diego State University
M.A., West Virginia University
Ph.D., West Virginia University

Brooke Durham

History Brooke Durham

Dr. Brooke Durham is an assistant professor of modern European history. She is a specialist in French colonial history in Africa. Her dissertation research focused on self-described politically neutral human development and welfare projects in colonial and postcolonial Algeria. Relying on archival research and interviews conducted in Europe, the United States and North Africa, this dissertation demonstrates the fallacy of political neutrality during decolonization through an analysis of local actors and organizations on the ground. This work also highlights the extraordinary obstacles to fostering cooperation between Europeans and Algerians on these development projects during and following the Algerian War of Independence against the French military.
Professor Durham is broadly interested in the history of decolonization and international development in the postwar period. Her research on these topics is especially important to social histories of European and African relations. Professor Durham is developing two new research projects. The first concerns European and African university student internships and participation in development projects on both sides of the Mediterranean during the 1950s and 1960s. A secondary research project turns to the southern military port city, Toulon, to investigate its role in French wars of decolonization after the Second World War. Professor Durham welcomes undergraduate and graduate students interested in researching the histories of modern France and Europe, European colonialism and international development.

Dr. Durham is eager to collaborate with colleagues working on European and African history, politics, and culture. Particularly those teaching French language and literature, and European and African politics and culture. She looks forward to collaborating with the West Virginia and Regional History Center collections to highlight historical and contemporary links between West Virginians and Europe. Collaborating with colleagues working on innovative, inclusive, and accessible approaches to in-person and virtual learning is also of interest to her. 
She is excited to join the WVU Faculty Justice Network and support the Center for Black Culture. She also anticipates organizing cultural events such as film screenings and discussions with the university community and the public.

B.A. in History, The Pennsylvania State University
B.A. in International Politics, The Pennsylvania State University
M.A. in History, Stanford University
Ph.D. in History, Stanford University

Sean Lawrence

History Sean Lawrence

Dr. Sean Lawrence earned his doctoral degree in European History from the University of California, Santa Cruz. His research intersects with questions of political-economy, space, ecology and governmentality. His dissertation titled "What do you suppose this rain is worth?”: German finance and the remaking of Anatolia's waterways, 1903-1945 examines the causes and consequences of Deutsche Bank’s many dam-building projects in late Ottoman and early Turkish Republican Anatolia. Originally interested in cultural landscapes of the historic middle east, Sean Lawrence became interested in the role of European organizations operating abroad while working on his first master's degree in UNESCO World Heritage Studies. While working on a research project in southeastern Turkey, Sean was interested to observe the ways that European experts and government officials interacted with rural communities. This propelled his career in a new direction. His doctoral work examined the role of German cultural and financial institutions as quasi-imperial agents in middle eastern contexts. His current research raises questions about historical agency, environment and the role of German finance in propelling the late Ottoman Empire to reconstruct itself as the modern Turkish Republic. He works in German, French, Turkish and Ottoman Turkish, in addition to English. His research has been supported by the U.S. Fulbright Program, the Humboldt-Yale History Network, the Gerda-Henkel Foundation and the American Research Institute in Turkey. Beyond history, his abiding passions are for the outdoors, travel and film.

Sean is eager to collaborate with experts in West Virginia University's Geography and Biology departments on his second research project, titled Vectors of Modernity: Sedentarization, zoonotic disease, and European medical ‘expertise’ in the eastern Mediterranean 1945-1980, which focuses on the production of medical knowledge about zoonotic disease between Europe and the Ottoman successor states. Sean hopes to work closely with Brooke Durham to develop content covering the Middle East and North Africa to expand the course offerings of WVU’s History Department. 
Sean is excited to bring his passion for the outdoors to Morgantown by working with WVU’s partner organizations promoting environmental awareness and conservancy including the Mon River Trails Conservancy and the Mon Valley Green Space Coalition.

B.S. in Political Science, Santa Clara University
M.A. in UNESCO World Heritage Studies, Brandenberg University of Technology (Cottbus, Germany)
M.A. in European History, University of California, Santa Cruz
Ph.D. in European History, University of California, Santa Cruz

Austin McCoy

History Austin McCoy

Dr. Austin McCoy is an assistant professor in History at West Virginia University. Austin earned his doctoral degree in History from the University of Michigan in 2016. He served as a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Michigan-Mellon Project on Egalitarianism and the Metropolis from 2016-2018. His research and teaching interests include African American History, the U.S. Left, labor, and social movements. Dr. McCoy is working on a book project tentatively entitled, The Quest for Democracy: Black Power, New Left, and Progressive Politics in the Post-Industrial Midwest, which analyzes campaigns for participatory democracy in economics, foreign policy and criminal justice after 1967.

He is also a public scholar, publishing social criticism in numerous media outlets, including Truthout, Black Perspectives, CNN and The Washington Post.

B.A., The Ohio State University
M.A., The Ohio State University (African and African American Studies)
M.A., Kent State University (History)
Ph.D., University of Michigan

Jesse Cook

Mathematical and Data Sciences Jesse Cook

Originally from Hardy County, West Virginia, Jesse Cook always enjoyed helping his classmates with mathematics. He graduated from East Hardy High School in 2011, then attended Potomac State College before transferring to the main campus of West Virginia University to complete his studies. After graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Mathematics and Physics in 2015, Cook decided to do graduate work at WVU because of how much he enjoyed his experience at WVU as an undergraduate. He completed a Master of Science in Mathematics in 2017, and has been a lecturer in the WVU School of Mathematical and Data Sciences since 2019. Cook loves teaching calculus courses, as it provides an opportunity for early college students to challenge themselves and learn math they likely have not experienced before.

Cook is interested in both pure mathematics and mathematics education and would be willing to support research in either area. Cook is specifically interested in educational psychology studies analyzing how people tend to think about math. Cook implements active learning strategies in his classroom by incorporating activities that provide a baseline level accessible to all students in the class. He then scaffolds more thought-provoking questions. Cook would like to share some of these strategies with teaching instructors in other fields to discuss what techniques work for other units, and what could translate to a mathematics classroom. 

He wants to help students build community outside of the classroom. Many students who attend WVU are from rural areas or are first-generation students, and community building would help them meet and bond with one another.

B.A. in Mathematics and Physics, West Virginia University
M.S. in Mathematics, West Virginia University

Hugh Geller

Mathematical and Data Sciences Hugh Gellar

Originally from Massachusetts, Hugh moved to Towson, MD to pursue a bachelor's degree in mathematics at Goucher College. While there, Hugh maintained a ballet scholarship and competed each year as a three-season distance runner. After spending his junior year studying abroad at Oxford University, Hugh decided to pursue graduate studies in mathematics at Clemson University. His initial focus was number theory but switched to homological and commutative algebra under the guidance of Dr. Keri Sather-Wagstaff. His dissertation, Minimal Differential Graded Resolutions of Fiber Products, focused on the study of algebraic objects known as fiber products. His research introduced him to the work of current West Virginia University faculty Dr. Ela Celikbas and Dr. Olgur Celikbas.
Hugh completed the final year of his doctoral program remotely from Arlington, Virginia. While in Arlington, Hugh started research with Dr. Rebecca R.G. of George Mason University. Their work focuses on identifying applications of commutative algebra to neuroscience through neural codes. Hugh maintained this work in the following year when he moved to Sewanee, Tennessee to accept a visiting assistant professorship at Sewanee: The University of the South.
Hugh is excited to start his next chapter at WVU (and is looking for recommended running routes).

Dr. Geller has an on-going collaboration with Dr. Ela Celikbas and is looking to start another with Dr. Olgur Celikbas. Outside of WVU, Hugh will continue his work with Dr. Rebecca R.G. of George Mason University. Hugh is interested in interdisciplinary collaborations that identify possible applications of both commutative and homological algebra. While Hugh’s role is predominantly research focused, he is interested in growing his teaching skills to transition from teaching lecture-based math classes to discussion-based math classes. 

He is hoping to organize reading and research groups within the math department for both undergraduates and graduate students. As a member of both Phi Beta Kappa (Goucher College, Beta of Maryland) and Phi Kappa Phi (Clemson University, Chapter 49), he would gladly volunteer his time with either group at WVU.

Ph.D. in Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University
M.S. in Mathematical Sciences, Clemson University
B.A. in Mathematics, Goucher College

Guangming Jing

Mathematical and Data Sciences

Guangming Jing

Researcher in the areas of Combinatorial algorithms, Discrete Optimization.

B.S. in Mathematics, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, Nanjing, China
M.S. in Mathematics, North University of China, Taiyuan, China
M.S. in Statistics, Georgia State University
Ph.D. in Mathematics, Georgia State University

Galyna Voitiuk

Mathematical and Data Science

Galyna Voitiuk

Voitik has 25+ years of teaching experience at University and Secondary School levels.

She is willing to work with those interested in increasing teaching competence and student outcomes. Voitiuk would like to work with students involved in various mathematics competitions and encourage mathematics as an area of study for underrepresented segments of society. She is currently working on several projects with others, and willing to do the same in the future where interests coincide.

M.S. in Mathematics, WVU
Ph.D. in Mathematics, WVU (expected August 2022)

Dylan Wilson

Mathematical and Data Sciences Dylan Wilson

After receiving his doctoral degree at Northwestern University, Dylan was a Dickson Instructor at the University of Chicago and then an NSF Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University. His research is in homotopy theory, the qualitative study of shapes, which has connections to both pure and applied mathematics, including arithmetic geometry, physics and data analysis.
As an instructor, Dylan is interested in inclusive pedagogy; in cultivating curiosity, mindfulness and a growth mindset; and in supporting students as best he can to explore past the edges of wherever they currently are. Outside of academia, Dylan enjoys nature, reading, cooking and occasionally sitting and breathing. He is very excited to join the “Wild and Wonderful” West Virginia University community, and to once again live near the mountains!

On the pure mathematics side, Dr. Wilson would love to team up with the algebra research group and see if our different points of view on homological methods could be fruitfully combined. He would be excited to support undergraduate research by applying for funding to host an REU (Research Experience for Undergraduates) in mathematics. Finally, he hopes to get involved in efforts around environmental and climate activism on campus, as well as with groups dedicated to diversity, equity, anti-oppression, and inclusion. 
He has always been interested in experimenting with new methods in teaching mathematics, which is a subject that has unnecessarily been the cause of much pain and confusion for our students.

B.S. in Mathematics, University of Washington
Ph.D. in Mathematics, Northwestern University

Thaddeus Herman

Multidisciplinary Studies Herman

Dr. Thaddeus Herman holds a PhD of Education Policy, Organization and Leadership with a dual concentration of Philosophy of Education and Global Studies in Education and a minor in Global Studies from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He has lived extensively abroad in India helping to implement new curriculum in various institutions of higher education throughout the western Indian state of Maharashtra. He is fluent in Persian and his research broadly focuses on historical and modern educational connections between Iran and India. His recent research focuses on how a Bahá’í inspired school in Maharashtra began by Iranian Bahá’í refugees functioned during the global COVID-19 pandemic. Thaddeus is a two-time FLAS (Foreign Language and Area Studies) Fellow in Persian and utilizes the language in his research.

Dr. Herman is interested in collaborating with other scholars of globalization and those who incorporate a global lens within their research. He is also interested in collaborating with scholars from a variety of disciplines to invite them as guest lecturers into the classes he will teach. Collaborating with the Human Rights Commission of Morgantown, the Greater Morgantown Interfaith Association, and any units on the WVU campus which focus on global issues is of great interest to him.

PhD of Educational Policy, Organization and Leadership with a dual concentration in Philosophy of Education and Global Studies in Education and a graduate minor in Global Studies, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Jayme Scally

Multidisciplinary Studies jayme scally

Dr. Jayme Scally comes to Multidisciplinary Studies from the Honors Program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa where she served as faculty for six years. She is originally from Baltimore, MD and has lived and studied in England, Ireland, Spain, and South Africa. Her research focuses on the development of intercultural competence in various settings, including through study abroad, intentional campus programming, and through media. Jayme’s dissertation focused on a comparison of the three main study abroad models in US undergraduate education and assessed their program structures to ascertain which best support the development of intercultural competence, as well as the influence of administrative support and varying student motivations. Other work has investigated the idea of “internationalization at home” including a look at the relationship between Fundamental British Values and Arabic complementary schools and a focus on the mismatch between Global North and South institutions in higher education exchange programs that results in further propagating the inequity such programs are meant to address. A scholar-practitioner, Jayme has also worked in careers and study abroad advising, welfare and student support in the US and UK.

Jayme would like to collaborate with others on research around accessibility, engagement, and identity development in higher education and in teaching that helps students view issues from new perspectives or those that they might not think to use in a given environment, particularly with focus on civic engagement and social justice. She is also eager to develop and incorporate short-term study abroad programs into her teaching and would love to work with anyone else with similar goals or experience creating such a course.

B.A. History, Gettysburg College
M.Ed. Higher Education Administration, Vanderbilt University
Ph.D. Education, University of York, UK
Certificate in Disability and Diversity Studies, University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, USA

Daniel Miller

Philosophy Daniel Miller

Dr. Daniel Miller earned his doctoral degree at Florida State University in 2016. He is currently co-director of the Health Care Ethics course in the West Virginia University School of Medicine with Dr. Allison Lastinger. He teaches courses on ethical theory, health care ethics, the philosophy of religion, and writes on topics related to moral responsibility, blame and forgiveness, and health care ethics. He is especially interested in questions concerning the relationship between moral responsibility and ignorance. Outside of school he loves spending time with his wife and their newborn daughter.

Dan is particularly interested in doing collaborative work with health care professionals in the WVU School of Medicine.

Ph.D. in Philosophy, Florida State University

Ariane Nomikos

Philosophy Ariane Nomikos

Dr. Ariane Nomikos is a first-generation Greek American from Astoria, New York, and a first generation college student. In her free time she likes to walk, hike, cook, paint, play Wingspan and watch David Attenborough documentaries.

Mo st of Dr. Nomikos' teaching is in applied ethics, and courses in environmental ethics hold a special place in her heart. She would be especially interested in co-teaching courses on the environment with environmental/climate scientists and geographers.

Her research focuses on issues at the intersection of ethics, aesthetics, and the environment. In particular, she is interested in understanding how people give social meaning to places, and how their well-being is wrapped up in their relations to such places.

B.A. in Philosophy and Classics, Fordham University
Ph.D. in Philosophy, University at Buffalo, SUNY

Subhasish Mandal

Physics & Astronomy Subhasish Mandal

Dr. Subhasish Mandal has obtained his doctoral degree from the Department of Physics at Michigan Technological University in 2012 and master's of science degree from Indian Institute of Technology Madras in 2007. In 2005, he obtained his Bachelor of Science in Physics (with Honors) from the University of Calcutta. He has pursued his postdoctoral research from the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Rutgers University. Prior to that, he was a Yale-IBM postdoc in the Department of Applied Physics at Yale University.

Dr. Mandal's area of research is the theoretical & computational aspects of quantum condensed matter physics. He tries to understand the behavior of electrons in many classes of advanced quantum and functional materials like high-temperature superconductors, Mott insulators, topological insulators and multi-ferroelectrics materials by predicting electronic, optical and magnetic properties. He is in the process of building a materials database that would be more accurate than the existing databases and would rely on theories that go beyond the conventional density functional theory (DFT) method. This work is in collaboration with NIST. Mandal is interested in teaching Physics to both undergraduate and graduate students.  

Jason May

Physics & Astronomy Jason May

Jason May, Ph.D., is a teaching assistant professor in the Department of Physics & Astronomy. Jason's responsibilities include providing high-quality instruction, managing the department's laboratory courses and lecture demonstrations, and training and supporting graduate teaching assistants. Jason, a former NSF graduate research fellow, received his doctoral degree in Physics from the University of Utah in 2022, specializing in physics education research (PER) in undergraduate physics laboratory courses. During his tenure at the University of Utah, Jason led the development efforts for a new interdisciplinary physics laboratory course for life science majors, the Introductory Physics Labs for Life Sciences (IPL2S). His doctoral research utilized qualitative educational research methods to investigate student sensemaking, experimental activity, and agency in these lab courses.

In coming to West Virginia University's Department of Physics & Astronomy, Jason is excited to contribute to the department's outstanding instructional environments, world-class research projects and invaluable service opportunities to the WVU community and the state of West Virginia.

He looks forward to collaborating with Eberly College researchers interested in building a deeper understanding of student learning and cognition in science classroom settings. Dr. May hopes to broaden his research into West Virginia communities, including K-12 schools and informal educational environments, to develop and implement high-quality STEM educational tools to help young students develop lasting interests in STEM. 

Dr. May also hopes to work with graduate students and faculty to promote effective and longitudinally valuable training for graduate students, ensuring their professional success in the future. 

As the lecture-demonstration specialist, he would also like to extend the department's lecture-demonstration resources to interested ECAS faculty for instructional or outreach opportunities.

Ph.D., Physics, University of Utah

Jason Ybarra

Physics & Astronomy ybarra headshot

Jason E. Ybarra is a Teaching Assistant Professor in the Physics and Astronomy department and serves as the Director of the WVU Planetarium & Observatory. Dr. Ybarra’s research interests include galactic star formation, protostellar outflows, physics education, and the history of astronomy. They earned a Ph.D. from the University of Florida where, as a NASA Graduate Student Researchers Program (GSRP) fellow and a NASA Florida Space Grant Consortium fellow, they studied how star formation progresses through the Rosette Molecular Cloud by analyzing the stellar and gas content of embedded clusters. Dr. Ybarra’s postdoctoral work at the Instituto de Astronomía, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM-Ensenada) involved characterizing mid-infrared emission from star-forming regions, studying protostellar outflow interactions, and developing astro-statistical methods. They served as the editor of the "This Month in Astronomical History" column (2019-2020) for the Historical Astronomy Division of the American Astronomical Society (HAD-AAS), as well as being a frequent contributing author.Dr. Ybarra enjoys teaching and mentoring students. Previous to WVU, they taught physics and astronomy at Davidson College, Bridgewater College, and California State University, Sacramento. They have also taught physics to Buddhist monastics at the Drepung Loseling Monastery in Karnataka, India through the Emory-Tibet Science Initiative. Dr. Ybarra currently serves as a coordinator for the Sloan Digital Sky Survey (SDSS-V) Faculty and Student Team (FAST) program.

When not teaching or doing science, Dr. Ybarra writes poetry, paints, goes camping, and spending time with their wife and cats. They are also a proponent of the Oxford comma.

Dr. Ybarra is interested in developing collaborations with otherfaculty interested in education research in the natural sciences, and the history and philosophy of science.
B.S. Physics, California State University, Sacramento
M.S. Physics San Francisco State University
M.S. Astronomy University of Florida
Ph.D. Astronomy University of Florida

Vito D'Orazio

Political Science and Mathematical & Data Sciences Vito D'Orazio

Dr. Vito D'Orazio is an associate professor with a joint appointment in the Departments of Political Science and Data Sciences. Previously, he was on the faculty at the University of Texas at Dallas for seven years and was a postdoctoral researcher at Harvard University for two years. He has authored or co-authored 27 peer-reviewed publications in leading Political Science journals and Computer Science conference proceedings. His research has been funded by the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency and the National Science Foundation, totaling over $5,000,000 in funding since he began as tenure-track faculty in 2015.

Dr. D'Orazio's primary research interest is conflict forecasting. The goal of this research is to use statistical models to answer questions such as when, where and among whom armed conflict is likely to occur. In this context, “conflict” refers to the threat or use of violence in pursuit of political or social goals. It includes different types such as militarized disputes between countries, riots associated with protest movements and terrorism. High quality predictive modeling combines theoretical understandings of violence and war, state of the art algorithms and vast data resources. Thus, his research and teaching interests branch into each of these areas, while conflict forecasting remains at the core of his research agenda.

Dr. D'Orazio enjoys teaching a broad array of undergraduate and graduate courses. Topics include conflict and political violence, cyber war and policy, quantitative research methods, machine learning, databases and text analysis."

He is interested in research collaborations between Data Sciences, Political Science and other social science programs. Collaborations with faculty in Computer Science to develop and apply new techniques to social science research questions is of great interest to me. He is always looking for new opportunities to collaborate on large, multidisciplinary projects. 

Dr. D'Orazio plans to engage in a lot of outreach and curriculum development related to the new Data Science program, and to bridge the program to the social sciences. He also hopes to develop a presentation series where data-intensive and policy-oriented work is presented to the public.

A.A. in Liberal Arts, Nassau Community College
B.A. in Political Science, Binghamton University
M.A. in Political Science, Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D. in Political Science, Pennsylvania State University

Brennan Armshaw

Psychology Armshaw headshot

Dr. Armshaw received his masters degree in behavior analysis from the University of North Texas in 2018. He then went on to receive his PhD in health services research in 2022. During his graduate training, he studied under the supervision of Manish Vaidya. Dr. Armshaw is excited to be joining the WVU faculty in the fall as a service assistant professor and the assistant director of graduate training in the psychology department. Dr. Armshaw’s primary research interest is in the intersection of behavior analysis and medicine to promote wellbeing and health. He is particularly interested in the development of smart schedules and gamification to promote neuromuscular rehabilitation across a variety of contexts involving loss of muscular control. A secondary area of interest for Dr. Armshaw is the development and implementation of best practice education techniques to promote student mastery and self-ownership of the subject matter. Dr. Armshaw is passionate about mentorship and welcomes those interested in becoming involved in research focused either on behavioral medicine techniques or educational practices to reach out.

In the past Dr. Armshaw’s research collaborations have involved professors of kinesiology, physical therapists, and orthopedic surgeons. A firm believer in transdisciplinary collaborations he welcomes opportunities to work with those from different fields and backgrounds that share a similar research mission.

Similar to his approach to research Dr. Armshaw believes in a collaborative approach to teaching. In his own teaching he emphasizes active student engagement and the application of the subject material to out of the box and real world problems. He is interested in assessing educational practices through research and welcomes collaborations from any one who shares a similar passion for education.

Dr. Armshaw has provided support for college autism programs, worked with physical therapists on improving treatment and compliance, and served on boards. Driven by the hope of having a true applied impact he recognizes that the heart of that lies in the community. He welcomes opportunities to work with and learn from community organizations where his skill sets may be of use.

Masters in behavior analysis, 2018, University of North Texas
PhD in health services research, 2022 , University of North Texas

Bridget Bailey

Social Work Bridget Bailey

Bridget Bailey, Ph.D., LICSW is an assistant professor in the School of Social Work
and an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of Behavioral Medicine
& Psychiatry at West Virginia University. Dr. Bailey currently holds licensure as an
Independent Clinical Social Worker under the West Virginia Board of Social Work Licensure. Dr. Bailey has ten years of clinical experience in the field of mental health (inpatient, outpatient, community-based and school-based) and specializes in the use of evidence-based psychotherapy for youth and adults with mood disorders, complex trauma and a high risk of suicide.
The overarching goal of Dr. Bailey’s interdisciplinary clinical intervention and implementation research is to increase access to evidence-based psychotherapies and preventative interventions for high-risk, underserved youth using community engaged and mix-methods approaches. Dr. Bailey’s current research efforts include implementation of routine suicide risk screening and assessment in rural youth outpatient mental health. Additionally, Dr. Bailey was awarded a pilot grant from the Sisters of Saint Joseph Health and Wellness Foundation to examine the feasibility, acceptability, fidelity and preliminary effectiveness of dialectical behavior therapy skills training for emotional problem solving for adolescents (DBT-STEPS-A), a universal school-based preventative and early intervention social emotional learning curriculum, in a rural middle school in southern West Virginia.

Dr. Bailey is interested in serving on boards of local community mental health organizations and school districts, as well as becoming active in organizations such as the National Alliance on Mental Illness, Depression and Bipolar Support Alliance and Mental Health America. Specifically, groups addressing suicide prevention, especially in youth and high-risk populations (e.g., LBGTQIA+). 
Research collaborations that interest her are content areas relating to children’s mental health; school-based mental health; mood disorders; suicide prevention; trauma-informed care; clinical intervention research; implementation science; prevention science; mixed methods research.

Ph.D., Ohio State University College of Social Work
M.S.W., Ohio State University
B.Phil. in Social Work, University of Pittsburgh

Rebekah Dunaway

Social Work Rebekah Dunaway

Rebekah is a graduate of West Virginia University's bachelor of social work program and earned her Master of Social Work and Master of Public Administration dual degree from WVU. Through her previous experiences in nonprofit organizations, school systems and youth development programs, Rebekah is a licensed graduate social worker who worked with youth and families, communities, program development, grant writing and training development. Bekah focuses on creating organization and system changes through education and community-centered approaches and interventions. In her spare time, Bekah volunteers with 4-H and CASA For Kids. Rebekah’s teaching and advising philosophies use student-centered approaches and incorporate aspects of experiential learning, advocacy, social justice and diversity.

B.S.W., West Virginia University
M.S.W./M.P.A., West Virginia University

Megan Fabbri

Social Work Megan Fabbri

Dr. Megan Fabbri’s interests focus on the human rights of migrant women and children from a global social work perspective. During her doctoral studies, she worked in Colombia with both domestic Colombian and migrant Venezuelan women in sex work to understand the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on the access to social supports. Through a community engagement approach and partnerships with Colombian social workers, Megan worked to connect the women with formal social services and identify service gaps. Additionally, Megan has extensive teaching experience focusing on social work education, community organizing, and social welfare policy. Prior to academic work, Megan worked predominantly with migrant adolescents and their families, supporting and advocating for services, specifically in the areas of education and health care. Megan plans to continue her work in Colombia while also developing new partnerships to support migrant families in West Virginia.

Dr. Fabbri is interested in collaborating in research involving migration, human rights, and feminist perspectives, including working with Lupe Davidson on her work with women and social justice initiatives and Gloria Negrete-Lopez pertaining to her work with Latin@ folks and border issues. She also spoke to Dr. Cynthia Gorman about partnering on her work with migrant workers in West Virginia. She is interested in developing an international study abroad program for social work students to allow them to study abroad and complete their required field placement hours internationally. From a community perspective, she would like to volunteer with youth sports programs such as Girls on the Run or youth soccer programs.

PhD in Social Work from The Ohio State University
MSW from The University of Pittsburgh
BSW from Shippensburg University

Andrew Irish

Social Work Andrew Irish

Dr. Irish joined the faculty of the West Virginia University School of Social Work as an assistant professor in 2022. He completed his Master of Social Work degree with a concentration in Mental Health at Roberts Wesleyan College in Rochester, New York (2014). His post-master's degree practice background is in outpatient behavioral health. This includes direct clinical practice with individuals and groups, as well as administration. He has experience in rural, suburban and urban settings, with a diverse range of client demographics. Dr. Irish completed his doctoral degree in Social Welfare at the University at Buffalo (2022) where he was a presidential fellow and recipient of the University’s Graduate Award for Research, Scholarship, and Creativity.

Dr. Irish's research has two focal points. The first area is the relationship between population-level economic inequality and a range of physical/behavioral health outcomes. His dissertation examined theory and empirical evidence for the income inequality hypothesis at the level of U.S. states. He also works in the area of substance use/misuse. This includes policy mapping studies on the opioid epidemic, qualitative and quantitative research on substance misuse recovery, and quantitative work on youth mental health. He is currently part of an NIH-NIAAA grant project developing a measure of recovery capital. Dr. Irish has teaching interests in social policy and analysis as well as social stratification. He is interested in collaborative and interdisciplinary research and has broad academic interests including public health, sociology, economics, political science, history and philosophy.

Dr. Irish is interested in collaborative research in economic inequality, substance use/misuse, mental health, policy analysis or many other areas. He is new to the area and would be happy to learn more about the work communities and community organizations are doing.

B.A., Houghton College
M.S.W., Roberts Wesleyan College
Ph.D., University at Buffalo

Fanica Payne

Social Work Fanica Payne

Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker (LICSW).

Payne has served on Committee on Anti-Racism, Equity, and Justice and Faculty Search Committee - Online Field Coordinator. She is affiliated with the Council of Social Work Education.

She would be interested in collaborating on the following topics: Human Diversity; Professional Identity and Social Justice; Clinical social work practice; Mental and Behavioral Health; Substance Use, Addiction and Recovery; Anti-Racism, Social, Racial Equity and Justice; Practitioner Burnout and Self-Care.

M.S.W, West Virginia University
B.S. Health Science, Health Promotion and Wellness, West Virginia State University

Enkeshi El-Amin

Sociology and Anthropology Enkeshi El-Amin

Enkeshi El-Amin will join West Virginia University as an assistant professor of Sociology this fall. She recently earned a doctoral degree in sociology at the University of Tennessee Knoxville. Her research, exploring the link between race and place, focuses on how racial practices shape Black places and how Black people, in turn, are involved in practices that define, contest and reimagine places. As a doctoral student, she completed an NSF-funded dissertation examining and analyzing the contested experiences and meanings of urban Black space in a region conventionally represented as a domain of rural white poverty. She is expanding this dissertation in her first book, for which she has signed an advanced contract with the University of Kentucky Press.
Along with her research and teaching, Enkeshi actively participates in community and cultural work. She is a producer and co-host of the Black In Appalachia podcast, a collaboration between East Tennessee PBS and Public Radio Exchange (PRX) that seeks to make visible the stories of Black people in and through the Appalachian region. In response to finding feelings of displacement and loss of space for Black communities in her research, Dr. El-Amin founded “The Bottom” in East Knoxville as a hub to build community, celebrate culture and engage in the creativity of Black people in Appalachia.

As a scholar of Black Appalachian studies and a member of the Black in Appalachia podcast and research team, West Virginia is an important place for Dr. El-Amin's work. She is looking forward to connecting with communities in the only state that is completely Appalachia and drawing insights from those communities that can help us understand the larger Appalachian and African American experience. Dr. El-Amin is eager to get acquainted with Morgantown and learn more about what her colleagues in the region are studying and see ways that our work can intersect. 

Dr. El-Amin is intrigued by digital sociology and the ways sociologists can use digital tools as part of their pedagogy. She have been working with East Tennessee and West Virginia public radio on several projects, and hopes to find ways to bring WVU students into these collaborations. 

Community engagement has been a cornerstone of her academic career. It is important that Dr. El-Amin's work goes beyond academic spaces and is engaged with and by local and regional Black communities. She looks forward to the next few years of getting to know these West Virginia communities better to anticipate how they can collaborate with her in meaningful ways.

B.A. in Africana Studies, Agnes Scott College
M.A. in Pan-African Studies, Syracuse University
Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Tennessee, Knoxville

Aaron Foote

Sociology and Anthropology Aaron Foote

Aaron Foote is an urban sociologist and community activist from Flint, Michigan.
His current research examines the social, political and economic factors that led to the Flint Water Crisis, specifically detailing how state and suburban actors colonized water rights in Southeast Michigan, ultimately leading to the poisoning of tens of thousands of Black Flint residents. Aaron’s research also sheds light on the lived experiences of the thousands of families who fought back and were directly impacted by this tragedy.

In the classroom, Aaron engages students through open discussion, experiential learning and collaboration in order to connect students’ lived experiences to larger social systems and processes. Aaron challenges students to interrogate what they believe to be true via evidence-based discourse in the hopes that this will facilitate new ideas and perspectives.

Dr. Foote is interested in collaborating on a multitude of social problems that intersect the studies of gentrification, revanchism, environmental justice, regionalism, race, class, and gender and coloniality. Developing courses designed to engage urban sociology, social stratification, race, sociological theory, and political sociology is of interest to him. He wants to work with communities (both on campus and off campus) in West Virginia and western Pennsylvania on issues of environmental and racial justice.

B.A. in Social Relations and Policy, Michigan State University
M.A. in Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Ph.D. in Sociology, University of Massachusetts Amherst

Mihyun Kim

Statistics Mihyun Kim

Mihyun Kim is an assistant professor of Statistics within the School of Mathematical and Data Sciences at West Virginia University. Before joining WVU, Dr. Kim was a post-doctoral fellow in the department of Statistics and Actuarial Science, University of Waterloo. She received her doctoral degree from the Statistics department from Colorado State University.

Dr. Kim’s primary research interests lie in the development of statistical methods for analyzing functional time series data, with particular attention to applications in finance and health science. She also studies extreme value analysis, particularly heavy tails analysis and regular variation, and statistical machine learning.

Dr. Kim’s primary goal as a researcher is to not only develop statistical tools supported by rigorous theory, but also to participate in collaborative work with researchers in various fields. She has previously collaborated with colleagues in sports and health sciences to study physical activities among children. She hopes to continue working with collaborators in other fields to develop new statistical methods especially for the analysis of functional data and heavy-tailed data.  

Dr. Kim is aware that being a faculty member does not mean just being successful in research and teaching, but also being active in roles that make the community better. She is interested in working with organizations that promote diversity and help female students and students of color in STEM fields.

Ph.D. in Statistics, Colorado State University
M.S. in Mathematics, Yonsei University, South Korea
B.S. in Mathematics and Civil Engineering, Yonsei University, South Korea

Jason Palmer

Statistics Jason Palmer

Dr. Palmer is an expert in statistical signal processing and machine learning. His primary experience is in applied statistical analysis of electroencephalography signals using advance machine learning techniques. He has worked as a researcher at UCSD Institute for Neural Computing, and as a professor in Japan focusing on application of advanced statistical methods to brain computer interface technology.

Dr. Palmer is interested in developing collaborations with the West Virginia University Rockefeller Neuroscience Institute in brain imaging, and the Departments of Physics and Astronomy in radio astronomy.

B.A. in Philosophy, University of Chicago
Ph.D. in Electrical and Computer Engineering, University of California San Diego

Gloria Negrete-Lopez

Women's and Gender Studies Gloria Negrete-Lopez

Gloria Negrete-Lopez (she/her/hers/ella) is an assistant professor of Women’s and Gender Studies at West Virginia University. She holds a doctoral degree in Gender and Women’s Studies with a minor in Mexican-American Studies from the University of Arizona. Interdisciplinary in scope, her research, teaching and creative work focuses on gender and feminist studies, critical prison studies, Latinx/e studies, migration studies, queer and trans of color critique, cultural studies and new media studies.
Dr. Negrete-Lopez’s research examines the important role of art and cultural work in disrupting dominant legal narratives of migrant criminality. She is currently working on a book project that analyzes the artistic and cultural work of migration activists who use this work as spaces of knowledge-making, co-creativity and feminist praxis, wherein the artworks challenge violent anti-immigrant discourses that criminalize and punish migrant communities. Additionally, her teaching and scholarly work reflect her commitment to creating learning communities that study art as a powerful tool for social change. Lastly, Dr. Negrete-Lopez has a forthcoming piece essay titled “'IMA MAKE IT LOOK FLY!': Abolitionist Feminist Aesthetic Coding in Fashion and Adornment” in Abolition Feminisms Vol. 1: Organizing, Survival, and Transformative Practice (August 16, 2022) from Haymarket Books.

As a critical prison studies scholar Negrete-Lopez's research is grounded in challenging notions of criminality and punishment, specifically as it relates to working-class, racialized and migrant (both documented and undocumented) communities. She is honored to see myself learning from and collaborating with the Appalachian Prison Book Project and Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program. Negrete-Lopez would like to collaborate with educators working in the Inside-Out Prison Exchange Program, specifically to develop a gender studies syllabi that focus on topics important to gender and feminist studies. 
As a recent transplant to West Virginia, Negrete-Lopez would like to collaborate with campus centers like the WVU Center for Resilient Communities in their food and environmental justice labs. Within the space of the university community there are  many professional networks she interested in getting to know further, like the WVU Faculty Justice Network and the local AAUW chapter.

Ph.D. in Gender and Women’s Studies, University of Arizona
M.A. in Women and Gender Studies, San Francisco State University
A.A. in Gender Studies with a Minor in Labor and Workplace Studies, University of California, Los Angeles
A.A. in Liberal Arts, Fullerton College

Marie Paillard

World Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics Marie Paillard

Marie Paillard is originally from Normandy, France, and received degrees from the University of Delaware and Penn State since coming to the United States in 2011. She just earned a doctoral degree in French from Penn State in May 2022. Her research focuses on 20th and 21st century Francophone literatures from the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean, and how literary texts can help us decenter our vision of migratory pathways. Paillard has been teaching for over a decade and is passionate about her classes, specifically about embedding cultural content in language classes to give students a lived experience of the language and culture they are learning. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, cooking, knitting and running.

Marie Paillard strives to collaborate with other scholars, from various departments, interested in transnational and migration studies. She would like to organize a conference panel on transnational movements in Francophone literatures. As a first generation student, Marie strives to provide her students, specifically those who are first generation, with the mentorship and guidance they need to thrive in an academic environment.  

She is thrilled to be a part of the West Virginia University community and would love to, organize cultural events such as film viewings and discussions, or Francophone music and/or food festivals.

B.A. (Licence) in English Studies, Université de Caen, France
M.A. in English and American Literature, Université de Caen, France
M.A. in French, University of Delaware
M.A. in French and Francophone Studies, Pennsylvania State University
Ph.D. in French, Pennsylvania State University

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