College of Arts and Sciences New Faculty

Africana Studies
2012-2013: Abena Asare | Shimelis Gulema



Abena Asare
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2011, History, New York University


Shimelis Gulema
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2011, African History, UCLA

Abena Ampofoa Asare is an Assistant Professor of Modern African Affairs specializing in West African post-colonial history. Her research spans questions of migration, human rights, and transitional justice in Africa and the African diaspora. Published in both policy-focused and academic journals, her work focuses on the importance of marginalized histories when contemplating questions of African "development" and growth. Ph.D.; New York University, New York, NY, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences Doctorate of Philosophy, Department of History.

An Assistant Professor of Africana Studies; specializing in Modern and contemporary Africa; The African Diaspora. Urbanization (urban space and its production, youth, urban cultural production, rural-urban ties), modernity/modernization, migration, national and transnational identities and ideologies (local, national, and diasporic), political economy, governance, development, and the politics of knowledge production. Ph.D. in African History (Post-Colonial Formations), University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), USA.

2013-2014: Jeroen Smaers
2012-2013: Sarah Mathew



Jeroen Smaers
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2009, MPhil, 2006, Anthropology, Cambridge University

Dr. Smaers received his Ph.D. in 2009 form the Department of Anthropology at Cambridge University, U.K.. He is currently a NERC postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at University College, London. His research focuses on the neural underpinnings of behavioural complexity (brain evolution), the ecological factors influencing behavioural complexity (ecology and population dynamics), and the factors associated to the evolution of cranial and postcranial morphology. He has a very strong track record in publications including PNAS, Annals of the NY Academy of Sciences, Philosophical Transactions, and Brain, Behavior, and Evolution. His mathematical and statistical knowledge is exceptionally broad and includes the development of new tests in phylogenetic comparative methods and extends also to agent-based modeling. His research and statistical work will broadly overlap with faculty in the departments of Anthropology, Anatomical Sciences, and Ecology & Evolution. He will teach courses in statistics for the new HEB major.



Sarah Mathew
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2011, MA, 2008 Anthropology, UCLA

AB, 2003, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Princeton

Sarah Mathew received her Ph.D. in September 2011 from the Department of Anthropology at UCLA. She then completed a one year Postdoctoral position at the Center for the Study of Cultural Evolution at Stockholm University, Sweden. Her research focuses on the evolution of large scale cooperation in humans and her dissertation included a quantitative study of warfare in the Turkana people of Kenya. Her research includes both formal evolutionary models and empirical studies. She has a strong track record in obtaining grants during her PhD research. Her first two publications are published in top-ranked journals (PNAS and Proceedings of the Royal Society). Her research in the Turkana Basin overlaps greatly with the Turkana Basin Institute here at Stony Brook.

2012-2013: Isak Berbic



Isak Berbic
Assistant Professor, Photography

MFA, 2007, School of Art and Design, College of Architecture and the Arts, University of Illinois at Chicago

Isak Berbic is a photography, moving image and performance artist from Sarajevo. As Yugoslavia dissolved and Bosnia was under attack, he and his family became refugees, migrating through Croatia, the Czech Republic to a refugee camp in Denmark; ultimately settling in the United States of America. Isak Berbic studied Photography, Film and Electronic Media at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In Chicago, he practiced art, worked in theater, and was art director of a political monthly magazine. In 2007 he moved to the middle east where he teaches photography and media at the College of Fine Arts and Design, University of Sharjah. His research deals with histories, politics, tragedy, memory, humor, exile, and the limits of representation. His recent artworks investigate the overlaps of documentary and fiction within the complex polemics and aesthetics of the visualization of contested politics and histories.

Biochemistry and Cell Biology
2013-2014: Sasha Levy



Sasha Levy
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2005, University of California - Santa Barbara

Sasha Levy earned his bachelor's degree from University of California at Berkeley and his PhD from the University of California at Santa Barbara. As a postdoctoral fellow at New York University in the lab of Mark Siegal, Sasha developed high-throughput imaging platforms to study robustness and bet-hedging in microbes. He then worked as a research scientist in the lab of Gavin Sherlock at Stanford University to study the evolutionary dynamics of large microbial populations. He joined Stony Brook University in November as a Marsha Laufer Assistant Professor in the Laufer Center for Physical and Quantitative Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Cell Biology.

Sasha's lab will develop technologies using random DNA barcodes and next-generation sequencing to simultaneously study the behavior of millions of small lineages in large cell populations. He will use these powerful tools to understand how cell populations, such as microbial pathogens or cancer, evolve pathogenicity and drug resistance. His lab will also combine random DNA barcode technologies with yeast genetics tools to develop an interaction sequencing platform that will assay millions of genetic and protein-protein interactions in parallel. The lab will use these tools to study how cellular networks change across environments or genotypes.

2013-2014: Scott Laughlin | Ming-Yu Ngai
2012-2013: Thomas K. Allison | Surita R. Bhatia | Kenneth J. Takeuchi



Scott Laughlin
Assistant Professor

PhD, Chemical Biology, UC Berkeley


Ming-Yu Ngai
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2008, Chemistry, University of Texas - Austin

Dr. Laughlin carried out undergraduate studies in biochemistry and philosophy at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and received his PhD in Chemical Biology from UC Berkeley under Professor Carolyn Bertozzi. Dr. Laughlin's research interests span chemistry and neuroscience. He will use chemical probes to illuminate the paths of neural circuits in the brain using zebrafish as a model organism. His work will form the basis for understanding neurological disorders in humans. He will teach undergraduate organic chemistry and graduate chemical biology courses.

Dr. Ming Yu Ngai finished his bachelor degree in Chemistry at the University of Hong Kong in 2003, and received his PhD in 2008 from the University of Texas at Austin under the supervision of Professor Michael J. Krische. After he finished his postdoctoral work with Professor Barry M. Trost at Stanford University as a Croucher Post-doctoral Fellow and with Professor Tobias Ritter at Harvard University, he started his independent career in the Department of Chemistry at the State University of New York at Stony Brook in 2013. His research focuses on bio-inspired multifunctional catalysis, photoredox catalysis, green chemistry, drug development and discovery, and positron emission tomography (PET) tracer development for the study of human diseases.



Thomas K. Allison
Associate Professor (joint with Physics)

PhD, 2010, MS, 2006, Physics, UC Berkeley


Surita R. Bhatia
Associate Professor

PhD, 2000, Chemistry, Princeton University

Thomas K. Allison received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. He worked with Roger Falcone on the development of time resolved measurements of molecular dynamics using ultrafast pulses in the soft x-ray (XUV) regime. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral scholar at JILA with Jun Ye, working on the development of frequency combs in the XUV. His plans are to develop time resolved spectroscopy measurements of non-Born Oppenheimer dynamics in small molecules using XUV frequency combs. Dr. Allison's research plans are a combination of laser technology development and time-resolved spectroscopic studies of energy flow and fragmentation dynamics in molecules and clusters. Many of these important problems have been intractable with conventional lasers and detector systems, but Dr. Allison is part of the laser revolution using ultrafast frequency combs which promise to open up completely new areas of ultrafast chemical dynamics. As an expert in the latest developments in laser technology and molecular dynamics, Dr. Allison will enhance fundamental molecular physics research at Stony Brook and establish the first ultrafast spectroscopy group in Chemistry. Ultrafast spectroscopy is gaining importance in all areas of chemistry- gas, liquid and condensed phases – since it provides the ability to "watch" molecules undergo chemical changes in real time. The joint appointment of Dr. Allison between the Chemistry and Physics Departments is strengthening ties between faculty in AMO physics (Koch, Metcalf, Schneble, Weinacht) and chemical physics (Johnson, Sears, White) who share common research interests but have yet to develop joint projects and proposals. Tom has a joint appointment between Physics & Astronomy and Chemistry. He is the recipient of an AF AFOSR Young Investigator Research Award. Tom teaches courses in physical and quantum chemistry (one course per year in the chemistry department).

Surita R. Bhatia received her PhD from Princeton University in 2000. She worked with William Russel on Structure and Rheology of Associative Polymers in Microemulsion Solutions. She was a tenured Associate Professor in the Chemical Engineering Department at University of Massachusetts and is a world-renowned polymer chemist. She built a successful, well-funded research program on the structure and rheology of soft biomaterials, complex fluids, and polymer gels. Her research group distinguishes itself by combining novel structural characterization techniques, including ultra-small-angle scattering (USAS), with rheological and transport measurements. Her research accomplishments have been recognized with an NSF CAREER Award, a 3M Nontenured Faculty Award, and a DuPont Young Professor Award. This senior hire is a joint position between the Chemistry Department at Stony Brook and BNL's Center for Functional Nanomaterials (CFN) and therefore strengthens ties between the two institutions. Various collaborations with our Chemistry faculty have developed especially those conducting research in polymer chemistry (Dr. Benjamin Hsiao, Dr. Benjamin Chu, Dr. Robert Grubbs. Dr. Jonathan Rudick, Dr. Sampson). Surita teaches physical chemistry (one course per year in chemistry).


Kenneth J. Takeuchi
Distinguished Professor

PhD, 1981, Chemistry, Ohio State University

Kenneth Takeuchi received his PhD from Ohio State University in 1981. He was a member of the University of Buffalo faculty from 1983 to 2012. Dr. Kenneth Takeuchi is a SUNY Distinguished Teaching Professor and an expert on electrochemistry and nanomaterials synthesis. Dr. Takeuchi's expertise and leadership in electrochemistry and nanomaterials synthesis will be a resource to many Chemistry faculty members who wish to expand their research activities, and his superb teaching expertise will undoubtedly benefit many chemical education programs of the Department. Ken teaches courses in inorganic chemistry and general chemistry.

Cultural Analysis and Theory
2012-2013: Kadji Amin | Nancy Hiemstra | Liz Montegary



Kadji Amin
Assistant Professor of Queer Studies Literary and Cultural Theory

PhD, 2009, MA 2008, Romance Studies (French), Duke University


Nancy Hiemstra
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2011, Geography, Maxwell School, Syracuse University

MA, 2005, Geography, University of Oregon

Kadji Amin received his Ph.D. in Romance Studies (French) with a graduate Certificate in Feminist Studies from Duke University in 2009. Hisresearch and teaching interests include queer historiography and temporality, affect studies, literary modernism, transgender studies, and French cultural studies. His research, which has been published in French Studies, Chiasmi International, and a forthcoming edited book on Jean Genet's North American influence, focuses on queer counterhistoriographies that disrupt contemporary narratives about gay and lesbian history and politics. His current book manuscript, "Untimely Genet," seeks to amplify twentieth-century French author, playwright, and activist Jean Genet's untimely effects on contemporary queer studies. The book uses Genet's writing, political engagements, and life practices to explore queer modes of affiliation, affect, and identification – including those that have as much to do with imprisonment, delinquency, and criminality as with sexuality – that do not articulate smoothly with dominant narratives about gay and lesbian history.

Nancy Hiemstra is a political and cultural geographer, and her interests include global migration, immigration enforcement practices, 'homeland security', processes of racialization, constructions of borders and sovereignty, Latin America, and feminist epistemology and methodologies.

Dr. Hiemstra's research program broadly examines the ways in which state policies shape patterns of human mobility, cultural formations, and illicit economies. While immigration today is often regarded as a homeland security issue, Dr. Hiemstra approaches it as an issue of human security. She is particularly interested in the localized, embodied consequences of human mobility, both from the perspective of residents in the U.S. and in countries of origin. Dr. Hiemstra employs feminist, ethnographic methodologies centering the everyday experiences of individuals and households.


Liz Montegary
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2011, Cultural Studies, University of California, Davis

MA, 2004, Women's & Gender Studies, Rutgers University

Liz Montegary received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Davis in Cultural Studies and my M.A. from Rutgers University in Women's and Gender Studies. Her research interests include feminist and queer theory, transnational American studies, LGBT activism and queer politics, histories of travel and tourism, the militarization of everyday life, and mobility, dis/ability, and the body.

Dr. Montegary is currently working on a book manuscript, tentatively titled Queer Mobilizations: The Transnational Circuits of U.S. Lesbian and Gay Politics. This project traces the history of lesbian and gay travel during the 20th century in order to illustrate how global networks of exchange shape lesbian and gay activism in the U.S. Specifically, she focuses on modes of travel linked to campaigns against "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," development projects advancing LGBT human rights, and calls for marriage and family equality. Placing feminist and queer theory in conversation with mobility studies, Dr. Montegary examines the militarized relations of power at play within travel practices to illuminate the transnational dimensions of U.S. sexual politics and to consider the limits and possibilities of U.S. lesbian and gay activism today.

Ecology and Evolution
2012-2013: Brenna Henn



Brenna Henn
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2009, Anthropology, MS, 2005, Stanford

Dr. Henn's research lab investigates patterns of human genetic diversity and evolution by pairing genomic datasets with information about phenotype, language and prehistory. She is committed to understanding genetic diversity in under-represented populations and hypothesize that the determinants of phenotypic traits and disease in these populations may be influenced by alleles that are population-specific or generally rare. Dr. Henn is broadly interested in refining models of human migration and understanding the adaptive significance of healthy phenotypes such as life history traits, pigmentation and disease resistance. He lab is particularly focused on the complex demographic history of African populations. In collaboration with African geneticists, they currently work with Khoe-San populations at several field sites in the Kalahari Desert and Richtersveld to collect DNA samples, ethnographic data and basic phenotypes like skin pigmentation and height. By leveraging reduced environmental variability in these populations, low linkage disequilbrium and historic endogamy, they can jointly address questions regarding the genetic basis for different phenotypes and their evolutionary history. Are there loci of large effect for height and skin pigmentation? Are estimates of heritability for these phenotypes similar or different to estimates from cosmopolitan populations? Was the ancestral population of humans of short stature or tall? Dr. Henn has an interdisciplinary research background obtained during her Ph.D. in anthropology and as a postdoctoral fellow in human genetics, both at Stanford University, as well as industry experience in 'personal genomics'.

2013-2014: Juan Carlos Conesa
2012-2013: Ting Liu | Yiyi Zhou



Juan Carlos Conesa
Associate Professor

PhD, 1999, MA, 1996, Economics, University of Minnesota

PhD, 1998, Economics, Universitat de Barcelona

Juan Carlos Conesa graduated in Economics from the Universitat de Barcelona (1991) and earned a PhD in Economics at the Universitat de Barcelona (1998) and at the University of Minnesota (1999). Prior to joining Stony Brook University in 2013, he had been an Associate Professor at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona since 2006. His research focuses on the macroeconomic implications of alternative fiscal policies and the optimal design of such policies, and has been published in leading Economics journals such as the American Economic Review, the Journal of Monetary Economics or the International Economic Review.



Ting Liu
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2008, MA, 2005, Economics, Boston University

BA, 2001, Economics, University of International Business and Economics, Beijing


Yiyi Zhou
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2012, Economics, University of Virginia

MA, 2007, Economics, Peking University

Ting Liu conducts research in industrial organization, health economics and applied microeconomic theory. Her recent research interests include reputation building in expert markets, durable goods product design and the impact of electronic medical records on physicians' behavior. Prior to joining Stony Brook, she worked as an assistant professor at Michigan State University. Liu has taught courses in strategic behavior in economic environments and in microeconomics. She has published in several journals, including Economic Theory, International Economic Review and Pacific Economic Review, and has made presentations at conferences around the country.

Yiyi Zhou's dissertation, “Bayesian Estimation of a Dynamic Equilibrium Model of Pricing and Entry in Two-Sided Markets: Application to Video Games,” concerns the dynamic pricing and entry in the U.S. video game market. She has developed a Bayesian estimation method for dynamic games arising in economics and business areas. Zhou's research interests are in industrial organization, applied econometrics and microeconomics. She has published in Industrial Economics Research and Review of Industrial Economics, and has made presentations at the University of Virginia and at the China Economic Annual Conference.

2012-2013: Justin Johnston | Michael Rubenstein | Michael Tondre



Justin Johnston
Assistant Professor

PhD, Literary Studies, 2012, University of Wisconsin - Madison


Michael Rubenstein
Assistant Professor

PhD, Literature, Rutgers University

MA, Culture and Colonialism, University College Galway, Ireland

BA, English, University of Texas - Austin

Dr. Johnston is interested in contemporary Anglophone and Postcolonial literature, especially in how the category of the (post)human is formulated in these texts. His current research examines how cyborgs, clones, animal-human hybrids, toxic bodies, and other technological bodies have proliferated across a variety of internationally acclaimed literary texts during the last decade. These bodies are weighted down by the history of 20th century biopolitics, even as they anticipate still emergent forms of subjectivity. This area of work has fueled a sustained passion for the fields of feminist body theory, postcolonial criticism, animal studies, biopolitics, and increasingly, eco-criticism. In 2012, Justin Johnston obtained his Ph.D. in Literary Studies from the University of Wisconsin - Madison. As an Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University, he currently working on a book project, The Prosthetic Novel, based on his dissertation research. It examines the role of biotechnology in contemporary literature.

His research interests include: Contemporary Anglophone literature; biopolitics and biotechnology in post-1945 novels; feminist theories of embodiment; postcolonial critiques of humanism; ecological criticism.

Michael Rubenstein is the author of Public Works: Infrastructure, Irish Modernism, and the Postcolonial (Notre Dame: 2010), which received the Modernist Studies Association Prize for a Distinguished book and the American Conference for Irish Studies Robert Rhodes Prize for the Book on Literature. He is co-editor, with Sophia Beal and Bruce Robbins, of a forthcoming special issue of Modern Fiction Studies on "Infrastructuralism" (2015). He is currently working on a new book, Unaccountable Growth, which examines questions of economic, infrastructural, and characterological development in recent fictions from and / or about the Global South. He offers courses on "Empire and Global English," "British and Irish Culture After 1945," "British Cinema," "Postcolonial Cinema," and "Irish Modernism," among others.
His research interests include: James Joyce; 20th-Century Irish Literature; 20th-Century British and Anglophone Literature; Postcolonial Literature; Modernism; Psychoanalysis; The Novel; Film; Environmentalism and the Humanities.


Michael Tondre
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2010, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor

MPhil, 2003, Oxford University

Michael Tondre joined the English department at Stony Brook after completing his graduate work at Oxford University (M.Phil., 2003) and at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor (Ph.D., 2010). His research focuses broadly on nineteenth-century British literature and culture, and is positioned at the intersection between the history of science and Victorian fiction. In addition to articles and reviews in journals such as ELH, Nineteenth-Century Literature, and Victorian Studies, he is completing a book entitled "Novel Velocities: Epistemologies of the Event in British Literature, Science, and Culture, 1850-1914." The book aligns the aesthetics of the Victorian novel with the birth of cognitive neuroscience by pulling together recent contributions in psychoanalysis, affect theory, and science studies. Generally speaking, it converges around a set of efforts to represent the history of sensation, thought, and feeling in the embodied subject. The book traces the Victorian belief that those experiences had a distinct temporal form, and shows how those relatively short durées helped to organize an assortment of modernizing practices. The book reflects Dr. Tondre's larger interests in literary and cultural studies: the traffic between literary form and historical change, the rise of the modern novel, theories of mind and brain, ethics, and epistemology, and the embodied experience of human and animal lives. Michael Tondre offers courses on topics related mostly to the long nineteenth-century in Britain, though his teaching also incorporates readings from other periods and geographies, particularly at introductory levels. He serves on the editorial board of the interdisciplinary journal Victorian Literature and Culture.

Hispanic Languages and Literature
2013-2014: Joseph Pierce | Javier Uriarte



Joseph Pierce
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2013, Latin American and Spanish Studies, University of Texas at Austin


Javier Uriarte
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2012, Spanish, NYU

Joseph M. Pierce specializes in nineteenth and turn-of-the-century Latin American literature, with interests in queer theory and kinship studies. He is currently drafting a manuscript, entitled “Writing and Kinship in the Argentine fin de siglo, 1890-1910: La familia Bunge,” which takes a politically engaged, socially influential family of writers as the framework for analyzing a crucial period in Argentine history, underscoring the role of relational subjectivities in forming notions of gender, sexuality, citizenship, and mutual intelligibility.

Since 2009, he has also served as Communications Director at La Poderosa Media Project, a nonprofit community-based visual arts program, which promotes intercultural translation between North and Latin American youth through the production of short films.

Javier Uriarte, a specialist in 19th century Spanish-American and Brazilian literature and culture, received his PhD from the Department of Spanish and Portuguese at NYU, one of the top programs in the country, in January 2012. His dissertation, “Fazedores de desertos: Viajes, Guerra y Estado en América Latina” (Makers of Deserts: Travel, War and the State in Latin America) was awarded Uruguay's National Prize for Literature in the category literary essay in 2012. Professor Uriarte has held the position of Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Hispanic Languages and Literatures at Stony Brook for the last two years where he has taught MA and PhD seminars on war and representation in Latin America as well as undergraduate courses on different aspects of Latin American literature and culture. In Fall 2013 he will teach a newly designed graduate course on Brazilian Portuguese language and literature for Spanish speakers. Already a productive scholar, Professor Uriarte has amassed an impressive publication record for a recent PhD, with over a dozen articles in peer-reviewed journals and book collections. He has also taken an active role in reviving Brazilian studies at Stony Brook as the organizer of an international conference, Hemispheric Brazil: Brazilian Studies in Comparative Perspective, to be held on campus April 26, 2013.

2013-2014: Shobana Shankar
2012-2013: Robert Chase | Lori Flores



Shobana Shankar
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2003, CPhil, 2000, MA, 1999, History, UCLA

BA, 1995, History, Wesleyan University

Dr. Shankar examines British colonialism, cross-cultural encounters, and the making of social difference and inequality in West Africa, particularly Nigeria, a nation that has experienced considerable religious violence in recent years. Her research brings an historical lens to Christian-Muslim relations, showing that religious difference has evolved out of complicated negotiations of gender, class, racial, and ethnic dynamics in the context of British and American Christian missionary work in Muslim areas. Her other work has focused on the social and cultural politics of medicine, the link between missions and UNICEF's early efforts in sub-Saharan Africa, and, as a side interest, gender and racial hierarchies in blues music recording in Jim Crow Mississippi. She speaks Hausa, Kiswahili, Tamil, and French, and hopes to bring these skills to her next project on a history of South Asian-African exchanges of religious culture and “traditional medicines.” In addition to her academic experience, she has worked for UNICEF and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.



Robert Chase
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2009, History, University of Maryland

MA, 1999, History, George Mason University


Lori Flores
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2011, History, Stanford

BA, 2005, History, Yale

As a scholar of the post-1945 period, Dr. Chase's areas of research and teaching include state and racial politics, African American and Latino/a history, urban history, labor history and working-class culture, critical race theory, political and sexual violence, social movements, and civil rights. Born in New York City and raised in Washington, D.C., he received his Ph.D. in US history at the University of Maryland, College Park, where his dissertation was the recipient of the University of Maryland's Ann G. Wylie dissertation award and the E. B. and Jean Smith Dissertation Prize in Political History. Previously, he was the Public Historian of the Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture at the College of Charleston. Outside of academia, Robert Chase spent eight years as a public policy analyst for Washington, D.C.-area think tanks and public policy research centers.

Dr. Flores's research and writing focuses on Mexican American life, labor, and civil rights organizing in the post-World War II period. The war ushered in great social and demographic change, and both Mexican American men and women faced challenges including unionization struggles, a rise in Mexican immigration (both bracero guest worker and undocumented), and continued racial discrimination against ethnic minorities in America. Her forthcoming book on the relationships between Mexican Americans and Mexican immigrants in agricultural communities—and the story of how these two groups organized for their labor and civil rights in California's Salinas Valley in particular—will provide the first in-depth study of intra-ethnic conflict and cooperation between Latinos in the U.S. Southwest from the 1940s to the Chicano Movement of the late 1960s and 1970s.

2013-2014: Michael Becker | Thomas Graf | Jiwon Yun



Michael Becker
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2009, Linguistics, University of Massachusetts - Amherst

M.A. Magna cum laude, 2002, Linguistics, Tel Aviv University


Thomas Graf
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2013, MA, 2010, Linguistics, UCLA

Mag.Phil., 2007, Linguistics, University of Vienna

Michael Becker works in computational and experimental phonology, and studies the role that discrete phonological principles play in noisy and gradient phenomena, focusing on morphophonological alternations and their statistical patterning in the lexicon. His published work includes case studies from English, French, Portuguese, Russian, Turkish, and Hebrew, as well as work on modeling of child language acquisition. He received his MA from the Tel Aviv University and his PhD from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Michael has taught a wide range of courses in phonology, phonetics, and prosody, with a focus on quantitative and computational approaches.

Thomas Graf's research operates at the intersection of theoretical linguistics and computer science. His main interest is in the structural complexity of syntax and phonology, its implications for processing and acquisition, and how empirical phenomena such as island effects arise from the complexity limits of natural language. In his research Graf has drawn on data from a wide range of languages including English, German, Icelandic, Cairene Arabic and American Sign Language. He received an M.A. in Linguistics from the University of Vienna and a PhD in Linguistics from UCLA.


Jiwon Yun
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2013, Linguistics, Cornell University

MA, 2004, Linguistics, Seoul National University

Jiwon Yun's research is in the areas of semantics, prosody, computational linguistics, and cognitive science. She has worked on the semantics of conditionals, wh-questions, and indefinites, as well as their interface with prosody. She also has worked on computational modeling of human sentence processing, focusing on the issue of relative clauses. Her research has paid particular attention to the East Asian languages including Chinese, Japanese, and Korean. She received a Bachelor's degree in Computer Science and Engineering at Seoul National University, and a PhD in linguistics at Cornell University. She is interested in teaching all levels of semantics and computational linguistics.

2013-2014: Robert Lazarsfeld | Mark McLean | Song Sun
2012-2013: Christian Schnell



Robert Lazarsfeld

PhD, 1980, Mathematics, Brown University

BA, 1975, Mathematics, Harvard University

Mark McLean
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2008, Mathematics, University of Cambridge

Lazarsfeld comes to Stony Brook from the University of Michigan, where he was the Raymond L. Wilder Collegiate Professor of Mathematics. Prior to that he was Professor of Mathematics at UCLA. He works in algebraic geometry, a field of mathematics concerned with the geometric properties of the solutions to systems of polynomial equations. Much of his recent research has involved applications of ideas and techniques from higher-dimensional geometry to a variety of concrete geometric and algebraic problems. Lazarsfeld is the author of a two-volume monograph on Positivity in Algebraic Geometry, which has become one of the basic references in the field. Over the course of his career, he has supervised roughly twenty PhD students and has mentored a number of postdoctoral fellows.

Lazarsfeld won a Sloan Fellowship in 1984, and in 1985 he was named a Presidential Young Investigator. In 1990 he gave an invited address at the International Congress of Mathematicians in Kyoto. During the academic year 1998-99 he was a Guggenheim Fellow, and he was the 2005 Colloquium Lecturer at the annual meeting of the American Mathematical Society. In 2006 Lazarsfeld was elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and in 2012 he became a Fellow of the AMS. He was recently elected to the Board of Trustees of the American Mathematical Society.

Dr. McLean's main interest is in the interplay between symplectic geometry and complex (algebraic or analytic) geometry. At the moment he has been using pseudo-holomorphic methods in order to understand this relationship. These methods were originally introduced by Gromov and have now developed into important tools such as Gromov-Witten invariants, Symplectic Field Theory and Floer homology. These are powerful tools with applications not just in symplectic and algebraic/analytic geometry but also dynamics, mathematical physics and low dimensional topology. Many of the examples he studies are Stein manifolds and in particular smooth affine varieties. Smooth affine varieties are basic building blocks in algebraic geometry and so Dr. McLean feels they are very important to study both from an algebraic and symplectic viewpoint and could also lead to the study of other objects in algebraic geometry.


Song Sun
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2010, Mathematics, University of Wisconsin, Madison

Song Sun is currently an assistant professor in the department of Mathematics. He obtained his B.A. from the Special Class for the Gifted Young (SCGY), University of Science and Technology of China (USTC) in 2006. He went on to get a Ph.D. in pure Mathematics from University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010. Before arriving at Stony Brook, he was a Research Associate at Imperial College London (UK). This year he is residing in the Simons Center for Geometry and Physics at Stony Brook. His current research interest lies at the interaction between differential geometry and algebraic geometry.



Christian Schnell
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2008, Mathematics, Ohio State University

Dr. Schnell studies the geometry and topology of complex algebraic varieties. His research focuses on Hodge theory, especially on the study of Hodge loci and normal functions. Recently, he is also thinking about holonomic D-modules on complex abelian varieties and their Fourier-Mukai transforms.

2012-2013: Stephen Decatur Smith



Stephen Decatur Smith
Assistant Professor, Music History and Theory

PhD, 2012, Music, New York University

Stephen Decatur Smith's research deals with twentieth-century musical modernism from a broad interdisciplinary perspective, constellating the history of music with the history of modern philosophy and the other arts. His musical interests focus on the Second Viennese School, as well as popular music and politics. His theoretical interests include psychoanalysis, phenomenology, vitalism, and the Frankfurt School.

Smith's dissertation, “The Transfigured Flesh: Natural History in Adorno's Musical Thought,” studies the ways in which Adorno's philosophy of music is conditioned by his vision of an unending entwinement of human history and material nature. In music, it claims, Adorno sees an expression of natural transience figured as a condition of possibility and mortality at once.

Smith's publications have appeared in Popular Music (an essay coauthored Martin Scherzinger) and theJournal of Music Theory (in a special issue studying the musical thought of Stanley Cavell, coedited by Smith and Brian Kane). Forthcoming publications will appear in the Contemporary Music Review and the Journal of the Royal Music Association. He has presented at conferences including the American Musicological Society, the Society for Music Theory, and the American Comparative Literature Association.

Smith has also taught at NYU, where he received his PhD, and has received fellowships from NYU, the Foreign Language Area Studies Program of the US Department of Education, and the Deutscher Akademischer Austauschdienst. Since 2010, he has chaired the Music and Philosophy Study Group of the American Musicological Society, a dynamic new organization devoted to providing a forum for the many varieties of musicological work that deal with music and philosophy together.

At Stony Brook, Smith plans to teach courses on twentieth-century opera, the Second Viennese School, Adorno, music and twentieth-century philosophies of experience, and music and the shifting status of the human in twentieth-century culture.

2013-2014: Alan Kim | Andrew Platt



Alan Kim
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2001, Philosophy, McGill University

BA, 1990, Philosophy, Haverford College


Andrew Platt
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2010, Philosophy, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

AB, 2001, Philosophy, Lafayette College

Alan Kim received his BA from Haverford College, was a Doctoral Student at UCLA, and received his Ph.D. from McGill University in 2001. He works in both German and ancient Greek philosophy, focusing especially on Phenomenology, neo-Kantianism, and Plato. From 1998 to 2000 he was a Fulbright Scholar at Heidelberg, where he studied both philosophy and classics. He comes to Stony Brook University having taught at Dartmouth, Colgate, Hamilton, and Memphis. His ancient research interests include Plato's theory of forms, the structure of dialectic, and Socratic ethics. His research in German thought deals with Heidegger, neo-Kantianism, and Phenomenology.

His book, Plato in Germany: Kant – Natorp – Heidegger (Academia Verlag) appeared in 2010; He has published articles in Oxford Studies in Ancient Philosophy, Phronesis, Idealistic Studies, Internationale Zeitschrift für Philosophie, The Routledge Companion to Philosophy of Psychology, the Southern Journal for Philosophy, and the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy. He is currently writing a chapter for the forthcoming volume, The Legacy of Neo-Kantianism (Cambridge), and an article in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, as well as editing the Companion to German Platonism (Brill). His new book project is entitled Selves in Dialogue: A Socratic Ethics of Authenticity and Autonomy.

His current teaching interests include Plato's metaphysics and epistemology; Aristotle's philosophy of nature and psychology; and comparative classical Greek and Chinese moral thought.

Andrew Platt earned his A.B. from Lafayette College, and his Ph.D. from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. He has previously held visiting positions at St. Cloud State University, the University of Delaware and Central Michigan University. He has experience teaching the history of early modern philosophy, ethics, logic, social-political philosophy and the philosophy of religion.
Andrew's research focuses on the history of seventeenth and eighteenth century philosophy, especially on the history of metaphysics and the works of Descartes, Malebranche and other “Cartesian” authors of the seventeenth century. His current research is about seventeenth century views about causation, including the theory of Occasionalism. He has published a two-part paper about Descartes and Occasionalism in the British Journal for the History of Philosophy.

2013-2014: Vladimir N. Litvinenko
2012-2013: Thomas K. Allison | Lukas Fidkowski | Eden Figueroa | Neelima Sehgal



Vladimir N. Litvinenko

PhD, 1989, Physics, Novosibirsk Institute of Nuclear Physics

Dr. Litvinenko earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in physics from Novosibirsk State University, Russia, in 1975 and 1977, respectively, and he earned his Ph.D. in physics and mathematics from the Institute for Nuclear Physics, Russia, in 1989. After working at the Institute for Nuclear Physics from 1973 to 1991, Litvinenko became a faculty member at Duke University in 1991. A frequent guest researcher at Brookhaven Lab, Litvinenko joined Brookhaven as a senior physicist in 2003, and he is currently head of the Accelerator Physics Group for Brookhaven's newest facility for nuclear physics research, the Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider.

After joining BNL in 2003, Litvinenko made critical contributions to R&D on the high-energy electron cooling of RHIC and to discoveries in designing high-brightness electron beam injection to an energy recovery linac machine. He also played a key role in the National Synchrotron Light Source II team developing the design philosophy for this unique light source. With colleagues, he also established the Center for Accelerator Science & Education at Stony Brook University and BNL, where he is a co-director and teaches students. In 2004, the International Free Electron Laser (FEL) community awarded him the FEL Prize for his outstanding contributions for FEL science and technology.



Thomas K. Allison
Associate Professor (joint with Chemistry)

PhD, 2010, MS, 2006, Physics, UC Berkeley


Lukas Fidkowski
Associate Professor

PhD, 2007, Physics, Stanford University

BS, 2001, Mathematics, Harvard University

Tom Allison received his PhD from the University of California at Berkeley in 2010. He worked with Roger Falcone on the development of time resolved measurements of molecular dynamics using ultrafast pulses in the soft x-ray (XUV) regime. Most recently, he was a postdoctoral scholar at JILA with Jun Ye, working on the development of frequency combs in the XUV. His plans are to develop time resolved spectroscopy measurements of non-Born Oppenheimer dynamics in small molecules us-ing XUV frequency combs. Tom has a joint appointment between P&A and Chemistry. He is the recipient of an AF AFOSR Young Investigator Research Award.

Lukasz Fidkowski received his BS in Mathematics from Harvard University in 2001, and Ph.D. in physics from Stanford University in 2007. His Ph.D. advisor was Prof. Stephen Shenker. He was a postdoc at the California Institute of Technology in 2007-2010 and a at Microsoft's Station Q. He made important contributions to the field of topological insulators: he developed a classification of topological phases in one dimension, he carried out a calculation of the entanglement spectrum of topological insulators and superconductors, and he suggested the existence of the Majorana zero modes in one-dimensional quantum wires without long-ranged superconducting order.


Eden Figueroa
Associate Professor

PhD, 2008, Physics, University of Calgary

MSc, 2002, BSc, 2000, Engineering Physics, Monterrey Tech


Neelima Sehgal
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2008, Astrophysics, Rutgers University

BA, 1999, Physics and Mathematics, Yale University

Eden Figueroa received his PhD from the University of Calgary in 2008. He worked with Alexander Lvovsky on the development of a quantum memory using non-classical states of light and electromagnetically induced transparency. He was a postdoctoral scholar in the group of Gerhard Rempe at the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics in Garching, Germany. His plans are to demonstrate and explore nonlinear quantum-optical phenomena on the single-photon level in a crossed-cavity-QED system, as well as to develop a hybrid solid-state quantum-dot/atomic interface to be used as a novel source of single photons.

Neelima Sehgal received her PhD from Rutgers University in 2008. Her dissertation title is "Measuring the Growth of Structure with Multi-Wavelength Surveys of Galaxy Clusters." Her research interests include: Dark Energy, Neutrino Physics, Dark Matter, Early Universe, Astrophysics of Galaxy Clusters, and Galaxy Evolution.

Political Science
2013-2014: Jason Barabas | Peter DeScioli | Jennifer Jerit



Jason Barabas
Associate Professor

PhD, 2000, Political Science, Northwestern University

BA, 1993, Government, Dartmouth College


Peter DeScioli
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2008, MA, 2004, Psychology, University of Pennsylvania

Jason Barabas is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University. Dr. Barabas holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Northwestern University, and he has held postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for the Study of Democratic Politics at Princeton University as well as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Scholars in Health Policy Research fellowship at Harvard University. Professor Barabas was selected to be a member of the National Academy of Social Insurance and his dissertation was a co-winner of the Heinz Award from that same organization. During the years prior to his arrival at Stony Brook University, Jason Barabas was an intern at the White House in the Office of Media Affairs and he served as an Assistant to the Governor for Economic Policy in Illinois during the 1990s.

In his research, Professor Barabas blends interests in American politics--particularly representation and public opinion--with scholarship on public policy, political psychology, and methodology. A central question motivating him comes from democratic theory: do citizens get what they want from government? Consequently, most of his research emphasizes the public dimension of public policy. Sometimes he focuses on attitudes toward reforms for major programs like Social Security or Medicare. Other times he concentrates on how citizens learn about issues from each other or the mass media. But irrespective of the application or the methods used, Dr. Barabas studies public opinion with an eye toward what role citizens play in the policy process.

Dr. DeScioli's research aims to understand how the human mind uses principles of strategy to solve problems in the social world. Much of his work focuses on moral condemnation, especially the functions of third party judgment, moralistic punishment, and moral impartiality. Another research program examines the functions of friendship by looking at how people distribute loyalties across close friends (friend ranking) and how people try to obscure their loyalties (rank masking). He has also been investigating the psychological foundations of property and ownership by using a virtual environment to observe resource disputes in the laboratory.


Jennifer Jerit
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2002, MA, 1997, Political Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

BA, 1993, Economics and Political Science, Vanderbilt University

Jennifer Jerit is an Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at Stony Brook University. Dr. Jerit holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University at Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her principle research and teaching interests are in public opinion, political psychology, the mass media, and experimental methodology.

Prior to coming to Stony Brook, Dr. Jerit held a postdoctoral fellowship at the Roper Center for Public Opinion Research at the University of Connecticut, and she taught at Florida State University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and Southern Illinois University. In 2010, Professor Jerit was given the Erik Erikson Early Career Award for Excellence and Creativity in the field of Political Psychology, an award given by the International Society of Political Psychology.

2013-2014: Kristin Bernard | Matthew Lerner
2012-2013: Nicholas R. Eaton



Kristin Bernard
Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology

PhD, 2013, Clinical Psychology, University of Delaware


Matthew Lerner
Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology

PhD, 2013, Psychology, University of Virginia

Bernard is a clinical psychology PhD from the University of Delaware, and is currently completing a clinical internship at the University of Illinois, Chicago. According to her mentor, she is one of the two top students to graduate from the Delaware program in over 30 years. Bernard studies vulnerability and resilience in infants and toddlers in high-risk populations distinguished by poverty. She is interested in the effects of early stress and deprivation on child neurodevelopment and developing early interventions that will change children's neurodevelopmental and behavioral trajectories. Bernard has 10 peer-reviewed papers and 5 book chapters, with several of the papers in first-tier journals. She will complement Lerner in filling our pressing needs in graduate and undergraduate teaching in developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology and contribute to child clinical supervision.

Lerner is a clinical psychology Ph.D. from the University of Virginia, who is currently completing a clinical internship at the University of Chicago. He studies social dysfunction in children with autism spectrum disorders (ASD) using clinical, behavioral, and electrophysiological methods. He has developed and tested a novel treatment for ASD that is producing exciting results. Moreover, he is using the treatment as a lever to test hypotheses about the etiology of social dysfunction in ASD. Using event-related potentials, he recently identified an early perceptual abnormality in ASD that appears to be strongly and specifically associated with social dysfunction. Lerner is both extremely productive and highly entrepreneurial (e.g., he built his own autism program at Virginia as none of the faculty worked in that area and obtained two major fellowships totaling about $275,000). He has published 15 peer-reviewed articles and 3 book chapters, several of which are in the highest-impact journals in Psychology.

Lerner will fill key graduate and undergraduate teaching needs in developmental psychology and developmental psychopathology, fill a significant gap in child clinical supervision, and provide strong links with the medical school (Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Cody Center).



Nicholas R. Eaton
Assistant Professor, Clinical Psychology

PhD, 2012, Psychology, University of Minnesota

Dr. Eaton's primary research interests involve the conceptualization and classification of psychopathology. This work focuses on quantitative modeling to investigate the structure of mental disorders. The way mental disorders are currently defined is largely a reflection of expert opinion, rather than systematic empirical study. When clinicians diagnose patients, they attempt to fit the patients into a predetermined set of disorders, enshrined in classification systems like the DSM-IV. Unfortunately, there is often a significant mismatch between the observed data (patients' symptoms) and the organizing model (the diagnoses). Dr. Eaton's research takes the alternative approach: Starting with information about patients' symptoms, he uses these data to create new psychopathology constructs. The goal is to produce an accurate characterization of mental disorders as they actually occur in nature by letting the data, rather than expert opinion, tell the story.

Toward these ends, Dr. Eaton applies quantitative methods that allow for the direct testing of alternative hypotheses about mental disorder structure. For instance, are mental disorders best defined as categories (yes/no diagnoses), dimensions (symptom levels ranging from very low to very high), or category-dimension hybrids? These investigations utilize such approaches as exploratory and confirmatory factor analysis, structural equation modeling, latent class analysis, exploratory factor mixture modeling, item response theory (IRT), and model-based cluster analysis. He has a strong interest in psychometrics as well, including the reliable and valid assessment of psychopathology and personality.

Dr. Eaton is also very interested in individual and group differences. In terms of individual differences, his research addresses the intersections between normal-range personality, pathological personality, and mental disorders. Regarding group differences, Dr. Eaton is particularly interested in mental health disparities between groups, as defined by age cohorts, gender, nationality/culture, race/ethnicity, sexual orientation, and so on. From where do these disparities emerge? Can a more accurate characterization of psychopathology help us understand these questions better?

Finally, one area of particular interest to Dr. Eaton is research on human sexuality, sexual orientation, and gender identity. How can we conceptualize and classify the diversity of sexual attractions, behaviors, and identities? What is the best way to define and assess sexual orientation? Some of Dr. Eaton's research in this area concerns what underpins the higher rates of mental disorders observed in LGBT individuals. For instance, what role do discrimination and harassment play in the development of mental disorders in sexual minorities? In addition, he wishes to pursue questions relating to understudied gender and sexual minorities, including transgender, bisexual, and asexual individuals.

2013-2014: Kathleen Fallon | Jennifer A. Heerwig
2012-2013: Carrie Alexandrowicz Shandra



Kathleen Fallon
Associate Professor

PhD, 2002, MA 1996, Sociology, Indiana University - Bloomington


Jennifer A. Heerwig
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2013 (expected), MA, 2009, Sociology, New York University

Dr. Fallon's research centers on international development and its intersection with gender, political sociology, health, and well-being. Her current interest explores how women's legislative representation affects and is affected by factors tied to international development, with particular attention given to health. This interest evolved from two other areas: 1) investigating how the process of democratization is a means for women to gain access to social, political, and economic rights, and 2) contributing to current sociological theory on women's rights and status by drawing on patterns found in developing countries.

Jennifer Heerwig's current and past research agenda focuses on the manifestations of social inequality in American politics and public health. In these pursuits, her research has been guided by an enthusiasm for intervening in ongoing debates with new methodological tools, but with an appreciation for the analytical tasks that define thick descriptions of complex social processes.



Carrie Alexandrowicz Shandra
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2009, AM, 2006, Sociology, Brown University

Professor Shandra's current research focuses on two lines of inquiry: (1) gender and sex segregation in work and occupations, and (2) disabilities and inequalities in the transition to adulthood and health behaviors. Her work on the relationship between women's participation in gender-typed occupations and household labor recently received the Sociologists for Women in Society's Cheryl Allyn Miller Award for scholarship on women and work. She is on research leave for the 2012-2013 academic year as a National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow to examine the relationship between participation in school-to-work programs and employment outcomes in the contemporary recession.

Theatre Arts
2013-2014: Mallory Catlett
2012-2013: Izumi Ashizawa



Mallory Catlett
Assistant Professor

MFA, 2000, Simon Fraser University

BA, 1992, Drama and Dance, Bard College

Career: SUNY Purchase, guest artist; Bard College, guest artist; School for Contemporary Arts, guest artist.

Research: Directing and Dramaturgy and Ensemble Creations with various companies.

Teaching: Directing, Ensemble Creativity, Play Analysis

Mallory Catlett is a director and dramaturg living in NYC where she works closely with a handful of theatrical enterprises: Latitude 14 (Tinder & Red Fly/Blue Bottle), Banana Bag & Bodice (Gulag Haha, The Young War, Panel.animal, The Sewers, The Fall & Rise Of The Rising Fallen, Beowulf & Space//space), Aaron Landsman (Patient Boy & City Council Meeting) and the Juggernaut Theatre Company (Oh What War, The First 100 Years & Hair Blood Vinyl). Their work has premiered in NYC at HERE Arts Center, The Ontological-Hysteric Theater, PS122, the Collapsable Hole and been featured at CultureMart, COIL and The Prelude Festivals. Regionally at American Repertory Theater (Boston), ASU Gammage (Tempe), DiverseWorks (Houston) And Zspace (SF). Internationally touring includes: Escale Improbables (Montreal), Kilkenny Arts Festival (Ireland), Edinburgh Fringe Festival (Scottland), Dublin Fringe, (Ireland) Exit Festival (Creteil, France), Noorderzon Festival (Groningen, Netherlands), Adelaide Festival (Australia) and Brighton Festival & Bristol's Mayfest (UK). She is also the Artistic Director of Restless Productions NYC, a nascent theatrical outfit that excavates the classical repertoire – As You Like It: Restless in Arden, set site-specifcally in an abandoned building and performed by a group of squatters and Rii a site-specific Richard II for 3 men. This Was the End, a reconstruction of Uncle Vanya performed by 4 actors in their 60′s, will premiere at the Chocolate Factory in 2014. She has also worked on plays by contemporary writers Thomas Bradshaw, Sergi Belbel, Naomi Wallace, Normand Chaurette, Xiemena Escalante & Guillem Clua as well as plays by Chekhov, Pinter, Moliere, Brecht & Shakespeare. She was a member of the 2006 SOHO REP writers/directors lab, a 2006 Ontological Incubator resident and a HERE Artist-in-Residence from 2004-09. Her work has been funded by NYS Council for the Humanities, the NY Music Fund, NYSCA, Chashama, LMCC (MCAF and Swing Space Grants), Abrons Arts Center, Puffin, Digital Performance Institute, Edith Lutyens & Bel Geddes, Tobin Theatre Fund, Mary Duke Biddle Foundation, Strickland Family Fund, Greenwall Foundation, MAP Fund, the NYSCA Individual Artist Commission (OH WHAT WAR & Vanya), NEFA, Jerome and Mid Atlantic Arts Foundation. She has been a guest director at SUNY Purchase and Bard College.

She received her high school diploma from the North Carolina School for the Arts, where she studied classical ballet, a BA from Bard College in Drama and Dance and an Interdisciplinary MFA from the The School for Contemporary Arts, Simon Fraser University, Vancouver where she continues to work and collaborate. In Vancouver she has directed and dramaturged 10 works for theater, opera and dance. Her work has received 6 Jessie Award nominations and been funded by the Canada Council for the Arts, the BC Arts Council, The Hamber Foundation and ArtsFact.

As a dramaturg, she has worked on projects for Lincoln Center Directors Lab, Ma-Yi, The Culture Project, The Labyrinth, ExP Girl, Free Fall Dance Company & Urban Stages. She received the Elliot Hayes Award for Dramaturgy for her co-direction of the Juggernaut's The First 100 Years: The Professional Female Playwright and was the 2006 British Studies Fellow at the Harry Ransom Research Center at UT, Austin to study the archive of Director Joan Littlewood. Her article “Madness and Method in This Room Is Moving” is featured in the Canadian Theatre Review's Creative Research and New Play Development Edition (Summer 2004).



Izumi Ashizawa
Assistant Professor

MFA, Drama, Yale University

Career: Assistant Professor, University of Maryland 2009-2011; University of South Florida 2007-1009

Research: Ensemble Creations with her company: Izumi Ashizawa Performance, international awards for performances and workshops

Teaching: Directing, Ensemble Creativity, Puppetry, Eastern Styles of Acting and Masks

Writing & Rhetoric
2013-2014: Eric Rabkin | Roger Thompson
2012-2013: Peter Khost | Ghanashyam Sharma



Eric Rabkin
Professor, Assoc. Provost Online Education

PhD, 1970, English, University of Iowa

AB, 1967, English, Cornell University


Roger Thompson
Associate Professor

PhD, Rhetoric and American Literature, Texas Christian University

MA, BA, English, Baylor University

Dr. Rabkin's current research interests include fantasy and science fiction, graphic narrative, the quantitative study of culture, traditional literary criticism and theory, and academic computing.

Rabkin is especially known for his large, popular lecture courses on science fiction and fantasy, and for his many teaching innovations, including the development of the highly successful practical English writing program for those who will use writing in their work lives, and for his work at all levels, including faculty training, in research and communication applications of computer technologies.

Rabkin has over one-hundred-seventy publications, including thirty-four books written, co-written, edited, or co-edited, including Narrative Suspense (1973); The Fantastic in Literature (1976); Science Fiction: History, Science, Vision (with Robert Scholes, 1977); Teaching Writing That Works: A Group Approach to Practical English (with Macklin Smith, 1990); It's A Gas: A Study of Flatulence (with Eugene M. Silverman, 1991); Stories: An Anthology and an Introduction (1995); The Rise and Fall of Twentieth Century Formula Fiction (ed. with Carlo Pagetti, 2001), Mars: A Tour of the Human Imagination (2005); Masterpieces of the Imaginative Mind (audio/video lecture series, 2007); and Visions of Mars (ed. with Howard Hendrix and George Slusser; 2011).

Rabkin has lectured widely, to both general and academic audiences, on fantasy, science fiction, fairy tales, graphic narrative, humor, American literature, literary theory, culture studies, pedagogy, composition, administration, and information technology. He has had lecture tours in the U.S., Europe, Australia, and S. Korea, and, from 1990 through 1996, offered a regular Commentary on language and culture topics on WUOM-FM radio.

Rabkin has served as a consultant to over sixty publishers, journals, and other organizations and is the founder of Write On Target, a corporate communications consulting firm.

Rabkin's awards include a Fellowship from the American Council for Learned Societies (1973), research funding from the American Philosophical Society (1991), and the University of Michigan Distinguished Faculty Achievement Award (2005). He received the Science Fiction Research Association's Pilgrim Award for lifetime achievement in science fiction scholarship (2010).

Roger Thompson has taught at the Virginia Military Institute for fourteen years, where he was Professor of English and fine arts. His research bridges the traditional disciplinary gaps between rhetoric, literature, and writing studies, and he has worked under fellowship at Harvard University pursuing cross-disciplinary research. He is Senior Fellow at the Institute for Veterans and Military Families at Syracuse University, is the co-recipient of a CCCC Research Initiative Grant, and was invited to the inaugural Dartmouth Summer Seminar for Composition Research. He is an award-winning nonfiction writer, and his scholarship and nonfiction has appeared in numerous academic and non-academic journals. His primary area of research is in the history of rhetoric with a particular emphasis on classical and nineteenth-century rhetoric, but his recent work includes extensive scholarship on veterans and the culture of war. He is co-author of Beyond Duty: Life on the Frontline of Iraq, a bestselling Iraq War memoir that has been translated into several languages and was covered by major media outlets, including The New York Times, CNN, the CBC, and NPR. He has an extensive background in undergraduate research, directing a cross-disciplinary, international environmental research program in Banff, Alberta, for a decade, and his teaching and mentorship has been recognized by VMI with several awards and grants. He received his PhD in Rhetoric and American Literature from Texas Christian University, and he received his BA and an MA in English from Baylor University.



Peter Khost
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2010, CUNY Graduate Center

MA, 1999, Rutgers University


Ghanashyam Sharma
Assistant Professor

PhD, 2012, Rhetoric and Composition, MA, 2008, English, Composition, University of Louisville

MA, 2000, English Literature, Tribhuvan University, Kathmandu, Nepal

Professional Interests: Writing program administration, the literature/composition connection, assessing writing, autoethnography, critical university studies, holistic education, and collaboration.

Professional Interests: Theories and pedagogies of composition and rhetoric, writing in the disciplines, digital media and composition, the intersection of global popular culture and literacy practices, multilingualism and language policies, and traditions and histories of rhetoric.

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