College welcomes 34 new faculty members

Screen Shot 2014-08-21 at 9.07.21 AMSUNY New Paltz welcomes 34 new full-time faculty to campus, including 11 faculty who will occupy new lines, for the 2014-2015 academic year. All bring extensive academic expertise and hands-on experience in their respective disciplines.

“Our new faculty come from across the country and around the world, almost all of them with significant teaching experience under their belt and an amazing array of accomplishments including awards, publications, and performances,” said Philip Mauceri, provost & vice president for academic affairs. “I know that this cohort of faculty will bring new ideas and innovations to our campus and I look forward to working with them.”

New Faculty
Laurie Bonjo
(Psychology) received her doctorate in counselor education and supervision from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Va. She holds a master’s degree in school counseling and mental health counseling from Penn State University and she did her undergraduate work at the University of Pennsylvania, where she studied creative writing. Bonjo’s school counseling experiences include both traditional high schools and an alternative democratic high school. Her mental health counseling experiences include working with college populations, underprivileged community members, and individuals exiting the prison system. Bonjo’s current research examines how counselors are trained to work with sexually diverse clients.

Thomas Cznarty (Digital Media), an award winning filmmaker, began his career in television and film, whilst earning his B.S. in film and photography at The Park School of Communications at Ithaca College. His student film, “Wonderland” was chosen for Previews 5, a compilation of the seven best films made at the Park School in 2004. “Wonderland” also went on to win Best Cinematography at the Honey and Buddy Film Festival. Cznarty went on to earn his M.F.A at The City College of New York, where his thesis film, “The Other Path” screened at festivals around the country. Over the past decade, Cznarty has worked on the PBS series, “History Detectives and Clash of the Choirs” for BBC and as a camera operator for the PBS documentary, “Upaj.” Now producing and directing his own work, his documentary, “After the Sweat Dries”recently won Best Documentary at the Kingston Film Festival as well as an Accolade Award from the Accolade Film, Television and New Media Competition. His other documentary, “Uneasy Sisters: Voodoo and Christianity in New Orleans” recently won a 2014 Telly.

Reena Dahle (Elect. & Comp. Engineering) earned a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Waterloo, Ontario, Canada, where she worked as a researcher in the Center for Integrated RF Engineering (CIRFE). While there, she was extensively involved with RF MEMS devices micro fabrication and characterization, as well as microwave/antenna circuit design and development.  Dahle has authored and co-authored multiple scientific publications in the field and holds numerous distinguished provincial and institutional awards. While working as a sensor microwave engineer at MITEQ in Hauppague, LI,  Dahle oversaw design of high-performance components and systems for satellite communication and earth systems. Her current research interests include biomedical wireless sensing, energy harvesting and antenna/microwave circuit design. She is also mentoring the group, Women in Science and Engineering (W.I.S.E), which is a group geared toward growing the number of women in science, math, computer science and engineering fields.

Catherine Doherty (Theatre Arts), a professional actor, director and producer, holds an MFA in performance from the University of Georgia and an MFA in film direction from the American Film Institute.  For the past 11 years, she has served as the producing director of Northern Stage—a professional, regional non-profit theatre located in the Upper Valley region of Vermont. She has directed productions such as “The Elephant Man,” “M Butterfly,” “A Chorus Line,” and “Chicago,” to name a few.  She has appeared as in “The Importance of Being Earnest,”(Lady Bracknell) “Romeo and Juliet” (Nurse), and “Good People” (Margie).

Sam Fallon (English) specializes in Renaissance literature, and will be teaching Shakespeare and British literature, as well as literary theory. He is currently completing a Ph.D. at Yale University, where his dissertation focuses on fictional personae and print culture in early modern England.

Gordana Garapić (Geology) earned a Ph.D. in geology/geophysics at Boston University in 2013. Garapić spent the past school year as a postdoctoral researcher at University of California in Santa Barbara and is originally from Zagreb, Croatia. Her research is focused on the Earth’s interior that we can’t access directly. She writes, “Since I always look at a problem from different angles, I use experiments, I make rocks in a lab (!), I use numerical modeling and most importantly I go out in a field. I have looked so far at rocks from Pitcairn Island (Bounty ship!), Galapagos, Samoa and Hawaii, and rocks from the Dinarides that are related to the opening of Tethys Ocean, 250 million years ago. Fieldwork took me to places where people usually don’t travel and helped me to look at Earth with different eyes. This is one of the best parts of being a geologist!”

Michael Gayk (Metals/Digital Design and Fabrication) earned an MFA in Jewelry and Metals from the University of Washington and a BFA in Metals Design from the College for Creative Studies. Gayk’s work spans the range of metalsmithing, architectural modeling via parametric math simulation and product design for home goods. Most recently he has been involved in collaborations on biological tissue generation along with 3D modeling and simulation of kidney circulatory systems. He is the SIGGRAPH Conference Chair of Education and has taught at Winthrop University, Kendal School of Art and Design, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago.

Elizabeth Gerbi (Musical Theatre/Theatre Arts) is well-known across the Northeast as a versatile vocalist, instructor/coach, pianist, and conductor. As a performer, she has appeared in regional productions ranging from “Annie Get Your Gun” (Annie Oakley) to “I Pagliacci” to “The Kenny Rogers Christmas Tour.”  She is an Ithaca College (BFA in vocal performance and education) and Boston University (MME in music education) graduate and a current DMA student at Shenandoah University studying contemporary vocal pedagogy.

David Gorlewski (Educational Administration) joins the New Paltz faculty after eight years at D’Youville College in Buffalo, N.Y., where he served as the director of the educational leadership doctoral program, as well as an instructor in the College’s teacher education master’s program. He has also served as a teacher and senior level administrator at the K-12 level in the Western New York region. Gorlewski is currently the co-editor of English Journal, a publication of the National Council of Teachers of English and he has authored and co-authored numerous books, articles, and chapters related to school reform and school leadership. Gorlewsk, who received his doctor of education degree from SUNY Buffalo, will be teach  in the Educational Administration program at SUNY New Paltz.

Rebecca Hansen (Philosophy) earned a Ph.D. in Philosophy from Emory University. Her research and teaching interests include 19th– and 20th-century continental philosophy, especially aesthetics. Her work focuses on the relation between everyday experience and art.

Edward Hanson  (Math) earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in August 2013. His area of interest are algebraic combinatorics and linear algebra. During the 2013-2014 academic year, he served as a visiting assistant professor at Williams College.

Catherine Herne (Physics and Astronomy) comes to New Paltz from Colgate University where she served as a  visiting assistant professor. Prior to that she served as a lecturer at the University of Michigan. Herne earned a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan in Applied Physics and a bachelor’s degree from Bryn Mawr College. In addition to teaching introductory and advanced physics classes, she will be involved in the general education program.

Todd Holmes (Digital Media & Journalism) comes to New Paltz from the University of Florida (UF), where he has been pursuing a Ph.D. in mass communications. He is currently ABD and plans to complete his dissertation by the end of the calendar year. His dissertation explores the influence of self-image congruity, ad position, and ad length on the effectiveness of online video advertisements. While a doctoral student at UF, Holmes has taught media management and media research courses in addition to introductory courses in telecommunications. Furthermore, he has served as the project manager for a longitudinal study that UF is doing in conjunction with Nielsen Audio which investigates the perceptions and media habits of the Class of 2015. Other areas of interest for Holmes are how media corporations implement and monetize new technologies and the effectiveness of new advertising vehicles. Prior to pursuing his Ph.D., Holmes worked in a variety of sales and sales management positions in broadcast television and radio as well as satellite television.

Will Hong (Digital Media), a professional editor and cameraman, began his career in the fine arts with positions at the National Gallery of Art and the National Endowment for the Arts in Washington, D.C. before returning to graduate studies in art history at Princeton University where he received a M.A., specializing in the history of photography and cinema.  He then shifted toward filmmaking and studied at the Tisch School of the Arts at NYU where he earned a M.F.A. from the Department of Graduate Film and Television.  He has spent most of the last two decades in the film and television industry in New York City, working on short and feature-length films, innumerable TV commercials, promos, and music videos, a good number of reality TV shows, as well as corporate (Telly Award winner, 2008) and web-based content.  In addition, he has taught the fundamentals of filmmaking and digital media at institutions such as Marist College in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., The Lee Strasberg Theater and Film Institute, and the New York Film Academy.

Kristopher Jansma (English) studied Fiction at Columbia University and Johns Hopkins University, and has taught writing for over ten years at SUNY Purchase College, Manhattanville College, and CUNY John Jay College. His debut novel, “The Unchangeable Spots of Leopards,” (Viking/Penguin) received an honorable mention in the 2014 PEN/ Hemingway Awards, and was an ALA Notable book. It was also long listed for the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction and the Flaherty-Dunnan Debut Novel Prize. It was a Barnes and Noble Discover Pick and an Indie Next Selection for 2013. His work has also been published in the New York Times, the Believer, Columbia Magazine, Slice Magazine, and the Millions. He currently writes the “Literary Artifacts” column for Electric Literature.

Sun Hee Kil (Theatre Arts) holds a Master of Fine Arts in Sound Design from College-Conservatory of Music, University of Cincinnati. She was a sound engineer for musicals in South Korea since 2001, came to the States to go to graduate school 2006-9, taught Sound in Theatre department & Contemporary Music department at University of Central Oklahoma 2009-2014. She will serve as sound designer/supervisor of our departmental seasons, develop digital technology for theatrical productions, and teach Audio Engineering, Sound Design & Asian Theatre. Her research and creative interests include professional sound design, digital audio & video technology, computer music, and writing plays.

Molan Kim (Marketing) earned a Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Georgia. Her primary areas of research encompass customer relationship management, consumer-to-consumer interaction, brand community, and social media strategy. Kim’s research interest also lies in improving methodological approaches to analyze consumer-networked environments by adopting Hazard modeling and computer-aided quantitative content analysis with the use of SAS, Stata, WordStat, and SimStat. Her teaching interests are also aligned with her research areas including marketing strategy, social media marketing, and marketing research. Kim has served as a reviewer for American Marketing Association Educator’s Conference since 2012.

Scott LeVine (Geography) earned a Ph.D. from Imperial College London (UK). His research focuses on emerging forms of personal mobility and the implications for infrastructure provision, energy usage, and well-being. Scott is a trustee of the charity Carplus, and serves on the National Academy of Sciences’ standing committees on Public Transport Innovations (TRB-AP020), Intelligent Transportation Systems (TRB-AHBI5), and Vehicle Automation (TRB-AHB15[1]). He is a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners (AICP) and holds a Professional Planning (PP) License in New Jersey.

Sharina Maillo-Pozo (Languages, Literatures & Cultures) will receive a Ph.D. in Hispanic and Luso Brazilian Literatures and Languages at the CUNY Graduate Center in August 2014. She specializes in Latin American, Caribbean and Latino literature.Her research is focused primarily on contemporary Dominican writers, especially the works produced in the Dominican Republic and its Diaspora in New York City in the last three decades. Her work has appeared in various peer-reviewed journals and a book dedicated to the role of popular music in Dominican Literature published by the Instituto de Estudios Caribeños (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic).

Joleen “Jo” McInnis (Reference/Instruction Librarian) holds an MS (LIS) in information science from Simmons College and an MFA in creative writing (poetry) from the University of Massachusetts at Boston. She is from Southern Virginia where she served as the lead instruction librarian and adjunct professor of English at Old Dominion University. Prior to that, she worked as the instruction librarian at Simmons College and as the bibliographer for Germanic Languages & Literatures at Washington University.

Jared Nelson (Mechanical Engineering) recently was awarded his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering at Montana State University. Nelson has extensive experience in the composites industry over the last 15 years and worked to develop the first carbon-fiber body panel to be painted in a General Motors plant for the Corvette.  In addition, he has extensive experience with the various types of composite manufacture which he looks forward to sharing with students.  His published research activities include work as an analyst working on cutting-edge computational solutions for the wind industry. Complimentary to this, Nelson is currently assisting in development of a reduced-testing protocol to assist in speeding up and reducing the cost of qualifying new CFRP materials.

Jessica Pabón (Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies) holds a Ph.D. in performance studies from New York University and recently completed a one-year Postdoctoral Fellowship in the Arts & Humanities at NYU Abu Dhabi, where she worked on various articles on transnational feminist performance aesthetics, social dynamics, and politics in Hip Hop alongside her book project, Graffiti Grrlz: Performing Feminism in the Hip Hop Diaspora. She co-edited a special issue entitled “All Hail the Queenz: A Queer Feminist Recalibration of Hip Hop Scholarship,” published this past spring in Women & Performance. Prior to Abu Dhabi, Pabón curated graffiti shows for bOb Bar gallery in Manhattan and was the Director of U.S. Relations for Rede Nami, a Brazilian feminist urban arts collective. She blogs about her work at

Catherine Paolucci (Secondary Education and Mathematics) hold a doctor of education degree in mathematics education from Teachers College, Columbia University. She is coming to New Paltz from the National University of Ireland, Galway, where she has been developing an undergraduate mathematics teacher education program. Her research interests are in mathematics teacher education with a particular focus on developing teachers’ knowledge of mathematics. In addition to her teaching and independent research, she is currently collaborating with colleagues on a range of projects in the U.S., Ireland and South Africa.

James Pasternak (Languages, Literatures & Cultures) earned a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota in Germanic Studies (2012) and is coming to New Paltz from RIT where he served as a visiting assistant professor. Prior to RIT, he taught as an adjunct at Temple and Drexel Universities in Philadelphia. He wrote his dissertation on German historical novels of the nineteenth century. He is interested primarily in how these novels served as a spectrum across which various imaginings of the German nation relied upon motifs and themes from the Middle Ages to promote politicized representations of how the ideal future German nation could evolve.

Tae-Hyung Pyo (School of Business) is originally from South Korea. He received his Ph.D. in Marketing from U. of Iowa this summer. Pyo’s research area is quantitative marketing, which analyzes secondary data using statistical or econometric method to understand consumers’ behavior or market. Within this field, he is specifically interested in social network/media marketing utilizing big data. His dissertation is about how to model (mathematically) influence of peers on new products trials. Pyo will teach Consumer Behavior and Advertising Strategy and his teaching interests include marketing research (market analytics) and social media marketing.

Anca Radulescu (Mathematics) holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from Stony Brook University. Before coming to New Paltz, she served as an instructor at University of Colorado at Boulder. She studied dynamical systems and their applications to neuroscience, and her work spans from theoretical models of learning and memory to data-driven approaches to psychiatric illness, from studying complexity in polynomial families to understanding complex networks in the brain.

Melissa Yang Rock (Geography) holds doctoral degrees from The Pennsylvania State University’s Departments of Geography and Women’s Studies. Most recently she served as a visiting assistant professor  at Bucknell University, and before that a postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College. Rock’s research is centered on the socio-economic and socio-spatial implications of urbanization in China. This coming academic year she will be teaching Human Geography, Political Geography, Gender and Geography (“Gender, Place and Culture”), and a course on Contemporary China.

Jerry Selvaggi (Engineering) earned a Ph.D. in Electrical Power Engineering from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in 2006, and holds bachelor’s degrees in electrical and mechanical engineering and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering, electrical power engineering and applied mathematics. Before and during his time at R.P.I. he worked as a consulting engineer with over 25 years of industrial experience in the electric power industry. He currently works as an independent consultant in various energy-related fields. Selvaggi is also a former research professor at R.P.I., whose research interests include electric machine theory, renewable energy, stability of large power systems and other related topics.

Sarah Margaret Shuwairi (Psychology) earned a doctorate degree in experimental psychology at NYU in 2008, in the Cognition & Perception program. Her research focuses on the nature and development of mechanisms underlying our perception of 3D objects, with a specific interest in how infants and young children learn to understand that novel objects are structurally coherent and continuous in space and time. Shuwairi’s current projects include evaluating how young children and adults identify objects and arrive at a conceptual understanding of the geometric and aesthetic properties that characterize real and illusory objects. Prior to joining the New Paltz faculty, she served as a full-time visiting faculty member at Haverford College.

Rachel Somerstein (Digital Media & Journalism) holds a Ph.D. in mass communications from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School of Public Communications; an MFA in creative writing from New York University; and a BA from Cornell University. She started her career at ARTnews, then worked as a freelance cultural reporter in New York City and taught first at Lehman College, then at New York University’s Stern School of Business. Her research interests include visual culture (especially film and photography), public memory, and drones. She is especially interested in teaching an interdisciplinary class on the visual culture of 9/11, an introductory course on visual studies, and a special topics course on film as history/history as film.

Joanna “Annie” Swafford (English) earned a Ph.D. in May from the University of Virginia and specializes in Victorian literature, sound and gender studies, and digital humanities. She will teach interdisciplinary literature courses and Digital Humanities.

Julie L. Taylor (Communication) recently completed a Ph.D. in communication at the University of Utah. Her research interests lie in organizational communication, gender, and interdisciplinary studies. Her dissertation focused on the communicative implications of the current prostitution policy in Utah. S

Katherine S. Thweatt, Ed.D. (Communication) left academe in 2001 to begin a career in healthcare research in cardiology and diabetes. This experience led her to pharmacy benefits management in which she oversaw clinical quality at the third largest Medicare Part D sponsor. From 2009-2011, she conducted an assessment of the Veteran’s Affairs Medical Center National Improvement Initiative. Katherine then returned to academe full-time in 2010 where she has been awarded grants for undergraduate research and most recently to investigate whether employer expectations for new hires align with educational goals of undergraduate education. Her research interests include interpersonal communication, bullying, and nonverbal communication.

R. Kenji Tierney (Anthropology) comes to New Paltz after serving as a visiting assistant professor. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at Skidmore College, Union College and Columbia University. His research is focused on Japanese culture and society and resulted in publications on sumo wrestlers, food, globalization, and historical change.

Jessica Welsh, M.S., CCC-SLP (Communications Disorders) holds a master’s degree in communication sciences and disorders from Arizona State University. She is a licensed speech-language pathologist and previously worked with graduate students at Adelphi University and at Seton Hall University and with clients with communication disorders at Hospital for Special Surgery and the Adler Aphasia Center.  Her clinical and research interests include aphasia and neurogenic communication disorders, aphasia advocacy, and community education.

Karynn “Katie” Zahedi ( Educational Administration) holds a M.S. in education from SUNY New Paltz and ar M.A. in liberal studies and Ph.D. in educational administration and policy studies from SUNY Albany. She has been working as an administrator in the Red Hook School District (Dutchess County) for 12 years and is leaving the principalship at the middle school in Red Hook to join the New Paltz faculty. Her special interests are in international comparative education, organizational culture/ institutional theory and teacher and student well-being within schools.