Introducing new SUNY New Paltz faculty for the 2018-19 academic year

SUNY New Paltz is pleased to announce the appointment of new full-time faculty members. Please join us in welcoming these distinguished educators and scholars to the campus community:

Kate Bellody (MLIS, Rutgers University) is a Research and Education Librarian at the Sojourner Truth Library. She is the liaison to the Departments of Theatre Arts, Physics & Astronomy and  Geology, and to the Psychological Counseling Center, providing reference and instruction across the disciplines. Bellody previously worked as a Librarian at Hudson County Community College (New Jersey), where she coordinated programming and student outreach.

SoeYoon Choi (Ph.D., Communication, Rutgers University) joined the faculty in January 2018 as Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication. She has been involved in individual and funded research in interpersonal and health communication, with a specific focus on individuals’ decisions to disclose sensitive health information to others. Her interdisciplinary research touches disciplines including communication, psychology and sociology, which helps her develop course materials that cover theories and findings from different fields. Choi will teach courses in interpersonal communication and nonverbal communication this fall.

Helena Costakis (D.B.A., Wilmington University) has been appointed Assistant Professor in the School of Business, where she has been teaching as an adjunct instructor since 2015. Costakis is an experienced human resources professional and recently served as Vice President of Human Resources for a human services non-profit organization. Her research interests include emotional labor, organizational citizenship behavior and human resources management factors. Her passion for mentoring women in human resources was recognized in 2017 by United Way of Ulster County-Raising HOPE. She is also a yoga and pug enthusiast.

Anthony Dandridge (ABD, Temple University) is an Africologist in the Department of Black Studies. Born and raised in Philadelphia, he taught for 13 years in the Philosophy Department at Temple University, andin in Temple’s Department of Africology and African American Studies, the first Ph.D.-granting department in the discipline of Black Studies in the world. Dandridge’s major interests revolve around African and African American Philosophy, a field with a vast history of engaging issues of race, religion, gender, environmentalism and justice, among other topics. He believes that any discipline (or people) has obligations to the well-being and growth of other disciplines (or people), and looks forward to growing here with his extended family at SUNY New Paltz.

William Felder (Ph.D., Mathematics, Oregon State University) joins the Department of Mathematics as a Lecturer this fall. He has been teaching since receiving his Ph.D. in 2017. His research interests are in branching stochastic processes, and applications to biology (specifically climate change).

Eric Fraser (MA, MT-BC, New York University), Lecturer in the Music Therapy program in the Department of Music, is a multi-instrumentalist, educator, composer and music therapist. Eric is also a master of the Indian bansuri flute, having studied in the traditional system of Indian classical music in India for more than 15 years. He is a 2010 Fulbright senior research scholar for Indian classical music and music therapy. As a composer and songwriter he works in original styles of an American indie songwriting, incorporating singing, human beat boxing, guitar, keyboard, electronics and looping. As a music therapist, Fraser has worked extensively with children in foster care and children on the autistic spectrum since 2009.

Amakoe Gbedemah (Ph.D., Mathematics, NYU-Tandon School of Engineering) is a one-year Visiting Lecturer in the Department of Mathematics. He previously served as an adjunct lecturer at NYU Courant. Amakoe came to New York in 1995 from Togo, West Africa, and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Queens College. He earned his Ph.D. in 2016. Amakoe is currently working on more Lp theory of positive symmetric matrices. His teaching relies on traditional and Socratic methods to empower his students to become critical, independent and international thinkers. Outside the classroom, he likes to discover new places and beautiful sceneries on his motorcycle, and enjoys taking care of his 1500-gallon koi pond.

Jenna Grzeslo (Ph.D., Mass Communications, Pennsylvania State University) joins the Department of Digital Media & Journalism as Assistant Professor. A proponent of technology for development, Grzeslo’s dissertation focused on mobile payments and entrepreneurship in Kenya. For the last six months, she has worked as a UNESCO Fellow in the Social and Human Sciences sector and the Department of Public Information, primarily at headquarters in Paris, France. A frequent traveler, she enjoys preparing and eating foods inspired by her trips around the world.

Nancy Maess Hackett (Ph.D., Educational Leadership, University of Rochester) is a Lecturer in the Department of Educational Studies and Leadership. She has enjoyed a 39-year career in education, serving as a teacher and an administrator in public schools, private schools and at a community college. Hackett has also served in a leadership role with the Mid-Hudson School Study Council, where she focused on designing and implementing a research project for K-12 education and higher education teacher-certification programs. She looks forward to sharing her experience with graduate students in education at SUNY New Paltz.

WenYen (Jason) Huang (Ph.D., Mathematics Education, University of California-Davis) is a new faculty member in the Department of Teaching & Learning, School of Education. His research focuses on preparing secondary pre-service teachers in integrating educational technology. His career in mathematics education has spanned more than 10 years, and includes teaching in a teacher-preparation program, involvement in multiple professional development research projects, and a position as a high school mathematics teacher.

Elijah Jonas (MLIS, Pratt Institute) worked as a Graduate Assistant at Pratt Institute and as a Reference Clerk at Monroe Free Library before accepting his new position at the Sojourner Truth Library. Jonas’s academic interests are in digital humanities, scholarly communications, research and instruction. He enjoys hiking and cooking and has a passing interest in philosophy.

Wanda Jordan (Ph.D., Sociology, University at Buffalo) brings her 10 years of clinical experience as a social worker in the community, jails/prisons and psychiatric hospitals to the Department of Sociology. She is an enthusiastic and interdisciplinary educator whose teaching focuses on criminology, sociology and mental health/human services. Her research interests include life course transitions, economic disadvantage, family studies and mental health.

Darren Lanspery (MLIS, Long Island University) joins the Sojourner Truth Library as Visiting Assistant Librarian this fall. He has worked for the regional BOCES as a librarian for 17 years and is skilled in cataloging and technical support. In his spare time, Darren likes to walk, observe nature and read.

Dan Li (Ph.D., Rehabilitation and Counselor Education, University of Iowa) is Assistant Professor of Counselor Education in the Department of Psychology. She received her Ph.D. in 2018 and an M.A. in Professional School Counseling from Appalachian State University in 2014. She favors interdisciplinary research, with primary research interests and publications focusing on (a) relational dynamics of clinical supervision; (b) professional development of international counseling students and faculty; (c) career development and counseling; (d) obesity in children and adolescents; and (e) mental health of internationally adopted children. Dan grew up in China and enjoys creative cooking during her spare time. She also loves group fitness classes that energize and empower people.

Qiao Li (Ph.D., Accounting Information Systems, Rutgers University) joins the Accounting faculty in the School of Business. His teaching interests include financial accounting, AIS, audit data analytics and auditing, and his research focuses on continuous auditing, audit data analytics, artificial intelligence, decision support systems and government accounting.

Tao Li (Ph.D., Business, Bentley University) joins the College as an Assistant Professor of Business Analytics. His research interests lie in the broad areas of analytics applications in finance, marketing, information systems and economics. Li has professional experience as a statistician analyst at a U.S. database marketing company and as a risk manager for a major financial company in China. His expertise is in working with different types of business data and translating the practice of analytics into business value. Li looks forward to contributing his rich industrial background and training in teaching and research to the development of SUNY New Paltz’s new Business Analytics program.

Erika Mazzer (Ph.D., Comparative Literature (Italian Specialization), the Graduate Center, CUNY) is Lecturer and Coordinator of the Italian Studies Program. Her research interests include translation studies, cultural history and Renaissance studies, with a special focus on magic, heresy and heterodoxy in Early Modern Italy. Mazzer has taught Italian language and literature for eight years, at Princeton University, several colleges in New York City, and abroad. She grew up in the Italian Dolomites, and has maintained a lifelong enjoyment of hiking and climbing.

Erin Wyble Newcomb (dual doctoral degree, Curriculum and Instruction and Women’s Studies, Pennsylvania State University) has taught at SUNY New Paltz since 2008, in the Departments of English and Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. She now assumes a full-time lecturer position in the Department of English. Newcomb’s research interests focus on literature for children and young adults. Outside of teaching, reading, writing, and lots of grading, she enjoys running on the many beautiful trails New Paltz has to offer.

Jennifer Rutner (MLIS, Pratt Institute) is a Visiting Assistant Librarian at the Sojourner Truth Library. Rutner started her career in higher education as a marketing and assessment librarian in New York City, where she drew connections between organizational strategy and user experience. She has a passion for research with a human focus, and her curiosity, analytical sensibilities and instinct for meaningful communication help her uncover and share stories that make an impact. Rutner is also a passionate advocate for the infertility community. She has worked with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association as both the Co-Chair of Advocacy Day and a Peer-led Support Group leader. Today, Jen teaches Kripalu yoga in Beacon, New York, and is the founder of Two Trees Yoga and Retreat House.

Navin Kumar Singh (Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction, Northern Arizona University) brings more than 20 years of teaching and professional experience in TESOL to SUNY New Paltz. He has worked as a literacy tutor in Madhesh and as a university instructor at various institutions in the United States, including Bronx Community College/CUNY, Touro College, the University of San Francisco (remote/online), and Northern Arizona University. Singh’s research interests include English language education, literacy/reading, bilingual and multicultural education, social justice and equity, globalization, higher education and human rights, among other contemporary educational issues. He has published widely, is the author of two books, and is a 2011 recipient of the Golden Key International Honor Society’s Graduate Scholar Award.

Susan Tomaski (MBA, Fordham University) is a Lecturer in the Marketing program in the School of Business. Though Susan has lived in Orange County, New York, for several years, she is originally from the Boston area (and has the accent to prove it!). Tomaski has worked in marketing since earning her MBA, specializing in consumer packaged-goods marketing. In addition to working in industry, she has spent several years as an educator, teaching marketing, media, and consumer behavior and advertising. She spends free time with her family, reads, and enjoys ballroom dancing and figure skating.

Ping-Chuan Wang (Eng.Sc.D., Materials Science and Engineering, Columbia University) joins the Division of Engineering Programs as an Assistant Professor in Mechanical Engineering. He previously worked in the semiconductor industry for 20 years and has served as an adjunct faculty member at New Paltz since 2014. His primary research interests include stress-induced phenomena in engineering materials, and he is an avid gardener/composter who dreams of one day living off the land.

Matthew Wice (Ph.D., Cognitive, Social, and Developmental Psychology, The New School for Social Research) is a Lecturer in the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on the influence of culture on social and cognitive development.