Meet the new faculty

Learn more about the faculty who have joined Union this fall.
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Meet the new faculty


ANTHROPOLOGY:

Arsalan Khan, visiting assistant professor, received his Ph.D. in 2014 from the University of Virginia. Most recently, he was a visiting fellow at the Center for South Asian Studies in Paris, France. His areas of anthropological interest include Pakistan and South Asia, and his research interests include sociocultural anthropology, religion, language and ethics.

CHEMISTRY:

Vijayakumar Ramalingam, visiting assistant professor, joins Union from Columbia University where he was a postdoctoral research scientist, investigating the origins of homochirality in carbohydrates, including the design and synthesis of prebiotic nucleosides. He has taught at Trinity University in San Antonio, Texas and Queens College in New York City.

ECONOMICS:

Jia Gao, visiting assistant professor, recently received her Ph.D. from the University of New Hampshire with a dissertation titled, “Economics of Maternal Employment, Child Health and Development.” She has taught courses at UNH on the principles of microeconomics and government regulation. Her areas of research interest include health economics and policy, applied econometrics and international economics.

ENGLISH:

Jennifer Mitchell ‘04, visiting assistant professor, was most recently a lecturer at Hunter College in New York City. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York, and graduated with honors from Union in 2004. She has two books forthcoming; the first is titled Everyday Masochisms: Nineteenth-Century Fiction, Modernism and the Vicissitudes of Desire. The other is a collection of essays she co-edited based on the HBO television series “Girls.”

Lesley Goodman, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minn. She received her Ph.D. from Harvard University in 2013, where she also received her master’s degree. In 2006, she graduated with honors with a bachelor’s degree from Swarthmore College. She was the winner of the 2013 Howard Mumford Jones Prize and the Frances James Child Prize for Excellence in Teaching. While at Harvard, she received several distinctions and fellowships for teaching and research. She has taught courses on Jane Austen, British literature, feminism in 1890’s fiction and various other topics.

MATHEMATICS:

Ellen Gasparovic, assistant professor, joins Union from Duke University. She received her Ph.D. in 2012 from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and her teaching experience also includes the University of Pennsylvania and Haverford College. Her research interests include computational and applied topology, topological data analysis and methods in image and shape analysis. She has been honored with several teaching distinctions, including UPenn’s Good Teaching Award and the J. Burton Linker Award for Excellence in Teaching.

Jeffrey Hatley, visiting assistant professor, was most recently an instructor at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, teaching linear algebra, calculus and more.  He received his Ph.D. in 2009 from UMass Amherst. He has had several articles published in “Involve, a Journal of Mathematics,” on various topics including the probability of relativity prime polynomials.

George Todd, visiting assistant professor, received his Ph.D. last spring from the University of Arizona where he also taught courses on vector calculus, matrix analysis, linear algebra and more. He was a mentor at the university’s Math Modeling Team.

MECHANICAL ENGINEERING:

Jeremy Vanderover, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union from General Electric Power and Water where he was a lead mechanical engineer. He worked at GE for five years after receiving his Ph.D. in aeronautical engineering from the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. His dissertation was titled, “A Mid-Infrared Laser Absorption Sensor for Carbon Monoxide and Temperature Measurements.” HE also recently taught at Siena College.

Jaron Kuppers, visiting assistant professor, is the founder and chief technical officer of Vistex Composites. As a PhD student at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, he developed and demonstrated two technologies for rapid and efficient manufacturing of advanced composites that Vistex is commercializing and further developing. He received his Ph.D. in 2012 and then worked as a postdoctoral fellow at RPI’s Center for Automation Technologies and Systems.

MODERN LANGUAGES - JAPANESE:

Kristina Vassil, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union from Colgate University where she has been teaching since 2008. She was also a scholar-in-residence at the University of California at Berkeley. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Michigan with the dissertation, “Passages: Writing Diasporic Identity in the Literature of the Early Twentieth Century Japanese America.”

PHILOSOPHY:

Katherine Tullmann, visiting assistant professor, recently received her Ph.D. from the City University of New York Graduate Center with the dissertation, “Problems, Puzzles and Paradoxes for a Moral Psychology of Fiction.” Her areas of research interest include philosophy of art and aesthetics and philosophy of the mind.

David Nowakowski, visiting assistant professor, most recently taught at Colby College. He received his Ph.D. from Princeton University in 2014 with the dissertation, “Persistence and Inference in Classical Indian Philosophy.” He has also done scholarly work at Harvard University, the University of Wisconsin at Madison and Saint Vincent College. His areas of specialization include Indian philosophy.

PHYSICS AND ASTRONOMY:

Nelia Mann, assistant professor, comes to Union from the College of Wooster. She has also taught at Reed College, Stanford University and the University of California at Santa Barbara. She received her bachelor’s degree from Stanford and doctorate from the UC-Santa Barbara. She later did postdoctoral research at the University of Chicago. Her research interests include quantum mechanics.

Heather Watson, visiting assistant professor, was most recently a research associate at the Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. She received her Ph.D. in 2004 from RPO, where she also received her masters. She has also taught at Northern Illinois University and mentored students at Emma Willard School in Troy in its STEM internship program.

Reuben Gann, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union from the Georgia Institute of Technology where he was a postdoctoral research fellow. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California at Riverside in 2011. He received his bachelor’s degree from Claremont McKenna College where he was also active as a student researcher. His areas of interest include surface characterization techniques, including x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Auger electron spectroscopy and more.

PSYCHOLOGY:

D. Catherine Walker, visiting assistant professor, has extensive clinical psychology experience, most recently at Livewell, Albany Psychological Services for Eating Disorders. She has also gained experience at the University at Albany Counseling Center and Comprehensive Card Center for Eating disorders. She received her Ph.D. in 2013 from the University at Albany with the dissertation, “A Experimental Manipulation of Body Checking and Mirror Exposure Over Time in Men and Women with High Shape and Weight Concern.”

VISUAL ARTS:

Laini Nemett, assistant professor, comes to Union from the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore. She received her bachelor’s degree from Brown University and was a 2006-07 Fulbright Award winner to study painting in Barcelona. She later received her Master’s of Fine Arts from MICA. She has done solo and group exhibitions around the country and traveled to Africa, Germany and Italy for lectures and visiting artist engagements.