Meet the new faculty

Publication Date

Learn more about the members of the Union community who have arrived for the new academic year.


Aaron Kappeler, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union after serving as a fellow at the Institute for Advanced Study at the Central European University in Budapest, Hungary. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Toronto with the dissertation, “Sowing the State: Nationalism, Sovereignty and Agrarian Politics in Venezuela.” His research interests include political economy, capitalism and nature, and agriculture and agrarian change.


Michael Reardon, visiting assistant professor, recently received his Ph.D. from Clark University in Worcester, Mass., where he was a teaching assistant in organic and analytical chemistry courses. He received his bachelor’s degree from the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts with a dual major in chemistry and biology.


Kassandra Miller, visiting assistant professor, received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation was titled “A Doctor on the Clock: Hourly Timekeeping and Galen’s Scientific Method.” She also holds degrees from Princeton University and the University of Oxford, and has delivered numerous lectures and workshops at the University of Chicago and in Italy and England.


Mason O. Stahl, the James M. Kenney Assistant Professor of Environmental Engineering, comes to Union from Gradient, an environmental and risk sciences consulting firm in Cambridge, Mass. He received his Ph.D. in environmental engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and a bachelor’s degree from Tufts University. He has given guest lectures at MIT and conferences around the world. He is the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.


Owen Miller, postdoctoral fellow, comes to Union from Emerson College where he taught non-Western world history. He has also taught courses at Cornell and at Columbia University, where he received his Ph.D. in 2015 with the dissertation, “Sasun 1894: Mountains, Missionaries and Massacres at the End of the Ottoman Empire.” He was honored at Columbia with the Core Preceptor Award for undergraduate teaching.


Ali M. Hamed, assistant professor, recently received his Ph.D. from the University if Illinois. His research interests include wall-bounded turbulence, geophysical and environmental flows, and renewable energy and wind farm flow dynamics. He has published articles in the Journal of Fluid Mechanics and the Physics of Fluids. He has presented at the American Physical Society’s Division of Fluid Dynamics conference and the International Colloquium on Wind Power Plants.


Elise Bouhet, visiting assistant professor, received her Ph.D. earlier this year from the University at Albany, where she worked as a French lecturer. She also has taught courses at New York University and Trinity College. Her areas of interest include contemporary French society and culture, and forms of protest in relation to theater and performance.


Shou Ping Liu, lecturer in choral and orchestra music and director of performance, comes to Union after directing the university chorus at the University of Southern California. She has also directed the Santa Monica Youth Orchestra, the Lyric Opera Theater and the String Chamber Orchestra at the New England Conservatory. She holds a Ph.D. from USC with other degrees from the New England Conservatory and West Virginia University.


Marianna Bergamaschi Ganapini, assistant professor, received her Ph.D. earlier this year from Johns Hopkins University with the dissertation “Reasoning, Belief and the Quest for Truth.” She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Florence in Italy. She has worked as a lecturer at Goucher College, and has taught courses in ethics, analytic philosophy and logic.


Jeffrey Wagner, assistant professor, comes to Union from Lawrence University in Appleton, Wis. He has also taught at Rose State University, Oklahoma City Community College and Texas A&M University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oklahoma and holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Tulsa. His research interests include biophysics, physics of viruses and soft matter physics.

Zhihai Zhang, postdoctoral research fellow, received his Ph.D. in experimental petrology from the Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He holds additional degrees from China University of Geosciences in Wuhan, China. In addition to academic publications, his professional skills include microtopography and atomic force microscopy.


Joshua Plencner, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union from Drexel University, where he taught courses in public policy process, American government and foreign policy, and research design. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon and a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Dakota. His research interests include American politics, culture and identity, race and racism and contemporary political theory.


Sarah Oswald, archives and special collections librarian, was most recently special collections librarian at the Nantucket Historical Association. She has also worked at the Massachusetts Historial Society and the University of Michigan's Stephen S. Clark Library, where she also received her Master of Science degree. She also holds degrees from New York University and the University of South Florida. She has also curated exhibits at Nantucket's Whaling Museum, the Whitney Gallery in Nantucket and more.

Daniel Michelson, historical records project archivist, most recently served as project archivist at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Del. He has also worked in the archives at Michigan Technical University and the Tamiment Library/Robert F. Wagner Labor archives at New York University. He received his master's degree from New York University and a bachelor's degree from Hampshire College in Amherst, Mass.


Denise Frandino, lecturer, has taught at Castleton University, Skidmore College, Cornell Cooperative Extension of Washington County and the University at Albany. Her social work experience includes Granville Central Schools, the Warren and Washington Association for Mental Health, and the McKinley Developmental School. She is a licensed clinical social worker who has taught courses on human behavior in the social environment, discrimination in American society and family violence.


Andrew Mannion, lecturer, brings extensive teaching and scenic design experience to Union. He has taught set design courses at Western Carolina University, and designed sets for theater productions at WCU, and many theater companies in North Carolina, New York City, Maryland, Maine and Washington. He holds a Master’s of Fine Arts in scenic design from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree from Elizabethtown College. His training also includes the Santa Fe Opera, Williamstown Theatre Festival and London Barn Playhouse.

Daniel Venning, assistant professor, taught courses in Shakespeare and German theater and drama at the Tisch School of the Arts at New York University. He will also be teaching several courses here at Union in the English Department. He received his Ph.D. from the Graduate Center at the City University of New York with the dissertation titled “Shakespeare for the Volk: Shakespeare and the Development of German Nationhood, 1817-1867.” He also holds degrees from Yale University and the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. His teaching experience includes Wagner College and Hunter College.