Meet the new faculty

Publication Date

Union College welcomes seven new faculty members this fall as part of the 2021-22 academic year. They are:


Timothy Barnum, assistant professor, comes to Union after being a postdoctoral scholar at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he also received his Ph.D. In addition to MIT, he has taught general chemistry courses at Drew University, his undergraduate alma mater. He is also the recipient of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship.


Poorna Talkad Sukumar, Templeton Institute Instructor of Computer Science, recently received her Ph.D. in computer science and engineering this summer from the University of Notre Dame. Some of her research interests include human-computer interaction, information visualization and cognitive biases in visualization. She has a master’s degree in mobile and ubiquitous computing from the University of Lancaster in the United Kingdom and a bachelor’s degree from the Dayananda Sagar College of Engineering in Bangalore, India.


Alexander Sweger, visiting assistant professor, comes to Union after serving as a postdoctoral teaching fellow at Susquehanna University, where he taught courses on ecology and evolution, introduction to ecology, community and ecosystem ecology, and more. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Cincinnati with the dissertation, “Courtship signaling, sexual selection, and the potential for acoustic communication in the ‘purring’ wolf spider Gladicosa gulosa.” His ongoing research includes the vibratory communication and sensory ecology of wolf spiders.


Hessein Ali, visiting assistant professor, recently received his doctoral degree from the University of Central Florida with the dissertation, “The Mechanics and Multiphysics of Biomimetic Exoskeleton Slender Substrates.” His teaching experience includes UCF, University of Dayton and University of Benghazi in Libya. His research interests include the mechanics of materials and mechanical design.


Cecilia Bores Quijano, assistant professor, comes to Union after serving as a postdoctoral fellow at the Sealy Center for Structural Biology and Molecular Biophysics at the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston, Texas, and at UMass Amherst. She received her Ph.D. from the Institute of Physical Chemistry Rocasolano in Madrid. She has taught courses in molecular simulation and completed research at the University of Technology in Vienna, University of Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and University of Edinburgh in Scotland.


Jennifer Malatras, visiting assistant professor, was most recently an instructor at the University of Albany, where she received her Ph.D. in clinical psychology for her dissertation, “The Influence of Molecular Family Stability on Emotion Regulation and Adjustment.” She holds a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and completed clinical rotations in the Department of Behavioral Psychology at the Kennedy Krieger Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

Zachary Buchin, visiting assistant professor, holds a Ph.D. in cognitive psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has taught courses at Chapel Hill on sensation and perception, the science of learning and more. He also served as an instructor in Duke University’s Talent Identification Program, where he taught courses on the science of memory. He holds a bachelor’s degree from James Madison University. Some of his research interests include the human memory, testing effects and dividend attention.