Meet the new faculty

Publication Date

Union College welcomes 20 new faculty members and 3 new librarians this fall as part of the 2023-24 academic year. They are:


Melissa DeSiervo, assistant professor

Degrees: B.S. from Cornell University; M.S. from Humboldt State University; Ph.D. from Dartmouth College

Research/teaching interests: Population and community ecology; species interactions; density dependence; mosquito larval ecology and more

Melissa DeSiervo headshot, biology faculty

Ayon Ibrahim, assistant professor

Degrees: B.S. from Union College (Class of 2013); Ph.D. from the University of Pennsylvania

Research/teaching interests: Mechanisms underlying lipid-mediated cellular dysfunction and toxicity


Olivia Adly Attallah, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.S. from Ain Shams University; M.Sc. from Nile University; Ph.D. from Cairo University

Research/teaching interests: Development of tailored green technologies and novel analytical assays to mitigate against environmental pollution


Carolyn Rodak, associate professor and chair

Degrees: B.S. from the University of Michigan; Ph.D. from the University of Notre Dame

Research/teaching interests: Water quality in the Mohawk River; fluid dynamics; stormwater management

Headshot of Carolyn Rodak, engineering


Moriom Momota, visiting instructor

Degrees: B.S. from Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology in Bangladesh; Ph.D. from Texas Tech University

Research/teaching interests: Flexible electronics, embedded systems, Internet of Things and artificial intelligence.


Erica Mena, visiting instructor

Degrees: B.A. from University of Massachusetts Boston; M.Phil from the University of Cambridge; MFA degrees from the University of Iowa and Brown University.

Research/teaching interests: poetry, book arts, literary translation.

Erica Mena headshot, English

Kaitlin Elissa Staudt, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: Bachelors from Wellesley College; Masters Degree from the University of Edinburgh; Ph.D. from the University of Oxford.

Research/teaching interests: World Literature; British Literature; English Composition and the Short Story


Sohini Chattopadhyay, assistant professor

Degrees: BA from Calcutta University, Kolkata; Masters degrees from Jawaharlal Nehru University; Ph.D. from Columbia University

Research/teaching interests: Comparative studies in South Asia, Modern South Asia, Modern Middle East

Sohini Chattopadhyay headshot, history

Nicole de Silva, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.A. from the University of California at Riverside; M.A. and Ph.D. from U.C. Santa Barbara

Research/teaching interests: HIstory of the American People; History of U.S. Popular Culture in the 20th century; History of the Modern World


Jaron Kuppers, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute; Ph.D. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Research/teaching interests: material science; statics; design of mechanical systems; bio-materials, natural fiber composites and more

Jaron Kuppers, headshot, mechanical engineering


Martin Dawson, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.A. from the College of Charleston; Ph.D. from Duke University/UNC-Chapel Hill

Research/teaching interests: German Studies and language; Germany and the Environmental Imagination

Martin Dawson headshot, German


Eugene Jin Byun, visiting lecturer and director of musical performance

Degrees: Bachelors from Seoul National University; Masters degrees from Indiana University and Queens College; Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut

Research/teaching interests: Private voice lessons; opera workshops; conducting


Daniel W. Brinkerhoff Young, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.A. from Cornell University; M.Phil. from the University of Oxford, Balliol College (Rhodes Scholar); Ph.D. from New York University

Research/teaching interests: Social and political philosophy, including philosophy of race, class, gender and anti-colonial thought


Amin Abou Ibrahim, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.S from Lebanese University; Masters degrees from Beirut Arab University and Northeastern University. Ph.D. from Northeastern University

Research/teaching interests: Quantum field theory, introduction to the standard model and beyond

Amin Ibrahim, Physics faculty

Jeremy W. Smith, visiting instructor

Degrees: B.S. from Union College (Class of 2014); Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut

Research/teaching interests: Particle accelerators; low energy nuclear reactions; exotic beam production

Jeremy Smith, physics faculty headshot


Salil Benegal, the Joseph B. Board Assistant Professor of Environmental Policy

Degrees: B.Sc. Illinois Institute of Technology; Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut

Research/teaching interests: Environmental politics, climate policy, energy transition, public opinion and political psychology

Salil Benegal headshot, political science


Cameron Kay, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.A. from the University of British Columbia; M.Sc. in psychology, M.A. in journalism and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon

Research/teaching interests: Psychological factors that underlie antisocial beliefs and behaviors; personality, social psychology, statistical methods and conspiracy theories;


Adrienne Atterberry, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.S. and B.A. from University of Pittsburgh; Masters degrees in media studies and sociology from Syracuse University; Ph.D. from Syracuse University

Research/teaching interests: Sociology of education, international migration; qualitative research methods, social inequality and global mobility; racial and ethnic minorities

Adrienne Atterberry headshot, sociology


Cheryl Black, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: B.A. from Charleston Southern University; M.A. from the University of South Carolina; Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park

Research interests: Women in theatre, African American theatre, US history and culture, and dramaturgy/adaptation.

Cheryl Black, theater and dance


Allison Conley, lecturer

Degrees: B.A. from SUNY Stony Book, MFA from Colorado State University

Research/teaching interests: Printmaking; Relief Printmaking; Art Appreciation; Exploring the Creative Process

Rachel Stern, visiting assistant professor

Degrees: BFA from Rhode Island School of Design; MFA from Columbia University

Research/teaching interests: Photography and studio lighting

Rachel Stern, photo


Patrick Cassidy, systems and discovery librarian

Degrees: B.A. from Purdue University; Masters of Library Science from Kent State University

Interests and skills: Database management/development/monitoring; training facilitation

Patrick Cassidy, Schaffer Library

Kim Mitchell, systems associate librarian

Degrees: B.A. from Boston University; Master of Library Science from Simmons College

Interests and skills: Oversee technical services; collection development; library programming

Jenna Pitera, instruction librarian

Degrees: B.A. from SUNY New Paltz; Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Rhode Island

Interests and skills: Comprehensive literature searches; one-on-one research assistance; development of curricular materials for research methods