Meet JMU's newest faculty


 

The College of Science and Math is welcoming 25 new faculty members for the 2014-2015 academic year.

Felicia C. Esteban
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Biology
Dr. Esteban is a resident of Weyers Cave.

  • Education: M.D., Medical University of South Carolina
  • Areas of expertise: Pediatrics
  • Courses teaching: Instructor in Anatomy, Lecturer in Pediatric Medicine
  • About her decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Esteban said, "I enjoy teaching and encouraging pre-professionals and professional students."
head and shoulder photo of Joe Harsh


Joseph A. Harsh
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Dr. Harsh’s hometown is Edwardsburg, Mich. You can find out more about him on the JMU website: http://www.jmu.edu/biology/people/all-people/faculty/faculty-harsh.shtml

  • Education: Ph.D., Science Education, Indiana University; M.S., Botany and Plant Pathology, Michigan State University; B.S., Biological Sciences, Indiana University
  • Areas of expertise: Biology Education
  • Courses Teaching: Organisms Lab; Life and How it Works; The Environment in Context
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Harsh said, “There are multiple personal and professional reasons why I chose to join the JMU faculty. Of particular note, given my interests in biology teaching and learning, is JMU's outstanding reputation for innovative undergraduate science education.”    


head and shoulder photo of Kristopher KubowKristopher Kubow
Assistant Professor and Director of the Light Microscope Facility, Department of Biology
Dr. Kubow's hometown is San Diego. You can learn more about him on his personal website: http://csmbio.csm.jmu.edu/biology/kubowke/ or on the microscope facility website: http://csmbio.csm.jmu.edu/biology/microscopy/

  • Education: D. Sc., ETH Zurich; B.S., Bioengineering, University of Southern California
  • Areas of expertise: Cell and Molecular Biology; Light Microscopy; Cancer Biology; Tissue Engineering; Regenerative Medicine
  • Courses Teaching: Cell and Molecular Biology Lab; Light Microscopy; Graduate Topics in Biology
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Kubow said, "Outstanding opportunity to direct and grow the light microscope facility, Great students, Collegial department of teacher/scholars, Beautiful location"

A photograph of Joey Powers

Joey Powers
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Biology
Powers' hometown is Lumberton, N.C.

  • Education: M.S., Biology, East Carolina University; B.S., Biology, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
  • Areas of expertise: Ecology; Teaching
  • Courses Teaching: Human Physiology
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Powers said, "I chose JMU because of the beautiful area and because of the good teaching environment"

 

Morgan Steffen
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology
Dr. Steffen’s hometown is Des Moines, Iowa.

  • Education: Ph.D., Microbiology, University of Tennessee; B.S., Biology, Iowa State University
  • Area of Expertise: Microbiology; Aquatic microbial ecology
  • Courses Teaching: General Microbiology
  • About her decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Steffen said, “I chose to join the JMU faculty because the university and the biology department prioritizes teaching and research equally, as well as the value placed on undergraduate research. JMU is unique among universities around the country in that teaching is not marginalized, and emphasis is placed on a comprehensive undergraduate education.”

Profile view of Dr. Strong touching the nose of a horse to his right.Derek Strong
Assistant Professor, Department of Biology

Dr. Strong has lived in Huntington, Vt., and St. Michaels, Md., and now resides in Harrisonburg.

  • Education: BA in Molecular Cell Biology—Biochemistry and Molecular Biology—from UC Berkeley; Ph.D. in Anatomy and Neurobiology from University of Vermont
  • Areas of expertise: teaching expertise is primarily anatomy and physiology; research experience in ulcerative colitis and Crohn's Disease (examining neural inputs to intestinal smooth muscle and the effects of ulceration on colonic motility)
  • Courses teaching: BIO 513 gross anatomy lecture and lab for physician assistant program
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Strong said, "I could see that everyone here is so clearly focused on creating a great experience for students, in the classroom and in the research lab, really all around; that and the university and town are just beautiful. Reminds me of Vermont (but without the long winters!)


head and shoulder photo of Ashleigh BaberAshleigh E. Baber
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Baber’s hometown is Powhatan, Va. You can learn more about her on her LinkedIn page: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/ashleigh-baber/40/687/683

  • Education: Ph.D., Tufts University; B.S., Randolph-Macon Woman’s College
  • Areas of expertise: Chemistry; Materials Chemistry; Surface Science
  • Courses Teaching: General Chemistry; Materials Science
  • About her decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Baber said, “The friendly, collaborative, and supportive environment, and well-established research resources.”


Oleksandr Kokhan
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Kokhan’s hometown is Nizhyn, Ukraine. Before coming to JMU, he lived in the suburbs of Chicago for three and a half years where he worked at the Argonne National Laboratory. He also spent almost 10 years in Urbana-Champaign, Ill. where he worked and studied at University of Illinois.

  • Education: Ph.D., Biophysics and Computational Biology, University of Illinois
  • Area of Expertise: Biochemistry; Biophysics; Physical Chemistry
  • Courses Teaching:  General Chemistry I; General Chemistry II
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Kokhan said, “There were multiple reasons for choosing JMU. Among the most significant (in no particular order):
    • Outstanding research resources
    • I really liked Department faculty
    • Even from my admittedly limited interactions with JMU students, I had very positive impression about them.”

 

head and shoulder photo of Dan NardiDaniel J. Nardi
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Nardi's hometown is Harrisonburg, Va. He worked for Merck & Co., Inc. for 32 years, which included living in places such as Elkton, Va., White Station, N.J. and Singapore. He retired to start his own consulting company, wwIw Advisors, LLC. You can learn about his consulting business on the website: wwiwadvisors.com

  • Education: M.B.A., James Madison University; B.S., Chemistry, James Madison University
  • Area of Expertise: Consulting; Strategic Sourcing; Pharmaceutical Management
  • Courses Teaching: Perspectives in Chemistry
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Nardi said, "I have stayed connected to JMU after graduation in committees, attending events when possible and in giving back monetarily. I have served on the Executive Advisory Committee for STEM for the past several years and recently Dr. Amenta approached me about teaching a class. My wife and I have recently returned to Harrisonburg after being away for 20 years and I am excited to increase my involvement and contribution to JMU."

 

head and shoulder photo of Linette WatkinsLinette M. Watkins
Professor and Department Head, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Watkins’ hometown is Whittier, Calif. You can find out more about her on Twitter: @DrLinette.

  • Education: Ph.D., Biochemistry, University of Notre Dame; B.S., Biochemistry, Trinity University
  • Areas of expertise: Enzyme chemistry; Active learning in the Biochemistry classroom
  • Courses Teaching: N/A
  • About her decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Watkins’ said, “The commitment of the faculty to the students is evident in everything that they do. I was so impressed with the integration of teaching and learning, the level of engagement of students in undergraduate research, and the resources available to department to carry out their work with undergraduates.”


head and shoulder photo of Justin BrownJustin Ross Brown
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Environmental Science
Dr. Brown’s Hometown is Minnetonka, Minn. You can find out more about him on the JMU website: http://www.jmu.edu/geology/justinbrown.shtml

  • Education: Ph.D., Geophysics, Stanford; M.S., Geophysics, Stanford; B.S., Physics, Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison
  • Areas of expertise: Geophysics; Earthquake and Volcano Seismology; Computational Geophysics; Inverse Theory and Parameter Estimation
  • Courses Teaching: Physical Chemistry and Human Experience; General Geology; Geophysics and Field Geophysics
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Brown said, “As an earth scientist, James Madison University is the ideal setting to study geological processes of our planet’s past, present and future. The opportunity to encourage students to learn how Earth operates as a system using JMU’s backyard is unique and advantageous to reveal the answers to numerous geologic questions that remain enigmatic to this day.”


Jesse Blosser
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Blosser’s hometown is Harrisonburg, Va. He also teaches math at Eastern Mennonite High School in Harrisonburg, Va.

  • Education: B.S., Math Education, Eastern Mennonite University
  • Courses Teaching: College Algebra


Paul Boisen
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Boisen's hometown is Middleton, Wis. He has been in Harrisonburg, Va. for the last five years. He was also a Fulbright Fellow at the Math Institute of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences in Budapest from 1992-1993.

  • Education: Ph.D., Mathematics, University of Chicago
  • Areas of expertise:  Algebra; Statistics; Data Mining; Cryptanalysis
  • Courses Teaching: Business Calculus
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Boisen said, "I chose JMU because I heard the students are fun to teach (and it's true). One of the final motivators was the fact that the classroom at (my workplace) Sugar Grove Research Station, West Virginia was shut down due to the exodus of the military folks there."

 
Richard Busi
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Busi’s hometown is Slippery Rock, Pa.

  • Education: Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction/ Mathematics Education, University of Florida; M. Ed. Secondary Education/ Mathematics Education, Slippery Rock University Pennsylvania; B.S., Mathematics, Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania
  • Area of Expertise: Pre-service teachers; Teacher beliefs; Teacher content knowledge; Using student work in the preparation of teachers
  • Courses Teaching: Fundamentals of Mathematics I; Fundamentals of Mathematics II
  • About his decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Busi said, “I chose JMU because of the department’s commitment to the preparation of teachers to teach mathematics in effective ways. JMU also values the scholarships of teaching and research in proportions that align with my own philosophy of higher education. Furthermore, I believe my research experience and interests align well with the work currently being done in the department.”


Jan Miller sitting with her husband outdoors and looking at the camera.Jan Stover Miler
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Mrs. Miller's hometown is Harrisonburg, where she was born in the old Rockingham Memorial Hospital building now owned by JMU. She is also a JMU alumna. Mrs. Miller has taught at JMU a number of times over the years and continues to also teach in the public school system.

  • Education: B.S. from Madison College and M.A.T. from JMU
  • Algebra and calculus
  • Courses Teacher: Calculus 205
  • About her decision to return to JMU, Mrs. Miller said, "I love young people and teaching math!"


A seated Shehadeh smiling at camera with child leaning on her lap

Hala Al Hajj Shehadeh
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics
Dr. Shehadeh’s home country is Lebanon. You can learn more about her on the JMU website: http://educ.jmu.edu/~alhajjhy/

  • Education: Ph.D., New York University; M.S., American University of Beirut; B.S., Beirut Arab University.
  • Areas of expertise: Applied Mathematics; Material Sciences; Inverse Problems
  • Courses Teaching: Applied mathematics; Analysis classes
  • About her decision to join the JMU faculty, Dr. Shehadeh said, “My love for teaching undergraduates, the department is extremely friendly and supportive, the environment is one that provides an opportunity for growth and a chance to be of great influence for the younger generation of mathematicians. “



Also joining the College of Science and Mathematics are:

Bronson Griscom
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Biology

Louie Wurch
One-Year Appointment, Department of Biology

Carina Young
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Biology

Dordevic Mladen
AP Faculty, Department of Geology and Environmental Science

John J. B. Webb
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Tracy Sprolden
One-Year Appointment, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Ala Abdelbaki
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

Jan Stover Miler
Part-Time Teaching, Department of Mathematics and Statistics

 

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September 1, 2014

Published: Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Last Updated: Thursday, October 20, 2016

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