The new faculty members joining the College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences this academic year bring with them cutting-edge research, broad teaching experience and impeccable professional credentials. Please welcome the following new faculty members to the college:
Jack J. Valenti School of Communications
Lea Hellmueller, Assistant Professor
Dr. Lea Hellmueller joins CLASS from Texas Tech University where she was an assistant professor in the Department of Electronic Media and Journalism. She earned her Ph.D. in Economics and Social Sciences in 2012 from the Department of Media and Communication Research at the University of Fribourg in Switzerland. She earned her B.A. and M.A. in Media and Communication from the University of Fribourg as well. Dr. Hellmueller's research interests focus on journalism's professional roles and performances in a digital and transnational news environment.
Department of Comparative Cultural Studies
Anjali Kanojia, Instructional Assistant Professor
Since June 2011, Dr. Anjali Kanojia has served on the faculty of India Studies at CLASS, most recently as Director of India Studies and Global and International Studies. She is a UH alum, and has earned a Ph.D. in political science. Her research and teaching interests include South Asia, India, yoga & meditation and health, with a specific focus on complementary and integrative therapies in the public health policy domain.
Department of Economics
Radek Paluszynski, Assistant Professor
Dr. Radek Paluszynski’s major fields of concentration are international economics and finance. He completed his Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Minnesota this year, and his dissertation is titled, “Essays on Information Frictions in Economics". In years 2013-2016, he worked as research analyst and a visiting scholar at the research department of the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis.
Department of English
Sebastian Lecourt, Assistant Professor
Dr. Sebastian Lecourt joins CLASS from The Johns Hopkins University where he has been a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow in the Humanities since last year. He earned his Ph.D. in English Language and Literature from Yale University in 2011. His research and teaching interests are British and Anglophone literature of the long nineteenth century, including the novel, poetry, and nonfiction prose. Dr. Lecourt also examines religion and secularism, world literature and transnational literary studies, literary theory and the history of literary studies.
Melanie Salome, Visiting Assistant Professor
Since 2012, Dr. Melanie Salome has served as an Assistant Instructor in the Undergraduate Rhetoric & Writing Studies Program at the University of Texas at El Paso. She earned her M.A. in Communication from Suffolk University in 2007, and her Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from the University of Texas at El Paso in 2016. Her research and teaching interests include responding to student writing, multi-modal technologies in the classroom, technical writing, professional writing, education rhetoric, political rhetoric, critical discourse analysis and writing pedagogies.
Aaron Duplantier, Visiting Assistant Professor
Dr. Aaron Duplantier earned his Ph.D. in English, Writing and Culture from Louisiana State University in May 2015 and his M.A. in English, Creative Writing from Southeastern Louisiana University in 2009. His most recent project, a book titled Authenticity and How We Fake It: Belief and Subjectivity in Reality TV, Facebook, and YouTube, was published in July 2016 by McFarland Press. Dr. Duplantier’s teaching and research interests include technology and human subjectivity, television studies & reality TV, and postmodern literature and theory.
Monica Urban, Visiting Assistant Professor
Dr. Monica Urban's areas of interest include nineteenth-century American literature, gender, material culture, urban studies, digital humanities, and print culture. She earned her M.A. and Ph.D. in English from the University of Miami and her B.A. in Women's Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. She is currently in the process of revising her dissertation, “Fashion Sense: Surfaces, Aesthetics, and Urban Space in U.S. Literature and Culture, 1843-1928," into a book manuscript.
Jill Martiniuk, Visiting Assistant Professor
For the past year, Dr. Jill Martiniuk has served as a lecturer in the Slavic Languages & Literatures department of the University of Virginia. Her research interests include writing pedagogy, gender & sexuality, and travel literature & narratives. After completing her M.A. in Slavic Languages and Literatures from the University of Virginia, she continued at UVA and earned her Ph.D. in Slavic Languages & Literatures from there in 2015.
Department of Health and Human Performance
Christopher J. Arellano, Assistant Professor
After earning his M.S. in Exercise Science from UH in 2007, Dr. Arellano went to the University of Colorado Boulder where he earned his Ph.D. in Integrative Physiology in 2012. From there, he accepted a position as a National Institute of Health post-doctoral fellow in Integrative Physiology of Aging at the University of Colorado Boulder. In 2013, he was named an NIH post-doctoral associate in the Ecology and Evolutionary Biology Department at Brown University, a position he held until joining CLASS this semester.
Billy Hawkins, Professor
Dr. Billy Hawkins joins CLASS from the University of Georgia where most recently he served as professor in the department of kinesiology. He joined the University of Georgia faculty in 1996, shortly after completing his Ph.D. in Health and Sport Studies at the University of Iowa in 1995. Prior to working at the University of Georgia, he was a faculty member at Northern Illinois University’s Department of Physical Education. He has authored several books, the latest titled, “The Athletic Experience at Historically Black Colleges and Universities: Past, Present and Persistence.”
Department of Hispanic Studies
Cristina Rivera-Garza, Distinguished Professor
For Dr. Cristina Rivera-Garza, joining CLASS’s faculty means returning to the university where she earned her graduate degrees. In 1993 she earned her M.A. in Latin American History from UH, and in 1995 she completed her Ph.D. in Latin American History also at UH. She is an award-winning author of numerous novels, short stories, poetry, essays and cross-genre works. Her most recent published work is titled, “La imaginación pública/Public Imagination.” Since 2008, Dr. Rivera-Garza has been a professor and Director of the MFA Program in Creative Writing at University of California – San Diego.
María Pérez, Instructional Assistant Professor
Dr. María E. Pérez is a graduate of the University of Houston, where she completed her M.A. in Spanish Linguistics and Literature, and Ph.D. in Spanish. Since 2011 she has served on the faculty of UH’s Hispanic Studies Department as a lecturer and instructional assistant professor. She has contributed to the creation of the new Minor in Spanish for the Global Professions, and teaches the Spanish for the Health Professions courses. She was a recipient of the Teacher of Excellence Award in 2015, and received the Outstanding Advisor Award from the Center of Student Involvement in 2016.
Center for Mexican American Studies
Amanda Ellis, Visiting Scholar
Dr. Amanda Ellis holds an M.A. in Ethnic Studies from San Francisco State University and an M.A. in English from Rice University. Her Ph.D. was also earned in English at Rice in 2015. Her teaching and research competencies include Mexican American Literature, Chicana Feminist writing, Ethnic Studies, and 20th and 21st century American Literature.
Betsabeth Lugo, Visiting Scholar
Just prior to joining CLASS, Dr. Betsabeth Lugo served as adjunct faculty in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Texas Christian University. Her areas of specialization include sociology of gender, international migration, race and ethnicity, and Mexican/Latino immigrant workers. In 2015 she earned her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Texas at Austin with a dissertation that examines in depth the condition of immigrant illegality through the experiences of Mexican domestic workers in Dallas.
Sara Hinojos, Visiting Scholar
In 2016, Dr. Sara Veronica Hinojos earned her Ph.D. in Chicana and Chicano Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara and in 2011 she earned her M.A. in Chicana and Chicano Studies also from University of California, Santa Barbara. Her research and teaching interests include gender, race, and language politics in media and Chicana/o and Latina/o popular culture and humor.
Gerardo Villalobos Romo, Visiting Scholar
Dr. Gerardo Villalobos Romo completed his Ph.D. in the Institute of Communications Research at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in 2015. Prior to that, he had earned a M.B.A. at Tecnológico de Monterrey and a M.Ed. from Universidad del Valle de Atemajac. From 1991 to 2007 he was on faculty at Tecnológico de Monterrey, Guadalajara Campus.
Department of Modern and Classical Languages
Ming Chew Teo, Assistant Professor
Dr. Ming Chew Teo completed his Ph.D. in Chinese Linguistics at Stanford University this year. Prior to that, he earned a double M.A. degree in Chinese Language at both the National University of Singapore and Peking University in Beijing. While at Stanford, he served as co-director of the Stanford East Asian Languages and Cultures Teaching Assistant Program. His research interests include functional linguistics, Chinese linguistics and sociolinguistics.
Caryn Tamber-Rosenau, Instructional Assistant Professor
After earning an M.A. in Jewish Studies from the Baltimore Hebrew Institute in 2010, Dr. Caryn Tamber-Rosenau attended Vanderbilt University where she earned her Ph.D. in Hebrew Bible in 2015. Last year, she served as a lecturer at Vanderbilt’s department of Religious Studies department and in their Jewish Studies program. Her doctoral dissertation is titled, “Striking Women: Performance and Gender in the Hebrew Bible and Early Jewish Literature.”
Department of Political Science
J. Tyson Chatagnier, Assistant Professor
Dr. J. Tyson Chatagnier joins CLASS from Vanderbilt University where he has been a postdoctoral scholar since 2015. He received his Ph.D. in political science from the University of Rochester in 2013. After earning his doctorate, he worked as a researcher at the Bruno Kessler Foundation's Research Center on International Politics and Conflict Resolution in Trento, Italy, from 2012 to 2015. He was also an adjunct professor of international relations at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, from 2014 to 2015. In addition he was a researcher at the Bruno Kessler Foundation's Research Center on International Politics and Conflict Resolution (CeRPIC) in Trento, Italy from 2012 to 2015.
Boris Shor, Assistant Professor
Prior to joining CLASS, Dr. Boris Shor was a Visiting Assistant Professor at the Department of Government at Georgetown University. In 2011-2013, he was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Scholar in Health Policy, located at the University of California, Berkeley. Before that, he was Irving B. Harris Graduate School of Public Policy Studies at the University of Chicago. He earned his Ph.D. in political science from Columbia University. His research interests include legislative institutions, ideology, political parties, and polarization often but not exclusively at the state level. He has specific policy interests in health care and reform.
Department of Psychology
Caitlin Porter, Assistant Professor
Dr. Caitlin Porter received her Ph.D. in Industrial and Organizational Psychology from Purdue University. Her research primarily investigates individuals’ career-focused activities as well as whether and when these activities result in desirable and undesirable outcomes for employees and organizations. Specific areas of research include professional networking and social networks, voluntary turnover and withdrawal, career management and success, and behavioral and psychological assessment.
Johanna Bick, Assistant Professor
For the past three years, Dr. Johanna Bick has worked as a post-doctoral research fellow in the laboratories of cognitive neuroscience at Boston Children’s Hospital/Harvard Medical School. Prior to that, she was a post-doctoral research fellow at the Yale Child Study Center. Dr. Bick earned her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from the University of Delaware in 2010. Her research examines the neuro-developmental consequences of early adverse experiences including poverty, maltreatment, and severe psychosocial deprivation. The overarching goal of her work is to elucidate mechanisms that explain increased risk for cognitive and emotional problems in at risk children. An additional aim is to examine how early intervention can mitigate deleterious consequences, both neurally and behaviorally.
Benjamin Tamber-Rosenau, Assistant Professor
Prior to joining the faculty at CLASS, Dr. Benjamin Tamber-Rosenau served as a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Psychology at Vanderbilt University, where he conducted postdoctoral research in the laboratories of René Marois and Isabel Gauthier. He earned his M.A. in 2007 and his Ph.D. in 2010, both in Psychology, from Johns Hopkins University. His current research direction seeks to understand the cognitive and neural mechanisms underlying capacity limits in human information processing. His broader interests include the cognitive neuroscience of attention, working memory, and cognitive control.
Lesley Hart, Clinical Associate Professor
Dr. Lesley Hart received her Ph.D. in cognitive psychology in 2005 from the University of Pittsburgh and the Center for the Neural Basis of Cognition, and her M.A. in experimental psychology in 1997 from Wake Forest University. She is currently working toward a Ph.D. respecialization in clinical psychology at Fielding Graduate University. Prior to joining CLASS, Dr. Hart worked as an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale University Child Study Center, and served as the director of the Yale Academic Skills Clinic. Her clinical and research interests focus on reading and language development, skilled reading performance, impairments in language and reading processes, and education in special populations such as youth in juvenile detention.
Department of Sociology
Kathryn Anderson, Assistant Professor
Dr. Kathryn Anderson received a Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of Arizona in 2016. She specializes in the sociology of health and illness, urban sociology, racial/ethnic relations, and the sociology of organizations. Her work is generally focused on understanding the social sources of health disparities in the United States. In particular, she examines the role of race/ethnicity and urban neighborhood dynamics to analyze how these factors may affect individual health.