Welcoming New Faces to the College
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Welcoming New Faces to the College

James McDonald
Lisa Costa

The College of Arts and Sciences is pleased to welcome new people to the dean’s office and several departments across the college.

In July James McDonald became the Associate Dean of Budget and Finance, filling the vacancy left when Jean McGivney-Burelle became the inaugural Executive Director of the university’s Center for Teaching Excellence and Innovation. Jim is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics who joined the University of Hartford in 1999. He teaches courses in physics and astronomy as well as science in art for the All-University Curriculum. His research interests include experimental nuclear physics related to reactions inside stars and science education. He served the last two years as the Chair of the Departments of Mathematics, Physics, and Computer Science. In his new role he assists the dean with the financial matters of the college, including alumni engagement.

Lisa Costa started over the summer as the Manager of Student Services and Evaluation for the college. In 2014, she earned her BA in English at Central Connecticut State University and hopes to finish her MBA at the University of Hartford. Costa worked previously as the Registrar’s Office Coordinator at Trinity College where she also assisted with the accreditation process, and she does freelance work in writing, editing, and project management. In her role in the Dean’s Office, Costa provides academic support services to students, parents, faculty and staff in addition to helping to coordinate orientation and graduation activities.

Just before the fall semester started, at the annual college Kick-Off Barbecue, the College of Arts and Sciences, welcomed nine new tenure-track faculty, six visiting faculty, and two Jackie McLean Fellows.

from left: Margo Greenlaw, Abe Hefter, Ines Rivera Prosdocimi, Amanda Freeman, Katherine Hollander, Andrew Koob, David Miller, Michael Mackenzie, Jason Anastas, Elizabeth Pienkos, Julie Sochacki, and Adam Chiara

Andrew Koob has joined the Department of Biology as an assistant professor. He earned his PhD from Perdue University. He conducts research in cellular neurobiology and nervous system physiology.

Adam Chiara is a new applied assistant professor in the School of Communication. Adam received his MS from Quinnipiac University. He teaches courses in social media, public relations, and multimedia production, as well as continuing to stay professionally active in the communication field.

Margo Greenlaw is a visiting instructor in cinema who earned her MFA in film and video production from the University of Iowa. Professor Greenlaw’s films and videos blend documentary with experimental and narrative forms and have screened at festivals throughout North America and the UK. 

New applied assistant professor of communications Abe Hefter has extensive professional experience in broadcast journalism and sports reporting, including 12 years as a show host, reporter and sportscaster at news-talk station CJAD and five years as Sports Director at the Canadian Press national news agency. Abe has a BA from McGill University and is in the process of earning his M.A. at Concordia University.

Julie Sochacki has joined the Department of English and Modern Languages as an applied assistant professor. She will also be the director of the English Secondary Education program. Julie earned her JD from Western New England College.

Two Jackie McLean Fellows have also joined the Department of English and Modern Languages Ines Riviera Prosdocimi comes to us as a PhD candidate in comparative literature at the University of Maryland.  She specializes in twentieth and twenty-first century Caribbean and Caribbean American literature.  A passionate educator, Ines has taught a variety of classes at the University of Maryland and Northern Virginia Community College including: Academic Writing; Business Writing; Creative Writing; World Literature by Women; Global Literature & Social Change. 

Dominick Rolle received his PhD in English from Emory University in 2016 after receiving prestigious completion fellowships from the University of Pennsylvania and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He received his bachelor’s, with distinction, in English from the University of Virginia in 2008 and afterwards served for two years as a Youth Counselor Supervisor at a residential home for inner-city youth in the City of Charlottesville. His specialties are in twentieth and twenty-first century African American and Caribbean literatures.

The Department of History welcomed Katherine Hollander as a visiting professor. She earned her PhD in modern European history at Boston University and is teaching courses on European and world history. Her research centers on questions of artistic collaboration, socialism, and exile in the twentieth century. 

The Department of Mathematics welcomed assistant professor David Miller and visiting assistant professors Turgay Bayraktar and Michael Mackenzie. Miller has a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Connecticut and works in the area of numerical linear algebra. Bayraktar graduated with a PhD from Indiana University at Bloomington and his research centers around complex analysis, complex geometry, and probability. Mackenzie, who works in designing algorithms for structured matrices, received his PhD from the University of Connecticut.

The Department of Psychology welcomed three new faculty. Jason Anastas is an assistant professor who received his PhD from the University of Connecticut. He is currently teaching research methods and experimental design.

Katie Crowell completed both her undergraduate and graduate training at Utah State University. She earned an MS in Counseling Psychology, EdS in School Psychology, and PhD in Combined Clinical, Counseling and School Psychology. She is teaching undergraduate courses in the department of Psychology and in the GIPP program. 

Elizabeth Pienkos is an assistant professor in the Graduate Institute of Professional Psychology. She has a PsyD in Clinical Psychology from Rutgers University, and her research focuses on the phenomenology of schizophrenia, and this year she is teaching courses in psychological assessment and psychopathology.

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice welcomed two new assistant professors. Amanda Freeman earned her PhD in Sociology from Boston College. She specializes in Inequality, Social Policy, Gender and the Family. Philip Levchak, who earned his PhD at the University of Iowa, specializes in racial disparities in imprisonment and policing and cross-national criminology. This year, he will be teaching Introduction to Criminal Justice, Race, Ethnicity, and Crime, and Juvenile Delinquency.