Professors Students Love
UHart’s small size means you won’t be a face in the crowd to your professors.
Our faculty get to know their students well. They provide advice and mentoring outside the classroom too, helping students with internships, job leads, and research opportunities. Many professors become lifelong friends and mentors to their students.
Tim Becker, Assistant Professor, Computing Sciences
Becker gets high marks for supporting his students’ independent study ideas, no matter how off the wall they might be. James Pinckney ’20, a computer science major in the College of Arts & Sciences, says, “Professor Becker has always encouraged me to really get out and do whatever crazy idea I came up with. Doing 3D visualizations of genetic data? Done. Viewing that 3D data with Oculus Rifts? Done and done. Requesting aid for the department to get a Microsoft Hololens so that we can explore data visualization even further? In the works. I would not have been able to graduate without him.”
Claudia Oakes, Associate Professor, Health Sciences
As the premedical professions advisor in the College of ENHP, Oakes helps guide students through the often daunting process of applying to medical and professional schools. For Alyssa Clifford ’20, Oakes’s support was a key factor in her acceptance to the New England College of Optometry in Boston. “If it weren’t for her constant feedback and words of encouragement, I would not be where I am today. She has truly been my source of academic support throughout my entire optometry school application process,” Clifford said.
Kiwon Sohn, Assistant Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering
Sohn helped Aurian Emami ’20 explore his passion for robotics in an independent study project that involved designing a fully autonomous go-kart for a child with autism. Equipped with lots of sensors, the go kart is capable of driving itself and avoiding obstacles. Sohn and Emami collaborated on a research paper about the go-kart that will be presented at an international engineering conference. “Sohn is the most knowledgeable, passionate, patient, and respectful person I've had the privilege of working with,” Emami said. “I look up to him as my mentor and role model. He is the reason I became so heavily focused in the robotics field. I have made a lifelong friend I will keep in touch with long after graduation.”
Mehmet Dede, Assistant Professor, Music & Performing Arts Management
After graduating from The Hartt School in 2019 with a degree in music management, Nicole Arruda decided to move to Nashville thanks to the influence of Dede. “During my senior year, Mehmet connected me with some amazing industry folk in Nashville and I was able to come down and have meetings with them during winter break. Through that, I actually ended up being able to work as an assistant during the 2019 Country Radio Seminar in Nashville, which was just a dream come true.” Nicole continues to live in Nashville and now has a full-time job with AGD in the Zero to Sixty artist development program.
Ken Goldstein, Clinical Instructor, Risk Management and Insurance
For Nicole Etta ‘20, taking an insurance class with Goldstein was pivotal in helping her choose her major. “I knew right after taking the class that this was something I wanted to pursue. Professor Goldstein was appointed as my advisor and always helped steer me in the right direction, even if I had no idea what that entailed!” she said. Before graduation, Nicole landed a job with Cigna in its risk management and underwriting leadership development program. “All of my business professors helped push me out of my comfort zone. Without UHart, I never would have gotten to where I am today," she said.
Jane Horvath, Associate Professor, Economics
Nate Carr ’21 came to UHart undecided about a major, but a meeting with Horvath helped him find his path. “Professor Horvath said an economics degree would offer me plenty of open doors after graduation,” he said. “I wanted a major that gave me the opportunity to make an impact, so after the meeting, I walked away learning more about myself and what I wanted out of college.” As a junior, he still meets with Professor Horvath on a regular basis because of her “wisdom and professionalism.”
Rebecca Townsend, Assistant Professor, Communication
Zach Stewart A ’20, ’22 landed an internship in the highly competitive Disney College Program at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Fla., for the fall 2020 semester. He credits the support of his Hillyer professors, specifically Assistant Professor of Communication Rebecca Townsend, with giving him the confidence to apply to the internship program. Jacob Lamoureux A ’18, ’20 echoes Stewart’s comments and added, “Professor Townsend showed me the true meaning of effective civic communication, a lesson I will carry with me for the rest of my life.”
Laura Pence, Professor of Chemistry
Pence helped Yavana Ganesh ‘20 land her “perfect job” at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) in Richland, Wash. With a double major in chemistry and political science and a minor in environmental studies, Yavana was unsure of what her future career would be. However, after hearing a presentation in an honors seminar from a PNNL scientist on the topic of chemical and biological weapons, she immediately knew that was what she wanted to do. Pence put Yavana in contact with Dr. Kristin Omberg at PNNL and she was ultimately offered a position as a research associate. “I have always wanted to use my knowledge of chemistry to bridge the information gap between science and policymaking in the United States. This job is the perfect mix of everything that I have wanted to do,” Yavana said. “We have some of the most amazing faculty at our school!”
Sheetal Sood, Associate Professor, Special Education
When Mikayla Pascucci ‘18, M ’20 began her first teaching job, she quickly realized how well Sood had prepared her. “After seeing how I use a data collection form to monitor and track my students’ behavior in class, my colleagues asked me, ‘Wow, where did you learn that?’ I learned it in Dr. Sood’s class,” Mikayla said. As an undergraduate, Mikayla conducted research with Sood and Associate Professor Lisa Zawilinski on incorporating arts into STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) education, and presented the research at a national conference. “From meeting lifelong friends, to my close connections with my amazing professors, to conference presentations, I am forever indebted to UHart. I would not be the educator I am today if it weren’t for my experiences over the past six years,” Mikayla added.