New faculty join Centre College for 2017-18

Centre’s faculty are the College’s heart. They nurture the culture of the College—the sense of common purpose and passion for learning—and they share it enthusiastically with students. Impressive awards and international honors reflect the faculty’s academic strength, but beyond the statistics and accolades is the fact that they truly care about students’ growth and success. Centre is proud to welcome 14 new full-time faculty members, from across all three academic divisions, who will add to the College’s rigorous and deeply engaging educational experience. Vice President of Academic Affairs and Dean Stephanie Fabritius is once again excited by the range of teaching and research interests, perspectives and experiences that the new faculty members bring to Centre.

“This year, as in the past, we have hired an extremely talented and interesting group of teacher-scholars,” she says. “I’m excited about all of the diverse experiences and perspectives that our new colleagues will bring to the classroom and beyond. Our rich tradition of personal education in and out of the classroom, critical thinking, global perspectives, making important connections, and deep engagement will be strengthened through the contributions of these new faculty members.”

Division I: Humanities

Jennifer Goff, Assistant Professor of Dramatic Arts
Goff received a B.A. in drama and English from University of Portland, in addition to an M.A. in theatre from University of South Carolina and a Ph.D. in theatre from Wayne State University. An active actor, director and scholar, Goff teaches courses in acting, dramatic literature, theatre history and improvisation, and will direct during the Centre College season.

Isabella La Rocca, Assistant Professor of Art
La Rocca earned a B.A. in fine arts at the University of Pennsylvania and an M.F.A. in photography at Indiana University. She is an artist working primarily with photography and motion pictures. Her work strives to bring to light and find beauty in the hidden, unconscious, commonplace and disregarded.

Robert Seebacher, Assistant Professor of Music, Director of Instrumental Programs
Seebacher received a B.A. in music education from Youngstown State University, an M.A. in orchestral conducting from Bowling Green State University and a D.M.A. in music arts and orchestral conducting from the University of Kentucky. He is music director and conductor of the Johnson City Symphony Orchestra, music director and conductor of the Mobile Symphony Youth Orchestra, and assistant conductor for the National Chorale.

Ke Yi, Visiting Instructor of Chinese
Yi earned a B.A. in second language acquisition at Sichuan Normal University; an M.A. in theory of literature and art at East China Normal University; and an M.A. in applied linguistics at Purdue University. Yi’s research focuses on second language acquisition and assessment. His previous work includes designing qualitative and quantitative assessments for L2 Chinese learners’ oral proficiency using a task-based approach.

Division II: Social Studies

Kiyona Brewster, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Brewster received her M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology and a certificate in gender and sexuality studies from Northwestern University, as well as a teaching certificate from the Searle Center for Advancing Learning and Teaching. She also holds an M.A. in psychology from the University of Connecticut. Her teaching and research interests are in the areas of race and ethnicity, gender, qualitative methods, family studies and religion.

Petra Hendrickson, Assistant Professor of International Studies
Hendrickson earned a B.A. in political science at Indiana State University, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science at Michigan State University. Her research interests include civil war, transnational violence, ethnic conflict, Southeast Europe, and South and Southeast Asia.

Jamie Shenton, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Shenton received a B.A. in anthropology and sociology and Spanish from Centre College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in anthropology from Vanderbilt University where she taught for nearly three years in the Women’s and Gender Studies Program. She is a cultural anthropologist specializing in medical anthropology, gender and sexuality, ethnographic methods, and comparative perspectives on U.S. and world cultures, especially Latin America.

Shana Sippy, Visiting Instructor of Religion
Sippy earned a masters of theological studies at Harvard Divinity School and is a Ph.D. candidate in religious studies at Columbia University. Her research examines the articulation of identities and the making of Hindu and Jewish selves and communities in modernity, as well as the intersection of religious traditions with colonialism, social movements and globalization.

Shunan Zhao, Assistant Professor of Economics
Zhao received a B.A. in finance and an M.A. in economics from Zhejiang University, an M.Phil. in finance from Lingnan University, and a Ph.D. in economics from the State University of New York at Binghamton. Zhao’s areas of expertise include econometrics/applied econometrics, applied microeconomics and financial economics.

Division III: Science and Mathematics

Kristen Fulfer, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Fulfer earned a B.S. in chemistry and mathematics at Texas State University, and a Ph.D. in chemistry at Louisiana State University. Her current research interests include utilizing infrared spectroscopy to explore the structure and energetics of interesting solutions.

Prayat Poudel, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Poudel earned a B.A. in physics and mathematics at Hanover College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics at the University of Miami. His research interests include gauge theory and low-dimensional topology.

Daniel Scott, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Scott received a B.S. in chemistry from Georgetown College and a Ph.D. in bioanalytical chemistry from the University of Kentucky. His research interests include the development of new anti-cancer drugs as well as improved nanoparticle delivery systems.

Ain Simpson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Psychology
Simpson earned undergraduate degrees in arts and music and a Ph.D. in social psychology at the University of Melbourne in Australia. His main research interests are in the psychology of morality, social identity, religion and intergroup relations. His current research focuses on the psychology of religious belief and how religiosity and science come into conflict.

Zhexiu Tu, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Tu received a B.A. in mathematics from Bard College, and an M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Cornell University. His research interests include topological and enumerative combinatorics. His scholarly work includes matroids, which are structures that abstract the notion of linear independence in linear spaces. Tu also studies hyperplane arrangements, topological representations and enumerative properties of matroids.

by Cindy Long
October 5, 2017

By |2018-05-29T18:56:26-04:00October 5th, 2017|News|