Special Edition - New Faculty

Today, in a special edition of Tech Today, we welcome faculty who started in the fall semester.

New faculty are listed by College or School.

College of Sciences and Arts

Biological Sciences

Chunxiu Yu, PhD

Chunxiu Yu, joins the faculty of the Biological Sciences Department as a research assistant professor. Yu earned her PhD in the Department of Neurobiology from the Weizmann Institute of Science, Rehovot, Israel.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech she served as a research scientist at Duke University and conducted post-doctoral work in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of North Carolina and the Department of Psychology and Neuroscience at Duke.

Paul Goetsch, PhD

Paul Goetsch joins the Biological Sciences Department as an assistant professor. Goetsch earned his PhD in Biochemistry from the University of Wisconsin. Prior to Michigan Tech, Goetsch was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Santa Cruz.

Goetsch was the recipient of a Research Travel Grant from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research and recipient of that society’s Young Investigator Award. He was awarded an American Cancer Society Postdoctoral Fellowship and a California Institute for Regenerative Medicine Postdoctoral Fellowship.

Computer Science

Gorkem Asilioglu, PhD

Gorkem Asilioglu joins the Computer Science Department as a lecturer. He earned his PhD in Computer Science from Michigan Tech. He received both an MS and BS in Computer Science from the TOBB University of Economics and Technology in Ankara, Turkey.

Asilioglu has taught computer organization, systems programming, concurrent programming, computer architecture and Introduction to Algorithms. As a graduate student at Michigan Tech, he was awarded a Finishing Fellowship, Graduate Student Service Award and an Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Cognitive and Learning Sciences

 Kamara Taylor, PhD

Kamara Taylor joins the faculty of the Department of Cognitive and Learning Sciences as a lecturer. She earned her PhD in Cognitive and Instructional Psychology from Grand Canyon University. 

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Taylor served as a visiting assistant professor at Finlandia University where she taught a variety of classes including, introduction psychology, research and methods, social psychology, abnormal psychology and psychology of violence. In addition, she served as an adjunct faculty member at Illinois Central College. Taylor has extensive experience as a mental health specialist in the Chicago area.

Computer Science

David Whalley, PhD

David Whalley joins the Computer Science faculty as a research professor. He earned his PhD in Computer Science from the University of Virginia. 

Whalley is on leave from his position at Florida State University to spend the year collaborating with Michigan Tech. Whalley has been a professor of computer science at Florida State for the past 17 years. He spent five of those years as the chair of the Computer Science Department. Whalley was named Distinguished Research Professor and Fulbright Distinguished Chair. He received numerous teaching awards including the University Teaching Award and the President’s Award for Exemplary Use of Technology for Instruction.

Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology

Kyle Bolen 

Kyle Bolen joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology as a lecturer. He earned a BS in Public Health Education and Exercise Science and a MA in Exercise Science from Central Michigan University.

Prior to his arrival at Michigan Tech, Bolen was a lecturer at the University of Northern Colorado. He has held teaching positions at Central Michigan, North Carolina State and Beaufort County Community College.  

Bolen has served as a strength and conditioning coach at Central Michigan and for the Altoona Curve, the AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Pirates. He is a Certified Sports Performance Coach with United States Weightlifting and a member of the American Alpine Club and the Wilderness Medical Society.

Carolyn Duncan, PhD 

Carolyn Duncan joins the faculty of the Department of Kinesiology and Integrative Physiology as an assistant professor. She earned her PhD from the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Canada. 

Prior to her arrival at Michigan Tech, Duncan served as a visiting assistant professor at Virginia Tech University. She was a postdoctoral fellow for the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada at the University of Waterloo, Toronto Rehabilitation Institute. 

Mathematical Sciences

Ellen Kamischke

Ellen Kamischke joins the faculty of the Mathematical Sciences Department as an instructor. She earned an MS and BS in Mathematics from Michigan Tech and a masters of arts in Teaching in Physics from Michigan State University.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Kamischke spent three years as a Visiting Instructor in the Mathematics Department at Albion College. For 18 years, Kkamischke taught High School Mathematics at the Interlochen Arts Academy.

She received an Outstanding Teaching Award from the Mathematical Sciences Department at Michigan Tech and the Regional Director’s Award for Leadership in Mathematics Education from the Michigan Council of Teachers of Mathematics. She is co-author of the textbooks “Discovering Algebra: An Investigative Approach” and “Discovering Advanced Algebra.”

 Eric Kamischke

Eric Kamischke joins Michigan Tech's Mathematical Sciences Department as an instructor. He earned a MS in Statistics and BS in Mathematics from Michigan Tech. Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Kamischke held adjunct instructor roles at MidMichigan Community College, Spring Arbor University and Jackson College.

Kamischke taught mathematics at Interlochen Arts Academy for more than 20 years and taught high school mathematics in Lester Prairie and Detroit. He is co-author of the textbooks “Discovering Algebra: An Investigative Approach” and “Discovering Advanced Algebra.”

 Raymond Molzon, PhD

Raymond Molzon joins Michigan Tech as a professor of practice in Mathematical Sciences. Molzon earned his PhD in Mathematical Sciences from Michigan Tech. He has served Michigan Tech previously as an instructor and visiting professor. Classes taught include engineering statistics, data, functions and graphs. Molzon was also an adjunct instructor at the Keweenaw Bay Ojibwa Community College where he taught fundamentals of algebra and intermediate algebra.

Pavlis Honors College

Richard Berkey

Richard Berkey joins the faculty of the Pavlis Honors College as a professor of practice. He is director of the Enterprise program and advisor to the Supermileage Systems Enterprise. He earned an MS in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech and an MBA from Bowling Green State University.

As an Enterprise instructor, Berkey developed two new courses in Quality/Six Sigma. He has served as an instructor/mentor for the Michigan Tech I-Corps site team and is a guest lecturer for Michigan Tech Senior Design. 

Physics 

Xin Xi, PhD

Xin Xi has joined the Michigan Tech faculty with a joint appointment with the Physics and Geological Mining and Engineering Sciences Departments as a research professor. He earned a PhD in Atmospheric Sciences from the Georgia Institute of Technology.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Xi was a postdoctoral fellow at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) National Environmental Satellite, Data, and Information Service (NESDIS) in College Park, Maryland. Prior to that, he was a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, California.

Xi’s teaching interests include climate change, introductory Earth system science, atmospheric aerosols, atmospheric radiative transfer and remote sensing of atmospheres and oceans.  

Social Sciences

Laura Rouleau, PhD

Laura Rouleau joins Michigan Tech’s Department of Social Sciences as a lecturer. Rouleau earned her PhD in History of American Civilization from the University of Delaware.

She was previously a visiting assistant professor and instructor in social sciences and visual and performing arts at Tech. She has been extensively published and given multiple presentations including "Private Spaces in Public Places." Rouleau was book review editor at the Winterthur Portfolio and created "Growing Up in the Past" at the Winterthur Museum in Delaware.

Shan Zhou, PhD

Shan Zhou joins the Social Sciences Department at Michigan Tech as an assistant professor. Zhou earned a PhD in Public Policy from the Georgia Institute of Technology. Prior to her appointment at Michigan Tech, Zhou served as a visiting assistant professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Zhou’s areas of interest include environmental policy and politics, local government collaboration, infrastructure and resilience, policy adoption and diffusion, policy analysis, social equity and quantitative research methods.

College of Engineering

 

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Melanie Kueber-Watkins, PhD

Melanie Kueber-Watkins joins the faculty of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering as a research assistant professor. She earned a PhD in Civil Engineering/Concrete Chemistry from Michigan Tech where she received the Graduate Student of the Year – Danielle Ladwig Award for Graduate Excellence in Tech’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. 

For the past three years she has taught civil engineering and concrete chemistry courses here at Michigan Tech. Kueber-Watkins has extensive civil engineering consulting experience with firms in the Upper Peninsula, Chicago and St. Louis.

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Aref Majdara, PhD

Aref Majdara joins the faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering as a lecturer. He earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering from Michigan Tech and a PhD in Management and Science Technology from Tohoku University in Japan. In addition, he received a master’s of science in Nuclear Engineering from Shiraz University in Iran.

As a graduate student at Michigan Tech, Majdara received a Doctoral Finishing Fellowship, the Jonathan Bara Award for Outstanding Graduate Teaching Assistant in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department and the Outstanding Graduate Student Teaching Award.

Engineering Fundamentals

 Kenneth Thiemann

Kenneth Thiemann joins the faculty of Engineering Fundamentals as an Instructor. He is currently a PhD candidate in Environmental Engineering at Michigan Tech. He earned his MS in Environmental Engineering with a concentration in water resources from Michigan Tech and Delft University in the Netherlands.

Thiemann has worked as an engineer in Michigan and Minnesota. 

Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences

Nathan Manser, PhD

Nathan Manser joins the faculty of the Department of Geological and Mining Engineering and Sciences as a Lecturer. Manser earned his PhD in Environmental Engineering from the University of South Florida. He has previously served as an instructor at Michigan Tech in Geological Engineering, in the Pavlis Honors College, and the Departments of Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Engineering Fundamentals.

In industry, he has worked as a mine production and shipping systems supervisor for the Unimin Corporation in Minnesota and a mine systems engineer with Granate Construction Company in Arizona.

Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics

Cameron Hadden, PhD

Cameron Hadden joins the faculty at Michigan Tech as a lecturer in the Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics. Hadden earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering from Michigan Tech. He has served as a lecturer in the Departments of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics and Engineering Fundamentals and was a student advisor in Materials Science and Engineering at Michigan Tech.

Hadden’s research interests including molecular modeling, design and manufacturing of composite materials, mechanical behavior of composite materials, nanomaterials, biomechanics, and finite elements.

Steven Ma, PhD

Steven Ma Joins the faculty of Michigan Tech’s Department of Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics as a professor of practice. He earned his PhD in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering from the State University of New York at Buffalo, with a concentration in Structural Dynamics. Ma also has an Executive MBA from Tsinghua University in China.

Before coming to Michigan Tech, Ma was an adjunct professor for more than 10 years at the University of Texas in Arlington. In addition, he has worked as an engineer for several firms including Kobelco, Atlas Copco, Parker Hannifin and Caterpillar Inc. 

School of Business and Economics

Jenny Apriesnig, PhD

Jenny Apriesnig joins the faculty of the School of Business and Economics as an assistant professor. She earned her PhD in Agricultural and Resource Economics from Colorado State University.

Prior to her arrival at Michigan Tech, Apriesnig served as a postdoctoral research associate with the Julie Ann Wrigley Global Institute of Sustainability at Arizona State University. Apriesnig’s areas of research include environmental and natural resource economics, regional economics, computable general equilibrium modeling, fisheries management and invasive species issues.

Laura Connolly, PhD

Laura Connolly joins the faculty of the School of Business and Economics as an assistant professor. Connolly earned her PhD in Economics from the University of Alabama Department of Economics, Finance and Legal Studies. She also holds BA degrees in mathematics and economics from the University of North Carolina.

As an instructor, Connolly has taught intermediate microeconomics at Alabama where she was a two-time recipient of the Summer Excellence in Research Grant. Her research interests include labor economics, international trade and applied microeconomics.

Ellen Horsch

Ellen Horsch joins the faculty of the School of Business and Economics as a professor of practice. She earned a BS in Business Administration with options in Economics and Labor Relations from Michigan Tech and a MA in Economics from Central Michigan University. Horsch returns to the SBE after more than 30 years of senior administrative experience at Michigan Tech. She was named the first female vice president at Michigan Tech serving  as VP for Administration for 14 years.

Horsch taught financial, managerial and cost accounting classes at Michigan Tech, Ferris State University and Central Michigan University prior to her administrative roles. 

School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science

Kristin Brzeski, PhD

Kristin Brzeski joins the faculty of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science as an assistant professor. She earned a PhD in Renewable Natural Resources: Wildlife from Louisiana State University.

Prior to Michigan Tech, Brzeski was at Princeton University where she served as a postdoctoral fellow in ecology and evolutionary biology. Her research areas include noninvasive methods to monitor and manage wildlife populations, conducting effective conservation action in rural and developing communities and genetic management of small populations and threatened wildlife species.

Carsten Külheim, PhD

Carsten Külheim joins the faculty of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science as an associate professor. He earned his PhD in Plant Molecular Biology from Umeå University, Sweden.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Külheim was a senior research fellow at the Australian National University. He has more than 48 publications to date including 36 peer-reviewed international journal articles. Külheim has been awarded more than $1,000,000 (US) in research funds and served as a scientific consultant to both industry and government.

 Jared Wolfe, PhD

Jared Wolfe joins the faculty of the School of Forest Resources and Environmental Science as a research assistant professor. He earned a PhD in Wildlife Biology from Louisiana State University and a master’s in Wildlife Biology from Humboldt State University.

Wolfe taught biogeography of wildlife and ornithology at Humboldt State. He has also held teaching positions at Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul in Brazil and Louisiana State. Wolfe has extensive experience in both bird banding and bird banding instruction in the United States and in South America.

School of Technology

Zakariya Al Hamouz, PhD

Zakariya Al Hamouz joins the faculty of Michigan Tech’s School of Technology as a lecturer. He earned a PhD in Electrical Engineering from King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals in Saudi Arabia.

Al Hamouz comes to Michigan Tech from the University of Central Florida where he was a visiting scholar. He has held teaching positions at King Fahd University of Petroleum and Minerals, American University of London and AnNajah National University, Nablus, Palestine.

In addition to teaching a variety of electrical engineering courses, Al Hamouz has supervised more than 32 Capstone projects for 120 students. Research interests include energy storage and electric vehicles, analysis and diagnosis of electric machines, power system planning and operation, and computational electrostatics.

Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson joins the faculty of the School of Technology as an instructor. Johnson earned master’s and bachelor’s of science degrees from Michigan Tech and is currently a PhD student. He has several years of experience at Michigan Tech as a research engineer/scientist.

Johnson has 20 years of industry experience as a professional engineer at several Upper Peninsula companies including, Pettibone/Traverse Lift, Blizzard Corporation, Somero Enterprises and Lake Shore Systems.

David Labyak, PhD

David Labyak joins the faculty of the School of Technology as an assistant professor. He earned his PhD in Mechanical Engineering-Engineering Mechanics from Michigan Tech.

Previously, Labyak served as a part-time instructor of mechanical engineering technology at Michigan Tech. As senior engineer and facility security officer at Great Lakes Sound and Vibration of Houghton, Labyak served as the lead analyst for all finite element analysis related projects among several other duties.

Roman Shults, PhD

Roman Shults joins Michigan Tech’s School of Technology as a visiting professor. He earned his Doctor of Technical Sciences (PhD) in “Geodesy, Photogrammetry and Cartography” from Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture. He received his master’s and bachelor’s degrees from that institution as well.

Prior to coming to Michigan Tech, Shults served as dean of Faculty GIS and Territories Management at Kyiv National University of Construction and Architecture. He also served as a professor, assistant professor and researcher prior to his appointment as dean.

He is the author of 170 scientific works and holds 19 patents for invention. He has twice served as chairman of the Scientific and Methodical Commission of Ministry of Science and Education of Ukraine.

Timothy Van Wagner

Timothy Van Wagner Joins the faculty of the School of Technology as a lecturer. Van Wagner earned his MS in Medical Informatics and BS in Computer Network System Administration from Michigan Tech.

He has extensive experience as a teaching assistant, graduate instructor and instructor at Michigan Tech. Van Wagner has experience in office network systems, computer repair and installation, web development and many other aspects of IT.