Saint Mary's College welcomes 11 new faculty members as classes get under way on Aug. 31.
Monica D. Fitzgerald is a new assistant professor in the Liberal & Civic Studies Program. Monica received her doctorate in U.S. history at the University of California, Davis, with an emphasis in early American history and a minor in cross-cultural women's studies. She is currently working on her manuscript, Drunkards and Fornicators on Meetinghouse Hill: Gender, Religion & Identity in Early New England. Before arriving at SMC, Monica was an adjunct professor around the Bay Area, including at the University of the Pacific, Cal State, East Bay, UC Davis and SMC. She enjoys tennis, kayaking, reading and spending time with her family.
Rebecca Jabbour is joining the faculty of the Biology Department, where she will teach courses in anatomy and evolutionary biology. She was most recently a postdoctoral scholar at UC Berkeley's Human Evolution Research Center. Her interests include human evolution, African ape diversity and skeletal biology and variation. Her research has taken her to museums across the U.S. and Europe, and she has spent four field seasons looking for fossils and stone tools in the Afar Rift Valley of Ethiopia. She also has a special interest in science outreach; while at UC Berkeley, she worked on a human evolution exhibit and hosted science cafes. Her doctorate from City University of New York is in biological anthropology. Her husband, Gary Richards, is also a biological anthropologist, and they frequently collaborate on research projects. They also like to explore Berkeley's restaurants, feed birds and squirrels on their porch, and watch nature documentaries.
Wares Karim joins the faculty in graduate business, accounting. He is the son of a school teacher father and a housewife mother, and was born in Bangladesh, where he had his undergraduate education. He began his career as a lecturer at Dhaka University nearly 20 years ago. While at Dhaka University, he received a commonwealth scholarship to pursue higher education in the United Kingdom. After completing his doctorate from the University of Leeds, U.K., he returned to serve Dhaka University, where he worked for more than two more years until he received an offer to join Victoria University of Wellington in New Zealand. He worked at Victoria for nearly 11 years before joining Brunel University in the U.K. last year. From Brunel, he joined Saint Mary's earlier this year. He has published more than 20 articles in peer-reviewed journals, including Research in Accounting Regulation, Corporate Governance: An International Review, Asia Pacific Journal of Accounting and Economics and International Journal of Accounting.
Weiwei Pan is joining the Math Department as an assistant professor. She completed an undergraduate degree in mathematics at Mary Baldwin College, a small liberal arts women's college in Virginia. Her doctorate is from Wesleyan University and concerns applications of higher categories in representation theory and algebraic topology. Although her graduate degree is in mathematics, she is also interested in computer science, especially in areas where it intersects with mathematics and biology. In the past, she has had the pleasure of teaching a variety of undergraduate classes, from standard math courses to a course in Chinese history. Aside from traditional teaching, she looks forward to working with students in undergraduate research and in community building through the use of recreational mathematics.
Aaron Sachs is assistant professor of media, technologies and culture in the Department of Communication. He completed his doctorate in communication studies from the University of Iowa, where he was a graduate instructor and recipient of the Seashore-Ballard Dissertation Fellowship. Aaron's academic work focuses on the intersection of media and culture with a particular interest in issues of power as it functions through identity categories like race, gender, sexuality and class. This concern was reflected in his dissertation, entitled "The Hip-Hopsploitation Film Cycle: Representing, Articulating and Appropriating Hip-Hop Culture," which examined the shifting articulation of hip-hop in the media during the 1980s and the social, cultural and political consequences of this shift. Aaron is also an intermedia artist and author of both fiction and narrative nonfiction. He currently serves on the board of directors for COLAGE, a national movement of children, youth and adults with a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and/or queer (LGBTQ) parent. As a board member, Aaron helps COLAGE build community and work toward social justice through youth empowerment, leadership development, education and advocacy, something he is equally interested in bringing to his work as a member of the Saint Mary's community.
Arnav Sheth is a new faculty member in graduate business. He got his doctorate in quantitative finance in 2007 working with mathematician Larry Shepp. Prior to his position at Saint Mary's, he was a lecturer with the Economics Department at the University of California, Berkeley and an economist with Deloitte Tax. His research interests include behavioral finance, financial math and the tactical application of mathematical and statistical tools to improve efficiencies in business. He has published in the area of subjective discounting and his work has been presented at several conferences around the U.S. and Europe. He also has an MBA in finance, and a master's in economics from Rutgers University. Outside of his work, he has made four expeditions to the Himalayas and his current pastime is marathon running (New York in 2005, San Francisco in 2007).
Elena Songster joins the History Department from the University of Oklahoma, where she taught Asian history since 2004. During the 2009-10 academic year, she will be a Kiriyama Research Fellow in residence at the University of San Francisco Center for the Pacific Rim. Her present book project is PANDA NATION: Nature, Science, and Nationalism in the People's Republic of China, which examines the parallel histories of nature protection and the emergence of the giant panda as a national icon. Her next major research project examines the historical relationship between traditional medicine and nature in modern China. She completed her doctorate in history at the University of California, San Diego, and her bachelor's in history and Asian studies at the University of California, Berkeley.
Alice Stevens is joining the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science and will be the coordinator of the Mathematics Readiness Program. Alice holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics from UC Berkeley, and recently completed her doctorate in mathematics from UC Davis. Her research is in low-dimensional topology, in particular, three-dimensional manifolds and knot theory. In her dissertation, Stevens studied embeddings of knots in Heegaard surfaces of 3-manifolds. In her free time, she enjoys running, growing tomatoes and zucchini, and learning to cook.
Michael Wagner is the Chevron Assistant Professor of Operations Management and teaches in the graduate business programs. He holds a B.S. in mathematics, B.S. and master's degrees in electrical engineering and computer science and a doctorate in operations research, all from MIT. He designs robust strategies for decision making under uncertainty, with provable performance guarantees, in application domains such as routing, scheduling, inventory and supply chain management and financial derivative pricing. Michael also applies his research in practice, as a consultant to businesses and organizations. He was previously an assistant professor of management at CSU, East Bay.
Andrew E. Wilson joins the faculty as an assistant professor of marketing in graduate programs in the School of Economics and Business Administration. Wilson completed his doctoral studies at the Schulich School of Business at York University in Toronto, Canada. His dissertation research focuses on how consumers' justice beliefs affect the way they form trust judgments of marketing agents, such as retail salespeople. Prior to his doctoral studies, Wilson spent 16 years in industry. Most recently, he spent six years as a sales manager at Oracle Corporation. Wilson also holds an MBA from the Leavey School of Business at Santa Clara University.
Joseph Zepeda is a new assistant professor in the Integral Program. He comes to Saint Mary's from the University of Notre Dame, where he has just completed his doctorate in history and philosophy of science. His research is on the intersection of philosophy and natural science in the 17th and 18th centuries. Zepeda has a history of involvement with Great Books programs; he attended Thomas Aquinas College as an undergraduate and taught as a graduate instructor in Notre Dame's Program of Liberal Studies. He enjoys making music (classical piano and voice), playing basketball and most of all spending time with his wife, Julie, and their three young children.