New Faculty 2016-17

Elizabeth (Liz) Abrams

AbramsElizabeth (Liz) Abrams, assistant professor in the Counseling Department, has a PhD in counseling psychology from the University of Utah and an MA in Counseling from Rollins College. Her research interests focus on critical race, feminist, qualitative, post-colonial, and participatory action research approaches, with a special focus on cross-cultural immersion and creating/sustaining decolonizing partnerships across global North/South lines. Abrams has publications on topics such as mindfulness, white dialectics and white privilege, social justice, and activism. She completed a postdoctoral residency at UC Davis and is finishing the licensing clinical psychologist exams.


Mark Barajas

BarjarasMark Barajas joined the Psychology Department after completing a postdoctoral psychology fellowship at UC Berkeley’s Counseling and Psychological Services. Originally from Sacramento, Barajas earned a BS in psychobiology from UC Davis and an MA and a PhD in counseling psychology from Western Michigan University. His research focuses on the training of culturally competent teachers by investigating ways in which implicit bias affects teacher-student relationships and the teaching-learning process. His clinical interests include multicultural counseling, Latino/a mental health, grief and loss, and emotion-focused therapy.


James Berleman

BerlemanJames Berleman is a new member of the Biology Department, whose teaching interests include genetics, microbiology, and zymology (the study of delicious fermented foods). Berlman’s research interests have focused on understanding microbial community interactions including: microbial predatory behavior, the architecture of microbial communities, delivery of outer membrane vesicles, cell-cell signaling and resistance to predatory and antibiotic threats.


Velina Brackebusch

BrackebuschVelina Brackebusch’s current research interests are focused on sport for social change/social justice. She looks at how local sport nonprofits impact the communities with which they partner, and the relationship and community-building aspects of local sport programs. Brackebusch is also interested in qualitative research and more particularly ethnographic methods of inquiry. Originally from Bulgaria, Brackebusch loves to spend time exploring the wonders of Northern California with her family and friends. She is also excited to be part of the club tennis team at SMC.


Anna I. Corwin

CorwinAnna I. Corwin joins the Saint Mary's Anthropology Department after a two-year teaching fellowship at Stanford University's Thinking Matters program. As a linguistic and psychological anthropologist trained at UCLA, her research examines the intersections between aging, embodiment, well-being, social interaction, and language. She has conducted long-term ethnographic fieldwork in a Midwestern Catholic convent where elderly nuns report above-average quality of life. Her research with the nuns examines the roles of prayer and social support as they influence the nuns' sense of aging and their bodies.


Joe Drexler-Dreis

DrexlerJoe Drexler-Dreis completed his PhD in theology and religious studies from the Catholic University of Leuven (Belgium), where he was a coordinator of the Centre for Liberation Theologies. He is currently teaching and researching within two broad fields. In the first field, he’s focusing on the question of whether it’s possible for a Christian theological perspective to adequately respond to the matrix of oppressions contemporary social, political, religious, and economic configurations produce. In the second field, he’s focusing on expressions of humanity and reflections on ways of being human that indicate religious orientations within the United States that have either been ignored or have been signified within a Christian or pseudo-Christian imaginary. 


Robin J. Dunn

DunnRobin J. Dunn is an assistant professor in the Kinesiology Department. She received her PhD from the Ohio State University with a major emphasis in physical education teacher education and a cognate emphasis in youth development. Her dissertation focused on using cooperative activities to develop personal and social responsibility in young children. Specifically, she created and implemented a physical activity program with second- and third-graders, who were underserved children attending a public elementary school. Dunn was successful in determining how the children came to know and understand responsible behaviors.


Mark Alan Generous

GenerousMark Alan Generous (PhD, Arizona State University) is an assistant professor in the Department of Communication. Generous’ research focuses on communicative processes within familial, romantic, and other close relationships. In particular, Generous examines the intergenerational transmission of communicative norms from the family of origin to young adults' close relationships outside of the family. Generous also researches end-of-life communication, as well as communication between teachers and students in the college classroom.


Luz Casquejo Johnston

JohnsonLuz Casquejo Johnston EdD is an assistant professor in the Teacher Education Department. Her primary role in the KSOE is as the elementary coordinator of the Montessori Teacher Education Program. She teaches Montessori Mathematics, Montessori Sciences, Elementary Foundations, Positive Discipline and Classroom Management, Field Observations and Seminars and Elementary Practicum I and II. She also teaches human development for the Teachers for Tomorrow program. Her areas of interest are human motivation, Montessori history, teaching for social justice, and transformative education practices.


Samantha Nogueira Joyce

JoyceSamantha Nogueira Joyce joins the Communication Department as an assistant professor of Global Communication. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, she received her BA in journalism at Universidade Federal Fluminense. Joyce also has a master’s in radio and broadcasting from San Francisco State University, and a PhD in media studies from the University of Iowa. Following graduate school, Joyce worked for five years as an assistant professor of mass communication at Indiana University South Bend. Her courses and research interests include telenovelas, media representation, gender, and television theory and history. She is the author of Brazilian Telenovelas and the Myth of Racial Democracy (2012).


Monique Lane

LaneMonique Lane is an assistant professor in the Kalmanovitz School of Education Department of Leadership. Lane earned a BA in psychology from UCLA, as well as a PhD and MEd in Urban Education from UCLA’s Graduate School of Education and Information Studies. She most recently completed a two-year postdoctoral research fellowship at Columbia University’s Teachers College. Lane’s collective 10 years of experience as an educator in Los Angeles public high schools is the motivating force behind her commitment to urban education. Her teaching, scholarship, and activism work together to suture the disconnect between critical social theory and classroom practice. Lane’s specializations include practitioner development through transformative pedagogical interventions, black feminist praxis, and educational justice for African American female youth.


Marco Aponte Moreno

MorenoMarco Aponte Moreno is an assistant professor of global business at SEBA. Before coming to Saint Mary's, he taught at University College London. His research focuses on leadership and cross-cultural management. He also studies how performance techniques and rhetorical elements can be used to develop leadership communication skills. Prior to working in academia, he worked in international banking, specializing in corporate finance in emerging markets (Latin America). Moreno was born and raised in Caracas, Venezuela, but has lived abroad most of his life in France, the United States, and the United Kingdom. He has written extensively on the political, economic, and social crisis in Venezuela.


Elena Padrón

PadronElena Padrón is an assistant professor in psychology. Her research focuses on the developmental psychopathology of attachment, particularly disorganized attachment. Her main focus is to understand how trauma and attachment are transmitted from one generation to the next, and to find ways to use this understanding to help families that are underserved, such as those living in ethnic minority communities and/or in poverty. Her clinical experience is in the area of early childhood mental health and dyadic and family therapy with multicultural populations, especially with Latino families and children.


S. Marshall Perry

S Marshall PerryS. Marshall Perry is an associate professor for the doctorate in educational leadership. He holds a PhD in administration and policy analysis from the Stanford University School of Education. Previously, he taught at Dowling College in New York and provided professional development in public schools on formative assessment and data-informed leadership. Recent publications include book chapters on online education, professional development schools, and ethical and methodological challenges of evaluation.


Gabe Pihas

Gabe Pihas (BA, Liberal Arts, St. John's College 1993; MA, MPhil in Medieval Studies, Yale University 1997; PhD in Social Thought, University of Chicago 2003), taught at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany, and at St. John's College in Annapolis before coming to Saint Mary's. Pihas, an Italianist by training, with specialization in medieval and Renaissance epic, started a Rome great books/art summer program called the Rome Institute of Liberal Arts (RILA) 10 years ago.


Vilma Sielawa

SielawaVilma Sielawa joins Saint Mary’s as a tenure-track assistant professor in the Economics Department. She has a PhD in economics from the University of California, Riverside, in the fields of development economics, labor economics, and economic history. She also has an MPsy in phenomenological psychology from the University of Dallas, and a BA with double major in economics and Latin American studies from the University of New Mexico. She is from Brazil and her research analyzes ways to improve the human condition—from early childhood interventions both in the United States and Brazil, to rural poverty alleviation in the Northeastern region of Brazil.


Gregory Wolcott

WolcottGregory Wolcott joins the Department of Organizations and Responsible Business in the SEBA as an assistant professor, where he'll teach courses in ethics across multiple programs. Wolcott joins Saint Mary's following roles at the Quinlan School of Business of Loyola University Chicago and at College of Business of Metropolitan State University of Denver. He received his doctorate in philosophy from Loyola University Chicago and his BA from the Catholic University of America. Following graduate school, Wolcott worked for two years as the director of seminars at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University, an educational foundation in the Washington, D.C. area.


Lili Yan

YanLili Yan is an assistant professor of business ethics in the Department of Organizations and Responsible Business. She received her PhD in business administration from George Washington University. Her research interests lie at the intersection of business ethics, law, and international business. Her recent research focuses on corruption in a multinational context.