New SMC Faculty for Academic Year 2013-14


Zeynep Atalay joins Saint Mary’s as an assistant professor of sociology. Her research interests are in globalization, transnational social movements, political Islam and the intersections between civil society and religion. She received her Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Maryland, College Park, where her dissertation work examined coalitions of transnational Islamist nongovernmental organizations. She grew up in Istanbul, Turkey, and received her B.A. in sociology and M.A. in critical and cultural studies at Bogazici University. In her free time, she enjoys traveling, literature and playing the piano.


CarpenterAnne M. Carpenter, assistant professor of Theology & Religious Studies, received her doctorate from Marquette University in systematic theology in 2012. Her areas of expertise include Catholic thought and culture, Trinitarian theology, sacramental theology, Christology and theological aesthetics. Her essay, “Evening of Time and Eternity,” is due to be published this fall. Her dissertation on “Theo-Poetics” is under review for publication with the University of Notre Dame Press.


CherneyDavid Cherney, adjunct professor in the Department of Mathematics, came from UC Davis, where he was a lecturer for two years. His research interests are in mathematical physics of cosmology, particles and fields. When he is not sitting at a desk pondering the ingredients and dynamics of the physical world, he is out jumping; Cherney is a founding member of NorCal Parkour. He also loves playing guitar, drums and the cello (especially to pirate music.)   


FordJulie Ford joined the Performing Arts faculty part-time in 2010 to direct the SMC choirs and is now full-time associate professor (adjunct). She is a classical and jazz conductor, vocalist, pianist and educator and holds degrees from San Jose State University (B.A., voice), the Eastman School of Music (master’s in music - conducting) and the University of Oklahoma (Ph.D., musical arts - choral conducting). Her professional focus is the integration of classical and jazz styles in education, worship, and concert. Her dissertation explored the complimentary performance practices of late-Renaissance Italian madrigals and Jazz ballads (score alteration, improvisation, and rhythmic flexibility).

KaoYi-Ching Kao joins the School of Economics and Business Administration as an assistant professor of accounting and Dean’s Distinguished Fellow. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Texas at Dallas and since then, she has taught a number of accounting courses, such as financial accounting, managerial accounting and accounting information systems. She is a Certified Public Accountant (Massachusetts) and Certified Information Systems Auditor. Her current research interest is on performance evaluation in public accounting and information systems. Her research has been published in the European Journal of Information Systems, Decision Support Systems, Information & Management and the Journal of Information Systems.

LeeClifford Lee is an assistant professor in the Kalmanovitz School of Education. As a former secondary, public school teacher at Life Academy in East Oakland, his interests and passions remain focused on transforming the educational trajectories for urban youth of color. His research, teaching, and social justice advocacy examine and create opportunities for youth to participate and engage in work at the intersections of critical literacies, computational thinking practices, and youth culture. He earned his Ph.D. from the Urban Schooling division at UCLA’s Graduate School of Education & Information Studies, his M.A. in education from Stanford University and his B.A. from UC San Diego.

MartinezFelicia Martinez joins the Integral Program in the Liberal Arts as an assistant professor. She received her Ph.D. and M.A. in English from Stanford University, and a B.A. in English and studio art from the University of Notre Dame. She is interested in 20th-century British and American fiction and the philosophy of mind and language. Her current work considers the relationship between modernist experiments with narrative form and language and ideas about personhood. She is avidly interested in the concept of person and also spends as much time as possible with the dear people in her life. 


O'BrienMichael O'Brien joins the School of Economics and Business Administration as an adjunct assistant professor. Prior to this appointment he worked as an attorney in private practice counseling businesses on a variety of legal issues and drafting patent applications. He earned a J.D. at the Catholic University of America-Columbus School of Law and is admitted to practice law in California, Maryland and the District of Columbia, along with various federal courts and before the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. His work has been featured in the Journal of Law, Philosophy and Culture, Proceedings of the Western Academy of Legal Studies in Business and the legal blog Above the Law.


PihasGabe Pihas joins the Integral Program in the Liberal Arts as an adjunct professor. He taught for 10 years in the great books programs at St. John’s College, Annapolis, Md., and at the European College of Liberal Arts in Berlin, Germany. His research has focused on Dante, curiosity in medieval and Renaissance Italian literature, and on iconoclasm and the defense of the cult of images in the late medieval literature and philosophy. He also has strong interests in ancient Greek philosophy and in contemporary continental philosophy. He has been a fellow at the American Academy of Rome and is founder and director of the Rome Institute of Liberal Arts, a great books/fine arts program in Italy for American college students. He received an M.A. and M.Phil. from Yale in medieval studies, and a Ph.D. from the Committee of Social Thought at the University of Chicago. 

Plehn-DujowiczJose M. Plehn-Dujowich is joining Saint Mary’s as the Earl Smith Professor of Accounting in the School of Economics and Business Administration. Prior to joining Saint Mary’s, he was assistant professor of accounting at Temple University in Philadelphia, Pa., and assistant professor of economics at SUNY-Buffalo. Jose has published widely in leading journals, including The Accounting Review, Journal of Management Information Systems, Journal of Sports Management, Small Business Economics, Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, and Review of Economic Dynamics. His research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, Small Business Administration and Kauffman Foundation. 

PowellCaitlin Powell will be an assistant professor in the Department of Psychology. She received her doctorate from the University of Kentucky and taught most recently at Georgia College. She specializes in research involving social emotions and moral judgments, and how those processes are impacted by group affiliation and power dynamics. If you ever want to know more about schadenfreude, don’t hesitate to ask! Caitlin is passionate about mentoring undergraduate research, and is in the process of co-authoring a handbook about the topic.


Schuh-HuertaSonya Schuh-Huerta will be an assistant professor in the Department of Biology.  She completed her postdoctoral fellowship at Stanford University at the Institute for Stem Cell Biology. She earned her Ph.D. in physiology and biophysics from the University of Washington and her B.S. in marine biology and zoology from Humboldt State University.  She has a special interest in gamete development and fertility across species, with implications for the diagnosis and treatment of human infertility and the conservation of endangered species. She has been published in Human Genetics, Biology of Reproduction, Development, and Nature, among others. Sonya is both a scientist and an artist and has won many awards for her work. In her spare time, she enjoys competing in triathlons and other outdoor activities and having fun with her family (including her husband, three children, two dogs, two cats and frogs).

VenkateswarSankaran Venkateswar joins Saint Mary’s as an associate professor of accounting in the School of Economics and Business Administration. He received his Ph.D. in accounting from the University of Georgia and has taught financial and managerial accounting at undergraduate and graduate levels at Trinity University. At Saint Mary’s, he will be teaching financial and managerial accounting for the PMBA and EMBA programs, and international accounting for the M.S. in Accounting program.


ZapruderMatthew Zapruder joins the English Department and MFA in Creative Writing program as an assistant professor. He is the author of four collections of poetry, most recently Come On All You Ghosts, a New York Times Notable Book of the Year, and Sun Bear, forthcoming from Copper Canyon Press in spring 2014. He is also co-translator from Romanian, along with historian Radu Ioanid, of Secret Weapon: Selected Late Poems of Eugen Jebeleanu. His poems, essays and translations have appeared in many publications, including Tin House, Paris Review, The New Republic, The New Yorker, Bomb, Slate, Poetry and The Believer. He has received a 2011 Guggenheim Fellowship, a William Carlos Williams Award, a May Sarton Award from the Academy of American Arts and Sciences, and a Lannan Foundation Residency Fellowship in Marfa, Tex. He was a Distinguished Visiting Writer at Saint Mary's in 2010 and 2012. In addition to his teaching work, he is an editor at Wave Books and lives in Oakland, near Lake Merritt.