WPI Welcomes New Faculty and Staff

Contact: WPI Media Relations, +1-508-831-5706

WORCESTER, Mass. - Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) is pleased to announce the addition of several new members to its academic community.

Shela J. Aboud is an assistant professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Department. Aboud specializes in the development of sophisticated computational modeling techniques for both solid-state and liquid-state systems and the application of these techniques to investigate and design novel nano-scale electronic devices. She received a bachelorís degree in both physics and engineering physics from Oregon State University and masterís and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from Arizona State University. Prior to joining WPI, she completed a postdoctoral research fellowship at Rush Medical Center and the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago.

Jonathan P. Abraham joins WPI as coordinator of the Actuarial Mathematics Program in the Mathematical Sciences Department. Abraham is a 24-year veteran of the insurance industry. Most recently, he served as director for Participating Pension Products at John Hancock Financial Services, where he managed a staff of 35, overseeing a pension plan with $3 billion in assets. In his new position, he will oversee and instruct courses in the WPI Actuarial Mathematics Program, advise actuarial majors, and act as a liaison with the insurance industry and the Society of Actuaries. He is a fellow of the Society of Actuaries, and member of the American Academy of Actuaries and the Boston Actuaries Club. Abraham earned a B.S. degree in statistics from the University of Iowa.

Ivan Blank is an assistant professor in the Mathematical Sciences Department. Blank joins WPI after holding visiting assistant professor positions at University of Louisville and Rutgers University. More recently, he studied properties of solutions for the composite membrane problem, the Stefan problem and the Hele-Shaw problem. He has taught both undergraduate and graduate courses in pre-calculus, calculus, differential equations for physics and engineering, linear algebra, advanced calculus and free boundary problems. Blank earned an A.B. degree in mathematics from Princeton University and a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, a division of New York University. In his thesis, he solved a long-standing issue about free boundary regularity for the obstacle problem.

Maj. Randall K. Brown serves as the new professor and head of the Military Science Department at WPI. He is also commander of the Bay State ROTC Battalion that provides U.S. Army officer training in conjunction with the schools, colleges and universities of central Massachusetts. Brown has served in the military for 16 years in a variety of assignments in the U.S., Germany, Egypt, and Southeast Asia, and is a veteran of Operations Desert Shield, Desert Storm, and Iraqi Freedom. A senior Army aviator and an AH-64D Longbow Apache helicopter pilot, Brown has held numerous command and staff positions throughout his career, including platoon leader, company commander, battalion and brigade operations officer, and battalion executive officer. He earned a B.A. in business management from Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pa., and an M.A. in human resource development from Webster University in St. Louis. Brown was also educated at the U.S. Army Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

Soussan Djamasbi joins WPI as assistant professor in the Department of Management. Djamasbi has extensive teaching experience in technical courses such as programming and problem solving, software engineering, and databases. Prior to joining WPI, she taught computer science and computer information systems courses at Hawaii Pacific University. Her research interests are in both technical areas and empirical IS research issues. Her current research project examines the influence of affect on making judgments using a decision support system under conditions of information overload. Djamasbi earned a bachelorís degree in computer science at Christian Albert Universitšt, Kiel, Germany. Subsequently, she earned a masterís degree in computer science at the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in communications and information sciences from the University of Hawaiíi at Manoa.

J. Scott Jiusto joins WPI as assistant professor in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division (IGSD). He was a resource geographer trained at the Graduate School of Geography at Clark University, where he was a research associate at the George Perkins Marsh Institute. Jiustoís research interests are in environmental policy and philosophy, particularly energy policy and the pursuit of sustainability. His teaching interests center on engaging students in projects that develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills needed to address important social and environmental problems and to contribute to sustainable community development. Prior to his Ph.D. work at Clark University, Jiusto earned a bachelorís degree in social theory, social structure and change from Empire State College, State University of New York, and a masterís degree in geography from the University at Albany, State University of New York.

J. Robert Krueger serves as assistant professor in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division (IGSD) and director of the Worcester Community Project Center. Previously, Krueger was adjunct assistant professor in IGSD. His research examines sustainability as a strategy for economic development in urban areas in the U.S. and Western Europe. In particular he focuses on theoretical and empirical connections between economic development, environmental perception and social equity. Kruegerís research has been sponsored by several distinguished organizations, including the National Science Foundation, the European Commission, and the Environmental Protection Agency. Krueger earned a bachelorís degree in political science from Oklahoma State University, an M.S.L. degree in environmental law and policy from Vermont School of Law, an M.A. degree in environmental science and a Ph.D. in geography from Clark University.

Jianyu Liang is an assistant professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department. Prior to joining WPI, Liang completed her Ph.D. in electrical engineering in the Division of Engineering at Brown University. At Brown, she received the Deanís Research Assistantship in 2002, 2003, and 2004. Liangís research focus at WPI will be nonfabrication through nonlithographic approaches, heteroepitaxial growth of high-quality quantum dots, and semiconductor thin films on nanopatterned substrates for electronic, optic, and biomedical applications. Liang earned B.S. and M.E. degrees in physical chemistry from Central South University, Peopleís Republic of China.

Sgt. 1st Class Philip B. Riddick serves as the new assistant professor and training non-commissioned officer of the Military Science Department at WPI. Riddick is also a primary trainer and instructor for the Bay State ROTC Battalion, which provides U.S. Army officer training (ROTC) in conjunction with the schools, colleges and universities of central Massachusetts. He has served the military for 19 years in a variety of assignments in the United States, Germany, Italy, Panama and Southeast Asia. He has held numerous positions throughout his career to include rifleman, automatic rifleman, machine gunner, airborne infantry team leader, airborne infantry squad leader, Ranger school instructor, drill sergeant/instructor, airborne infantry platoon sergeant and airborne infantry heavy weapons/anti-tank platoon sergeant. He is also a master parachutist and is a U.S. Army Ranger. Riddick is a veteran of Operations Just Cause (Panama 1989), Desert Shield and Desert Storm (Iraq 1990-91), Enduring Freedom (Afghanistan 2002-03), and Iraqi Freedom (Iraq 2004).

Eunmi Shim joins the Department of Humanities and Arts as assistant professor of music. Prior to her new position, she taught at Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Shim holds a bachelorís degree in piano performance from Seoul National University in Seoul, Korea, and holds a master of music in musicology and a Ph.D. in musicology from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Shim has dual interests in music, both classical and jazz. Her Ph.D. dissertation was ďLennie Tristano (1919-1978): His Life, Music, and Teaching,Ē and she has publications forthcoming on the music of Tristano. In addition, she has research interests in the music of Robert Schumann.

Capt. Austin L. Sorensen is assistant professor in Air Force and Aerospace Studies. Sorensen arrived at WPI from Moody Air Force Base, Georgia, where he was responsible for the efficient and legal execution of the baseís $165 million annual budget in support of the Combat Search and Rescue mission. During his assignment, he was deployed to Saudi Arabia and Qatar in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. He watched over the financial operations for establishing nine new air bases in the region, ensuring that all on-site personnel had the equipment and accommodations they needed. Sorensen earned a bachelorís degree in foreign area studies from the U.S. Air Force Academy.

Darko Volkov serves as the new assistant professor in the WPI Department of Mathematical Sciences. Most recently, Volkov held a post-doctoral fellowship at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. His area of research is in applied analysis and partial differential equations. Volkov combines a strong theoretical mathematics background with a profound interest in applications. He has instructed several undergraduate courses, including linear algebra, calculus and multivariable calculus and differential equations. Volkov earned a B.S. in mathematics from the University of Paris VI, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Rutgers University.

Jennifer L. Wilcox joins WPI as assistant professor in the Chemical Engineering Department. She brings a broad background in mathematics, physical chemistry, and chemical engineering to the WPI faculty. Her Ph.D. research involved the application of quantum mechanical ab initio methods to kinetics. Wilcox plans to pursue this line of research at WPI by incorporating similar methodologies into the understanding of atmospheric pollution. She earned a bachelorís degree in mathematics from Wellesley College, a masterís degree in chemistry, and a Ph.D. in chemical engineering from the University of Arizona.

About Worcester Polytechnic Institute

Founded in 1865 as one of the nationís first technological universities, WPI is renowned for its innovative project-based undergraduate curriculum and global projects program. With 2,770 undergraduates and 1,040 full- and part-time graduate students, WPI offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in more than 30 disciplines in engineering, science and the management of technology. Working in more than 30 research institutes, centers and laboratories, the universityís faculty and students are engaged in cutting-edge research in a broad range of fields.