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WPI Welcomes More Than 40 New Full-time Faculty Members

The largest entering faculty class in the university's history, they bring to WPI diverse research interests and impressive professional and scholarly accomplishments

January 10, 2016
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Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) this year welcomed 43 new full-time educators and researchers to its faculty ranks. It is the largest group of entering faculty members in the Institute's history.

The new faculty class includes Bruce Bursten, who joined WPI in June as professor of chemistry and biochemistry, provost, and senior vice president; he was previously distinguished professor of chemistry and former dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville; Michael Ginzberg, who in May became dean of the Robert A. Foisie School of Business and a professor of technology management; he was previously a professor and dean of the Kogod School of Business at American University; Brajendra Mishra, Kenneth G. Merriam Professor of Mechanical Engineering and associate director of WPI's Metal Processing Institute (MPI), who joined WPI in April from the Colorado School of Mines, where he was a professor of corrosion and physiochemical processing; and Susan Roberts, professor and head of the Department of Chemical Engineering, who arrived in August from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where she was associate dean of the Graduate School.

Here are the other new full-time faculty members for 2015-16:

Curtis Abel, professor of practice in innovation and entrepreneurship in the Foisie School of Business, joined WPI from Mercy College in Dobbs Ferry, N.Y., where he was associate professor and chair of the undergraduate business program. With expertise in innovation, marketing, business and product development, social entrepreneurship, and modeling in materials processing, he has performed entrepreneurship consulting and held leadership positions at American Express, Mastercard, and Bethlehem Steel. He holds a PhD in metallurgical engineering and materials science from Carnegie Mellon University and an MBA from Cornell University.

Alexandrina Agloro, assistant professor in the Humanities and Arts Department and the Interactive Media and Game Development Program, was most recently a visiting instructor at Brown University. With a PhD in communications and journalism from the University of Southern California, she has expertise in racial justice, activist game design, and experimental interactive media. She serves on the National Advisory Board of Imagining America: Artists and Scholars in Public Life, and her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-John E. Sawyer Seminars, and the Voqal Fund.

Nicola Bulled, assistant teaching professor in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division, has expertise in the social determinates of disease, health policy, biopolitics, and syndemics (sets of linked health problems that interacte synergistically and contribute to an excess burden of disease in a population). A Fulbright award recipient and the author of a book on communication in global public health, she earned a PhD in anthropology at the University of Connecticut and was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Virginia Medical School before joining WPI.

Althea Danielski, assistant teaching professor of English for speakers of other languages in the Department of Humanities and Arts, joined WPI after 14 years teaching developmental reading and English as a second language in an urban community college, in adult basic education programs, and in various schools and cultural centers in West Africa. She received an MA in teaching with a concentration in teaching English to speakers of other languages (TESOL) at the School for International Training Graduate Institute in Brattleboro, Vermont.

Eugene Eberbach, teaching professor in computer science and robotics engineering, was most recently a professor of practice and clinical associate professor at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The author of 180 publications and the recipient of 17 external research grants, he is an expert in such areas as automatic problem solving, process algebras, resource-bounded computation, autonomous agents and mobile robotics, and new computing paradigms. He holds a DSc in computer science from AGH University of Science and Technology in Poland and a PhD in applied mathematics from Warsaw University of Technology.

Fatemeh Emdad, associate teaching professor in computer science and data science, has expertise in mathematical modeling, biostatistics, health care, data mining, and business analytics and applications. She received the Ruth L. Kirschstein National Research Service Award from the National Institute of Health to support her postdoctoral research at the University of Texas Medical Branch and the Shriners Hospital for Children Burn Unit. The author of the 2008 book High Dimensional Data Analysis: Overview, Analysis and Applications, she earned a PhD in applied mathematics from Colorado State University and was a visiting assistant professor at Babson College before joining WPI.

Jie Fu, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering and robotics engineering, joined WPI from the University of Pennsylvania, where she has been a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering. Her research is on formal methods, computational learning, and control applied to robotics and automation. She received a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Delaware.

Joseph Goodwill, assistant teaching professor of civil and environmental engineering, brings to WPI expertise in water treatment technology, water quality, physical and chemical processes, and water and sanitation in developing areas. His graduate education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he earned a PhD in civil engineering, was supported by a Larson Aquatic Support Scholarship and a George W. Watters Memorial Scholarship.

Lane Harrison, assistant professor of computer science, joined WPI from the Visual Analytics Lab at Tufts University, where he was a postdoctoral fellow. With research expertise in information visualization, visual analytics, and human-computer interaction, he chaired the 2015 IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Symposium on Visualization for Cyber Security. He holds a PhD in computer science from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

Roy Hegedus, research assistant professor of biology and biotechnology, was previously a senior scientist at Abbvie Bioresearch Center. With expertise in the purification of proteins and the development and control of purification processes, he is the manager of the Bioprocess Laboratory in WPI's Life Sciences and Bioengineering Center at Gateway Park. He received a PhD in chemical engineering from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

Maria Hempel, assistant teaching professor of mathematical sciences, was previously a teaching assistant at the University of Zurich and ETH Zurich, where she received her PhD in mathematics. Her research expertise is in geometry and low-dimensional topology, moduli-spaces of polyhedral, geometry of surfaces in the large and three-manifolds, applications of the geometry of discrete structures to molecular dynamics, and robot motion planning.

Rudra Kafle, assistant teaching professor of physics, was a postdoctoral research fellow in biophysics at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before joining WPI. With expertise in active processes in cells, DNA mechanics and gene regulation, fluorescence correlation spectroscopy in vitro/in vivo, atomic sensors, and physics education, he presented invited postdoctoral talks at the Biopolymers in vivo symposia in 2013 and at the Biophysical Society Annual Meetings in 2014. He received the Biophysical Society Education Committee Travel Award in 2013. Kafle earned a PhD in physics from WPI.

Nikhil Karanjgaokar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and aerospace engineering, was a postdoctoral fellow in the Graduate Aerospace Laboratories at the California Institute of Technology before joining WPI. His research expertise is in the areas of experimental mechanics at the micro- and nano-scale, temperature- and rate-dependent mechanics of nanostructured materials, dynamic response and flow of granular media, the mechanics and damage of inhomogeneous materials, and optical measurement techniques. While pursuing a PhD in mechanical engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign, he received an NSF student grant at the Micro/Nanotechnology Forum for ASME-IMECE

Joo Baek Kim, assistant teaching professor in the Foise School of Business, brings expertise in serious games, gamification, online user behavior, information technology adoption, and social aspects of technology. He has participated in projects at Samsung Economic Research Institute and the Korea Information Society Development Institute and has authored and co-authored papers in proceedings of the annual Americas Conference on Information Systems, as well as a chapter in the book MBA for the Curious: Why Study an MBA? He received a PhD in information systems and decision sciences at Louisiana State University.

Yanhua Li, assistant professor of computer science and data science, was most recently a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities. With expertise in large-scale network data sampling, measurement, urban network analysis, and smart city, he gained research experience at Bell Labs, Microsoft Research, and HUAWEI Research. He received the best paper award at in SIMPLEX (Simplifying Complex Networks for Practitioners) 2015. He earned a PhD in computer science at the University of Minnesota at Twin Cities 2013 and a PhD in electrical engineering at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.

Elizabeth Lingo, assistant teaching professor in the Foisie School of Business, was previously an embedded practitioner in entrepreneurship at Mount Holyoke College and a researcher at the Harvard Business School. An expert in innovative leadership and design, entrepreneurship, and creative industries, she is working on her first book, The Ambiguity Challenge: Developing the Next Generation of Change Makers, Entrepreneurs, and Innovative Leaders. She received a PhD in organizational behavior at the Harvard Business School.

S.M. Mallikarjunaiah, instructor and postdoctoral scholar in mathematical sciences, was previously instructor of record at Texas A&M University, where he earned a PhD in mathematics and where he received the Houston A&M Mother's Club Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. His expertise is in continuum mechanics and nonlinear elasticity, fracture mechanics, mathematical modeling of material behavior, and the theory and implementation of the finite element method.

Shamsur Mazumder, assistant teaching professor of electrical and computer engineering, was an engineering fellow at Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems before joining WPI. With expertise in radio frequency (RF) and microwave analog components, circuits, and systems; digital radar; and project/program and functional management, he is a Life Senior Member of IEEE, a member of the technical paper review committee of the IEEE International Microwave Symposium, and past chair of the RF and analog processing technology interest group of the Raytheon corporate multifunction RF systems technology network. He earned a PhD in electrical engineering at Carleton University in Canada.

Stephen McCauley, assistant teaching professor in the Interdisciplinary and Global Studies Division and co-director of WPI's Melbourne Project Centre, conducts research focusing on grassroots innovation, community-led sustainable development, and critical policy analysis for sustainability. He has worked on eco-city planning, permaculture design, and natural building projects in China, Japan, New York, New Mexico, and Massachusetts, and is currently working on a project for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to develop a framework for evaluating urban climate change resilience across cities in the United States. He earned a PhD in geography at Clark University and was a visiting fellow at the Research Institute for Humanity and Nature in Kyoto, Japan, before joining WPI.

Suzanne Mello-Stark, associate teaching professor of computer science and cybersecurity, was previously a lecturer at the University of Rhode Island and an assistant research professor at the University of Connecticut. She has served as advisor to the Rhode Island Board of Elections and co-chair for the Security/Privacy track committee for the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing Conference. With a PhD in computer science from the University of Rhode Island, she has expertise in digital forensics, cybersecurity, election technology, and open source in education.

Kymberlee O’Brien, assistant teaching professor of social sciences and policy studies, was most recently a research associate at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her expertise is in social psychophysiological responses to stress, intergroup interactions, discrimination, stigma and related appraisal processes, and mind-body interactions on resilience, mindfulness, and health. She has received the American Psychological Foundation Visionary Award and the Harvard University Sackler Scholar Award, among other honors. She holds a PhD in social psychology from Brandeis University.

Erin Ottmar, assistant professor of social science and policy studies, was a visiting research associate at Indiana University before joining WPI. She has expertise in mathematics education, educational psychology, applied developmental science, social and emotional learning and development, and perceptual learning interventions in mathematics. Her research has been recognized with a number of honors, including the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics Linking Research and Practice Outstanding Publication Award and the Institute for Education Sciences Pre-doctoral Interdisciplinary Fellowship. She received a PhD from the Curry School of Education at the University of Virginia.

Randy Paffenroth, associate professor of mathematical sciences, was previously a visiting associate professor at WPI. He sits on the steering committees for WPI's Data Science and Bioinformatics and Computational Biology programs and holds a collaborative appointment in WPI's Computer Science Department. His expertise is in machine learning, signal processing, compressed sensing, and network analysis. He holds a PhD in applied sciences from the University of Maryland.

Hyungbin Park, postdoctoral scholar in mathematical sciences, received the 2014 McCracken Graduate Fellowship and the 2015 Moses Greenfield Research Prize from the Courant Institute at New York University, where he earned a PhD in mathematics. His expertise is in financial mathematics, probability and stochastic processes, and financial economics.

Barry Posterro, assistant teaching professor of mathematical sciences, was associate director of equity risk at Delaware Life Insurance before joining WPI. With expertise in actuarial science and financial risk management, he is a Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA), a Financial Risk Manager (FRM), and an associate of the Society of Actuaries. He earned a BS in mathematical sciences, an MS in financial mathematics, and an MS in applied mathematics, all at WPI. As an undergraduate, he won the Senior Math Award, the Stephen Salisbury Award, and the Provost's MQP Award, and he received a Robert H. Goddard Fellowship as a graduate student.

Louis Roberts, associate teaching professor of biology and biotechnology, was previously director of laboratory instruction at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he received funds from the Camille and Henry Dreyfus Special Grant Program in the Chemical Sciences to integrate high-throughput technologies in undergraduate lab courses at the university. With expertise in yeast genetics, breast cancer chemoprevention, and molecular biology, he holds a PhD in molecular and cell biology from Cornell University.

Gabor Sarkozy, professor of computer science and director of WPI's Budapest Project Center, was previously a senior research fellow at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences. With expertise in graph theory, discrete mathematics, and theoretical computer science, he has published more than 60 journal articles, including one with Paul Erdos and 21 with Abel laureate Endre Szemeredi. He received a PhD in computer science from Rutgers University.

Suzanne Scarlata has been named the inaugural Richard Whitcomb Professor of Biochemistry in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. She was previously professor of physiology and biophysics at Stony Brook University. An expert in cell behavior, calcium signals, membrane-associated proteins, membrane properties, and G protein signaling, she is associate editor of the Journal of Bioenergetics and Biomembranes, BBBA Biomembranes, and a former member of the editorial board member of the Journal of Biological Chemistry and Analytical Biochemistry. A past American Heart Association Established Investigator, she received a PhD in physical chemistry from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Lee Sheldon, professor of practice in Interactive Media and Game Development, was most recently associate professor of communication and media at Rensselear Polytechnic Institute. A professional game writer and designer, he is the author of the bestselling book The Multiplayer Classroom: Designing Coursework as a Game (2011) and also wrote Character Development and Storytelling for Games (Second Edition, 2013), the standard text in the field. Before turning to game design, he was a television writer-producer with over 200 produced shows ranging from Charlie’s Angels to Star Trek: The Next Generation. He holds a MFA in direction for film from the California Institute of the Arts.

Gbetonmasse Somasse, assistant teaching professor of social science and policy studies, has research interests in applied econometrics, development economics, policy evaluation, and public policy. Earlier this year he received the Elba Brown-Collier Best Paper Award from the Association for Social Economics. He was most recently an instructor at Clark University, where he earned his PhD in economics.

Joe Stabile, instructor in mechanical engineering, was previously a senior engineer, advanced development, at BOSE Corporation. An expert in high-efficiency transducer design, planar speaker arrays, electromagnetic actuators, and acoustic structural interaction with finite element analysis, he holds eight patents. He earned an MS in mechanical engineering at the University of Arizona and an MS in electrical engineering at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs.

Robert Swarz, professor of practice in the Corporate and Professional Education Division, was most recently co-director of the Systems Engineering Practice Office at the MITRE Corporation. With expertise in systems engineering and computer architecture, he is chair of the corporate advisory board and assistant director for technical processes for the International Council on Systems Engineering (INCOSE) and a Senior Member of IEEE. He holds a PhD in electrical engineering from New York University.

Steven Van Dessel, associate professor of civil and environmental engineering and director of WPI's Architectural Engineering Program, was previously an associate professor at Ghent University in Belgium and an associate teaching professor at WPI. With expertise in sustainable design, adaptive building envelopes, architectural engineering, and building technology, he has undertaken applied and basic research on bio-inspired materials and energy systems, with a special focus on building envelopes. He has received the SciAM 50 award, Scientific American’s annual list recognizing outstanding acts of leadership in science and technology. He earned a PhD in architecture/material sciences and engineering from the University of Florida.

Gu Wang, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, was a postdoctoral assistant professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor before joining the WPI faculty. His expertise is in the areas of mathematical finance and stochastic analysis. He received a PhD in mathematics from Boston University.

Sarah Wodin-Schwartz, assistant teaching professor of mathematical sciences, was previously a consultant for Exponent Inc. (As a consultant, she has advised over 75 clients ranging from startups to Fortune 500 companies.) Her research interests include micro-electromechanical systems (MEMS), renewable energy, the social impact of engineering implementation, engineering design, and product development. She received a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley, where she won the Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor Award.

Wilson Wong, assistant teaching professor of computer science, was most recently a visiting assistant professor at Bentley University, where he received a PhD in business with a concentration in information systems. An expert in user resistance and system trust and information systems capstone innovations, he has developed information systems research and pedagogical collaborations with Massachusetts General Hospital.

Xuwei Yang, postdoctoral scholar in mathematical sciences, was previously a visiting graduate researcher at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics at the University of California, Los Angeles. His expertise is in applied probability, stochastic processes, and financial mathematics, and he has received travel funding from the American Mathematical Association and the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics. He holds a PhD in statistics and applied probability from the University of California, Santa Barbara.

Jiho Yoon, assistant teaching professor in the Foisie School of Business, was previously an instructor at Michigan State University, where he earned a PhD in business administration and where he received a doctoral fellowship. His expertise is in supply chain risk management, supply chain network design, logistics and supply chain optimization, buyer-supplier relationships, and business analytics.

Huili Zheng, visiting assistant professor of humanities and arts, was previously an assistant professor at Saint Vincent College, where she received a Faculty Research Development Fellowship. She earlier received a Faculty Research Fellowship at Emory University. With expertise in the Chinese language, late Imperial Chinese literature and culture, and travel literature, she holds a PhD in East Asian languages and literatures from the University of California, Irvine.

Media Contact
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Phone: +1-508-831-5000
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