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WPI Welcomes 17 New Scholars and Educators to its Faculty

New Tenure-Track Faculty Bring a Breadth of Experience and Expertise to the University

October 17, 2007

WPI welcomed 16 new tenure-track faculty members this fall; another will join the university in January. They bring an extraordinary breadth of experience and expertise to the university.

WORCESTER, Mass. – Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) welcomed 16 new tenure-track faculty members this fall; another will join the university in January.

"These new faculty members are already contributing to the vitality and intellectual diversity on campus,” said John Orr, provost ad interim at WPI. “They bring an extraordinary breadth of experience and expertise to this university. They also bring active research programs that will enhance WPI's robust scholarly contributions in science, engineering, the humanities and arts, and the social sciences.”

Bethel L. Eddy, assistant professor of religion, holds a BS from Northeast Louisiana University, MA degrees from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro and Princeton University, and a PhD in religion from Princeton. Before coming to WPI, she spent three years at Central Michigan University and also lectured at Princeton. Eddy’s research interests include pragmatism, naturalism, and American religious thought. The author of The Rites of Identity (Princeton University Press, 2003), she is a member of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Values in Higher Education.

Andrew Klein, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, earned a BS in electrical engineering and a PhD in electrical and computer engineering at Cornell University, and an MS in electrical engineering and computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. In addition to serving as a postdoctoral researcher at Cornell, Klein was a Chateaubriand Fellow at Supélec (Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité) in Paris before joining the WPI faculty. His research focuses on adaptive signal processing and parameter estimation to enable the next generation of wireless communications networks.

Stephan A. Koehler, assistant professor of physics, holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Michigan and a PhD in physics from the University of Chicago. After completing his doctorate, he held a postdoctoral position at Harvard University and visiting positions at Ohio State University and the University of Virginia. He then joined the faculty of Emory University, where he built an active research program in the dynamics of dense granular systems, self-propulsion, and the dynamics of cutting soft materials. Koehler brings to WPI external funding from the Petroleum Research Fund, the National Science Foundation, and Procter & Gamble.

Diana Lados, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, earned BS and MS degrees in mechanical engineering at Polytechnic University of Bucharest, an MS in mechanical engineering at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, and a PhD in materials science and engineering at WPI. Before assuming her current post, Lados was a research professor in WPI’s Metal Processing Institute. Her research on materials and process design for fatigue, fatigue crack growth, and fracture resistance has, to date, yielded more than 45 publications and 80 technical presentations.

Tao Luo, associate professor of mathematical sciences, earned all three of his degrees in mathematics in the People’s Republic of China: a BS at Xiamen University, an MS at Guizhou University, and a PhD at Academia Sinica in Beijing. Luo served as a research assistant professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences, a research fellow at the City University of Hong Kong, and a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Michigan before becoming an assistant professor at Georgetown University. His research focuses on nonlinear partial differential equations, with applications in fluid mechanics, materials science, astrophysics, and geophysics.

Fabienne Miller, assistant professor of management, holds an MS in management from the Ecole de Management de Lyon in France, an MS in accounting from Montana State University, and a PhD in accounting from Michigan State University. Miller worked in the corporate world as a certified public accountant and controller for 10 years before becoming an instructor at Montana State University. Her research focuses on managerial accounting and exchange of information in the supply chain.

Charles Rich, professor of Computer Science and Interactive Media & Game Development, holds a BASc in engineering science from the University of Toronto and an SM and a PhD in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT. Before joining the WPI faculty, he was distinguished research scientist and associate director of the research lab at Mitsubishi Electric Research Laboratories (MERL) in Cambridge, Mass., where he was also a founding member. Rich had previously served as a principal research scientist at the MIT Artificial Intelligence Lab, where he co-founded and co-directed the Programmer's Apprentice Project. A fellow of the Association for the Advancement of Artificial Intelligence, he conducts research in interactive media, software engineering, artificial intelligence, and intelligent user interfaces.

Marsha Rolle, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, earned a BS in biochemistry from Brown University and a PhD in bioengineering from the University of Washington. Prior to joining WPI, she spent three years as a postdoctoral fellow at the Benaroya Research Institute in Seattle and a year as a senior fellow in the department of pathology at the University of Washington, where she received an American Heart Association Young Investigator Award. Rolle’s research is in the area of cardiovascular tissue engineering, with the goal of synthesizing artificial blood vessels with mechanical and physiological properties that mimic normal arteries.

Jennifer M. Rudolph, associate professor of Asian history, joins WPI after eight years in the history department at the University at Albany, where she was an assistant professor. Rudolph holds a BA in history from the University of Chicago and an MA and a PhD in history from the University of Washington. Her research focuses on Modern China, including political, urban, and women’s history, as well as the history of Taiwan. Her book, Negotiated Power in Imperial China, is forthcoming as part of the Cornell East Asia Series. Rudolph is a member of the American Historical Association, the Association for Asian studies, the Urban History Association, and the New York Conference on Asian Studies.

Jasanjan Sayit, assistant professor of mathematical sciences, earned a BS and an MS in applied mathematics from Xianjiang University in China, and an MS in statistics and a PhD in mathematics from Cornell University. Before joining WPI, Sayit held postdoctoral positions at the University of Houston and University of California, Santa Barbara. His research interests are in financial mathematics, stochastic optimization, credit risk modeling, and pricing and hedging in incomplete markets.

Jeanine Skorinko, assistant professor of social science and policy studies, holds an AA in psychology from Simon's Rock College of Bard, a BA in psychology and anthropology from Rice University, and an MA and a PhD in social psychology from the University of Virginia. Skorinko’s areas of research expertise include judgments and decision making, stigmatization, stereotyping and discrimination, perspective taking, reducing social inequality, influences on consumer decisions, and social psychology and the law.

Mingjiang Tao, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, earned a BS in civil and hydraulic engineering at Fuzhou University and an MS in geotechnical engineering at Tongji University, both in the People’s Republic of China. He received a PhD in geotechnical engineering from Case Western Reserve University. Tao spent four years as a research associate at the Louisiana Transportation Research Center before coming to WPI. His research interests include geotechnical and pavement engineering, particularly the characterizing and modeling of geomaterials.

James D. Van De Ven, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, holds a BS in mechanical engineering from South Dakota School of Mines and Technology and a PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Minnesota. Before joining WPI, Van de Ven was a postdoctoral research associate at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Compact and Efficient Fluid Power at the University of Minnesota, where he was involved in research on improving the efficiency and viability of fluid power, including the design of a hydraulic hybrid passenger car. His research focuses on applying machine design to efficient energy conversion and storage, automotive engineering, and fluid power.

Alexander M. Wyglinski, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, earned a BS and a PhD in electrical engineering from McGill University, and an MS in electrical engineering from Queens University. Before joining WPI, Wyglinski spent two years as an assistant research professor at the University of Kansas. His research expertise focuses on wireless communications, cognitive radio, and software-defined radio. He is associate technical editor of IEEE Communications Magazine and editor of IEEE Communications Surveys and Tutorials, as well as a reviewer for numerous other scholarly journals.

Weiyong (William) Yu, assistant professor of chemistry and biochemistry, holds a BS and an MS in polymer chemistry from Shandong University in the People’s Republic of China, and a PhD in physical chemistry from the Chinese Academy of Sciences. After receiving his PhD, Yu served as a postdoctoral research associate at Rice University. His research focuses on the synthesis and application of nanomaterials in such areas as biomedical imaging, targeted drug delivery, early cancer detection and treatment, LEDs, solar cells, and environmental remediation.

Wanli Zhao, assistant professor of management, earned a BS in business administration and international trade from Harbin Institute of Technology in the People’s Republic of China, and an MBA and a PhD in business administration and finance from Temple University. Zhao spent two years as an adjunct faculty member at Temple before joining WPI. His research expertise includes corporate governance, boards of directors, executive compensation, top management teams, and international finance.

Joining WPI in January will be Brian Meacham as associate professor of fire protection engineering. Meacham earned a BS in electrical engineering and an MS in fire protection engineering from WPI, and a PhD in risk and public policy from Clark University. An internationally sought-after expert in performance-based design and building regulatory policy, he is currently research director and principal risk and fire consultant at Arup Fire. A fellow of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, he has published numerous journal articles and is the author or editor of four books.