WPI Welcomes New Scholars and Educators to its Faculty

New Faculty Bring a Breadth of Experience and Expertise to the University
Media Contact
November 21, 2008

WORCESTER, Mass.– November 21, 2008 -- Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) welcomed six new tenure-track faculty members this fall; another will join the university in January. An additional 11 educators have joined the university as visiting professors, adjunct faculty members, a professor of practice, and members of the Military Science Department.

"We are delighted to welcome such a strong group of new faculty,” said John Orr, provost and senior vice president. "The breadth of experience and talents, scholarly accomplishments, and active research programs they bring to WPI add immeasurably to our strengths in engineering, the sciences, and the liberal arts and management.”

WPI’s new tenure-track faculty members:

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John Delorey, instructor of music and director of choral programs in the Department of Humanities and Arts. Delorey earned a BA in music history from Vassar College, studied conducting at Harvard University and composition at Berklee College of Music, and received a Master of Music in choral conducting from the Boston Conservatory. Delorey is presently completing his PhD degree. He has served as a conductor or choral director for the Boston Conservatory, Clark University, the College of the Holy Cross, and WPI. His expertise includes media and technology, musical theatre, early music, choral music, and vocal performance. His musical documentary drama, Witchwife: Requiem for Susanna Martin, based on the life of an ancestor executed during the Salem Witch Trials, had its European premier in 2008.

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Tanja Dominko, associate professor of biology and biotechnology. Dominko holds an MS in large animal reproduction and obstetrics and a DVM from the University of Ljubljana in Slovenia, and a PhD in endocrinology and reproductive physiology from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Before joining WPI in 2006 as an assistant research professor, Dominko held research positions at the Oregon Health Sciences University and Advanced Cell Technology in Worcester. In 2002 she founded and served as president of CellThera Inc., a biotech startup. Earlier this year she was one of only 38 researchers nationwide to receive an inaugural EUREKA grant from the National Institutes of Health, which is funding a project aimed at transforming adult skin cells into stem-like cells.

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Gregory S. Fischer, assistant professor of mechanical engineering and robotics engineering. Fischer received BS degrees in electrical engineering and mechanical engineering at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, as well as MSE degrees in the same fields and a PhD in mechanical engineering at Johns Hopkins University. At Johns Hopkins, Fischer was a researcher at the National Science Foundation Engineering Research Center for Computer Integrated Surgery, where he developed a robotic system for performing interventional procedures for prostate cancer diagnosis and therapy under real-time guidance from MRI imagery. Fisher’s major research interests include medical robotics and computer integrated surgery, as well as the design of robot mechanisms, pneumatic control systems, and surgical device instrumentation.

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Janice Gobert, associate professor of social science and policy studies. Gobert earned a BA in psychology at Laurentian University, an MA in cognitive science at McGill University, and a PhD in cognitive science at the University of Toronto. She previously held visiting faculty positions in WPI’s Computer Science and Social Science and Policy Studies departments. Prior to that, Gobert was a senior research scientist at the Concord Consortium, a nonprofit educational research and development organization in Concord, Mass. Her principal research interests include learning with visualizations and simulations, science education, and educational technology. With a five-year, $1.5 million award from the National Science Foundation, she is building a computerized tutoring system to help middle school students develop a deeper understanding of scientific inquiry and science content knowledge.

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George Kaminski, associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry. Kaminski holds BS and MS degrees in applied mathematics and physics from the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology and MS and PhD degrees in physical chemistry from Yale University. He was previously an assistant professor of chemistry at Central Michigan University, where he received a five-year NIH RO1 award that continues to fund research, which involves the use of fast polarizable force fields in conducting protein simulations. His research interests include computational physical, biophysical, physical organic chemistry, proteins and protein-ligand interactions, and developing and applying polarizable force fields.

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Izabela Stroe, assistant professor of physics. Stroe received a BSc in physics an MSc in biophysics from the University of Bucharest in Romania and a PhD in physics from Clark University. Before joining the WPI faculty, she completed a postdoctoral appointment at the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory, located at the Los Alamos National Laboratory, where she researched properties of various materials, including actinides, heavy fermions and nano-materials. Her research focuses on the dynamics and thermodynamics of proteins and DNA.

Jennifer deWinter will join WPI as assistant professor of writing and rhetoric in January. She received a BA in English literature and Japanese language, an MA in teaching English as a second language, and an MA in rhetoric, composition, and technical communication at Eastern Washington University. She also holds a PhD in rhetoric, composition, and teaching English from the University of Arizona, where she is currently serving as a research assistant, a University Learning Center collaborator, and an assistant editor and curriculum developer. Her research focuses on new media literacy, multimedia narratives, video gaming and literacy, and the circulation of mass culture and media.

The following non-tenure-track faculty also joined the university this fall:

Inmaculada Alvarez, adjunct assistant professor of Spanish. Alvarez has a BA in history from Universidad de Deusto in Bilbao, Spain, an MA in Romance languages and cultural studies from the University of New Orleans, and a PhD in Spanish and transatlantic studies from Tulane University. She previously was a visiting assistant professor at Clark University.

Lt. Col. Carl Cowen, head of the Military Science Department. Cowan holds a BA in public relations from Shippensburg University and an MA in international relations from St. Mary’s University. He most recently served as the executive officer (chief of staff) for the 1st Army ROTC brigade at Fort Devens, Mass.

Shibin Dai, visiting assistant professor of mathematical sciences. Dai holds a BS in mathematics from Peking University in China, an MS in mathematics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, and a PhD in applied mathematics from the University of Maryland. He previously held a postdoctoral position in the Department of Mathematics at UCLA.

Major Kyle Head, assistant professor of military science. Head has a BA in history from the University of Southern Mississippi. He joins WPI following a deployment to Colombia as an advisor to the Colombian Army’s Joint Task Force Omega.

Lt. Col. Thomas E. Maeder, assistant professor of military science. Maeder holds a BS in wood science technology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, an MBA from Oregon State University, Corvallis, and an MA in National Security and Strategic Studies from the U.S. Naval War College. He was previously the operations and training officer for the Army’s First ROTC Brigade at Fort Devens, Mass.

Taskin Padir, visiting assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering. Padir holds a BS in electrical and electronics engineering from Middle East Technical University in Turkey and MS and PhD degrees in electrical and computer engineering from Purdue University. He was most recently an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Lake Superior State University.

Milosh Puchovsky, professor of practice and director of fire protection engineering corporate and professional education. Puchovsky earned a BS and an MS in fire protection engineering from WPI. Before joining the university, he was director of codes and standards development at the National Fire Protection Association.

Ingrid Shockey, adjunct assistant professor of interdisciplinary and global studies. Shocky holds a BA in sociology from Clark University and an MA in sociology and a PhD in environmental sociology from Brandeis University. Before joining WPI, she conducted research at the Social and Environmental Research Institute.

Sharon Ann Wulf, visiting assistant professor of management. Wulf earned a BS in management at Providence College, an MBA at Northeastern University, and a PhD in management at Columbia Pacific University. She is also president of Enterprise Systems, an organizational and business development company, and has held senior management positions in business development at two Fortune 500 companies.

Alisha D. Youngblood, visiting assistant professor of management. Youngblood received a BS and an MS in industrial engineering and a PhD in philosophy from the University of Arkansas. She was most recently an assistant professor in the Industrial and Systems Engineering and Engineering Management departments at the University of Alabama.

Junhua Wu, visiting assistant professor of mathematical sciences. Wu holds a BS in mathematics from the University of Science and Technology in China. He joins WPI from the University of Delaware, where he completed an MS and a PhD in mathematics.