St. Lawrence Welcomes New Faculty for 2020-21 | St. Lawrence University Academic Affairs

St. Lawrence Welcomes New Faculty for 2020-21

St. Lawrence University has appointed seven new tenure-track faculty and welcomed six visiting faculty and scholars for the 2020-2021 academic year.

The new faculty bring with them areas of expertise that will provide students will ample opportunities to explore, discuss, and engage with the world's most pressing issues. New faculty research interests include public health, race, gender, and class inequities, women’s health and military psychology, microeconomics theory and political economy, intercultural communication, the interaction between nanomaterials and cellular structures, rituals, computer science and engineering, and the interplay between community, local action, and sustainability.

Newly-Appointed Tenure-Track Faculty

Alanna Gillis.

Assistant Professor of Sociology Alanna Gillis

Alanna Gillis comes to St. Lawrence University as an assistant professor of sociology. Her research focus is on race/class/gender inequality in higher education and inclusive pedagogy. In her first year, she will teach Introduction to Sociology, Inequalities, Sociology of Education, and a community-based learning course of Sociology of Family. She graduated with her Ph.D. in Sociology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in May 2020.

Precious Hall joins St. Lawrence as an assistant professor of government after being a faculty member at Truckee Meadows Community College in Reno, Nevada, since 2012. She is a race scholar who studies race, power, and privilege in society. She is a native of Baltimore, Maryland, where she was educated in both the Baltimore County and Baltimore City Public School Systems. She earned a bachelor’s degree in political science from High Point University before graduating from Georgia State University with both a Masters of Arts degree and Doctor of Philosophy degree in Political Science with concentrations in American Government and Politics, Political Behavior, and Political Theory.

Precious Hall.

Assistant Professor of Government Precious Hall

Brittany Hollis.

Assistant Professor of Psychology Brittany Hollis

Brittany Hollis is an assistant professor of health psychology, with a focus on women's health and military psychology. Her work at St. Lawrence will focus on violence prevention with a trauma-informed lens. She graduated with a Ph.D. from Old Dominion University in Virginia, where she specialized in violence prevention. Hollis also completed a women's health research fellowship at the Center for Health Equity Research and Promotion in the Veterans Administration, where she created a trauma-informed care training for hospital staff and assisted in research efforts to help female Veterans suffering from trauma.

Thea How Choon comes to St. Lawrence’s Department of Economics as an assistant professor of economics. Her research interests are mainly in microeconomic theory, including game theory, information design, and political economy. Her research examines how biased information affects the electoral process, and the effects of gender on policymakers' decisions. She completed her Ph.D. in economics at Boston University. Before beginning graduate work in economics, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in economics at the University of Cambridge in the UK.

Thea How Choon.

Assistant Professor of Economics Thea How Choon

Ernesto Moralez.

Assistant Professor of Public Health Ernesto Moralez

Ernesto Moralez joins St. Lawrence as an assistant professor of public health, the University’s first full-time hire for the department. He is a health behavior scientist whose work focuses on developing health education and chronic disease prevention strategies to address health disparities. His research interests include evaluating the use of community health workers as chronic disease prevention experts, designing community-based approaches to tobacco and alcohol cessation, and the impact social determinants have on individual health. At St. Lawrence, Moralez will teach Basic Principles of Epidemiology, Social Determinants of Health, and Health Behavior and Promotion. He holds a Ph.D. in Health and Behavior Science from the University of Colorado Denver, a master’s degree in public health from New Mexico State University, and a bachelor’s degree in Human and Community Services.

Massooma Pirbhai comes to St. Lawrence as an assistant professor in physics. Her research focus is the interaction between nanomaterials and cellular structures. Pirbhai earned her Ph.D. in Physics from Lehigh University in 2015 and previously taught at Susquehanna University.

Massooma Pirbhai.

Assistant Professor in Physics Massooma Pirbhai

Fritz Schenker.

Assistant Professor of Music Fritz Schenker

Fritz Schenker is an assistant professor in St. Lawrence’s Department of Music after serving as a Postdoctoral Teaching Fellow there since Fall 2017. His teaching and research centers on popular music, race, and empire. Schenker earned his Ph.D. in ethnomusicology at the University of Wisconsin in 2016. He received the Society for American Music's 2016 Wiley Housewright Dissertation Award and his publications appear in The Journal of the Society for American Music, Jazz Perspectives, and several edited volumes.

Visiting Faculty and Scholars

Kevin Angstadt.

Visiting Assistant Professor of Computer Science Kevin Angstadt

Kevin Angstadt ’14 joins the Department of Mathematics, Computer Science, and Statistics as a visiting assistant professor of computer science. His research spans the intersection of computer architecture, software engineering, and programming languages, with a particular focus on improving programming support for emerging hardware technologies, including both the development of new programming models as well as automated techniques for adapting existing software. He earned his Ph.D. in Computer Science and Engineering from the University of Michigan in 2020 and was previously a fellow with the Jefferson Scholars Foundation at the University of Virginia.

Gabrielle Clover ’11 returns to St. Lawrence this fall as an adjunct professor in the First-Year Program. Her program, Rituals: Transformation through Life and Death, is designed to introduce students to the importance of ritual, the presence of rituals in their own lives, and begin their understanding of the stark relationship between life and death. Additionally, students will learn how rituals are intertwined in these understandings and experiences. Clover holds her Master of Social Work, clinical practice, from Boston University. Her interest in rituals has stemmed from her position as a social worker with Hospice of St. Lawrence Valley working with individuals and their loved ones through the end-of-life process.

Gabrielle Clover.

Adjunct Professor in the First-Year Program Gabrielle Clover

Reslie Cortes.

Visiting Instructor of Performance and Communication Arts Reslie Cortés

Reslie Cortés is a visiting instructor in the Department of Performance and Communication Arts and is a doctoral candidate at Arizona State University. She locates her research within intercultural communication with an emphasis on colonization, Puerto Rican studies, and trauma-informed arts-based research. Her current project focuses on the culinary traditions of working class Puerto Rican women as a way to center the roles of women in maintaining, transforming, and advancing cultural practices. She is the 2019 recipient of the Dessie E. Larsen Graduate Fellowship in Performance Studies and the 2020 Wells Fargo Transborder Chicana/o and Latina/o Studies Research Scholarship. 

Leora Fridman joins St. Lawrence as a visiting assistant professor of English. She is a writer whose work is concerned with issues of identity, assimilation, care, ability, and embodiment. Within and across these frames, she writes on books, art, and human stories. She's the author of My Fault, selected by Eileen Myles for the Cleveland State University Press First Book Prize, in addition to other books of prose, poetry and translation. She is currently completing a collection of essays about chronic illness and apocalypse, and in the research phase for a book of nonfiction focused on embodied relationships to whiteness and historical oppression. Fridman holds degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Amherst and Brown University.  She has taught online and in person in universities, homes, and community organizations, and collaborates widely with artists, writers, and organizations.

Leora Fridman.

Visiting Assistant Professor of English Leora Fridman

Ana Maria Spagna.

Viebranz Professor of Creative Writing Ana Maria Spagna

Ana Maria Spagna joins the English department as the 2020-21 Viebranz Professor of Creative Writing. She is the author of several award-winning books including Reclaimers, stories of indigenous women reclaiming sacred land and water, the memoir/history Test Ride on the Sunnyland Bus: A Daughter’s Civil Rights Journey, winner of the River Teeth literary nonfiction prize, and three essay collections. Spagna’s work has been recognized by the Society for Environmental Journalists, the Nautilus Book Awards, the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Awards, and as a four-time finalist for the Washington State Book Award. Her essays have appeared in dozens of journals, magazines, and anthologies. After working 15 years on backcountry trail crews for the National Park Service, she turned to teaching creative writing and has taught in the low-residency MFA programs at several colleges and universities.

Rebecca Young Rivers returns to St. Lawrence as an adjunct assistant professor. Her First-Year Program, Seeding Hope, is designed to introduce students to the essential interplay between community, local action, sustainability, and reverent appreciation for life. She holds a doctorate in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from the University of Tennessee-Knoxville, where her research focused on the effects of generalist predators on pest suppression in agroecosystems. She has been involved in scholarly projects on spider diversity, farming in St. Lawrence County, tent caterpillars, and the science of yoga. The latter research culminated in her giving the Niles Lecture on Science and Religion in 2014. For the past 10 years, she has owned and operated Northern Light Yoga where she teaches yoga and meditation and has a yoga therapy practice.

Rebecca Young Rivers.

Adjunct Assistant Professor Rebecca Young Rivers