New Faculty & Administrative Staff, fall 2015

A number of faculty and administrative staff were introduced at Convocation ceremonies to start the 2015-2016 academic year, either new to the St. Lawrence community or starting in new positions since the fall of 2014.

Jan Albano is the Executive Director of Finance.  Before joining SLU in March, she was the Associate Treasurer for Mount Holyoke College, where she worked for many years in various financial positions. Prior to that, Jan was the Director of Business and Finance for Colgate Rochester Divinity School in Rochester, NY.  She has a BA in history from Wells College and an MBA in finance from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

Ron Albertson began his responsibilities as Director of Career Services on June 1, 2015.  He served as the Director of The Center for Life Beyond Reed (Career Services) at Reed College in Portland, Oregon for nine years.  Prior to Reed College, he served as Associate Director of Career and Employment Services at the University of Puget Sound.   Ron earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Puget Sound and has graduate studies from the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, California.

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram, Viebranz Visiting Professor of Creative Writing, is a 2014 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship. Her first book, But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise, was selected by Claudia Rankine as the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award winner and published by Red Hen Press in 2012 and was a 2013 poetry nominee for the Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award for outstanding works of literature published by people of African descent. Her second book, a slice from the cake made of air, is forthcoming from Red Hen Press and her third book, personal science, is forthcoming from Tupelo Press.  Winner of the 2012 Phantom Limb Press chapbook contest, her chapbook cutthroat glamours was published in 2013. She is one-sixth of the poetry collective, Line Assembly. She has been in residence at the Vermont Studio Center, the Montana Artists’ Refuge, has received fellowships from Cave Canem and the Bread Loaf Writers’ and is the recipient of a United States Embassy grant for a writing residency at the Ventspils Writers’ & Translators House in Ventspils, Latvia, in 2014. The 2009-2011 Gaius Charles Bolin Fellow at Williams College, her poetry, prose, photography, and digital stories have received numerous awards and have appeared widely in journals such as Black Warrior Review, Callaloo, Cream City Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, jubilat, Mid-American Review, Narrative Magazine, OH NO, Subtropics, Sou’wester, Tupelo Quarterly, Twelfth House, and more. She holds degrees in creative writing from the University of Utah where she is the current managing editor of Quarterly West, the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Carnegie Mellon University. She is currently a Pre-Doctoral Diversity Fellow at Ithaca College, where she teaches creative writing.

Gray Bullard ’97 joined University Advancement in March 2015 as Associate Director of Planned Giving. Gray assists donors with all aspects of a comprehensive planned giving program; partners with alumni, parents, and friends to achieve their charitable gift giving and philanthropic goals as they relate to the University’s priorities and its mission; and stewards members of the G. Atwood Manley Society. Prior to joining St. Lawrence, Gray was a Senior Relationship Management Associate with the Institutional Marketing and Client Service Group at GE Asset Management in Stamford, CT. He developed investment research and investment product marketing programs, while managing institutional client and consultant relationships. Prior to GE Asset Management, Gray worked at Citigroup Asset Management as a Senior Equity Research Associate and Financial Analyst. Gray holds an MBA from Boston College, a BA in Economics from St. Lawrence University, and graduated from Kent School in 1993.

Mary-Kate Carr joined the University Communications team in 2015. She has a strong background in web application and user experience development. As a developer, she works with other members of Digital Communications and Information Technology teams to enhance and maintain the university’s web presence and create intuitive, user-friendly web pages.  A 2013 graduate of Clarkson University, MK has a BS in Digital Arts & Science as well as a minor in Computer Science. She is working toward her Master’s in Information Technology focusing on application development for web and mobile devices.

Sarah Coburn has been promoted from Career Advisor to Associate Director of Career Services.  Sarah served as our Interim Director during the 2014-15 academic year.

Michelle Copolo joined the athletic training staff as a full-time Athletic Trainer in the fall of 2014. A native of West Virginia Michelle completed both her Bachelor of Science in Athletic Training and her Master’s of Science in Exercise Physiology: Cardiac Rehabilitation at Marshall University where she served as athletic trainer for the men’s soccer, football, volleyball and track and field programs. She was on the athletic training staff at SUNY Canton prior to coming to St. Lawrence.

Timothy Corbitt is now the Director of Health and Counseling Services.

E. Cram comes to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Rhetoric and Communication in the Performance and Communication Arts Department. Dr. Cram earned a Ph.D. in Communication and Culture at Indiana University in 2015, specializing in Rhetoric and Public Culture, Gender Studies, and Cultural Studies. Dr. Cram's research examines how perceptions of environments matter to the interpretation and performance of public memory in the American West and to  theories of race, gender and sexuality more broadly. Cram's work has appeared in the Quarterly Journal of Speech, and will be forthcoming in Philosophy & Rhetoric, Enculturation: A Journal of Rhetoric, Writing, and Culture, and the edited collection, Queering the Countryside: New Frontiers in Queer Studies, from New York University Press in Spring 2016. Dr. Cram will be teaching introductory courses in communication and rhetoric, in addition to upper-division courses in gender & outlaw myths in popular and public culture, in addition to digital rhetoric and civic media.

Sean Cunningham became a Network and Systems Administrator in September 2014 following his arrival earlier in 2014 as a Technical Support Specialist within the Libraries & Information Technology division.  He has worked as a technologist for over 20 years in numerous industries including: higher education, banking, insurance, retail, life sciences, and government. Sean is a 1990 graduate of St. Lawrence University and also attended Berklee College of Music.

Former Rochester Institute of Technology goaltender Jared DeMichiel was named Men’s Assistant Hockey Coach in August of 2014.  DeMichiel, was the Assistant Coach at Nazareth College.  DeMichiel, originally from Harwinton, CT, assisted Nazareth coach George Roll in building that program and was the RIT goalie during their run to the Frozen Four in the 2009-10 season.  DeMichiel led all of Division I with 27 victories in his senior year, was second in shutouts with six and seventh in goals against average and eighth in save percentage. In 2010, DeMichiel led the Atlantic Hockey Association in every major statistical category and was a first-team Atlantic Hockey Association all-star selection. He also was named Goaltender of the Year and made the Atlantic Hockey Association all-tournament team.  DeMichiel was named the Most Outstanding Player at the 2010 East Regional and was named the Rochester Press-Radio Club's 2010 Paychex Male College Athlete of the Year.

Kara DeMichiel joined the Admissions Department in fall 2014 as an Assistant Director. Kara has a recruitment territory that covers a select group of private schools in the New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts area. In addition, Kara is one of three co-coordinators of the admissions tour guide/ambassador program and the event coordinator for the admissions visit day and open house events. Kara was previously at Rochester Institute of Technology as an assistant director in admissions. She received her BS in Marketing from RIT in 2011. Kara is the wife of our Assistant Coach for Men’s Ice Hockey, Jared DeMichiel.

Beth Dixon ’10 joined the Annual Giving staff as an Associate Director in January 2015 and oversees the Leadership Giving Program. Beth graduated magna cum laude with honors from St. Lawrence in her Performance and Communication Arts major. While at St. Lawrence, she was an Admissions Intern and Ambassador, a member of the Laurentian Singers (serving as President her senior year) and Concert Band, and studied abroad in London during the Fall of 2008. After graduation, she joined the St. Lawrence Admissions staff as an Interim Assistant Director and substitute taught in the Gouverneur Central School District. In August 2011, Beth accepted a position in Albany College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences’ Admissions Office to serve as an Assistant Director, where she worked until joining St. Lawrence.

Darlene Dunn begins this academic year as the Clinical Director of our Health Services, which is managed by the Canton-Potsdam Hospital.  Darlene is a Board Certified Adult Nurse Practitioner, with a Doctorate of Philosophy in Psychology, an M.S. in Health Services Administration, and a Bachelor of Science in Nursing.  She most recently served as an independent contractor for the Health North Family Medicine in Alaska.  Darlene’s experience includes work in health service departments at the University of North Carolina, Duke University and Belmont Abbey College.

Bob Durocher was promoted to the position of Director of Athletics and Recreation in the spring of 2015. An assistant athletic director since 2000 and the highly successful men’s soccer coach since 1990. Durocher will also serve as a senior staff advisor and will be chair of the sport studies and exercise science minor. NSCAA Division III men’s soccer Coach of the Year in 1999 when he led his Saint team to the national championship with a perfect 22-0-0 record, the Canton native is a graduate of Ithaca College with a master’s degree from St. Lawrence.

Devin Farkas joins St. Lawrence University as the new Assistant Director of the Outdoor Programs and as a teacher in the FYP. He recently completed his Master’s degree in Outdoor Education at the University of Edinburgh, Scotland. Before that he worked as the Assistant Director of the Bowdoin College Outing Club for three years where he taught a wide variety of outdoor sports with a focus on outdoor expedition leadership. He is excited to direct his experience towards helping St. Lawrence students learn outdoor sports, develop as leaders and contribute meaningfully to the human and non-human communities they are a part of.

Tamara Feinstein comes to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor in history from another visiting position at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon. Dr. Feinstein earned her Ph.D. in History from the University of Wisconsin - Madison in 2013. Prior to her doctoral studies she worked as a Research Analyst and Project Director at the D.C.-based National Security Archive. Dr. Feinstein's research focus is political violence and memory in contemporary Latin America, with an emphasis on Peru. She will be teaching a broad survey on Latin America and the Caribbean, a course on colonial Latin America, and an upper level seminar on Latin America during the Cold War.

Amanda Fish was promoted to Associate Director of Major Gifts in October 2014 after working in Annual Giving with the University’s leadership donors since January 2012. Amanda works to match the philanthropic interests of alumni with the initiatives and mission of the University. Amanda earned her BS from Vanderbilt University, majoring in Human and Organizational Development, and was captain of the women’s tennis team. She also earned her MBA from UNC-Charlotte with a concentration in sports management.

H. Renee Ford joined St. Lawrence in March 2015 as the Assistant Purchasing Manager. She is a U.S. Army veteran and has years of purchasing and warehouse management experience in the food manufacturing field as well as a bachelor’s degree in project management.

Patrick Gagnon has been promoted from Director of Safety and Security to the position of Assistant Vice President for Safety & Security and Emergency Management to better reflect his responsibilities.  Pat has been the Director of Safety & Security since 2005.

Angela Gapa comes to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Government and African Studies. Previously she has taught at Providence College as a visiting assistant professor and at Florida International University as an instructor. Dr. Gapa earned her Ph.D. in International Relations from Florida International University in Miami FL in 2013. Her research focuses on the regional variation in developmental and democratic trajectories among non-renewable natural resource exporting countries in sub-Saharan Africa.   She will be teaching courses in comparative government and African politics.

Rich Gerber joined University Advancement as Director of Advancement Operations in October 2014. He brings over fifteen years of senior finance and operations management experience in the academic and development fields. His background includes managing the day-to-day fiscal, administrative, information technology and strategic planning functions for the development and alumni relations divisions for Harvard School of Public Health, Harvard Business School, and Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. Rich earned an MBA as well as a Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting, both from St. John Fisher College. He is also a native northern New Yorker.

Alexander Gill comes to St. Lawrence University as a Visiting Instructor of Economics after completing a fellowship in politics, philosophy, and economics at George Mason University. He is a PhD candidate in economics at North Carolina State University and graduated summa cum laude in economics and political economy from Tulane University in New Orleans. His research concerns financial macroeconomics and the history of modern economic thought.  He will be teaching introductory courses as well as a course on the economics of the public sector.

Dr. Helana Girgis joins the Department of Psychology as a Visiting Assistant Professor.  She received her PhD from the University of Arkansas.  Her research focuses on cognitive development, specifically on how children are identifying different types of information.  At St. Lawrence, she will teach both introductory and developmental psychology courses.

Michelle Gould has been promoted to Assistant Director of Career Services and has been with our Career Services department since 2011.

Brittany Hanson came to North Country Public Radio in 2015 as the station’s first digital producer. Before joining the team, Brit founded a small social media consulting firm and lived in South America where she caught the journalism bug.  Brittany attended the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies where she focused on radio and multimedia production. Her work has appeared on Life of the Law, Omaha Public Radio, WMPG Radio and a number of online publications.

Kim Hissong ’94 was appointed Associate Vice President for University Advancement in September 2014. She brings to the position over fifteen years of experience at St. Lawrence in alumni relations, advancement operations, and development, having served the University as Executive Director of Annual Giving & Laurentian Engagement for eleven years and previously as Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Programs. As Associate Vice President, Kim oversees major gift fundraising, alumni relations and annual giving programs, advancement operations, and donor relations efforts. Prior to joining St. Lawrence, Kim worked for four years as the executive director of Renewal House, a non-profit advocacy and counseling organization based in Canton, NY, and has served on several non-profit boards and foundations. Kim earned her BS degree from St. Lawrence in 1994, majoring in Psychology with a minor in Sociology.

Bryan Hurt comes to St. Lawrence University as a Visiting Assistant Professor of English from Colorado College. Bryan has a PhD in Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Southern California, and he's published two books this year. The first, an anthology he edited called Watchlist: 32 Stories by Persons of Interest, came out in May from OR Books and has been translated into Italian and Portuguese. A second edition will be published in May 2016 by Catapult Books. His debut story collection, Everyone Wants to Be Ambassador to France, won the Starcherone Prize for Innovative Fiction and will be published in October. At St. Lawrence he'll be teaching a number of courses in fiction and nonfiction writing.

Carole Jenne was promoted from Senior Assistant Director to Associate Director in Financial Aid. Carole works with students and families in reviewing their financial aid packages and also works with the HEOP staff on verification of the students financial needs in the program.

Benjamin Keen received his undergraduate instruction from Grand Valley State University before pursuing his PhD at University of Buffalo.  He will be a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Physics department this year, teaching a few introductory physics courses and an Energy class.

Joe Keniston ’05, M’07 joined University Advancement as the Director of Laurentian Engagement in March 2015. Joe is responsible for the overall management of Laurentian engagement programs, operations, and staff. His team helps coordinate on- and off-campus events aimed at connecting and engaging Laurentians with St. Lawrence University. Joe worked for nearly ten years in the athletic department as a member of the sports information staff. During his tenure in athletics, he helped develop Homecoming Weekend and Laurentian for Life Week, while also serving as a member of the Athletic Hall of Fame Committee.

Khalid Kitito comes from St. Lawrence as a Swahili Teaching Fellow from Research Institute of Swahili Studies in East Africa (RISSEA). Currently he is Pursuing his PhD in Educational Communication Technology at Pwani University, Kenya. His research focus is language education with particular interest to Kiswahili. He will be teaching Kiswahili and Culture.

Natasha Komarov, assistant professor of mathematics, comes to St. Lawrence from a postdoctoral fellowship at Carnegie Mellon University. She earned her PhD in 2013 from Dartmouth College, focusing on randomness in pursuit-evasion games on graphs. Her primary research areas are graph theory and game theory, and especially the intersection of the two with probability. This year she will be teaching introductory courses as well as a senior seminar on games.

Arleyna Loss joins our Residence Life staff as a First-Year Program Residential Coordinator.  She most recently served at the University of Louisville and a Residence Education Intern.  She also has experience as a student Affairs Intern at Pennsylvania College of Technology.  Arleyna received her Master of Arts degree from Messiah College and a Bachelor of Arts from Millersville University of Pennsylvania.

Sharrell D. Luckett is an award-winning director and producer of over 65 shows, from devised to classical theatre. Luckett received her Ph.D. in Theatre at the University of Missouri-Columbia, graduating with the highest honor as Doctoral Marshal. Her work is grounded in the intersections of theatre, performance studies, African American studies, and women's studies. Forthcoming publications include two books: “YoungGiftedandFat: Performing Weight Loss and Privilege” and a co-edited anthology about African American/ Afrocentric pedagogical approaches to acting and directing. This fall she will be performing her solo ethnodrama, "YoungGiftedandFat" Off Broadway in the United Solo Theatre Festival.

Kc Marchione has a Bachelor of Science degree from SUNY Plattsburgh and has sixteen years of experience in the food service industry.  She has spent much of her career with Sodexo and Aramark managing food service departments at various universities and medical centers.  

Matt McCluskey was promoted to the Director of Disability and Accessibility Services position this August.   Previously he served as St. Lawrence’s Coordinator of Academic Support for 7 years, and has worked closely with the First-Year Program, the Higher Education Opportunity Program, and many other offices around campus during that time.   He holds a master’s degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s degree from St. Lawrence University, and has well over a decade of experience serving students with special needs.

Sahar Milani is an Assistant Professor of Economics at St. Lawrence University.  She completed her PhD in economics at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. Before beginning graduate work in economics, she earned a master’s degree in management science at the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee and a bachelor’s degree in finance at the University of Wisconsin – Madison.  Her main research interest is environmental macroeconomics.  Specifically, she studies how environmental regulations across countries impact innovation in energy technologies.  She will be teaching both introductory and environmental economics courses.

Melissa Miller has been promoted to Assistant Director of Facilities Operations, Custodial Services.  Melissa will oversee all custodial operations on campus.  She joined the Facilities Department in 1987 as a custodial staff member and was promoted to Facilities Manager in 2001.  Melissa was awarded the Jack Taylor Award in 2011.

John Robert O’Connor comes to us from Wells College where he served as Director of Student Activities and Leadership.  He received a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania and a Master of Science in college Student Development and Counseling from Northeastern.  John Robert’s experience runs the gambit new student orientation, advising student organizations, organizing campus events calendars, and teaching a leadership course.

Sarah Oliver comes to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor in American Politics. Dr. Oliver earned her Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California Santa Barbara in 2014. Dr. Oliver’s research focus is gender and political psychology in American politics. Se will be teaching an introductory course in American politics as well as courses in gender and politics, public opinion, and research methods.

Peter Pettengill comes to St. Lawrence as an Assistant Professor in Environmental Studies. He recently worked as a backcountry planner at Grand Canyon National Park, earned his Ph.D. in Natural Resources at the University of Vermont, and holds a Master of Studies in Environmental Law from Vermont Law School.  Dr. Pettengill's research focuses on park and public land planning and management.  He will be teaching introductory courses as well as an upper level course on outdoor recreation and public land.

Munir Pirbhai is joining St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Physics after an internship at Agilent Technologies. He received his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2013. Dr. Pirbhai's research focuses on optical polarimetry and its applications. He will be teaching both introductory and upper-level courses.

Joe Prashaw has been promoted to Facilities Manager, Campus Support.  In his new role, Joe will oversee all event set-ups and capital improvement project management involving residence halls.

H. Paul Reynolds ’83 joined the University Advancement team as Senior Associate Director of Major Gifts in May 2015. Paul is remotely based in Boston, MA, and focuses on connecting with alumni in Rhode Island, Massachusetts, and Maine. Paul is a 1983 graduate of St. Lawrence University, and his wife, Laura, graduated from St. Lawrence in 1984. Paul comes to St. Lawrence after thirty years in the investment management industry, most recently with Russell Investments in Seattle, WA.

Melissa Richards, Vice President for Communications, oversees all aspects of University Communications. She has 22 years of global experience in communications, public relations, integrated marketing strategy, special events, and strategic alliances. Most recently before joining SLU in 2015, she held the position of University Relations Assistant Vice President for Marketing and Publications at Virginia Tech. Prior to her career in higher education, she held senior positions at start-up and global IT organizations and founded two small businesses.  Melissa earned a Master of Public Administration at Virginia Tech and a Bachelor of Arts at the University of Virginia. She has held leadership positions in several community and professional organizations, including the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (CASE).

Eric Richardson, a native of Lisbon, NY, joined St. Lawrence University’s Office of Institutional Research in September of 2014 as a Research Analyst / Programmer.  His current responsibilities include providing technical, organizational, and statistical support for a broad range of data analysis, assessment, and reporting needs.  Prior to joining St. Lawrence, Eric worked in the world of experimental nuclear physics.  He holds a B.S. degree in Chemistry from Rochester Institute of Technology and a Ph.D. in Nuclear Chemistry from the University of Maryland, College Park.  Eric conducted his dissertation research into the asymmetry of emitted particles from high energy nuclear collisions at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  After graduating, Eric joined Indiana University, Bloomington, as a postdoctoral researcher, where he worked on the development of a novel radiation detector.

Joelle Rosso joined St. Lawrence University’s Libraries & Information Technology division in September 2014 as a Technical Support and Hardware Specialist. She worked in IT for two and a half years as a student before graduating from St. Lawrence University with a degree in History in May 2014.

Tommiann Russell was promoted from Assistant Director to Associate Director in Financial Aid. Tommiann works with students and families in preparing their financial aid packages and also is the campus Student Employment Coordinator.

Matt Salmen joins the athletic training staff after serving as an athletic trainer at Adrian College since 2013. Matt earned his Bachelor’s degree in Athletic Training at the Minnesota State University in Mankato and a Master of Science in Health and Performance at Austin Peay State University. He was a graduate assistant with the Tennessee Orthopedic Alliance while attending Austin Peay.

Jennifer Schmeisser came to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Professor in 2012.  She joined the Chemistry Department and has taught mostly in the General Chemistry program teaching lectures and labs.  She originally comes from Canada where she received her Ph.D. in Chemistry from Simon Fraser University working in the area of Fuel Cell applications.  Fall 2015 she joins the Chemistry department in a new position as the General Chemistry Laboratory coordinator where she will be responsible for the development of new labs and overseeing the hands on portion of General Chemistry.

Theresa Selby joined the University Advancement team in February 2015 as Executive Director of Major Gifts. She comes to St. Lawrence from Saint Michael’s College in Colchester, VT, where she worked in advancement for fifteen years; she also has a background in corporate sales. A true believer in the liberal arts education, she received her BA from Northeastern University in Journalism and her MA in English from the University of Rhode Island. Terri is responsible for the overall management and success of the University major gifts program, which is charged with establishing relationships and securing support from donors at the $100,000 threshold.

Elizabeth Short ’83, P’15 joined the University Advancement team in March 2015 after a long career in media sales at CFO Publishing. Based in New York City, Lissa works with major gift donors to match their philanthropic interests with the initiatives and mission of the University. She also leads the Women’s Initiative program that brings together St. Lawrence alumnae in various metropolitan areas throughout the country. A 1983 graduate of SLU, Lissa lives in Darien, CT, with her husband, Dave ’83, and two sons, Andrew ’15 (St. Lawrence) and Geoffrey ’17 (SMU). She recently served as Vice President of the St. Lawrence University Alumni Executive Council and chaired the Student Services and Recruitment committee, working with Career Services and Admissions.

Beth Slater ’03, Executive Director of NYC Internships & Development Associate joined the staff of St. Lawrence in July 2015 after eleven years in Aspen, CO. Based in New York City, Beth is part of the International & Intercultural Studies and University Advancement departments. She works with current and incoming NYC Semester Program students on their internship placements and broader career goals. Beth is also in close contact in internship sponsors, many of whom are alumni and supporters of the university.  A 2003 graduate of SLU, Beth also has a Master’s Degree in English Literature from the University of Vermont. In her role at the Aspen Institute, Beth executed high level events and programs including working with the Aspen Ideas Festival. A proud second generation Laurentian, Beth has volunteered with St. Lawrence in various roles since graduating and most recently served as a member of the Alumni Executive Council.

Karen Smith began working as Assistant Director of Off-Campus Programs in the Center for International and Intercultural studies in January. Previously she held positions in Libraries and IT and the President’s office at St. Lawrence. Karen moved to the North Country from London, UK in 2006 where she worked in the consulting and finance industries. Karen has lived and worked in several countries and grew up in Ireland where she received a bachelor’s degree in International Marketing and Languages from Dublin City University.

Sarah Smith will be joining the faculty at St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Photography and Video after leaving a lecturer position at Murray State University. Sarah earned her MA and MFA from The University of Iowa in 2013. Her research and creative work investigates our relationship and expectations of personal photographic images. Sarah's work has been exhibited both nationally and internationally.

Ryan Strate will be the new Facilities Manager for Academic Buildings.  Ryan comes to us with an MBA and an extensive background in department management, most recently with McOpCo (McDonald’s Corporation).  Ryan will supervise the custodial staff in the academic buildings.

Benjamin Todd joined the St. Lawrence Academic Advising Department earlier this year as the Program Coordinator for the McNair Scholars Program and CSTEP after serving in an interim position with Career Services as the Internship Advisor. Ben brings extensive experience in program coordination and student advising to this position. He received his Bachelor of Science from SUNY Cortland and his Masters of Education degree in Counseling and Human Development from St. Lawrence University. 

Erkan Toraman comes to St Lawrence University as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Geology from a postdoc position at the University of Minnesota (Twin Cities). He earned his PhD in Earth Sciences from University of Minnesota in 2014. Dr. Toraman’s research focuses on the timing and mechanical processes during formation of mountain zones in several locations, including North America, Madagascar, China, and Turkey. Dr. Toraman will be teaching several geology courses, including Structural Geology, Mineralogy, Petrology, and an introductory course on Environmental Geology.

Samuel Tartakoff comes from across the country at the University of California - Irvine, where he recently completed his Ph.D. in chemistry, to join St. Lawrence as an Assistant Professor of Chemistry. Dr. Tartakoff's research focuses on organic synthesis and developing new, more efficient methods for making medicinal compounds. He will be teaching introductory general and organic chemistry, as well as an advanced synthesis lab.

Mike Toshack was named Head Men’s Soccer Coach in the summer of 2015 after spending the last three years as an Assistant Coach and the Goalkeeper Coach for the Portland Timers in Major League Soccer. He has coached in over 500 professional games and coached in the 2001 FIFA Youth World Championship in Argentina. A native of Prescott, ON, he served as a Saint assistant coach from 1994 until 2003. He is a graduate of Acadia University.

Elyssa Twedt is starting at St. Lawrence as an Assistant Professor in Psychology. She earned her Ph.D. in Cognitive Psychology from the University of Virginia in 2013 and recently completed a two-year post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Richmond. Her research focus is on visual perception, spatial cognition, and the influence of technology on cognition. She will teach introductory psychology and courses related to sensation and perception and cognitive psychology.

Kelly Vergin joined the Athletic Media Relations staff as an Assistant Director in the spring of 2015. Kelly joins the St. Lawrence staff after serving as Sports Information Director at his alma mater, Brockport State University, for the last ten years. He began his career in sports information as an intern at Purdue University and has also served on the sports information staff at SUNY Albany, Rensselear and Plattsburgh. A Clayton, NY native, Kelly also worked as a sportswriter for the Watertown Daily Times.

Leila Walker, the new assistant director of the Mellon-funded project "Crossing Boundaries:
Re-envisioning Humanities for the 21st Century," comes to SLU as a CLIR Postdoctoral Fellow in Academic Libraries. While earning her PhD in English from the CUNY Graduate Center, Leila served as the departmental assistant for the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program and co-founded the Journal of Interactive Technology and Pedagogy with a group of faculty, students, and pedagogical staff. For the past year she has served as the managing editor for the journal. Leila has published on British Romanticism, the digital humanities, and digital pedagogy, and she is currently working on her first book-length project, Romantic Touch: Ephemeral Gestures and Material Remains in British Romanticism.

Jing Wang comes to St. Lawrence as a Fulbright Foreign Language Teaching Assistant in Chinese. Jing earned her Master degree in English Language and Literature from Shandong University in China, and now works in China University of Petroleum (East China). She will be teaching Advanced Chinese.

Whitni Watkins joined St. Lawrence University’s Libraries & Information Technology division as Technical Services & Systems Librarian in September 2014.  She is responsible for planning, managing and evaluating the various integrated library systems as well as collaborating on Library Information Technology and Digital Initiative projects.  Whitni holds a B.A. in Liberal Arts with a focus on History/Philosophy from Southern Virginia University and an M.L.I.S. from San Jose State University.

Renqian Yang obtained her BFA in ceramics form the Sichuan Fine Arts Institute in Chongqing, China, in 2009. In 2014, she graduated with her MFA in Ceramics form Syracuse University, New York. In addition to clay, Yang’s studio practice includes painting, print-making, photography, fiber and video. She has exhibited in New York, Berlin and Chongqing, China. Yang was teaching Drawing and color theory at Cazenovia College last year. Presently, she is working as an Artist and Visiting Assistant Professor in the Art &Art history Department at St. Lawrence University. She will be teaching introduction to ceramics courses as well as a drawing class.

Trésor Yoassi of the country of Cameroon, comes to St. Lawrence as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Francophone Literature and African Studies. Before St. Lawrence he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Northern Illinois  University. Dr Yoassi earned his Ph.D in Francophone Literature from University of Wisconsin Madison in May 2014 and his research focus on the growing role of children in African wars and the Redefinition of Family as a sacred institution as we know it. Dr Yoassi will be teaching a language course as well two other Francophone Literature courses cross-listed with the African Studies Department.