Nine New Faculty Join School of Arts and Sciences
College News Highlights continues its introduction of new faculty members to the College. This week, meet nine new professors teaching in the School of Arts and Sciences.
Olivia Culbertson ’19 earned her bachelor’s degree in chemistry and sociology from Fisher. She then worked at Bausch + Lomb in research and development, formulating lens care solutions. Prior to her appointment as a visiting instructor, she has served as an adjunct instructor in the Chemistry Department at Fisher, teaching general chemistry laboratories.
Dr. Evan Davis, visiting assistant professor, is a recent graduate of The Ohio State University. Prior to attending Ohio State, Davis worked in the youth sport industry as a camp counselor and basketball coach. He is passionate about engaging with students and developing student-centered learning environments, and is excited to contribute to a program that he says values authentic relationships between students, faculty, and industry experts.
Dr. Terence Gipson, assistant professor of public health, completed his Ph.D. in the Department of Health Promotion Sciences at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in spring 2021. His research features a mixed-methods phenomenological approach to study the health care transition for adolescents with disabilities and special health care needs.
With a background in the humanities, Gipson credits the liberal arts tradition as foundational for his public health training. This has spurred his interest in the human condition more broadly and informed his interest in the social determinants of health and policies that address health disparities across populations.
After moving to Oklahoma, the Governor’s Council on Workforce & Economic Development commissioned Gipson to serve on a task force charged with aiding the state’s federally qualified health centers in addressing the underlying causes of persistent inequalities among Oklahoma’s uninsured residents. As a result, he co-wrote three curricula designed to train health care professionals in the integration of social determinants of health measurement tools into their practice.
Dr. Özge Kantas is a social and personality psychologist and joins the Psychology Department as an assistant professor. Kantas earned her degrees from the Middle East Technical University of Turkey, and she completed her dissertation and postdoc at the University of Rochester, Self-Determination Theory Human Motivation Lab. She is also trained as a psychodramatist, as a form of group psychotherapy. She blends this approach for trauma-informed leadership development and organizational healing practices for better workplaces that empower employee well-being and mental health.
Kantas voluntarily serves as one of the international field coordinators at World Human Relief, responsible for community mental health and well-being, and training other volunteers for trauma-focused social interventions and prevention projects. Her current research includes two main lines: 1) motivation studies across different cultures where the fulfillment of basic psychological needs of people and their wellbeing outcomes are explored, 2) group psychotherapy studies of how it can be more effective using motivational principles for self-leadership, organizational leadership development, and compassion-based community building via social and organizational policies.
The Department of Media and Communication welcomes Dr. Darlene Lee, as a visiting assistant professor, to the College. Lee has taught undergraduate and graduate-level courses at Wayne State University, Texas Southern University, and Grand Valley State University. She earned her doctorate in communication from Wayne State.
As CEO of Darling Communications, she provides services in media relations and grant writing and executive education in diversity, equity and inclusion, and leadership.
Lee will be teaching Introduction to Media, Multimedia Journalism, Media Economics and Management, Business Communication, Health Communication, a course on body image for the first-year writing program, and a new course on media diversity.
Dr. Anastasia Nikolis, visiting artist-in-residence, received her Ph.D. in English from the University of Rochester, where her manuscript, “Lyric Confession and the Specter of Autobiography in Postmodern American Poetry,” received the award for Outstanding Dissertation in the Humanities. Her research interests include intimacy and confession as lyric construction in post-1945 American poetry and the intersection of poetry and the public humanities.
A former Humanities New York Public Humanities Fellow, she works to connect the academy with the community by teaching creative writing classes at Rochester’s local literary center, Writers & Books, and serving as poetry editor at the literary translation press, Open Letter Books.
Dr. J. Ricky Price joined the Department of Political Science and Legal Studies as an assistant professor after having completed his Ph.D. in Political Science at the New School for Social Research in 2019 and serving as a visiting assistant professor at Hobart and William Smith Colleges for the past three years.
The New School’s focus on an interdisciplinary and applied approach to politics has informed Dr. Price’s teaching, research, and service. While his primary fields of study are American politics and international relations, Price has taught courses on climate change, health policy, gender politics, or undergraduate writing and research.
His research, which borrows from the fields of political science, law, history, science and technology studies, and queer and feminist theory, has led to several publications, including articles on HIV/AIDS policy and on the legal and political responses to competing demands for equal protection rights from LGBT groups and religious actors’ first amendment rights.
Dr. Cassandra Scherr joins Fisher as an assistant professor of African American and Ethnic American literature in the English Department. She teaches courses focused on African American culture and literature, American literature, speculative fiction, and social justice. She has recently completed her dissertation, “Human Pain, Monstrous Pleasure: Black Feminine Monstrosity and Its Potential for Black Pleasure Through Uses of The Speculative,” which explores her research interests in the use of speculative fiction when exploring questions of race, ethnicity, gender, and class in fiction, art, and activism.
English Department faculty member Dr. Jonathan Shelley, assistant professor, received his Ph.D. from UC Berkeley and was a Marion L. Brittain Postdoctoral Fellow at Georgia Tech, where he also received the Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts 2021 Distinguished Non-Tenure-Track Faculty Teaching Award.
Shelley's research interests include theories and depictions of friendship in early modern prose, poetry, and drama; the history of technical writing, specifically forms of dance notation in the 17th and 18th centuries; and ethics pedagogy in the writing classroom. His scholarship has appeared in Renaissance Papers and is forthcoming in SEL and Writing on the Edge. In 2020, he was awarded a Whiting Foundation Public Engagement Seed Grant for the project “Shakespeare and the Common Good in Atlanta,” a free accredited course on Shakespeare for formerly incarcerated persons.