Arts and Sciences
BA, Roanoke College; MA, PhD, University of Virginia
Mary Baldwin Assistant Professor of History Clayton McClure Brooks recently published her second book The Uplift Generation: Cooperation across the Color Line in Early Twentieth-Century Virginia, offering new insight into the formative years of Jim Crow and how segregation was established in Virginia.
The author’s writing explores the concept that segregation was not formed in the state by white political power structures alone, but rather through cooperation from a generation of Virginia reformers across the color line from 1900 to 1930.
The journey to completion for The Uplift Generation started with Brooks’ dissertation at the University of Virginia and became a story that Brooks felt compelled to carry further.
Paul A. Callo
BS, MS, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; PhD, University of Maryland
I have always been an inquisitive person, and have disliked not knowing the answers to puzzling questions. To that end, I have always endeavored to learn as much as I can about a wide variety of subjects. As an undergraduate, I focused on the organismal aspects of biology. I received my BS in biology from Virginia Tech in 1993 and immediately entered graduate school (also at Virginia Tech) to study blue jay food caching. While there I was able to definitively demonstrate that blue jays, an important dispersal agent for large-nut trees like oaks, remember with great precision the location of their own caches and have great difficulty finding the caches of other jays. After receiving my master’s degree in biology in 1996, I spent a summer conducting songbird surveys in the backwoods of West Virginia. I then went on to pursue my PhD in zoology at the University of Maryland, College Park. While there I studied predator-prey relationships in migratory songbirds. I specifically focused on the spatial allocation of parental care by red-eyed vireos, blue-headed vireos & hooded warblers and how it is affected by their differing extra-pair mating strategies (contrary to popular belief most bird species are not faithful for life).
Since that time I have continued to work with red-eyed vireos and have been able to extend a basic study of behavior into a long-term study of their territory fidelity and survivorship at the Hemlock Hill Biological Research Area in Pennsylvania. In the past year I have expanded this study to include sites in Augusta County, Virginia. I have also begun to include an annual survey of blood parasites found among these birds in these areas.
I greatly enjoy teaching students about science and biology. I particularly delight in those “Aha!” moments when students recognize the interconnectedness of all the things they have been learning about. The environment afforded us here at Mary Baldwin University is key to that enjoyment. The hands-on learning format of our lab courses offers students the opportunity to not only hear about how biological processes work in lecture, but also see for themselves how they work.
In my spare time I enjoy playing with the kids, home renovation projects, hiking with the dogs, and music!
Mary Hill Cole
BA, James Madison University; MA, PhD, University of Virginia
Dr. Mary Hill Cole is professor of history and director of the Virginia Program at Oxford. She received her PhD in English history at the University of Virginia. She teaches undergraduate courses in English history, modern European history, and women’s history. In the graduate MLitt/MFA Shakespeare in Performance program, she teaches courses in Tudor-Stuart political, religious, and social history. She is the recipient of three awards for teaching and is a member of Phi Beta Kappa. Her book, The Portable Queen: Elizabeth I and the Politics of Ceremony, was published by the University of Massachusetts Press.
Her other publications on Elizabeth progresses include:
Carole Levin, Jo Eldridge Carney and Debra Barrett-Graves, eds., “Elizabeth I: Always Her Own Free Woman” (Ashgate, 2003); Jayne Elisabeth Archer, Elizabeth Goldring, and Sarah Knight, eds., “The Progresses, Pageants, and Entertainments of Queen Elizabeth I” (Oxford University Press, 2007); and Josi Barbier, François Chausson, and Sylvain Destephen, eds., “The Travelling Government of Elizabeth I: Enacting Queenship Through Progresses” (Fayard éditions, forthcoming 2018). She also focuses on the family of Elizabeth I and has published chapters about them in Donald Stump, Linda Shenk, and Carole Levin, eds., “Maternal Memory: Elizabeth Tudor’s Anne Boleyn” (ACMRS, 2011); and Sarah Duncan and Valerie Schutte, eds., “The Half-Blood Princes: Mary I, Elizabeth I, and their Strategies of Legitimation” (Palgrave, 2016).
BS, James Madison University; PhD, University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dr. Craig is interested in studying a short protein molecule called LL37which has been implicated in the onset of certain autoimmune diseases. LL37 can bind to DNA and fold DNA into small packages, thus allowing DNA to enter cells by facilitating their movement across the cell membrane. A 2007 report by Lande et al. in Nature suggests that LL37-mediated uptake of DNA by certain immune cells may incite an immune response to self-DNA, leading to the production of anti-DNA antibodies that are characteristic of autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) and psoriasis.
Although much is known about the structure and function of LL37, the details of the binding interaction between LL37 and DNA remain to be elucidated. How does LL37 fold DNA into small packages and allow DNA to cross the cell membrane? Does LL37 recognize specific DNA sequences? How many LL37 molecules bind to DNA at one time? Dr. Craig proposes to investigate these questions by performing specific biophysical chemistry studies that are well-suited to undergraduate research. For instance, a decrease in the strength of binding of LL37 to DNA as the salt concentration is increased indicates a lack of sequence-specificity.
Paul D. Deeble
Pennsylvania State University; PhD, University of Virginia
Dr. Paul Deeble joined the biology department at Mary Baldwin University in 2002 as an assistant professor. Dr. Deeble earned his BS in biology/vertebrate physiology from Pennsylvania State University in 1996. While at Penn State, he worked as a co-op research scientist for Burroughs Wellcome and Glaxo Wellcome in Research Triangle Park, NC. Dr. Deeble worked in the Molecular Pharmacology Division and the focus of his studies was Alzheimer’s disease. He then earned a PhD in molecular medicine and microbiology in 2002 from the University of Virginia. The title of Dr. Deeble’s dissertation was Mechanisms of Neuroendocrine Differentiation in Prostate Cancer Leading to Paracrine Growth Stimulation. Dr. Deeble presented his work at numerous regional, national, and international conferences including the Fifteenth Annual Meeting on Oncogenes and Tumor Suppressors and a keystone symposium on advances in human breast and prostate cancer. He has published multiple peer-reviewed articles in research journals such as Cancer Research, Journal of Biological Chemistry, and Molecular and Cellular Biology. While completing his graduate work in the Cancer Center at UVA, Dr. Deeble was a finalist for the Michael J. Peach Outstanding Graduate Student Award, and he served as the Paul and Virginia Wright ARCS Scholar after receiving a fellowship from the ARCS Foundation. Dr. Deeble completed his postdoctoral training at the University of Virginia Cardiovascular Center, performing research focused on the abnormal vasculature that forms in many tumors. During this time, he was an adjunct assistant professor of biology at Piedmont Virginia Community College teaching lectures and labs in anatomy and physiology. Dr. Deeble has maintained professional memberships in the American Association of Cancer Research, the North Atlantic Vascular Biology Organization, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. Since coming to Mary Baldwin University, he has taught classes in a variety of sub-disciplines in biology including anatomy, physiology, genetics, human health and medicine, and electron microscopy. Dr. Deeble maintains a research interest in the role of neuroendocrine (NE) cells in prostate cancer progression and recently was awarded a research grant through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to study apoptosis in NE cells in various stages of prostate cancer. Seniors within the biology department work with Dr. Deeble on this grant to complete their senior thesis research requirement. Dr. Paul Deeble was recently honored by Who’s Who Among America’s College and University Teachers for the 2005-2006 academic year. He also serves as a textbook reviewer for Thomson Delmar Learning, and has reviewed multiple textbooks and online modules in anatomy and physiology. In addition to Dr. Deeble’s love for teaching, he enjoys road and mountain biking, playing soccer, serving as a run leader for “Squirrels on the Run”, and participating in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. Most of all Dr. Deeble enjoys spending time with his wife, Dr. Jennifer Visger, and daughter Zoe.
BA, College of William and Mary; MA, PhD, Harvard University
Amy McCormick Diduch earned her MA and PhD in economics from Harvard University and her BA in economics from the College of William and Mary. Her research interests are in the fields of labor economics and public finance. She recently published an article entitled “Global Strike Patterns, Macroeconomic Variations and Industrial Relations” in the International Review of Comparative Public Policy. Dr. Diduch is a member of Phi Beta Kappa and Omicron Delta Kappa.
Kristen "Krissy" Egan
BS, Le Moyne College; MA, State University of New York at Courtland; PhD, Loyola University
It was the tedious prospect of counting microscopic asbestos fibers that led Kristen Egan, then a recent biology grad, to change course and return to school for her PhD in English. Fortunately, Egan was able to put her scientific background to use for her doctoral dissertation, in which she analyzed texts to examine the relationship between race and nature in 19th century America.
Kristen Egan, assistant professor of English, teaches courses in American Literature, African-American Literature, Literature and the Environment, and writing. She previously taught at Le Moyne College and Loyola University Chicago. She has an interdisciplinary background, earning her doctorate in English from Loyola University Chicago, her M.A. in English from the State University of New York (SUNY) at Cortland, and a B.S. in Biology from Le Moyne College. She specializes in nineteenth century American literature, focusing on nature, race, and identity. Her dissertation, Infectious Agents: Race and Environment in Nineteenth-Century America, examines the mutual constructions of space and race in America across the long nineteenth century. She has an article forthcoming in Women’s Studies Quarterly entitled “Conservation and Cleanliness: Racial and Environmental Purity in Ellen Richards and Charlotte Perkins Gilman.”
Mary Jane Epps
BA, Duke University; PhD, University of Arizona
Originally from Albemarle County, Mary Jane Epps returned to Virginia to write her dissertation after earning an undergraduate degree at Duke University and a PhD in ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona. The subject: interactions between fungus-feeding insects and mushroom assemblages. The setting: Mountain Lake Biological Station in Giles County. “I find interactions among species to be endlessly exciting, especially those that involve plants, insects, and fungi,” Epps says. “My current projects include studying how fungal-insect interactions are shaped by climate change, and exploring how ants can affect forest fungi to shape forest decomposition and nutrient exchange. I also study the unusual pollination ecology of azaleas.” Epps loves music, and plays traditional Appalachian fiddle and banjo. She also enjoys spinning and dyeing wool with wild plants, gardening, and raising heritage livestock. “I’m most excited about getting students involved with research, and taking students out into the field to explore some of our local wild places and learn about biology first hand.”
Dr. Adam Fajardo teaches courses in modern global literature and composition. Previously, he was an English faculty member at Georgia Gwinnett College in Atlanta. He completed his PhD in English at Indiana University, Bloomington, where he also earned hisMA in 2008, and he is an alumnus of Warren Wilson College, a liberal arts and work college located near Asheville, North Carolina.
Dr. Fajardo’s research focuses on food and literature, specifically the ways in which writers use representations of food to respond to pressing social and political issues. He is co-editor and contributor to Modernism and Food Studies, published in 2019 by the University Press of Florida. His article, “How to Read a Banana: Global Modernism and Global Food Chains,” was published in a food studies cluster on Modernism/modernity‘s PrintPlus platform.
When he has spare time, Dr. Fajardo spends it cooking, mountain biking, salsa dancing, and hiking with his family.
MA, St. Andrews University; PhD, University of Virginia
Dr. Franzén is a part-time assistant professor of history, teaching European history courses on campus and in MBU Online. She also teaches Inquiry in the Social Sciences in the Master of Arts in Teaching Program at Mary Baldwin University. Her special interest is in modern British history, and her dissertation was on government assisted emigration from rural England during the nineteenth century. Dr. Franzén first came to the United States as the St. Andrews Exchange Scholar to the College of William and Mary. Her most recent interest is in oral history, particularly of World War II veterans and civilians. She has edited a series of memoirs by a U.S. combat veteran of World War II.
Dr. Franzén is passionate about classroom teaching and about opening her students’ eyes to the difference between knowing what happened and understanding why. She also seeks to find parallels in history, both recent and in the more distant past, which help us to recognize events and outcomes, with similarities and differences. Where possible and relevant, she tries to make history immediate to our everyday lives and decisions, and enjoys bringing outside speakers into the classroom.
Louise M. Freeman
BS, Emory University; MA, PhD, University of California at Berkeley
Louise Freeman attended Emory University where she received her Bachelor of Science in biology. She then attended the University of California at Berkeley where she earned her masters in biological psychology, followed by her PhD a few years later. Dr. Freeman also conducted three years of post-doctoral research at the University of Virginia.
Her major of interest is behavioral neuroendocrinology, the effects of hormones on behavior. Specifically, she is interested in the role of hormones in sex differences in both human and animal models. More recently, she has developed a new research program about psychology and young adult literature. She has published several papers on psychological themes in popular series such as Harry Potter, Hunger Games and Divergent. She also as an on-going collaboration with a sixth grade English teacher to measure the effects of reading on empathy in students. Dr. Freeman speaks regularly at Harry Potter festivals and is a contributing faculty member at the Hogwarts Professor blog (www.hogwartsprofessor.com).
“My own research has shown that reading in 6th graders is associated with increased empathy, and that Harry Potter reading in general is associated both with reduced stigmatization IOC people with mental illness and increased tendency to take others’ perspective. This is in line with other researchers that found reduced prejudice against other groups (immigrants, refugees) in Harry Potter readers,” said Dr. Freeman.
A third interest of hers is Applied Behavior Analysis. She currently works as a behavior support clinician at Compass Counseling Services and is seeking Board Certified Behavior Analyst (BCBA) credentials.
Here at Mary Baldwin, Dr. Freeman teaches Introduction to Psychology as a Natural Science, Behavioral Statistics, Drugs and Behavior, Physiological Psychology, Sensation and Perception, and Forensic Psychology. She also team-teaches a honors class in Human Morality with Dr. Rod Owen. She lives in Crozet, VA with her husband, Brian, their two children, Amanda and Noah, and a beagle named Lenny. In her spare time, she enjoys cooking, reading and travel.
BS, PhD, University of Virginia
Dr Gergel-Hackett’s research is focused on the design, fabrication, and physics of novel materials and devices with advantages in scaling and energy for future low-power high-performance electronics. One example of a research project that she is working on includes studying and modeling a novel nanoelectronic device known as the memristor. This new device exhibits electrical characteristics with exciting new applications and is an excellent technology to be studied by undergraduate students.
Nonvolatile Memory Device and Processing Method,Nadine Gergel-Hackett, Behrang Hamadani, Curt Richter, David Gundlach, # US 20090184397 A1. Filed 12/22/2008 and granted 06/02/2015.
Publications and H-Index
Total citations of N. Gergel-Hackett’s publications and h-index available at: https://www.scopus.com/authid/detail.url?origin=AuthorProfile&authorId=18037158700
BS, James Madison University; MS, Radford University; PsyD, James Madison University
Jenna Holt received her Bachelor of Science in Health Sciences at James Madison University. She then went on to obtain her Masters in Counseling from Radford University and her Doctorate degree in Clinical and School Psychology from James Madison University. Dr. Holt is a Licensed Clinical Psychologist and maintains her clinical skills by performing psychological assessments and outpatient counseling to clients in the area. At Mary Baldwin, Dr. Holt is the clinical psychologist within the psychology department, teaching introductory psychology classes as well as classes such as Techniques of Counseling and Psychotherapy, Abnormal Psychology, Applied Behavior Analysis, and Assessment and Measurement. Her personal area of interest, and the topic on which she based her dissertation and plans to do further research, is that of ecopsychology, which is the study of people and their connection/relationship with the natural world.
Dr. Holt grew up in New York state and Virginia, and she currently lives in Fishersville with her husband, two rambunctious and fun children, and three cats. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, being outdoors, running, baking, and reading.
BA, Western Michigan University; MA and PhD, University of Virginia
I obtained my Ph.D. in the field of algebraic topology from the University of Virginia in 2012. Algebraic topology is the process of using computational techniques to study the geometry of multi-dimensional shapes. Since I have graduated my studies have shifted to the intersection of algebraic topology, logic, and computer science in the fairly new field of homotopy type theory. A main goal of homotopy type theory is to better implement mathematical constructs in a computer. One realizes logical constructions as generalized geometric shapes and attempts to teach the computer the rules that govern these shapes. As this is a recent development in math, there are a lot of exciting things going on within the reach of an industrious student.
In my spare time I enjoy reading math of all kinds, vegan cooking/cheese making, biking, and various aspects of computing. I also use my vacation time to travel as much as I can handle.
BA, MA, Butler University; PhD, Purdue University
Sarah Kennedy, Mary Baldwin professor of English, holds an MFA from Vermont College and a PhD from Purdue University. She is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently The Gold Thread, and the historical novels The Altarpiece, City of Ladies, and The King’s Sisters, books one, two, and three of the Cross and the Crown series. Sarah Kennedy has received grants from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Virginia Commission for the Arts, and the National Endowment for the Humanities. She is a contributing editor for Shenandoah and West Branch and serves as the faculty advisor for Mary Baldwin’s online literary and arts journal Outrageous Fortune.
Katherine "Katie" Low
BA, Doane College; MDiv and PhD, Texas Christian University
Dr. Katherine (Katie) Low grew up in a tiny rural town in Nebraska where she attended First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ (UCC). As a first-generation college student, she studied at Doane College, a UCC affiliated liberal arts college, where she triple majored in Religious Studies, Spanish, and English. In partial fulfillment for the Bachelor of Arts, Dr. Low studied abroad twice; first, in Israel and the West Bank at Tantur Ecumenical Institute, then at Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra in Santiago, Dominican Republic. After college, she became a UCC and Disciples of Christ Homeland Ministries Intern and was sent to San Antonio, Texas, to become Volunteer Summer Coordinator at Inman Christian Center. There, she worked with many ministers who consistently told her she should go to seminary, so after a year teaching Spanish in an elementary school, she heeded their advice and went back to Texas for her education.
Dr. Low received an MDiv and PhD from Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, in Fort Worth, Texas. While gaining the degrees, Dr. Low pursued her passion for interfaith engagement through course work and higher-education ministry. She was ordained as a UCC minister in 2004, working as an intern for TCU’s Office of Religious and Spiritual Life and then as Associate Campus Minister at the Wesley Foundation, TCU. Dr. Low’s course work expanded across many disciplines, reaching into art history, film studies, and women’s studies. Dr. Low’s interests in Christian history, cultural and gender studies, and biblical studies led to the completion of her dissertation titled “Domestic Disputations at the Dung Heap: A Reception History of Job and His Wife in Christianity of the West.” Her book, The Bible, Gender, and Reception History: The Case of Job’s Wife (Bloomsbury, 2015) stems from her dissertation and orientation around reception history of the Bible. She continues to explore intersections of religion, gender, and culture, as evident in published articles in Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, Journal of Religion and Film, Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion and Biblical Reception. Visit www.katherinelow.com to find out more about her scholarly achievements.
Dr. Low enjoys teaching introductory courses on the Bible and introducing students to the complexities of her field. As Chaplain, she holds the philosophy of supporting the spiritual growth of all students and directs the Quest interfaith program. A major portion of her job consists of maintaining Quest’s need for cream puffs and the chaplain’s lounge snack supply! During some spare-time, she enjoys reading young adult dystopian fiction and watching as much television and as many films as possible, especially zombie-related ones. Besides her spouse of over fifteen years, Dr. Low’s household consists of two daughters who light up her life, and one cat who often challenges her patience.
Heather E. Macalister
AB, Smith College; MEd, State University of West Georgia; PhD, University of Georgia
Heather Macalister is a Life-Span Developmental Psychologist with interest in women’s psychosocial development in adolescence, young adulthood, and midlife. At Mary Baldwin she is Chair of the Psychology department, and teaches the developmental psychology sequence (Child Psych, Adolescent Psych, and Adulthood) as well as Psychology of Women and Introductory Psychology. She is a firm believer in women’s education and received her own Bachelor’s degree from Smith. Her Ph.D. is in Life-Span Developmental Psychology with a co-major in Women’s Studies. She also holds a Master’s degree in Career Counseling and initially pursued her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology. In addition to completing postdoctoral fellowships in teaching writing at Cornell and Duke, she has been teaching college psychology for 15 years, being part of Mary Baldwin’s Psychology Department since 2003.
Dr. Macalister grew up outside New York City and has lived in MA; NY state; Atlanta; Durham, NC and currently VA with her husband, also an academic psychologist, and their 7-year-old son, a 4-year-old daughter, and Jack Russell terrier, Georgia. She enjoys a variety of child-centered activities that she shares with her family: cooking, crafts, horseback riding, skiing, hiking, bike-riding, travel, “movie night,” and snuggling up with a good book.
BA, University of Virginia; MA, James Madison University; PhD, The City University of New York
Chandra Mason is a social-personality psychologist with broad research interests in social justice, social roles, and social neuroscience. She first began teaching at Mary Baldwin in 2002 in MBU Online, and returned full-time to the main campus in 2008, where she regularly teaches the Introductory Psychology course series, Experimental Psychology, Social Psychology, Personality Psychology, the Psychology of Social Justice, and History and Systems of Psychology, and occasionally teaches Behavioral Statistics and Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Professor Mason earned degrees in Psychology from the University of Virginia, James Madison University, and The Graduate School and University Center at the City University of New York, and enjoys spending time with her family, reading, traveling, patronizing the performing arts, and watching (mostly) good television and films.
Amy Sims Miller
BA, Wesleyan University; MA, PhD, University of Virginia
Patricia "Pat" Murphy
BS, George Washington University; MA, University of Vermont; PhD, University of Vermont, Burlington
BA, MA, and PhD, University of Virginia
Roderic L. Owen
BA, College of Wooster; MA, Kent State University; EdD, College of William and Mary
Dr. Roderic Owen has been a faculty member at Mary Baldwin University for over 25 years teaching introductory philosophy courses, applied and advanced ethics seminars, and a survey of the world’s religions to a diverse range of students: women in the residential program, graduate MAT students, PEGs, and returning adult students. His doctorate is from the College of William and Mary, Virginia, and his dissertation was focused on Models for Teaching Ethics at the Undergraduate Level.Over the past several years, Dr. Owen has developed and taught a seminar primarily focused on ethics and education to graduate students and an honors colloquium on Science, Religion, and the Search for Meaning; helped implement community service courses and internships; and created a multi-disciplinary minor focused on Peacemaking and Conflict Resolution. He has team-taught a number of different types of courses including freshman colloquia, the senior seminar in philosophy and religion, a graduate-level seminar on philosophy and education, as well as a number of interdisciplinary honors colloquia.
Dr. Owen’s areas of philosophical research and professional interest include character education; interdisciplinary approaches to the teaching of ethics; and the interfaith dialogue. His most recent sabbatical was spent at a woman’s college in Madurai, India where he led faculty seminar on interfaith issues and gave talks at the local Gandhi Centre. He is a member of the APA, the regional Philosophy of Education Society, the Association for Moral Education, the Virginia Humanities Association, the Association for Ethics across the Curriculum, and the Association for Practical and Professional Ethics.
In personal terms, Dr. Owen is a native of Wales and is married to Linda, a fourth grade teacher and school counselor, and they are parents to three sons — two of whom are college students. He is currently a member of the City of Staunton School Board, has served as an elder and teacher in the Presbyterian Church, U.S.A., and recently completed a term as President of the North American Association for the Study of Welsh Culture and History. Ph: 540-887-7309 Fax: 540-887-7137
BA, University of Texas; MA and PhD, University of Illinois
Department Chair, World Languages and Cultures
Associate Professor of Spanish, Latin American, and Latinx Studies
Brenci Patiño completed her BA at the University of Texas at Brownsville, and her MA and PhD at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Her research interests include cultural and literary representations of working-class women, U.S. Latina/o literature and cultural production, and contemporary Mexican narrative fiction. Her work is, more specifically, concerned with looking at ways in which working-class women and their upper-class counterparts negotiate power.
Dr. Patiño has taught Spanish language courses and Latin American literature and culture at the University of Illinois, Texas Lutheran University, San Antonio College, and the University of Texas at San Antonio. At Mary Baldwin University, she teaches intermediate- and advanced-level Spanish, U.S. Latina/o literature and culture, 20th century Latin American literature, and Latin American and Spanish culture. Additionally, she has an active role in the Latino Culture Gateway and serves as department head for the department of Latin American and Francophone Studies.
A native of Brownsville, Texas, Professor Patiño grew up in the bicultural environment of the Mexico-U.S. border. She loves both norteño and Tejano music, traditional Latin American music, son jarocho, Spanish hip-hop, nueva trova, and Latin pop. She enjoys traveling, and spending time with her nieces and nephews in South Texas and northern Mexico.
Robert "Bob" Robinson
AS, Piedmont Virginia Community College; BS, Longwood University; MS, North Carolina State University
Hi, I’m Bob. I’m an adjunct assistant sociology professor and academic advisor for MBU Online at Mary Baldwin University. Thanks for taking the time to read about my areas of interest in sociology and life in general.
Sociology’s emphasis on the examination of social forces fascinates me. I became interested in the field when I took my first sociology class in the late 1980’s, when I was attending Piedmont Virginia Community College in order to earn a business administration degree and learn information that would help me run my residential painting business. I fell in love with sociology and decided that I wanted to get my bachelor’s, master’s, and PhD in sociology so that I could teach these ideas to college students. I especially appreciate the critical thinking skills that sociology can help to foster. My main areas of interest in sociology include marxian, feminist, and critical theory. I am particularly interested in critiques of capitalism and any forms of exploitation that occur along the lines of race, class, gender, status, ethnicity, or sexual orientation. I am also a member of Sociologists without Borders, an international sociological association that is dedicated to furthering human rights and social justice around the world.
I earned my bachelor’s degree from Longwood University and my master’s degree from North Carolina State University, and I am currently a PhD student at NCSU. I have been a non-traditional student throughout my academic career, so I understand and empathize with the unique circumstances that non-traditional students face while trying to earn a college degree.
While I enjoy doing statistical analyses, most of my research has been participant observation and theoretical in nature. My master’s thesis is titled “Construction Worker’s Reactions to Structural Alienation and Inequality.” I gathered my data for this project by working beside workers on expensive and extravagant houses. I wanted to find out what these workers think about the vast differentials of income, wealth, status, and power that exist in this society. I found that most workers usually don’t give this issue much thought and often focus their attention on areas of their lives that they feel they do have control over such as their interactions with their families and friends as well as their hobbies and religious activities.
I began doing construction work early in my life, as my father is a painting contractor, and I spent many summers working on construction sites while I was in high school. Construction has financed much of my college education, and I still enjoy getting out and climbing ladders and swinging a paint brush — every once in a while, that is. I’m still doing some construction work in order to gather more data for my dissertation, which is a participant observation study that focuses on the structure of the work process itself on these often unique houses. I compare Marx’s structural critique of capitalism with the conditions that exist on the jobsite of these nice houses. So far, I have found that the workers on these jobs experience quite a bit more control over the work process itself than do workers in jobs similar to those described by Marx and other marxists. Both Marx’s discussion of alienation and his critique of capitalism focused on manufacturing jobs which usually include much routinized labor where the workers are told exactly how to carry out even the most basic tasks of their jobs. Many of the workers I study have much more control over how they do their work because they are confronted with projects that are unique and cannot be completed by a set way of doing things. Many of these workers are content with their jobs because they believe that they are lucky to have their particular job, and because they believe that many of the jobs available in the society are much less desirable.
I have taught lecture courses at NCSU (including Principles of Sociology, Social Problems, and Theories of Social Structure). I have been teaching the on-line Methods in Sociological Research course for Mary Baldwin University since the fall of 2005. This is my second year as an academic advisor for MBU Online, and I work out of the Weyer’s Cave office at Blue Ridge Community College. (Stop by and see me some time if you want to talk about MBU Online or if you want to talk about sociology. You can also email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
In what little spare time I have from my studies and work, I enjoy hiking and bass fishing. Sherry, my wife of 22 years, and I both enjoy gardening and raising animals. We currently obediently serve numerous goldfish, koi, and betas, 6 cats (8 if you count the two strays that we feed as well), 2 goats, 2 dogs, and a horse on our farm in Nelson County.
BA, Hampshire College; PhD, Oregon State University
Dr. Ruiz-Haas’ research interests are focused around the areas of analytical and environmental chemistry, with a focus on the chemical analysis of environmental samples, with an emphasis on analysis of hormones and endocrine disrupting compounds in the Shenandoah River, which is the main tributary to the Potomac River. Dr. Ruiz-Haas was recently awarded a grant from NIH to fund this research for the next two years
In addition, his research is centered interested in the development of analytical techniques and devices for low cost and/or field testing, as well as monitoring of redox transformations of organic pollutants in the environment by microorganisms. His students are also using UV light and ozone to destroy or remove traces of pharmaceuticals and personal care products in drinking and waste waters.
Edward A. Scott
BA, Slippery Rock State College; MA, PhD, Duquesne University
Edward A. Scott was born in Pittsburgh, Pa December 16, 1949. He received his BA in philosophy from Slippery Rock State University in 1971. He completed work for his MA and PhD at Duquesne University in 1973 and 1986 respectively. He took his first teaching job in philosophy in 1977 at an urban satellite for the Community College of Allegheny County. He has taught at the University of Calabar in Nigeria (79-81), Carlow College in Pittsburgh (81-82), Payne Theological Seminary in Wilberforce, Ohio (82-86) and Monmouth College in Monmouth, Illinois (86-90). He has been associate professor of philosophy at Mary Baldwin University in Staunton, VA since 1990. He has served both James Madison University (philosophy) and Virginia Tech (Black studies) as an adjunct professor. Most recently he has served as chair of the Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies and Assistant Dean of the College. He was appointed the Interim Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College by President Fox prior to the beginning of the 2006 – 2007 academic year.
Scott’s primary interests are the history of philosophy, hermeneutics, phenomenology, aesthetics, and African American thought. His dissertation was a study of the intellectual career of Paul Ricoeur: On the way to Ontology: The Philosophy of Language in the Hermeneutic Phenomenology of Paul Ricoeur.
In addition to his academic involvements, Scott is a member of the Staunton City School Board, a member of the Board of Advisors for the local branch of the Salvation Army, and a member of the Board of Trustees for the American Shakespeare Center. He is also devoted to the ordained ministry of the African Methodist Episcopal Church, currently pastoring Allen Chapel A.M.E. Church in Staunton, VA.
In his writing and public presentations and addresses, Scott pursues a richer understanding of the intersection between sacred and profane realities as this is made evident in literature, music, politics, and religious experience. His abiding conviction is that the blues and jazz constitute daring exemplars for the manifestation of this intersection.
Scott is husband to Rev. Andrea Cornett-Scott and father to Jacob, Naima and Ellington Scott.
BA, MA, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; PhD, Morgan State University
Amy Tillerson-Brown is a professor of history and history department chair at Mary Baldwin University, Staunton, VA and teaches courses in African American, United States, Women’s and African Diaspora history. She also directs the African American Studies and Public History programs while advising Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society.
Tillerson-Brown is completing her book manuscript, “Negotiating Intersections of Gender, Social Class, and Race: Black Women in Prince Edward County, Virginia, Activists and Community Builders, 1920-1965.” This project analyses the activism of Black women in Prince Edward County before and during the public school crisis that began with the 1951 R. R. Moton High School student strike in protest of inadequate educational facilities and ended with the reopening of public schools that closed from 1959-1964 to resist the desegregation mandate of the Brown decision. Tillerson-Brown’s research examines the activism of Black PEC women who despite less than optimal economic conditions and traditional negative assumptions associated with their race and gender networked to build their communities. Articles and book chapters related to this research are published in Virginia Women Their Lives and Times (University of Georgia Press, fall 2016), The Journal of School Choice (fall 2016), The Educational Lockout of African Americans in Prince Edward County, Virginia, 1959-1964 (University Press of America, 2010) and Emerging Voices and Paradigms: Black Women’s Scholarship (Association of Black Women Historians, 2005). Recently, Tillerson-Brown accepted a Senior Fellow/Strategic Consultant post at the Moton Museum in Farmville, VA.
In 2013, Tillerson-Brown produced a documentary, Voices from Port Republic Road. Focusing on the experiences of alumni from the Rosenwald School, this project documents the interconnectedness of school, church, and business in this mid-twentieth century rural Black community along with the challenges of public school segregation and integration. Other research interests of Tillerson-Brown include the activism and resistance of women of Native American descent in Virginia and the Carolinas; and race and criminalization in Virginia, 1870-1950. She has presented papers on both topics at recent Association for the Study of African American Life and History conferences.
Before accepting her position at Mary Baldwin, she was director of African American Heritage Program at the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities at UVA. She has taught in the history departments at Virginia Tech, Morgan State University, and Piedmont Virginia Community College and worked as a public school teacher and counselor in Roanoke City Public Schools and Baltimore City Public Schools.
BA, University of Oxford (Balliol College); MPhil, PhD, University of Oxford
Dr. Katherine Turner, professor of English, teaches courses in British Literature and women’s writing, and the English Major Seminar. She previously taught at the University of Oxford in England, where she worked within the university as well for a number of American JYA programs (Butler, NCSU, Sarah Lawrence, Williams).
Dr. Turner holds several degrees (BA, MPhil and PhD) from the University of Oxford. Her main areas of academic interest are the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and she has worked particularly on travel writing, women’s writing, and eighteenth-century poetry. She is interested in the ways in which literary texts intersect with other cultural forms (like the visual arts and journalism) so as to intervene in issues of public controversy such as poverty, women’s education, marriage and divorce, and the slave trade.
Dr. Turner has edited Laurence Sterne’s eighteenth-century novel, A Sentimental Journey, for Broadview Press (a press dedicated to providing annotated texts for university students and scholars). Her essay on “Women Travel Writers, 1750-1830″ has appeared in The History of British Women Writers, 1750-1830, edited by Jacqueline Labbe for Palgrave Macmillan. She has written the entry on “Travel Narrative” for the Wiley Blackwell Encyclopedia of British Literature 1660-1789 and the entry on Thomas Gray for Oxford Handbooks Online, and is currently working on William Cowper and news.
Carey L. Usher
BA, Converse College; MA, PhD, University of Alabama at Birmingham
Originally from South Carolina, Carey Usher came to Mary Baldwin in 2001 after completing her graduate work at University of Alabama at Birmingham. Her dissertation research examined effects of neighborhood context and social capital on physical and mental health. Current research extends this study, focusing on social capital and community investment in high poverty areas. Her research and teaching interests include medical sociology, community and urban sociology, and research methodology. She is a strong supporter of single-gender education, having completed her undergraduate degree at Converse College. Her community service includes work with Habitat for Humanity, the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank, the Staunton City Council as a member of the Landscape Advisory Board, and the Virginia Cooperative Extension as a Master Gardener. Her service to these organizations involves building resident investment in and appreciation of community environment and greenspace. Drs. Usher and Stuhlsatz are currently serving as Co-Principal Investigators on a gang-assessment initiative with the Office on Youth.
In her spare time, Dr. Usher likes to read, drink coffee, garden, knit, and spend time with her family and pets. She lives in Staunton with her husband Bryan, their 4 boys, and too many animals.
Laura A. van Assendelft
BA, University of the South; PhD, Emory University
Abigail "Abby" Wightman
BA, Miami University; MA, PhD, University of Oklahoma
A visiting assistant professor of anthropology, Wightman received a BA in history and anthropology from Miami University of Ohio, an MA in anthropology from University of Oklahoma, and a PhD in anthropology from University of Oklahoma. After completing her doctorate in May 2009, Wightman joined the faculty at Mary Baldwin University for fall semester. Her dissertation, “Honoring Kin: Gender, Kinship, and the Economy of Plains Apache Identity,” addresses the complicated articulations and lived experiences of contemporary Native-American identities. Wightman’s research interests also include the culture and history of Oklahoma, regional American identities, the relationship between gender ideologies and cultural/national identities, the history of anthropology, and the lived experiences of marginalization in native communities and beyond.