Meet the Cohort

Meet the Inaugural PRODiG Faculty Cohort

The following individuals were part of the inaugural cohort, class of 2019-20, of PRODiG faculty across the SUNY System. To learn more about the breakdown, view the PRODiG 2019-2020 Cohort Data & Analytics Dashboard

Thikriat Al-Jewair headshot
Thikriat Al-Jewair
Associate Professor
Director of the Advanced Education Program in Orthodontics
University at Buffalo
Thikriat Al-Jewair

Dr. Al-Jewair is a Diplomat of the American Board of Orthodontics and a Fellow of the Royal College of Dentists of Canada in Orthodontics and Dental Public Health. Dr. Al-Jewair currently serves as Member-at-Large on the ADEA Council of Advanced Education Program, Chair of the ADEA Section on Orthodontics, and Secretary for the AADR Buffalo Section. Dr. Al-Jewair has published over 45 papers and book chapters on orthodontic treatment outcomes, adult and pediatric sleep-disordered breathing, and evidence-based orthodontics. Her current research focuses on sleep mandibular movement and pediatric obstructive sleep apnea.

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B. Rita Alevriadou
Empire Innovation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
University at Buffalo
B. Rita Alevriadou

B. Rita Alevriadou, PhD, is Empire Innovation Professor of Biomedical Engineering, Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences and School of Engineering and Applied Sciences, in the University at Buffalo. Rita received her PhD in Chemical Engineering (Bioengineering and Biosciences Institute) from Rice University, followed by postdoctoral training in Molecular and Experimental Medicine at Scripps Research Institute. Prior to joining UB, Rita was Associate Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Medicine, Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, at the Ohio State University, and prior to that, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. Her research on vascular mechanobiology and oxidative stress is/has been supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association. She is a member of the Biomedical Engineering Society, the American Physiological Society, the North American Biology Organization, the Society for Redox Biology and Medicine, and the American Heart Association. She currently serves as an Associate Editor of the American Journal of Physiology – Cell Physiology.

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Godfred Antwi
Assistant Professor, Department of Public Health and Health Education
The College at Brockport
Godfred Antwi

Dr. Godfred O. Antwi completed his PhD at Indiana University, Bloomington-School of Public Health (IUB-SPH). With research interests in Cancer Prevention and Control, Substance Abuse and Health-Related Quality of Life Research, Dr. Antwi studies modifiable health-related behaviors including alcohol and tobacco use as well as psychosocial and socioeconomic factors that contribute to cancer health disparities.

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Anna Blumental-Perry
Assistant Professor
University at Buffalo
Anna Blumental-Perry

Dr. Blumental-Perry earned a PhD in Genetics and Molecular Biology from the College of Physicians & Surgeons of Columbia University and a PhD in Genetics & Molecular Biology from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem in Israel. Dr. Blumental-Perry also completed her post-doctoral in Cell Biology and Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. The focus her research has been to understand proteostasis imbalance in lung disease, with a focus on endoplasmic reticulum and mitochondria malfunction in smokers. Dr. Blumental-Perry concentrated on alveolar epithelial type II cells responses to cigarette smoke, because those cells are local progenitors with the ability to repair the damage and replenish the loss of alveolar epithelial type I cells.

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Tejas Bouklas
Assistant Professor in the Department of Biological Sciences
SUNY Old Westbury
Tejas Bouklas

Dr. Tejas Bouklas earned a PhD in Biomedical Sciences from Albert Einstein College of Medicine, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship with the Department of Medicine (Division of Infectious Disease) at Stony Brook University. She has an extensive background in microbiology, with training and expertise in microbial pathogenesis. Dr. Bouklas taught Microbiology, Immunology, Anatomy and Physiology, Biology for Majors, and Mycology/Parasitology to undergraduate and graduate students, many of which are historically underrepresented in the sciences, first-generation, females, and veterans. Dr Bouklas is the recipient of several grants, presented at national conferences, and co-authored papers. She is an American Society of Microbiology Undergraduate Faculty Research Initiative Fellow, and is committed to advancing infectious disease research, and training of the next generation of STEM students.

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Tracy L. Callender
Assistant Professor, Biology Department
Farmingdale State College
Tracy L. Callender

Dr. Tracy Callendar earned her PhD in Cellular and Molecular Biology, from Stony Brook University.  She is also NIH-IRACDA Postdoctoral Fellow, Stony Brook University.  Dr. Callender’s current research focuses on the genes involved in chromosome behavior during meiosis, using yeast as a model system.

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Katherine Cleary
Assistant Professor
SUNY Potsdam
Katherine Cleary

Katherine Cleary holds an MSc in Conservation Biology and PhD in Ecology and Conservation Genetics from the University of Idaho. As an assistant professor at a teaching-focused university, Dr. Cleary is responsible for developing a research program that addresses important ecological issues in the SUNY Potsdam region, enhances her teaching, and provides a range of opportunities for student engagement. Her responsibilities also include teaching courses in subject field, developing new courses that complement the needs of the department and the University, and advising students.

Dr. Cleary is an ecologist with experience working in the Rocky Mountain west, the Neotropics, and most recently, the Adirondacks. Across these ecosystems, her research has always focused on quantifying the contributions of biodiversity to agricultural systems and evaluating the impact of agriculture on wildlife habitat connectivity. Dr. Cleary is interested in conservation genetics, wildlife movement, sustainable agriculture, and I also have an ongoing interest in research in interdisciplinary pedagogy.

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Ashley Culpepper
Assistant Professor, Mathematics Department
SUNY Broome Community College
Ashley Culpepper

Ashley Culpepper earned a Master of Arts degree from Binghamton University and Bachelors of Arts from Elmira College. During the 2019-2020 academic year, Culpepper taught a variety of courses, ranging from remedial mathematics courses to Applied Business Calculus.

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Margaret (Meg) DeAngelis
Professor; Ira G. Ross and Elizabeth Olmsted Ross Endowed Chair
Dept of Ophthalmology and Ira G. Ross Eye Institute
Jacobs School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences
University at Buffalo.
Margaret (Meg) DeAngelis

Dr. DeAngelis’ training is in ascertainment and recruitment of diverse human populations, neuroscience, genetics, ophthalmology, epidemiology, statistical genetics/bioinformatics and molecular biology. Dr. DeAngelis’ program of research utilizes a systems-biology based approach to understand disease mechanisms in both Mendelian and complex blinding diseases. To this end, utilizing both families and then replication in large case-control populations to study DNA, gene expression and protein coupled with clinical and epidemiological information, our group has identified novel biomarkers (RORA, ROBO1, CYP24A1) and pathways associated with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) and then replicated these findings in large ethnically diverse case control patient populations.  Dr. DeAngelis has over 80 publications and serves on the steering/leadership committee for the international AMD genetics consortium, sponsored by the NEI/NIH and the Scientific Oversight Committee for The Global Eye Genetics Consortium (NEI/NIH).

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Cynthia Downs
Assistant Professor of Animal Physiology
SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry
Cynthia Downs

Dr. Cynthia Downs received a doctorate from the University of Nevada and completed postdoctoral appointments at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and University of Nevada. Currently an Assistant Professor of Animal Physiology at SUNY College of Environmental Science and Forestry (ESF).  Downs’ research program focuses on how physiology is regulated by internal and external processes and how physiological variation within and among species affects ecological processes including disease spread and population dynamics. Her current research focuses on how body size constraints immunity, how immunity changes in response to environmental and life-cycle challenges, and the consequences of both for disease dynamics.

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Salavador Dura-Bernal
Assistant Professor, Department of Physiology and Pharmacology
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Salavador Dura-Bernal

Salvador Dura-Bernal is an Assistant Professor in the department of Physiology and Pharmacology at SUNY Downstate. He completed his PhD and first post-doctoral fellow at the University of Plymouth, UK; followed by post-doctoral research at Johns Hopkins and SUNY Downstate. His research focuses on understanding cortical circuits through large-scale biophysically-detailed simulations on supercomputers.  Dr. Dura-Bernal has developed the detailed models of motor and auditory cortical circuits by integrating experimental data available at multiple scales -- molecules, neurons, networks and systems. Dr. Dura-Bernal is committed to outreach and diversity, which made him join the NY Academy of Science STEM program to teach neuroscience to underrepresented middle school students in Brooklyn.

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Ana Laura Elias
Assistant Professor
Binghamton University
Ana Laura Elias

Ana Laura Elias earned a PhD, Applied Sciences, in Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (IPICyT, Mexico).

Dr. Elias joined Binghamton University as an Assistant Professor in 2020. Her research interests revolve around the engineering and characterization of novel materials, seeking to explore and understand their structure-physical property correlations.

Elias has synthesized two dimensional (2D) and layered materials such a graphene, nitrogen doped graphene, various transition metal dichalcogenides and hetero-architectures using combinations of those layers. She has studied in detail the Raman spectroscopy fingerprints of such novel layered materials.

According to the Web of Knowledge database, Elias has published more than seventy peer reviewed research papers, which have been cited over 7400 times (h-index of 40).

Ana Laura Elias is committed with the improvement of diversity, climate and inclusion in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) fields.

Research Interests include: Synthesis and characterization of nanomaterials (transition metal dichalcogenides, 2D atomically thin layers, graphene, carbon nanotubes, and related materials); Hetero bilayers and moiré engineering; and Raman spectroscopy.

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Zeynep Ertem
Assistant Professor, Department of Industrial and Systems Engineering
Binghamton University
Zeynep Ertem

Zeynep Ertem completed her PhD in Industrial and Systems Engineering Department at the Texas A&M University after obtaining her B.S. degree from Industrial Engineering Department at the Middle East Technical University in Ankara with a minor in Mathematics. Her research interests include data analytics, discrete optimization, graph theory, approximation algorithms, and health systems optimization, the interdisciplinary side of operations management with an emphasis on challenges in public health and healthcare systems. Specifically, she is interested in studying operational problems in healthcare systems with policy implications. Her recent projects were published in PLOS Computational Biology, Social Networks, and Journal of Global Optimizations.

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Kathy Flanders
Instructor
Jefferson Community College
Kathy Flanders

Kathy Flanders received a B.S and M.S. in Medical Technology from the University of Vermont. She worked as a research technician for UVM in Food Microbiology until moving to Clayton in 1994. Since moving to NY, Kathy has worked at area hospitals in the laboratory and taught Medical Technology courses at SUNY Canton. In 2006, she began her relationship with Jefferson Community College by teaching Microbiology as an adjunct faculty member. She expanded her role at JCC in 2008, by taking a Laboratory Assistant position in the Science Dept. Since fall 2019, Kathy has been a full-time faculty member as an Instructor in Laboratory Sciences.  She teaches courses and laboratories in Microbiology, Human Biology and Genetics.

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Claudia J. Ford
Professor
SUNY Potsdam
Claudia J. Ford

Dr. Claudia Ford holds degrees in biology, midwifery, business administration, creative writing and a PhD in Environmental Studies. Dr. Ford conducts research and teaching in ethnobotany, indigenous knowledge, gender studies, sustainable agriculture, spiritual ecology, environmental justice, environmental literature and international business. Dr. Ford serves on the boards of directors of the Soul Fire Farm Institute - committed to ending racism and injustice in the food system - and the Biodynamic Farming Association - transforming the practice and culture of agriculture to renew the vitality of the earth and the health and wholeness of our communities.

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Soma Mei Sheng Frazier
Assistant Professor of Digital Storytelling
SUNY Oswego
Soma Mei Sheng Frazier

Soma Mei Sheng Frazier’s work has earned nods and awards from authors and entities ranging from Nikki Giovanni to Daniel Handler (AKA Lemony Snicket); HBO to Zoetrope: All-Story; Glimmer Train to ZYZZYVA. She has taught in private institutions, arts schools and correctional facilities—and deems teaching and writing synergistic. Frazier is presently at work on her debut novel, with the gracious support of a literary agent.

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Guifang Fu
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Binghamton University
Guifang Fu

Dr. Fu earned a PhD from Penn State.  As an Assistant Professor with SUNY Binghamton, Dr. Fu teaches three courses per year and mentors several students, including a post doc and two doctoral students.  Dr. Fu focuses her research on data science, biostatistics, statistical genetics and high dimensional modeling.

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Cayla M Gaworecki
Mathematics Instructor
SUNY Schenectady Community College
Cayla M Gaworecki

Cayla Gaworecki received her B.A. in Mathematics and her M.S. Ed., both from State University of New York at Albany. She has taught and tutored all levels of mathematics but has spent the majority of her professional career teaching at the secondary level. Her experience in higher education includes being adjunct faculty at both the University of Delaware and SUNY Adirondack. She was hired as the Developmental Mathematics Instructor at SUNY Schenectady for Fall of 2019. Her focus at SUNY Schenectady is on student success and retention within Developmental Mathematics and she is currently involved in efforts to implement multiple measures for math placement and redesign math pathways.

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Mackenzie Gerringer
Assistant Professor
SUNY Geneseo
Mackenzie Gerringer

Dr. Mackenzie Gerringer earned her PhD in Marine Biology from the University of Hawaii in 2017 before working as a postdoctoral researcher at Friday Harbor Labs, University of Washington.  Her research centers on the physiology and ecology of deep-sea animals, including the planet’s deepest-living fishes. Her research explores adaptations to life in the amazing pressures, cold temperatures, and eternal darkness of deep-sea trenches using comparative techniques in functional morphology, cellular physiology, energetics, age and growth studies, and diet analysis. Her work has been covered by Science Magazine, National Geographic, Atlas Obscura. At SUNY Geneseo, Dr. Gerringer teaches Animal Physiology, Marine Biology, Science Communication.

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Claire Gravelin
Assistant Professor of Social Psychology
SUNY Geneseo
Claire Gravelin

Teaches a variety of courses, including Social Psychology, Stereotyping, Prejudice, and Diversity Across Cultures, Psychology of Gender, Psychology and the Law, Research Methods; Psychology and Social Issues, and Statistics.

Research focuses on understanding the causes and consequences of the marginalization of women particularly in the domains of sexual assault and the underrepresentation of women in positions of leadership and STEM fields. In particular, she focuses on subtle forms of sexism and socio-cultural factors that shape perceptions of women in these domains, and how these perceptions impact women’s behavior, self-esteem, and self-perception.

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Sara Hamideh
Assistant Professor at the School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Stony Brook University.
Sara Hamideh

Dr. Hamideh teaches courses in disaster resilience, sustainable communities, environmental planning and planning analytical methods.  Dr. Hamideh has published on public housing after disasters, showing how being vulnerable implies less control and representation in decisions about one’s recovery.

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Cameron T. Herman
Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology and Africana Studies
SUNY Buffalo State
Cameron T. Herman

Dr. Cameron Herman earned his PhD in Sociology from Michigan State University His research and teaching interests include race, ethnicity and racism, social inequality, urban and community sociology, and popular culture. Dr. Herman's current projects examine the ways African Americans in urban communities understand, experience and navigate inequality in urban environments. He has published articles and book chapters on art and gentrification, grassroots responses to neoliberal governance, and masculinity in hip hop culture.

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Luis Herrera
Assistant Professor, Electrical Engineering Department
University at Buffalo
Luis Herrera

Dr. Luis Herrera received his PhD with a focus in power electronics and control from The Ohio State University. Previously, he was a Research Engineer at the University of Dayton Research Institute working in Intelligent Power Systems for the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL) in Dayton, OH. Dr. Herrera research interests include modeling and control of power electronic systems, dc microgrids, fault detection using parameter estimation techniques, and optimal utilization of energy sources.

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Jennifer S. Hirsch
Assistant Professor, Chemistry Department
Binghamton University
Jennifer S. Hirsch

Dr. Jennifer Hirsch earned her PhD in Chemistry from Texas A & M University.  She is responsible for teaching and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students in her research program.  Current research focus is in correlating experimental results to computational studies to solve reaction mechanisms in organic, organometallic, enzymatic, and photoredox chemistries

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Nickisa Hodgson
Assistant Professor of Ophthalmology
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Nickisa Hodgson

Nickisa Hodgson, MD, MAS completed medical school at the University of California, San Diego. While in medical school, she was awarded a NIH T32 training grant and completed a Master's of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research. She then completed Ophthalmology residency at the UC San Diego Shiley Eye Institute and an ASOPRS Ophthalmic Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery fellowship at the Johns Hopkins University Wilmer Eye Institute.

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Phillip James
Assistant professor of Accounting
SUNY Canton
Phillip James

Passionate about accounting research, Dr James has won the distinguished paper awards   in 2014 and 2015 for his research presentations at conferences at California State University. Interestingly, Dr. James never started his career in accounting; he studied Agricultural Science and only made the transition to accounting when funding constraints caused him not to pursue his love of veterinary medicine.

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Kathryn Kauffman
Department of Oral Biology
University at Buffalo
Kathryn Kauffman

Dr. Kauffman, earned her PhD in Biological Oceanography through the MIT-WHOI Joint Program and stayed on in the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT for her postdoctoral training, during which her research also included studies of bacterial viruses in human-associated systems in the context of sewage and the gut microbiome. Dr. Kauffman scientific interests center on how ecology and evolution shape interactions between viruses and other microbes - and what this means for the emergent and functional properties of microbial communities. During her doctoral and postdoctoral work with marine microbes, Dr. Kauffman established a time series model system to address the challenge of linking interactions between bacterial strains and their viral predators (phages) at the molecular level with dynamics at the community level. At the University at Buffalo, her group will continue building on the theme of advancing fundamental understanding of interactions between microbes and their viruses in the context of natural systems - with a central focus now on the human oral microbiome.

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Soo-Kyung Lee
Empire Innovation Professor, Om P. Bahl Endowed Professor
Department of Biological Sciences,
College of Arts and Sciences, University at Buffalo.
Soo-Kyung Lee

Soo-Kyung Lee’s long-term goals are to dissect gene regulatory events that lead to the cellular diversity and eventually formation of functional neural circuits in the CNS and to understand the genetic and mechanistic basis for neurodevelopmental defects, ultimately contributing to the generation of better treatment strategies for human developmental disorders. Over the past decade, Soo has pioneered biochemical and molecular approaches in mouse and chick embryos to unravel the fundamental principles controlling gene expression and cell fate specification in the developing CNS. This led to a series of seminal discoveries into the gene regulatory network required for neuronal fate specification.  More recently, Soo has begun dissecting a human autism disorder FoxG1 syndrome, characterized by severe deficits in brain development along with other life-threatening symptoms. Soo is devoted to understanding the FoxG1 biology and also engaged in translational research to find a cure for the disorder.

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Erica L. Majumder
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry
SUNY ESF (Environmental Science and Forestry).
Erica L. Majumder

Dr. Erica Majumder earned her PhD in Bioinorganic Chemistry working with Robert Blankenship at Washington University in St. Louis on solar energy capture, conversion and cycling in early-evolving phototrophs. Erica specializes in the mechanisms and consequences of novel microbial metabolisms in diverse environmental settings. Her work uses a combination of mass spectrometry for metabolomics and proteomics, protein biochemistry and genetic engineering. Dr. Majumder started her lab at ESF in August 2019, with initial projects looking at degradation of recalcitrant plastic polymers in wastewater treatment plants and the metabolic contributions of pathogenic fungi in tree blights.

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Amy Marschilok
Associate Professor, Department of Chemistry
Adjunct Faculty, Materials Science and Chemical Engineering
Stony Brook University
Amy Marschilok

Amy Marschilok holds a joint appointment as Energy Storage Division Manager and Scientist in the Interdisciplinary Science Department at Brookhaven National Laboratory.  Her area of research interest is electrochemical materials science, with current research goals centered on new material and electrode concepts for high power, high energy density, extended life primary and secondary batteries. She also serves as Deputy Director for the Center for Mesoscale Transport Properties, an Energy Frontier Research Center funded by the U.S. Department of Energy. Amy Marschilok has mentored over 50 student researchers and co-authored over 185 publications.

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Carrie McDonough
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Stony Brook University
Carrie McDonough

Carrie McDonough received her B.Sc. in Chemistry from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and her Ph.D. in Chemical Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island, Graduate School of Oceanography (URI GSO).  Her research aims to develop a comprehensive understanding of how organic contaminants impact aquatic ecosystems and human health by combining innovative environmental chemistry and bioanalytical techniques, high-resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), and field monitoring campaigns. Her work protects the public from exposure to harmful pollutants and draws attention to the global ubiquity of organic contaminants. Her current research focuses on bioaccumulation of novel per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFASs) from aqueous film-forming foams (AFFFs), and human exposure to these compounds via AFFF-contaminated drinking water.

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Jean McHugh
Associate Professor and Director of the Accelerated Bachelor of Science in Nursing Program, College of Nursing
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Jean McHugh

Dr. Jean McHugh is a national board-certified Advanced Practice Registered Nurse (APRN) by the American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC) with extensive experience in leadership, health care education, and workforce issues. A New York University, alumna, Dr. McHugh earned her PhD in Nursing Research and Theory Development from NYU, Rory Meyers College of Nursing. Her program of research investigates the multi-factorial influences of the effects of workplace incivility.

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Margaret (Maggie) McLellan-Zabielski
Instructor of Biotechnology
SUNY Schenectady
Margaret (Maggie) McLellan-Zabielski

Dr. McLellan-Zabielski, earned a PhD in Chemistry and a BS in Bioinformatics and Molecular Biology, both from RPI.   Her responsibilities include course instruction for most of the two biotechnology degree programs as well as curriculum development. Dr. McLellan-Zabielski is also the advisor for a chapter of Phi Theta Kappa, the two year honor society.

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Mariana D. Melo
Assistant Professor
Dutchess Community College
Mariana D. Melo

Currently, Dr. Melo teaches Biology courses at Dutchess Community College, focusing mainly on developmental and 1st year courses such as Introduction to Biology and General Biology I and II.  Other Biology courses, include Anatomy & Physiology, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.  De. Melo also has experience with curriculum design and service learning.

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Angela N. Migues
Assistant Professor of Chemistry in the Chemistry and Biochemistry Department
SUNY Oneonta
Angela N. Migues

Dr. Migues earned her Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. During her Ph.D., she studied mixed aldol condensations of biomass-derived aldehydes in acidic zeolites to determine the kinetics of carbon bond formation, a process critical for upgrading smaller molecular fragments into usable biofuels. After her Ph.D., Dr. Migues was awarded a National Institutes of Health Institutional Research and Career Development Award (IRACDA) to pursue postdoctoral studies at Stony Brook University. While at Stony Brook, she used molecular mechanics to study DNA replication and repair mechanisms, and also worked on developing a physics based force field for biological molecules that incorporates quantum mechanical energy corrections to describe non-bonded interactions in proteins. Currently, Dr. Migues is an Assistant Professor at the State University of New York College at Oneonta (SUNY Oneonta). At SUNY Oneonta, her research employs computational chemistry to probe elements of chemical and biological systems that are inaccessible to experiment. Her research interests include material science, catalysis, protein-dna interactions, protein structure and function, as well as method development to study such systems.

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Zoe Misiewicz
Instructor of Mathematics, Supervisor of Calculus Gateway Courses
SUNY Oswego
Zoe Misiewicz

Zoë Misiewicz, earned a PhD from NYU.  Currently, she is the instructor of Mathematics and Supervisor of Calculus Gateway.  Dr. Misiewicz’ focuses her research on the History of Ancient Science.

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Sulagna Mookerjee
Binghamton University
Sulagna Mookerjee

Sulagna Mookerjee is an applied micro-economist specializing in development economics. She received her PhD in economics from the University of Rochester in 2015, and was an Assistant Professor at Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar prior to joining Binghamton University.

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Orquidea Morales
Assistant Professor, American Studies and Media & Communication Studies
SUNY Old Westbury
Orquidea Morales

Dr. Orquidea Morales earned her PhD in the Department of American Culture at the University of Michigan in 2018 and was the 2019-2020 Cesar Chavez postdoctoral fellow at Dartmouth College in the Department of Latin American, Latino, and Caribbean Studies. Her work on border violence, Latinx media, and Chicana feminism has been published in journals such as Río Bravo: A Journal of the Borderlands, Label me Latina/o and the Utah Foreign Language Review as well as in the anthology The Routledge Companion to Latina/o Media. She is currently working on her book manuscript entitled Border Horror: Death and Filmic Genres in South Texas and Northern Mexico.

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Nicole M. Morris Johnson
Assistant Professor, English Department
University at Buffalo
Nicole M. Morris Johnson

Nicole M. Morris Johnson In both her research and teaching, interrogates the nexus of race, gender, class, and theory in American and Caribbean literature. As a published author, Morris Johnson has articles published in Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism, and South Atlantic Review, and her work also appears in The Routledge Companion to African American Theatre and Performance. Her current book project, “The South in Her: Black Women, Creolization, Performance,” examines the ways that Afro-creole performance impacted Black women’s artistic production throughout the 20th century.

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Teresa Noto
Professor of Automotive Technology
Suffolk County Community College
Teresa Noto

Born and raised on Long Island, Teresa Noto has been an automotive enthusiast since she was a child. After attending the 2-year BOCES Automotive Mechanic program and earning a 900-hour New York State Automotive Mechanic certification, she went on to earn a degree from Farmingdale State College in Automotive Engineering Technology, and a Master of Science degree in Technological Systems Management from the School of Engineering at Stony Brook University.

Her professional career began when she joined Mercedes Benz in 1988. The majority of her dealership experience has been holding the position of the Service Manager, although she has spent time in the sales and parts departments as well. Her strengths in communication skills, increasing productivity, and outstanding customer satisfaction has resulted in numerous awards and recognitions including an incredible visit "behind-the-scenes" at the Mercedes-Benz factory in Stuttgart Germany. In addition to her Master Certification with Mercedes Benz, she was also crowned the "Outstanding Woman in the Automotive Industry" from the Greater New York Automotive Dealership Association (GYNADA).

In 2008, she began teaching automotive electronics part-time at Farmingdale State College and, in 2012, joined the amazing automotive team at Suffolk County Community College. She is the President and founder of the Suffolk Women in Automotive Group (SWAG). Now working full time at the college, her primary goal is to prepare students for exciting and rewarding careers in the automotive industry.

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Hwai Yin Ooi
Assistant Professor of Neurology
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Hwai Yin Ooi

Hwai Yin Ooi, MD,  is a board certified neurologist and fellowship training movement disorders specialist.  In her capacity at SUNY Downstate, Dr. Ooi treats and cares for patients with a variety of neurological disorders, and further specialize in the care of patients with Parkinson’s disease and other movement disorders. She also performs botox injections for focal dystonia, spasticity and hemifacial spasm and evaluates appropriate candidates for deep brain stimulation (DBS).  Dr. Ooi is involved in medical student education, and teach resident physicians in the clinic and on the inpatient neurology service.

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Ijeoma Opara
Assistant Professor, School of Social Welfare
Stony Brook University,
Ijeoma Opara

Dr. Ijeoma Opara received her PhD in Family Science & Human Development from Montclair State University, a Master of Social Work from New York University, a Master of Public Health from New York Medical College and a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from New Jersey City University.

Dr. Opara’s research interests focuses on using strengths-based approaches in drug use and HIV prevention among ethnic minority adolescents. Dr. Opara has received many awards for her work and serves as a board member on the Society for the Analysis of African American Public Health Issues (SAAPHI) an affiliate of the American Public Health Association (APHA).

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Alessandra Otero
Arts and humanities librarian, Milne Library
SUNY Geneseo
Alessandra Otero

Alessandra Otero is an academic librarian with demonstrated knowledge in research services and library instruction. Currently, she is the arts and humanities librarian in Milne Library, SUNY Geneseo. She is an active advocate of diversity, equity and inclusion principles. Her research interests are: library instruction, arts and humanities librarianship, library outreach, values-based pedagogy and visual literacy.

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Tia Palermo
Associate Professor of Epidemiology and Environmental Health, Division of Health Services Policy and Practice
University at Buffalo
Tia Palermo

Dr. Tia Palermo holds a BA from SUNY Geneseo, a PhD in Public Policy and an M.S. in Economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and completed postdoctoral training at the CUNY Institute for Demographic Research. Her interdisciplinary research examines impacts of social policy on population health. She was previously a Social Policy Manager with the United Nations Children’s Fund and Assistant Professor at Stony Brook University in the Department of Family, Population and Preventive Medicine. Dr. Palermo is a member of the following Research Consortia: The Transfer Project, SPARKS Network for Health and Social Protection, and The Cash Transfer and Intimate Partner Violence Research Collaborative.

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Gayathri Pandey
Assistant Professor of Psychiatry & Behavioral Sciences
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Gayathri Pandey

Dr. Pandey earned a PhD in Social & Personality Psychology and MA in Psychology from Cornell University, as well as an MS IN Neuroscience and Education from Columbia, am MSc in Clinical Psychology and a BA in Psychology, English Literature and Journalism from Bangalore University.

Dr. Pandey is affiliated with the Henri Begleiter Neurodynamics Laboratory (HBNL) at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. In his current program of research, Dr. Pandey takes an interdisciplinary approach drawing on research and theory from Social and Cognitive Psychology, Clinical Psychology to Neuroscience. His research focuses on examining both within-person variability as well as individual differences in the areas of interpersonal relationships/interactions and social environmental influences on health outcomes, specifically in substance use problems and health disparities.

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Jennifer Park
Board certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained cornea specialist
SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University
Jennifer Park

Dr. Park is a board certified ophthalmologist and fellowship trained cornea specialist at SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University. She treats patients with corneal diseases and performs various types of corneal transplantation. Dr. Park also performs cataract surgery and practices comprehensive ophthalmology. Additionally, she teaches resident physicians in the clinic and operating room at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn. She is a born and raised New Yorker and is excited to practice in her home city.  Dr. Park completed her residency at the New York Eye and Ear Infirmary of Mount Sinai and her fellowship at the Illinois Eye and Ear Infirmary at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

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Shamsad Parvin
Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Technology
SUNY Morrisville
Shamsad Parvin

Dr. Shamsad Parvin received the BSC and MSc. degree in Information and Communication Engineering with First Class Honors from the University of Rajshahi, Bangladesh, and PhD degrees in Electrical Engineering from University of Electro-Communication Tokyo, Japan. She worked as a post-doctoral researcher in the new Mexico State University (NMSU),Las Cruces, NM and in the University of New Mexico (UNM), Albuquerque, NM. She is currently an Assistant Professor of Computer and Information Technology Department at State University of New York at Morrisville.  Dr. Parvin’s research interests include routing protocol, wireless communications, information theory, cognitive radios and cyber-physical systems such as smart-grid and vehicular networks, Machine learning.

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Stephanie Poindexter
Assistant Professor, Department of Anthropology
University at Buffalo
Stephanie Poindexter

Dr. Stephanie Poindexter is a biological anthropologist specialized in primatology. Her research interests are broadly related to how primates navigate and utilize their habitats. She employ field, lab, and desk-based methods to answer questions about movement, morphology, cognition, and conservation.

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Blair Proctor
Assistant Professor of African History, Department of Black Studies
SUNY New Paltz
Blair Proctor

Dr. Proctor earned his doctorate in African American and African Studies (AAAS)/Historical Sociology specialization from Michigan State University (MSU) and is a former TIAA Ruth Simms Hamilton Fellow. Included in the late Ruth Simms Hamilton African Diaspora Series, Proctor’s latest contribution is “Coloured South African Consciousness: Blurring the Lines of Identity Formation and Space,” in the edited volume New Frontiers in the Study of the Global African Diaspora: Between Uncharted Themes and Alternative Representations. Glenn A. Chambers, Rita Kiki Edozie, and Tama Hamilton-Wray, co-ed. MSU Press, 2018. 

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Lila Rajabion
Assistant Professor, Information Technology
SUNY Empire State College
Lila Rajabion

Dr. Lila Rajabion received her doctoral degree in Management of Information Technology from Lawrence Technological University and also holds a MS in Computer Information systems from University of Detroit Mercy. She holds two undergraduate degrees in Computer Science and Psychology from University of Windsor, Canada.

Lila has over 15 years of professional experience in various dimensions of Information Technology combined in the academia, and the private sectors. She also has a significant work experience in providing leadership in the areas of systems analysis & design, cyber security, enterprise software application development, and IT project management for local and "global" projects. Dr. Rajabion is a co-founder of ITC4BIZ and providing IT consulting services to worldwide customers.

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Ivette Herryman Rodriguez
Assistant Professor of Music Theory and Composition
Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam
Ivette Herryman Rodriguez

Dr. Rodriguez holds a B.M in Music Composition from the Higher Institute of Arts, in Havana, a M.M in Music Composition from Baylor University, and a M.M in Music Theory and D.M.A in Music Composition from Michigan State University. She studied composition with Juan Piñera, Scott McAllister, Ricardo Lorenz, and Zhou Tian.  Ivette has been an Artist in Residence in Mexico and in El Salvador, and has taught music theory and composition at the Instituto Superior de Artes in Havana, the Opera of El Salvador, the UIUC School of Music, and the School of Music at Western Illinois University.

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Willy Kipkemboi Rotich
Assistant Professor
SUNY Brockport
Willy Kipkemboi Rotich

Dr. Rotich teaches Secondary Physical Education Methods of teaching, Supervision of field experiences and student teaching supervision.

Dr. Rotich research focus includes Teacher Education, Technology in PE and Physical Activity and Cultural influences in PA and Sports as well as sports in a globalized world.

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Elio M. Santos
Assistant professor in the psychology department
SUNY Oneonta
Elio M. Santos

Elio M. Santos received his PhD in Cognitive Psychology from Rutgers University where he was part of the NSF IGERT Training in Perceptual Sciences and the Rutgers University Center for Cognitive Science. After his doctoral work, he held a postdoctoral and then an assistant research professor position in the Biomedical Engineering department at the New Jersey Institute of Technology. Dr. Santos research interests include computational and behavioral approaches to study vision, perception, motor control, eye movements and attention.

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Imari J. Shaw
Biology Instructor
SUNY Schenectady
Imari J. Shaw

Dr. Imari J. Shaw is currently serving as a Biology Instructor at SUNY Schenectady. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., of Jamaican parentage.  At an early age, Dr. Shaw was intrigued by scientific processes and was very curious. Following this intrigue, she enrolled in Queens Gateway to Health Science Secondary School in Jamaica, Queens, N.Y. It was there she pursued accelerated science and mathematics in junior high school and throughout high school.  After graduation, she applied to Franklin Pierce College (now University) in Rindge, N.H., where she majored in Biology and minored in Mathematics.  After graduating in 2006, she attained additional credits in Exercise Science at the University of Buffalo. She then decided to return to medicine and applied to the Medical University of Lublin in Lublin, Poland, where she studied and learned Polish.

After graduation, Dr. Shaw began working for SUNY Schenectady as a Minority Development Faculty Intern in 2018. During this internship she learned pedagogy, mentorship, and the needs of community colleges students. While working at SUNY Schenectady, she also learned the importance of diversity, equity, and inclusion within educational institutions and scientific disciplines.

Dr. Shaw is a member of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society. is currently serving on their Inclusive Teaching subcommittee for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. She continues to learn and develop skills as a science educator, an advocate for students, and people of color within STEM disciplines.

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Tianqi “Tenchi” Gao Smith
Assistant Professor, System Science and Industrial Engineering Department
Binghamton University
Tianqi “Tenchi” Gao Smith

Dr. Smith earned a PhD, and Masters in Industrial and Systems Engineering at Auburn University.  In her capacity at SUNY Binghamton, Dr. Smith teaches Human Factors on an undergraduate and graduate levels as well as conducting human factors and ergonomics (HFE).  Her current research is focused on physical ergonomics, occupational safety and health/injury prevention; human factors and; Interdisciplinary research of the above areas in conjunction with statistics and health sciences.

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Yifan Sun
Assistant Professor, Computer and Information Sciences Department
Stony Brook University
Yifan Sun

Yifan Sun received her PhD in Electrical Engineering from UCLA in 2015, with research focusing on convex optimization and semidefinite programming. She then worked at Technicolor Research and Innovation, focusing on machine learning and data science applications. More recently, she was a postdoctorate researcher at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada and L’Institut National de Recherche en Informatique et Automatique (INRIA) in Paris, France.

Yifan Sun’s research focuses on large-scale optimization algorithms that arise in machine learning and scientific computing applications. This domain often includes problems that are often nonsmooth and nonconvex, in the context of heavy computation and memory requirements that must be curtailed through sampling and distribution. The research has three main themes: leveraging foundational concepts to provide intuition across applications and heuristics, developing and improving algorithms to adapt to modern day needs and resources, and giving theoretical guarantees on best- and worst-case behavior for the resulting methods.

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Jessica Swenson
Assistant Professor, Department of Engineering Education
University at Buffalo
Jessica Swenson

Jessica Swenson was awarded her doctorate and masters from Tufts University in mechanical engineering and STEM education respectively, and completed postdoctoral work at the University of Michigan. She currently teaches Foundations of Engineering Education and helping start up graduate and masters programs in her department. Her current research involves examining different types of homework problems in undergraduate engineering science courses, flexible classroom spaces, active learning, responsive teaching, and elementary school engineering teachers.

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Gillian Tenbergen
Assistant Professor of Psychology
SUNY Oswego
Gillian Tenbergen

Dr. Gilian Tenbergen received her BA in Psychology (with Honors) from SUNY Oswego, her MSc. in Clinical and Cognitive Neuroscience from Maastricht University (NL), and her PhD in Clinical Psychology and Sexual Medicine from Hannover Medical School (Germany). Her work currently focuses on implementing primary child sexual abuse prevention programs in New York State and understanding the neurobiological etiology of pedophilia as a sexual age orientation. She hopes to use this information to better understand the risk factors relevant for onset sexual offending in order to better prevent it.

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Miriam Thaggert
Associate Professor of English
University at Buffalo
Miriam Thaggert

Miriam Thaggert teaches 19th, 20th, and 21st century African American and American literature and culture at SUNY- Buffalo. She is the author of Images of Black Modernism: Verbal and Visual Strategies of the Harlem Renaissance (Amherst: Univ of Massachusetts Press, 2010), an examination of African American literature and photography and the depiction of black modernism. Her second monograph is Riding Jane Crow: African American Women and the American Railroad, a social and literary history of black female train travel in the United States. She is the co-editor of A History of the Harlem Renaissance (Cambridge University Press, forthcoming) and African American Literature in Transition, 1920-30. Her essays have appeared in African American Review, American Literary History, American Quarterly, and Meridians. Her research has been supported by the Newberry Library, the Ford Foundation and the Virginia Humanities.

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Sharlee Thomas
Clinical Assistant Professor for the Department of Elementary Education
SUNY Potsdam.
Sharlee Thomas

Ms. Thomas holds a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from St. Lawrence University and a Master’s degree in Reading from SUNY Potsdam.  A Native American educator from the St. Regis Mohawk Reservation of Akwesasne, her primary areas of teaching are assessment and evaluation, data-driven instruction, and classroom management.  She also supervises student teachers and field placement.  Ms. Thomas holds permanent New York State teaching certification for School Administrator/Supervisor, School District Administrator, Reading and Pre-Kindergarten, Kindergarten, and Grades 1-6.   Ms. Thomas’ current research focus includes working with area school districts in the creation of a residency model placement to strengthen preservice teaching experiences.  She is also working on a student-led initiative that allows students to meet and comfortably discuss academic issues while increasing leadership skills and engagement.

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John Torrey
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
SUNY Buffalo State
John Torrey

Dr. John Torrey holds a BA in Philosophy and Spanish from Morehouse College and an MA and PhD in Philosophy from the University of Memphis. His research interests are in the intersection of social and political philosophy and African-American philosophy, specifically the role of social recognition in moral and political deliberations regarding calls for reparations for African-Americans; applied ethics, and pre-college philosophy. He has published on the theoretical underpinnings of Black Lives Matter and on doing precollege philosophy, arguing that all students benefit from the critical thinking skills that philosophy provides. He also has developed precollege philosophy programs since 2010, including the July 2019 Buffalo State Lyceum.

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Florence Varodayan
Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology;
SUNY Chancellor’s Early-Career Scholar
Binghamton University
Florence Varodayan

Dr. Florence Varodayan received her B.A. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania, and her PhD in Neurobiology & Behavior from Columbia University. She then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at The Scripps Research Institute. Dr. Varodayan’s laboratory’s research focuses on how brain signaling systems shape circuits and synapses to promote the cognitive deficits associated with anxiety, stress and alcohol use disorder. Her ongoing work leverages cutting-edge methods in molecular biology, cellular physiology, chemogenetics, and behavioral pharmacology to study the effects of alcohol and stress in the medial prefrontal cortex. Dr. Varodayan’s research is currently funded by the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism, and the SUNY Empire Innovation Program.

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Natasha Vitek
Assistant Professor, Ecology, Evolution, Systematics and Population Biology Marine Biology, and Epidemiology
Stony Brook University
Natasha Vitek

Dr. Vitek is a vertebrate paleontologist focused on the question: How does the variation we can see within species today scale up to the differences between species that accumulate over time? Using morphometrics, genomics, and museum collections she integrates modern studies of microevolution with the long timescales of the fossil record. Dr. Vitek’s research approach takes two perspectives. First, she documents and interprets the only evidence of what happens to phenotypes on 1000+ year time scales: the fossil and zooarcheological record. Current fossil projects center on the responses of individual species of small mammals to the period of climate change known as the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum as preserved in the Bighorn Basin, Wyoming. Second, Dr. Vitek documents standing variation in analogous phenotypes within species of extant vertebrates and test its relationship to modern climatic, phylogeographic, and ecological variables.

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Marcus DuBois Watson
Assistant Professor of Africana Studies and Individualized Studies
SUNY Buffalo State.
Marcus DuBois Watson

Marcus DuBois Watson, earned his PhD in Cultural Anthropology from Cornell University. Dr. Watson research focuses on international development, digital technology, and social activism in South Africa, Ghana, and the United States. Dr. Watson has developed a critical theory called "half-connecting," which helps to explain the paradoxes of Western modernity from an African-centered perspective. He teaches courses related to these research interests, such as Introduction to Africana Studies, Why Africa Matters, and "Saving" Africa. 

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Celia Wong
Assistant professor in the Department of Psychology
The College at Brockport
Celia Wong

Dr. Celia Wong is an applied social psychologist, and her research interests include stigma, self-compassion, goal regulation, and culture, as well as how these constructs relate to health behaviors, and well-being.