It is that time of year when we welcome new faculty and new staff to the college and introduce them to the A&S community. In the 46 years the editor has been at UMKC, he has always been impressed and excited by the wide array of talents and interests that appear among those who have joined us. This year is no exception as the reader will discover in the biographies that appear in our pages this month.
Cristina Albu is Assistant Professor of Art and Art History who specializes in contemporary art and critical theory and is interested in the crossovers between art, science, and technology. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Pittsburgh in 2012 and also has an M.A. from University of Warwick and two B.A. degrees from University of Bucharest. She is a 2011 recipient of an Andrew Mellon Foundation grant for participation in the Workshop in Cognitive Science/Neuroscience and the Humanities at Stanford University in 2011. Her recent articles include “Five Degrees of Separation between Art and New Media: Art and Technology Projects under the Critical Lens” (Artnodes, 2011), “The Temporalities of Soviet and Postcommunist Visual Culture: A discussion with Boris Groys and Petre Petrov” (with Robert Bailey, Contemporaneity: Historical Presence in Visual Culture, 2011), and “Between Expanded Consciousness and Expanded Bodies: Spectatorial Engagement with Invisible Architecture” (Athanor, 2010). She is currently working on a book focusing on mirroring processes and interpersonal modes of spectatorship in contemporary art.
Majid Bani-Yaghoub completed his Ph.D. in applied mathematics from Carleton University, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. In January 2010, as a postdoctoral research associate, he joined the department of veterinary integrative biosciences at Texas A & M University. In addition to jointly teaching and developing an interdisciplinary graduate course in mathematical epidemiology, he developed a mathematical method to quantify the effectiveness of environmental decontamination for eradication of infection. In January 2011 he was offered a visiting assistant professorship at the department of mathematics to teach mathematical modeling and to facilitate the collaborative research between the two departments. This was continued by the interdisciplinary biomathematics research and lectureship of several courses at Texas A & M University. His current research is focused on mathematical modeling and analysis of infectious diseases with multiple transmission pathways. This includes modeling and numerical simulations of Escherichia coli and Salmonella infections in swine and cattle farms.
Rebecca Best is an Assistant Professor in the Political Science Department. She earned her MA and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her BA from East Carolina University. Her research focuses on terrorism and insurgency, particularly the effect of factionalization of a violent non-state actor on bargaining and conflict processes among non-state actors and between a non-state actor and a state. She is a member of the American Political Science Association, Peace Science Society (International), Midwest Political Science Association, International Studies Association, and Women in Conflict Studies. She has a forthcoming article (with Mark J. C. Crescenzi and Christine Carpino) in Conflict Management and Peace Science. She and her husband are both from North Carolina, and are excited to experience life in a large city. They enjoy visiting museums, locally owned shops and restaurants, microbreweries, and say they cannot wait to visit the zoo.
Rebecca Miller Davis (History) is a historian of the 20th century, focusing mainly on race and media in the Jim Crow South. Her teaching interests include modern America, African American history, media and propaganda, and the New South. She is a native Virginian, earning a BA (2001) and MA (2003) from James Madison University and a PhD (2011) from the University of South Carolina. She has taught at various colleges and universities in South Carolina, Mississippi, Missouri, and Kansas, and comes to UMKC from the University of Kansas, where she taught for three years. When not overwhelmed by her new role as the mother of identical twin boys and passionately following SEC college football, she works on revisions of her dissertation on the Mississippi civil rights movement for publication.
Matthew Edwards is joining Foreign Languages and Literatures as an Assistant Professor. He is a graduate of McGill University and the University of Ottawa. He received his doctoral degree from Emory University (2009) in Contemporary Latin American Literature and was Assistant Professor of Spanish at Concord University before coming to UMKC. He has published articles focusing on 20th century Argentine history and culture and is finishing a book manuscript, titled Pleasure Points: Memories of Latin America’s Queer Pasts, that addresses how homosexual, lesbian, bisexual and transgender subjects engage history and disrupt traditional ways of speaking about the past.
Andrew M. Fox is a full-time Instructor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. He completed his undergraduate studies at Point Loma Nazarene University and is completing his Ph.D. studies at Arizona State University. His research interests include social network analysis, gangs, and communities. He has conducted gang research in the United States, the Caribbean, and in El Salvador. Prior to coming to UMKC, Andrew served as a project manager and research analyst at the Center of Violence Prevention and Community Safety in Phoenix, Arizona. While working for the Center, Andrew participated in several local, state, and international research projects aimed at reducing violence. When not at work, Andrew enjoys spending time with family, and chasing around his one-year-old son, Emerson. After living in the desert for the past six years, he is looking forward to the winter in Kansas City.
Tasha Fox is an Instructor in the Department of Criminal Justice and Criminology. She earned her M.A. from Washington State University in 2009. Her research interests include autism and criminal justice, criminology, juvenile justice, and white collar crime. Prior to coming to UMKC, Tasha worked as a research analyst for the Department of Juvenile Corrections in Arizona. While working for the department, Tasha led a number of program evaluations for high-risk juveniles, including substance abuse, sexual behavior treatment, and mental health programming.
Ile Haggins (Coordinator of Field Education; Social Work) earned her BA in Theatre from Otterbein University in Westerville, Ohio and her MSW from the University of Kansas. She holds an LCSW and comes to academia with 28 years of professional experience. Ile has worked in both clinical and administrative arenas; and has held numerous positions including Child & Family Therapist, Program Director and Executive Director. Her areas of focus are cultural diversity, children and adolescents and mental health. She has worked at various agencies throughout greater Kansas City, such as KU Medical Center, Children’s Mercy Hospital and Swope Health Services. She serves on numerous community boards and organizations.
Jessica Halliday Hardie is Assistant Professor of Sociology who received her B.A. from Wellesley College and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2009. She most recently completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Population Research Institute at Penn State. Her research focuses on the transmission of inequality across generations, with particular attention to the transition to adulthood as a critical juncture in this process. She has published research on racial dynamics in school settings, the development of young women’s work and family goals, and the role of economic hardship in young couple’s relationship quality. She is currently conducting research examining the relationship between maternal health and children’s well-being. Her teaching interests include family, research methods and statistics, population/demography, sociology of education, and social stratification. She says she is looking forward to taking advantage of the art scene in Kansas City since her partner is an art historian and in her past life she worked in theater. Lori also reports that she is an avid runner.
Seung-Lark Lim (Assistant Professor; Psychology) received his B.A and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Korea University. He completed a 3-year clinical psychology residency at Samsung Medical Center, Seoul, Korea and obtained his clinical psychologist license from Korean Ministry of Health and Welfare in 2002. He worked as a research fellow at the University of Arizona from 2002 to 2004. He received his Ph.D. in Cognitive Neuroscience from Indiana University – Bloomington in 2009. Prior to joining the UMKC faculty, he worked as a postdoctoral scholar in Neuroeconomics at California Institute of Technology from 2009 to 2011. His research utilizes computational, behavioral and functional neuroimaging (EEG and fMRI) techniques to understand the neural mechanisms of cognitive-affective interactions and decision-making in the brain and their implications for affective-behavioral dysregulation in normal and clinical populations (e.g., affective disorder, addiction, eating disorder).
Lori Sexton is joining the department of Criminal Justice and Criminology at the University of Missouri, Kansas City as an Assistant Professor. She comes to UMKC from the doctoral program in Criminology, Law and Society at the University of California, Irvine. Prior to her graduate studies, Lori received a B.S. with honors in Human Development from Cornell University and an M.A. in Criminology from the University of Pennsylvania. Lori’s training has been interdisciplinary from the start—a strength that is reflected in both her research and teaching. Her interests lie at the intersection of criminology and socio-legal studies, with a specific focus on prisons, punishment and the lived experience of penal sanctions. Lori has experience with numerous large-scale studies of incarcerated populations that utilize face-to-face interviews with prisoners to better understand the experience of incarceration. Her work has been funded by the National Science Foundation, the National Institute of Justice, and the Fletcher Jones Foundation, and has been published in Justice Quarterly and Criminology & Public Policy. Lori strives to contribute to public criminology by encouraging dialogue about research in public and policy arenas. To further this goal, Lori has co-authored numerous reports to state departments of corrections, provided testimony for state legislation, and presented her research findings to academic, practitioner, policymaker, and public audiences.
Donghui Yan is a visiting assistant professor in Statistics for the academic year of 2012-2013. His research interests lie broadly in statistical methodology and machine learning algorithms, as well as applied statistics in various domains. His research seeks to meet challenges from modern data, including dimensionality, scalability, structural complexity and varying data quality. His past research discovered connections between statistical perturbation analysis and the approximate computation of a broad class of problems such as large-scale computation in kernel-based learning. His previous work also characterizes the impact of data quality on a number of machine learning tasks such as classification and clustering. He received PhD in statistics from the University of California, Berkeley and was a Postdoctoral Researcher at the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center in Seattle, WA. Before that, in 2008 he was a Research Scientist at the Intel Research Lab in Berkeley, CA.