University of Scranton Appoints New Faculty Members

09/27/13

             The University of Scranton has appointed 18 new full-time faculty members for the 2013-2014 academic year.

            Michael G. Azar, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of theology/religious studies. He previously taught at Fordham University and the University of Wyoming. He received a bachelor’s degree in biblical studies from Colorado Christian University, a master of arts degree in theology from St. Vladimir’s Orthodox Theological Seminary and a master of philosophy degree in theology from Fordham University, where he is also completed a doctorate in the New Testament. His areas of research and teaching include: the gospels; apocalyptic literature; early Christian exegesis, theology and liturgy; early and modern Jewish-Christian Relations, and Christianity in the Middle East. He resides in Scranton.

            Jessica Bachman, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of exercise science and sport. She previously taught at Marywood University. Dr. Bachman received a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences from The Pennsylvania State University and a master of public health degree in community education and a master of science degree in nutrition from the University of Tennessee. She also earned a doctorate in nutrition science from the University of Tennessee. She is also a registered dietician. In 2006, as a Cancer Research Training Award recipient, she conducted research at the National Cancer Institute. Dr. Bachman resides in Scranton.

            Arthur J. Catino, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of chemistry. He was previously a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University. Dr. Catino earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Franklin & Marshall College. He earned a doctorate in organic chemistry from the University of Arizona and the University of Maryland. He also received postdoctoral fellowships from the National Institutes of Health and the American Cancer Society, as well as the American Chemical Society’s Organic Division Fellowship. He holds two U.S. Patents, has published research in numerous scientific journals and has done presentations at conferences throughout the United States and Italy.

            Julie A. Cerrito, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of counseling and human services. She was previously employed as an elementary school counselor in the Berwick Area School District and the Pocono Mountain School District. She earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania and a master’s in school counseling from the University of Scranton. In August she received a doctorate in counselor education and supervision from The Pennsylvania State University. She has also worked as an adjunct professor at the University of Scranton and Bloomsburg University.

            Christopher C. Dunbar, OTD, was named faculty specialist in occupational therapy. He previously worked as an occupational therapist at Geisinger Wyoming Valley Medical Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Wilkes University and two master’s degrees (in occupational therapy and organizational management) from Misericordia University, where he also received his doctorate in occupational therapy in 2011. He also received a designation of Certified Hand Therapist in 2010. His clinical specialty is in working with hand and upper extremity injuries. Dr. Dunbar has also been an adjunct professor at Misericordia and lecturer at The University of Scranton and Geisinger Wyoming Valley. He lives in Forty Fort.

            Robert C. Giambatista, Ph.D., was named associate professor of management and marketing. He previously taught at Lehigh University and Texas Tech University. Dr. Giambatista received bachelor’s and master’s degrees in management science from The Pennsylvania State University. He earned his doctorate in organizational behavior from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. He has also worked as a systems analyst and systems consultant. Dr. Giambatista has had his research published in several journals in his field and has given numerous scholarly presentations throughout the United States and Canada. He resides in Macungie.

            Zachary C. Huard, Ph.D., was named visiting assistant professor of physics and electrical engineering. He received a bachelor’s degree in physics and mathematics from The University of Scranton and earned his master’s and doctorate in physics from the University of Cincinnati. He previously was an adjunct faculty member at Northern Kentucky University and the University of Cincinnati. While at Cincinnati, he earned a Preparing Future Faculty certificate, a nationally recognized program that prepares graduate students for careers in academia. He resides in Scranton.

            Michael J. Jenkins, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of criminal justice. Previously he was an assistant professor at the University of New Haven, a lecturer at The University of Scranton, and an adjunct lecturer at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey. He also worked as a case manager at the Police Institute at Rutgers. He also worked as a case manager at the Police Institute at Rutgers. In that capacity he worked closely with social service agencies and the New Jersey State Parole Board. Dr. Jenkins earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and philosophy from The University of Scranton. He earned his master’s and doctorate in criminal justice from Rutgers. He resides in Clarks Green.

            Mary M. Kovaleski was named faculty specialist in nursing. She earned a master’s degree in nursing from The University of Scranton. Prof. Kovaleski has 29 years of experience in the profession and previously worked at Moses Taylor Hospital as a nurse educator and registered nurse in the intensive care unit, and at Neurosurgical Consultants, providing pre- and post-operative care. She also served as a clinical instructor at The University of Scranton and The Pennsylvania State University, Worthington Scranton campus, teaching medical-surgical and critical care nursing. She resides in Jermyn.

            Erica Lasek-Nesselquist, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of biology. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biology from Smith College and a doctorate in ecology and evolutionary biology from Brown University and the Marine Biological Laboratory in Woods Hole, Mass. Dr. Lasek-Nesselquist was awarded the Crane Family Global Infectious Diseases Fellowship. She has done postdoctoral research at the University of Connecticut and has had research published in several scientific journals. She also taught at workshops offered by Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology in Okinawa, Japan. She resides in Scranton.

            Yibai Li, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of operations and information management. He previously taught at Washington State University and also was the designer and co-founder of Hotel Simulator, an online training site for college students majoring in hotel management. He earned bachelor’s degrees in computer science and business administration from Jilin University in China and a master’s degree in management science and information systems from Oklahoma State University. He earned a doctorate in business administration at Washington State University. He resides in Scranton.

            Lori A. Magnuson, Ph.D., was named assistant professor of counseling and human services. She previously taught at Western Washington University, the University of Iowa and Assumption College. Dr. Magnuson received a bachelor’s degree in education from Northwest College and a master’s degree in counseling from Seattle University. She earned a doctorate in rehabilitation counselor education from the University of Iowa. Her research and teaching interests include: ethics in counseling; counselor supervision; counseling foundations; working with families; high school transition; and intellectual disabilities. She resides in Dunmore.

            Mary Elaine Miller-Southard, DNP. cand., was named faculty specialist in nursing. She has 35 years of nursing experience as a practitioner, educator, consultant and lecturer. She received a bachelor’s degree in nursing from College Misericordia and a master’s degree in nursing from the University of Pennsylvania. She earned a post-master’s certificate as a holistic nurse practitioner from New York University and is completing a doctorate in nursing practice from the University of Minnesota. She previously worked at Mercy Health Partners and Geisinger Health Plan and as a consultant in private practice. She was also a clinical nursing instructor at The University of Scranton and Misericordia University and served as an adjunct faculty member at New York University. She resides in Scranton.

            Patrick T. Orr, Ph.D., was named visiting assistant professor in psychology. He was previously a post-doctoral fellow at Geisinger Health System in Danville. His research interests include: biological basis of learning and memory; science education; genetic basis of neurodevelopmental disorders. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from The University of Scranton and two master’s degrees in psychology from Yale University. He earned his doctorate in psychology from Yale, where he also received a dissertation fellowship. Dr. Orr has published work in a number of peer-reviewed publications and presented research at numerous conferences. He resides in Duryea.

            Adam J. Pratt, Ph.D., was named visiting assistant professor of history. He was previously an adjunct instructor at Louisiana State University and Baton Rouge Community College. He earned a bachelor’s degree from Clemson University and master’s and doctoral degrees from Louisiana State University. His research interests include the Jacksonian America and the Civil War. Papers he has presented include “Georgia’s Gubernatorial Election of 1831 and the Politics of Whiteness,”and ‘A curious compound of the hero and the dandy’: George Armstrong Custer, the Cavalier Image, and Southern Masculinity in the Postwar South.” He resides in Scranton.

            Ben T. Willis, Ph.D., was named assistant professor in counseling and human services. Previously he worked as a counselor for adults and children with issues like mood disorders, anxiety and behavioral issues. He received a bachelor’s degree in biology from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He earned a master’s degree in couples and family counseling and his doctorate in counseling and counselor education from The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, where he also taught. His main research focus is on identity and the identity development process.

            Melissa Ann Wright, Esq., was named faculty specialist in law in the Management and Marketing Department. She previously worked as a corporate attorney for Exar Corporation, a public semiconductor company in Fremont, Calif., and O’Melveny and Myers, LLP, in Menlo Park, Calif. She has extensive experience representing start-up technology companies and venture capital and private equity funds in matters such as debt and equity financings, investments, recapitalizations and exit transactions. She has also worked with public companies on mergers and acquisitions, securities act reporting and corporate governance. In addition, she has created and led training sessions for employees and management on a variety of legal and business matters. She earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration and psychology from Houghton College and a juris doctorate from the University of Oregon School of Law. She resides in Northampton.

            Dawei Zhang, Ph.D. cand., was named assistant professor of operations and information management. He comes to Scranton from The University of Calgary, where he taught and is completing a doctorate in management information systems. He earned a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Sun Yat-sen University, China, and a master’s degree in economics from The Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. His teaching interests include networking, programming languages, database management and business intelligence. He has presented papers on information technology at a several conferences in the United States and Canada.

09-27-13

Images of faculty members are available through the News and Media Relations Office. Call 570-941-7669.


Press Release Contact:
Stan Zygmunt
Director of News & Media Relations
The University of Scranton
(570)-941-7662