The university is pleased to welcome 22 new tenure-track faculty members to Southern this academic year, with interests ranging from hearing aid technologies to music therapy.
Together, they bring a variety of skills and backgrounds to the institution that will serve to enhance not only Southern’s academic offerings but also enrich the campus community.
College of Arts and Sciences
Owen Biesel, assistant professor of mathematics, joins Southern from Carleton College. His research interests include the branch of theoretical mathematics called abstract algebra, especially the geometrical interpretations of commutative algebra construction. He holds a B.S. in mathematics and physics from the University of Washington, a master’s of advanced study from Cambridge University, and a Ph.D. in mathematics from Princeton University.
Daniel Cicala, assistant professor of mathematics
Belinda Huerta, assistant professor of chemistry, joins Southern from Ireland. Her research interests include investigating the impact of anthropogenic activity, and more particularly the pollutants produced, in the marine and freshwater environment, and the risks associated for the living organisms exposed. She holds a B.S. in environmental sciences from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain, an M.S.c in water quality from the Universidad Autonoma de Madrid in Spain & Lalardalen University in Sweden, and a Ph.D. in environmental chemistry from the Universitat de Girona in Spain.
Venezia Michalsen, assistant professor of sociology, joins Southern from Montclair State University. Her research interests include prison abolition, incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women and their families, incarcerated pregnant people, human trafficking, the prison industrial complex, and the criminalization of disabled people (specifically autistic people). She holds a B.A. in sociology and psychology from Barnard College and a Ph.D. in criminal justice from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
Daniela Pila, assistant professor of sociology, comes to Southern from Fordham University. Her research interests include the intersectionalities of law and society, race and ethnicity, immigration, citizenship, and families. She holds an associate’s degree in general studies from Montgomery College, a B.A. in international relations from Mount Holyoke College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in sociology from the University at Albany SUNY.
Heather Jean Wagner, assistant professor of music therapy, comes to Southern from the State University of New York at New Paltz. Her areas of interest include music therapy and pain management, trauma-informed music therapy practice, and music therapy in medical and mental health well-being practices. She holds a B.S. in music therapy from Slippery Rock University, an M.A. in music therapy from Temple University, and a Ph.D. in music therapy from Temple University.
School of Business
Danny Franklin, assistant professor of management and international business, joins Southern from the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse. His research interests include organizational knowledge and secrecy (e.g., how organizations form, structure, maintain and disclose strategic secrets), behavioral and organizational ethics (e.g., how organizational members interact and seek information when faced with an ethical dilemma), and corporate social responsibility/business sustainability. He holds a B.Tech in mechanical engineering from the National Institute of Technology in Calicut, India; and an M.B.A. and a Ph.D. in strategic management from the Walton College at the University of Arkansas.
College of Education
Kristy Hynes, assistant professor of special education. Hynes’ areas of interest include teacher and administrator preparation in the area of behavior, organizational behavior management, and self-management in graduate students and early career practitioners. She holds a B.S. in elementary education and an M.S. in special education from Central Connecticut State University, a sixth year diploma in applied behavior analysis from Southern Connecticut State University, and is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in special education from University of Northern Colorado (anticipated completion 2023).
College of Health and Human Services
Sarah Benes, assistant professor of health and movement sciences. Benes’ areas of interest include health coaching and work in K-12 districts across the country supporting health and PE programming. She holds a B.S. in athletic training from the University of Connecticut, an Ed.M. in human movement and an Ed.D. in curriculum and instruction from Boston University, and an M.P.H from the University of Massachusetts Amherst.
Shawneen Buckley, assistant professor of communication disorders, emerges in her new role after serving as a clinical field coordinator in the College of Health and Human Services. Her research interests include the association between oral health and dysphagia (disorders of eating and swallowing); effective feedback in clinical education; clinical outcomes in dysphagia assessment and intervention. Her professional background includes health care leadership, as well as working as a medical speech-language pathologist in a variety of clinical settings. She holds a B.A. in Communication/Public Speaking from Rider University, a M.S. in communication disorders from Southern Connecticut State University, and is currently a doctor of speech-language pathology candidate at Northwestern University.
Krystal Finch, assistant professor of social work, comes to Southern from the Yale Child Study Center. Her areas of interest include adolescent mental health and development, addressing racial disparities in accessing mental health services, and addressing stigmas associated with prenatal care and substance use. She holds a B.S. in criminal justice from the University of New Haven, an M.S.W. from Southern Connecticut State University, and a D.S.W. from Walden University.
Deron Grabel, assistant professor of recreation, tourism and sport management, comes to Southern from Post University in Waterbury. His research interests include corporate social responsibility and sports leadership and athletic recruitment’s impact on university enrollment. He holds a B.S. in sports management from Springfield College, an M.S. in education from Herbert H. Lehman College of The City University of New York, and a Ed.D. in sports management from the United States Sports Academy.
Tara Hanlon, assistant professor of nursing. Hanlon’s research interests include nursing students’ perceptions of older patients, chronic illness, and population health.
Elizabeth Hurlbert, assistant professor of nursing, comes to Southern from Goodwin University in East Hartford. Her research interests include addressing racial disparities in healthcare with students and student self-efficacy. She holds a B.S.N. from Southern Connecticut State University, an M.S.N. from the University of Hartford, and is currently pursuing an Ed.D. in nursing education at Southern Connecticut State University.
Robert Knipe, assistant professor of health and movement sciences, comes to Southern from the University of Texas at Austin. His research interests include the occupational socialization of those across the career phases within the physical education teaching field, K-12 school-wide health and physical activity programs and policies, and physical education teacher education’s influence on preservice teachers. He holds a B.S. in health and physical education from Montclair State University, an M.A. in physical education from the University of Northern Iowa, and a Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction from the University of Texas at Austin.
Michael Laughlin, assistant professor of health and movement sciences, joins Southern from William Paterson University in New Jersey. His research interests include the physical education and physical activity experiences of PreK-12 students with disabilities. A secondary research focus examines the curricular structures and frameworks that shape the sport, recreation, and physical activity opportunities for youths and young adults with disabilities. He holds a B.Ed in K-12 physical education from the University of Hawai’i, an M.S. in kinesiology and leisure science from the University of Hawai’i, and a Ph.D. in education from the University of Hawai’i.
Deborah Morrill, assistant professor of nursing is a 2021 graduate of Southern’s School of Nursing’s doctorate in nursing education program. Her research interests include moral decision-making, development of student connection between academic and professional integrity, and incorporation of teaching strategies within the affective domain. Morrill graduated in 1990 with a B.S. in public health and then earned a B.S.N. in nursing in 1994.
Samantha Scott, assistant professor of health and movement sciences, comes to Southern from Springfield College. Her research interests include athletic training students’ mental health in regard to their competence, autonomy, and relatedness within their programs, relating to professional socialization and retention. She holds a B.S. in athletic training from Springfield College, an M.S. in kinesiology/athletic training from Indiana University, and a Ph.D. in physical education teaching and administration from Springfield College.
Annamarie Sisson, assistant professor of recreation, tourism and sports management, comes to Southern from Gainesville, Fla. Her research interests include hospitality leadership curriculum and pedagogy, and event venue sustainability. She holds a B.A. in travel and tourism from Western Michigan University, a M.S. in hospitality and tourism management from Roosevelt University, and a Ph.D. in hospitality administration from Kansas State University.
Amanda Strong, assistant professor of healthcare systems and innovation, comes to Southern with a background as a clinical athletic trainer. Her research interests include understanding allied health self-concept, evidence-informed value assessment strategies, and interprofessional education/communication strategies.
Peter Wasiuk, assistant professor of communication disorders, comes to Southern from Cleveland, Ohio. His research interests include exploring the complex way that individuals perceive, comprehend, and remember spoken language, particularly for those with hearing loss in challenging listening environments (e.g., with background noise and/or competing talkers). Other areas of interest include exploring how aging, hearing loss, linguistic background, and hearing aid technologies influence speech perception and memory function in adverse listening conditions. He holds a B.S. from the University of New Hampshire, an Au.D. from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and a Ph.D. from Case Western Reserve University.