This fall, Lafayette welcomes 12 new professors, bringing the College’s total to 210 full-time, tenure-track faculty members.
Over the past several years, the College has been working toward increasing the size of the permanent faculty by 20 percent and decreasing the student-to-faculty ratio from 11:1 to 10:1, one of the initiatives in its strategic plan.
Three of the incoming professors represent new positions. So far, Lafayette has allocated or hired 23 additional faculty. The strategic plan calls for 35 new faculty positions.
Zoe Boekelheide, assistant professor of physics, comes to Lafayette from the Material Measurement Laboratory of the National Institute of Standards and Technology. After she earned her Ph.D. in physics with an emphasis in nanoscale science and engineering from the University of California—Berkeley, Boekelheide did postdoctoral research on the magnetic characterization of colloidal nanoparticles for bio-applications. Her research and teaching interests include condensed matter physics, magnetic materials, and magnetic and thermodynamic measurements of nanoparticle colloids, specifically for bio-applications such as hyperthermia cancer research.
Il Hyun Cho comes as an assistant professor of government and law/Asian studies. He received his Ph.D. in international relations from Cornell University and was previously an assistant professor of political science at Cleveland State University. He has held fellowships and visiting positions at Harvard, Stanford, University of Tokyo, the Center for the Study of the Presidency, and Yonsei University in Seoul. His teaching and research interests include international relations, global governance, nuclear proliferation, Chinese foreign policy, and Asian politics. He has published in peer-reviewed journals and is working on a book manuscript under contract with Oxford University Press.
Eric Ho, assistant professor of biology, most recently worked as a postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University and served as a visiting professor of microbiology at New Jersey City University. He is a graduate of Rutgers University, where he earned a Ph.D. in biochemistry. Ho is the recipient of a $125,000, three-year postdoctoral fellowship from the National Institutes of Health and an $80,000 National Science Foundation graduate fellowship. In addition to his research interest in bioinformatics and computational biology, Ho studies the application of next generation DNA sequencing technology in medicine.
Michael McGuire, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, earned his Ph.D. from Virginia Tech. He was previously a senior staff engineer with Schnabel Engineering and has also been an engineering consultant on many projects, including performing stability and deformation calculations on floodwalls in New Orleans. His teaching areas include geotechnical engineering, foundation engineering, retaining walls, slopes, and earthen dams. His research interests include soil-structure interaction as it applies to column-supported embankments and pile-supported T-Wall levees; stability of levees, slopes, and walls; and ground improvement. McGuire is a licensed professional engineer in the state of Virginia.
Olena Ogrokhina is a new assistant professor of economics. Ogrokhina earned a Ph.D. in economics from University of Houston, where she taught courses on micro- and macroeconomics. Her research interests include macroeconomics, international economics, time series econometrics, applied econometrics, growth and development, and international finance. She received a fellowship from the National Bureau of Economic Research to study wage inequality.
Youshaa Patel joins the faculty from the University of Tennessee as an assistant professor of religious studies. His primary research field crosses the intersection of Islam, ethics, and public life, with special interests in inter-religious cooperation and conflict, Islamic scripture and law, and social scientific approaches to religion. Both his teaching and research draw upon sustained engagement with multiple areas of the Muslim world, including research stays in India, Qatar, Yemen, Jordan, and a Fulbright-Hays fellowship in Syria. He teaches courses such as Islam, Muhammad and Prophecy; The Quran; Sufism: Islamic Spirituality and Mysticism; and Shari’a: Islamic Law and Ethics. He earned a Ph.D. from Duke.
Brittany Perry, assistant professor of government and law, comes to Lafayette from Duke, where she earned a Ph.D. in political science and taught courses on immigration and the U.S. political system. Perry’s research interests include the evolution of congressional institutions, Latino political representation, Latino immigration, and the effects of geography on political attitudes and participation rates. She received an American Association of University Women dissertation fellowship to support her work on non-citizen political representation.
Tobias Rossmann, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, is not entirely new to Lafayette: He was previously a visiting assistant professor. Rossmann, who received a Ph.D. from Stanford University, taught mechanical and aerospace engineering for several years at Rutgers University, and worked for Advanced Projects Research, Inc. His teaching interests include design, fluid mechanics, thermodynamics, and experimental methods, and his research interests include experimental fluid dynamics, high-speed flows, optical diagnostics, micro-optical devices, and combustion. His research has been funded by several grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation, NASA, and the National Science Foundation.
Michael Senra, assistant professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering, is another familiar face on campus, having served as a visiting assistant professor in the department and as the faculty adviser to the student chapter of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. Senra’s areas of teaching include process control, reaction kinetics and reactor design, process design, and chemical engineering laboratory courses. His research interests focus on the flow, crystal, and gel properties of petroleum-based solutions and biofluids.
Jodi Szarko joins the faculty as assistant professor of chemistry. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Colorado at Boulder and was a postdoctoral research fellow at Northwestern University, where she helped in the construction of a new laser spectroscopy and microscopy lab. Szarko’s research interests include the investigation of conjugated oligomers, polymers, and polymer blends, which have been fabricated as electron donors in organic photovoltaic solar cells. She previously taught at Chicago State University and Northwestern University.
Brandon Van Dyck is an assistant professor in the Government and Law Department. He is working on a book project, The Paradox of Adversity: New Left Party Survival and Collapse in Latin America. Van Dyck’s research interests include political party formation and the conditions for democratic consolidation, with a focus on Latin America. He will be teaching courses on Latin American politics, comparative politics, political regimes, and social policy.
Lindsay Soh is a new instructor of chemical and biomolecular engineering. She earned her Ph.D. from Yale. Soh’s doctoral research examined the sustainability of algae for use as a biodiesel feedstock, focusing on cultivation and fuel processing. She received a $126,000 graduate fellowship from the Environmental Protection Agency to support this work. In addition to renewable fuels, Soh has also conducted research on emerging wastewater contaminants.