Meet the New Faculty Members Joining the College of Arts and Sciences this Fall
September 26, 2023
The College of Arts and Sciences is excited to welcome 14 new faculty members to our learning community this fall. These accomplished scholars drive discovery and collaboration across diverse disciplines in the humanities, social sciences and natural sciences, and will serve as dedicated mentors to their students, immersing them in experiences, scholarship and research that make a positive impact.
Shelby Rinehart, PhD, joins the Department of Biodiversity, Earth and Environmental Science as an assistant professor. They completed their PhD in the San Diego State University and University of California Davis joint doctoral program in ecology before moving to Israel to work as a postdoctoral fellow for two years at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Rinehart most recently served as a postdoctoral research associate at the University of Alabama, studying the re-establishment of ecosystem function in restored and created wetlands along the Gulf Coast.
Bernat Ivancsics, PhD, joins the Department of Communication as an assistant professor. A former business journalist, Ivancsics earned his PhD at Columbia University, where he researched the computational tools and data analytic practices of investigative reporters around the world.
Llana Carroll, PhD, joins the Department of English and Philosophy as an assistant teaching professor. She earned her PhD in English with a focus on cultural and critical studies from the University of Pittsburgh. Carroll has previously taught at the University at Albany, Skidmore College and New York University.
Mercer Gary, PhD, joins the Department of English and Philosophy as an assistant professor. She earned her PhD in philosophy and women’s, gender and sexuality studies from The Pennsylvania State University and recently served as a postdoctoral fellow at The Hastings Center. Gary’s work explores conceptual questions in feminist ethics, particularly around the normative significance of relationships, in order to strengthen applied interventions in bioethics and the ethics of technology.
John Vercher joins the Department of English and Philosophy as an assistant teaching professor. He earned his MFA in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University and is the author of three novels, “Three-Fifths,” “After the Lights Go Out” and the forthcoming “Devil is Fine.” His writing focuses on issues of identity and family. Vercher endeavors to make writing enjoyable for students by making the work personal, finding ways students can connect to their writing at an individual level by focusing on subjects in which they are most invested.
Bill Vargo, a graduate of Drexel’s MFA in Creative Writing program, joins the department of English and Philosophy as an assistant teaching professor. Vargo previously worked in the film industry as a video assist operator and a rigging grip. He is drawn to the connection between literacy and thought and designs his courses to equip students with the processes and practices to continue developing their literacies.
Robert Zawatski, a graduate of Drexel’s MFA in Creative Writing program, joins the department of English and Philosophy as an assistant teaching professor. A recipient of Drexel’s Adjunct Faculty Award for Teaching Excellence, Zawatski promotes writing as an instrument of self-discovery and a tool that helps us understand our place in the world. He asks students to challenge their preconceived notions and engage in critical thought by examining rhetorical choices.
Alberto Morales, PhD, joins the Department of Global Studies and Modern Languages as an assistant professor. He earned his PhD in anthropology from the University of California, Irvine and worked most recently as a postdoctoral research associate at Princeton University studying the ethnography of science and technology.
B. Cooper Boniece, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics as an assistant professor. He obtained his PhD at Tulane University and held postdoctoral positions at Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Utah. His research areas are in mathematical statistics and applied probability, and his current work focuses on statistical inference for high-dimensional time series and for high-frequency data.
Ramesh Garimella, PhD, joins the Department of Mathematics as an associate teaching professor. An experienced educator with over 25 years of teaching experience, Garimella is passionate about undergraduate teaching and likes to instill mathematical thinking and problem-solving skills in his students. He earned his PhD at the University of Toledo and has previously held positions at Tennessee Technological University and the University of Central Arkansas.
Bryan VanSaders, PhD, joins the Department of Physics as an assistant professor. He earned a PhD in materials science and engineering from the University of Michigan in 2019 and was a Kadanoff-Rice postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago. VanSaders uses computer simulation to study active soft matter systems and is particularly interested in the intersection of active matter and topological defects in dense crystalline colloidal assemblies, as well as the role of information in emergent swarm dynamics.
Sergei Kostiaev, PhD, joins the Department of Politics as an assistant teaching professor. He has been teaching in various universities in Russia and the U.S. since 2005, most recently the University of Delaware, and earned his PhD in planning and public policy from Rutgers University in 2022. His research investigates the role of interest groups in public policy making process.
Sara McGuire, PhD, joins the Department of Politics as an assistant teaching professor. She earned her PhD in political science and international relations from McMaster University and has previously taught at the University of Texas at El Paso and the University of Pennsylvania. McGuire has a strong interest in national security law and policy and her research areas include American and Canadian foreign and defense policy, homeland security, international relations theory and international law.
Petra Kottsieper, PhD, earned her PhD in clinical psychology from Drexel in 2006 and returns to the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences as an associate professor and director of the Drexel Psychological Services Center. She most recently worked as the Senior Director of Complex and Integrated Care at the local mental health organization Community Behavioral Health, and previously taught at Philadelphia College of Medicine.