SVC Welcomes New Faculty for 2018-19 Academic Year

by Public Relations | Nov 09, 2018

Nov. 9, 2018

Saint Vincent College welcomed 14 new faculty members for the 2018-19 academic year.

Dr. Stacy Birmingham, formerly dean of the School of Science, Engineering and Mathematics  at Grove City College, joins Saint Vincent College as a professor of engineering. During her time at Grove City, 15 majors and minors were established in the school, while she helped the engineering programs rank in the top 60 nationally. Birmingham, who holds a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in chemical engineering from Carnegie Mellon, was also responsible for directing the ABET accreditation activities at Grove City.

Dr. William Birmingham has been hired as a professor of computing and information systems. He also has most recently worked at Grove City College, where he was an associate professor of music, the founding chairperson of the computer science department and founding faculty member of the school of information. Birmingham, who holds a B.S., M.S. and Ph.D. in electrical engineering from Carnegie Mellon, also led the Grove City computer science department’s successful ABET accreditation efforts.

Having previously taught at Saint Vincent, as well as Chatham University and the University of Cincinnati, Dr. Jessica Black returns to SVC as an assistant professor of psychology. She holds a B.S. in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh and both an M.A. and Ph.D. in psychology from the University of Pittsburgh. In addition to her teaching experience, Black most recently served as staff psychologist at the University of Pittsburgh Counseling Center, and has both academic and clinical expertise in addiction, studying and working with children, adolescents and young adults.

Dr. Michelle Duennes joins the Saint Vincent staff as an assistant professor of biology. She was formerly a post-doctoral scholar at the University of California-Riverside, where she studied diversity and patterns in bumblebees. An Entomological Society of America Science Policy Fellow, she graduated with honors with a B.S. in biology from Mount St. Joseph University, before earning an M.S. and Ph.D. in entomology at the University of Illinois.

Dr. Sarah Dumnich has been named an assistant professor of mathematics at Saint Vincent, after previously holding the same position at Frostburg State University. While at Frostburg, she also served as adviser for the math mentoring program and the Dead Poets Society. Dumnich earned a B.S. in mathematics from Washington and Jefferson College, as well as an M.S. and Ph.D. in mathematics from Lehigh University.

Dr. Kayla Jachimowski will serve as an assistant professor of criminology, law and society. She comes to Saint Vincent after previously teaching at Slippery Rock University and Indiana University of Pennsylvania. She holds a B.S. in justice studies: forensic science and M.A. in applied criminology from California University of Pennsylvania, and a Ph.D. in criminology from Indiana University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on the relationship between mental health, victimization and violence.

Dr. Annie Laurie Nichols has been hired as an assistant professor of communication. Formerly a graduate teaching fellow at the University of Maryland, she has led a number of workshops on critical thinking and developing effective communication skills and was elected Chair of the Kenneth Burke Interest Group of the National Communication Association. She holds a B.A. in communication from Roberts Wesleyan College and earned a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Maryland.

Dr. Nathan Orlando, who recently completed his dissertation titled “Raymond Aron and his Dialogues in an Age of Ideologies,” will hold a postdoctoral fellowship in international politics. He holds a B.A. in both political economy and philosophy and relation from Hillsdale College, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Baylor University.

Dr. Justin Petrovich, who holds a B.S. in mathematics and finance from Saint Vincent, returns to his alma mater as an assistant professor of business statistics. His research has focused on functional and longitudinal data analysis, missing data problems and applied statistics. After graduating from Saint Vincent, Petrovich earned a Ph.D. in statistics from Penn State University.

Hired at Saint Vincent as a professor of music, Dr. Dominic-Savio (Richard) Rossi has spent the past 19 years at Eastern Illinois University as the director of choral activities and 17 as the school’s director of orchestral activities, while also serving as a faculty member for voice and organ. A graduate of Saint Vincent, Rossi is a pianist, organist, countertenor and composer, having published more than 50 choral works and 50 hymn and liturgical works. He holds a B.A. in music education from Saint Vincent College and M.Div. from Saint Vincent Seminary, along with an M.F.A. in orchestral and choral conducting from Carnegie Mellon University and a D.M.A. in conducting and choral literature from the University of Illinois.

Dr. (Ian) Mitch Taylor joins Saint Vincent College as an assistant professor of chemistry. Formerly a postdoctoral associate in bioengineering at the University of Pittsburgh, he was recently recognized by the Brain Institute for his development of three in-vitro electroanalytical sensors, while his most recent NIH proposal received funding of more than $400,000. Taylor earned a B.S. in chemistry from Westminster College and a Ph.D. in analytical chemistry at the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Dana Winters has added to her responsibilities on campus. In addition to serving as a director of simple interactions and academic programs at the Fred Rogers Center, she will also now teach as an assistant professor of child and family studies. Winters will direct the Fred Rogers Scholars Program and the children’s studies minor, while also teaching the course ‘What Would Fred Rogers do?” She earned a B.A. in sociology from Saint Vincent, an M.A. in education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and a Ph.D. in administrative and policy studies from the University of Pittsburgh.

Dr. Zhu (Bingo) Binzhong joins the Saint Vincent staff as a visiting assistant professor in Chinese. Binzhong, who holds a Ph.D. in English literature from Wuhan University, has served as the English department chair at Wuhan since 2010. Previously, he served a fellowship at Illinois State University in 2002-03.

Ms. Che (Sunshine) Chunhu will serve as a visiting instructor of Chinese, after previously teaching at Wuhan University. Additionally, she was assigned with the Confucius Institute of Kenyatta University in Kenya.

Aside from the new faculty members, a pair of new administrators have also joined the staff for 2018-19.

Dr. Roberta Schomburg will serve as the interim executive director of the Fred Rogers Center. A past senior fellow of the Center, she taught for 25 years at Carlow University, where she also held positions including associate dean and professor of early childhood. She holds a B.A. from Macalester College, an M.A. from Salem State University and a Ph.D. in administrative and policy studies/child development from the University of Pittsburgh.

The dean of admission position has been filled by Heather Kabala. She comes to SVC after spending 15 years in admission at the University of Pittsburgh at Greensburg, including the last 10 as director. She is a graduate of La Roche College, where she worked for five years in admission prior to joining the Pitt-Greensburg staff. She is currently completing an M.A. in public policy and management at the University of Pittsburgh.

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