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College of Science and Mathematics

Enhancing lives through learning, discovery and innovation

Website Update

New Faces and Fond Farewells

Eleven new faculty and 15 new staff members joined the college this fall and during the past year. Read the faculty bios below.

The Physics Department has three new staff members — Kevin Coulombe, a technician, and Mikele Hushing and Emily Orlando in the front office — as does the Kinesiology Department: Emily Cruz, Julia Jones and Susan Staub, all administrative staff. The college also welcomed administrative staff Jenny Cruz in CESAME, Katie Doctor in Statistics, Ryan Lau in the Dean's Office, Kristin Reeves in Biological Sciences, Melissa Sunata in Mathematics and Amber Vogt in the Advising Center. Eduardo Valle is now supporting the Biological Sciences Department as a technician; Virginia McMunn is the new assessment coordinator in the School of Education; and the Advising Center added another advisor, Tiffany Kwapnoski.

A number of faculty and staff members who enriched the college and the university through their years of dedicated service retired last year: David Arndt, a technician in Physics; Becky Blasing, administrative coordinator in the Advising Center; Shirley Houston, Administrative Coordinator in Physics; Jodi Jacques, faculty member in the School of Education; Steve Kane, faculty member in the School of Education; Les Pennelly, faculty member in Statistics; Melody Pietsch, administrative coordinator in Statistics, and Mike Stiles, technician in Biological Sciences.

Biological Sciences Department

Dena Grossenbacher

Dena Grossenbacher

B.S., Botany, University Washington, 1999; Ph.D., Population Biology, UC Davis, 2013

Postdoctoral research: UC Davis, 2013, the ecological and genetic causes of aggression in acacia ants in Kenya; Washington State and University of Minnesota Joint advisors, 2014 to present, experimental and phylogenetic methods to assess how mating system evolution impacts species — distributions across the landscape

Nishanta Rajakaruna

Nishanta Rajakaruna

B.A., Human Ecology, College of the Atlantic, 1994; MSc Plant Ecology, 1998, and Ph.D., Botany, 2003, University of British Columbia

Postdoctoral research: Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, 2003–04; Assistant Professor, San Jose State, 2008–2010; Professor of Botany, College of the Atlantic, 2010–17


Alexis PasulkaAlexis Pasulka

B.S., Biology, Arizona State, 2005; Ph.D., Biological Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2013

Postdoctoral research: Geobiology, Cal Tech, 2013-17

Chemistry and Biochemistry Department 

Emily BockmonEmily Bockmon

B.A., Chemistry, Pomona College, 2008; M.S., Earth Science, 2012, and Ph.D., Chemical Oceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 2014

Visiting Assistant Professor, Pomona College, 2014–17

Kinesiology Department

Julia Alber

Julia Alber

B.S., Community Health, University of Illinois, 2010; M.P.H., Public Health, University of North Carolina, Greensboro, 2012; Ph.D., Health and Human Performance, University of Florida, 2015

Postdoctoral research: Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, 2015–17

Marilyn Tseng

Marilyn Tseng

B.A., Human Biology and A.M., Anthropology, Stanford University, 1991; Ph.D., Epidemiology, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 1997

Postdoctoral research: Chase Cancer Center, 1998–2009

Research Assistant, Professor and Lecturer, Kinesiology Department, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, 2009–17

Physics Department

Elizabeth JefferyElizabeth Jeffery

B.S., Physics-Astronomy, Brigham Young University, 2003; M.A., 2005, and Ph.D., Astronomy, University of Texas At Austin, 2009

Postdoctoral research: Bulge Treasury Program: Space Telescope Science Institute, 2009–2011

Visiting Assistant Professor, Brigham Young University, 2014–17

School of Education

Jessica JensenJessica Jensen

B.A., Elementary Education, University of Iowa, 2008; M.A.,  Education, Viterbo University, 2010; Ph.D., Mathematics Education, University of Iowa, 2017


Sonia RamrakhianiSonia Ramrakhiani

B.A., Psychology, St. Xavier’s College in India, 2010; M.S., Clinical Mental Health Counseling, Syracuse University, 2013; Ph.D., Counselor Education, Old Dominion University, 2017

Andrew ByrneAndrew Byrne

B.A., Political Science and History, Grove City College in Pennsylvania; M.S., 2005, and Ph.D., Rehabilitation Counseling, East Carolina University, 2013 

Assistant Professor, Ohio University, 2013–17

Statistics Department

Kelly BodwinKelly Bodwin

B.A., Statistics, Harvard University, 2011; Ph.D., Statistics, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, 2017


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