2014-2015 Engaged Teaching Fellows Program Fellows and Mentors

2014-2015 Fellows and Mentors



Vidya Atal

Vidya Atal, Assistant Professor, Economics & Finance

Vidya Atal is currently an Assistant Professor in the Department of Economics and Finance at Montclair State University. She holds a Master's and a Ph.D. degree in economics from Cornell University. Earlier, she received a Master's degree in quantitative economics from Indian Statistical Institute.

Her research interests include studying different topics of Industrial Organization, for example, the patent policies in the United States, open source software licensing, firms' strategies while in patent-race or studying their investment decisions in R&D. In addition, she finds several topics in Development Economics very interesting, like female power, intra-household bargaining, migration of labor, right to employment, etc. 

Dr. Atal’s research articles have been published in some of the top-tier peer-review journals in economics, namely, The Journal of Industrial Economics, Economics Letters, Economics Bulletin, International Journal of Economic Theory and the International Journal of Industrial Organization. She has presented her research in several national and international conferences, like the International Industrial Organization Conference and the Royal Economic Society Annual Conference.
 Thomas Bentey

Thomas Bentey, Adjunct Professor, School of Communication and Media

Thomas Bentey graduated from Rutgers University in 2003 with a BA in English and obtained a MA degree in Media Studies from The New School in 2012. As part of his graduate degree requirements, Thomas made a feature film.  “At the Jersey Shore” went on to screen at national film festivals, (including the inaugural Montclair Film Festival) and received international Cable VOD, iTunes and Amazon.com distribution. 

He currently teaches Fundamentals of Speech at Montclair State University and Middlesex County College. Thomas is excited to foster and develop student engagement techniques with his colleagues during his time as an Engaged Teaching Fellow.


 Lauren Dinour

Lauren Dinour, Assistant Professor, Health & Nutrition

Dr. Lauren Dinour is an Assistant Professor of Nutrition in the Department of Health and Nutrition Sciences. Currently, her research interests focus on health-promoting policies and programs that improve childhood nutrition, particularly in the areas of school food and breastfeeding. A Registered Dietitian (RD) and public health professional, Dr. Dinour holds a DrPH with a focus on Public Health Nutrition from the Graduate Center (CUNY), an MPH with a focus on Public Health Nutrition from Hunter College (CUNY), and a BS in Nutritional Sciences from Cornell University. Prior to joining the Nutrition faculty at Montclair State University, Dr. Dinour worked as a practitioner and researcher in community-based and public health settings in the areas of childhood nutrition and food policy, such as Head Start centers, WIC offices, and the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Dr. Dinour is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and is currently the Treasurer of the Hunger and Environmental Nutrition Dietetic Practice Group. She also holds memberships in the American Public Health Association, New Jersey Breastfeeding Coalition, and New Jersey Dietetics Association.

Phoebe Farber

Phoebe Farber, Adjunct Professor, Health & Nutrition Sciences

Dr. Phoebe Farber is an adjunct professor in the department of Health Sciences and Nutrition, where she teaches a course entitled “Mental Health”. She received her MSW and Ph.D from New York University; her dissertation addressed the topic of counselor empathy with HIV-infected adolescents. She has worked at Bellevue Hospital, Mount Sinai Hospital and has had a private psychotherapy practice since 1995. Her areas of interest include optimism, resilience, creativity and the unconscious. She has presented at a number of conferences, most recently in VanCouver, Canada and Manchester, England.

In addition to her work in the field of mental health, she is a published playwright. Her plays, which focus on themes of mental health, have been produced in several festivals in New Jersey and New York, winning best play at both The Midtown Short Play Festival in NYC and The Player’s Theater in NYC. Her play Home Care will be performed at the Unchained Festival in Long Island City in June 2014.

 Daniel Fisherman

Daniel Fisherman, Adjunct Professor, Educational Foundations

Daniel Fisherman is an adjunct professor in the department of Educational Foundations, and a sixth year doctoral student in the Philosophy and Pedagogy program at Montclair State.  He has run the Philosophy with Children program at the Randolph School in Wappingers Falls, NY, for the past twelve years, and teaches middle and high school philosophy classes at the Poughkeepsie Day School.  His scholarly interest concerns the non-rational and intuitive aspects of critical thinking, as well as the role of philosophy in primary and secondary education.  His writings on these topics have been published in the Philosophy of Education Yearbook,  Analytic Thinking and Philosophical Praxis, and Childhood and Philosophy.  He is a regular presenter at the Philosophy of Education Society, a founding member of the organization’s Phenomenology and Existential Philosophy SIG, and currently serves on its conference program committee.  Prior to returning to doctoral studies in 2009, Dan spent twenty years as a computer programmer and professional musician, often traveling the country for months on end in a small van eating more than his share of bad food.  He received his M.A. in philosophy from the University of Pennsylvania in 1990.

 Jill Hersh

Jill Hersh, Adjunct Professor, Women's and Gender Studies

For the past decade, Jill Hersh has been teaching in the Women's & Gender Studies program at MSU. She also is a professor of Media Studies & Communications at regional universities. A two-time recipient of a Service Learning Fellowship, her research interests and coursework include: race, gender & class in popular culture, feminist media literacy and the history of women's political & social activism. Currently at work on a vintage lifestyle book, she regularly performs in regional theater and film as a form of community activism and most recently participated in 'The Vagina Monologues' on campus and the documentary "Girls Show". Jill completed her Ph.D. coursework at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a master's in Liberal & Women's Studies from Duke University as well as a master's degree in Mass Media & Communications from Temple University.

Priya Lalvani 

Priya Lalvani, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood, Elementary Education, and Literacy Education

Dr. Priya Lalvani is an Assistant Professor in the graduate program in Inclusive Education. Her scholarship is focused on the social construction of disability and its implications for inclusive education. Her research seeks to challenge unquestioned assumptions in special education and to disrupt institutionalized discourses and practices that perpetuate the segregated education of students with disabilities.

 Satenik Margaryan

Satenik Margaryan, Assistant Professor, Justice Studies

Satenik Margaryan is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Justice Studies at the Montclair State University. She received her Ph.D. in criminal justice from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. At the Department of Justice Studies, she is responsible for teaching core courses in the major including Criminology, Statistics and Research Methods. She is also actively teaching in the new International Justice concentration. Her main research interests include national penal reform processes and penal systems in the Post-Soviet countries. 

Chris Parker 

Christopher Parker, Adjunct Professor, Classics & General Humanities

Joel Penney 

Joel Penney, Assistant Professor, School of Communication and Media

Dr. Joel Penney received his PhD from the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on the uses of participatory and digital media platforms for social and political advocacy as well as the construction of collective identities. Dr. Penney has published essays in journals such as Communication, Culture, and Critique, New Media and Society, and Popular Music and Society, and has contributed chapters to the books Joystick Soldiers: The Politics of Play in Military Video Games and Queer Identities/Political Realities. He is currently working on a book project based on his dissertation that explores how citizens participate in political marketing campaigns in the digital age.

 Petra van't Slot
Petra van 't Slot, Instructional Specialist Chemistry and Biochemistry

Petra's interest is in the field of Education. She received her MSc in Biomolecular Sciences from Wageningen University in The Netherlands and went on to receive a postdoctoral teaching degree from Utrecht University. Her extensive teaching experience includes 9th-12th grade and college courses. Her previous employers include high schools and a four-year university in The Netherlands and California.

Always aiming for the most effective way of transferring new knowledge, she has been and is actively involved in curriculum development. She is excited to be part of the 2014-2015 Engaged Teacher Fellow program.



Jean Alvares, Chairperson, Classics & General Humanities


Susan Baglieri, Associate Professor of Special Education, Secondary and Special Education


Elaine Gerber, Associate Professor, Anthropology

Dr. Gerber is a medical anthropologist and disability studies scholar. Prior to joining the Anthropology faculty at Montclair State University, Dr. Gerber served for five years as the Senior Research Associate for the American Foundation for the Blind (AFB), and taught in the graduate program in Disability Studies at City University of New York (CUNY).  She received her Ph.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles and her B.A. from the University of Michigan. (Let’s Go Blue!)  She is a past President of the Society for Disability Studies and is currently a member of the Disability Studies Quarterly editorial board. Her current research includes issues related to: food security & disablement; active living; audio description; blind theater; and the cultural construction of disability.  Her earlier work also centered around culture and the body, particularly in the area of women’s reproductive health.


Lisa Lieberman, Assistant Professor, Health and Nutrition Sciences


Todd Kelshaw, Associate Professor, School of Communication and Media


Archana Kumar, Assistant Professor, Marketing

Archana Kumar is an Assistant Professor of Marketing, teaching Introduction to Marketing and Retail Marketing and Management.  In Spring 2013, she developed and taught a new hands-on experiential course on 'E-retailing and Multi-channel retailing'. Her principles areas of research are in consumer behavior, apparel retailing, branding strategies, electronic and mobile commerce shopping behavior and cross-cultural consumer behavior.


Dr. Kumar's research has been published in several referred journals including the Journal of Services Marketing, International Journal of Retail and Distribution Management and the Journal of Business Research.  She is also the recipient of the 2007 Emerald Research Fund Award for Indian Management Research.


Dr. Kumar is a member of the American Collegiate and Retailing Association (ACRA) and International Textile and Apparel Association (ITAA).  Dr. Kumar has a PhD in Retail and Consumer Services and M.S. in Statistics from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville.  She also has a M.S. in Integrated Textile and Apparel Science from Auburn University.

   Yi Luo, Assistant Professor, School of Communication and Media

 Tony Spanakos, Associate Professor, Political Science and Law


Dirk Vanderklein, Associate Professor, Biology & Molecular Biology

Dr. Vanderklein is an associate professor in the Department of Biology and Molecular Biology. He received his PhD from the University of Minnesota where he studied the impact of insect defoliation on tree seedling growth and physiology. His current research interests are to understand how Japanese knotweed impacts our water supply and the mechanisms that make is such an effective water user and to understand why certain trees in the New Jersey Pine Barrens are stunted in their growth. His interest in teaching led him to take courses in adult education while working on his PhD. Since coming to Montclair State University, he has been one of the primary faculty involved in developing and teaching the core freshman and sophomore biology courses. An integral part of these courses has been to involve students in developing and conducting their own research projects.

   Quinn Vega, Professor, Biology & Molecular Biology