aerial photo of the Graduate School building

New Faculty Directory

Welcome new 2020 Faculty!

College of the Arts

Associate Professor
School of Communication and Media
B.A.    Boston College
M.A.    Florida State University
Ph.D.   Florida State University


DR. ANDON received his Ph.D. from the College of Communication and Information at Florida State University in 2011 after writing a dissertation on sports memorabilia. His undergraduate career at Boston College consisted of work in television, radio, and digital film production – with stints at WBAL-TV, WHFC-FM, and at ESPN covering the 2002 World Cup. Playing on the dynamic between popular culture and the rhetorical theory of memory, his research interests involve an array of topics dealing with sport, including the nostalgic influences of media sport, sport and social media, and the development of sports fan cultures. His publications include pieces in edited anthologies and academic journals on topics such as the National Hockey League’s Winter Classic, the trend of throwback uniforms in Major League Baseball, and supporters’ culture in professional soccer. He has lectured widely and served as a reviewer for the Sociology of Sport Journal and the International Journal of Communication and Sport.

Assistant Professor
Department of Theatre and Dance
MFAIA      Goddard College


STEFANIE BATTEN BLAND, the first female Jerome Robbins awardee of African American heritage, is an interdisciplinary global artist who interrogates contemporary and historical culture with dance-theatre for installation and film creations. A 2020 commissioned artist by Baryshnikov Arts Center, she served as 2019 fellow at Center for Ballet Arts at NYU, and choreographer for American Ballet Theatre’s inaugural Women’s Movement Initiative. She created an international performance group, Company SBB in Paris, in 2008 while head choreographer for the Paris Opéra Comique. Her COVID -19 credits include “Works & Process” at the Guggenheim Museum, performances for the Brooklyn Botanical Gardens, the European Union at the United Nations, and virtual Europe Day. Among her live commissions are Movement Director for “Eve’s Song” at the Public Theater, Movement Director and Director of Equity for the 2021 immersive production Life & Trust by Emursive. Her work has been profiled widely in the international press. Batten Bland received her MFA in interdisciplinary arts from Goddard College and her teaching and research are based in dance-theatre modalities for actors and dancers as well as in dance cinema and immersive perspectives.

Associate Professor
John J Cali School of Music
BMus  Oberlin Conservatory of Music
BA      Oberlin College
MA      UC San Diego
PhD     UC San Diego

DR. HELGESON joins the Cali School of Music having previously served as Chair of Composition and Theory at the Longy School of Music of Bard College, and Assistant Professor of Composition at the Oberlin Conservatory of Music, with additional visiting appointments at the University of Hartford’s Hartt School of Performing Arts, New York University, and the University of California Washington Center. As a composer, Dr. Helgeson uses musical transcription, historical adaptation, and contemporary collage techniques to find new ways of engaging with old musical traditions. In 2018, he served as the inaugural postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago’s new Center for Contemporary Composition. In addition to awards from the Barlow Endowment, Aaron Copland Foundation, and American Society of Authors Songwriters and Composers, Dr. Helgeson received a 2016 Ohio Arts Council Award for his Snow Requiem, an “anti-cantata” based on author David Laskin’s book The Children’s Blizzard about the deadly Homestead-era snowstorm of the same name. It combines original transcriptions of Norwegian-American immigrant folk music with orchestral sonifications of weather data. Dr. Helgeson’s upcoming choral cycle The Book of Never, commissioned for Grammy Award winning chorus The Crossing, collages ancient hymns from the Novgorod Codex (a 10th-century book of Ukrainian psalm chant overwritten hundreds of times with heretical sermons by an excommunicated Pagan missionary) with texts by twentieth-century writers in various states of exile.


College of Education and Human Services

Assistant Professor
Department of Counseling
B.S.     University of Virginia
M.S.    Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D.   William & Mary


DR. CHAE, who received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from William & Mary in May 2020, joins the Department of Counseling. Her research interests include school counselors’ roles in promoting equitable access to rigor, school counselors’ advocacy for underrepresented P-12 students and families, and school counseling supervision. She completed her dissertation on gatekeeping of underrepresented students in International Baccalaureate Diploma Programs, and her doctoral work focused on school counseling research, practice, and education. Previously, she served as a professional school counselor across the P-12 levels and director of high school admissions in Baltimore, Maryland. She also provided free family and couples counseling as well as group counseling services for parents and children in the Hampton Roads area in Virginia. Dr. Chae is a certified school counselor and licensed clinical professional counselor in Maryland, a nationally certified counselor and school counselor, and an approved clinical supervisor.


Assistant Professor
Department of Educational Leadership
A.A.    Los Angeles Pierce College
B.A.    San Diego State University
M.A.   Teachers College, Columbia University
Ph.D.   University of Southern California


Dr. LIERA’s research focuses on studying college and university campuses as racialized organizations. He specifically studies how the organizational processes administrators, faculty, and staff use reproduce racial inequality and how they can change and leverage such processes to create racially equitable campuses. His work on faculty agency for racial equity has been published in The Journal of Higher Education, his work on organizational learning appears in Education Policy Analysis Archives, his work on racial equity and faculty hiring is published in the American Educational Research Journal, and his work on equity-minded hiring practices is published in Teachers College Record.


College of Humanities and Social Sciences

Professor and Chair
Department of Social Work and Child Advocacy
B.A.    Clark University
Ph.D.   Univ. of Massachusetts, Boston


DR. DOUGLAS joins Montclair State from Worcester Polytechnic Institute where she was a full professor and department head. Her research focuses on the program and policy implications of issues that address child and family well-being, largely in the areas of family violence: fatal child maltreatment, under-represented victims of partner violence and help-seeking, children’s exposure to partner violence, corporal punishment, family disruption, and the connection between research and policy. Dr. Douglas is the author of 60+ peer-reviewed publications, four books, and she presents annually at domestic and international conferences. Dr. Douglas has spoken at the State Houses in Maine, Massachusetts, and Connecticut and provided invited testimony before a Congressionally created committee focused on children’s deaths. In 2016–2017 she was a Congressional fellow in Washington, D.C., dually sponsored by the Society for Research in Child Development and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology; during this time, she held a position in the U.S. Senate where she was the lead author on an investigation concerning for-profit foster care. This fall she joins the department as its new Chair.




Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
B.A.    University of California Berkeley
M.A.    Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary
M.A.    Stony Brook University
Ph.D.   Stony Brook University


Dr. Kang received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Stony Brook University in 2020 with an advanced graduate certificate in Quantitative Methods. She has received several awards including the President’s Award to Distinguished Doctoral Students and the JCCAP Future Directions Launch Award. Her research focuses on integrating science and practice by understanding processes that shape clinical presentations in youth with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), investigating neural mechanisms of clinical phenotypes and plasticity in ASD, and applying these insights to evidence-based interventions for social functioning. Her research incorporates contemporary analytic methodologies including advanced quantitative methods and neuroscience. Dr. Kang has published eighteen peer-reviewed journal articles and book chapters to date, with more than half as first author. She serves on the Editorial Board of Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Her research is expected to make a unique complementary contribution with regard to child clinical psychology and clinical neuroscience.


Assistant Professor
Department of Religion
B.A.    Seoul National University, South Korea
M.A.    Seoul National University, South Korea
Ph.D.   Rice University


DR. LEE holds an M.A. from Seoul National University and a PhD in Religion from Rice University in Houston, Texas.  She joins the Department of Religion after serving as a Visiting Scholar in the Medical Humanities Program at the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston.  Dr. Lee specializes in the study of medicine in relation to cultural practices and belief systems—including women’s health, reproductive issues, and comparative analysis of alternative medicine in Korea and the United States. She brings with her an active research agenda, having produced several peer-reviewed articles and conference papers, such as “Woman’s Body In-Between: The Holy and Monstrous Womb in Medieval Medicine and Religion” and “The Me-Too Movement and the Church’s Reaction in Korea.” Dr. Lee also brings a demonstrated record of excellence in pedagogy and will teach courses in both the Department of Religion and the new Medical Humanities major in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.


Assistant Professor
Department of Psychology
B.S.     Michigan State University
M.A.    Michigan State University
Ph.D.   Michigan State University


Dr. O’Connor received her Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from Michigan State University in 2018, after completing a pre-doctoral internship at the University of California San Diego. She then completed a post-doctoral fellowship on the NIMH-funded Midwest T32 for Eating Disorder Research at the University of Chicago from 2018 to 2020. Dr. O’Connor’s research interests center on how key environmental risk factors interact with genetic risk for eating pathology (e.g., binge eating, weight preoccupation, etc.). Her early work primarily examined the interaction between genetic risk and peer and parent influence. More recently, Dr. O’Connor’s work has begun to explore food insecurity as an environmental risk factor for eating disorders. She has published over a dozen peer-reviewed articles in top-tier journals. She is a co-chair of the Genes x Environment Special Interest Group through the Academy for Eating Disorders and was the recipient of the Early Career Investigator Award from the Eating Disorders Research Society in 2019.  Dr. O’Connor is expected to make important contributions to MSU’s Clinical Psychology PhD program.


Associate Professor
Department of Child Advocacy and Social Work
B.S.     Indiana University of Pennsylvania
A.M.    University of Chicago
Ph.D.   Marywood University


Dr. Reitz received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Social Work from Marywood University. She joins the Department of Child Advocacy and Social Work as the MSW program director. Dr. Reitz is coming from Lock Haven University where she was the BSW program director and department chair. She is a Licensed Social Worker and currently volunteers as a mental health member of the Seven Mountains/Susquehanna Valley Critical Incident Stress Management team. Dr. Reitz serves on the Council on Social Work Education’s Commission on Accreditation where she visits MSW and BSW programs in candidacy. She is the chair of her work group, she serves as a member of the Executive Committee, and also mentors new Commissioners. She also serves on the joint 2022 Educational Policy and Accreditation Standards committee that is writing the new standards for all accredited social work programs in the United States.



Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
B.A.    New York University
M.A.    City College of New York
Ph.D.   The City University of New York


DR. THOMAS received a PhD in sociology from the Graduate Center of the City University of New York. Her research interests include spatial demography, intersectionality, and the political economy of the environment. She has written about the spatial distribution of environmental hazards across the United States. She is particularly interested in the structural forces that produce and maintain environmental inequalities in marginalized communities.


College of Science and Mathematics

Assistant Professor
Department of Biology
B.S.     Brooklyn Polytechnic University, now NYU Tandon School of Engineering
B.S.     SUNY Stony Brook University
Ph.D.   University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign


DR. BILYK received a Ph.D. in Ecology, Evolution, and Ethology from the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign. His expertise in computational biology also builds on his two B.S. degrees, from Computer Science (NYU) and Biology (SUNY Stony Brook). Dr. Bilyk studies how selective pressures shape the molecular mechanisms by which organisms acclimate to environmental stresses. He investigates the malleability of cellular systems that respond to stress, their survival in extreme environments, and the future adaptability of cold organisms in the face of global climate change. He has a distinguished research background as a principal investigator of an NSF grant and with publications in premier journals. Prior to his appointment at Montclair State, Dr. Bilyk held an Assistant Professor position at Western Kentucky University and a Postdoctoral Researcher position at the University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign.


Assistant Professor
Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
B.S.                 Calcutta University
M.S.                University of Arkansas
Ph.D.               University of South Carolina



DR. SARKAR received her Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of South Carolina. Before joining Montclair State, she held postdoctoral positions at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and Columbia University. Dr. Sarkar’s research highlights the greatly improved chemical routes to fabricate polymer-derived nanomaterials and their future in next-generation batteries. Her approaches aim to provide innovative solutions to address current challenges in polymer chemistry and material science. She has more than fifteen publications in premier journals and one patent. At Montclair State, her research will focus on the precise control of polymer structure, function, and fate for energy applications. Dr. Sarkar is also an excellent educator, who will use her skills to make Organic Chemistry exciting and accessible to our students.


Assistant Professor
Department of Computer Science
B.E.                 Nanjing University
Ph.D.               Temple University



DR. SHANG received his Ph.D. degree from the Department of Computer and Information Sciences at Temple University in 2020. His research interests span the technical fields of mobile sensing, cybersecurity, and privacy. Specifically, his current research program focuses on leveraging sensor data and side-channel information to reveal the potential security threats of mobile cyber-physical systems and to solve these threats by leveraging artificial intelligence and sensing techniques. Dr. Shang will support the department’s popular program in Cybersecurity and he looks forward to mentoring students in research projects.


The Feliciano School of Business

Assistant Professor
Department of Information Management and Business Analytics (IMBA)
B.S.     Bogazici University
M.A.    University of Houston
M.S.    University of Houston Clear Lake
Ph.D.   Wichita State University


Dr. Kibis holds a Ph.D. in Industrial Engineering from Wichita State University with Master’s degrees in both Finance and Economics from University of Houston. Prior to teaching at Montclair State, he was an Assistant Professor of Business Analytics at the College of Saint Rose and taught Statistics for Business Analytics, Predictive Modeling, Machine Learning, Business Analytics Capstone, and Management Information Systems courses. He has served as a session chair and presented his research in several national and international conferences and published his research in high-impact journals. He is currently the co-chair of INFORMS Data Mining and Decision Analytics Workshop. His current research concentrates on application of machine learning and optimization models in healthcare, retention, and finance in which he assists practitioners and managers to make data-based, cost- effective strategic decisions. He will teach Operations Management and Data Visualization courses in the Department of Information Management and Business Analytics (IMBA).


Assistant Professor
Department of Hospitality and Tourism
B.B.A. Sejong University, Seoul, South Korea
M.S.    Purdue University
Ph.D.   University of Nevada, Las Vegas


Dr. Kim holds a Ph.D. in hospitality management from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Her undergraduate degree is in hospitality management from Sejong University in Seoul, South Korea. She received her MS degree from Purdue University. Dr. Kim brings rich industry experience to Montclair State: management positions in lodging operation at Marriott brand hotels, revenue management and corporate planning at the Millennium Hotels and Resorts Group, and hotel distribution channel management at SHR. Her research interests include consumer behavior in e-commerce and revenue management. Dr. Kim has received research awards, including the Best Paper, 25th Annual Graduate Education and Graduate Student Research Conference in Hospitality and Tourism. She has published work in top-tier peer-reviewed journals.


Assistant Professor
Department of Marketing
B.S.     University of Bristol
M.S.     Johns Hopkins University
Ph.D.   Rutgers University


Dr. Kim holds a Ph.D. in Marketing from Rutgers, and a M.S. in Information Systems from the Johns Hopkins University. His research uses machine learning to examine judgment and decision making in online environments. Dr. Kim’s work has been published in the leading academic journals in marketing, e-commerce, and technology management. His studies have been featured in Cambridge Handbooks, Elsevier Research Selection, and media outlets including The Daily Mail.


Assistant Professor
Department of Information Management and Business Analytics (IMBA)
B.S.     University of Science and Technology of China
Ph.D.   Drexel University


Dr. Li is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Management and Business Analytics. He received his Ph.D. in Decision Sciences from Drexel University. His main areas of interest are data mining, machine learning, and causal inference in empirical studies. Dr. Li’s research focuses on user behavior on social media platforms, online advertising, and informetrics. His teaching interests include data/text mining, statistics, cloud computing, and optimization.


Assistant Professor
Department of Accounting and Finance
B.S.     Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology
M.S.    Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
Ph.D.   Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute


Dr. Owusu is an academic researcher with primary research interests in financial institutions, risk governance, big data, and application of machine learning in Finance. She holds a Ph.D. in Finance and an M.S. in Financial Engineering and Risk Analytics from the Lally School of Management at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute (RPI). Before joining RPI, she got her B.S. in Actuarial Science with a minor in Statistics from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana. Dr. Owusu’s dissertation focuses on the importance of risk culture and risk assessment for effective risk governance in financial institutions and applies text-based analysis and machine learning techniques to identify the risk culture and climate change risk response of financial firms from their 10-K regulatory filings. In her other research work, she explores board network analysis, sentiment analysis of analyst reports, gender diversity and inclusion on corporate boards, portfolio optimization and financial regulations. Her research work has been presented in both US and international finance conferences and she received an award for the best paper at the 17th Finance, Risk and Accounting Perspectives Conference (FRAP).


Assistant Professor
Department of Management
B.S.     Beijing Foreign Studies University
M.A.    University of Maryland College Park
M.S.    Boston College
Ph.D.   Boston College


Dr. Ren received her doctorate from the Carroll School of Management, Boston College in 2019. Her research interests center around how people make sense and make use of the various cultural, status, and professional boundaries in organizations and in society at large. Dr. Ren investigates topics such as knowledge translation across professional boundaries, change mobilization and category mixing in the restaurant industry, and (bi)cultural identities in the workplace.



Associate Professor
Department of Accounting and Finance
B.A.    Bogazici University
Ph.D.   City University of New York


Dr. Zirek holds a Ph.D. from City University of New York. Dr. Zirek’s specialization is in empirical asset pricing, financial econometrics and corporate finance and she has taught at City University of New York and the University of New Orleans, in programs such as the Ph.D. in Financial Economics, M.B.A. and undergraduate programs in Investments, Derivatives, and Macroeconomics areas. Her work has been published in leading journals in her field and she serves as a referee for major finance journals. She is a member of Financial Management Association and an affiliate Member of the CFA Institute and CFA Society Louisiana.


School of Nursing

Associate Professor
School of Nursing
B.S.     William Paterson University
M.S.    Rutgers University
D.N.P. Rutgers University


Dr. Rodriguez is an Associate Professor in the School of Nursing. She holds a Bachelor’s of Science in Nursing from William Paterson University, a Master’s of Science in Nursing with an Adult Nurse Practitioner concentration, and a Doctor of Nursing Practice, both from Rutgers University. Dr. Rodriguez holds several national certifications as a nurse practitioner and nurse educator, as well as mental health and diabetes mellitus specialty certifications. As a nurse practitioner, Dr. Rodriguez maintains her clinical practice in the community setting, providing healthcare services to underserved populations. Areas of interest include mental health, Women’s health, diabetes, wellness, health promotion, holistic nursing care, and nursing education.


Resource Faculty

Resource Faculty from each College or School are assigned to the New Faculty and provide informal guidance and support. The Resource Faculty also help facilitate the weekly orientation sessions.

Director, New Faculty Program
Department of Modern Languages and Literatures
Office Location: Schmitt Hall 241J

ELIZABETH EMERY is Professor of French in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures where she teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses related to French language and nineteenth-century European and American literature and culture. She received her MA, MPhil, and PhD in French from New York University.

Professor Emery has published books and articles related to the reception of medieval art, architecture, and literature in nineteenth and twentieth-century Europe and America. She serves as Book Review Coeditor of Nineteenth-Century French Studies, as a board member of the Interdisciplinary Nineteenth-Century Studies Association, and as a member of the Modern Language Association LLC 19th-century French forum executive committee.

Current research interests include early photojournalism, celebrity interviews, European and American writer house museums, the history of collecting, the nineteenth-century French interest in Chinese, Indian, and Japanese art, global food politics, and sustainability studies.

Professor Emery has been a member of the New Faculty Program in the past, serving most recently as Resource Faculty Member for the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

Associate Professor
Cali School of Music
Office Location: Chapin Hall

BRIAN ABRAMS, PhD, MT-BC, LCAT, Analytical Music Therapist and Fellow of the Association for Music and Imagery, has been a music therapist since 1995, with experience across a wide range of clinical contexts. Prior to his current position at Montclair State University as Associate Professor of Music (2008-present) and Coordinator of Music Therapy (2010-present), he served on the faculty at Immaculata University (2004-2008) and Utah State University (2001-2004). He has published and presented internationally on a wide range of topics such as music therapy in cancer care, music psychotherapy, humanistic music therapy, and the interdisciplinary area of Health Humanities, including his role as one of five authors of a 2015 book by that title. He has also contributed to the establishment of several medical music therapy programs. He has served on the editorial boards of numerous journals, such as Music Therapy Perspectives, the Nordic Journal of Music Therapy and Voices: A World Forum for Music Therapy. From 2005 to 2011, he served on the Board of the Mid-Atlantic Region of the American Music Therapy Association (AMTA), including as President from 2007-2009. From 2005 through the present, he has served on the AMTA Assembly of Delegates, including as Assembly Representative on the AMTA Board of Directors from 2010-2013, and as Assembly Speaker from 2012-2013.

Associate Professor
Economics Department
Office Location: The Feliciano School of Business

Associate Professor
Psychology Department
Office Location: Dickson Hall 247

LAURA LAKUSTA is an Associate Professor in the Department of Psychology. After completing an NIH funded postdoctoral fellowship at Harvard University, Professor Lakusta joined the Montclair State University faculty in 2008. She teaches a wide range of courses, including Developmental Psychology both at the undergraduate and graduate level, Child Psychology, and Introduction to Statistical Methods in Psychology. Professor Lakusta is the recipient of a grant from the National Science Foundation that has supported her research exploring how infants conceptualize events and how such preverbal representations may support early language acquisition. She has numerous peer-reviewed publications including recent publications in the journals Infancy, Language Learning and Development and Cognitive Science. This is her first year serving as a Faculty Resource for the New Faculty program.

Associate Professor
Biology and Molecular Biology Department
Office Location: Science Hall 110

ELENA PETROFF received her PhD from the University of York, UK, and her postdoctoral training at Cambridge University, UK. Prior to joining Montclair State, she was a Research Scientist at the University of Iowa studying molecular and cellular neuroscience. Dr. Petroff’s NIH funded research is focused on how brain cells function and how this activity is regulated in physiological and pathophysiological conditions including brain tumors. Dr. Petroff is teaching Neurobiology, Advanced Neuroscience, Advanced Cell Physiology and other courses in the Department of Biology and Molecular Biology.

Associate Professor
Teaching and Learning Department
Office Location: University Hall

VICTORIA PUIG is an Associate Professor in the Department of Teaching and Learning. She teaches a variety of graduate and undergraduate courses in Early Childhood and Elementary Inclusive Education and Teaching English Language Learners. She is also the Faculty Liaison at the Ben Samuels Children Center.  Professor Puig earned her MA and Ed.D degrees in Early Childhood Special Education and her M.Ed degree in International Educational Development from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Professor Puig’s research interests include inclusive early childhood education, cultural and linguistic diversity, partnering with families of young children with disabilities, and mentoring new teachers.  Professor Puig’s work has been published in a variety of peer-reviewed journals and texts and she has presented her research at international and national professional conferences.