Columbus State Welcomes 44 New Faculty for 2018-19 Academic Year

Columbus State University starts the fall semester with 44 new full-time faculty members, filling academic needs in all four colleges and CSU Libraries. The new faculty includes an award-winning figure skater, a former FBI special agent, an animation specialist and academics from around the world - including Egypt, Turkey, China, and Bolivia. The new faculty members are:


Ms. Emily Crews joins the Simon Schwob Memorial Library as the Outreach and Instruction Librarian. She earned her Masters in History and MLIS from Valdosta State University. Prior to moving to Columbus, Emily worked as a Reference and Instruction Librarian at Clayton State University.


Mr. Demetrius Dukes is joining the Department of Art as an Assistant Professor specializing in Animation. Demetrius received his MFA in Media Technology and Entertainment from Florida Atlantic University. His academic research is centered around exploring 20th century art forms and their influence on contemporary interactive platforms. Prior to arriving at Columbus State, Demetrius served as the Visiting Instructor of Animation at Florida Atlantic University.

Dr. Bruce Getz is joining the Department of Communications as an Assistant Professor. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in mass media from Valdosta State University, a Masters of Education in curriculum and instruction from Columbus State University , and a doctoral degree in mass communications from the University of Florida's College of Journalism and Communications. Dr. Getz is a former news videographer (WTVM), creative services producer (WALB) and teacher of the video production magnet program at Shaw High School.

Dr. Joe Girard, joins the Schwob School of Music as an Assistant Professor of Saxophone. As a chamber musician and tenor saxophonist of the Donald Sinta Quartet, he has performed around the world and received top prize in numerous international competitions. Dr. Girard received his Doctorate from Michigan State University, and both his Master and Bachelor of Music at the University of Michigan. Additionally, he received a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Michigan and regularly applies concepts from the sciences to his teaching and performing.

Ms. Katherine Irwin will teach Communication and Public Relations this year. She was born and raised in Irving (Dallas), Texas and earned her degree in Journalism from Texas A&M University at College Station in 1991. She has worked as a newspaper police reporter and feature writer in community radio, as well as positions in business marketing, web development and graphic design. Irwin later earned her masters degree in Communication from Auburn and has been teaching ever since.

Dr. Henry Kramer is an award-winning pianist who has performed across the world. His honors include the 2015 William Petschek Recital Debut Award from The Juilliard School, the Second Prize winner of the 2016 Queen Elisabeth Competition, the 2014 Harvard Musical Association Arthur Foote Award and a winner of Astral's 2014 National Auditions. Henry holds degrees from The Juilliard School and Yale School of Music.

Dr. Juan Liu's primary research focuses on both traditional forms of political mobilization as well as how social media affect individuals' political participation. Her secondary research area focuses on the strategic use of social media in public relations campaigns. Her scholarly work has published in New Media & Society, Mass Communication and Society. She holds a Ph.D. from Wayne State University.

Dr. Ianthe Marini is the Paul S. and Jean R. Amos Distinguished Chair for Choral Activities and Assistant Professor of Music in the Schwob School of Music. She has served as the Professional Chorus Master for the National Symphony Orchestra in Washington, DC, and the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra in Baltimore, MD. Marini received her Doctorate of Musical Arts from the University of Maryland. An active performer, she was recognized by Boston Broadway Awards as Best Actress in a Musical. She has created a rehearsal method that focuses on the growth of choral singers as active critical thinkers, honest communicators, and vulnerable actors.

Dr. Joshua May, tenor, has performed and premiered works throughout Europe, Canada, and the United States. Dr. May holds a D.M.A. in Voice Performance from the University of Connecticut; a M.M. in Vocal Performance from New England Conservatory of Music; a M.M. Vocal Pedagogy New England Conservatory of Music, Music-in-Education Certification from New England Conservatory of Music; a B.A. from French Grand Valley State University; and a B.M. Voice Performance University of Florida. Prior to his appointment at the Schwob School of Music, he served as a voice faculty member and the director of the opera workshop at the University of Michigan-Flint. For more information on upcoming performances, please visit his website at

Violist Dr. Katrin Meidell, DMA, a performer, pedagogue, and lecturer. She is a Karen Tuttle Coordination pedagogue and performer, join the faculty of the Schwob School of Music. Her diverse abilities have taken her across the USA, to Canada, Finland, Austria, Poland, Brazil, and New Zealand. She holds degrees from Boston University, New England Conservatory, and the University of North Texas, and taught at Ball State University from 2013-2018. For more, please visit

Ms. Carrie Reif-Stice is an Assistant Professor of Strategic Communication. She is an applied scholar who studies the role of responsiveness in reducing illness stigma and uncertainty among chronically ill populations. She also examines the role resiliency in improving risk and crisis response. Her research has appeared in several book chapters and in the Journal of International and Intercultural Communication. Additionally, she has won several awards. Carrie will graduate in December with a Ph.D. in communication from the University of Southern Mississippi in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. She holds master's degree in public relations from Auburn University, and a bachelor's degree from LaGrange College.

Amy Mutarelli Taylor is a dance professor, who holds a Bachelor of Science from Auburn University, and a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the Florida State University. Amy taught ballet & modern dance at Darton State College in Albany, Georgia, and served as the Director of Dance at Louisburg College (Louisburg, NC). Amy is also an adult figure skater. She has competed twice at the US Adult National Championships (2018 silver medalist in Bronze I ladies free skate).

Dr. Rachel E. Blackburn is a passionate advocate for performance as a tool for social change. She is an instructor, theatre director, and performer whose stage work has led her around the globe, including stints in London, Dublin, Toronto, and New York. Her research and academic writing currently live at the intersections of stand-up comedy, race, gender, sexuality, class, (dis)ability, transnational, and performance studies.


Dr. Anastasia Angelopoulou will be an Assistant Professor in the TSYS School of Computer Science. Anastasia holds a B.S. in Electronic and Computer Engineering from the Technical University of Crete and a Ph.D. and M.S. in Modeling and Simulation from the University of Central Florida. Her research interests lie in the area of modeling and simulation and its applications in virtual and augmented reality, serious games, human factors, high performance computing, internet of things, energy trading systems, and human-robot interaction. Her research work has been partially supported by the Office of Naval Research and the National Science Foundation (NSF), among others.

Dr. Fady Mansour grew up in Egypt. He holds a Ph.D. in economics from Middle Tennessee State University, and he is a former assistant professor of economics at Black Hills State University. He joined the faculty at CSU last year as visiting assistant professor of economics, during which time he became a Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP) fellow where he obtained a QEP grant and developed a real-world problem project in his Macroeconomics class.

Dr. Joshua Brooks holds a Masters and Ph.D. in Finance from The University of Alabama. He is a former assistant professor at Lander University in Greenwood, South Carolina where he won the Young Faculty Teaching Award. He also maintains on-going consulting cases in the areas of derivatives valuation, returns attribution, and time-series econometrics.

Dr. Yaojie "William" Li holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from Wisconsin Lutheran College, a Master's degrees in Accounting and Computer Science, and a Doctoral degree in Computer Information Systems from Louisiana Tech University. His research interests reside in behavioral IS Security, influenced by two streams of organizational studies - organizational structure and design and positive organizational behavior. His research has been published in Managerial Auditing Journal and multiple proceedings in IS conferences.

Dr. Yi Zhou has B.E.E. and M.S.E.E. degrees in electronic engineering from Beijing University of Technology and a Ph.D. degree in the Department of Computer Science and Software Engineering from Auburn University. Prior to joining Columbus State University, he was an instructor and teaching assistant at Auburn University. He has four-year industry experience as a senior technical staff member in Alcatel-Lucent and SoHu, which maintains the largest portal website in China. He won the Outstanding Ph.D. Student Award at Auburn University and has published a total of 11 papers so far. His research interests include energy-saving techniques, database systems, and parallel and distributed computing.

Stuart Smith is an Assistant Professor of Accountancy and recent graduate of Georgia State University. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, he worked as an auditor for PWC and Grant Thornton, before becoming an analyst at APCO. Stuart's experimental research examines how economic incentives provided by managerial accounting systems interact with social norms to affect manager and employee behavior within a firm. He currently teaches both introductory and advanced financial and managerial accounting courses at both the undergraduate and graduate level. Stuart is also an alumnus of the Georgia Institute of Technology, a former U.S. Army infantryman, and veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom.


Dr. Erica Taylor is the Associate Dean of Health Professions in the College of Education and Health Professions. Prior to this appointment, she served as Department Chair and Associate Professor in the Department of Public and Allied Health Sciences at Delaware State University. Dr. Taylor has also taught at Auburn University, Kennesaw State University, and the College of William and Mary. She earned B.A. degrees in Kinesiology and Psychology at the College of William and Mary, and she completed a M.Ed. in Adult Fitness and Cardiac Rehabilitation and a Ph.D. in Exercise Science (Exercise Psychology specialization) at the University of Georgia.

Dr. Deniz Peker is an associate professor of science education. He holds a Ph.D. and an M.S. degree in science education from the University of Georgia and Indiana University-Bloomington respectively. He worked at Middle East Technical University in Turkey and Virginia Tech. He served as science education program coordinator, assistant coordinator for CAEP accreditation, and interim department chair, before he became the department chair for Teacher Education, and Counseling, Foundations, and Leadership Department. His research interests include science teacher education, scientific inquiry and practices, evolution education.

Dr. Clayton Nicks is the Chair of the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences and Associate Professor of Exercise Science. He began his career at Columbus State University in 2005 after completing his Ph.D. from Middle Tennessee State University. Since that time he has taught numerous courses in the Exercise Science undergraduate and graduate programs including Exercise Physiology, Kinesmetrics, Kinesiology, Research Methods, and many more. He's maintained an active research agenda as well as serving on a variety of committees at all levels of the university.

Dr. Parul Acharya is an Assistant Professor in the Counseling, Foundations & Leadership Department in the College of Education & Health Professions. She earned a Ph.D. in Educational Statistics with majors in Quantitative Research Methods, Psychometrics, Program Evaluation & minors in Data Mining from University of Central Florida. She earned a Master's of Business Administration degree with majors in Finance & I/O psychology, Master's degree in Public Health Policy, and a Master's and Bachelor's degree in Health Science. She has several years experience in accountability, assessment and evaluation in higher education and PK-12 school system.

Dr. Eli Jones is now an Assistant Professor of Research in the Counseling, Foundations & Leadership Department. He holds a PhD in Educational Inquiry, Measurement, and Evaluation from Brigham Young University. Previously, he served as a postdoctoral researcher in teacher evaluation and educational measurement at the University of Missouri, where he worked on a statewide teacher evaluation outreach unit, the Network for Educator Effectiveness. He also taught courses in statistics at Columbia College. His past educational experiences include working with district leadership to evaluate the effectiveness of educational interventions and assessments, and teaching second grade at a French dual-language immersion program. He is married and has five sons.

Peter Anderson is joining CSU as the Director of the Columbus Regional Mathematics Collaborative. During his 30-year career as a high school mathematics teacher and coach, he was consistently successful with students in a wide variety of mathematics classes, from Advanced Placement to Fundamentals of Algebra. Peter has received multiple awards including a Teacher of Excellence in Mathematics by the Georgia Council of Teachers of Mathematics and Star Teacher and Teacher of the Year. He has worked for over 20 years as a consultant, strengthening teacher content knowledge in mathematics from elementary to high school. He earned a Master's Degree in Curriculum and Instruction from LaGrange College and an undergraduate degree from the University of South Alabama.

Dr. Toland has over eight years' experience in academia and has educated and advised students enrolled in Public Health, Health Care Administration, and Health Science programs. Her areas of expertise are in disease prevention, mental health, and substance abuse. Additionally; Dr. Toland has over 17 years of practical experience working in the areas of public and community health while earning her degrees and teaching in higher education. Dr. Toland holds a Doctorate of Health Education in 2012 from A.T. Still University, a Clinical Master of Social Work degree from Troy University and a BS in Heath Science and an MPA from Columbus State University.

Dr. Toni Franklin, Ph.D is an Assistant Professor of Special Education in the Teacher Education Department at Columbus State University. She earned her Doctorate degree in Special Education from Auburn University. Prior to coming to higher education, she taught for 12 years in the public schools as a special education teacher and an elementary general education teacher. Dr. Franklin's areas of research interest include preparation and support of new Special Education Teachers, inclusion of Students with Disabilities in the general education classroom, and post-secondary educational opportunities for Individuals with Intellectual Disabilities.

Dr. Tugce Gul is a Visiting Professor of Science Education at CSU. She holds a Ph.D. in Science Education and Post-Master's Certificate in Qualitative Research in Education from Georgia State University, as well as a B.S.Ed. and a M.Ed. in Elementary Education from Ege University in her hometown of Izmir, Turkey. In addition to her experience as an elementary and middle school teacher, she has worked as a Postdoctoral Teaching Associate at University of West Florida. She has four publications, two book chapters, and three peer-reviewed journal manuscripts under review to date, and she has made presentations nationally and internationally.

Dr. Anna Hart will serve as Assistant Professor of Teacher Leadership as well as the program coordinator for the M.Ed. in Teacher Leadership program. She is a graduate of Kennesaw State University's Doctor of Teacher Leadership program. She began her career in education as a classroom teacher and later transitioned to a public-school educator as a faculty member at Dalton State College. In addition to teaching a number of undergraduate courses in Dalton State's teacher education program, she also served as Coordinator of Special Projects for the Dalton State School of Education.

Shannon Lewis holds a Bachelor's of Science degree in Elementary Education from the University of Georgia, a Master's degree in Early Childhood Education from Columbus College and a Specialist degree in Elementary Education from Troy State University. She taught first grade at Georgetown Elementary in Muscogee County for six years and has served as a resource teacher for the Columbus Regional Math Collaborative. She has also taught part-time and in temporary full time positions for the College of Education and Health Professions, teaching courses ranging from reading, social studies, children's literature and math methods.

Mark D. McCarthy is joining the Department of Teacher Education at Columbus State University as Assistant Professor of Literacy Education. He completed his undergraduate degree in English from St. John's University in New York and his M.A. in Education through Michigan State University's online education program, in which he would later go on to teach as a doctoral student at Michigan State.. He has taught internationally in South Korea, Oman, and China at the primary, secondary, and college levels. He specializes in literacy education.

Kalynn Hall Pistorio is a Holmes Scholar who holds a doctorate in exceptional student education (special education) from Florida Atlantic University and a master's in leadership from Nova Southeastern University. She was previously a teacher in an Title 1 elementary school working in a classroom for children with intellectual disabilities and she has worked as a preschool teacher. She has published multiple papers in a variety of journals and has done more than 25 presentations at national and international conferences.

Dr. Marguerite Lawrence retired at the rank of US Army Lieutenant Colonel after 20 years of dedicated active duty service. Dr. Lawrence holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from East Stroudsburg University, a Master of Science in Nursing with specialization as a Family Nurse Practitioner and Public Health Clinical Nurse Specialist from the University of Virginia and a Doctor of Nursing Practice degree at the University of Alabama. For the past 5 years, Dr. Lawrence maintained her academic status as adjunct professor of nursing at the Uniformed Services University, Daniel K. Inouye Graduate School of Nursing, Bethesda, Maryland. She maintains a clinical practice with the Veteran's Administration.

Shea McCarthy is a certified family nurse practitioner with the American Academy of Nurse Practitioners. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Columbus State University and a Master of Science in Nursing from Auburn University. She comes to CSU from Reinhardt University in Waleska, GA , where she was an Assistant Professor of Nursing. She also holds a Bachelor of Fine Art in Photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design.

Brooke Thompson earned a BSN from Columbus State University in 2002 and MSN from Regis University in 2012. She has also earned her certification in Inpatient Obstetrics and is a certified fetal monitoring instructor through AWHONN. Professional experience revolves around maternal-child nursing with 16 years of experience in Labor and Delivery. Her previous teaching experience includes 12 years of OB clinical rotations with 10 of those being with CSU. She has also served as a part-time educator with the hospital.

Dr. Deryus J. Tillman is originally from Augusta, Georgia. He received his Bachelors of Science in Nursing from Georgia Southern University in 2011, Masters of Nursing Science with a focus on nursing administration from Jacksonville University in 2014 and most recently in 2017 his Doctorate in Nursing Practice from South University. He has been a nurse for seven years, with a practice focus in critical care. For the last four years, he has been working in academia. His research interest is focused on simulation and technology integration into the nursing curriculum and its impact on knowledge synthesis and acquisition.


Gordon H. Hurley, Jr., served as an FBI Special Agent for over 30 years. For 28 years, Hurley was an FBI Crisis Negotiator and since 1998, the Atlanta Division's Crisis Negotiation Team Leader. He is an FBI Academy Adjunct Instructor and a Georgia POST Certified Instructor. Hurley also served multiple tours embedded with U.S. military units in support of Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and other overseas duty stations in the fight against Al Qaeda and ISIS. Hurley was an FBI Resident Agent and assigned a broad range of investigative responsibilities including violent crimes, public corruption, and counterterrorism. Hurley possesses a Master's Degree in Public Administration (MPA) and is also a graduate of the FBI National Academy (FBINA 260th session). Prior to becoming an FBI Special Agent, Hurley served with the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office in Tampa, Fl.

Dr. Annice Yarber-Allen joins the College of Letters and Science as Professor and Chair of the Department of Criminal Justice and Sociology. She earned a Ph.D. in Medical Sociology from the University of Alabama, Birmingham and a Masters in Social Work from the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. Yarber-Allen has served twice as principal investigator for a National Science Foundation funded effort and was a recipient of a prestigious Fulbright-Hays Group Projects Abroad to implement the Summer Institute on the Welfare of Women of Belize project.

Dr. Allen Gee earned his B.A. in Secondary English Teaching from the University of New Hampshire, an M.F.A. in Fiction Writing from the University of Iowa Writers Workshop, and his Ph.D. in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Houston. He's the author of the essay collection, My Chinese-America, and is writer James Alan McPherson's designated biographer. Allen is currently completing a novel, The Iron Road that chronicles the lives of Chinese railroad workers building the Central Pacific line in 1866. He's taught from 2004-2018 at Georgia College where he served as coordinator for the Creative Writing program's undergraduate concentration and the M.F.A. program, as well as directing the college's visiting writers series. He's been the Editor of the literary journal Gulf Coast, Fiction Editor for the literary journal Arts & Letters, and is currently the Editor of the multicultural imprint 2040 Books. At CSU, Allen will teach various courses, and as the Donald L. Jordan Endowed Professor of Creative Writing, he'll lead service trips abroad, run an annual national writing competition, and organize a writing conference to be held every two to three years.

Christopher J. Matthews is originally a native of New Orleans, Louisiana, and came to the Columbus by way of Fort Benning. He is a former student of The New Orleans Center for the Creative Arts (NOCCA) and a graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, where he majored in Art, and minored in Mass Communications. He earned his Bachelor's degree in Art from Xavier University of Louisiana in 1994. He is a writer, and a visual artist who specializes in Painting and Drawing, a U.S. Army veteran, and a reservist with the U.S. Air Force. He earned Master's degrees in Education at Columbus State University in 2006 and 2008 respectively, with concentrations in Art Education and English Language Arts. He earned his Education Specialist degree in English from Columbus State University in 2015.

Dr. Bryan Banks earned his MA (2011) and PhD (2014) in History from Florida State University. He specializes in French History, with special interests in the Enlightenment and French Revolution, as well as religious studies. Prior to Columbus State University, he was Assistant Professor of History at SUNY Adirondack. He joins the Department of History and Geography as Assistant Professor of European History. He will teach introductory courses in World History and advanced courses on Early Modern and Modern European History.

Dr. Saerim Kim joins the Department of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Administration, where she will teach public budgeting and financial management, introduction to public administration, and nonprofit management. She holds a Ph.D. in public policy and administration at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration at the University of Kentucky in Lexington and a master's degree in public policy from Andrew Young School of Policy Studies, Georgia State University, Atlanta. Her dissertation was selected for a doctoral fellowship by the Association for Research on Nonprofit Organizations and Voluntary Action (ARNOVA) in 2017. She also received ARNOVA's Emerging Scholar Award in 2016.

Prof. Humberto Caspa grew up in Quime, a small town in La Paz, Bolivia. He is the 2018 Elena Diaz-Verson Amos Eminent Scholar in Latin American Studies at CSU. Prof. Caspa taught at the School of Law at Juan de Castellanos University. His book on immigration, Terror in the Latino Barrio: The rise of the new right in local government (2008), gives some clues about the emergence of a new right-wing movement in U.S. politics. He publishes weekly editorials on current political and social issues in some of the most important U.S. Spanish newspapers and has appeared as guest political analyst in both major Spanish television networks: Univision and Telemundo.

Dr. Tiffany Berzins joins the Department of Psychology this fall, where she will teach courses in her content areas and research methods & analysis. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology from the University of Texas at San Antonio, with concentrations in Social Psychology and Quantitative Research Methods. After earning her degree, she went on to complete a postdoctoral fellowship in the Social-Health Psychology program at Kent State University. Her training and interests lie in interpersonal relationships and behavioral medicine in disease prevention and management.