New Faculty 2015-16 (T-Z)

C48F6346Amber Thaxon

Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Chemistry

A native of Kernersville, NC, Amber received her PhD in Chemistry from the University of New Orleans. Prior to coming to Wake Forest, Amber served as a Post Doctoral Fellow in the Harrison School of Pharmacy’s Drug Discovery & Development Department at Auburn University, where her work included synthesizing novel cannabinoid indoles for analytical analysis for the Department of Justice and developing synthetic routes for novel indole analogs. Her research has appeared in respected journals, such as Forensic Science International and Rapid Communications in Mass Spectroscopy. As a doctoral student, she taught eleven undergraduate lab courses and supervised twelve organic undergraduate lab courses. For her promise as an educator, Amber was awarded outstanding teaching assistant in 2012. She is a member of the American Chemical Society and other leading professional affiliations in the Chemical Sciences.

C48F6346Michael Travis

Visiting Professor of Practice in Management Information Systems, School of Business

Michael has an MBA from the University of Texas at Austin, where he also received his BA in Business Administration. He has an extensive career as a practitioner in areas including management consulting and information technology products and professional services.  He served thirteen years in Hitachi’s Global Information Technology businesses and during his tenure served as President and CEO of Hitachi Consulting and Hitachi Solutions America where he directed global expansion efforts including M&A.  Prior to Hitachi, he enjoyed an extensive career with Andersen Consulting/Arthur Andersen.  He was a Partner and had responsibilities including Managing Partner of the firm’s West Region consulting business and global leader for the firm’s global ERP and Supply Chain practices.  His achievements include being recognized by Consulting Magazine as one of the Top 25 Consultants in 2005.  He has prior academic experience as an adjunct faculty member teaching Management Information Systems in the Argyros School of Business at Chapman University and also taught Business Statistics and Advanced Business Programming at the University of Texas at Austin.

C48F6346Verity Whalen

Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology

Verity received her PhD and MS in Anthropology from Purdue University. Prior to coming to the university, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Purdue. Her research has appeared in leading academic journals, including Ñawpa Pacha and Antiquity Project Gallery. She has collaborated with scholars on several chapters in books on Andean archaeology, both published and forthcoming. The results of her latest research, “Sociopolitical reformation and the transformation of community and tradition at a Late Nasca village, Peru,” were submitted to Latin American Antiquity in 2015. Her research has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the Explorers Club. Additionally, Verity has been the recipient of several awards, including Purdue University’s College of Liberal Arts Distinguished Dissertation Award, Bilsland Dissertation Fellowship, and Ross Fellowship.


C48F6346Staci Ann White

Assistant Professor of Mathematics

Staci received her PhD in Statistics from The Ohio State University. Her teaching and research interests include Mathematical Statistics, Computational Statistics, and Probability Theory, reflected in her experience teaching Probability and Statistics as well as her publication and presentation history. Her research using a Monte Carlo approach to model error quantification in Bayesian parameter estimation has appeared in Computational Statistics and Data Analysis. She has presented this research in prominent academic gatherings, including the Joint Statistical Meetings, the Graduate Workshop on Environmental Data Analytics convened by the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and the Women in Statistics Conference. Among her awards are the Graduate Associate Teaching Award for being one of the top TAs at Ohio State and the American Statistical Association Section on Statistics and the Environment student paper award winner. Presently, Staci serves as a Program Committee Member for the Caucus for Women in Statistics.


C48F6346Sherri Williams

Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in the Anna Julia Cooper Center

Sherri recently earned her PhD in Mass Communications from Syracuse University, where she also received her MA in Magazine, Newspaper, and Online Journalism. Her research interests include salient topics such as the utility of social media by people of color and their portrayal on it, social media and activism, and media portrayals of women of color. Sherri’s most recent scholarship include, “Digital Defense: Black feminists resist violence with hashtag activism”, and “Clicks for the cause, links for justice: Social media and its role in the Trayvon Martin case”, the latter of which was presented at the Social Media Technology Conference and Workshop at Howard University. She has been the recipient of many awards including, the 2010 and 2009 Ohio Society of Professional Journalists’ First Place Award for Minority Issues Reporting as well the runner-up for the New York Association of Black Journalists’ award for online commentary for social justice issues related to women of color and people of color.


C48F6346Tyler Wilson

Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Theater & Dance

Tyler earned his MFA in Costume Design and Technology from the University of Missouri-Kansas City. He obtained his BA in Theater Design and Production from Illinois State University.  As a practitioner in Costume Design, he has an impressive record. He has been the Director of Costume Design for seventeen theatrical productions. His most recent productions include Stillwater and Cyrano. He has served as assistant costume designer for several productions as well.  In 2015, he was invited to the participate in the 2015 Young Designers Exhibition, convened by the United States Institute of Theatre Technology and the New York Design Portfolio Review Exhibition.


C48F6480Serena Witzke

Visiting Assistant Professor of Classical Languages

Serena received her PhD in Classics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her MA in Classics from McMaster University. Her teaching and research interests include ancient New Comedy, women in the ancient world, and Classical reception. Serena is presently a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Classical Languages. Her scholarship has appeared in prominent academic journals and volumes, including Topographies of Ancient Greek and Roman Violence and Menander in Contexts, as well the journal Helios. She has also presented her research at the APA/SCS, CAMWS, and international conferences, including an invited lecture at Oxford University. She is the recipient of a several awards, including lifetime membership in UNC-Chapel Hill’s Frank Porter Graham Graduate Honor Society in 2014, the CAMWS Award for Outstanding Accomplishment in Classical Studies in 2013, and the American Philological Association Outstanding Student Award in 2012.


C48F6673Sunggu (Paul) Yang

Postdoctoral Fellow, School of Divinity

Paul holds a PhD in Religion with a concentration in Homiletics and Liturgics at Vanderbilt University. He received a Masters of Sacred Theology in Liturgical Studies from Yale Divinity School and MDiv at Emory University. His research has been featured in seminal academic texts, including the Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception and Preaching for Social Justice and Transformation.  In addition to publishing thoughtful research, Paul’s scholarly pursuits include editorial work. Since 2011 until 2015, he has been the Managing Editor for The Journal of Homiletic for the Academy of Homiletics. In 2014, he founded and became the Senior Editor of Asian American Theological Forum. His most recent conference engagement was a gripping presentation entitled, “The First Female Preacher/Apostle: Mary Magdalene in the Sermons of Contemporary Women Preachers”, for the North American Academy of Liturgy. Among Sunggu’s accomplishments are Vanderbilt’s Melon Certificate in College Teaching and Yale’s Mersick Prize for Excellent Public Speech.