New Faculty 2014-2015 (Q-Z)

Mauricio Rivas

Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Mathematics

Mauricio comes to Wake from the University of Houston, where he recently earned his PhD in Mathematics, researching spectral problems and issues arising in Partial Differential Equations. Embodying the Teacher-Scholar ideal, Mauricio has lectured in multiple levels of mathematics courses at both UH and Sam Houston State University, tutored students individually, and taught in a program in Hilo, Hawai’i intended to provide a bridge into pure mathematics for talented students from underrepresented populations. He currently has two publications pending, and has presented and participated in several conferences, including a recent Joint American Mathematical Association/Mathematical Association of America meeting on the topic “Morse Index Theory and Applications to Linear Elliptic Eigenvalue Problems.”


Brandon E. Robinson

Assistant Professor of the Practice/Associate Director of Bands

Brandon recently completed his PhD in Music Education at the University of Mississippi. He also holds a Masters and Bachelors of Music from Arkansas State University, where he was a drum major in the band. At Ole Miss, Brandon’s responsibilities included supervising student teachers, teaching an Introduction to Music course, and assisting the jazz ensembles. Prior to this position, he served on the Music faculty at Alcorn State University, teaching jazz ensemble, jazz combo, woodwind technique, music theory, aural skills, and assisted with marching band, wind ensemble, and concert band. Brandon also brings twelve years of experience teaching in Arkansas public schools, and is the owner and president of BERmusic, an organization that helps facilitate student leadership workshops, makes custom music arrangements and custom drill design, holds musical clinics, and offers consulting services.


C48F6431Joanna Ruocco

Assistant Professor of English

Joanna holds a PhD in Fiction from the University of Denver, an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University, and a BA in Literatures in English, also from Brown. Both a creative writer and teacher, Joanna has taught creative and academic writing at UD and at Naropa University, and has served as a teaching assistant at Brown. She is the author of seven books of fiction and several more chapbooks and anthologies; her latest novel, Another Governess / The Least Blacksmith: A Diptych, won the FC2 Catherine Doctorow Innovative Fiction Prize. With research interests in Domestic fiction, narrative theory and the postmodern novel, Joanna enjoys exploring a wide variety of narrative strategies and is interested in the intersections of “genre” with literary writing. Currently, Joanna is also editor of the Birkensnake, a literary journal based out of Providence, RI.


C48F6603John M. Sadak

Assistant Professor of Practice

John, recently an adjunct professor at University of North Carolina-Charlotte, holds a Masters of Music in Clarinet Performance from the Manhattan School of Music, and a BFA in Clarinet Performance from the State University of New York at Purchase. Prior to teaching at UNCC, John taught classes in clarinet, woodwind, and chamber music at Davidson College, New World School of the Arts, Florida International University, and Concordia College. In addition to his collegiate level teaching, he has frequently served on faculty for a number of musical camps and institutes, and holds his own private clarinet studio where he seeks to nurture and develop musicianship skills and clarinet proficiency in his students. His former students have continued their studies at the Julliard School, New England Conservatory, Boston Conservatory, and Indiana University. A talented performer, John is currently the guest principle clarinet at the Winston-Salem Symphony Orchestra, and has been a member of such ensembles as the Miami City Ballet Orchestra, the Manhattan Symphony Orchestra, the Florida Philharmonic Orchestra, and the Charleston Symphony Orchestra.


C48F6557Julia Scarborough

Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Classical Languages

Julia recently earned her PhD in Classical Philology from Harvard University, holds a Masters in History of Art from Courtauld Institute of Art, and holds a BA in Literae Humaniores (First Class Honors) from Oxford University. While at Harvard, Julia was the recipient of both the Four Bok Center Certificates of Distinction in Teaching award and the Bowdoin Prize for Latin Prose Composition award for three consecutive years. There she taught a range of courses including Introduction to Latin Poetry, Beginning Ancient Greek, and Classical Poetry in Reception. Her research interests include Greek epic and tragedy, Latin poetry of the late Republic and early Empire, and literary reception. Her dissertation, “Pastoral in Virgil’s Aeneid” offers a complete reassessment of pastoral themes in Greek and Roman poetry, beginning with Homer. Julia’s latest project adds to her impressive body of scholarship by exploring the aesthetic uses that classical poets make of the ambivalence of night.


C48F6368Mark B. Scholl

Associate Professor of Counseling

Mark comes to Wake from Eastern Carolina University, where he has been serving as an Associate Professor in the Department of Higher, Adult, and Counselor Education. Prior to joining the faculty at ECU, Mark served as Assistant Professor (Mental Health Specialization) at Long Island University, and as Assistant Professor/Coordinator of Student Development at St. John’s University. Bringing over 30 years of experience either studying or clinically engaging with mental health, Mark is heavily published in national journals, newsletters, and book chapters. He was the 2012 Hollis Award, established by the Association for Humanistic Counseling, for his work in the book, “Humanistic Perspectives on Contemporary Counseling Issues.” This award joins a long list of others, including a listing in the Top 20 Education Professors in North Carolina, a nomination for the ECU Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, and a Distinguished Journal Reviewer Award. Mark received his PhD in Counseling and Counselor Education/Student Development in Higher Education from University of North Carolina—Greensboro, his M.Ed. from UNCG, and a BA in Psychology from St. Andrews Presbyterian College.


C48F6639Rebecca Ann Sears

Visiting Assistant Professor of Classical Languages

Rebecca received her PhD from University of Michigan and a BA, summa cum laude, in Classics and Music from Bowdoin College. Her dissertation, “The Practical Muse: Reconstructing the Contexts of a Greek Musical Papyrus” won the ProQuest Distinguished Dissertation Award in 2012, and was nominated for the 2013 National Council of Graduate Schools’ Dissertation Award in the Humanities. Rebecca’s research interests in Latin epic, ancient music, papyrology, and magic, are creatively supplemented by extensive violin training and orchestral experience. A teacher and a scholar, Rebecca has taught varied levels of Latin language and literature at the University of Michigan in addition to giving several presentations at national and international conferences. Her newest forthcoming publication is titled “Re-Edition and Commentary on P. Mich. Inv. 2958: Michigan’s Tragic Fragment(s) with Vocal Notation.”


C48F6470Ahmad A.T. Sharaf Eldin

Visiting Assistant Professor of Romance Languages

Ahmad received a PhD in Linguistics and a BA in Translation and Simultaneous Interpretation from Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. A recipient of a prestigious Fulbright grant, Ahmad earned an additional diploma in Teaching Arabic as a Foreign Language from the State University of New York. Ahmad has taught Arabic language, cultures and literatures at the College of William and Mary, the American University in Cairo, and most recently, at the Middlebury Language School. His previous and forthcoming publications examine the power and impact of social discourse in a variety of settings, ranging from critical ideological discourse of religious sermons in Egypt, to the use of cartoon and visual humor throughout the Middle East, to the linguistics of Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. In addition to his duties as a professor, researcher and scholar, Ahmad lends his talents in translation to several international conferences by serving as a simultaneous interpreter (English-Arabic and vice versa).


C48F6421Nonna Sorokina

Visiting Professor of Practice

Nonna earned a PhD in Finance, with a minor in Applied Statistics from Kent State University, an MBA (Concentration: Finance) from Cleveland State University, and a Diploma of Specialist in Finance and Banking (with Honors) from Donetsk State University in the Ukraine. Her research interests include capital structure, financial regulation, financial crisis, derivatives, market liquidity, and the application of advanced statistical methods in finance, among other topics. Nonna’s dissertation, which concerned bank capital and theory of capital structure, aligns nicely with her extensive research portfolio. The paper entitled “Price discovery for major equity indices: Study of DAX and its futures liquidity” won the 2014 Midwest Decision Sciences Institute Best Application Paper Award. In addition to her academic accolades, Nonna brings a wealth of professional experience as a quantitative analyst, senior business analyst, project analyst, and programmer at various banks and companies.


C48F6486Emma S. Thacker

Teacher-Scholar Postdoctoral Fellow in Education

Emma holds a PhD in Educational Sciences from University of Kentucky, an MA in Secondary Social Studies Education from UK, and a BA in Anthropology and Sociology from Transylvania University (magna cum laude). After earning her masters degree, Emma spent five years gaining practical experience as a high school social studies teacher, working with a wide variety of students including Advancement Placement Learners, students with various IEP goals, English Language Learners, and students from diverse backgrounds. She then became the program coordinator for the Office of Civic Education and Engagement at the University of Louisville before teaching several courses on Civics and Social Studies curriculums at Kentucky. Emma is the co-author of a series of books about civic responsibility; the series is currently in press. A portion of her extensive body of research was funded by a Library of Congress Grant, in conjunction with the Midwest Center for Teaching Primary Sources, and by a Teaching American History Grant.


C48F6606Kathleen Tipler

Visiting Assistant Professor of Politics and International Affairs

Kathleen earned a PhD in Political Science from the University of Michigan and a BA in History, with Distinction, from Pomona College. She completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the Center for the Study of American Democracy at Kenyon College, and was later appointed a Visiting Assistant Professor there. She is now expanding her dissertation from her time at Michigan, The Inter-Institutional Construction of Judgment, into a book manuscript that reflects her interests in constitutional politics, interbranch relations, legal mobilization, legal consciousness, and political theory. Her research has appeared in Law Reviews and academic journals, and has participated in several panels, presentations, and workshops hosted by the Law and Society Association, University of Virginia’s Miller Center, the Midwest Political Science Association, and many others.


Colin Tyler

Visiting Professor of Politics and International Affairs

Colin holds a DPhil from the Department of Politics at University of York, an MA in Political Philosophy from York, an MA from the Department of History at University of Hull, and a BA (Hons.) in Politics and Economics from the University of Reading. Colin joins the Wake community in the Fall 2014 semester, having taught at the University of Hull since September 2000. His main areas of research are in the history of British idealism and New Liberalism, critical political economy (especially social economics), and critical and post-structural theory (especially performativity as a social and political theory). The author of over forty peer-reviewed articles and book chapters, he has also written four single-author books; his most recent book is titled Civil Society, Capitalism and the State, and is the second of two parts of The Liberal Socialism of T.H. Green. Colin co-edits The International Journal of Social Economic, and serves on the editorial board of Collingwood and British Idealism Studies and Politics and Religion. A fellow of the Royal Historical Society, Colin recently gave fully funded lectures at various universities in France, Poland, and Japan.


C48F6686Claudia G. Vestal

Visiting Assistant Professor of Romance Languages

Claudia recently received her Doctorate in Education from the University of Leon, a Masters in Spanish Education and a Masters in Applied Spanish linguistics, and two Bachelors Degrees. The Vice President of North Carolina’s chapter of the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese, Claudia teaches and develops online classes at University of Pfeiffer and traditional and hybrid classes at Guilford Technical Community College. She has also taught classes at North Carolina A&T University, and several North Carolina area schools. Prior to her current teaching experiences, Claudia spent eight years teaching and developing the English language curriculum at a school in Mexico, where she was awarded Teacher of the Year. Highly experienced in crafting engaging online and hybrid learning opportunities, Claudia leads workshops on teaching and motivating students in various traditional and virtual forums.


Jim Westerman

Visiting Professor, Schools of Business

Jim earned his PhD in Management from the University of Colorado at Boulder, and an MBA and BS in Finance, both from Florida State. His research and consulting work focuses on ethics, sustainability, organizational behavior, and human resource management. Jim’s research includes more than thirty peer reviewed articles. He also authored the book Person-Organization Fit: Effects on Employee Attitudes and Behavior, and has a book on organizational communication currently under contract with Oxford University Press. His research on teaching and pedagogy has appeared in several popular press outlets including the Harvard Business Review, Bloomberg Businessweek, and ABC News. While a chaired professor at Appalachian State University, Jim received a Board of Governors Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2012, the ASU College of Business Teacher of the Year Award in 2012, and the ASU College of Business Researcher of the Year Award in 2009. He also received the 2010 “Best Paper in Management Education” award at the Academy of Management annual meeting, has been published in “Best Paper Proceedings” multiple times, and was a 2013 Best Paper Finalist at the Western Academy of Management.


C48F6400Katherine Ziff

Assistant Professor of Counseling

Katherine holds a PhD in Counselor Education from Ohio University, a MAEd in Counseling from Wake Forest, a Masters in Urban Affairs and Public Policy from Virginia Tech, and a BA in Sociology from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. Now in her eleventh year of school counseling practice, Katherine has served a very broad pre-K through 12 population, placing creative counseling at the center of her practice. After earning her MAEd from Wake, she worked with the Children’s Center in Winston-Salem to provide visual arts based counseling to students, and later developed a highly regarded creative small group counseling program called ArtBreak in Athens City Schools. Last year, Katherine was awarded the Athens County League of Women Voters Barbara Wiseman Award for her successes in research, program implementation, and grant writing for teacher training. At Ohio University, Katherine taught a variety of courses and workshops, and acted as the site supervisor for the counseling internship program. Also a scholar of psychiatric history and asylums, Katherine has published articles in History of Psychiatry, Counselor Education and Supervision, Creativity in Mental Health, Chrysalis, New Research in Mental Health, and elsewhere.