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October, 2019

Introducing Our New Faculty

This academic year, Catholic University welcomes 16 new tenure-track faculty members, whose research interests range from bacterial protein secretion to Scandinavian cinema and from the harnessing of wind energy to Plato’s Socratic dialogues.

As for their personal lives, there are some soccer fanatics, jazz buffs, coffee aficionados and Yankees-watching pizza chefs among these new professors.

They hail from towns ranging from LA to Johnstown, Pa., and also from France, Germany, Switzerland, Colombia and Romania.

Please extend your welcome to them all:


School of Arts and Sciences

  Christopher Darnton
Assistant Professor of Politics
Ph.D., Princeton University
Hometown: Oakland, Calif.
Research Interests: comparative foreign policy, Latin American politics, U.S.-Latin America relations
Hobbies: playing Irish music (mandolin, banjo or guitar), travel (abroad as well as American road trips), serious coffee

Nathalie Dautin
Assistant Professor of Biology
Ph.D., Université Paris Diderot
Hometown: Paris, France
Research Interests: protein secretion through membranes in bacteria
Hobbies: listening to music, hiking, swimming

  Jennifer Fleeger
Assistant Professor of Media Studies
Ph.D., University of Iowa
Hometown: Seattle
Research Interests: film sound, American cinema, Scandinavian cinema
Hobbies: playing violin, making personal documentary films, chasing around after her toddler

Tanja Horn
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., University of Maryland
Hometown: Marburg, Germany
Research Interests: nuclear physics, specifically studying the properties of the nucleon through exclusive reactions; quantum chromodynamics
Hobbies: running, tennis, swimming, hiking, reading, drawing

  Prasad Senesi
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Ph.D., University of California, Riverside
Hometown: Tustin, Calif.
Research Interests: representation theory of Lie algebras, geometric representation theory
Hobbies: cycling, listening to live music (classic rock and jazz), astronomy, choral singing

Vijay Sookdeo
Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Ph.D., University of Rochester
Hometown: New York City
Research Interest: arithmetic dynamics
Hobbies: hiking, rowing, cooking

School of Canon Law

  Rev. Sean O. Sheridan, T.O.R.
Assistant Professor of Canon Law
J.C.D., The Catholic University of America
Hometown: Cresson, Pa. (born in Johnstown, Pa.)
Research Interests: consecrated life, the teaching office of the Church                
Hobbies: playing the organ, reading, listening to music

School of Engineering

Rene David Gabbai
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D., Rutgers University
Hometown: Bogotá, Colombia
Research Interests: wind engineering, wind energy, vortex-induced vibration
Hobbies: tennis, volleyball, reading, travel, being a “soccer fanatic” (his favorite team is FC Barcelona)

  Tobias Nef
Assistant Professor of Biomedical Engineering
Ph.D., ETH Zurich (aka the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich)                     
Hometown: Zurich, Switzerland
Research Interests: rehabilitation robotics, neurorehabilitation
Hobby: skiing

Columbus School of Law

Megan M. La Belle
Assistant Professor of Law
J.D., University of California, Davis, School of Law
Hometown: Los Angeles
Research Interests: intellectual property, civil procedure and particularly the intersection between these two disciplines
Hobbies: spending time with her children, reading novels, travel

  Mark Rienzi
Assistant Professor of Law
J.D., Harvard Law School
Hometown: New York City
Research interests: abortion, religious freedom, free speech, federal courts, constitutional law, intellectual property
Hobbies: making pizza and watching the New York Yankees, preferably at the same time

School of Nursing

Carole Staley Collins
Assistant Professor of Nursing
Ph.D., University of Maryland
Hometown: Annapolis, Md.
Research Interests: community health, older adults’ health promotion, nature and gardening/gardens as they relate to human health and well-being, curriculum, qualitative research
Hobbies: reading/speaking Spanish, gardening (she’s certified as a master gardener), being a mother of a college student

  Janice L. Hinkle
Associate Professor of Nursing
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania
Hometown: none (she says she was a “Navy brat” who attended 17 different schools before graduating from high school and has lived in 10 states, Germany and England since high school)
Research Interests: functional recovery after stroke, stroke prevention, functional status in geriatric patients
Hobbies: sewing, skiing, cycling, hiking

School of Philosophy

Cristina Ionescu
Assistant Professor of Philosophy
Ph.D., University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada
Hometown: Timişoara, Romania
Research Interest: ancient Greek philosophy, especially that of Plato
Hobbies: reading, hiking, listening to classical music

School of Theology and Religious Studies

  Christopher J. Ruddy
Associate Professor of Systematic Theology
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Hometown: Baldwin, N.Y.
Research Interests: the Church, Vatican II, ecumenism
Hobbies: running, reading poetry and other literature, playing guitar                          

Joseph M. White
Associate Professor of American Church History
Ph.D., University of Notre Dame
Hometown: Indianapolis
Research Interests: theological education, histories of dioceses and religious communities, Catholic ethnic groups, religious sites and structures, nativism and anti-Catholic movements
Hobbies: joining with his wife in parenting three young boys (“It’s the only hobby I have time for”), travel, sightseeing

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Last Revised 24-Sep-09 11:28 AM.