New Faculty Bring Expertise, Passion for Teaching

Thursday, September 22, 2022
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Fifteen professors have joined the faculty in a variety of academic areas after earning numerous teaching honors, developing innovative technology, and being distinguished research fellows.

Eleven new faculty members are lending their professional and scholarly expertise with a passion for teaching to the faculty in a variety of academic departments for the 2022-23 academic year.  In addition, four existing members of the faculty have moved from visiting appointments to tenure-track appointments.

These 15 faculty members have earned numerous teaching honors, helped develop innovative technology, and been distinguished research fellows. Several are bringing global perspectives to their classes after earning degrees from institutions throughout the world.

Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Rick Stamper, PhD, also highlights that these new faculty help bring diversity to the faculty, with six female professors on the list. He also pointed out two Rose-Hulman alumni have returned to campus for teaching roles. 

“We’re delighted to bring new educators to our faculty that have technical expertise and scholarly achievement in so many areas that will become assets to their academic departments and the entire campus community. But most importantly, they all have a passion for teaching and a commitment to help our students learn new science, technology, engineering, and mathematics areas to achieve their career goals,” said Stamper. “I’m sure these new professors will take their place alongside our highly esteemed and respected faculty – one of the endearing qualities of our nationally recognized institution.” 

The new faculty members, in alphabetical order, are:

Rachel Atherton, PhD, assistant professor of English in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts, taught classes in technical, multimedia and business writing, along with first-year composition at Purdue University. She earned doctorate and master’s degrees in English, specializing in rhetoric and composition, from Purdue after receiving bachelor’s degrees in English and German at Southern Illinois University. 
Oluwafolake Ayano, PhD, visiting assistant professor of computer science and software engineering, has experience in big data analytics. She is a highly skilled information technologist who is familiar with all aspects of the software development lifecycle, database administration, data analysis, and information technology. Ayano received a doctorate in computer and information technology from Purdue and earned master’s and bachelor’s degrees in computer science from the University of Ibadan and Polytechnic Ibadan in Nigeria.
Mark Baker, PhD, assistant professor of physics and optical engineering, brings a wealth of teaching experience to the classroom after instructor and research positions at St. Francis Xavier University and University of Western Ontario, both in Canada. He earned awards for teaching undergraduate-level courses. Baker’s doctorate, master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physics came from UWO.
Tyler Billingsley, PhD, assistant professor of mathematics, had been a visiting professor at St. Olaf College (Minnesota) and a visiting scientist with Corteva Agriscience in Indianapolis. His research areas include the specialization of elliptic surfaces and code-based cryptography. His doctorate and bachelor’s degree in mathematics came from Purdue University.
Lydia Eldredge, PhD, assistant professor of mathematics, remains in the Rose-Hulman Department of Mathematics after being a visiting professor on campus for the past two years. Her research interests cover such topics as the Mahler measure, heights of algebraic numbers, computational algebra, and differential forms on hyperbolic spaces. Eldredge earned bachelor’s, master’s and doctorate degrees in mathematics from Florida State University.
Daniel Hashemi, PhD, assistant professor of physics and optical engineering, had been a lecturer at Kettering University (Michigan) and a research scientist with the Toyota Research Institute of North America. He also has been a research fellow at the Air Force Research Laboratory and University of Michigan. He earned his doctorate at the International Max Planck Research School for Science and Technology of Nanostructures in conjunction with Martin Luther University of Halle-Wittenberg in Halle, Germany.
Ben Jelen, PhD, assistant professor of computer science and software engineering, taught courses in data structures and algorithms, software requirements engineering and health technology design as a visiting professor at Rose-Hulman. His research interests cover human-computer interaction, user-centered and participatory design, maker technology, and health systems. He earned a doctorate in health informatics from Indiana University, where he also received a master’s degree in informatics.
Gloria Liou, visiting assistant professor of computer science and software engineering, comes from Google where she held roles in product management and software engineering. She led teams of 30+ engineers and created the first fully machine learning-based personalized ranking system at Google. Liou earned bachelor's degrees in computer science and cognitive science from Pomona College (California).
Elizabeth Melton, PhD, assistant professor of physics and optical engineering and director of Oakley Observatory, had been an instructor of astronomical universe and elementary astronomy laboratory courses at Pennsylvania State University. She formerly was an award-winning student who did asteroid photometry research while earning bachelor’s degrees in physics and mathematics, with a minor in astronomy, from Rose-Hulman.
Austin Nash, PhD, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, had been an assistant professor at Kettering University (Michigan), where students nominated him for an outstanding teaching award. His teaching interests include dynamic systems analysis, control systems, dynamic modeling, thermodynamics, computer programming, and mechanics of materials. Nash earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in mechanical engineering at Rose-Hulman before receiving a doctorate at Purdue.
McCabe Olsen, PhD, assistant professor of mathematics, was a visiting professor at Rose-Hulman after teaching at Ohio State. He also had been an East Asia and Pacific Summer Institutes Fellow at Osaka University in Japan. Olsen’s research activities have covered topics involving algebraic and geometric combinatorics, combinatorial commutative algebra, and discrete geometry. He earned doctorate and master’s degrees in mathematics from the University of Kentucky.
Tanvir Pavel, PhD, assistant professor of economics in the Department of Humanities, Social Sciences and the Arts, also had been a visiting faculty on campus. He formerly taught and lectured at Florida International University, St. Thomas University (Florida), Oklahoma State University, Eastern Illinois University, and the University of Bangladesh. Pavel specializes in environmental and natural resource economics, with an emphasis on the climate change adaptation strategies and natural hazard risk mitigation policies. His PhD degree came from FIU.
Monay Shoushan, PhD, visiting assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, made national conference presentations on research that developed smartphone camera-based frameworks to remotely monitor a person’s heart rate, heart rate variability and blood pressure. A doctorate and master’s degree were earned at Texas Tech University after receiving a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering at Alexandria University in Egypt. 
Samir Talegaon, PhD, visiting assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, helped develop software programs for Android device security during post-doctorate work at Rutgers University (New Jersey). He earned doctorate and master’s degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Texas at San Antonio. His bachelor’s degree came from Kolhapur Institute of Technology in India.
Kelsey Walters, PhD, visiting assistant professor of mathematics, taught a variety of calculus and algebra courses at Aurora University (Illinois) and Purdue, where she earned an excellence in teaching award. She earned a doctorate in mathematics from Purdue after a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College (Illinois).