2020-21 New Faculty

We’re excited to have many new faculty members joining us for the 2020-21 academic year. As you can see by scrolling through the profiles below, they are a talented group of teachers, scholars, and researchers who we are fortunate to have as part of the Providence College community.

Tenure-Track Faculty

Rachael Bonoan
Assistant Professor Biology

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: Tufts University 2018 PhD in Ecology, Behavior, and Evolution

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I enjoy working with undergraduates on research projects that they can take ownership of.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Ecology, insects (social insects), pollinators

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Macro, photography, baking, hiking

Rev. Christopher Justin Brophy, O.P.
Assistant Professor Political Science

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Notre Dame 2020 Ph.D. in Political Theory

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I am passionate about interdisciplinary teaching and learning. The mentoring relationships I had with my own professors were transformative and I incorporate the questions students ask in the classroom in my research.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: History of political thought (Ancient, Late Modern German, and American), philosophical conceptions of the human psyche, Catholic intellectual tradition

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Bowling (competitive and certified level 1 coach), cooking, mixology, and watching sports (Mets, Giants, Devils, Notre Dame and Providence College)

Jessica (Jess) Buchanan
Assistant Professor Accounting

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Massachusetts Amherst 2017 Ph.D. in Accounting

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “Teaching is an amazing opportunity to connect with many individuals and help them reach their goals. Not every student needs the same thing, some need help with study habits, others content and still others need help getting connected with the right opportunities. I try to fulfill the needs of each of my students to the best of my abilities so they can achieve their goals.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Auditor judgment and decision-making, linguistics, and deception

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Trying new local restaurants, reading sci-fi and fantasy novels, and spending time in the woods

Bret Cormier
Associate Professor and Chair Elementary/Special Education

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: The University of Texas at Austin 2009 Ph.D. in Education TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I firmly believe that the purpose of teaching is to effect social change and produce more active citizenry. I am committed to an interdisciplinary lens of learning and I utilize theories from a variety of disciplines in my teaching. My lessons present education as the social and cultural event it is. I strive to engage my students critically through different activities as my goal is to have them stop, reflect, and reconsider, while I also reflect. I believe it is our intellectual responsibility to embrace critical and independent thought whenever possible.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Achievement gap & public policy related to the achievement gap, social justice & social/structural inequalities, leadership in education/ organizational behavioral design, school to prison pipeline/zero tolerance policies, college and career readiness

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Reading, walking my dog Harvey, and spending time with family

Abigail (Abby) Corrington
Assistant Professor Management

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: Rice University 2020 Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “My primary objective is to pursue data as a means to discover the truth about human behavior with the ultimate goal of improving the workplace and developing thoughtful and inclusive leaders. I believe that a diversity of perspectives leads to competence in communication, critical thinking, and awareness of our biases and how they influence our interactions with those around us.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Diversity, inclusion, discrimination, gender leadership

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Running marathons, traveling, playing the guitar, sporting events, concerts/musicals, being outdoors, spending time with loved ones

Alyssa Lopez
Assistant Professor History and Classics

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: Michigan State University 2020 Ph.D. in History

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe each day in the classroom serves as something to learn from, build off of, and to improve the next time around. Teaching truly is one of the most rewarding experiences because I get to watch my students grow as writers, researchers, and thinkers. My favorite part about being a professor, though, is showing students that your passions can be your lifelong work.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: 20th century African American history, film history, race, culture, and activism

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Listening to podcasts, binging true crime documentaries, spending time with my cats, experimenting with new recipes (especially desserts), hoarding vintage Pyrex

Joanna Morris
Associate Professor Psychology

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Pennsylvania 1998 Ph.D. in Psychology

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe strongly that learning should be inquiry-based and student-driven. Ideally, I aim to change students from being consumers into being producers of knowledge. I also believe in making teaching goals explicit to students, because if students understand *why* I require a particular assignment and the specific ways in which I expect that assignment to help their learning, will be more willing to engage with the material, and put forward their best effort.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Cognitive neuroscience, electrophysiology, linguistics, psycholinguistics

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Playing the piano (mostly classical), downhill skiing with my son, sewing, knitting, fashion design, interior design, architecture

Laura Murray
Assistant Professor Mathematics

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Notre Dame 2020 Ph.D. in Mathematics

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe that teaching and research go hand in hand. One of the most fulfilling things about research is communicating it to others, and that starts in the classroom. My goal is to teach math courses in a way that exposes students to the creativity of math.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Algebraic topology, quantum field theory, category theory,

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Cooking, biking, hiking, ceramics, gardening

Candidus (Candi) Nwakasi
Assistant Professor Health Policy and Management

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: Miami University 2020 Ph.D. Social Gerontology

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe that I am constantly involved in a knowledge building and exchange process that will help students succeed. I am a proponent of using cross-cultural research to help broaden the knowledge and policy implications of aging and health.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Global aging and health, dementia and caregiving, healthcare access, disadvantaged population groups

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Soccer, movies, spending time with friends and family, travel

Claire Roosien
Assistant Professor History and Classics

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Chicago 2019 Ph.D. in Near Eastern Languages and Civilizations and Russian History (joint)

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I am invested in crossing disciplinary boundaries between literature, culture, and history, and in inviting students to think of history as a creative, interpretive discipline. Teaching is more of a performance than it is a transfer of knowledge! My work has benefited from thinking of teaching as a way to enrich my research, rather than as a distraction.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Russia, Central Asia, Modern Middle East

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Singing (Turkish and Arabic classical, Siberian folk, medieval Russian and Byzantine chants), playing the fiddle, hiking, exploring the woods and beaches of New England, active member of the Orthodox Church in America

Rev. Antoninus Samy, O.P.
Assistant Professor Economics

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Oxford (UK) 2011 DPhil. in Economic History

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “In addition to imparting knowledge, teachers should inspire a love for learning in their students. Teaching and scholarly work enjoy a symbiotic relationship, as teaching makes one a better scholar, and scholarship makes one a better teacher. Research and teaching are integral parts of the Dominican charism of preaching the Truth.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Economic history, history of economic thought, Catholic social doctrine

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Soccer, music

Ashley Smith-Purviance
Assistant Professor Black Studies and Public and Community Service Studies

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Wisconsin Madison 2020 Ph.D. in Educational Policy Studies

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe that there are multiple experts in the classroom with various lived experiences that can enhance each person’s outlook on life, society, and the world at large. I aim to include the voices of communities in my academic work as a way to produce relevant, timely, and humanizing scholarship.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Black girlhood Community-engaged research/organizing, education policy, gender and women’s studies, qualitative research methods, school discipline

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Workout classes at Orangetheory Fitness, love trying new restaurants, spending quality time with my family, partner and our dog, Nala

Tyler Stack
Assistant Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Texas at Austin 2017 Ph.D. in Biochemistry

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe that active learning methods are as good, if not better than the regular ‘sage on a stage’ method. I feel like I would be doing a disservice to my students if I did not use a flipped classroom.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Bacterial metabolism

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Baking (bread, pies, tarts), biking into work, excited to learn routes to a new city

Visiting & Adjunct Faculty

Zayer Baazaoui Visiting Assistant Professor Foreign Language Studies
Zayer Baazaoui
Visiting Assistant Professor Foreign Language Studies

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Miami, Florida 2020 PhD in Literary, Cultural and Linguistic Studies

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I enjoy mentoring and advising students, designing and teaching new courses, organizing extracurricular activities, and doing groundbreaking research in my field.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: French and francophone studies (history, literature, and culture of France)

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Creative writing, traveling, taking pictures, media/cinemas, cooking

Hyun Hwa (Hannah) Jo Visiting Assistant Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry
Hyun Hwa (Hannah) Jo
Visiting Assistant Professor Chemistry and Biochemistry

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: The University of Texas Austin 2015 Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe that teaching with a passion motivates and engages students and I aim to empower students to become independent learners.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Organic chemistry

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Exploring different places, cities, parks (outdoors), restaurants, museums

Ranier Robinson Instructor Accountancy
Ranier Robinson
Instructor Accountancy

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: The University of Alabama 2020 Ph.D. in Accountancy

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “I believe it is important to continuously learn and to remain informed of emerging issues. In the classroom, I strive to include topical issues as part of the learning environment. I also think that self-improvement is key to teaching and research. I incorporate student feedback from my teaching evaluations, analyzing and reviewing the constructive criticism of my teaching in order to adjust the learning experience for the better.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Financial reporting quality

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Foodie–trying new cuisines from across the world, traveling to new places, hiking in the mountains, lazing about on the beach

Katherine (Katie) Wrisley Shelby Visiting Assistant Professor Theology
Katherine (Katie) Wrisley Shelby
Visiting Assistant Professor Theology

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: Boston College 2018 Ph.D. in Historical Theology

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “St. Bonaventure once wrote that we do theology “ut bonum fiamus,” “so that we might become good.” This informs my understanding of my own role as both a scholar and teacher of theology. I think fostering intellectual virtues is conducive to helping students habituate the moral virtues. I affirm the Dominican mission of the university, namely, academic excellence in pursuit of the truth.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Historical theology, special interest in the medieval Franciscan tradition

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Hiking, traveling abroad, visiting family, backpacking, Parish life at Trinity Episcopal Church in Boston, music (I’ve played classical piano since I was eleven years old, and I enjoy finding local concerts to attend with Tyson, my husband)

Father Jordan Zajac
Rev. Jordan Zajac, O.P.
Visiting Assistant Professor English

ACADEMIC PREPARATION: University of Massachusetts, Amherst 2013 Ph.D. English Literature

TEACHING THOUGHTS: “All learning is due more to the student than the instructor. Just as healing happens because of the work that the body does, with the doctor helping make it happen, so too learning occurs primarily within the student, guided by the instructor as a secondary cause —but only ever as a secondary cause.”

SCHOLARLY INTERESTS: Shakespeare, early modern English drama, early modern reception and staging of ancient and medieval systems of moral inquiry

HOBBIES & INTERESTS: Enjoying the New England craft beer scene, watching PC athletics