UMSL welcoming 29 new faculty members as the fall semester begins

by | Aug 22, 2022

New faculty members in the Colleges of Arts and Sciences, Business Administration, Education, Nursing and the Pierre Laclede Honors College took part in orientation last week.
Provost Steven Berberich speaks to new faculty members during orientation at the Millennium Student Center

Provost and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Steven Berberich speaks to new faculty members during a daylong orientation last Tuesday in the Millennium Student Center Century Rooms. (Photos by August Jennewein)

This year’s new faculty orientation at the University of Missouri–St. Louis brought together some new and familiar faces, with several UMSL graduates among the 29 new faculty members joining the university for the start of the 2022-23 academic year.

New faculty members sit and listen during orientation at the Millennium Student Center

Approximately two dozen faculty members took part in new faculty orientation last Tuesday in the Millennium Student Center.

Chancellor Kristin Sobolik and Provost and Interim Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Steven Berberich were on hand to welcome them Tuesday morning in the Century Rooms of the Millennium Student Center, and staff members from the Center for Teaching and Learning guided them through the daylong orientation. They were also invited to a reception at the chancellor’s residence on Tuesday evening.

“I am excited to welcome the new faculty to the UMSL community, an inclusive community that is joined together by a commitment to transform lives,” Berberich said. “UMSL is invested in their success and we look forward to their engagement in teaching, scholarship and service.”

Find out more about each new faculty member below.


Department of Biology

Jillian Bueltmann, assistant teaching professor
Bueltmann holds a Master of Public Health from the Saint Louis University with a concentration in Behavioral Science and Health Education. In addition to professional experience in the pharmaceutical industry, she has been an adjunct professor of biology at UMSL for several years, teaching courses in health and wellness and nutrition and health.

Sara Miller, assistant professor
Miller served as a postdoctoral fellow in Cornell University’s Department of Neurobiology and Behavior. She holds a PhD from the University of British Columbia and earned her master’s in biology at UMSL in 2010. Miller has taught ecology, evolution and genetics, with a research focus on wasps.

Rebecca Polich, assistant teaching professor
Polich earned a PhD in ecology, evolution and organismal biology from Iowa State University in 2017 and has taught introductory biology, evolution, ecology, zoology, and anatomy and physiology – human and otherwise – at Iowa State, Gonzaga University and Rocky Mountain College. Her research and publications are focused on vertebrate physiology and anatomy.

Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry

Lukasz Szatkowski, assistant teaching professor
Szatkowski is an analytical and computational chemist and received a PhD in physical and computational chemistry from Lodz University of Technology in Poland. He also holds an MS in computational chemistry and molecular modeling. Szatkowski has held postdoctoral appointments at Texas A&M University and the University of Arizona and has previously taught at the University of Cincinnati and the University of South Carolina-Sumter.

Jinja Xu, assistant professor
Xu received a BS in chemical engineering from Huazhong University of Science and Technology in China, as well as an MS in organic chemistry and a PhD in materials science and engineering at University of Tsukuba in Japan. She has held postdoctoral positions at Purdue University and at the Beckman Institute at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign and will be establishing a research program in organic materials chemistry while teaching organic chemistry courses.

Department of Computer Science

Laika Satish, assistant teaching professor
Satish holds a master’s degree in computer applications from the University of Mumbai and is finishing a PhD in data Science at the Government University of Malaysia.

Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice

Valerie Anderson, associate professor
Anderson will be joining the UMSL faculty in January after leaving the School of Criminal Justice at the University of Cincinnati. She is a community psychologist by training and conducts research on system responses to youth delinquency and victimization. Anderson has published in a variety of outlets across multiple fields,  including criminology and criminal justice, psychology and public health.

Christopher Sullivan, professor
Sullivan is the E. Desmond Lee Professor of Youth Crime and Violence and new chair of the Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice. He is co-editor of the Journal of Research in Crime and Delinquency, author of “Taking Juvenile Justice Seriously: Developmental Insights and System Challenges” and co-author of “Juvenile Risk and Needs Assessment: Theory, Research, Policy and Practice. Sullivan has been named a 250th Anniversary Fellow at Rutgers University and a Fellow of the Graduate School at the University of Cincinnati for his research and has received award recognition for his mentoring and teaching of graduate students and academic service.

Katie Quinn, assistant professor
Quinn received a PhD in sociology from the University of Toronto in 2021 and has been a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto and a research associate at the University of Nottingham. Her research focuses on how nonprofit organizations and adjacent community actors participate in criminal justice processes and contend with criminal justice problems, especially as they relate to gender and crime.

Department of Language and Cultural Studies

Patrick Moore, associate teaching professor
Moore came to UMSL from George Mason University, and he holds a master’s in linguistics from the University of New England in Australia and an EdD from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom. He will be teaching English for Academic Purpose courses and foreign language education courses.

Graziella Postolache, assistant teaching professor
Postolache earned her PhD in French language and literature as well as a certificate in women and gender studies from Washington University in St. Louis. She specializes in early modern literature with a focus on French and Italian women writers. She taught both French and Spanish at Webster University and received the Kemper Award for Excellence in Teaching in 2021.

Department of Mathematics, Physics and Statistics

Vinay Kanth Rao Kodipelly, assistant teaching professor
Kodipelly holds an MS in applied mathematics from the National Institute of Technology-Warangal in India and received a PhD in mathematics education from the University of Southern Mississippi earlier this year. Kodipelly, who has taught at the University of Memphis, has done research on the use of 3D gaming software to teach and assess students’ understanding of college algebra and its applications, and he is also an experienced robotics competition judge.

Department of Music

David Wacyk, assistant teaching professor
Wacyk is serving as the director of instrumental ensembles and will conduct the UMSL Orchestra and the UMSL Wind Ensemble while also coordinating the Pep band. He holds a Doctor of Musical Arts degree and Master of Music degree in Conducting from the University of Maryland. Before coming to UMSL, he served as director of instrumental music at Saint Martin’s University in Lacey, Washington, and taught instrumental conducting at Towson University.


Department of Accounting

Colleen Mpofu, assistant teaching professor
Mpofu received her MBA from Indiana Wesleyan University and is in the final stage of finishing her DBA degree at UMSL. She served as lead cost accountant at Ingredion and also taught accounting classes at IUPUI.

Department of Finance and Legal Studies

Robert Beverly, assistant teaching professor
Beverly obtained his master’s degree from West Kentucky University and is enrolled in UMSL’s DBA program. He served as director of investment operations at the Meehan Capital Advisors and has taught at Northern Arizona University.

Department of Information Systems and Technology

Damon Walker, assistant teaching professor
Walker earned his BS and MBA from UMSL and is currently pursuing a PhD in the College of Education. He has been an adjunct faculty member in the Department of Information Systems and Technology and has been instrumental in organizing the College of Business Administration’s annual co-gender hackathon, UMSL|Hack. He also served as service delivery coordinator and data analyst at Lumen Technologies.

Department of Supply Chain and Analytics

Temidayo Akenroye, associate professor
Akenroye holds a PhD in supply chain management from the University of Salford and was a senior lecturer at the Liverpool John Moores University. He has more than 15 years of industrial, academic and consulting experience.


Department of Education Preparation and Leadership

Chaebong Nam, assistant professor
Nam received a BA and MA in social studies education from Seoul National University in Korea and taught social studies at a middle school. She earned a PhD in Education focusing on secondary social studies from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She worked as action civics specialist for the Democratic Knowledge Project in the Edmond and Lily Safra Center for Ethics at Harvard University, where she was deeply engaged in curriculum development, professional development and civic learning research. Her research interests revolve around theoretical and practical implications of deeper civic learning and engagement in the digital age.

Paolo Tan, assistant professor
Tan earned his PhD in special education with an emphasis in mathematics education from Indiana University Bloomington. He has held faculty appointments at Johns Hopkins University, the University of Hawaii and the University of Tulsa. He has served as a public school middle-secondary mathematics teacher in culturally and linguistically diverse settings in Kansas City and Indianapolis for 10 years. His research focuses on advancing intersectional justice in and through mathematics education centering disabilities.


Candace-Rae Davis, assistant teaching professor
Davis completed her BSN in 2013 after first working as a professional ballerina. She went on to earn DNPs at the University of Missouri–Columbia in the areas of PCNS and PNP-Primary Care in 2019. While in graduate school, she was employed as a transport nurse and PICU nurse with two local pediatric hospitals. She completed her PNP-Acute Care last year.

Marina Fischer, assistant teaching professor
Fischer recently graduated from UMSL’s DNP program after previously graduating from Saint Louis University as a family nurse practitioner. She practices at her own after-hours primary care clinic, Intentional Living Primary Healthcare, in St. Louis. Her nursing expertise ranges from labor and delivery and women’s services to urgent care, primary care and corporate health. Her scholarship is in the area of quality of life and the management of chronic conditions, particularly in African American populations.

Lisa Green, assistant teaching professorGreen received her PhD from UMSL in 2015, focusing on HIV testing in African American women, and has worked as an educator at Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville. She taught undergraduate and graduate students in areas of policy, research and leadership, community health and evidence-based DNP practice. Green has published numerous articles in the area of clinical and didactic education and on population health and equity.

Millie Logan, assistant teaching professor
Logan earned her PhD from the University of Arizona with a focus on vulnerable populations and chronic disease. She is a Certified Family Nurse Practitioner and nursing educator for undergraduate and graduate students and is knowledgeable in family practice and psychiatric clinical nurse specialty concentrations. She has over 23 years of experience in family practice, internal medicine, psychiatry and case management services.

Joshua Minks, assistant teaching professor
Minks is a 2019 graduate of UMSL’s PhD program. His dissertation focused on the area of Type 2 diabetes, though he has broad knowledge and experience across content areas. He earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Washington and graduated from Southeast Missouri State University as a family nurse practitioner.

Kristine Stewart-Perkins, assistant teaching professor
Stewart-Perkins earned her BSN at UMSL and her master’s in nursing education from the University of Missouri–Columbia. Her nursing expertise is in both adult and pediatric health, primarily critical care. She has worked as a staff nurse, charge nurse, nurse educator and nurse manager and is passionate about student success and at-risk students. She has been teaching in the academic setting since 2015 and has been an adjunct instructor in the College of Nursing since 2019.

Lisa Stitler, assistant teaching professor
Stitler earned her PhD at UMSL in 2017 after an earlier master’s degree in nursing education. She has worked in a number of clinical and didactic education programs creating policy and curricular innovations as well as program refinements. Her early extensive work in public health led to her study of “The Effectiveness of Combined Appointments and Influenza Immunization Rates in a Rural WIC Population” and she has a number of publications in the area of public health.

Laurie Vining, assistant teaching professor
Vining joined the UMSL faculty full time this year after previously working as an adjunct clinical instructor. She earned her DNP in women’s health from UMSL in 2020 and completed a project focused on “Increasing Patient Adherence to Gestational Weight Gain (GWG) Standards in Pregnancy.” Her career as a nurse has included education and policy and she has precepted both undergraduate and graduate student residencies.

Emily Winn, assistant teaching professor
Winn has a background in pediatrics and nursing education and has worked as a primary care pediatric nurse practitioner. She has served many diverse communities advocating for children’s health, wellness, prevention and education. She earned her DNP from the University of Washington in Seattle in 2016 and holds a Pediatric Mental Health Specialist certification as well as her Pediatric NP certification. Winn currently serves as a pediatric hospitalist nurse practitioner at Mercy Hospital in the newborn nursery.


Keshia Elder, dean and professor
Elder will serve as dean of the College of Optometry beginning Sept. 1. She previously was an associated clinical professor and clinical preceptor at UMSL from 2011 to 2016 and had a stint as the director of fourth-year clinical rotations. Elder has served on the faculty at the University of Alabama at Birmingham School of Optometry and at the University of South Carolina Department of Ophthalmology and as an officer and optometrist for the United States Navy Medical Services Corps. She holds a Doctor of Optometry and two master’s degrees, one in vision science and a second in instructional design, all from UAB.


Jason Vasser-Elong, assistant teaching professor
Vasser-Elong earned his MFA in creative writing from UMSL after first earning a bachelor’s degree in cultural anthropology. He has worked as an instructor in the English departments at Harris-Stowe State University and Webster University and also published his debut collection of poetry, “Shrimp,” in April 2018. Vasser-Elong is also pursuing his PhD from UMSL.

Steve Walentik

Steve Walentik

Eye on UMSL: Global exchange
Eye on UMSL: Global exchange

Provost Steven J. Berberich presents an UMSL sweatshirt to Han Liming, who visited St. Louis over the weekend as part of a delegation from its sister city in Nanjing, China.

Eye on UMSL: Global exchange

Provost Steven J. Berberich presents an UMSL sweatshirt to Han Liming, who visited St. Louis over the weekend as part of a delegation from its sister city in Nanjing, China.

Eye on UMSL: Global exchange

Provost Steven J. Berberich presents an UMSL sweatshirt to Han Liming, who visited St. Louis over the weekend as part of a delegation from its sister city in Nanjing, China.