Mercyhurst welcomes new staff members

Sarah Beck, Contributing writer

The academic 2021-2022 school year has brought about a lot of new faces to the Mercyhurst campus. Not only are we welcoming the incoming class of freshman students, but also our wonderful University President Kathleen Getz and twenty-seven new faculty members. The new faculty members spread wide across the various colleges and disciplines here at Mercyhurst University. It is very exciting to welcome these professors, some of whom you may know through classes that you are taking this semester.

The Intelligence Program in particular has gained quite a few members including Dalene Duvenage and Brooke Shannon who are both Assistant Professors of Intelligence Studies. Peter Correa—oftentimes referred to as The Colonel—is also an Assistant Professor of Intelligence Studies. This is Correa’s first year teaching full-time within Ridge College, but this marks his third year teaching at Mercyhurst. “I love teaching at Mercyhurst because of the quality of our students and because we are a university delivering cutting edge programs facilitated by professors with both real-world and academic credentials,” said Correa.

The Colonel is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, NY where he received his Bachelors of Science in Engineering and Leadership. He continued his education at The Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA where he received his Master of Science in Financial Management. Correa served in uniform for twenty-four years until he retired from active duty in 1996 as a Lieutenant Colonel. Correa is a very active professor, “I believe in making education hands-on and interactive rather than a total ‘Death By PowerPoint’ experience. I am a strong advocate for experiential learning levered by technology,” said Correa. One of Correa’s favorite classes to teach is Business Intelligence as it, “Allows students to peel the onion of or-ganizations,” said Correa.

Mercyhurst is very fortunate to have an educator like Correa who believes in blending together hands-on learning with also technical learning skills and styles. The newly-instated Nursing Department is also very fortunate to have gained Professors Sara Finchio and Carolyn Zaffino who are both Instructors of Nursing, as well as Professor Colleen Miller who is not only an Instructor of Nursing but also a Clinical Simulation Coordinator. There were a few additions to the political science world here at Mercyhurst, as well. These include Abolghasem Bayyenat, who is an Assistant Professor of Political Science, and Eric T. Wagner, an Instructor of Political Science.

Alethea Gaarden is also an Instructor of not only Political Science but also an Instructor of English. Gaarden, who is a Mercyhurst alumna, is thrilled to be back on campus. When Gaarden was a Mercyhurst student she double majored in political science and English. She ended up focusing on English and received her Master’s at Ohio University where she focused on Old and Medieval English. A little-known fact about Gaarden is that she worked with the Flagship Niagara League down on the bayfront where she got interested in maritime studies and literature of the sea. Gaarden worked as a mariner and carpenter for the Flagship Niagara League for a couple of years, “It was nice to have that balance between academics and being engaged in the community in a different way,” said Gaarden. She worked at Mercyhurst part-time for a while but was eventually drawn to become full-time here at Mercyhurst University. Gaarden says that her favorite part of working at Mercyhurst is the students, “Mercyhurst students are consistently so engaged. With everything that we have experienced over the last year and a half to two years, the effort that people put in and the work that they have done to still be present in their classes and in their departments has been amazing to see,” said Gaarden. Some of the classes that Gaarden teaches are a few American Government courses, Intro to Technical Writing as well as Research and Writing. Gaarden is such a wonderful addition to our campus as she truly cares for her students and being a part of their journey through education.

Within applied forensic sciences, the University is pleased to welcome Kristine A. Kortonick as a Visiting Instructor of Applied Forensic Sciences and Stephanie Melillo as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Forensic Science. Anthony V. Lanfranchi is also an Instructor of Applied Forensic Sciences that is new on campus.

The university is fortunate to have gained professors in primarily nursing, intelligence studies, applied forensic sciences and political sciences, but there are also many new professors in other practices. These professors include the following: Derek Beeler is an Assistant Professor of Athletic Training as well as a Clinical Education Coordinator. Jesse Decker is an Instructor of Data Science. Lawrence M. Downey, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics. Sey-ma Inan is an Assistant Professor of Psychology. Michelle Kephart is an Instructor of Sociology and Social Work. Sadia Yaqub Khan is an Assistant Professor of Marketing. William J. Meyer, Jr. is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Archeology. Julia M. Morgan is an Assistant Professor of Philosophy. Elizabeth M. Pyne is an Assistant Professor of Religious Studies. Katelyn S. Reisenau-er is an Assistant Professor of Physician Assistant Studies. Elizabeth M. Sanders is an Assistant Professor of Applied Sociology and Social Work. Michael Silker is an Instructor of Criminal Justice. Katie Summers is an Instructor of Fashion Merchandising. Qiuju Tian is an Instructor of Education. Bradley Treece is an Assistant Professor of Physics. It is wonderful to see the campus growing as these new faculty members begin their careers at Mercyhurst University.

Every person has their own unique story to share and each of these stories offers something different to everyone. As a campus community, we are blessed to have these twenty-seven new members, so be sure to welcome them in the classroom and around campus.