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November 12, 2004

Meet UMBC's New Faculty

UMBC welcomes its newest faculty. If you are a new faculty member and would like to be profiled in Insights, e-mail

Dawn J. Bennett
Assistant Professor of Mechanical Engineering
Ph.D., 2004, New Jersey Institute of Technology

Prof. Bennett's dissertation examined dielectrophoresis of biological and non-biological particles. Before coming to UMBC, she was a research engineer at Sandia National Laboratories in Albuquerque, New Mexico as part of Sandia's MESA Institute Program, where she designed microfluidic channels and ran experiments in dielectrophoresis. Bennett has worked as a product and manufacture engineer for General Motors and Rockwell Automation Corporation, respectively. Bennett stresses the value of microfluidics research for its ability to aid in the detection of anthrax spores and other dangerous biological agents, to separate cancerous cells from noncancerous cells in blood, and to remove pollutant particles from fuel. Currently, Bennett is collaborating with the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) and is supported by the NSF-funded ADVANCE Program and the Henry C. Welcome Fellowship from the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Bennett most recently co-authored an article featured in Applied Physics Letters on particle manipulation in microfluidics. She enjoys traveling and spent a year teaching in the rural villages of Kenya, Africa. In addition, she enjoys skiing and has recently been hiking and sailing in the Baltimore area.

Charissa S. L. Cheah
Assistant Professor of Psychology
Ph.D., 2000, University of Maryland, College Park

Prof. Cheah's dissertation examined the parenting beliefs and practices of Mainland Chinese and European American mothers of preschoolers, regarding children's adaptive and maladaptive social behaviors. Before coming to UMBC, she was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of Saskatchewan, Canada in the Culture and Human Development program. Cheah is interested in the social emotional development and health of children and adolescents and the ways in which cultural factors contribute to this development. Her research is supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council. Cheah relates her research to the growing minority population in the United States and the need for an understanding of their parenting styles and developmental expectations in order to effectively inform public policy and address practices in education. She is the co-author of a recent article featured in the International Journal of Behavioral Development, which compares cross-cultural responses to asocial behavior in preschoolers.

Carolyn Forestiere
Assistant Professor of Political Science
Ph.D., 2004, Emory University

Prof. Forestiere's dissertation, which she is currently developing into a manuscript, examined opposition politics in parliamentary systems. A graduate Fulbright recipient, Forestiere spent a year in Italy working on her dissertation research. Last year she taught Italian and Italian politics at Emory University as a visiting lecturer. Her current research considers how opposition parties influence legislation in parliamentary systems, and she emphasizes the essential role of an official opposition in democratic politics. Last year Forestiere gave a series of lectures at a retirement community and encourages others to be active volunteers. She enjoys scuba diving and is a trained classical pianist.

Amy M. Froide
Assistant Professor of History
Ph.D., 1996, Duke University

Before coming to UMBC, Prof. Froide was a history professor at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts. She joins her husband, Terry Bouton, who is also a professor in UMBC's history department. Froide's research examines women in early modern Europe, and is particularly concerned with how marital status affected their lives. She addresses topics involving single mothers and welfare, the issue of marital choice and stereotypes about never-married women. Froide's research has been supported by the British Academy, the Rockefeller Foundation, the American Historical Association, the Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Newberry Library and Yale University's Walpole Library. Froide's forthcoming book, Never Married: Single women in early modern England (Oxford University Press) will be published in early 2005. While her one-year-old daughter takes up most of her time, she enjoys traveling in Europe and hopes to lead trips for UMBC students in the future.

Theodosia Gougousi
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., 1996, University of Pittsburgh

Before coming to UMBC, Prof. Gougousi was a research associate at North Carolina State University, where she studied the stability and electrical and interfacial properties of several rare earth and transition metal-based oxide and silicate materials. Gougousi was drawn to UMBC for the research prospects it offers to people in her field. In her research she studies the properties of thin film materials, such as those used in nanotechnology. Gougousi points out that advances in her field will contribute to the enrichment of people's lives with better, faster computers and electronic gadgets, impact space exploration and even offer new instrumentation for health care. Among Gougousi's most recent publications is a co-authored article in the Journal of Applied Physics examining the reactivity of thin films with other materials. She enjoys reading and watching movies when she is not spending time with her four-year-old daughter.

John E. Nelson
Clinical Assistant Professor of Education
Ph.D., 1980, McGill University

Prof. Nelson was brought to UMBC by Ron Schwartz in 1988 and has been teaching in the ESL MA Program as an adjunct lecturer. This year Schwartz retired and asked Nelson to take over his position as clinical assistant professor. Before coming to UMBC, Nelson worked as the parent involvement specialist and staff development specialist for the ESOL program in Prince George's County public schools. He is concerned with the growing numbers of non-English speaking children in American schools and the shortage of ESOL teachers despite the increasing influence of English in the world. Nelson considers UMBC's ESOL program to be one of the strongest in the country and is committed to its continued improvement. For the past several years he has coordinated a spring biking program bringing together adults and high school ESOL students from Prince George's County.

-Steffany Magid

Posted by dwinds1 at November 12, 2004 12:00 AM