UMBC logo

First Year Seminars
Fall 2013 Faculty Profiles

Suzanne Braunschweig is a former American Sign Language Interpreter who has also taught at Gallaudet University, the only liberal arts university in the world for Deaf students. She has been at UMBC since 2008 and is currently a lecturer in the Geography and Environmental Systems Department and the Director of the Interdisciplinary Science Program. She teaches SCI 100 Water: An Interdisciplinary Study, GES 220 Laboratory and Field Techniques for Environmental Science and FYS102S The Deaf Community and Its Culture. Dr. Braunschweig earned a Ph.D. in biology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University in 1993. Her research interests include science education and student perceptions about science, and long-term forest community dynamics.

In fall 2013, Dr. Braunschweig and Ms. Purdue are teaching FYS 102S: The Deaf Community and Its Culture.


Nandita Dasgupta has been engaged in teaching Economics and Statistics at UMBC since 2002. A motivated and enthusiastic teacher, she has taught diverse courses in Economics ranging from the Principles of Microeconomics and Macroeconomics to Intermediate Microeconomics, Econometrics, Managerial Economics, Economics of Strategic Interaction and Cost Benefit Analysis with the same excitement and dedication. She has received the Best Instructor Award in Economics seven times at UMBC. A Ph.D. in Economics from Calcutta University, India, she publishes in the area of Foreign Direct Investment (FDI). Her current research interests include international business, in particular the implications of FDI outflows from developing countries. She has extensive teaching and research experience both in India and USA. In USA, she has also taught at George Washington University, Towson University, and Johns Hopkins University. She was a consultant with the Columbia Earth Institute in Columbia University over 2002- 2004 where she had co-authored several working papers on FDI inflows in India. She has received best research paper awards from academic research conferences. Her research studies have been published in refereed journals and also as a chapter on Indian FDI to USA in an esteemed book on outward FDI from India published by Palgrave Macmillan.

Dr. Dasgupta proactively expressed her keen interest in teaching the First Year Seminar program to introduce new students to the basic economic elements of poverty in in the US. Especially since the current global financial crisis, the issues of poverty have become increasingly compelling subjects of ongoing public debate in USA in the academic and political arena and also as topics of casual journalistic empiricism. She therefore feels that it is important for the students of UMBC, regardless of their academic disciplines, to familiarize themselves with the characteristics of poverty, the intensity of US poverty, causes and consequences of poverty, public and private sector responses to combat poverty and the effectiveness of the anti-poverty measures. Given the gripping nature of the topic, the course should interest all students, irrespective of their majors.

In fall 2013, Dr. Dasgupta is teaching FYS 102U: Poverty Amidst Plenty: The Economics of American Poverty.

Karen Frieberg

Karen Freiberg is Senior Lecturer Emerita with 34 years of teaching experience in the Department of Psychology. She earned a Ph.D. in Developmental Psychology from Syracuse University in 1974 and an M.S. in Developmental Psychology from Cornell University in 1968. An outstanding teacher and mentor, she has been the Psychology Department Teacher of the Year as well as an advisor to undergraduate and graduate researchers. Dr. Freiberg wrote the textbook Human Development: A Lifespan Approach, which went through four editions and won best book of the year award from the American Nurses Association for three of the four editions. She has edited 14 Annual Editions about Human Development and 13 Annual Editions about Educating Exceptional Children. Additionally she creates PowerWeb books and test banks. Dr. Freiberg's background is in nursing and science and her areas of interest are health psychology and physiological psychology. When not teaching, she spends much of her time writing.

In fall 2013, Dr. Freiberg is teaching FYS 102K: Passive-Aggressive Behavior.

David Irvine

David Irvine has a wide range of intellectual interests, ranging from science to philosophy, as well as a passion for teaching. He earned a B.S./M.S. in aerospace engineering from Purdue University in 1973 and a Ph.D. in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics from The Johns Hopkins University in 1983. Dr. Irvine worked as a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory for nearly a decade. He has also served on the faculty at St. John’s College in Annapolis, been a technical consultant at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and taught both philosophy and logic at local community colleges. He now teaches freshman and sophomore engineering science courses at UMBC. He actively sought out the First Year Seminar program to get involved with students just entering the college environment, hoping to excite them with some of the basic human questions, and to help them develop the intellectual skills needed to really profit from group discussions.

In fall 2013, Dr. Irvine is teaching FYS 101T: Discussing Classics.

Alan Kriezenbeck is a theatre practitioner with strong interests in alternative performance, film, and social change. He is an Associate Professor in the Theatre Department with a Ph.D. in Drama from New York University. Dr. Kreizenbeck teaches courses in acting, theatre history, film, and Japanese performance. He has published numerous articles and presented papers at national conferences. His book on Zoe Akins, a 1920s playwright, garnered many strong reviews. He is past director of the Linehan Artsit Scholar Program and past chair of the Theatre Department. In 2003, he was named Honors College Professor of the Year. He is currently involved in creating theatre with the developmentally disabled, as well as developing theatrical activities and performances that can foster social awareness.

In fall 2013, Dr. Kreizenbeck is teaching FYS 101U: But is it Art? Filmmakers, Art, and the Artist.

William LaCourse is a successful inventor as well as Professor and Dean of the College of Natural and Mathematical Sciences. He is a Kauffman Fellow of Entrepreneurship, and CEO/cofounder of Aurora Analytics, LLC. Dr. LaCourse earned a Ph.D. from Northeastern University in 1987. In 2005, Dr. LaCourse founded UMBC’s Chemistry Discovery Center, which has dramatically improved student performance in introductory chemistry courses. His research interests include basic and applied research on hydrodynamic electroanalytical techniques in chromatographic and electrophoretic systems. He has authored many publications and book chapters and sole-authored the book Pulsed Electrochemical Detection in High Performance Liquid Chromatography. Dr. LaCourse is the recipient of several chemistry and research awards and an active member of local and national professional societies and groups.

In fall 2013, Mr. Mason and Dr. LaCourse are teaching FYS 102P: Creativity, Innovation, and Invention.

Joel Liebman is a firm believer that science is an interpersonal, international, and interdisciplinary endeavor and he has ongoing collaborations with scientists around the world as well as in the US. He teaches chemistry courses ranging from CHEM 100 The Chemical World (a distribution-fulfilling course emphasizing science and society) through CHEM 410/610 Quantum Chemistry/Special Topics in Theoretical Chemistry/Chemical Bonding (a senior/graduate elective in his scientific specialty). Dr. Liebman earned a Ph.D. from Princeton University in 1970. He has many professional journal publications; has coauthored or co-edited numerous books, book chapters, and data bases; and has had poems published as well. Dr. Liebman enjoys thinking and understanding, and thinking about thinking and understanding in particular. He is responsible for some new words in the scientific vocabulary associated with new concepts, and has been heard verbalizing some of the ”worst” puns at UMBC. He says, “Chemical and comical are not antonyms nor antithetical” and “Theoretical, theatrical, and heretical are often intertwined.”

In fall 2013, Dr. Liebman is teaching FYS 103B: Paradigms and Paradoxes: An Attempt to Understand the Universe

Galina Madjaroff communicates a passion for teaching through her efforts to innovate in the classroom, utilize technology effectively, and create a positive learning environment. She is a graduate of the Erickson School’s Management of Aging Services M.A. program and serves as lecturer, mentor to undergraduate students, and Undergraduate Program Director for the Erickson School. Ms. Madjaroff is also engaged in research to improve the lives of older adults through the use of technology. Her deep interest in technological innovation and cross-cultural perspective, along with her awareness and knowledge of the salient issues in aging, management, and policy, contribute to her research and teaching. In her spare time you will find her on a small island near Phuket or on the streets of Prague and Vienna.

In fall 2013, Ms. Madjaroff is teaching FYS 101S: Creating Stories about Times of Change.

Gilbert Mason is a dynamic entrepreneurial leader who learns and connects through telling stories. Passionate about organizational stewardship and cultural development, he has an extensive history of helping companies drive rapid growth and instill winning cultures. Additionally, Gib is a CPA and holds a master’s degree in organizational development. As a UMBC alumnus, Gib has taken an active role in the mentorship and development of students within the UMBC community. He currently sits on the Alex.Brown Center for Entrepreneurship board and also teaches one of the core courses in the Entrepreneurship and Innovation program, ENTR 201: The Entrepreneurial Mindset. The course takes a spirited approach to creating a framework that enables students to identify how to establish and leverage an entrepreneurial mindset. Gib’s love for mentoring and building the minds of young adults continues to drive his participation in the First Year Seminar program.

In fall 2013, Mr. Mason and Dr. LaCourse are teaching FYS 102P: Creativity, Innovation, and Invention.

Steven McAlpine is a teacher, advisor, and musician. He has worked in Interdisciplinary Studies (INDS) since 2006, currently serving as Assistant Director and Instructor for INDS 480 Capstone Project Seminar. He also teaches the core writing-intensive course INDS 330 Ways of Knowing and has co-taught the interdisciplinary special topics course Journeys and Transformations through the Arts. In summer 2012 Mr. McAlpine facilitated an Interdisciplinary Faculty seminar on teaching and learning. Before coming to UMBC, Mr. McAlpine worked as a researcher and seminar facilitator for the Interdisciplinary Studies Project at Harvard Project Zero. While at Harvard, he designed a Teachers’ Guide for Walden Media’s IMAX film “PULSE: a STOMP Odyssey” and worked as an education consultant for the Boston Arts Academy. Mr. McAlpine is also a co-founder of the UMBC performing group Straight Up Tribal and a composer of three albums, including the musical “The Education of Orpheus.”

In fall 2013, Mr. McAlpine is teaching FYS 101V: Perspectives on the Heroic Journey.

Denise Gagnon Perdue, CSC, came to UMBC to coordinate services to deaf and hard of hearing students in December 2008. Prior to joining UMBC, she was the Assistant Director of the Governor’s Office of the Deaf and Hard of Hearing (2005-2008) and was on the faculty at Towson University (1996-2005) as a First Year Experience Advisor and Lecturer with the Deaf Studies program. A seasoned interpreter, Ms. Perdue has been a freelance interpreter for more than 30 years and has taught and mentored interpreters for more than 20 years. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Maryland, University College and a master’s from Johns Hopkins University. Ms. Perdue and her family have lived on Maryland’s beautiful Eastern Shore for more than 25 years in a renovated home that was originally built as a country store. While the last name is spelled the same as the more famous chicken Perdue’s of Perdue Farms, Inc, they are not related – a question asked almost daily.

In fall 2013, Dr. Braunschweig and Ms. Purdue are teaching FYS 102S: The Deaf Community and Its Culture.

Sara Z. Poggio conducts research focused on international migrations from and to Latin America and the effects of the immigration process on family dynamics, especially on changes in gender and generational relations within the family. Her recent research projects include the impact of family separation on educational performance of immigrant children, psychological resilience among Latino immigrant children, and immigration and development in Latin American sending countries. Dr. Poggio earned a Ph.D. in Sociology from University of Maryland, College Park. She is Associate Professor of Spanish and Social Sciences at UMBC. Among Dr Poggio’s publications are “Family Separation and Reunification as a Factor in the Educational Success of Immigrant Children” with Tim Gindling, published by the Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies (2012), book chapters, and articles in International Migrations Journals and the Encyclopedia of American Immigration. In 2013 Dr Poggio became chair of the recently created section of International Migrations at the Latin American Studies Association.

In fall 2013, Dr. Poggio is teaching FYS 102T: International Migrations and the National Debate.

Ana Prados is a research assistant professor for the Joint Center for Earth Systems Technology at UMBC. She holds a Ph.D. in Chemistry and a master’s degree in Public Policy from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has 12 years of experience in the application of satellite remote sensing to air pollution monitoring. Dr. Prados currently manages the Applied Remote Sensing Training Program (ARSET) for the NASA Applied Sciences Program, where she develops courses on the application of satellite imagery to environmental decision-making activities related to water resources, disaster, and air quality management. Other areas of expertise include environmental policy making in the context of water resources management and climate change, air quality policy, program/project evaluation, and communicating scientific information to the public. When not at work, she likes to spend time traveling and in her native city of Madrid, Spain.

In fall 2013, Dr. Prados is teaching FYS 103N: Monitoring Global Environmental Change with NASA Satellite Imagery.

Alan Rosenthal's enthusiasm for his subject matter and concern for his students and their progress is legendary among colleagues and former students alike. "From the month I arrived at UMBC in 1979 I have heard the students praise his clarity, his careful preparation, and his concern for learning," says Thomas Field, professor in the Department of Modern Language, Linguistics, and Intercultural Communication. "Alan Rosenthal sees his students, not his course material, as the focus of his work, and for this reason he is one of the most sought-after advisors in the department,"

Countless UMBC students have benefited from Presidential Teaching Professor Alan Rosenthal's innovative teaching style. His contribution to the field of language pedagogy, however, resonate far beyond the confines of Hilltop Circle. Dr. Rosenthal's research in the field of language pedagogy has also brought UMBC national recognition. During the 1980s, under a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, he designed and developed new curriculum for first-year coursework in French using communicative competence training, and approach based on listening comprehension, that teachers grammar through subject matter. In 1993, Dr. Rosenthal and colleagues Claud Duverlie and Marie Deverneil published Objectif France, one of the first textbooks to use this communicative approach to language instruction. Over the years, Rosenthal's efforts have helped lead to over $1 million in funding for projects in language pedagogy.

In fall 2013, Dr. Rosenthal is teaching FYS 102V: Life and Death in a Police State.


Susan Schreier brings energy and enthusiasm to the classroom as a lecturer in the Interdisciplinary Sciences Program. She teaches Science 100 Water: An Interdisciplinary Study and Microbiology and General Biology I. Ms. Schreier has a master’s degree in zoology from University of Maryland, College Park and was actively involved in research prior to committing to teaching full time. When she is not on the job, Ms. Schreier spends time with her family, friends, and pets, reads, and bicycles outdoors and in spin class.

In fall 2013, Ms. Schreier is teaching FYS 103O: Microbes, Humans, and History: How Microorganisms have Shaped World History.

Sue  Small is a lifelong learner who believes in a holistic and developmental approach to teaching and learning. She earned her Ed.D. from University of Maryland, College Park in 1985. As a clinical associate professor, Dr. Small teaches reading assessment courses in the Early Childhood and Elementary Education programs as well as seminars for student-teaching interns and first-year students. Her passion is grounded in the formation of courage within both individuals and communities, including herself, to find the “hidden wholeness” within their identity and integrity. Her most recent challenge is to shift her own teaching and learning processes to facilitate the clarity and application of her students’ learning through the use of activities, case studies, reflection, journaling, listening, questioning, and encouragement.

In fall 2013 Dr. Williams and Dr. Small are teaching FYS 102C: Diversity, Ethics and Social Justice in the Context of Schooling.

Joby Taylor came to Baltimore in 1999 to join the Shriver Peaceworker Program, a graduate service-learning program at UMBC for returning Peace Corps Volunteers. Yes, indeed, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer himself in Gabon, Africa, helping build an elementary school in the village of Seka Seka. Now, as Peaceworker Director, he loves working with students returning from around the world and getting them engaged interdisciplinary studies and service leadership here at home. Dr. Taylor was born and raised in Miami, Oklahoma, a small town that is also home to eight American Indian nations (Ask to see his Cherokee Citizen ID!). His ongoing interest and experience in cross-cultural and service learning programs led him deeper into peace studies, through which he developed UMBC’s FYS “Building a Culture of Peace” (offered each fall). His goal with this course is to give students an opportunity to critically explore the concept of peace from many disciplinary perspectives, but also to develop their own definitions and consider its applications in their studies and life. Dr. Taylor studied philosophy and religion prior to earning his Ph.D. through UMBC’s interdisciplinary Language, Literacy, and Culture program. He lives in Baltimore City and takes every chance he gets to lead UMBC students on outings into the city to explore its rich history, complex challenges, and emerging social change

In fall 2013 Dr. Taylor is teaching FYS 101Q: Building a Culture of Peace: What Would It Take?

Carolyn Tice professor and associate dean of social work, teaches social welfare policy and is currently involved on research related to the development of critical thinking skills. She has presented and published in the area of social work advocacy, international social work, and social work practice from a strengths perspective in practice. Her research supports an interdisciplinary approach to social work education and an appreciation of teaching as an art form. As a long-time fan of films and based on her mental health practice experience in the Appalachian region, Dr. Tice often uses films in class to challenge stereotypes of people in need of social welfare services and those who provide the services.

In fall 2013 Dr. Tice is teaching FYS 102A: Images of Madness.

Rita Turner is passionate about exploring ways to live more sustainably, and she investigates attitudes and approaches toward sustainability in both her research and teaching. She earned her Ph.D. from UMBC in Language, Literacy, and Culture. In addition to teaching her First Year Seminar, FYS101R Sustainability in American Culture, she also teaches in the American Studies Department and the Media and Communication Studies Program. Her other classes include AMST 388 American Environments: Landscape and Culture, AMST 344 Made in America: Material Culture in the United States, and AMST 372: American Food. Dr. Turner also offers workshops for teachers on integrating issues of sustainability into the classroom. She has been teaching her First Year Seminar since 2010 and values the opportunity to have in-depth conversations with students about our future on the planet, what we believe about ourselves and the environment, and how we want the world to look. She has been published in peer reviewed journals and presented at numerous refereed conferences.

In fall 2013 Dr. Turner is teaching FYS 101R: Sustainability in American Culture.

Vickie Williams, an educational psychologist, has worked in a variety of clinical settings including Pre-K through grade 12. Her background includes degrees in human services psychology, community psychology, and education. She is interested in studying diverse classrooms in multicultural communities and serves as a liaison to professional development schools in Baltimore County, as well as to community colleges around the state. Dr. Williams teaches Education Psychology and Analysis of Learning and Teaching. Her current research focuses on the beliefs and dispositions of teachers from diverse classrooms.

In fall 2013 Dr. Williams and Dr. Small are teaching FYS 102C: Diversity, Ethics and Social Justice in the Context of Schooling.

Michele Wolff serves as the Director of the Shriver Center and has 20 years of experience in creating, implementing, and sustaining applied learning programs that connect undergraduate and graduate students to organizations in the public, private and nonprofit sectors. She is an instructor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and regularly teaches SOCY396 Reflections on Community Service: A Sociological Perspective. Her research focuses on the effects of service-learning on student success and the community. Ms. Wolff holds a B.A. in Sociology from the University of Delaware and an M.A. in Applied Sociology from UMBC. Beyond her work on campus, Ms. Wolff enjoys spending time with family and her two rescue dogs.


In fall 2013, Ms. Wolff is teaching FYS 102R: Learning about, with, and from Students with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities.