McDaniel welcomes eight new faculty members
Eight distinguished scholars join the 149-member McDaniel faculty, bringing with them a plethora of scholarly interests that increase the opportunities for scholarship and research at the college.
Joining the Exercise Science department as an assistant professor is Rebecca Allen, who earned both her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from McDaniel in 2004 and 2006, respectively. For Allen, returning to teach at her alma mater is a “dream come true.” She will be teaching “Sports Marketing” and “Youth in Sport” this fall.
Allen, who earned her Ph.D. from Indiana University, finds the field of exercise science fascinating because the issues and challenges in the sporting world mirror those of society at large. Her research interests incorporate sociological and psychological theories to better understand the motives and goals of college varsity athletes. She frequently reads books and watches movies as a means of exploring other places and times. Allen also volunteers at the Boys and Girls Club and spends time with her beagle, Tucker.
Having earned her bachelor’s degree from McDaniel in 2005 and spent last year as visiting professor in the department of Foreign Languages, Silvia Baage is no newcomer to McDaniel College. Now assistant professor, she will be teaching two courses this fall, one using contemporary French films to develop conversation and writing skills and two exploring the history, culture, and traditions of French-speaking regions in North and South America.
Baage specializes in contemporary French and Francophone island literatures and enjoys making the language-learning process a positive experience for her students. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in College Park and has previously taught English in France for one year. Baage trains for marathons and spends time with her husband and their two cats when she isn’t helping her students succeed or studying the intertextual relationships that shape postcolonial texts.
María Elena Campero, assistant professor in Spanish, specializes in 20th and 21st century Southern Cone poetry. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, College Park. Campero, who finds teaching to be an enriching endeavor, will be instructing three courses this fall: “Elementary Spanish,” “Intermediate Spanish,” and “Spanish Syntax and Composition.”
One of Campero’s teaching goals is to help students be able to independently think in another language. “I find it extremely rewarding when students take interpretative risks,” she explained. Her teaching style brings attention to the relationship between language and worldview. When she isn’t busy illuminating the cultural issues of the Spanish-speaking world or finding new ways to incorporate technology into the classroom, Campero enjoys writing and watching movies.
Also joining the Exercise Science department is Richard Laird, who has a Ph.D. in kinesiology from Auburn University. He has worked with 10 Olympic hopefuls in swimming and track and field, many of whom competed in and some of whom medaled in the 2012 Olympic Games.
A specialist in exercise physiology, Laird has conducted research on military cooling protective gear under Department of Defense grants. He is interested in how human physiology responds to stress and how this affects performance. Laird, who enjoys road cycling, winter sports, and Olympic weightlifting, is looking forward to working in the close-knit environment of McDaniel College. He will be teaching “Strength and Conditioning” and “Exercise Testing and Prescription” this semester.
Assistant professor of Biology Katie Staab studies functional morphology, or how animals use their anatomy to navigate their world. She earned her Ph.D. from George Washington University. A researcher of zebrafish jaws, she is excited to work with students on their own scholarly pursuits and “mentor them toward discovering their own little pieces of the big picture.” This fall, she will be teaching “Principles of Biology” and “Comparative Anatomy of Vertebrates.”
Her hobbies include knitting, sewing, and jewelry-making, which she says cross over into her lab work because the staining of fish tissues and cells resembles works of art. Staab alerts students and colleagues alike that they will be hearing all genres of music coming from her lab, as music plays a large role in her life.
Benjamin Steinhurst, an avid reader of science fiction, medieval history and literary theory, will be joining the Mathematics department. Formerly a visiting assistant professor at Cornell University, he earned his Ph.D. from the University of Connecticut. He will be teaching “Calculus 1” and “Introduction to Analysis” this fall and looks forward to teaching in a liberal arts environment.
Steinhurst, who has previously taught probability theory, is interested in studying patterns and structure. He enjoys exploring how patterns within systems affect each other and discovering ways to measure these influences. “This process fascinates me because it is helpful in almost everything from studying the most abstract constructs to deciding how to mow the lawn,” he said.
New to the Education department is Barbara Swartz, who has a Ph.D. from the University of Virginia and specializes in secondary mathematics education. She has previous experience in secondary math instruction and student teacher supervision. Swartz, who will be teaching three math education courses in the fall, said that after touring McDaniel’s beautiful campus and meeting the welcoming faculty, she couldn’t turn down the position.
She enjoys working with current teachers, and looks forward to “teaching others how to incorporate technology into their teaching and working with fellow mathematicians, math educators, and students of mathematics to develop better ways for teaching mathematics.” Swartz enjoys traveling, yoga, snowboarding, walking her dog and riding her Harley Davidson 1200 Custom Sportster.
McDaniel College welcomes Sandra Wood, who will be serving as the new coordinator of the undergraduate American Sign Language (ASL) program. Wood's interest is in language acquisition/creation, and her Ph.D. is in Linguistics. Her research lies primarily with homesigned systems and acquisition of signed language, showing how language is created in the brain.
Wood believes her own teaching and research aligns well with McDaniel’s bilingual approach to education of Deaf children. This fall, she will be teaching twointermediate-level ASL courses, but plans to develop new courses for the First Year Seminar and Sophomore Interdisciplinary Studies programs, such as “Women and Gender in the Deaf Community.” Wood looks forward to exploring Maryland’s small towns and natural attractions with her family and three dogs.