At the start of the fall semester, Missouri S&T welcomed 15 faculty members to campus. Their expertise ranges from aerothermodynamics and advanced manufacturing to sports marketing and quantum physics.
This year’s new faculty are:
Dr. Mohammad Abbas, assistant teaching professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Abbas earned three degrees from Missouri S&T — a Ph.D. and master’s degree in aerospace engineering and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering. His areas of expertise include thermodynamics, fluid mechanics, aerospace propulsion, vehicle performance, and general mechanics. He previously served as a graduate teaching assistant and course instructor at S&T.
Dr. Richard Billo, director of the Kummer Institute Center for Advanced Manufacturing and professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Billo joined S&T on Jan. 4 from the University of Notre Dame, where he served as associate vice president for research and professor of computer science and engineering. Billo’s areas of research expertise include advanced manufacturing, industrial information systems, metallurgy and liquid fuels processes. He holds a Ph.D. and a master’s degree in industrial engineering from Arizona State University. He also holds a master’s degree in psychology from the University of the Pacific and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from West Virginia University.
Dr. David Bojanic, Kummer Professor of Business and Information Technology. He was previously the Anheuser-Bush Foundation Professor in Marketing in the Carlos Alvarez College of Business at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Bojanic holds a Ph.D. in marketing from the University of Kentucky, an MBA from James Madison University and a bachelor’s degree in marketing from Pennsylvania State University. He has conducted extensive research in the areas of sports, events and tourism, hospitality organizations, and other service and nonprofit organizations.
Dr. Mehrzad Boroujerdi, vice provost and dean of the College of Arts, Sciences, and Education and professor of political science. Boroujerdi joined S&T from Virginia Tech, where he led the School of Public and International Affairs.
Prior to Virginia Tech, Boroujerdi spent 27 years on the political science faculty at Syracuse University. He has been a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University and the University of Texas-Austin, a visiting scholar at the University of California, Los Angeles, president of the Association for Iranian Studies, a non-resident scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington, D.C., and a fellow of the American Council on Education. Boroujerdi, who is an author or co-author of four books, is an expert in comparative politics, Middle East regional politics and Iranian history. He earned a Ph.D. in international relations from The American University, a master’s degree in political science from Northeastern University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Boston University.
Dr. Ryan Cheek, assistant professor of English and technical communication. Cheek comes to S&T from Utah State University, where he worked as a graduate instructor while earning a Ph.D. in technical communication and rhetoric.
He holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Weber State University and a master’s degree in communication from the University of Wyoming. His research addresses how technical rhetoric and technological phenomena iterate social relations, political ideologies and ethical commitments.
Dr. Alexander Douglas, assistant teaching professor of mining and explosives engineering. He worked at Hexagon Mining in Tucson, Arizona, for five years before pursuing a Ph.D. in mining engineering at S&T. He holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees, both in mining engineering, from the University of Kentucky. While a Ph.D. student, Douglas served as a graduate research assistant and graduate teaching assistant at S&T before joining the faculty. He is currently assisting Dr. Catherine Johnson with U.S. Army-funded research on post-blast forensics training.
Dr. Xiaosong Du, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, joined S&T from the University of Michigan, where he was a postdoctoral research fellow.
Du holds a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering from Iowa State University, a master’s degree in aerospace engineering from Beijing University, and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics in China. Du’s research interests include machine and deep learning; rapid aerodynamic forward; robust design; and single- and multi-fidelity predictive modeling.
Dr. Halyna Hodovanets, assistant professor of physics. She previously taught as an assistant professor of physics at Texas Tech University in Lubbock. Before Texas Tech, she was an assistant research scientist at the Maryland Quantum Materials Center and the University of Maryland’s physics department in College Park. Hodovanets earned a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics at Iowa State University in Ames.
She holds a master’s degree in physics from Minnesota State University in Mankato and bachelor’s degrees in physics and English from Drohobych State Pedagogical University in Ukraine. Her research focuses on the synthesis and discovery, characterization and optimization of new quantum materials in a single crystalline form.
Dr. Hyunsoo Kim, assistant professor of physics. Kim previously was as an assistant research scientist for the Maryland Quantum Materials Center at the University of Maryland-College Park.
He holds a Ph.D. in physics from Iowa State University as well as master’s and bachelor’s degrees, both in physics, from Pusan National University in South Korea. Kim’s research interests include quantum materials, topological phases and superconductivity.
Dr. Zhi Liang, associate professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. Liang joined S&T from California State University, Fresno, where he had served as assistant and then associate professor of mechanical engineering since 2016. Liang earned a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering from S&T, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in materials science and engineering from Shanghai Jiao Tong University in China. His research interests include microscale and nanoscale thermodynamics and heat transfer; dynamics of nanodroplets, nanobubbles and nanoparticles; and computational modeling.
Dr. Melody Lo, the John and Ruth Steinmeyer Memorial Endowed Chair of Economics. She was previously a senior advisor to the chancellor and a professor of economics in the Neil Griffin College of Business at Arkansas State University in Jonesboro.
She has also held teaching and research positions at the University of Texas at San Antonio, the University of Houston and the University of Southern Mississippi. Lo’s research focuses on government interventions in a foreign exchange market. She holds a Ph.D. in economics from Purdue University.
Dr. Andrea Scharf, assistant professor of biological sciences. She comes to S&T from Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, where she worked as a postdoctoral scientist.
She earned a Ph.D. and completed undergraduate studies in biology at the Heinrich-Heine-University Duesseldorf, Germany. Her research focuses on the plasticity of biological systems from cells to populations, and their ability to respond to changing environmental conditions.
Dr. Davide Viganò, assistant professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering. He joins S&T from The University of Texas at Arlington, where he earned a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering and worked as a postdoctoral research associate at the Aerodynamics Research Center.
He holds undergraduate degrees in aerospace engineering from Polytechnic University of Milan in Italy. Viganò’s research interests include hypersonic air-breathing propulsion, compressible turbulent mixing, vortex dynamics, hypersonic aerothermodynamics, experimental fluid dynamics, and instrumentation development.
Dr. Javier Valentín-Sívico, assistant teaching professor of engineering management and systems engineering. He earned a Ph.D. in engineering management from S&T in July and holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering from S&T and a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Puerto Rico – Mayaguez Campus.
Valentín-Sívico worked in various engineering roles for Hewlett-Packard in Aguadilla, Puerto Rico, from 2001 to 2019. He has also worked at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in Laurel, Maryland, and DuPont in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
Dr. Xiaoming Wang, the Gary W. Havener Endowed Chair of Mathematics and Statistics. He previously led the mathematics department at Southern University of Science and Technology in Shenzhen, China. Wang earned a Ph.D. in mathematics from Indiana University-Bloomington. After graduating, he served as a postdoctoral fellow at New York University. He has served as a faculty member at Iowa State University, New York University, Florida State University and Fudan University in Shanghai, China.
Wang has co-authored two books, presented at hundreds of invited talks and lectures, and been featured as an expert on PBS’s NOVA television series.
Missouri University of Science and Technology (Missouri S&T) is a STEM-focused research university of over 7,000 students. Part of the four-campus University of Missouri System and located in Rolla, Missouri, Missouri S&T offers 101 degrees in 40 areas of study and is among the nation’s top 10 universities for return on investment, according to Business Insider. S&T also is home to the Kummer Institute, made possible by a $300 million gift from Fred and June Kummer. For more information about Missouri S&T, visit www.mst.edu.
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