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Arts and Sciences Welcoming New Faculty for Fall 2013

The College of Arts and Sciences has several full-time faculty searches that are in progress as well as multiple searches that have successfully concluded.  We are very pleased to announce the addition of these new faculty members, with more to come. 

Please visit this page often as we will update this story with more of our exciting new faculty hires.

New Faculty in Arts and Sciences, Fall 2013

Carolyn LagoeCarolyn Lagoe
Communication, Film and Media Studies

The Department of Communication, Film, and Media Studies is pleased to announce the hiring of Carolyn A. Lagoe as an Assistant Professor, effective Fall, 2013. Carolyn has completed her studies in the Department of Communication Sciences at UCONN, has submitted her dissertation and will be defending in April. Her major interest areas are Interpersonal Communication, Health Communication and Quantitative Research Methods. Her advisors are all very enthusiastic about her as a teacher, researcher, and as a colleague. 

Carolyn comes from the Buffalo NY area, and received her B.A. and M.A. in Communication at SUNY Buffalo, prior to entering the UCONN program. She is an accomplished researcher, and for more than one year, served as a Research Assistant II, implementing and managing a variety of research projects, including several grant based projects dealing with the promotion of healthy living and the reduction of gender based violence among HIV positive individuals in Ethiopia and Mozambique. She has published in Communication Research Reports; Electronic Journal of Communication; Journal of Communication in Healthcare, and has pending publications in several other leading communication and Health Communication journals. 


Chris HaynesChris Haynes
Political Science

The Political Science Search Committee is pleased to announce the hiring of Chris Haynes as an Assistant Professor of Political Science, effective Fall 2013. Chris Haynes is a Visiting Fellow at the Center for Comparative Immigration Studies, UC-San Diego and will be completing his Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California, Riverside. His NSF-funded dissertation examines the effects of empathy in the context of immigration policy preferences. Also, he is actively involved in several research projects exploring the implications of ethnic/minority identity on political behavior. His faculty from his M.A./Ph.D. program at University of California, Riverside view his research as groundbreaking and having important implications regarding public opinion change on political issues related to race, immigration, and ethnicity.

In addition to his research, Chris teaches a variety of political science courses and serves as the primary faculty advisor to an award winning model United Nations Club at the University of California, Riverside. His teaching interests include Race, Immigration & Ethnicity, American Government & Politics, and Modern Political Analysis. Chris grew up in Hawaii then moved to Texas, where he earned his B.S. in Political Science and MBA from Texas Christian University. 


Cindy KernCindy Kern

The Department of Education at UNH would like to welcome Cindy Kern. Ms. Kern is a former high school science teacher and recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching. She is currently an assistant professor of science education in the Department of Education where she teaches Secondary Science Strategies and Elementary Science Strategies. She has a passion for translating teaching and learning theory to the practices for the diverse learning environments of the K-12 science classrooms. Her research interests involve the use of technology to facilitate and maximize learning and emanate from a design-based research theoretical framework and a socio-cognitive conceptual framework.

Cindy believes knowledge is the great equalizer in our diverse world and through the development of self-regulated learners we empower our society with life-long learners. Current research projects include the research and development of the 5-featured Dynamic Inquiry Enterprise (5-DIE) design framework for online, blended, and face-to-face learning environments. 5-DIE research and development is meant to address the need for inquiry-based cyberlearning environments, which promotes critical thinking, problem-solving, and the development of science literacy in science education, while acting as a design framework that supports the existing practices of teachers in secondary schools (Kern, et al., accepted).


meng xuMeng Xu, Ph.D.

The Department of Mathematics will welcome Meng Xu in Fall 2013. Mr. Xu is a postdoctoral researcher in the Laboratory of Populations at Rockefeller University, New York. In summer 2011, he completed his Ph.D. in Mathematics from the University of Wyoming. His research interests are stochastic processes and quantitative ecology. His current works reveal the underlying mathematical/statistical mechanisms of a power-law relationship between the mean and the variance of population size or density, called Taylor’s law. Meng Xu and his colleagues have studied this empirical ecological pattern using populations of deciduous trees in the Black Rock Forest, censuses of Norway, and fish samples from Lake Kariba, the world’s largest artificial reservoir by volume.

Meng Xu loves working with students and using real-world problems to facilitate math learning. He looks forward to sharing his academic experience with the class and contributing to the experiential education at UNH.

Meng Xu comes from Jinan, China, a city well-known for its ancient history and cold springs. In 2006, Meng Xu obtained his B.S. in Mathematics from Shandong Normal University.


Nikodem Poplawski

Nikodem Poplawski, Ph.D.

The Department of Physics welcomes Nikodem Poplawski in Fall 2013. He joins the University of New Haven after serving as a visiting lecturer at Indiana University. At Indiana, Poplawski earned the Office of Postdoctoral Affairs Award in 2011. He served a fellowship at UCLA's Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics in 2006, and won the Outstanding Graduate Student in Theoretical Research award from Indiana in 2004.

Dr. Poplawski received his M.S. in astronomy from the University of Warsaw (Poland), and both an M.S. and Ph.D. in physics from Indiana University. His research interests include theoretical gravity, relativity and cosmology. 


Matthew SchmidtMatthew Schmidt, Ph.D.
Political Science and Criminal Justice 

Matthew Schmidt joins UNH as a dual appointee in political science and national security. Dr. Schmidt's research focuses on strategic decision-making. Currently he is finishing a book on using methodologies from design for decision-making under conditions of extreme uncertainty. In 2012 he was named to FastCompany Magazine's list of the top 100 Most-Creative People in Business for his work linking creative design methodologies to strategic planning. His work has appeared in, Military Review, Review of Politics, and Demokratizatsiya. Schmidt founded the "Matters Military" blog at the Georgetown Journal of International Affairs.

Previously he taught military operations planning and political science at the U.S. Army's School of Advanced Military Studies. Schmidt holds a Ph.D. in Government from Georgetown University and an M.A. in Russian studies from the University of Kansas. He is married to Charlotte Anderholt who has written on gender-equity issues in peace-keeping.


melanie eldridgeMelanie Eldridge

Melanie Eldridge is a Research Associate at the Center for Environmental Biotechnology at the University of Tennessee where she studies environmental contamination with chemicals that mimic human hormones. She has worked on research projects that focus on the detection of endocrine disruptors in other countries as well as in the U.S. She is a Fulbright Scholar who spent this summer at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing teaching a class on the use of bioluminescent bioreporters for environmental monitoring and will be spending next summer studying metal-nanoparticle effects on native species in Brazil. She has extensive experience using modern molecular biology techniques, having used these methods to: search for marine viruses in freshwater systems like Lake Erie, examine bacterial and eukaryotic populations in response to nutrient content in the equatorial Pacific ocean, genetically engineer strains of Saccharomyces cerevisiae and Candida albicans to bioluminesce in response to environmental contaminants, search for genetically modified crops in bat fecal material, examine microbial populations in ciliate symbionts within termite hindguts, examine movement of stable isotope probes from radiolabelled plants into a lignin-degrading microbial community, and others. Her background is diverse and she plans to establish collaborations with current UNH faculty to explore new areas of research. She is also firmly committed to effective teaching both in the classroom and the lab. Her goal is to help students understand the link between what they learn in the classroom and the world around them.

Jonathan YukichJonathan Yukich, M.F.A.

Mr. Yukich joins the Division of Performing Arts.

Jonathan is a playwright and theatre artist. His work is published by Smith & Kraus, Playscripts, Inc., Meriwether Press, Eldridge Publishing, Indie Theater Now and Pioneer Drama Service. His plays have been produced across the United States and in Canada, Australia, South Africa and Europe. He has received a number of awards and honors, including the Kennedy Center’s Paula Vogel Award for Playwriting.

Before coming to UNH, Jonathan taught a range of theatre and writing courses at the City University of New York, the State University of New York (F.I.T.), Montclair State University, Southern Connecticut State University and Elms College. He has also conducted writing workshops and seminars at New York University, Dickinson College, the University of Montana and New Mexico State University.  For more information, please visit


Meryl SoleMeryl Sole, M.A.
Division of Performing Arts

Meryl Sole joins the Division of Performing Arts.

Ms. Sole has a master’s degree in french horn performance from Boston University and a bachelor’s degree in music history and music theory from the University of Pennsylvania.  She is a doctoral candidate in Music & Music Education at Columbia University’s Teacher’s College. Before coming to UNH, Meryl was an Adjunct Professor of Music at Adelphi University where she taught brass lessons, music theory, music appreciation and music history. She was a Visiting Assistant Professor at SUNY Empire State College and has also taught music at Nassau Community College and Jersey City University. Meryl’s research focus on toddlers (ages 18-36 months) and the spontaneous songs they sing when they are alone before they fall asleep. As a performer, Meryl has freelanced as a horn player with local NY orchestras including the National Opera Center, the Richmond County Orchestra, the Cosmopolitan Symphony, the Regina Opera Company, The 92nd Street Y Orchestra, the Greater Newburgh Symphony, and various chamber groups including the Savako Trio.

Dan Liu, Ph.D.

Dr. Dan Liu joins the Physics department as a lecturer.

Dr. Liu has been teaching physics at UNH since 2012. She earned her Ph.D. from the University of Rhode Island in 2012 and her master's degree from the East Normal University in 2008. She has taught university physics, both algebra-based and calculus-based and has also taught undergraduate laboratory classes for many years. The direction of her research is in theoretical condensed matter physics. She has used a combination of statistical mechanics and computer simulation to understand how interactions at the elementary level give rise to the collective properties of complex systems. She has successfully applied this methodology to the Ising model for insulators and the model of jammed disks for granular matters. Her interests also include physics education research. Along with a bachelor's degree in physics education, she has teaching certificates in secondary physics from in China (2005) and the United States (2011). She was involved with the “Learning by Doing” project during 2005~2007 and the “Rhode Island Technology Enhanced Science” project in 2010.

Daria KirjanovDaria Kirjanov, Ph.D.
Practitioner in Residence
Modern Languages

Dr. Kirjanov has been teaching Russian language, literature and culture to undergraduates since her graduate school days at Yale University. As a bilingual speaker of  Russian and English, she is interested in second language acquisition and in developing courses that prepare students for proficiency in professional Russian. Her research in language also focuses on developing pedagogical texts based on Russian children's literature and lyrics of popular songs. Making language come alive through cultural experience is a primary goal in her classes. To this end students reinforce their linguistic knowledge by singing Russian songs, cooking and eating together, writing toasts, making crafts, watching films, and reading and translating articles from the Russian media. She has traveled to Russia several times for research and has supervised numerous summer study seminars for students.

Her research in Russian literature has  focused on constructs of memory and remembering in the prose of Anton Chekhov and his writing as it relates to social,  religious, and philosophical trends in  Russian culture of the late 19th and early 20thcenturies. The cultural connections between this period and the Russian Diaspora of the 20th century have informed her more recent research on Russia émigré culture and memoir literature, particularly by Russian writers in America.

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