College of Arts and Sciences

Meet the college’s newest faculty, whose disciplinary expertise—from bioethics to non-Euclidean data analysis to music of ‘la belle époque’—enriches and expands the arts and sciences at WSU.

 

 

Tanya Cheeke
Assistant Professor School of Biological Sciences, WSU Tri-Cities tanya.cheeke@wsu.edu

Tanya Cheeke

Research and teaching interests: Plant-microbe interactions; microbial ecology; soil ecology; restoration ecology; mycorrhizal fungi; sustainable agriculture
Previous post: Indiana University
Education and training: PhD, Portland State University; BS, The Evergreen State College
Honors and achievements: National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship in Biology, Indiana University (2015-17); Dean’s Award for Outstanding Academic Achievement, Portland State University (2013); Environmental Protection Agency Science to Achieve Results (STAR) fellowship (2010-13)
Outside of work, I enjoy gardening, reading, traveling, and spending time with family.


Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
xiongzhi.chen@wsu.edu

Xiongzhi Chen

Research and teaching interests: Multiple comparison; modeling with latent structure; analysis of non-Euclidean data; spectra of random matrices; inference on stochastic differential equations
Previous post: Princeton University
Education and training: PhD, Statistics, Purdue University; MA, Mathematics, University of Hawaii; MS, Mathematics, Sichuan University
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family, listening to classical music and operas, swimming, and playing piano.


Justin Denney
Associate Professor,
William Julius Wilson Distinguished Professor
Department of Sociology
justin.denney@wsu.edu

Justin Denney

Research and teaching interests: Social determinants of health and mortality disparities among adults and young children; how families and the places that individuals spend time in impact health disparities; quantitative methods for data analysis
Previous post: Rice University
Education and training: PhD, University of Colorado, Boulder; MA, University of Montana, Missoula; BA, Morningside College
Honors and achievements: William Julius Wilson Distinguished Professorship; Health Disparities Scholar, National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities; IPUMS Research Award, University of Minnesota Population Center
Outside of work, I enjoy being in the outdoors, baseball, and good food and drink with my family and friends.


William 'Wes' Dowd
Associate Professor
School of Biological Sciences
wes.dowd@wsu.edu

William “Wes” Dowd

Research and teaching interests: Interactions between environmental variation and physiological variation in dynamic intertidal and estuarine environments; physiological/biochemical responses to multiple stressors (salinity, temperature, hypoxia, food availability). Teaching interests include comparative physiology/biochemistry
Previous post: Loyola Marymount University
Education and training: PhD, ecology, University of California, Davis; MS, marine science, Virginia Institute of Marine Science; BS, biology, Duke University
Honors and achievements: Principal investigator on National Science Foundation Integrative Organismal Systems awards; National Geographic Foundation Waitt Grant; Coastal Environmental Quality Initiative Fellowship, University of California Marine Council
Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, snowshoeing, spending time at the beach with family, and home improvement projects.


William Hall
Assistant Professor
Department of Mathematics and Statistics
w.hall@wsu.edu

William Hall

Research and teaching interests: Teaching and learning of calculus, specifically the definite integral and accumulation; interdisciplinary approaches to calculus; training of preservice secondary mathematics teachers
Previous post: North Carolina State University
Education and training: PhD, mathematics education, North Carolina State University; MST, mathematics education, BA, mathematics, University of Maine
Outside of work, I enjoy running, reading, and video games. I love spending time with my wife and daughter playing board games and exploring trails and used book stores.


Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of History, WSU Tri-Cities
tracey.hanshew@wsu.edu

Tracey Hanshew

Research and teaching interests: American West; rural women’s studies; women’s history in the United States
Previous post: Oklahoma State University
Education and training: PhD, History, Oklahoma State University; MSSc, Syracuse University; BA, English, Tarleton State University
Honors and achievements: Muriel H. Wright Award, Oklahoma Historical Society, for the article, “Rodeo in Oklahoma is Women’s Business: How Lucille Mulhall’s Fame Created Opportunity in Rodeo” published in the Chronicles of Oklahoma, 2015
Outside of work, I enjoy horseback riding, traveling, cooking, and reading.


Assistant Professor
School of Politics, Philosophy, and Public Affairs
sam.noll@wsu.edu

Samantha Noll

Research and teaching interests: Bioethics; environmental and agricultural philosophy; local food movements; climate change; biotechnology; wildlife conservation on farmland
Previous post: Haverford College
Education and training: PhD, Michigan State University; BA, West Chester University
Honors and achievements: Long Term Ecological Research Grant recipient; co-recipient, Vonne Lund Junior Researcher Award for interdisciplinary work on global food systems; “History Lessons: What Urban Environmental Ethics Can Learn from Nineteenth Century Cities” in Journal of Agricultural and Environmental Ethics
Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, gardening, wine-tasting, reading science fiction, and wildlife photography.


Assistant Professor
Department of English, WSU Vancouver
j.hillen@wsu.edu

Johanna Phelps-Hillen

Research and teaching interests: How technical and professional communication manifests in public policy implementation, institutional infrastructures, and program design and assessment; recent focus on federal policy regarding human subjects research—specifically, how these policies influence methodologies and methods used in Writing Studies
Previous post: Utah State University, Institutional Research Board Coordinator
Education and training: PhD, Rhetoric and Composition, Master of Public Administration, University of South Florida
Honors and achievements: 2016 Conference on College Composition & Communication Research Initiative Grant
Outside of work, I enjoy being with family, hiking, kayaking, and traveling.


Bertha Rangel
Assistant Professor Department of Psychology, WSU Vancouver bertha.rangel@wsu.edu

Bertha Rangel

Research and teaching interests: Self and observer ratings of work performance, personality, measurement and research methods
Previous post: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Education and training: PhD, MA, Industrial and Organizational Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign; BS, Technical Systems Management, University of Illinois
Honors and achievements: Diversifying Faculty in Illinois Fellow; “Are Supervisors and Coworkers Likely to Witness Employee Counterproductive Work Behavior? An Investigation Of Observability and Self–Observer Convergence” in Personnel Psychology
Outside of work, I enjoy dancing salsa and cooking.


Assistant Professor
School of the Environment, WSU Tri-Cities
sarah.roley@tricity.wsu.edu

Sarah Roley

Research and teaching interests: Watershed biogeochemistry; water quality in agricultural areas; nitrogen fixation; ecosystem restoration; freshwater conservation; linking ecosystem processes with microbial communities
Previous post: WK Kellogg Biological Station, Michigan State University
Education and training: PhD, University of Notre Dame; MS, University of Minnesota; BS, BA, Bemidji State University
Honors and achievements: Nominated for Sheehan award for best dissertation in the University of Notre Dame College of Science; publications in top freshwater science and ecology journals
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my husband and daughter, running, playing sports, reading, gardening, hiking, natural history, and exploring the Northwest.


Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Music
m.seregow@wsu.edu

Michael Seregow

Research and teaching interests: Solo piano performance; music of ‘la belle époque’; performance on various keyboard instruments including piano, harpsichord, organ, and fortepiano; piano pedagogy; the history of piano performance and teaching; chamber music; art song; improvisation
Previous post: University of Puget Sound
Education and training: DMA, Piano Performance with supporting studies in Piano Pedagogy, University of Oregon; MM, University of Oregon; BA, Piano performance and Composition, George Fox University
Honors and achievements: Finalist, The American Prize in solo Piano Performance, professional division; invited presentation for Washington State Music Teachers Association annual conference; solo performance at the Festival of the American Liszt Society
Outside of work, I enjoy cooking, reading, hiking, traveling, and spending time with my wife, Emily.


Clinical Assistant Professor
School of Musicchristopher.sierra@wsu.edu

Christopher Sierra

Research and teaching interests: Teaching vocal pedagogy classes that examine the processes of healthy singing for both classically trained singers and contemporary commercial music singers; addressing the performance practice of vocal repertoire from the 17th century to modern times; creating rubrics that measure student growth and proficiency in voice; exploring effective acting methods for singers
Previous post: Monmouth University, Columbia University, and Rutgers University
Education and training: DMA, Voice Performance, Mason Gross School of the Arts, Rutgers University; MM, Classical Voice Performance, Manhattan School of Music; EdM, Teachers College, Columbia University; BMus, Music Education, BMus, Voice Performance, Westminster Choir College
Honors and achievements: Performed with the Santa Fe Opera, Opera New Jersey, Spoleto Festival USA, Princeton Festival Opera, Long Island Opera, and New York Lyric Opera Theater, among many others;  recorded The Flower of Beauty (2009) with the Westminster Choir,  Landscape: Choral Music of Gerald Custer (2008) with Anam Cara, and Teaching Music Through Performance in Choir Vol. 2 (2007) with Westminster Williamson Voices; co­founded Vocalis Consort, an ensemble dedicated to preserving the art of the song recital
Outside of work, I enjoy reading, writing, jogging, and creating video anthologies on iMovie.


Associate Professor
School of Biological Sciences
heather.watts@wsu.edu

Heather Watts

Research and teaching interests: Relationships among environmental variation, life history patterns, and the behavior and physiology of individuals; how animals time events in their annual cycle, particularly reproduction and migration
Previous post: Loyola Marymount University
Education and training: PhD, Michigan State University; BS, Duke University
Honors and achievements: National Science Foundation grant (IOS, 2015-18); National Institutes of Health NRSA postdoctoral fellowship (2008-10)
Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with my family and outdoor activities, as well as cooking and enjoying good food.


Clinical Assistant Professor
Department of Sociology
whitley@wsu.edu

Sarah Whitley

Research and teaching interests: Research interests include the sociology of education, food, poverty, qualitative methodologies, rural/urban sociology, social inequality, and stratification; food insecurity and hunger issues in rural and urban settings and how public policy addresses the increasing hunger epidemic; teaching interests include the sociology of education, food, gender, introduction to sociology, research methods, rural/urban sociology, social inequality, social problems, and stratification; emphasizing service learning components
Previous post: California State University, Fresno
Education and training: PhD, MA, sociology, Washington State University; BA, sociology, University Of Oklahoma
Honors and achievements: Independent Study: “Homeless Not Hopeless” 2017; “Food Insecurity and Hunger in the Rural West: Case Study” in Rural Poverty in the United States (Columbia University Press); “Changing Times In Rural America: Food Assistance And Food Insecurity In Food Deserts” in Journal of Family Social Work, 16:1, 36-52; Distinguished Faculty Service Award, California State University, Fresno, 2015
Outside of work, I enjoy hiking, backpacking, camping, fly fishing, working in my garden, and golfing.


Horace Young
Clinical Associate Professor
School of Music
hayoung@wsu.edu

Horace Alexander Young

Research and teaching interests: Saxophone performance in the genres of classical, jazz, and other contemporary popular genres of global music; jazz history and improvisational practices; practical elements of music business and marketing; music journalism
Previous post: Contemporary Music Program, Santa Fe University of Art and Design
Education and training: MA, Washington State University; BMus, Texas Southern University; additional studies, Shepherd School of Music, Rice University
Honors and achievements: 2016 WSU Alumni Achievement Award; life memberships: The Recording Academy; American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers; and Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia; honorary memberships: Tau Beta Sigma; Music Entertainment Industry Educators Association; American Federation of Musicians; and Alpha Kappa Mu; Gold Quill Award, Boy Scouts of America
Outside of work, I enjoy watching football and basketball (avid Seahawks and Warriors fan) and spending time with my kids and new grandchild!