Welcome Our New Humanities and Social Sciences Faculty

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The College of Humanities and Social Sciences welcomes ten new tenured or tenure-track faculty to its ranks this year. Their scholarship and research interests range from race and ethnic politics to self-representation of women in France and the impact of trauma exposure. Meet these stellar scholars, researchers and teachers, and join us for our combined welcome back + faculty awards reception in Caldwell Lounge from 4:30-6:30 p.m. on Sept. 10, 2019.

Head shot of Gloria Thomas Anderson
Gloria Thomas Anderson

Gloria Thomas Anderson joins the Department of Social Work as an assistant professor.

  • Ph.D., Curriculum and Instruction and Education Leadership, Policy and Foundations, University of Missouri – Kansas City, 2016
  • MSW, University of Missouri – Kansas City, 2006
  • B.A., Business Administration, Dallas Baptist University, 1985

Anderson comes to NC State after teaching at The University of North Carolina at Pembroke for the past three years. Her expertise is in human development, grief and loss, healthcare equity and cultural diversity. She has published and presented locally, regionally and nationally on these topics.

Head shot of Sarah Ascienzo
Sarah Ascienzo

Sarah Ascienzo joins the Department of Social Work as an assistant professor. She will teach research methods and direct practice with communities and organizations.

  • Ph.D., Social Work, University of Kentucky, 2018
  • MSW, Colorado State University, 2005
  • B.A., Psychology, James Madison University, 2000

Ascienzo has more than 15 years of direct practice experience working with children and families adversely affected by trauma, including work as a trauma-focused clinician, child forensic interviewer and caseworker. Her research focuses on mitigating the impact of direct and indirect trauma exposure, improving trauma-focused treatment retention and outcomes, and increasing the successful implementation of trauma-focused interventions. Ascienzo’s recent work has involved an analysis of gender-based variations in posttraumatic stress symptom progression and meaning making during trauma-focused treatment.

Head shot of Andrew Davis
Andrew Davis

Andrew Davis joins the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an assistant professor in the areas of political sociology, global and international crime, and organizational sociology.

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Arizona, 2019
  • M.A., Sociology, University of Arizona, 2016
  • M.A., Political Science, Virginia Tech, 2014
  • B.A., Political Science, Winthrop University, 2011

Davis is a sociologist who studies politics, violence, law and crime, often with a global focus. His approach to studying the social world involves examining states, organizations and other actors from a macro perspective – asking what factors structure consequential behaviors. Most recently, he has focused on sexual violence perpetrated by state militaries during violent civil conflicts across the world. To do this, he uses a variety of methodological approaches including advanced statistical regression-based techniques, network analysis and computational text analysis. His research has been published in Social Science Research; Poetics, Punishment and Society; and International Journal of Comparative Sociology.

Head shot of Michelle McMullin
Michelle McMullin

Michelle McMullin joins the Department of English as an assistant professor in the area of professional writing.

  • Ph.D., English, Purdue University, 2019
  • M.A., English, Western Washington University, 2014
  • B.S., English, Utah Valley University, 2012

McMullin studies how communities address complex problems and how sustainable, ethical partnerships are built and maintained. Her research focuses on the human, institutional, social and digital infrastructures that support collaborative writing, research and community building. She has two current projects: a longitudinal study of collaborative practices and distributed work with Crow, an interdisciplinary, inter-institutional research team that designs digital tools for writing research. She is also continuing the work of her dissertation, which explores methods for better collaboration among technical communicators, community organizers and local institutions as they respond to complex problems like the opioid epidemic and climate change.

Head shot of Johanna Montlouis-Gabriel
Johanna Montlouis-Gabriel

Johanna Montlouis-Gabriel has joined the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures as an assistant professor in the area of French and francophone literature.

  • Ph.D., Romance Languages, French and Francophone Literature, University of Georgia, 2018
  • M.A., Foreign Languages and Literatures, North Carolina State University, 2014
  • Maîtrise (M.A.), American Civilization, Université Jean Monnet, 2012
  • License (B.A.), English and American Language, Literature and Culture, Université Jean Monnet, 2010

Montlouis-Gabriel’s research focuses on the self-representation of women and their bodies in the French public space. Her research offers an in-depth look at literature, performance and art in general as outlets to fight against discrimination, sexism, racism and systemic oppression in a “color-blind” country like France. Her work also focuses on contemporary French articulations of Afro-feminism as well as its history. Montlouis-Gabriel’s work raises new questions about the relationship between race, gender and self-identity in the Afrodiasporic world. More generally, Montlouis-Gabriel’s work on Afro-diasporic female identity points to the importance of a broader discussion of race and colonial history in France for better representation of minorities. 

Head shot of Irwin Morris
Irwin Morris

Irwin Morris joins the School of Public and International Affairs as executive director and William T. Kretzer Distinguished Professor.

  • Ph.D., Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • M.A., Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
  • B.A., Political Science, Furman University

Morris comes to NC State from the University of Maryland at College Park, where he has served since 1998, most recently as chair of the Department of Government and Politics. His research in the field of American politics covers such topics as American institutions, race and ethnic politics, and Southern politics. He has published an array of articles in top-ranked journals such as Legislative Studies Quarterly; Electoral Studies; American Journal of Political Science; Public Choice; American Politics Research; Social Science Quarterly; and Political Behavior. He is working to publish his next book, titled Movers, Stayers, and the Partisan Transformation of 21st Century Southern Politics.

Head shot of Jessica Pfaffendorf
Jessica Pfaffendorf

Jessica Pfaffendorf joins the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an assistant professor in the areas of sociology of gender, inequality and stratification, and health/mental health. She will teach courses in the sociology of sexuality and juvenile delinquency.

  • Ph.D., Sociology, University of Arizona, 2019
  • M.A., Sociology, University of Arizona, 2013
  • B.A., Sociology, Augsburg College, 2011

Pfaffendorf is a sociologist who studies the social psychological and cultural underpinnings of inequality among individuals. Her projects use qualitative and experimental methods to consider how status and stigma operate in new ways to reinforce existing socio-cultural hierarchies related primarily to gender and class. She has examined these issues in new, costly therapeutic programs for privileged youth as well as in employment outcomes for ex-offenders and individuals with mental illnesses. Her research has been published in Social Psychology Quarterly; Gender & Society; and The Sociological Quarterly.

Head shot of Elizabeth Claire Saylor
Elizabeth Claire Saylor

Elizabeth Claire Saylor joins the Department of Foreign Languages and Literatures as an assistant professor in the area of Arabic.

  • Ph.D., Arabic Literature, University of California, Berkeley, 2015
  • M.A., Arabic Literature, University of California, Berkeley, 2008
  • B.A., Comparative Literature and Society (French, Italian, German, Arabic), Columbia University, 2005

Saylor’s research and teaching focus on the early Arabic novel, Arab women’s literature and mahjar (émigré) literature by early Syrian immigrants to North and South America. Her current book project examines a neglected pioneer of the Arabic novel, Lebanese immigrant, writer, journalist and feminist ‘Afīfa Karam (1883-1924). As secretary of the Washington Street Historical Society, Saylor promotes the legacy of New York City’s “Little Syria” neighborhood in an effort to foster awareness about Arab immigration and culture in America. A passionate teacher of Arabic language, literature and culture, Saylor also directs a summer intensive program in Jerusalem.

Head shot of Vanessa V. Volpe
Vanessa V. Volpe

Vanessa V. Volpe joins the Department of Psychology as an assistant professor in the area of applied social and community psychology.

  • Ph.D., Developmental Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2016
  • M.A., Psychology, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2013
  • B.S., Applied Psychology, New York University, 2011

Volpe’s research explicates the processes by which and the contexts in which Black and Latinx individuals resist and protect themselves against forms of marginalization in order to preserve their health. Her research has appeared in Journal of Adolescent Health; Child Development; and Health Psychology. She was selected as a National Institute on Minority Health and Health Disparities Research Scholar and has been awarded grants to support health disparities programming and intervention research with Black and Latinx communities.

Head shot of Julie Wesp
Julie Wesp

Julie Wesp has joined the Department of Sociology and Anthropology as an assistant professor in the area of physical and bio-anthropology.

  • Ph.D., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 2014
  • M.A., Anthropology, University of California, Berkeley, 2009
  • B.A., Latin American Studies and Anthropology, University of Miami, 2007

Wesp is a bioarchaeologist who studies daily life in Colonial Latin America. Her research analyzes how daily experiences become incorporated into the skeletal system through repetitive activity and biomechanical stress. These skeletal indicators help illustrate how daily life was transformed with the socio-political changes that occurred after the arrival of Europeans to the Americas. She is currently working on archaeological research projects that explore Afro-descendants in colonial Mexico and a collection of skeletal remains recovered from the Templo de San Ignacio, a 17th century Jesuit church in Bogotá, Colombia.

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