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Queens College Faculty Experts

Omri Elisha (Anthropology) is a cultural anthropologist with expertise in the study of evangelical Christianity in the United States. He is the author of Moral Ambition: Mobilization and Social Outreach in Evangelical Megachurches (University of California Press, 2011), an ethnographic study based on fieldwork in Tennessee among socially engaged evangelicals who promote charitable faith-based ministries at the grassroots of the Christian Right. More broadly, Elisha's research explores the intersections of religion, culture, and politics, especially in relation to phenomena such as megachurches, urban revivalism, fundamentalism, and social movements.

Larissa Swedell (Anthropology) is a biological anthropologist and primatologist with expertise in the behavioral ecology of nonhuman primates, i.e., apes, monkeys, and prosimians. She specializes in Old World monkeys, baboons in particular, with topical areas including social behavior, sociobiology, reproduction, reproductive strategies, evolution of sociality, feeding ecology, commensalism, and human-wildlife conflict. She directs the Filoha Hamadryas Project in Ethiopia ( and is co-founder of both the Cape Peninsula Baboon Research Unit in South Africa (, which focuses on chacma baboon behavioral ecology, and the Imfene Initiative (, which focuses on human-wildlife conflict and conservation awareness in Africa.

Tony Gonzalez (Art) is a photographer with a specialty in alternative and historical photographic printing processes, including cyanotypes, Van Dyke brown, and gum bichromate. His recent work combines these 19th-century processes with 21st-century technology by digitally producing large-scale negatives with a desktop printer in order to make contact prints using the various printing techniques. Description of his gum bichromate process was recently included in The Book of Alternative Photographic Processes: Second Edition (2008).

Michael Nelson (Art) is an art historian and field archaeologist studying the ancient architecture of the Mediterranean. Currently he is a member of an international team of scholars excavating at Omrit, a Roman and Early Byzantine site in northern Israel. His research and publications focus on reconstructing and interpreting Omrit's Corinthian temples. He also works at Leukos, a Roman and Early Byzantine port settlement on the Greek island of Karpathos. His research there explores insular settlement archaeology and seaborne trade.

Gregory Sholette (Art) specializes in contemporary activist art and cultural politics including tactical media, culture jamming, and artists who are critical of gentrification, neoliberalism, militarism, and the penal system. He has co-edited several books on social change art, is frequently asked to lecture about his research around the globe, and is co-founder of two influential New York City-based artists' collectives. His writings, interviews, and reviews appear in a variety of journals and newspapers, and his book about the political economy of art in an age of deregulated enterprise culture will be published in January of 2011.

John Waldman (Biology) is an aquatic conservation biologist with experience in estuaries and fresh and salt waters. He joined the Queens College faculty in 2004 following a 20-year career at the Hudson River Foundation for Science & Environmental Research. Areas of expertise include the ecology and evolution of migratory fishes, especially sturgeon, lamprey, shad, and striped bass; northeastern marine fishes; invasive species; historical ecology; and the environmental history and present status of New York Harbor, the Hudson River, Long Island Sound, and other urban waterways.

Caroline Desirée Rupprecht (Comparative Literature) focuses on avant-garde and postmodern literature, film, and culture in a German- and French-speaking context, from the point of view of gender studies. She is the author of Subject to Delusions: Narcissism, Modernism, Gender (Northwestern UP, 2006), and the translator of Unica Zürn's Dark Spring (Exact Change, 2000), as well as many articles. She is currently working on another book, Womb Fantasies: Subjective Architectures in Postmodern Literature, Cinema, and Art.

Nicholas K. Coch (Earth and Environmental Sciences). His areas of greatest expertise include natural disasters (earthquakes, volcanoes, tsunami, landslides, etc); coastal and estuarine problems (beach erosion, Hudson pollution, consequences of sea-level rise, effects of coastal storms, etc); critical analysis of climate change and "global warming," and all aspects of hurricane damage (threats to urban centers, differences between Gulf, South Atlantic and Northern hurricanes, mechanisms of hurricane destruction, and threats to New York City). He is frequently interviewed by national and international media and has participated in specials on PBS, National Geographic, History, Discovery, and The Weather Channel.

Timothy T. Eaton (Earth and Environmental Sciences) is a hydrologist who studies the flow of water in streams, tidal channels, and urban estuaries, as well as groundwater and wetland hydrology. His research involves field-based investigations and computer modeling of hydraulics and salinity intrusion, in addition to the effects of urban runoff and combined sewer outfall (CSO) discharges on water quality. He also has a particular interest in the use of wetlands for treating runoff and wastewater.

Ryan Edwards (Economics) studies the interrelated causes and consequences of health, mortality, and economic well-being. Some of his recent work, sponsored by a federal grant from the National Institute on Aging, has focused on the later-life health and life-cycle earnings of U.S. veterans. Since 2009, he has also served on an Institute of Medicine committee convened to examine the readjustment needs of U.S. military personnel, veterans, and their families. His other research topics include the relationship between macroeconomic conditions and health, the economics of the family and of aging, and attitudes toward risks to health and wealth.

Emilia C. Lopez (Education-School Psychology) focuses on bilingual and multicultural issues in school psychology. Her areas of expertise include assessing children and youth from diverse language and cultural backgrounds, working with school interpreters to provide services to students and families from diverse language backgrounds, providing culturally responsive educational interventions, and consulting with teachers to meet the educational and mental health needs of culturally diverse students.

Jacqueline Darvin (Education-Secondary Education and Youth Services) teaches in the Secondary Literacy Education program at Queens College and received her PhD in Literacy Studies from Hofstra University. She previously taught middle and high school English for twelve years and in 2002 received the prestigious News 12 Long Island Educator of the Month Award for her work integrating literacy instruction into career education courses at a vocational high school in Nassau County. Her current research interests include innovative teacher education, diversity training for teachers, and situated performance and cognition. 

Caroline Kyungah Hong (English) received her PhD in 2009 from the University of California at Santa Barbara. She specializes in Asian American studies and is especially interested in the intersections of race and ethnicity, gender and sexuality, and literary and popular culture. She is currently working on a book on comedy and humor in Asian American literature, film, and popular culture. She recently co-authored an article on “Teaching Asian American Graphic Narratives in a ‘Post-Race’ Era,” and she is also the co-managing editor of the peer-reviewed online Journal of Transnational American Studies (JTAS).

Sung-Eun Choi (Family, Nutrition and Exercise Sciences) is a food scientist and registered dietitian with expertise in food sensory science. Her research interests include the effects of taste perception on health, optimization of food recipes using sensory evaluation, and immigrant nutrition. Choi’s latest topic is the relationship of taste perceptions to eating patterns and the risks of obesity among African Americans and Asian Americans, two rapidly growing ethnic groups with very different sets of health risk factors. In this project, genetic taste sensitivity, sensations to basic tastes, and food acceptances are examined to explore taste perceptions.

Mihaela Robila (Family Studies/ FNES) teaches courses on family policy, cultural diversity, child development, family problems, and research methods. Her research concerns family relations, family policy, economic pressure, and immigration, with a focus on Eastern Europe. Her book Eastern European Immigrant Families (Routledge, 2010) addresses socioeconomic and contextual factors affecting children and parents in immigrant families. Previously, Robila edited Families in Eastern Europe (Elsevier, 2004), which provided a timely and comprehensive analysis of family issues in that region. She also served as a consultant for the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs on family policies in Eastern Europe. 

Eve Bernstein (FNES) examines how middle school students perceive competitive activities in physical education class. Since competitive activities can be the major focus of many physical education programs, it is important to understand how students perceive those activities and how teachers structure them, so that all students can experience success. Bernstein is especially interested in middle school instruction, because physical activity tends to decline when children reach those grades.

David Andrew Jones
(French) specializes in 20th- and 21st-century Fre
nch literature and culture. He has published and presented on a wide range of authors including Marguerite Duras, Jean Genet, Jean Cocteau, and André Gide. Topics of research include World War II in France, French cinema, queer culture and literature in France, French feminism, and French theater.

Álvaro Fernández (Hispanic Languages & Cinema Studies) specializes in contemporary Spanish literature and cinema, focused on narratives of an uncomfortable historical past, social trauma and politics of memory. He is also interested in didactics of writing and in cross-readings between Latin America and Spain. Currently he is working on Spanish narrative between 1989 and 1992 as well as on memory sites in Buenos Aires and Madrid. He is the author of articles on Juan Marsé, Antonio Muñoz Molina, Javier Marías, and Luis Landero, and books on didactics of writing and reading.

Barbara Simerka (Hispanic Languages and Literatures) just completed a book manuscript that uses cognitive theory to study literature and culture. The areas of cognitive theory that she emphasizes are cognitive theory and reading and the paradox of fiction; Theory of Mind; folk psychology; modularity and contextualism. Simerka’s other areas of interest include Don Quixote and woman-authored/feminist science fiction. 

Kristin Celello (History) specializes in U.S. women's and gender history as well as the history of the American family. She has written a book about marriage and divorce in the 20th-century United States and is currently working on projects about the post-divorce family, single parenting in the United States, and global perspectives on marriage crisis. Her work has appeared in numerous blogs, podcasts, national newspapers, and, most recently, on the Mad Men Season 4 DVD.

Premilla Nadasen (History) specializes in women, social movements and public policy in the United States. She has written an award-winning book on the welfare rights movement and is currently writing about domestic worker organizing. A longtime community activist and scholar, she has worked with numerous social justice organizations; written for scholarly magazines, newspapers, and blogs; provided expert testimony; and given public lectures about women's history, welfare and labor policy, and the civil rights movement.

Kristina Richardson (History) specializes in gender, sexuality and disability in the medieval Islamic world; Islam and slavery; Muslim feminism; and drug use in the Muslim world.

Julia Sneeringer (History) is a specialist in 20th-century German history. She teaches about topics such as the rise of the Nazis, politics and society in the Third Reich, World War I, and postwar Germany (West and East). She has written a book on political propaganda and women voters during the 1920s, as well as articles on gender, politics and advertising, and conservative women activists. Her more recent work explores the early history of rock and roll in Hamburg, West Germany, with articles on tourism, music fans, Hamburg's red-light district, and the Beatles in Hamburg.

Amy Herzog (Media Studies) specializes in film theory, popular music, and gender studies. She teaches courses on film history, theory, and the history of popular music at Queens College and The Graduate Center. Herzog has written extensively on musical films, the philosophy of Gilles Deleuze, and coin-operated film and music technologies. She is currently co-editing an anthology for Oxford University Press on sound and image in digital media. Her current research projects include a study of pornographic peep show arcades in Times Square in the early 1970s.

Richard Vetere (Media Studies) is a feature film writer whose credits include the cult classic Vigilante (a blue-collar Death Wish), The Third Miracle, The Marriage Fool, and How to Go Out on a Date in Queens. He has also written for television and the theater—he is the author of 12 published plays, such as Baroque, an adaptation of his historic novel about Caravaggio and his circle. An actor and director, Vetere serves as an advisor to the Queens World Film Festival.

Ron Hayduk (Political Science) specializes in American politics. He has written about voting rights, social movements, immigration and race, including Democracy for All: Restoring Immigrant Voting Rights in the United States; Gatekeepers to the Franchise: Shaping Election Administration in New York and, most recently, about the Occupy Wall Street movement, immigration reform and New York elections. Formerly a social worker, Hayduk worked in New York City government, and consulted to policy organizations. He is an editorial board member of the journal Socialism and Democracy and co-founder of the Coalition to Expand Voting Rights

Michael Krasner (Political Science), who also co-directs the Taft Institute for Government, specializes in American politics, especially electoral politics, media, popular participation, and food politics. The Hazen Foundation, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund, and the Rockefeller Foundation have supported the Community Leadership Training Program that he co-directs. His research interests include the political uses of humor and the politics and policies of the Obama Administration. In addition, he is an attentive follower of, sometime participant in, and frequent commentator on the politics of Queens.

Peter Liberman (Political Science) studies international relations and political psychology. His research has focused on military occupations, nuclear proliferation, alliance politics, and the causes of war, as well as the role of emotion and moral judgment in public support for the use of military force and for coercive interrogation. He is currently working on a book about anger and retributive justice motives in the American response to 9/11.

Yan Sun (Political Science) is a specialist in the domestic politics and foreign relations of China, and to a lesser extent East Asia. She has written two well-regarded books and numerous professional articles on Chinese politics, and has also done comparative studies of China and Russia, and China and India. She is completing a book on ethnic politics in contemporary China. Her articles on ethnic politics in China have appeared in the New York Times's "Room for Debate" forum.

Claudia Brumbaugh (Psychology) is a social-personality psychologist who studies adult romantic relationships. She is primarily interested in adult attachment and relationship initiation. Evolutionary theory, which addresses the adaptive value of behaviors and traits, also colors much of her work. Some focal points of her research program include the ways in which existing and past relationships influence perceptions of new people, and people’s level of awareness of their behaviors in new dating contexts. People aren’t always aware of how they behave and why they make the choices that they do; these underlying and unconscious factors can unwittingly affect relational decisions and outcomes.

Nancy Foldi
(Psychology) was trained as a clinical psychologist at Clark University in Massachusetts and Harvard Medical School. Clinically active in the field of dementia for over 25 years, she presents her work internationally. In focusing on neural mechanisms of attention in aging and Alzheimer's disease, her research investigates how individuals manage ‘overload’ situations or situations that require skills to handle multiple simultaneous activities or pieces of information. She has also used a neurochemical model, running double-blind placebo controlled trials to study the effect of cholinesterase inhibitors on attention; this work was supported by a grant from the Alzheimer Association.      

Yoko Nomura (Psychology) is conducting a longitudinal study that examines how a woman’s lifetime and current psychosocial stress affect her psychological health, as well as her behavioral choices during and after pregnancy. Nomura also investigates how the maternal in utero environment affects fetal growth, development, birth outcome, and psychopathology of the child later in life. The study recruits women who are less than 24 weeks into their pregnancy and follows them beyond their delivery, utilizing validated psychometric survey tools, semi-structured interviews, and blood and placenta specimens to give quantifiable measures of maternal stress and their effects on fetal/infant development.

Justin Storbeck (Psychology) specializes in emotion and its influence on learning and memory, attitude formation, and judgments. In addition, Storbeck works with electroencephalography (EEG) to understand the neurological processes associated with how emotion influences cognition and behavior. In prior research he has discovered that sadness reduces the occurrence of false memories, happiness and sadness can both enhance high-level cognition, and emotional arousal makes heights appear taller than they actually are. 

Pyong Gap Min (Distinguished Professor, Sociology) focuses on immigration, ethnic identity, ethnic business, religion, and family/gender, with a focus on Asian/Korean Americans. His five books include Caught in the Middle: Korean Communities in New York and Los Angeles (1996), winner of two national book awards, and Preserving Ethnicity through Religion in America: Korean Protestants and Indian Hindus across Generations (2010). Among the seven books he has edited or co-edited are Struggle for Ethnic Identity: Personal Narratives by Asian American Professionals (1999) and Encyclopedia of Racism in the United States (2005). He directs the Center on Korean Community at Queens College.

Holly Reed (Sociology) focuses on internal migration, urbanization, international migration, social networks, forced migration and refugees, and demographic change in sub-Saharan Africa—including Ghana, South Africa, and Nigeria. She also studies the health and demography of African immigrants to the United States. Reed previously served as a program officer for the Committee on Population of the National Academies in Washington, DC, where she wrote and edited reports on topics in international demography, such as urbanization and development, forced migration, maternal mortality, and fertility change.

Melissa Checker
(Urban Studies) researches environmental justice activism, sustainability policies and practices in New York City, the green economy, and the human rights implications of market-based solutions to climate change. She received her PhD in Cultural Anthropology from New York University. Her most recent book, Polluted Promises: Environmental Racism and the Search for Justice in a Southern Town (New York University Press, 2005), won the 2007 Society for Humanistic Anthropology's Book Award. Checker has written articles and book chapters in academic as well as journalistic publications. Currently, she co-edits the "Public Anthropology" reviews section of American Anthropologist.

Leonard Rodberg (Urban Studies) has worked for many years on issues of health care reform. He has been particularly concerned about health cost inflation and has studied the alternative of improving and expanding Medicare toward a single payer system that would cover everyone and contain costs. He has spoken widely on the likely impact of the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act and on the possible impact of this legislation on New York State.

FACULTY: If you'd like to be a part of the database, send a 75- to 100-word description of your work to Using key words to highlight your research will make it more likely that the paragraph will come up in an online search of your topic. The description should also be in layman's terms—uncomplicated and straightforward language.


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