New faces among Saint Michael's faculty this fall

By: Mark Tarnacki

Saint Michael's College recently welcomed new faculty in biology, religious studies, environmental studies, business administration/accounting, and applied linguistics.

Paul Constantino

paul constantinoJoining the biology faculty this fall as assistant professor is Saint Michael's biology alumnus Paul Constantino '92 of Burlington, an expert on evolutionary biology, human evolution and evolution of the vertebrate skull and dentition.

He completed his doctorate in hominid paleobiology (2007) at The George Washington University where his dissertation was "Primate Masticatory Adaptations to Fracture-Resistant Foods."  He has a master's in anthropology from Florida Atlantic University and received his Saint Michael's biology degree in 1992. At Saint Michael's this year he'll be teaching Human Anatomy, Human Physiology and Human Evolution. His primary research involves using dental fracture mechanics to reconstruct diets of fossil hominins, or as he puts it, "looking at how teeth break to figure out what our ancestors were eating and how that affected our evolutionary path."

"Teaching is one of the most rewarding things I have ever done," said Constantino, who lives in Burlington's New North end with his wife and three children (ages 5, 3 and 1) and a cat. "I love interacting with students and getting them excited about science and learning. And I feel very lucky to have the opportunity to do it at the place that got it all started for me when I came here as an undergrad."

Constantino does his field work mostly in Africa (Kenya, Ethiopia, Botswana, South Africa) but also China and the U.S. (Texas, Wyoming, South Carolina). He loves all sports, especially volleyball and basketball, and said he's "really looking forward to snowboarding again after taking the past 15 years or so off. "

Sajida Jalalzai

Sajida JalalzaiJoining the religious studies faculty as instructor this fall is Sajida Jalalzai of South Burlington, an expert on Islam in North America, North American religions and the anthropology of religion. She is completing her doctorate in religion at Columbia University, where she also earned a master of arts in religion (2009) and a master of philosophy in religion (2011); Jalalzai also has a master's from McGill University in Montreal  (2006) specializing in South Asian religion. Her thesis there was "The Politics of Recovery: Women in the Tablighi Jama'at & Vishwa Hindu Parishad." She did her bachelor's studies at Queen's University in Ontario, Canada (2003, honors, with distinction).

Her area of research is Muslim chaplaincy in the United States and Canada. Classes she will teach at Saint Michael's include Christians and Muslims, Islam Varieties of Christianity, and Islam in North America.

"My approach to teaching features two related goals: conveying course content and facilitating my students' development as critical thinkers," she said. "As an educator in the field of religious studies, one of my priorities is to convey the messiness, complexity, and beauty of lived religions to diverse groups of students."

Jalalzai has won numerous prestigious fellowships, grants and awards, most recently the American Association of University Women American Dissertation Fellowship in 2013. She has language proficiency in Arabic and French along with English fluency and has worked extensively as an interfaith educator and program director in the New York City area; she also worked as an English and academic tutor.

Farrah Fatemi

Farrah FatemiJoining the environmental studies faculty this fall as assistant professor is Farrah Fatemi, an expert on ecosystem biogeochemistry, forest soils, soil ecology and microbial processes.

She earned her doctorate in ecology and environmental science at the University of Maine (2011) after completing a master's in forest and natural resources management at the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry (2007) and a bachelor's in biology and environmental science (dual major) at DePaul University in Chicago (2003). At Saint Michael's she will be teaching Introduction to Environmental Science and Environmental Research Methods.

For her primary research, Fatemi studies the effects of nutrient pollution and climate change on how ecosystems process key nutrients. Most of her research focuses on soil carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus cycling in forests of the Northeastern U.S. She has presented scores of professional papers at conferences, with one earning a "Best Paper" award, and she has many other honors, scholarships and recognitions in her field while also doing a variety of volunteer community service.

"I was lucky enough to have some excellent teachers and mentors that inspired me to push my boundaries and exposed me to new ways of thinking about the world," Fatemi said. "My aim is to provide similar inspiration and guidance to my students."

Marie-France Nelson

Marie-France NelsonJoining the business administration faculty as full-time instructor this fall is Marie-France Nelson of Underhill, whose experience and expertise is in the ski industry as a sales consultant, with a strategic planning firm and with a startup company in the pharmaceutical industry. Most of her experience is in the area of marketing and sales.

Nelson earned her Master's in Business Administration (M.B.A 2003) at the University of Houston-Victoria, and her bachelor's at the University of Texas (1990). At Saint Michael's this year she'll be teaching Critical Thinking and Communication, Marketing, International Marketing and Retail Management.  "My teaching focuses on bringing real-world experience and application into the classroom," she said.

Nelson has worked since 1999 as a marketing consultant in the ski industry based from her Underhill home; also in her earlier career she taught as an adjunct at Champlain College, was a regional sales director for Physicians Interactive in Illinois, a senior associate for Fletcher Mountain Group, Inc. in Williston, VT, an assistant to the President of Rossignol Ski Company in Williston, and a projects coordinator at Victoria Regional Medical Center in Texas; before that she taught French in Ganado, Texas. She is a native French speaker from Montreal, Canada, with proficiency in Spanish along with fluency in English, and has two children: Stefan and Isabelle.

An accomplished equestrian who focuses in dressage, Nelson rode for the University of Texas Equestrian Team. She also has been a triathlete, runs half-marathons, and enjoys skiing, gardening and reading.

Umit Boz

Umit BozJoining the Applied Linguistics faculty as full-time instructor in the MATESOL program this fall is Umit Boz of Winooski. He completed his doctorate in Curriculum and Instruction with a specialization in Language and Literacies in May 2014 from the State University of New York at Albany, where he also received his master's in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages).

His scholarly interests lie primarily at the intersection of Applied Linguistics and Second Language Education and his research centers "on the computational discourse analysis of multiparty dialogues in an effort to better understand the relationship between interactional roles and learning in various educational settings such as online language learning and collaborative learning environments," he says.  Specifically, his dissertation research "explores the sociolinguistic and pragmatic dimensions of discursive leadership in native and non-native English speakers' online task-based dialogues." At Saint Michael's Boz will be teaching Discourse and Error Analysis in the MATESOL program, and Advanced College Writing and English for Academic Purposes for undergraduates. As a graduate student he taught both undergraduate and graduate courses and was a research assistant for two large computational linguistics projects at SUNY Albany.

"Through my multifaceted research experiences in these projects, I developed an understanding of how to integrate concepts from computational linguistics and corpus linguistics into language research and pedagogy," said Boz, who has conducted presentations at national and international conferences. He  has a bachelor's in Aircraft Electronics from Anadolu University in Eskisehir, Turkey, where he ranked first in his 2003 graduating class with a minor in Teaching of English as a Foreign Language.

He enjoys travel, working out, and going out to movies or dinner with friends. He also loves to cook and always looks forward to trying new dishes. His favorite cuisines are Turkish, Japanese (especially sushi), Italian, and Thai. He says he is impressed by the diversity and quality of the restaurants in Burlington, and is looking forward to exploring the outdoor activities in the area.


New Saint Michael's adjuncts this year and their departments or specialties are:

  • Mariel Adsit, psychology
  • Alysse Anton, French
  • Tyler Barnes, business
  • Ethan Bodin, permaculture
  • Amy Cole, graduate education
  • Ernesto Ebratt, Spanish
  • Carly Epstein, graduate education
  • Gordon Glover, art
  • Andrea Griffin, graduate education
  • Bradie Hansen, graduate psychology
  • Rebecca Haslam, graduate education
  • Dillon Klepetar, political science
  • Yajie (Lisa) Li, Chinese
  • Therese Lorenz, chemistry
  • Mary Lundeen, education
  • Catherine McAleer Holly, anthropology
  • Fariborz (Fred) Mokhtari, political science
  • Keith Morris, permaculture
  • Kevin Murakami, art
  • Stephen Nagle, applied linguistics
  • Glenn Patterson, graduate education
  • Jason Pepe, physics
  • Judy Rosovky, biology
  • Sara Sanders, applied linguistics
  • Susan Sawyer, graduate education
  • Sarah Schoolcraft, graduate education
  • Christopher Sedic-Lawton, graduate education
  • Micalee Sullivan, environmental studies
  • Brandon Tries, mathematics
  • Adam Wager, philosophy

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