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Getting to Know Some of Drew University’s Newest Faculty

Soccer fans, a DIY aficionado, a pinball wizard and a triplet!

September 2019 – With a new academic year comes fresh faces, and we’re not just talking about first-year or transfer students. Let’s meet some of Drew’s new faculty members!

Andrea Woodka, Adjunct, Chemistry

What brought you to Drew?

I moved to Madison a little over a year ago which is how I discovered Drew. When we moved to Madison I told my husband that my dream would be to walk to Drew everyday and teach. A year later I saw the posting for an assistant professor in the Chemistry Department. It was too good to be true and meant to be!

What were you doing before coming to Drew?

I took the past two years off from work to spend more time with my kids. Before that I was a professor at The United States Military Academy at West Point.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

How about two: I’m a triplet! I also played soccer in college and still play every week.

Jason Roberts, Visiting Assistant Professor of Anthropology

What brought you to Drew?

What drew me to Drew (pun intended) was the opportunity to teach ecological and cultural anthropology at a student-centered institution. Similarly, with a background in forestry, I liked the idea of being able to do some interdisciplinary work with both the Department of Anthropology and the Department of Environmental Studies and Sustainability. I have also been really impressed with the level of friendliness and collegiality between students, staff and faculty at Drew.

What were you doing before coming to Drew?

I’ve been living the past few years in San Antonio while finishing up my degree. But, I am originally from North Carolina. You can probably tell by the accent.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

Back in the old days when I used to have hobbies, I enjoyed running and playing the guitar. I am hoping to get back into both of those hobbies some point soon.

Adijat Mustapha C’11, Visiting Assistant Professor, Psychology

What brought you to Drew?

After having an amazing undergraduate experience at Drew that helped steer my professional development, I could not turn away from the opportunity to pour back into the amazing Drew community as a visiting professor.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

I love learning new crafts! I currently sew, knit, make jewelry and design stationary for special occasions, like invitations. I am always in the middle of one or more DIY projects!

Merel Visse, Director Medical Humanities, Associate Professor

What led you to Drew?

So many things. The inspirational colleagues, enthusiastic students, the beauty of The Forest and the great potential of the Medical Humanities Program. Last March I participated in the Medical Humanities Seminar and gave a talk about Care Ethics. Immediately I was impressed by the poster presentations of the students. I admired their arts and poetry based work as well as their epidemiological research. The commitment to use academic and professional efforts for a better world touched my heart.

What were you doing before coming to Drew?

I was born and raised in the historic village of Gouda in The Netherlands. You have probably tasted the Gouda cheese. My husband, who is American, moved from Queens to Gouda in 2007. When he was transferred back to New York City in 2014, I divided my work and life between the two continents and got used to traveling. When the opportunity at Drew came along to lead the Medical Humanities Program, I was astounded to find myself considering a move across the ocean. Now, several loose threads have come together: my love for nature, the intellectual quest, the collaboration with the health professions, the arts and of course: the possibility to spend more time with my husband.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

I can eat a whole bag of sweet potato chips in one sitting. And I love the smokey lapsang souchong tea – it reminds me of my grandmother who always drank this tea with me.

Ferdi Eruysal, Assistant Professor, Data Analytics

What brought you to Drew?

The new Data Analytics master program and the fact that the faculty is very nice.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

I am a soccer fan. I watch two or three soccer games every weekend.

Phoebe Tang, Visiting Assistant Professor, Political Science & International Relations

What brought you to Drew?

The great position the Political Science Department offered really fits my teaching and research interests and backgrounds. 

What were you doing before coming to Drew?

I came to Drew from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, where I completed my PhD program. Before that, I had studied for my undergrad and master degrees in Beijing and Hong Kong, respectively.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

New Jersey was actually the first place/state I ever visited in the United States. I had been learning to play a Chinese traditional instrument since I was little, and our orchestra was invited to New Jersey for our first international performance when I was still a high schooler in early 2005. I’m very glad to “come back” as a faculty member at Drew here.

Ellie Small, Norma Gilbert Junior Visiting Assistant Professor, Mathematics and Computer Science

What led you to Drew?

I graduated from Rutgers University with a PhD in statistics last semester.  I looked for a statistics position at a university not too far from where I live, and Drew fit the bill perfectly.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

I am a pinball wizard! I made the Guinness Book of Records in 1984, when I played pinball for 70 hours straight (without sleeping). I am not actually that good at pinball, but I did break the duration record at the time (it has since been broken again).

Gerard Pinto, Assistant Professor, Finance

What brought you to Drew?

I found the possibility of teaching the Wall Street program an attractive proposition.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?

I enjoy hiking and visiting local museums.