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Getting to Know Drew U’s Newest Faculty

Why they chose Drew and what students might not know about them

September 2020 – A new school year brings new faces to Drew University, to the student body and to the front of the (virtual) classroom.

Let’s get to know the newest members of Drew’s faculty:

Jolie Tong – Assistant Professor, Theatre & Dance

What brought you to Drew?
Drew’s emphasis on educating the whole person, commitment to connecting education with experiences in the outside world and its wonderful students!

What were you doing before Drew?
I was teaching theater (acting, directing and devising) at Brooklyn College. I was also directing in professional and educational settings.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
My artistic and research interests lie in collaborative theater making, community based theater and theater for social change.

Steve Firestone – Assistant Teaching Professor, Finance; Director of Master of Science in Finance Program

What brought you to Drew?
I really embraced Drew’s vision for the Masters in Finance program. Finance is very much an applied science, so we use experiential learning on Bloomberg and other tools to get students real world experience. What also stuck out to me was how embracing the University is of interdisciplinary collaboration. All the faculty I have met at Drew seem to really embrace this model of scholarship.

What were you doing before Drew?
I was a U.S. Treasury Department official, working in Large Bank Supervision at the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency in New York City and Charlotte, North Carolina. I supervised capital markets and credit activities of several large banks, including Morgan Stanley and Bank of America.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
I am an avid runner and have completed two NYC TCS Marathons (2017, 2018). My goal is to one day qualify for the Boston Marathon, which has very stringent time requirements, so I still have a little wood to chop. I have also applied through the lotteries for the London and Berlin marathons. I do not think there is a better way to see a city than running it.

Yuliya Grinberg – Assistant Professor of Anthropology and Business

What brought you to Drew?
As a cultural anthropologist and an experienced marketing professional, I am enthusiastic about bringing anthropological thinking to bear upon the business curriculum at Drew University and vice versa, to help anthropology students better understand the world of business. The unique opportunity to put these two fields into conversation with one another brought me to Drew University.

What were you doing before Drew?
Prior to Drew, I’d taught courses related to digital culture and data ethics at Barnard College, The Cooper Union and NYU.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
I’m a longtime New Yorker with deep personal and professional ties to the area. I’m also a twin!

Evan Johnson – Assistant Teaching Professor of Media and Communications

What brought you to Drew?
I’m interested in working with a group of students who might not be as familiar with my particular perspective and approach to media and culture.

What were you doing before Drew?
Before Drew, I was the Ida B. Wells Postdoctoral Fellow at DePaul University. While there I taught courses that mostly dealt with the intersections of race, media, and popular culture.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
I am a pretty avid tabletop RPG player and a more than proficient dungeon master.

Raphaele Chappe – Assistant Professor, Macroeconomics

What brought you to Drew?
I actually taught as an adjunct at Drew back in 2009, when I left my job on Wall Street to start my PhD! So many things brought me to Drew—the personalized approach to education, the proximity to Wall Street, the wonderful faculty and colleagues, and the department’s commitment to pluralism in the teaching of economics. I am a strong believer in the value of a liberal arts education, and what the social sciences can bring to a student pursuing a degree in business and economics.

What were you doing before Drew?
I was completing a research fellowship at the Open Society Foundations, and teaching at the Brooklyn Institute for Social Research, a non-profit providing graduate seminars to working professionals.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
In addition to economics and finance, my night table reading list alternates between comic books and mangas, neuroscience, philosophy and world history.

Tiago Perez – Assistant Professor, Computer Science

What brought you to Drew?
Drew’s focus on teaching and its reputation among liberal arts universities.

What were you doing before Drew?
I was finishing my PhD and working as a graduate instructor at the University of Colorado Colorado Springs.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
I have five kids, including two sets of twins, all of whom were born during my PhD.

Maureen Fadem – Affiliate Professor, Arts & Letters; Convener of Arts & Letters Program

What brought you to Drew?
Drew’s commitment to liberal arts and interdisciplinary studies, the university’s commitments to civic engagement, as well as peace and conflict studies, and, initially, the Irish studies concentration in Arts and Letters. My primary research field is Irish studies and it is really quite rare to find an Irish studies program at the doctoral level; Drew’s is one of only a few in the country.

What were you doing before Drew?
What I’m still doing now, as my position at Drew is part time. I am also a full-time faculty member at the City University of New York, Kingsborough Community College in Brooklyn, where I am an Associate Professor of English.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
Academia is actually a second career for me. When my children were small, I worked in the corporate world, at Citibank and GMAC. When my youngest child started college I was able to pursue my lifelong hope to become a teacher and writer.

Joseph Bularzik – Teaching Faculty, Chemistry

What were you doing before Drew?
My last position was as the Dean of the School of Science, Technology and Health Studies at SUNY Morrisville.

What’s one thing students don’t know about you?
Several years ago, as the Vice Provost for a university in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates, I helped organize an international experience for students from UAE to go on an expedition to Antarctica led by Sir Robert Swan. After traveling to southern Argentina and spending a week training to hike in Antarctica by hiking over glaciers, we were ready to set sail the next morning. Unfortunately, that evening one of the students fell and was injured, so escorted her back to the UAE, missing the Antartica trip by less than 12 hours.

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