Faculty by Program.
When he is not teaching at Drew, Thaler is a senior advisor in the Office of the Director of the U.S. Federal Mediation & Conciliation Service. Prior to his appointment as senior advisor, Thaler served as a Commissioner in the Metropolitan New York Field Office of FMCS, where he mediated disputes involving collective bargaining, grievances filed by employees to enforce their rights under collective bargaining agreements, and employment discrimination cases in the equal employment opportunity context for multiple federal sector agencies. In addition to his dispute resolution caseload, Thaler designed and facilitated labor-management committee cooperation efforts involving major hospitals and unions in the New York City area, and also trained labor and management partners in many industries in core relationship and communications skills to help them better administer their collective bargaining agreements.
Internationally, Thaler has trained officials from several U.S. and foreign government agencies in mediation and conflict management. He has worked in Argentina, Bangladesh, Canada, Colombia, the Czech Republic, the Dominican Republic, Honduras, Hungary, Mexico, Mozambique, Panama, Peru, South Korea, Thailand, Uganda, and Vietnam, in addition to training incoming delegations from China, Haiti and Tajikistan. In 2015, Professor Thaler was named to the international roster of mediators for United Nations and United Nations Staff Management Committee.
Sarah Abramowitz received a B.A. degree in Mathematics from Cornell University, an M.S. degree in Mathematics from the State University of New York at Stony Brook, and a Ph.D. in Mathematics Education from New York University. Dr. Abramowitz has been a professor in the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Drew University since 1998. She specializes in Educational Statistics. She is the co-author with Sharon Weinberg of “Statistics Using IBM SPSS: An Integrative Approach”, “Statistics Using Stata: An Integrative Approach,” “Statistics Using R: An Integrative Approach,” and is an Associate Editor and Social Media Editor of the Journal of Statistics Education.
Diane received a BS degree in Mathematics with a minor in Computer Science from Mercy College. She earned her MS in Computer Science from Montclair State University. She is co-author of a research paper Urban Legislation Assessment by Data Analytics with Smart City Characteristics. In 2017, she joined the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Drew University as an adjunct instructor. Before working in academia, Diane was a Staff level Software Engineer at IBM automating semiconductor manufacturing equipment and processes.
Yi Lu joined the Drew faculty in fall 2017 after receiving a Ph.D. in Statistics from the Ohio State University in 2017. She has taught a few undergraduate classes at Ohio State and worked as a statistical consultant on various research projects with graduate students from other disciplines. She studied both History and Mathematics as an undergraduate (Mars Hill University, North Carolina) and enjoys using statistics in very diverse applications. Her current research interests include Bayesian methods, functional data, and curves and images. She recently moved to New Jersey and loves running in her spare time.
Nipa has a strong background in the health sciences. She transitioned and graduated with a MS in Statistics from Rutgers University in January 2019. She has worked for biotech and pharmaceutical companies applying her statistical skills, and currently works for a software company as an associate data scientist. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her three rescue dogs and being active. She loves to run, hike, and kayak.
Ellie Small received a BSc degree in Mathematics with Statistics and Computer Science from the University of London, Birkbeck College. She earned her PhD in Statistics from Rutgers University, New Brunswick, in 2019, and joined the Department of Mathematics and Computer Science at Drew University that same year. Dr. Small has taught statistics and mathematics at Centenary University in Hackettstown for 6 years. She specializes in data science and has completed research papers in networks and text mining. In her spare time she enjoys any type of dance, and she goes ballroom dancing with her husband whenever the opportunity presents itself.
Steve Firestone is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Finance and the Director of the Master of Science in Finance program at Drew University. His research focuses on market and credit risk, fixed income valuation, behavioral finance, and real estate economics. Prior to joining Drew, Steve served for seven years as a U.S. Treasury official in The Office of The Comptroller of the Currency, providing effective oversight of institutional trading and lending activities at some of the country’s largest banks. His tenure in government service followed a twenty-year career in the financial markets as a fixed income trader, portfolio manager, and investment banker. Steve has also been committed to public service, serving on the Zoning Board of Adjustment in Hoboken, N.J. and serving as both a Planning Commissioner and Zoning Board Member in Charlotte, N.C. He received a B.A. in Economics from Bucknell University, an M.B.A in Finance and Public Policy from Indiana University, and is working towards his Ph.D. from University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Steve completed his Chartered Alternative Investment Analyst (CAIA) designation in 2009 and is active in the CAIA Association and the International Association for Quantitative Finance. He is also an avid runner, and completed two TCS New York City Marathons (2017,2018).
David has an MBA from the University of Rochester (1997), a PhD in English from Princeton University (1980), and B.A. from the University of Florida (1973). Over his considerable career in auditing, he has been a Partner at Anderson Management Partners LLC, a Manager-Director at EisnerAmper LLP, a Director at Kane Reece, and a Senior Associate at Empire Valuation Consultants. David has taught at the University of Pennsylvania and the University of Tuebingen (Germany), and been a lecturer at multiple U.S. and European institutions.
Yi Lu (PhD, The Ohio State University) has worked as a statistical consultant on various research projects. She studied both History and Mathematics as an undergraduate (Mars Hill University, North Carolina) and enjoys using statistics in very diverse applications. Her current research interests include Bayesian methods, functional data, and curves and images.
John Nolan joined WBB Asset Management in 2016, where he is a Managing Director co-managing an investment strategy dedicated to investing in public, early-stage life-science companies mostly within the pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and medical device industries. Prior to this role, he worked at JP Morgan as a vice president and co-head of Manager Selection Quantitative Investment Research. He has also worked at Barclays Wealth America, Excaliber Group, LLC, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine and New York University School of Medicine. John received a Masters in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University (2007) and B.A. in Physics and History from Cornell University (2001).
MBA, Erasmus University – Rotterdam School of Management | PhD, Leiden University
Jonathan Rose (PhD, University of Pennsylvania) specializes in modern Britain, British intellectuals, the history of the book and the history of reading. He was the founding president of the Society for the History of Authorship, Reading and Publishing, and he continues to serve as an editor of the society’s journal, Book History. He was also a past president of the Northeast Victorian Studies Association. His book The Intellectual Life of the British Working Classes (2001) won numerous awards, including the Jacques Barzun Prize in Cultural History and the Longman-History Today Historical Book of the Year Prize. His other books include The Edwardian Temperament 1895-1919, The Revised Orwell, The Holocaust and the Book: Destruction and Preservation, A Companion to the History of the Book (2007), The Literary Churchill: Author, Reader, Actor (2014), Readers’ Liberation (forthcoming early 2018) and the two-volume anthology The Edinburgh History of Reading (forthcoming late 2019). He occasionally reviews books for the Wall Street Journal and other publications.
Frances Bernstein (PhD, Columbia University) teaches courses in Russian and European history, with a special focus on the history of medicine, disability, sexuality and the body. In 2007 she published The Dictatorship of Sex: Lifestyle Advice for the Soviet Masses. In 2010 she co-edited and contributed to Soviet Medicine: Culture, Practice, and Science. She is actively researching the culture and politics of disability in the Soviet context. Recent publications include “Prosthetic Manhood in late Stalinist Russia,” OSIRIS 30: Scientific Masculinities (2015), ed. Robert A. Nye and Erika Lorraine Millam, “Rehabilitation Staged: How Soviet Doctors ‘Cured’ Disability in the Second World War” in Disability Histories, ed. Susan Burch and Michael A. Rembis, 218-236 and “Prosthetic Promise and Potemkin Limbs in late-Stalinist Russia,” in Disability in Eastern Europe and the Former Soviet Union, ed. Michael Rasell and Elena Iarskaia, 42-66. In recent years she has been the recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment of the Humanities, New York University, and the National Council for Eurasian and East European Research.
Allan C. Dawson (PhD, McGill University) is Associate Professor of Anthropology. His research is concerned with issues of ethnicity and identity in West Africa and in the African Diaspora, ethnicity and globalization, identity and violence, religious innovation, chieftaincy and traditional religious practice in the West African Sahel. Dawson also explores questions of Blackness and African identity within the context of the broader Black Atlantic world. His recent book, In Light of Africa: Globalizing Blackness in Northeastern Brazil (2014), seeks to reconcile theories of African cultural survival in the plantation with ideas of creolization by engaging the symbolic constructions of Africanity in Brazilian Black identities. His other works include Negotiating Territoriality: Spatial Dialogues between State and Tradition (2014) and Shrines in Africa: History, Politics and Society (2009). His current ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa explores the interface between urban migration, climate change and religious radicalization in the Ghanaian Sahel.
Prior to re-entering academe, Wyatt Evans (PhD, Drew University) served in the Peace Corps and as a civil affairs officer in the U.S. Army. He teaches history at the graduate and undergraduate levels. A member of the Council of Independent Colleges’ Senior Leadership Academy, he is very involved with developing digital scholarship and literacy initiatives at Drew. His research areas include the Civil War and the use of historical memory in politics. His first book, The Legend of John Wilkes Booth, won the 2005 OAH Avery O. Craven award and he is currently at work on a study of domestic security in the Civil War North.
Joshua Kavaloski is Professor of German and his primary research explores early twentieth-century European culture. He is the author of the book High Modernism: Aestheticism and Performativity in Literature of the 1920s. He has also published scholarly essays about texts by Thomas Mann, Franz Kafka, Jurek Becker and Daniel Kehlmann, as well as about graphic novels. He teaches a wide variety of topics at Drew, encompassing language, literature, film and history. Recent courses include: The Culture and History of the Weimar Republic, Perspectives on the Holocaust, Vampires on Film from German Expressionism to Today, Monsters of Modernity, Fantasie und Literatur, Das Roadmovie im deutschen Kino and Die Liebeskomödie im deutschen Kino.
John Lenz works on the history of ideas, especially the legacy of ancient Greece, on ancient history and on 20th century British philosopher Bertrand Russell. John received his PhD from Columbia, was a Fulbright fellow in Greece and was trained as an ancient historian. He is currently completing with a colleague the first English translation with commentary and revised text of a work by the primary figure of the modern Greek Enlightenment and plugging away at a book in progress, The Ideal World of Bertrand Russell: Russell as a Utopian Thinker. He formerly served as President of the Russell Society. His H&C courses are The Classical Tradition and Utopias and Utopian Thought from the Bible to the WWW. Some publications are available on academia.edu.
Karen Pechilis (PhD, University of Chicago) explores issues of interpreting the embodied self through poetry, biography and practice in devotional traditions of Hinduism. She understands ‘devotion’ to be a site for the intersection of wonder and self-expression and for an exquisitely participatory impulse, especially in the arts and letters. Over the past twenty years, she has conducted research in Chennai (Madras), south India through grants from the American Institute of Indian Studies, the Fulbright Program and the Asian Cultural Council. Her published work, both independent and collaborative, engages many scholarly discussions about the making of religious tradition, including interpretive history, translation, cultural analysis and feminist and gender studies.
Kimberly Rhodes (PhD, Columbia University) writes and teaches about modern and contemporary visual culture and has worked as an art historian in both museum and academic settings. She teaches courses on 19th century art, 20th century art and the history of photography. She also is the director of Drew’s New York Semester on Contemporary Art. Her publications include “Archetypes and Icons: Materialising Victorian Womanhood in 1970s Feminist Art” in Neo-Victorian Studies, Ophelia and Victorian Visual Culture: Representing Body Politics in the Nineteenth Century (Ashgate, 2008), “Double Take: Tom Hunter’s The Way Home (2000)” in The Afterlife of Ophelia (Palgrave Macmillan, 2012) and “Degenerate Detail: John Everett Millais and Ophelia’s Muddy Death” in John Everett Millais: Beyond the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood (Paul Mellon Centre, 2001). Her current research projects continue the exploration of relationships among Shakespeare’s plays and visual culture, primarily in the arena of landscape, and gender and sexuality in Victorian art.
Merel’s work builds bridges between the everyday lived experiences of people and the socio-political realm of public issues. She follows a dialectic approach to research that is both responsive and critical. On the one hand, this approach involves being receptive to the movements that occur in everyday situations of care, and on the other hand a critical analysis of ideological and theoretical concepts that inform the concept of care. Care research is not only seen as a deliberate act of analysis in order to produce knowledge, but also as an event that requires a praxis of unknowing by living one’s questions real time.
Merel serves multiple roles and aims to create intersections between the diverse set of communities she is affiliated with. At Drew, she works as the Director of Medical Humanities at the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies and as an Associate Professor in Health Studies. She is also affiliated part-time as an Associate Professor with the Care Ethics group of the Dutch University of Humanistic Studies. Together with her Dutch colleagues, she coordinates the International Care Ethics Research Consortium (www.care-ethics.org).
She draws upon her prior experience with the coordination and execution of complex evaluation and qualitative inquiry projects, as well as the acquisition of grants. She is a published author of peer reviewed articles in impact-factor journals and several books. She is a regular speaker at conferences and facilitates labs and workshops.
In her role as a humanities educator she works with resident physicians, medical students, hospital professional and support staff, community members and patients bringing humanities activities to support reflection and to evoke stories of illness and insight into the illness experience. The goal of her sustained work is to illuminate the voices of patients, families and clinicians as they intersect at the time of illness, in order to support each as they travel the path together. Gross has developed many programs which support this work at the hospital. As Palliative Care Community Liaison, Gross develops educational programs which help community members understand the philosophy and practice of Palliative Care. She facilitates Literature and Medicine seminars to provoke conversation of medical themes. She has worked with stroke patients, cancer patients, elders and people living with Parkinson’s disease and memory loss. She works with diverse populations in helping people tell their stories.
She was a leader in the State’s initiatives for out-of-hospital DNR orders in 1997 and currently serves on the New Jersey POLST Task Force. As a member of the NJ Bar Association’s End-of-Life Task Force, she promotes partnering with the legal community to create more effective advance directives for health care and serves on Allspire Health Care Partners, a five-health care system partnership in NJ and PA to improve advance care planning and end-of-life care in our hospitals and communities. Most recently, Kerwin was appointed by the Governor of New Jersey to serve on the State’s newly formed Advisory Council on End-of-Life Care. Prior to her work in palliative care, she was the Director of Emergency Medical Services for Atlantic Health System and a practicing mobile intensive care paramedic until 2002, bringing her passion and expertise for high quality end-of-life care to the field of emergency medical care.
Kerwin holds a Master’s and Doctorate of Medical Humanities from Drew University, has a Bachelor’s in Public Health from Rutgers University, a Certificate in Bioethics and Medical Humanities from Columbia University and is a Faculty Scholar in the Palliative Care Education & Practice Program from Harvard Medical School.
Kopchinsky has served as an educational officer on the board of directors of rehabilitation facilities. She specializes in written procedures, policies in a rehabilitative environment for young women of diverse backgrounds who suffer from addictions. She develops “self-wellness, ethics and esteem” programs for female residents of such facilities. She lectures for the New Jersey Drug Court Program on expressive, therapeutic narrative and ethics; and has collaborated on numerous publications for the New Jersey Drug Court Program.
She is affiliated with the “Angel for Students” program for community student scholarship based upon financial need in the Roman Catholic Diocese of Paterson, as well as a member of Phi-Theta Kappa International Scholastic Order; Member of Psi Chi: The National Honor Society in Psychology; Pinnacle Honor Society: Winner of Outstanding Achievement Award Spring 2006 for outstanding business, academic and cultural achievement. She is winner of the Schering-Plough Scholarship (2008) for Outstanding Achievement in Medical Humanities. She is a three-time alumna of Drew University and serves on the Drew Alumni Council. As a professor at Drew Caspersen Graduate School, her expertise is in clinical narrative; humanism; contemporary psycho-social issues including pain and major chronic depression on the human condition. Kopchinsky coaches dissertational students by utilizing unique narrative templates of composition and ethics.
A newly appointed trustee of Drew University, her special talent develops existing Drew University strengths, especially in the Caspersen School of Graduate Studies; extends and build medical humanity offerings; her past, vast business expertise offers medical links to military medicine and to addiction issues; and supports new programming in the area of business humanities. These opportunities will strengthen and expand the construct of business humanism at Caspersen Graduate School in terms of the commercial applications of the Medical Humanities degree and its product offering/capability to students.
Michael J. McDonough has had the privilege to work as an executive in the health care field since 1975. The first 20 years of his career were spent in acute care hospitals. In 1995, he joined an emerging heath care system in the long term care ivison. In 2005, a former colleague asked him to teach a two-week course entitled “the economics of health” during a winter session at a New Jersey college. After the three-hour class, he was hooked on teaching.
Currently, he is an Associate Teaching Professor and Undergraduate Program Coordinator of Health Administration at the Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. Previously, he was the Chair and full time professor of health services administration at another New Jersey college. His work encompasses traditional and hybrid classroom courses, online education, and new course development.
McDonough’s education includes a Doctor of Medical Humanities degree and graduate degrees in economics and health services administration, and an undergraduate degree in economics. He is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives [ACHE] and was elected as the ACHE Regent for the Northern New Jersey area to serve a three-year term beginning in March 2017. He is also a former Licensed Nursing Home Administrator.
For 14 years, he was chairman of a non-profit organization dedicated to the preservation of the laboratory and home of Thomas A. Edison in West Orange, NJ.
He and his wife are the proud parents of three college-educated children.
Dr. Kate Ott is a social ethicist addressing the formation of moral communities with specializations in sexuality, technology, children/youth, and professional ethics. She is Associate Professor of Christian Social Ethics at Drew University Theological School and University Scholar of Everyday Ethics. She has served as a faculty member in Medical Humanities since her start at Drew teaching Medical and Healthcare ethics courses.
She recently release a new book, Christian Ethics for a Digital Society (2019). Her other books include: Sex + Faith: Talking with Your Child from Birth to Adolescence and the co-edited volume Faith, Feminism, and Scholarship: The Next Generation. She lectures and leads workshops across the country on sexuality and technology issues related to children, teens, young adults and parents. Kate is also the co-editor for the Journal of Feminist Studies in Religion.
Prior to Drew, Kate was the Deputy Director of the Religious Institute, a nonprofit committed to sexual health, education, and justice in faith communities and society. There she led the project and publication of Sex and the Seminary: Preparing Ministers for Sexual Health and Justice in addition to other guidebooks and policy statements. To find out more about her outreach work visit www.kateott.org. Follow Kate on Twitter @Kates_Take.