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Sacred Heart Awards Tenure, Promotions to 18 Faculty

Eight earn tenure and promotions; 10 others also promoted

Top, from left, are Benjamin Alper, Jack Jiang, Marcus Mueller and Kristin Rainville. Bottom, from left, are Jessica Samuolis, Mary Lou Siefert, LaTina Steele and Diana Veneri.

Sacred Heart University has awarded tenure and promotions to eight faculty members. Additionally, ten other professors earned separate promotions.

Tenure and promotion to associate professor:

Benjamin J. Alper of Rye Brook, NY, associate professor of chemistry.

Alper’s interests include the cerebral accumulation of plaques made up of neurotoxic amyloid beta peptides, which is a primary event in Alzheimer’s disease pathology. He and his team are developing methods to disrupt amyloid plaque formation and to promote destruction of neurotoxic amyloid beta peptides.

Jing (Jack) Jiang of Trumbull, associate professor of finance.

Prior to joining SHU, Jiang spent several years at M&T Bank and Regions Bank in the risk management and quantitative analytics group. He is a member of the American Finance Association and Financial Management Association. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Nankai University in Tianjin, China and his master’s in business administration from Tsinghua University in Beijing before obtaining his doctorate in finance from the University at Buffalo.

Marcus B. Mueller of the Luxembourg Campus, associate professor of management.

Mueller received his bachelor of science degree in electrical engineering from the University of Applied Sciences in Saarbruecken, Germany; a diploma in business administration from Manchester Business School, University of Manchester in the United Kingdom; a master’s in business administration from Melbourne Business School, University of Melbourne, Australia; and a doctorate in organizational psychology from the University of the Sunshine Coast in Australia. Prior to his full-time appointment at SHU, he worked for 16 years in finance industry fields such as strategy, mergers and acquisitions, principal investments and private equity for companies such as Arthur Andersen, Deutsche Bank, Merrill Lynch and Fortress Investments.

Kristin Rainville of Fairfield, associate professor of education.

Rainville, a full-time faculty member also serves as the director of teacher preparation in the Isabelle Farrington College of Education. She teaches courses in curriculum and pedagogy, literacy and instructional leadership. Rainville’s research and scholarship focus on teaching, professional learning and leadership. She has co-authored two books: Changing Suburbs, Changing Students (Corwin, 2012) and Literacy Leadership in Changing Schools: Ten Keys to Successful Professional Development (Teachers College Press, 2015) and several book chapters, and she has been published in peer-reviewed journals such as: The Reading Teacher, Reading & Writing Quarterly, Young Children and Networks: An Online Journal for Teacher Research. Before joining the faculty at SHU, Rainville was department chair and assistant professor in the Department of Literacy at Manhattanville College. She also previously worked as an instructor at Teachers College, Columbia University. A former coordinator for the New Jersey Department of Education’s Office of Early Literacy, she also has experience as a literacy coach in New Jersey and as a third-grade and first-grade teacher in Stamford.

Jessica Samuolis of Trumbull, associate professor of psychology.

Samuolis joined SHU in the fall of 2011 as a full-time faculty member in the psychology program. Prior to joining the department, she was a research scientist for a health promotion organization in New York, where she helped write grants for federal funding to help develop and evaluate prevention programs for youth. Samuolis is a prevention scientist with a program of research focused on public health issues among adolescents and young adults. Her research focuses on mental health, risk behaviors, risk and protective factors and the evaluation of prevention programs. Samuolis completed a three-year postdoctoral fellowship in the School of Public Health at Columbia University.

Mary Lou Siefert of Fairfield, associate professor of nursing.

Siefert is an advanced oncology certified nurse and joined SHU in 2016. Her professional and scholarship interests include the implementation and use of evidence-based practice, oncology nursing care, patient and family quality of life, nursing management of patients’ symptoms, palliative care and end-of-life care. Her service includes volunteer mentoring for refugees and immigrants, and serving vulnerable populations in the local communities. She holds degrees from Yale University, Fordham University and Emmanuel College.

LaTina Steele of Milford, associate professor of biology.

Steele’s research interests include marine community ecology, aquatic/marine plant chemical ecology, invasive plant ecology and the effects of pollutants on coastal ecosystems. Her specific research areas include: the role of chemical interactions in determining invasion success of non-native aquatic plants, using native herbivores to mitigate invasive aquatic plants, using stable isotopes to examine habitat connectivity, the effects of habitat and predator diversity on salt marsh community structure and the role of phenolic compounds as inducible chemical defenses against herbivory and pathogenic infection in seagrasses.

Diana Veneri of Prospect, associate professor of physical therapy.

Veneri’s teaching and program responsibilities primarily include promoting and coordinating evidence-based practice principles throughout the curriculum, including student research projects. She also has a smaller role in the neurologic curriculum. Her research interests cover adult neurologic rehabilitation, physical therapy education, yoga interventions, prosthetic rehabilitation education in developing countries and weight status in children.

Other faculty promotions:

Professor: Jeanine Andreassi, management; Joseph Audie, chemistry; Nathan Lewis, art and design; Jason Molitierno, mathematics; Nicole Roy, biology; Thomas Terleph, biology; Deirdre Yeater, psychology.

Clinical associate professor: Linda Cook and Linda Morrow, nursing.

Associate lecturer: Daniel Rober, Catholic studies.