Wilkes University has announced the following faculty members who have earned promotion and been awarded tenure:
Joshua Blechle was promoted to associate professor of chemistry and granted tenure. Blechle joined Wilkes in 2017. He received his bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Truman State University, Kirksville, Missouri, and his PhD in physical/analytical chemistry from Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Colorado. His research explores the behavior of artificial, nonthermal plasmas using a variety of techniques to investigate the gas-surface interface. His current research project focuses on plasmas formed from exhaust gases and their interaction with heterogeneous catalysts in order to promote improved reduction of nitrogen oxide pollutants.
Kimberly Ference was promoted to associate professor of pharmacy practice and granted tenure. Ference also serves as the director of pharmacy care labs, overseeing and coordinating the Objective Structured Clinical Examinations, a large-scale, simulation exam that serves as an authentic and individual competency assessment required to move forward in the curriculum. Ference received her Doctor of Pharmacy from Wilkes in 2003 and completed a primary care residency at Wilkes in 2004 in conjunction with the Wilkes-Barre VA and Wyoming Valley Family Medicine in Kingston. Ference previously served as clinical assistant professor at the University of Oklahoma in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
Matthew Finkenbinder was promoted to associate professor of environmental engineering, earth sciences and geology and granted tenure. Finkenbinder earned his bachelor’s degree in geo-environmental studies at Shippensburg University, his master’s degree in geology from West Virginia University, Morgantown, West Virginia, his PhD in geology at the University of Pittsburgh. His research focuses on reconstructing past climatic changes on a range of timescales using the sedimentary record from small lakes. His current research includes lake sediment-based projects in the interior of Alaska, the Brooks Range in northwest Alaska, the Northern Rocky Mountains of Montana, the Great Lakes region of southern Ontario, and Bonne Bay in west-central Newfoundland.
Mohsen Ghamari was promoted to associate professor of mechanical engineering and granted tenure. Ghamari received his PhD in mechanical engineering from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa, and his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in aerospace engineering and propulsion systems from Amirkabir University of Technology (Tehran Polytechnic), Tehran, Iran. Ghamari teaches courses in the thermal-fluid area including thermodynamics, fluid mechanics and heat transfer. His current research is focused on thermophysical characterization of nanofuels and the study of nanofuel droplets, as well as spray and atomization.
Ryan Henry was promoted to associate professor of chemistry and biochemistry and pharmaceutical sciences and granted tenure. Henry received his bachelor’s degree in biophysics from Johns Hopkins University and his master’s degree and PhD in biochemistry from the University of Rochester School of Medicine and Dentistry, Rochester, New York. Henry’s scholarship involves the study of histones, proteins that interact with DNA to regulate the compaction and accessibility of DNA. Histone modification has been shown to play a role in a number of biologically relevant pathways, with Henry’s work focusing on their role in coordinating DNA damage repair. Better understanding this pathway has direct applications to both the treatment and prevention of cancer. Prior to Wilkes, Henry was a postdoctoral fellow at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia.
Woojun Lee was promoted to associate professor of sports management and granted tenure. Lee received his master’s degree and PhD in sport management from Texas A&M University, College Station, Texas. Prior to joining Wilkes, Lee worked at William Woods University, Fulton, Missouri, as an assistant professor and director of the sport management program. Lee’s research includes social justice issues in diversity and inclusion in sport organizations, and sport consumer behavior. He has published eight papers and two book chapters and presented his work at several national conferences. Lee was born and raised in South Korea where he was a ski and swimming instructor and operated a scuba diving business before advancing his education and career in sports management.
Andreea Maierean was promoted to associate professor of political science and granted tenure. Maierean joined Wilkes in 2014 after receiving her PhD in political science at Boston University. Maierean previously studied in Bucharest, Romania, at the National School of Political Studies and Public Administration; in Trieste, Italy, at the University of Trieste; in Budapest, Hungary, at Central European University; and in Vienna, Austria, at the Institute for Human Sciences. Her research and teaching interests include post-communist transitions to democracy, transitional justice and environmental policy. Her doctoral dissertation is a comparative study of lustration, a process that involved the disqualification of certain categories of former communist officials and secret police collaborators from public positions under the new regime. Maierean’s current research projects examine the impact of corruption on voter turnout and the relationship between shale gas policies and democratic governance.
The following faculty members have been promoted to full professor by the University:
Scott Bolesta has been promoted to professor of pharmacy practice. Bolesta obtained his Doctor of Pharmacy as part of the first graduating class of the Nesbitt School of Pharmacy. He rejoined Wilkes in 2005. In addition to his teaching duties, Bolesta has a clinical practice in critical care at Wilkes-Barre General Hospital where he precepts students and provides care for patients with the ICU team. He teaches several required and elective courses within the Doctor of Pharmacy curriculum, most of which are related to his areas of practice and research, including pharmacotherapeutics of cardiovascular, renal and infectious diseases, introduction to hospital pharmacy practice and pharmacogenomics. He conducts and publishes research primarily in the areas of iatrogenic withdrawal and cardiovascular science. He is an active member of several professional organizations and is a fellow of the Society of Critical Care Medicine and American College of Clinical Pharmacy.
Linda Gutierrez has been promoted to professor of biology and earth systems science. Drawing from her expertise in medicine and human anatomy and physiology, Gutierrez teaches a variety of courses in biology and nursing. In recognition of her teaching and advising efforts, Gutierrez received the Outstanding Advisor Award in 2020 and the Carpenter Award in 2013, the University’s highest academic honor. She is a recipient of two major research grants and received the Scholarship Award from the University faculty in 2019. She has served on a variety of committees including the Institutional Research Board (IRB) and the Council on Diversity Inclusion and Equity (CODIE). Gutierrez has also volunteered for the Child Development Council and other community agencies translating handouts to Spanish.
Lisa Kadlec has been promoted to professor of biology and earth systems science. Kadlec’s research on the genetics and molecular biology of fruit fly development is conducted in collaboration with student mentees, many who have presented their work at conferences around the country. Her participation in the Genomics Education Partnership has provided an opportunity for students to participate in novel genomics research. Kadlec teaches courses to all levels of undergraduate biology students, from freshman labs to the senior capstone, including upper level courses in genetics and developmental biology. For her excellence in teaching and mentoring, Kadlec received the Outstanding Advisor Award in 2019 and the University’s highest academic award, the Carpenter Award, in 2017. Kadlec is an active volunteer in the Women Empowered By Science summer camp and has served as a judge for Pennsylvania Junior Academy of Sciences.
Jeffrey Stratford has been promoted to professor of biology. At Wilkes, Stratford has developed courses that involve travel and hands-on experience in Central and South America, including a tropical ecology course that took students to the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon this summer. Along with political science colleagues, he also co-teaches the popular course, “The Political Economy of Coffee.” For his excellence with teaching and mentoring, Stratford received the University’s highest academic award, the Carpenter Award, in 2016. He has served Wilkes in various capacities, most notably as the director of the study abroad program and as interim dean of the College of Science and Engineering. Stratford recently created a new program called “Homework Helpers” designed to assist school children by connecting them with Wilkes faculty and student volunteers in assisting with their homework and other academic learning activities.
Wilkes also recognized long-standing senior faculty members with the title of professor emeritus, an honor bestowed by the University to show respect for a distinguished career:
Robert Bohlander, professor of psychology, retired from Wilkes after 43 years of service. Bohlander taught in the area of clinical psychology, developing a wide range of courses while conducting research in collaboration with students and colleagues. In addition, he is a licensed psychologist with an active practice. Bohlander was instrumental in
establishing the University’s NeuroTraining and Research Center, where students have gained valuable experience leading to internships, employment and graduate school placements.
Joseph Dawson, associate professor of theater and associate dean, retired from Wilkes after 29 years of service. As a faculty member, Dawson taught a wide range of courses in theatre history, costuming and directing. He designed and built costumes for over 100 shows at Wilkes and directed over 50 productions. His work in costume design and directing has been recognized for excellence on several occasions by the Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival organization.
Michael Garr, professor of sociology and criminology, retired from Wilkes after 38 years of service. Garr developed and taught a variety of courses with an area of teaching interest in substance abuse. This led to his appointment to a number of state-wide panels such as the Governor’s Drug Council and a result-oriented research program on social drinking, DUI enforcement and related topics. For 10 years, he helped to operate a public survey center that conducted polls on political and social issues, including an important survey effort on the evacuation of Wilkes-Barre during the flood in 1994.
John Hepp, professor of history, retired from Wilkes after 23 years of service. Hepp developed and taught numerous courses at Wilkes — earning him the university’s highest faculty honor, the Carpenter Award for Outstanding Teaching, in 2003. He has authored two books and numerous publications and conference presentations. Hepp successfully created and then co-chaired the University’s Division of Global Cultures. His retirement plans include finishing a book project on the development of international law and institutions in the 19th and 20th centuries.