Seaver College welcomed new full-time faculty at the start of the 2021-2022 academic year. Along with these full-time faculty additions, Seaver also welcomed several adjunct faculty across the school’s eight divisions for fall 2021.
Jasmin “Jaz” Gray joined the Communication division as an assistant professor in communication studies. She received her doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His research focuses on how people in marginalized communities can use storytelling to build resilience and how the media production process can be used to empower these communities.
Howard Jean-Denis joins the Division of Business Administration as an Assistant Professor of Strategic Management. Jean-Denis is a doctoral student at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Originally from Haiti, Jean-Denis is a US Army veteran, award-winning entrepreneur, triathlete and strategic management researcher. His research focuses on corruption and humanist philosophies from the perspective of the African diaspora.
Paul Kim is a storyteller and documentary maker who brings his expertise to the Communication Division as a screen arts teacher. Kim received his MA in Fine Arts from the School of Communication at American University and his teaching career began at Andrews University in Michigan, where he received the highest teaching award in the university, was a full professor and chaired the department. Kim’s storytelling projects have touched on topics such as human rights, global health, education, and the intersection of religion and politics.
The enigma of Karie Cross joins the Social Sciences Division as an Assistant Professor of Political Science. Riddle received her doctorate in peace studies and political science from the University of Notre Dame and has been an assistant professor of political science at Calvin University in Grand Rapids, Michigan for the past three years. Her research focuses on women’s peacebuilding and human rights activism in the northeast region of India.
Terrelles sales (‘08) brings his expertise to the Human Sciences and Teacher Training Division as an Assistant Professor in Teacher Training. During Sales’s tenure in public education, he held a number of positions including college math teacher, special education coordinator, and deputy director of high school math and science education. His research interests include education, religion, critical pedagogy, critical theory, critical theology, and theology.
Jean Taden joined the Division of International Studies and Languages as Assistant Professor of International Studies. Taden’s research involves tracing the cross-border externalities of natural resource policies and the national political and institutional outcomes of globalization. He received his doctorate in public policy and political economy from the University of Texas at Dallas.
Along with these six new tenure additions, Assistant Professor of Communication Studies Colin Storm will move from a visiting post to a permanent post. Florybeth The Valley, an assistant professor of computer science, will also start teaching in the spring of 2022.
Laura Estes joined the religion and philosophy division as a member of the Seaver faculty. Estes is a doctoral student in Theological Studies: Christianity in Antiquity at Saint Louis University. She studies religion at the end of Antiquity with a particular emphasis on how early Christian communities read and interpreted the Bible in order to make sense of the world around them. A graduate of Freed-Hardeman and Abilene Christian Universities, Estes is thrilled to have the opportunity to return to her roots, serving at a university affiliated with the Churches of Christ.
Jolene britton, Visiting Assistant Professor of Mathematics, joins the Natural Sciences Division. Britton received her PhD in Mathematics from the University of California, Riverside, where she studied numerical methods for partial differential equations and inverse problems. His publications focus on high-order numerical methods for hyperbolic equations, numerical methods for inverse problems, and transfer learning methods for neural networks.
Soul Cividanes got his doctorate. in Contemporary Spanish Literature from Florida State University. Cividanes returns to Pepperdine as Visiting Associate Professor of Hispanic Studies in the Division of International Studies and Languages. She previously taught Spanish at Seaver College from 1997 to 2000 and ran the Buenos Aires summer programs. For the past 15 years, she has been Director of the Spanish and Portuguese Program at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut. Cividanes professional interests include second language teaching methodologies, pedagogy and assessment, 20th century Spanish writers, and exile theory and literature.
Pam fox kuhlken joins the Humanities and Teacher Education Division as a visiting assistant professor in the humanities. Kuhlken comes to Pepperdine after teaching at San Diego State University for the past eight years, having held permanent positions in Arizona and the Czech Republic. She has published a book on the Dead Sea Scrolls and has ongoing book contracts for a literary guide to the Bible and a survey of the humanities.
Michael lasley brings both his training in biology and graduate studies in English, including a doctorate in writing and rhetoric from Syracuse University, to the division of humanities and teacher education as a visiting assistant professor of English. Lasley taught at Pepperdine from 2005 to 2010, but has spent the last 11 years in the English department at the University of Santa Clara. His research focuses on immigration, global citizenship and social justice.
Réka Anna Lassu joins the Division of Business Administration as a Visiting Assistant Professor in Organizational Behavior. Lassu received his doctorate from the University of Central Florida. His research focuses on leadership and employee well-being. To inform his research and teaching, Lassu draws on experiences outside of academia. She has been responsible for a leadership development program in travel, organizer and speaker coach of TEDx Talk, fundraising coordinator for a non-profit social entrepreneurship organization and collaborator on a sustainability project. in Europe.
Jonathan riddle received his doctorate from the University of Notre Dame, where he studied the history of religions and the history and philosophy of science. For the past three years, he has been an Assistant Professor of History at Wheaton College, and he now joins the Division of Humanities and Teacher Education as a Visiting Assistant Professor of History and Ledgers. His research focuses on the intersection of religion and medicine in American history. He cares deeply about connecting his work in the humanities to our embodied experiences of disease, health and care.
Nathan Thiel joins the Religion and Philosophy Division as Visiting Assistant Professor of Religion. Thiel has taught biblical studies and related fields at Marquette University, where he obtained his doctorate, and at Carroll University. His research interests span the history, society and culture of the Near East and the Mediterranean, with a particular emphasis on Second Temple Judaism and early Christianity.
Juan Cuadra, Visiting Professor of Hispanic Studies, brings his expertise to the Division of International Studies and Languages. Cuadra is a native Spanish speaker, born in Managua, Nicaragua, and has previously taught at four universities. It focuses on teaching Spanish conjugation, pronunciation and literature.
Courtney hook joins the Communication division as visiting assistant professor in communication. She received her PhD from Ohio University and her work lies at the intersection of organizational communication and health communication. His continued research is guided by a primary interest in the tensions and dialectics involved in constructing advocacy, rehabilitation and support among marginalized populations.
Alessandro L. Monteros (‘11) received his PhD in Physics from the University of California at Merced, and he now joins the Division of Natural Sciences as a Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics. His research interests include condensed matter physics, quantum simulation, and quantum computing, and his latest position was to use IBM’s quantum architecture to simulate bosonic systems using qubits.
Paula orr joins the Humanities and Teacher Education Division as Visiting Assistant Professor of English. Memorialist and television writer with Appalachian roots, Orr writes about family and the intersection of cultures in America. She previously taught composition in English, critical analysis and intermediate composition, advanced writing, journalism, creative writing and poetry.
In addition to the new faces of Pepperdine faculty, 12 faculty members are returning or moving to new teaching roles, including guest instructors Yvette Gellis, Becky Hartung-Morrow, Nanar Khamo, Krista Lucas, John Ned, William “Ajax” Peris, Kim Hollingdale, Edward Mahoney, Katherine Laris, and Amy zazzi transition of auxiliary appointments; former Seaver faculty member Rachel Gould move on to a post of Visiting Assistant Professor of Literature; and former visiting assistant professor of religion nicolas cumming transfer to a post in the humanities and teacher education division as visiting assistant professor in the humanities.
To read the biographies of professors not included here, visit the Seaver Dean’s Office website.