Ms. Kris Amatuli
(B.S., University of North Carolina Wilmington; M.S., University of North Florida) joined the faculty of the University of North Florida in 2012. She teaches anatomy & physiology, general biology, zoology, ecology and plant biology. She has been a CrossFit trainer for the past nine years and loves spending time with her dog. Her primary research interests are biomechanics, endocrine physiology and herpetology.
Ms. Jordan Bailey
(B.S., M.S., Rochester Institute of Technology) is an outreach elementary instructor and adjunct biology instructor at the South Carolina Governor's School for Science & Mathematics. Before joining the staff at the Governor's School, she worked as a zoo educator and animal welfare scientist at Disney's Animal Kingdom in Orlando, Florida. While earning her graduate degree, Ms. Bailey taught ecology and environmental science courses at the Rochester Institute of Technology. She specializes in conservation biology and reintroduction ecology and has a passion for science outreach and mentorship.
Dr. Jeremiah Bartz
(B.S., B.S.M.E., M.S., University of North Dakota; Ph.D., University of Oregon) has been an Assistant Professor of Mathematics at Francis Marion University since 2013. His research area is in discrete geometry, specifically hyperplane arrangements. In his free time, he enjoys running, traveling, exploring South Carolina, and getting together with friends and family.
Ms. Ashley Bober
(B.S. Juniata College) is an Outreach Instructor and Program Coordinator at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science & Mathematics. She is in the process of completing her Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh, specializing in organic synthesis. Her hobbies include cooking, reading, and arts & crafts projects.
Dr. Patrick Briggs
(B.A., California State University at Sacramento; Ph.D., University of Kansas) joined the faculty of The Citadel in 1981. He teaches astronomy, calculus-based introductory physics and advanced mechanics. He has been extensively involved with both teachers and students in improving science education in South Carolina. He has coached Little League baseball and wishes he could spend more time working in his backyard. His primary research interest is solar and interplanetary ions.
Dr. Gordon Brown
(B.S., College of William and Mary; Ph.D., University of Virginia) joined the GSSM faculty in 2018, where he teaches chemistry classes and mentors students in research. Prior to GSSM, he served as associate professor of chemistry at Coker College for eleven years, where he developed an NSF-funded research program in microwave spectroscopy. He journal articles, co-authored with students, have appeared in the Journal of Physical Chemistry A and the Journal of Molecular Spectroscopy. In his free time, he enjoys sports and doing fun things with his wife and three children.
Dr. Patricia Craig
(B.S., Florida Institute of Technology; Ph.D., University of Arkansas) is a science team member on the CheMin instrument onboard the Mars Science Lab Curiosity rover currently exploring Gale Crater, Mars, for evidence that Mars may have once supported life. She helps with the day-to-day operations of the instrument and participates in discussions about where the rover should drive and what rocks it should analyze. To help put the rover data into context, she also conducts experiments on how certain microbes might survive in Mars-like environments and what biosignatures they might leave behind for future rovers or manned missions to Mars to detect. When she's not in the lab, she enjoys board games, painting, reading, cooking, and playing with her dogs.
Dr. Joseph E. Flaherty
(B.S., M.S., North Carolina State University; Ph.D., Purdue University) is a professor of biology and Director of Undergraduate Research at Coker University. At Coker, Flaherty has developed a student-centered research lab applying bioinformatics and genomic tools to understand gene regulation in fungi. He works on multiple projects funded by the National Science Foundation and currently serves on the governing board for the Council of Undergraduate Research and as a Senior Editor for the Journal of Applied Microbiology.
Dr. Anders Gårdestig
(M.Sc., Ph.D., Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden) is a physics instructor at the Maine School of Science and Mathematics. Previously he taught physics and pre-engineering at GSSM Accelerate and a variety of institutions of higher education. He has done research in theoretical nuclear physics. In his free time, he enjoys spending time with his family, exploring and learning about the world around him through hiking, snowshoeing, camping, reading, or just hanging out with good friends. He also enjoys playing Legos and various board games with his son, cooking, baking, snow sculpturing, and wood working.
Dr. Barbara Gordon
(BS Ashland University; MD, MS Medical College of Ohio at Toledo) is a physician who is board certified in obstetrics and gynecology and medical genetics. She practiced obstetrics and gynecology for ten years and medical genetics for 5 years. She has taught many medical students and residents during her career and enjoys interacting with students. She has two children and enjoys running, painting, and hanging out with her family in her free time.
Dr. Stuart Gordon
(B.A., College of Wooster; Ph.D., Ohio State University) joined the faculty at Presbyterian College in 2009 after having spent two years teaching at Hiram College. His specialty is plant-microbe interactions, and he currently researches the effects of environmental stress on the composition of plant microbiomes and the effects of diet on the microbiome of fishes.
Dr. Blaine Griffen
(B.S., Brigham Young University; M.S., Oregon State University; Ph.D., University of New Hampshire) is an associate professor in the biology department at Brigham Young University. Prior to that position, he was a professor at the University of South Carolina in the marine science program from 2008-2017. His research interests are in animal behavior, species invasion, population extinction and understanding the responses of marine animals to environmental change.
Ms. Sharon Gumina
(B.A., George Washington University; M.S., Information Systems Technology, George Washington University) is a Faculty member of the Department of Information Technology, College of Engineering and Computing, University of South Carolina. She has taught and worked in the field of Information Systems and Computing for over 30 years. Her teaching interests include database design, programming, networking, security, and systems analysis and design.
Mr. Charles Jeffcoat
(B.F.A., University of South Alabama; M.F.A., University of Memphis) has been an associate professor of visual art at Francis Marion University since 2006. His applied professional research includes practical design solutions for clients including museums, breweries, universities and many more. Along with applied professional design practice, his current research questions the influence of hypertextual environments on the two-dimensional printed book. His free time is spent with his family and friends doing something in the great outdoors.
Dr. Elizabeth Jones
(B.S Biological Sciences – East Tennessee State University, M.S. Marine Biology – College of Charleston, PhD Coastal Sciences – U of Southern Mississippi) joined FMU Fall 2019. Her research includes examining genetic effects of environmental toxicants in fish; physiology of sharks and stingrays. She enjoys reading, cooking, fiber arts (knitting, crocheting, etc), running.
Ms. Charlotte Lomnicki
(B.S., University of Wisconsin-Superior; J.D. Georgia State University) is currently the Supervising Assistant District Attorney for the Cobb County Juvenile Court located in Marietta, Georgia. She prosecutes juveniles charged with delinquent offenses and status offenses such as truancy, runaway, and ungovernable. She is also assigned as the prosecutor for the RISING program, which provides additional supervision to court involved youth who are at an increased risk for gang involvement. Prior to being an Assistant District Attorney, she worked as a defense attorney at the Cobb County Juvenile Court representing juveniles in delinquency matters and parents and children in dependency matters. She also worked as the defense attorney for the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court and the Family Treatment Court. She is a 1992 graduate of the Governor's School.
Mr. Joe Mehaffey
(B.S. in Physics Education and I.M.A. in Physics, University of South Carolina) has been the Coordinator of the Physical Science courses and Instructor of Physics at Francis Marion University since 1985. Now semi-retired, he still teaches two courses in introductory physics to Biology majors and Pre-Med students. An avid music fan, he began learning to play the guitar in college and has maintained a hobbyist’s interest and fascination with the instrument to this day, often playing music with friends/bands in the Florence area. Though strictly an amateur musician, he finds this particular combination of vocation (physics) and avocation (music) to be most interesting and enjoyable.
Mr. Keith McElveen
(B.S., M.S., Clemson University) began his career in the federal government and now works in the commercial industry, where he helps develop tools and techniques used by federal, state and local law enforcement to investigate crimes and prosecute cases - particularly those that involve hearing in noise. He spends most of his spare time sharing the interests and activities of his four children, boating, gardening, reading, and writing about general and forensic science.
Dr. Dimitra Michalaka
(B.S., National Technical University of Athens; M.S. and Ph.D., University of Florida) is an Associate Professor at the department of civil and environmental engineering at The Citadel. Her research is primarily focused on traffic operations, congestion pricing, traffic simulation, and engineering education. Dr. Michalaka is a registered Professional Engineering in the state of South Carolina.
Mrs. Julie Mixon
(B.F.A., Barton College; M.F.A., East Carolina University) has taught as an Associate Professor of Photography at Francis Marion University in Florence, South Carolina, since 2012. Prior to teaching at FMU, Julie taught as an Art Instructor at Lenoir Community College in Kinston, North Carolina, for eight years. Julie specializes in alternative photographic processes and explores the combination of analog and digital photographic processes. She has exhibited her work regionally, nationally, and internationally.
Dr. Kiley Molinari
(B.A. Franklin Pierce University; M.A. University of Idaho; Ph.D. University of Oklahoma) Dr. Kiley Molinari is an Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Francis Marion University. Her research focuses on topics such as material culture studies, Indigenous new media, language and cultural revitalization and retention, digital cultural heritage, and collaborative research in Native North America. In her free time she enjoys traveling, hiking, kayaking, and trying new restaurants with her husband and dog.
Mr. Jim Near
(B.S., The Citadel; M.S., NC State University) is an adjunct professor at The Citadel teaching physics and electronics. Prior to teaching at The Citadel, he spent 20 years in the USAF working on advanced weather and space weather projects, including chasing and flying into typhoons across the Pacific. Besides tropical meteorology, Mr. Near is interested in how weather affects our daily life and building electronic sensors to measure our environment.
Dr. Roger Newman-Norlund
(B.A., SUNY Geneseo; Ph.D., Dartmouth College) is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Exercise Science at the University of South Carolina. His degree is in cognitive neuroscience, a branch of psychology that studies the brain basis or mental phenomenon. He uses surveys, behavioral experiments, and 3-D brain imaging and brain stimulation technology to study brain structure and function. He is a father of three wonderful children and his outside hobbies and interests include collectible card games, LEGOs, tennis and video games/computer programming.
Dr. Eli Owens
(B.S., West Virginia University; Ph.D., North Carolina State University) joined the faculty at Presbyterian College in 2013 after a teaching postdoc at North Carolina State University. His specialty is granular physics, and he currently researches granular acoustics; granular flow in model grain silos; and open source, 3D printed prosthetic hands with myoelectric control and machine learning algorithms.
Dr. Elaine Parshall
(B.S. College of Charleston, M.S. University of Arizona, Ph.D. Tufts University) has taught engineering and physics at GSSM, both residentially and in the virtual engineering program, Accelerate. Prior to that she started an engineering program at St. Johnsbury Academy, in Vermont, and started a FIRST robotics program for both high school (FRC), and younger students (FLL). She currently coaches GSSM’s FTC team. Before starting teaching in 2000, she worked as a research engineer in the field of optics and image processing. In her free time, Elaine can usually be found out on the water, racing sailboats.
Dr. Gary Salazar
(B.S., Baylor University; Ph.D., Louisiana State University) joined the GSSM faculty in January of 2008. Prior to that, he served as a visiting assistant professor at Trinity University in San Antonio for six years. At GSSM, Dr. Salazar serves as the sponsor for many of the academic teams including the Math Team, Mock Trial and Quiz Bowl. His research interests include coding theory and polynomials over finite fields.
Dr. Austin Shull
(B.S. Presbyterian College; Ph.D., Medical College of Georgia) joined the faculty at Presbyterian College in 2016. Before Presbyterian College, Dr. Shull spent time at the Georgia Cancer Center developing expertise in molecular and cancer biology. His specialty is determining the therapeutic vulnerabilities of cancers through genomic profiling, and he currently researches how DNA methylation signatures found in breast cancer cells can be used in predicting disease severity.
Dr. Jennifer Taylor
(B. A. Washington Univ.; PhD, Washington Univ.) is the Science teacher at Thomas Hart Academy (Hartsville, SC). Dr. Taylor was a Biology instructor at the South Carolina Governor’s School for Science and Mathematics (GSSM) from 2012-2019. While at GSSM, she taught AP Biology, Human Anatomy and Physiology, Advanced Genetics, Scientific Investigations, and Cancer Biology. Before moving to Hartsville, she taught at Crossroads College Preparatory School (St. Louis, MO) as well as Washington University. Dr. Taylor has twelve years of research experience in genetics and molecular biology laboratories. Her graduate work studied how cells were instructed to form neurons in developing embryos based on which portions of DNA were turned on or turned off, and her post-doctoral studies examined the genetic basis of growth and regeneration.
Dr. Kimberly Titus
(B.A., B.S., Stetson University; Ph.D., North Carolina State University) is an Assistant Professor of Computer Science at High Point University where she teaches Introductory and Advanced Programming, Data Structures, R for Data Analytics, and Web Development. She particularly likes teaching beginning programmers. Her graduate work in physics focused on the development of materials for blue lasers. Her current research interests lie in the area of applied math, physics, computer science education, and data science. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, traveling, directing drama at her church, and spending time with her husband and daughters.
Dr. Jim Wetzel
(BS, Point Park College; MA, California State Univ. at Rohnert Park; PhD, Clemson Univ.) joined the faculty at Presbyterian College in 1990 after having spent two years teaching in Japan. He currently chairs the Biology Department at Presbyterian College. Among his hobbies is SCUBA diving, in which he is an instructor. An ichthyologist and developmental biologist, his specialty is seahorse reproduction.
Dr. Shayna A. Wrighten
(B.S., Furman University; Ph.D., University of South Carolina School of Medicine) joined the faculty of Francis Marion University in January 2012 as an Assistant Professor of Biology. Her research interest is in understanding the behavioral and nervous system processes that underlie social interactions. In her free time she enjoys playing tennis, running, travelling, visiting beaches and spending time with family and friends.
Mr. Brandon Yarbrough
(B.A., Coker University; M.S., University of South Carolina) is the Chemistry Laboratory Coordinator and an instructor at Claflin University. His graduate work involved the design and synthesis of plant-based materials to be used in the production solar cells. At Claflin, he focuses on sustainability, where he has designed new laboratory experiments which focus on concepts such as utilizing renewable sources of energy, recycling and repurposing waste, and making biodegradable materials. During his free time, he enjoys camping, gardening, and cooking.