2019 Instructors

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 biology, zoology, anatomy and physiology, ecology and plant biology. She has been a Crossfit trainer for the past two years and loves spending time with her dog. Her primary research interests are herpetology and endocrine physiology.

Ms. Jordan Bailey

(B.S., M.S., Rochester Institute of Technology) is a Residence Life Coordinator 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.

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. 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. Zachary Davis

(B.S., Erskine College, Ph.D., Purdue University) joined the Newberry College faculty in August of 2013, and teaches analytical and physical chemistry courses, as well as the general chemistry sequence. He is the faculty advisor for the Newberry College chapter of the American Chemical Society, and also serves as secretary for the Western Carolinas Local Section. Dr. Davis’s research interests lie in the intersection of food chemistry and instrumental analysis. Within the realm of food chemistry, of particular interest to Mr. Davis are antioxidants and flavor compounds, especially those due to the Malliard reactions.

Dr. Dave Eslinger 

(Ph.D., Florida State University) is, by training, an Oceanographer.  He has a Ph.D. in biological oceanography and did post-doctoral work at NASA, both efforts specializing in using satellite remote sensing to study the surface ocean and in writing computer models to simulate the plankton and physical dynamics in the upper ocean.  However, he loves robots and robotics!  He has been a coach for four LEGO teams over three years (all of whom competed at State), and co-coach of 4 VEX robotics teams over 2 years, three who have made it to the National competitions so far (one is still competing).  He enjoys learning new things and taking broken (usually) stuff apart to try to figure out how it works and to fix it or scavenge parts for other uses. After having to keep his hands off all the kid's robots for so long, he gave up and designed his own simple robot platform.  That platform is designed to be as flexible as possible to allow testing of different aspects of sensors and robotics.

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 College. For his post-doctoral work at Purdue University, Flaherty received a merit award from the United States Department of Agriculture for outstanding contributions to fungal molecular biology research. Since joining Coker College in 2005, Flaherty has developed a student-centered research lab applying bioinformatics and genomic tools to understand gene regulation in fungi. He received a CAREER grant from the National Science Foundation, the agency's most prestigious award for early career faculty scholars. Additionally, Flaherty has received an Excellence in Teaching Award from South Carolina Independent Colleges & Universities and has been recognized as a finalist for the South Carolina Governor's Distinguished Professor Award. He currently serves on the governing board for the Council of Undergraduate Research and as an 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, and wood working.

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.

Dr. Giuseppe Gumina

(B.S., Ph.D., University of Catania, Italy) is an Associate Professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences and Chair of the Department of Pharmaceutical and Administrative Sciences at Presbyterian College School of Pharmacy. In the past he held academic positions at South University, the Medical University of South Carolina and Georgia Southern University. His postgraduate research was conducted at the University of Georgia. He is a synthetic medicinal chemist and his research focuses on the design and synthesis of novel antimicrobial agents. Aside from work he enjoys running, weight training and, most importantly, keeping up with his young son!

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.

Ms. Charlotte Lomnicki

(B.S., University of Wisconsin-Superior; J.D., Georgia State University) is currently an advocate attorney at the Cobb County Juvenile Court located in Marietta, Georgia. She has represented juveniles in delinquency matters and parents and children in dependency actions. Additionally she works as the defense attorney for both the Juvenile Drug Treatment Court and the Family Dependency Treatment Court. She is a 1992 graduate of the Governor's School.

Mr. Keith McElveen

(B.S., M.S., Clemson University) began working for 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. He spends most of his spare time sharing the interests and activities of his  four children, who range in age up to 18. His personal hobbies and interests include fencing, hiking, reading and writing about general and forensic science.

Mrs. Julie Mixon

(B.F.A., Barton College; M.F.A., East Carolina University) has taught as an Assistant 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.

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. 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. Kimberly Titus

(B.A., B.S., Stetson University; Ph.D., North Carolina State University) is an Assistant Professor of Mathematics and Computer Science at High Point University where she teaches Calculus I, II, & III, Computer Programming, and Web Development. Her graduate work in physics focused on the development of materials for blue lasers and her research interests still lie in the area of applied math and physics. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, traveling, directing drama at her church, training refugees in job skills, and spending time with her husband and 4 daughters.

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.