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The Office of Media Relations & Publications

Meet Our Newest Faculty 2018

Victoria Dominguez, Assistant Professor
Photo of Victoria Dominguez, Assistant Professor of Anthropology
Victoria Dominguez earned her Ph.D. in anthropology from Ohio State University in 2017, and her M.A. in physical anthropology from NYU in 2011, specializing in human skeletal biology. For the last three years she led Ohio State University’s forensic anthropology case team, partnering with state law enforcement agencies to recover and analyze human remains. Interning with a forensics case team in Texas, she worked to identify people who had died while crossing the U.S.‐Mexico border. She also served as a research assistant in the New York City Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in the effort to identify human remains in debris from the World Trade Center. She has authored scholarly articles and book chapters in her field.
Biological Sciences
Julio Gallego-Delgado, Assistant Professor
Photo of Julio Gallego-Delgado, Assistant Professor of Biological Sciences
Julio Gallego‐Delgado earned his Ph.D. in biochemistry, molecular biology & biomedicine at Fundacion Jimenez-Diaz-Universidad Autonoma de Madrid (Spain) in 2005. Subsequently he earned a certificate and master’s degree in applied statistics at the National University of Distance Education in Madrid. Dr. Gallego-Delgado’s teaching and research focuses on parasitology and malaria pathogenesis. From 2010-2018, he was a postdoctoral fellow and research scientist at NYU Langone Medical Center; during this time, he also taught or lectured at Brooklyn College, Hunter College, NYU School of Medicine, and institutions in Spain and Tanzania. In addition, Dr. Gallego-Delgado taught a special after-school course for middle school students at the Bronx Writing Academy. He has published widely in his field and, with a co-investigator, has patented a method of prevention and treatment of cerebral malaria.
Computer Science
Steven Fulakeza, Lecturer
Photo of Steven Fulakeza, Lecturer of Computer Science
Steven Fulakeza received both his B.S. and M.S. degrees in computer science from Lehman College. He has earned certificates in Android and iOS application development, security for web applications and servers, and cybersecurity. He has six years of web development experience, including positions at John Jay College and City College. Mr. Fulakeza has taught courses and workshops at Lehman College for the past three years, first as an adjunct lecturer, and in the spring 2018 semester as a substitute lecturer.
Eva-Maria Sofianos, Lecturer
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Eva-Maria Sofianos is a Lehman alumna, and earned her M.S. in computer science in 2006. From 2003-2015 she worked at IBM, leading numerous development projects for corporate clients. Since 2005 Ms. Sofianos has been an adjunct lecturer at Lehman, teaching computer science and programming courses, and has also taught at SUNY Farmingdale. For the past two years Ms. Sofianos has managed projects and programs for Lehman’s School of Continuing and Professional Studies, including the Innovation Startup Lab and the Web Development program. She is the co-founder of Traincube, an organization that matches web development trainees with small businesses, and regularly mentors students pursuing careers in computer science and technology.
Mingxian Zhong, Assistant Professor
Photo of Mingxian Zhong, Assistant Professor of Computer Science
Mingxian Zhong earned his Ph.D. in computer science-operations research from Columbia University in 2018. His research specializations include graph theory, matching algorithms, and combinatorial optimization. Dr. Zhong has already published and presented research in nearly 15 scientific journals and conferences.
Early Childhood & Childhood Education
Celestial Wills-Jackson, Assistant Professor
Photo of Celestial Wills-Jackson, Assistant Professor of Early Childhood and Childhood Education
Dr. Celestial Wills-Jackson received her Ph.D. in exceptional education from the University of Central Florida in 2018. With a focus on social and emotional learning, her dissertation research examined the impact of gameplay skills to increase direct eye contact and communication for students with autism and comorbid emotional and behavioral disorders. Her research interests include exploring social and emotional learning programs, including the Sanford Harmony program, which incorporates social and emotional learning as a school-wide positive behavior intervention support system.
Zoila Morell, Associate Professor
Photo of Zoila Morell, Associate Professor of Early Childhood and Childhood Education
Zoila Morell earned her Ph.D. in urban education from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2011; she also holds a master’s degree in social work. She comes to Lehman from Mercy College, where she was associate professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and, before that, chair of the Department of Childhood Education. She specializes in bilingual education and biliteracy, and is widely recognized in New York City and the state as a leader in these fields. Dr. Morell has also held positions ranging from public school principal, school and psychiatric social worker, and day care center founder/director. She established two local organizations that provide services for Spanish-speaking parents of school children, and family literacy programs.
Melissa Castillo Planas, Assistant Professor
Photo of Melissa Castillo Planas, Assistant Professor of English
Melissa Castillo Planas earned her Ph.D. in American studies and African-American studies from Yale University in 2017, and subsequently was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard. Her dissertation, "A Mexican State of Mind: New York City and the New Borderlands of Culture," examined the cultural production of Mexican immigrants in New York City, and their contributions to graffiti and Hip-Hop culture in an environment that nevertheless marginalizes and exploits them. A book based on her dissertation is forthcoming from Rutgers University Press. She has edited volumes on Afro-Latino poets as well as Hip-Hop culture, and her scholarship has been published in peer-reviewed journals. In addition, she has published a collection of her own poetry.
Sophia Hsu, Assistant Professor
Photo of Sophia Hsu, Assistant Professor of English
Sophia Hsu earned her Ph.D. in English from Rice University in 2017. Her dissertation, "Genres of Population: Biopolitics and the Novel in the Modern Age," retheorizes the development of the British novel in the 19th century in terms of population growth and demographic change. Dr. Hsu has taught writing and composition seminars and courses in global literature and medical humanities, and developed a pioneering medical humanities course for undergraduate health science majors at Rice.
Vani Kannan, Assistant Professor
Photo of Vani Kannan, Assistant Professor of English
Vani Kannan earned her Ph.D. in composition and cultural rhetoric from Syracuse University in 2018. Her dissertation, "The Third World Women's Alliance: History, Geopolitics, and Form," examines the TWWA archive and its transformational effect on teaching and activism in the university across several disciplines. She has taught a broad array of academic writing and composition courses; has a background in curriculum development, teacher training, and assessment; developed a composition textbook; and worked in community literacy centers. In addition, Dr. Kannan has published on wide-ranging topics including writing assessment, student political activism, adult literacy, and community writing. She has presented her scholarship at numerous conferences, and published her own creative work.
Health Sciences
Dr. Jacob Eubank, Assistant Professor
Photo of Dr. Jacob Eubank, Assistant Professor of Health Sciences
Jacob Eubank earned his doctorate in educational leadership and higher education administration at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington (UNCW) in 2017. He earned a master's degree in education-leisure and tourism studies in 2008 from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. Until his arrival at Lehman Dr. Eubank was on the adjunct faculty at UNCW from 2015-2018, teaching recreation education courses, and was assistant director of aquatics in the university's department of campus recreation from 2011-2018. Prior to his appointment at UNCW he held the same position at Indiana State University in Terre Haute. He has published or has under development several articles in peer-reviewed journals and has presented his research on student wellbeing, recreational programming, and student athletics at regional and national meetings and conferences.
Journalism and Media Studies
James Carney, Assistant Professor
James Carney
James Carney earned his M.S. in communications arts from the College of New Rochelle in 2000. He was a lecturer in the Department of Journalism & Media Studies at Lehman from 2005-2018; he currently serves as the department’s director of Media Studies. Professor Carney has also served the department as deputy chair, faculty advisor, and curriculum developer. He co-produced and co-hosted the national Telly award-winning CUNY-TV program, "Edcast," and produced an Emmy-nominated program documenting 20th century Irish immigration. He currently produces "Bronx Journal Radio" on the Lehman College Radio station (online). From 2002-2005 Carney was an assistant professor in the Departments of Languages & Literatures, and Journalism, Communications & Theater. He served as the academic director of Communications & Media Studies for the CUNY School of Professional Studies online baccalaureate program from 2011-2013. Prior to joining the Lehman faculty, Mr. Carney was the executive director and CEO of BronxNet, which is housed on the Lehman campus.
Languages & Literatures
Amin Erfani, Assistant Professor
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Amin Erfani earned his Ph.D. in French literature from Emory University in 2011. He has published prolifically in peer-reviewed journals and books on 20th century francophone writers and dramatists--in particular Bernard-Marie Koltès and Valère Novarina, whose work he has also translated for publication in English. In addition to his academic writing, Dr. Erfani has published fiction and dramatic monologues in French and English. Since 2013, he has been a doctoral lecturer in the Department of Languages & Literatures at Lehman.
John DeLooper, Web Services-Open Learning Librarian
Photo of John Delooper, Librarian
John DeLooper earned his M.L.I.S. from Rutgers University in 2010 and his M.S. in information systems from Baruch College’s Zicklin School of Business in 2017. Since 2011 he has worked at Hudson County Community College, where he was appointed director of library technology in 2013. In addition to several scholarly articles, he co-authored an award-winning bibliography and led the college's efforts in winning the 2016 Association of College and Research Libraries' Excellence in Academic Libraries Award.
Stacy Katz, Open Resources Librarian-STEM Liaison
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Stacy Katz earned her M.Ed. from Framingham State University in 2018 and her M.L.I.S. from Simmons College in 2009. She has been serving as the Open Resources Librarian-STEM Liaison at the Leonard Lief Library in a substitute capacity since 2017. She has been instrumental in the library’s recent efforts to promote and increase the use of open educational resources (OER) among faculty; her book chapter on OER development is forthcoming.

Renato Ghini Bettiol, Assistant Professor
Photo of Renato Ghini Bettiol, Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Renato Bettiol earned his Ph.D. from Notre Dame University in 2015; in addition, he earned an M.Sc. in 2010 from the University of São Paulo in Brazil. His research focuses on geometry and mathematical finance. From 2015-2018 he served as a Hans Rademacher Instructor of Mathematics at the University of Pennsylvania, and in 2016 was a fellow at the prestigious Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in Bonn, Germany. Dr. Bettiol has nearly 20 research papers published or currently under review, co-authored a geometry textbook in 2015, and has presented his work at conferences around the world.
Mahmoud Zeinalian, Professor
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Mahmoud Zeinalian earned his Ph.D. from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2011. He specializes in algebraic topology. Prior to his appointment at Lehman, Dr. Zeinalian was a full professor at Long Island University, where he spearheaded a new program in actuarial science. While at LIU, he mentored doctoral students at the CUNY Graduate Center. Among his many accomplishments, Dr. Zeinalian has received scholarships to engage in research at the Max Planck Institute for Mathematics nine times, has published widely, and has presented his work at institutions and conferences around the world. In addition, he participates in the Math for America professional development program for teachers in New York City.
Brenda Hernandez-Acevedo, Assistant Professor
Photo of Brenda Hernandez-Acevedo, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Brenda Hernandez-Acevedo earned her Ph.D. in nursing education from Capella University in 2017. She also holds an M.S. in nursing, and worked in the healthcare field from 1995-2014, serving in a variety of clinical, supervisory, administrative, and educative roles for several healthcare agencies. In 2014 Dr. Hernandez-Acevedo made a transition into nursing education at Atenas College in Puerto Rico, where she served as vice president for Innovation and Institutional Quality, and later as associate dean of the nursing and physical therapy assistant programs. In 2017 she was appointed associate dean of nursing at ASA College. Dr. Hernandez-Acevedo’s expertise includes distance nursing education and simulation, patient safety and quality-of-care education for healthcare teams, nursing curriculum development, and community-based health care.
Carole Baraldi, Assistant Professor
Photo of Carole Baraldi, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Carole Baraldi earned her Ph.D. in nursing education from Columbia University in 2012; she is also an alumna of Lehman College’s undergraduate nursing program. Dr. Baraldi has taught in undergraduate nursing programs throughout the region, and most recently was a substitute assistant professor at Lehman. She has developed and continues to promote improved nursing policies and practices within the disability community, as well as global health programs. In addition, she has worked in diverse areas beyond nursing education, including public health, nursing practice, clinical safety, and non-governmental organizations. Dr. Baraldi has co-published her research and presented in numerous national and international venues.
Natasha Nurse-Clarke, Assistant Professor
Photo of Natasha Nurse-Clarke, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Natasha Nurse-Clarke received her Ph.D. in nursing from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2018. Since 2013 she has taught at Lehman College as an adjunct professor and lecturer; she has worked at Maimonides Medical Center since 2005 and since 2008 has been the regional Perinatal Center coordinator. Dr. Nurse-Clarke has presented at conferences on perinatal care, public health, and online nursing education.
Margaret Clifton, Lecturer
Photo of Margaret Clifton, Lecturer of Nursing
Margaret Clifton and earned her Ph.D. in instructional leadership in 2012 from Argosy University in Sarasota, FL and her master’s degree in nursing from Adelphi University. She is an expert in obstetric simulation instructional methods. Dr. Clifton most recently taught in the nursing program at Adelphi University, and from 2006-2016 was an assistant professor and director of the Simulation & Resource Center at SUNY Downstate Medical Center. She is a registered nurse who has practiced in areas such as coordination of care, surgery, perinatal care, and intensive care.
Gwendolyn Lancaster, Assistant Professor
Photo of Gwendolyn Lancaster, Assistant Professor of Nursing
Gwendolyn Lancaster received her Ph.D. in educational leadership from the University of Phoenix in 2014 and her master’s degree in nursing in 2007. She is a nationally-certified critical care nurse. She has taught in the nursing program at Lehman since 2016 and at Adephi University since 2008. She worked at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital Center from 1978 through 2016, where she practiced in the ICU and surgical units and coordinated nursing care. In her publications, presentations, and advocacy, Dr. Lancaster has worked to advance the nursing profession by promoting leadership opportunities; mentoring; and improved communication among doctors, nurses, and aides in hospital environments.
Political Science
Duran Fiack, Assistant Professor
Photo of Duran Fiack, Assistant Professor of Political Science
Duran Fiack earned his Ph.D. in environmental studies from the University of California at Santa Cruz (UCSC) in 2017, and specializes in environmental and energy policy. He taught previously at UCSC, San José State University, and most recently Boston College. While in California, Dr. Fiack was actively involved in the development and analysis of local and state-wide water resources policy and projects, and worked frequently with the California Environmental Protection Agency and the State Water Resources Control Board. He has published four articles and a book chapter on subjects including environmental and energy policy, the environmental effects of hydraulic fracturing, and biology education.
Elizabeth Guerrero-Berroa, Assistant Professor
Photo of Elizabeth Guerrero-Berroa, Assistant Professor of Psychology
Elizabeth Guerrero-Berroa earned her Ph.D. in clinical neuropsychology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2011. From 2012-2014 she held a postdoctoral fellowship in the Department of Psychiatry at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai and since then has been an assistant professor there. In addition, she has been an adjunct professor at Lehman since 2014. Dr. Guerrero-Berroa’s research focuses on the neuropsychological, clinical, and biological risk factors for age-related cognitive decline in underserved and minority elderly populations in the U.S. and abroad. She has also investigated the genetic risk factors for cognitive impairment in Type 2 Diabetes in various populations. She has presented and published widely in both areas of research, and among her accomplishments was recently lead investigator on a project funded by the Alzheimer’s Association.
Martin Downing, Jr., Assistant Professor
Photo of Martin Downing, Jr., Assistant Professor of Psychology
Martin Downing earned his Ph.D. in environmental psychology from the CUNY Graduate Center in 2010. His research centers around men’s sexual health, HIV prevention strategies, and factors affecting the health of HIV+ individuals. From 2011-2014 he was a postdoctoral fellow and then project director at the National Development and Research Institutes; since 2014 he has been a research scientist at Public Health Solutions, a health and social service agency and advocate for health equity in New York City. Dr. Downing has presented his work extensively across the U.S. and abroad; has published numerous papers and book chapters; and his work has been featured by mainstream media outlets including CBS News, the Advocate, and Salon.
Jennifer Laird, Assistant Professor
Photo of Jennifer Laird, Assistant Professor of Sociology
Jennifer Laird received her Ph.D. from the University of Washington in 2016, and was most recently a postdoctoral research scientist at Columbia University’s Center on Poverty and Social Policy. Dr. Laird’s work focuses on the demography of poverty and related policy issues; her expertise includes quantitative data visualization and modeling. Her research has been featured nationally in the mainstream press as well as leading publications in her field, on diverse topics including lynching, unemployment among Mexican immigrants, the relationship between unions and poverty, and employment inequality in the public sector. She serves as a reviewer for six major peer-reviewed journals and has contributed a chapter to The Oxford Book of Poverty and Society.