Meet Ivan Allen CollegE's Newest Faculty members 2021–2022

The Ivan Allen College of Liberal Arts attracts some of the best minds in the social sciences and humanities, scholars and practitioners eager to advance Georgia Tech's mission of educating leaders who advance technology and improve the human condition. Our newest faculty members are no exception. This year, we are proud to welcome 10 new tenure-track faculty members in a wide variety of fields, including modern languages, development economics, emotion recognition technologies, science fiction studies, and more. We also are thrilled to welcome 26 non-tenure-track faculty, including Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellows and new cadre members in the Army, Navy, and Air Force ROTC programs.

Read on to learn more about the newest members of the Ivan Allen College faculty!

Tenured & Tenure-Track Faculty

Keung Yoon 'Becky' Bae

Assistant Professor | School of Modern Languages

Keung Yoon "Becky" Bae’s primary research is on the interaction between media production and the state in Korea, starting from the colonial era, and takes a longitudinal perspective on recurrent patterns of film and media regulation and promotion. Her dissertation focused on the regulation of colonial Korean cinema under Japan, examining how this time period would go on to shape film production and government control after liberation. She has also published articles on contemporary media forms such as webcomics, video games, and esports.

Roberto Gonzalez

Assistant Professor | School of Economics

Gonzalez's major fields of interest are development economics and public economics. Specifically, Gonzalez's research focuses on the role of information-communication technologies (ICTs) and the use of novel GIS data and methods to study conflict, crime, and public health.

Gonzalez's most recent work studies the role that access to cellphone technology can play on fragile settings: deterring election fraud in fragile security environments such as that of Afghanistan, containing the spread of disease during the 2014 West Africa Ebola epidemic, explaining patterns of insurgent violence in Afghanistan. As part of my research, I have done fieldwork in India, Liberia, and Brazil.

Before joining the faculty at Georgia Tech, Gonzalez was an assistant professor of economics at the University of South Carolina. Gonzalez obtained a Ph.D. in economics from the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill in 2016.

Noura Howell

Assistant Professor | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Howell's design research explores emotion recognition technologies, which claim to infer insights about emotional experience based on biosensory data, data about people’s bodies, thoughts, and behaviors. What can (and can’t) this data say about how people feel? How might this data shape the way people feel and shape how people relate to themselves and others? Howell explores these questions by building sensing technologies that produce biosensory data, such as heart rate or skin conductance, and display it in a creative way, such as color-changing fabric or sound. Howell sets up situations where people interact with these sensor-and-data-display technologies in an open-ended way, often with mundane but real social consequences, such as pairs of friends talking about their feelings. The highly varied and often surprising social and emotional experiences of people with these designs offer provocative yet experientially grounded speculative directions for designing with data.

Howell completed a Ph.D. at the School of Information at the University of California, Berkeley.

Howell was a member of the BioSENSE lab while at UC–Berkeley.

Howell received a Bachelor of Science in Engineering with a Concentration in Computing at Olin College. Previously, Howell have worked, studied, and volunteered as a human-centered designer and software developer in Singapore, Morocco, and China, as well as at the MIT Media Lab, Intel Labs, Microsoft, and The Echo Nest.

Lu Liu

Assistant Professor | School of Modern Languages

Lu Liu joins the School of Modern Languages as an assistant professor of Chinese, with a focus on culture and media studies. Liu received her Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2019. Her research seeks to advance modern Chinese literary and cultural studies to engage more thoroughly with the global histories of science, technology, and medicine. Her first book in progress investigates the interspecies relationship between the pest and collective socialist subjects in modern China’s social and political movements, public health, and visual and media cultures. She is also working on a second book examining the conceptual exchange of microbiology, popular culture and media, and Cold War politics. Liu has held the position of visiting assistant professor of Chinese at Georgia Tech since 2019. She teaches Chinese language, food culture, myths, gender, and sustainability.

Miguel Rosas Buendia

Assistant Professor | School of Modern Languages

Rosas Buendia joined Georgia Tech in 2019 as a visiting assistant professor. Originally from Lima, Peru, he holds a Ph.D. in Hispanic Studies from Brown University. His research delves into environmental humanities and the history of knowledge through the study of Latin American literary and scientific works in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Among different topics, he is particularly interested in the conceptualization of environments with natural resources and of the past and present of indigenous peoples. Rosas Buendia’s teaching experience includes various courses on literary and cultural studies and Spanish language in Peru and the United States.

Zhentao Shi

Assistant Professor | School of Economics

Shi specializes in econometric theory, with a focus on estimation and inference of machine learning methods for economic and financial applications. He taught at the Chinese University of Hong Kong for seven years before joining Georgia Tech.

Brigitte Stepanov

Assistant Professor | School of Modern Languages

Stepanov's research interests include Francophone Studies, North and Sub-Saharan African literature and visual culture, and Postcolonial Studies. Trained as a scholar of French and Francophone Studies and as a mathematician, she holds undergraduate degrees from Queen’s University at Kingston in Canada and a Ph.D. in French and Francophone Studies from Brown University. At Brown, she was a Fellow at the Cogut Institute for the Humanities and awarded an Archambault Award for Teaching Excellence.

Before coming to Georgia Tech, she was an Andrew W. Mellon Postdoctoral Fellow with the Department of French and Arabic at Grinnell College, where she organized the “Theories of Decolonization” working group with the support of a grant from Grinnell’s Center for the Humanities. She has been a Silas Palmer Fellow at the Hoover Library and Archives at Stanford University, a Lecturer at the Université Lumière Lyon 2 in France, and in the summer of 2021, a selected participant of the National Endowment for the Humanities seminar “The Search for Humanity after Atrocity.” She has also trained in conflict mediation, transformative justice, and trauma studies, having most recently taken part in the Peacebuilding Institute hosted by the Center for Justice and Peacebuilding at EMU. Stepanov is additionally a translator, having worked with the Derrida Seminar Translation Project as well as translating works by Peter Szendy and Laura Odello.

Her current book project, Cruelty, War, Fiction: Redefining the Human as In-Human, explores excessive forms of violence in warfare and their representation in fiction and visual media from Algeria, Rwanda, and France. In it, she argues that the concept of cruelty is fundamental to any discussion of political instability, war, and crimes against humanity. More broadly, this work examines the relationship between the evolution of warfare over the last eighty years and shifting conceptions of the human in the face of universal manifestations of violence. Stepanov’s scholarship has appeared in Contemporary French & Francophone Studies, The French Review, Voix plurielles, and in the volume Memory, Voice, and Identity: Muslim Women’s Writing from Across the Middle East (Routledge, 2021).

Finally, she is a photographer, focusing on archiving memory and the geometry of ecological forms. Both facets of her work are preoccupied with minute documentation —be it to collect visual reminders of patches of moss or the detailed brickwork of a commemorative monument. Her work has been exhibited at the Granoff Center for the Creative Arts and the Houston Center for Photography, among other venues. Her most recent exhibit, Why I’ll Always Dream of Poland, supported by a grant from the Program in Judaic Studies at Brown, features photographs she took while researching Holocaust remembrance in Israel, Germany, France, Ukraine, and Poland. Shedding light on public mourning and commemoration, the project also reflects on personal loss and family histories and attempts to bridge the gap between private experiences and public sites of inhuman violence.

Cassidy Sugimoto

Tom and Marie Patton School Chair | School of Public Policy

Sugimoto's research examines the formal and informal ways in which knowledge is produced, disseminated, consumed, and supported, with an emphasis on issues of diversity, equity, and inclusion. Sugimoto was a professor of Informatics in the School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University Bloomington from 2010–2021 and served as the Program Director for the Science of Science and Innovation Policy program at the National Science Foundation from 2018–2020. She has received the Indiana University Trustees Teaching award (2014), a national service award from the Association for Information Science and Technology (2009), and a Bicentennial Award for service from Indiana University (2020). She holds a bachelor’s in Music Performance, a master’s in Library Science, and a doctoral degree in Information and Library Science, all from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Hongchen Wu

Assistant Professor | School of Modern Languages

Wu received her Ph.D. in Linguistics from Stony Brook University in 2019 and her M.A. in Chinese Linguistics from Peking University in 2014. Wu’s areas of expertise include syntax, semantics, second language acquisition, computational linguistics, and prosody of East Asian languages, primarily Mandarin Chinese. Recent publications and conference presentations explore topics such as quantifier scope in Mandarin, processing of polarity items, Syntax-Semantic-Prosody interface of Mandarin wh-scope, and how native speakers of English and Korean acquire Chinese negative markers differently. Moving forward, Wu seeks to further explore linguistic interfaces, language acquisition, and language pedagogy. Wu has taught a variety of courses in linguistics and the Chinese language. At Stony Brook, she taught courses such as Writing in Linguistics and Language and Technology. She was an associate with Columbia University’s Chinese language programs and a course instructor for Peking University’s Chinese language programs. Wu has technical experience with R, Praat, Python, LaTeX, Haskell, and Qualtrics. Before joining Georgia Tech, Wu worked as a Linguist at LinkedIn in New York.

Ida Yoshinaga

Assistant Professor | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Ida Yoshinaga specializes in science fiction film — in particular, the hybridization of commercial science-fiction, fantasy, horror, and fairy-tale genre modes with regional and indigenous narrative traditions, in the story-development stage of pre-production for both the media industries and for alternative audiovisual venues such as indie and global cinema. An ethnic-screenwriting scholar and media producer of the movie-making work of Native Asian and Pacific Islander directors, she focuses on the connection between production relations and the cinematic form.

A recipient of the East-West Center pre-doctoral fellowship, the Crown Prince Akihito Scholarship, Science Fiction Studies journal's R.D. Mullen Research Fellowship (Ph.D. Award), the Support a New Scholar Award of the Science Fiction Research Association and the International Association for Fantastic in the Arts' Walter James Miller Memorial Award for Student Scholarship in the International Fantastic, Yoshinaga has published articles on cinematic story development, screenwriting and transmedia in, among other venues, Science Fiction Film and Television; The New Ray Bradbury Review; Narrative Culture; and The Routledge Companion to Media and Fairy-Tale Cultures. Her edited anthology of provocative think pieces on how science fiction can save humankind from neoliberalism and empire, co-edited with Gerry Canavan and Sean Guynes, Uneven Futures: Lessons for Community Survival from Speculative Fiction, will be published in 2022 by MIT Press. She is working on a book on Disney, gender, and creative labor for the new Mass Markets: Studies in Franchise Culture series for the University of Minnesota Press.

A former Division Head of the International Fantastic Division of the IAFA and past co-organizer of the Science Fiction Research Association national conference, she was an inaugural judge for the SFRA Book Award, serves on the editorial board of the World Science Fiction Series (for Peter Lang Oxford), and, as an affiliate researcher of LMU Munich's global Indigeneities in the 21st Century project, which supports Indigenous media makers in making short films and museum exhibits about the niu (coconut).

Non Tenure-Track Faculty

Paige Arrington

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Paige Davis Arrington completed her doctorate in rhetoric and composition in 2019 from Georgia State University. Her research focuses on composition pedagogy. Her interests include composition history, Montessori philosophy, digital media studies, and the intersection of art, writing, and learning.

Sagnika Chanda

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Chanda was previously at the English Department at the University of Pittsburgh. Her dissertation research looks at cultural representations of the gig economy, precarity in the digital labor sector, and modes of solidarity-building strategies from the Global South through science fiction and speculative fiction. She has M.A. degrees from Presidency College, Kolkata, India, and the University of Pittsburgh, and an M. Phil in English from Jadavpur University, India. She has been involved in public humanities projects that serve to make digital education more accessible to a wider audience. She has actively participated in organizing hands-on workshops that teach coding and programming in K-12 education. As an oral historian, she has recorded interviews for the “First Days” project pioneered by the South Asian American Digital Archives Organization. She is a content writer and editor for the first Black History curriculum project being developed to be implemented statewide by the Georgia school system for middle school and high school students.

Maria Baez Cruz

Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Public Policy

Maria Baez-Cruz holds a Ph.D. in Measurement, Evaluation, Statistics, and Assessment from Boston College. She has been awarded the Chang-Zuckerberg fellowship in measurement and was selected as a Faculty First Look Scholar by New York University. She completed a master’s in International Education Policy at Harvard University and a master’s in Public Policy and Development at Paris School of Economics. Her professional experience as a Research Manager for the Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL) in Chile and Peru cemented her research interests in survey design, monitoring and evaluation systems, and the measurement of non-cognitive constructs in diverse contexts.

Griffin Brand

Assistant Professor of the Practice | Army ROTC

Brand received his Bachelor's Degree in Spanish and Religion from Davidson College, where he also played on the football team. Previously, he was stationed with the U.S. Army in Germany for three years, conducting operations throughout Europe. He recently served in the 75th Ranger Regiment as part of Special Operations, deploying several times to Afghanistan. Outside of the military, his interests include investing in real estate, travel with his wife, and fitness.

Gregory Brennen

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Brennen received his Ph.D. in English from Duke University in 2021 with a dissertation titled The Serial Imagination: Novel Form, Serial Format, & Victorian Reading Publics. His research and teaching interests include Victorian literature, the history of the novel, serial narrative, and academic writing. Before coming to Georgia Tech, Brennen taught literature and writing at Duke University, Elon University, and the Leadership Enterprise for a Diverse America.

Renee Buesking

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Buesking is a recent Ph.D. graduate of the University of Georgia. Her specific field of study is poetry and poetics in the long Eighteenth Century and she wrote her dissertation on the Romantic-era poet and novelist Charlotte Turner Smith. Outside of the classroom, you can often find Renee at a used book store accidentally buying a copy of a book she already owns.

Shinjini Chattopadhyay

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Chattopadhyay earned her Ph.D. from the Department of English, University of Notre Dame. She completed her M.A. and M.Phil. in English Literature from Jadavpur University, India. She works on British and Irish modernisms and global Anglophone literatures.

Dorothea 'Dori' Coblentz

Lecturer of Technical Communication | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Coblentz specializes in the history of technical communication, digital pedagogy, and the history of fencing. Her forthcoming monograph, Fencing, Form, and Cognition on the Early Modern Stage: Artful Devices (Edinburgh UP 2022) explores the history of technical communication strategies for teaching practical knowledge about time. She has previously published on this topic in “Artificial force and sleight”: Tempo and Dissimulation in Castiglione’s Book of the Courtier” (Italian Studies, 2018) and “Killing Time in Titus Andronicus: Temporality, Rhetoric, and the Art of Defence” (Journal for Early Modern Cultural Studies, 2015). She also holds a Master at Arms certification with a concentration in historical fencing from Sonoma State University and has written on seventeenth-century Italian rapier curriculum in her co-authored fencing manual, Fundamentals of Italian Rapier: A Modern Manual for Teachers and Students of Historical Fencing (SKA Swordplay Books, 2018).

Sean DiLeonardi

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

DiLeonardi earned his Ph.D. in English from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Sean teaches and writes broadly about contemporary American and African American literatures, literary theory, and media studies. Sean served as Junior Fellow this summer at the Library of Congress, where he curated a collection of materials on arithmetic, education, and poetics. Elements of this work will be exhibited at the National Treasures Gallery in 2022.

Andrew Dorkin

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Dorkin received his Ph.D. in English from the University at Buffalo (SUNY), where he taught composition, literature, and technical communication. His research on humor and seriousness focuses primarily on American poetry.

Suchismita Dutta

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Dutta recently received her Ph.D. in English at the University of Miami. Her research and teaching incorporate critical race and ethnic studies, academic diversity and equity policies, and multimodal pedagogies. Earlier this year, she was selected as one of three Emerging Scholars 2021 in the field of General Education in a U.S. nationwide search by the College of General Studies, Boston University.

Stephanie Fajardo

Postdoctoral Fellow | School of History and Sociology

Fajardo (she/her) specializes in U.S. imperial history, Asian American history, and gender and sexuality. Currently, she is revising her dissertation, which examines the management of intimate relationships between U.S. servicemen and Filipino women after World War II. She completed her Ph.D. in history at the University of Michigan, along with a graduate certificate in Women’s Studies.

Logan Freeman

Lecturer of Video Production, School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Freeman is an award-winning director hailing from Birmingham, Al. After graduating from Emerson College with an M.F.A in Media Art in 2017, they’ve become an in-demand creative consultant in film production, while also screening their own work worldwide.

Logan's accolades include being Student Academy Award nominee for co-producing Abijeet Achar’s short My Indian Rhapsody, a runner-up for Sundance Labs with the web-series adaptation of Amy DePaola’s short Amy Dee, and runner-up for Project Greenlight’s Music Video competition.

Matthew Halm

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Halm has taught courses in composition, rhetoric, writing theory, film studies, and technical and professional writing. His research incorporates materialist media theory and theories of composition and rhetoric, particularly as they pertain to understandings of rhetoric, writing, and composing that draw on resources beyond the symbolic.

Lee Hibbard

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Hibbard (he/him, they/them) received a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Composition from Purdue University in 2021. His research interests include archive theory and practice, professional writing, game studies and game design, new media texts, digital rhetorics, fandom communities, queer studies, and identity formation. A lot of his interest intersects with his experiences as a queer nonbinary transgender man. When he’s not in the classroom or playing video games he can be found running his bi-monthly D&D game with friends on Discord, listening to Podcasts, and tweeting pictures of his cat.

Stephanie Hoover

Assistant Professor of the Practice, Navy ROTC

Stephanie Hoover was a military child who had the great pleasure of living in many different places growing up. She graduated from Auburn University with a bachelor's of chemical engineering and was commissioned as a nuclear surface warfare officer in 2015. She then completed her first tour on USS Wayne E. Meyer in San Diego, Calif., and then attended nuclear power school in Charleston, SC. She was most recently stationed in Yokosuka, Japan onboard USS Ronald Reagan.

Thomas Knothe

Associate Professor of the Practice | Army ROTC

Maj. Thomas Knothe was commissioned into the Ordnance Corps through Army ROTC at Auburn University in 2004. Upon completing the Officer Basic Course in Aberdeen Proving Ground, Md., Knothe was assigned to the 1st Cavalry Division in Fort Hood, Tex. There, he completed his time as a platoon leader, maintenance control officer, and company executive officer. He was deployed with 3rd Brigade Combat Team for 15 months as a forward support company executive officer in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.

In 2008, Knothe transferred from Fort Hood and attended the Logistics Captain’s Career Course at Fort Lee, Va. Upon graduation, he was assigned to the 68th Combat Sustainment Support Battalion in Fort Carson, Colo. After completing time as a BN S4, deputy SPO, BDE planner, and a 12-month deployment in support of Operation Enduring Freedom, Knothe took command of the Forward Support Company for the 4th Engineers Batallion

After completing his company command time Knothe transferred back to Fort Lee, Va. in 2012, to be an instructor at the Captain’s Career Course. While serving as an instructor, he was selected for promotion to major and to attend the summer 2014–2015 resident Command and General Staff Officers' Course at Fort Leavenworth, Kan.

After graduating from CGSC, Knothe transferred to Fort Campbell, Ky., where he served as a Brigade Support Battalion Executive Officer and Brigade Combat Team S4. While serving at Fort Campbell, he was selected for the newly developed 2nd Security Force Assistance Brigade at Fort Bragg, N.C., in 2018. He served as the 6th Battalion Executive officer for almost two years, which included a seven-month deployment in support of Operation Inherent Resolve. Following the deployment, Knothe served as the commander of A Co., 6th Batallion, 2nd SFAB from March 2020–May 2021. In July of 2021, Knothe moved to Cumming to become an associate professor of the practice at Georgia Tech.

Knothe holds a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a concentration in Economics from Auburn University and a Master’s in Business Administration from Trident University International. Knothe’s awards and decorations include the Bronze Star Medal, the Meritorious Service Medal with four oak leaf clusters, the Army Commendation Medal with two oak leaf clusters, Army Achievement Medal, two Afghanistan Campaign Medals, two Iraq Campaign Medals, the Inherent Resolve Campaign Medal, the Combat Action Badge, the Parachute Badge, and the Air Assault Badge. He married Amanda Knothe on July 10, 2004. Amanda is the children’s director at Grace Church of Southern Pines. They have three children together; Zachary (14), Elijah (11), and Taylor (9).

Mike Lehman

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Lehman completed his Ph.D. in English at Emory University in 2021. His research and teaching interests include global boat migration, refugee narratives, postcolonial theory, and border studies. His work has appeared or is forthcoming in Crossings: Journal of Migration & Culture, ARIEL: A Review of International English Literature, and several edited collections.

Rachel Robinson

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Robinson holds a Ph.D. in Rhetoric and Writing with a concentration in Women's and Gender Studies from Michigan State University. Her dissertation research uses feminist, embodied, and cultural rhetorics to look at embodied in/reactions and vulnerabilities associated writing program administrators and imposter syndrome. She has several articles and chapters currently under review, and work has been published in The Peer Review, the WLN’s Digital Edited Collection (DEC) on self-care, and the upcoming Affect and Emotion in Writing Centers.

Ryan Hill

Assistant Professor of the Practice | Navy ROTC

Lt. Ryan Harrison Hill is a native of Westchester, N.Y. He graduated with distinction from the U.S. Naval Academy in 2015 with a Bachelor of Science in Operations Research and was commissioned into the U.S. Navy. Following commissioning, he completed studies at Nuclear Power School in Charleston, S.C., and Prototype in Ballston Spa, N.Y. Following his engineering training programs, he completed the Submarine Officer Basic Course (SOBC) in Groton, Conn.

Hill’s first at-sea assignment was onboard the USS Wyoming (SSBN-742) where he served as Main Propulsion Assistant. While in the engineering department, he completed two Operations Reactors Safeguard Exams (ORSE). In January of 2018, he transferred to USS Rhode Island (SSBN-740), where his division officer assignments included Damage Control Assistant, Communications Officer, and Assistant Operations Officer. While in the engineering department, he completed a Reactors Safeguard Exams (RSE) and was a primary watch officer through an Engineering Refuel Overhaul. As a forward division officer, he completed the Rhode Island's sea trials, recertification to become Strategically Loaded, and first Strategic Patrol following refueling.

Ashore, Hill served as Main Propulsion Assistant and Assistant Engineer onboard the USS San Francisco during its Moored Training Ship conversion.

Hill’s personal awards include two Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals, as well as multiple unit and service awards.

Hill and his wife, Catherine Kelly, were married in 2018 and live in Atlanta.

Minh Pham

Assistant Professor of the Practice | Air Force ROTC

Capt. Minh Pham is originally from Anaheim, Calif. He joined the U.S. Air Force in 2011 and transferred to the U.S. Space Force in 2020.

He has been at Georgia Tech as an Air Force ROTC instructor for a year.

Emily Smith

Marion L. Brittain Teaching Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Smith completed her Ph.D. in English at Penn State this past spring, specializing in rhetoric and composition. Her research, which focuses on rhetorical historiography, public memory, and embodied performance, has been published in Rhetoric Society Quarterly and presented at several national conferences. At Penn State, she taught first-year writing and technical writing, winning the Denise Haunani Solomon Award for Teaching Excellence in the College of Liberal Arts.

Myron Thomas

Associate Professor of the Practice | Navy ROTC

Maj. Myron J. Thomas was born in New Orleans and grew up there and in St. Louis. He enlisted in the Marine Corps in August 1999 and attended recruit training at MCRD San Diego, Calif. After graduation in November of 1999, Thomas attended Marine Combat Training at Camp Pendleton, Calif., and then reported to Financial Management School in Camp Johnson, N.C.

Upon graduation, Thomas reported to the 2nd Marine Division's Force Service Support Group, where he served as a fiscal budget technician and comptroller until 2003. From 2003 to 2005, Thomas served as a Financial Manager and Resource Analyst at the Marine Corps Mobilization Command and subsequently at Defense Finance and Accounting Services, Kansas City, Mo. In his subsequent assignment, Thomas served as the Regional Account Manager for Reserve Financial Affairs and as the physical training and martial arts instructor for the Mobilization Command.

Following duty at Marine Corps Mobilization Command and Defense Finance and Accounting Services, Thomas was ordered to 3rd Marines Regiment and served as the Financial Analyst and Budget Chief for the Regiment from 2005 to 2007. In 2007, Thomas departed for the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program.

Thomas was assigned as a student at the University of Missouri-Columbia under the Marine Enlisted Commissioning Education Program from 2007–2010. Upon graduation with a Bachelors in Finance, he attended The Basic School and subsequently Infantry Officer's Course. In October 2011, he reported to 1st Battalion, 7th Marines and was assigned as a Platoon Commander and Company Executive Officer for Company C. During this tour, he completed two deployments to Sangin, Afghanistan, as part of Operation Enduring Freedom.

From August 2014 to April 2017, he served as the Company Commander for Company B, Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-West in Camp Pendleton, Calif. Upon his relief in 2017, Thomas was transferred to 2nd Battalion, 1st Marines for duty as the Headquarters and Service Company Commander. Prior to deployment on the Unit Deployment Program-West 18.1 to Okinawa, Japan, Thomas became the Company Commander for Company F, where he participated in Exercise Cooperation Afloat Readiness and Training Brunei, Exercise Tiger Strike, and Fuji Viper.

From August 2018 to July of 2021, Thomas executed orders as the Charlie Company Inspector-Instructor, 4th Light Armored Reconnaissance Battalion located in Riverton, Utah. During that duty, he prepared the company to conduct Integrated Training Exercise 4-19 deploying them to Twenty-nine Palms, Calif., and assumed duties as the company commander for several high-profile training events.

In July 2021 Thomas assumed the duties of the Executive Officer, Naval ROTC Unit Atlanta Consortium.

Thomas' personal decorations include three Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medals, two Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medals with Combat “V” and gold star, the Combat Action Ribbon, and other personal, campaign, and service ribbons.

Chamee Yang

Postdoctoral Fellow | School of Literature, Media, and Communication

Yang received her Ph.D. in Communication and Media and Media from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and previously held a Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Science, Technology, and Society (STS) Program. Her primary intellectual interests are histories and theories of digital media; cities and technocultures in Asia; histories of militarism, security, and surveillance. She is currently working on her book manuscript, Remapping Smart Cities: A History of Technological Future in South Korea, where she traces the genealogy of smart urbanism and its related histories of militarized urban/national governance, global logistics, network infrastructures, and democratic citizenship.

Not pictured:

• Ashley Fuqua, assistant professor of the practice, Army ROTC

Mandela Littleton, associate professor of the practice, Air Force ROTC