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NEW FACULTY 2012 and 2013

Jean Ann Linney, PhD Dean

Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

At Villanova University’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, our faculty and students collaborate in the classroom, in the laboratory, and in the community to address some of the most significant issues of our time. Our superb teacher-scholar faculty challenge students to develop their analytical abilities and communication skills, to discover their passion, path and purpose. I am proud to introduce our newest faculty members, who are as passionate and productive with their research as they are with their teaching.  Sincerely, Jean Ann Linney, PhD

Theodore Arapis, PhD

Christa S. Bialka, EdD

PhD, Auburn University

EdD, University of Pennsylvania

Public Administration

Dr. Arapis’ research has focused on facilitating governmental service provision and delivery, budget systems and reform, and state bureaucracy. He has co-authored an article in the Journal of Government Financial Management and has had his work published in the Journal of Public Budgeting, Accounting and Financial Management.

Education and Counseling

While at the University of Pennsylvania, Dr. Bialka instructed and mentored Teach For America and pre-service teachers and helped create a Special Education Certification Program within the Graduate School of Education. Her current research explores teacher and student dispositions in relation to individuals with disabilities. She is currently working with Villanova University’s Office of Disability Services on a mixed methods research project.

Christopher Barnett, DPhil (Oxon) Theology and Religious Studies DPhil, Oxford University

Paul W. Bernhardt, PhD Mathematics and Statistics

PhD, North Carolina State University

Dr. Barnett’s research interests range from the thought of the Danish philosopher, Søren Kierkegaard, to the relationship between theology, spirituality, and contemporary culture. Among his publications are two books: Kierkegaard, Pietism and Holiness (2011) and From Despair to Faith: The Spirituality of Søren Kierkegaard (2014). He formerly taught at Berry College in Rome, Georgia.



Dr. Bernhardt’s dissertation work will be published in scholarly journals such as Computational Statistics and Data Analysis (“Flexible modeling of survival data with covariates subject to detection limits via multiple imputation,” 2014) and Statistics in Biosciences (“Statistical methods for generalized linear models with covariates subject to detection limits,” 2014). He has presented his research at the Joint Statistical Meetings and ENAR conferences.


Gerald Beyer, PhD

Jennifer M. Dixon, PhD

PhD, Boston College

PhD, University of California, Berkeley

Theology and Religious Studies

Dr. Beyer ‘s research focuses on the theoretical underpinnings of the Catholic social tradition and applies them to social issues such as economic justice, workers’ rights, political responsibility, access to higher education and racism. His book Recovering Solidarity: Lessons from Poland’s Unfinished Revolution (University of Notre Dame Press, 2010) undertook an ethical evaluation of the Polish socioeconomic transformations after the fall of Communism.

Political Science

Dr. Dixon joined the Department of Political Science in Fall 2012, before which she was a Research Fellow in the International Security Program at the Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs. Dr. Dixon’s teaching and research lie at the intersection of international relations and comparative politics, and focus on the politics of memory, genocide and mass violence, and the diffusion and impact of international norms. She is working on a book manuscript, titled “Changing the State’s Story: Continuity and Change in Official Narratives of Dark Pasts.” Dr. Dixon holds an AB in Government from Dartmouth College.

Luca Cottini, PhD

Romance Languages and Literatures PhD, Harvard University

Aimee Eggler, PhD Biochemistry

PhD, The University of Wisconsin-Madison

Dr. Cottini was trained as a classical philologist at the Università degli Studi di Milano. His areas of specialty include Italian modernist literature and avant-garde, the early developments of industrialism and the emergence of visual culture in Italy between the 19th and 20th centuries. He has published articles and essays on Calvino and Fellini, on Fenoglio, on the silent movie Maciste Alpino, and on the photographic memoirs of WWI. His future projects include a study on the modernist rediscovery of the Baroque poetics, as well as an analysis of the literary construction of Italy’s war in Libya.



Dr. Eggler was previously an assistant research professor at Purdue University. She has been awarded several research grants to investigate the molecular mechanisms of how dietary molecules and other agents activate the Nrf2 transcription factor, which helps prevent numerous diseases. Her work has been published in Biochemical Journal, Chemical Research in Toxicology, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.


Bryan Eigenbrodt, PhD

Stacey Havlik, PhD

PhD, University of Maryland

PhD, University of Maryland


Dr. Eigenbrodt comes to Villanova from the Air Force Research Laboratory in Dayton, OH. His current research interests focus on studying the chemistry of alternative power generation devices and renewable biofuels. Specifically, his research group studies the chemistry of solid oxide fuel cells catalysts and fuel reaction mechanisms in these devices at temperatures ≥800°C. His second project focuses on exploring effective means for generating biofuels from different microalgae specimens.

Education and Counseling

Dr. Havlik’s teaching interests include preparing school counselors to be leaders and advocates in education, supervising counselors in their internships and training counselors in the ethical and legal issues of the profession. Her primary research interests include investigating school counselor preparation and the issues faced by children and youth experiencing homelessness in schools.

Janette Herbers, PhD Travis M. Foster, PhD English


PhD, University of Minnesota

PhD, The University of Wisconsin

Dr. Foster researches American literature before 1900 on the topics of US racism, the Civil War, queer studies, popular literature, and regional fiction. His work has been published in American Literature, The Oxford Handbook of Nineteenth-Century American Literature, The Edith Wharton Review, and ESQ: A Journal of the American Renaissance. He has work forthcoming in American Literary History and The Cambridge Companion to Gay and Lesbian American Literature.



Dr. Herbers was a post-doctoral appointee at the Child Abuse Research Education and Services Institute at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. A licensed psychologist in Pennsylvania with expertise in the assessment and treatment of children affected by trauma, her research has been published in journals such as Development and Psychopathology and Child Development.


Brooke Hunter, PhD

Stefanie Knauss, ThD

PhD, University of Texas, Austin

ThD, Gratz University


Dr. Hunter held a Visiting Assistant Professorship at Loyola University Maryland for two years before coming to Villanova. Her research specialties include Geoffrey Chaucer and fourteenth-century English vernacular literature, Latin school texts and commentaries, and the reception of Boethius and Boethianisms.

Theology and Religious Studies

Dr. Knauss studied Catholic Theology and English Language and Literature in Germany and the United Kingdom. She completed a post-doctorate project about sexuality, media and theology at Fondazione Bruno Kessler, a research foundation in Trent, Italy. Her primary research interests consist of theology and culture, religion and body, and gender/queer theory and theology. Her book More than a Provocation: Sexuality, Media and Theology will be published in 2014 by Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht.

Ryan Jorn, PhD Chemistry

PhD, Northwestern University

Rory Kramer, PhD

Sociology and Criminology PhD, University of Pennsylvania

Dr. Jorn was formerly with Argonne National Laboratory in Lemont, IL. His current research interests focus on developing new methods to describe charge transport at condensed phase interfaces relevant to electrochemical systems and the application of computational chemistry techniques to describe materials starting from the atomistic length scale.



Dr. Kramer is an assistant professor in the Department of Sociology and Criminology. He received his doctorate from the University of Pennsylvania with a certificate in Africana Studies. His research interests include segregation, spatial analysis, education, race and ethnicity, stratification and urban sociology. His primary focus currently is on the impact of physical barriers on the pattern and spread of racial segregation in cities.


Daniel Mark, PhD

Andrej Prsa, PhD

PhD, Princeton University

PhD, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia

Political Science

Dr. Mark’s dissertation, “Authority and Legal Obligation,” was written under Professor Robert P. George, McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton. Dr. Mark’s current projects address the relationship between religious and civic identity; the political theory of religious freedom and the First Amendment; and theories of constitutional stability and instability.

Astronomy and Astrophysics

Dr. Prsa’s research specializes in computational astrophysics, binary stars, fundamental astrophysics and numerical modeling. He is chair of the Eclipsing Binary Working Group for the National Aeronautics and Space Administration’s (NASA) Kepler Mission, which focuses on the search for Earth-size planets that could be suitable for life. As chair, Dr. Prsa tracks and catalogs eclipsing binary stars—systems of two stars that orbit a common mass obscuring each other similar to the manner in which planets transit their host stars.

Whitney Martinko, PhD History

Brianna Remster, PhD

PhD, University of Virginia

Sociology and Criminology

PhD, Pennsylvania State University

Dr. Martinko was a Smithsonian postdoctoral fellow at the National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. Her research interests include the Early American Republic, Public History and Material Culture. Her work has appeared in journals such as Buildings & Landscapes: Journal of the Vernacular Architecture Forum (“So Majestic a Monument of Antiquity: Landscape, Knowledge, and Authority in the Early Republican West,” Spring 2009).



Dr. Remster’s current research agenda consists of two lines of inquiry. The first examines the social consequences of incarceration and the second investigates correlates of criminal behavior over the life course. Her work has been published in scholarly journals such as Criminal Justice and Behavior (“Mental Disorder and Offending in Prison,” 2012), and Social Forces (“Stigma or Separation? Understanding the Incarceration-Divorce Relationship,” 2011).


Katina Sawyer, PhD

Rachel J. Smith, PhD

PhD, Pennsylvania State University

PhD, Harvard University


Dr. Sawyer’s research interests include leadership, diversity and globalization, work-family conflict and the intersections of identity in the workplace. At Penn State, she was funded on a three-year Department of Defense grant, examining terrorist networks from an organizational perspective. She also served as a consultant for SHL, providing selection and assessment solutions for corporations. She has co-authored articles in the Journal of Business and Psychology, the Journal of Business Ethics, and the Journal of Leadership and Organizational Studies.

Theology and Religious Studies

Dr. Smith’s research specialties include medieval Christianity, Christian mysticism, asceticism, saints, women and religion, monasticism, and new religious movements in the Middle Ages. Her work has been published in the volume The Levant: Crossroads of Late Antiquity, and she has a forthcoming article in the journal Theology and Sexuality.

Helena Tomko, DPhil (Oxon) Humanities

Andrew G. Scott, PhD

DPhil, St. John’s College, Oxford

Classical Studies

PhD, Rutgers University

Dr. Scott’s research interests include Roman imperial history and historiography and ancient Sparta. His work has been published in academic journals such as Classical World (“Dio and Herodian on the Assassination of Caracalla,” 2012), and Historia (“Plural Marriage and the Spartan State,” 2011). His essay “Laconian Black-Figure Pottery and Spartan Elite Consumption” was published in the book Sparta: The Body Politic in 2010.



Dr. Tomko’s book, Sacramental Realism: Gertrud von le Fort and German Catholic Literature in the Weimar Republic and Third Reich, was published in 2007. Her research interests lie in the areas of religion and literature and inner emigration studies, with a particular emphasis on the Catholic presence in early twentieth-century German culture.


Julio Villa-Garcia, PhD

Amy Way, PhD

MA/PhD, University of Connecticut

PhD, Arizona State University

Romance Languages and Literatures

Dr. Villa-García’s research explores Spanish syntax from a theoretical perspective and the linguistic development of children acquiring different dialects of Spanish in monolingual and bilingual settings. His work has appeared in premier linguistics and Romance linguistics journals as well as in peer-reviewed volumes.


As an organizational communication scholar, Dr. Way draws upon critical and feminist theory to inform community-engaged qualitative research and teaching. Her research takes a discursive approach to the organization of youth identities, specifically in regard to worker identity and work-life issues.

Edward Wahesh, PhD

Jonathan Yates, PhD

PhD, The University of North Carolina at Greensboro

PhD, PhD, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven (Leuven, Belgium)

Dr. Wahesh previously served as the Director of the Alcohol and Other Drug Education Program at Fordham University. He has co-authored a number of papers related to the health and wellness of young adults and adolescents in publications such as the Annual Review of Addictions and Offender Counseling (“Treatment of alcohol abuse among college students: A new look at REBT,” 2013) and the Journal of Creativity in Mental Health (“Facebook and the cognitive model: A tool for adolescent self-awareness,” 2012).

An historical theologian, Dr. Yates’ area is Early Christian Thought and his research specialty is Augustine and early Latin Christianity with a particular focus on how Augustine understood and applied the New Testament. Dr. Yates is a member of Villanova’s Augustinian Institute and serves as editor of Augustinian Studies.

Education and Counseling



Theology and Religious Studies


Matthew Youngman, PhD Biology

PhD, Johns Hopkins University

Dr. Youngman did his post-doctoral work at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). His research interests involve understanding the mechanistic basis of immunosenescence, the age-dependent decline in immune function, and examining how non-pathogenic commensal bacteria that normally colonize the human body communicate with and influence the function of the immune system throughout the aging process.

Since 1842, Villanova University’s Augustinian Catholic intellectual tradition has been the cornerstone of an academic community in which students learn to think critically, act compassionately and succeed while serving others. There are more than 10,000 undergraduate, graduate and law students in the University’s fi ve colleges—the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, the Villanova School of Business, the College of Engineering, the College of Nursing and the Villanova University School of Law. As students grow intellectually, Villanova prepares them to become ethical leaders who create positive change everywhere life takes them.



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Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences New Faculty Brochure  
Villanova University College of Liberal Arts and Sciences New Faculty Brochure