New Faculty 2009
Back row: Eric Houk, Jake Brimlow, Paul Romanowich, Rouben Mohiuddin, Zachary Justus.
Front row: President Paul Zingg, Michelle McConkey, Hyunjung Kim, Seema Sehrawat, Sandra Collins, Provost Sandra Flake
New Faculty Biographies
College of Agriculture
Brimlow was born unexpectedly early in the biggest little city in Nevada and raised in the foggy forests of the Northern California coast. After a decadent undergraduate career, Jake received a bachelor’s degree from CSU, Chico. (Maybe you’ve heard of it.) Jake worked and played for several years before returning to school, and in 2009 earned a PhD in economics from North Carolina State University, where he researched the determinants and effects of agricultural land conservation. Jake is delighted to return to his undergraduate alma mater and native Northern California. Off campus, Jake can be found riding a bike, wandering around outside, cooking, and traveling whenever possible.
Department of History
College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Sandra received her PhD from the University of Chicago in history in 2003, with an emphasis on modern Japan. Sandra received several fellowships, including the Fulbright-Hays, the Japan Foundation, and the Charlotte Newcombe of the Woodrow Wilson Foundation. She was an inaugural Research Scholar for the International Olympic Committee. In 2007, Routledge Press published both her The 1940 Tokyo Games: The Missing Olympics and the volume she co-edited on Olympism: The Global Vision. Before coming to Chico, Sandra also taught part time at San Francisco State University. Sandra’s guilty pleasure is an overindulgence in popular culture (especially J-pop and anime), which is only slightly redeemed by her attempts to beat her three boys down the ski slopes.
College of Agriculture
Eric earned his PhD in agricultural and resource economics from Colorado State University in 2003. His primary areas of expertise are in agricultural production economics and natural resource economics. He received his MS in agricultural economics from the University of Idaho and his BS in economics from Frostburg State University. Before coming to Chico, he was an associate professor of economics at CSU, Stanislaus. Eric is a dedicated teacher and he has received several teaching awards while at his previous university and in graduate school. His research typically focuses upon issues relating to water resource allocation. Specifically, he has examined the economic impacts of water transfers from agriculture for endangered species preservation, the economic effects of irrigation-induced waterlogging and soil salinization, and the impacts of water conservation efforts on residential water demand. Eric enjoys the outdoors and is looking forward to exploring Northern California with his wife and two children.
Department of Communication Arts and Sciences
College of Communication and Education
Zach is a recent graduate of the PhD program at Arizona State University (ASU). At the graduation ceremony, he shook hands with President Barack Obama. His primary research interest is in the political communication of conservatives in America. He also studies terrorism and national security. At ASU Zach worked with the Consortium for Strategic Communication on joint projects with a variety of government intelligence agencies. Before his time at ASU, Zach completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts in communication at CSU Chico, so while this is a new position, he is really coming home. He spends most of his spare time with his wife Tia, who is also a graduate of the Master of Arts program at Chico, and his dog Alice, who is the only family member without an advanced degree. Zach is trying to take full advantage of the outdoors at Chico during his second stay in the community. He enjoys walking with Alice, biking in Bidwell, and doing almost anything outdoors.
College of Business
Hyunjung received a PhD in 2009 from the Rockefeller College of Public Affairs and Policy, State University of New York, Albany. Her area of research is in public management with an emphasis on descriptive and normative studies of group decision-making in organizations. She uses systems approach to understand the social process of sharing and aligning different mental models of decision makers. She specializes in system dynamics modeling, which uses computer simulation models to explore system complexity and enhance group decision-making. Her research and consulting experience covers variety of policy areas including monetary policymaking at the Federal Reserve, health care delivery and planning, and welfare policy evaluation. In 2008, Hyunjung received the Lupina Young Researchers Award in Health System Dynamics for her work with the New York State Office of Mental Health. Before coming to Chico, she taught graduate courses in statistics and management science.
Michelle S. McConkey
Department of Music
College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Michelle is finishing her doctoral studies at Arizona State University in music education. Michelle’s dissertation topic will explore the emotional teaching style of select elementary general music teachers. Her research interest includes the relationship between music and the emotional development of children. Michelle completed a Masters of Music degree at Brigham Young University where she co-conducted the University Chorale, and she completed a Bachelor of Music degree from the Crane School of Music. She has completed Kodaly certification (levels I, II, and III), and has presented workshops and poster sessions at various conferences and school districts. For the past five years, Michelle has taught elementary music methods classes at BYU and ASU. She has taught for nine years in public and private schools as a general music specialist in New York State, Utah, and Arizona. Michelle enjoys walks in the park, dancing, baking, watching movies and doing photography with her husband. She looks forward to exploring the scenery of Northern California.
Department of Art and Art History
College of Humanities and Fine Arts
Rouben grew up living in many parts of the world and developed a deep awe of the architecture and the world that he saw. In 1991, he moved to the United States as an international student and began studies in the School of Architecture and Planning at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Upon graduation, he entered the graduate program at Southern California Institute of Architecture researching sustainable development and received a Masters in Architecture in 1998. His architectural education was progressive and transdisciplinary, integrating the arts, sciences, and humanities through analytical thinking, craftsmanship, creativity, and interdisciplinary collaboration. Since graduation he has worked at several select architecture and design firms in Los Angeles and New York, eventually establishing his own design/build practice specializing in custom homes and furnishings. Although endlessly driven by the practice of architecture, he has always been inspired by the notion of ‘giving back’ through community projects and has served as an educator at University of California, Los Angeles; Otis School of Art and Design; New York School of Interior Design; and Art Institute of California, and chaired the Interior Architecture program at the American Inter-Continental University Los Angeles. Rouben enjoys most outdoors sports, especially fly-fishing and fast cars.
Department of Psychology
College of Behavioral and Social Sciences
Paul received a PhD from the University of California, San Diego in psychology in 2007, with an emphasis in behavior analysis. Before coming to Chico, Paul held a postdoctoral research appointment at the University of Texas Health Science Center, San Antonio, researching contingency management applications to smoking cessation. Paul has also worked extensively in the area of animal learning, researching such topics as choice, conditioned reinforcement, and contrast. Paul enjoys attending many sporting events, international travel, and hiking. Paul is looking forward to visiting as many of the national and state parks in Northern California as possible.
School of Social Work
College of Behavioral and Social Science
Seema received a PhD from University of Missouri, Columbia, in Social Work in 2009 with an emphasis on factors impacting social engagement among community-dwelling older adults. Seema received the Outstanding PhD Student award in 2009. Her research interests are international gerontology, civic and social engagement, use of technology, and social policy surrounding older adults. While working on her doctoral degree, Seema taught social work research, group work, and introduction-level social work courses to undergraduate and graduate students at the University of Missouri, Columbia. During that time, she was also employed by Phoenix Programs Inc. in Columbia, Missouri, where she facilitated groups for homeless men with dual diagnosis. Seema has experience in international social work and working with individuals and families of alcohol and drug dependents. She also facilitated workshops and seminars for maintaining healthy lifestyle among employees of social service agencies. Seema enjoys exploring different cultures and loves the outdoors. She is interested in providing students with opportunities for international social work and service learning, and is looking forward to the outdoors opportunities available in Northern California.