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Welcoming nine new faculty members to Bryant’s Community of Scholars this fall
Oct 14, 2022, by Denise Kelley
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Bryant world-class faculty have worked and studied at top institutions around the world, and are energized by the opportunity to contribute to Bryant’s innovative academic offerings at the intersection of business, the liberal arts, and STEM fields—as well as its mission to educate and inspire. This fall, nine new faculty members joined Bryant's community of scholars (another recent arrival to Bryant's faculty, machine learning expert Tingting Zhao, Ph.D., arrived in January 2022). 

The group is comprised of dedicated educators who are accomplished researchers and contributors to the academic discourse of their fields, and most have industry experience as well. Here at Bryant, they will combine theory with practice as they help to deliver the University’s uniquely relevant, interdisciplinary education, which emphasizes real-world ready preparation and a global mindset. 

“We are pleased to welcome the newest members of our talented faculty. Their commitment to teaching, scholarship, and service is exceptional, as are their academic and professional accomplishments. They are energized to contribute to Bryant’s mission and to help graduate outstanding students who are prepared for leadership roles around the world,” says Provost and Chief Academic Officer Rupendra Paliwal, Ph.D. “All will help support Bryant’s Vision 2030 strategic initiatives and the plan’s centerpiece: education for 21st century skills and emerging career opportunities at the intersection of business, the liberal arts and STEM.” 

The following faculty members have joined Bryant’s College of Business, College of Arts and Sciences, and School of Health and Behavioral Sciences:

College of Business
Hong KuangHuan Kuang, Assistant Professor in the Department of Finance, earned a Ph.D. in Finance from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research, which has received coverage from multiple industry media outlets, including Accounting Today, CFODive, and American Accounting Association. focuses on hedge funds and mutual funds, institutional investors, market anomalies, and market liquidity. Before pursuing his doctoral studies, he worked for eight years in the finance industry in China and Atlanta, Georgia. He has received two M.Sc. degrees from Georgia State University and a B.Sc. degree from the Southwestern University of Finance and Economics, Chengdu, China.

ML TLachacML Tlachac, Assistant Professor in the Department of Information Systems and Analytics, holds a Ph.D. in Data Science from Worcester Polytechnic Institute. Tlachac’s research interests include mobile health, health informatics, natural language processing, machine learning, generative modeling, human-computer interaction, mental health screening, computational sociology, accessibility, and sustainability. The recipient of an M.S. from WPI and a B.S. from the University of Wisconsin - Eau Claire, Tlachac received the Best Applied Research award in 2021 at the Association for Computing Machinery Conference on Information and Knowledge Management.

Zahra HeydarifardZahra Heydarifard, Assistant Professor in the Department of Management, earned a Ph.D. in Organizational Behavior and Human Resource Management from the Alvarez College of Business at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research specializes in employee well-being, proactive behaviors, and leadership and includes the use of longitudinal survey studies and multilevel modeling. Before pursuing her doctoral studies, she worked as a manager and international marketing manager. She holds an M.B.A. from The University of Texas at San Antonio and an M.S and B.S. from the University of Tehran, Iran.

College of Arts and Sciences
Shastri AkellaShastri Akella, Lecturer in the Department of History, Literature, Art and Cultural Studies, holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, where he also earned his MFA in fiction writing. Akella’s fiction and essays have appeared in outlets such as Solstice, CRAFT, The Master’s Review, Guernica, the Los Angeles Review of Books, and others; his peer-reviewed essays appear in volumes published by MacFarland and Northwestern University Press. His debut novel, “The Sea Elephants,” is forthcoming from Flatiron Books. A 2021-2021 writing fellow at the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Akella was also a 2023 writing fellow of the Oak Springs Garden Foundation. He received his M.Sc. from Andhra University, India.

Holly DygertHolly Dygert, Lecturer in the Department of Politics, Law, and Society, earned a Ph.D. in Anthropology from Michigan State University. Her areas of expertise include economic development, gender, indigenous rights and multiculturalism, youth, and sexual and reproductive health, with a regional focus in Latin America and Mexico. Prior to Bryant, Dygert was Visiting Scholar at the Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies at Brown University and Lecturer at Northeastern University. She earned an M.A. from Michigan State University and a B.A. from Hartwick College.

Monica WardMonica Ward, Lecturer in the Department of History, Literature, Art and Cultural Studies, holds a Ph.D. in American History from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her areas of research include ethnohistory, Native American history, early U.S. history, the American Revolution, and the native South. Prior to joining the Bryant faculty, Ward was Visiting Assistant Professor of History at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, NC. She earned her M.A. from Rutgers University at Newark and her B.A. from Rutgers University at New Brunswick.

Ferdous SardarFerdous Sardar, Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Economics, earned his Ph.D. in Economics from the University of Washington. His fields of research include health economics, labor economics, development economics, and applied microeconomics. Sardar uses field experiments to study whether information and learning affect health behaviors in developing countries as well as the mechanisms by which this occurs. He is the author of a job market paper on the impact and adoption of mobile health services in Bangladesh that he has presented at international conferences Prior to his doctoral studies, Sardar was an Assistant Director at Bangladesh Bank. He received his M.A. from Central Michigan University and M.B.A. and B.A. from the University of Dhaka, Bangladesh.

School of Health and Behavioral Sciences
Lindsay AmperLindsay Amper, Lecturer in the Department of Psychology, holds a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology from Northeastern University and is a licensed psychologist with a decade of clinical experience. She performed her postdoctoral fellowship at La Rabida Children’s Hospital in Chicago, Illinois, where she provided outpatient individual and family treatment, primarily for underserved children and adolescents with medical trauma and other trauma-related issues. Prior to Bryant, Amper taught at Rhode Island College and Lesley University. She earned her M.Ed. from the Harvard Graduate School of Education and B.A. from the University of Delaware.

Robert PatalanoRobert Patalano ’08, Lecturer in the Department of Biological and Biomedical Sciences, holds a Ph.D. in Archaeology from the University of Calgary and is an archaeologist and biological anthropologist who specializes in early human paleoecology. Patalano’s research interests lie at the intersection of paleoanthropology, paleoecology, and geochemistry, and his work has been  published in Scientific Reports and Nature Communications. He uses archaeological biomarkers to investigate the role climatic and environmental variability had in shaping human origins and diversification. Prior to Bryant, Patalano was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in Palaeoenvironmental Biomarkers at the Max Planck Institute for Geoanthropology (formerly MPI for the Science of Human History), where he is now a Research Affiliate in the isoTROPIC Research Group. He received his M.S. from the University of New Haven and his B.S. in Business Administration from Bryant University.  

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