University of Vermont

New Year Brings New Faculty

Jason Stockwell, director of the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory (Photo: Sally McCay)

It's been a rocky start to the new academic year in Vermont, but nevertheless, a new semester has begun. This week, incoming students attend their first college classes and get to know their way around a new campus. Joining them in acclimating to a new home are more than 30 faculty hires. UVM Today connected with six of them to learn more about their background, their interests and what brought them to Vermont.

Jason Stockwell, associate professor of aquatic ecology and director of the Rubenstein Ecosystem Science Laboratory

Training: Ph.D. in Zoology, University of Toronto
Recent experience: Research scientist at the Gulf of Maine Research Institute
Research interests: The impact of environmental change on aquatic food web structure and
resultant ecosystem properties
Outside interests: "Chocolate, fishing, and gardening," he says, as well as “playing”
mandolin, though he’s clear he wants “playing” put in quotation marks.
Quirky personal fact: “I used to train dogs for protection work,” he says.
Why he chose UVM: “The emphasis on the importance of interdisciplinary work to connect
Lake Champlain with the watershed and the communities,” he says, “and the quality of

Youngok Jung, assistant professor of early childhood education

Training: Ph.D. in Education Psychology from University of California, Los Angeles; M.Ed. in Early Childhood Special Education from University of Virginia
Recent experience
: Two years as research fellow at the Center of Improving Child Care Quality and
part-time lecturer in the Assistive Technology and Human Services program at California State University, Northridge
Research interests: Early language and literacy development of culturally diverse and economically disadvantaged children/Children's instructional and interactional experience in early childhood education settings and its effect on their academic and social development
Outside interests: Biking, traveling, skiing, fishing, cooking
Quirky personal fact: "I used to quilt and handmade a couple of wall-size quilts."
Why she chose UVM: "I love the university's commitment to the human rights movement and community service."

Priyantha Wijesinghe, lecturer in civil engineering and environmental science

Training: Ph.D. in Structural Engineering, University of Oklahoma; M.Sc. in Civil
Engineering, University of Oklahoma; M.Sc. in Architecture, University of Moratuwa, Sri
Recent experience: Postdoctoral research associate and instructor in civil engineering at
Research interests: Structural health monitoring, fatigue monitoring and detection of
steel highway bridges, linear and nonlinear finite element modeling / analysis, and
restoration and preservation of historic structures
Outside interests: Cooking and designing, she says, “and spending time with my
10-year-old son.”
Quirky personal fact: “Once in a while my son says, ‘Mom, you don’t know anything’!”
Why she chose UVM: “It was my husband’s job that brought our family to Vermont and then
I had this great opportunity to join the UVM faculty and to do what I love doing most –
teaching,” she says. “I’m fortunate to be surrounded by a highly talented, extremely
friendly faculty and a very supportive staff. I’m thankful for my husband for choosing Vermont
as our home.”

Jason Clemence, visiting lecturer in film and television studies

Training: Doctoral candidate, Tufts University, M.A., University of Vermont, B.A., University of Massachusetts at Amherst
Recent experience
: He’s been teaching composition and introductory literature. “The opportunity that I have this year, to devote entire classes to film, is overwhelming in the best possible way. I'm teaching courses on David Lynch, postmodernism by way of contemporary animated television, and cinematic violence.”
Research interests
: His dissertation examines the "disappearance" of fictionalized cinematic audiences in films that depict their characters as authors and/or producers of textual content, incorporating elements of classic film theory, psychoanalysis and narrative theory.
Outside interests
: “Running. I am fanatical about it. My first marathon was this past May, right here in Burlington, and I'm running my second in late October.”
Quirky personal fact
: “On the first day of my first job out of college...I took a punch to the face.”
Why he chose UVM
: “Being a grad student here was absolutely formative for me as a scholar and a teacher. The idea of coming back to this excellent university and department occurred to me long before I even heard about this job opening. And besides, Burlington is pretty much the perfect town.”

Pramodita Sharma, professor of business

Training: Ph.D. University of Calgary, Canada; MBA and B.Sc. Punjab Agricultural University,
Recent experience: CIBC Distinguished Professor of Family Business, John Molson School of
Business, Concordia University; Global Academic Director, STEP project, Babson College, USA
Research interests: Entrepreneurial family enterprises -- governance, succession, behavioral dynamics of transgenerational firms
Outside interests: "Hiking, reading, spending family time"
Why she chose UVM: "Because of the combination of natural beauty of Vermont, professional
environment at UVM, and huge potential of the School of Business Administration"

Teresa Mares, assistant professor of anthropology

Training: Ph.D. and M.A. University of Washington
Recent experience: From 2010-2011 she was a social and behavioral sciences diversity postdoctoral fellow in the Department of Anthropology at Ohio State University.
Research interests: Sustainable food systems and food movements, environmental justice, diet-related health disparities and Latino/a migration in the United States
Outside interests: Hiking with her dog, Canela, cooking, gardening and volunteering with local community organizations
Quirky personal fact:  “I was trained as a barista at one of the best coffee roasters in Seattle and I know how to pull a mean shot of espresso!”
Why she chose UVM: “I chose UVM because it seems like the perfect place for me to develop as a teacher-scholar and because of the exciting opportunity to work with the new Transdisciplinary Research Initiative in Food Systems.”