University of Vermont

New Faculty Snapshots

Ting Tan
Professor Ting Tan takes a look at the materials he studies -- matierals like bamboo, concrete and marble -- to learn more about how and why they fracture. (Photo: Joshua Brown)

As the first tests of the semester creep closer on every class syllabus, UVM Today has administered a quiz of its own -- to this year's newest faculty. We've posed a series of questions to a handful of the new professors about their areas of research (answer: everything from wind turbines to post-apocalyptic fiction), as well as their backgrounds, interests, and quirky personal facts. Read on to get to know a sample size of the grade-A professors new to campus this fall.

Ting Tan, assistant professor, College of Engineering and Mathematical Sciences

Training: Ph.D. in engineering, Princeton University.
Recent experience: Working on new designs for wind turbines, hydrogen storage tanks, and other “next-generation energy infrastructure,” he says, as a postdoctoral researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.
Research interests: “Things that break!” An expert on the fracture of materials, he says, “Things fail; I want to analyze those failures” to prevent future problems. He was part of a team called in by the Metropolitan Museum of Art — when a 15th-century sculpture cracked and crashed to the floor — to help figure out which adhesives would be best for repair.
Outside interests: Running and basketball. “I’d like to play here, but I know UVM is really good at basketball."
Quirky personal fact: He collects toys. “Toys can be tools for children; they also can be very expensive.”
Why he chose UVM: “I told myself, ‘If UVM wants me, I'll be there,’” he says. “It’s beautiful here, and I’m honored to be part of this great university.”

Melissa Willard-Foster, assistant professor of political science

Training: Ph.D. University of California Los Angles, M.A. University of Chicago, B.S. Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service.
Recent experience: Postdoctoral fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School's Belfer Center for Science & International Affairs.
Research interests: The effects of domestic political incentives on foreign policy decision-making.
Outside interests: Hiking (she’s climbed Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in the continental U.S.); jogging; spending time with her family, including a daughter, 5, and a son, 19 months.
Quirky personal fact: She’s in pursuit of the perfect scoop of ice cream.
Why she chose UVM: “The emphasis UVM puts on both quality teaching and innovative research creates an energetic yet scholarly environment where both faculty and students can thrive. I'm thrilled to be a part of it.”

Stephanie McKay, assistant professor of animal science

Training: B.S. in biochemistry Texas A&M University; B.S. in genetics, Texas A&M University; M.S. in veterinary microbiology, Texas A&M University; Ph.D. in animal science, University of Alberta, Edmonton, AB Canada.
Recent experience: Postdoctoral fellow working in animal genomics at the University of Missouri.
Research interests: Primarily, the genetics of cows. “Generally speaking, our goal is to identify genes of interest that are associated with economically important traits,” McKay says. For example, in beef cattle that would be intramuscular fat, or marbling, and in dairy cattle, milk yield. “Once the genes are identified, then we work toward figuring out how all of the genes work together to produce the phenotype for the trait of interest,” she says. “The overall goal is to produce an informative tool that producers can utilize in order to make more informed management decisions.”
Outside interests: Reading and biking. “I read all the time for work, so, when I get home, I like easy reading,” she says, “biographies and science fiction too.” As for biking: “I have a mountain bike but I’ve always lived in flat places -- until now,” she says.
Quirky personal fact: “My red hair is part of my personality,” she says “You need to meet me to understand.”
Why she chose UVM: “The people that I’ve met here have all been fabulous,” she says, “and there is tremendous potential for collaborative research.”

Glenn Walberg, assistant professor of business

Training: LL.M. in taxation from the Georgetown University Law Center, J.D. from the William & Mary Law School
Recent experience: Associate professor of accounting and business law at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington

Research interests: Timing aspects of reporting income and expense items for tax purposes.

Outside interests: "Whatever intrigues my kids, hiking, biking, and traveling."

Why he chose UVM: "With its supportive and friendly academic community and great location for my family, UVM offers so many professional and personal opportunities."

Lindsey Moses, assistant professor of education

Training: Ed.D in educational studies: dual cognate of reading and culturally and linguistically diverse education at the University of Northern Colorado; M.A. in interdisciplinary studies: ESL, multicultural, bilingual education at the University of Northern Colorado.
Recent experience: Two years as an assistant professor of early childhood education at the University of Northern Colorado where she taught courses in early childhood, literacy, elementary education, linguistically diverse education, and teaching English as a second language.
Research interests: "My research involves using a sociocultural perspective to explore how young learners construct meaning with text in various instructional settings."
Outside interests: Running, Pilates, food, photography and traveling.
Quirky personal fact: "I am a classically trained and certified Pilates instructor."
Why she chose UVM: "I loved the faculty at UVM," she says, "and their commitment to providing meaningful and authentic learning experiences for young children."

Kevin Moffett, assistant professor of English

Training: MFA in fiction writing, the Iowa Writer’s Workshop.
Recent experience: Assistant professor, Cal State University, San Bernardino
Research interests: Speculative and post-apocalyptic fiction, the short story
Outside interests: Running; the Civil War; British pop music; playing soccer with his eight-year-old son; everything about islands, visiting them, writing about them…  “I like the general idea of a self-contained place surrounded by water.”
Quirky personal fact: He interviewed Dolly Parton while working for Funworld magazine, the official trade journal for the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions, where he worked his way up to managing editor. (Read his quirky essay on the experience.)
Why he chose UVM: “The combination of a warm, impressive department within an excellent university within a progressive and beautiful place. I'd been to Vermont only once before, in 1998, when I met my would-be wife at the Breadloaf Writers' Conference in Middebury. It seemed like a lucky place to return to.”