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New Faculty 2012-2013

FIT welcomes the 18 new full-time classroom and non-classroom faculty who have joined the community this year. They represent the first group of new faculty selected based on criteria developed as part of the Faculty of the Future initiative. The faculty search process was extensive, and in the end the effort brought an outstanding group of new colleagues who will make important contributions to FIT in the coming years.

The School of Art and Design, full-time classroom faculty members:

Jada Schumacher, Communication Design, associate professor, comes to FIT from the University of Wisconsin, and brings an extensive background that includes freelance design, numerous and varied lectures, research presentations, and publications. Her professional activities include founding a design firm, Design Orange LLC, based in St. Paul, MI.

Christie Shin, Communication Design, assistant professor, served as an adjunct instructor at FIT and at Pratt, and has taught at Hofstra University and Nassau Community College. Along with publication, solo exhibition, and research activities, her experience includes web design and design consulting for clients such as Tapit Water, the Hearst Corporation, and Kaplan, Inc.

Jennifer Nuss, Fine Arts, assistant professor, has been an adjunct instructor at the City College of New York and at Columbia University. Her work has been shown in national and international solo and group exhibitions, and she has been a visiting artist at Tsinghua University in Beijing, at Columbia University, and at the Rhode Island School of Design.

Dan Shefelman, Illustration, assistant professor, has taught as an adjunct instructor at the Kanbar Institute of Film and Television at New York University, and has worked as a writer, story artist, and design director for CNN, the Cartoon Network, MTV Animation, and Nickelodeon. He has been a political cartoonist for New York Newsday.

Wendy Yothers, Jewelry Design, assistant professor, has taught at the University of Hawaii at Hilo and in the continuing education division at New York University, as well as in FIT’s Saturday Live program. Her work has been included in a variety of national and international exhibitions, collections, and industry publications. She has also worked closely with the FIT Foundation, and designed FIT’s ceremonial mace.

Craig Berger, Visual Presentation and Exhibition Design, assistant professor, has served as director of education for the Society for Environmental Graphic Design, in Washington, D.C., and as director of projects for the Foundation for Architecture, in Philadelphia. He is active as a researcher, writer, and lecturer.

Jay and Patty Baker School of Business and Technology full-time classroom faculty members:

Shelley Kohan, Fashion Merchandising Management, instructor, comes to FIT from BVI Networks, Inc., where she served as vice president of retail consulting. She has also held executive leadership positions at Space NK Apothecary, Saks Fifth Avenue, Macy’s West in California, and Bloomingdale’s in New York. She was also president of Shelmark Consulting, Inc., providing services to small start-up companies in the areas of market growth, retail store operations, and supply chain efficiencies.

Ajoy Sarkar, Textile Development and Marketing, associate professor, worked in the department of Design and Merchandising at Colorado State University. He has published his work in a variety of prestigious industry journals and has regularly presented research at national and international conferences. He has received a number of federal grants, largely from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Rebecca Bauman, Foreign Languages, assistant professor, has taught as an adjunct faculty member at Columbia University, Barnard College, the University of Connecticut, Fordham University, and Hofstra University. She has a variety of publications to her credit, and has given presentations at the Columbia University Seminar in Modern Italian Studies, the John D. Calandra Italian-American Institute, and the Symposium on Language Teaching at Fordham University.

Rachel Baum, History of Art, assistant professor, joins FIT from C.W. Post of Long Island University, where she was director of the art history program. Many of her articles have appeared in Camera Austria and she has given presentations at Brown University, the University of Rochester, and the University of South Carolina.

Gennady Lyakir, Social Sciences, assistant professor, comes to FIT from the Division of Business at Champlain College in Burlington, VT, where he taught macroeconomics, microeconomics, international trade and finance, and the quantitative language of business. His fields of interest include monetary policy and international finance.

Full-time, non-classroom faculty members:

Rita Armenia, Registrar, director of records and registration, comes to FIT from Adelphi University, where she served as university registrar. Previously, she was associate registrar, TAP certifying officer, and instructor/advisor at Saint Francis College, and assistant registrar at Hofstra University School of Law.

Magda Francois, Admissions, counselor/assistant professor, served as a senior admissions counselor at SUNY Maritime College for five years. She began her career in retail at Nordstrom, as an account coordinator/analyst, and then was a visual merchandiser at Macy’s.

Laura Kleinman, Counseling Center, counselor/assistant professor, comes to FIT from Berkeley College, where she served as a personal counselor, following her years as a social worker with a Community Health Resource Center in San Francisco and in the VA Health Care System.

Jen-Mai Wong, Counseling Center, counselor/assistant professor, is a licensed, board-certified psychologist, who comes to FIT from Rutgers University, where she served as staff psychologist with a specialty in eating disorders at the Rutgers-Newark Counseling Center. She is also a clinical psychologist with a group practice in Hoboken, NJ.

Leslie Preston, Library, head of acquisitions, previously served as assistant museum librarian in the Robert Goldwater Library at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, and as circulation manager at the Atlanta College of Art Library.

Regan Christie, Academic Advisement Center, counselor/associate professor, previously worked at CUNY’s Hunter College, where she served as assistant director of transfer programs in the Office of Advising Services. Prior to that, she held the position of pre-health academic advisor in the Schools of the Health Professions at Hunter.

Benita Pratt, Academic Advisement Center, counselor/assistant professor, worked at Monroe College where she held the dual position of senior online admissions counselor and military and veteran coordinator. She began her admissions career as a counselor at Metropolitan College, and then became an assistant job developer with the COPE Program at CUNY’s New York City College of Technology.

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