The College of Charleston is proud to welcome its new faculty members, who’ve come from all over the world to teach, mentor and inspire students.
Over the fall semester, The College Today is introducing these Cougars to campus a few at a time – in no particular order – giving the CofC community the opportunity to get to know them all a little better. (The first in this series is on the Faculty & Staff News page.)
Please give a warm welcome to the faculty members in the second of this introductory series!
Linea Cutter, Political Science
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Political Science
Background: I am originally from Florida, and earned my M.A. in political science from Florida International University. After the completion of my M.A. in 2018, I moved to Southwest Virginia to pursue my doctorate at Virginia Tech. In the spring of 2023, I successfully defended my dissertation in political theory as part of the interdisciplinary ASPECT Ph.D. program at Virginia Tech. My dissertation focused on the politics of health, food and dietary advice in the United States and Western Europe from the 17th century to the present. While I pursued my Ph.D., I was an instructor of record for the Department of Political Science at Virginia Tech, and had the opportunity to teach five different undergraduate courses that addressed key theories and debates in both U.S. and international politics. During this time, I also offered online courses in political theory to undergraduate students at Florida International University.
Expertise: My research interests encompass domestic and global health politics and policy, food politics and sustainability, political theory and critical nutrition studies. Over the past three years, I engaged in archival research and examined governmental documents, public health documents, diet manuals and marketing materials for diet products to frame the historical significance of contemporary diet trends, weight loss technologies and food-oriented social media platforms. A central aspect of my historical research involved the exploration of the political and social dynamics surrounding the framing of U.S. dietary guidelines and goals. For instance, I examined how the 1977 Senate Select Committee on Nutrition and Human Needs under Senator George McGovern and the corresponding “Dietary Goals for the United States” had a lasting impact on how Americans view dietary balance as well as the ethical and responsible consumption of food. In my current research, I continue to probe how notions of dietary balance informed by public health and governmental institutions are distilled, transformed and circulated across social media platforms.
Outside Interests: In my free time, I enjoy swimming, reading novels, watching scary movies and baking.
Looking Forward: I am excited to teach American Government, American Political Thought and a course in contemporary political issues in the fall 2023 semester. For American Government, my students will have the opportunity to complete a research project on the history of a specific congressional district, and I am excited to help them develop their projects. In American Political Thought, students will have the opportunity to write a creative project that builds on course themes. I titled my contemporary political issues course, What Should We Eat for Diner? Power, Politics, and Food. We will focus on using food as a lens to explore domestic and global political dynamics behind food sustainability discourses, malnutrition and the obesity epidemic.
Kamyar Goudarzi, Management
Assistant Professor, Department of Management and Marketing
Background: I am from Iran, where my academic journey began with an undergraduate degree in civil engineering. Seeking to merge my technical skills with business acumen, I pursued an MBA. I then moved to Canada, where I completed my Ph.D. in strategy at the Smith School of Business at Queen’s University.
Expertise: My research mostly lies at the intersection of strategic management and finance. I explore how financial markets and shareholders both perceive and influence firm’s corporate strategies, competitive actions and investment decisions.
Outside Interests: When not working, I’m probably listening to podcasts, reading, hiking or going for long walks, or watching TV shows. I also enjoy cooking and experiencing new dishes, so I’m looking forward to exploring Charleston’s amazing food scene.
Looking Forward: Apart from the many real-world cases that create great in-class discussions in the capstone strategy course that I teach, I particularly look forward to seeing students compete in teams in a business simulation to become the most successful company in their industry.
Shashi Jha, Computer Science
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
Background: I received the B.Eng. degree in computer technology from Nagpur University, India, in 2013, and the M.S. degree in industrial and systems engineering from the Indian Institute of Technology
Kharagpur, India, in 2018. In 2023, I gained my Ph.D. degree in electrical engineering and computer science at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida.
Expertise: My research interests include automated defect detection, computer vision, deep learning, machine learning and optimization. My previous work was published in renowned journals such as Computers in Industry, Computers & Industrial Engineering and the Journal of Intelligent Manufacturing.
Outside Interests: I like exploring new things, meditation, pranayama, cooking, cricket, football, etc.
Looking Forward: I will be teaching Operating Systems and Computer Programming II, but I am more excited about Operating Systems, which involve several practical things such as creating virtual machines, experiencing virtualization of CPU, main memory, etc.
Troy Knauss, Management and Marketing
Instructor of Entrepreneurship, Department of Management and Marketing
Background: I am a partner in several Angel funds that invest in high-growth startup companies. In addition to fund activities, I’m an exited entrepreneur with experience launching, building and selling companies in multiple industries. I’m an active investor in over 50 portfolio companies and am a frequent speaker to investors and entrepreneurs on private investing through my efforts with the Angel Resource Institute (ARI), a spinout of the Kauffman Foundation. At ARI, I serve on the board of trustees and formerly co-chaired the Research Committee, helping publish the annual HALO Report, an in-depth analysis of over 3,000 new startup deals per year. I’m a former assistant professor of the practice of entrepreneurship at High Point University, a former adjunct professor at Wake Forest University and a former board member of the Angel Capital Association. I hold degrees from Susquehanna University and Wake Forest University.
Expertise: With significant experience growing and investing in companies, I co-wrote with Michael Cain, former ARI chair, a book, How to Make Money with Angel Investors. This book helps entrepreneurs and investors get a better understanding of what it takes to build, invest in, and make money growing and exiting startup companies. The book looks at 100 rules to fund a deal from the perspective of successful and experienced investors and exited entrepreneurs. From this experience, I spend much of my time speaking to investors around the world on best practices to lower investment risk in early-stage companies. While I learned much of my knowledge through my own investing and startup experience, I utilize up-to-date data from the Angel Resource Institute to analyze and track trends. I enjoy mentoring founders, business leaders and entrepreneurial students looking to grow their companies.
Outside Interests: I enjoy spending time on the golf course and playing tennis.
Looking Forward: Meeting and making a difference in the lives of students! My entrepreneurial mindset has allowed me to take risks and to learn something new every day. I love to teach and am proud of my ability to blend theory with my practical experience launching, building and investing in entrepreneurial companies. My experiences have allowed me to become a good storyteller. And telling stories that include my best (and worst) business decisions creates a real connection with every student to explore their own mindset and to make them more successful for whatever career path they choose.
Antron Mahoney, African American Studies
Assistant Professor, African American Studies Program
Background: I am excited about returning to South Carolina and CofC. I served as visiting faculty in African American studies at CofC for the 2019–2020 academic year. Since then, I have been a visiting faculty member in gender and sexuality studies at Davidson College, and most recently, assistant professor of Africana, gender and identity studies at Ohio Wesleyan University. I grew up in Bishopville, South Carolina, and I attended Bethune-Cookman College for my bachelor’s degree and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro for my master’s degree, earning degrees in education. I worked for eight years as an administrator, program coordinator and instructor in higher education student affairs at multiple institutions before pursuing a career as a professor and returning to graduate school to earn a Ph.D. in Pan-African studies at the University of Louisville.
Expertise: My research interests include identity, embodiment and Black social movements; race and gender in college campus life (esp., Black fraternal organizations and leadership studies); LGBTQ politics and media representation; and Southern Black LGBTQ history and culture.
Outside Interests: I love live music, great food and being with close friends. I also enjoy running and playing golf when possible.
Looking Forward: I am most excited about teaching in my home state and having the opportunity to make South Carolina, and the broader South, a primary geographical and cultural text for exploring race, gender, identity and politics.
Colleen Quaas ’16, Biology
Colleen Quaas ’16
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Biology
Background: I’m actually an alumna! Originally from Chicago, I came to the College of Charleston and graduated with a B.S. in biology and a minor in music. Following my undergraduate work, I received my Ph.D. at the Medical University of South Carolina studying DNA biochemistry, and am now a postdoc in the same institution.
Expertise: My Ph.D. background was in DNA mechanism, and my current postdoc projects focus on investigating how African-centric p53 SNP mutations influence DNA repair and confer cancer risk in African American populations.
Outside Interests: I balance my passion for science with many interests and hobbies. I love growing fresh produce in my garden and bike the West Ashley Greenway regularly. When I have the time, I horseback ride. I’ve been riding horses for 20+ years.
Looking Forward: I get to give back to my favorite institution! I love mentoring students and emulating my passion for science and liberal arts. Teaching genetics lab is especially exciting to me, as DNA mechanisms are my particular area of expertise.
Kelly Simpson, Health and Human Performance
Visiting Instructor, Department of Health and Human Performance
Background: I am from Weaverville, North Carolina. I attended Clemson University and earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in park, recreation and tourism management. I have worked in higher education for over 20 years, serving in various capacities as an intercollegiate athletic administrator, recreation manager, admissions officer, instructor and advisor. I earned an Ed.D. in leadership from Charleston Southern University. I serve as a leadership consultant for a commercial real estate investment firm.
Expertise: My research interests include organizational culture, startup culture, leadership and building teams.
Outside Interests: I am an avid runner and recently started participating in triathlons. I enjoy skiing and snowboarding, reading biographies and spending time with my husband and two children.
Looking Forward: I am most excited about working with the students at the College of Charleston. I have had the opportunity to teach at CofC as an adjunct. The students have been impressive and are a pleasure to work with as a teacher. I look forward to teaching a full course load this year and being part of their educational journey.
Alan Stemple, Mathematics
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Mathematics
Background: I’m originally from West Virginia. My college career started at a small liberal arts college (Davis & Elkins College) in my hometown, and I moved on to West Virginia University to complete my engineering degree. I received my master’s and Ph.D. in aerospace engineering through the Rotorcraft Center of Excellence at the University of Maryland. I’m a structures engineer and, although I’ve worked much of my career in helicopters, I have also worked on fixed-wing aircraft and spacecraft. I spent approximately 25 years in Mesa, Arizona, working for McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Co. (now the Boeing Co.). I transferred to Charleston in 2013 to help start the Propulsion Division for Boeing. I helped develop and teach internal courses for Boeing engineers.
Expertise: My work focused on structural analysis and testing, specializing in fiber-reinforced composite materials. Most of my publications are on the nonlinear analysis of composite rotor blades. Although I specialize in composite materials, I have a couple of patents, neither of which involve composite materials.
Outside Interests: I enjoy motorcycle riding, backroad touring, travel, soccer and watching college football.
Looking Forward: I’m excited about increasing the appreciation of math with those students that come to class with a strong dislike and/or bad history with math classes. I also enjoy exposing students to real-world applications such as mortgages, retirement savings and probability.