The College of Charleston is proud to welcome its new faculty members. With a diversity of expertise in a variety of disciplines, they come excited and ready to teach, mentor and inspire students across campus.
Over the fall semester, The College Today has been 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. Please give a warm welcome to the faculty members in the third of this introductory series, and check out the Faculty & Staff News page to learn about other new faculty members!
Stacie Baumann, Mathematics
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics
Background: I am originally from Columbus, Ohio. I earned my B.S in mathematics from West Virginia Wesleyan College with minors in education and computer science. This past May, I earned my Ph.D. from Auburn University, where I had the opportunity to teach a variety of classes in addition to completing my research.
Expertise: My research is in an area of mathematics called combinatorics. Combinatorics deals with counting and arranging objects. It deals with studying whether specific arrangements exist and patterns that arise. Combinatorics has applications in probability, computer science and operations research. I look forward to including students at CofC in my research in the future.
Outside Interests: I enjoy being outside and being active. In my free time, I play volleyball, hike and kayak. This is the first time I will live near the coast, so I look forward to spending time at the beach!
Looking Forward: I look forward to being able to teach courses in my research area. This fall, I am teaching Discrete Structures. As an undergraduate, taking a class in discrete mathematics made me decide to become a mathematics major and pursue research in mathematics. I look forward to sharing this love of math with my students.
Haley Cabaniss, Geology
Haley Cabaniss ’15
Assistant Professor, Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences
Background: I am originally from Greenville, South Carolina, and attended the College of Charleston as an undergraduate student, earning my B.S. in geology. As a student, I became interested in volcanology, tectonics and marine geology, and enjoyed working for the College as an undergraduate TA and tutor. I realized as a student that I really enjoyed teaching and made it my career goal to work for a similar undergraduate-serving program. Immediately after graduating, I began an M.S. degree program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where I inevitably earned my Ph.D. in geology in May 2020. Having defended my dissertation at the start of the pandemic, I eagerly accepted a position as an assistant professor of geophysics at an undergraduate-serving, regional comprehensive university, where I worked for three years before joining the College of Charleston. I’m thrilled to be back! :)
Expertise: I am a marine geologist/geophysicist who studies features and phenomena of the Earth’s seafloor. I use numerical modeling as a tool to understand the mechanics of seafloor stability and failure, often applied to submarine volcanism. Working in submarine environments requires the use of satellites, ships, submersibles and seafloor observatories, and I enjoy combining disparate datasets to approach geologically interesting questions in the marine environment: Can tides trigger earthquakes? Volcanic eruptions? How does climate change influence the stability of the seafloor? At the College of Charleston, I’m eager to engage students in these research questions as they learn techniques for mapping the Earth’s seafloor.
Outside Interests: I consider myself to be a serial hobbyist. I enjoy anything outdoors, from cycling to rock climbing, and am eager to be back on the water, where I can explore new hobbies! I also really enjoy cooking elaborate meals that typically require me to use ingredients I’m unfamiliar with (a pandemic hobby, continued). I enjoy growing my own food and look forward to ripping up the grass in my front yard and replacing it with an awesome vegetable garden soon. I also have two lovely dogs, Opal and Duncan, who I enjoy doing just about everything with.
Looking Forward: My department houses a very unique program, the Benthic Acoustic Mapping and Survey Program (BEAMS), that teaches undergraduate students to map the seafloor. I learned how to map through this program, and I’m thrilled to be back at the College, where my courses will continue to support and grow it. This semester I will be teaching a class called Marine Geology, and I’m looking forward to taking advantage of CofC’s proximity to the coast to run field trips for students.
Nicolas Delon, Philosophy
Assistant Professor, Department of Philosophy
Background: I grew up in France and Belgium and studied in France. I completed my doctorate in philosophy at Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne in 2014. I’m coming to Charleston by way of two postdocs (NYU and UChicago Law) and five years at New College of Florida in Sarasota.
Expertise: Ethics with a focus on animals and the environment. I’m currently working on a book project on animal agency. I’m also very interested in animals in urban environments.
Outside Interests: I’m an avid runner, a nonalcoholic beer apologist, a cat person and I spend a lot of time listening to music (classical, jazz, punk, hardcore).
Looking Forward: My philosophy courses tend to attract students from a wide range of disciplines, which I always find rewarding.
Mike Hamilton, Teacher Education
Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education
Background: I grew up in Jacksonville, Florida, where I attended the University of North Florida. I earned a bachelor’s and master’s in mathematics from UNF and then moved to Nashville, Tennessee, to teach high school math. After teaching for six years in Nashville, I decided to pursue a Ph.D. in mathematics education from the University of Georgia, which is what I was doing before coming to the College of Charleston.
Expertise: Teacher education, authority relations in classrooms, teachers’ beliefs and teacher professional development
Outside Interests: I love being outdoors, whether that’s playing with my kids in our yard, kayaking or playing golf. I’m also a sports nut and follow the Jacksonville Jaguars and Atlanta Braves most closely.
Looking Forward: I am always going to be most excited about the professional/academic relationships I am able to develop with my students. In addition to developing those relationships, I am excited to be a part of developing great teachers who will go on to serve the Charleston community and other communities throughout the state of South Carolina.
Martin Jones, Mathematics
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Mathematics
Background: Retired CofC professor returning to teach some courses. Ph.D. in mathematics from Georgia Tech.
Expertise: Probability and stochastic processes
Outside Interests: Tennis, flute, languages
Looking Forward: I look forward to teaching Statistical Learning Theory, the mathematics behind ChatGPT.
John Kim, Finance
Assistant Professor, Finance
Background: I received my B.S. in finance and real estate, M.S. in investment management and Ph.D. in finance from Temple University. Prior to joining the Ph.D. program, I worked as a senior fund accountant at the Bank of New York Mellon.
Expertise: My research interests are broadly in corporate finance with a particular interest in executive decision-making and corporate board structure.
Outside Interests: I enjoy playing all different types of sports, including running marathons, lifting weights, bowling and playing soccer. When I am not working or exercising, I enjoy cooking and traveling. I am always looking for new places to explore and new cultures to experience.
Looking Forward: I am most excited about meeting and mentoring students and showing them the exciting world of finance. I am also excited to share my personal experiences from working in the financial industry and to show students how finance can be used to solve real-world problems.
Caitlin Kozack, Chemistry
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Background: B.S. in chemistry (Hope College, 2015); M.S. in chemistry (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2017); Ph.D. in chemistry (University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2021); lecturer and lab instructor at Alma College (2021–2023)
Expertise: Organic chemistry
Outside Interests: I enjoy reading and am looking forward to exploring Charleston!
Looking Forward: I love teaching lab courses, as they allow you to really interact with your students and get to know them while teaching them exciting new skills!
Nick Leahy, Health and Human Performance
Visiting Instructor, Department of Health and Human Performance
Background: I began my academic journey at East Carolina University in the fall of 2010. I obtained my undergraduate degree in kinesiology, and a year later I returned to ECU to pursue my master’s in kinesiology with a concentration in physical activity promotion. After finishing my master’s, I moved to Florida to attend the University of Central Florida for my Ph.D. in exercise physiology.
Expertise: My passion is exploring the benefits of physical activity in special populations. A number of benefits can be obtained by participating in regular physical activity, but certain demographics can gain even more by engaging in these activities. I think it is our duty as educators to do everything in our power to ensure the entire population can reap the benefits of exercise. Developing and implementing physical activity programs is an area that I have excelled in. I have helped introduce a number of specialized physical activity programs throughout my education tenure. Most recently my team and I helped develop and implement a judo program for adolescents with autism. I have also worked with a number of different animal therapy programs to bring physical activity to populations that were previously unable to engage in activities they loved. These programs have taught me that there are limitless possibilities to the benefits of physical activity, and there is so much more to learn!
Outside Interests: I enjoy anything that has to do with the outdoors, especially if a board is involved (I even taught my dog how to ride a skateboard). I have traveled the country in search of new mountains to hike and ride, and I am always ready for a new adventure. My dogs mean the world to me, so my Aussies and I are never far apart. They are the most spoiled children I know. When I am not hiking or on the water, I enjoy working on my friends’ project cars (I had to let mine go due to a lack of storage accommodations).
Looking Forward: I am passionate about helping others understand the nuances of exercise prescription. It teaches individuals to understand that people are different and the same approach cannot be applied universally. In order to be successful in this endeavor, one must gather information and successfully apply them based on the client’s goals. Helping others understand how motor skills are developed and perfected is also one of my passions. Every movement that is performed by the human body is the result of a number of systems operating in harmony.
Leilei Shi, Physics
Assistant Professor of Engineering, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Background: I completed my Ph.D. in electrical engineering from the University of Cincinnati in 2021. Prior to that, I earned a master’s degree in material science and engineering from the University of Science and Technology Beijing, China, in 2014, and a bachelor’s degree in material engineering from Shenyang Ligong University, China, in 2011.
After completing my Ph.D study, I joined Carolina University as an assistant professor of electrical engineering in spring 2022. Additionally, from 2014 to 2015, I worked as a process engineer at Semiconductor Manufacturing International Corporation (SMIC).
Expertise: My current research is mainly focused on biomedical electronics, microfluidics, lab-on-chip devices, biosensors, wearable and flexible electronics and the implementation of machine learning and deep learning in healthcare applications.
Outside Interests: Outside of work, I enjoy biking, hiking and assembling electrical and electronic components.
Looking Forward: I am excited to teach engineering courses at CofC, especially courses related to microelectronics and programming, such as microelectronics, circuit analysis, engineering programming and microcontroller.