Our New Profs.

Welcome to Lafayette

This fall, Lafayette welcomes eight new professors, bringing the College’s total to 215 full-time, tenure-track faculty members. Over the past several years, the College has been working toward increasing the size of the permanent faculty by 20 percent and decreasing the student-to-faculty ratio from 11:1 to 10:1, one of the initiatives in its strategic plan.

Andrea Armstrong

Environmental Studies and Sciences

Andrea Armstrong 003As an environmental social scientist, Armstrong studies how human activities shape, and are shaped by, the natural environment. Her doctoral research focused on the decision-making processes concerning stormwater management and irrigation organizations in the Intermountain West region. Her work was featured in the EXPLORE Utah Science magazine and just recently on Utah Public Radio’s “The Source.” She has published research in several environmental journals. She earned her Ph.D. in sociology from Utah State University and an M.S. in natural resources from Cornell University.


Jonathan Bloom


New Tenure Track Faculty: Jonathan Bloom © Chuck Zovko / Zovko Photographic llc August 20, 2015

Previously, Bloom was the Harold H. Martin postdoctoral fellow at Rutgers University where he worked under the guidance of Doron Zeilberger. His research interests are in enumerative and algebraic combinatorics with an emphasis on bijective techniques in the setting of forbidden patterns. Before entering the academic world, he earned a masters in financial engineering from U.C. Berkeley’s Hass School of Business and spent several years developing mathematical pricing models for fixed income securities at BNP Paribas.  Bloom earned a Ph.D. from Dartmouth College in mathematics and an M.S. in mathematics from U.C. San Diego.


Alexander Brown

Mechanical Engineering

Alexander Brown 002Brown is no stranger to Lafayette, having served as a visiting assistant professor for the last year. He has taught the Control Design and Analysis course and the department’s senior design project, in which students designed a device to teach handwriting skills to people with neurological development disorders. As a grad student and post-doc at Penn State, he worked on passenger and commercial vehicle safety with a focus on collision modeling, highway design, environment perception, and path following. He contributed to projects that were funded by grants of more than $7.5 million by the National Institute of Justice, the National Academies of Science, the United States Department of State, and Volvo Truck. He earned a Ph.D. and an M.S. in mechanical engineering from Penn State.


Megan Fernandes


Photo on 8-20-15 at 1.19 PM #4Fernandes is currently teaching courses on creative writing and advanced poetry, and previous taught at Concordia, Brown, and Boston universities. She is the author of the poetry collection The Kingdom and After, the poetry editor of the anthology Strangers in Paris, and the author of two poetry chapbooks: Organ Speech and Some Citrus Makes Me Blue. Her work has been published by the Boston Review, Inside Higher Ed., Rattle, Pank Magazine, Postmodern Culture, Guernica, Memorious, the Academy of American Poets, Redivider, and the California Journal of Poetics. She earned a Ph.D. and an M.A. in English from U.C., Santa Barbara, and an M.F.A. in poetry from Boston University.


Matthew Larsen


Matthew Larsen 001Larsen comes to Lafayette after spending several years with Tulane University’s Education Research Alliance for New Orleans, which works to understand the effects of post-Katrina New Orleans school reforms. His research interests are in the economics of education and labor economics. His recent work focuses on the effects of high school closures on student achievement and educational attainment, and the effects of education policies on outcomes such as crime and marital prospects. He has taught courses in economics as an instructor at Tulane and U.C., Davis, and earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in economics from U.C., Davis.


Michelle Tomaszycki


Michelle Tomaszycki 001Tomaszycki comes to Lafayette after seven years as an assistant/associate professor of psychology at Wayne State University, where she taught courses on physiological psychology, research methods, and general psychology, as well as supervised three graduate student and 20 undergraduate student theses. Her research focuses on sex differences in behavior, the effects of early life stress on development, and the neurobiological mechanisms of forming and maintaining social relationships. She uses zebra finches as a model with multiple levels of analysis: from behavioral observations to molecular techniques. She earned a Ph.D. and M.A. in psychology from Emory University.


Brent Utter

Mechanical Engineering

Brent Utter 003Utter is very familiar with the College, having graduated from Lafayette in 2006 and serving as a visiting assistant professor for the past year. He teaches Intro to Engineering, Statics, and the Thermal/Fluid Systems Lab. While at University of Michigan, Utter was part of a team that developed an intestinal lengthening device to correct short bowel syndrome. The research was supported by the National Institute of Health, The Hartwell Foundation, and the FDA. It has won several university and conference awards and has one patent and two others pending. Utter received his Ph.D. and M.S. in mechanical engineering from University of Michigan.


Matthew Watkins

Electrical and Computer Engineering

Matthew Watkins 002Watkins was an assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering at Bucknell University, where he taught courses in digital design and electrical engineering fundamentals. He also was a performance architect for Intel. His research interests include computer architecture and heterogeneous multiprocessor systems. He received a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship and has published and presented top computer architecture conferences. He received a Ph.D. and an M.S. in electrical and computer engineering from Cornell University.