New faculty at Saint Martin’s bring intresting skills and perspectives

Jessica Varvil, Staff Writer


The new school year at Saint Martin’s University was accompanied by  the hiring of several new faculty members. These staff additions bring experiences including across the country in a variety of different disciplines from engineering,  education and business.

Waiting outside the offices in Cebula Hall, students and visitors examine the posters and visuals that paper the walls and doors around professors’ offices.  Matthew Ballard’s windows are covered with diagrams concerning salmonella and the microfluidic devices that could detect the presence of bacteria. Ballard graduated from the Georgia Institute of Technology in August with a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering with a focus on fluid dynamics. His academic interests also include thermodynamics and physiological flows.

Before earning his doctorate, Ballard earned a bachelors degree in mechanical engineering from Brigham Young University in Utah, his home state. After receiving his degree, he worked as a flight test engineer for the U.S. Navy. Ballard was drawn to Saint Martin’s University because of SMU’s faith based values and genuine care for its students. Though Ballard originally hails from North Salt Lake, Utah, his wife is from Yakima, Wash. Ballard likes the mountains, winter sports and outdoor activities that characterize the Pacific Northwest. Ballard is the father of five children, ranging from ages two to nine.

In a press release, David Olwell, Ph.D., Dean of the Hal and Inge Marcus School of Engineering, stated that “Ballard brings excellent academic credentials, superb teaching skills, and a practical engineering experience to the classroom.” The school of engineering was not the only department at Saint Martin’s to gain new faculty.

The College of Education and Counseling Psychology added two assistant professors of education, Marcela de Souza, Ph.D., and Celeste Trimble, Ph.D. Christopher Maund, associate dean of graduate and professional programs, described de Souza as “well accomplished and very down to earth.” According to a press release from the university, de Souza earned a Ph.D. from the University of California Santa Barbra in education. Her dissertation is entitled “Succeeding in School: Exploring How Academic Achievement is Possible for Mexican Origin English Learners.”

Kate Boyle, Ph.D. Dean of the College of Education and Counseling Psychology, stated that “de Souza’s strong research and professional experiences with [English Language Learning] students in all levels of education and across borders… will bring a new and valuable style and approach.”

According to the same press release, de Souza is interested in the literacy development of English language learners, culturally responsive pedagogies and opportunities for underrepresented students. Trimble, whose office is filled to the brim with colorful children’s books and educational texts, attended the University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz. while earning her Ph.D. in language, reading and culture. Her dissertation was titled “Entering into Particulars: Re-conceptualizing Adolescence through Young Adult Literature and Critical Narrative Pedagogy.”

On Trimble’s interest in English education, youth literacy and adolescent literature, Boyle stated in a press release that “Trimble’s commitment and pursuit of understanding of indigenous culture will bring a needed focus on opportunities for Saint Martin’s University CECP faculty and students.”

The School of Business welcomed Andrew Barenberg and Bob Danielle as new assistant professors of business. Richard Beer, Ph.D. described Barenberg as “an economist with special interest in health economics and how health care (or the lack of it) relates to economic inequality and educational achievement in children.” Barenberg earned a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Massachusetts, while Danielle received an Ed.D. in higher education and organizational change from Benedictine University in Lisle, Ill.

Students and faculty alike look forward to the new changes and perspectives that these staff additions bring to the campus, hopefully making the 2017-2018 school year the best year yet.

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