2021-2022 New Tenured and Tenure-Track Faculty Profiles
We are delighted to welcome each of our new tenured and tenure-track faculty members to the UTEP community. Many of our new colleagues have moved to El Paso from places across the globe—from South Korea to Houston and Hungary—while some have already been here at UTEP and are settling into new roles. We are grateful for their presence and look forward to the many contributions they will make as teachers, scholars, and leaders on campus and in the community. Welcome to UTEP!
Assistant Professor, Department of Computer Science
Dr. Aggarwal joins UTEP from Carnegie Mellon University with a research focus in cybersecurity, human-machine teaming, human factors, cognitive modeling, and decision-making. She is interested in adversarial decision making and developing cognitive models of hackers and analysts. She earned a doctoral degree in computer science from the Indian Institute of Technology in Mandi, India (IIT Mandi), a master’s degree in information security from Thapar University, and a bachelor’s in computer science from Rayat and Bahra University. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Aggarwal served as Co-PI on a grant supporting the study of personalized phishing detection training and cognitive models. She was recognized for her teaching while attending IIT Mandi, and received the Best Paper Award from GameSec and HICSS in 2020. She serves a review editor for the Journal of Frontiers in Psychology and as a reviewer for the Journal of Computers and Security. Her most recent book chapter is entitled, "Evaluating Adaptive Deception Strategies for Cyber Defense with Human Adversaries".
Jordan M. Barker
Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and Management
Dr. Barker joins UTEP from the University of Arkansas (UARK) with a research background in supply chain and transportation strategy, particularly in the context of complementing existing firm-level competitive and operational competencies. His research involves buyer-supplier relationships and inventory management. Dr. Barker earned his doctoral degree in supply chain management from UARK. He completed a master's degree (summa cum laude) in business administration and a bachelor's in logistics and supply chain management (magna cum laude) from Missouri State University. In 2020, Dr. Barker was selected to serve on the Journal of Supply Chain Management’s Junior Editorial Review Board. he was recognized as a Distinguished Doctoral Fellow at UARK and is a two-time recipient of the Ph.D. Research Award from UARK's Supply Chain Management Research Center. He is a member of Decision Sciences Institute and the Council of Supply Chain Management Professionals. Prior to his career in academia, Dr. Barker worked for a large national third-party logistics firm managing freight and customer/carrier negotiations for a diverse group of national accounts. "I am excited to join the El Paso community and the UTEP family," shared Dr. Barker. During his downtime he enjoys spending time with his family, traveling, hiking, and eating.
John J. Bird
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Bird comes to UTEP from the Department of Aerospace Engineering Sciences at the University of Colorado Boulder. His research interests focus on autonomous, learning robots in dynamic and uncertain environments. In particular, Dr. Bird is interested in aircraft systems and the use of autonomous platforms and learning systems to enable scientific observations. He develops algorithms to enable autonomous decision-making and uses field experiments to study the interaction between algorithms, aircraft dynamics, and the environment surrounding an autonomous system. Dr. Bird earned his doctoral and master’s degree in aerospace engineering from The Pennsylvania State University (PSU) and a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from Wichita State University. Dr. Bird sits on the Intelligent Systems Technical Committee as a member of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics. He is also a member of the Institute of Electric and Electronic Engineering and the International Scientific and Technical Soaring Organization (OSTIV). While at PSU, Dr. Bird conducted risk reduction and proof of concept flight experiments for the Dragonfly dual-quadcopter lander which will explore Saturn's moon, Titan. He also developed learning algorithms that enabled the Naval Research Lab Hybrid Tiger aircraft to efficiently and autonomously navigate complex weather during multi-day missions. At CU, Dr. Bird developed autonomous systems for targeted in situ observations of storms by small fixed-wing drones, and developed a software architecture for onboard control and decision-making to enable field research with fixed-wing drones. In 2018, he was recognized with the Paul MacCready award for best paper contributed to the International Scientific and Technical Soaring Organisation (OSTIV) congress. During his down time he enjoys hiking, cycling, and flying sailplanes.
Chair and Professor, Department of Philosophy
Dr. Birondo joins UTEP from Wichita State University where he was an Associate Professor and Chair of the Department of Philosophy. He completed his Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame and his B.A. at the University of California, Berkeley. His research is on the history of ethics in the Western world, ancient Greek philosophy, and Latin American philosophy. He is specifically interested in how our understandings of the virtues of character (honesty, courage, patriotism, justice) have been shaped by the history of Western imperialism and the European encounter with the Americas. In addition to numerous articles in moral philosophy and the history of ethics, his publications include Virtue’s Reasons: New Essays on Virtue, Character, and Reasons, and a new book on The Moral Psychology of Hate (due out in late 2021). Dr. Birondo is the recipient of the American Philosophical Association’s 2019 Essay Prize in Latin American Thought and a past member of the APA’s Committee on Inclusiveness in the Profession. In the early months of 2020 (pre-pandemic) he was a visiting researcher at the Institute for Philosophical Research at the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City. His current research projects at UTEP include an invited Introduction to Latin American Philosophy. A native of San Pedro, California, and a life-long fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers, Dr. Birondo is delighted to be attending baseball games to root for the El Paso Chihuahuas.
Carlos R. Cabrera
Chair and Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Cabrera joins UTEP from the University of Puerto Rico, Río Piedras Campus (UPRRP) and the Center for Interfacial Electrochemistry of Energy Materials, an NSF-PREM collaborative effort with the Cornell High Energy Synchrotron Source (CHESS) at Cornell University. Dr. Cabrera is well acquainted with UTEP, having served as a member of the advisory board for UTEP's NIH-BUILD grant since 2015. His research interests include nanomaterials for alkaline fuel cells, dye sensitized solar cells, microbial fuel cells, and biosensors. His research involves the use of different materials characterization techniques such as X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy, and synchrotron X-ray absorption spectroscopy and electrochemical methods. Dr. Cabrera earned his doctoral degree in analytical chemistry from Cornell University and a bachelor’s degree (magna cum laude) in chemistry from UPRRP. He is a member of the American Chemical Society, the Electrochemical Society, the International Society of Electrochemistry, and the Materials Research Society. Dr. Cabrera is on the editorial review board and also serves as an associate editor for the Journal of Nanotechnology and has over 200 peer review papers and two patents. His grant funded work as PI has focused on renewable and sustainable energy, environmental nanotechnology, biosensor medical devices, and next generation water recovery microbial systems for space applications. He has mentored over 40 doctoral students and eight master students – Hispanic U.S. citizens and Hispanic women make up a large majority of his mentees. In the entrepreneurial area, Dr. Cabrera is a co-founder of the startup BIDEA LLC which innovates on point-of-care technology for cancer diagnosis.
Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
Dr. Cheon comes to UTEP from Arizona State University (ASU) where she earned a doctoral degree and a master’s degree in criminology and criminal justice. Her research interests include race, ethnicity, crime, and justice; policing; comparative criminology; and quantitative methods. Dr. Cheon's research interests have involved her in several grant funded projects focused on studying families and youth in the Eastern and Southern Caribbean - families who are at the highest risk of becoming involved in crime and violence. While ASU, Dr. Cheon taught courses related to statistical analysis in the field of criminal justice.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Day joins UTEP from Michigan State University (MSU) with a research focus on how students learn chemistry. Using the methodology of design-based research and the principles of How People Learn, her research designs and evaluates curricular materials, assessments, and learning environments. Dr. Day's lab is funded by the UTEP BUILDing SCHOLARS NIH grant and her own NSF grant that focuses on Green Chemistry Design Principles. Related to her own research, she consults with the ACS Green Chemistry Institute’s on their module development project. Dr. Day's approach utilizes Design-Based Research cycles as a method of designing and evaluating curricular materials to support students’ engagement in reasoning about complex chemistry phenomena, especially those related to green and sustainable chemistry issues. These curricular materials are embedded within the course’s learning environment and the student responses are analyzed using qualitative methods to elicit evidence of student understanding. This evidence not only informs revisions to course materials and instruction to support learning, but tests and revises theories of How People Learn in the context of chemistry. She earned her doctoral degree in chemistry from the University of Georgia and her undergraduate studies in chemistry from the University of South Dakota. Dr. Day is the recipient of the 2018 Scientists Engaged in Educational Research Center Travel Award from the University of Georgia. Dr. Day is a member of the American Chemical Society (ACS), and more specifically their Division of Chemical Education (DivCHED) for which she serves as a committee member of the Younger Chemistry Education Scholars (YCES). She is also a member of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Prior to joining UTEP she served as a research associate at MSU's Department of Chemistry. For hobbies, Dr. Day enjoys swimming, playing tennis, fantasy football, and tabletop games with friends. She shares that she is also looking forward to getting involved in the community and giving back.
Asim Kumer Dey
Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematical Sciences
Dr. Dey joins UTEP after completing his post-doctoral training at Princeton University and the University of Texas at Dallas. He received his doctoral degree in Statistics from the University of Texas at Dallas. He was a visiting graduate research fellow at Statistical and Applied Mathematical Sciences Institute (SAMSI), NC. Dr. Dey’s research focuses broadly on statistical methods for complex networks, topological and geometric data analysis, extreme value modeling, and their applications to power systems, critical infrastructures, blockchain data analytics, climatology, and finance. His works on resilience analysis of power grids and other complex networks, and topological clustering of multilayer networks received the best student paper award from American Statistical Association Section for Statistics in Defense and National Security (SDNS) in 2019 and 2020, respectively. Dr. Dey is a member of the American Statistical Association, Institute of Mathematical Statistics, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers.
Cristina Dominguez De Quezada
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
Dr. Dominguez De Quezada returns to El Paso where she was born, and like many students at UTEP, raised in Juarez, Chihuahua. She joins UTEP after serving as an assistant professor at El Paso Community College. Her research focuses on reducing health disparities commonly seen in the Hispanic community by addressing language incongruence between healthcare providers and patients living along the U.S.-Mexico border. Dr. Dominguez De Quezada was recently invited to the National Association of Hispanic Nurses Annual Conference in Reno, Nevada to speak about the “Influences on Success of Hispanic Nursing Students”. She earned a doctoral degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler, a master’s degree in nursing from UTEP, and completed her undergraduate studies at New Mexico State University. She is currently the president of the National Association of Hispanic Nurses (NAHN) and is a member of the National Hispanic Medical Association (NHMA) and the Sigma Honor Society of Nursing. Dr. Dominguez De Quezada enjoys spending time with her husband and two-year old. During her spare time, she enjoys painting and reading.
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and Finance
Dr. Feng joins UTEP as an Assistant Professor of Finance in the Department of Economics and Finance, College of Business Administration. Dr. Feng’s research mainly focuses on finance, with a specific concentration on private and public real estate. His research has been published in the leading real estate focused journals such as Real Estate Economics, The Journal of Real Estate Finance and Economics, and Journal of Real Estate Research. His research at UTEP will focus on steady advancements in real estate research as evidenced by publications in top-tier journals and continuous improvements on the newly launched real estate program. Another focus of his research is the adoption of financial technology in financial institutions. Dr. Feng holds a Ph.D. in Finance and an M.Sc. in Real Estate from Florida International University, an M.B.A. from Jinan University, and a B.A. in Public Administration from Peking University. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Feng was an Assistant Professor of Finance at Frostburg State University. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Feng worked for over ten years in consultancy and real estate. He is a member of the American Real Estate & Urban Economics Association (AREUEA), the American Real Estate Society (ARES), and the Financial Management Association International (FMA). When away from work, Dr. Feng enjoys traveling and playing games.
Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting and Information System
Dr. Gao joins UTEP from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) with a research background in earnings management, insider trading, corporate governance, and determinants of audit quality. Dr. Gao earned a doctoral degree in accountancy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL). She completed a master's of finance from the University of Kansas and a master's of agricultural economics from Texas A&M University. Dr. Gao completed her undergraduate studies at the China Agricultural University in Beijing, China, earning two bachelor's degrees - one in finance and a second in English. She is a member of the American Accounting Association. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Gao served as an instructor in the School of Accountancy at UNL. She is the recipient of the 2019 AAA Financial Accounting and Reporting Section (FARS) Excellence in Reviewing Award, and the J.J. and Eleanor S. Ogle Fellowship in recognition of her outstanding graduate studies.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Hernandez joins the UTEP faculty after serving as a research assistant in the UTEP Department of Chemistry. His research focus is on the environmental implications of micro and nano particles – from engineered advanced materials (EAMs) to the ubiquitous presence of plastics – on terrestrial environments. His research uses advanced analytical techniques (e.g., Synchrotron Radiation X-Ray Absorption Spectroscopy, Single Particle-Inductively Coupled Plasma Mass Spectroscopy, hyperspectral imaging etc.) as well as biochemical assays to evaluate the fate, transport, and effects of EAMs and micro and nanoplastics. Dr. Hernandez earned his doctoral degree in chemistry and master’s degree in environmental sciences from UTEP. He completed his undergraduate studies at the Autonomous University of Chihuahua, Mexico. Dr. Hernandez is well published in his field. He received the Excellence in Review Award from the Environmental Science and Technology journal in 2014, and was recognized by the Elsevier journal with the Most Highly Cited Paper Award for a spectroscopic study that focused on metal oxide engineering nonparticles (ENPs) on desert plants and the localization and speciation of two EAMs in soybean plants (2011-2012). His publications have earned praise from the American Chemical Society, which Dr. Hernandez is a member of, the Stanford Synchrotron Radiation Lightsource, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility. During his leisure time, Dr. Hernandez enjoys hiking.
Assistant Professor, Department of Criminal Justice
Dr. Howell joins UTEP from the University of South Florida (USF) with a research background in the human factor of cybercrime. He employs advanced computer science techniques to gather threat intelligence – which is then used to test social scientific theory, build profiles of active cyber-offenders, plot criminal trajectories, and disrupt the illicit ecosystem enabling cybercrime incidents. He received his doctoral degree in criminology from USF, where he also earned a graduate certificate in digital forensics and a master’s degree in criminology. Dr. Howell received his undergraduate education in criminal justice from East Tennessee State University. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Howell taught courses in crimintal law and social policy; cybercrime and criminal justice; and technology adoption and crime. He is a member of the American Society of Criminology, European Society of Criminology, Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences, and the European Society of Criminology Working Group on Cybercrime. Dr. Howell serves as Associate Director of Research for the Evidence-Based Cybersecurity Research Group. During his leisure time he enjoys traveling, water sports, and outdoor activities with his dog Winston.
Sarah Yvonne Jimenez
Assistant Professor, School of Nursing
Dr. Jimenez joins the UTEP faculty after serving as an instructor in clinical nursing at the UTEP School of Nursing. She earned her doctoral degree in nursing from the University of Texas at Tyler, and a master's in nursing systems management and a bachelor's in nursing from UTEP. Dr. Jimenez's education background is in maternal and child health nursing. Prior to joining the academy, Dr. Jimenez worked for thirteen years as a neonatal intensive care nurse and also served as Coordinator of the RN Residency Program for the Hospitals of Providence East Campus. Dr. Jimenez brings a rich commitment to institutional and community service. She has served in mentorship capacities for UTEP students in the RN-BSN program, and in numerous committees including the Community of Practice in Aging Committee and the Undergraduate Studies Committee (as chairperson). She is a member of the Alzheimer's Association, the Alzheimer's Assocation Impact Movement Advocacy Initiative, and the Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. Dr. Jimenez is a professional pianist. Her hobbies include flamenco and belly dancing.
Assistant Professor, Department of Civil Engineering
Dr. Ke joins UTEP from the University of Washington (UW) with a research background in intelligent transportation systems, particularly in the areas of connected vehicle and infrastructure, sensing technologies for smart cities, machine learning in transportation, and the Internet of Things in transportation. Dr. Ke earned a bachelor's of education in automation from Tsinghua University in Beijing, China; both a master's and doctoral degree in civil engineering from UW; and an expected master's in computer science from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. During his time as a student, Dr. Ke was the chair (and only student member) of the student affairs unit of the Chinese Overseas Transportation Association (COTA). During his doctoral study and postdoc at the UW, Dr. Ke volunteered to be the lab manager of the Smart Transportation Applications and Research (STAR) Lab. He is the recipient of the 2019 Outstanding Student of the Year Award, presented by the Pacific Norwest Transportation Consortium (PacTrans), also known as the USDOT Region 10 University Transportation Center. In 2018, Dr. Ke earned first prize in the 2018 International Seafood Industry Transportation Challenge. Dr. Ke is a member of the TRB Standing Committee on Statewide/National Transportation Data and Information Systems, a Young Member of the ASCE T&DI Infrastructure Systems Committee, and the IEEE. He currently serves as Publication Co-Chair of the 2021 IEEE International Smart Cities Conference. Dr. Ke is an expert badminton player. He was the badminton champion of Beijing among the university students for three consecutive years (2011 - 2013) - often being the winner or runner-up for several tournaments in Washington State. During his spare time he also enjoys playing soccer, basketball, going hiking and enjoys photography.
Assistant Professor, Department of Physics
Dr. Kim joins UTEP from the University of Nevada (UNLV) with a background in materials research using first-principles methods combined with molecular-dynamics simulations in the areas of computational materials physics, and the development of empirical modeling and simulation tools. She earned a doctoral and master's degree in condensed matter physics and a bachelor's degree in physics - all from Chonbuk National University in South Korea. She is as a distinguished member of the National Society of Collegiate Scholars, and a recipient of the U.S. Department of Energy Nuclear Energy Fuel Cycle R&D Excellence Award (2010). Dr. Kim is a member of a number of professional associations such as the American Physics Society (APS), the Topical Group on Shock Compression of Condensed Matter (GSCCM), and the American Nuclear Society (ANS). Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Kim served as an assistant research professor at UNLV, where she had the opportunity to mentor two doctoral students, six graduate students, and over a dozen undergraduate students. She has served as a Visiting Scientist at a number of labs around the world, most recently at the Sandia National Laboratories Center for Integrated Nanotechnologies (CINT); the Institute for Theoretical Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics lab at Harvard University; and SungKyunKwan University.
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and Finance
Dr. Kirimhan joins UTEP from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a research focus on financial intermediation, financial stability, financial regulation, institutional investors, and blockchain use cases in financial services. She earned a doctoral degree in business administration with an emphasis in finance from USC; a master's degree in economics from Bilkent University in Turkey; and a bachelor's degree in economics from TOBB University in Turkey. Dr. Kirimhan serves as a research fellow and at the associate team of the Digital Euro Association (DEA), which is a think tank specializing in central bank digital currencies, stablecoins, crypto assets, and other forms of digital money. She is a member of the Crypto Academy, American Finance Association (AFA), Financial Management Association (FMA), American Economic Association (AEA), International Banking, Economics, and the Finance Association (IBEFA). During her graduate studies, Dr. Kirimhan served as the Editorial Assistant of the Tourism Analysis: An Interdisciplinary Journal. Her research, and that of her co-authors, was recognized at the EuroCHRIE Conference in 2018 in Dublin, Ireland. She has worked as an assistant expert at the Research Council of Turkey on science, technology, and innovation policies, and served as instructor of economics at Baskent University in Ankara, Turkey. In 2016, Dr. Kirimhan received the Teaching Innovation Grant for designing a flipped class at the University of South Carolina. Her most recent public outreach engagements include serving on a panel at the Global Conference on Services and Retail Management, where she discussed the impact of blockchain technology on services and retail industries. Some of her hobbies include ice skating, dancing, and learning new languages. Dr. Kirimhan shares she is excited to be joining UTEP family and looks forward to engaging with students and collaborating with researchers.
Assistant Professor, Department of Biological Sciences
Dr. LaRue joins UTEP from Purdue University where she completed her postdoctoral research. Her research uses big data and remote sensing to uncover mechanisms underlying spatial patterns in plant species distributions and the structural diversity of ecosystems. She is also interested in developing remote sensing approaches for improving the monitoring and management of nuisance species and those of conservation concern. She is a member of the Ecological Society of America, North American Regional Association of the International Association for Landscape Ecology, and the American Geophysical Union. As a Co-PI on an NSF grant, Dr. La Rue organized a 2-day workshop on “Exploring new dimensions of forest ecosystems with structural diversity” to understand spatial patterns of coupling between plants and fungi (2020). She has served as a guest editor for a special issue on “Exploring new dimensions of ecosystem structural diversity” in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. LaRue co-taught courses on GIS, Intro to R Programming, and Natural Resource Measurements. She is the recipient of the XXX Purdue Graduate Andrews Fellowship. Dr. LaRue shared she is excited to collaborate with UTEP students and faculty to advance ecological tools for conservation both locally and nationally.
Assistant Professor, Department of English
Dr. Lee joins UTEP from the University of Houston (UH) and the Houston Community College with a research focus on how digital technologies, particularly, non-U.S.-based social media networks give migrant communities rhetorical tools through which they can bring their own local and transnational experiences and global-local relations. As an instructor in Houston, Dr. Lee actively engaged with students on several activist projects including doing oral history writings, archive research on bayou and ship channel preservation. She earned her doctoral degree in English from UH; a master's in comparative literature from Yonsei University; Seoul in South Korea, and bachelor's degree in English, French; and Media Arts from Yonsei University.
Assistant Professor, Department of Educational Psychology and Special Services
Dr. Lim comes to UTEP from the Department of Special Education at the University of Kansas (KU). She specialized in Disability and Diversity in Education and Society with a cognate in Special Education Policy and Systems Studies. Her research focuses on how monolingual ideologies and biases in U.S. schools affect educational opportunities, performances, or outcomes of emergent bilingual students with or at risk for high incidence disabilities. Dr. Lim is especially interested in monolingual English-speaking school professionals’ decision-making about emergent bilingual students that includes the (mis)identification of Specific Learning Disabilities (SLD). In her research, she situates these students’ sociolinguistic profiles and functionings within a social construction of dis/ability that emerges from the intersection of their minoritized identities of race and ethnicity, socioeconomic and immigration status, and heritage culture and language. Her research is, therefore, committed to promoting linguistically equitable and effective literacy instruction and assessments for students with language-related challenges and different learning needs in relation to linguistic diversity. Based on her transnational experiences as an immigrant parent of three children from South Korea, promoting equitable partnerships with culturally and linguistically diverse families in special education is another central part of her research. She has published multiple research articles that analyzed how special education service systems address the communication support needs of ethnolinguistic minority families, who are non-U.S. heritage born immigrants, in monolingual English driven school-family collaboration contexts. This line of research is aimed at fostering school professionals’ civic engagement and cultivating democratic professional partnerships with immigrant families that go beyond ethical legalism. Such partnerships are essential to encouraging active parental participation in students’ school success. She is currently a member of the American Education Research Association (AERA), the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC), and the Human Development and Capability Association (HDCA). During her leisure time, she enjoys gardening, traveling, and enjoying the arts.
Assistant Professor, Department of Social Work
Dr. Mallonee joins UTEP with a research background in recovery-oriented practice, treatment engagement, outpatient therapy, and the therapeutic relationship. His research involves increasing access to treatment for underserved populations and improving the quality of services for individuals with more serious mental health conditions. Dr. Mallonee has spent nearly a decade in direct social work practice both as a clinician and an administrator working with individuals with more serious mental health conditions, survivors of sexual abuse and assault, children and adults in crisis, adolescents and adults with substance use disorders, LGBTQ individuals, and Veterans. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Mallonee served as an assistant professor and program coordinator of the Master of Social Work Program at New Mexico State University (NMSU). He earned his doctorate of social work from the University of Pennsylvania (UPENN); a master’s in social work with a concentration in mental health from the University of Southern California, Los Angeles; a master’s in education from Antioch University; and a bachelor’s in visual art from Oberlin College. Dr. Mallonee is a licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) in the State of New Mexico, a member of the National Association of Social Workers, and he holds a certification in effective instruction from the Association of College and University Educators. Dr. Mallonee recently published research on the impact of the therapeutic relationship on client engagement in Psychiatric Rehabilitation Journal. He is the 2020 recipient of the Dr. Ram Cnaan Award for meritorious scholarship at UPENN and was recognized as a Distinguished Member of the Teaching Academy at NMSU for the 2020-2021 academic year. While at NMSU, Dr. Mallonee was nominated by students for the Outstanding Professor of the Year Award in 2021. Dr. Mallonee has lived and worked in many communities including Seattle, Los Angeles, Portland, the Philippines, Hawaii, Montana, and New Mexico.
Assistant Professor, Department of Marketing and Management
Dr. Nim earned a doctoral degree in marketing from Georgia State University, a master’s in business economics and a bachelor’s in business studies from the University of Delhi, India. Her research involves innovation, new technologies, platform-based business models, customer experience, empirical marketing strategy, and global marketing strategy. Dr. Nim received the GTA Teaching Excellence Award from the Robinson College of Business in recognition of her outstanding teaching records and performance in the classroom. Some of her teaching interests include marketing strategy, marketing theory, product and brand management, consumer behavior, and customer relationship management. She is a member of the Academy of Marketing Association (AMA) and the Academy of Marketing Science (AMS).
Assistant Professor, Department of Education Leadership and Foundations
Dr.Peña, is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Educational Leadership and Foundations. Her research interests include issues of access and equity, education law and policy, principal leadership, and organizational change. She obtained her J.D. from Columbia Law School and her Ed.D. in Educational Leadership from The University of Texas at El Paso. Before joining UTEP, she served as an Assistant Professor and Program Coordinator in the Educational Leadership Program at Sul Ross State University. With over fifteen years of experience in both K-12 public education and higher education, she has conducted numerous leadership and board member trainings and presented on various educational topics at national conferences.
Assistant Professor, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Dr. Pintèr joins UTEP from the Universidad Técnica Federico Santa María in Valparaíso, Chile with a research focuses on large-scale computational analysis and rational design of redox chemistry of transition metal complexes for redox flow batteries; metal-ligand cooperative multi-electron catalysts; and second generation photoredox catalysts. His research involves integrated conceptual and computational design of Frustrated Lewis Pairs towards H2 activation and developing a user friendly quantum chemical calculation manager platform to facilitate learning through undergraduate research. Dr. Pintèr earned his doctoral degree in chemistry and master's in chemical engineering from the Budapest University of Technology and Economic in Budapest, Hungary.
Assistant Professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Joel Quintana is an Assistant Professor in the Mechanical Engineering Department and Aerospace Center (cSETR) at UTEP where he serves as the leading expert in the area of on-orbit manufacturing and space robotics technologies. Before joining the UTEP faculty, Dr. Quintana held professional engineering positions within the PATRIOT Missile Defense Integration and Test Development at Raytheon Company MCVC and Lockheed Martin MFC. He also had a senior engineer position at El Paso Electric Company where he worked with the Systems Operations EMS application group applying numerical models to power transmission and generation networks. While at UTEP Aerospace Center (cSETR), he spearheaded the development and integration of the “Orbital Factory 2”, a 1U CubeSat, to perform the first-ever 3-D printing in a space environment. Dr. Quintana is involved in most of the cSETR activities providing the breadth of his professional experience to student professional development, sensor electronics, embedded design, and communications integration, test, and evaluation. Dr. Quintana’s research activities include developing space-borne sensor and small satellite technologies with the overall objective of on-orbit software and hardware reconfiguration abilities, rapid deployment from ‘off-the-shelf’ stock, mission repurposing after launch, embedded Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning, and satellite security. Dr. Quintana earned his doctoral degree in electrical and computer engineering and a master’s in electrical engineering from UTEP.
Andy P. Smith
Assistant Professor, Department of Music
Dr. Smith joins the UTEP faculty after serving as a visiting assistant professor in the UTEP Department of Music. He earned a doctoral degree in music percussion performance and literature from Indiana University Jacobs School of Music, a master's in percussion performance from Middle Tennessee State University (MTSU), and a bachelor's in music education from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. He has a background in contemporary Brazilian and samba drum sets. His most recent recordings include "Angel Roman and Mambo Blue 4" and Deliberations. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Smith taught as adjunct percussion instructor at MTSU and served as a percussion instructor for the Tennessee Governor’s School for the Arts, a state sponsored program for elite college-bound musicians. His career has taken him from the recording studios of Nashville, TN to Tanglewood, Ravinia and the Hollywood Bowl. He has traveled to Ghana West Africa and the Caribbean to be immersed in African diasporic rhythm. In 2012, Dr. Smith was awarded a Tinker Foundation grant to study contemporary Brazilian jazz drumming in São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Other performances include the Jazz Education Network Convention, the Percussive Arts Society International Convention, the Lotus Music Festival, El Paso Symphony Orchestra, and grant sponsored workshops with Bernard Woma, Musical Ambassador to Ghana. In 2016, Dr. Smith performed and presented at the Jazz Education Network International Convention–Afro-Brazilian Roots and Contemporary Trends in Brazilian Styles for the Rhythm Section–and at the Percussive Arts Society International Convention–21st Century Samba-jazz Drumset–accompanied by Latin-jazz group the Batuquê Trio.
Assistant Professor, Department of Accounting and Information Systems
Dr. Sulcaj joins UTEP from the University of Kentucky (UKY) with a research background in auditing, accounting, corporate governance, and social networks, with a particular focus on reporting and disclosure. She is passionate about conducting research that is of interest to academics as well as regulators and practitioners. Dr. Sulcaj has over ten years of experience as accountant, auditor, and manager. Prior to joining UTEP, Dr. Sulcaj served as an instructor of financial accounting at UKY, where she completed her doctoral degree in business administration. Dr. Sulcaj earned a master's in business administration from Drexel University, a master's in finance from the University of Tirana in Albania, and a bachelor's in business administration from the University of Pisa in Italy. She is a 2020 AAA/Deloitte/J. Michael Cook Doctoral Consortium Fellow, and the recipient of the UKY Gatton College of Business and Economics Teaching Excellence Award (2020). Dr. Sulcaj is a member of the American Accounting Association (AAA) and a recipient of their Auditing Section Best Paper Award (2019). During her leisure time she enjoys traveling and visiting new places.
Alireza Vaziri Rahimi
Assistant Professor, Department of Art
Alireza Vaziri Rahimi is a Designer/Educator specializing in Graphic and Interactive Design. Over a decade of professional and academic experience has equipped him with creative methods and collaborative skills in Visual Communication Design. Alireza earned his MFA degree in Design from University of California - Davis, and a bachelor’s degree in Scene Design from Tehran University of Art in Iran. Dr. Rahimi's work has been recognized nationally and internationally. He has received national and international design awards such as the London International Creative Competition, Goethe-Institute, Graphis International Design Publication, C2A Creative Communication Award, etc. His projects have been featured in several publications and displayed in exhibitions, websites and galleries around the world such as Manetti Shrem Museum of Art (California), Fotomuseum Winterthur (Vienna), Museum of Fine Arts (Leipzig), Iranian Artists Forum (Tehran) Graphic Stories exhibition (Cyprus), Russia designer Association (Moscow) and many others. He enjoys providing consultation on art and creative direction, ideation and design process. He leads a variety of design projects for start-ups, non-profits and educational organizations worldwide. In addition, he has extensive experience in leading design and creative teams through commercial and corporate projects. He works with various global brands including Samsung, Renault, Unilever, and Sony. “I believe design is a way of changing the world to be a better place. A better world may have a different definition for different people - perhaps an ergonomic chair or an interface for a pioneer application - each can make one’s world a better place to live in. As designers, we have a responsibility to our society, and we should welcome challenges and mainly confront the inner voices telling us to 'just mind yourself'." As per the legendary Persian poet Rumi: “I came to you without ‘me,’ so come to me without ‘you’.” In this journey, my greatest passion is to view and visualize the depth of a phenomenon beyond its existence. Nowadays, I aim to re-examine concepts such as propaganda and social media in relation to design and our contemporary digital culture.”
Cynthia Arraya Wiltshire
Assistant Professor, Department of Teacher Education
Dr. Wiltshire joins the UTEP faculty in the College of Education as an Assistant Professor of Early Childhood Education. Having completed her doctoral degree from Teachers College, Columbia University, her research examines relationships between teachers and children in early childhood classrooms, focusing particularly on associations between teacher stress, teacher warmth, and children's ability to regulate emotion. Dr. Wiltshire is interested in learning more about how teacher well-being, both personal and professional, may affect student outcomes in academic and socio-emotional domains. She is currently a member of the American Educational Research Association (AERA), the Cognitive Development Society (CDS) and Society for Research in Child Development (SRCD), among other academic associations. In 2021, the AERA Brain, Neurosciences, and Education Special Interest Group recognized her for her service as its Student Member-at-Large. As well, she was the recipient of the Teachers College Research Dissertation Fellowship Award and the Dean’s Grant for Student Research. Fundamental to her research interests, Dr. Wiltshire was a classroom educator for over 20 years, working alongside diverse groups of children and families. During her leisure time, Dr. Wiltshire enjoys photography and spending time hiking, fly fishing, and camping. “My family and I are delighted to be joining the Paso del Norte Region. We look forward to meeting the children and families of this region and becoming involved in opportunities of civic engagement,” said Wiltshire.
Hyo Jin Yoon
Assistant Professor, Department of Economics and Finance
Dr. Yoon comes to UTEP from the University of South Carolina (USC) with a research background in corporate finance, corporate governance, institutional investors, financial reporting transparency, formal and informal institutions, and international finance. She earned a doctoral degree in business administration from USC, a master's in management from Sungkyunkwan University in South Korea, and a bachelor's in business from Indiana University. During her time at USC, Dr. Yoon was selected as the semi-finalist for the Best Paper Award in Corporate Finance at the 2020 Financial Management Association Annual Meeting. She was also the recipient of the USC Graduate Research Grant Award in recognition of her support to promote the advancement of research and creativity. She has served as a reviewer for Corporate Governance: An International Review; Emerging Markets Review; Journal of Accounting and Public Policy; Journal of Business Ethics; and the Journal of Financial Stability.