They teach. They mentor. They impact.
And they bring a wealth of experience, engagement (and fun!) to the classroom. Each department picked one faculty member who has been outstanding this past year.
Meet our featured Lionhearted Leaders below! We will be sharing more about their peers—and their accomplishments—throughout the 2021-22 academic year.
Meet Your Amazing Professors
ASSOCIATE Professor, HTM
Matthew Bauman is most proud of the opportunities to engage undergraduate students in research.
This past spring, he and two students applied for and received an undergraduate research award to explore expressions of gratitude in the hospitality and tourism industry. His project with another student is currently analyzing sustainable tourism and the impact of short-term rentals on Michigan City, IN. Bauman teaches Sales and Service for Beverage Operations, a fun class where students get to experience beverages from water and soda to coffee and tea to wine and beer.
He loves to spend time with his 10-year-old chocolate Labrador, Lee. He also enjoys exploring local restaurants, as well as visiting wineries and breweries. Traveling is one of his great passions—he most recently visited Amsterdam for the first time!
Assistant Professor, English
Bethany Lee enjoys spending time with her two sons, ages 5 and 13, and she loves trying new recipes and restaurants. Her five-year-old has recently joined in her quest to “try every food.”
Being part of helping students share their writing and art with the PNW community is one of Lee’s greatest joys. A few years ago, a student of hers produced the entire PNW student literary magazine herself, an impressive task. The student, a trans woman, decided to publish as her chosen name for the first time—the name she’d made for herself.
“This moment demonstrates everything I love about teaching creative writing, literature, and composition: When students create, they make new works and new worlds—not only within their writing but also within themselves.”
Assistant Professor, Computer Engineering
When not teaching or researching, Niyaz enjoys spending time with his family, cooking and watching movies.
Niyaz’s work focuses on applying artificial intelligence/machine learning (AI/ML) based techniques for system and network security. He is active in spreading cybersecurity skills and awareness among his students through federal sponsored grants and enjoys engaging PNW students to work in those grants as researchers.
In teaching, Niyaz introduces his students to state-of-the-art technologies used in industry and academia. He finds immense joy mentoring his students for pursuing higher education and seeking employment.
ASSISTANT Professor, NURSING
LOVES traveling! Allen has been to 49 U.S. states, four continents and multiple countries. She enjoys immersing herself in new cultures, eating all the delicious food and meeting new people.
Jodi Allen’s most interesting PNW teaching moment came during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. She was instructing graduate family nurse practitioner students who were also working on the frontlines of health care.
“It was eye-opening to see the fatigue on students’ faces and frustration in their comments, but also their resiliency. We were all able to commiserate and lean on each other. For me, it showed the importance of faculty being cognizant of our students’ lives outside of class and how that can impact their coursework.”
Professor, Computer Information Technology
Enjoys long distance running and soccer. Was an athlete competing for 5K and 10K running, representing his university as an undergraduate and graduate student and joined local soccer leagues for fun.
Michael Tu enjoys seeing his students take all the challenges and overcome all the obstacles to succeed with their goals. “I have a couple of students who were struggling with low GPAs at their first year here and finally graduated as the most successful students with high GPAs and received well-paid cybersecurity job offers.”
He is very proud of his contribution on cybersecurity workforce development. The PNW CyberCorps scholarship program prepares a highly qualified future workforce for placement in U.S. government agencies.
ASSOCIATE Professor, EDUCATION
When she is not teaching, researching, or serving, LaVada Taylor enjoys spending time with family and friends, a dance art form called stepping, and swimming.
LaVada Taylor remembers when a former student had trouble at home that gravely impacted her academic work and she dropped out of school.
“I assured her that when she returned, I would be here and asked her to promise me that no matter what, she would not give up on her dream of becoming a teacher.” That student kept her promise and returned to school. Taylor was there for her and made sure that she received additional support, which helped her excel as a student. Today, that former student is now a teacher!
Associate Professor, Statistics
Honored with carrying the Olympic torch for the Lillehammer Winter Games. It was even more memorable because her glove caught fire!
Grethe Hystad’s research focuses on solving statistical problems in the new and emerging fields of Mineral Evolution and Mineral Ecology. She has mentored several PNW students on research projects which have led to collaboration on research papers and book chapters. Two of her undergraduate students have given talks at the Geological Society of America Annual Meeting.
“I enjoy watching my students succeed in class as well as seeing them obtain great positions or go to graduate school.”
Has lived in 13 different states and traveled to 48, traveled around the world in 90 days in 2018 and has conducted research on six of the seven continents!
Kim Scipes is a global labor scholar who studies workers and their movements around the world. He is a long-time political and social activist, trying to make the world a better place for all. He loves working with students and teaches them how to think critically about everything they read and hear, including from HIM!
He wants students to think, and to challenge him when they disagree (even on exams). He works to develop his students into engaged citizens.
“I’m in love with the world and I try to share that with all whom I come in contact!”
Associate Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior
Worked in HR, completed her PhD and started as an assistant professor all before the age of 30.
Jane Thomas is especially proud of her research on employee emotions in the workplace, which has been featured in the Wall Street Journal. She has won a best paper award for her work on how people manage their emotions in meetings with their supervisors and given a talk in the Leadership Institute at PNW called “Work Meetings Stink! How to Lead Better Meetings.”
She enjoys being the faculty advisor of the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM). Because the PNW HR program is SHRM-aligned, this means students can sit for the professional certification upon completion of our program.
Congratulations to All the Honorees!
- Jodi Allen, Assistant Professor, Nursing
- Matthew Bauman, Assistant Professor, Hospitality, Tourism and Management
- Curtis Creighton, Professor, Biological Sciences
- James Higley, Professor, Mechanical Engineering Technology
- Grethe Hystad, Associate Professor, Statistics
- Meden Isaac-Lam, Associate Professor, Chemistry
- Alicia January, Assistant Professor, Psychology
- Bethany Lee, Assistant Professor, English
- Yun Liu, Assistant Professor, Mechanical Engineering
- Quamar Niyaz, Assistant Professor, Computer Engineering
- Mary Beth O’Connor, Associate Professor, Communication and Creative Arts
- Wendy St. Jean, Associate Professor, History
- Kim Scipes, Professor, Behavioral Sciences
- LaVada Taylor, Associate Professor, Education
- Jane Thomas, Associate Professor of Human Resource Management and Organizational Behavior
- Michael Tu, Professor, Computer Information Technology
- Shuhui Yang, Associate Professor, Computer Science
- Chen Ye, Associate Professor, Management Information Systems
- Afshin Zahraee, Assistant Professor, Construction Engineering and Management Technology