Current Faculty Cohort


2018–2019 Cohort

IIFC 2018

Faculty Facilitator: Martha Merrill 

College of Education, Health, and Human Services 

Dr. Martha Merrill, Associate Professor of Higher Education and Coordinator of the International Education certificate, has taught intercultural communication since the 1980s, in the US, in Austria, and in Kyrgyzstan. She coordinated the teaching of intercultural communication at the School for International Training in Vermont for several years. Dr. Merrill has worked on higher education reform in the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia since 1996, including living in Bishkek from 1996 to 2001, and being the Academic Vice President of the American University in Central Asia. She lived in Kyrgyzstan again while on a Faculty Professional Improvement Leave (spring 2016). Dr. Merrill also was the Dean of Academic Programs at the International Partnership for Service-Learning and Leadership, on whose Board she had served for seventeen years. From 2002-2006, she taught master's students at the School for International Training (Vermont) in the fields of intercultural communication and international education. In 2001-2002, she was a Visiting Scholar at the Inner Asian and Uralic National Resource Center at Indiana University. Before she went to Kyrgyzstan, she was a founding faculty member of the (planned) New College for Global Studies at Radford University (Virginia) and Director of Programs and Resident Life at International House in New York City, which houses 700 graduate students from 100 different countries. She has published a number of articles and book chapters and given many conference papers on intercultural issues, international education, and Central Asia. Her degrees are in Russian literature (BA, Michigan), Creative Writing (Master's, Boston University), College and University Administration (Master's and Ph.D., Michigan) and Islamic Studies (Master's, Columbia University). Her current research interests focus on the globalization of quality assessment standards in higher education and, in particular, the effect of such globalization in Central Asia.

Dr. MD Amiruzzaman

College of Aeronautics and Engineering

Md Amiruzzaman, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor with the College of Aeronautics and Engineering. Prior to Kent State University, he has worked as a computer programmer for almost 10 years for several companies (both nationally and internationally). Also, he has worked as a research assistant at Sejong University and Korea University. He has completed his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science from National University. Also, he has completed his Master’s degrees in following fields: computer engineering, computer science, and technology. He has completed his Doctorate degree from Kent State University.

Karen Gordan

College of Education, Health and Human Services

Karen is an associate professor of Nutrition as well as program coordinator for the Nutrition & Dietetics program in the School of Health Sciences within the College of Education, Health & Human Services.  She received her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The Ohio State University and earned her PhD in Animal Science, Nonruminant Nutrition at the University of Illinois, Urbana/Champaign.   Karen is also a registered, licensed dietitian. She teaches and advises both undergraduate and graduate students in the Nutrition and Dietetics program. In addition, Karen is involved with the Center of Nutrition Outreach, which provides nutrition assessment, counseling and programming for students, faculty, staff and the Portage County community. Karen is the advisor for the Student Dietetic Association where members network with professionals in the field of nutrition and are involved in community service. Her primary professional interest is community nutrition including health promotion/nutrition education over the life span and global hunger/food security issues. For her professional development leave, Karen is developing a global service learning experience to Southeast Asia that will involve collaborations with global non-governmental organizations.

Dr. Dana Hansen

College of Education, Health and Human Services

Jonghan Hyun

College of the Arts

Dr. Jonghan Hyun earned his Ph.D. in retailing and consumer sciences from the University of Tennessee, his M.S. in textile and apparel management from the University of Missouri, and B.A. in textile and clothing from the Hanyang University (Seoul, South Korea). Prior to pursuing an academic career, he worked as an assistant merchandiser at Li & Fung Limited, a global supply chain management company. His research interests include the influence of ethnic culture on consumer behavior, the psychology of diversity-seeking consumers and testing various marketing and psychology theories in retailing and fashion merchandising contexts. Dr. Hyun has published in several journals including the Journal of Consumer Behaviour; Clothing and Textiles Research Journal; and International Journal of Management Reviews. He serves on the editorial board of the Clothing and Textiles Research Journal, and was the recipient of the 2015 ITAA Intellect Books Research Award and the 2015 CTRJ Outstanding Reviewer Award.

Yesim Kaptan

Yesim Kaptan

School of Communication Studies

Yesim Kaptan is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies. Her research combines media, society and culture (particularly Middle Eastern and Turkish media) and the analytical perspectives of contemporary global media studies and media ethnography. She brings a comparative perspective to issues of diversity, difference and hybridity in communication studies. What unites her research is a close attention to the mediation of global-local nexus in everyday life and the role of global media industries for construction of mediated identities. Yesim also conducts research on how global identifications subvert hegemonic discourses on nationalism, globalization and national-cultural belonging and how communication technologies and media forge "hyphenated" identities regarding cross-cultural production and reception of global media products. She teaches a wide range of courses including Communication in a Global Society, Communication Theory, Intercultural Communication, Advertising and Consumer Culture, Research Methods and Global Consumerism and Identities.

Martha Lash

Martha Lash

College of Arts and Sciences

Martha Lash (Ph.D., Indiana University) is an Associate Professor at Kent State University (KSU), Ohio, USA, in the areas of Early Childhood Teacher Education and Curriculum Studies since 2003. At Kent State, Dr. Lash led the early childhood teacher education program to be the first university in the Americas to embed the IB Certificate for Teaching and Learning in the undergraduate teacher certification program, as well as to offer the certificate to graduate level students. Dr. Lash co-chaired the inaugural International Baccalaureate Educator’s Certificate University Research Conference at Kent State in May 2016. She has served in a faculty advisory role for the KSU Child Development Center (CDC) (early years’ laboratory school) for teacher training and IBPYP feasibility in view of Reggio Emilia inspired approach as the CDC became an IB World Candidate School. Dr. Lash also serves as the Coordinator of the Consortium for Overseas Student Teachers for KSU. She has presented internationally and conducted early childhood teacher educator workshops in Turkey, Pakistan, India, and Tajikistan. Dr. Lash’s research interests focus on teacher preparation and professional development; early childhood curricula; and cultural understandings of early childhood issues.

Davison Mupinga

College of Education, Health and Human Services

Gabriella Paár-Jákli

College of Arts and Sciences 

Gabriella Paár-Jákli is Associate Professor at the Department of Political Science within the College of Arts and Sciences. She received her PhD in Political Science with a concentration in International Relations and Comparative Politics. Gabriella also holds an MBA, a BA in International Management and Business, as well as a BS in Engineering. Originally from Budapest, Hungary, Dr. Paár-Jákli has more than a decade of professional experience in diplomacy and international relations in the European Union and elsewhere. She served as Counselor at the Department of External Economic Relations of the Hungarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and served as Chief of Section in the Dept. of Economics, Hungarian Foreign Trade Ministry. In her book: Networked Governance and Transatlantic Relations: Building Bridges through Science Diplomacy (Routledge, April 2014), she examined the impact of knowledge networks on building transatlantic ties between the European Union and the United States. Her research takes an interdisciplinary approach and focuses on international communication and networked governance, which explores the “network factor” as a recent focal point of economic and political development. She is an active member of the International Communication Section of the International Studies Association. Dr. Paár-Jákli was a Board Member at Akron International Friendship (currently Global Ties Akron) between 2001 and 2006. Gabriella was first president of Phi Beta Delta society of international teachers and scholars at KSU in 1992.

Lynette Phillips

College of Public Health

Dr. Phillips is an associate professor of epidemiology in the College of Public Health with specialized training in cancer epidemiology and statistical genetics and is a statistical consultant for the College of Nursing. Her research focuses on cancer prevention by increasing human papillomavirus (HPV) vaccination rates through collaborations with pediatricians at MetroHealth Medical Center and Akron Children’s Hospital. Dr. Phillips primarily teaches statistical and methodological courses in the Master of Public Health and PhD programs at Kent State and teaches biostatistics to doctoral students, residents, and fellows as an adjunct professor at the Lerner College of Medicine at the Cleveland Clinic. In 2016, she became a Fulbright Specialist and taught a two-week epidemiology and biostatistics course to medical and graduate students in Bogota, Colombia. In her spare time, Dr. Phillips reads mysteries, swims, skis, and plays board games with her husband and two teenage boys.

Debra Rozner

College of Arts and Sciences

Rekha Sharma

College of Communication and Information

Rekha Sharma (Ph.D., Kent State University) is an assistant professor in the School of Communication Studies in the College of Communication and Information. She teaches a range of courses, including Public Communication in Society, Media Use & Effects, Freedom of Speech, Criticism of Public Discourse, Interviewing, Communication & Influence, Communication Grammar Review, High Impact Professional Speaking, Foundations of Communication, Business & Professional Communication, and Introduction to Human Communication. In her classes, Sharma strives to introduce students to diverse perspectives and to encourage meaningful interaction among international and domestic students with various cultural backgrounds. Sharma’s research addresses several types of political media (e.g., news, conspiracy theories, satire, social media, cartoons, films, advertising) as well as several intersections of media and intercultural/global communication issues. She has published work on cinematic articulations of cultural identity among second-generation immigrants from South Asia, messages about gender and relationships in Bollywood films and South Asian matrimonial ads, and media treatments of war (e.g., film and news narratives of civil wars in African nations, social media use during political protests, racial and ethnic stereotypes in animated cartoons). She has also presented on issues related to colonialism, religion, and ethnicity at several academic conferences.

Hillary M Stone

College of the Arts

The Fashion School’s Industry Liaison & Internship Director, Hillary M. Stone, is ready to assist students in bridging their education to the professional world through the Internship Program and Professional Practice. Professor Stone received her B.A. in Interior Design from Ursuline College and a M.S. in Historic Preservation from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Her academic career as Department Chair and Faculty reflects her commitment to Higher Education developing and championing students. Through her service in Corporate Business she gained an understanding of the necessary tools and standards needed to enter and achieve upper mobility in the professional arena. With various programming, Professor Stone established and continues to strengthen the Fashion School’s industry partners, while creating new opportunities for students and faculty. Her present research involves developing learning tools and workshops to support international students and domestic students planning to intern/work abroad.

Haithem Zourrig

Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship, Kent State Stark

Dr. Zourrig, is assistant professor in the Department of Marketing and Entrepreneurship at Kent State University at Stark. Prior to joining Kent State University, Dr. Zourrig has been teaching marketing at the University of Regina in Canada and IESEG Business School (Paris campus) in France. Currently, he is appointed as a visiting professor at the University of International Business and Economics, In Beijing China.

His research interests include consumer behavior and cross-cultural studies.  His research has appeared in peer-reviewed journals including, Journal of Business Research and Journal of Service Management, International Journal of Consumer Studies, and Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services.

He has received many teaching and Best Paper awards including the AxcessCapon Teaching Innovation Competition Award, the McGraw-Hill Education Distinguished Award discerned by the Federation of Business Disciplines (FBD), and Best Paper Award from the Society for Marketing Advances (SMA).