Intercultural Faculty Scholars


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).




2016–2017 Cohort

  • Faculty Facilitator: Martha Merrill – College of Education, Health and Human Services
  • William Howell – Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Mitch McKenney – School of Journalism and Mass Communication
  • Peggy Nzomo – University Libraries
  • Kristine Pytash – College of Education, Health and Human Services
  • Augustine Samba – College of Arts and Sciences
  • Denice Sheehan – College of Nursing
  • Pamela Stephenson – College of Nursing
    • Dr. Stephenson is an assistant professor within the College of Nursing where she teaches Nursing Theory at the master's level and the History and Philosophy of Nursing Science at the doctoral level. Dr. Stephenson also represents the College of Nursing at the Florence Health Institute (FHI) — a joint partnership with the Office of Global Education and College of Public Health. FHI brings students from multiple healthcare disciplines together in Florence, Italy, to study health-related issues from a global perspective. Her clinical expertise is in oncology where she worked as a staff nurse, clinical nurse specialist, and nursing supervisor across medical, radiation and inpatient oncology units. Her research is focusing on the development of spiritual uncertainty as a new construct for palliative and end-of-life care, including its conceptual, theoretical and operational development. She is also interested in expanding the understanding of spiritual uncertainty to include victims of potentially life-threatening situations and marginalized populations. Her work has been presented nationally and internationally. Pam Stephenson can be reached at or 330–672–3704

2014-2015 Cohort

  • Faculty Facilitator:  Ken Cushner – College of Education, Health and Human Services
  • Madhav Bhatta - College of Public Health
  • Maureen Blankemeyer - College of Education, Health and Human Services
    • Maureen Blankemeyer is an associate professor in Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) in the College of Education, Health and Human Services (EHHS). She received an M.S. in Family Relations and Child Development and a Ph.D. in Human Environmental Sciences from Oklahoma State University. She has been at Kent State University since 1996. Along with two Kent State students, she spent a semester in Northern Ireland conducting research on children’s perceptions of peace and political violence. As part of the EHHS Global Learning Study Group, she internationalized two HDFS courses. She has worked with Kent State International Mentors and the OGE Conversation Partner Program to provide intercultural mutual mentoring opportunities for her students. She teaches an annual short-term study-abroad course in Ireland and is currently heading up efforts to internationalize the HDFS curriculum. 
      Maureen is a Qualified Administrator of the Intercultural Development Inventory® (IDI®) and is presently collecting baseline data on HDFS students’ intercultural competence. While participating in the Intercultural Faculty Scholars program, she served on the project to support faculty members and her primary interest is curriculum internationalization. Maureen may be reached at or 330-672-9397.
  • Mary Lou Ferranto - College of Nursing, Kent State Salem
    • I have been fortunate to be at Kent State University for over 21 years as faculty in the College of Nursing. While at KSU I have taught in all levels in the BSN program as well as graduate program for our Nurse Practitioner students. I started on my educational journey many years ago by completing my BSN at Kent State. 
      After completing my BSN I moved to Boston and New York and worked in cardiovascular critical care settings. Several more moves brought me to Pittsburgh at Allegheny General Hospital as clinical coordinator of the surgical ICU where I implemented a cardiac transplant program for nursing. While in Pittsburgh, I received my master's in Nursing Administration and Management at LaRoche College. Another move to New Jersey allowed me the opportunity to begin my teaching career in an ADN program. I moved back to Ohio in 1994 when I began teaching at KSU. I received a post-master's certification as a Certified Nurse Practitioner at Kent State in 1997. Finally, I completed my Ph.D. in Curriculum Studies in Education at Kent State.
      I have presented at numerous national, international, and professional and community-based conferences and have multiple publications. I am a member of the Northeast Ohio Organization of Advanced Practice Nurses, National League of Nursing, the American Association of Collegiate Nursing, The American Association of Nephrology Nurses, and Sigma Theta Tau. My area of research interest is the development of cultural humility in nursing students. As such, I often travel abroad with Salem nursing students. Thus far, students have accompanied me on cultural international experiences to Africa, Japan, Haiti and Canada. Students are also encouraged to journey with faculty to the Pine Ridge Reservation of the Lakota people in South Dakota.
      Mary Lou Gemma Ferranto may be reached at or 330-337-4373
  • Elda Hegmann - College of Arts and Sciences
  • Yu Jin - College of the Arts
    • Yu Jin won First Prize at the Washington International Music Competition, Chicago Viola Society Solo Competition and Ohio Viola Society Competition. She has performed at many prestigious venues and music festivals, including the Aspen Music Festival, Bravo Vail Music Festival, Carnegie Hall, Kennedy Center, Marlboro Music Festival, Music@Menlo and the 92Y. Jin gave her Washington debut at The Phillips Collection in 2006. She has collaborated with James Conlon, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, Donald Weilerstein, Noah Bendix-Balgley, members of The Cleveland Orchestra, and the Guarneri, Juilliard, Orion and Cavani quartet. She also served as violist of the Miami String Quartet, Guest Principal Viola of the Cincinnati Orchestra, and Principal Viola of the Canton Symphony Orchestra, CityMusic Cleveland, and the New York String Orchestra Seminar. A dedicated teacher, Jin gave master classes at Oberlin Conservatory, Toronto University, Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and at music festivals throughout the United States and Mexico. She has joined the faculty of Kent State University since 2007. Jin studied viola with Wang Shaowu and Wing Ho at the Central Conservatory of Music in Beijing, and with Jeffrey Irvine at the Cleveland Institute of Music.
      Yu Jin can be reached at or 216-269-3247
  • Isabel Lacruz - College of Arts and Sciences
  • Dandan Liu - Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship
    • Dandan Liu is an associate professor of Economics at Kent State University. She received her Ph.D. from Texas A & M University in 2005. Her research focuses on applied macroeconomics, applied econometrics (time series) and economic forecasting. Liu has published in a wide range of journals, such as European Journal of Political Economics, Southern Economic Journal, Economic Inquiry, International Journal of Forecasting, Empirical Economics, etc. She has been a board member of the Ohio Association of Economists and Political Scientists (OAEPS) since 2008, serving as vice president from 2012 to 2013 and president from 2013 to 2014. She currently teaches Principles of Macroeconomics, Time Series Analysis and Quantitative Methods in Business Administration at Kent State.
      Liu has experience both as an international student and faculty member. She can advise from both perspectives. She also can advise on Asian Cultures and the Chinese education system.
      Dandan Liu may be reached at or 330-672-1095
  • Mike Mayo - Ambassador Crawford College of Business and Entrepreneurship
  • Sevim McCutcheon - University Libraries
    • Sevim McCutcheon is a catalog librarian and associate professor in University Libraries. She specializes in providing access to ETDs, e-books, print books and maps. Her recent articles have appeared in Public Library Quarterly, The Reference Librarian, and Cataloging & Classification Quarterly. While her daily work does not bring her into contact with international students on a regular basis, she is committed to easing the transition of international students to the United States and in their quality of life and studies while at Kent State University. She represents University Libraries on the International Students and Scholars Integration Committee (ISSIC) and is a regular volunteer in the Office of Global Education’s Conversation Partners Program and the soon-to-be-launched Friendship Families Program. McCutcheon’s undergraduate degree from Ohio State University was in Middle Eastern Studies, with emphasis on Turkey and Greece. She taught English as a Second Language in Turkey to 3rd through 9th grade prior to getting her M.L.S. from Kent State. Before joining academia, she was head of technical services in an Ohio public library system, the sole original catalog librarian for a consortium of Ohio public libraries, and an original catalog librarian at OCLC, where she cataloged materials in a number of non-English languages. Sevim McCutcheon may be reached at or 330-672-1703.
  • Tracey Motter - College of Nursing
  • Athena Salaba - College of Communication and Information
    • Dr. Athena Salaba joined the faculty of the School of Library and Information Science in January 2004. She teaches in the area of organization of information and her research focuses on metadata, subject access to information, knowledge organization systems and conceptual modeling. She has published and presented a variety of work on how users interact with an information system. She received her Ph.D. in Library and Information Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, her Master’s of Library Science from Kent State University, and has undergraduate degrees in cultural anthropology from Kent State and library science from Greece. She was a 2006-2007 Teaching Scholar, where she enjoyed interacting with and learning from faculty from all over campus. She first came to the United States as an international scholar and then as an international student, and as such, she has firsthand experiences of the differences in teaching methods, course requirements and classroom interactions students face when arriving at an American university. She is working with the Intercultural Faculty Scholars group that is focusing on resources for faculty, but her interests are on bringing awareness of international students’ adjustments to Kent State’s educational culture to both domestic students and faculty who interact with international students.
      Athena Salaba may be reached at or 330-672-0023
  • Kim Schimmel - College of Education, Health and Human Services
    • Kimberly S. Schimmel, Ph.D., is a professor of the Sociology of Sport and an affiliate to the Women’s Studies Program. She developed and teaches an undergraduate course that meets the University Domestic Diversity Requirement (Sport in Society) and one that focuses on globalization (Sport in Global Perspective), as well as a graduate-level social theory course (Sociology of Sport). Her research is related to sport and local/global urban development, the political economy of sport, and urban securitization in the post-9/11 era. Kim's research has been published in numerous scholarly journals and anthologies and has been translated into five languages, including a monograph in Brazilian Portuguese (Os Grandes Eventos Esportivos: Desafios E Perspectivas, 2013, University of Campinas). She is a past associate editor of the Sociology of Sport Journal and currently serves as the vice president of the International Sociology of Sport Association. Kim is a recipient of Kent State University’s Distinguished Teaching Award (2008), has given invited scholarly presentations and workshops in 16 countries, and in May 2014 was honored as the university’s Scholar of the Month.
  • Jakyung Seo - College of the Arts
    • Jakyung Seo is an assistant professor of Lighting Design at Kent State University. Prior to joining the faculty at Kent State, she taught at the University of Cincinnati and California State University at Fresno. Jakyung has worked as a professional lighting designer and assistant lighting designer in USA regional theatre including Steppenwolf and Congo Square Theatre (Chicago), Eye to Soul (NYC), CATCO (Columbus), Porthouse and Lodestone Theatre (LA). Her international credits include : Face with Eye to Soul at Edinburgh in the U.K., and What We Want is for Thrust Dance Company in Japan, where she was awarded the best prize at the International Dance Festival in Saitama. Recently, she designed BINARI with MAC theatre company at Avignon Off Theatre festival and Theatre Laboratory Elizabeth Czerczuk, Paris at France, Sibiu International Theatre Festival at Romania, and Busan Performing Arts International Festival at South Korea. She has designed more than 60 shows including South Pacific, Peterman, Man of La Mancha and many dance performances. She is actively presenting at international conferences such as PQ Scenofest 2007 in Prague where she was lead lecturer, USITT, SETC and  KCACTF at USA. Also, she has been teaching lighting design workshops at Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts at Singapore and DonSeo University and KyungSung University at South Korea.

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