From the Hawks’ Nest: New Faculty Enliven DSU

“From the Hawks’ Nest” is a monthly column by Dickinson State University President Steve Easton

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Dickinson State University President Steve Easton, author of the monthly column “From the Hawks’ Nest”
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The start of a new school year brings the excitement of the return of students (though some are on campus through the summer), including new students. It also brings the return of faculty (though many are on campus through the summer), including new faculty. At Dickinson State, we are blessed with several exciting new faculty members.

Department of Natural Sciences The new chair of the Department of Natural Sciences, Maira Carrillo, has experience in both research and teaching. Her field of study is molecular biology, and she was both a teaching assistant and a research assistant during her time in graduate school. She then worked for several years in labs in Washington state and Texas before returning to higher education at Odessa College in 2018.

Chris Mallery is one of our two new assistant professors of biology for Natural Sciences. He comes to us from Texas A&M-San Antonio. He also has a background in both research and teaching. His research focuses on the ecophysiology of lizards, but he also has a strong background in a variety of biology-related fields.

Sarah Manka Worthington will serve as a teaching fellow for the Department of Natural Sciences and just completed her doctorate at Indiana State University. She has previous teaching experience as an instructor and teaching assistant and as an adjunct at Lake Land College in Illinois. Her research focuses on lizard behavior.

Colin Strine is our other new assistant professor of biology, though he has been teaching for us since January. He previously taught and conducted research at the Suranaree University of Technology in Thailand. Prior to obtaining his doctorate in environmental biology, he taught school for four years in Japan and Thailand. Like Worthington, his research also focuses on reptiles, but primarily on snakes.


Department of Social Sciences Jeff Wells is our new associate professor of history, and the Dennis and Vaune Johnson endowed chair of U.S. history. He comes to us from the University of Nebraska Kearney, where he taught a wide variety of U.S. history courses over the course of eight years, including extensive mentorship of undergraduate and graduate research. He has published a variety of articles and reviews and presented dozens of papers and talks at various conferences and other scholarly gatherings. In May of this year, he began his service as president of the Midwestern History Association.

Theodore Roosevelt Initiatives Michael Cullinane is DSU’s first Lowman Walton endowed chair of Theodore Roosevelt studies, a position which was established to provide a leading role in critically analyzing the life, career, and legacy of Theodore Roosevelt. He is one of the world’s foremost scholars of Theodore Roosevelt and his era. After writing “Theodore Roosevelt’s Ghost: The History and Memory of an American Icon,” he received the Theodore Roosevelt Association prize “[p]resented for exceptional scholarship to the most distinguished published book on Theodore Roosevelt.” In his most recent book, “Remembering Theodore Roosevelt: Reminiscences of His Contemporaries” (2021), Cullinane discovered and presented long-forgotten interviews from Roosevelt’s wide circle of friends, colleagues, and family members. Cullinane hosts a popular and well-respected podcast entitled “The Gilded Age and Progressive Era” and has appeared in several documentaries.

With 18 years of experience in higher education, Chris O’Brien is making the transition from his faculty role at the University Maine at Farmington to become our new director of the Theodore Roosevelt Center. His prior experience includes service in a variety of roles, including department chair and faculty senate president. He has extensive background in working with diverse constituencies, including service on numerous university committees, a system-wide academic integration oversight committee, and public records preservation in Maine, Alaska, Vermont, and elsewhere. He is the recipient of multiple grants and research awards, twice-winner of Faculty Member of the Year, and has presented and published several papers on the Cold War and its effects on children.

School of Business and Entrepreneurship Hyunjoo Hill joins the School of Business and Entrepreneurship as an assistant professor of business, after serving for several years as an adjunct. During her time as an adjunct professor, she has taught management, marketing, and economics. Hill holds a Master of Business Administration from Brigham Young University with an emphasis in organizational behavior and strategic human resource management.

School of Education Sarah Crossingham is the newest faculty addition to the School of Education serving in the role of assistant professor of education. Crossingham has a Master of Education from North Dakota State University. She most recently served as a middle school social science instructor. During her time as a teacher, she earned many accolades, including being selected at the Gilder-Lehrman North Dakota History Teacher of the Year.

Department of Nursing The Department of Nursing welcomes Trista Keith as an assistant professor of nursing. Keith has a Master of Science in nursing administration and is a registered nurse. She served as a practicing registered nurse for 11 years and has been working as an adjunct for the Department of Nursing since last year.

Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies Carl Bercier is the newest member of the faculty in the Department of Agriculture and Technical Studies serving as an instructor in DSU’s welding certificate program. Bercier has a certificate in welding from Turtle Mountain Community College where he also served as a welding instructor for four years, teaching welding safety, shielded metal arc and gas, blueprint reading, fabrication techniques, and OSHA.

We are excited to have these new additions to an already strong faculty.

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