New Kensington welcomes three new faculty

As the class of 2017 begins its collegiate sojourn at Penn State New Kensington, three new faculty members stand ready to prepare the incoming freshmen for their journey towards a post-secondary education. Xiang Ji, assistant professor of mathematics; Natacha Bolufer-Laurentie, instructor in Spanish; and Michael Manojlovich, instructor in information sciences and technology; join the full-time campus faculty for the fall 2013 semester.

"We are so pleased to welcome this talented and dedicated group of educators to our campus,” said Andrea Adolph, director of academic affairs. “Our search committees and administration take great care to select new colleagues who can add to the strengths of our continuing group of teachers, and this new ‘class’ of faculty will bring a host of teaching and learning opportunities for our students.“

Ji recently earned his doctorate in mathematics from Penn State after securing a master’s degree in mathematics from Beijing University in China. He was a graduate teaching assistant at the University Park campus for four years. Ji’s research interests are differential geometry and mathematical physics. He wrote a book, “Comprehensive College Algebra: Building Mathematical Insights Through Logic and Exercises,” that was published this year by Cognella Academic Publishing. His wife, Ge Mu, instructor in mathematics at the campus, was the co-author. Ji replaces Javier Gomez-Calderon, professor of mathematics, who retired in June after 27 years at the campus. Last year, Mu replaced the retired David Wells, associate professor of mathematics.

Bolufer-Laurentie brings 18 years of teaching experience to the New Kensington campus after two years as Spanish instructor at St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia. Born in Paris, she moved to the United States to attend Cabrini (Pennsylvania) College where she received a bachelor’s degree in sociology and history. She earned two master’s degrees: Spanish language and literature from Villanova University, and sociology from Temple University. Bolufer-Laurentie earned a doctorate in Spanish at State University of New York at Albany. She previously taught at all three of her alma maters. Bolufer-Laurentie’s research focuses on the changing identities of Spanish expatriates, immigrants and republican exiles of the Spanish Civil War living in New York City in the 1930s and 1940s. She has presented numerous papers and wrote a chapter, “The Three Stages of Liberacion, a Weekly Newspaper Analysis,” for the book “Reconsidering a Lost Intellectual Project: Exiles Reflections on Cultural Differences” that was published last year by Cambridge Scholars Publishing in London. Bolufer-Laurentie takes over for Maria Franco de Gomez, who retired in the spring after 19 years as Spanish instructor.

Manojlovich has spent more than 27 years in the information technology field for the steel and manufacturing industries. He joins the New Kensington faculty after 12 years at Penn State Greater Allegheny. Prior to teaching, he was senior telecommunications analyst for Copperweld Corp. in Pittsburgh. Manojlovich has a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Youngstown State University and a master’s degree in information science from the University of Pittsburgh. He is a doctoral candidate at Pittsburgh and expects to defend his dissertation, “Social Media Interaction Patterns for Older Populations,” in 2014.

“While we can never truly replace our long-term colleagues who have retired, we know that these new faculty members will help to shape the future of what Penn State New Kensington can offer our students and community," Adolph said.

The new colleagues are already putting their imprimatur on campus undergraduates as the 15-week fall semester at the New Kensington campus got under way Aug. 26. Classes end Dec. 13, and finals conclude Dec. 20. Commencement is set for 10 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 21, in the campus’ Forum Theatre.

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Last Updated August 28, 2013