Get to know Chris Calvert-Minor




Chris Calvert-Minor is a Philosophy Professor in the Philosophy and Religious Studies Department.



What’s your educational background?

I’ve been in school forever. I did a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemistry at the University of Illinois – Champaign. Then I went into a PhD program in Chemistry at the University of Minnesota. Midway through I realized I didn’t have a passion for chemistry – the labs were really boring. I liked the work, but there’s not many people to talk to in labs. There wasn’t enough interaction. I ended up getting out of Chemistry with my Master’s. I started working in a Chemistry lab with the Master’s, but I was really interested in Philosophy and Theology. I got my Master’s in Theology, but then I realized that wasn’t the field I really wanted to go in. Then I went into Philosophy.

What courses do you teach?

Introduction to Philosophy, Truth in the Media, 20th Century Philosophy, Existentialism, Philosophy of Science, and Knowledge of Reality.

What are your research Interests?

Various. I am trained to do knowledge and rationality. I usually work on rationality, objectivity, and those kinds of things. However, I’ve been working on aspects of consciousness lately. It is fascinating stuff.

How long have you been teaching?

I started teaching my own courses in 2005 at Syracuse University, then Hamilton College, and then here. I’ve taught chemistry before, I’ve taught Greek before, so I’ve been teaching for a bit.

What inspired you to become a professor?

I love teaching. I’m lucky – I get paid to do what I love. I have fun doing it. In Intro to Philosophy students are usually seeing this strange stuff for the first time and it is pretty exciting to be a part of that.

What’s your favorite thing about teaching?

I love it when we have great discussions – when it’s not a “me” thing, it’s a “we” thing. I hate just standing up there and being a talking head.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

It’s not a big school, it’s not a small school.  It’s just right. I used to teach at Hamilton College – there’s 2,000 students there. It’s like high school where everyone knows you.  I kind of like having a little anonymity. You can get that here a little bit, but it’s not so big that you don’t get to know some people. UW-Whitewater is in that sweet spot.

What’s your favorite movie?

Fight Club, Donnie Darco, The Nightmare before Christmas, for sure.

Who inspires you and why?

The students. I like my research; it’s fun, but it doesn’t matter as much as the students. I like to somehow think that maybe some of the stuff I write will become well known, but there’s a one in billion chance that that would actually happen. So it’s hard for me to justify my existence through what I write, even though I love it. But every semester I get 140 students and my job is to teach them to think a little bit better. That is meaningful.





Get to know Rachelle Yankelevitz!

yankelevitzDr. Rachelle Yankelevitz has just begun her second year at UW-Whitewater.  Prior to joining our  Psychology Department, she held positions at Willamette University and Portland State University. Some of her  research interests include decision making, impulsivity, risk-taking, and social influence. She enjoys community service at the humane society and has volunteered with the Methamphetamine Abuse Research Center’s outreach program.


What made her want to teach?

The main reason is that she likes the connection with students. It’s very rewarding to see a student learning something new or acquiring a tool to help them become a better consumer of information. 

What is her approach to teaching and what can students expect in the classroom?

She enjoys taking a collaborative approach to learning as much as possible by making information as structured as she can.  Encouraging critical thinking is an important part of her classes.  She also wants to provide a foundation for the broader concepts she introduces to her students.

What is one experience that occurred during her undergraduate or graduate school experience that made a definite impact on her approach to her academic career?

One thing was getting hands on research experience as an undergraduate that carried in to her research in graduate school. She also selected courses that were related to her major field but also provided different experiences and perspectives in order to become a more versatile scholar.

What book would she recommend to her students?

Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely is a good choice for people first approaching psychology.

 What is something that students would be surprised to learn about her?

She’s very interested in animal rescue and how we can improve the behavior of the animals in the shelter as well as working to ensure that fewer animals given up by their families.

 What is her favorite thing about UWW so far?

The students are her favorite thing about UWW.  They seem very open to learning and that makes her job enjoyable and fun.

Welcome Brian O’Neill!

ONeillIt is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Brian O’ Neill has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor in our Biological Sciences Department.  Dr. O’Neill received his undergraduate degree from Bemidji State University  and his Ph.D. from the University of Kansas. 



Here is some interesting information about Professor O’ Neill:

Hobbies:  Being Outdoors, camping, fishing, biking, or anything that is outside

Research:  Ecology of ephemeral aquatic ecosystems, aquatic invertebrates, food web ecology, food chain length, stable isotope ecology

Family:  My wife Andrea Romero.





Welcome Rachel Chaphalkar!

ChaphalkarIt is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater. Rachel Chaphalkar joins us as an Assistant Professor of Mathematics
Education.  Rachel graduated with her B.S. and M.S. in Mathematics from Michigan Technological University.  She earned her PhD in
Mathematics Education from the University of Montana.  



Here is some interesting information about Professor Chaphalkar:

Hobbies:  Cross-country skiing, running, and sewing

Research:  Statistics Education

Family:  My husband is named Nik

Welcome Veronica Fruiht!

fruihtIt is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Veronica Fruiht has recently been hired in our Department of Psychology.  Veronica graduated from California Polytechnic University with a BS in Psychology and has a master’s degree in Positive Developmental Psychology from the Claremont Graduate University where she is currently completing her PhD.


Here is some interesting information about Veronica:

Hobbies:  I’m a crafty-type and have been the resident seamstress, designer, and cupcake baker in my research lab. Now, I am looking forward to all of the DIY projects that come with a new home! I am also excited to explore a new set of hiking trails and campgrounds in the area.

Research:  My research focus is on hope. In particular, I’m interested in how to build hope and goal-setting skills among adolescents and high risk college students. I also study mentoring relationships and their impact on college student success. 

Personal Life: No spouse or kids, but I look forward to seeing what my pudgy calico cat Barley thinks of snow.

Interesting Facts:  I’m a California native and have never lived or driven in the snow before. I appreciate your patience in advance.


Welcome Rocio Duchesne!

Duchesne_new_hire_pictureIt is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Rocio Duchesne joins us as an Assistant Professor in our Department of Geography & Geology.  Rocio graduated from Universidad del Atlantico with a BS
in Biology, a MS in Statistics from Montclair State University, and is a PhD Candidate (ABD) at Montclair State University.


Here is some interesting information about Rocio: 

Hobbies: Hiking and camping.

Research: Remote sensing of terrestrial ecosystems with an emphasis in mapping vegetation canopy structure and function.

Personal Life: My husband, Joel.

Interesting Facts: For two years in a row I had the opportunity to participate in two 3-week field expeditions to the North Slope of Alaska.

Welcome Stanislav Vysotsky!

vysotsky1It is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Dr. Stanislav Vysotsky has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor of Sociology & Criminology.  Stanislav graduated with his PhD in Sociology from Northeastern University in Boston in 2009.  He is coming to Whitewater from Willamette University in Salem, OR. 


Here is some interesting information about Stanislav:

Hobbies: I don’t have any hobbies per se; but I’m a bit of a music/record collector, I watch an astounding amount of serial television, I enjoy film, and I prefer to read graphic novels.

Research: My research interests are reactionary and radical social movements, subcultures, prejudice, and violence.

Personal Life: I am married without children. 

Interesting Facts: There’s probably a number of interesting trivia about me, but I’ll just share a couple of things.  I was a licensed cosmetologist aid and worked in a hair salon for 4 years, and I was the vocalist for a moderately popular punk band. 



Welcome Jonah Ralston!

RalstonIt is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Dr. Jonah Ralston has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor in our Department of Political
Science.  Jonah graduated with his PhD from Michigan State University where he studied American Politics and Public Policy. 



Here is some interesting information about Jonah:

Hobbies:  I like to travel, I enjoy craft beer and video games, I freely admit to being a bit of a science nerd, and most of all I treasure spending time with my family and friends.

Research:  My research has focused on the degree to which personal values and political beliefs determine voting decisions on bills and ballot measures related to controversial scientific policies.  Recent issues I have studied include biofuels, stem cells, and medical marijuana.

Personal Life:  I am happily married with a young son who  turned three this May.  We have a long-haired cat named Dixie.

Interesting Facts:  In 1999 Places Rated Almanac rated the county I grew up in as the worst metropolitan area in the U.S. and Canada.  David Letterman sent matching gazebos to the area in a bid to improve tourism and they still reside there to this day.


Welcome Steven Girard!

girardIt is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Dr. Steven Girard has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor in our Department of Chemistry, with a specialization in nanomaterials.  He graduated with his PhD from Northwestern University in Inorganic Chemistry.  He  received his Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry and a Bachelor of Music degree in Cello Performance from Lawrence University in 2006.  He also completed post doctoral work at UW-Madison.

Here is some interesting information about Steven:

Hobbies:  I love playing cello, and also dabble in piano and Irish button accordion.  I also enjoy gardening, cooking, riding and tinkering with my bike, attempting various winter sports that typically result in me falling down, beer and soap making, and playing board and video games, preferably with friends.  I also have dabbled in hunting since moving to Wisconsin, with limited success.

Research:  My research focuses on the sustainable synthesis of nanomaterials for renewable energy applications.

Family:  No kids or spouse yet, but I have one chubby cat named Moon and an awesome girlfriend of ~4 years. 


Welcome Tracy Hawkins!

Hawkins1It is the College’s pleasure to welcome a new faculty member to the University of Wisconsin – Whitewater.  Tracy Hawkins has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor and Liberal Studies Coordinator in our Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies.  Tracy graduated from Claremont Graduate School with a PhD in Gender & Women’s Studies, Ethics, Cultural Studies, and Religious Studies. 


Here is some interesting information about Tracy:

Hobbies: Enjoying good food with good conversation

Research: Implications of technology and social media for ethics, education, and activism

Family:  Husband and dog Mya who makes friends with everyone

Interesting Facts:  Swims competitively, runs occasional half marathons, and plays ultimate Frisbee