Welcome Professor Stephen Levas



Dr. Stephen Levas has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor of Environmental Science. Dr. Levas graduated from Cornell University with a BS in Geology as well as The Ohio State University with a PhD in Geology.



Hobbies:  In my free time I like to coach my son’s soccer team, and go on hikes and nature walks with my family. I also grow orchids and maintain a coral reef aquarium.

Research:  My research interests center around how humans are impacting ecosystems. Particularly, I focus on this issue relating to coral reefs and freshwater ecosystems.

Personal Life:  My family consists of my spouse (Megan Levas), my two sons: Xavier (1 yr.) and Alexander (5), as well as our two dogs, Natty and Nala, and a poison dart frog named Rico. I am originally from Greendale, Wisconsin, so I am excited to be here and join the Whitewater community.

Welcome Professor Louis Fucilla



Dr. Louis Fucilla has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor and will be teaching for the Department of Political Science. Dr. Fucilla graduated from Willamette University with a BA in Politics, the University of Oregon with an MPA, and Indiana University-Bloomington with a PhD in Public Policy.


Hobbies:  My hobbies include cooking, going to the local farmer’s market, volunteering, rooting for the Geelong Cats in Australian Rules Football and now trying to find the best beer, cheese and fish fry in Wisconsin!

Research:  Overall, I study citizens’ attitudes towards government including what factors shape those assessments and how those attitudes affect the people and organizations that implement and administer public policy.

Personal Life:  My father and his extended family are from Racine, WI. As a native Californian, my first memory of snow comes from visiting my grandparents in the winter. I’ve had many family members go to or earn their degrees from UW-Whitewater including my dad who went here for a year before finishing at Madison. He said one of the best teachers he ever had in college was from the Department of Political Science.

Welcome Professor Andrea Romero



Dr. Andrea Romero has recently been hired as a tenure track faculty member, and will be teaching for the Biological Sciences, Environmental Sciences, and Gender and Women’s Studies departments. Dr. Romero graduated from the University of Kansas with a PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.



Hobbies:  My hobbies include travel; traveling to new places, as well as playing games with and enjoying the company of family and friends.

Research:  I have two active lines of research. First, I am interested in understanding how mammal communities respond to human-induced changes to the environment. Second, I look at issues of women and people of color in the sciences, and aim to inform practices to create a more inclusive scientific community.

Personal Life:  My family consists of my spouse (Brian), and my recently born son (Jordi). An interesting fact about me is that my friends can rarely beat me at a game of Scrabble or Boggle: challenge issued!

Welcome Professor Nathan McGovern

picDr. Nathan McGovern joins us as an Assistant Professor in Philosophy & Religious Studies. Dr. McGovern graduated from Franklin and Marshall College (MA) with a BA in Physics & Religious Studies as well as from the University of California-Santa Barbara with an MA and PhD in Religious Studies.

Here is some interesting information provided by our new colleague:

Hobbies:  In my free time my wife and I enjoy hiking and traveling.

Research:  My research focuses on early Indian religion, as well as religion in Thailand.

Personal Life:  My family consists of my spouse (Nanda Raksakhom) and myself. An interesting fact about me is that I am a convert to Religious Studies from Physics, which I majored in during my undergraduate years.

Welcome Professor Jim Coons



Dr. Jim Coons has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of History. Dr. Coons graduated from Miami (OH) University with a BA in History and a PhD from UW-Madison in History and a specialization in early modern Europe




Here is some interesting information provided by our new colleague:

Research:  My research deals with early modern Europe in general, and specifically political culture and gender in 17th-century France. My focus is currently on a failed rebellion in the early years of Louis XIV’s reign, through the lens of a famous Prince whose reputation went from hero, to rebel, to traitor over the course of a few years. I’m particularly interested in the ways in which his rapid fall was portraye din popular political pamphlets, and how his image as a national savior and honorable nobleman decayed (or sometimes didn’t), and what that all meant for the development of royal absolutism under the Sun King.

Personal Life:  My family consists of one wife (Eileen Zeiger), and one 3-month old daughter (Vera Louise Zeiger). I’m a big soccer fan, and I try my best to play (although I think I missed my window to actually be any good). Also an avid disc sports, broomball, and general obscure-athletics enthusiast. Badly novice, but eager gardener, as well.

Welcome Professor Michael Friedson



Dr. Michael Friedson has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor in the Department of Sociology, Criminology & Anthropology. Dr. Friedson graduated from New York University with a PhD in Sociology and also has a JD from NYU School of Law.



Here is some interesting information provided by our new colleague:

Research:  My research focuses on the war on drugs, the national decline in violent crimes, and the relationship of poverty and other forms of disadvantages in childhood health.

Personal Life:  An interesting aspect of my life is that I studied abroad in India as an undergraduate, without previously knowing much about that society. All the questions that experience raised for me, in terms of trying to better understand India, helped me realize my interests and lead me down the path of becoming a social scientist.

Hobbies:  My hobbies include; traveling, hiking, listening to jazz, alternative, and experimental music, and trying new food from different cultures.

Welcome Professor Kristen Seas Trader



Dr. Kristen Seas Trader has recently been hired as an Assistant Professor in the Professional Writing and Publishing program with an emphasis on digital rhetoric and writing. Dr. Trader graduated from UW-Eau Claire with a BA in Creative Writing and an MA in Literature, and a PhD from Purdue University in Rhetoric and Composition.



Here is some interesting information provided by our new colleague:

Research:  My research deals with the impact of digital networks on theories of rhetoric. My focus is currently on a how rhetorical practices influence identity, and the application of learner-centered teaching in higher education (particularly writing courses).

Personal Life:  My family consists of my spouse (Michael), and my nearly 3-year old son (Duncan). My hobbies include travel, gardening, nature photography and reading for my book club. In addition, another interest I have is karaoke. I love singing karaoke when I get the chance and cheering on those who are brave enough to do the same.


Meet Annie Weberbal. The new CoLS Advising Coordinator!

IMG_20151109_074231 (2)Annie Weberpal is a proud alumna of UW-Whitewater and also has professional experience on our campus.  She earned a Master of Science in Counseling, a BA in Psychology, a BS in Political Science, and a minor in History.   Annie comes to us most recently from the UW Colleges online where she was a student services coordinator.  In this position she advised students in a two-year distance education program, developed an online resource center, assisted with admissions, financial aid and recruitment, and collaborated on retention initiatives.   Prior to that appointment, she was an academic advisor in the UW-Whitewater Academic Advising and Exploration Center.  In addition to her role as an advisor, Annie was the office’s Military Liaison.  She also worked as an APA Workshop Coordinator and Writing Tutor in the Academic Support Center.  Additionally, Annie spent several years as an Intelligence Analyst in the United States Army and the Wisconsin Army National Guard where, among other responsibilities, she served as an equal opportunity representative and provided cultural and religious awareness training for soldiers in Europe and the Middle East.

Here is some other interesting information about our new colleague:

Hobbies:  Reading, puzzles, cooking, Candy Crush, board games, movies

Research:  I have given several presentations on advising military populations so that is a specialty of mine along with working with adult/non-traditional and online-only students.

Personal Life:  I have a child, Lucy (8), who is obsessed with super heroes and comic books and a partner, Dan, who is as well. I have a large extended family that includes nine UW-Whitewater alums. Two of my cousins are current students, one in L&S.


Get to know Ellie Schemenauer!




Dr. Ellie Schemenauer is a Women’s and Gender Studies Professor at UW-Whitewater.




What’s your educational background?

I went to Eckerd College, a small liberal arts college in St. Petersburg, Florida, for my undergraduate degree in International Studies. I always was fascinated with cultures that were different from my own and Eckerd had a great faculty, strong international programs and plenty of study abroad opportunities. I thrived in the small classes and intensive mentoring that Eckerd provided students. I got involved in undergraduate research and even travelled to Costa Rica as part of their undergraduate research program to study F.I.R.E. (Feminist International Radio Endeavor), a short-wave radio program focused on women and gender issues heard in 100 countries around the world.  It was my dual interest in Women’s and Gender Studies scholarship and teaching in a liberal arts context that motivated me to go on to graduate school.  I earned my Ph.D. in International Relations from Florida International University in Miami, Florida where I focused my work in Feminist International Relations and Latin America and the Caribbean.

What courses do you teach here?

I teach a wide range of courses in Women’s and Gender Studies including Introduction to Women’s Studies, Women in Work, Women and Men in Cross-Cultural Perspective, Women in International Relations, Advanced Seminar in Women’s and Gender Studies, and the general education course, Individual and Society.

What are your research interests?

My dissertation research examined women drug couriers and the gendered dimensions of the illicit drug trade. I was really interested in the socioeconomic context and motivations that women from Latin America and the Caribbean had for trafficking illicit drugs, but I was also interested in exploring this issue from a security angle. I’ve largely continued to work on that research agenda that I set out in graduate school. Right now I’m working on an article that looks at so-called cocaine queen pins—women who are in the upper echelons of illicit drug networks. I’m very interested in examining how different media outlets are telling these stories. My second area of research interest involves feminist pedagogy. I spend so much time in the classroom thinking about how to teach and how to teach well that my interest in pedagogy grew pretty organically from the demands of my job.

How long have you been teaching?

I taught my first college class after my second year of graduate school in 1997, and I came to teach at Whitewater full-time in 2005.

What inspired you to become a professor?

I would say my experiences as an undergraduate. I really enjoy learning- I’m seriously curious about the world. I couldn’t imagine ever being satisfied with what I knew, and so it seemed like a perfect profession to go into. I also learned pretty early on as an undergraduate that the more you know, the more you understand how very little you know about the world around you. So, that quest for knowledge with humility appealed to me.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

My students and my colleagues. I’m very fortunate that I am surrounded by hard-working, smart, and kind colleagues. I’m also often humbled by the perseverance of my students and the challenges that they face. There are a lot of good people around here. This feels like a good place to be- I feel supported.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

I’m a big fan of yoga. I wish I could take a yoga class every day, but I have to settle for once or twice a week. I like to go hiking- especially in mountains. I also love to travel. I have a 3 year old, so I spend a lot of my free time doing fun things with her.

What is your favorite food?

My favorite food is ceviche. You basically chop up fresh fish, add sliced red peppers, onions, or tomatoes, and squeeze citrus over it. Let it sit in the citrus for an hour or so, and the citrus “cooks” the fish.

What is something that your students may be surprised to learn about you?

I jumped out of a plane once- I went skydiving when I was in college. Also, I used to love scuba-diving, but being in Wisconsin kind of puts a damper on that hobby.

Who inspires you and why?

My 3 year old daughter. She inspires me to be very intentional about what I do and say.

Get to know Jalal Nawash!




Dr. Jalal Nawash is an Associate Professor in the Physics Department.





What’s your educational background?

I earned a B.Sc. in Physics in 1993 from the University of Jordan. I received a Master’s degree in 1997 from the same school. I came to the United States in 1999 and attended Indiana University of Pennsylvania, earning another another Master’s in Physics in 2000. I then went to Washington State University and received a Ph.D. in Materials Science in 2007.

What courses do you teach here?

I teach Algebra-based Physics- Physics 140 and 141. I also teach advanced Physics classes like Modern Physics and Thermal Physics. In the past I also taught Senior Seminar and Statics.

What are your research interests?

My research interests are in crystal growth, so I know how to make diamonds if you want. I also work on laser crystals; I worked on developing laser crystals in 2004 while working on my PhD. One of them is called the YAG crystal. These are very powerful lasers, and I worked on making new types of crystals. I was able to make two types of crystals that were never made before, and I also discovered a new phase of a material.

How long have you been teaching at UW-Whitewater?

I’ve been in Whitewater since 2009.

What inspired you to become a professor?

I really love teaching, and I like to see the influence that this brings to the students. I think it actually leaves a very long life effect, and I like that. I think that if a student is successful, it reflects on me personally.

What do you like most about UW-Whitewater?

Whitewater offers a lot of programs and facilities for students. It offers a lot of accommodations for students with disabilities, and I like that a lot. A lot of students are first generation university students, and I think that’s part of the influence you leave on a student and on their families as well. When I go to commencement and see all the parents who are very, very proud of their kids because they are the first generation who graduated from a university, I think that’s amazing. You don’t see that as much at other schools.

What are some of your interests outside of teaching?

I play a lot of soccer. I play in leagues in Madison, Wisconsin, and sometimes I go to Milwaukee. I also go to Arizona to play soccer, and Las Vegas every year. I once was invited to play in Italy in the league, but I didn’t go because of other commitments. I’m also a licensed soccer coach in Wisconsin.

What is your book?

The Old Man and the Sea by Ernest Hemingway.

Who inspires you and why?

My parents. My father didn’t have many resources when he grew up, but he worked hard, got married, and had a big family. He was able to make his family happy and bring up his kids, send them to college. My mother also is an inspiring person for working hard throughout her life to raise a big family.