13 New NCIS Members Represent Wide Range of Scholarship

A big welcome to the most recent NCIS members, who represent an impressive range of independent scholars with specialties that include archaeology, information technology, public policy and administration, and 19th century British Methodism. The 13 new members here live in the United States, Britain and Puerto Rico and include scholars originally from Nigeria and Venezuela.

Wendy Warren Austin, a 23-year tenured Associate Professor at Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, moved to the Boston area in 2012 and most recently worked as an online English faculty member teaching research writing, linguistics, and literature for Southern New Hampshire University. Warren, whose primary disciplines are Language and English Literature,also has worked as visiting assistant professor of a Massachusetts state university, a professional writing tutor at a private college writing center, a data analyst/linguistic annotator for an MIT artificial intelligence researcher, and an instructional module writer for MindEdge, a company that produces etexts for online university courses.

With a B.A. in Archaeological Studies and History, Jesse Chariton is currently researching the Integration and Desegregation of Lutheran Churches in Columbus, and Georgia and Irish Immigration to Wisconsin. A genealogist, Chariton has experience in museums and libraries of Masonic organizations. His websites are http://charitonresearch.com and https://columbusstate.academia.edu/JesseDavidChariton.

A Portland, Oregon, native, Ray W. Clark served as a commissioned officer in the U.S. Navy from 1970 to 1991 and while in the Navy, graduated from the Naval War College in 1985. Clark earned a Master of Arts Degree in National Security Studies from Georgetown University in 1986 along with the designation as a Political-Military Affairs subspecialist. Most recently, he received a Master of Arts in History from George Mason University in 2006. After retiring from active duty, Clark worked as a project manager for PRC, Litton Industries, Northrop Grumman, and TASC on contracts supporting the Department of the Navy, the Department of Homeland Security, and the Federal Aviation Administration.

Jacob Dankasa holds a Ph.D. in Information Science from the University of North Texas, Denton, and a Master’s degree in Mass Communications from St. Cloud State University. He specializes in new media, information behavior, and information theory and design. His research centers on the intersection of information and religion, specifically how new media technologies can enhance the design, processing, dissemination and retrieval of religious information. Originally from Nigeria, Dankasa is a Catholic priest serving in parish apostolate in the Catholic Diocese of Dallas and is interested in researching the use of cyber technology to build communicative and interactive relationship among members of diverse faith communities.

A retired senior manager and senior executive service level graduate from the U.S. Department of Interior (National Park Service), Diane Dayson, Ph.D. most recently served as executive director/superintendent of Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island National Monuments. During the September 11, 2001, crisis, Dr. Dayson led, managed, and made command decisions for the safety of Statue of Liberty/Ellis Island National Monument and its employees, visitors, and park resources. She has more than 28 years experience in management, leadership, change management, incident command, and strategic planning. Dr. Dayson, who currently is a faculty member of the School of Nursing and Health Sciences at Capella University, served for 10 years as adjunct professor at New York University’s Robert F. Wagner School of Public Service. Dr. Dayson holds a doctorate in Public Policy and Administration from Walden University, a Master of Science in Management from New York University, and B.A. in Education/American History from SUNY at Cortland.

Robin William Girard received his Ph.D. in French Language and Literature from Washington University in St. Louis in December 2016. His dissertation employed the theories and representations of erotic love as a lens to explore the intersection of late 12th century narrative poetry and contemporaneous literary production of the Islamicate world. While much of his research centers on questions of the medieval Mediterranean and the place of Old French literature within it, other areas of interest include neo-Medievalism and storytelling in video games. 

With interests in the religious, artistic, and philosophical dimensions of birth, Anna Hennessey is writing a book on social ontology and the transformation of religious objects in birth as a rite of passage (Lexington Books, forthcoming). Her academic background includes Religious Studies (Ph.D., History of Chinese Religions, University of California, Santa Barbara,); Art History (M.A., Critical Theory, UCSB); and Philosophy (B.A., Western Philosophy, New York University). She also researches Daoism, Daoist representation, visualization, and alchemy in the context of Chinese religions.

Richard Howey’s 40-year career in implementing and using information technology inspired him to pursue a doctorate in Business Administration to learn the research skills needed to better understand the reasons for IT failures and so help others avoid those failures. Once retired, he received his Ph.D. in October 2016, completing a dissertation that explores how an internal market culture in a business enterprise can impact data withholding behavior inside that enterprise and, in turn, affect the success of IT initiatives intended to share data across organizational boundaries within that business enterprise.

Becky Nicolaides received her Ph.D. in History from Columbia University in 1993, and went on to serve on the faculties of Arizona State University West and University of California, San Diego. She left her tenured post at UCSD in 2006 to become an independent scholar and historical consultant. Her work focuses on the history of North American cities, suburbs, and metropolitan areas. She is currently at work on her third book, On the Ground in Suburbia: A Chronicle of Social and Civic Transformation in Los Angeles Since 1945, with support from a Haynes Major Research Grant, an NEH fellowship, an ACLS fellowship, and Huntington Library fellowships. She is co-editor of the “Historical Studies of Urban America” book series published by University of Chicago Press and is co-coordinator of the L.A History and Metro Studies group at the Huntington Library. She is currently serving a three-year term on the governing council (Research Division) of the American Historical Association, advocating on the issue of democratizing research access for all scholars. She blogs at SuburbanMe.com, and tweets at @BeckyNic7.

Lydia Platón, an adjunct professor at the University of Puerto Rico in Cayey, has taught at other UPR campuses at the graduate and undergraduate levels and served as Dean of Academic Affairs in the School of Visual Arts of San Juan. Platón, a translator, independent scholar and arts administrator, has experience in non-profit management and teaching in the fields of theater and art education. Platón’s publications include a book-length study: “Defiant Itineraries: Caribbean Paradigms in American Dance and Film, Palgrave Macmillan;” an artistic book project: El Cuarto Acto with Ediciones Callejón (2005); and numerous journal articles.

Kai Rands holds a Masters and Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in the Culture, Curriculum, and Change program, and a B.A. in Elementary Education and in Child Development from Vanderbilt University. Rands, an independent scholar, teaches fifth grade math.

Born in Caracas Venezuela, Hector Weir and his family moved to the United States in 2002. Since then, he has pursued studies in Anthropology and Hispanic Studies, receiving a doctorate, a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree from Texas A&M University. Weir’s studies the effects of cultural contact in traditions and religions and their reflection in contemporary media and literature.

Tim Wooley, a British Methodist minister with a passion for Wesleyan theology, church history, missiology and fresh expressions of church, completed his doctorate at Cliff College and has presented papers at the Oxford Institute of Methodist Theological Studies, the Oxford-Manchester Studies Seminar, the Ecclesiastical History Society Postgraduate Colloquium, conferences at Wesley House Cambridge, and Englesea Brook Primitive Methodist Chapel and Museum. Wooley’s research interests include the field of nineteenth-century British Methodism, the Holiness Movement, Revivalism and Nonconformity. His article and reviews have been published in in Wesley and Methodist Studies, The Wesleyan Theological Journal, Holiness, The Ranter’s Digest and H-Pietism (forthcoming).