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Meet your AMP Advisor


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Spring AMP Advisors

Scott Espeseth

Scott Espeseth

I am a professor of Art, and I teach foundations, drawing, and printmaking, which includes media like etching, relief printing, and screen printing. I am also a practicing artist, and I exhibit my work regularly in national and international venues. I make drawings and works on paper that evoke the eeriness of everyday experiences.

I love teaching at Beloit because of the students. Beloit tends to attract students with a love of learning and an openness to new experiences and challenging ideas. The small community means it’s possible for me to collaborate across campus to support our students, and make sure nobody falls through the cracks. I love the campus, and watching it transform as we cycle through four distinct seasons. That’s right, I even like the weather!

In my free time, I enjoy gardening, cooking, film, and spending time with my family. I’m always down for a road trip or to take in an art exhibition. I’m looking forward to getting to know you as your first academic advisor!

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Kristin Labby

Kristin Labby

I am a professor in the Chemistry department. I also teach in the Health and Society and Biochemistry programs and advise students who are interested in going on to work in the health professions by working with the Health and Healing Channel and the Health Professions Advising Committee.

I trained as a medicinal chemist which draws upon organic chemistry and biochemistry. I’ve had over ten years of work in academic research labs, and have been teaching at Beloit for seven years. In my own research I am working towards solutions to the antibiotic resistance crisis. I also have interests at the intersection of chemistry and art; I incorporate technical studies of art and artifacts into my instrumental analysis chemistry courses. As a teacher, I strive to include hands-on labs and authentic research experiences into my classes whenever possible. My favorite part of working at Beloit is collaborating with students on research projects.

When not in the lab, I like applying my scientific thinking to gardening and baking (kind of like chemistry, but more fruitful or yummy outcomes!), and I like biking and walking/hiking, and reading (both science and non-science!).

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Chuck Lewis

Chuck Lewis

I teach courses in writing and literature, and I direct Beloit College’s Writing Program. Most of my published scholarship focuses on the American novel from the late 19th century to the contemporary period. My teaching interests also include interdisciplinary approaches to literature, the relationship between writing and other modes of communication such as photography, off-campus field writing, and creative writing.

I enjoy the discoveries of reading and writing with my students–what we find there, how and what we learn about each other, and the skills and habits of mind that we develop together. I value the opportunity to work with students from their first semester on campus to their senior capstone writing–in class, on individual projects, and even taking our writing practice off campus, from bicycling the backroads beyond Beloit to travel writing in places like Cuzco, Peru and Florence, Italy.

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Heath Massey

Heath Massey

I teach in the Philosophy department, as well as the Critical Identity Studies department. I’m interested in the history of philosophy, especially modern and contemporary thought, and my primary research interests are the philosophy of time and the critical philosophy of race. I specialize in Twentieth Century Continental philosophy, with an emphasis on phenomenology, existentialism, and Henri Bergson. In addition to European thought, I have a growing interest in Africana Philosophy and questions about the ethics and politics of identity and difference.

I really enjoy working with students to help you explore your questions and develop your thinking about issues of fundamental importance. I view the classroom is a place for discussion and debate, where we can develop our ideas in collaboration with one another and with the thinkers we read together. I also enjoy getting to know my students outside the classroom, hearing about your unique interests and aspirations, and helping you navigate your way through college and beyond. As your advisor, my role is to guide you on your journey by listening to you, answering your questions, connecting you with resources on campus, and assisting you in thinking concretely about your future.

When I’m not working, I like to spend time camping, hiking, biking, canoeing, cross-country skiing, or throwing the Frisbee. I also enjoy listening to music, watching movies, reading fiction, and hanging out with my wife and our ten-year-old son. I’m originally from the Southeast U.S., but I’ve really grown to love the Midwest, and I have a hard time imagining myself elsewhere. My time at Beloit has been amazing, thanks largely to my fantastic students and colleagues. I look forward to helping you make a smooth transition to college life and take ownership of your education at Beloit.

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Ron Watson

Ron Watson

I am a professor with a joint appointment in the Political Science department and Health & Society program. I am also one of the coordinators of our Health and Healing Career Channel and advise students who are interested in going on to work in a broad range of health and health-adjacent professions. I love being at Beloit because of the closeness of the community and the amazing students who come to share their knowledge and curiosity with us. Above all else, it gives me great pride to see students learn, develop and grow into the world-changing people I know they will become after their time at Beloit.

Though originally from central Virginia, I have lived all over the United States, including Florida, Indiana and New Mexico. However, the most formative of my living experiences as an adult is the more than 10 years I spent living and working in rural and urban Japan. My time there provided an unparalleled glimpse into the realities and possibilities of international relations, governance, policing and social cohesion, as well as the common difficulty of confronting a troubling and shameful past. This insight now deeply informs my own participation in government and efforts to fight for social justice and equity at home.

Whether we meet as a student in my courses, as one of my advisees or as partners in a research or entrepreneurship project, I look forward to learning and growing with you as we consider the challenges and solutions for managing dynamic issues and problems across the realms of politics, policy, health and social wellbeing, both on campus and beyond.

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Leslie Williams

Leslie Williams

I am a professor in the Anthropology department and also teach in the Health and Society and Data Analytics programs. As a bioarchaeologist (an archaeologist that studies human bones) I really enjoy working with students to better understand the health and lives of past people. I believe we can learn from the past to help us build a more equitable future.

I have always wanted to teach at a small liberal arts college, and am so lucky to have found my home at Beloit. I love working closely with students as they discover their passions and build the skills that will help them succeed after they graduate. Students have joined me in research here in Beloit and in Munich, Germany over the last several summers, and I can’t wait to bring more students with me on future projects. When not teaching or doing research, I love spending time with my miniature dachshund Freki, watching movies and TV, and crafting embroidery/cross stitch projects. I’m looking forward to getting to know you better and welcoming you to the fun and funky Beloit community!

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Fall AMP Advisors

Joe Bookman

Joe Bookman

I am an Assistant Professor of Media Studies and I teach film, media production, and media theory. My courses often explore topics relating to art and technology, and as someone who is passionate about writing, filmmaking and podcasting, I enjoy helping students to pursue their creative visions, whatever they may be. Beloit is a great place for students who are creative, intellectually curious, and who want to make the world a better place. Every year I am inspired by what our students are able to accomplish, both inside and outside the classroom.

I grew up on the East Coast, but have lived in the Midwest for most of my adult life, and I love it here in Wisconsin. In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, reading, and watching movies and sports. I feel lucky to have a job that allows me to work alongside talented young people year after year, and I look forward to working with you during your time at Beloit.

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Gregory Buchanan

Gregory Buchanan

I am a professor in the Psychology Department and I also teach in the Health and Society Program. I am trained as a clinical psychologist and have specialties in college mental health, the treatment of domestic violence offenders, and psychological testing. Much of my teaching at the college is in the area of abnormal psychology, including courses in psychological disorders and psychotherapy. I am especially interested in the biological and cognitive models of psychopathology, though my training was in psychodynamic psychotherapy and I have a huge soft-spot for Melanie Klein and her theory of object relations.

I grew up in a country town in Australia so when I started at Beloit College in 1999, it felt like a homecoming of sorts, except the country-side here is cows and corn instead of the sheep and wheat of home. I really like the feel of the city, small though it may be, and especially how our beautiful campus is located next to the city’s ever more vibrant downtown area. The feeling of closeness extends to relationships of course, and that is Beloit College’s specialty. With small class sizes and open-door offices across from classrooms my days are full of interactions with students – teaching, advising, and yes, a lot of just chatting. As your AMP advisor, I am really looking forward to starting a conversation with you and doing whatever I can to mentor you on this awesome journey you’re about to begin.

When not working I like to grow tulips, cook ridiculous amounts of food, often experimenting with new recipes, watching cat videos, and solving crosswords.

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Gabriela Cerghedean

Gabriela Cerghedean

I am a professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, where I teach a variety of Spanish language, culture, and literature of the Spanish Middle Ages courses. My research focuses on the Medieval Mediterranean, specifically on al-Andalus.

Even though I was born in Romania, in Transylvania, I call Madison my home. As often as possible, I like to share my interest in travel and learning about other cultures with my students. As a result, in the summer of 2022, I will be co-directing the Spain Global Experience Seminar, one of the many great opportunities for study abroad that we offer at Beloit College. 

Teaching at Beloit College is an amazing experience! What I cherish most is building strong relationships, supporting, and encouraging my students and advisees in their present endeavors as well as their future plans and dreams. I am looking forward to meeting you and learning more about your academic and extracurricular interests. My main goal is to make sure that each of you will have a wonderful, successful, and unforgettable experience at Beloit College and beyond. Welcome to Beloit! ¡Bienvenidos a Beloit!

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Scott Espeseth

Scott Espeseth

I am a professor of Art, and I teach foundations, drawing, and printmaking, which includes media like etching, relief printing, and screen printing. I am also a practicing artist, and I exhibit my work regularly in national and international venues. I make drawings and works on paper that evoke the eeriness of everyday experiences.

I love teaching at Beloit because of the students. Beloit tends to attract students with a love of learning and an openness to new experiences and challenging ideas. The small community means it’s possible for me to collaborate across campus to support our students, and make sure nobody falls through the cracks. I love the campus, and watching it transform as we cycle through four distinct seasons. That’s right, I even like the weather!

In my free time, I enjoy gardening, cooking, film, and spending time with my family. I’m always down for a road trip or to take in an art exhibition. I’m looking forward to getting to know you as your first academic advisor!

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Susan Furukawa

Susan Furukawa

I’m a literature scholar who focuses on historical narratives and popular culture in Japan. My research interests include Japanese history, national identity in 20th-century Japan, modern literature, gender, popular culture, and media studies. I teach in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, but my courses are often cross-listed with Critical Identity Studies, Media Studies, and Environmental Studies. In my classes, we look at how the narratives people create are subject to cultural, historical, and sociopolitical influences and examine the ways in which language and stories are often used to curate our understanding of the environment and the world.

I’m from a small town in southeastern Indiana where there were no real stores, very few restaurants, and even fewer people who weren’t just like me. I am grateful for the connection to place and people that comes from growing up in a small town, but I am even more grateful that my life there compelled me to seek out a world that was much different than what I knew. That is what led me to Japan and the study of Japanese. Since leaving my hometown, I’ve lived in and/or traveled all over the world, but I feel the most content in the mountains of rural Japan.

What I love about teaching at Beloit is that faculty are free to create innovative courses that help students develop incredible skills they can carry with them well beyond their time here. Beloit students are interested and interesting learners in every sense of the word, so they bring a lot to the classroom. When I am not working, I love watching and playing sports, hiking, and camping. I also really love playing board games and hanging out with my kids who have somehow inherited a quirky combination of their parents’ senses of humor, making for hilarious game nights at our house.

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Laura Grube

Laura Grube

I’m a professor in the Department of Economics and Business, and I teach a range of courses, from Principles of Economics to Comparative Economic Systems to Business Management. My research has focused on how communities engage in collective action and form strategies to rebuild and recover following natural disaster. More recently, I have studied efforts to promote homeownership, improve the housing stock, and revitalize neighborhoods in Beloit. I like to include my research and information about Beloit (the City) in my courses so that students can also learn about their new home.

In addition to teaching, I organize our department’s annual alumni networking event, called “Econ Day” and advise our student-run market research group, Belmark Associates. I’m the faculty sponsor of the Business and Entrepreneurship Channel. At Beloit, faculty and staff spend a lot of time not only creating courses, but also co-curricular opportunities that provide students with hands-on research experience, help students hone their professional materials (e.g. resume), and explore internships and jobs. One reason that I enjoy taking part in all of these other programs is that they are another opportunity to advise and mentor students. I love meeting students their first semester at Beloit, having them in class, working with them as part of a club or organization, watching them take on new challenges, and then supporting them as they figure out what’s next. I’m excited to meet you and help you navigate your time at Beloit!

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Sonya Maria Johnson

Sonya Johnson

I’m a sociocultural anthropologist, and my specialty is African descendants’ religious lifeways, (the everyday practices people use to connect with their understanding of the sacred) throughout the Americas, with a focus on eastern Cuba. Anthropologists study the lifeways of humans in various ways, and I research how people make meaning out of their everyday lives by using their history and understandings about sacred lifeways to inform their identity. I teach in the Department of Critical Identity Studies and include content from religious studies, history, anthropology, and African diasporal studies, (the scattering of African descendants throughout the globe), and ethnic studies in my courses.

I was born and raised in Colorado and moved to Michigan for graduate school before landing in Beloit. Home for me is Beloit and where my family members live, mainly in Colorado and Georgia. From all my moving about, I’ve learned that the key to transplanting well is knowing what brings you joy and growing that for yourself wherever you are. Four of the many things that bring me joy are learning about humans over space and time, cooking, studying and teaching yoga, and plants, especially trees!

I love teaching at Beloit because the students are compassionate and fearless in trying new ways of thinking and approaching hard things, like crafting more humane ways to engage around social differences. Beloit students are a joy to teach and mentor because they have an artful way of partnering deep care for others with the courage to put their knowledge into action. By relying on their academic content, professional development through Channels and internships, study abroad along with social curricular activities like sports, clubs, or other student organizations, Beloit students and alumni embody what it means to be lifelong learners. I value working with other staff and faculty colleagues to continually craft innovative ways to make this experience happen for every student. I now look forward to making this a reality for you! Welcome to Beloit, and let’s do this together.

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Robert LaFleur

Robert LaFleur

I am an anthropologist and historian, and I teach a wide variety of courses dealing with East Asia, from studying texts and discussing translations with students to living and studying on China’s sacred mountains. I have always been fascinated by how old books are alive for those of us who take them seriously, and I try to bring that excitement into the classroom every day.

When I am not hiking up a Chinese mountain or sitting with my nose buried in a text, I love to play chess, sample sushi and dimsum (not usually at the same time), and listen to country music and opera (more similar than one might think). Above all, I am passionate about cycling, and spend long hours on my road and mountain bikes, not to mention watching the professional cycling season with ardent enthusiasm.

I enjoy teaching at Beloit College, because it gives me the opportunity to convey not only the content of my courses to students, but, much more importantly, to try to broaden the discussion toward what all education must be about in the end—how we live our lives among others in a complex world. I enjoy advising for this very reason. Part of the challenge is, of course, to choose courses and fulfill requirements. In a much larger sense, though, a liberal arts education is about crafting a life, and I seek to help students begin to do just that.

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Kate Linnenberg

Kate Linnenberg

I am a professor in the Department of Sociology, and I teach classes that also count for majors in the Health & Society and Critical Identity Studies Programs as well. My current research focuses on understanding what students gain from experiential and community-based learning. The work looks both at how students develop at the time of the course and at how they frame the experience years later. Did the experience affect their career path? Do they continue to use the skills that they learned as undergraduates once they are in the work world? Does this vary across demographic characteristics?

What I love most about Beloit College students is their genuine love for learning. I enjoy mentoring students as they work on independent studies and conduct internships. Some of my favorite experiences at Beloit involve getting to know students both in and out of the classroom. This can happen during office hours, but it also occurs when classes come to my house for dinner, or when I see a student dance in a recital or play soccer or give a presentation at Beloit and Beyond Day, or when a student helps me code interview data for a research project I’m working on.

Outside of the classroom, I relax by spending time reading books for pleasure, cooking, and going for walks. I also love to watch movies/TV with my husband and our orange tabby, Thomas.

Know that I am on your team, and that means I will work to help you figure out your path and achieve your dreams at Beloit College and beyond!

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Donna Oliver

Donna Oliver

I am a professor of Russian literature and culture in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures, and I also teach courses in the college’s Writing Program. My teaching and research interests include nineteenth- and twentieth-century Russian literature, but I’m also interested in both visual and material culture (I collect pre-revolutionary Russian postcards and love to talk about collecting in general!). As the Director of Community-Based Learning at Beloit, I’m also especially interested in getting students to embrace the larger community and take advantage of the rich opportunities for learning that it provides.

I’m originally from southeast Pennsylvania, but I have been living in the Midwest since I began my graduate studies at Northwestern University. I’ve been at Beloit College for over three decades (hard to believe sometimes!), and I love it here–the community is close-knit, and the students constantly inspire me. It’s really rewarding to work with students who bring such diverse talents, perspectives, and life experiences to the table; I learn something new from them every day.

As for interests outside of work, I love the arts in all forms, good food, and traveling. I love to explore new places, both near and far, and I look forward to resuming my travels once the pandemic has passed!

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Ben Stucky

Ben Stucky

My name is Ben Stucky, and I’m a professor of math and computer science at Beloit College. My gender pronouns are he/him/his. My last name rhymes with “cookie,” and you can call me Ben. I was born in Kansas City, Missouri, but raised in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Both my parents’ families are Swiss-German Mennonites who settled in the midwest in the late 19th century. I attended college at a Mennonite liberal arts college in central Kansas called Bethel College, where I studied math and computer science. After that, I lived with a host family in Kenya for a year where I learned Swahili and volunteered with an organization that placed computers in primary and secondary schools. I completed my PhD at the University of Oklahoma, where I studied theoretical math and became interested in teaching. Lately, I have been interested in branching out and working on some projects which cross over into computer science, including creating a ranking system and alignment classifier for social deduction games such as Among Us.

My partner, Madeleine, and I live in Loves Park, Illinois, with our son (Jonah), cat (Shirley), and dog (Buzzy). In addition to teaching and research, my hobbies include home improvement, running, skateboarding, playing piano (poorly), live music (I miss this one since the pandemic started…), playing mafia and hanabi online, and the mathematics and computer science of video game speedrunning.

I love working at Beloit College because of the opportunities it gives me to get to know my students personally. I am happiest when I am with students in the math lounge, either talking about homework, working on robots with the robotics club, learning about another project they are working on, or just talking about anything else that interests them! I also love working on independent research projects with students, where I am frequently surprised by, and learning new things from, my students. I recognize my many privileges and am passionate about making everyone feel like they belong in math/CS at Beloit College regardless of gender, race, sexuality, and other identities. I’m always working to be a more approachable and informed adviser to my students, and I encourage you to come say hi any time!

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Matthew Tedesco

Matthew Tedesco

I teach in the Philosophy Department here at Beloit College, with a particular focus on ethics through courses such as Biomedical Ethics, Environmental Ethics, and Theories of Law and Justice. Through these courses, I’m affiliated with several interdisciplinary programs at Beloit: Environmental Studies, Heath & Society, and Law & Justice. I see the central questions in ethics–about the choices we make, the lives we live, the world we’re always a part of creating–as the kinds of questions that matter to everyone, and I’m glad that my teaching allows me to have conversations with students from a wide variety of backgrounds and areas of study. I also teach Logic at Beloit, and I believe deeply in the connection between clear, careful reasoning and our ability to communicate well and live together in a flourishing, sustainable community. Generally, I see pretty much everything I do at Beloit as about two things: conversations and connections. I love the conversations I get to have at Beloit–in the classroom, in one-on-one conversations with students, and with my faculty and staff colleagues. And I love the connections I get to make, and also help students to make, along the way. It’s a privilege to have a job where I can help Beloit students find and pursue the futures they want for themselves.

Outside of my work at Beloit College, I’ve been an active, gigging musician in local bands in southern Wisconsin and northern Illinois for a number of years, and that keeps me busy some nights and weekends. I also enjoy bowling (and finally bowled a 300 not long ago, after having to grit my teeth and tell people for too long, “no, but I’ve bowled a 299”), and I’m an avid runner. My family and I love to travel, and if you catch me staring into space, chances are I’m imagining possibilities for our next trip.

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Gina T’ai

Gina T’ai

I teach primarily in the department of Theatre and Dance, but also in Critical Identity Studies, Media Studies, and Health & Society. I am a dancer, choreographer, and lover of all things Drag related. I teach Drag in TV and Film as well as Drag Performance, multiple styles of dance, and courses related to dance studies and body conditioning.

I moved around a lot as a child and learned to adapt to wherever I found myself. I consider Wisconsin home and am raising a family of humans, felines, and poultry here. I went to a performing arts high school and a conservatory for college before transferring to a liberal arts school to complete my degree. I am passionate about the liberal arts, especially for artists, because artists are the translators and reflectors of society. We need to learn about the world as a means of informing the art we put out into the world.

Collaborating with students - be it making dances, writing articles, or doing research together - is thrilling for me. We all have much to teach each other and create together. Lately I have been working a lot with student athletes on conditioning and have been inspired by their enthusiasm to connect their sport(s) with the study of the body and how to help grow as both athletes and students.

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