Meet your AMP Advisor

We are here to help put you on a path to success.

Fall AMP Advisors

Daniel Barolsky

I am a professor of Music where I teach courses on music history and theory as well as courses on Music and Psychology and the history of sound technologies, a.k.a. “Disembodied Sounds.” I played the double bass and piano growing up in Charlottesville, Va but, after a few years working in the record industry, realized that I didn’t really like to practice but loved to listen and respond to what I heard. This love has led to my current research on the histories and analyses of performers as well as on music history/theory pedagogy. One of my proudest accomplishments during my time at Beloit has been the co-founding of Open Access Musicology, a resource aimed to bridge relevant scholarship in music with current pedagogical practices in a manner that is accessible (free!) and accessibly written for undergraduate readers.

Since coming to Beloit in 2008, I have had the opportunity to help shape the music curriculum in order to make it accessible to students of all abilities and interests. It has been a stimulating challenge to change what I teach and how I teach, given how many traditions I often confront. But the reward has been immense, especially when I can help give students the opportunity to pursue their own musical passions.

My life outside of Beloit consists of keeping up with multiple children, animals, while also keeping as involved in the community as possible.

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Tawnya Cary

I am a professor and integrative biologist in the Biology Department. I teach “big biology” courses that focus on organismal to ecosystem-scale biology (Aquatic Biology, Zoology, Ecology, and Ecotoxicology). I also teach Biometrics, which introduces the statistical tools we use to evaluate experimental results in biology.

My research investigates how environmentally-relevant levels of pollutants affect the immune function in frogs, which is incredibly similar to human immune function. My type of research is called ‘applied biology’, or biological research that aims to directly solve a problem at-hand. I enjoy contributing to a body of scientific evidence that can be used to regulate human behavior (i.e., change chemical manufacturing processes that have been deemed environmentally harmful). For me, the highlight of my research program is mentoring students through the process of science and witnessing their growth and development as critical thinkers and problem solvers. The scientific community needs curious minds from all walks of life to generate a diversity of questions and answers that guide science discovery into the future.

Outside of teaching and research, I enjoy being outdoors. You can often find me hiking/skiing, camping, canoeing, or tending my garden as I chase after my energetic daughter and menagerie of pets.

I am fortunate to interact with students in a variety of contexts and get to know my students and their interests. Outside of the classroom, I direct two programs on campus that aim to prepare future STEM scholars: the Wisconsin Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation (Wisconsin LSAMP) and the Pakula Biomedical Fellowship program. This also means I work with community members across campus to build relationships that support our students’ progress toward their goals. I’m looking forward to learning more about you and your goals, and helping you find your path to success at Beloit!

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Gabriela Cerghedean

Gabriela Cerghedean

I am a professor of Spanish in the Department ofModern Languages and Literatures, where I teach a variety of Spanish language, culture, and literature courses. My research and interest focus 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 co-directed the SpainGlobal Experience Seminar, one of the many great opportunities forstudy abroad that we offer at Beloit College.

Teaching at Beloit College has been an amazing experience! What I cherish most are building strong relationships, supporting, and encouraging my students 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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Michael Dango

I research and teach twentieth and twenty-first century American culture, aesthetics, queer and feminist theory, and the environmental humanities. Prior to joining Beloit, I was a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Chicago, where I also completed my Ph.D. in English literature.

In my classes, we look at contemporary art, media, and literature to see how people are developing frameworks for making sense of urgent political, social, and environmental questions. We explore how poetry might develop new forms of intimacy and kinship, how horror films intervene into structures of racial and sexual violence, and how politics becomes fiction and fiction becomes politics.

My first book, Style in Crisis Society: The Aesthetics of Repair (forthcoming, Stanford UP), theorizes how stylistic developments in contemporary fiction, sculpture, film, and design respond to a sense of pervasive crisis. I look at how artists use style as a way to repair environmental degradation and political stress. My second book in progress, What Does Rape Look Like?, argues we should replace our legalistic vocabulary for sex and sexual harm with an aesthetic one. My writings have appeared or are forthcoming in New Literary History, Signs, Modern Fiction Studies, Post45, Social Text, Novel, Critical Inquiry,Modern Philology, New Inquiry,Public Books, and The Los Angeles Review of Books.

You can learn more about my writing and teaching at my personal website:

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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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Shawn Gillen

I teach courses in creative writing, American and Irish Literature, and journalism. My favorite courses to teach include Modern American Literature and Music, Writing about Music, Sports, and Culture, and a capstone seminar about James Joyce’s Ulysses.

I work closely with students interested in pursuing careers in journalism, broadcast journalism, and other types of professional writing and editing. Beloit alumni are always willing to offer advice and information to current students about internships and jobs, and I keep in touch with as many of them as I can. My work with students draws on my own professional experiences as a journalist, music critic, and editor.

Working with students outside the traditional classroom is important to me. I have led three Beloit College study abroad trips to Ireland, the most recent in 2016 as part of my work with the Letters of 1916 project at Maynooth University. In 2014, I taught creative writing to Beloit students at Eötvös József Collegium in Budapest, Hungary.

If you are interested you can read one of my recent essays, “The Irish Gambit” (2018) published by an Irish Studies journal. It won recognition as a notable essay in Best American Essays 2019.

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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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Kosta Hadavas

I am a linguist and cultural historian who teaches in both Greek, Latin, and Ancient Mediterranean Studies (GLAM) and Media Studies. My passion lies in studying the workings of the languages of ancient Greek and Latin, as well as exploring their various modes of literary communication. I also study and teach the literature, art, and culture of the various peoples (not only the ancient Greeks and Romans) who lived in the Mediterranean region 1500-3500 years ago, as well as the languages (Medieval Latin and Middle English) and civilizations of Europe during the medieval period. Why do I do this? Both because I find such things inherently fascinating and because I strongly believe that an understanding of the past is essential to creating a better future for oneself and one’s community.

What I especially value about Beloit is the culture of flexibility and support that allows both students and faculty to pursue their passions and expand their intellectual horizons beyond that of any previous (and usually more rigidly prescribed) educational experience. One area where this has been most evident for me over the last ten years is in my explorations with students of the history, nature, and function of cinema, which employs its own complex “language” to communicate its ideas. In fact, Beloit’s atmosphere of intellectual curiosity has significantly impacted my understanding of myself and my place in the complex, messy world we humans have created. Therefore, I am constantly encouraging my students to take advantage of the opportunities available at Beloit to continue their growth and learning, both during their time here and beyond graduation.

One area I particularly point out to students to take advantage of when they are at Beloit is to become teaching assistants. I have had student TAs do actual undergraduate teaching in my Greek and Latin first-year language classes, in my courses on Greek and Roman civilization, in my literary studies courses (e.g., ancient epic, comedy, graphic novels), and in my film courses. As a student, teaching is one of the most challenging and rewarding things you can do in college, so if the opportunity presents itself, take advantage of it. And if it doesn’t present itself, make known your desire to a faculty member whose class you took and enjoyed (and did well in!) that you would love to be a TA for them.

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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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Olga O

Olga Ogurtsova

Transfer and Exchange AMP Advisor

I am a professor in the department of Modern Languages and Literatures. I love teaching Russian language, culture and literature. One of my favorite things about Beloit is that I work with the most exciting students who are intelligent, curious, and never boring. Daily I look forward to being challenged by our students with their numerous insightful questions. I hope that you too will enjoy your time at Beloit College with these amazing people.

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Diep Phan

I received my PhD in Development Economics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2008, and started teaching at Beloit in 2009 in the Economics and Business Department. I teach a variety of economics and business courses such as accounting, finance, international finance and investment, international business, Asian Economies. My international and multi-cultural background have brought global perspectives into my teaching and advising, making me popular among international students and domestic students with international interests (my favorite course to teach is Economics of Globalization). A few years ago, I worked with faculty in many departments to create the interdisciplinary program in data science & analytics, and I am currently its chair. I take pride in the college’s network of successful alumni in business and data careers. This network is a resource that I frequently make use of as I help students find jobs/internships and mentor them in their pursuit of a data career or a business career, be it marketing, consulting, finance, or accounting.

Originally from Hanoi, Vietnam, I have been living in the US for more than twenty years. I currently live in Beloit with my husband and two adorable children. Though Beloit is a small town, I find that it offers a lot and like its strong sense of community. I live very close to campus, and often enjoy inviting students to my house for social gatherings or dinners.

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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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Jay Zambito

I am a professor in the Geology department and have been at Beloit for 5 years. My research interests include paleoclimatology, paleontology, and environmental science. These interests lead me to study a variety of questions like: How did climate change cause extinctions in Earth’s past? and, What are the potential environmental impacts related to mining? Since these research interests are multi-disciplinary, I spent time in the field collecting fossils and rock samples as well as the lab studying those fossils and conducting geochemical analysis; you can find more info on my lab group at the Beloit Paleo Lab website.

The courses that I teach at Beloit are directly related to my research interests, which means students in my classes get to take lots of field trips. The Geology Department provides all the gear students need for these trips, as well as our food :) I incorporate projects into my courses to provide hands-on, critical-thinking activities to reinforce lecture material. I strive for an inclusive classroom and I view our differences as strengths and believe that we can all learn from each other.

I spend my free time gardening, cooking, and with family. I make pizza from scratch pretty much every weekend, and have recently started bottling different hot sauces with the peppers that I grow.

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