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Teaching Scholars: Santa Clara's Outstanding Faculty
Santa Clara faculty members are award-winning scientists, economists, artists, and writers—but first and foremost they are teachers [video]. A commitment to students and small classes means your professors will know you by name. You'll be able to get the research experience and one-on-one access you need.
Shoba Krishnan: Inspiring the Next Generation of Engineers
Associate Professor of electrical engineering Shoba Krishnan is a passionate champion of women in engineering. Tirelessly promoting the field to young girls, Krishnan heads SCU's outreach to Walden West Science Camp for fifth- and sixth-graders in Saratoga and involves her undergraduate students as mentors.
As a role model, Krishnan's devotion to sharing her knowledge and experience with the next generation of female engineers speaks to Santa Clara's educational philosophy of intentionally expanding the playing field for all—in careers and in life.
"She has shown me that being an electrical engineer doesn't just mean being 'one of the boys,' but that there is a definite place in the engineering world for well-educated and well-trained women engineers as well," said Ayesha Ahmad '11.
Manoochehr Ghiassi: One-on-One Educations in Predictive Modeling
Professor of operations management and information systems Manoochehr Ghiassi specializes in predicting the future. Software he developed, involving complex computer modeling, can be used to predict, for example, how much electricity a community will be using on a particular Tuesday afternoon months from now. His system was used to forecast water distribution in San Jose and to identify the value of employee stock options several years into the future.
Ghiassi said the students he works with—both undergraduate and graduate—learn a great deal about the industry. "I spend an enormous amount of time with each student," he said. "It's a one-on-one education, way beyond the classroom. After working with me, they are well prepared for professional work or for going to graduate school."
Justen Whittall: Inspiring Students Inside and Outside the Lab
Justen Whittall '96 is an expert on West Coast plants, particularly the ones that are hardest to find. The SCU biology assistant professor studies the endangered Metcalf jewel flower and California's Torrey pines, among the rarest pines in the world.
But it's interacting with students rather than plants that Whittall finds most gratifying as a professor. He enjoys sharing his love of wild places and his understanding of the complex science underlying ecosystems.
"I see students' eyes just light up when—instead of doing the cookbook labs taught in high school or at other institutions—at Santa Clara they get to take that information directly into a personal experience," Whittall said. "This is real science being done by Santa Clara undergraduates."
Jim Reites, S.J.: Religious Studies, Engineer, Theologian, Renaissance Man
Since joining the SCU community in 1975, James Reites, S.J., has inspired students to open their minds and hearts to a world of possibilities. Reites traveled the world and studied everything from electrical engineering to music before pursuing theology in Berkeley and Rome.
As associate professor in the Department of Religious Studies—and a major asset to the School of Engineering—Reites is referred to as the "secret ingredient" that spices up the Solar Decathlon team.
He also has led annual student immersion trips to Mexico to build houses and is the faculty director in residence and founder of the Xavier Residential Learning Community.
Patti Simone: Sharing Geriatric Research
Patricia Simone, director of the gerontology program, is interested in how the brain stays nimble as we age. Her specialty in the psychology department is cognitive aging, and her research into this topic provides many opportunities for students to work as research assistants, studying a population much older than themselves. Among those students is Kate Bercovitz, a psychobiology major. Bercovitz worked with Simone and Dr. Matt Bell, studying the role of contextual cues and temporal spacing in the long-term memory of older adults. In the future, Bercovitz plans to earn a Ph.D. in psycholinguistics.
The hands-on aspect of the research is incredibly valuable to prospective scientists, Simone said. "You can learn about things in class. But until you do it yourself, you don't exactly understand. Undergraduate research is a way to put theory into practice. You find out if you love it or if you hate it."