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At Principia College there are currently seventy number of classroom faculty. The majority of students know at least the names of professors, but often don’t know much beyond that. We interviewed four professors to give a little more insight into their lives.
Karen Haire is a professor for the Center for Teaching and Learning. She holds a PhD in International Education from Columbia University, completing her dissertation on the teaching of African Literature. She is originally from Ireland, but has U.S. citizenship and permanent residence in her adopted home, South Africa. Prior to becoming a professor here at the College, she “worked for four years as a post-doctoral researcher at a South African university and fell in love with research and writing, especially for the purposes of ‘rewriting South African history’ from the African perspective.” She wrote a number of academic articles of African literature and culture and set up a Writing Centre at the University of Johannesburg, South Africa. For fourteen years Haire worked as a Christian Science nurse and is still journal-listed today. Despite this rich career, Haire commented, “I always felt that education was my first love and I wanted to be in tertiary education.” She explained that Principia College felt like the right fit because she had attended as a one-year enrichment student and always had the desire to give back to an experience that “opened up [her] life in so many positive ways.”
Chrissy McAllister is a professor for the Biology and Environmental Sciences department. She grew up in the military, living in eight states and in Portugal and Germany by the time she was twenty. She attended Principia as an undergraduate and received her Master’s degree from Kansas State University. McAllister received her PhD from Saint Louis University, writing her dissertation on polyploidization (whole genome duplication) and genetic diversity in big bluestem, which is the dominant grass of the North American tallgrass prairie ecosystem. Prior to becoming a professor she worked on GIS projects as a contractor for the US Army, mapping natural resources around Fort Irwin, CA. McAllister also worked as a staff scientist at Battelle Pacific Northwest Labs, cleaning up plutonium-contaminated sites in the area. While working on her Master’s degree, McAllister was required to be a teaching assistant. She said, “I didn’t want to do it because the thought terrified me. But after I was forced to do it, I realized how much I loved it!” She really enjoys teaching at Principia noting, “The students at Principia are awesome! I see a huge difference between Prin students and undergrads I’ve worked with elsewhere. There are obviously nice people everywhere, but there’s something special about the Prin undergrads – they are genuinely loving, enthusiastic, and fun!”
Brad Stock is a Religion professor who attended Principia College as an undergraduate. He stated, “Principia was my college, so it was natural to come back.” He holds a PhD from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. Although he is now a religion professor, his dissertation was actually entitled Ethics and Strategy in Foreign Policy: Building a Stable Peace. Before joining the College faculty, Stock worked at the CS Monitor and as a Senior Game Designer at Parker Brothers. There, Stock “helped them [Parker Brothers] make some early video games for the Atari.”
Professor Merrill Boudreaux joined Principia College this fall as a visiting faculty and is currently teaching two sections of Public Speaking. He received an undergraduate degree in English, Public Speaking, and Education from the University of Louisiana and then went on to do his Master’s degree at the University of Kansas. He also began working toward a doctorate at Drew University with a focus on Shakespeare. Before finding Christian Science, Boudreaux actually studied to be a priest. Prior to this year, Boudreaux taught high school English and Public Speaking for eleven years, worked for AT&T for twenty-seven years in their marketing department, and served as the Academic Dean at Principia Upper School for the past seven years. He commented, “Teaching has always been a part of my life. Being a college professor was a natural outgrowth from my previous teaching and business experiences. Teaching at Principia affords me the opportunity to extend my work from the Upper School.” An interesting fact about Boudreaux? He has a twin.