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Idaho State University

College of Arts & Letters Welcomes New Fine Arts & Humanities Faculty for 2018-2019 School Year

College of Arts & Letters Welcomes New Fine Arts & Humanities Faculty for 2018-2019 School Year
New Fine Arts and Humanities faculty members Leekyung Kang, Kelly Lonergan, Evan Rodriguez, Neelam Sharma, Joel Shura, Julie Sorensen, and Andrew Wrobel.


The College has added seven new faculty members to the Fine Arts & Humanities who will start this fall.

“The College is excited for the new faculty members that will be joining us this year,” said Dean Kandi-Turley Ames. “We believe that each faculty member will bring new, exciting and innovative ideas both inside and outside of their classrooms that will mutually benefit the College and ISU.”  

New faculty members in the Fine Arts & Humanities include:


Leekyung Kang, assistant professor of art, has nine years of experience teaching observational drawing, painting and printmaking at private art academies in Rhode Island, South Korea and Qatar. She earned an M.F.A. in printmaking from Rhode Island School of Design and an M.F.A. in painting from Seoul National University, completing additional studies at Brown University and Columbia University. Her work has been showcased in multiple galleries in the U.S. and abroad, and she has received awards such as the Golden Foundation fellowship and a New England Emerging Artist grant. Kang has completed research at the New York Arts Practicum, the Rhode Island School of Design Museum and at Seoul National University. Her position within the Department of Art will involve teaching printmaking, creative process and drawing courses, as well as mentoring M.F.A. students. Kang’s experience creating, teaching and researching art internationally will help students foster solid artistic foundations with a global perspective.

Kelly Lonergan, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Persuasion, will provide instruction within the Design track of the department’s Visual Communication emphasis. She earned an M.F.A. in graphic design from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a B.F.A. in graphic design from James Madison University. Her design portfolio includes package design for Shenandoah Valley Organic, signage and environmental design for Perkins Eastman Architects and FOX Architects, promotional materials for Caribbean Kayak and wallpaper design for HGTV. She returned to James Madison University in 2016 to teach computer graphics and typography courses as an adjunct professor. In the Department of Communication, Media, and Persuasion, Longergan will strengthen graphic design education within interdisciplinary programs.

Evan Rodriguez, formerly a visiting assistant professor in the Department of English and Philosophy, has accepted a position as an assistant professor of philosophy. He earned his Ph.D. in philosophy and classics from Yale University and taught in instructor and visiting scholar positions at Quinnipiac University and New York University. Rodriguez came to ISU in 2017 and provided instruction in such courses as Life and Death, Theory of Knowledge and Introduction to Philosophy. His research specializes in ancient Greek and Roman philosophy, and he has knowledge of Spanish, Japanese, French, German, Latin and ancient Greek. His current project focuses on Aristotle's response to Plato from a methodological perspective. Rodriguez’s addition to the philosophy department as an assistant professor will enhance instruction in philosophy of religion, a new minor field within the department.

Neelam Sharma, assistant professor in the Department of Communication, Media and Persuasion, received her Ph.D. in public communication and technology from Colorado State University and her M.A. and B. Com. from Panjab University. She served as a post-doctoral researcher at Colorado State, a lecturer at University of Colorado-Denver and a lecturer at Punjab College of Engineering and Technology. She acted as principal correspondent at The Indian Express and as staff reporter at The Tribune and The Times of India in Chandigarh, covering health and environment topics including HIV and the H1N1 outbreak. Sharma has instructed courses in newswriting, professional communication and analyzing data in journalism and media, and has completed academic research studying media and health. Her current work examines narratives and mental models. Sharma’s experience in both professional and academic settings will help prepare Communication, Media and Persuasion students for careers in media and journalism.

Joel Shura, assistant professor of theatre, earned his M.F.A. in directing from the University of Montana and his B.A. in theatre from Claire Trevor School of the Arts at the University of California, Irvine. He served as adjunct instructor at Mendocino College teaching narrative theatre, acting and play performance. Shura has also instructed students in improvisation, creative dance and voice courses. He has directed many plays at the University of Montana, Mendocino College and UC Irvine, and at professional theatres such as Montana Repertory Theatre and Ukiah Players Theatre, including Dracula, The Laramie Project and Peter and the Starcatcher. As actor, he has appeared in such productions as Grease and Romeo and Juliet. Shura is the writer of a stage manager’s handbook and of two original plays, What Goes Up... Must Come Clown and Shakespeare & the Seven Deadly Sins. In addition to his formal education, Shura has completed improvisation and clowning training. Shura’s performance expertise and passion will benefit students seeking to hone their acting chops in the Department of Theatre and Dance.

Julie Sorensen has spent six years at ISU directing musical theatre orchestra, chamber orchestra, opera, Summer Institute for Piano and Strings orchestra and youth orchestra. Most recently, she acted as interim artistic director and conductor of the Idaho State Civic Symphony. This fall, she will serve as assistant professor of music and music director of the Idaho State Civic Symphony, having completed a Ph.D. in Fine Arts from Texas Tech University in May. She also earned a Master of Music degree in orchestral conducting from the University of Nebraska and a B.A. in flute performance from the University of Wyoming. Her new duties include directing the ISCS, serving on its board of directors and teaching courses in conducting and music theory, with a dual focus of teaching studio flute and developing the department’s orchestral program. In her new position, Sorensen will serve as a face of the College’s excellent music program and help train a generation of instrumental performers.

Andrew Wrobel, assistant professor in the Department of Global Studies and Languages, completed his Ph.D. studies in Hispanic culture at Michigan State University. He received a M.A. and B.A. from Marquette University, both in Spanish language and literature, and served at Michigan State as a visiting assistant professor starting in 2016. Wrobel has instructed students in Spanish literature and culture, provided instructional support for a study abroad program in Santander, Spain, and developed courses such as “Introducing Technology in Undergraduate Spanish Courses” and “Literature, Culture, Identities: Frenemies with Fascism.” His dissertation explored lyrical politics in the work of Spanish writers. Wrobel’s experience in studying and teaching Spanish language and literature will benefit the beginning and advancing Spanish speakers he instructs.

New visiting professors will be featured in the September newsletter.


Written by: Madison Shumway, College of Arts & Letters intern