The College of Charleston is proud to welcome its newest faculty members. With a diversity of expertise in a variety of disciplines, they come excited and ready to teach, mentor and inspire students across campus. And the College couldn’t be more proud to welcome them to its community.
Over the fall semester, The College Today has been introducing these Cougars to campus a few at a time – in no particular order – giving the CofC community the opportunity to get to know them all a little better. Please give a warm welcome to the faculty members in the third of this introductory series, and check out the Faculty & Staff News page to learn about other new faculty members!
Caroline Baker, Theatre and Dance
Caroline Baker ’00
Adjunct Faculty, Department of Theatre and Dance
Background: I am a local designer, teacher and 2000 CofC alum. I grew up in the woods and waters of Lady’s Island in Beaufort, South Carolina, and – after graduating from CofC with a B.S. in Business and minor in global logistics – moved to NYC to study millinery, fashion design, (a little furniture restoration) and apparel construction at the Fashion Institute of Technology. I graduated FIT summa cum laude in fashion design with a tailoring specialization and certification in millinery techniques. I debuted MAUDE COUTURE as an emerging designer in 2009 Charleston Fashion Week and added a sister line of handmade goods called DOT + MAUDE during the pandemic. Prior to teaching at CofC, I was the costume and fashion design faculty for the Charleston County School of the Arts for five years. I join CofC as an adjunct professor in costume history and technology in the theatre and dance department.
Expertise: I specialize in vintage textiles, lace, tailoring, draping, patternmaking, wedding gowns, coats, millinery, upcycling, and eco and sustainable fashion.
Outside Interests: I am an intensely curious person and I love learning. My interests include art, fashion history, sewing, draping, reading, boating, hiking, walking, traveling and discovering new things.
Looking Forward: I have really missed teaching, but I am probably most excited to have a room full of people who share my enthusiasm for costume and fashion history. I love what I do and I enjoy sharing my passion to hopefully cultivate that curiosity in students.
Lauren Berowski, English
Lauren Berowski
Adjunct Faculty, Department of English
Background: I have a B.A. in English and an M.A.T. in English Education from SUNY Binghamton. (Go Bearcats!) I started my career as a librarian and English language arts teacher in New York, and then taught middle and high school students here in Charleston. Although I do love teaching 7th grade, CofC is my favorite place yet!
Expertise: I am passionate about creative writing. It is so important for students to know how to express themselves in their own ways. I have also studied a lot of English folklore and pedagogy, which are strong interests of mine.
Outside Interests: When I am not chasing my 18-month-old daughter around, I love to read a good mystery novel in front of my fireplace, complete jigsaw puzzles and snuggle with my dog. My husband and I also love live music!
Looking Forward: I am so excited to be teaching ENG 110, the first stop for many freshmen at CofC, because I think it is so important for students to know that writing does not have to be scary or daunting, and in fact can be incredibly fun and therapeutic!
Amber Davidson, Mathematics
Amber Davidson
Instructor of Mathematics, Department of Mathematics
Background: I’ve spent nine years teaching math at the high school level, one year at the 8th grade level and two years at the University of Oklahoma. I have my undergraduate and master’s degree in mathematics education.
Expertise: My research is in methods and best teaching practices in mathematics classrooms.
Outside Interests: I like to sew, do art projects and crafts with my daughter, and go to the beach!
Looking Forward: I am excited to get to know my new students, teach a variety of new classes and work with some of the grad students in Math 110S!
Meredith Frazier, Biochemistry
Meredith Frazier
Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry
Background: I am originally from Charlotte, North Carolina. I received my B.S. in Biochemistry from Elon University, then went to Vanderbilt for my Ph.D. I was with the Research Triangle Park at the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences doing postdoctoral work prior to joining the faculty at CofC.
Expertise: I am a structural biologist and biochemist fascinated by understanding how protein complexes function. My lab will work on a family of ribonucleases – enzymes that cut RNA – that coronaviruses and their relatives use to evade the immune system, making these enzymes possible antiviral targets. My lab will tackle questions about the molecular mechanisms of this EndoU family and their similarities and differences across viruses.
Outside Interests: I am an avid reader – my favorite science-related book I’ve read recently is a great breakdown of the discovery of CRISPR gene editing: The Code Breaker by Walter Isaacson. I also enjoy hiking and being outside. I picked up curling during my postdoc in RTP (yes, the sport where you sweep), and I’m excited to continue playing at the Charleston Curling Club! I’m also interested in science outreach and supporting women in STEM.
Looking Forward: I’m very excited to share my love of biochemistry, especially protein structure and function, with CofC students. I always enjoy watching students connect basic chemistry principles and molecular mechanisms to the bigger picture of human health and disease.
Sharonah Frederick, Hispanic Studies
Sharonah Fredrick
Instructor of Spanish for the Professions, Department of Hispanic Studies
Background: I was brought up between Argentina, Israel and the United States, and have worked internationally for the past 30 years. Presently, I am section editor on the Colonial Americas, North and South, for Routledge’s digital Encyclopedia of the World Renaissance, and a consultant in Spanish, Portuguese, English and Hebrew for Berlitz Global Leadership Training. I have taught at Hebrew University in Jerusalem, worked with Procter and Gamble Health and Cross Cultural trainings in Costa Rica, and taught Spanish and Latin American literature and Spanish cinema and television at SUNY Buffalo, as well as collaborating with UNESCO groups from Latin America, the Caribbean and the Middle East.
Expertise: My research is in the history of medicine in indigenous and colonial Latin America; Judeo-Spanish and Hispano-Arabic tradition in literature and science; piracy in the Colonial Americas and South Asia, and women’s role in it; Mayan and Andean archaeology and pre-Conquest science; Irish history in the New World, and involvement with Latin American independence movements; and Native American resistance movements and the Spanish renegades who joined them.
Outside Interests: I’m interested in literature; the interrelationship between science and magic; folk music; baroque and renaissance classic rock music in English and Spanish; Brazilian jazz and world music; history, archaeology, yoga, meditation, hiking and everything connected to the sea and travel.
Looking Forward: I’m excited about the ability to work with a range of students from beginning to advanced Spanish and the challenges that presents in terms of involving and inspiring the students.
Dileep Karanth, Physics
Dileep Karanth
Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics, Department of Physics and Astronomy
Background: My doctorate is in computational solid state physics from the University of Arkansas. I have been teaching for the last 15 years. I have taught in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Ohio and, lastly, Illinois, before coming to the College of Charleston.
Expertise: My doctoral research was in solid state physics. However, over the years, I have moved to statistical mechanics. I am also interested in the history of science, mathematics, astronomy and music.
Outside Interests: I used to be a keen birdwatcher, but I have not been doing that for a long time. Now that I am in the Charleston area, I have heard there are opportunities to visit a number of parks, and perhaps it is time to renew my old interest. I have also worked as a freelance translator a long time, and I am interested in translating fiction, poetry and historically important works in science and mathematics (books or papers). I am now learning Latin, and my colleagues in the Classics department have been most helpful!
Looking Forward: My students at CofC have given me a pleasant surprise by being friendly, trusting and committed. Some of them need help with math, but on the whole, they are willing to learn. This has not been my experience in the past, and I am now excited to teach my students – to justify their trust, and generally to do right by them.
Kerstin Kuhn, German and Russian Studies
Kerstin Kuhn
Visiting Assistant Professor of German Studies, Department of German and Russian Studies
Background: As an international scholar from Berlin, Germany, I earned my Master of Education in German Linguistics and Literature from Humboldt University. In my dissertation study at Georgetown University, I’ve researched how learners of German construe evaluative meanings in the digital storytelling medium in order to position themselves and express emotions. Throughout my career, I have instructed German both at the collegiate and K-12 level, and I am thrilled to teach German language and culture at CofC this academic year!
Expertise: My research interests include L2 digital writing, systemic functional linguistics, storytelling, foreign language pedagogy and curriculum design.
Outside Interests: I enjoy exploring the coastal area with my family and dog, Peanut. Whenever I get the chance, I love to be engaged with resin art, quilting, playing the flute and creative writing for my daughter. I am fascinated by (and always happy to learn) proverbs, dialects, as well as linguistic variations in literature, film and online discourse.
Looking Forward: Being an expat from Berlin, Germany, I am most excited about the full immersion in German language and culture that my students will experience at different language levels.
Samantha Payne, History
Samantha Payne
Assistant Professor, Department of History
Background: I grew up in Virginia, where I became fascinated with American history in general and the Civil War in particular. I received my B.A. from the College of William & Mary in history and English in 2014 and my Ph.D. from Harvard in American history in 2022. Before starting my Ph.D., I worked for several years in museums, including the U.S. National Archives, the Nantucket Historical Association and Colonial Williamsburg. My favorite work experience was actually in England, where I worked at a tiny labor history museum called the Museum of Bath at Work.
Expertise: I am a transnational historian of the U.S. Civil War, with particular interests in slavery, race and abolition. My work also intersects with the themes of capitalism, democracy and Black internationalism. My book project, The Last Atlantic Revolution, explores the Atlantic history of Reconstruction in Cuba, Brazil and the United States, the last societies to abolish slavery in the Atlantic World. One cool thing about my research is that it draws on archival sources in English, Spanish and Portuguese – which is fun for a U.S. historian!
Outside Interests: In my free time, I love biking, yoga and binge-watching Netflix (Fleabag is my favorite). I also enjoy spending a lazy afternoon curled up with a good novel and my cat, Moxie.
Looking Forward: I am really looking forward to getting to know my students. I went to a liberal arts college for undergrad and I loved it – mostly because of the close relationships I built with faculty. I’m excited to get to build those kinds of connections now, as a professor!
Sarah Platt, Anthropology
Sarah Platt
Assistant Professor of Anthropology, Department of Sociology and Anthropology
Background: I am originally from Maryland, and I graduated from St. Mary’s College of Maryland on the shores of the St. Mary’s River near the Chesapeake Bay in 2013. I received my Ph.D. in Anthropology with a focus in historical archaeology from Syracuse University in 2022. Prior to coming to CofC, I worked as an archaeological analyst for the Digital Archaeological Archive of Comparative Slavery (DAACS), based out of the archaeology labs at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello in Charlottesville, Virginia. I completed my dissertation fieldwork as a researcher in residence at The Charleston Museum, just a short walk away from campus, under the support of a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowship (NSF GRFP).
Expertise: I am a historical archaeologist, meaning I study the archaeology of the more recent past – when the world starts to look more like our own. My research is on the archaeology of downtown Charleston, with a particular focus on the system of urban slavery in the 18th century. My current project focuses on the Heyward-Washington House on Church Street; however, I’m looking at the earlier gunsmithing workshop that predates the current standing house and outbuildings.
Outside Interests: I love to kayak in the marsh and creeks, and now that I am back in the Lowcountry, I look forward to learning to sail. I also like running, cooking, going to CrossFit classes and spending time with my two gregarious cats, Nemo and Luna.
Looking Forward: With my research based in Charleston, I am delighted that I’ll be able to use the city as a laboratory. Charleston – from the campus to the wider Lowcountry – is an out-of-this-world place to learn about archaeology, museums and the heritage sector, and I look forward to taking students out into the city to learn about anthropology with “boots on the ground.”
Jean Rugamba, Mathematics
Jean Rugamba
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Mathematics  
Background: I come from Rwanda, a small country in East Africa, and I came to the U.S. in pursuit of a good education. For undergraduate education (2009–13), I went to Birmingham Southern College, where I majored in mathematics and chemistry; then, for graduate education (2015–21), I went to the University of Alabama at Birmingham for both my master’s degree and Ph.D. in applied mathematics. Lastly, for the past academic year I have been serving as a visiting professor of mathematics at Spartanburg Methodist College.
Expertise: Broadly speaking, I am interested in applications of differential and partial differential equations to physical and life sciences.
Outside Interests: In my free time, I enjoy spending time with family and friends, playing guitar (or learning how to), and I recently became interested in meditation practices.
Looking Forward: This fall I will be teaching precalculus and introductory calculus. What’s exciting about these courses is that they provide a great foundation not only for students pursuing mathematics, but also for those pursuing other subjects, especially engineering and physics.
Vish Sakthivel, International Studies
Vish Sakthivel
Assistant Professor of International Studies, Department of International and Intercultural Studies
Background: I was a foreign policy analyst prior to becoming an academic. I received a Ph.D. at Oxford, after which I was a postdoctoral scholar at Yale’s Council on Middle East Studies and concurrently a lecturer in Yale’s political science department.
Expertise: My interests are in ethnicity and race (esp. Islamophobia and racialization of Islam), interdisciplinary Middle East and area studies, political Islam and religion in public life, qualitative research methods/discourse analysis, and social movements/small group behavior.
Outside Interests: I enjoy keeping up with my spoken Arabic in my free time with language partners, spending time outdoors with my family, cooking and reading/maintaining my Elena Ferrante book collection. I also very much enjoy consuming, analyzing and discussing American pop culture phenomena with friends and colleagues.
Looking Forward: The classes I’m teaching are interdisciplinary! They integrate history, critical IR, geography and anthropology to understand our world.
Peter Spearman, Theatre and Dance
Peter Spearman ’15
Visiting Assistant Professor, Department of Theatre and Dance
Background: I am from Charleston and am a theatre and performance studies Ph.D. candidate at Tufts University. I hold a B.A. in English and theatre performance from the College of Charleston and an M.A. in Theatre and Performance Studies from Tufts University. My dissertation project, Weird Video Games: Playing With Expectation, Affect, and Memory, explores encounters with games that are not what they appear to be, and how the weird can be an effective rhetorical tool to push back on the violence of the “normal.” His article, “The Man Within: Blackness and Simulation in ‘Injustice: Gods Among Us,’” appears in the theater and performance studies journal, Etudes Online, and my work on the Doki Doki Literature Club will appear in a forthcoming issue of PARTake. I’ve served as an instructor across courses in acting, theater history and media studies. And I have presented papers at ASTR, ATHE and the International Conference on Romanticism.
Expertise: My areas of research are video games and performance, adaptation, performance studies, and British Romanticism.
Outside Interests: Most of my time is spent with my two sons, Win (3) and Angus (2 months). Most of my time is spent playing with trucks and legos, and watching The Nightmare Before Christmas. When I’m not spending time with my amazing family (I met my wife when we were both at CofC!), I can be found cooking, playing video games, managing my fantasy football or basketball teams, or playing cards and drinking wine with my amazing partner, Addi.
Looking Forward: I look forward to getting to work with so many early career majors and non-majors!
Erica Veal, Avery Research Center
Erica Veal ’13
Research Archivist and Interpretation Coordinator, Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture
Background: I am a certified interpretive trainer and certified interpretive guide through the NAI (National Association for Interpretation) and have a master’s degree in history from the College of Charleston. I am also a community organizer and co-founder of the Lowcountry Action Committee.
Expertise: My focus is on civil rights, Black power and Pan-Africanism.
Outside Interests: I enjoy gardening, hiking, spending time in nature.
Looking Forward: I look forward to learning to do library-led instruction at the Avery Research Center, where I am responsible for processing collections, creating finding aids, providing archival and library instruction, providing research/reference services, supervising student employees and interns, developing interpretation plans for exhibitions, training students on NAI interpretation techniques and developing an outreach program to bring our resources to the broader community.
Daisy White, Professional Studies
Daisy Nelson White
Adjunct Faculty, Bachelor of Professional Studies, School of Business
Background: I am originally from Baltimore: too cold for too long. I have been coaching leaders of all stripes. (I believe everyone is a leader and that we can all be better.)
Expertise: I work with organizations, teams and individuals. My favorite is facilitating workshops where people can interact and discover each other and themselves and have fun.
Outside Interests: Important to me are integrity, congruence of thought and action, self-awareness and having fun! Listening is my best attribute. Love best: walking, reading, playing AT golf!
Looking Forward: The people I have met and will meet! Learning continuously what I am teaching and from those I teach. Always be learning.
Catch us in Cougar Mall for a study break 🐾 pic.twitter.com/q9y94lKbzP
Computing in the arts major Jo Jackley gained hands on experience through the game development and interaction conc… twitter.com/i/web/status/1…
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