Oakland University’s PI Academy Celebrates Inaugural Class of Graduates

Oakland University’s PI Academy, which provides professional development in research and engagement to a cohort of 30 non-tenured, tenure-track faculty members, welcomed its inaugural class graduates on Friday, April 6 during a celebration at Meadow Brook Hall.

The four pose for a photo inside Meadow Brook Hall

Oakland University’s PI Academy welcomed its inaugural class of 30 graduates on April 6, including Tomoko Wakabayashi (third from left), an associate professor in Human Development and Child Studies. She is pictured with Dr. James Lentini, OU’s provost and senior vice president for Academic Affairs; Dr. David Stone, OU’s chief research office and director of the PI Academy; and Ora Hirsch Pescovitz, M.D., president of Oakland University – photo by Jessica VanFleteren

This year’s graduating class includes:

  • Shadi Alawneh, assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering;
  • S. Ali Arefifar, assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering;
  • Sara Arena, assistant professor, Physical Therapy;
  • Mehdi Bagherzadeh, assistant professor, Computer Science and Engineering;
  • Sara Blumer-Schuette, assistant professor, Biological Sciences;
  • Daniel DelVescovo, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering;
  • Caitlin Demsky, assistant professor, Management and Marketing;
  • Courtney Brannon Donoghue, assistant professor, Cinema Studies;
  • Joyce Havstad, assistant professor, Philosophy;
  • Wendi Johnson, assistant professor, Criminal Justice;
  • Daniel Llamocca, assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering;
  • Geoffrey Louie, assistant professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering;
  • Jonathan Maisonneuve, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering;
  • Khalid Mahmood Malik, assistant professor, Computer Science and Engineering;
  • Matthew McLarnon, assistant professor, Psychology;
  • Nasim Nezamoddini, assistant professor, Industrial and Systems Engineering;
  • Maria Paino, assistant professor, Sociology;
  • Julia Paul, assistant professor, Nursing;
  • Melissa Reznar, assistant professor, Health Sciences;
  • Roberto Rinaldi, assistant professor, Medicine (Behavioral Sciences);
  • Victoria Roach, assistant professor, Medicine (Anatomy);
  • Kwame Sakyi, assistant professor, Public Heath;
  • Mi Hye Song, assistant professor, Biological Sciences;
  • Laurel Dolin Stevenson, assistant professor, Health Sciences;
  • Luis Villa Diaz, assistant professor, Biological Sciences;
  • Tomoko Wakabayashi, associate professor, Human Development and Child Studies;
  • Colin Wu, assistant professor, Chemistry;
  • Ziming Yang, assistant professor, Chemistry;
  • Wei Zhang, assistant professor, Physics;
  • Peng Zhao, assistant professor, Mechanical Engineering.

“We are very proud of our inaugural class of PI Academy graduates,” said Dr. David Stone, Oakland University’s chief research office and director of the PI Academy. “These faculty are among our most promising future researchers and they come from departments all across the university.”

The PI Academy program includes training sessions, workshops and other activities. Academy participants are also matched with an external mentor to further develop their skill set and career network.

“Each of these mentors is world class in their field and their work with our faculty will better position them to be more successful in the very competitive world of research funding and more successful in their careers,” Stone said.

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