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New faculty share inspirations

The new academic year brings new faculty to campus. IUPUI Today asked three new faculty members about their paths to becoming professors, what appealed to them about the Indianapolis campus and how they hope to make an impact on students.

Headshot of Samuel Nyarko

Samuel Nyarko

Assistant professor in the School of Science

Samuel Nyarko earned a bachelor’s degree in geological engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, a master’s degree in geology from the University of Ghana and a Ph.D. in science education from Western Michigan University. In the past five years, he has taught Earth science courses to undergrad and graduate students in Michigan and Indiana, and he also conducts and disseminates Earth science education research.

Question: What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise and become a professor?

Answer: I was drawn to the Earth sciences due to a professional goal of understanding the Earth’s processes that lead to the formation and spread of economic minerals, but Earth sciences education research came along as I inquired more about my own way of teaching and learning these complexities in Earth processes.

Becoming an Earth sciences professor, especially with a research track, allows me to explore and share my current research interests in geoscience education, build a community of practice and guide students who will attend my classes to confidently construct knowledge about complex Earth processes.

Q: What appealed to you about teaching at the School of Science?

A: I started from the STEM Education Innovation & Research Institute at IUPUI in 2021 as a post-doc. That gave me the opportunity to work with folks within the School of Science, especially from the Department of Earth Sciences. I also attended several academic events organized by the school and was highly impressed by the passion and depth of interest that both the dean and my current department had in STEM education research.

Q: How do you hope to impact students?

A: I hope to create a welcoming Earth sciences education research lab, courses and classrooms that follow evidence-based inclusive practices where students would be able to confidently explore and practice their knowledge. I plan to use social learning strategies that inculcate in students the habits and skills of teamwork, geoethics, inclusion and a sense of confidence.

Q: What do you like most about the Indianapolis campus?

A: The downtown campus has some very beautiful architecture, but the people I have met make it more beautiful.

Headshot of Sarah Noor

Sarah Noor

Assistant professor of accounting in the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis

Sarah Noor pursued her Ph.D. in accounting at Texas A&M University, after earning a Bachelor of Business Administration in accounting from the University of Texas at Austin. Her research primarily focuses on financial reporting and voluntary disclosure, and their intersection with environmental, social and corporate governance.

She enjoys using novel data to gain insights into firms’ information environments. She aims for her research to be accessible and interesting, with practical implications to assist managers, investors and other researchers in their decision-making.

Q: What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise and become a professor?

A: My dad is a university professor, and I have always been inspired by his passion for students and education. I chose to study accounting, the “language of business,” because I find it fascinating how companies choose to convey information about themselves, and how that information is then processed by the markets. There is a real connection between accounting research and the market phenomena we observe, which makes it a very exciting area to specialize in.

Q: What appealed to you about teaching at the Kelley School of Business Indianapolis?

A: The Kelley School of Business has top-notch students who care deeply about the world around them, and I knew I wanted to be a part of that excellent culture. I am thankful to be here — to be able to interact with faculty/students with diverse backgrounds and experiences, to be encouraged to continue learning and investing in my research, and to be surrounded by people who strive to make this a great community for all.

Q: How do you hope to impact students?

A: I believe exceptional learning experiences are built on mutual respect and clear communication, so I establish this as the basis for all my classes. As an instructor, I seek to teach rigorous accounting, impart a critical-thinking mindset and act as a resource to help students achieve their professional goals.

I recognize that students face unique concerns, so I am also willing to listen and connect students with appropriate resources to help them seek out solutions. At the end of the day, I hope my students know that I am on their team, because I am invested in their well-being and their success.

Q: What is your impression of the campus so far?

A: The people on campus are warm and engaging, and I appreciate the friendly smiles. I’ve also been enjoying taking walks around campus; I was pleasantly surprised by the beautiful green spaces, art galleries and rooftop views here!

Headshot of Alexa Kulinski

Alexa Kulinksi

Assistant professor in the Herron School of Art + Design

Alexa Kulinski has a Bachelor of Fine Arts in art education and a concentration in painting from Syracuse University, a master’s in art education from Maryland Institute College of Art and a Ph.D. in teaching and curriculum with a specialization in art education from Syracuse University.

She first ventured into teaching by coordinating an art in the park program that was open to anyone who was interested in creating. After earning her BFA, she taught K-12 art in a public school district in Connecticut for 11 years. While pursuing her Ph.D., she taught art education courses to graduate and undergraduate students in art education and inclusive elementary and special education programs, as well as a graphic novel course in the pre-college program.

Question: What inspired you to pursue your area of expertise and become a professor?

Answer: When I first started my journey of becoming an art teacher, I never even imagined pursuing a Ph.D. or becoming a professor. After completing my master’s degree, I became interested in learning more about educational research, especially because research helped me transform my teaching practice.

At the same time, I hosted a student teacher and mentored new teachers as part of Connecticut’s teacher induction program, which I enjoyed doing. Between encouragement from my Maryland Institute College of Art professors, my interest in research, my experience as a K-12 art teacher, and interest in mentoring pre-service and new in-service teachers, pursuing a Ph.D. and becoming a professor were natural next steps for me.

Q: What appealed to you about teaching at the Herron School of Art + Design?

A: Herron has a strong art education program with amazing faculty and students who I am excited to work with. Also, community engagement is valued at Herron. Community engagement is something that is important to me, since that is where I first got my start as an educator.

Q: How do you hope to impact students?

A: My students are the future of education. So I hope to share my experiences and the lessons I learned as a K-12 art teacher to prepare my students to enter schools as teachers who can make a positive change, have a positive impact on their students, and move the art education field forward in providing more equitable and just art education for all students.

Q: What do you like most about the Indianapolis campus?

A: I still have a lot of campus to explore, but I like the location, especially how it is a short walk away from the Eiteljorg Museum.