Meet the New Faculty

Friday, September 16, 2016

The College of Health & Social Sciences welcomes 15 new faculty members this term. Find out about their scholarship, read why they were drawn to SF State, and learn some fun personal facts about these newest members of our community.

Elif Balin Elif Balin, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling

Elif Balin received a B.A. from Bogaziçi University and an M.S. from Middle East Technical University in Turkey in the field of psychological counseling and guidance. She received her Ph.D. in counselor education and supervision (with a graduate minor in women’s studies) from the Pennsylvania State University. She is a former professional school counselor in both the middle and high school settings in the international K-12 schools. She also worked as a career counselor and instructor at Penn State Career Services. Balin is interested in the ways that recent immigrants and international students navigate their career development in the context of cultural mobility. In her research and counseling practice, she integrates feminist, narrative and strengths-based approaches to support the connection between mental health and work/career experiences. Balin chaired the NCDA (National Career Development Association) International Student Services Committee for two years, and currently leads the Research and Writing Team under this committee. 

“SF State has been a long time dream and inspiration in my career trajectory. It has a very strong, social-justice-oriented department of counseling with very important scholars who have contributed to our field tremendously. I also look forward to living in one of the most attractively diverse cities and accepting communities in the U.S. that I want to call home.”

Lara CushingLara Cushing, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education

Lara Cushing joins the Department of Health Education as an assistant professor in public health with an emphasis in environmental health and justice. She received her Ph.D. in energy and resources from the University of California, Berkeley in 2015. She also holds an M.P.H. in epidemiology and M.A. in energy and resources from UC Berkeley. Cushing is an environmental health scientist with expertise and interest in social epidemiology, geo-spatial analysis and environmental justice. Her research examines the relationship between social inequality and environmental quality. She is teaching Environmental Health this semester.

Fun fact: Cushing is a cellist who performs everything from classical to traditional Mexican folk music and rock and roll.

Jennifer DaubenmierJennifer Daubenmier, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education

Jennifer Daubenmier received her doctorate in social psychology at the University of California, Berkeley in 2002 and conducted postdoctoral research at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF) in health psychology. In 2007, Daubenmier became an assistant professor in the Department of Medicine at the Osher Center for Integrative Medicine at UCSF. For the past 15 years, she has studied the impact of Eastern mind-body healing practices, including meditation and yoga, on psychological well-being and physical health outcomes among individuals with obesity, heart disease and prostate cancer. She has conducted NIH-funded randomized controlled trials to examine the impact of meditation and mindful eating practices on eating behavior and metabolic health for patients with obesity. More recently, Daubenmier is studying traditional Asian theories of health to incorporate ideas into a modern scientific context.  

Fun fact: Her favorite country is Nepal — she has been there seven times.

“I look forward to engaging with the diverse student body of SF State and learning what issues are important to them. I am also looking forward to interacting with socially engaged students, staff and faculty who seek to make a positive difference in the lives of others.”

Valerie FranciscoValerie Francisco-Menchavez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Valerie Francisco-Menchavez received her Ph.D. from the Department of Sociology at City University of New York, The Graduate Center. Her current book project explores the dynamics of gender and technology of care work in Filipino transnational families in the Philippines and the United States. Through an examination of neoliberal immigration policies and market forces, Francisco-Menchavez contextualizes the shifts in the longstanding transnational family formation in the Philippines. More broadly, she is interested in global and transnational sociology, migration and immigration studies, gender and the family, and transnational social movements with regard to migrant workers. She lends a global perspective both in her scholarship and teaching. In the fall, she will be teaching a Families and Society course alongside a speaker series titled Sociology by the Bay. Francisco-Menchavez is an alumna of SF State, graduating from the very department to which she is returning after a decade away.

Fun fact: She is a mother, a partner, community organizer and a lover of hip hop.

“As an undergraduate, it was professors who looked, talked and related to my experiences who inspired me to pursue my Ph.D.  even kept me afloat  as I finished my degree and started my career. So it is this hope — to work with students at SF State who aspire to go above and beyond societal constraints, those who are working to break down the barriers they construct within themselves, those who are trying to make sense of the world and make sense of themselves in the world — that fuels my enthusiasm as I start my career at SF State. I am thrilled to contribute to this institution's commitment to social justice and its record for stellar scholarship and research.”

Susanna JonesSusanna Jones, Ph.D., M.S.W.

Professor and Director, School of Social Work

Susanna Jones, the School of Social Work’s new director, comes from Long Island University (LIU) in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she was in the Department of Social Work for 15 years. During her time as faculty at LIU she held numerous administrative roles. Jones is originally from Los Angeles and is a product of the CSU system. She completed her undergraduate studies at CSU Northridge and later attended San Jose State University, where she received her M.S.W. Jones completed her Ph.D. in social welfare and has a certificate in women's studies from the City University of New York, Graduate Center. Her most recent research and scholarship examine the intersections of social policy, social work practice, feminism and justice surrounding constructs of citizenship, immigrants, and immigration policy and practice.

“Coming to a top-notch public university that values diversity is thrilling to me. The energy at SF State is palpable, and I am honored to work with a group of people (both in Social Work and CHSS) who are so accomplished and committed. I look forward to settling into SF State, meeting colleagues and students, and building a new community.”

Esther KimJung Eun (Esther) Kim, Ph.D., R.N.

Assistant Professor, School of Nursing

Before joining SF State, Jung Eun Kim was tenured faculty in the Nursing Department at San Francisco Community College. She also served as a clinical nurse taking care of cancer patients and their caregivers in multiple clinical settings for many years both in South Korea and the United States. She earned her Bachelor of Science in Nursing at Kyung-Pook National University in Korea. While working in Korea as an oncology/hematology nurse, she was interested in patients’ response to disease and their treatments, especially symptom experience and management during their disease trajectory. She relocated to the United States and pursued he Master of Science in Nursing and Ph.D. at the University of California, San Francisco. During her Ph.D. program, she was fortunate to receive a predoctoral fellowship (T31) from NIH-funded study for symptom management and had interdisciplinary research experience working as research assistant. Her research interest mainly lies in symptom clusters and improving quality of life for cancer patients.

“The San Francisco Area itself is beautiful and it's filled with lots of great opportunities. The most attractive aspect of SF State is a great school with lots of great programs.”

Jihyun LeeJihyun Lee, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Jihyun Lee, Ph.D. earned a B.S. in physical education and an M.S. in exercise science from Seoul National University, South Korea. She was an assistant professor at Sam Houston State University from 2013 to 2016. Lee has a doctorate in physical education teacher education (with concentration in adapted physical activity/education) from Ohio State University with a specialization in motor development and single subject research. Her research, teaching and service focus on two complementary areas: adapted physical activity/education and motor development. She has been involved in organizing community-based adapted physical activity programs as well as motor development programs. Her primary line of research investigates the effect of physical activities on behavioral changes in children with autism spectrum disorder. This line of research aims to identify ways to promote movement proficiency and health while decreasing inappropriate behaviors in this population. Her second line of research focuses on issues associated with the promotion of motor skill development and physical activity in Pre-K children. Lee has published articles in areas to understand complex interactions of multiple variables of children to assist them and their families in increasing quality of life through physical activity in a variety of context.

Fun fact: Lee participated in Olympic Swimming events in 1996 and 2000.

Kent LorenzKent Lorenz, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Kinesiology

Kent A. Lorenz joins the Department of Kinesiology as an assistant professor of physical education and physical activity. He completed a Ph.D. in physical education and a graduate certificate in statistics from Arizona State University, along with a Master of Science in exercise physiology from San Diego State University and undergraduate degrees in education and physical education from the University of Alberta. His research interests are centered around creating positive environments for physical education and physical activity in schools using the Comprehensive School Physical Activity Program guidelines and a behavioral ecological support framework. As a result of his research during his doctoral program, Lorenz was co-recipient of the inaugural Thomas L. McKenzie Outstanding Graduate Research Award from the Southwest District of SHAPE America in 2014. During the upcoming fall semester, Lorenz will be teaching KIN 255: Health-Related Fitness and Wellness and KIN 401: Elementary School Physical Education.

Fun fact: When not teaching or conducting research, Lorenz enjoys running or hiking outdoors, playing golf, or completing an intense CrossFit workout.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to work with colleagues who are passionate about helping students learn ways to be successful as new physical education teachers, or other careers in kinesiology. I was attracted to San Francisco State University because of the commitment to excellent teaching and the support for high-quality, meaningful research in a stimulating environment within the diverse region of the Bay Area.” 

Marla RamirezMarla Ramírez, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Sociology

Marla Ramírez was born in Michoacán, Mexico. She immigrated to the United States at the age of 12. Ramírez attended Cerritos Community College and the University of California, Los Angeles as an undergraduate. She graduated with the first cohort of undocumented students after Assembly Bill 540 was signed into law. Ramírez holds a M.A. and Ph.D. in Chicana and Chicano Studies with a Doctoral Emphasis in Feminist Studies from the University of California, Santa Barbara. Ramírez joins SF State as an assistant professor of sociology, following a Chancellor’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in the Department of Latina/Latino Studies. Her research examines the Great Depression’s era immigration policies focusing on the experiences of Mexican repatriation and banishment of U.S. citizen children of Mexican descent that tore apart thousands of families across the United States-Mexico border. She specializes in oral history, Mexican migrations, mass forced removals and gendered migrations. She is currently working on a book manuscript tentatively titled “Contested Illegality: The ‘Mexican Repatriation’ Program and Prolonged Consequences Across Three Generations.”

“I look forward to work with a diverse student population at SF State that includes a large number of Latina/o and Asian students as well as undocumented, first generation and transfer students. I am thrilled to join the faculty in Department of Sociology and Sexuality Studies, who have a great record of linking academic curricula and research with local communities.”

David RebanalDavid Rebanal, Dr.P.H.

Assistant Professor, Department of Health Education

David Rebanal completed his Doctor of Public Health degree from the University of California, Berkeley with a focus on social epidemiology and community development. He studies place-based transformation and policy efforts on health and racial inequities. He is particularly interested in the how immigrant political engagement serves as health promotion interventions and is currently examining the role of racial residential segregation, social capital, and political participation on the mental health status of Asian Americans in California. Rebanal also holds a Master of Public Health degree from Hunter College at City University of New York. He received his B.S. from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania. Rebanal brings to the classroom more than 15 years of experience in public health, policy, philanthropy and research with local and federal agencies, nonprofit organizations and private foundations. He will teach epidemiology, health policy and program evaluation. 

Rebanal most recently worked as the senior evaluation associate at the Health Equity Institute at SF State and as senior program officer at the Northwest Health Foundation in Portland, Oregon. He was also previously with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, where he led efforts to implement and evaluate chronic disease prevention efforts. He was awarded the UC Berkeley School of Public Health Dean’s Diversity Scholarship for the study of Health Disparities from 2011-2014 as well as the Public Health Alumni Association Mayhew and Helen Derryberry Scholarship in 2012 and 2013. Rebanal has served on numerous advisory councils, professional committees and nonprofit boards of directors, including co-chairing Oregon’s Asian & Pacific Islander Health Network and serving on the Community Advisory Board for the Oregon Department of Human Service’s Office of Health Equity and Inclusion.

Fun fact: Rebanal coaches middle school girls Amateur Athletic Union competitive basketball.

“I’m excited to be joining world-class faculty and staff in my department and across campus committed to social justice and equity. I am looking forward to being a part of education process of SF State students and learn from the diversity of their experiences and perspectives.”

Cesar "Che" RodriguezCesar “Ché” Rodriguez

Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice, School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement

César “Ché” Rodríguez is originally from Daly City and South San Francisco. He earned his B.A. in sociology at the University of California, Berkeley, after having transferred from the College of San Mateo. He earned his doctorate in sociology from the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he studied the school to prison pipeline and the Oscar Grant moment/movement. Generally, his work focuses on race, class and social movements. This fall, he will be teaching CJ 450: Jails and Prisons, as well as CJ/LTNS 485: Latina/o Youth, Crime and Justice, in the spring.

Fun fact: Rodriguez played defensive lineman at the College of San Mateo, even though he weighed just 190 lbs. (Most people at that position are 240 lbs. and up). This resulted in a few concussions.

“I’m particularly excited to be working at SF State given the campus’ history of social movements (i.e. TWLF [Third World Liberation Front]), the diverse and active student body, as well as the campus’ location in the Bay Area, which provides ample opportunity to connect with a vibrant network of artist and activist communities.”

Kathleen SheaKathleen Shea, Ed.D., M.S.N., R.N.

Assistant Professor/Director of Simulation, School of Nursing

Kathleen Shea was educated primarily in the San Francisco Bay Area. She received a diploma in nursing from St. Luke's Hospital School of Nursing, a B.S.N. from CSU Dominguez Hills, a master's in nursing from SF State and Ed.D. from the University of San Francisco. For more than 25 years she has worked as a clinical nurse at Stanford Medical Center and has been a lecturer at SF State since 2008. Her research interests are centered around Clinical Simulation in Nursing Education and Pediatrics. This year, she plans to earn a certification as a Healthcare Simulation Educator (CHSE).

“I am looking forward to meeting and getting to know a new group of students this fall. SF State nursing students are highly motivated and energetic individuals, and they are such a pleasure. I find it very rewarding to help them learn and grow while in the nursing program. I am excited to have the time to focus on my research and improve my teaching skills this year. I will be teaching Fundamentals of Pediatrics and Nursing Skills courses this fall. I look forward to participating in University activities and meeting new people on campus.”

Molly StrearMolly Strear, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Department of Counseling         

Molly Strear completed her doctoral degree in counselor education and supervision from the University of Northern Colorado with emphases in school counseling and counseling children and adolescents, and a doctoral minor in applied statistics and research methods. She has a master’s degree from the University of Northern Colorado in school and clinical counseling, and a bachelor’s degree in psychology from the University of Colorado, Denver. Strear’s research interests include LGBTQIQA affirmative school counseling practices, counseling children and adolescents, social justice, school climate and researcher-practitioner partnerships. Strear is a licensed school counselor, licensed professional counselor and nationally certified counselor. She will be teaching and supervising Practicum and the Counseling Process for school counselors in training this fall.

Fun fact: She enjoys snowboarding, golfing and practicing yoga.

“The Counseling Department at SF State demonstrates the importance of leadership and innovation in counselor education in order to ensure equity and access to high quality mental health and educational environments. I am honored to contribute to a counselor education program that is invested in social justice advocacy.”

Autumn ThoyreAutumn Thoyre, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Environmental Studies, School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement

Autumn Thoyre was most recently a visiting assistant professor of geography at Colgate University, where she taught courses in environmental policy, sustainability, energy politics, water politics and research methods. She received a Ph.D. in geography at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in environmental studies and sustainability science at Lund University in Sweden. Her research into the politics of sustainable energy transitions focuses on energy efficiency and conservation and centers environmental justice perspectives. In Fall 2016 she will be teaching Environmental Law & Policy.

Fun fact: She's excited about exploring the West Coast after having lived east of the Mississippi for most of her life.

“I'm most looking forward to getting to know and working with the students at San Francisco State.” 

Dilara YarbroughDilara Yarbrough, Ph.D.

Assistant Professor, Criminal Justice Studies, School of Public Affairs & Civic Engagement

Dilara Yarbrough has a Ph.D. in sociology from the University of California, San Diego. Her research focuses on gender, race and criminalized work in the production of marginality. She is particularly interested in how the experiences of sex workers, transgender people, and people experiencing homelessness illuminate the workings of systems that manage poverty. Her current book project draws on interviews and ethnography with people who have been homeless and worked in the sex trade to compare the effects of three different governmental responses to poverty: criminalization, medicalization and harm reduction. Her other projects include a participatory action research study of the effects of the criminalization of homelessness in San Francisco and a study of transgender organizing against state violence in Istanbul, Turkey.

“I was drawn to SF State and PACE because of the college’s emphasis on social justice and service learning. I am looking forward to teaching CJ 520, Constructions of Crime and Justice, this fall.​”