Mizzou Advantage Post Docs: Where are they now?
Aug 22, 2012
By the time Angola’s civil war ended in 2002, the southeast African nation had endured 27 years of bloody fighting that ravaged not only the social fabric of its people, but its economy as well.
Now, political stability and economic grown are on the rise, and a former Mizzou Advantage Preparing Future Faculty Postdoctoral Fellow is working with the nation’s government and largest university to rebuild the nation’s vital agriculture sector and educate the next generation of leaders.
Pedro Dozi, the 2010-2011 postdoctoral fellow for the Food for the Future area, is now serving as a senior policy advisor to Angola’s Ministry of Agriculture, Rural Development and Fisheries as well as assistant economics professor at Angola’s Agostinho Neto University.
He is one of several former Mizzou Advantage postdoctoral fellows who have leveraged the interdisciplinary teaching and research experience they gained from the one-year program to launch their teaching careers in food, media, health, energy and beyond.
“As policy advisor, I advise senior directors and the minister on the design and analysis of agribusiness projects to be implemented in the country,” said Dozi, who started the position in February. “I also help design economic feasibility
studies of rural development programs aimed at improving rural livelihoods.”
At Agostinho Neto University, he splits his time between teaching and research on international and agricultural economics in the university’s economics department, where he is an assistant professor .
Working closely with the Food for the Future facilitator, the education coordinator at Mizzou Advantage and the dean of MU’s Graduate School, Dozi ramped up his academic portfolio while developing and teaching interdisciplinary courses for undergraduates that focused on global food systems.
“His courses focused on some important issues necessary to meet the challenges of feeding an increasing global population,” said Jo Britt-Rankin, Food for the Future facilitator and associate dean in the College of Human Environmental Sciences.
Dozi said the opportunity to teach in a hands-on interdisciplinary environment was invaluable.
“Mizzou Advantage gave me a chance to experience the process of working in a higher learning environment. It created a setting where I could experience teaching while still carrying out research,” said Dozi. “I have learnt how to prepare for classes, teach, assess student performance and work with colleagues.”
Dozi’s research during his PhD training and fellowship explored social and economic issues around food production in rural Missouri, which is very relevant in advising government leaders of the best ways to reach agricultural communities throughout Angola, he added.
Here’s what the first two classes of postdoctoral fellowships are doing now:
Jayne Henson Henson is currently a lecturer in the communication department at the University of Dayton (Ohio). During her time as a Mizzou Advantage fellow in the Media of Future area, the Communication PhD graduate developed and taught a course on how new media was revolutionizing society and politics.
Candace Korasick: As the fellow for One Health/One Medicine, Korasick used the expertise she gained from her PhD in Sociology to design and teach a course on the sociology of health care in the U.S. She is now an adjunct professor teaching global ethics courses for the liberal arts department at Stephen’s College. She has also stayed on part-time at Mizzou to teach online sociology courses.
Andrew Moon: After receiving his PhD in philosophy, Moon served as the fellow in the Understanding and Managing Disruptive and Transformational Technology area. Since completing the fellowship, Moon took a visiting assistant professor position in MU’s philosophy department, followed by a visiting professorship at Kansas State University, which he begins this fall. During his time as a Mizzou Advantage fellow, Moon created and taught courses that examined how rationality, memory and technology intertwine to affect behavior.
Stefanie Wortman: Wortman used her experience as a Mizzou Advantage fellow in the Media of the Future area to launch her career as a professor. The PhD in English served as an assistant teaching professor in MU’s English department for one year) and then was offered a visiting professor position at Rhode Island College, which will start in the fall.
Jeffrey Delbert Media of the Future fellow Jeffrey Delbert honed his teaching skills by designing and leading communications courses that focused on how social media influences political discourse. Following the fellowship, he accepted an assistant professor position at Lenoir-Rhyne University in Hickory, N.C. He begins teaching in the fall.
Vu Nguyen With a PhD in health psychology, Nguyen went onto explore public health issues as a fellow in the One Health/One Medicine area. Beginning in the fall, he will serve as adjunct assistant professor in MU’s public health program and continue is crusade to identify effective public health campaigns.
Lisa Rees As a Food for the Future fellow, Rees used her PhD in applied agricultural economics to develop and teach courses on how producers can market sustainable farm products. In the fall, she will begin her job as an assistant professor at South Dakota State University, a position that will involve both research and extension.
Lanika Ruzhitskaya Coming to the fellowship with a PhD from the School of Information Science and Learning Technology, Ruzhitskaya took a unique approach to her fellowship in the Sustainable Energy area, developed three modules that use film and literature to introduce non-majors to the science of energy. She hopes to offer these courses again for the upcoming year
Matt Saltzberg Understanding and Managing Disruptive and Transformational Technology fellow Matt Saltzberg will be putting his PhD in Theater to use this fall as a visiting assistant professor of performance, dramatic literature, and theatre history at St. Lawrence University in Canton, New York. He will also be building on the interdisciplinary experience he gained designing and teaching an academically diverse group of undergraduate students how new technology affects the actor-audience interaction in live theater.
More about the fellowship
Now entering its third year, the Mizzou Advantage Postdoctoral Fellowship program has graduated 10 fellows, each specializing in one of the Mizzou Advantage areas: Food for the Future, Media of the Future, One Health/One Medicine, Sustainable Energy, and Managing Innovation, an area focused on disruptive and transformational technology, which was incorporated into each of the other four areas in 2012.
Funded by the Chancellor’s Fund for Excellence, the program offers recent MU doctoral graduates a chance to gain meaningful experience in designing and teaching interdisciplinary university courses while conducting research, networking and learning how to market themselves to academic institutions and private businesses.
“During these past two years, the fellows developed 20 new courses in Mizzou Advantage areas and taught 902 students” and the majority have secured teaching positions even in a dismal job market, said LuAnne Roth, education coordinator for Mizzou Advantage, as the interdisciplinary program allowed them to market themselves uniquely to other universities.
George Justice, dean of the Graduate School, describes the postdoctoral fellowships as a method to kill three birds with one stone: (1) four of our best Ph.D. graduates are given the opportunity to gain extensive experience in teaching, including course development, which will be invaluable to them as they seek faculty positions; (2) those four, as they move from doctoral programs into higher-level positions at our university, will not only benefit directly, but will also create openings for new Ph.D. students in their academic programs; and (3) the fellows provide an important supplement to the ranks of our regular teaching faculty in managing our burgeoning undergraduate enrollment.
“The program is one small step at the University of Missouri. But we have been able to provide meaningful employment and career development for four students who finished their degree programs rather than extending their already lengthy careers as doctoral students,” said Justice.
“The positions are preparing these Ph.D.’s to be faculty members, strengthening their ability to compete for academic positions, and, once hired, enhancing their ability to quickly achieve a high level of productivity.”