We are excited to announce the appointment of new faculty and staff members to Ferrum College!
Executive Director of Academic Resources
James Cabiness originates from Richmond, Virginia. Cabiness holds a Master’s in Business Administration from Averett University in Danville, Virginia. He is currently working on his doctorate in Educational Leadership and Management at Capella University. Cabiness began his career in academic advising in 2010 at Norfolk State University in Norfolk, Virginia. There he worked with first-year, at-risk, and student-athletes. During his tenure, Cabiness worked tirelessly developing initiatives focused on increasing retention and graduation rates in several areas. In 2015, Cabiness joined Virginia Western Community College in Roanoke, Virginia as the Roanoke City Community College Access Program Success Coach. There he worked with recipients of the scholarship program known as Community College Access Program (CCAP). Under his leadership, he helped to increase the programs retention rates for first-year students. Cabiness is a member of the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA). James Cabiness is also a proud member of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Incorporated. He is married to Monique, and they have a daughter Madison.
Coordinator of First Year Experience
Randell Dauda joins Ferrum College as our First Year Experience coordinator. Originally from Liberia, West Africa, she most recently hails from Providence, Rhode Island. Dauda obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology and cultural anthropology, and a master’s degree in higher education administration, from Northeastern University in Boston, Massachusetts. Ferrum College intrigued Dauda because she “wanted a small college that was the heart of the community.” In her free time, she enjoys watching documentaries, dancing Afrobeats, and completing DIY craft projects as a self-proclaimed Pinterest addict.
Grants Proposal Writer
Laurie Adams joins Ferrum College as grants proposal writer. She originally hails from Callaway, Virginia and now lives in Ferrum. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice from Ferrum College in 2012. Adams explained that destiny brought her to Ferrum College, stating the College “was a place where I could make friends and feel at home really quickly. My local roots run deep here.” Interestingly, in the 1940s, her grandmother rented the home across from Ferrum College that later became Ferrum Outdoors. In her free time, Adams volunteers with Diversity Serves, a local non-profit organization that works to cultivate sustainable partnerships for prosperity and peace, headed by the College’s Dr. Susan Mead. Laurie is also an affirmed reading and research junkie and can usually be found in Stanley Library.
Coordinator of Grants, Foundation Relations and Public Relations
Jamie Campbell, of Ferrum, Virginia, joins the College as coordinator of grants, foundations and public relations. She is a 2006 alumna of Ferrum College, where she majored in English with an emphasis on professional communications. Campbell knew she wanted to work at Ferrum College because the Ferrum area has been her home for many years and the faculty and staff feel like family. Campbell is married with two young children who keep her busy. In her free time, she enjoys reading, writing, hiking, and a good cup of coffee.
ARTS AND HUMANITIES
Assistant Professor of Theatre
Rebecca Crocker, originally from Roanoke, Virginia, received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting in 2002 from Ferrum College and her Master of Fine Arts in Acting from The Theatre School DePaul University in Chicago in 2005. She was drawn to Ferrum College because it is “home” to her. She and her family moved back to the area in 2017 and she stated, “It all just fell into place.” In her (scarce) spare time, she enjoys cuddling and playing with her children, reading, and visiting wineries and breweries with her husband.
Assistant Professor of Spanish
Hailing from Atlanta, Georgia, Jennifer Irish arrives at Ferrum College with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish from Georgia College, a master’s degree in Spanish from West Virginia University, and a Ph.D. in Spanish from Florida State University. Irish appreciates that Ferrum College focuses on teaching and educating students in the liberal arts tradition which directs them to become well-rounded individuals and good citizens. She also enjoys the diversity of the student body and the mountainous location of the College. Her hobbies include traveling to Latin America, reading, painting, and cooking. Her specialty is baking alfajores (Argentinean cookies).
Assistant Professor of History
Michael Hancock-Parmer, initially of a small town near Flint, Michigan, and more recently of Salem, Virginia, obtained a Bachelor of Arts in English from Western Michigan University in 2003. He went on to receive his Master of Arts in Central Eurasian Studies in 2011 and dual doctorate degrees in History and Central Eurasian Studies from Indiana University in 2017. He was drawn to the College by the familiar make-up of the student body, as he is from rural Michigan and was a first-generation college student, like many Ferrum College students. Hancock-Parmer is married with three young children, and enjoys camping, playing board games, hiking and spending time back in the Midwest with his family.
Assistant Professor of Art
Joshua Manning arrives at Ferrum College from Floyd, Virginia. He earned his Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University and his Master of Fine Arts from West Virginia University. He chose Ferrum College based on the diverse student population. In his free time, he enjoys traveling.
Director of Bands
Sixto Montesinos is from Houston, Texas, and was initially enthralled with Ferrum College’s natural beauty and the idea of working in the mountains, stating “the air is fresh and the people are extremely friendly.” He appreciates that Ferrum College students are eager to learn. Montesinos received his Bachelor of Arts degree in Instrumental Music Education from the University of Houston, his master’s degree in Instrumental Conducting from the University of Texas at Arlington, and his Doctor of Musical Arts in Wind Conducting from Rutgers University (The State University of New Jersey). In his free time, he enjoys watching historical documentaries and going to the theater.
Assistant Professor and Director of Stanley Library
Eric Rector of Woodland Park, Colorado, received his Bachelor of Arts in Writing from Missouri State University. He went on to obtain his Master of Arts in Library and Information Science from University of Iowa, and eventually chose Ferrum College due to its mission, the location, and the community. He fell in love with Stanley Library and is thrilled to be a part of the College. In his free time, Rector enjoys relaxing with his wife, Tracy, and their dogs; listening to baseball games (he’s an Orioles fan); reading; and playing his PS4. He also lives on a small farm in the area and plans to take full advantage of that someday.
NATURAL SCIENCES AND MATHEMATICS
Professor of Biology
Alison Burke comes to Ferrum College from her hometown of Laurens, South Carolina. She obtained a Bachelor of Science degree (Honors) in Biology with a minor in Chemistry from North Greenville University. She received her Ph.D. in Biological Sciences from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University. Burke was drawn to Ferrum College by the tight-knit community and support provided to the students to ensure success. She enjoys reading and spending time with her husband while they remodel their house.
Assistant Professor of Biology
Dana Ghioca-Robrecht grew up in Bucharest, Romania and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology with a focus in Ecology and Environmental Protection, and a Master of Science in Ecosystems Ecology and Environmental Management from the University of Bucharest. She continued her studies with a Ph.D. in Wildlife Science at Texas Tech University. Ghioca-Robrecht was drawn to Ferrum College because of its liberal arts heritage and strong environmental studies program. Upon visiting, she also fell in love with the community, faculty and staff and is glad to be part of the “Ferrum Family.” She enjoys spending time with her family, exploring the outdoors, traveling, reading, learning photography, experimenting with the uses of essential oils, and the simple pleasures in life – a cup of coffee or tea with a good book or movie.
SOCIAL SCIENCES AND PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
Assistant Professor of Business
Roman Bohdan arrived at Ferrum College from Lviv, Ukraine, where he previously obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Finance from Ivan Franko Lviv National University. He then received his Master of Business Administration from Eastern Washington University, a Master of Science in Financial Economics from University of New Orleans, and finally a Ph.D. in Financial Economics also from University of New Orleans. Ferrum College piqued his interest due to its private liberal arts status and its great heritage. In his free time, Bohdan enjoys traveling, cycling and reading.
Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
Karen Carpenter of Rochester, New York, was drawn to Ferrum College’s sense of community, tradition and comfort, representing the College’s Panther Pride. Carpenter received her Bachelor of Science degree in Health and Physical Education – Sports Medicine and her Master of Science degree in Health and Physical Education – Exercise Physiology from Radford University. She went on to obtain her Ph.D. in Public Health – Community Health/Health Promotion from Walden University. In her spare time, she enjoys practicing yoga, being outdoors, and cooking and experimenting with new recipes for her large family.
Assistant Professor of Computer Information Systems
Omar Darwish comes to Ferrum College from the Kingdom of Jordan. He obtained a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Al al-Bayt University in Jordan in 2007 and a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Jordan University of Science and Technology in 2010. Darwish received his Ph.D. in Computer Science from Western Michigan University in 2018. He was drawn to Ferrum College’s active work environment and small, friendly campus atmosphere. His hobbies include reading books and playing soccer and volleyball.
Assistant Professor of Exercise Science
Lori Mattox, of Rocky Mount, Virginia, loved the small scale of her undergraduate institution, Shenandoah University, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Exercise Science. She was in turn drawn to Ferrum College’s smaller-scale and knew she could still meet her career goals close to home. After obtaining her undergraduate degree, Mattox received her master’s degree in Kinesiology with a concentration in Clinical Exercise Physiology from James Madison University and began working on her Ph.D. at the University of North Carolina in Greensboro. She enjoys spending time with her daughter and family, running, yoga, and reading.
Assistant Professor of Business
Coming to Ferrum College from Carmichaels, Pennsylvania, Jason Matyus was attracted to the College’s focus on students’ learning and the opportunity to make a difference in their lives. He received his Bachelor of Science degree from California University of Pennsylvania, his Master of Business Administration from Waynesburg University, and his Doctor of Business Administration degree from Walden University. He enjoys watching baseball and football and being outdoors with his family.
Assistant Professor of Accounting
Sadie Wallace from Boones Mill, Virginia, knew she wanted to be at Ferrum College because of the beauty of the area and the genuine interest and concern the campus community has for one another, and noted that, “You truly feel like you are in a special place when on campus.” Wallace obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Accounting and Business Management with a concentration in Financial Management from Ferrum College, and her Master of Science degree in Accounting from Texas A&M University – Commerce. She is a volunteer firefighter and enjoys going to the gym and spending time with family and friends.