East Central University welcomes 13 new faculty members

Thirteen new faculty members have joined the East Central University family. The front five (from left to right) include: Dr. Holly Jones, Carly Conklin, Dr. Jessica Brumley, Jamie Worthley and LaDonna Autrey. On the second row (from left) are: Jennifer Cartisano Sparlin and Liz Massey. On the third row (from left) are Dr. Jerry Mihelic, Dr. Scott Ketchum and Dr. Jalal Omer. In back are Dr. Jacquelyn Dalton, JP Rhea and Christyn Overstake.

East Central University welcomes 13 new faculty members for the 2019-20 school year.

One new faculty member came in the 2019 spring semester, while the other 12 are new on campus this fall.

Here are the new faculty members:

Faculty members starting in

spring 2019

Dr. Jacquelyn Dalton, assistant professor of human services counseling.

Dalton earned her bachelor of arts degree in psychology from Mississippi State University in 1993 and her master of education degree in counseling from Delta State University in 1996. She received her doctor of philosophy degree in rehabilitation psychology from the University of Wisconsin in 2007.

Dalton is a certified rehabilitation counselor and a nationally certified counselor. Dalton has 11 years of experience teaching in higher education and over nine years of field experience. She has had eight articles published in peer reviewed journals and one book chapter published and has written local and national grants.

New faculty members starting in fall 2019

• LaDonna Autrey, instructor of psychology.

Autrey received her master of science degree in psychological services (1998) and bachelor of science in psychology (1996) from East Central University. She is ABD in a doctoral program in educational psychology at Capella University and plans to complete it by January 2020.

Autrey previously taught psychology courses at Connor State College in Warner. She has worked as a counselor in the field and in the K-12 school system, affording her the ability to teach in both our counseling and school counseling options. She has experience in both face-to-face and online courses using Blackboard.

• Dr. Jessica Brumley, assistant professor of environmental health science.

Brumley earned her bachelor of science degree in biology from the University of Houston in 2002. She received her doctor of philosophy degree in environmental science from the University of Oklahoma in 2014.

Brumley has been a post-doctoral research associate at the USEPA Robert S. Kerr Research Laboratory since 2017. Previously, she worked for the University of Oklahoma Center for Restoration of Ecosystems and Watersheds from 2003-2009.

• Carly Conklin, assistant professor of theatre.

Conklin earned her bachelor of science degree in theatre performance from Oklahoma Christian University in 2010 and her master of arts degree in theatre from Oklahoma State University in 2012. She received her master of fine arts degree in directing from Texas State University in 2018.

Conklin comes to ECU from Oklahoma State University, where she was a visiting assistant professor of theatre studies. She has worked professionally with the American Theatre Company in Tulsa; Hyde Park and ZACH Theatres in Austin, Texas; and the Oklahoma City Theatre Company. Conklin also served as interim director of theatre at St. Gregory’s University.

• Liz Massey, instructor of nursing.

Massey earned her bachelor of science degree in nursing from East Central University in 2004 and her master of science degree in nursing from the University of Oklahoma in 2012. She is currently working toward her doctor of nursing practice degree through Chamberlain University, with an expected graduation in 2020.

Massey has served as the vice president and chief nursing officer at Mercy Hospital in Ada from 2015-18. She was the director of nursing at Mercy in Ada from 2014-15. 

Previously, she served as the Southern Oklahoma talent development and optimization manager for Mercy Health Systems (2013-2014) and the director of education at Valley View Regional Hospital (2011-2013). In addition, Massey was the director of the Family Center and pediatrics at Valley View Regional Hospital from 2004-2011. She also serves as the vice president of the Oklahoma Board of Nursing.

• Dr. Holly Jones, assistant professor of archaeology and cultural resource management.

Jones received a bachelor of arts degree (1994) and a master of arts degree (1995) in anthropology from the University of Texas at Arlington. She earned her doctor of philosophy degree in anthropology from the University of Missouri-Columbia in 1999.

Jones is a practicing archaeologist with experience in both research and cultural resource management, which is her primary focus. She worked as director of the Archaeological Research Center and was an adjunct professor of archaeology at Idaho State University. 

Jones served as an archaeologist for the Leech Lake Band of Ojibwe as part of the Heritage Sites program in Minnesota and was an instructor of archaeology at Missouri State University. She has published on sites in North Dakota and Missouri and as a cultural resource management professional, she has served as principal investigator on Section 106 archaeological projects throughout the U.S.

• Dr. Scott Ketchum, assistant professor of Native American studies.

Ketchum holds a bachelor of arts degree in political science/policy studies from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2008. He received a master of arts degree in Native American studies (2011) and a doctor of philosophy degree in sociocultural anthropology (2017) from the University of Oklahoma.

Ketchum taught in the Native American Studies program and in the anthropology department at the University of Oklahoma from 2011-15. He served as a research fellow at Oklahoma State University in 2015-16. Ketchum’s research includes projects on American Indian cultural, environmental issues and health.

• Dr. Jerry Mihelic, assistant professor of education.

Mihelic earned an associate of arts degree in Biblical/educational studies from Mid-America Christian University in 1989, a bachelor of science degree in elementary education from Arizona Christian University in 1990 and a master of education in educational leadership from Northern Arizona University in 1998. He received his doctor of education degree in higher education administration from Oral Roberts University in 2018.

Mihelic is an experienced classroom educator and school administrator with nearly 15 years of experience in public schools and has served since 2005 as a member of the education faculty at Oklahoma Panhandle State University. During his tenure there, he taught elementary methods courses, wrote CAEP and SPA reports, and served as the department chair and director of teacher education. He also served for a year as the interim dean of education.

• Dr. Jalal Omer, assistant professor of computer science.

Omer earned a doctor of philosophy degree in computer science at the University of Houston in 1993. He received a master of science degree in computer science at the University of Texas at Arlington in 1987 and a bachelor of science degree in computer science from Yarmouk University at Irbid, Jordan, in 1984.

Omer has been a professor of computer science for more than 20 years, carrying out research, teaching and administration duties. He most recently was the professor of computer science at Princess Sumaya University of Technology and an adjunct instructor at UNT-Dallas. Omer worked as a visiting professor of computer science at Southern Arkansas University from 2015-18.

He has been involved in the development and launching of several undergraduate and graduate academic programs, in addition to holding various administrative positions (department chair, dean and vice president for academic affairs at PSUT). Omer led a team of CS faculty members who achieved and maintained ABET (Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology) accreditation of the computer science program.

• Christyn Overstake, assistant professor of art.

Overstake earned her bachelor of fine arts degree in sculpture from Northern Arizona University in 2006. She received her master of fine arts degree in sculpture from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi in 2014.

Overstake has served as curator of education at the South Bend Museum of Art since 2016. She was an adjunct faculty member, teaching art, at Holy Cross College in 2018 and was a visiting faculty in sculpture at Indiana University in 2017. Overstake worked as a graduate assistant at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi from 2011-14.

• JP Rhea, assistant professor of art.

Rhea earned his associate in arts degree in mass communication from Shawnee Community College in 1993. He received a bachelor of arts degree in cinema and photography (1995) and a master of fine arts degree in mass communications and media arts (2016) from Southern Illinois University.

Since 2016, Rhea has been a visual communication and multimedia professor at Paducah School of Art and Design. He served as a term faculty member for art and design at John A. Logan College (2017-18) and a graduate assistant in the College of Mass Communication and Media Arts (2013-16) at Southern Illinois University. He has an extensive record of employment in the industry as an art director, game designer and graphic designer.

• Jennifer Cartisano Sparlin, instructor of education.

Sparlin earned her bachelor of science degree in marriage, family and human development from Brigham Young University in 2004. She received her master of education degree in early childhood special education from the University of Utah in 2007 and a master of arts degree in educational administration from Concordia University in 2012.

Sparlin has enjoyed a successful career as a public school special education classroom teacher and administrator and has a combined career of 17-plus years’ experience in special education services. Additionally, she has completed extensive training and been an advisor and mentor in autism behavioral intervention.

Jamie Worthley, instructor of English and languages.

Worthley received a master of arts degree in composition and rhetoric from the University of Central Oklahoma in 2012. She earned her bachelor of arts degree in English from East Central University in 2009 and an associate of arts degree in English from Seminole State College in 2006.

Worthley has 10 years of experience teaching college composition, as well as five years as a college English tutor and two years as a composition instructor of Upward Bound TRIO programs. She has demonstrated effectiveness in teaching first-year students and developmental-level writers at both ECU and Seminole State College.

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