MMC Welcomes New Faculty Members to the Yankton Campus
December 1, 2017
Mount Marty College welcomed some new faces to campus this fall. Meet the talented minds that are bringing us new ideas in academics.
Ready to improve upon MMC’s already strong music department, new choral director Brandon Connell sees music as nourishment for brain, body and spirit.
Originally from Clinton, Iowa, Connell received a bachelor’s degree in music from Saint Ambrose University in Davenport, Iowa. He also attended the University of Nevada where he received a master’s degree in music, specifically in choral conducting. He gained experience as a conductor at the University of Southern Mississippi while completing his doctoral studies in choral conducting and performance and pedagogy. Connell also has experience studying music history and literature, music theory, and diction. In addition, Connell spent six years as a private studio voice teacher, and he has sung and acted in nine musicals and an opera.
Dr. Chao Zhang joined MMC’s department of Natural Sciences as an Assistant Professor of Physics in the fall of 2017. Dr. Zhang completed his Bachelor’s degree in Physics Education at Hubei Normal College (’00), he received his Master of Science in Astroparticle Physics from Huazhong Normal University (’03) and completed his Doctor of Physics degree in Particle and Nuclear Physics at the Institute of High Energy Physics (’07). Prior to his arrival at Mount Marty College, Dr. Zhang served as an Assistant Professor at the China Three Gorges University and the University of South Dakota where he also completed postdoctoral work in 2011.
Daniel Flahie, CSCS, FMS, YBT, CSAC was excited to begin his career in higher education this fall as an Instructor of Exercise Science and Health for the Education Department. Flahie graduated with a Master of Science Degree in Education in Exercise Science from Wayne State College in 2017. During his graduate studies at WSC he was employed as a Graduate Assistant and his experiences included the development and teaching of classes including Lifestyle Assessment, Wellness, Lifestyle Assessment, Biomechanics and Functional Training. Flahie also volunteered as a Strength and Conditioning Coach for Wayne State’s Athletic Department and has extensive experience training clients in a community center setting.
Dr. Jason Heron joined the Arts and Humanities department as an Instructor of Theology for the Religious Studies Department. Dr. Heron holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in Theology from the University of Dayton (’16) two Master of Arts degrees, one in Theological Studies from Asbury Theological Seminary (’09), the other in English from the University of St. Thomas (’06) and a Bachelor’s degree in English Writing from Indiana Wesleyan University (’03). Jason will teach Introduction to Christianity, Jesus the Christ, Catholic Moral Theology, and the Wisdom of St. Benedict as well as an English Composition class. Prior to coming to Mount Marty, Heron worked for the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Dayton in Dayton, Ohio and as an Adjunct Instructor for the Department of Theology for Saint Joseph’s College of Maine.
Dr. Heron is joined in Yankton by his wife and their six children.
Employing enthusiasm and a joyful spirit, Jennifer Weber, Ed.D. is challenging Mount Marty College’s Secondary Education majors to become reflective practitioners with a passion for their subject. Dr. Weber received her master’s in education from South Dakota State University in 2003 and her doctorate in education from the University of South Dakota in 2012. Prior to her arrival at Mount Marty College, Dr. Weber taught at the middle and high school levels for six years, then became an instructor at South Dakota State University in Brookings, South Dakota where she focused on effective and developmentally-responsive instruction.
Chosen to direct the Benedictine Institute for Leadership, Ethics and Social Justice, Joe Rutten brings a passion for values-driven leadership and strong connections with the Sioux Falls Catholic community to Mount Marty. Prior to his role at MMC, Rutten served for five years as director of faith formation at the Cathedral of St. Joseph in Sioux Falls. Rutten holds a Master’s degree in theology from the Augustine Institute and an undergraduate degree in Catholic Studies from the University of St. Thomas. In addition to his duties as director of the Benedictine Leadership Institute, Rutten will also join the MMC faculty as an assistant professor of theology.
After 30 years of caring for mothers and babies at Avera Sacred Heart Hospital, Julie Fuelberth returned to her Alma Mater to take on the position of Nursing Course Coordinator for Nursing Care of the Childbearing Family in MMC’s BSN program. Julie is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant and it was teaching breastfeeding and childbirth classes and providing staff in-service training that helped Julie discover her interest in teaching.
Julie completed her Master’s degree in nursing education from Nebraska Methodist College in 2013 and has since served as an adjunct for the University of South Dakota’s Nursing Department as well as a temporary clinical instructor for MMC. She hopes that her passion for nursing and learning will be the spark that lights the fire of enthusiasm for continued learning in her students.
Dr. Timothy Rice brought his passion for biology to the teaching staff of the Natural Sciences department as an Associate Professor of Biology in August of 2017. He teaches Anatomy and Physiology, Ecology, Life Science, and Zoology. He also contributes to the music ministry in the Peace Chapel, and plays in the Jazz band.
Dr. Rice holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Thomas More College (’90). He completed his Master of Science in Behavioral ecology at Miami University in 1992. In 1998 he received his Doctor of Philosophy degree through Miami University, and completed Postdoctoral Training at Harvard University School of Public Health in 2002. Prior to his arrival at Mount Marty College, Dr. Rice was an Associate Professor of Biology at Saint Joseph’s College in Rensselaer, Indiana.