College of Arts & Sciences Welcomes New Faculty for 2021

They span many disciplines, but share a deep commitment to teaching, scholarship, and student success.

An authority on the role the 911 system plays in the criminal justice system. An Emmy-winning documentary filmmaker. An economist who studies people's behavioral responses under COVID-19 mandates. The seven newest members of the College of Arts & Sciences faculty span many disciplines, but they share a deep commitment to teaching, scholarship, and our students’ success. Meet them here.

New Faculty

Azadeh Sheikholeslami 

Azadeh Sheikholeslami

Assistant Professor, Mathematics & Computer Science

Azadeh Sheikholeslami earned her PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. Since then, she was a postdoctoral researcher at UMass Amherst and Boston College.

Her research has been mostly focused on everlasting secrecy in wireless communication, various aspects of covert communication over wireless networks, and developing an optimization algorithm for accurate inference of phylogenetic trees from time-series data. She has presented her work in many prestigious journals and conferences. She was a finalist for the best student paper award at the IEEE Asilomar Conference. She received the Tang Award and the best PhD presentation award at UMass Amherst.

  • PhD, University of Massachusetts at Amherst
  • MS, Sharif University of Technology (Iran)
  • BS, University of Tehran (Iran)
Jeremy Levine 

Jeremy Levine

Assistant Professor, Communication, Journalism & Media

Jeremy Levine’s films explore race, class, and trauma, and seek to unearth buried tragedies in a society in active denial of its own past. An Emmy award-winning filmmaker and two-time Sundance Institute fellow, his work has screened at over 100 film festivals around the world including the Berlinale, Tribeca, and IDFA; streamed on Netflix, Amazon Prime, Sundance Now, and Hulu; broadcast nationally in nine countries; and received over a dozen festival awards.

His last feature documentary, For Ahkeem, is a love story set against the backdrop of the Ferguson uprising and the school-to-prison pipeline. The film was named to Top 10 Lists by both Entertainment Weekly and People and was included on the “Unforgettables” List by the Cinema Eye Honors, a list that IndieWire wrote “helped to define documentary cinema in 2017.” He recently released The Panola Project, chronicling the efforts of Dorothy Oliver who vaccinated 97% of her rural, Black town in the state with the lowest vaccination rate in the country. The film was released with The New Yorker, featured on MSNBC's “The Last Word with Lawrence O'Donnell” and “Morning Joe” and written about in numerous publications, including USA Today, The Los Angeles Times, and Business Insider.

  • MFA, Hunter College
  • BA, Ithaca College
Jessica Gillooly 

Jessica Gillooly

Assistant Professor, Sociology & Criminal Justice

Before joining the Suffolk faculty, Jessica Gillooly was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Policing Project at NYU School of Law. Her research portfolio focuses on 911 dispatch, policing, organizations, and race. Central to this work is a large multi-method project about dispatch centers and the role the 911 system plays in the criminal justice system. Using a mix of quantitative, qualitative, and conversation analytic methods, she examines the process through which caller requests become police responses. One thread of her research examines the function of the 911 call-taker in mediating caller requests, and their impact on policing in the field. Another thread explores the public’s reliance on 911 and identifies potential organizational policy reforms aimed at rethinking the current dispatch-and-response system.

  • PhD, University of Michigan
  • MPP, University of Chicago
  • BA, Brown University
Kristen Mallia 

Kristen Mallia

Assistant Professor, Art & Design

Kristen Mallia is a multimedia artist and graphic designer based in Boston. Her work examines preservation, performance, and collection through multimedia installation, printed matter, and time-based media. She received her BA in electronic media from The George Washington University, a BFA in graphic design from Corcoran College of Art + Design, and an MFA from Boston University. Mallia was an artist-in-residence at Skaftfell Center for Visual Art in Seyðisfjörður, Iceland in 2020 and is the recipient of numerous grants through the City of Boston. Her work has been exhibited in the US and abroad, most recently with a solo exhibition at Montserrat College of Art’s Frame 301 Gallery in Beverly, Massachusetts. Mallia maintains an independent studio practice, Mallia Design, which provides boutique design services and creative direction to a variety of clients in the arts and hospitality. Her teaching philosophy reflects her passion for cross-disciplinary, process-based experimentation within the field of graphic design and the arts.

  • MFA, Boston University
  • BFA, Corcoran College of Art + Design
  • BA, The George Washington University
Nichole Vatcher 

Nichole Vatcher

Instructor, Psychology

Nichole Vatcher has a long history with Suffolk University. She began her academic career here as a student at the New England School of Art and Design. She later worked for the department serving several varied roles, including assistant director of administrative and academic services. Her passion for helping students led her first to academic advising and to a position as an assistant director of Suffolk's Undergraduate Academic Advising Center, and then to working in the classroom as an adjunct professor both at Suffolk University and at Bunker Hill Community College, where she has taught behavioral sciences for almost 10 years. Her academic interests include social psychology, development across the lifespan, and the intersectionality of art and psychology. She is thrilled to join Suffolk's Psychology Department for a one-year non-tenure track appointment.

  • BFA, Suffolk University
  • MS, Suffolk University
Paraska Tolan Szkilnik 

Paraska Tolan Szkilnik

Assistant Professor, History, Language & Global Culture

Paraska Tolan Szkilnik is a historian of North Africa and much of her work focuses on the place of North Africa in the history of Pan-Africanism. She has taught classes in African history and Middle East history at the University of Pennsylvania and at Suffolk. She comes to Suffolk from a post-doctoral fellowship at the UPenn’s Middle East Center.

One of her primary goals as a scholar is to break down regional barriers between North African and Sub-Saharan African studies. To this end, she has published articles on Sub-Saharan and American artists’ participation in the 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers for Monde(s), World Art and for the Arab Studies Journal. She contributed a chapter that interrogates Moroccan and Luso-African solidarities in the 1960s for the edited volume Visions of African Unity, published in 2021. She was invited to contribute to a roundtable in the February 2020 International Journal of Middle East Studies on decolonization in the Middle East and North Africa. As part of the Maghreb in the Past and Present Series, she has recorded two podcasts, both of which highlight the experiences of Black men and women in the Maghreb. In addition to publishing scholarship, she is dedicated to the construction of free and accessible archives. Many of her interviews with men and women who participated in the 1969 Pan-African Festival of Algiers are featured in the PANAFEST digital archive, a public history project directed by the Centre National de Recherche Scientifique in Paris.

  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania
  • MA, École des Hautes Études des Sciences Sociales
  • BA, Brandeis University
Youpei Yan 

Youpei Yan

Assistant Professor, Economics

Youpei Yan was a postdoctoral associate at Yale University. She is interested in resource allocation and human/natural responses under different management systems. Her current research is applied to natural capital valuation, environmental regulations, and infectious disease. Her ongoing research includes people's behavioral responses under COVID-19 mandates, the Newfoundland moose-forest ecosystem as a portfolio of natural capital, natural capital accounting for land in China, and livestock industries' BMP abatement efficiency. Youpei obtained her BS, MS, and PhD in agricultural and resource economics at the University of Maryland, where her research focused on environmental regulations and resource management. Before joining Suffolk, she taught applied conometrics in environmental economics with R at the University of Maryland and in infectious disease with Python at Yale.

  • PhD, University of Maryland
  • MS, University of Maryland
  • BS, University of Maryland