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Connections faculty and staff newsletter
 September 2013

New faculty members join the college family

New faculty members join the college family Six instructors specialize in accounting, biology, business, education, ESOL and forensic science.

Six new faculty members joined the Columbia College family in August.

Heather Ditzer, English for Speakers of Other Languages

Heather Ditzer received her master’s degree in Teaching English as a Second Language from the University of Central Missouri and her bachelor’s degree in English with an emphasis on creative writing from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo. She taught at UCM’s Intensive English Program for nearly four years before coming to Columbia College. Prior to that, she taught English in Japan for three years — she speaks intermediate Japanese and intermediate Spanish.

Ditzer is a member of the executive board of Mid-America Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages. She also is a member of Phi Beta Delta, an international honor society; NAFSA: Association of International Educators; and the Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages International Association. She has presented at multiple conferences and workshops in the United States and Japan.

Bobbi Jo Lucas, Accounting

Bobbi Jo Lucas is a certified public accountant and a chartered global management accountant. She received her master’s degree in accountancy from the University of Missouri. Before coming to Columbia College, Lucas was the area controller for two years at Advanced Disposal Services in Macon, Mo., where she managed accounting operations. She also has worked as an accountant for Macon Municipal Utilities and as manager of Grimshaw, Kaser & Seipel, CPAs, LLC.

Lucas is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants, and is a member of the Missouri Society of CPAs, where she previously served on its board of directors.

Dr. Curtis Mason, Education

Dr. Curtis Mason spent the last few years in the Kansas City area, where he worked as a middle instructor at Raytown Success Academy and as an adjunct instructor at Benedictine College. He also has taught at UMKC, Loyola University-Chicago and Excelsior Springs High School in various roles.

Mason received his Ph.D. in cultural and educational policy studies from Loyola University-Chicago. He received his master’s degree in education with concentrations in curriculum and instruction from the University of Missouri-Kansas City and his bachelor’s degree in English from Truman State University in Kirksville, Mo.

His research interests are the history of teaching in the United States and students with behavioral and emotional disorders.

Dr. Melinda McPherson, Forensic Science

Dr. Melinda McPherson worked as a forensic chemist for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, where she specialized in the analysis of pre- and post-blast explosives and related device components. She also worked as an explosives chemist for the Department of the Navy, where she served as project manager for various explosive detection equipment related projects. In addition, McPherson served as a trace evidence examiner for the Metropolitan Police Department of Washington, DC. During her tenure in the forensic laboratory, McPherson authored numerous specialized training courses related to explosives chemistry.

She received her Ph.D. in analytical chemistry from Virginia Polytechnic and State University, and her master’s degree in criminal justice with a specialization in forensic science and a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Michigan State University.

McPherson has served Columbia College as an adjunct professor since the fall of 2011.

Dr. David Ruggeri, Business

Dr. David Ruggeri received his Ph.D. in public policy analysis and administration from St. Louis University, his MBA from Tennessee State University, and his bachelor’s degree in business administration from Maryville University in St. Louis. He expects to finish his master’s degree in applied economics from the University of North Dakota in 2014.

Ruggeri has spent the last five years as an instructor in the business department of East Central College in Union, Mo. He also has been an adjunct instructor at St. Louis University, Lindenwood University in St. Charles, Mo., and Harris-Stowe State University in St. Louis.

He is the founder of the Economic Development Center at East Central College and a member of The Association for Public Policy Analysis and Management, the American Economic Association and the Midwest Economics Association.

Dr. Rie Sasaki, Biology

Dr. Rie Sasaki comes to the college after nearly five years as an assistant professor at Lynchburg College in Lynchburg, Va. Before that, she was a visiting assistant professor at Pepperdine University in Malibu, Calif. Most of her teaching experience is in human anatomy and physiology.

Sasaki received her Ph.D. in physiology from the University of Missouri and her bachelor’s degree in physiological science from the University of California-Los Angeles. She is a member of the American Physiological Society and the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society.

To learn more about the new faculty members and their personal interests, watch the home page of the website for a Spotlight in early September.