ABOUT / FACULTY
FACULTY, STAFF, & ADMINISTRATORS
Dr. Mohammed Al-Azdee – Chair of the M.A. Global Media and Communication Studies graduate program. Mohammed began his personal journey in 2003 as a journalist covering the Iraq War and the Iraqi political process. These specific years had a profound effect on the nature of his career. As a reporter and translator, Mohammed covered politics and religion in a country transitioning from authoritarianism, and he observed the effects of both religion and politics on news media. He became a Fulbright scholar in 2007, pursuing a graduate degree in Journalism at Indiana University, Bloomington. He received a full scholarship for the PhD Program in Mass Communication, supporting his proposal to explore new methods for examining the factors creating an environment – or the façade of an environment – that facilitates or restricts the generation of certain media content, specifically news, and how that content can become a criterion by itself to evaluate public life. As a graduate student, Mohammed developed the multidisciplinary skills needed to investigate research questions and explore scholarly projects in areas other than his field (e.g., Political Science, Jewish Studies, Computer Science, Health Sciences, Marketing), working collaboratively with others. Undergraduate studies in Engineering were helpful in a graduate program in Mass Communication. After joining the faculty of the University of Bridgeport (UB), College of Public and International Affairs (CPIA), in 2012, Mohammed had the academic freedom to explore both his international and domestic interests. Through teaching, research, and service, he increasingly focused on his passion, the media, with particular interest in the Middle East, the United States, Russia, and China. His research and teaching are closely connected and cannot be considered separately from each other. And he is proud that he has been offered the opportunity to design and teach courses in three programs where students of all backgrounds, who hold a wide range of worldviews, have been enrolled: Global Media and Communication Studies (graduate), Mass Communication (undergraduate), and Digital Marketing Communication (undergraduate). As an advisor, Mohammed has supervised thesis projects and conference papers of students in the Global Media and Communication Studies program, and he has advised Mass Communication students regarding their academic progress and professional careers. In recognition of his service to the discipline, Mohammed was elected by his colleagues at the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC) to lead the International Communication Division (ICD) from 2017 to 2018.
Ross Cohen – Interim Chair of the Web Application Design and Mobile Application Design programs. Ross has spent years working with students who want to learn technology and coding. He learned the field from the ground up and has spent his entire professional life engrossed in all aspects of technology. As a result, Ross understands the pedagogical route that must be taken to properly infuse technology in education. He has created curriculums and web platforms that students use to learn advanced technology concepts and execute them in a way that fosters learning and encapsulated the pedagogy of career and technical education. Ross founded a non-profit education platform helping students learn and build technology. His organization supports challenge-based learning, giving the students the power to guide themselves. His students demand instantaneous collaboration and 100% uptime on the apps they use. He has built an ever growing library of applications and now over 60+ platforms made for students. Through learning code students have to solve complex problems, relating to Math, Research, Design and the basics of how Companies and Products work. Using his extensive knowledge in this area Ross is able to help them go from start to finish while learning, at every step of the process. Ross has many years of experience with educating students about technology, even if it is their very first time seeing code.
Nicholas Graham – Chair of General Education. Nicholas received his undergraduate degree in English at Western Connecticut State University, where I was also an Academic Resource Mentor, creating educational programs for campus students. Nicholas received his Masters in English at Southern Connecticut State University, then began working at Norwalk Community College teaching Developmental Writing and English courses while helping the Tutoring Center create educational programs and resources. He moved to Manhattanville College in Purchase, NY, where he taught First Year Writing and became the Tutoring Coordinator. His last position was at Post University where he taught Nonfiction and Fiction courses. He is also a fiction writer with short stories published in journals such as: So It Goes: The Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library Journal, Tempered Runes Press, and La Piccioletta Barca.
Chad Greenlee – Chair of Interior Design at Paier College’s Shintaro Akatsu School of Design in Bridgeport. Chad currently works as a senior project manager at Aurora Farewell Architects. He holds a bachelor’s in Architectural Science from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Yale University in Architecture. After graduating from Yale, Chad worked at Pelli Clarke Pelli as a designer and project manager working on high profile international projects including Block 185 for Google in Austin, and Trinity Commons in New York City. The work at Aurora Farewell Architects provides clients with full design service including architecture, interior design, and custom furniture pieces. Aurora Farewell Architects has been featured in The New York Times and currently has active projects in California, Rhode Island, New York, and Florida.
Susan Katz – Chair of Mass Communication. Chair of Digital Marketing and Communication Studies. Susan is an award-winning writer/producer/director/creative lead with over 25 years experience serving Fortune 500 corporations, marketing and advertising agencies and political campaigns with concept development through completion services in digital and traditional media—web, film, video, radio and print. In addition to working in the digital media, television, radio, newspaper and magazine industries, she served as a member of the faculty at the Women’s Campaign School at Yale University for 15 years. She founded Katzing Creative Ways, a full-service media production company in 1985. She holds a B.A. with Honors in Television/Radio from Brooklyn College; a Certificate in Filmmaking from New York University; and an M.S. with Distinction in eMedia/New Media from Quinnipiac University. She served on the International Television Assoc. Board of Governors and the Connecticut Assoc. of Production Professionals Executive Council. She is listed in Marquis’ Who’s Who of American Women, Who’s Who in Entertainment and other biographical publications. Industry awards include: American Assoc. Political Consultants Pollie Awards, Campaigns & Elections magazine Reed Awards, Telly Awards, New York Festivals, Worldfest Charleston Film Festival, Assoc. of Visual Communicators Cindy Awards, International Television Assoc. Connecticut Vision Awards. A native of Brooklyn, NY, Susan is an avid walker, dancer, and devout servant to two Maine Coon cats.
Chelsea Kostek – Chair of Industrial Design at Paier College’s Shintaro Akatsu School of Design in Bridgeport. She has a Master’s in Industrial Design from Rhode Island School of Design and a Bachelor of Fine Arts from Virginia Commonwealth University. She has many years of professional experience designing and developing a variety of products for companies such as Griffin Technology, HP, Brookstone, and Lovesac Furniture. She has also worked in the field of Fashion Design and was previously the chair of Fashion Merchandising at The University of Bridgeport. She is an active member of IDSA.
Erin LaFavor – Chair of the M.P.S. Design Management graduate program at Paier College’s Shintaro Akatsu School of Design in Bridgeport. She is an award winning Art Director and senior-level designer with an extensive background in campaign ideation, branding, digital content, print solutions, and events. She has her Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design and Fine Art from Keene State College in New Hampshire as well her Master’s Degree in Design Management from The University of Bridgeport (this is the program that Paier took on when moving to Bridgeport). Erin is the owner and lead design of Wildware Design Co. where she services clients by offering forward thinking design solutions. Over the years, Erin has worked with high level brands such as Starbucks, Pepsi, Lipton, Don Julio Tequila, and Johnson & Johnson and her products have been featured in People Magazine.
Salvatore Privitera – Sal is the Division Director of the Graphic Design Department at Paier College’s Shintaro Akatsu School of Design in Bridgeport and the Photography Department. He has been a professor at Paier since 2018. Sal formerly served in the role of Director of Career Services and Enrichment. He completed his MFA at Maryland Institute College of Art and his undergraduate studies at Paier College [of Art]. His interests and expertise lie in multiple areas of the arts consisting of (but not limited to) photography, video, 3D animation, and art history. Along with being an educator, he has continued to work as a professional photographer since 2012 and exhibit his personal artwork.
Vladimir Shpitalnik – Chair of Illustration. Vlad is an illustrator, set and costume designer, and painter whose work has been showcased across the United States, Europe, and in Asia. He has illustrated children’s books for Random House/Knopf, Cambridge University Press, and Soundprints. His children’s book illustrations recently toured 13 Japanese museums. His Off-Broadway theatrical credits include set designs for American Place Theatre and SoHo Rep. Regional dance and theater credits include set and/or costume designs for the Joffrey Ballet, Eugene O’Neill Theatre Center, Stage One Theatre, New Harmony Theatre, Seacoast Rep, and Yale Cabaret. International credits include the Moscow Art Theatre Studio, Kazan Theater for Youth, Yermolova Theater, Gorky Cinema Studio. A founding member of Alliance TCC, a theater construction consultancy, Shpitalnik has collaborated on the development of numerous art and performance venues, including the Oakdale Theatre, Meadows Music Theater, and Madison Art Cinemas in Connecticut, and SubCulture and Hex & Company in New York City. He serves as art director for educational games at Mindtrust. Shpitalnik’s gallery exhibitions include Lincoln Center Library for the Performing Arts (NY), Greene Gallery (CT), Paul Mellon Center for the Arts (CT), and the Society of Illustrators Gallery. Shpitalnik is a member of United Scenic Artists and the Society of Illustrators, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators, and the Connecticut Watercolor Society. He holds MFA degrees from the Yale School of Drama and the Moscow Art Theatre School. Shpitalnik is a recipient of the National Endowment for the Arts/Theatre Communications Group’s Designer Fellowship and a Three x Three International Illustration Award.
Robert E. Zappalorti – Division Director of Fine Art & Illustration (Co-Chair). Bob is a graduate of the Paier School of Art. He earned his B.F.A. from Albertus Magnus College. He is an accomplished painter and author and a renowned exhibitor. His work and art have been showcased at the New Haven Paint and Clay Club, Trinity College, Gallery-on-the-Green, Osage Gallery, Gallery 86, and Douglas Gallery; recipient, Benedictine First Prize. Represented by Cavalier Galleries, Greenwich CT, NYC, Nantucket MA. Member: Collegiate Press Editorial Advisory Board. (1971)
Dr. Mohammed Al-Azdee
Chair of M.A. Global Media & Communication
- Professional political journalist
- Fulbright Scholar
- PhD in Mass Communication from Indiana University, Bloomington
Interim Chair of Web Application and Mobile Application Design
- Technology & Coding Professional
- Founder of a non-profit educational startup
- Passionate leader at all experience levels
Chair of General Education
- Masters in English from SCSU
- Tutoring Coordinator at Manhattanville College
- Published fiction author
Chair of Interior Design
- Masters Degree in Architecture from Yale University
- Bachelors Degree in Architectural Science from Ohio State
- Senior Project Manager with work all over the country
Division Director of Digital Marketing Comm. & Mass Comm.
- Served various Fortune 500 Companies
- Filmmaking Certificate from NYU
- Masters in E-Media from Quinnipiac
Chair of Industrial Design
- Masters from RISD
- BFA from VCU
- Member of IDSA
- Former Chair of Fashion Merchandising at University of Bridgeport
Chair of M.P.S. Design Management
- Art Director, Entrepreneur Senior-level Designer
- Bachelors Degree in Graphic Design from Keene State
- Masters in Design Management from U. of Bridgeport
Division Director of Graphic Design and Photography
- MFA from Maryland Institute College of Art
- BFA from Paier College
- Professional Photographer for over 10 years
Chair of Illustration
- Professional Illustrator, Designer, and Performer
- MFAs from Yale University & Moscow Theater Art School
- Works shown in the Lincoln Center Library & the Society of Illustrators Gallery
Division of Fine Art & Illustration
- Paier faculty member for over 50 years!
- Attended Paier School of Art
- BFA from Albertus Magnus
- Gallery representation in NYC, Greenwich, & Nantucket
Jeffrey Bishop – Lecturer in Graphic Design. M.A., Liberal Arts, Wesleyan University, CT. B.A., Photography and Painting, Charter Oak State College, CT. Certified in Computer Information Science, Internet Website Developing, Electronic Publishing. Freelance Web Designer; Computer Instructor, Gibbs College, Teaching Assistant, ACES. (2012)
Glen Curtis – Born in Denver, CO Glen grew up in CT and then moved to FL where he became a police officer. He is certified in crime scene investigation and received a technical education in photography. He met his wife in FL, left the police department and moved back to CT where they opened a studio specializing in weddings and portraits. 47 years later, that studio still exists! He has received many awards, has had exhibits in various galleries and venues including the Lyman Allen Museum in New London, as well as having a presence is many private collections. He has previously served as the President of the Connecticut Professional Photographers Association, Councillor to the Professional Photographers of America’s Board of Directors and he has received the National Service Award and The Lifetime Achievement Award from the CPPA. He began his time with Paier in 2000 and very much enjoys teaching Paier Students who appreciate the comprehensive courses that the College provides.
John F. Falato – John received his B.F.A. from the University of Hartford in 1968. Prior to that he earned a diploma from Paier in 1963. He has been affiliated with the Harmon Meek Gallery since 1991, the Fishbach Gallery in NYC from 2005-2011 and the Grand Central Art Galleries from 1983-1990. His works have been featured in the Arkansas Art Center in Little Rock, AK, the Louisiana Art & Science Museum in Baton Rouge, LA, the Orlando Art Museum in Florida and the Loos Art Gallery Collection in Naples, the United States Golf Association Museum in New Jersey, Yale University’s Portrait of William Beinecke, and the Collection of Jackye & Curtis Finch, Jr. John was published in the November 2008 edition of American Artist, “Back To Basics,” p. 29, as well as in “Art From The Parks”, Rachel Rubin Wolf, North Light Books, 2000, and “Face to Face” at the Arkansas Art Center. His teaching career began in 1968 at Silvermine College of Art until 1970 and continued at Greens Farms Academy from 1970-82. In 1985, John joined the Paier College [of Art] faculty and has been with Paier since! His works are also featured in many private collections and he won the 2011 Summer Residency, Acadia Foundation Founded By Richard Estes
Terence Falk– Has maintained an extremely active role in both the fine art and commercial photography worlds for over thirty-five years. Along with shooting for annual reports and editorial clients, he is regarded as one of the finest exhibition black and white printers. His clientele has included Richard Avedon, Bruce Davidson, Philippe Halsman, Horst, Mary Ellen Mark, Duane Michals, Eva Rubinstein, and Rodney Smith. Terence has exhibited widely in New England and New York. Group shows include “Metal Transfigured: The 2009 Art and Design Faculty Exhibition” at The Fashion Institute of Technology in NYC, The 2003 Biennial Exhibition of the Portland Museum of Art in Portland, Maine, The Aldrich Museum of Contemporary Art in Ridgefield, CT (1996) and The Fitchburg Museum of Art in MA (1996), where he was selected as one of three photographers among the twenty five artists in New England for their annual “New England/New Talent” exhibition. Solo exhibitions include, “Borrowed Light: The Photographs of Terence Falk,” in 2004 at The Center for Maine Contemporary Art in Rockport, Maine, and “Photographs by Terence Falk: A Thirty-Five Year Retrospective”, at The Keyes Gallery in Stony Creek, CT. In 1986, Falk was awarded an Artist Residency Fellowship at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts in Sweet Briar, VA and in 1996 he received The Weir Farm Visiting Artist Fellowship in Wilton, CT. He has taught classes at the Creative Arts Workshops, New Haven, CT, The University of Bridgeport, The International Center of Photography, NYC, The Maine Media Workshops, Rockport, ME and The Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC. Presently, Terence is on the faculty of Paier College, Hamden, CT.
Kahn Gasimov – Khanlar Gasimov was born in Azerbaijan. He received an M.A. in sculpture from the University of Fine Arts in Baku, Azerbaijan. He also received his B.F.A. in sculpture from Azimzade College of Fine Arts. The majority of his works are held by collectors in New York, Toronto, London, Tel Aviv, Moscow, Baku, Geneva, and Antwerp. His selected commissions and exhibitions include a 2014 residency in Yucatan Mexico, “En Plain Air” at Gallery Stux in 2013, the Curator’s choice a the 2013 Vienna Art Show, “Under Influence” in 2012 at the Phillips Auction House in London as well as the “Bodhi” sculpture in London at Gallery Gazelli that same year, the 2011 Venice Biennale 54th International Art Exhibition, “Baku Unlimited” at Voltahalle in Basel, Switzerland , 2008 Rockefeller Park Cleveland where he completed a sculpture project commission for permanent installation in Azerbaijan National Park, 1997-1999 Madame Tussauds Wax Museum- London UK , completed a number of life-size figures for museum exhibition in London, New York, Los Angeles and Las Vegas, and the 1996 Summer Olympic Games in Atlanta when he participated in the commissioning of life-size Olympic athlete sculptures for exhibition. Commissioned to create the portraits of Bostonian writers Nathaniel Hawthorne, Louisa May Alcott and Henry David Thoreau. He conducted solo shows in Toronto throughout the early 1990s and international shows in Azerbaijan and Russia in the late 1980s.
Richard Hoyer – Lecturer in Photography. M.A., Photography, Fairfield University; B.A., Science/Music, Southern CT State University; Graduate Studies, Photography, Columbia University, NY.; Internet Engineering and Design, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MA. Photography instructor: Manchester Community College, Worcester Art Museum. Awards: Artwell Gallery, Nicholas & Johnson Silver Gavel Award; Wood Memorial, Silver Anniversary Biennial National Group Show, Simonds Photography Award. Extensive solo and group exhibitions. Publication: Photography for United Way Publication. Member: American Society of Media Photographers; Society for Photographic Education; Editorial Photographers; College Art Association; International Center for Photography. (2005)
Leeah Joo – Leeah received her BFA in Painting and BA in Art History from Indiana University, Bloomington and MFA in Painting from Yale School of Art. A recipient of Pollock-Krasner, George Sugarman, Puffin Foundation grants, and a two-time CT Artist Fellow, she has exhibited widely in U.S. and South Korea including at the Frye Art Museum, Wyoming Art Museum and Seoul Art Center. She’s been teaching for over 25 years and previously taught at Kansas City Art Institute, Maryland Institute College of Art and Fairfield University.
Sawson Khouldi – Sawsan is an Interior Designer with five years of experience in Connecticut, New York, and California. After receiving a Bachelor of Arts in Architecture in Syria, Sawsan earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Interior Design from the University of Bridgeport. She also holds a Master’s degree in Business Management from the University of Bridgeport where she has been teaching computer design programs for six years. Sawsan incorporates the Human Design concept in her work, striving to provide clients with sensory-driven, client-centric design solutions. Sawsan has recently earned the WELL Accredited Professional (WELL AP) credential through the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), placing her among a group of leading professionals who are dedicated to supporting human health and well-being in the built environment. Sawsan is wife and mother of two beautiful children who always remind her of the purpose of what she is doing and inspire her to become the person she wants to be. On her free time, Sawsan enjoys staying with her family and taking care of their needs. She loves traveling and she has been to several countries throughout Europe including Spain where she had the opportunity to visit the most amazing architectural buildings in the world.
Whitney Prentice – Lecturer in Fine Arts. M.F.A., cum laude, Painting, New York Academy, Graduate School of Figurative Art. Professional Certificate, Painting, Lyme Academy College of Fine Art, Old Lyme, CT, Diploma Candidate, Illustration, Paier College of Art, Hamden , CT, 1990-1994. Recipient of the Jay Verbutis Memorial Award for Excellence in Art. Instructor: Paier College of Art, Silvermine Arts Center, New Canaan, CT; Guilford Art Center, Guilford, CT; Lecturer in Art History, Gateway Community College, New Haven, CT; Painter. Exhibited: Dahesh Museum, New York, NY; New Britain Museum of American Art; Spectrum Gallery, Centerbrook, CT; Slater Museum, Norwich, CT; Lyme Art Association, Old Lyme, CT; Hudson Valley Art Assoc. 88th Annual Juried Exhibition, Muriel Alvord Memorial Award; City Wide Open Studios, New Haven, CT; New Haven Paint and Clay Club; New Haven Brush and Palette Club; Mystic Art Association, Mystic, CT; Essex Art Association, Essex, CT; Paier College of Art, New York Academy of Art, Lyme Academy College of Art. Published in American Artist Magazine and IDW Library of American Comics, Rip Kirby, The First Modern Detective, Volume 7. Recently won The Muriel Alvord Memorial award for his painting in The Hudson Valley Art Association’s 88th annual Juried Exhibition which runs from 5/21/21 to 7/22/21 at The Lyme Art Association in Old Lyme, CT.
Rima Rahal – Rima Rahal is an illustrator and visual arts educator, based in western Connecticut. Having been exhibited both domestically and internationally, her work always has an emphasis on watercolor and ink, featuring curvilinear lines, delicate detailing and layered gradients. She earned a dual Bachelors of Fine Arts from Lesley College of Art & Design in illustration and graphic design,then a Masters of Visual Arts Education from Lesley University, both located in Boston. She then worked abroad for 5 years at 2 international English based private schools, working in both Beijing and Istanbul. Returning to the states, she earned a Masters of Fine Arts in illustration from Western Connecticut State University. She now has been teaching art full time for 7 years, continues to freelance when opportunities arise and adjunct at Paier College.
Christopher Town – Lecturer in General Education. Ph.D., Pharmacology, University of Florida, College of Medicine, Gainesville, FL. B.A., Biology, Cum Laude, Montclair State University, Upper Montclair, NJ. Independent Consultant in Drug Metabolism and Pharmacokinetics. Worked for Vertex Pharmaceuticals Inc., MA., Associate Director. Bayer Pharmaceuticals, CT., Principal Research Scientist; Hoffman-LaRoche, Inc., NJ., Associate Research Investigator, Senior Scientist. Numerous Presentations and Papers. Member: International Society for the Study of Xenobiotics. (2012)
Lecturer in Graphic Design
M.A. Wesleyan University
B.A. Charter Oak State College
Certified in Computer Information Science
Internet Website Developing
COLLEGE STAFF & ADMINISTRATION
Dr. Christie DeGregorio – Provost, J.D. Suffolk University (1990); B.S. Marketing, Boston College (1987)
Joseph M. Bierbaum – President, B.S. Management (2007); M.S. Marketing Analytics (2009), Bentley University
Christopher DiStiso– Dean of Art and Academics, M.B.A. New York Institute of Technology (2009). B.A. in Communication, Central Connecticut State University (2000)
Joseph Cann – Director of Finance, M.B.A. Finance, Sacred Heart University; B.S. Accounting, Marist College
Pedro Rodriguez – Director of Student Affairs, Ph.D Organizational Leadership, Grand Canyon University (2022); M.A. Professional Counseling, Grand Canyon University (2015), B.S. Sociology, Eastern Connecticut State University (2010)
Conor Geary – Chief of Staff, Office of the President, B.S Marketing, Siena College (2009)
Christopher Connelly -Registrar, BA Liberal Arts, Harvard University
Tracey O’Connor – Executive Assistant to the President
Damary Rodriguez – Assistant Director of Admissions
Victoria Grab – SEVIS PDSO
Danielle Lambariello – Admissions Representative
Amanda Espinal – Admissions Representative, M.S. Higher Education Leadership, Post University
John DeRose – Director of Financial Aid. A.S., South Central Community College; B.S., University of New Haven. (1987)
Shontisha Kinchen-Askew – Assistant Director of Financial Aid
Katrina Zannini – Financial Aid Officer
Jeff Rife – IT Administrator
Ted Roback – Director of Facilities
Marlon Torres – Facilities Technician
Teresa DiLorenzo – Human Resources Manager
Laccara Farrell – Assistant Accounting Manager
Ian McDonald – Technical Director and Events Coordinator, B.A. English, Siena College
Khanlar Gasimov – Gallery Director, The Schelfhaudt Art Gallery (See Faculty Listing)
Elizabeth Llera – Admissions Coordinator & Administrative Assistant
Wendell Jones – Model Coordinator
Lynn Pascale – Associate in Science, Middlesex Community College. Admissions Secretary. Stone Business School. (1993)
Beth R. Harris – Librarian. AA, Middlesex Community (1998) Technical College; B.A., Wesleyan University; MLS, Southern Connecticut State University. (2001)
Kenneth S. Davies – Dean Emeritus of Illustration. B.F.A., Yale University; D.F.A. (Honorary), New England Law. (1954)
Lorraine L. Davis – Professor Emerita of Interior Design. B.F.A., Syracuse University. (1954)
Leonard Everett Fisher – Academic Dean Emeritus. B.F.A., M.F.A., Yale University. (1966)
Howard G. Munce – Professor Emeritus of Illustration. Diploma, Pratt Institute. (1977)
Jack O’Hara – Professor Emeritus of Graphic Design. B.F.A., Massachusetts College of Art, Tufts University Ed. M., New York University; Teachers College, Columbia University. Advisor for the yearbook. Paintings in regional and national exhibitions. (1992)
Edward T. Paier – (1918–2010), CEO of the Board of Directors. B.F.A., Yale University. Founder, Paier College of Art; taught art and photography in public and private schools, vocational training courses in the U.S. Army; portrait painter: commissions include Hunter Holmes McGuire, Seth G. Haley, Surgeon General Kirk, Senator Abraham Ribicoff, and many others. (1946)