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New College of Arts & Sciences Professors Start this Fall

Bethel welcomes eight new professors to the community.

By Katie Johnson ’19

August 24, 2018 | 11 a.m.

Eight new faculty begin in the College of Arts & Sciences this fall, including four Bethel alumni.

Eight new faculty begin in the College of Arts & Sciences this fall, including four Bethel alumni.

Bethel University’s College of Arts & Sciences welcomes eight new full-time professors to its faculty this fall. 

James Christenson ’12, assistant professor of chemistry

Christenson received bachelor’s degrees in Biochemistry/Molecular Biology and Chemistry from Bethel University and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, where he researched the biosynthesis of medicinal natural products. He has been an adjunct instructor at the University of Northwestern—St. Paul, St. Catherine University, and at Bethel. He was the sole recipient of the Founder’s Award travel grant at the 25th Enzyme Mechanism Conference. He also received the Cyrus Barnum Teaching Award from the University of Minnesota Biochemistry Department and the Ross A. Gortner Award from the University of Minnesota.

Emily Day, assistant professor of nursing

Day received her bachelor’s degree in Animal Science from Pennsylvania State University and her Master of Public Health (MPH) in Epidemiology from Drexel University. She went back to school to earn a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Rutgers University.

Andrew Folstad GS’16, assistant professor of nursing

Folstad received his bachelor’s degree in nursing from the University of Minnesota and his M.S. in Nurse Educator from Bethel. For six years, he worked as a Float Team Registered Nurse at Children’s Health Care. He has also been a traveling nursing instructor at Gustavus Adolphus College as well as an adjunct nursing instructor at Bethel.

Elisabeth Lefebvre, assistant professor of education

Lefebvre earned her bachelor’s in history and political science from Miami University (Ohio), her master’s in international studies from the University of Oregon, and her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota. Lefebvre's interdisciplinary research examines the mutually constitutive and historical relationship between schooling and childhood, as well as the ways in which our ideas about schooling impact student and teacher experiences in the classroom. She has won multiple awards, including a University of Minnesota Doctoral Research Fellowship and the John and Grace Cogan Graduate Research Fellowship from the Department of Organizational Leadership, Policy, and Development at the University of Minnesota.

Nathan Lemke ‘06, associate professor of physics

Lemke received bachelor’s degrees in physics and applied physics at Bethel University and his Ph.D. in Physics at the University of Colorado-Boulder. He was a Postdoctoral Fellow at the Argonne National Library, a Research Scientist for the Space Dynamics Laboratory, and a Research Physicist for the Air Force Research Laboratory. Lemke’s extensive research has been recognized with a Division Scientific Technical Achievement Award, a Division Team Award for 4th Quarter 2016, and a Director’s Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Argonne National Laboratory in 2013.

Brittany Nairn, assistant professor of biology

Nairn received her bachelor’s degree in biology and premedicine at Augustana College and her Ph.D. in Microbiology and Immunology at the University of North Carolina. She has held research positions at Vanderbilt University, Kansas State University, and the University of Minnesota. She was a Childhood Infections Research Program Fellow at Vanderbilt, and she has won the Postdoctoral Poster Award at the International Biometals Symposium in Durham, North Carolina.

Drew Whitson ’02, associate professor of business and economics

Whitson received his bachelor’s degree in economics and finance from Bethel University and his MBA from the University of Minnesota. His leadership experience includes having served as lead financial analyst and senior manager of financial planning and analysis at Technology Finance, and as strategy lead at Target. Whitson also serves on the Board of Trustees for Woodland Hills Church and the Board of Directors for Camp Lebanon.

Jed Yang, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science

Yang received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from the California Institute of Technology and his Ph.D. from the University of California. He was a postdoctoral associate at the University of Minnesota as well as a visiting assistant professor of computer science at Carleton College. He was also awarded the Graduate Research Fellowship by the National Science Foundation, the Chancellor’s Fellowship at the University of California Los Angeles, and the Scott Russell Johnson Prize for Graduating Senior at Caltech Pasadena.

Learn more about Bethel’s quality faculty members involved in 106 areas of study.

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