Notable Professors Join Westmont Faculty

By Scott Craig   |   October 13, 2020
Blake Victor Kent, professor of sociology

Four stellar new professors join the Westmont faculty this fall: Katherine Bryant (political science), alumnus Daniel Gee (music), Robert Haring-Kaye (physics), and Blake Victor Kent (sociology).

Bryant, a visiting assistant professor for three years at Westmont, launched a study of the effectiveness of Christian aid organizations. Her research focuses on the efficacy of foreign aid programs and how political factors influence the behavior of aid organizations, especially multilateral agencies. She has a keen interest in improving data literacy among students, and has also taught environmental politics. She graduated from USC and earned a doctorate from Texas A&M University. “While teaching at Westmont, I have always admired how students and faculty consistently integrate their academic studies with deeper questions of faith, purpose and justice,” she says. “I eagerly look forward to contributing to this broader purpose in service to our Lord.”

Robert Haring-Kaye, professor of physics

After an outstanding career at Westmont – he was valedictorian of his class – Daniel Gee ’13 has returned to teach music and conduct the Westmont College Choir. He completed majors in both music composition and philosophy at Westmont and earned a Master of Music degree at the USC Thornton School of Music. He has nearly finished his Doctor of Musical Arts degree there. During his time in Los Angeles, Gee served as the assistant conductor of the Long Beach Symphony and associate conductor of Choral Arts Initiative, a professional choir in Orange County. “Music in all its manifestations is a breathtakingly diverse and rich gift from God,” Gee says. “Choral music contributes uniquely to this manifold witness in its accessibility and humanness. It seems that we often reserve our most important words for song.”

Daniel Gee, professor of music
Katherine Bryant, professor of political science

Haring-Kaye, who completed tenure as a professor of physics and astronomy at Ohio Wesleyan University, taught at Purdue University Northwest (formerly Purdue University Calumet). He earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Florida State University before completing a doctorate there in nuclear physics. His primary research interests focus on the structure of atomic nuclei at the limits of spin and binding deduced from gamma-ray spectroscopy. He has been a principal or co-principal investigator on four National Science Foundation grants, the last two focused on cultivating research experiences for undergraduates. “I am constantly amazed at the beauty, order, and complexity of the world around us and in the universe as a whole,” he says.

Kent, a scholar who specializes in population health, medicine, and religion, has been working for the past two years as a postdoctoral research fellow with Harvard Medical School’s Center on Genomics, Vulnerable Populations and Health Disparities and Massachusetts General Hospital. He graduated from Wheaton College, earned a Master of Arts in theological studies at Regent College in British Columbia and then a master’s and doctorate in sociology at Baylor University. He is a co-investigator on a major Templeton grant for the National Spirituality and Health Consortium. “I’m thrilled to be entering a community where students are eager to learn about and face down the daunting social challenges that loom large in our contemporary environment,” he says.

Along with the new tenure-track appointees, several faculty join the college in short-term roles, including Senyo Adjibolosoo (economics and business), Laura Drake Schultheis ’06 (biology), Matthew Roy ’07 (music), and Chris Peterson (engineering).

 

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