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School of Communications welcomes 7 new faculty

Seven new faculty members with strong professional and educational backgrounds joined the ranks of teacher-scholars in the School of Communications in Fall 2010.

Back row (from left): Phil Daquila, Julie Lellis, Derek Lackaff, Amanda Sturgill and Max Negin. Front row (from left): Qian Xu and Paul Castro.

They came to Elon from the faculties at UCLA, Baylor, Emerson, Wake Forest and the University of Texas and from graduate programs at Penn State and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

The seven faculty additions, plus the inclusion of the faculty in the Sport & Event Management Department that now is part of the School of Communications, bring the number of faculty and staff in the school to 60.

New faculty and staff members, in alphabetical order, are:

Paul Castro is a professional screenwriter who has taught full time at UCLA the past five years. He wrote the screenplay that became the 2007 movie "August Rush," released by Warner Brothers and starring Robin Williams and Jonathan Rhys Meyers. His next project (pending financing) is a feature film titled "Archery Lessons" starring Dakota Fanning, with an anticipated shoot date in summer 2011. "Archery Lessons" is an original screenplay by Castro, and he is slated to direct. Previously, Castro served in the U.S. Navy and worked for seven years in high-tech corporate recruiting. Castro will teach Screenwriting and Producing Narrative Cinema this fall. He earned a B.A. from the University of Richmond and an M.F.A. from UCLA.

Phil Daquila is a multimedia journalist who recently completed his master's in visual communication. Previously, he worked for the Carnegie Museums in Pittsburgh, Divers Alert Network at Duke and spent eight years as design and production director for Baseball America magazine and website. Daquila will teach Media Writing and two sections of Web Publishing this fall. He earned a B.S. from Ohio University and an M.A. from the University of North Carolina.

Derek Lackaff taught digital media at the University of Texas last year and worked with the UT/Portugal Digital Media Research Collaboratory as a postdoctoral fellow. In 2008, he received the Graduate Student Teaching Award from the International Communication Association. Lackaff will teach Communication Research and Theory & Audience Analysis (in the M.A. in Interactive Media program) this fall. He earned a B.A. from the University of Nebraska, an M.A. from La Trobe University in Australia, and a Ph.D. from SUNY-Buffalo.

Julie Lellis taught for the past three years in the Department of Marketing Communication at Emerson College in Boston. Before that, she worked as a clinical counselor and was a project director of the North Carolina Rapid Response to Stroke project. Lellis will teach two sections of Public Relations & Civic Responsibility this fall. She earned a B.A. from the University of Richmond and both an M.S. and Ph.D from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Max Negin taught the past three years at Wake Forest. He is a former writer, producer and editor at ESPN, Comcast Sportsnet and for the NBA Philadelphia 76ers and has twice been the NBC Sports video network administrator for Olympics coverage, in Beijing in 2008 and in Vancouver in 2010. Negin will teach Sports Broadcasting and two sections of Digital Media Convergence this fall. He earned a B.A. from Rowan College, an M.A. from Temple University and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Amanda Sturgill has been a faculty member at Baylor University the past 13 years. She was a newspaper reporter, communications strategist at Cornell University, and a member of Cornell's Interactive Media Group. Sturgill comes to Elon as an associate professor and will teach Multimedia Journalism and two sections of Interactive Writing & Design (in the M.A. program) this fall. She earned a B.A. (Phi Beta Kappa) from the University of South Carolina and both her M.S. and Ph.D. from Cornell University.

Qian Xu completed her dissertation at Penn State this summer on interactivity aspects on e-commerce websites and coordinated the Interactivity Effects Project funded by the National Science Foundation. Previously, she managed the U.S. online campaigns for Newegg.com, an online retailer of computer hardware and software. Xu will teach Interactive Media (undergraduate) and Interactive Media Strategies (in the M.A. program) this fall. She earned both a B.A. and M.A. from Nanjing University in China and a Ph.D. from Penn State.

In addition, Nicole Triche became an assistant professor in the School of Communications after serving as an instructor for two years. She worked professionally for seven years for the North Carolina Center for Public Television (WUNC-TV) and won third place nationally in a cinema category at the 2009 Festival of Media Arts. Triche will teach Cinema Production and two sections of Communications in a Global Age this fall. She earned a B.S. from Appalachian State and an M.F.A. from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro.

Colin Donohue,
8/25/2010 2:41 PM