New Faculty 2017—18

Michelle Goody

Michelle GoodyResearch Assistant Professor

School of Biology and Ecology

Ph.D. in biomedical sciences, University of Maine

Specialty: using zebrafish embryos to study skeletal muscle development and disease

Why UMaine? I am a Mainer, born and raised, and am thrilled to be able to conduct exciting, cutting-edge research in my home state.

Charlene Spindler Gray

Charlene Spindler GrayLecturer in Landscape Design and Academic Program Coordinator

School of Food and Agriculture

M.S. in landscape design, Columbia University

Specialty: residential landscape design and construction

Why UMaine? UMaine offers an inspiring community of people on a historic and beautiful campus within the great state of Maine.


Babak Hejrati

Babak HejratiAssistant Professor of Dynamics and Controls

Department of Mechanical Engineering

Ph.D. in mechanical engineering, University of Utah

Specialty: robotics dynamics and control

Why UMaine? I like the research opportunities here.

Lauren Jacobs

Lauren JacobsLecturer in Kinesiology and Physical Education

School of Kinesiology, Physical Education and Athletic Training

M.S. in kinesiology and physical education, University of Maine

Specialty: outdoor sport

Why UMaine? Because I care about the children of Maine and getting as many people outside as possible.


Nishad Jayasundara

Nishad JayasundaraAssistant Professor of Marine Physiology

School of Marine Sciences

Ph.D. in biological sciences, Stanford University

Specialty: marine sciences and aquatic toxicology

Why UMaine? Because of the diversity and research strengths of the School of Marine Sciences at UMaine, and because Maine has been home away from home since coming here to complete my undergraduate studies at College of the Atlantic.

Stephen Jurich

Stephen JurichAssistant Professor of Finance

Maine Business School

Ph.D. in finance, University of Mississippi

Specialty: market microstructure

Why UMaine? The opportunity to conduct research at a flagship university.


Khusro Kidwai

Associate Dean of the Division of Lifelong Learning

Benjamin King

Benjamin KingAssistant Professor of Bioinformatics

Department of Molecular and Biomedical Sciences

Ph.D. in biomedical science, University of Maine

Specialty: genomics, bioinformatics and computational biology

Why UMaine? UMaine’s excellent and growing faculty provide a highly collaborative research environment.


Meredith Kirkmann

Merideth KirkmanAssistant Professor of Construction Engineering

School of Engineering Technology

M.S. in civil engineering, UMaine; MBA, Husson University

Specialty: highway and site design, and project management.

Why UMaine? UMaine’s College of Engineering was a welcoming and inspirational place to grow and learn as an undergraduate and graduate student; joining the faculty to provide a similar space is an exciting opportunity.

Vanessa Klein

Vanessa KleinAssistant Extension Professor, 4-H STEM Specialist and Assistant Professor of Education

University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Ph.D. in curriculum and instruction, Kent State University

Specialty: science education


Colt Knight

Colt KnightAssistant Professor of Extension, State Livestock Specialist

University of Maine Cooperative Extension

Ph.D. in animal science, University of Arizona 

Specialty: range land ecology; ruminant nutrition; utilization of livestock as a cultural/biological control; cow herd efficiency as it relates intake, reproduction, longevity and grazing behavior; development of GPS tracking collars

Why UMaine? I have the opportunity to build educational programming related to livestock production, and conduct applied research.

Ryan LaRochelle

Ryan LaRochelleLecturer in Leadership Studies and Public Service

Cohen Institute for Leadership and Public Service

Ph.D. in politics, Brandeis University

Specialty: U.S. social policy; presidential leadership; civic engagement; American political development

Why UMaine? I’m excited to participate in the Cohen Institute’s important and influential programming and initiatives, while being surrounded by the natural beauty of the state of Maine.


Zachary Ludington

Zachary LudingtonAssistant Professor of Spanish

Department of Modern Languages and Classics

Ph.D. in Spanish, University of Virginia

Specialty: modern and contemporary Spanish peninsular literature

Why UMaine? I believe deeply in the nobility and value of public universities and I’m impressed by the sense of community here.