Berks faculty members granted promotion and tenure

Three members of the Penn State Berks faculty were recently promoted: Dr. Leonard Gamberg, Dr. Brenda Russell, and Dr. Mahsa Kazempour.

Dr. Leonard Gamberg was promoted to full professor of physics. He earned his doctorate degree in physics from Tufts University and a master?s degree in physics from the University of Vermont. Gamberg joined Penn State Berks in 2002. During his time at the college, he has published more than 50 scientific papers and given more than 80 invited talks at professional meetings. Previously, he held research positions at the University of Pennsylvania, the Institute for Theoretical Physics at the University of Tuebingen in Germany, and the University of Oklahoma.

Gamberg's research focuses on the field of sub-atomic nuclear particle physics. Among other topics, he explores the transverse spin and momentum quark sub-structure of the proton and neutron. His research has been funded continually since 2006 by grants from the United States Department of Energy's Office of Science, Nuclear Theory Program. Gamberg is a regular visiting scientist at the Jefferson National Lab, Newport News, VA, and the Institute for Nuclear Theory, Seattle. He is a co-editor of the De Gruyter Series in Mathematical Physics. Gamberg received the Penn State Berks Outstanding Research Award in 2008 and is active in promoting undergraduate research at the college.

Dr. Brenda Russell was promoted to full professor of psychology. She joined Penn State Berks in 2006. Russell holds a doctorate degree in applied experimental psychology from Saint Louis University, and a master?s and baccalaureate degree in psychology from Connecticut State University. During her time at Berks, Russell served as program coordinator for the college?s Applied Psychology degree program. She has published three books and 27 journal articles.

Her teaching areas include career development and social and forensic psychology. Russell conducts research related to psychology and law and how gender and sexual orientation influence the social psychological and cognitive aspects of jury decision-making. She studies how cultural norms associated with gender and sexual orientation affect evaluations of victims and perpetrators of domestic violence, rape, sexual coercion, bullying, and sexual harassment. Her recent research on these topics can be seen in her scholarly research and books entitled Perceptions of Female Offenders and Battered Woman Syndrome as a Legal Defense: History, Effectiveness, and Implications. She also serves as consultant and program evaluator for various federal and state educational, law enforcement, justice, and treatment programs. Russell will serve as program coordinator for the college?s new baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice this fall.

Dr. Mahsa Kazempour was granted tenure and promoted to associate professor of science education. She joined Penn State Berks in 2010. Kazempour earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction (science education) and a master?s degree in science and environmental education from Indiana University Bloomington. She earned her baccalaureate degree in biology from Santa Clara University.

Her research focuses on professional development of prospective and in-service teachers; ways to improve K-16 science instruction; and undergraduate students? level of environmental literacy and sense of social responsibility. Kazempour has authored a number of journal articles in these areas and has presented at local, national, and international conferences.

In her courses, she engages students in real-life learning, critical thinking, problem-solving, and responsible citizenship. Students in her Environmental Science course engage in a major service learning project, the Environmental Awareness and Community Action Project (EACAP), which allows them to learn about environmental issues and partner with local organizations in taking action to protect the environment and educate the public. She also organizes the annual student-led Earth Day events to showcase students? EACAP projects, increase campus awareness of environmental issues, and encourage action.