Welcome new faculty | Valley City State University

The beginning of each new year is full of excitement and anticipation. Part of that excitement was in full display on the campus front lawn last week during our annual Marketplace event. This was a tremendous time for our students to learn about the wealth of campus and community organizations available to them. The atmosphere was festive, and the weather fully cooperated for an enjoyable evening.

The start of the new year also brings new faculty to our community. We’re very excited to welcome fourteen new faculty members this fall. Please join me in welcoming this highly qualified and outstanding group of educators to the campus and Valley City community. They’re excited to be here, and we look forward to them sharing their unique skills and experiences with students and colleagues alike. Some of them shared some personal tidbits that are included below.

A photo of Bhavana Bhardwaj, VCSU Faculty

The Department of Computer Systems and Software Engineering welcomes Bhavana
as a new assistant professor. Originally from India, she holds the BS from the
University of Delhi, the MS in Information Technology from Sikkim Manipal University, and the Ph.D. in
Software Engineering from North Dakota State University. She loves to cook and bake.

Mary Beth Anderson - VCSU faculty

Mary Anderson joins the School of Education as a special appointment
assistant professor. She holds a BS in Elementary Education, a secondary endorsement in English Language
Arts, a ND reading credential and an MS degree in Reading from Minnesota State University, Moorhead. we are
Pleased to have a faculty member with her outstanding experience join our School of Education.

A cardinal icon of a person

Our Business Department welcomes two new faculty members. assistant teacher
peter amah joins us from Seattle and will be teaching as a business generalist and in
business education. Originally from Nigeria, he holds three master’s degrees, from Fordham University,
Catholic University of America, and the University of Washington, Bothell. His Ph.D. in Leadership Studies
is from Gonzaga University.

A photo of Wesley Wright, VCSU Faculty

Wesley Wright holds an undergraduate in accounting and a master’s in
accountancy from Brigham Young University, and an MBA from Florida State University. He is teaching
accounting, macroeconomics and International Business courses. He is a third-generation university
professor. His grandfather of him taught at BYU, his uncle of him is teaching at the University of Calgary, and his father
teaches at NDSU.

A photo of Emily Wicktor, VCSU Faculty

The Language and Literature department welcomes two new faculty members. Emily
join us as an associate professor of English. She holds the Ph.D. en español from the
University of Kansas and is teaching writing and composition courses as well as courses in Grammatical
Analysis and British Literature. She was a competitive springboard and platform diver for 13 years and a
club and high school diving coach for several years.

A photo of Travis Knapp, VCSU faculty

Travis Knapp is an Assistant Professor of English and holds BA degrees
from Oklahoma State University in history and English, an MA in English Literature, and a Ph.D. en español
Literature both from the University of Missouri. When asked about his transition to VCSU, Travis states,
“After spending all my professional life at large research universities, I’m looking forward to spending
time in a more tightly knit community where I can get to know most of the people I interact with on a
regular basis. I’m also looking forward to discovering North Dakota’s offerings in nature, trails, and

A photo of Marcus Kopp, VCSU faculty

Three new faculty join the Department of Kinesiology and Human Performance.
marcus kopporiginally from Bismarck, joins us as a special appointment Assistant
Professor. He received his BS in Exercise Science from North Dakota State University and MS in
Kinesiology from the University of Mary.

barbi mattson portrait

Barbara Mattson is a special appointment new assistant professor in KHP
teaching in the areas of Sport Management and Sports Leadership. She holds an Associate of Arts from Snow
College, a BA in Human Performance and Physical Education with an emphasis in Exercise Science and Sport
Administration, and a MA in Athletic Administration and Coaching.

A photo of Amber Thompson, VCSU faculty

amber thompson joins our KHP department as an assistant professor for
the Physical Education and Health Education programs. Her undergraduate degrees are from St. Edward’s
University and are in Kinesiology and Business Administration. She holds master’s degrees from Sam Houston
State University (Curriculum and Instruction) and the University of Texas, Pan-American (Kinesiology). She
is currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Health and Human Performance at Concordia University, Chicago.

A cardinal icon of a person

Joining our Department of Math as an assistant professor is Ben
Note Boom
. He holds the BS, MS and Ph.D. in Mathematics all from NDSU. I’ve spent the last 8
years teaching mathematics at NDSU while pursuing his advanced degrees. He also minored in vocal music
during his undergraduate experience, so looks forward to singing with the concert choir once settled into
the new position.

A photo of Stephen Cunningham, VCSU faculty

The Music Department welcomes two new special appointment faculty members:
Stephen Cunningham and Oswald (Ozzie) Johnson. As an assistant professor of voice and aural
skills, Stephen received the BMA from the University of North Texas, the MM from Oklahoma State
University in vocal performance and pedagogy, and the DMA from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities.
He spent 5 weeks this past summer teaching and performing multiple opera roles in La Musica Lirica Opera
Program in Novafeltria, Italy.

A photo of Ozzie Johnson, VCSU Faculty

Oswald (Ozzie) Johnson is the new assistant professor of Music (piano).
His BM is from Wheaton College, IL and he holds the MM in piano performance and pedagogy from Ohio
University, OH and the DA in piano performance from Ball State University, IN. In addition to his teaching
duties, he will be serving as a collaborative pianist for the department.

A photo of Trista Montgomery, VCSU Faculty

Trista Montgomery joins the Department of Science as a special
appointment assistant professor. She holds a BS in Psychology, BA in Biology, and an MS in Biology with
an emphasis in Forest Ecology from Bemidji State University. When asked about a moment that helped shape her
future career, she shared, “As soon as I found out that my favorite science professor was climbing trees for
his research, I knew exactly what I wanted to do – and that was to climb 100 ft. tall white pins in the
middle of the winter, in the middle of the night – collecting measurements.” She’s looking forward to taking
her VCSU students to the prairies in the area to collect plants for our very own herbarium in the first week
of classes.

A photo of Luis Bentancur Echeverry, VCSU Faculty

Luis Alejandro Betancur Echeverrybut everybody calls him
Landau, is the new special appointment Spanish instructor. He hods a master’s degree from EAFIT in
Medellin, Columbia, a BS in Spanish from Valley City State University, and BA in Advertising from the
Pontifical Bolivarian University in Columbia. His service from him as a Language Advisor in Forest Lake, Minnesota
changed his life, because it was there when he realized he wanted to become a teacher. We are happy to
welcome Lando back to VCSU.

The impressive backgrounds, experience, and credentials of this new group of faculty members represent a powerful addition to our teaching and learning community at Valley City State University. I will be sharing the list of our new staff members in the next update from the President’s office.

Welcome, new faculty members. Go Vikings!

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