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Outstanding Faculty Speaker Series

Learn more about our Outstanding Faculty that make Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi the destination for many students around the world. Nominate yourself or a colleague to be our next Outstanding Faculty Speaker.

Outstanding Faculty Speaker: Dr. Riccardo Mozzachiodi

Dr. Riccardo Mozzachiodi presented "Decision making in the context of reward and fear: from behavior to molecules" on Friday, November 19, 2021 from 11am - 12pm. Watch the recording of the event on YouTube here!Headshot portrait of Dr. Riccardo Mozzachiodi


Dr. Riccardo Mozzachiodi

Dr. Riccardo Mozzachiodi received his Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Pisa, Pisa, Italy in 1999.

He conducted his post-doctoral training at the University of Texas - Health Science Center in Houston.

He joined the Texas A&M-Corpus Christi faculty in August 2007 where he is currently an Associate Professor of Neuroscience.

14 years ago, he established the first and still only neuroscience research laboratory at TAMU-CC. His research focus is the cellular and molecular mechanisms of fear memory formation and retention. His research team utilizes an invertebrate, the marine snail Aplysia californica, which has an elementary nervous system that operates at a single-cell level in the same way as the human brain, but with only about 20,000 neurons instead of billions. Dr. Mozzachiodi investigates the universal problem of how an animal’s brain responds to fear and remembers it in a relatively simple brain. Ultimately, the collected results may help us understand the mechanisms behind neurological disorders and forms of mental illness such as posttraumatic stress disorder.

So far, the Mozzachiodi laboratory has provided research opportunities for 31 undergraduate students and 11 graduate students. Some of his mentees went to receive doctoral degrees from institutions including The University of Texas – Medical Branch in Galveston, The University of Texas – Southwestern in Dallas, The University of Massachusetts in Amherst (MA), and hold post-doctoral positions at institutions including The University of Texas – Health Science Center in Houston, Brown University in Providence (RI) and Harvard University (MA).

Dr. Mozzachiodi’s research has been published in the top neuroscience journals including Nature Neuroscience, Trends in Neuroscience, and Behavioural Brain Research. One of his articles has been cited 245 times so far.

In addition to presenting his work at national/international meetings Dr. Mozzachiodi gave presentations at institutions including: the University of Sussex in Brighton (United Kingdom), the Russian Academy of Sciences in Moscow (Russia) and the Centre for Ecological Research, Balaton Limnological Institute in Tihany (Hungary).

Dr. Mozzachiodi has so far received over $1,000,000 of grant funds from federal agencies including the National Science Foundation and The National Institute of Health.

In May 2019, Dr. Mozzachiodi received one of the American Physiological Society Frontiers in Physiology Research Host Awards. This award pairs a local science teacher with a selected member of the American Physiological Society.

He is the recipient of TAMU-CC 2021 Faculty Excellence Award in Research and Scholarly Activity.

For outreach, his research lab has hosted lab tours for over 900 students (from elementary to high school) from local and state schools. During the visits, students learned about the importance of animal biomedical research and how to record from living neurons and how to manipulate their neuronal activity.

Outstanding Faculty Speaker: Dr. Ellen Denham

Dr. Ellen Denham

Watch the recording of the event on YouTube here!

Ellen Denham is a Professional Assistant Professor of Music at Texas A&M University Corpus Christi, where she directs the Opera Workshop and teaches Voice. She received her D.M.A in Vocal Performance and Literature with a minor in Directing from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.M. in Vocal Performance from the New England Conservatory of Music, and B.M. in Vocal Performance from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

Dr. Denham began her directing work in experimental theatre pieces at the Indy Convergence arts residency.  She has since been recognized as a semi-finalist for the American Prize for Stage Directors (Charles Nelson Reilly Prize) in both the Theatre/Musical Theatre and Opera Divisions for her innovative productions for TAMU-CC Opera. 

Praised for her interpretive skills, clear tone, and effortless ornamentation, Denham has appeared on the opera and musical theatre stage, as a concert soloist, and in multi-disciplinary, collaborative, and improvised works.  Her resume includes roles with Indianapolis Opera, Piedmont Opera Theatre, Intimate Opera of Indianapolis, and Longwood Opera.

An accomplished writer as well as a performer, Denham is a graduate of the Odyssey Writing Workshop and has had short fiction published in magazines and anthologies including Lightspeed, Daily Science Fiction, and Combining her work in writing with her performing background, she has written several works for the stage, including two premieres for TAMU-CC Opera. She is the librettist for the upcoming TAMU-CC Opera world premiere of “Olivia’s Ocean,” commissioned by the Harte Research Institute, with newly-composed music by Dr. Ross Bernhardt.

She has presented her research on improvisation and opera at the College Music Society Southern Regional Conference at as part of the Artist Series of the Texoma region of the National Association of Teachers of Singing (NATS), and has also presented about her teaching methods at the National Opera Association National Conference.

Dr. Denham is honored to be nominated and selected for this year’s Outstanding Faculty Speaker, and looks forward to presenting some of her work on creating a world premiere opera during a pandemic.


Outstanding Faculty Speaker: Dr. Daniel Bartholomay

Dr. Daniel Bartholomay

Watch the recording of the event on YouTube here!

Daniel Bartholomay (he/him/his) is an Assistant Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University – Corpus Christi. He holds a Ph.D. in Sociology and a Certification in Women’s and Gender Studies from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee, an M.S. in Sociology from North Dakota State University, and a B.S. in Mass communications from Minnesota State University Moorhead. 

Dr. Bartholomay’s research sheds light on the ever-changing dynamics of gender and sexual inequalities, particularly in the realms of family and health. His current research explores how married LGBT+ people both challenge and reinforce gender and sexual norms of marriage. Building upon the critique that marriage has historically served to oppress and exclude gender and sexual minorities, Dr. Bartholomay’s research considers how the growing presence of queer married people can both help and harm the LGBT+ community.

He is excited to begin a new project examining the strengths and challenges faced by LGBT+ people living in South Texas. Using an artistically innovative community-based methodology called photovoice, this project will triangulate data from participant-taken photographs, individual narratives, and collaborative focus groups to develop community outreach and programming designed to help improve the quality of life for LGBT+ people in the Coastal Bend and beyond.

Dr. Bartholomay’s work has been published in Teaching Sociology, Society and Mental Health, Sociology Compass, and elsewhere. He has received several honors and awards for his research and teaching, including a University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Distinguished Dissertation Fellowship, consecutive SAGE Teaching Innovation Awards, and the American Sociological Association’s Section on Teaching and Learning Graduate Student Award.

Dr. Bartholomay is humbled to be nominated and selected for this year’s Outstanding Faculty Speaker, and he looks forward to presenting some of his work on LGBT+ experiences. 


Outstanding Faculty Speaker: Dr. Lon Seiger

Photograph of Dr. Lon Seiger

Dr. Lon Seiger

The Glass in Corpus Christi Bay: Turning Trash into Treasured Art Pieces

In our presentation, participants will discover the amount and weight of sea glass collected along a 150-yard section of shoreline during a one-year study. There will be a brief discussion on nature-deficit disorder and strategies to spend more time interacting with the great outdoors. In addition, participants will be invited and guided to make their own sea glass art piece to take home! No artistic experience is necessary and all materials including sea glass, wood, and glue will be provided. Come join us for what we hope will be an engaging and fun experience learning about environmental pollution and how to reuse/recycle it into a hobby to make treasured art pieces.   


Outstanding Faculty Speaker: Dr. Wendi Pollock

Portrait of Dr. Wendi Pollock

Dr. Wendi Pollock

Wendi Pollock is an Associate Professor of Criminal Justice at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She earned her B.S. and M.S. degrees in Criminal Justice from Sul Ross State University, and her Ph.D. in Criminal Justice from Sam Houston State University.

Dr. Pollock’s primary research interests revolve around police/citizen interactions and how they can be improved. Her research in this area includes nationwide examinations of the outcomes of police/citizen interactions, when controlling for variables such as race, gender, criminal behavior, substance use, and other factors. Dr. Pollock’s work has also examined police/citizen interactions through the lenses of officer body cameras, and extends to the study of the impact that an arrest at an early age has on the life outcomes of the person arrested. Her current research centers around helping police departments who wish to use data driven methods to improve their interactions with the public, and on obtaining a better understanding of factors that affect the lack of diversity in employment in all areas of the American criminal justice system.

Dr. Pollock’s work has been published in the Journal of Criminal Justice, Deviant Behavior, Crime & Delinquency, Criminal Justice Review, the Journal of Ethnicity in Criminal Justice and more. Her work has also earned her Sage’s 2012 James L. Maddex, Jr. Paper of the Year award and the 2017-2018 Excellence in Research and Scholarly Activity award from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. She is honored to be this year’s Outstanding Faculty Speaker and looks forward to talking with you about the nature of police public interactions in general, and in jurisdictions near TAMU-CC.


Dr. Michael Ramirez - Outstanding Faculty Speaker

Meet Dr. Michael Ramirez

Dr. Michael Ramirez Outstanding Author PhotoMichael Ramirez is an Associate Professor of Sociology at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. He earned his PhD in sociology from the University of Georgia and has been at the Island University since 2008.

Dr. Ramirez' primary research interests center on the intersections of gender, race, and social class stratification embedded in cultural practices. The common thread in his diverse array of work is a focus on sociology of the everyday -- how individuals make sense of their social worlds and social selves in the context of everyday life, be it in the workplace, leisure pursuits, and private interactions.

His work has been published in Journal of Adolescent Research, Journal of Men’s Studies, Qualitative Sociology Review, and Symbolic Interaction. His first book, Destined for Greatness: Passions, Dreams, and Aspirations in a College Music Town, was published in 2018 by Rutgers University Press. The book is a life course study of independent rock musicians pursuing careers in the informal world of music as they move into adulthood.

Reviewers have described Destined for Greatness as “a fascinating reminder of music's profound impact across the life course” (cultural sociologist Ross Haenfler), as well as a “meticulous study [in which] Ramirez sketches a captivating picture of the motivations, considerations, and concerns of these musicians and their endeavors to make music their vocation" (book review in Work and Occupations).

Dr. Chuntao Liu - Outstanding Author


Dr. Chuntao Liu portrait


Dr. Chuntao Liu is an Associate Professor of Atmospheric Sciences in the Department of Physical and Environmental Sciences and has been employed at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since 2013. His primary research interests are in the areas of satellite remote sensing of global precipitation, cloud, and severe weather events, with an emphasis on the cloud object recognition in space borne radar and radiometer observations. Chuntao completed his Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences at the University of Wyoming in 2003, where he also stationed at McMurDo, Antarctic monitoring the ozone hole for two seasons. Then he joined University of Utah working on the global precipitation and severe weather events using NASA satellites. Currently Chuntao maintains an observatory measuring the fair weather electric field at Barrow, Alaska, and is a science team member of NASA precipitation science.

Chuntao’s authorship includes 62 peer reviewed journal publications and over 70 conference presentations. Some selected recent publications led by his students and himself include:



  • Adhikari, A., C. Liu, and M. Kulie, 2018: Global distribution of snow precipitation features and their properties observed by GPM satellite, Journal of Climate, 31, 3731-3754.  doi:10.1175/JCLI-D-17-0012.1.
  • Lavigne, T., C. Liu, W. Deierling, and D. Mach, 2017:  Relationship between the global electric circuit and electrified cloud parameters at diurnal, seasonal and interannual timescales, Journal of Geophysical Research, 122, 8525–8542, doi:10.1002/2016JD026442.
  • Ni, X, C. Liu, D. Cecil, and Q. Zhang, 2017: On the hail detection with satellite passive microwave radiometers and radar, Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climate, 56, 2693–2709,
  • Liu, C., 2017: Severe weather in a warming climate, Nature news & views, 544, 423-424. Doi:10.1038/54422a.
  • Chen, B., C. Liu, and B. Mapes, 2017: Relationships between large precipitating systems and atmospheric factors at a grid scale, Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, 74, 531-552, doi:10.1175/JAS-D-16-0049.1.
  • Ni, X., C. Liu, Q. Zhang, D. Cecil, 2016: Properties of hail storms over China and the United States from the Tropical Rainfall Measurement Mission, Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, 12031-12044, DOI: 10.1002/2016JD025600
  • Liu, N., and C. Liu, 2016: Global distribution of deep convection reaching tropopause in one-year GPM observations, Journal of Geophysical Research, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JD024430.

Dr. Kathy Smith and Dr. Murphy Smith - Outstanding Authors

Dr. Katherine Smith
Dr. Katherine T. Smith, a marketing professor at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. Her academic record includes 50 research articles, 8 books, numerous academic conference presentations, plus awards for teaching and research. She ranks in the top one percent of authors on Social Sciences Research Network ( by downloaded articles. Her work has been cited over 1100 times, as shown on Google Scholar.

 Dr. Smith’s major areas of research include digital and mobile marketing, corporate social responsibility, and marketing to Digital Natives and Millennials. She has published in journals such as Journal of Strategic Marketing and Journal of Consumer Marketing.

 She has received a number of recognitions for teaching and research, including the following:

  • Distinguished Research Award 2015, Business Studies Academy.
  • Emerging Scholar Award 2014, Murray State University.
  • Outstanding Researcher Award 2014, Bauernfeind College of Business, Murray State.
  • Invited Reviewer, National Science Foundation (NSF) 2013.
  • Best in Track Award 2013, Society for Marketing Advances.
  • Distinguished Research Award 2012, Academy of Marketing Studies.
  • Outstanding Educator Award 2010, Academy of Educational Leadership.


Dr. L. Murphy Smith, CPA is a Professor of Accounting at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi. His academic record includes over 200 research articles, books and monographs, academic conference presentations, research grants, and awards for teaching and research. He ranks in the top one percent of authors on Social Sciences Research Network ( by downloaded articles (over 57,000). His work is highly referenced, with over 2,200 citations to his work shown on Google Scholar. His work has been reported in various news media, including National Public Radio, Fortune, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.

His major areas of research include: ethics, financial reporting, international accounting, and information technology. Among the journals in which he has published are the following: Advances in Accounting; Contemporary Accounting Research; Journal of Business Research; Accounting Horizons; Journal of Information Systems; Journal of Business Ethics; Research on Professional Responsibility and Ethics in Accounting; Journal of Accounting, Auditing and Finance; Critical Perspectives on Accounting; Internal Auditing; Strategic Finance; and Journal of Accountancy.

He has received a number of recognitions for teaching and research, including the following:

  • Distinguished Member Award 2017, Institute of Management Accountants.
  • KPMG Outstanding Published Manuscript Award 2014, American Accounting Association, Gender Issues and Work-Life Balance Section.
  • Outstanding Researcher Award 2009, American Accounting Association Strategic and Emerging Technologies Section.
  • Outstanding Educator Award 2004, Texas Society of CPAs.
  • Invited Speaker, Congressional Hearing regarding Accounting and Business Ethics in Washington, D.C., July 26, 2002.

Dr. Smith has been involved in a variety of service roles in the accounting profession, the university, and the local community. During his career, he has held a number of leadership positions in academic and professional organizations. He served on the Ethics Task Force of the Texas State Board of Public Accountancy, on the American Accounting Association’s Professionalism and Ethics Committee, and as President of the American Accounting Association Gender Issues and Work-Life Balance Section.

Dr. Jennifer Sorensen -- Outstanding Author

Meet DDr. Jennifer Sorensenr. Sorensen

Jennifer Sorensen is an Assistant Professor of English at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. She earned her B.A. summa cum laude in English from Princeton University and her M.A. and Ph.D. in English Literature from the University of Michigan.  

Her first book, Modernist Experiments in Genre, Media, and Transatlantic Print Culture, published in January 2017 in the Ashgate Studies in Publishing History Series by Routledge.  Modernist Experiments argues that Virginia Woolf, Henry James, Katherine Mansfield, Jean Toomer, and Djuna Barnes understood acts of reading as inherently material, mediated encounters.  Drawing on recent textual theory, media theory, and archival materials, she demonstrates that these modernists radically redefined literary genres and refashioned the material forms through which their literary experiments reached the public.  Her work shows how modern genres developed in dialogue with modern cultures of print.    The central dynamic animating her work is how genres—both textual and paratextual genres—are mixed and juxtaposed to create new aesthetics and new material forms. She has published articles in Studies in the Novel, Narrative, Intervalla, and the Henry James Review.  

Dr. Jeremy Conkle - An Outstanding Author

Dr. Jeremy ConkleMeet Dr. Jeremy Conkle

Jeremy earned dual bachelor’s degrees in Biology and Chemistry at Longwood University in Farmville, VA.  Following graduation, he worked as a chemist on hazardous waste cleanup sites, emergency responses and natural disasters for an EPA contractor. He continued to work for the contractor while completing a Masters in Environmental Studies at the College of Charleston in 2006.   Jeremy completed his Ph.D. in Oceanography & Coastal Sciences at Louisiana State University in 2010, where he studied the fate and transport of “emerging contaminants” in wetlands. He then traded the wetlands of Louisiana for the desert of Riverside, California while working on a post-doc studying the fate, transport and ecosystem effects of current-use pesticides, legacy pollutants, like PCBs and DDT, and emerging contaminants under Jay Gan in the Environmental Sciences Department at the University of California Riverside. In the fall of 2014, Jeremy joined the faculty of the Department of Physical & Environmental Sciences at Texas A&M Corpus Christi where his current funded research includes studies of pesticide fate, transport and impacts to Black Drum in Baffin Bay Texas, the fate of triclopyr, an herbicide, at Fort Hood in collaboration with the USACE, quantification of plastic loads in the Mississippi River, remote sensing of plastic debris using unmanned aerial systems (a.k.a. drones) and projections for future water quantity and quality throughout the U.S. with an attention to impacts on aquaculture feasibility and product safety related to emerging contaminants.

Jeremy’s authorship includes 17 peer reviewed journal publications, 2 textbook chapters and 2 technical reports. Some recent publications include:

Jiang, W., J. L. Conkle, Y. Luo, J. Li, XU, K., J. Gan. (2016) Occurrence, distribution and accumulation of pesticides in exterior residential areas. Environmental Science & Technology, 50 (23), 12592-12601

Jiang, W., Y. Luo, J. L. Conkle, J.L. Li, J. Gan. (2016) Pesticides on residential outdoor surfaces: Runoff model prediction and aquatic toxicology. Pest Management Science, 72, 1411-1420

Conkle J.L., J.A. Cabrera, J. Thomas, D. Wang and J. Gan. (2016) Effects of CO2 dissolution on phase distribution and degradation of dimethyl disulfide (DMDS) in soils under grape production. Pest Management Science, 72, 349-353

Wu, S., L. K. Dodgen, J. L. Conkle, J. Gan. (2015) Plant Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products from Recycled Water and Biosolids: A Review. Science of the Total Environment, 536, 655-666.

Wu, S., J. L. Conkle, F. Ernst, J. Gan. (2014) Treated Wastewater Irrigation: Uptake of Pharmaceutical and Personal Care Products by Common Vegetables under Field Conditions. Environmental Science & Technology, 48(19), 11286-11293.

Young, M. H., R. L. Green, J. L. Conkle, M. McCullough, D. A. Devitt, L. Wright, B. J. Vanderford, S. A. Snyder. (2014). Field-scale monitoring of pharmaceutical compounds applied to active golf courses by recycled water. Journal of Environmental Quality, 43(2), 658-670.

In addition to his research interests, Jeremy teaches courses on Environmental Chemistry and Wetlands & Water Quality. To read more about his lab and their research, please visit his website:

Dr. Michelle Maresh-Fuehrer -- Outstanding Author

Meet Dr. Michelle M. Maresh-Fuehrer

Dr. Michelle M. Maresh-Fuehrer is an Associate Professor of Communication in the Department of Communication and Media and has been employed at Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi since 2009. Her primary research interests are in the areas of crisis communication and public relations, with an emphasis on the impact of social media in these contexts.

Michelle’s authorship includes 3 textbooks, 5 textbook chapters, 6 journal articles, one magazine article, and over 25 conference papers. Her recent (2016) works and works-in-progress include:

  • Co-author of the 12th edition of the market leading textbook for Business and Professional Communication, Communicating at Work: Strategies for Success in Business and the Professions (McGraw-Hill).
  • Co-author of Public Relations Principles: Strategies for Professional Success (Kendall Hunt Publishing)
  • Co-author [with current TAMU-CC graduate student, Deborah De Cillo Ottoni Teixeira] of a textbook chapter titled “Skol’s Viva Redondo (Live Round) Crisis” in Cases in Public Relations: Translated Ethics into Action (Oxford University Press).
  • Author of a textbook chapter titled “Apple’s ‘Bendgate’ Crisis and the Technology-Image Expectancy Gap” in Casing Risk and Crisis Communication (Kendall Hunt Publishing)
  • Co-author (with TAMU-CC GIS professor, Rick Smith) of a journal article titled “Social media mapping innovations for crisis prevention, response, and evaluation” in a special issue dedicated to social media and the crisis lifecycle in Computers in Human Behavior.

In addition to her research interests, Michelle serves as the Internship Coordinator for the Department of Communication and Media. She regularly teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in crisis communication, public relations, research methods, and communication theory, and was awarded the University Educator of the Year by the Texas Speech Communication Association in 2015.