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MCLA Welcomes Four New Faculty Members

NORTH ADAMS, MASS. —MCLA is pleased to welcome four new faculty members to campus for the fall 2021 semester: Andrew Best, Assistant Professor of Biology; Rebecca Relyea, Assistant Professor of Radiologic Sciences; Yavuz Ceylan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry; and Sean Scanlon: Visiting Assistant Professor of History.

“I look forward to welcoming these new faculty to the already outstanding group of educators I have had the pleasure of getting to know over the summer,” said Richard Glejzer, Ph.D., MCLA’s Vice President of Academic Affairs. “They will be joining a community of dedicated and talented teachers, scholars, and artists who have persevered and guided our students with great care through an unprecedented pandemic over the past year and a half.”

About our new faculty members:

Andrew Best, Assistant Professor of Biology 

Andrew (Drew) joins the MCLA Biology Department as Assistant Professor after 15 years of teaching high school biology.  He recently earned a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from UMass, emerging as an expert in the evolution of human sweating. Currently Drew is collaborating on a project exploring evolved energetic limits to human endurance. Undergraduate students will have opportunities to participate in these projects as researchers. Drew lives with his partner Michaela and their dog and cat, and spends much of his free time trail running and mountain biking.

Rebecca Relyea, Assistant Professor of Radiologic Sciences 

Initially earning her Bachelor’s Degree in teaching from the College of Saint Rose, Rebecca later chose to pursue radiology and earned an Associate’s Degree in Radiologic Sciences from Ogeechee Technical College in Statesboro, Georgia. She graduated top of her class and went on to work in several level 1 trauma centers in Savannah as both a radiologic technologist and CT technologist. After returning to Albany in 2014, she spent the next 6 years working at Albany Medical Center as a level 5 radiologic technologist and the education coordinator for the Radiology Department, part of which involved serving as a clinical liaison and resource for many of the local schools – including MCLA! She recently earned her Master’s Degree from Excelsior College and is excited to be making the jump back into teaching.

Yavuz Ceylan, Visiting Assistant Professor of Chemistry 

Dr. Yavuz Ceylan obtained a B.S. (2011) in Chemistry from Gaziosmanpasa University, Turkey. Then, he moved to Texas as a high school teacher for three years. He obtained his Ph.D. (2019) in inorganic chemistry from University of North Texas with Professor Thomas R. Cundari. His doctoral work was on modeling of organometallic catalysts, such as conversion olefin to primary alcohol, styrene and C-N compounds via employing quantum mechanical calculations. Following two years, he was a postdoctoral associate in computational chemistry at Brandeis University, with Dr. Rebecca L. M. Gieseking, investigating excited state dynamics and using theoretical approach to ligand effect on metal cluster.

Sean Scanlon: Visiting Assistant Professor of History 

A native of Charlemont, Mass., Sean Scanlon graduated from Mohawk Trail Regional High School and attended Stonehill College in Easton, Mass., where he was a double-major in history and religious studies. In 2015, he entered the graduate program in history at the University of Nebraska – Lincoln, where he studied U.S., European, and international history and worked as a teaching assistant for undergraduate courses. From 2018-2021, he taught courses in U.S. history at both UNL and the University of Nebraska – Omaha. A specialist in U.S. history in the 20th century, Sean’s research investigates the cultural, diplomatic, and political relationship between the United States and Israel, with a particular focus on the 1970s and 1980s. His dissertation drew on materials from a wide range of archives, including the Gerald Ford, Jimmy Carter, and Ronald Reagan Presidential Libraries. Sean came to MCLA after graduating with his PhD in History from UNL and will teach introductory and upper-level courses in U.S. history.


About MCLA:
At MCLA, we’re here for all — and focused on each — of our students. Classes are taught by educators who care deeply about teaching, and about seeing their students thrive on every level of their lives. In nearly every way possible, the experience at MCLA is designed to elevate our students as individuals, as leaders, communicators, fully empowered to make their impressions on the world. In addition to our 125-year commitment to public education we have fortified our commitment to equitable academic excellence. For eight of the last 10 years, MCLA has been named a Top Ten College by U.S. News and World Report. MCLA also appears on the organization’s list of top National Public Liberal Arts Colleges, as well as on the top 50 schools in U.S. News’ Social Mobility Ranking, which measures how well schools graduate students who receive Federal Pell Grants.

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