Monthly Archives: October 2013

Visiting Scholar Faculty for Fall 2013

It is my pleasure to introduce the Visiting Scholar Faculty for Fall 2013. As you read the bios of our eight new teaching colleagues, you will agree that they are a qualified, talented group of scholars and master teachers. These individuals are already adding so much to help advance Richland College’s vision of being the best place we can be to learn, teach, and build sustainable local and world community. They join the ranks of current Richland College faculty who strive for excellence and demonstrate continuous dedication to student-centered values, learning, and personal growth. Please join me in welcoming them and wishing them a successful tenure at Richland College.

Phyllis Camara, Computer Science


Phyllis has been an adjunct faculty member in computer science for 15 years, and worked 20 years in public high schools teaching mathematics. She holds a Bachelor of Science in business administration and a Master of Science in management and administrative science, both from The University of Texas at Dallas. Phyllis is a doctoral candidate in educational technology at Walden University. She is an active member in the Delta Pi Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma Society International for Key Women Educators. She also participates in the Kappa Delta Pi International Honor Society for Education.

Shahab “Shaun” Danesh, Biology


Shaun has taught biology as an adjunct instructor at Richland College and Collin College, Preston Ridge campus, since 2012. He also served as a science ambassador for The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center (UT Southwestern). His passion for biology began during his tenure at Army and Navy Academy, a military boarding school in Carlsbad, Calif. He went on to San Diego State University and earned a Bachelor of Science degree in biology. From there, he was admitted to the doctoral program at UT Southwestern where he earned a doctorate degree in genetics and development in 2009. He then completed a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of California, Los Angeles and a second postdoctoral fellowship at UT Southwestern.

Hasmik Gharaghazaryan, French and Spanish


Hasmik has taken French and Spanish language classes at the University Paul-Valery-Montpellier III in France and Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in Spain. She graduated with a master’s degree in French, and has completed major course work for her doctoral degree in French linguistics from Yerevan State University in Armenia. Prior to joining Richland College as an adjunct instructor in 2010, Hasmik taught French at her alma mater and worked in the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia as coordinator of cultural cooperation with French- and Spanish-speaking countries and international organizations. Her experience includes the planning of various cultural events aimed at the propagation of French and Spanish languages and cultural diversity.

Tara Graham, Geology


Tara has taught earth science, environmental science, and physical geology as an adjunct instructor at Richland College, Collin College, and the University of North Texas. Her educational background consists of a bachelor’s degree in geography, with double minors in geology and Spanish, and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of North Texas. Tara also earned a master’s degree in geology from The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD). She is currently pursuing her doctoral degree in geosciences at UTD, where her dissertation is focusing on LiDAR uses in geoscience education. She spends a lot of her weekends collecting and annotating three-dimensional models of various geologic outcrops and developing learning platforms for virtual field trip applications for use in undergraduate coursework.

Carol Kent, Speech


Earning both bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Baylor University in speech communication studies, Carol has taught speech communication as an adjunct instructor at Richland College for 13 years. She is the recipient of the Richland College Excellence in Teaching Award for 2002. Carol is also the faculty director of the Richland College SACSCOC Quality Enhancement Plan (QEP), Learning to Learn: Developing Learning Power, an ongoing, focused course of action designed to improve student learning. Carol has previously taught at Baylor University and St. Edwards University, and has been elected to public office serving on the Richardson ISD Board of Trustees and in the Texas House of Representatives.

Van “Jay” Laughlin, Computer Science


Jay Laughlin graduated from The University of Texas at Dallas with a master’s degree in computer science. While there, he worked as part of the Institute for Interactive Arts and Engineering, which worked on several grant projects for the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, Baylor Medical Center, and Children’s Medical Center. Jay also contributed to a project called “Galaxy for Hire” by Trench Games that was featured at the Game Developer’s Conference in 2012. His major interests in computer science are in the areas of computer graphics and software testing.

Gregory Lush, Theater


Gregory earned a bachelor’s degree in acting from The University of Texas at Arlington. He also holds a Master of Fine Arts in directing from the University of Mississippi. He previously served for five years as a member of the theatre faculty at Ohio University, along with shorter stays at Oklahoma State, Collin College, and KD College in Dallas.  Gregory has spent the last decade as a full-time actor, working on the stage and screen and as a voice-over artist.  He recently played the role of John Wilkes Booth in the musical “Assassins” at Theatre 3 in October, followed by directing “The Glass Menagerie” for Richland’s theatre program.

Zachary Spencer, EDUC Learning Framework


Zach began teaching at Richland College in the spring of 2013 as an adjunct faculty member, teaching psychology and human sexuality. Over the last eight years, he has gained valuable teaching, mentoring, and counseling skills with students at various stages in their educational journey, including the public school system, university undergraduates, and college athletes. He has a passion for meeting students where they are, and creates an individualized approach for each student to foster success. Zach has a bachelor’s degree in sociology and master’s degree in educational and counseling psychology from Texas A&M University. Zach will complete a master’s degree in health communications from Boston University in the spring of 2014.