Holy Cross College welcomes new members to the faculty and staff

Holy Cross College welcomes new members to the faculty and staff

Holy Cross College is excited to welcome three full-time faculty members this academic year, along with a new Director of Admissions.

John Biddle joins the College as an assistant professor of physics. He will be teaching two physics sequences, one for people planning to study engineering and the physical sciences, and another for people planning to study life sciences, including those in preparation for careers in health-related fields. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of Maryland and a master’s degree in education from the University of Notre Dame.

“During my work at Maryland, I studied phase transitions and critical phenomena, focusing on supercooled water in particular,” said Biddle about his background. “During that time, I was also a teaching assistant for Maryland’s physics education research group. In graduate school, I became particularly interested in non-equilibrium statistical and thermal physics, and biological phenomena presented, as they do now, some of the most interesting problems in that field. So, after I graduated from Maryland, I worked in the Department of Systems Biology at Harvard Medical School,” said Biddle about his background.

He is excited to be in the Midwest and teaching at Holy Cross College. “I hope that by teaching students physics I can give them new ways of looking at the world and at certain problems; help them see science in the broader context of human knowledge and wisdom; prepare them for gainful employment; and do all of this as part of an education that sustains and nurtures their faith in Christ. I’d also like to work out some of the implications of my earlier projects at Harvard and keep contributing to the ongoing research into nonequilibrium statistical physics and in particular the physics of biological systems.”

Emily Ransom is the new assistant professor of English. She earned her Ph.D. in English at the University of Notre Dame and also holds degrees from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and from North Carolina State University, along with taking courses with University College Cork, the Folger Institute in Washington, D.C., National University of Ireland Galway, the Paideia Institute in Rome, and the University of Virginia’s Rare Book School.

“Coming to Holy Cross allows me to deepen my experience of Catholic education that I had at Notre Dame with a wider range of students, more similar to those I taught at University of Wisconsin-Green Bay. I am excited about the sense of community, the large number of first-generation college students, the small class sizes, and the mission to form students holistically. As a Christian scholar in a secular discipline, I’m thankful to be in a community where faith and scholarship are seen as mutually enriching,” said Ransom.

She is excited about finding ways to develop the College’s integrative, experiential opportunities for students. “I’d love to create more interactive events like poetry readings, outdoor theatre, service learning in the South Bend community, hands-on editorial experience, and study abroad.”

Rana Van Voorhis is a visiting instructor of biology in the Physical and Life Sciences department, and will be teaching Biology Honors, Microbiology, and Great Ideas in Science for this semester and possibly adding Genetics for next semester. She has a M.S. in Medical Science from the University of South Florida and B.S. in Biological Sciences from the University of Notre Dame.

“I am originally from Ocala, Florida. I grew up with four older brothers on a peanut and cattle farm. My parents were public school teachers in central Florida for over 30 years. In Florida, I started teaching in secondary education in 2010 and started in post-secondary education in 2013,” notes Van Voorhis. “I moved back to the area for my husband to matriculate in medical school at Indiana University School of Medicine – South Bend. We have three young children. I love the area and I love being back in my old stomping grounds from my undergrad years. It has been a pleasure to teach the students from Holy Cross.”

Marisa (Villano) Simon will be leading the admissions team as the Director of Admissions, as well as collaborating with campus partners, in recruiting students to Holy Cross College. She has a Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, with a concentration in Life Sciences, and Korean minor from the University of Notre Dame.

“Over the last decade, I have come to call South Bend home, and I’m excited to work more closely with the local community. More specifically, the people I’ve met here and their affinity for Holy Cross College have inspired and excited me to serve the College and its mission,” said Simon. “I’m looking forward to shaping the future classes of scholars, citizens, leaders, and disciples. With my background in mathematics, I hope to use technology and data models to inform our decisions while maintaining the personal approach to recruiting the best-fit students.”