Faculty who support your success
In the School of Human Sciences, you’ll learn from faculty members who combine academic expertise with practical, professional experience. Their insight into the opportunities and challenges of the real world of work will transform your educational experience, keeping you engaged and helping prepare you to meet your career goals.
Each faculty member works diligently to provide you with hands-on experiences outside of the classroom, the campus and even the country. You’ll participate in research projects they’re passionate about, volunteer alongside them in community outreach programs and have their support throughout your SFA journey.
Faculty and staff
Chef Todd Barrios has extensive experience in restaurant management and culinary arts, having worked more than 20 years for well-known restaurants in New Orleans and Baton Rouge. He has won numerous awards for his cuisine and is certified as an executive chef by the American Culinary Federation. In addition, Barrios is ServSafe certified in food safety and serves as a Certified ServSafe Instructor and Registered ServSafe Examination Proctor.
Barrios’ areas of expertise include food service facility design and layout, flavor profile development and menu development and design.
He earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Arts from Northwestern State University.
Leisha M. Bridwell
Leisha M. Bridwell serves as the Interior Merchandising program coordinator. She is a registered interior designer licensed by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners with credentials from the Interior Design Educators Council and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. She has more than 25 years of experience in residential and light commercial design. At SFA, she specializes in interior design, interior merchandising and housing. She received the University Teaching Excellence Award for the College of Education in 2017.
Bridwell earned her Bachelor of Science in interior design from SFA and her Master of Fine Arts from Louisiana Tech University.
Dr. Gina Fe Causin
Dr. Gina Fe Causin has more than 20 years of experience in meeting, event and lodging operation and hospitality education. She is widely published in professional journals focusing on hospitality and tourism management, legal and safety issues related to hospitality and family and consumer sciences.
Causin’s research interests include accessibility for individuals with visual impairment, sustainability of cultural festivals using the triple bottom line approach, expatriation, culture and socialization, green meetings, events and lodging.
Causin earned her Bachelor of Science in hotel and restaurant management from Mindanao State University. She received her Master of Science in hospitality administration and her PhD in human environmental sciences from Oklahoma State University.
Lynsey Cortines received her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from SFA. She currently teaches undergraduate and graduate web-enhanced courses in the Human Development and Family Studies program. Prior to becoming a clinical instructor, Cortines worked on campus as an academic advisor and served as adjunct faculty in the School of Human Sciences.
Jamie R. Cupit
Jamie Cupit teaches undergraduate and web-enhanced courses that focus on textiles, entrepreneurship, promotion and retail buying.
Cupit has years of practical retail experience in the luxury fashion and high-end home furnishings and appliances segments. She earned her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science from SFA. She also earned a graduate certificate in merchandising through Great Plains Interactive Distance Education Alliance.
Sarah Drake is a registered dietitian and director of the undergraduate dietetic program. She has worked in a variety of clinical settings as well as in food service management and wellness. Her interest areas include women’s health, nutrition counseling and feeding infants and children. She weaves integrative and functional nutrition concepts into her courses.
Drake received her Bachelor of Science in dietetics with a specialization in health promotion from Michigan State University, completed her dietetic internship at Loyola University Chicago and received her Master of Science in human sciences from SFA.
Dr. Flόra Faragό
Dr. Flόra Faragό’s teaching and research interests center around gender and ethnic-racial socialization in children, prejudice and stereotype development and anti-bias and anti-racist education. She is particularly interested in the link between research and community activism.
Faragό collaborates with colleagues and organizations nationally and internationally, including the Indigo Cultural Center, Local to Global Justice, the Jirani Project, and the Girl Child Network. She earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science from the University of Texas at Dallas and holds a PhD from Arizona State University.
To learn more about Dr. Faragó's work, visit www.florafarago.com.
Dr. Donna Fickes
Fickes completed her Master of Science in restaurant, hotel and institutional management from Texas Tech University, then worked in the field for a decade. During that time, she created and operated an educational enhancement program in a rural school for a national nonprofit agency. She holds a PhD from Texas Tech University.
Dr. Rachel Jumper
Dr. Rachel Jumper has worked with children and families in both early childhood and nonprofit settings. Her research interests focus on family communication in health contexts and on how children communicate with their parents, peers and teachers about bullying experiences in school.
Jumper is the program coordinator for human development and family studies and family and consumer sciences. She is also the HMS graduate program coordinator. She holds a PhD from Texas A&M University, a Master of Science from Auburn University and a Bachelor of Arts from Texas A&M University.
Dr. Hyunsook Kang
Dr. Hyunsook Kang’s research and teaching interests are family well-being, demographics, health and aging. She holds a PhD from Texas Tech University, a Master of Science from Sungshin Women’s University and an Associate of Science and Bachelor of Arts from Ewha Womans University.
Dr. Lisa Mize
Dr. Lisa Mize teaches both undergraduate and graduate courses in human development and family studies. Her area of specialization is early childhood through grade 12, in both public and private schools. Her research interests focus on parent-child communication and social interactions of young children with their peers.
Mize completed her Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at SFA and holds a PhD from Texas Woman’s University.
Dr. Jennifer Newquist
Dr. Jennifer Newquist has an extensive background working with children, couples, families and individuals in school- and community-based settings, including school districts, community mental health agencies and foster placing agencies. Her areas of specialization include foster families, boundary ambiguity and family stress.
Newquist teaches undergraduate classes and is currently an advisor for Jacks Council on Family Relations. She earned her Bachelor of Arts from Texas Tech University and her Master of Science and PhD from Texas Woman’s University. She holds credentials as a licensed professional counselor and licensed chemical dependency counselor.
Dr. Darla O’Dwyer
Dr. Darla O’Dwyer is a registered dietitian and holds a PhD in food and nutrition. She has been a faculty member at SFA since 2003 and is currently serving as the dietetic internship director and coordinator for the food, nutrition and dietetics program.
O’Dwyer has a passion for integrative/functional nutrition; she trained with the Kalish Institute for Functional Medicine to learn a more holistic approach to healing. Her research interests are gastrointestinal nutrition, dietary supplements and fermented foods. She helps others with digestive disorders through her online practice and uses this experience to teach her students clinical application and the business of nutrition consulting.
Dr. Mary Olle
Dr. Mary Olle has 14 years of public school teaching experience in family and consumer science. Prior to her teaching career, she worked in the hospitality field in various capacities, including food and beverage management for Hyatt, Ramada, The Houstonian and country clubs.
Olle is an active member of the International Council on Hotel, Restaurant and Institutional Education and the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences, where she served as a national officer. She has presented at state and national conferences on topics related to hospitality and online education.
Olle earned her Bachelor of Science, teaching certification and Master of Science from SFA. She holds a PhD in family and consumer sciences education from Texas Tech University.
Justin Pelham has worked extensively in clinical dietetics with a focus on community nutrition outreach. In the hospital setting, he collaborated with the interdisciplinary team as well as counseling patients and/or families in various units such as the ICU, medical-surgical unit, women’s center and oncology center. When working full time as the dietitian of Nacogdoches Medical Center, he developed a medical nutrition therapy outpatient program to better meet health care needs for the local community. He continues to practice in the clinical and community nutrition settings.
Pelham completed his Bachelor of Science and Master of Science at SFA. He also participated in the highly competitive SFA dietetic internship.
Jill Pruett considers herself an unconventional dietitian with interests and experience in education, business, health care, community and food service areas. She has had an extensive career working as a registered dietitian nutritionist in the food industry, including test kitchen management positions at the Quaker Oats and Ralston Purina companies. She also worked in public relations and sales and as a clinical dietitian before coming to SFA.
As a clinical instructor, Pruett has instituted creative experiential learning initiatives to engage students and promote the retention of key core concepts. Her mission is to increase an interest in the taste and health of vegetables in all diets. She holds a Master of Science from SFA and a Bachelor of Science from Southern Illinois University.
Dr. Chay Runnels
Dr. Chay Runnels specializes in travel and tourism, destination marketing and customer service. She served as the program coordinator for hospitality and co-coordinator for the graduate program until summer 2020, when she was named interim director of the School of Human Sciences.
Before beginning her career at SFA, she served for five years as the Texas Forest Trail regional coordinator. During that time, the organization received the President’s Preserve America Award for heritage tourism.
Runnels is a board member of the Texas Travel Alliance and works with tourism organizations around the state, assisting in customer service training. She has presented on heritage tourism and historic preservation at state and national conferences.
Runnels earned her Bachelor of Arts and Master of Science from the University of Texas at Austin. She holds a PhD in resource interpretation from the SFA Arthur Temple College of Forestry and Agriculture. Runnels is a certified Texas Friendly Program Trainer through the Texas AgriLife Extension.
Sally Ann Swearingen
Sally Ann Swearingen is certified as a Registered Interior Designer by the Texas Board of Architectural Examiners. She teaches undergraduate and graduate interior design courses, including the capstone interior design courses. In addition to interior design, her areas of specialization include interior merchandising, construction management, facilities management and commercial design.
Swearingen has more than 25 years of combined teaching and practical experience. She was instrumental in establishing the SFA Design Center, which houses furniture selections for university projects. Swearingen is certified by the Interior Design Educators Council and served as the organization’s regional chair. She is also certified by the American Society of Interior Designers, the Commercial Interior Design Association and the National Council for Interior Design Qualification.
Dr. Nathaniel B. Walker
Dr. Nathaniel Walker has 28 years of professional experience as a licensed architect and interior designer coupled with 26 years of teaching experience in post-secondary education. His research focus is on traditional/nontraditional students, data-based decision-making and academic advising. He is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards and is currently licensed to practice architecture in the states of Nevada, Michigan, South Carolina, North Carolina and Texas. He is also currently licensed to practice interior design in the state of Texas.
Walker assisted with the development of SFA’s new construction management program. He holds an EdD in educational leadership and management from Capella University, a Master of Science in architecture from California Polytechnic State University and a Bachelor of Architecture in architecture from Tuskegee University.
Carrie Durrett joined the School of Human Sciences in 2019, after six years as the James I. Perkins College of Education clinical experience coordinator. Durrett earned her Bachelor of Science in human sciences from SFA.
Deanna McCollum joined the School of Human Sciences in 2019 after a career in law enforcement spanning 20 years. She is pursuing a Bachelor of Science in human sciences from SFA.