MCCC will welcome three new professors to its full-time faculty this fall semester, in the subjects of history, biology and psychology.
Edmund Laclair, a professor of history, has taught as an adjunct professor at MCCC on and off for two years and is now hoping to add courses to the history program.
Dr. Maris Fonseca, a professor of biology, has taught at University of Michigan – Dearborn as an adjunct and now plans to bring career opportunities and her knowledge of germs to MCCC students.
Dr. Melissa Grey, a professor of psychology, taught adjunct at University of Michigan – Flint and is now hoping to boost interest in psychology at MCCC with the possible addition of a club.
All three professors will begin teaching in the Fall semester.
Professor of History
Along with Edmund Laclair’s arrival to the faculty comes the hope of new history classes available at MCCC. Laclair hopes to add several courses, as well as a new approach to teaching.
“We suffer a lack of a women’s study in history. There are no courses on women’s history,” he said, now planning on incorporating such a class.
He’s also interested in a history course for the non-historian, covering 1945 to present and helping students understand the origins of current world events.
He wants to get students out of the classroom and into the community, and bring to the college a sort of deep learning approach in history.
Laclair also wishes to mimic a project conducted by the previous MCCC history professor Jim Devries, which would allow students’ work to be published in a national archive.
Laclair earned his Bachelor of Science and Master of Art at Central Michigan University. He is now in the dissertation-writing stage at Wayne State University for a Ph.D with certification in archival administration, allowing him to run a historical archive.
Laclair taught as an MCCC adjunct professor during the summer semesters for the last two years and every semester since January 2010. He served as a graduate assistant at Central Michigan University in 2004 and 2005.
The things he said he enjoys most about receiving this full-time position is the stability of a job in the rough academia field and knowing he can now begin making a contribution to the MCCC history program.
Laclair said he chose history because he wanted to understand people and because he was told there was no money in philosophy, archaeology or paleontology.
“My goal is to really understand people. What is it people are here for in sort of an existential manner?” he asked rhetorically.
Professor of Psychology
Besides knowledge and a love for psychology, Dr. Melissa Grey may also bring a psychology club to MCCC.
When Grey discovered how many students were taking psychology courses she got the idea of a “psychology interest group,” she said.
“What I would like to do is form some sort of either peer group or faculty-led group to help students formally organize and get to know what the options are in psychology and how they might start working towards that success early on,” she said.
Grey said she may offer support to another club on campus as well – the Gay-Straight Alliance Club.
Grey currently co-chairs the Public Policy Committee Division 44, which is a part of the American Psychological Association that studies lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) issues.
For her dissertation she interviewed LGBT people and analyzed the stigmas and prejudice they face.
“There’s a kind of pressure to conform to the norm,” Grey said. “I’m not sure what kind of faculty support [GSA Club] might like but I’m definitely interested in that.”
Grey earned a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Community Psychology at University of Michigan – Flint, and a Masters and Ph.D in Clinical Psychology at Eastern Michigan University.
She currently works as a Clinical Health Psychology Fellow at Genesys Regional Medical Center. She has taught adjunct at University of Michigan – Flint for one year.
She has held various positions at Eastern Michigan University and interned at Michigan State University’s Counseling Center.
Through her various positions, Grey said she always knew that she wanted to teach, especially at MCCC.
“I’m glad to be at a place where teaching is really valuable to your fellow faculty and to students,” she said. “They’re very supportive of student learning and student success, and that would be a great place for me to be.”
Grey said she chose psychology because she was interested in what most are interested in: helping people and making a better world.
“I really liked the method that psychology uses to do that,” she said. “I like that psychology uses a scientific method for our social and personal problems.
Professor of Biology
Dr. Maris Fonseca once changed her major as an undergraduate from medicine to biology because of a biology professor. She’s now excited to be the one offering career options and opportunities to the students of MCCC.
“I’m truly excited about joining MCCC and meeting the students and contributing not only to their learning but to help them in their career path,” said Fonseca, an expert in bacteriology.
She said she would like to develop new activities for students and get them working in the community as well as spice up the biology classes.
“I’m very interested in bringing new aspects to the biology courses and including some aspects of biotechnology or industrial microbiology perhaps in a new course sometime in the future,” she said.
Fonseca doesn’t plan to teach in the MCCC class rooms alone. She said she would like to teach a Lifelong Learning class about germs and their prevention, available to anyone without enrolling at MCCC.
Fonseca earned a Ph.D in bacteriology from the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Her undergraduate studies were conducted at the University of Puerto Rico at Humacao, where she studied abroad/which is near where she was raised.
After earning her Ph.D, Fonseca began a postdoctoral research project regarding the bacteria that causes Legionaire’s disease. She later worked as a process development scientist at Amgen.
She has taught microbiology at the University of Michigan as an adjunct professor.
Fonseca said she thinks biology is useful knowledge for students in many majors of study, not just science.
“The learning of biology can enrich their knowledge for whatever it is they’re going to do with their careers,” she said.
She said she chose biology, more specifically bacteriology, because of its ability to aid and understand human health.
Fonseca originally planned to major in medicine, but was invited as an undergraduate by one of her biology professors to assist with a research project. She discovered she enjoyed the experiments and research, and changing her major to microbiology, later honing her Ph.D to bacteriology.
“I’ve always been interested in things that would improve human health and bacteriology is just a different perspective,” she said.