Centenary welcomes new faculty and staff members for 22-23 academic year

SHREVEPORT, LA —  The opening of Centenary College’s 2022-2023 academic year brought the largest entering class since 2011 as well as a strong cohort of new faculty and staff who have joined the College since the end of the previous academic year. Pictured at right are: Bottom row, l to r: Ashley Dehart, Xiaoxia Zhang, Christine Martin; Second row: Lalita Rogers, Dewan Russel Rahman; Third row: George Tiller, Kat Williamson, Lisa Johnson; Fourth row: Kyra Reitveld, Patrick Morgan (Director of Library Reference & Instruction), Rachel Johnson, Matthew Blasi. Not pictured: Michael Futreal, Saad Mohamed, Todd Rinder, Madelyn Stewart.



Matthew Blasi, Assistant Professor of English
Blasi earned a Ph.D. in English from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge. He specializes in Southern fiction and regional narratives, Gender Studies, Critical Theory, and the grotesque mode in literature, with an emphasis on 20th and 21st century American literature. Blasi has published works of fiction in The Mangrove Literary Review, Four Quarters Magazine, and Drunken Boat, among others.

Michael Futreal, Visiting Assistant Professor of Sociology
Futreal holds a master of science in applied sociology from North Carolina State University and previously taught courses in communication, information technology, sociology, and statistics at Centenary. He is also a freelance web systems administrator and developer and the director, composer, instrumentalist, and instrument builder for Twang Darkly, an improvisational music ensemble based in Shreveport.

Lisa Johnson, Visiting Assistant Professor of Accounting
Johnson is a Certified Public Accountant with over 30 years of accounting experience in both the public and private sector. She has worked with KPMG, LLP as an audit manager; with the Biomedical Research Foundation of North Louisiana as controller; and as a senior audit manager at Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC. Johnson graduated from Centenary with a bachelor of science in accounting and business and returned to the College’s Frost School of Business for her graduate work, earning an MBA.

Christine Martin, Visiting Assistant Professor of English
Martin comes to Centenary from Oklahoma State University where she completed a Ph.D. in English with an emphasis on creative writing, specifically poetry. Her creative and academic work centers in the poetics of the body, including explorations of disability and mental and physical illness. She has published original poems in journals such as Harpur Palate, Carve Magazine, Cherry Tree, and The Southern Review.

Saad Mohamed, Assistant Professor of Geology
Mohamed earned a Ph.D. in earth sciences from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Canada. He has taught courses in physical and historical geology, paleontology, and mining geology, among others, at universities in the United States, Canada, and Egypt.

Dewan Russel Rahman, Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Rahman holds a Ph.D. in chemistry from Oklahoma State University. At Oklahoma State, he taught multiple levels of general chemistry labs for science and engineering students, an undergraduate organic synthesis laboratory, and a general chemistry laboratory for non-science students.

Kyra Rietveld, Visiting Assistant Professor of Art
Rietveld joins Centenary from the University of Florida, where she earned a Ph.D. in art history with a focus on Greek and Roman art. During her doctoral work at the University of Florida, Rietveld was an instructor and teaching assistant for courses in art history and interdisciplinary humanities as well as a course on revolution and reconciliation in America and South Africa that utilized two historically immersive scenarios from the Reacting to the Past pedagogy.

George Tiller, Visiting Assistant Professor of Biology
Tiller is a 2009 graduate of Centenary who followed up his bachelor of science in biology with a Ph.D. in microbiology and molecular genetics from the University of Texas Health Science Center and MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston, Texas. He also holds a postdoctoral professional masters in bioscience management and has experience in both academia and industry.

Xiaoxia Zhang, Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
Zhang earned a Ph.D. in kinesiology from the University of Texas at Arlington and completed two years of postdoctoral research at East Carolina University. Her research interests include the examination of health disparities in movement behaviors, behavioral and social determinants of physical activity and mental health outcomes, and technology-based behavior and health intervention. In addition to her academic work in kinesiology, Zhang has served as an aerobic and jazz dance coach and an online fitness training instructor.



Ashley Dehart is moving into a new position as Coordinator for Academic Support and Disability Services after serving as Student Support Coordinator and Administrative Coordinator since April 2019. Dehart graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a bachelor of arts in history and a minor in French.

Rachel Johnson joins Centenary as the director of the new Center for Teaching & Learning. Johnson earned an Ed.D. in higher education from the University of Mississippi and was director of the University’s Writing Center from 2014 to 2022. Johnson is a 2008 graduate of Centenary with a bachelor of arts in history and a minor in gender studies. She also earned a master of arts degree in English with a concentration in cultural studies from George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.

Todd Rinder, the new assistant athletic director for sports medicine, is a graduate of Oregon State University with a Ph.D. in health and human performance with a specialization in sports medicine. He also received an M.A. in physical education with an emphasis in athletic training and biomechanics from San Diego State University and has a B.A. in exercise science from Fresno State University. 

Lalita Rogers is the new Registrar of the College. She holds a Ph.D. in urban higher education from Jackson State University in Jackson, Mississippi, a master of science in psychology from Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, Arizona, and a master of education in educational administration from the University of New Orleans. Rogers has previously served as registrar at Southern University at Shreveport and Wiley College in Marshall, Texas.

Madelyn Stewart, a 2022 Centenary graduate, is remaining at her alma mater as administrative assistant to the Dean of the Hurley School of Music. Stewart earned a bachelor of arts in music with a minor in communication and was a member of the Centenary College Choir and Camerata during her time as an undergraduate.

Katherine Williamson has joined Centenary as technical services and interlibrary loan librarian. She earned a masters of library and information science from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, and has worked as a reference librarian, library technician, and aide in libraries in Bossier City and Minot, North Dakota.


Notice of Nondiscriminatory Policy The institution does not discriminate in its educational and employment policies against any person on the basis of gender, race, color, religion, age, disability, sexual orientation, national or ethnic origin, or on any other basis proscribed by federal, state, or local law.