Find an Expert

Dynamic and experienced Whittier College faculty members are available for media interviews to serve as sources for a wide range of news topics from Common Core to public health issues and numerous topics in between. Whittier College professors are listed below alphabetically by topic as well as their faculty bios.

To request an interview, please contact Ana Lilia Barraza at or 562.907.4912.

Experts by Topic


Ann M. Kakaliouras 
Native American Studies, Bioarcheology, Biological Anthropology


Sylvia Vetrone
Immunology, Disease Pathology, Aging, Neuromuscular Disorders

David Mbora
Behavioral Ecology, Conservation Biology, Effects of Habitat Change


Ivannia Soto
English Language Learners, Common Core, Language Acquisition, Secondary Literacy, Urban Education
Fluent in Spanish

Judith Wagner
K-12 Education, Children's Ethnic Identity, Effects of Catastrophes on Children, Early Childhood


Roger White
International Trade, Migration, Applied Econometrics, Economic Integration, Labor


Jonathan Burton


Natale Zappia
Continental Trading Networks, Food Pathways, and Ecologies that Transformed North America, Public History and Community Outreach, Urban gardening


Mark Kozek
Mathematics in Sports, Mathematics in Literature and Cinema, Mathematics of Sudoku, Coverings of Integers, Fibonacci/Lucas Numbers, Sierpinski/Riesel Numbers

Modern Languages

Marie-Magdeleine Chirol
Film Studies (French and African Cinema), Motif of Ruins, 19th to 21st Century French Literature
Fluent in French


Danilo Lozano
Music Business, Latin Jazz, Afro-Cuban Music, Charanga Music
Fluent in Spanish

Political Science

Deborah Norden
Latin American Government, Venezuela, Argentina, Military


Charles Hill
Interpersonal Relationships, Diverse Identities, Social Psychology, Couples, Dating

Public Health

Julie Collins-Drogul
Public Health, Political Sociology, Sociology of Health and Medicine, U.S. and Mexico Health Issues

Religious Studies

Joseph L. Price
Sports and Religion, Baseball, Institute for Baseball Studies, Theology, Ritual Studies


Gil Gonzalez
Acting, Directing, First Year College Experience   

Faculty Bios

Jonathan Burton - English

Jonathan Burton, Whittier CollegeJonathan Burton has taught English at every level from 6th grade to the Ph.D., in New York, Maryland, West Virginia, California and Pakistan.  At Whittier College he teaches a range of courses including Shakespeare, Contemporary Drama, “Rhetoric for Liars,” and The History of Literary Criticism. He has published numerous articles on topics in Shakespeare and early modern studies, including pieces on racial difference, religious conversion and Shakespeare in nineteenth-century schoolbooks. His most recent publication is a chapter on western encounters with non-European bodies for the Routledge History of Sex and the Body, 1500 to the Present. 

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Marie-Magdeleine Chirol

Professor of French Chirol is the Hazel Cooper-Jordan Chair in Arts and Humanities and has taught classes ranging from elementary language to stylistics, from business French to cinema, and from introductory literature to literary seminars. Her primary research interests are the study of the artistic and literary motif of ruins in 19th-21st-century literature as well as African cinema. Secondarily, Chirol is also interested in foreign language teaching methodology and computer-assisted instruction. Every fall, during National French Week, she brings a play or other live performance in French to Whittier College (these include performances of Beckett'sLa dernière bande, Sartre's Huis Clos, Ionesco's La Leçon.

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Julie Collins-Dogrul - Sociology/Public Health

Associate Professor of Sociology Julie Collins-Dogrul is an internationally oriented scholar with expertise in political sociology, sociology of health and medicine, transnational social problems, Latino health disparities, US-Mexico Border issues, and inter-organizational cooperation. Her dissertation, "Managing Transnational Problems for the National Good: U.S.-Mexico 'Border Health,' 1942-2002," focuses on transnational cooperation on public health issues at the U.S.-Mexico Border. She is a member of the U.S.-Mexico Border Health Association and Association for Borderlands Studies.  

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Gustavo Geirola - Modern Languages/Spanish

Gustavo Geirola's expertise lies in various aspects of Latin American lifestyle and culture, with a special emphasis on theater. He has participated in numerous dramatic productions, as both actor and director; is widely published in both academic and non-academic journals, with topics ranging from trends in Latin American theater and performance to gay and lesbian identities in Latin American communities. He recently presented a series of workshops in Latin America on the topic of "Theatre, Pedagogy, and Psychoanalysis." Education: B.A., Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Ph.D., Arizona State University.


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Gil Gonzalez - Theatre

An award-winning actor and director, Gil Gonzales has trained under some of the country's most respected theatre artists including: Betsy tucker, Sabin Epstein, Richard Warner, Bob chapel, commedia dell'arte with Bob Berky, voice with Andrew Wade of the Royal Shakespeare Company and Richard Armstrong of the Roy Hart Theatre. Gonzales continues to direct ad act professionally and has many credits for the state, film, television, as well as in commercials. A founding member and co-artistic director for the remnant Theatre company, Gonzalez is also the Circuit Three Coordinator/Regional governing board member for Region VIII of the Kennedy Center/American College Theatre Festival. Additionally, he is a member of the Actors Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild, Association for Theatre in Higher Education, and an associate member of the State Directors and Choreographers Society. 

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Ann M. Kakaliouras - Anthropology

Ann M. Kakaliouras, Whittier College FacultyAssistant Professor of Anthropology at Whittier College, Ann M. Kakaliouras teaches courses in biological anthropology, archaeology, Native American studies, gender studies, and theory in anthropology. Although she is trained as a human osteologist, bioarchaeologist, and biodistance researcher with specializations in the American Southeast and Midwest, since obtaining her doctorate Kakaliouras has also been engaged in retooling her expertise toward the historical and ethnographic study of the phenomenon of repatriation and the history of relationships between Native American people and physical/biological anthropologists. Kakaliouras received a Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Mid-Career Fellowship entitled "Thinking the Humanities in the 21st Century" and will spend the 2015-2016 academic year at the Whitney Humanities Center at Yale University. 

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Mark Kozek - Mathematics

Mark Kozek, Whittier College FacultyAssistant Professor of Mathematics Mark Kozek's interests lie in the intersection of mathematics and sports as well as literature and cinema. In addition, his academic interests include Number Theory, Coverings of the integers, Goldbach’s conjecture for monic polynomial, Composites that remain composite after changing a digit, Powers associated with Sierpiñski numbers, Riesel numbers and de Polignac's conjecture, Fibonacci-Sierpiñski numbers and Fibonacci-Riesel numbers, Erdös’ minimum modulus problem, and the mathematics of sudoku/shidoku. Kozek's analysis of former University of Oregon coach Chip Kelly's play-calling system/placard code has been featured on and USA Today. During the 2010 FIFA World Cup, he was a special correspondent and contributor to's "2010 World Cup Perspectives" and  contributes to blog and podcasts about the US Men's National soccer team. He attended Germany, South Africa, and Brazil's FIFA World Cups.  

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Danilo Lozano  - Music 

daniloDanilo Lozano is a two-time Grammy Award-winning flautist, music professor, and Richard and Billie Deihl Distinguished Chair. A founding member of the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra, Lozano is best known for his work with Latin jazz and charanga music. He has performed with some of the greatest artists in the genre, including Celia Cruz, Poncho Sanchez, Latin Side All Stars, Israel Lopez "Cachao," and was a featured artist on the soundtrack for Andy Garcia's film The Lost City. Lozano continues to perform regularly in both Los Angeles and across the country. Last summer, he was a featured artist for the Pasadena Orchestra's Clásica - las raíces de la música concert series and the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho. Moreover, he recently organized a new series at Whittier that brings to campus well-known artists for an intimate performance and conversation. Education: B.A. University of Southern California; M.A. University of California, Los Angeles. 

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David Mbora- Biology/Environmental Science

Dr. David Mbora is an ecologist, and conservation biologist, interested in understanding how the preeminent threats to biodiversity, habitat loss and fragmentation, affect animals. He investigates questions on the effects of habitat change on population genetics, parasites and diseases, behavioral ecology, and population abundance and distribution. Taken together, the results of his work indicate that some animals are more vulnerable to extinction in fragmented landscapes. Therefore, identifying such vulnerable species, and the characteristics that make them vulnerable, is vital for conservation and promotes ecological and evolutionary theory. 

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Deborah Norden - Political Science

nordenDeborah Norden's research focuses on Latin American politics, especially civil-military relations and democratization in Argentina and Venezuela, as well as irregular transfers of power and international democracy promotion. Norden's publications include Military Rebellion in Argentina: Between Coups and Consolidation and Argentina and the United States: Changing Relations in a Changing World, as well as several journal articles and book chapters on similar topics. Education: BA, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; MA/PhD, University of California, Berkeley. 

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Charles Hill - Psychology

hillPsychology professor and relationship expert, Chuck Hill, has been studying interpersonal relationships for more than 36 years. He has co-authored a number of articles based on the Boston Couples Study — a 25-year examination of more than 200 couples. He is currently conducting an online cross-cultural study of intimate relationships in collaboration with colleagues around the world. He has also conducted research on ethnic and other identities among two thousand college students over a period of 13 years. 

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Joseph L. Price - Religious Studies

Joseph L. Price is the Genevieve Shaul Connick Professor of Religious Studies.  With a doctorate in theology and culture, he has taught more than thirty different courses, ranging from “The Life and Teaching of Jesus” to “Latin American Liberation Theologies” and from “Cinema and Religion” to “Sport, Play, and Ritual.” Author and co-editor of several theological works, including Tillich and A New Handbook of Christian Theology, he has also published numerous essays and books on sports and religion, including From Season to Season: Sports as American Religion and Rounding the Bases: Baseball and Religion in America.   Combining his interests in sports, ritual studies, and music, he has sung the national anthem for more than 125 professional baseball games in 20 Major League ballparks (including Candlestick Park, Dodger Stadium, Angel Stadium, and Comiskey Park) and 100 minor league stadiums in 42 states.[7] His personal quest, which began in 1977, is to perform in every major ballpark in the country. Price is the Co-Director of Whittier College's Institute for Baseball Studies.

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Ivannia Soto - Education

Ivannia Soto, Whittier College FacultyAssociate Professor of Education Ivannia Soto specializes in language acquisition, systemic reform for English language learners (ELLs), secondary literacy and urban education. She has presented on literacy and language topics at various conferences, including the National Association for Bilingual Education (NABE) and the American Educational Research Association (AERA). Soto is the co-author of The Literacy Gaps: Building Bridges for ELLs and SELs, as well as ELL Shadowing as a Catalyst for Change and From Spoken to Written Language with ELLs, all published by Corwin Press. Together, the books tell a story of how to systemically close achievement gaps with ELLs by increasing their oral language production in academic areas.  Soto was awarded in 2014 a grant in the amount of $120,000 from the California Community Foundation to launch the Institute for Culturally and Linguistically Responsive Teaching (ICLRT) where she serves as executive director. ICLRT is dedicated dedicated to promote relevant research and develop academic resources for ELLs and Standard English Learners (SELs) via linguistically and culturally responsive teaching practices. 

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Sylvia Vetrone - Biology 

Sylvia Vetrone, Whittier College FacultySylvia Lopez Vetrone's area of expertise is immunology. In 2014, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) awarded Vetrone a $119,000 grant to conduct research on innovative ways to detect biological or chemical agents in food. Vetrone is one of 13 researchers nationwide to receive such funding. Her research area also involves looking at ways to manipulate the immune response in Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy — an incurable debilitating and fatal disease. This is an X-linked genetic disorder that affects approximately 1:3500 live male births. Although the primary cause of the disease is the lack of the dystrophin protein, which results in muscle wasting and eventual cardiac or respiratory failure, one of the secondary features of the disease is a strong immune response. Her research involves exploring various anti-inflammatory agents or naturally occurring immune modulators that can be used or targeted to hopefully reduce or slow down this disease progression. Lopez teaches both immunology and cellular and molecular biology at Whittier.  

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Judith Wagner - Education

Judith Wagner, Whittier College FacultyDr. Judith Wagner is a popular lecturer in the United States and Europe, who presents frequently at the United Nations. She specializes in improving education and family life through greater understanding of child development and she focuses on learning and social development in the early childhood and elementary school years. Wagner holds credentials in preschool, elementary and secondary education, and has taught at all levels, from preschool to university. She is the Director of the Broadoaks Children's School at Whittier College, one of the nation's oldest and most respected demonstration schools. She's also involved with OMEP, the World Organization for Childhood Education, and is the advisor to OMEP-Whittier College, the first collegiate chapter founded in 1996.  

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Roger White - Economics

Roger White, Whittier College FacultyProfessor of Economics and Douglas W. Ferguson Chair in Economics and Business Administration Roger White, focuses his research largely on international trade, migration, and labor. Much of his work examines the influences that immigrants exert on trade between their home and host countries and the effects of international trade on the domestic labor market.  White is the author of three books: Making Sense of Anti-trade Sentiment: International Trade and the American Worker (2014); International Migration and Economic Integration: Understanding the Immigrant-Trade Line (2011); and Migration and International Trade: The US Experience since 1945 (2010).  He has also published more than 30 research articles and book chapters. 

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Natale Zappia - History

Natale Zappia, Whittier College FacultyAssociate Professor Natale Zappia specializes in colonial/early national North America with an emphasis on the early modern borderlands of the Atlantic World, Pacific Rim, and Native America. His research and teaching explores the intersection of continental trading networks, food pathways, and ecological transformations in colonial North America. Zappia is also working on several public history and community-based outreach projects related to California, food systems, and the American West, including efforts to promote the revitalization of the Los Angeles River.

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