About Faces

Introductions of new, tenure-track faculty members at Boston College

Scott Miller

Asst. Prof. Scott Miller (Chemistry) spent the past two years as a postdoctoral fellow at the California Institute of Technology.

He earned bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Harvard University and won postdoctoral and predoctoral fellowships from the National Science Foundation.

Miller's research, which has implications for pharmaceuticals, focuses on the design of new synthetic catalysts that rival natural enzymes. These new molecules are designed in the hope they will work better than biological catalysts.

He has co-authored 11 articles and has a patent pending.

Miller is teaching Physical Organic Chemistry this semester, a graduate-level course.

Jacqueline Lerner

Lerner, who studies typical development in children from pre-school through adolescence, joins the School of Education as a full professor after four years at Michigan State University, where she was a professor of psychology and chairwoman of the development psychology program.

From 1980-88, she was an assistant professor, then associate professor, of human development at Pennsylvania State University. She spent 1980-81 as a research psychologist at Boys Town Center in Stanford, Calif., and spent the previous two years as an instructor in the human development and continuing education departments at Penn State.

She is the author or co-author of four books, has another in press and a sixth in preparation. She has co-written nearly 40 articles and numerous book chapters, and has served as a reviewer for six journals.

Lerner's research focuses on the factors that contribute to healthy development in children, including the child's temperament and family influence. She also researches transition as children enter middle school and high school, and studies self-esteem among children in welfare families.

Lerner has a doctorate in educational psychology from Penn State, a master's degree in general psychology from Eastern Michigan University and a bachelor's degree in psychology from St. John's University.

Lerner is teaching Child Growth and Development, and Applied Developmental Psychology: Emphasis on Child.

Kevin Kersten, SJ

Fr. Kersten joins the Communication Department as a full professor after serving in a similar capacity at Sogang University in South Korea since 1987. He directed the university's communication center and the Society of Jesus' Centre for the Study of Communication and Culture.

He served as publisher of the CSCC's quarterly journal Communication Research Trends and managing editor of its book series from 1990-94. He also has produced and directed videos on religious values, issues of social justice and special education.

Fr. Kersten is involved in three research projects. One involves establishing a Jesuit Community contribution to Agora cablecasting; another is the development of an "electronic roundtable" combining a Web site with interactive usenets, telephone conferences and other kinds of exchange to facilitate dialogue among educators, theologians, those working for social justice and communication specialists. Fr. Kersten also is working on a book about mass communications ethics.

He holds a bachelor's degree, licentiate in philosophy and master's degree in English from St. Louis University. He also has a master's degree in sacred theology from the Jesuit School of Theology at Berkeley; a master's in television production and aesthetics from San Francisco State University; and a doctorate in international communication from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

He is teaching Survey of Mass Communication, International and Intercultural Communication and Mass Communication Ethics.

Sharon Beckman

Beckman joins the Law faculty as an assistant professor after spending last year as a visiting professor.

Her current research focuses on criminal law, specifically two federal mail and wire fraud statutes that operate as common law.

She earned a bachelor's degree at Harvard University in 1980 and a juris doctor at the University of Michigan Law School in 1986. She clerked for United States Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor in 1987-88.

Prior to beginning her academic career last year, Beckman was an associate at the Boston law firm of Silvergate & Good and at the Chicago firm Jenner & Block.

A former professional swimmer, Beckman was ranked first in the US and third in the world in marathon swimming in 1983 and crossed the English Channel in 1982.

Beckman is on leave this semester, but will return in the spring to teach Substantive Criminal Law and Introduction to Lawyering and Professional Responsibility.

Daniel Kirschner

Kirschner comes to the Biology Department as an associate professor after 19 years at Harvard Medical School. He arrived there as neuropathology lecturer in 1977, became an assistant professor in 1979, an associate professor in 1984, and an associate professor of neurology in 1989. Last year, he also was senior staff scientist at the University of Massachusetts, Lowell.

Kirschner's research focuses on neurodegenerative diseases, such as Alzheimer's Disease, and on demyelinating diseases, such as multiple sclerosis. He examines molecular organization in both areas using X-ray defraction, electron microscopy and biochemical techniques.

He has authored over 70 articles, and has sat on the editorial boards of 21 journals, including Cell, Journal of Neuroscience, Proceedings of the National Academy of Science USA and Science .

Kirschner earned a doctorate in biophysics from Harvard University in 1972 and a bachelor's degree in biology and physics from Western Reserve University in 1966.

He is teaching Biological Chemistry this semester.

About Faces is an occasional feature introducing new, tenure-track members of the Boston College faculty.

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