Luther College has new faculty members for the 2018-19 academic year. Brita Carbonell, Brian Hiester, Julia Kelto Lillis and Melissa Martinez have begun working at the school.
Brita Carbonell of Minneapolis, Minnesota, has been appointed as an instructor in the nursing program. Previously, Carbonell was a registered nurse at Allina Health-United Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota, where she provided direct patient care as a registered nurse in the Intensive Care Unit. She also works as a nurse educator and assisted living registered nurse for Ebenezer/Fairview Health Services, providing orientation and nursing education to new and existing employees. She also is the cofounder, board president and class leader for National Alliance on Mental Illness NE Iowa. Carbonell received her Bachelor of Arts in nursing and biology from Luther in 2010. She is working on receiving a Master of Science in Nursing in adult gerontology-acute care nurse practitioner through Walden University.
Brian Hiester of Boulder, Colorado, has been hired as a visiting assistant professor of biology. Most recently, Hiester was a post-doctoral fellow in the Kennedy lab at the University of Colorado, Anschutz Medical Campus. While there, he investigated the mechanisms of protein trafficking during neural plasticity. Hiester earned a Bachelor of Arts in biology from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. He received a Ph.D. in molecular, cellular and developmental biology in 2012 from the University of Colorado, Boulder.
Julia Kelto Lillis has been hired as a visiting assistant professor of religion. Prior to joining the Luther staff, Lillis was a postdoctoral fellow and lecturer in New Testament and early Christianity at the University of Virginia, where she taught undergraduate and graduate seminars and conducted research. She taught courses at Duke University and Duke Divinity School during her Ph.D. program. Lillis earned a Bachelor of Arts in music, Greek and ancient studies from St. Olaf College, Northfield, Minnesota, in 2004. She completed Master of Divinity and Master of Theology from Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey. In 2017, she earned a Ph.D. in religion from Duke University, Durham, North Carolina, with her major area of specialization in early Christianity.
Melissa Martinez of Flowermound, Texas, has been hired as a visiting assistant professor of political science. Most recently, Martinez taught introduction to international relations at the University of North Texas. She also has taught a research design workshop and introduction to peace studies, all at the University of North Texas. While working on her master's, she was an editorial assistant for the "American Political Science Review" at North Texas. Martinez received a Bachelor of Arts in international relations from St. Mary's University in San Antonio, Texas, in 2012. She received a master's in political science from the University of North Texas in Denton, Texas, in 2016. This past spring, she received a Ph.D. in international relations and comparative politics from the University of North Texas.