FIT Welcomes New Faculty

This semester, FIT is welcoming new faculty across many disciplines. Read below to meet the college’s newest educators.

Ruth Jeyaveeran, Textile Surface Design

Ruth Jeyaveeran comes to FIT from West Elm where she served as a senior textile designer, responsible for designing all bedding components and creating relevant tech packs, as well as original designs by hand and digitally for bedding, pillows, decorative accessories, and wall art. Jeyaveeran is a published author and illustrator, and has served as an adjunct faculty member at Parsons School of Design. She earned her AAS from FIT and her BFA from the School of Art at the University of Michigan.

Stephanie Pierce, Fine Arts

In the Fine Arts Department, FIT welcomes Stephanie Pierce, who comes from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville, where she served as an assistant professor of painting. Pierce has had solo and group exhibitions in Boston, New York, Williamsburg, Miami, and Memphis, and has also held several artist residencies, the most recent being at the Centre d’art Marnay Art Center (CAMAC) in Marnay Sur Seine, France. Pierce earned her MA and BFA in painting and printmaking from the Art Institute of Boston and her MFA in painting and drawing from the University of Washington in Seattle.

James Matthew Phillips, Fine Arts

James Matthew Phillips’s recent positions include serving as a visiting drawing instructor at the New York Studio School, and as a visiting critic at the Mount Gretna School of Art in Pennsylvania. This past year, he served as an artist in residence at the MacDowell Colony in Peterborough, NH. Phillips’s solo and group exhibitions include those in New York; Portland, ME; Boston; Baltimore; Miami; and Madrid. Phillips earned his BA and MA in art/art history from Hampshire College in Amherst, MA, and his MFA in painting from Boston University.

Barbara Trippeer, Fashion Design

Barbara Trippeer will be joining FIT in spring 2017. Trippeer comes from the College of Visual Arts and Design at the University of North Texas, where she has worked as an adjunct instructor in the fashion department. In addition to her teaching, Trippeer maintains an ambitious research agenda, with origins in medical anthropology, and a focus on exploring opportunities to assist vulnerable populations through the use of participatory design methods in achieving preferred or improved situations. This work stems from her thesis dissertation, titled “Help Couture: Exploring Wearable Smart Garment Technology as Enabling Devices to Assist Children Dealing With Chronic Illness.” Trippeer earned her BFA in Fashion Design from Parsons School of Design in Paris, and her MFA in applied design research from the University of North Texas.

Delphine Horvath, Cosmetics Fragrance and Marketing

Delphine Horvath has been marketing director for Rimmel at Coty, Inc., as well as marketing and sales manager for Fiabila, the world’s leading manufacturer of nail polish for all cosmetics companies. Horvath has also held a number of positions as a brand manager, including a post as senior International brand manager at Revlon in New York and Paris. Horvath’s professional expertise is in global marketing strategy, innovation, and communication.  She earned her master’s degree in structural biochemistry from the University of Orléans, France, and her second master’s degree in business and marketing in luxury from the University of Paris.

Bret Tesman, Advertising and Marketing Communications

Bret Tesman comes to FIT from Fordham University, where he served as an adjunct assistant professor in the Gabelli Schools of business, communication and media management. He has also taught at a variety of local institutions including NYU, Baruch College, Hofstra University, New York Institute of Technology, and St. John’s University. In addition to his teaching, Tesman is the co-founder and managing partner of Blue Punch Media, Integrated Marketing and PR agency in New York. He earned his bachelor’s degree in marketing from New York Institute of Technology and his master’s degree in mass communication from New York University.

Katelyn Burton, English and Communication Studies

Katelyn Burton comes to FIT from the University of Rhode Island, where she served as first-year writing coordinator. Burton holds a bachelor’s degree in communication and a master’s degree in English from Pittsburg State University in Kansas, as well as the doctorate in English with a specialization in rhetoric and composition from the University of Rhode Island. Burton’s professional activities include journal publications, as well as various presentations at national and regional conferences. Her professional affiliations include activities with the National Council of Teachers of English, the Conference on College Composition and Communication, and the Modern Language Association.

Kevin Visconti, English and Communication Studies

Kevin Visconti earned is bachelor’s degree in Interpersonal communication from New York University, his master’s degree in communication and statistics from Georgetown University, and his PhD in international communication and marketing from the University of Miami. Visconti’s research centers on environmental communication and green product marketing, and he remains active with the Aspen Institute and the Business of Teaching at the Copenhagen Institute. Additionally, Visconti is part of the Blue Wolf Group, focusing on global change management.  He will be focusing his work at FIT on building an organizational communication curriculum.

Kim Cunningham, Social Sciences

Kim Cunningham holds a bachelor’s degree for individualized study from the Gallatin School at New York University, and a doctorate in sociology from the CUNY Graduate Center. Cunningham comes to FIT from Wesleyan University where she served as a visiting assistant professor of sociology. Cunningham has also taught at Montclair State University, Borough of Manhattan Community College, and LaGuardia Community College, as well as here at FIT. Her professional activities include conference presentations, short publications, and reviews, along with a book manuscript that is currently in progress. Cunningham has a number of focused research interests, including queer theory, collective trauma, cultural memory, LGBTQ studies, and the sociology of mental health. Her professional affiliations include the American Sociological and Cultural Studies Associations.

Erica Moretti, Modern Languages and Cultures

Erica Moretti holds a bachelor’s degree in modern history from Università degli Studi di Firenze in Florence, Italy, an American studies diploma from Smith College, and a doctorate in Italian studies from Brown University. Moretti comes to us from Mount Holyoke College, where she served as acting chair for romance languages and cultures and as a lecturer in Italian. She has also taught at Brown University, The College of Staten Island, and Boston College. Moretti’s professional activities include invited lectures and conference presentations, as well as publications, with two book projects currently in progress. She maintains active affiliations with the American Association for Italian Studies, the Modern Languages Association and the American Historical Association.

Natasha Degen, Art Market

Natasha Degen comes to us from Sotheby’s Institute of Art in New York, where she served on the faculty for art business. She has also taught at the Cass Business School at City University in London, the University of Cambridge in the United Kingdom, and at Sotheby’s Institute of Art in London. Degen’s professional activities include a variety of published journal articles and critiques, and she has also moderated panel discussions in New York and London. Degen holds a bachelor’s degree in Art and Archaeology from Princeton University, and master’s and doctoral degrees in History of Art from Trinity College at the University of Cambridge.

Sarah Blazer, Writing Studio

Sarah Blazer comes to FIT from Lehman College, where she coordinated the Writing Center and taught undergraduate and graduate courses in writing. She earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of South Carolina, her master’s degree from Long Island University, and her doctorate in composition from Indiana University of Pennsylvania. Blazer conducted her dissertation research at FIT, where she studied our tutoring staff education model and examined how tutors are taught to understand diversity as a resource. She will be playing an important leadership role in enhancing the Writing Studio’s services, particularly in the areas of tutor development and writing across the curriculum, educating and training tutors and supporting key initiatives of the Writing Studio’s expansion plan, to include facilitating workshops for student and faculty and initiating a writing fellows program designed to embed writing tutors in courses across the disciplines.

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