Series: Meet HSU’s Newest Faculty Members - Humboldt State Now

Series: Meet HSU’s Newest Faculty Members

Over the course of the fall semester, Humboldt State NOW will be profiling our new tenure-track faculty. In this edition, we introduce Professor Marissa O’Neill, Dept. of Social Work, whose expertise is in child welfare and research, and Professor Leena Dallasheh, Dept. of History, who earned her first degree in Law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Professor Marissa O’Neill, Dept. of Social Work

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Professor Marissa O’Neill, Dept. of Social Work

Where are you originally from?
Walker, Minn.

Where did you complete your education?
Arizona State University

Why did you choose your field?
I originally wanted to work with school age children and be a school social worker. Instead I ended up working with families in the child welfare system.

Where have you taught prior to coming to HSU?
Ball State University

What are your specific areas of expertise?
Child welfare and research

What classes are you teaching this year?
Research for Undergraduates and graduate students,

What attracted you to Humboldt State?
The social work department’s focus on social work with rural and Native American populations.

What do you do in your free time outside the classroom?
I like to scrapbook, however, it has been a while since I have had time. We just bought a house and home remodeling will be my new hobby.

What is your favorite classroom technique to engage students?
In my policy class we play a simulated poverty game. Students are grouped into families and need to make a budget based on the given family circumstances. Then they get life events and need to make adjustments. I play the government and they can come to me and apply for services. Students learn about the different government programs to help families.

What is the best thing about being a university professor?
Getting to know so many great people in campus and in the community.

Where is the strangest place you’ve done research?
I don’t think I have done research in any strange places.

If you weren’t an HSU professor, what would you be?
A Tribal Indian Child Welfare Social Worker

What superpower would be most valuable to your research?
The ability to stop time so that I could catch up on my writing

Professor Leena Dallasheh, Dept. of History

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Professor Leena Dallasheh, Dept. of History

Where are you originally from?
I’m a Palestinian citizen of Israel.

Where did you complete your education?
I received my first degree in Law from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. I finished my Ph.D. In the joint History and Middle Eastern Studies program at New York University.

Why did you choose your field?
I chose to pursue graduate education seeking to change the world around me, to better advocate for justice and human rights, particularly in my part of the world. I came to believe that a key part in that is a grounded understanding of history, which gives us not only the tools to analyze the past, but also the analytic ability to understand and articulate our present and aspirations.

Where have you taught prior to coming to HSU?
I have taught at Hunter College, Oberlin College, Sewanee: The University of the South, New York University and Rice University.

What are your specific areas of expertise?
Modern history of the Middle East, modern Palestine / Israel history, the Arab-Israeli Conflict and Colonoslism and Decolonization.

What classes are you teaching this year?
I will be teaching two classes:

HIST 393 – 2 Special Topics in Non-Western History: The Modern Middle East
PSCI 330 – 1 Political Regimes & Political Change: Conflicts in Settler-Colonial Societies

What attracted you to Humboldt State?
I was attracted to the diversity of the student body at HSU, the strength and kindness of its faculty and the amazing nature of the area.

What do you do in your free time outside the classroom?
I’m an avid cyclist, I love outdoor activities in general, I enjoy reading novels, mostly in Arabic, while cooking (Palestinian food, and whatever the muse calls for) is one of my joys in life!

What is your favorite classroom technique to engage students?
I have found that combining several techniques together works the best. Using a variety of sources (including literature, music and film) along with group work have yielded amazing discussions.

What is the best thing about being a university professor?
Being able to reach young minds and make a difference in their lives.

Where is the strangest place you’ve done research?
At the kitchen of an armature ‘archivist’ who was collecting papers from people in Nazareth. He seemed to think that the cupboard under the sink was an appropriate place for important historic documents.

If you weren’t an HSU professor, what would you be?
A cycling chef? But more realistically, work at a human rights organization.

What superpower would be most valuable to your research?
Photographic memory.