A proud Rhode Islander, Dennis earned his BS with Honors in Chemistry from Rhode Island College. During his time at RIC, Dennis worked under Dr John Williams on the synthesis, analysis, and logP determination of triarylphosphonium salts. He also was awarded RI-EPCOR and RI-INBRE fellowships. After graduating from RIC, Dennis attended Florida State University, working under the direction of Dr Michael Roper. His research involved the development of a microfluidic device to detect and quantify the secretion of insulin and glucagon from live islets of Langerhans in real time. He graduated with his MS in Chemistry in 2010.
Dennis has also served as a Franciscan Friar, serving the poor and most vulnerable. He has worked as a chaplain at Children's National Medical Center (Washington DC), a cook at Christ House (Washington DC), an adult faith formation facilitator (Silver Spring, MD), and a teacher (St Francis Secondary, Lower Subukia, Kenya; Siena College, Loudonville NY), among other ministries. After leaving the friars and accepting Islam, Dennis is happy to be back at Siena as the General Chemistry Lab Manager.
|M.S.||Florida State University|
|B.S.||Chemistry (Honors)||Rhode Island College|
My Siena Experience
My Teaching Philosophy
My teaching philosophy has been strongly influenced by Jesuit principles. First, education should focus on cura personalis, or the whole person. Each person has their own context, their own strengths, weaknesses, successes, and failures. This haecceity (uniqueness) means that education can never be a one-size-fits-all approach; teachers should be flexible enough to take into account each student's circumstances and balance that with the demands of teaching an entire class.
Second, education should be a constant cycle of contemplation, action, and reflection. In contemplation, a student looks at the context of the material being studied, and develops their own ideas, opinions, critical assessments, and questions. In action, the student engages with the material through exercises, essays, and class discussions. Finally, in reflection, the student critically assesses their own performance and the feedback they have received as they prepare to move forward to the next topic to be studied.
It is my role as a teacher and administrator to learn my students' contexts and help them navigate through the cycle of contemplation, action, and reflection. I am also tasked with empowering my students to take action when they feel that something is wrong, and to help them find strengths and skills that they may not have realised they had. Nothing is better than to hear a student say that I helped them realise they could do something after they were conviced they couldn't.
What I Love About Siena
One of the apocryphal sayings of St Francis of Assisi is, "Preach the Gospel, and use words if necessary." What he meant was that we should be preaching the Gospel in the very way we live our lives. People should be able to see how we act and know that we are believers.
Siena truly embodies this spirit! We are a diverse campus with many races, ethnicities, and faith traditions, but just by walking around campus, people can see what we as a community stand for. The optimism, respect, kindness, hospitality, and genuine sense of welcome that are hallmarks of a Franciscan education are on full display on this campus. It is a joy to work at an institution where students and faculty know each other by name, where administrators are willing and happy to meet with students, and where everyone from freshmen to the President can be found having lunch together in Saga. Siena is a special place!
My Professional Experience
|2016 - 2017||Visiting Instructor of Chemistry||Siena College|
|2011 - 2011||Adjunct (Chemistry)||Rhode Island College|
|2011 - 2017||Franciscan Friar||Franciscan Friars of Holy Name Province|
|2008 - 2010||Graduate Student Assistant||Florida State University|