SPARTANBURG, S.C. – Mercer University is represented by Dr. Makhin Thitsa and Matt Brownback on the All-Southern Conference Faculty and Staff Team, announced today.
Begun in 2016, the All-SoCon Faculty and Staff Team consists of two individuals from each of the 10 member institutions who share the common characteristics of demonstrated service to the institution and contributions to campus life and the local community. Faculty members have demonstrated strong contributions to teaching, research and/or service, while staff members are recognized for bringing out the best in others and creating conditions for success.
Dr. Thitsa serves as associate professor of electrical and computer engineering in the School of Engineering, having joined the faculty in 2013 after serving as a research assistant professor at Old Dominion, her alma mater.
Her research interests include nonlinear systems and control theory, model-free control and data-driven control strategies. She has successfully applied control methods to photonic devices, unmanned aerial vehicles and traffic flow networks.
As director of the Cyber-physical Systems and Control Laboratory at Mercer, she has mentored a large number of undergraduate students, including four who have been selected to receive the prestigious Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. She has published numerous journal articles and conference proceedings with her undergraduate researchers as co-authors.
Brownback, who serves as assistant athletic director for student-athlete support services, joined the Bears’ athletic staff in 2013 as a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball program before being hired in 2015 as an academic coordinator of student-athletes. In 2016, he was promoted to director of student-athlete support services before being promoted to his current position in 2019.
His work, offering advising as well as coordinating all aspects of academic support, serves to provide a positive experience for Mercer’s student-athletes as they negotiate their academic and athletic paths.
He and his team have played a large role in Mercer winning the SoCon’s Barrett-Bonner Award for placing the highest percentage of student-athletes on the conference academic honor roll. Mercer has earned the award each year since joining the conference.
Faculty and staff recipients from Mercer’s fellow SoCon institutions include: The Citadel’s Dr. Chip Taylor and Henry Bouton; ETSU’s Dr. Virginia Foley and Janet Stork; Furman’s Dr. Marian Strobel and Todd Duke; UNC Greensboro’s Dr. Jeremy Bray and Amy Collins Moore; Samford’s Dr. Celeste Hill and Paige Mathis; Chattanooga’s Dr. Christine Benz Smith and Endia Butler; VMI’s Col. Timothy Hodges and Chief Michael Marshall; Western Carolina’s Dr. Kelly R. Kelley and Courtney Gauthier; and Wofford’s Dr. Anna Catllá and Lisa Lefebvre.