Assistant Professor- Political Science and Legal Studies
Dr. Erick Ananga
Assistant Professor- Political Science and Legal Studies East Central University
Erick Ananga earned a doctorate in geography and environmental science and policy from the University of South Florida, a master’s in politics and international development from the University of East Anglia Norwich UK and a bachelor in international development studies with economics major from the University of East Anglia Norwich UK. His research focuses on examining the tenability of community participation theory in explicating water production and management dynamics in urban informal neighborhoods. Previously, Ananga was an adjunct assistant professor at the School of Geosciences at the University of South Florida.
Assistant Professor-Sociology East Central University
Terrie A. Becerra, Ph.D. is an assistant professor of sociology in the Department of Political Science, Legal Studies, and Sociology at East Central University. Her emphasis area is natural resources and the environment. She held post-doctoral positions at both Kansas State University (2013-2016), and at Oklahoma State University (2010-2012) before coming to East Central University the fall of 2016. Her research has focused on attitudes, perceptions and beliefs related to watershed management, water governance structures in Kansas, grazing land biodiversity, and attitudes regarding climate change in the Southern Great Plains.
Kevin Blackwood, M.S., is an adjunct professor, and karst geoscientist who is actively involved in research concerning hydrogeology, geomorphology, geochemistry, and geophysics. He is the chairman of the Geology Section of the Oklahoma Academy of Science, and is also involved in minor studies involving subterranean and aquatic ecosystems. He is currently engaged in research involving the karst of the Arbuckle Mountains, geothermal features in the western United States, and select coastal karst and reef systems of the Greater Caribbean Basin. To date, he has more than 20 publications on his research in books, journals, and conference proceedings. He is an active reader and bibliophile, hoarding literature relevant to his research interests in order to stay in the forefront of scientific understanding in his fields of interest.
Charles Biles, Ph.D., is a Professor of Biology at East Central University, and has taught at the university since 1993. He has a doctoral degree in Philosophy and Plant Pathology from Texas A & M. Dr. Biles has sponsored many clubs at East Central, including the Bio-Med Club, Tri-Beta Honor Society, and Alpha Chi Honor Society, and he serves on multiple university committees as well. He has received numerous research grants totaling more than two million dollars in external funding, and has supervised many student research projects, including serving as a mentor for the McNair Scholars program. He is also an associate faculty member at the Graduate School.
In addition to his dedication as an educator, Dr. Biles has also collaborated with the National Institute of Health and has served as a reviewer for textbook companies, for technical research papers in multiple peer-reviewed journals, and for the USDA Agricultural Research Service. He is also an indoor air quality consultant with Ada Biolab Consultants, LLC, a trainer with the National Healthy Homes Training Center, and a consulting microbiologist for Environmental Resource Technologies, LLC.
Assistant professor- Political Science and Legal Studies
Assistant professor- Political Science and Legal Studies East Central University
Prior to joining ECU as full-time faculty in 2016, Preston Draper taught as an adjunct in the Legal Studies Program. He earned a degree in English and Geography at Brigham Young University, Provo, Utah, in 1999, and a law degree from the University of Oklahoma College of Law, Norman, Oklahoma, in 2003. Draper began his legal career as an assistant attorney general in the Oklahoma Attorney General's Office, where he served in the criminal appeals and general counsel divisions. In 2009, Draper moved to Ada, Oklahoma, to begin private practice and in 2011 became a founding member of the law firm Sweeney, Draper & Christopher, PLLC (formerly Sweeney, Smith, Draper & Christopher), where he remains a partner and maintains a limited legal practice. Draper is an elected member of the Ada City Council, an appointed member of the Pontotoc County Health Board, previously served on the board of the Ada Artists Association, and is a past president of the Pontotoc County Bar Association. He and his wife, Carrie, who is a math teacher at Ada Junior High School, are the parents of four children. Draper is also a veteran of the U.S. Navy.
Assistant Professor-Biology East Central University
Leah Dudley, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor of Biology at East Central University. Prior to coming to ECU, Dr. Dudley taught at the University of Wisonsin-Stout, Warren Wilson College, and Santa-Barabara City College. She also participated in post-doctoral research both at the University of California, where she also served as the Greenhouse Manager, and at the Institute of Ecology and Biodiversity in Santiago, Chile. Her research interests include understanding how plants cope in stressful environments, the way in which ecosystem biodiversity affects its resilience, and the way in which ecosystem function helps water resource management
Assistant Professor- Mathematics and Computer Science
Dr. Nicholas Jacob
Assistant Professor- Mathematics and Computer Science East Central University
Dr. Nicholas Jacob received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics and physics in 2006 and his doctorate in applied mathematics in 2013, both from the University of Missouri. His graduate work was in statistical mechanics, creating a probability density function that captured the full dynamics of the system. Jacob has participated in research workshops sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the University of Oklahoma College of Medicine. His students have presented research regionally and nationally. Prior to his arrival at ECU, Jacob was a Mathematical Association of America NExT Fellow.
Assistant Professor-Chemistry East Central University
Dr. Randall Maples earned a Bachelor of Science in chemistry from Southwestern Oklahoma State University and a Doctor of Philosophy in analytical chemistry from Oklahoma State University. His research as an analytic chemist has examined nanotechnology and neurotoxicology. He currently has research projects involving iron oxide nanoparticle (ION) and ION-conjugate synthesis as well as nanofullerene aggregates in the environment. He has developed methods in nanomaterials synthesis, trace organophosphate detection and brain neurotransmitter analysis which includes a method for the detection of chemical warfare agent precursor and degradation products for the U.S. Government Department of Defense and Homeland Security. He has held the rank of Assistant Professor of Chemistry at East Central University since 2016. He was a faculty member and chair of the chemistry department at Eastern Oklahoma State College from 2013-2016. Prior to that he did post-doctoral research as a National Institute of Health Fellow at Oklahoma State University.
Assistant Professor-Biology East Central University
James Bruce Moring earned a Doctorate of Philosophy in Ecology from the University of North Texas (1991), Master of Science in Biology from Angelo State University (1986), Master of Science in Zoology from Texas Tech University (1984), and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Angelo State University (1982). Moring served as an adjunct faculty member at Central Texas College (2014-2015) teaching general biology and zoology, as a part-time assistant professor at Southwestern University (2015-2016) teaching general ecology and stream ecology and management. In addition to his teaching experience, Moring completed a one-year postdoctoral research appointment at the Water Research Field Station at the University of North Texas (1991-1992), and led a field aquatic microcosm study investigating the fate and effects of several new-generation pesticides. Moring brings 21 years (1992-2013) of applied research as a freshwater ecologist and senior biologist with the U.S. Geological Survey's Texas Water Science Center. As a senior biologist, he was responsible for reviewing and approving all biological data collection and research activities for the USGS Texas Water Science Center. He has additional experience overseeing the USGS's National Water Quality Assessment Program for of the Trinity River Basin in Texas, continues to serve as a technical liaison for the Texas Instream Flows Program, and frequently engages with private landowners as an independent water-resources consultant.
Assistant Professor- Biology East Central University
Dr. April Nesbit earned a Bachelor of Science in Biochemistry from Texas Tech University, a Ph.D. in Biomecular Chemistry from The University of Wisconsin, Madison, and was a Post-Doctoral Fellow in Biology at Indiana University-Bloomington. Previously she served as a visiting assistant professor at Purdue University North Central in biology and chemistry, and currently is an assistant professor of biology at East Central University. Nesbit is an Oka’ Yanahli Clean-up volunteer since 2016, was an East Central Oklahoma Regional Science and Engineering Fair judge in 2017, and was an Oklahoma State Science and Engineering Fair safety inspector in 2016.
Professor, Chair-Political Science And Legal Studies
Dr. Christine Pappas
Professor, Chair-Political Science And Legal Studies East Central University
Christine Pappas, Ph.D., J.D., is a Professor of Political Science at East Central University, where she has taught since 2001. She currently serves ECU as the Chair of the Political Science and Legal Studies Department, and as Director of the Master of Science in Water Resource Policy and Management. She has a long record of service to the university and the community at large, notably co-sponsoring the East Central University Water Resource Association, doing water testing with Blue Thumb, and maintaining membership to the American Bar Association, the Oklahoma Bar Association, and several tribal bar associations, among other pursuits. Dr. Pappas’s research interests include Water and Environmental Policy, and Native American Law and Politics, and the place where those topics intersect.