Physics and Earth Science Faculty

Head Shot of Larry McKenna
Lawrence W. McKenna III

Associate Professor

Office: Hemenway Annex 346K
Phone Number: 508-626-4741
Email: lmckenna1@framingham.edu

Larry McKenna is an Associate Professor of Earth and Environmental Science at Framingham State University, where he is currently Chair of the Department of Physics and Earth Sciences. McKenna trained as a geologist and geochemist at MIT, earning his Ph. D. in 1990 (when average surface temperatures were a full 1 degree Fahrenheit cooler than today!), and has been at FSU since 2008. He is currently finishing his climate change textbook, Conversations with the Earth, for Oxford University Press. His current research interests center on the intersection between climate change, policy, and “agency,” the ability to affect one’s future. He notes, to his surprise, that when he first started working on climate change, the primary challenge was convincing people it was caused by human actions; now the primary challenge is convincing people it’s a problem that can be solved. When asked if there is one thing he wishes he could impart to everyone about climate change, he said, “Yes-there’s positive news here. We still have the power to stop the worst consequences of climate change. We have agency. And we can do it-we must do it-in our lifetimes.” McKenna and his wife live in Jamaica Plain, MA and have two smart, wonderful and mathematically-inclined daughters.

Education

PhD (1990) Geology and Geochemistry, MIT
BS (1984) Geology, MIT

Courses Taught

ASTR 128/218 Solar System Astronomy
EASC 101/201 Conversations with the Earth
EASC 450 Seminar in Earth System Science
ENVS 202 Data Analysis for Scientists
ENVS 451/452 Senior Thesis in Environmental Science I/II
ENVS 333 Digital Field Work; Drones, Data and AI
GEOL 108/208 Physical Geology
GEOL 233 Environmental Geology
PHSC 109 Introduction to Physical Science
PHYS 211 Principles of Physics I
PHYS 212 Principles of Physics II
PHYS 272 Modern Physics

Headshot of faculty member Santosha Adhibhatta
Santosha Adhibhatta

Assistant Professor

Office: Hemenway Annex 346E
Phone Number: 508-215-5857
Email: sammu@framingham.edu

Education

PhD ( 2011) Physics, University of Rhode Island

MS ( 2004) Electrical Engineering, University of Houston

BS ( 2002) Electrical and Electronics Engineering, Andhra University, India

Research Interests

Dr. Adhibhatta is interested in enhancing students’ knowledge by using several practical approaches to learning at different levels.  She is particularly interested in adopting novel methods of teaching both in the lecture and laboratory, that makes Physics and Engineering fun and informative.

Courses taught

ASTR 230 : Stars and Galaxies

PHSC 109 : Introduction to Physical Science

PHYS 212 : Principles of Physics II

PHYS 201 : Introductory Physics

EGNR 101 : Introduction to Engineering

EGNR 201 : Engineering Mechanics

Headshots of faculty member Gerald Galgana
Gerald A. Galgana, PhD

Visiting Lecturer

Office: Hemenway Annex 346H
Phone Number: 508-626-5007
Email: ggalgana@framingham.edu

Education

PhD (Geophysics), Indiana University-Bloomington
MSc (Geophysics), Indiana University-Bloomington
Dipl. R&D Management, University of the Philippines Open University
BS Geodetic Engineering, University of the Philippines, Diliman

Research Interests

Dr. Galgana studies the deformation of the surface of the Earth and other planets (i.e., Plate Tectonics and Geodynamics). His favorite tools of the trade are satellite images and high-precision Global Positioning Systems, which are both used to map out and measure movements of the crust. Dr. Galgana models the Earth's dynamic processes in order to understand how these patterns relate to earthquakes and fault behavior, as well as how planetary volcano deformation patterns reflect what is going on underneath them and how edifices progressively evolved in time.

Courses Taught

ASTR 128 (Solar System Astronomy)
ASTR 218 (Principles of Solar System Astronomy)

Headshot of faculty member Amy Johnston
Amy Johnston, PhD

Assistant Professor

Office: Hemenway Annex 346L
Phone Number: 508-626-4762
Email: ajohnston3@framingham.edu

Education

PhD (2020) Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts Boston

MS (2018) Environmental Science, University of Massachusetts Boston

BS (2012) Biology, Bates College

Research Interests

Dr. Johnston’s current research centers on paleoclimate reconstruction of the Gulf of Maine using archaeological mollusk shells. Variations in growth rate, stable isotopic, and trace elemental composition of bivalve shells can be used to reconstruct the past environmental conditions of the Gulf of Maine during the recent Holocene (past 5000 years).

Courses Taught

EASC 101- Conversations with the Earth, An Introduction to Earth Systems

EASC 108/208- Meteorology/Principles of Meteorology

GEOL 233- Environmental Geology

EASC 490- Independent Study in Earth System Science

Vandana Singh

Associate Professor

Office: Hemenway 346D
Phone Number: 508-626-4763
Email: vsingh@framingham.edu

Education
PhD Louisiana State University
MSc, BSc University of Delhi, India

Research Interests
Dr. Singh has a PhD in theoretical particle physics and is interested in everything from quarks to multiverses. She is also deeply interested in how students learn, and has developed several creative approaches to enhance the learning and enjoyment of physics at all levels. Dr. Singh is the coordinator of Framingham State University's Environmental Forum. Apart from the environment, her other interests include science fiction and world music.

Courses Taught
PHYS 111 Physics, Nature, and Society
PHYS 201 Introductory Physics
PHYS 212 Principles of Physics II
PHYS 272 Modern Physics

Kristin Chon

Assistant Professor

Office: Hemenway 346F
Phone Number: 508-626-4764
Email: kchon@framingham.edu

Research Interests
Professor Chon is an astronomer by training, and teaches a wide range of courses, from calculus-based Principles of Physics I to Stars and Galaxies. She is very interested in science literacy and the use of planetariums in informal education, and is an active member of the planetarium community at the national level. Professor Chon's current research is focused on science education, with particular attention to student misconceptions.

Courses Taught
ASTR 123 Practical Astronomy
ASTR 230 Stars and Galaxies
PHYS 211 Principles of Physics I