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Meet Cohort 2

The Innovation Hub proudly introduces the new faculty fellows! As we usher in this new chapter, we do so with a deep sense of respect and excitement, recognizing the significant role that these exceptional individuals are poised to play in furthering the frontiers of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit. With a shared resolve to challenge norms, cultivate fresh perspectives, and reshape the very contours of innovation, these leaders are ready to influence innovation within our community.

College of Education, Health & Human Services (CEHHS)
deborah feairheller

Deborah L. Feairheller - Assistant Professor, KinesiologyInnovation Project: Examining the Potential of Establishing a Women’s Heart Health Screening Clinic

Dr. Deborah Feairheller’s clinical research lab, the HEART lab, conducts studies that examine lifestyle change and cardiovascular risk. Deborah is a trained integrative physiologist with foundational training. She has experience in patient safety, pharmaceutical research, patient-centered outcomes research, and medical writing. Prior to joining CSUSM, she worked as a Clinical Associate Professor at the University of New Hampshire where her research also included program direction for the Clinical Cardiac Program, which included phase III cardiac rehabilitation, cardiac prevention, and Telehealth care. As a professor, she embraces the teacher-scholar model, infusing clinical paradigms into her lessons. Deborah’s current and future projects here at CSUSM will focus on cardiovascular health in women. Women are understudied in clinical research, medical driven studies under-report females, and certain race/ethnic groups of women are almost ignored.

As a Faculty Innovation Fellow, Deborah proposes an innovative approach to Women’s Heart Centers. She aims to increase awareness in cardiac health in women, educate women in the community how heart disease presents differently in them, and offer free screening through research projects that involve student researchers. She also aims to create a referral network. The screening ‘clinic’ will offer a Telehealth care model where each woman will be offered a telehealth appointment following their screening which will allow time for their results to be detailed and the network of clinicians to be reviewed.


University Library

Jennifer Ho – Archivist, University Library
Innovation Project: Community Archives Listening Tour

As Communities & Cultures Archivist, Jennifer’s objective is to engage with the people of North San Diego County to document their culture and heritage, particularly those  from communities underrepresented in the historical record. Jenn is a CSUSM alumna, graduating with her B.A. in Literature & Writing Studies. She then earned her Masters in Library and Information Science from San Jose State University. Jenn has been an archivist since 2012, first working at a private university and then at a non-profit organization in the Chicago area. She returned to CSUSM in a lecturer role in 2019, and was hired as Communities & Cultures Archivist in 2022.

As a Faculty Innovation Fellow, Jenn will embark on a Community Archives Listening Tour to establish a set of community-led priorities that will inform the direction of the University Library Special Collection’s community archives program. By engaging in conversations with off-campus community members and CSUSM students and faculty, she will learn about the goals and objectives of community members in documenting their own stories. Using the information learned from the listening tour, Jenn will collaborate with the community to facilitate this recordkeeping, so that local history is written by the people.
jennifer ho


College of Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics (CSTEM)

justin morris
Justin Morris -  Assistant Professor, Computer Science
Innovation Project: Hyperdimensional Computing for Complex Classification

Dr. Justin Morris received his Ph.D degree from University of California, San Diego and San Diego State University in 2022. His research interest is on low powered machine learning algorithms and hardware. His focus is specifically on Hyperdimensional Computing (HDC). Dr. Morris’ research on HDC has shown that it can replace computationally expensive algorithms that are traditionally used such as Deep Neural Networks (DNNs). This is critical for embedded systems such as a phone where users have limited computational power, battery life, and desire real time results or security of their data, so cloud computing is not desirable.

As a faculty fellow, Dr. Morris aims to further improve the kinds of complex problems HDC can solve without significantly increasing the computational power needed. To achieve this, Dr. Morris and his lab will develop new novel algorithmic changes and hardware architectures for HDC. Through this work, Dr. Morris will mentor and teach his students valuable skills such as learning multiple light-weight machine learning algorithms, hardware design, and embedded system design.




College of Business Administration (CoBA)

Rebeca Perren – Associate Professor, Marketing
Innovation Project: Empowering Nonprofits and Startups through a Student-Run Marketing Agency 

Dr. Rebeca Perren is an award-winning and forward-thinking educator passionate about marketing innovations and determined to be an agent of change in higher education. She obtained her Ph.D. in Marketing from the University of Central Florida, her MBA from Stetson University, and her Bachelor's in Business Administration from the University of South Florida. Dr. Perren's research delves into consumption at the intersection of social and market domains, particularly those facilitated by technology. Her research contributions have been featured in journals such as the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Business Research, Journal of Consumer Marketing, Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice, and Journal of Promotion Management. She has also co-edited noteworthy publications, including a special issue of the Journal of Marketing Education on diversity in the field and the Handbook on Intra-Cultural Marketing. At her core, Dr. Perren envisions a transformative marketing discipline. She passionately advocates for strategies that challenge the status quo and are rooted in social responsibility. For Dr. Perren, marketing is not just a discipline – it's a platform for beneficial societal change.

As a Faculty Innovation Fellow, Dr. Perren is pioneering a student-run, faculty-led marketing agency offering complimentary services to regional nonprofits and entrepreneurs. She will helm this agency, enlisting experienced local executives to mentor students in their specialized roles. This initiative equips students with invaluable hands-on experience and aids organizations requiring marketing assistance. Through this endeavor, CSUSM is set to debut a groundbreaking experiential learning program with the potential for long-term sustainability.


rebeca perren

College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral & Social Sciences (CHABSS)

kimberly vanderbilt
Kimberly Vanderbilt – Associate Professor, Psychology
Innovation Project: Promoting Children's Informal STEM Learning in Museum Sciences

Dr. Kimberly Vanderbilt is an expert in children’s learning and development. She completed her graduate and undergraduate training in Experimental Psychology at the University of California, San Diego. Her area of specialization is in social cognitive development, and her research generally focuses on how children reason about the thoughts and behaviors of others, as well as how children learn and make decisions about the world around them.

As a Faculty Innovation Fellow, Dr. Vanderbilt aims to develop new interactive exhibit designs and educational programs that promote informal STEM learning in museum settings. Her project will identify and test new strategies science institutions can practically implement within existing exhibits to facilitate parent-child conversations about science concepts and increase children’s informal STEM learning.