Science Faculty

Julia Baker grew up in the South Carolina Lowcountry. She earned her BS in Chemistry from Furman University and her Ph. D. in Organic Chemistry from the University of South Carolina. Dr. Baker taught at Armstrong Atlantic State University and Winthrop University before joining the faculty at Columbia College in 2003. She is the coordinator of the College’s chemistry program and teaches general chemistry, organic chemistry and organic spectroscopy courses. Dr. Baker’s research interests are in chemical education and she has received a number of grants supporting curricular innovations. Dr. Baker is presently the director of the NSF funded Developing Women Scholar-Leaders in Chemistry, Mathematics and Computing Program which provides scholarships, academic support, and mentoring to students majoring in chemistry, math and computer and information science. In her free time, Dr. Baker enjoys reading, running, playing tennis and spending time with her husband and two sons.


 Dr. Marlee Marsh comes to Columbia College after teaching at several colleges and universities in South Carolina and Georgia. As an undergraduate, she majored in biology at Converse College in Spartanburg, SC where she began her journey as a biologist by researching the fascinating world of fish parasitology. This research led her to graduate school and a comparative immunology lab at Clemson University where she continued to examine fish parasites and how they affect the immune systems of their hosts. After completing her doctorate at Clemson, Dr. Marsh was a visiting professor at Coastal Carolina where she taught general biology, comparative vertebrate anatomy and comparative physiology. From there, she returned back to Clemson where she taught majors and non-majors biology in addition to an animal histology course. Most recently, she spent 3 years as an assistant professor at Georgia Gwinnett College where she taught majors and non-majors biology and immunology. Dr. Marsh’s research interests include comparative immunology with a focus on immunoparasitology, comparative histology and hematology. For fun, she enjoys reading, cooking, camping and being active outdoors. Dr. Marsh lives just outside of Columbia with her husband and young sons.


 Dr. Vida Mingo received his B.S. in biology from Johnson C. Smith University, home of the Golden Bulls located in Charlotte, N.C. From there Vida began working as a science teacher in the New York City public schools teaching both middle and high school science in Brooklyn, NY for almost five years. During that time he completed a M.S. in Secondary Education (science) from Long Island University (LIU)-Brooklyn, College of Teaching and Learning. While at LIU he was in the America Reads program working in early childhood education teaching children how to read and develop a love of learning via reading. Vida attended the University of South Carolina, College of Arts &Sciences where he received his PhD in Integrative Biology with a research emphasis on Bioinformatics. A dual research interest of Vida’s is how to enhance the quality of science instruction in K-16 education. In his spare time he is involved in numerous community outreach efforts including homeless outreach initiatives, volunteering at local elementary schools, working with teachers on enhancing the quality of science education for the Midlands area children and providing mentor-ship to young people. Dr. Vida Mingo is often heard telling his students to become enlightened, encouraged and empowered. Believe in yourself.


Kirt E. Moody is Associate Professor of Biology and Environmental Science. Dr. Moody grew up along the coast of Maine, where he developed an appreciation for tongue-in-cheek humor and good seafood. He earned a BS in Zoology at the University of Maine at Orono, and a MS in Oceanography at the Darling Marine Center in Walpole, Maine; pursuing interests in lobster ecology. After working briefly as a fishery science and diving consultant, he accepted a fellowship to study Chesapeake Bay blue crabs and completed his PhD at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Since then, he has taught courses in Biology and Environmental Science at a number of excellent schools, including The College of William and Mary, Hamilton College, SUNY Albany, Mount Holyoke College, and Columbia College in South Carolina. His regular teaching assignments at Columbia College have included Introductory Biology, Botany, Zoology, Genetics, Ecology, Marine Biology, and Oceanography. His latest academic interests have been focused on the use of modeling in science teaching and on field investigations of swash-riding coquina clams. 


Dr. Adrienne Oxley, Associate Professor of Chemistry, has been at Columbia College since the fall of 2008. She earned her BS in Biochemistry from Chatham College for Women, now part of Chatham University, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 2003. She went on to earn her Ph.D. in Inorganic Chemistry from the University of Pittsburgh in 2009, conducting research in the areas of lanthanide chemistry and nanomaterials synthesis. Adrienne currently lives in Lexington with her husband and two children.


George Kaufman, Assistant Professor of Chemistry, grew up in Western New York. He earned a B.S. in Chemical Physics, an M.S. in Chemistry, and a B.A. in Classics from Brown University. While there, he developed a love for researching both Medieval Latin and molecules designed to study electron transfer. He went on to earn a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Harvard, studying surface and materials science as well as molecular and electrostatic self-assembly. Dr. Kaufman then taught at Transylvania University before coming to Columbia College in 2015. He has taught a variety of courses, including general chemistry, environmental chemistry, quantum mechanics, and thermodynamics in addition to sustainability and environmental science. Dr. Kaufman’s research interests currently include atmospheric aerosol chemistry and mechanochemical reactions. He also enjoys reading, writing, hiking, running, biking, traveling, photography, and spending time with his wife and three children.


Dr. Jessica Allen, Assistant Professor, is an immunologist and microbiologist who researches how organisms are able to maintain their health despite the numerous infections and stresses faced by all living things.  Jessica took a long path to Columbia, growing up in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and earning her BA at Wesleyan University in Connecticut in Biology and the Science in Society Program.  After graduating, she worked in a lab at Harvard University before heading out to Stanford University in California where she earned her PhD researching how the immune system recovers after bone marrow and stem cell transplantation.  She then did two postdoctoral fellowships, one at Stanford and one at New York University, where she studied the standoff between our immune system and herpes simplex virus.  She taught as an adjunct professor at Stern College for Women at Yeshiva University before she joined the faculty at Columbia College in Fall of 2016.  She is excited to be settled at Columbia where she can teach such amazing students and spend her free time swimming, running, hiking, cooking, and eating with friends and family.