Meet our Faculty and Staff

Fairfield's faculty are not only experts in their field but are exceptional at fostering a classroom learning environment that is engaging as well as enlightening.


Olivia Harriott, Associate Professor of Biology

Professor Harriott received her Ph. D. in microbiology in 1994 from the University of Connecticut in Storrs, CT. She was a postdoctoral research fellow at Rutgers University before joining the faculty at Fairfield University in 1997. Professor Harriott teaches courses in general microbiology, bacterial pathogenesis and DNA science. In addition to teaching, Prof. Harriott maintains an active research lab where she trains undergraduates in environmental microbiology research.


Philip J. Lane, Associate Professor of Economics

Professor Philip Lane received his Ph.D. from Tufts University in 1983 and has been teaching at Fairfield University since 1981. He studies financial markets and institutions with a focus on community banks. He continues to work with the community bankers through the Stonier School of Banking of the American Bankers Association. He has been named teacher and advisor of the year by his students at Fairfield University. He has two daughters who are both teaching and coaching lacrosse. He is a practicing golfer and skier who enjoys community service through his local Rotary Club as well as the Knights of Columbus.


Martin Nguyen, Assistant Professor of Religious Studies

Professor Martin Nguyen received his PhD from Harvard University in 2009 and has been teaching in the Religious Studies Department at Fairfield University since then. He studies Islamic thought and history with a special focus on the Qur'an, theology, and mysticism. He is also interested in documenting Muslim American history and contributes at Outside of the academic setting he enjoys spending time with his wife and daughter, writing, traveling abroad, and collecting books and retro games, of which he has far too many.


Ioanna Opidee, part-time professor of English

Professor Opidee has been teaching at Fairfield University since 2008. During that time, she earned an MFA in Creative Writing from Fairfield. She also holds an MA in English from the University of Massachusetts Boston, as well as a BA in English from Boston College. Her work has appeared in several magazines and literary journals including Lumina, Drunken Boat, Serendipity, Folio, and New Haven, and she is currently working on a novel and a collection of essays. She has also served as nonfiction co-editor and editor-in-chief of Mason's Road, the online literary journal sponsored by Fairfield University's low-residency MFA in Creative Writing.


Kris Sealey, Associate Professor of Psychology

Professor Kris Sealey received her Ph.D. from The University of Memphis and has been a member of Fairfield’s Philosophy department since 2006. She also directs the Peace and Justice Studies Program and Fairfield. Her research areas include Social and Political Philosophy, Recent French Continental Philosophy, Existentialism and Race Theory. She particularly enjoys teaching introductory classes in philosophy to first and second year students. Outside of the academic setting, she enjoys spending time with her four sons (one of whom is currently six months old), outdoor running, and bike riding.


 Brian Q. Torff, Professor of Music 

Bassist, vocalist, and composter Brian Torff has been teaching at Fairfield since 1993 on the subjects of jaz, rock, and world music. He also leads Phantom Pluckers, a dynamic four-piece rock band that combines fresh, original songwriting with high musicianship. Torff leads the Pluckers using his extensive jazz background to craft tight arrangements for vocals, guitar, saxophone, bass and drums. Formed in 2012, the band has played numerous shows in the Northeast, recorded an EP and has released live performance material on YouTube. This new band is very different from most indie bands with its tightly scored sound that incorporates blues, rock, world music and jazz styles.

Maggie Wills, Associate Professor of Communication

Professor Wills received her Ph.D. from the Pennsylvania State University and is an associate professor of communication at Fairfield University, where she has taught courses in public speaking, research methods, and family communication since 1992. Her scholarship in health communication and spiritual communication is informed by her previous experience as a certified drug and alcohol counselor in State College, Pennsylvania, where she also presented workshops on recognizing and assisting children of chemically dependent parents. Outside of the academic setting, she enjoys spending time with her husband and two daughters, along with running, cooking, and boogie boarding.