The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

The Student News Site of University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma

The Trend

View this profile on Instagram

The Trend (@thetrendusao) • Instagram photos and videos


School of Science Hires Sanders and Cretacci

Assistant environmental science professor and lab coordinator round out Science Department
Bea Bourland
Dr. Zack Sanders, assistant environmental science professor, searches for plant specimens to press alongside Kris Rogers, sophomore environmental science major, in the Plant and Fungal Lab.

As a small university, USAO boasts that it is easy to know professors on a personal level, which means students most likely will notice when a new professor or two is added to their department. Over the summer, the Science Department worked to fill two vacant spots: an environmental professor and an IDS instructor and lab coordinator. Overall, there were three candidates for the IDS instructor and lab coordinator position, and nine candidates for the environmental science professor position.

This fall trimester, USAO welcomed Dr. Zack Sanders, assistant professor of environmental science, and Dr. Yan Cretacci, IDS instructor and lab coordinator. Both professors took on full schedules this trimester, while also learning about campus, their coworkers, and students.

“I really like the size of the school, it’s a small community. I’m really excited for interactions I can have with students throughout their entire course of time here,” Dr. Sanders said.

Dr. Sanders, a recent PhD graduate, came in with a bit of teaching experience, but said he is still getting used to the process of being a full-time professor. Dr. Cretacci has come from New York, having taught at a few universities within the State University of New York system, including Buffalo State University, which had a population of around 10,000 students at the time of her working there.

“They’re amazing, I’m happy with the decision that was made,” Dr. Jeannette Loutsch, professor of biology and member of the hiring committee said. “I have worked closely with Dr. Cretacci, and she is very pleasant. I haven’t been around Dr. Sanders as much, but he seems pleasant as well.”

Dr. Cretacci has her PhD in environmental health and toxicology. She said she plans to do research with students in the future and is excited to enjoy researching what the students want rather than what she wants.

Dr. Sanders has his PhD in soil science and biogeochemistry. He said that he plans to be at USAO for the long haul and plans to develop new courses regarding soil science for the university’s environmental science majors and others that are interested.

“It’s not just a job, I like to get to know students and do anything I can to help them academically or personally. As a teacher you can give back what others have invested into you, not just knowledge, but life experience too,” Dr. Cretacci said.


Bea Bourland is a second-year biology and environmental science major at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma.

Ray Thomas-Lapham


More to Discover
About the Contributor
Bea Bourland
Bea Bourland, Contributing Writer
Bea is a second-year environmental science and biology major at USAO. Hailing from Mustang, she enjoys a diverse list of things including writing, hiking, and playing games. Along with The Trend, Bea is a part of Students for a Progressive Society and the Garden Club. When not working on class work, you can catch her outside in nature somewhere or napping anywhere she can.   Experience with The Trend: Contributing Writer: Aug. 2022 - present