Faculty and Staff Notables

Mercer Seal

Dr. Jeffrey Ebert, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, and Dr. Ann Lucado, assistant professor of physical therapy, presented “The Immediate Effect of Orthotic Management on Thumb Stability during PA Mobilizations: A Pilot Study” for the Orthopaedic Section at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association Feb. 21-24 in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Alyssa Fiss, associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented two educational sessions for the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association Feb. 21-24 in New Orleans. The sessions were titled “Adaptive Behavior and Mastery Motivation in Children with Cerebral Palsy” and “Monitoring Change over Time of Impairments in Children with Cerebral Palsy.”

Dr. Dawood H. Sultan, associate professor of public health, was selected to serve on the editorial board of Annals of Public Health and Research (APHR) as editor of the journal’s newsletter.

Dr. David Taylor, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, provided a presentation, titled “An Interprofessional Education Approach to Fall Prevention: Preparing Members of the Interprofessional Healthcare Team to Implement STEADI into Practice,” for the Academy of Geriatric Physical Therapy at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association Feb. 21-24 in New Orleans, Louisiana, on behalf of the research team, which included Dr. Ellen Perlow, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy; Suzie Madden, instructor of public health; Dr. Henry Heard, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies; Dr. Elizabeth Dickerson, clinical associate professor of physician assistant studies; Dr. Mary Mathis, assistant professor of public health; Dr. Ruth McCaffrey and Dr. Humberto Reinoso from the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing; and Dr. Johnathan Hamrick and Dr. Christine Klein from the College of Pharmacy.

Dr. Deborah Wendland, assistant professor of physical therapy, co-presented an education session, titled “Managing a Patient with Diabetes in Your Physical Therapy Practice” for the Section on Clinical Electrophysiology and Wound Management at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association Feb. 21-24 in New Orleans, Louisiana. Dr. Wendland co-authored “The use of the physical stress theory in the care of a patient recovering from necrotizing fasciitis” in the Journal of Student Physical Therapy Research 9(3): Article 4.

Dr. Jonathan Addleton, adjunct instructor of international and global studies, published two articles, “Wakanda and the World“ March 4 in the Macon Telegraph and “Mongolia’s Moment? A Surprisingly Logical Choice to Host a Trump-Kim Summit“ March 16 for Global Atlanta. The first article reflected on the various schools of foreign policy as portrayed in the movie “Black Panther” and was later republished in Global Atlanta. The second article was posted on more than 150 Facebook sites and retweeted by former Mongolian President Tsakhiagiin Elbegdorj as well as various analysts, academics and others interested in Mongolia.

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English, published the essay “Matters of Life and Death: Teaching Welty in a Course on Death, Dying, and Funerals in Southern Literature” in Teaching the Works of Eudora Welty: Twenty-First Century Approaches.

Dr. Elizabeth Harper, assistant professor of English, had two scholarly articles appear in edited collections. The first, a pedagogical article, titled “Pearl as a Gateway into Middle English Poetry: Comparative Approaches,” appeared in the Modern Language Association’s volume Approaches to Teaching the Middle English Pearl, edited by Jane Beal and Mark Busbee, and published in December. The second article, titled “‘The ryche man hatz more nede thanne the pore’: Economics and Dependence in Dives and Pauper,” appeared in the edited collection Money, Commerce, and Economics in Late Medieval English Literature, edited by Craig Bertolet and Robert Epstein, and published by Palgrave Macmillan in March.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, received an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Fellowship from the Virginia Historical Society. She presented “Curating the Archive of Emancipation” at the Carolina Low Country and Atlantic World Conference March 16-18 at the College of Charleston.

Dr. Matt Marone, associate professor of physics, recently gave two talks, “Experiments in Ancient Chinese Science and Technology” March 20 at Black Hawk College, Moline, Illinois, and “Reflections on Joseph Needham  and the Study of Chinese Science” March 3 at the National Meeting of the Asian Studies Development Program in  Washington, D.C. At the latter event, Dr. Marone was also chair of a session titled “Reflections on Asia.”

Dr. Clara Mengolini, assistant professor of Spanish, and Dr. Antonio Saravia, assistant professor of economics, obtained a research grant from the Koch Foundation for the project “How Do Socio-Economic Conditions Matter for Socialist Indoctrination? The Case of Latin America’s 21st Century Socialism.”

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health, delivered a talk, titled “How to find your passion,” on Feb. 27 to students as part of the Real Talk Series organized and sponsored by the Office for Student Success and Research that Reaches Out. Dr. Obidoa also delivered a presentation, titled “The Role of Balanced Narratives in Building a New Africa,” at the 22nd annual conference of the African Studies Research Forum March 31 at the University of West Georgia.

Dr. Anya Silver, professor of English, authored “The Secret of Ferns” in The Cresset (Spring 2018): 28. She also participated in a poetry reading with retired professor Dr. Stephen Bluestone at Mercer on March 13.

Dr. Richard F. Wilson, Columbus Roberts of Christianity and chair of religion, was notified that the first phase of construction is nearly complete on the Richard F. Wilson Baptist Elementary School, an effort by the Liberia Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention to establish a school in one of the poorest and least-served counties in the country, River Gee County in Southeast Liberia. The school is expected to open in August or September. Dr. Wilson served for three years as president of Liberia Baptist Theological Seminary on loan from Mercer.

Marian Zielinski, professor emerita of communication studies and theatre, received a Juror’s Award for “Beckoning of Night” in the Professional Art Quilt Alliance – South’s exhibit “Passion” at the Page-Walker Art and History Center in Cary, North Carolina. Two of her works, “Woolgathering” and “The Curtain Rises,” were also accepted for the exhibit, which will remain on display through May 13. Her most recent art quilt, “Ancestry,” was accepted into “Artfields,” an all-art juried exhibition in Lake City, South Carolina, and will be on display April 20-28.

Jody Blanke, Ernest L. Baskin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Law, and co-author Janine Hiller of Virginia Tech, had an article, titled “Predictability for Privacy in Data Driven Government,” accepted for publication in the Minnesota Journal of Law, Science and Technology. Blanke’s article “Privacy and Outrage“ was recently published by the Case Western Reserve Journal of Law, Technology and the Internet.

Dr. Antonio Saravia, assistant professor of economics, and Dr. Clara Mengolini, assistant professor of Spanish, obtained research grant from the Koch Foundation for the project “How Do Socio-Economic Conditions Matter for Socialist Indoctrination? The Case of Latin America’s 21st Century Socialism.”

Dr. Lane Wakefield, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, and junior Sachin Khurana presented “Using Impression Management to Predict Attendance and Ticket Sales” March 9 at the Sport Entertainment Venues of Tomorrow National Conference in Columbia, South Carolina.

Fran Kamp, clinical associate professor, and Suzanne Applegate, clinical assistant professor, presented “Simulation Across the Curriculum” at the Simulation Training and Research Initiative of Atlanta in February.

Paul E. Knowlton, founding director of the Institute for Spirituality in the Professions, presented Continuing Legal Education sessions directed to wellness and spirituality in the legal profession to attorneys at the State Bar of Georgia as part of its “Attorney Wellness” series, and at Georgia State University College of Law as part of the Atlanta Bar Association’s “Developing Attorney” series.

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, associate professor of practice theology, was featured March 9 in a New York Times article, titled “A Quiet Exodus: Why Black Worshipers Are Leaving White Evangelical Churches.”

Dr. Awatef Ahmed Ben Ramadan, assistant professor of health informatics, recently completed a certificate program in “Online Course Design and Delivery” through the Office of Distance Learning in Penfield College. The 15-hour certificate program consists of three levels of hands-on instruction in the use of the University’s learning management system, the application of instructional design methodologies to content development, and the implementation and delivery of learning through the use of online tools. Dr. Ben Ramadan co-authored a paper, titled “Female Breast Cancer Survival Data in Missouri Senatorial Districts and Improve Visualization of the Obtained Results Using Interactive Mapping Reports, 2004 – 2010,” which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Medical Internet Research-Public Health and Surveillance. Dr. Ben Ramadan also was invited to speak at the international conference Geographic Information Systems: Usability, Perception, and Preferences of Public Health Professionals, July 5-6, in Berlin, Germany, as well as at the 11th annual World Cancer Congress, May 18-20, in  Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

Dr. Arla Bernstein, assistant professor of communication, and Dr. Carol Isaac, assistant professor in Tift College of Education, authored an article, titled “Evaluating Critical Thinking for Online Discussion,” which was accepted for publication in the International Journal for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning. This research project began in 2015 when the two professors met in a Faculty Learning Community for Online Teaching directed by Dr. Susan Codone, which led to a conference presentation in 2017 at Virginia Tech and a multi-method collaboration this year culminating in a manuscript for the journal.

Dr. Thompson Biggers, associate professor of liberal studies, and Jean Denerson, coordinator of student support services for the Macon Regional Academic Center, had a paper, titled “The Dialectics of Interracial Interpersonal Relationships,” accepted for presentation at the Southern States Communication Association convention on April 5 in Nashville, Tennessee. The paper is a continuation of their research into the dynamics of interracial interpersonal relationships.

Dr. Caroline Brackette, associate professor of counseling, served as a grant reviewer for the 2018-21 NCAA CHOICES Alcohol Program. The grant provides funding for NCAA member institutions and conferences to integrate athletics into campus-wide efforts to reduce alcohol abuse. Dr. Brackette also graduated from the FBI Citizens Academy Program. Held once a year in Atlanta, the Citizens Academy gives community leaders, business professionals, religious leaders and other citizens an inside look at the FBI and its operations. The selection process is highly competitive. After completing the six-week Citizens Academy program, participants are encouraged to join the Citizens Academy Alumni Association. The alumni are active year-round in community projects, hosting speaker events and book signings, and supporting the FBI’s mission in the community by promoting internet safety and crime prevention awareness.

Dr. Kenyon C. Knapp, professor of counseling and coordinator of the Doctor of Philosophy in Counselor Education and Supervision, co-led a group of 11 to Kampala, Uganda, March 2-10, to conduct a trauma counseling training for 120 Ugandan counselors. Four doctoral counseling students – Jacqueline Robinson, Lynn Paige, Felicia Tillman and Marlon Williams – helped teach during the training, which involved collaboration with two faculty members and four students from Richmont Graduate University. The institutions partnered with the Uganda Counseling Association and helped train staff from other refugee agencies. The trip was sponsored by Conscience International, a humanitarian aid agency based in Georgia.

Dr. Tri Le, assistant professor of mathematics and computer science, co-authored a paper, titled “On the Interpretation of Ensemble Classifiers in terms of Bayes Classifiers,” which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Classification: Volume 35, DOI: 10.1007/s00357.

Dr. Suneetha B. Manyam, associate professor of counseling, co-authored a book chapter with Ph.D. student Jonathan Brown, titled “Assessment in Rehabilitation Counseling” which was published in the book Tests and Assessments in Counseling published by Routledge. Dr. Manyam also represented Mercer as Diversity and Equity Council co-chair and Region IV representative at the 2018 Spring National Council on Rehabilitation Education Conference in Anaheim, California. She co-presented a pre-conference learning workshop on “Multiculturalism and Social Justice in the Rehabilitation Counseling Curriculum: Consumer Advocacy” along with seasoned rehabilitation counselor educators from Coppin State, Southern-Illinois and California State universities.

Dr. Richard H. Martin, professor of criminal justice and homeland security, recently completed four peer reviews for three academic journals. He reviewed two articles, “An Elaboration on Computer Frauds from the Perspective of Iran’s Law and International Instruments” and “A Rare Case of Sub-Diaphragmatic Oesophageal Perforation Resulting in Peritonitis,” for the Forensic Research and Criminology International Journal, a review of the article “Artificial Intelligence in Forensic Science” for the Journal of Forensic Science and Addiction, and a review of the article “The Metaphors of Secondary School Teachers Towards the Concept of Multiculturalism” for the Journal of Education and Training Studies.

Dr. Merrin Oliver, assistant professor of psychology, recently completed a certificate program in “Online Course Design and Delivery” through the Office of Distance Learning in Penfield College. The 15-hour certificate program consists of three levels of hands-on instruction in the use of the University’s learning management system, the application of instructional design methodologies to content development, and the implementation and delivery of learning through the use of online tools.

Dr. Karen D. Rowland, associate professor of counseling, and Dr. Adrienne White, adjunct professor of counseling, presented a workshop, titled “Snap Parenting: Teenagers in the Age of Social Media,” March 9 at the International Family Therapy Association World Congress in Bangkok, Thailand. Dr. White is a 2017 graduate of the Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision program in the Department of Counseling, where Dr. Rowland served as her dissertation chair. Dr. Rowland and Dr. Erin Mason, assistant professor at Georgia State University, presented “Site Supervision Nuts and Bolts: Using the Discrimination Model” to all school counselors in Gwinnett County Public Schools on March 29. Dr. Rowland also served as a subject expert and test reviewer for the Georgia Assessments for the Certification of Educators School Counseling Study Companion.

Dr. Tyler Wilkinson, assistant professor and coordinator of the Clinical Mental Health Counseling Program, co-authored with Ph.D. students Dannielle Smith and Ramona Wimberly a manuscript, titled “Trends in Ethical Complaints Leading to Professional Counseling Licensing Boards Disciplinary Actions,” which was accepted for publication in the Journal of Counseling and Development. Dr. Wilkinson also authored a book chapter, titled “Intelligence Testing: WISC V,” for the textbook Tests and Assessments in Counseling: A Case by Case Exploration published by Routledge.

Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Dorina Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Stephen Hill, associate professor of mechanical engineering, developed collaborative work on “Synergistic Effects of UV Radiation and Moisture on Polymers with and without Metallic Coatings” and elaborated a paper that was accepted for publication in the Journal of Composite Materials. This paper detailed the technical aspects of behavior and improvement of polymer materials properties with metallic coatings when exposed to harsh environmental conditions. The undergraduate learning experience associated with this work along with the student learning outcomes were both published and presented at the American Society of Engineering Education Southeastern Regional Conference in March in Daytona Beach, Florida. This is one of many projects in which this group from the Mechanical Engineering Department is actively involved, including the antibacterial effects of nanoparticles, corrosion of metals, and impact erosion of materials coated with nanoparticles. Recently, these activities have resulted in publications and student presentations at the Southern Conference Undergraduate Research Forum in Spartanburg, South Carolina, Gulf Coast Undergraduate Research Symposium at Rice University, 60th Annual Technical Conference of the Society of Vacuum Coaters in Providence, Rhode Island, and the American Vacuum Society 64th International Symposium in Tampa, Florida.

David Hricik, professor, spoke on legal ethical issues and intellectual property at the United States Patent and Trademark Office in Alexandria, Virginia, at the 2nd annual Energy Industry IP Law Conference in Houston, Texas, and at the inaugural conference of the Patent and Trademark Appeals Board Association in Washington, D.C. In addition, he continued his work for the American Law Institute and on the nation’s leading patent blog, patentlyo.com.

Dr. David Ritchie, director of international initiatives and professor of law and philosophy, taught in the annual human rights workshop at Magdalen College, Oxford. The workshop, which is convened by the Oxford Consortium for Human Rights and the Institute for Ethics, Law and Armed Conflict, brought together 40 students from around the world to discuss contemporary human rights issues. Dr. Ritchie taught the session on “Critical Perspectives About Human Rights.” Four Mercer Law students attended the workshop and reported on the Traffic Jam organization designed and implemented by Dr. Tammy Crutchfield, professor of marketing in the Eugene W. Stetson School of Business and Economics, to fight sex trafficking.

Michael Sabbath, Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute/W. Homer Drake Jr. Endowed Chair in Bankruptcy Law, made two presentations at the 44th Annual Seminar on Bankruptcy Law and Rules hosted March 22-24 by the Southeastern Bankruptcy Law Institute in Atlanta. His topics were “Security Interests in Consumer Cases” and “Perfection of Financial Assets Under Article 9 of the Uniform Commercial Code.”

Dr. Mohammed Abdelsaid, assistant professor of pharmacology, gave an oral presentation, titled “Inhibition of EphrinB2 Expression in Pericytes Decreases Cerebrovascular Pathological Neovascularization in Diabetes,” at the International Stroke Conference 2018 in January in Los Angeles, California. He also had a poster presentation, titled “Increased EphrinB2 expression in pericytes contributes to retinal vascular death in diabetes” accepted for the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology​ 2018, in April in Honolulu, Hawaii. Dr. Abdelsaid had a review article, titled “Impact of Metabolic Diseases on Cerebral Circulation: Structural and Functional Consequences,​” accepted for publication in the Journal of Comprehensive Physiology.

Dr. Christy Bridges, associate professor of histology, Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, assistant professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, and Lucy Joshee, research assistant III, co-authored with Master of Biomedical Sciences student Sarah Orr, “Disposition of methylmercury over time in a 75% nephrectomized rat model” in the Journal of Toxicology and Environmental Health. Orr presented a poster, titled “Potential Mechanisms of Inorganic Mercury Intoxication in Rat Kidney Cells,” at the annual meeting of the Society of Toxicology in San Antonio, Texas, and received an honorable mention award from the Molecular and Systems Biology Specialty Section. Additionally, Dr. Bridges, Joshee, Orr, School of Medicine alumna Renee Franklin, Mercer alumna and current Master of Medical Science student Sanya Nijhara and undergraduate student Hannah Georgie co-authored “Pregnancy alters renal and hematologic burden of mercury in females” in Biological Trace Element Research.

Dr. Steve Carpenter, professor and chair of medicine, currently serves on the Government Affairs Committee of the American Gastroenterological Association and has been appointed to the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) episode-based Cost Measure Clinical Subcommittee. This subcommittee provides advice to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regarding GI disease management costs.

Dr. Susan Cline, associate professor of biomedical sciences, and Dr. Roberta Weintraut, associate professor of family medicine, co-authored an article, titled “What nutrition-related knowledge, skills and attitudes should medical students develop?,” in Medical Science Educator 27:579-583. The article was co-authored with colleagues from medical schools at the University of Utah, Rutgers University, Oakland University, Brigham Young University and the University of California-San Francisco, as well as the Lake Eric and University of New England Colleges of Osteopathic Medicine.

Elisha Curry, clinical research coordinator, passed the Certified Clinical Research Coordinator (CCRC) exam through the Association of Clinical Research Professionals (ACRP). The areas tested include clinical trial operations (good clinical practices), data management and informatics, ethical and participant safety considerations, product development and regulation, scientific concepts and research design, and study and site management. ACRP is the leading certifier of clinical research professionals. Certification promotes professionalism, validates competence, shows dedication to quality standards, and elevates one and sites above the crowd.

Dr. Michael Ellis, clinical assistant professor, published Caring for Autism: Practical Advice from a Parent and Physician with Oxford University Press in February. The book focuses on autism spectrum disorder for parents and professionals.

Dr. Hemant Goyal, assistant professor and assistant director of the Internal Medicine Residency Program, served as the principal author of “New and emerging therapies in treatment of Clostridium difficile infection,” a literature review published in the European Journal of Gastroenterology and Hepatology” in March.

Dr. William Hannah, associate professor of medicine, was appointed to a two-year term on the Internal Medicine Board Exam Committee of the American Board of Internal Medicine, beginning July 1.

Dr. Christy R. Peterson, assistant professor of pediatrics, was promoted to pediatric clerkship director for the Macon campus, effective Jan. 1. Dr. Peterson previously served as associate pediatric clerkship director for five years.

Dr. Eric K. Shaw, associate professor of community medicine, co-authored “Barriers and facilitators to expanding roles of medical assistants in patient-centered medical homes (PCMHs)” in the Journal of the American Board of Family Medicine 31(2): 226-235.

Dr. Laura Silo-Suh, assistant professor of microbiology, recently published a groundbreaking analysis of metabolism in the bacterium Pseudomonas aeruginosa, titled “Transcriptome analysis of Pseudomomas aeruginosa n-glycerol-3-phosphate dehydrogenase mutant reveals a disruption in bioenergetics.” P. aeruginosa is a human pathogen and the major cause of morbidity and mortality in cystic fibrosis patients. This research involved graduate student Tyler Giles, who is enrolled in the School of Medicine’s Class of 2021, and medical student Austin Powers, who is enrolled in the School of Medicine’s Class of 2019. In this collaborative effort, Dr. Jon Shuman, assistant professor of biochemistry in the School of Medicine and a faculty member in the Master of Science in Preclinical Sciences and the Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences programs, is the first author on this paper.

Dr. Jeffrey Stephens, professor and chair of internal medicine, co-authored two abstracts that were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in March. They were titled “Safety and Efficacy of E/C/F/TAF in HIV-infected Adults on Chronic Hemodialysis“ and “Switching to Bictegravir/Emtracitabine/Tenofovir Alafenimide (B/F/TAF) in Women.” Mercer University Clinical Research conducted both trials, as well as three more with newly FDA-approved drug Biktarvy.

Dr. Jacob Warren, director of the Center for Rural Health and Health Disparities and associate professor of community medicine, was named to the Georgia Farmworker Health Program Governing Board. The board oversees Georgia’s farmworker health initiatives funded by the federal Health Resources and Services Administration. This includes overseeing funding directed toward migrant and seasonal farmworker health in Georgia, making recommendations about migrant health issues, and promoting continuous quality improvement in migrant health care for the state. The board falls under the Georgia Department of Community Health and is managed through Georgia’s State Office of Rural Health.

Tony Kemp, senior associate director of Academic and Advising Services and adjunct professor in the College of Liberal Arts, judged extemporaneous speaking for the Georgia High School Association’s Area 5-A Public Literary Competition hosted by Georgia Military College on March 6.

Dr. Rebecca Grunzke, edTPA coordinator and instructor, presented a paper, titled “Is There a Doctor in the Mouse? Proposing a Cyberethnography of Online Diagnosers,” for the panel Biomedical Subjectivities and Imagined Futures​, sponsored by the Society for Medical Anthropology at the annual meeting of the American Anthropological Association, Nov. 28-Dec. 3 in Washington, D.C. Dr. Grunzke is an anthropologist of education who focuses on informal educational modalities, including popular culture representations in social and entertainment media, especially the internet.

New Faculty and Staff

Promotions and Transfers