College of Education

Dr. Jeff Hall, associate professor of education, and Dr. Lucy Bush, associate professor of education, presented “Virtual Visits:  Touring the World Using Minecraft” at the annual conference of the International Society for the Social Studies, held virtually Feb. 26.

Dr. Robbie J. Marsh, assistant professor of special education, co-authored “Teacher Perceptions of School Connectedness of Students with Emotional and Behavioral Disorders” in the International Journal of Arts, Humanities and Social Science, 2(2), 1-7. Dr. Marsh and Dr. Robert Helfenbein, associate dean for research and faculty affairs and professor of curriculum studies, authored an op-ed, titled “Students lose federal protections under special ed voucher,” March 28 in the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Dr. Leah Panther, assistant professor of literacy education, had two presentations accepted to the American Educational Research Association virtual conference in April. The presentations on English curriculum and literacy instruction are titled “Reimagining the English Curriculum with the Black Fantastic” and “Critical Memetic Analysis: A Culturally Sustaining, Trauma Informed Literacy Intervention.” The second presentation is with current Mercer doctoral students Latoya Tolefree and Paul Siegel.

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle grades and secondary education, hosted “Georgia on my Mind: A Day of Professional Development on Local History Topics for Elementary Social Studies Teachers” March 20 on Mercer’s Atlanta campus. Dr. Perrotta was the recipient of a SEED grant from the Office of the Provost to support this event. Dr. Thomas Koballa, dean, and Dr. Loleta Sartin, associate dean, delivered opening remarks. Presenters included Emily Cobb from the Atlanta History Center, who spoke about Native America in Georgia and the Trail of Tears; Joan Compton from the Johns Creek Historical Society, who discussed historical preservation of the African American Macedonia Cemetery in Johns Creek; Dr. Dana Wiggins from Georgia State University, who highlighted matters of historical contextualization of Confederate monuments; Dr. Aubrey Underwood of Clark Atlanta University, who presented on women’s history and roles in environmental conservation in Georgia; and Special Agent Marc Benjamin from the Federal Bureau of Investigation, who spoke about the color of the law in the scope of the Constitution and protecting citizen’s rights. College of Education Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction students Jamiliah Hickson and Caitlin Hochuli served as student ambassadors, assisting with participant and speaker check-in, setting up catering and collecting data for program evaluation.

College of Health Professions

Dr. Jeffrey Ebert, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, co-authored a manuscript, titled “The utility of neuromotor retraining to augment manual therapy and vestibular rehabilitation in a patient with post-concussion syndrome: a case report,” published in the International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.  

Dr. Ann Lucado, associate professor of physical therapy, and Dr. Craig Marker, professor of psychology, co-authored a manuscript, titled “The effect of scapular muscle strengthening on functional recovery in patients with lateral elbow tendinopathy: a pilot randomized controlled trial,” published in the Journal of Sport Rehabilitation. Dr. Lucado, Dr. Deborah Wendland, associate professor of physical therapy, and Dr. David Taylor, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented “Health Promotion, Wellness and Prevention Practice in Oncologic Physical Therapy” at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, held virtually in February.

Dr. Deborah Wendland, associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented “Step Activity During Offloading of Diabetic Neuropathic Plantar Ulcers” at the Combined Sections Meeting of the American Physical Therapy Association, held virtually in February. Additionally, Dr. Wendland, Dr. David Taylor, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, and Dr. Jeannette Anderson, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented “Building Integumentary Physical Therapy Clinical Capacity: Developing Future Practitioners Through Academic and Clinical Collaboration” at the meeting.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. James Eric (Jay) Black, Schumann Endowed Professor and chair of media studies, served as editor and lead author of the 2021 American Chamber of Commerce (AmCham) of South China “White Paper on the Business Environment in China” and the “Special Report on the State of Business in South China.” Both publications were officially released at an international conference in late March and are available for download on the AmCham South China website.

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English, published the essay “African American Literature, Citizenship, and War, 1863-1932” in War and American Culture from Cambridge University Press, as well as the essay “In the South: Three Mississippi Writers and the Great War Mobilization” in The Cambridge History of American Great War Literature and Culture from Cambridge University Press. He also reviewed applications for the Boren Scholarship for the National Security Education Program.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, published “The Civil War in Memory” in War in American Literature, edited by Jennifer Haytock and published by Cambridge University Press.

Dr. Joseph Keene, assistant professor of chemistry, presented “Surface Chemistry of Quantum Dots and DoD Corrosion” at the inaugural National Meeting of the Primarily Undergraduate Nanomaterials Cooperative, held virtually on March 20.

Dr. Mary Alice Morgan, professor of English and women’s and gender studies, was honored with the 2020 Gulf-South Award for Outstanding Practitioner Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education at the organization’s annual conference, held virtually March 15-18. The Gulf-South Summit comprises the service-learning organizations for a 12-state region of the Southeast.

Dr. Kedar Nepal, associate professor of mathematics, was elected president of the Association of Nepalese Mathematicians in America (ANMA). He was sworn in during the General Assembly of ANMA, held virtually on Jan. 10. ANMA is a nonprofit educational and research inclined organization, formed by Nepalese mathematicians and statisticians in the U.S., with goals to gather and disseminate accomplishments and experiences in teaching and research of Nepalese mathematicians/statisticians in Nepal, the U.S. and around the world.

Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo, associate professor of global health studies and anthropology and chair of international and global studies, authored a chapter, titled “Behind the Door: Sukuma Mitunga (Zombie) Narratives as Social Critique in Northwestern Tanzania,” in Gender, Supernatural Beings, and the Liminality of Death: Monstrous Males/Fatal Females, edited by Rebecca Gibson and Jay M. Vanderveen and published by Lexington Books.

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, associate professor of global health and Africana studies, Dr. Natalie Bourdon, associate professor of anthropology and women’s and gender studies, Dr. Shehnaz Haqqani, assistant professor of religion, Dr. Matthew Harper, associate professor of history and Africana studies, and Dr. Laura Simon, assistant professor of sociology, co-presented a poster, titled “Starting from Scratch: Practical Leadership Lessons from Diversity and Inclusion Work at a College of Liberal Arts and Sciences,” at the Association of American Colleges and Universities’ virtual conference, “Upholding These Truths: Equity, Diversity, and Democracy,” held March 24-26. Dr. Obidoa and Dr. Ansley Booker, director of diversity and inclusion initiatives, also co-presented a poster, titled “Pathways to Success: A reflective leadership journey on Diversity, Equity, and Democracy during the Summer of Racial Reckoning and COVID-19 Pandemic,” at the conference.

Tennille Shuster, associate professor of graphic design, was selected to be an artist-in-residence at the In Cahoots Residency program in Petaluma, California, on March 8-12. In Cahoots Residency is a competitive residency program, developed to provide dedicated time and space for artists to pursue creative projects and research using specialized equipment for focused inquiry into artist’s books, letterpress, writing and collaboration. While in residence, Shuster designed and letterpress printed a new artist’s book, titled “I Look at the World,” in a limited edition of 12. The book features a poem written by Langston Hughes and is illustrated by Kandy Lopez-Moreno.

Dr. Rosalind Simson, associate professor of philosophy, and Dr. Creighton Rosental, professor of philosophy, as co-presidents of the Georgia Philosophical Society, helped to organize and run the Online Conference on Philosophical Perspectives on Contemporary Problems on March 25-26. At this conference, Dr. Simson delivered the president’s address, titled “Reconceptualizing Abortion Rights.” Dr. Simson and Dr. Rosental also co-edited a book, Freedom and Society: Essays on Autonomy, Identity, and Political Freedom, published this spring by Mercer University Press. Dr. Simson wrote one of the chapters, titled “Effective Altruism and the Challenge of Partiality: Should We Take Special Care of Our Own?”

Dr. Vasile Stănescu, associate professor of communication studies and theatre, gave an invited talk for the University of Kent on animal agriculture and its effect on climate change.

Dr. Charlotte Thomas, professor of philosophy, gave an invited lecture, titled “Nicias’s Virtue,”  at St. John’s College Santa Fe on March 5. Dr. Thomas also presented her poster, “Introduction to Ethics: The Daybreak Project: Intentional Service and Ethical Reflection for Intro Students,” at the Gulf-South Summit on March 15-18. She was an invited participant in “Liberty and the Struggle for the Early Chinese State,” an international seminar sponsored by Liberty Fund and the Institute for Human Studies, on March 20-21. Dr. Thomas also hosted Core Conversations with Richard Kamber, philosophy professor at The College of New Jersey, on March 12, and Molly McGrath, philosophy professor at Assumption College, on March 26. Core Conversations is a series sponsored by the Association for Core Texts and Courses comprised of recorded remarks and live Q&As.

Evey Wilson, assistant professor of practice and journalist-in-residence at the Center for Collaborative Journalism, released a documentary with Georgia Public Broadcasting and was interviewed about it with collaborator Grant Blankenship on NPR’s “All Things Considered.” The film begins following residents of Juliette, Georgia, not long after they learn the coal ash pond adjacent to Georgia Power’s Plant Scherer is submerged in the same aquifer from which they draw their well water. This is the largest coal-fired power plant in the U.S., and the residents around the plant don’t have access to city or county water lines. Most have relied on water from their wells for decades. “Saving Juliette” is a story of what happens when people galvanize their community, question their political leanings and work to hold their representatives accountable, all in an effort to answer a question asked in the film by Juliette resident Gloria Hammond: “Will it ever be good water again?”

College of Nursing

Dr. Justus Randolph, professor, co-authored “Anatomical variations of the pyramidalis muscle: A systematic review and meta-analysis” in Surgical and Radiological Anatomy and “Surgical anatomy of the accessory middle colic artery: a meta-analysis with implications for splenic flexure cancer surgery” in Colorectal Disease.

Dr. Linda Streit, dean and professor, was selected as one of the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) School of Nursing’s 70 Visionary Leaders. She will be honored during a virtual event on April 20 to celebrate her accomplishments, as well as her fellow award recipients, during the school’s 70th anniversary. She was also reappointed to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (AACN) Organizational Leadership Network Board, serving as secretary to the board. Dr. Streit was also co-presenter at the AACN Organizational Leadership Network fall national meeting, titled “Academic-Practice Partnerships: Collaborating to Prepare Nursing Students for Practice.”

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Ajay K. Banga, professor, authored “Development and Evaluation of a Heparin Gel for Transdermal delivery via Laser-Generated Micropores” in Therapeutic Delivery, 2021 Feb 1;12(2):133-44. He also authored “Characterization of Microneedles and Microchannels for Enhanced Transdermal Drug Delivery” in Therapeutic Delivery, 2021 Jan 1;12(1):77-103. In addition, Dr. Banga authored “Transdermal Delivery of Breakthrough Therapeutics for the Management of Treatment-Resistant and Post-Partum Depression” in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics, 2020 Dec 15;591:120007.

Dr. Nader H. Moniri, professor and associate dean for research, and fourth-year pharmacy student Qadan Farah published “Short-chain free-fatty acid G protein-coupled receptors in colon cancer” in Biochemical Pharmacology. Dr. Moniri and two of his Ph.D. students also presented posters, titled “The skeletal muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine is a potent non-competitive histamine H1 receptor antagonist,” “Diverse roles of G-protein-coupled receptor 40 (GPR40/FFA1),” “GPR120 (FFA4) in the regulation of cell growth and motile activities in renal cell carcinoma” and “Differential modulation of β2AR mediated cAMP/ PKA/CREB signaling cascade in normal versus asthmatic airway epithelial cells,” at the 2021 Georgia Clinical and Translational Science Alliance Regional Conference, held virtually.

Dr. Lydia Newsom, clinical assistant professor, co-authored “A Survey of Provider-Reported Use and Perceived Effectiveness of Medications for Symptom Management in Telemedicine and Outpatient Visits for Mild COVID-19” in the Journal of Infectious Diseases and Therapy on March 22.

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. Arla Bernstein, assistant professor of communication, Justin Brown, day coordinator of the Douglas County Regional Academic Center, Dr. Steve Hamilton, assistant professor of human services and psychology, and Dr. James Eric Black, associate professor and Schumann Endowed Professor in Writing for Media, presented a panel presentation, titled “Harboring Hope through Community Journalism,” accepted to the Southern States Communication Association Conference on April 5-9. The panel will focus on three themes related to community journalism as a channel for hopefulness: the hope of a local newspaper as catalyst for community cohesion, the hope of collaborative journalism to help communities, and the hope of social media providing insights into community needs.

Dr. Zipangani Vokhiwa, associate professor of science, was selected by the board of the Environmental Education Alliance of Georgia (EEA) to moderate two Higher Education Summit sessions at its annual conference, which took place from March 11-13. During the two sessions, college professors, administrators and others who work in university settings participated in open discussions on topics ranging from the role of universities in creating an environmentally literate citizenry, strategic partnerships to increase the availability of professional development for pre-service teachers and recent college education major grads, the translation of research into practice for environmental education providers, and how colleges and universities can support and collaborate with ATEEG, Georgia’s nationally accredited certification program for environmental education. Dr. Vokhiwa is president-elect for EEA Georgia, and his tenancy for the EEA Georgia presidency will run from July 2021-July 2022.

School of Business

Dr. Tammy Crutchfield, senior associate dean and professor of marketing, was honored with the 2020 Gulf-South Award for Outstanding Faculty Contributions to Service-Learning in Higher Education – Instruction at the organization’s annual conference, held virtually March 15-18. The Gulf-South Summit comprises the service-learning organization for a 12-state region of the Southeast.

Dr. Andres Marroquin, visiting associate professor of economics, and Dr. Antonio Saravia, associate professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty, authored the study, “Is college education associated with left-leaning economic views? Evidence from Latin America,” accepted for publication March 6 in The Social Science Journal.

Dr. Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, associate professor of economics, participated in the forum “Empower Your Future,” designed for young adults with a particular emphasis on young women, to help high school students to learn more about careers in economics and finance. The event included a forum with alumni, faculty members and other professionals talking about their careers and why they chose economics and finance.

Dr. Antonio Saravia, associate professor of economics and director of the Center for the Study of Economics and Liberty, published the 2020 report of the Middle Georgia Economic Outlook Survey. He also published three op-eds in highly reputed newspapers in Latin America and was interviewed by CNN on the economy’s reaction to President Joe Biden’s rescue package and TVV on the effect of the $1,400 stimulus check.

Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, led a workshop, titled “Ideation: Exercises for Virtual Learning,” at the VentureWell OPEN 2021 Annual Conference on March 18, where she showcased her original experiential exercises for entrepreneurship educators to use to improve their virtual teaching.

School of Engineering

Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, working in collaboration with Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and students Gregory Baker, Nicholas Cordista, Benjamin Parisi and Lauryn McGahee, presented “Study the Enhancement of Mechanical Performance of Polymers via Particle Reinforcement Offered as an Independent Study Course” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference 2021, held virtually. The paper was also published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Kleio Avrithi, assistant professor of civil engineering, authored the paper “On the Material Properties for Piping Load and Resistance Factor Design” published in the Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology, Transactions of ASME, Vol. 143(4).

Dr. Susan Codone, professor of technical communication and director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Stephen Hill, associate dean and associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Laura Lackey, dean, professor and Georgia Kaolin Chair of Engineering, and Dr. Scott Schultz, senior associate dean and professor of industrial engineering, authored a conference paper, titled “An Engineering School’s COVID-19 Response to Fall Instruction (or how I spent my 2020 summer),” for the 2021 American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) Southeastern Section Conference. Dr. Schultz presented the paper virtually at the ASEE Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. Stephen Hill, associate dean and associate professor of mechanical engineering, working in collaboration with Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and students Ryan Partolan, Ali Alshahrani and Darrel Dunham presented “Integrating Jominy End-Quench Test apparatus from senior design project to mechanical engineering lab” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference 2021, held virtually. The paper was also published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Hodge Jenkins, associate professor and chair of mechanical engineering, presented “Effects of the 2020 COVID Quarantine on Machine Design Course Performance” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference 2021, held virtually. The paper was also published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Michael MacCarthy, associate professor of environmental and civil engineering and director of the Cecil Day Family Center for International Groundwater Innovation, was recently named to the Special Graduate Faculty at the University of Guelph (Canada) in support of Mercer’s collaboration with University of Guelph’s School of Engineering and the G360 Institute for Groundwater Research.

Dr. Ken Marek, instructor of mechanical engineering, presented “Pandemic Teaching: Statics Student Experiences” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference 2021, held virtually. The paper was also published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Chandan Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and students Alexandra Dunn, Josh Henderson and Zachary Kubas presented “Capstone Engineering Project: Design an Apparatus for Testing the Thermal Impedance and Apparent Thermal Conductivity of Different Thermal Interface Materials” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference 2021, held virtually. The paper was also published in the conference proceedings.

Dr. Alireza Sarvestani, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and students Jennifer Andrews, Caitlin Patton and Holly Wells presented “Capstone Project: Harvesting Vehicular Kinetic Energy Using Piezoelectric Sensors” at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference 2021, held virtually. Also, Dr. Sarvestani, working in collaboration with Dr. Chamaree de Silva, associate professor of physics in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and students Mason Burton, Fatima Lopez-Sosa, Emma Perdomo and Kathryn Wirth presented “Capstone Project: Learning Cell Mechanobiology Using a Stretch Chamber” at the conference. Both papers were also published in the conference proceedings.

School of Law

David Hricik, professor of law, gave presentations to a combined meeting of the Inns of Court of Washington State, the Association of University Technology Managers, the midwinter meeting of the American Intellectual Property Law Association and the Arizona State Bar Association. In addition, the Georgia Bar Journal continued publication of “Writing Matters,” a column he co-authors with Karen Sneddon, professor of law.

Scott Titshaw, associate dean for academic affairs and associate professor of law, led a panel discussion on “Professionalism in 2021” with three practicing attorneys for the annual Chapter Conference of the Georgia-Alabama of the American Immigration Lawyers Association on March 25.

School of Medicine

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, was invited to participate as an expert panelist on a 360 roundtable hosted by the New England Journal of Medicine. The roundtable will follow a half-day symposium on climate change and clinical practice where Mercer’s School of Medicine will serve as a brand sponsor. Dr. Barkin will discuss the mental health effects of extreme weather events on mothers and children.

Dr. Susan Cline, professor of biochemistry,  Dr. William Hannah, associate professor of internal medicine, and Dr. Steve Livingston, associate professor of family therapy, were selected as the latest members of the Georgia Delta Chapter of the Alpha Omega Alpha Medical Honor Society. New members also included Mercer alumni Dr. Tom Fausett, Dr. Candi Nobles-James and Dr. Patrice Walker.

Dr. Peter Huwe, assistant professor of biochemistry, was selected as a 2021 Governor’s Teaching Fellow to participate in the academic year symposia.

Anna Krampl, associate professor for library and information science, and Carolann Curry, associate professor for library and information science, presented a two-credit continuing education class, titled “Questionable Versus Reliable? Navigating the Biomedical Scholarly Publishing Landscape,” at the Georgia Health Sciences Library Association annual meeting held virtually on March 19.

Dr. Yudan Wei, professor of community medicine, published a research article, titled “Plasma and water fluoride levels and hyperuricemia among adolescents: a cross-sectional study of a nationally representative sample of the United States for 2013-2016,” in Ecotoxicology and Environmental Safety. Dr. Sara Wetzstein, Class of 2020 graduate of the School of Medicine, served as a co-author of the paper.

School of Music

Dr. Jack Mitchener, professor of organ and director of the Townsend-McAfee Institute of Church Music, performed a recital on March 21 in celebration of the 336th birthday of Johann Sebastian Bach (1685-1750). The performance took place at The Cathedral of St. Philip in Atlanta, where Dr. Mitchener serves as organist and artist-in-residence, and it was livestreamed to a worldwide audience.

Amy Schwartz Moretti, director of the Robert McDuffie Center for Strings, professor, and Caroline Paul King Chair in Strings, appeared Feb. 20 in the Seattle Chamber Music Society Online Winter Festival Concerts performing Brahms’ “Trio for Violin, Cello and Piano in B Major, Op.8” with cellist Efe Baltacigil and pianist Orion Weiss, and Feb. 17, performing Beethoven’s “Sonata #6 for Violin and Piano in A Major, Op.30, No.1” with Orion Weiss. She appeared March 28 in the Chamber Music Charleston (CMC) Ovation Concert Series at the Dock Street Theatre performing Brahms’ “Piano Quartet No. 3 in c minor, Op. 60” and Arensky’s “Piano Quintet in D Major, Op. 51” with pianist Andrew Armstrong and the strings of CMC. The concert was recorded for virtual viewing. Moretti recorded music for “From Sinatra to Samoa,” a Matt Catingub project honoring his mom Mavis Rivers who recorded for Sinatra’s Reprise label, at the Mercer Music at Capricorn studios in February with the McDuffie Center for Strings Young Artists. This performance will air on SiriusXM’s SiriuslySinatra Channel. Since January, Moretti continues to be featured on “Performance Today” broadcasts on YourClassical and American Public Media radio, most recently, Jan. 22. Moretti premiered March 27 at 5 p.m. in a special, one-hour program featuring Schumann’s “Piano Quintet in E-flat Major, Op.44” with Benjamin Baker, violin; Matthew Lipman, viola, Nicholas Canellakis, cello, and Michael Brown, piano. Presented by the Bridgehampton Chamber Music Festival, Artistic Director Marya Martin interviewed Moretti and Brown to discuss this “groundbreaking work not just for its unique and inspiring creativity, but because of its combination of instruments.” After the premiere, viewing online was made available for the following week.

Dr. Nathan Myrick, assistant professor of church music, published a book with Oxford University Press, titled Music for Others: Care, Justice, and Relational Ethics in Christian Music.

School of Theology

Dr. David P. Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, was interviewed for WalletHub’s “Coronavirus Easter Survey,” published March 30.

Staff and Administration

Tony Kemp, associate vice president for events and special programs, adjudicated duet acting submissions from middle school students for this year’s Florida Thespian Conference that took place virtually March 17-21.

Kyle is the director of media relations at Mercer. In addition to being the primary media contact for most academic and administrative units of the university, he coordinates hometown and university news releases and serves as editor of the News@Mercer e-newsletter and Reach magazine.​