Faculty and Staff Notables


Dr. Justin Ballenger, assistant professor of STEM education, finalized a seed grant agreement with the Time2Give Foundation that will provide initial funding of $12,000 to support the development of AgSTEM learning partnerships with schools in the metro Atlanta area. These partnerships will encourage participation in computer science and aggrotech for students in the fifth through 12th grade.

Dr. Andrew Grunzke, associate professor of education, published his monograph Education and the Female Superhero: Slayers, Cyborgs, Sorority Sisters, and Schoolteachers. The book is the inaugural volume in a new series on popular culture and education from Lexington Press.

Dr. Robbie Marsh, assistant professor of special education, co-authored two manuscripts accepted for publication in December: “Preliminary Development and Validation of The School Connectedness Questionnaire” in Child Indicators Research and “Mental Health In Schools: Service Provision and Multi-tiered Systems of Support” in Intervention in School and Clinic.

Barbara McWethy, instructor and coordinator of the Early Learning and Development Program, was honored at the inaugural Community Service Awards hosted by the Smyrna Police Department for her work assisting with the Make a Wish birthday celebration of a local child.

Dr. Leah Panther, assistant professor of literacy education, authored an article, titled “There’s more than one good way to teach kids how to read,” published in The Conversation.  She also gave two presentations at the Georgia Convention of Teachers of English conference in Jekyll Island. The first, titled “Investigating culturally responsive literacy instruction with texts in PK through 12 ELA classrooms,” was co-presented with Dr. Felicia Baiden, assistant professor of clinical practice, Dr. Vicki Luther, associate professor and Dr. Sara Luke, assistant professor of special education. The second presentation, titled “Bookies, psychics, and Karens: Pre-service teachers developing professional identities and pedagogies in their own words,” was co-presented with current Mercer graduate students and a local teacher.

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle grades and secondary education, authored an article, titled “The Busing Controversy and the 2019 Democratic Primary Debate,” the sole article in the February edition of Middle Level Learning, a publication of the National Council for the Social Studies.

Carlene Russell, director of candidate program progression, Rebecca Grunzke, edTPA coordinator, and Caroline Young, director of assessment, will present on “Transfer Student Success on Professional Licensure Exams: Obstacles and Strategies” at the National Institute for the Study of Transfer Students conference Feb. 5 in Atlanta.

 Dr. Alyssa Fiss, associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented “Clinician Perspectives of a Novel Pediatric Developmental Monitoring System For Children With Cerebral Palsy: Acceptability, Appropriateness, and Feasibility” at the Academy of Pediatric Physical Therapy’s annual conference Nov. 15-17 in Anaheim, California. She co-authored the manuscripts “Longitudinal change in common body function/structure impairments and services in children with cerebral palsy from age 1.5 to 11 years” and “Development of a grading rubric to assess learning in pediatric physical therapy education” in Pediatric Physical Therapy.

Dr. Emily Gabriel, assistant professor of athletic training, co-authored a manuscript, titled “The Reliability of the Star Excursion Balance Test and Y – Balance Test: A Systematic Review,” in International Journal of Sports Physical Therapy.

Dr. Jonathan Addleton, adjunct professor of international and global studies, co-authored “How Great Power Competition is Changing the Geopolitics of Mongolia” for Stratfor, a news and analysis service based in Austin, Texas.

Dr. Heather Bowman Cutway, professor of biology, authored “Fringed Campion: Conservation and Reintroduction of a Federally Endangered Species” in Tipularia, the journal of the Georgia Botanical Society. The article describes efforts by students to propagate a rare plant found only in Georgia and Florida and establish new populations at the Ocmulgee Mounds National Historical Park.

Dr. Jamie Cockfield, Willis Borders Glover Professor Emeritus of History, wrote a biography of the Russian Empire’s greatest World War I general, General Aleksei A. Brusilov, titled Russia’s Iron General: The Life of General A. A. Brusilov, 1853-1926 (Lexington Books; Rowman and Littlefield). Following publication of the book, Dr. Bruce Menning, America’s leading Russian military historian, invited Dr. Cockfield to write a chapter in his forthcoming book on the Russian Army in World War I, and Dr. Cockfield was invited to speak at the founding meeting of a society organized for the memory of the Russian Expeditionary Force in France in World War I.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, published “Father Aleksandr Men’s Son of Man,” in a collection of essays, Voices of the Voiceless: Religion, Communism, and the Keston Archive, edited by Julie deGraffenried and Zoe Knox. Dr. Daniel’s book manuscript, The Catacombs of Stalin’s Russia: Women in the Orthodox Church: Memoirs, which he edited and translated from Russian, was accepted for publication by Cornell University Press.

Dr. David A. Davis, associate professor of English, published a review of All Blood Runs Red: The Legendary Life of Eugene Bullard by Phil Keith and Tom Clavin Dec. 29 in the Jackson Clarion-Ledger.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, was appointed to the Organization of American Historians’ Frederick Jackson Turner Prize Committee, which recognizes the best first scholarly book on American history.

Dr. Amy Nichols-Belo, associate professor of global health studies and anthropology, organized a panel, “Changing Fieldsites, Changing Collaborations,” in December at the American Anthropological Association’s annual meeting in Vancouver, British Columbia. She also presented the paper “Ethnography of Space and Self: Reflecting on Spatial and Social Change in Mwanza Tanzania” at the meeting.

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, assistant professor of global health, delivered a presentation, titled “For Youth by Youth: Using PhotoVoice in Participatory Action Research and Social Change in Africa,” at the Association of Global South Studies 37th International Annual Conference in Buenos Aires, Argentina. She also co-organized and co-facilitated the Master Class Series on “Writing and Publishing in the Academy” with Dr. Daniel Williams, assistant professor and archivist, held fall 2019 and spring 2020 semesters at Mercer.

Dr. Randall Peters, professor emeritus of physics, published an article, titled “Hemodynamic complexities immediately after exercise,” at symcdc.com.

Tennille Davis Shuster, associate professor of graphic design, presented a paper, titled “Nine to Ninety: Book Art for All Ages,” at Intersections: The College Book Art Association’s (CBAA) annual conference Jan. 2-4 in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was also awarded a CBAA Rising Together Micro-Grant to teach a community zine-making workshop this spring.

Dr. Rosalind Simson, associate professor of philosophy, was appointed to the Dabney Adams Hart Distinguished Visiting Humanities Professorship at Agnes Scott College for 2020-21. The professorship, awarded annually, entails teaching one course at Agnes Scott College and giving a public lecture.

Dr. Carolyn Yackel, professor of mathematics, attended the semester-long program, “Illustrating Mathematics,” at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics during the fall semester. She participated in three of its weeklong conferences:  “Illustrating Geometry and Topology,” “Computational Textiles” and “Illustrating Number Theory and Algebra.” She also attended the Joint Mathematics meetings in Denver, Colorado, where she presented “Orbifolds Attainable Through Itajime Shibori.” Dr. Yackel pitched work to experts in geometry and mathematical arts, co-hosted the 20th annual Knitting Circle, which she founded in 2001, chaired the Committee for the Teaching of Undergraduate Mathematics (CTUM) meeting and facilitated the CTUM/CTYC Swap Session for Teaching Aligned with the Instructional Practices Guide. In November, she gave a talk on the same topic, but pitched to an undergraduate audience at Wellesley.

Stephanie Bennett, clinical assistant professor, presented a poster presentation, titled “Creating Sustainability in Global Service Learning Projects,” at the Global Service Learning Summit.

Dr. Natasha Laibhen-Parkes, clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Toinette Higgins, clinical assistant professor, had an abstract accepted by the National Conference on Race and Ethnicity to be presented at the inaugural conference in May in New York, New York.

Caroline Moore, clinical instructor, was accepted to the 2020 cohort of the Sigma Theta Tau Nightingale Challenge Leadership Development Program.

Dr. Justus Randolph, associate professor, co-authored an article, titled “Systematic review and meta-analysis of the anatomical variants of the left colic artery” in Colorectal Disease. He also co-presented two presentations at the annual meeting of the American Evaluation Association in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The presentations were titled “The association-sponsored journal authors discuss publishing in the American Journal of Evaluation” and “Assessing the impacts of a retention program on reducing risk factors among disadvantaged nursing students.”

Maura Schlairet, associate professor, will present her abstract “Cancer Survivorship” at the Oncology Nursing Society’s annual conference in April in San Antonio, Texas.

Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean and professor, was appointed in December to the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s Organizational Leadership Network Committee for 2019-2021. 

Dr. Martin J. D’Souza, professor, authored “Biofabrication of microcapsules encapsulating beta-TC-6 cells via scalable device and in-vivo evaluation in type 1 diabetic mice” in the International Journal of Pharmaceutics. Dr. D’Souza also authored “Harnessing T-cell activity against prostate cancer: A therapeutic microparticulate oral cancer vaccine” in the journal Vaccine.

Dr. Joshua Davis Kinsey, assistant professor, was chosen to participate in the National Association of Chain Drug Stores Foundation Faculty Scholars Program. He is one of only six pharmacy faculty members across the country to be chosen for this program. The 18-month program includes a $2,500 grant to conduct community pharmacy-based, patient-centered research. Dr. Kinsey and colleagues also had a poster accepted for the project, “Assessing the Cultural Climate for LGBTQ Employees and Student Pharmacists in Three Geographically Distinct Pharmacy Schools and Colleges.” The poster, which will be presented at the American Pharmacists Association’s annual meeting in March, was chosen as a top 10 poster for the conference out of 500 accepted posters.

Dr. Lydia Newsom, clinical assistant professor, Dr. Reid Proctor, clinical assistant professor, Dr. T. Vivian Liao, clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Leisa Marshall, clinical professor, co-authored “Implementation and Evaluation of Problem-based Video Podcasts in an Introductory Pharmacokinetics Course” in Currents in Pharmacy Teaching and Learning.

Dr. Jennifer Nguyen, assistant professor, was one of 16 faculty members selected nationally as recipients of the American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy New Investigator Award. The award includes $10,000 for her project, titled “Increasing Naloxone Access in Independent Community Pharmacies.” The grant spans March 2020-February 2021. Dr. Nguyen was also the lead author of “The Reach of the Don’t Fry Day Twitter Campaign: Content Analysis” in JMIR Dermatology.

Dr. Maria Thurston, clinical associate professor, authored the book chapter “Gout and Hyperuricemia” in Pharmacotherapy Principles and Practice, 5th ed.

Dr. C. Peeper McDonald, assistant professor of counseling, authored the manuscript “Racial Mislabeling in Multiracial Individuals: Implications for Professional Counseling and Education” for the upcoming issue of the Journal of Teaching and Supervision in Counseling, Vol. 2(1).

Dr. Hollis Phelps, assistant professor of interdisciplinary studies, published an article, titled “A Wealth that Differentiates: On Serving God or Mammon,” in the magazine The Bias. Dr. Phelps was also interviewed on “The Magnificast,” a podcast devoted to religion and politics, to discuss his new book, Jesus and the Politics of Mammon.

Dr. Dina M. Schwam, assistant professor of psychology and human services, contributed to the Handbook of Research on Developing Engaging Online Courses, published by IGI Global in January. Her chapter is titled “Understanding Self-Regulated Learning and Its Importance in Online Learning.”

Jody Blanke, Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Law, had his article, titled “Protection for ‘Inferences Drawn:’ A Comparison between the General Data Protection Rule and the California Consumer Privacy Act,” accepted for publication by the Global Privacy Law Review.

Dr. Geoffrey Ngene, associate professor of financial economics, authored an article, titled “What Drives Dynamic Connectedness of the U.S. Equity Sectors During Different Business Cycles?,” accepted for presentation at the 27th Multinational Finance Society Annual Conference to be held June 28-July 1 at the Gdańsk University of Technology in Gdańsk, Poland.

Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of entrepreneurship, attended the United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship’s annual conference in New Orleans, Louisiana, in January. She presented two of her research papers, titled “Knowledge Base and Learning in Entrepreneurship” and “Entrepreneur’s Characteristics,” during the sessions.

Dr. Lane Wakefield, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, is the first author of a competitive paper presentation, titled “Word-of-Mouth that Consumers Do Not Share and Why,” which will be presented at the American Marketing Association’s winter conference in San Diego, California.

Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, co-authored the article “Non-contact vibration monitoring of rotating wind turbines using a semi-autonomous UAV” published in Mechanical Systems and Signal Processing, Vol. 138, April 2020. Dr. Afshar also authored “Learning CAD: Who is the champion?,” accepted for publication at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. George Hayhoe, professor emeritus of technical communication, was named the recipient of the 2020 Alfred N. Goldsmith Award for Outstanding Achievement in Engineering Communication. The award has been given by the IEEE Professional Communication Society (PCS) since 1975. Dr. Hayhoe, who retired from Mercer in 2015, served as editor-in-chief of the IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication, published by the PCS since 2016. Previously, he served as editor of the Society for Technical Communication’s journal, Technical Communication, from 1996 to 2008. He is a Life Fellow of IEEE and a Fellow of the Society for Technical Communication.

Dr. Stephen Hill, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Dorina Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and student Matthews Brandon co-authored “Implementation of a Student Designed Material Wear Tester in a Mechanical Engineering Lab to Better Understand Student Learning as it pertains to ABET EAC Student Outcome 6,” accepted for publication at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. Hodge Jenkins, associate professor of mechanical engineering, authored “Efficacy of Teaching Professional Engineering Ethics to Engineering Students,” accepted for publication at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. Ken Marek, instructor of mechanical engineering, and Robert Gill, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, co-authored “Continuing laboratory changes: looking forward and back,” accepted for publication at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. Dorina Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, and student Dylan Kennedy co-authored “The Design of a New Lab for Mechanical Evaluations of Molded and 3 D Printed Polymers,” accepted for publication at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. Chandan K. Roy, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, co-authored “Manufactured 2D Truss Demonstration,” accepted for publication at the American Society for Engineering Education Southeastern Section Conference.

Dr. Joanna Thomas, assistant professor of biomedical engineering, wrote a research article, titled “Improved Control Over Polymer Nanofiber Deposition with a Programmable 3-Axis Electrospinning Apparatus,” published in the Journal of Electrostatics. The manuscript features electron microscopy images taken on Mercer’s School of Medicine Campus in Savannah and was co-authored by Mercer alumnus Maximilian Sonntag and undergraduate Amanda Cimino, a Goldwater Scholar. Dr. Thomas co-authored another manuscript, titled “Endogenous IL-33 and Its Autoamplification of IL-33/ST2 Pathway Play an Important Role in Asthma,” published in the Journal of Immunology.

David Hricik, professor, and Charles R. Adams III, adjunct professor, co-authored Georgia Law of Torts 2019-2020 Edition, published by Thomas Reuters. This treatise is the most widely used treatise in the State of Georgia.

Linda D. Jellum, associate dean for faculty research and development and Ellison Capers Palmer Sr. Professor of Tax Law, published “You’re Fired! Why the ALJ Multi-Track Dual Removal Provisions Violate the Constitution and Possible Fixes” in 26 George Mason Law Review 705 (2019). This article addresses the constitutionality of dual for-cause removal provisions that limit the president’s ability to remove administrative law judges. Jellum also published Mastering Legislation, Regulation, and Statutory Interpretation, 3rd ed., 2019. The third edition was updated to reflect the growing number of Leg-Reg classes in the law school curriculum. She also participated Jan. 3 in the AALS Administrative Law Section’s New Voices program, which she created while serving as associate director of the Association of American Law Schools.

Steve Johnson, professor, was elected vice president of the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction Jan. 4 at its board meeting.

Jeremy Kidd, associate professor, moderated the panel “Governance by Index: Mutual Fund Involvement in Corporate Governance” at the Federalist Society Annual Faculty Conference on Jan. 3. He also presented the paper “What Does the Public Really Think About Insider Trading?” during the Law and the Social Sciences Empirical Works in Progress session Jan. 5 at the AALS annual meeting.

Karen J. Sneddon, professor of law, authored “Dead Men (and Women) Should Tell Tales: Narrative, Intent, and Construction Proceedings,” accepted for publication in the Journal of the American College of Trusts and Estates Council.

Dr. Mohammed Abdelsaid, assistant professor of pharmacology, and master’s student Joseph Bailey co-authored an abstract, titled “GLP-1 agonists improve cerebrovascular integrity and vascular induced cognitive impairment and dementia beyond glycemic control via recovery of brain pericytes functions in diabetic mice,” accepted as an oral talk at the International Stroke Conference, the world’s premier meeting dedicated to the science and treatment of cerebrovascular disease, to be held Feb. 18-21 in Los Angeles, California.  

Dr. Jennifer L. Barkin, associate professor of community medicine and obstetrics and gynecology, and Dr. Christy Bridges, professor of histology, co-authored the invited editorial “Training Front-line Providers in the Detection and Management of Perinatal Mood and Anxiety Disorders,” published in the Journal of Women’s Health.

Dr. Yudan Wei, professor of community medicine, published a research article, titled “Blood levels of endocrine-disrupting metals and prevalent breast cancer among U.S. women,” in Medical Oncology.

Dr. David Gushee, Distinguished University Professor of Christian Ethics, preached and participated in a research seminar at International Baptist Theological Study Centre in  Amsterdam.

Dr. Chanequa Walker-Barnes, associate professor of pastoral care and counseling, was a featured speaker at Furman University’s 2020 Martin Luther King Jr. commemoration Jan. 20-21. She preached a sermon, titled “What to the Black Woman is Beloved Community?,” and delivered a lecture, titled “Antiracist while White? The Deeper Work of Constructing a Racially Just World as a White Activist.” Her book I Bring the Voices of My People: A Womanist Vision for Racial Reconciliation was nominated for the Louisville Grawemeyer Award in Religion, which honors highly significant contributions to religious and spiritual understanding.

Amy Schwartz Moretti, director of the McDuffie Center for Strings and Caroline Paul King Professor of Violin, along with fellow members of the Ehnes Quartet James Ehnes, violin, Richard O’Neill, viola and Edward Arron, cello, are performing all 18 of Beethoven’s string quartets during the 2019-2020 concert season to honor his 250th birthday. They presented nine Beethoven string quartets in three concerts Jan. 17-19 for the Seattle Chamber Music Society Winter Festival at Benaroya Hall in Seattle, Washington. In a special tribute, their concerts were filmed for a Korean documentary. They performed Beethoven’s String Quartet, “Opus 18, No.5,” along with quartets by Shostakovich and Tchaikovsky Jan. 5 at the Davis Arts Center in Fort Myers, Florida, and two Beethoven string quartets, “Opus 18, No.1” and “Opus 130,” Nov. 19 for String Theory at the Hunter Museum in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Moretti was a featured soloist with Macon Pops Nov. 29 for the Main Street Christmas Lights Extravaganza Concert in downtown Macon and led the McDuffie Center for Strings Ensemble Dec. 3 for the opening dedication of Mercer Music at Capricorn and the celebration of the 50th anniversary of Capricorn Sound Studios in Macon. During the fall, Moretti performed recitals and concerts for the Chamber Soloists of Detroit, Chamber Music Charleston, Columbia Museum of Art Chamber Music on Main and the USC Beaufort Chamber Music Series. She also appeared in a benefit concert with Maggie Renfroe, Josh Carson, Steve Moretti and Ryan Mims for the Fuller Center for Housing Jan. 11 at the Hargray Capitol in Macon.

Laura M. Botts, assistant dean for archives and digital initiatives, served as a guest lecturer for the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire in its “Medical History in the United Kingdom” course  Jan. 5-18.