Faculty and Staff Notables | February 2024

exterior Macon campus admin bldg with bare trees

College of Education

Dr. Karyn Allee, assistant professor of elementary education, co-authored a paper with colleagues from West Virginia University and the University of Central Florida titled “Sitting less for success: Reducing sedentary behaviors to increase kindergarten achievement” for the February issue of the Journal of School Health. Dr. Allee also created the Collaboratory for Critical and Transformative Elementary Education, a research lab focused on exploring ways to best support children in elementary school, particularly primary grades (PK-3), who are members of marginalized or historically underserved communities. At the virtual International Conference on Innovative Teaching and Learning in September, Dr. Allee presented “Experiential learning in a simulated elementary education environment: Using a model classroom as an inclusive teaching and learning spacewith Dr. Annemarie Kaczmarczyk, assistant professor of elementary education; Dr. Lucy Bush, professor of education; Dr. Kara Cowdrick, visiting clinical faculty of education; Dr. Nancy Atchison, clinical assistant professor of education; and Dr. Brittney Castanheira, assistant professor of mathematics education. At the same conference, Dr. Allee presented “A field experience program in transition: From crisis to management to opportunity” with Dr. Sybil Martin, professor of teacher education; Dr. Bush; Dr. Sharon Augustine, professor of teacher education; Dr. Jeff Hall, professor of teacher education; and Denise Elam, director of field placement. At the 32nd Annual International NAME Conference in Montgomery, Alabama, in November, Dr. Allee presented Examining the impact of critical issues in education through professional development literature circleswith Dr. Kaczmarczyk and Ph.D. student Jaleesa Ramsey. At the 2023 American Reading Forum Conference in St. Petersburg, Florida, in December, Dr. Allee presented “Using critical literature circles as a tool to develop educators’ professional capacity and dispositions for today’s classroom” with Dr. Kaczmarczyk.

College of Health Professions

Dr. Matthew Astin, medical director of the Master of Athletic Training Program, was awarded the John Rogers Leadership Award by the Georgia College of Emergency Physicians on Nov. 30 for leading the Leadership and Advocacy Fellowship for the past seven years.

Dr. Lisa Fraher, visiting assistant professor of physical therapy, was appointed to the Families of Children Under Stress Board of Advisors for a three-year term.

Dr. Becky Larson, assistant professor of public health practice, presented “Engaging Public Health Students in Environmental Justice Through a Collaborative Art Project” at the 2023 Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education Conference and Expo on Dec. 5. Dr. Larson also received the 2023 American Public Health Association Food and Nutrition Section Catherine Cowell Award, recognizing excellence in achievement in administration, planning, mentoring and team building in public health nutrition, on Nov. 12.

Dr. David Taylor, clinical associate professor of physical therapy; Dr. Beth Collier, clinical associate professor of physical therapy; Dr. Leslie Taylor, professor of physical therapy; Dr. Susan Miller, professor of pharmacy practice; and Dr. Mark Stillman, clinical associate professor of clinical psychology, co-authored a report titled “Health humanities-focused interprofessional education for age-friendly care using photography and the 4Ms framework: A curricular short report” published in the Journal of Interprofessional Education & Practice.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Andy D. Digh, associate professor of computer science, and Dr. Kevin Cummings, professor of communication studies, published a paper titled “Machine Writing, Learning, and the Disappearance of the Pen” in The Semiotics Yearbook 2022: Intentionality and Semiotic Labyrinths.

Dr. Gordon Johnston, professor of English and creative writing, gave a book talk and signing from his fiction collection Seven Islands of the Ocmulgee and his poetry collection WhereHere’ Is Hard to Say at the St. Simons Island Public Library for the St. Simons Literary Guild in November 2023. On Nov. 17, at Historic Macon, Dr. Johnston offered a reading from his book of stories and a talk about the locations and history of the Ocmulgee River, where the stories are set. Dr. Johnston’s poem “Dearth of the Cool 2017” was published in the winter 2024 issue of Blue Mountain Review, and his poem “Sweep” will be reprinted in a “greatest hits” issue of Southern Poetry Review in spring 2024.

Dr. Paul Lewis, professor of religion, published an op-ed on the Israeli-Gaza war with Good Faith Media titled “Confessions of a Haunted Christian Ethicist.”

Dr. James Davis May, assistant professor of English and director of creative writing, published poems in Image and Adroit, and his poem “Depression in Saint-Méloir-des-Ondes” earned Special Mention in the 2024 Pushcart Prize Anthology.

Dr. Chinekwu Obidoa, associate professor of global health and Africana studies, and Jordan Dixon, global health studies student, participated in the World AIDS Day Health Fair organized by the HIV Prevention Program of the Georgia Department of Public Health North Central Health District. They presented findings from Dr. Obidoa’s research study on HIV sexual risk at the event in Macon on Dec. 1.

Dr. Jacqueline Pinkowitz, assistant professor of media studies, published an article titled “Civil Rights Exploitation Film Promotion as Anti-Feminist Disinformation” in a special issue of Feminist Media Studies in January on the topic “The Mixed-Up Politics of Disinformation, Anti-Feminisms, and Misogyny,” which was guest edited by Michele White.

Dr. Katherine Roseau, assistant professor of French and Libertad Aranza, lecturer of foreign languages and literatures, received a $150,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Initiatives grant to develop curriculum on French- and Spanish-speaking migrants in the U.S. Dr. Roseau and Aranza will be working on the project titled “Integrating Voices of Refugees and Immigrants: Faculty and Curriculum Development” from February 2024 to January 2026. Other project personnel include Dr. Alana Alvarez, assistant Spanish professor, and Dr. Kathy Kloepper, professor of chemistry and vice provost of engaged learning, as well as external collaborators. The project is part of a larger initiative to create engaged learning curriculum that helps students learn about experiences of French and Spanish speakers in their own country.

Tennille Shuster, associate professor of graphic design, has been selected as a 2024 Residency Fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA) in Mt. San Angelo, Virginia. VCCA Fellows are selected by peer review based on professional achievement or promise of achievement in their respective fields. Shuster will produce an artist’s book edition while in residence.

Dr. Douglas E. Thompson, professor and director of the Spencer B. King Jr. Center for Southern Studies, published an article titled “Educating Mastery: Mercer University, Baptist Education, and the Penfield Experiment” in Perspectives in Religious Studies, Special Issue: Baptist Schools in the South and the Legacies of Slavery. Dr. Thompson also presented “Rethinking Revivals in 19th Century Georgia” at the American Society of Church History annual meeting on Jan. 5 in San Francisco for a roundtable panel on “Revivals in Hindsight.” He has also been asked to submit for publication as a roundtable in Fides et Historia for the 2024 issue.

College of Nursing

Dr. Andra Opalinski, associate professor, co-published with Dr. Marla G. Mygatt and Dr. Marlaine C. Smith the article “Adolescent Relatedness Through the Lens of Unitary Caring Theory” in Nursing Science Quarterly

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Jill Augustine, associate professor and director of assessment, co-authored an article titled “Perceptions and Utility of Course Evaluations in U.S. Pharmacy Schools” in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

Dr. Susan Miller, professor, co-authored an article titled “Health humanities-focused interprofessional education for age-friendly care using photography and the 4Ms framework: A curricular short report” in the Journal of Interprofessional Education and Practice.

Dr. Angela Shogbon Nwaesei, clinical professor, was awarded the American College of Clinical Pharmacy Education Award.

Dr. Mohammad Nasir Uddin, assistant professor, co-authored an article titled “Phospholipid-based nano drug delivery system of curcumin using MSP1D1 protein and poloxamer 407: a comparative study for targeted drug delivery to the brain” in the Journal of Nanoparticle Research.

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. Awatef A. Ben Ramadan, assistant professor of health informatics, published on Dec. 27 a peer-reviewed research article as first author titled “Cross-Sectional Study: Assessment of Health and Digital Literacy among First-Generation Muslim Immigrant Women in Atlanta City during the Pandemic” in the Archives of Health Science Journal. Dr. Ramadan also attended the Georgia Artificial Intelligence Summit that brought together industry leaders, entrepreneurs and small business owners from various sectors to explore the exciting world of artificial intelligence. The event served as a platform for knowledge exchange, networking and discovering cutting-edge technologies that can drive the growth and success in the information technology field.

The presentation by Dr. Arla Bernstein, associate professor and communication program coordinator, and Ph.D. counseling student Viken A. Ayvazian titled “Using Narrative Communication as a Reflective Tool for Experiential Learning about Community Mental Health” has been accepted for the Eastern Communication Association Convention in March in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

Dr. Caroline Brackette, associate professor, was invited to be a mental health subject matter expert for NPR’s multi-platform service journalism podcast “Life Kit” for a segment on fitness as your body fluctuates. She addressed the mental health aspects of changing fitness routines due to injury and as you age. Dr. Brackette also authored an encyclopedia contribution on using the SWOT Analysis in counseling in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Multicultural Counseling.  

Dr. Samantha Waters, assistant professor of biology, had her manuscript titled “Long-read Sequencing of Metagenomes from Wet Deposition Samples in the Western USA During an Elevated Precipitation in February 2019” accepted for publication in the peer-reviewed journal Aerobiologia.

School of Business

Dr. Szabolcs Blazsek, professor of economics, co-published the following articles in Studies in Nonlinear Dynamics & Econometrics: “Core inflation rate for China and the ASEAN-10 countries: Smoothed signal for score-driven local level plus scale models,” “Volatility forecasting using quasi-score-driven models with an application to the coronavirus pandemic” and “Comparison of score-driven equity-gold portfolios during the COVID-19 pandemic using model confidence sets.” Dr. Blazsek also co-published “Signal smoothing for score-driven models: a linear approach” in Communications in Statistics – Simulation and Computation and “Non-Gaussian score-driven conditionally heteroskedastic models with a macroeconomic application” in Macroeconomic Dynamics.

John Wilson Gordon, lecturer of finance, was featured in January as an expert in WalletHub’s piece titled “Best Credit Cards.” 

Dr. Carol Springer Sargent, associate professor of accounting, and co-author Jennifer Breese published their article “Barriers for using blockchain in the supply chain: a literature review” in the Journal of Computer Information Systems. Sargent also published a chapter in the book, Innovative College Teaching: Tips and Insights From 14 Master Teachers by Perry Binder.

Dr. Briana Stenard, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship, presented her research titled “The Impact of International Service Learning Trips on Social Entrepreneurship Intentions,” a joint project with Dr. Vijaya Subrahmanyam, associate dean and C. Ben Harnsberger Professor of Finance; Dr. Myriam Quispe-Agnoli, associate professor of economics; and Dr. Etienne Musonera, professor of marketing, at the 2024 United States Association for Small Business and Entrepreneurship Annual Conference in Birmingham, Alabama, Jan. 11-12. Dr. Stenard also presented her research process in a session titled “Forging the Future of Publishing” as part of the Online Entrepreneurship Education Summit at the conference. 

School of Engineering

Dr. Thomas Brussat, senior engineering advisor, and MERC engineering team members Brian Harper, Jeff Peets and Joe German attended the annual Aircraft Structural Integrity Program (ASIP) Conference in Denver, Nov. 27-30. Dr. Brussat gave a presentation titled “A Risk Analysis Method for Failsafe Structure of an Aging Aircraft,” which was co-authored by Sam Forgerson, aerospace engineer. The presentation covered an approach to risk analysis calculations for U.S. Air Force rotorcraft. The presentation was published in the proceedings of the 39th Annual ASIP Conference.

Dr. Hunmin Kim, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, published the book chapter “Resilient Estimation and Safe Planning for UAVs in GPS Denied Environments” in Advances in Control of Autonomous Aerial Vehicles. Dr. Kim also published conference papers titled “Synergistic Perception and Control Simplex for Verifiable Safe Vertical Landing” at the AIAA SciTech Forum in Orlando, Florida, and “Pure Pursuit Strategy Enhanced with Defense Margin under Noisy Measurements for Protective Missions” in the IEEE Conference on Decision and Control in Singapore.

School of Law

Margie Alsbrook, visiting assistant professor, presented “Contemplating Concerns About the Future of Legal Research” at the workshop “We’re Going Back to the Future … Preparing Students for Next Generation Lawyering” at the University of Florida Levin College of Law on Dec. 7. She also published an article titled “Equal Recognition for Artistic Labor: Needle Arts are Fine Arts” in the UC Law San Francisco Journal on Gender and Justice.

Stephen M. Johnson, professor of law, gave a presentation at the Great Lakes Water Conference at the University of Toledo College of Law and the Legal Institute of the Great Lakes titled “The Clean Water Act in the Supreme Court” on Nov. 3.

Karen J. Sneddon, dean and professor, was quoted in an article titled “End-of-Life Planning for Your Home” in November.

Scott Titshaw, professor, published an article in the Georgetown Immigration Law Journal titled “International Digital Nomads: Immigration Law Options in the United States and Abroad.” 

School of Medicine 

Dr. Yahya A. Acar, director of medical simulation, was invited to speak at two meetings in Antalya, Turkey. He presented “In-situ simulation and interprofessional training in critical care” and coordinated a virtual reality simulation activity at the Ninth Eurasian Congress on Emergency Medicine and TATKON 100th Anniversary National Congress and Second Ultrasonography Symposium in Emergency and Critical Care Patient. He was also invited to the Third International Congress on Emergency Medicine, where he moderated two sessions, “Neurological Emergencies” and “Next Generation EM Faculties.”

Dr. Caroline Anglim, assistant professor of bioethics and professionalism, participated in a panel presentation titled “The Varieties of Religious Experience in Clinical Ethics” and co-presented a paper titled “The Impact of a Liberal Arts Education on Physician Residency Choice” with second-year medical student Gabrielle Haynes at the American Society of Bioethics and Medical Humanities 25th Annual Conference in Baltimore. Dr. Anglim also presented a paper titled “On the Scope of Clinician Autonomy: The Diversity Defense” at the 35th Annual MacLean Center Conference on Clinical Medical Ethics in Chicago.

Dr. Keisha Callins, professor, and Alicia May, fourth-year medical student, collaborated to publish a letter to the editor, “Establishing the Validity of a Diagnostic Questionnaire for Childbirth-Related Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder,” in the American Journal of Obstetrics & Gynecology.

The lab of Dr. Mohammed Abdelsaid, assistant professor of pharmacology on the Savannah campus, has been selected to receive the Stroke Basic Science Award for his abstract “SARS-CoV-2 Spike Protein Exacerbates Thromboembolic Cerebrovascular Complications in Humanized ACE2 Mouse Model.” Dr. Abdelsaid will present the research at the 2024 International Stroke Conference in Phoenix.

Dr. Ilana Chefetz Menaker, associate professor of pharmacology, presented “Endometrial Cancer: Transforming Care through Sciencework” at the AACR Special Conference in Cancer Research in Boston. She also had a poster presentation on “Conversion from Minimally Invasive Surgical Approaches to Open surgery among Endometrial Cancer Patients in the SGO Clinical Outcomes Registry.” This research was performed in collaboration with a former trainee in her lab, Dr. Abdelrahman Yousif, a clinical assistant professor of OB-GYN at Texas Tech. Dr. Menaker also published an editorial titled “The Ovary Brain Connection” that was published as part of the special issue “Ovary and Brain” in Cells, for which she served as a guest editor. The editorial highlighted seven research and review manuscripts that focus on various connections between the ovary and the brain. 

School of Music

Calista Anne Koch, harp instructor, has been invited to be a presenter at the Atlanta Harp Festival on March 16 at Emory University. As a professional freelance harpist, music instructor and director of many ensembles in the area, the topic will be career options for budding musicians, specifically harpists.

Dr. Martha L. Malone, professor of voice, served as an adjudicator for the student auditions of the National Association of Teachers of Singing, Georgia chapter, at Reinhardt University in Waleska. On Nov. 7, she was a clinician at the Professional Development Day for Henry County Schools Fine Arts teachers in McDonough, where she presented workshops titled “Why Opera for Kids?” for music and theater teachers on the benefits of producing opera and music theater composed specifically for young performers and audiences.

Staff and Administration

Todd Anderson, assistant athletics director for media relations, received a College Sports Communicators 25-Year Award, which recognizes recipients for their exemplary work and at least a quarter century of service to college sports communications.