College of Education

Dr. Susie Morrissey, assistant professor of mathematics education, presented “Explicit teaching of questioning in math methods courses: Preservice teachers’ attempts to ask probing questions” at the annual meeting of Psychology of Mathematics Education, North American Chapter, in May.

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle grades and secondary education, was awarded a $2,500 Georgia Humanities Grant to serve as project director to support high school students in Student Leadership Johns Creek to conduct archival research to produce four documentary films about the Macedonia African American Methodist Cemetery in Johns Creek. The grant team includes Irene Sanders, executive director of Student Leadership Johns Creek; Randee Nagler, retired district superintendent of Fulton County Schools and Student Leadership Johns Creek advisory board member; Joan Compton, president of the Johns Creek Historical Society; Kirk Canaday, Johns Creek Historical Society board member; Dr. Harry Akoh, interim dean of the School of Social Sciences and Humanities at Atlanta Metropolitan State University; and Dr. Robert Helfenbein, associate dean of research and faculty affairs in the College of Education.

Dr. Meenakshi Sharma, assistant professor of science education, and Dr. Cynthia Anderson, assistant professor of teacher education, are implementing a STEM Professional Development (PD) program for teachers at Cowan Road Elementary School in the Griffin-Spalding school district. Three professional development sessions have been conducted with approximately 40 teachers participating via Zoom. Dr. Sharma will use the PD context for research on teacher learning in STEM and to study the effects of a university partnership model in facilitation of a schoolwide PD. Plans for the summer include the development of a newsletter with standards-based instructional strategies that align with the school’s pacing guides for implementing STEM-related instruction. Additionally, plans include the continuation of PD support and reflection sessions throughout the 2021-2022 school year via Zoom and face-to-face delivery.

Dr. Cleopatra Warren, adjunct professor, was invited to serve as a panelist for the Harvard University Graduate School of Education’s 10th Anniversary Global Education Think Tank on May 21. She participated in the 2019 Think Tank and was asked to return to discuss her work in advancing global education using Dr. Fernando Reimer’s “Five Perspectives on Global Education Change.” As a past program participant, she shared work related to her current experience as a 2020-2021 Pulitzer Center Teacher Fellow, which involved engaging with a small cohort of educators and international journalists to address underreported news stories related to the global COVID-19 pandemic and the theme, “Media, Misinformation and the Pandemic.” As part of the virtual fellowship from August-December, she designed a unit of study to engage her students in making local connections to global news by practicing media literacy skills. The sessions included seminars with award-winning journalists, exploration and evaluation of news resources, modeling of curriculum design, activities to engage students and peer feedback. Dr. Warren is currently working on the Pulitzer Center’s Extra Life project, a partnership with PBS and The New York Times magazine to connect students with resources related to global life expectancy. She will participate on a panel with science journalist Steven Johnson on June 10.

College of Health Professions

Dr. Caroline M. Brackette, assistant dean for accreditation and assessment and associate professor, was invited to serve on a panel to discuss race, mental health and student-athletes from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds. The panel discussion was sponsored by the Center for Race and Ethnicity in Sport at the University of Michigan and the Steve Fund. Dr. Brackette also presented a session, titled “Mental Health and Wellness Considerations for Responders,” at the International Critical Incident Stress Foundation World Congress 16. Additionally, she was interviewed June 2 on National Public Radio for a story, titled “Naomi Osaka’s French Open Exit Spotlights Mental Health Pressures for Black Athletes.”

Dr. Daniel Dale, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, was elected to a two-year term as a nominating committee member for the American Council of Academic Physical Therapy Simulation in Physical Therapy Education Consortium.

Shannon Jackson, clinical assistant professor of physician assistant studies, received the South University 2021 Alumni Achievement Award. Nominees were evaluated on professional accomplishments, service to their profession, service to the community and service to South University. She will accept the award at the university’s virtual commencement exercises in June.

Dr. LeAnne Martinelli, academic director and clinical associate professor of physician assistant studies, was appointed to serve as a site visitor for the Accreditation Review Commission on Education for the Physician Assistant.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, hosted a study break movie, titled “Mango Dreams,” on April 30. It was featured as part of Willis Slater Productions’ Ethnic Awareness Week. A discussion following the film was led by Dr. Sumitra Humangshu-Pennybacker of Middle Georgia State University on the historical background for the film: the 1947 Partition of India/Pakistan.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, was appointed to the Scholarly Advisory Board of the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. She also completed her term as chair of the Richards Prize Committee, sponsored by the Journal of the Civil War Era for the best research article published in its 2020 volume.

Dr. Rachael Goodman, assistant professor of global development studies, co-authored “Work–life balance as a household negotiation: A new perspective from rural India” in Academy of Management Discoveries, 5(4), 465-486. The paper, co-authored with Dr. Sarah Kaplan of the University of Toronto, was recognized as a Distinguished Winner of the 2021 Responsible Research in Management Award, co-sponsored by the Academy of Management Fellows Group and the Community for Responsible Research in Business and Management.

Dr. Joseph Keene, assistant professor of chemistry, and Dr. Kevin Bucholtz, professor of chemistry, were awarded a $344,289 grant, titled “Atomic and Molecular Investigation of Corrosion for Prevention and Control,” through the U.S. Department of Defense’s Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). The highly competitive DURIP award process is administered through a merit competition jointly by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Army Research Office and Office of Naval Research.

Dr. Kathy Kloepper, vice provost of engaged learning and associate professor of chemistry, and Dr. Laura Simon, assistant professor of sociology, were invited speakers for the Methods in Chemical Education Research online international conference held on May 28. Dr. Kloepper and Dr. Simon gave a presentation on a study they co-authored with Marcia Kloepper and undergraduate student Laurel Genova, titled “Learning Postdisruption: Lessons from Students in a Fully Online Nonmajors Laboratory Course,” published in fall 2020.

Dr. Paul Lewis, professor of religion, published a column, “Being Honest When You Talk about the Bible,” in Good Faith Media. He also attended four webinars: “The Bible With and Without Jesus: a Conversation with Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler,” hosted by the Center for Jewish Studies at University of Florida; “The Historical Jesus in His Jewish Context,” hosted by the Frankel Center for Jewish Studies at the University of Michigan; “Wisdom as a Category for Studying Ancient Texts and Discourses,” hosted by Union Presbyterian Seminary; and “How Can Higher Education Cultivate Practical Wisdom,” hosted by the Kenan Institute for Ethics at Duke University.

Dr. Katherine Roseau, assistant professor of French, published the article “Separated Families and Epistolary Assistance: The Mutual Aid That Maintained Correspondence Between Jewish Internees and Their Loved Ones During the Second World War in France” in French Historical Studies.

Tennille Shuster, associate professor of graphic design, published an artist’s book, titled I Look at the World, in a limited edition of 12, in collaboration with artist Kandy Lopez-Moreno. I Look at the World was selected by jury for exhibition in “The Art of the Book: 16th Annual Exhibition of Handmade Artist Books” at Seager Gray Gallery in Mill Valley, California, from May 1-May 27, and in “The Illustrated Accordion Exhibition” at the Kalamazoo Book Arts Center in Michigan from April 9-June 18. The book has also been acquired for permanent collection by the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art in Washington.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Rene Hayslett, associate professor, authored “Post-traumatic Stress Disorder in Middle Age and Beyond” in The Senior Care Pharmacist, 36: 191–207.

Dr. Nicole Metzger, clinical associate professor, co-authored an article, titled “Evaluation of a risk assessment model to predict infection with Healthcare Facility-Onset Clostridioides difficile,” in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, published online May 6.

Dr. Nader Moniri, professor, authored “Differential Modulation of β2AR Mediated cAMP/PKA/CREB Signaling Cascade in Normal versus Asthmatic Airway Epithelial Cells,“Diverse Roles of G-Protein-Coupled Receptor 40 (GPR40/FFA1) and GPR120 (FFA4) in the Regulation of Cell Growth and Motile Activities in Renal Cell Carcinoma (RCC)” and “The skeletal muscle relaxer cyclobenzaprine is a potent non-competitive histamine H1 receptor antagonist” in The FASEB Journal.

Dr. Lydia Newsom, clinical assistant professor, and Dr. Susan Miller, professor, published an article, titled “Digital posters and printed posters for teaching and learning,” in the American Journal of Pharmacy Education, published online in Jan. 19.

Dr. Lorenzo Villa-Zapata, clinical assistant professor, co-authored a manuscript, titled “Serum potassium changes due to concomitant ACEI/ARB and spironolactone therapy: A systematic review and meta-analysis,” in the American Journal of Health-System Pharmacy, as well as “Expanding pharmacists’ roles: Pharmacists’ perspectives on barriers and facilitators to collaborative practice” in the Journal of the American Pharmacists Association, 61(2): 213–20.

Dr. Mohsen Yaghoubi, assistant professor, co-authored “Cost-Effectiveness of Tisagenlecleucel in Paediatric Acute Lymphoblastic Leukaemia (pALL) and Adult Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) in Switzerland” in Advances in Therapy, published online May 22.

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. John Carroll, associate professor of organizational development and leadership and coordinator of the Master of Science in Organizational Leadership Program, organized a visit to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Atlanta Field Office as part of a dual enrollment program established by Mercer’s College of Professional Advancement and Paul Duke STEM High School in Gwinnett County. Through the program, high school students attend cybersecurity courses jointly taught by Mercer faculty and FBI technicians. In addition to learning about developing technology, students learn about opportunities at Mercer. The partnership culminated in a special visit by students and Paul Duke teachers to the FBI Atlanta Field Office, located on Mercer’s Atlanta campus. The attendees were greeted by Special Agent in Charge J.C. Hacker and treated to presentations on the FBI Internship Program, SWAT/Explosive Devices, Emergency Response Team, Computer Analysis and Response Team, Fingerprints, as well as a presentation of certificates to the students. Dr. Carroll and Dr. Caroline Brackette, assistant dean for accreditation, assessment and associate professor and former liaison to the program, represented Mercer at the event.

Dr. David Lane, professor of counseling, was a guest on BYUradio’s The Lisa Show, where he provided expertise on the topic of “Counseling for Veterans.”

Dr. Richard H. Martin, professor of criminal justice and homeland security, reviewed the following articles for various academic journals: “Trauma Exposure and Mental Health of Central American Immigrant Youth” for the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health; “Analysis of the Last 10 Years of Articles and Theses on Authentic Learning: A Meta-Analysis Study” for the Journal of Education and Training Studies; and “Terrorist Attacks Against Healthcare Facilities: A Review” for the journal Health Security. Dr. Martin also reviewed the textbook Managing Cybersecurity – A Risk Based Approach Building on the Process Safety Framework by Wiley and Sons Publishers for project of the Center for Chemical Process Safety. In addition, he authored a short opinion article on “Police Agency Stress Caused by the Current Status of Police Selection and Retention” accepted for a publication by E-Cronicon Psychiatry and Psychology.

Dr. Jacqueline S. Stephen, assistant professor, director of the office of distance learning and instructional designer, co-authored “A High-Impact Practice for Online Students: The Use of a First-Semester Seminar Course to Promote Self-Regulation, Self-Direction, and Online Learning Self-Efficacy” in Smart Learning Environments. The article is based on a study centered on online student instructional activities in UNIV 110: The Culture of the University undergraduate course. Dr. Stephen co-authored a chapter, “Building Human Agency through the Peer Mentoring Process,” in Navigating the Peer Mentoring Relationship: A Handbook for Women and Other Underrepresented Populations in STEM, published by Kendall Hunt. Dr. Stephen also authored a chapter, “Transforming Yourself into an Online Educator,” in Professionalizing Your English Language Teaching, published by Springer. Dr. Stephen was invited to speak at the annual meeting of the Pennsylvania Council of Professional Geologists, held virtually on April 14, where she delivered a webinar on cultivating a diverse, ethical and inclusive professional environment through mentorship. 

Mercer Medicine

Dr. Diana Homeier, family medicine and geriatric medicine physician, co-authored “Improving forensics: Characterizing injuries among community-dwelling physically abused older adults” in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

School of Business

Dr. Briana Stenard, assistant professor of management and entrepreneurship, was featured in a CreditDonkey article about small investments that make money.

School of Engineering

Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and students David Carter, Barret McDonald and Ryan McMillan presented a poster, titled “3D Printed ABS Structures Protected by Silver Coatings,” at Tech Con 2021, 64th Annual SVC International Technical Conference, held virtually May 3-7.

Dr. Natalia Cardelino, assistant professor of environmental and civil engineering, presented her research, titled “Comparison of high flow concrete made with Type III cement with varying limestone powder fineness,” on May 21 at the 2021 Precast/Prestressed Concrete Institute Convention in New Orleans, Louisiana.

Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Arash Afshar, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Stephen Hill, associate professor of mechanical engineering, Dr. Laura Lackey, dean, professor and Georgia Kaolin Chair of Engineering, and students Khang Lee and David Carter offered a presentation, titled “Effect of Low DC Electrical Power Applied to Silver Coated Filter Papers in Combating Wastewater Bacteria,” at Tech Con 2021, 64th Annual SVC International Technical Conference, held virtually May 3-7.

School of Medicine

Dr. Gretchen Bentz, associate professor, advised student Jessica Jenkins, who successfully defended her master’s thesis, titled “Deciphering the Role of Sumoylation During EBV Replication.”

Dr. Christy Bridges, professor, advised student Elizabeth Pittman, who successfully defended her master’s thesis, titled “An Analysis of the Toxic Effects of Mercury-Cyanide on Zebrafish.”

Dr. Keisha Callins, Joy McCann Endowed Professor, in her role as chair of the Medical Association of Georgia’s Physician/Health Care Workforce Resilience Task Force, helped launch a new initiative – Georgia’s Resilience Innovation Team (G.R.I.T.) – to promote wellness and resiliency within every segment of Georgia’s health care workforce. The initiative was supported by a generous grant from Alliant Health Solutions.

Dr. Pamela Cook, assistant professor, advised student Dina Michael, who successfully defended her master’s thesis, titled “LINE-1 ORF1p: Localization and Development of an Artificial miRNA Cassette.”

Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences, gave the presentation “Laboratory Testing from the Patient Perspective” in the Informatics and Management Track of the 2021 Virtual Pathology Informatics Summit on May 6. Dr. Klatt served as the electronic poster judge for the conference for the 25th time. He was honored by the sponsoring organization, the Association for Pathology Informatics, for providing financial support for 17 undergraduate and postgraduate trainees in health sciences to attend the conference.

Dr. Robert McKallip, professor and chair of biomedical sciences, advised student John Christiansen, who successfully defended his master’s thesis, titled “The role of hyaluronic acid metabolism in hMSC-mediated anti-inflammatory signaling,” as well as student Violet Iyahen, who successfully defended her master’s thesis, titled “The Use of 2D vs 3D Tissue Culture Models to Explore The Influence of Hyaluronic Acid Metabolism on The Development of Chemoresistance in Breast Cancer Cell.”

Dr. Larry Nichols, professor of pathology, co-authored “Where in the Brain do Strokes Occur? A Pilot Study and Call for Data” in Clinical Medicine and Research.

Dr. Bonzo Reddick, professor and chair of community medicine, professor of family medicine and associate dean for diversity and inclusion, was chosen as one of two plenary speakers for the Texas Substance Use Symposium on April 29 in San Antonio, where he spoke on the topic “Infectious Disease Issues Related to Injection Drug Use.” He was also elected as the Georgia delegate for the Minority Caucus of the American Academy of Family Physician’s National Conference of Constituency Leaders, held April 29-May 1. Dr. Reddick served as a visiting professor at the University of Michigan for its annual Terence C. Davies Lectureship in Medical Education on May 12, where he spoke on the themes of “Social Determinants of Health” and “Resident Physicians as Lifelong Teachers.”

Dr. Robert Visalli, professor, advised student Bret Garza, who successfully defended his master’s thesis, titled “Characterization of Attenuated HSV-2 Mutants as Potential Vaccine Candidates Against Genital Herpes,” as well as student Dakota Nale-Lovett, who successfully defended his master’s thesis, titled “Contributions of the N and C-Termini of Varicella-Zoster Virus Portal.”

Dr. Yudan Wei, professor of community medicine, and Esther Ro, a medical student in the Class of 2022 who is supervised by Dr. Wei, presented their research, titled “Ambient air emissions of endocrine-disrupting metals and the incidence of hormone receptor-dependent female breast cancer in U.S.,” and won “Best Poster Presentation” at the Mercer University School of Medicine – College of Pharmacy Joint Research Conference in May.

Dr. Han-Rong Weng, associate professor, advised student Elizabeth Shoaga, who successfully defended her master’s thesis, titled “Treatment of Neuropathic Pain using 1-O-Hexyl-2,3,5- trimethylhydroquinone (HTHQ).”

School of Music

Dr. Martha Malone, professor of voice and director of Mercer University Opera, produced and directed performances of two operas in April, with Dr. Richard Kosowski, professor of music, director of graduate studies and chair of vocal studies, serving as music director and conductor. “The Last Sorcerer” (“Le Dernier Sorcier”) by 19th-century composer Pauline Viardot was presented April 17-18, performed by masked singer/actors safely distanced on the large stage of The Grand Opera House for live audiences who were also masked and safely distanced, and also livestreamed. This was the Georgia premiere of a rarely performed operetta, recently rediscovered and made available in the United States, sung in French with English dialogue adapted by graduate student Samantha Friedman. “The Trial of Susan B. Anthony: a dramatic song cycle” by Steven Mark Kohn was presented April 24-26, performed in Fickling Recital Hall in McCorkle Music Building for live audiences who were masked and safely distanced, and also livestreamed. This was the Georgia premiere of a new opera written in 2020, the centennial year for the first legal votes by American women following the ratification of the 19th Amendment. The composer adapted the text from transcripts of the 1873 legal proceedings against suffragette Susan B. Anthony.

Dr. Nathan Myrick, assistant professor of church music, presented a paper, titled “Todd and Becky: Authenticity, Dissent, and Gender in Christian Punk and Metal,” at the annual meeting of the International Association for the Study of Popular Music on May 18 as part of a panel Christian Punk music. The panel was organized by several contributors to the volume Christian Punk: Identity and Performance, edited by Ibrahim Abraham. The panelists presented on their chapters in the volume.

School of Theology

Paul Knowlton, principal – marketplace initiative for the Center for Theology and Public Life, co-authored Better Capitalism: Jesus, Adam Smith, Ayn Rand, and MLK Jr. on Moving from Plantation to Partnership Economics, published by Wipf and Stock. Knowlton and co-author Aaron Hedges are both graduates of Mercer’s Master of Divinity program.

Staff and Administration

Dr. Stephanie A. Mooring, director of the Academic Resource Center, received her Ph.D. in educational leadership from Mercer’s College of Education.

Stefanie Swanger, assistant director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, was elected to the 2021-2022 Board of Directors for the Georgia Association of Colleges and Employers. Additionally, she will serve as co-chair for technology initiatives for the organization.

Jim Tessmer, event coordinator for Mercer Athletics, was presented the inaugural Bobby Pope Service to Sports Award by the Macon Sports Hall of Fame.

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.​