College of Education

Dr. Karyn Allee, assistant professor of elementary education, will present “Play as promise? Results from a quasi-experimental study of two kindergarten pedagogical approaches” June 3 at the Jean Piaget Society 2022 Conference: Putting Development Back into Evolution in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Dr. Allee will co-present, with Dr. Annemarie Kaczmarczyk, assistant professor of education, “Developing pre- and in-service teachers’ understanding of critical issues in education through literature circles” June 8 in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. Dr. Allee, together with Dr. Lucy Bush, associate professor of education, Dr. Jeffrey Hall, associate professor of education, Dr. Kara Cowdrick, adjunct professor, Dr. Sybil Keesbury, associate professor of education, and Dr. Sharon Augustine, associate professor of education, will co-present “Innovative learning environments for improving teacher candidate outcomes: The three Cs (Collaboration, co-teaching, and community)” at the same conference in Ottawa on June 10.

Dr. Mary Kay Bacallao, professor, co-authored “Justice Alito’s Question,” published May 18 in the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.

Dr. Robert Helfenbein, associate dean for research and faculty affairs, discussed his insights as a critical geographer and curriculum theorist on the COVID-19 pandemic, teaching divisive concepts and more on Ep. 38 of the Fookn Conversation podcast with Dr. Nicholas Ng-a-Fook of the University of Ottawa.

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle grades and secondary education, presented “They Were Here: Student Research about the Macedonia African Methodist Cemetery of Johns Creek, Georgia” at the Atlanta Studies Symposium hosted by Georgia State University.

College of Health Professions

Dr. Huey Chen, professor of public health, and Liliana Morosanu, instructor of public health, presented “Process and Outcome Evaluation of a Retention Program for Disadvantaged Nursing Students in a Georgia College of Nursing” at the Georgia Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Conference on Jekyll Island in May. Additionally, Dr. Chen, Morosanu and Dr. Cheryl Gaddis, chair and associate professor of public health practice, presented “Assessing the Results of Immunization among Infants in a Healthy Start Program” and “Risk for Depression and Births Outcomes” at the same conference.

Dr. Beth Collier, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, and Dr. Leslie Taylor, professor of physical therapy, co-authored “Fostering awareness of implicit bias using an adapted visual thinking strategy and reflection” in the Journal of Physician Assistant Education.

Dr. Daniel Dale, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, Dr. Ellen Perlow, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, and Dr. Ann Lucado, associate professor of physical therapy, co-authored “Partial substitution of simulation-based learning allows equal student self-confidence in the acute care setting: a pilot study” in the Journal of Acute Care Physical Therapy. Dr. Dale also co-presented “Interprofessional Collaborative Practice in the Management of a Patient Status-Post Cerebrovascular Accident and Post-Acute Sequelae SARS CoV-2 infection (PASC) in an Outpatient Setting: A Case Report” at the American Physical Therapy Association Georgia ImPacT/FINposium Conference, held April 30 in Suwanee.

Dr. Cheryl Gaddis, chair and associate professor of public health practice, co-authored “mHealth Video Gaming for Human Papillomavirus Vaccination among College Men—Qualitative Inquiry for Development” in the journal mHealth.

Dr. Suzie Madden, assistant professor of public health practice, presented “Exploring the Factors Associated with Social Media Use in Local Health Department” at the Georgia Public Health Association Annual Meeting and Conference on Jekyll Island in May.

Dr. Niamh Tunney, clinical associate professor of physical therapy, co-presented “The Effectiveness of Exercises Using the Principles of LSVT Big in a Patient with Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH): A Case Report” at the American Physical Therapy Association Georgia ImPacT/FINposium Conference, held April 30 in Suwanee.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

C. Shanelle Booker, adjunct professor of criminal law and procedure, was named acting first assistant U.S. attorney and criminal division chief for the Middle District of Georgia, making her the first woman to serve as first assistant U.S. attorney and the first Black woman to hold both positions for the District.

Dr. David A. Davis, professor of English, published “Interview with Leanne Howe and Robbie Etheridge” in Conversations with Leanne Howe.

Dr. John Marson Dunaway, professor emeritus of French and interdisciplinary studies, was invited to speak May 21 at the Men’s Spring Summit at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Macon. He responded to questions about the relationship of his faith to his intellectual journey and his reconciliation work.

Dr. Darlene K. Flaming, associate professor of religion, was awarded a $4,000 grant from the Interfaith Youth Core to develop the curriculum for a new course, called “Interfaith Engagements: Health and Healing,” which will be geared toward pre-health students.

Dr. Sarah E. Gardner, Distinguished University Professor of History, served as a guest scholar May 11 at Monclair State University for a National Endowment for the Humanities-funded interdisciplinary faculty seminar, titled “Rediscovering American Democracy: Teaching Humanities in the Time of Covid.” The seminar “seeks to reimagine humanities programing with today’s world — and the social and political issues that have moved to the forefront amidst a global pandemic — at the heart of the coursework.” Dr. Gardner will deliver a second talk at a year-end symposium in December.

Dr. Sahar Hasim, assistant professor of biology, and Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering in the School of Engineering, advised student Victoria Gomez, who presented the research “Metallic Magnetron Sputtered Deposited Coatings for Controlling Biofilm Formation” at Tech Con 2022, the 65th annual Society of Vacuum Coaters International Technical Conference, held April 30-May 5 in Long Beach, California. 

Dr. Kathryn Kloepper, associate professor of chemistry and vice provost of engaged learning, was a featured speaker at the faculty development series Spring Break Seminar at Miami Dade College, held May 2-5. The workshops she presented included “Moving Forward with Student Success and Engagement,” “Student (and Faculty) Engagement and Motivation” and “‘But Did They Learn?’ Designing Effective Low- and High-stakes Assessments.”

Tanya Ott-Fulmore, assistant professor of practice and journalist in residence, presented findings from a research project that examined whether radio/podcast listeners can identify the race/ethnicity of radio newscasters simply from hearing their voices. The presentation was part of a 100th anniversary of radio celebration that included a panel conversation at the Broadcast Educators Association annual conference in Las Vegas.

Chelsea Rathburn, assistant professor of English and creative writing, won the 2022 Zócalo Poetry Prize, a national award for poems about place, for her poem “8 a.m., Ocean Drive.” In her capacity as poet laureate of Georgia, Rathburn launched Georgia Poetry in the Parks in April. A collaboration with the Georgia Center for the Book and the DeKalb Library Foundation, Georgia Poetry in the Parks places poems by living Georgia poets in public parks. The project was made possible by an Academy of American Poets Laureate Fellowship with funds from the Mellon Foundation.

Evey Wilson Wetherbee, assistant professor of practice and journalist in residence, is a finalist for the 2022 Livingston Award in Local Reporting. The Livingston Awards recognize outstanding reporting and identify the best journalists under 35. Her documentary “Saving Juliette” is also nominated for a Southeast Emmy.

Dr. Bryan J. Whitfield, professor and chair of religion, presented a paper, titled “The Columbus Roberts Department of Religion at Mercer, 1963-2021,” at the annual meeting of the National Association of Baptist Professors of Religion, held May 24 at Belmont University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Marian Zielinski, professor emerita, received a Merit Award at Artfields 2022 in Lake City, South Carolina, for her artwork “Carpool.” She also has a piece titled, “Vestments,” included in “Surface: A National Juried Exhibition of Artworks Highlighting Textures and Patterns” at d’Art Center in Norfolk, Virginia, on exhibit through June 25.

College of Nursing

Jennifer Gandia, lecturer, was featured in Study.com’s guide on “Work from Home Nursing Jobs in 2022 and Beyond.”

Dr. Linda A. Streit, dean, was a panel speaker for the Georgia Association of Healthcare Executives (ACHE) in May. She also presented the Atlanta-Journal Constitution’s 2022 Nursing Leadership Award at the AJC Celebrating Nurses Gala in May.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Ajay Banga, professor, received $100,000 from Remedy Diagnostics for the project “Development of skin delivery systems for analgesics.”

Dr. Raquibal Hasan, assistant professor, co-authored, along with graduate students Ahasanul Hasan, Sreelakshmi Menon and Farzana Zerin, “Dapagliflozin induces vasodilation in resistance-size mesenteric arteries by stimulating smooth muscle cell KV7 ion channels” in Heliyon, 2022 May 20, 8(20): e09503, DOI:10.1016/j.heliyon.2022.e09503.

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. Wesley N. Barker, associate professor of religious studies, served as director of the 2022 Irigaray Circle Conference, held May 20-22 on Mercer’s Atlanta campus and synchronously via Zoom.

Dr. Arla Bernstein, assistant professor and coordinator of communication, was asked to serve as chair of a panel on “Top Papers in Experiential Learning in Communication” at the National Communication Association Conference this November in New Orleans. Dr. Bernstein and Dr. Robert Helfenbein, associate dean for research and faculty affairs in the College of Education, presented “Community Violence as a Mental Health Narrative: A Case Study” at the international Narrative Matters Conference, held May 18 on Mercer’s Atlanta campus. Graduate students Dazzmen Davis in the College of Professional Advancement and Hannah Edber in the College of Education served as co-presenters.

Dr. David Purnell, adjunct associate professor of communication, will present “Death as the Compost of Our Lived Experience” on how the death of loved ones can enrich people’s lives and make them stronger individuals at the Critical Autoethnography conference this September in Australia. The theme of the conference is compost and enrichment. Dr. Purnell’s book, Narrating Estrangement: Autoethnographies of Writing Of(f) Family, co-authored with Lisa Sponazola, is now available for purchase from publisher Routledge and other booksellers.

Dr. Beverly Smith, adjunct professor of clinical mental health counseling, was honored at the Georgia Senate by officials including state Sen. Lester Jackson, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Georgia Lt. Gov. Geoff Duncan, Licensed Professional Counselors Association of Georgia CEO Gale Macke and lobbyist Julianna McConnell in recognition of Dr. Smith’s work and service in mental health care at Mercer and in the community.

Dr. Lynn Tankersley, professor of criminal justice, was featured in WalletHub’s piece on “What to Do After a Car Accident.”

Dr. Sabrina Walthall, associate professor of science and pre-health/science coordinator, delivered a presentation, titled “Creating Intentional Connections with Online Adjunct Faculty,” May 11 at the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) 2022 Inaugural Florida Project Kaleidoscope (PKAL) Network Virtual Meeting. Project Kaleidoscope is the AAC&U center of STEM higher education reform dedicated to empowering STEM faculty, including those from underrepresented groups, to graduate more students in STEM fields who are competitively trained and liberally educated.

School of Business

Jeff Wolfe, director of the Center for Executive Education, is one of 30 participants in the 2021-2022 Greater North Fulton Chamber of Commerce’s Leadership North Fulton (LNF) program, which concludes with graduation at the chamber’s next meeting on June 28.

School of Engineering

Dr. Dorina Marta Mihut, associate professor of mechanical engineering, and Dr. Sahar Hasim, assistant professor of biology in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, advised student Victoria Gomez, who presented the research “Metallic Magnetron Sputtered Deposited Coatings for Controlling Biofilm Formation” at Tech Con 2022, the 65th annual Society of Vacuum Coaters International Technical Conference, held April 30-May 5 in Long Beach, California. 

Dr. Alireza Sarvestani, assistant professor of mechanical engineering, co-authored “Creep Mechanics of Epoxy Vitrimer Materials,” accepted for publication in ACS Applied Polymer Materials; “Modeling Approach to Capture Hyperelasticity and Temporary Bonds in Soft Polymer Networks,” accepted for publication in ACS Macromolecules; and “Poroelastic effects on gas transport mechanisms and influence on apparent permeability in shale,” published in the International Journal of Rock Mechanics and Mining Sciences.

School of Law

Michelle Hook Dewey, reference and electronic services librarian, co-presented “Modeling Everyday Technology: How to Integrate Practice-Ready Skills Into Your Course” and served as a teaching mentor for the New Instructors Bootcamp at the Teaching the Teachers workshop, held May 12 in Portland, Oregon.

School of Medicine

Dr. Gretchen Bentz, associate professor microbiology and director of student research, mentored Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences students Ashton McKinnon and Persia Suarez, who successfully defended theses “Manipulation of the SUMO-Activating Enzyme (SAE) by the viral oncoprotein, LMP-1” and “A Comparison of SUMOylation in HK1 and BL41 cell lines” on April 12 and April 26, respectively.

Dr. Christy C. Bridges, professor of histology and director of the Master of Sciences in Biomedical Sciences (MSBMS) program, mentored MSBMS student Earl “Dru” Ford, who successfully defended the thesis “Accumulation and Toxicity of Mercury-Cyanide Complexes” on April 21.

Dr. Janine Burgher-Jones, assistant professor and clerkship director of family medicine, was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Piedmont Columbus Regional Hospital.

Dr. Janette Carter, community placement coordinator for the Master of Family Therapy program, completed her Doctor of Education in education leadership at Liberty University School of Education on April 27. Her dissertation was titled “Exploring Stress and Coping Skills Among Graduate Students to Design Recommendations for Promoting and Developing Curriculum to Help Support Health and Overall Well-Being.”

Dr. Raghavan Chinnadurai, assistant professor of oncology, co-authored “Pro-angiogenic Potential of Mesenchymal Stromal Cells Regulated by Matrix Stiffness and Anisotropy Mimicking Right Ventricles” in Biomacromolecules. Dr. Chinnadurai also mentored Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student Ariel Lipat, who successfully defended the thesis “Predictive Analysis of the Immunosuppressive Functionality of Human Bone Marrow Derived Mesenchymal Stem Cells as Cellular Therapeutics” on April 23.

Dr. Pamela Cook, assistant professor of genetics, mentored Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student Jihyun Kim, who successfully defended the thesis “Cytosolic dsDNA-mediated CCL22 upregulation in epithelial tumor cells and its potential pitfall in immunotherapy” on April 14.

Dr. Ashley Horner, professor of pharmacology, mentored Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student Jamin Ahn, who successfully defended the thesis “Ablation of dorsomedial striatum patch compartment results in modification to reward-driven behaviors in rats” on May 3.

Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences, gave the presentation “What Does The Patient Expect” May 11 at the Pathology Informatics Summit 2022 in Pittsburgh. Dr. Klatt served as the meeting’s poster judge for the 26th year and provided funding to support a total of 19 travel awards to students and resident physicians to attend this meeting. Dr. Klatt also served as a judge for oral presentations and poster presentations at the Memorial Health University Medical Center Research Day on May 19 in Savannah. Additionally, he published the 33rd edition of the online textbook Pathology of HIV/AIDS on May 24 from the Eccles Health Sciences Library at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Dr. Anthony J. Kondracki, assistant professor of community medicine, co-authored “Sociodemographic Disparities in Preterm Birth and Low Birthweight in the State of Georgia: Results from the 2017-2018 Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System,” published May 3 in the Journal of Rural Health. He also co-authored “E-cigarette Use, Marijuana Use and Dual Use Among Reproductive Age Women: Findings from the Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health Study,” published March 8 in Substance Use and Misuse.

Dr. Robert J. McKallip, chair and professor of immunology, mentored Master of Science in Biomedical Sciences student Katherine Braley, who successfully defended the thesis “Investigating the Effects of Calcitriol on the Hyaluronic Acid Metabolic Pathways in Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells” on April 19.

Dr. Anne Montgomery, assistant professor, biostatistician and assistant program director, was invited to speak alongside Ph.D. in rural health sciences student Stephanie Basey at the University of Georgia Extension Office Farm Stress Summit in Tifton on May 19. Among three expert speakers at the summit, they discussed highlights from their statewide survey on farmers’ mental wellbeing: stressors and coping mechanisms. Dr. Montgomery also presented on “Farmers’ Mental Wellbeing: Differences between First-Generation and Generational Farmers” with co-authors Basey, Chris Scoggins, Ben West and Lily Baucom at the School of Medicine’s Joint Conference.

Dr. Bonzo Reddick, professor and chair of community medicine, received the Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award from Morehouse School of Medicine National Alumni Association. The award recognizes Dr. Reddick’s fulfillment of the school’s mission through his leadership, community service and remarkable achievements as a primary care physician.

Dr. Robert Visalli, professor of microbiology, completed service from December 2021-March 2022 on a major initiative by Dr. Anthony Fauci and the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases to facilitate the formation of multidisciplinary centers focused on antiviral drug development. The initiative was titled, “Antiviral Drug Discovery (AVIDD) Centers for Pathogens of Pandemic Concern.” A select panel of virologists from across the U.S. was assembled to peer-review and identify grant applications with the greatest potential to accelerate the development of new therapeutics to treat viral infections of pandemic potential. The effort was an integral part of the Antiviral Program for Pandemics, with the long-term goal to develop safe and effective antivirals to combat SARS-CoV-2, as well as to build sustainable platforms for targeted drug discovery and development of a robust pipeline of antivirals against viruses with pandemic potential.

School of Theology

Dr. Thomas B. Slater, professor emeritus of New Testament Studies, published his seventh book, titled Afrocentric Interpretations of the New Testament Epistles of Hebrews, James, Jude, Peter, John and Revelation. The book, edited by Dr. Slater, is a collection of six essays and three sermons and completes his three-volume Afrocentric Interpretation series for Edwin Mellen Press. The volume includes contributions from former McAfee students the Rev. Dr. Libya BaaQar and the Rev. Dr. Marcus Jerkins. Dr. Slater dedicated the work to the Rev. Dr. Zan W. Holmes Jr., one of his seminary professors at Southern Methodist University.

Staff and Administration

Dr. Carrie Ingoldsby, executive director of campus life, completed her Doctor of Philosophy in educational leadership at Mercer. Her dissertation was titled “A Quantitative Study Examining Perceptions of Preparedness Among Entry-Level Student Affairs Professionals for an Active Shooter Event on Campus.” Dr. Sharon Augustine, associate professor of education and assistant dean of teacher education, served as chair of Dr. Ingoldsby’s dissertation committee.

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