Faculty and Staff Notables | June 2023

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A view of the Macon campus, showing shrubs and a waterfall in front of Connell Student Center.
Photo by Andrea Honaker

College of Education

Dr. Susan Cannon, assistant professor of early childhood/middle grades education mathematics, and Dr. Elaine Thurmond, assistant professor of clinical practice, presented with doctoral candidates Tynetta Jenkins and Erica Warren a paper titled “Rejecting good mother: Becoming otherwise in precarity” at the American Educational Research Association meeting. The paper explores Octavia Butler’s speculative fictions, Sara Ahmed’s work on complaint, and Lauren Berlant’s concept of cruel optimism. The participants wrote letters to each other over the course of a year and met monthly for online writing sessions. Together, they questioned the discourse of “good mother” and worked to reimagine ways of doing academic motherhood.

Dr. Susie Morrissey, assistant professor of mathematics education, presented “Preservice Elementary Teachers’ Learning of Purposeful Questioning: The Nature of Advancing Questions” in a paper session at the American Educational Research Association’s annual meeting in Chicago. She co-presented with Dr. Gorjana Popovic from the Illinois Institute of Technology and Dr. Ozgul Kartal from the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater.

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle grades and secondary education, presented “Same Storm, Different Boats: Documenting the Living History of the COVID-19 Pandemic” with doctoral student Katlynn Cross at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) virtual conference for the Biographical and Documentary Research SIG. Dr. Perrotta also presented “They Were Here: A Study on Promoting Historical Empathy with a Local History Research Project about a Historical Black Cemetery in the Southeast USA” with doctoral students Caitlin Hochuli, Jamilah Hickson, and Rachael Williams at the AERA virtual conference for the Social Studies Research SIG.

Dr. Jim Vander Putten, associate professor of higher education, co-presented two research papers at the American Educational Research Association’s April 2023 annual meeting: “Masculinity, mental health, and attitudes on willingness to seek help in male college-aged students” with Dr. Aresh Assadi of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock and Dr. Amanda L. Nolen of Georgia Tech; and “The decision to depart: Black women faculty’s experiences with departure and the academy” with Dr. Herlanda Hampton of the University of Arkansas-Little Rock.

College of Health Professions

Dr. Daniel Dale, clinical assistant professor of physical therapy, was elected chief delegate of the Georgia chapter of the American Physical Therapy Association.

Dr. Ann Lucado, associate professor of physical therapy, received the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Hand and Upper Extremity Distinguished Service Award for her significant contribution and lasting service to the Research and Clinical Practice Guideline Committee of the APTA Hand and Upper Extremity Academy. Dr. Lucado co-authored the clinical practice guideline for glenohumeral joint arthritis, which was released by the American Physical Therapy Association in April 2023. 

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences

Dr. Elizabeth Harper, associate professor of English, made a research trip to Longleat House, a privately owned stately home in England, in March to examine MS Longleat 4, an unpublished manuscript of Middle English biblical commentary. She is currently transcribing this text from PDF images, and her in-person visit allowed her to find out more about the history of this manuscript. MS Longleat 4 was written in a time when the English church was deeply divided along issues of theology, social justice and censorship. In addition, her article “Skepticism and the Form of Thomas Hoccleve’s Series” was published in the spring issues of the journal Studies in Philology. In this article, she argues that the medieval English poet Thomas Hoccleve uses his experience of mental illness to explore the question of how we know what we know.

Scot J. Mann, theater director and professor, served as lead instructor for the theatrical firearms safety course and teacher’s certification hosted by Fullerton College in Los Angeles. Mann also taught master classes in stage combat for Florida State, University of Florida, University of North Carolina School of the Arts, Brenau University, California State University-Los Angeles and Eastern Carolina University.

Dr. Matt Marone, professor of physics, built a prototype device that allowed Georgia Academy of the Blind students to make temperature and humidity measurements the first week of May. These were Dr. Marone and the students’ first environmental measurements as participants in the GLOBE program, an international program that is working to build a collaborative, worldwide community of students, teachers, scientists and citizens to conduct real-world research. Dr. Marone’s device spoke the measurement values and used large fonts to assist low-vision students. 

Chelsea Rathburn, assistant professor of English and creative writing, and Dr. James Davis May, director of creative writing, were both interviewed by Lois Reitzes for City Lights’ first annual poetry episode on WABE Atlanta. Rathburn and Dr. May were also featured readers at the Laura (Riding) Jackson Foundation’s 11th annual Poetry Reading and BBQ in Vero Beach, Florida.

Dr. Laura Simon, assistant professor of sociology, presented a paper titled “No Opportunity for Connection: COVID-19, Social Disruption, Stress and Wellness” at the 2023 Southern Sociological Society annual meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on March 31. She also presented “Service Learning and Long-Term Effects on Alumni” at a paper session for the Gulf South Summit at the University of Georgia on April 13.

Dr. John Stanga, assistant professor of biology; Dr. Troy Nash, director of university assessment in the Office of Institutional Effectiveness; and Dr. Megan Pannell, assistant professor of biology, co-authored an article titled “How the Cereal Crumbles: A Hands-On Activity for Enzyme Kinetics and Thermodynamics in Introductory Biology” that appeared in the May issue of The American Biology Teacher. 

Dr. Fletcher Winston, professor of sociology, presented a paper titled “Institutional Characteristics as Predictors of Successful Student Mobilization” at the Southern Sociological Society annual meeting in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, on March 30. 

Dr. Martin Q. Zhao, associate professor of computer science, and his undergraduate research assistants have continued work supported through a National Science Foundation grant. Collaborating with groups from three other institutions, Dr. Zhao’s team is working to build a knowledge-model based on the Cayo Santiago rhesus monkey colony off Puerto Rico. With the help of Ethan Widener, a graduating computer science major, Dr. Zhao sent a paper to the International Conference on Innovations in Computing Research in Madrid, Spain, which was accepted in March and will be presented on site in early September. Another paper focusing on undergraduate research experiences was accepted to Forum for Early Career Scientists’ 19th International Conference on Frontiers in Education: Computer Science and Computer Engineering in Las Vegas. Widener is the first author, with contributions from Soumik Kundu, Rajwol Chapagain and Prakriti Sapkota. While Widener was presenting his work on BEAR Day, Dr. Zhao took Kundu, a sophomore computer engineering major, to present a poster at a special symposium celebrating the 85th anniversary of the Cayo Santiago colony during the American Association of Biological Anthropologists’ 2023 conference in Reno, Nevada. Collaborations with Dr. Zhao’s colleagues were also fruitful. A poster paper with computer science professor Dr. Bob Allen on “Training Problem-Solvers by Using Real World Problems as Case Studies” was accepted by the Innovations in Computing Research 2023 conference. A book chapter with computer science associate professor Dr. Andy Digh is currently under review for the Springer book series Studies in Computational Intelligence. This chapter proposes an innovative approach to teaching Chinese characters using cutting-edge artificial intelligence techniques. 

College of Nursing

Dr. Omolara Fyle-Thorpe, clinical assistant professor, co-presented “Toolkit For Implementing Global Health Principles in Domestic and International Experiences” for the National Organization of Nurse Practitioner Faculty Annual Conference in Orlando, Florida, in April. She will also co-present “Implementing Global Health Principles in Domestic and International Experiences in Nurse Practitioner Education and Clinical Practice” for the American Association of Nurse Practitioners Annual Conference in New Orleans in June, and “Educating the Future Advanced Practice Nurse Includes Innovative International Clinical Education Experiences” at the International Council of Nurses 2023 Conference in Montreal in July.

Dr. Toinette Higgins, clinical assistant professor, presented a poster titled “Can Pharmacology Be Made Easy: Improving Student Performance and Satisfaction” at the Assessment Technologies Institute National Nurse Educator Summit on April 24 in San Antonio.

Dr. Sonique Sailsman, assistant professor, had a publication titled “Social Determinants of Health within Nursing Curricula: Nurse Educators’ Knowledge and Attitudes” accepted by the Journal of Nursing Education.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Nader H. Moniri, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and associate dean for research, and graduate student Priyanka Karmokar published “Free-Fatty Acid Receptor-4 (FFA4/GPR120) differentially regulates migration, invasion, proliferation and tumor growth of papillary renal cell carcinoma cells” in Biochemical Pharmacology.

Dr. Maria M. Thurston, clinical associate professor; Dr. Nader H. Moniri, professor and associate dean for research; Dr. Phillip Bowen, professor; Dr. Lea Winkles, clinical associate professor and associate dean for student affairs; and Dr. Susan W. Miller, professor, published “Managing the ‘Three Cs’ of Academic Literature Authorship: Contributions, Credit, and Conflict” in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

Dr. Lorenzo Villa Zapata, clinical assistant professor, co-authored “Cost-effectiveness analysis of nivolumab-chemotherapy as first-line therapy for locally advanced/metastatic gastric cancer: a United States payer perspective” in Expert Review of Pharmacoeconomics & Outcomes Research.

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. Caroline Brackette, associate professor of counseling, was invited to present a virtual session titled “Promoting Positive Mental Health and Wellness through Culturally Competent Practices” to managing partners, administrative staff, and tax and audit staff at Mauldin and Jenkins. Dr. Brackette was also invited to present on a mental health awareness month panel at Mercedes-Benz Stadium for Arthur M. Blank Sports and Entertainment LLC employees from the Atlanta Falcons, Atlanta United, and Mercedes-Benz Stadium.

Dr. Hani Khoury, professor of mathematics, joined the Board of Directors of Palestinian Christian Alliance for Peace (PCAP). PCAP is a nonsectarian, ecumenical alliance of Palestinian American Christians seeking to provide a clear voice and presence in faith-based communities in the United States. PCAP believes that achieving peace requires ensuring justice and human rights for Palestinians. They believe American churches, church bodies, and church-based organizations can and ought to play a leading role in advocating for a just peace among all people in the region.

Dr. Jacqueline S. Stephen, assistant professor, director of the Office of Distance Learning and instructional designer, was invited by the Baku American Center in Azerbaijan, part of the U.S. Department of State’s American Spaces Program, to lead a few events during the month of May. Dr. Stephen facilitated a workshop on preparing for the transition to employment for undergraduate student interns at the center. She also facilitated a professional development session during English Language Days on teaching and learning practices that promote deep student learning. This particular event is part of an ongoing Training for School Teachers professional development program organized by the Baku American Center in partnership with the U.S. Embassy in Baku. Additionally, Dr. Stephen presented an information session about the two states that she has lived in, Pennsylvania and Georgia, as part of the center’s monthly Explore America Educational Program. Finally, she conducted a virtual professional development webinar for faculty from private and public universities on ChatGPT and artificial intelligence in higher education. In her webinar, she demonstrated the use of ChatGPT and other similar AI tools, discussed ways in which AI can be leveraged to support teaching and learning, and provided insight into the benefits and challenges of integrating AI into the curriculum.  

School of Business

Dr. Szabolcs Blazsek, visiting associate professor, co-authored the following published papers: “Two-component Beta-t-QVAR model: Volatility forecasting for the G20 stock market” in Financial Markets and Portfolio Management; and “Score function scaling for QAR plus Beta-t-EGARCH: An empirical application to the S&P 500” and “Score-driven cryptocurrency and equity portfolios” in Applied Economics

Dr. Laura Boman, assistant professor of sports marketing and analytics, was featured in WalletHub’s piece about the best credit card sign-up bonuses in May.

Dr. Briana Stenard, associate professor of management and entrepreneurship, presented her paper “Academic Skill Variety Among Scientists and Engineers” at the Atlanta Conference on Science and Innovation Policy on May 25.

School of Law

Stephen M. Johnson, professor, has been elected to serve as the president of the Center for Computer Assisted Legal Instruction, a nonprofit consortium of law schools, law libraries and related organizations that conducts applied research and development in the area of computer-mediated legal education and creates tools that increase access to justice.  

School of Medicine

Dr. Mohammed A. Abdelsaid, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, mentored Faith Burnett, who successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Cerebrovascular Complications of SARS-CoV-2 in Diabetes”

Dr. S. Marshall Angle Jr., associate dean for evaluation and assessment and assistant professor of medical education; Dr. Ketsia Dimanche, director of evaluation and assessment and assistant professor of medical education; and Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences, gave the roundtable session “Validity Evidence for Yes-No ANGOFF Standard Setting in a Pre-Clinical Medical School Curriculum” at the virtual meeting of the American Education Research Association on May 5.

Dr. Jennifer Barkin, professor of community medicine and OB-GYN, will be featured on a podcast by researchers at James Cook University in Australia. The podcast will be available on Spotify. She spoke about her work with the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning (BIMF), which has now been commercially licensed by Biogen for a study of postpartum assessment tools.

Dr. Christy C. Bridges, professor of biomedical sciences, mentored Anasalea Caroland, who successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Metallothionein Protects Against Hg-Induced Nephrotoxicity in Models of Reduced Renal Mass,” and Purva Lotwala, who successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Cellular Effects of Renal Exposure to Mercury.”

Dr. Raghavan Chinnadurai, assistant professor of oncology, and four students published an article titled “Contrariety of Human Bone Marrow Mesenchymal Stromal Cell Functionality in Modulating Circulatory Myeloid and Plasmacytoid Dendritic Cell Subsets” in Biology 2023. In addition, Dr. Chinnadurai mentored Crystal Uwazie, who successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Deciphering the Effect of Xenobiotic Exposure on the Immunobiology of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells and Their Interaction with Dendritic Cells.”

Dr. Susan Cline, professor of biomedical sciences and senior associate dean of strategic planning, accreditation and evaluation; Dr. Bonny Dickinson, professor of biomedical sciences and senior associate dean of faculty affairs; and Dr. James Knapp, associate professor of biomedical sciences and senior associate dean of academic affairs, presented a workshop on “Self-Directed Learning to Accomplish Self-Directed Learning: The Challenge of Meeting LCME Accreditation Standard 6 – Element 6.3” at the 2023 conference of the Association of Biochemistry Educators in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, on May 2.

Dr. Pamela Cook, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, mentored Elmira Lomashvili, who successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Exogenous IFN-b and factors released by STING-activated THP-1 cells induce CCL22 upregulation in malignant cells.”

Dr. Bonny Dickinson, professor of biomedical sciences and senior associate dean of faculty affairs, gave an oral research presentation with co-authors from the medical schools at Georgetown, University of California at San Francisco, University of South Carolina at Greenville and Vanderbilt University on “Who Are We? Professional Identity Formation of Basic Science Educators” at the 2023 conference of the Association of Biochemistry Educators in Kiawah Island, South Carolina, on May 1.

Dr. Jeffrey M. Ignatoff, associate professor of medical education and surgery, was awarded the 2023 Anna N. Walker Award for Teaching Excellence. 

Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences, has received a faculty appointment at the University of Utah as faculty affiliate with the Spencer S. Eccles Health Sciences Library, as webmaster for the WebPath educational website. Dr. Klatt released on May 3 the 34th edition of the textbook Pathology of HIV/AIDS through the Eccles Health Sciences Library. In addition, he gave the presentation “The Patient Experience With Laboratory Test Result Reporting” at the Pathology Informatics Summit 2023 in Pittsburgh on May 23. He also served as the meeting’s poster judge for the 27th year and provided funding to support a total of 22 travel awards to students and resident physicians to attend this meeting. Dr. Klatt served as a judge for oral presentations and poster presentations at the Memorial Health University Medical Center Research Day on May 19 in Savannah.

Dr. Krista Mincey, associate professor of community medicine; medical students Briana Richardson (year one on the Columbus campus) and Raymond Johnson (year one on the Savannah campus); and College of Health Professions Master of Public Health graduate Mary Heraut published “Understanding the factors that influence matriculation and persistence in Black medical students” in Frontiers in Medicine. In addition, Dr. Mincey; medical students Ashlee Dixon (year two on the Macon campus), Maya Handberry (year two on the Macon campus), Brianna Moon (year two on the Macon campus) and Lindsay Smith (year two and ACT Scholar on the Macon campus) and College of Health Professions Master of Public Health student Eldria Earls published “Using Nail Salons, Beauty Spas, and Hair Salons for Health Education with Black Women” in Journal of African American Studies.

Dr. Sarah E. Rotschafer, assistant professor of biomedical sciences, mentored Katharine Warner, who successfully defended her master’s thesis titled “Role of Astrocytes in the Auditory Brainstem in Fragile X Syndrome.”

Dr. Peter N. Uchakin, associate professor of biomedical sciences, mentored Ronnie Chastain, who successfully defended his master’s thesis titled “Chronic Stress and the Immune Response’s Impact on Ghrelin and its Role in the Development of Cardiovascular Disease,” and Timothy (T.J.) Weehunt, who successfully defended his master’s thesis titled “Effect of the Immune Stress Response on Hyaluronic Acid Metabolism in the Mouse Brain.”

School of Music

Dr. Nathan Myrick, director of undergraduate studies and assistant professor of church music, was a featured guest on the podcasts “You Have Permission” and “Pretty Good Vibrations.” He discussed his research with the Furnace Fest community, which has been funded by both a Music and Entertainment Industry Educators Association grant and Provost Seed Grant.

Mercer Engineering Research Center

Jeff Brenna, senior aerospace engineer, and Chad deMontfort, chief engineer of the Rotary Wing Product Area, attended the Vertical Flight Society Annual Forum in West Palm Beach, Florida, on May 16-18. Brenna presented a paper titled “External Airframe Loads Development for Full-Scale Helicopter Fatigue Test Application,” which was co-authored with Dr. Robert McGinty, senior principal engineer. The paper was published in the proceedings of the 79th Annual Forum of the Vertical Flight Society.