Faculty and Staff Notables | September 2023

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A view of the Macon campus through a tree, with the fountains in the background.
Mercer's Macon campus. Photo by Andrea Honaker

College of Education

Dr. Rob Helfenbein, professor of curriculum studies, has been appointed to the National Advisory Team of Division B: Curriculum Studies of the American Educational Research Association.

Dr. Annemarie Kaczmarczyk and Dr. Karyn Allee, both assistant professors of elementary education, co-authored a paper with a colleague from the University of Central Florida titled “Reading, writing, and (anti-)racist picturebooks: Reframing literacy engagements” that appeared in the Early Childhood Education Journal in June. Dr. Allee also co-presented “Situating and scaffolding scholars: Ph.D. students as teacher researchers” at the 2023 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting with a colleague from the University of Chicago and “University students’ beliefs about children’s developmental and educational needs” at the Jean Piaget Society 2023 Conference: Bringing Theory to the Forefront of Developmental Neuroscience with a Ph.D. student from the University of Memphis. 

Dr. Katherine Perrotta, assistant professor of middle and secondary education, and Dr. Karyn Allee, assistant professor of elementary education, published “Designing and teaching a local history curriculum to promote culturally-relevant pedagogies in middle grades social studies” in Contemporary Perspectives Through Action Research Across Educational Disciplines: The K-12 Classroom, Vol. 1.

Dr. Tracey M. Wofford, graduate academic adviser for Master of Arts in Teaching programs and instructor for the Master of Education in Higher Education Leadership program, successfully passed the exam for Certified Student Affairs Educator, a professional credential from The Higher Education Consortium for Student Affairs Certification, on June 29. The core certification exam is a proctored 150 questions over three hours. According to the consortium, “The Certified Student Affairs Educator (CSAEd) credential demonstrates knowledge and competencies in student affairs/services work in the areas of foundations of the profession; student learning, development and success; assessment and evaluation; social justice and inclusion; leadership; talent management; crisis and risk management; and financial and facility management.” 

College of Health Professions

Shannon Jackson, academic director and clinical assistant professor for physician assistant studies, was awarded the Georgia Association of Physician Assistants Faculty of the Year award on July 10. This award honors an extraordinary Georgia PA Program faculty member who supports the mission of GAPA and is committed to teaching and learning, student success, professional development, leadership, and community service.

College of Liberal Arts and Sciences  

Libertad Aranza, Spanish lecturer, presented her research titled “Improving Oral Communication Confidence in the Spanish Classroom by Using a Service Provider Virtual Exchange” at the American Association of Teachers of Spanish and Portuguese conference in Salamanca, Spain.

Dr. Wallace L. Daniel, Distinguished University Professor of History, has had his book Freedom and Authoritarianism: Gleb Yakunin and His Circles, the Captive Mind and Orthodox Christianity in Soviet Russia accepted for publication by NIU/Cornell University Press. 

Dr. David A. Davis, professor of English, published a review of Class, Whiteness, and Southern Literature by Jolene Hubbs in Mississippi Quarterly.

Dr. Gordon Johnston, professor of English, has written a second collection of poetry, Where Here Is Hard to Say, that is available for preorder and will be published by Mercer University Press on Oct. 3. A story from his short story collection, Seven Islands of the Ocmulgee, was used as the “trigger” for a live-motion landscape painting session led by Susan Donaldson at Quill cocktail bar in Macon in July. Also in July, Dr. Johnston wrapped up 17 years directing the Ferrol A. Sams Jr. Distinguished Writer in Residence program, which brought 16 nationally prominent, award-winning poets and fiction writers to Mercer’s Macon campus to teach a senior-level creative writing course and to offer more than 40 free public readings and craft talks. Among the writers Dr. Johnston hosted were Robert Boswell, David Bottoms, Mary Hood, Erin Belieu, Bret Lott, Mark Jarman and Jessica Handler. 

Dr. Marc Jolley, senior lecturer of philosophy and director of Mercer University Press, read a paper titled “Thoreau and the Existentialist Crisis of Extinction: How Does One Live a Life in the Face of Extinction” at the Thoreau Society Annual Gathering in Concord, Massachusetts, on July 12.

Dr. Paul Lewis, professor of religion, College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, published an op-ed piece, “Moral Passion: Unleashed but Ungrounded,” for Good Faith Media on April 12. 

Dr. Margaret Meadows, assistant professor of chemistry, presented a poster titled “Calorimetric Analysis of the Interaction of Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals with Cyclodextrins” at the 17th International Symposium on Macrocyclic and Supramolecular Chemistry in Reykjavik, Iceland, on June 26.

Dr. James Davis May, director of creative writing, was the Robert Frost Poetry Fellow at the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference in Middlebury, Vermont. Bread Loaf, which was established in 1926, is the country’s oldest gathering of poets and writers. This year, in addition to giving both a reading and a craft talk, Dr. May came in first place in the conference’s Writers’ Cramp Race.

Dr. Frank McNally, assistant professor of physics, gave an oral presentation titled “Cosmic Ray Anisotropy with Eleven Years of IceCube Data” at the 2023 International Cosmic Ray Conference in Nagoya, Japan. The project was also accepted for publication in Proceedings of Science, with three Mercer students listed as corresponding authors.

Eric O’Dell, associate professor of art, had an exhibition at The 567 Center of Renewal in Macon in August. “Piece Work” featured recent paintings in acrylic on canvas, created in the artist’s downtown studio.

Chelsea Rathburn, associate professor of English and creative writing, published the poem “Someone Had Better Be Prepared for Rage” in the anthology Dear Human at the Edge of Time: Poems on Climate Change in the United States (Paloma Press, 2023), a companion to the Fifth National Climate Assessment. In addition, two of Rathburn’s poems were showcased in If the Creek Don’t Rise, a multimedia art exhibition on the Southern Gothic at the Bakery Atlanta gallery in August.

Dr. Rachel Schaff, assistant professor of media studies, was associate producer of the Finger Lakes Environmental Film Festival at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York. In April, she was a fellow for “The Year of the Holocaust: Thirty Years Later” seminar from the Holocaust Education Foundation at Northwestern University Regional Institute in cooperation with Washington University in St. Louis and the St. Louis Kaplan Feldman Holocaust Museum and the “Visual Culture and the Holocaust” seminar from the Oxford Mississippi Regional Institute, Holocaust Education Foundation at Northwestern University, University of Mississippi. Dr. Schaff was also a 2023 Curt C. and Else Silberman Fellow for the “Teaching Holocaust Violence” seminar at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Washington D.C., in June.

Dr. John Thomas Scott, interim dean and professor of history, and Dr. Achim Kopp, associate dean and professor of foreign languages and literatures, attended the 16th International Congress for Eighteenth-Century Studies in Rome, Italy. Dr. Scott presented a paper titled “Antique and Enlightened: The Janus-Faced Colony of Trustee Georgia (1732-1752).” Dr. Kopp’s presentation was titled “Bridging the Divide Between the Eighteenth and Twenty-First Centuries: Lessons Learned from Translating the Journals of German-Speaking Moravians in Colonial Georgia into Present-Day English.” Both papers are connected to larger research projects in which Dr. Scott and Dr. Kopp have been engaged. The two papers comprised part of a session on “Colonial Georgia (1732-1776) as a Window into the Eighteenth Century and Scholarship on the Eighteenth Century,” convened and chaired by Dr. Scott. Scholars from the University of Kent, United Kingdom, and the University of Limerick, Ireland, also contributed papers to the session.

Evey Wilson Wetherbee, assistant professor of practice in journalism, was named a 2023-2024 Rosalynn Carter Fellow for Mental Health Journalism from the Carter Center in July. Wetherbee was also named the third annual awardee of the Benjamin von Sternenfels Rosenthal Grant for Mental Health Investigative Journalism, in partnership with Reveal from the Center for Investigative Reporting. In addition, her audio documentary, “Nancy Masters Searches for Answers,” was a finalist in the Third Coast International Audio Festival in Chicago. It was included in the summer programming and screened in Chicago as part of their “Consequential Quests” series. 

College of Nursing

Laura E. DeMars, adjunct faculty, co-authored an article titled “Evaluating the Effectiveness of a Virtual Mock Interview for Health Professions Students” in the Journal of Nursing Education in August. 

Dr. Tessy George, contract/clinical placement coordinator, was a conference speaker at the 51st Annual National Black Nurses Association Institute and Conference in August in Atlanta. Her presentation was titled “Health-Related Quality of Life and Caregiving Stressors in Family Caregivers of Persons Living with Dementia.”

Dr. Seongkum Heo, professor and Piedmont Healthcare Endowed Chair, co-authored “A snapshot of patient experience of illness control after a hospital readmission in adults with chronic heart failure” in BMC Nursing and “Performance Evaluation of the eICU® Acceptance Survey” in the International Journal of Nursing and Health Care Science. She also co-presented “Factors associated with utilization of student-centered pedagogy in nursing educators” at the 18th Annual Cleveland Clinic Nursing Research Conference in Mayfield Village, Ohio, and “What you know and don’t: Omissions in patient-centered care beyond the metrics” at the International Stroke Conference in Dallas.

Dr. Justus Randolph, professor, co-authored “Systematic review and meta-analysis of the variants of the obturator artery” in the Journal of Clinical Medicine and “Discontinuity of marginal artery at splenic flexure and rectosigmoid junction: A systematic review and meta-analysis” in Colorectal Disease. Through a double affiliation with the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing and Tift College of Education, he also co-authored Montessori education’s impact on academic and nonacademic outcomes: A systematic review” in Campbell Systematic Reviews. Dr. Randolph also co-authored “Light curves and colours of the ejecta from Dimorphos after the DART impact” in Nature.

Dr. Sonique Sailsman, assistant professor, was recently accepted to the National League of Nursing: Walden University College of Nursing Institute for Social Determinants of Health and Social Change Leadership Academy. She was chosen as one of 10 distinguished thought leaders in nursing education and related health care professions who have engaged in dedicated work in the area of social determinants of health and social change.

Dr. Linda A. Streit, professor, served as moderator for the American Association of Colleges of Nursing Organizational Leadership Network webinar titled “ChatGPT Challenges and Opportunities” on May 11.

College of Pharmacy

Dr. Raquibul Hasan, assistant professor of pharmaceutical sciences, and Dr. Nader H. Moniri, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and associate dean for research, co-authored “Neflamapimod inhibits endothelial cell activation, adhesion molecule expression and leukocyte attachment by inhibiting p38 MAPKα and NF-κB signaling” in Biochemical Pharmacology.

Dr. Susan W. Miller, professor of pharmacy practice; Dr. Nader H. Moniri, professor of pharmaceutical sciences and associate dean for research; Dr. Lea Winkles, associate dean for student affairs; Dr. J. Philip Bowen, professor of pharmaceutical sciences; and Dr. Maria M. Thurston, associate professor of pharmacy practice, published “Three Cs” of Academic Literature Authorship: Contributions, Credit, and Conflict” in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education.

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 and “Free-fatty acid receptor-1 (FFA1/GPR40) promotes papillary RCC proliferation and tumor growth via Src/PI3K/AKT/NF-κB but suppresses migration by inhibition of EGFR, ERK1/2, STAT3 and EMT” in Cancer Cell International. Dr. Moniri also co-authored “The Report of the 2022-2023 AACP Research and Graduate Affairs Committee” in the American Journal of Pharmaceutical Education. 

College of Professional Advancement

Dr. Vikraman Baskaran, associate professor of health informatics and program coordinator for graduate health informatics, co-authored a book chapter titled “Effects of Caregiver Support in the Adoption of Assistive Technologies for Online Patient Health Self-Management” in Current and Future Trends in Health and Medical Informatics.

Dr. Awatef A. Ben Ramadan, assistant professor in health informatics, presented an e-poster titled “The Knowledge, Attitude, and Practice About Health Information Technology Among First-Generation Muslim Immigrant Women in Atlanta City During the Pandemic” for the virtual International Conference in Biomedical and Health Informatics in Istanbul on July 24. 

Dr. Caroline Brackette, associate professor of counseling, served as an invited panelist to speak at the 2023 National Football League FLAG Summit in July in Atlanta. She presented on mental health in youth sports with fellow panelists Dr. Nyaka NiiLampti, NFL vice president of wellness and clinical services; Dr. Kensa Gunter, director of NBA Mind Health; and NFL veteran and ESPN/SEC Network football analyst Takeo Spikes.

Dr. David Purnell, adjunct associate professor of communication, has been invited to be a guest lecturer at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in November, when he will speak on family estrangement. He will also present at the Critical Autoethnography Conference in Melbourne, Australia, in September, and he is working on a new book with Routledge on identity and shame.

Dr. Jacqueline S. Stephen, assistant professor, director of the office of distance learning, and instructional designer, was a featured speaker at the 2023 English Language Testing Society’s Summer Symposium, which was held virtually on June 10. Her talk focused on the opportunities and challenges of Artificial Intelligence on student assessment in higher education. Dr. Stephen’s co-edited volume, Global Perspectives on Higher Education: From Crisis to Opportunity, was published by Springer in July 2023. The 33 chapters in this volume were authored by international researchers, practitioners and experts from 20 countries. In addition to her role as the lead editor of the volume, Dr. Stephen authored a chapter titled “Strategies for Instructors: Establishing and Maintaining Presence in an Online Course,” and co-authored a chapter with her colleagues from the College of Professional Advancement, Dr. Nadia Glover Barnett and Dr. Awatef Ahmed Ben Ramadan, titled “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in Course Design and Instructional Material Development.” She also co-authored a chapter with Ashley Fru, a human services and psychology undergraduate student, titled “Cultivating Student Employability Skills: Classroom to Career Preparedness and Readiness.” Dr. Stephen was a featured guest on a podcast series produced by Christian Brothers University’s Center for Digital Instruction in Memphis, Tennessee. In her interview, she talked about trends in online teaching and learning, and her teaching and scholarly activities. Dr. Stephen completed a six-week Fulbright Specialist project during the summer at the Office of Ombudsman for Human Rights and Justice in Timor-Leste. Her project involved conducting a comprehensive job analysis. She presented her findings and recommendations to the Ombudsman, his leadership team, and the U.S. Embassy’s Political/Economic/Consular Officer. She also used her findings to lead a discussion with higher education administrators, faculty and students on closing the employability skills gap in Timor-Leste. This event was organized by UmaAmerika (American Room) at National University of Timor-Leste.

School of Business

Jody Blanke, the Ernest L. Baskin Jr. Distinguished Professor of Computer Science and Law, presented two papers at the annual conference of the Academy of the Legal Studies in Business in San Diego in July: “The CCPA, ‘Inferences Drawn,’ and Federal Preemption,” and “ChatGPT: Academic Use (and Abuse)”. He also moderated a “Potpourri Session” on a variety of legal topics.

John Wilson Gordon, finance lecturer, was featured in WalletHub’s piece about secured credit cards in July. 

School of Engineering

Dr. Anthony Choi, professor of electrical and computer engineering, received a $25,000 travel grant from SeedAI to attend DEF CON 31 — the largest hacker conference in the world — in Las Vegas on Aug. 10-13. He attended the conference with nine students and participated in the Generative Artificial Intelligence Red Team challenge, where they explored security and misinformation vulnerabilities of large language models to specifically engineered prompt injection attacks. 

School of Law

Margie Alsbrook, visiting assistant professor, led a discussion session on “The Rise of (‘Cleaned Up’) Citations and What It Means for First Year Writing Programs” at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools Annual Conference in Boca Raton, Florida. She also led a session titled “The Starting is the Hardest Part: Using ChatGPT to Overcome Writers Block” during William & Mary Law School’s Incorporating ChatGPT in the Legal Research and Writing Classroom conference. 

Bonnie Carlson, professor, was a signatory in an amicus curiae Supreme Court brief of educators, practitioners and organizations with expertise in domestic violence protective orders.

Sarah Gerwig, professor and director of experiential education, presented at the Ninth Biennial Conference on Applied Legal Storytelling in London in July. 

Anne G. Johnson, adjunct professor and associate director of academic success, was awarded the 2023 Manley F. Brown Distinguished Adjunct Professor Award. Johnson was also a presenter at the 10th Annual Association of Academic Support Educators (AASE) Conference on May 24 at Santa Clara University School of Law. She is one of five scholars selected in 2023 by AASE and AccessLex Institute’s Center for Legal Education Excellence to participate in the approximately one-year faculty scholarship fellowship program. Scholars are publicly announced at the annual AASE meeting in May 2023. The culmination of the fellowship will be a “Works-In-Progress” presentation at the May 2024 AASE Annual Conference, with a final draft for publication by December 31, 2024.

Patrick Longan, professor and W.A. Bootle Chair in Ethics and Professionalism, is editor of the recently published Inside the Legal Profession: Conversations with Leaders of the Georgia Bench and Bar by Mercer University Press. Carolina Academic Press has also published the fifth edition of his book Questions & Answers: Professional Responsibility. He served as a panelist for “A Lawyer’s Creed and the Aspirational Statement on Professionalism, History, Creation, and Relevance Today,” part of the Signature Program on Professionalism, Georgia Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism in Atlanta.

Karen J. Sneddon, dean and professor of law, was a moderator at the “What’s in a Job Talk” panel of the annual meeting of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools in Boca Raton, Florida, on July 24. Sneddon was also a participant in two discussion groups: “Designing Your Teaching Package” and “New Developments in Trusts and Estates Pedagogy.”

Scott Titshaw, professor of law, in his role as faculty for the American Immigration Lawyers Association’s online course on Naturalization, taught the introductory module on “Citizenship Terms and Conditions” and the second module on “Citizenship By Descent: INA §§ 301 & 309.” Titshaw also will be a visiting fellow in the Robert Schuman Centre for Advanced Studies at the European University Institute (EUI) in Florence, Italy, during the fall semester of 2023, and he will serve as discussant on a panel on “Human Rights, EU Law and Strategic Litigation” during the workshop on “Linking Legislation and Litigation: Security-Based Denationalization Research and Practice” co-sponsored by the Global Citizenship Observatory of the EUI, the Institute of Statelessness and Inclusion, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights in September 2023. He will also present his initial work of a book project on Comparative Citizenship Law at this fall’s Global Citizenship Seminar at EUI in October. 

School of Medicine

Dr. Caroline Anglim, assistant professor of bioethics and professionalism, recently became certified as a health care ethics consultant. In addition, she and Dr. Jennifer Bartlett, associate professor in the Georgia Baptist College of Nursing, received an Interprofessional Education grant from the Health Sciences IPE Committee. With the grant and additional support from the Carlos and Marguerite Mason Center for Organ Donation and Transplant Education and Policy, they will organize and evaluate a new ethics and professionalism program for students in the School of Medicine and the College of Nursing.

Dr. Jennifer Barkin, professor of community medicine and OBGYN, presented on the Barkin Index of Maternal Functioning at a public hearing for the Georgia Behavioral Health Reform and Innovation Commission on Aug. 24. She has also been invited to serve on the HOPE for Georgia Moms Statewide Taskforce and the Georgia Perinatal Mental Health Statewide Taskforce. 

Dr. Raghavan Chinnadurai, assistant professor of oncology, published a book chapter titled “Advanced Technologies for Potency Assay Measurement” in the Advances in Experimental Medicine and Biology book series. Dr. Chinnadurai also co-authored an article titled  “Cell therapy global clinical trial landscape, published safety/efficacy outcomes, cell product manufacturing and clinical delivery” that was published in Frontiers in Immunology.

Dr. Bonny Dickinson, senior associate dean for faculty affairs, director of medical education research and professor of biomedical sciences, and Dr. Janine Chalk-Wilayto, associate professor and vice chair of biomedical sciences, were co-authors on a research study titled “Professional Identity Formation of Basic Science Medical Educators: A Qualitative Study of Identity Supports and Threats” that was published in Academic Medicine in August.

Dr. Ransome Eke, associate professor, is the principal investigator of the Health Equity Navigator Program of Georgia District 4 Public Health. The program hosted a summer of in-person health navigators youth STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) camps within rural and underserved populations across the 12-county district for grades K-12. More than 170 youth were served during these camps that included more than 10 activity rotation stations, camp resources, activity bags, prizes, lunch and snacks all provided free on behalf of the Health Equity Navigator Program of Mercer University School of Medicine. Through Dr. Eke’s medical experience and guidance, the Health Equity Navigator Program was able to incorporate medical resource support services from the medical students through the Teddy Bear Clinic and the Hispanic Medical Students Association.

Marnie P. Hill, clinical research manager of Mercer Medicine; Vance L. Mack, research/laboratory associate; Dr. Olga N. Uchakina, research associate; and several former Mercer faculty members co-authored the article “A collaborative approach to improving representation in viral genomic surveillance” that was published in PLOS Global Public Health in July. 

Dr. Edward C. Klatt, professor of biomedical sciences, presented the poster “Diversity of Student Resource Usage for Examination and Clinical Skills Preparation” at the International Association of Medical Science Educators meeting in Cancun, Mexico, on June 12. The poster was a collaborative project with medical student and summer scholar Avery Stokes; librarians Kim Meeks and Carolyn Klatt; Amboss sponsors Omar Cherkaoui and Eileen Lee; and University of Alabama-Birmingham Assistant Professor Dr. Brook Hubner. Dr. Klatt also served as a session moderator at this meeting. In addition, Dr. Klatt served as a reviewer for the journal BMC Medical Education and the Taylor & Francis journal Medical Education Online in July and August 2023.

Dr. Manish Mishra, assistant director of the Master of Science in preclinical sciences program and associate professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, co-authored “Global, regional, and national burden of allergic disorders and their risk factors in 204 countries and territories, from 1990 to 2019: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2019” in the journal Allergy. He also co-authored “Global, regional, and national burden of diabetes from 1990 to 2021, with projections of prevalence to 2050: A systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2021” in The Lancet journal. In addition, Dr. Mishra had an editorial titled “Relevant Technology Adaptation for Bio-Medical Sustainability” published in Frontiers in Medical Technology.

Dr. Kimberly Roth, assistant professor of community medicine, co-authored an article titled “The relationship between neighborhood typologies and self-rated health in Maryland: A latent class analysis” that was published in Health Place in July. Mercer medical student Mikalah Maury was also a co-author for the article. In addition, Dr. Roth and Dr. Janine Chalk-Wilayto, associate professor and vice chair of biomedical sciences, received a Telehealth Equity Catalyst Award from the Association of American Medical Colleges for their program titled “Implementing a Co-Curricular Interprofessional Education Program to Improve Farmworker Access to Mental Health Services in Rural Georgia.”

Dr. Yudan Wei, professor of community medicine, published two research articles. “Exposure to endocrine-disrupting metals and serum estrogen levels among U.S. women” was published in Reproductive Toxicology and authored by Class of 2025 medical students Anna Gerald and Srividya Ganapathy. “Covariation between serum cotinine and blood lead levels among U.S. pediatric populations: Trend from 1999 to 2018” was published in Journal of Trace Elements in Medicine and Biology and authored by Class of 2025 medical student Gunnar Rogers. These students have been working with Dr. Wei for research since the summer of 2022 as summer research scholars.

School of Music

Dr. Nathan Myrick, director of undergraduate studies and assistant professor of church music, presented a paper at the bi-annual Christian Congregational Music Conference in Ripon College, Oxford, England, titled “The ‘Other’ Problem of Authenticity in Musical Worship” on Aug. 2. He also was a panelist on the roundtable discussion “Between Ephemerality and Stability: Timbre in Christian Congregational Music” and served as chair for the “Power and Conflict in Congregational Sound” session, both on Aug. 4. 

Kelly Via, adjunct professor of music, was invited to conduct the 2023 Professional Flute Choir, an ensemble consisting of 26 prominent flutists from across the country, during the National Flute Association Convention in Phoenix in August. The ensemble performed with two well-known soloists, Trudy Kane, long-time principal flute with the Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, and Viviana Guzman, an international soloist. Via was also invited to conduct the Second Annual LGBTQ+ Flute Choir that consists of 42 flutists with a program featuring the works of seven LGBTQ+ composers. In addition to conducting the two flute ensembles, Via had the honor of having 11 performances of his own compositions and arrangements. Via’s student Lucas Meinberg, sophomore music major, auditioned and was accepted to perform in the National Collegiate Flute Choir at the 2023 National Flute Association Convention.

School of Theology

Rev. Dr. Nancy L. deClaisse-Walford, emerita professor of Old Testament and biblical languages, presented a paper titled “Psalms and the Primordial Waters” in a section on “Chaos in the Psalms” at the 2023 International Society of Biblical Literature in Pretoria, South Africa, held July 3-7. She also presented a paper titled “Current Trends in the Study of the Book of Psalms,” at a conference on “Current Trends in Old Testament Studies” at the University of the Free State in South Africa on July 10.

Rev. Dr. Denise Massey, professor of pastoral care and counseling, was the pastoral supervisor for a unit of Clinical Pastoral Education, accredited by the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education. The program was with Emory Hospital Midtown from February to June 2023. She supervised five chaplain residents for the final unit of their residency. 

Staff and Administration

Carly Jessup, research services librarian, presented a poster with her American Library Association (ALA) Emerging Leader colleagues at the 2023 ALA Conference in Chicago. In addition, her article titled “A Little Free Library for Graduate & Family Housing” was published in the most recent issue of Kentucky Libraries.

Dr. Stefanie Swanger, director of the Center for Career and Professional Development, was elected president-elect for the Georgia Association of Colleges and Employers for the 2023-2024 term. This three-year term will culminate in serving as the organization’s president during the 2024-2025 term, followed by serving as past-president. Dr. Swanger has served on the association’s board of directors since 2017, leading the statewide career fair, annual conference and technology efforts.

Andrea Honaker is a digital content specialist at Mercer. She writes feature stories for The Den and creates and maintains content for primary University web pages. She also plans and executes campaigns for the primary official Mercer University social media accounts.