Faculty, Staff & Student Accomplishments

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Jeremy Hancher 260x300
School of Business Administration

Business Faculty Named to EPA’s Clean Air Act Advisory Committee

Jeremy Hancher, adjunct professor in the School of Business Administration and EMAP Program Manager for the Widener Small Business Development Center, has been invited to serve as a member on the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Clean Air Act Advisory Committee for a two-year term.

The committee consists of government figures, industry professionals, and academics who are experts in the environmental and sustainability fields and can advise the EPA on issues related to implementing the Clean Air Act Amendments. 

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A group photo of the faculty holding their awards.
University Faculty

Widener Commends Faculty at 2023 Awards Event

Widener honored faculty members for their high distinction in areas of civic engagement, institutional leadership, research, as well as innovative and distinguished teaching. Various faculty were awarded at the ceremony, held Thursday, October 19 in Lathem Hall.

“The professors who were honored at our annual awards ceremony continuously display commitment to teaching, civic engagement, meaningful research, remarkable leadership, and cutting-edge innovation. They are highly valued colleagues and represent core values for which Widener stands," said Provost Andrew Workman. 

The awards included:

  • The Distinguished University Professor Award honors faculty members of high distinction at the University who also demonstrate the institution is committed to recognizing excellence in teaching, scholarship, and service throughout faculty members’ careers. This year's recipients were College of Health and Human Services Professor, Stephen E. Kauffman as well as College of Arts and Sciences Professor, Alexis A. Nagengast.
  • College of Arts and Sciences Professor Dana Olanoff was awarded with the Lindback Distinguished Teaching Award. This award is given to a faculty member who has exemplified a history of teaching at the highest level of distinction. It is endowed by the Christian R. and Mary F. Lindback Foundation, a Philadelphia-based foundation that provides grants to institutions of higher education for the promotion of excellence in teaching.
  • The Faculty Award for Civic Engagement serves to recognize the outstanding contributions that faculty members have made in accordance with Widener’s civic engagement mission, as well as solidifying Widener students’ understanding of their social responsibilities, and the impact of their disciplinary learning. This year's recipients included faculty from the College of Arts and Sciences: Associate Professor Angela M. Corbo, Professor J. Wesley Leckrone, and Associate Dean of Social Science and Professor James E. Vike.
  • College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Michael Toneff was awarded the Outstanding Researcher Award. This award gives recognition to a faculty member who has participated in research and scholarship nationally or internationally, and made a significant contribution through their research, while advancing their profession or discipline as well as the university’s mission and vision.
  • The Fitz Dixon Innovation in Teaching Award highlights an individual who has designed, implemented, and assessed an innovative or experimental teaching and learning project. This award was presented to College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Janice Krumm.
  • The Faculty Institutional Leadership Award recognizes a record of leading initiatives that further the university’s vision, mission, and strategic objectives. This year’s award recipients were College of Health and Human Services Associate Professor Marina Barnett, who is also interim assistant provost for civic engagement, and College of Arts and Sciences Associate Professor Bretton Alvare.

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Students pose in front of the American Museum of Natural History
College of Arts & Sciences

Widener Students Visit New York City for Urban Excursions Trip

Widener faculty recently took 20 students to New York City as part of the urban excursions grant program, which allows faculty to take students on daylong trips to a metropolitan area to allow for deeper engagement and hands-on experiences as they relate to course material. 

Led by YuFeng Mao, associate professor of history, Beatriz Urraca, chair of modern languages, and Stephen Madigosky, chair of environmental science and sustainability, students visited popular New York City stops such as the Natural History Museum, Central Park, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Times Square, and Koreatown. The trip also coincided with the date of the 2023 New York City Marathon, where students were able to watch and cheer on runners. 

In addition to experiencing the iconic New York sites, students were also exposed to the diverse culinary culture of the city by trying Latin American food, Dim Sum, and Korean shaved ice and coffee. 

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Faculty in front of a computer presenting their work
College of Arts & Sciences

Widener Hosts AAPT Members for Fall Meeting, Physics Faculty Share Research

Widener University’s Physics Department hosted members the Southeast Pennsylvania Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) on campus for their fall 2023 meeting. 

Organized by Assistant Professor of Physics Alice Du, the event was full of guest speakers and presentations covering topics such as student engagement, professional development for teachers, and hot topics in the physics industry. Martin Melhus, assistant professor of physics, presented “Numerical Integration of Trajectories at a Student Level.”

The AAPT hosted an additional event in collaboration with the Delaware Valley Amateur Astronomers in which Paul Baker, assistant professor of physics, shared work he completed as a member of the North American Nanohertz Observatory for Gravitational Waves (NANOGrav) and the International Pulsar Timing Array (IPTA). 

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A poster sharing research is set up on a table with blue and yellow decorations
Wolfgram Memorial Library

Library Staff Present on Student Scholarship at PaLA Conference

Jill Borin, librarian and head of archives and distinctive collections, Kayla Van Osten, affiliate librarian and assistant archivist, and Kristina Dorsett, affiliate librarian, presented a poster at the Pennsylvania Library Association’s (PaLA) 2023 Conference. 

The trio presented a poster, titled “I Did That: Student Scholarship in Academic Libraries,” which showcased the scholarly work of Widener graduate and undergraduate students from the 2022 academic year. They shared a selection of works from across schools and departments, covering topics such as student mental health, better living through technology, and sexual healing. 

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Maria Luiza Pinho 260x300
School of Business Administration

Business Faculty Presents at Two AIB Conferences

Maria Pinho, assistant professor of strategic management, will present at both the US Northeast and US Southeast Chapter Conferences of the Academy of International Business (AIB). 

Pinho and co-presenters will share their works “Agility & Resilience in Emerging Market Multinationals: Integrating two faces of the Same Coin,” and “The Role of Multinational Enterprises in Addressing Societal Tensions: A Review of Business-Society Frameworks.”

For more than 60 years, AIB has been a leader in bringing international business scholars and professionals together to share ideas. 

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Students and faculty pose for a photo
Undergraduate Academics

2023 SURCA Symposium Winners Announced

Widener’s Summer Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) program offers undergraduate students hands-on, faculty-mentored research experience over the summer. Months of hard work led to the annual SURCA Symposium where students present their findings to the community, as well as a panel of volunteer judges. 

The winners of the 2023 SURCA Symposium are: 

Biochemistry: Emily McHenry (Mentors: Robert Mishur & Michael Toneff)
Developing a procedure for the metabolic profiling of cancerous cells

Biology & Environmental Science: Evelyn Peyton (Mentor: David Coughlin)
Comparing summer acclimation studies during summer months between hatchery brook trout and wild brook trout

Chemistry & Chemical Engineering: Christina McCullough (Mentor: Dipendu Saha)
Conversion of Styrofoam to activated carbon

Engineering & Computer Science A: Ryan Mendenhall (Mentor: Babak Eslami)
Experimental investigation on effect of temperature on FDM 3D printing polymers: towards 4D printing

Engineering & Computer Science B: Fran DiPietro (Mentor: Aylin Acun)
Examining senescence in artificially aged induced pluripotent stem cell(iPSC)-derived cardiomyocytes

Engineering & Computer Science C: Alyson Fornes (Mentor: Daniel Roozbahani)
AI-driven cardiovascular disease forecasting platform

Humanities: Zoe Sweet (Mentor: Jayne Thompson)
Prison reform: Little Scandinavia

Social Science, Social Work, and Business A: Shane Landue (Mentor: Wei Gao)
Robo-advisor returns: startup vs traditional

Social Science, Social Work, and Business B: Brooke Morales & Adriana Moreta (Mentor: Robin Goldberg-Glen)
Intergenerational relationships: SURCA and career development in Social Work

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Jordan B. Smith
College of Arts & Sciences

History Faculty Recognized by Agricultural History Society

Assistant Professor of history Jordan Smith has received the Wayne D. Rasmussen Award from the Agricultural History Society for his article “The Native of this Island: Processes of Invention in Early Barbados.” This award recognizes an outstanding article on agricultural history that is published in a journal other than Agricultural History.

In the article, which was published in the Fall 2022 “Sugar and Slaves at Fifty” special issue of Early American Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal, Smith explores the contributions of indigenous people and enslaved Africans in the production of rum in the seventeenth century. The article demonstrates that, while officials of the time claimed that rum was native to the island of Barbados, those contributing to the production used their own cultural assumptions to adapt new ingredients and methods to create something new.  

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Joseph M. Hargadon
School of Business Administration

Current and Former Accounting Faculty Co-Author New Journal Article

Professor of Accounting Joseph Hargadon has co-authored an article published in the August 2023 issue of Strategic Finance. The article, entitled “Dual CMA and CPA Certification: A Winning Combination,” defines a nine-step plan for accounting students to pass the Certified Management Accountant (CMA) exam while still a student, and the Certified Public Accountant (CPA) exam within six months of their graduation. 

Hargadon’s co-authors include former Widener faculty members Lori Fuller and Peter Ohelers. Strategic Finance is the leading journal of The Institute of Management Accountants.

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Jess Mereshensky '24 poses in front of conference banners
Center for Social Work Education

Social Work Faculty and Student Present Service-Learning Work at Global Conference

Associate Professor of Social Work Robin Goldberg-Glen, along with social work student Jessica Mereshensky ’24, and Stephanie Cole from the PA Department of Aging, presented at the 2023 Generations United Global Intergenerational Conference in Washington, D.C. 

The team's presentation, titled "For Whom Does Service Learning Really Serve: Intergenerational Benefits for Reducing Loneliness and Isolation," highlighted their experience as part of a semester-long service-learning course at Widener completed in partnership with the PA Department of Aging.

As part of the course, students are paired with an older adult who may be at risk for social isolation. The students and older adults often form deep bonds through regular conversations, and some students have created lasting connections that have continued beyond the end of the course. Having completed the service-learning course herself, Mereshensky went on to become a leader for the next semester’s class of student participants alongside Goldberg-Glen.

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NLN Center of Excellence in Nursing Education logo
School of Nursing

Widener Nursing Named 2023 Center of Excellence by National League for Nursing

Widener University’s School of Nursing has been recognized by the National League for Nursing as a Center of Excellence in the area of advancing the science of nursing education. This is the third time Widener has received this recognition.

Nine nursing education programs across the country and the academic spectrum of higher education in nursing, as well as leading teaching hospitals and clinical sites, have been named Centers of Excellence, with Widener being the only recipient in the category of advancing the science of nursing education for 2023. Formal recognition of the award will take place at the 2023 National League for Nursing education summit in September.

“Widener is dedicated to educating the next generation of nurses by creating the evidence to support innovation in nursing education. Recognition for advancing the science of nursing education demonstrates our commitment to ensuring student success through scientific inquiry,” said Anne Krouse, dean of the school of nursing.  

Since 2004, the National League for Nursing has encouraged nursing programs to apply to become a center of excellence based on their ability to demonstrate in concrete, measurable terms sustained excellence in faculty development, nursing education research, student learning and professional development, and academic progression in nursing. Historically, many programs have achieved recognition in multiple categories or once designated, have maintained their center-of-excellence status through multiple award cycles. 

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Head and shoulders shot of Professor Kate Goodrich
College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Faculty and Alumni Publish Research

Associate Professor Kate Goodrich, Inesha Ellis ’20, Allison DeHaas ’20, and Rebecca Senski ’19 have had their paper entitled “False Advertising with Fermented Scents: Floral Mimicry in Pawpaw (Asimina triloba: Annonaceae) Pollination” published in the July/August 2023 edition of the International Journal of Plant Sciences

The team, in collaboration with Professor Jade Savage at Bishop's University in Quebec, Canada, investigated the pollination of Asimina triloba to identify sources of floral mimicry in pollination.

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Jawanza R. Bundy
School of Nursing

Nursing Faculty Graduates from AACN Diversity Leadership Institute

Assistant Professor of Nursing Jawanza Bundy has been recognized in the graduating cohort from the American Association of Colleges of Nursing’s (AACN) Diversity Leadership Institute, a program which empowers academic nursing leaders with strategies to promote diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) in the field of nursing and nursing education.  

Each graduate of the 2023 cohort learned high-impact DEI strategies that can be implemented in their own classrooms, and completed a capstone presentation. Bundy’s capstone, titled “Color Blocking: Creating a Colorful Canvas of Culture Across the Campus,” takes into account Widener’s commitment to diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging when looking at existing research and creating a plan of action to be implemented in the School of Nursing. 

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Cover of Oeffner's article, title on a dark floral background
Widener University

Staff Examines ‘Soft Skills’ in new Publication

Jane Oeffner has published a co-authored article in the May 2023 issue of the American Physical Therapy Association’s (APTA) Impact. The article, “Guns N’ Roses’ ‘Welcome to the Jungle’: Teaching Soft Skills in the Clinical Setting,” examines the “soft skills” needed as a clinician and how to best develop and maintain them. 

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Mark A. Nicosia
Widener University

Professor Appointed to Vice Provost Position

Professor Mark Nicosia, who teaches in the School of Engineering, has been named vice provost of the university. The position is dedicated to developing and executing academic innovation through strategic priorities and initiatives. The role oversees academic program development and revitalization, curriculum and policy, faculty development, teaching and learning, assessment, and academic affairs personnel. With Provost Andy Workman, he will hold responsibility for the administrative, academic and financial operations of the academic and student affairs divisions. 

Nicosia, who has been serving in the vice provost role in an interim capacity, has taught in the School of Engineering since 2005. He is actively involved on campus, has deep knowledge of the university, and has held multiple important leadership positions. He served on the Faculty Council Executive Committee for six years, including four years as faculty chair and two years as chair of the Faculty Affairs Committee.

His appointment becomes effective July 1.

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Oeffner's publication
Widener University

Staff Member Published in APTA Publication

Director of Strategic Clinical Partnerships Jane Oeffner authored an article published in Impact, the Private Practice Section of the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA). Her article, entitled “Show Imposter Syndrome the Red Light” examines imposter syndrome, gives strategies on how to overcome it, and how leaders can help others combat it. 

Oeffner is an APTA Private Practice member and currently serves on the editorial board for Impact. 

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Jessica Guzman
College of Arts & Sciences

Writing Faculty Named Periclean Faculty Leader

Assistant Professor and Co-Coordinator of Creative Writing Jessica Guzman has been selected as a Periclean Faculty Leader by Project Pericles, a national group of colleges and universities committed to furthering and promoting civic engagement in higher education. 

Periclean Faculty Leaders create and teach courses across various disciplines that tackle large-scale issues such as climate change, public health, voter engagement, and many more. This award comes with funding dedicated for use in creating and implementing a new course, which will be implemented in the Spring 2023 semester.  

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Kayla Van Osten (left) and Jill Borin (right)
Wolfgram Memorial Library

Library Staff Co-Author Book Chapter

Wolfgram Library's Jill Borin, librarian and head of archives and distinctive collections, and Kayla Van Osten, affiliate librarian and assistant archivist, have co-authored a chapter in the book Managing Crises in the Academic Library: Past, Present, and Future, which features library professionals as authors from all institution types and sizes. 

Borin and Van Osten’s chapter is titled “Mold Mitigation during a Pandemic: Accessible Strategies for Archivists.”

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Catherine Safran (left) and Taylor Wise '25 (right)
College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Faculty Presents Poster at Human Anatomy and Physiology Conference, Receives Award

Assistant Teaching Professor of Biology Catherine Safran, with the help of nursing student Taylor Wise ’25, presented a poster at the 2023 Annual Conference of the Human Anatomy and Physiology Society (HAPS) in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

The poster, titled “The Implementation of Structured Office Hours as a Central Component of Student Success in A&P courses,” is based on Wise’s experience in anatomy and physiology (A&P) courses and using resources such as faculty office hours and peers to improve her academic performance. The observations concluded that students who utilize office hours will have improved performance in A&P classes and can act as group leaders to help their peers succeed as well. 

In addition to presenting, Safran was awarded the HAPS John Martin Second Timers Award, which recognizes HAPS members for repeated attendance and commitment to the organization’s annual conferences. 

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Eric Kniskern holding his Wollman Award trophy
Widener University

Widener honors recipient of the Wollman Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion

The university is pleased to announce that Eric Kniskern, director of recruitment and diversity enrollment initiatives at Delaware Law School has been honored with the 2023 Julie E. Wollman Endowed Award for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. 

The award was made possible as part of a $100,000 gift to the university by Wollman, the immediate past president of Widener, and her husband Dan L. King. It annually recognizes an employee who advocates and effects change at Widener in support of diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging, by going above and beyond their job responsibilities.

Kniskern began his career at Widener’s campus in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 24 years ago, where he served as director of admissions for the then-Widener University School of Law. 

In his time working on the Harrisburg campus, Kniskern was instrumental in bringing Safe Space workshops and trainings, dedicated to supporting the needs of the LGBTQIA+ community, to staff and faculty there. He positioned the campus to host the annual meeting Law School Diversity Professionals in 2011, through a competitive process in which schools all over the country were vying for hosting privileges. Kniskern also advocated for and secured prayer space for Muslim students.  

At Widener University Delaware Law School, where he has worked since 2016, Kniskern has built on his previous efforts to support DEIB. He was an early champion for gender-inclusive restrooms on the Delaware campus and routinely works to enhance application and recruitment processes with the goal of attracting a diverse and qualified incoming class. In addition, he has advocated for the elimination of criminal history questions from the law school application process to attract and better serve justice-impacted applicants. He researched the practice extensively and presented case studies to the faculty enrollment committee, which led to a law school plan to eliminate criminal history questions beginning with the fall 2024 application process.

Widener Chief Diversity Officer Michelle Meekins-Davis announced Kniskern as the Wollman Award recipient on May 1, at a university-wide town hall meeting for faculty and staff. 

“Eric’s dedication to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion and belonging has had a measurable impact on all three of Widener’s campuses,” Meekins-Davis said. “He is a leader who demonstrates a consistent commitment to making Widener a place where all students know they belong and can be their true selves. We are fortunate to call him a colleague and he is richly deserving of this recognition.”

Kniskern lives in Mt. Joy, Pennsylvania with his partner of 21 years, Kevin, and their two cats, Meep and Rocco.

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