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Faculty, Staff & Student Accomplishments

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Micki Davis holding flowers standing alongside President Stacey Robertson at the award event.
Chief Diversity Officer

Chief Diversity Officer honored with Woman of Achievement Award

The Delaware County Women’s Commission honored Chief Diversity Officer Michelle “Micki” Meekins-Davis with a Woman of Achievement Award at the commission’s awards celebrating Women’s History Month.

Meekins-Davis was one of three women honored under the theme “Women Who Advocate for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion,” for her dedication to championing these principles within Delaware County, Pennsylvania. The awards recognize honorees for their invaluable accomplishments and contributions toward bettering the lives and opportunities of all women, and for their tireless advocacy for a future in which women can achieve their full potential, free from barriers and discrimination. 

Meekins-Davis has been a part of Widener for over three decades, after starting as a part-time departmental assistant and rising to become the university’s inaugural full-time chief diversity officer. Along the way, she has served in various roles, such as the founding director of the Multicultural Student Affairs Office, where she supported and mentored students from underrepresented backgrounds. She developed innovative and effective programs, such as the 1821 Experience Pre-Orientation Program and the Pride Mentoring Program. She contributed to the university’s Common Ground Initiative by bringing DiversiTEA gatherings to Widener, where conversations have fostered a sense of belonging and a culture of respect.

Meekins-Davis is a member of Widener President Stacey Robertson’s leadership team. Robertson introduced her at the awards event.

“Micki is the perfect embodiment of this honor,” she said. “She has dedicated her life and career to creating a more just and equitable society, and her work has touched thousands of lives in Delaware County and beyond.”

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/31515/
 

The University Relations team poses with their awards.
University Relations

University Relations Wins Big at CUPRAP Conference

The University Relations department won six “Cuppie” awards from the annual CUPRAP conference. CUPRAP, or the College and University Public Relations and Associated Professionals, presents the awards for creative excellence in marketing and communications. The competition drew more than 400 entries this year from colleges and universities predominately located in the northeast.

The department won:

  • Gold, for the Family Connections quarterly e-newsletter for families of undergraduate students.
  • Gold, for the Widener Pride families website.
  • Silver, for the pre-move-in-shopping-advice video shot at Target and shared on social media.
  • Silver, for the admit packet prepared for parents of admitted undergraduates.
  • Silver, for the public relations campaign built around the 2023 President for a Day event.
  • Honorable mention, for the Pride 101 social media campaign videos.
  • Honorable mention, for an OPED co-authored by President Stacey Robertson and Ursinus College President Robyn Hannigan.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/university-relations-wins-awards-cuprap-conference 

Beatriz Urraca
College of Arts & Sciences

Spanish Faculty Named Fulbright Scholar

Beatriz Urraca, professor of Spanish and chair of modern languages, has been selected as a Fulbright Scholar. Urraca will travel to Argentina to pursue her project, which will explore “how Latin American cinema integrates different knowledge systems into western discussions of sustainability and the environment.”

Urraca will also spend time teaching a graduate seminar course at the National University of Central Buenos Aires (UNICEN), and establishing relationships between their institution and Widener. In addition to teaching students, Urraca will also hold workshops for UNICEN faculty with sustainability as a focus, and pave the pathway for collaboration between Argentinian faculty, researchers, and students.  

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/spanish-faculty-named-fulbright-scholar
 

Loyd D. Bastin
College of Arts & Sciences

Chemistry Faculty Awarded Inaugural Teaching Green Fellowship from the Green Chemistry Institute

Loyd Bastin, associate dean of science and professor of chemistry and biochemistry, has been chosen as the first-ever recipient of the Teaching Green Fellowship by the Green Chemistry Institute at the American Chemical Society. Bastin will be honored at the upcoming 28th Annual Green Chemistry & Engineering (GC&E) Conference.  

This award recognizes innovation and creativity in the development of curriculum materials with green chemistry and sustainability topics as a focus, and that prepares students for future careers where they can address global challenges.

Throughout his time at Widener, Bastin strives to incorporate political advocacy and activism into his courses, specifically as it pertains to environmental topics. This award will help provide funding for Bastin and students working with him to assist in their work, as well as travel expenses to attend GC&E Conferences.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/chemistry-faculty-awarded-inaugural-teaching-green-fellowship-green-chemistry-institute

Headshot of Banibrata Roy
School of Nursing

Nursing Professor Publishes Research Article on Pharmacy Leadership

Nursing Associate Professor Banibrata Roy authored a research article in the journal Pharmacy Education to determine the leadership skills needed amongst pharmacists in different work settings and in different parts of the world. The article titled, "Results from a global pharmacy leadership needs assessment: Opportunities to advance pharmacy leadership," finds that skills should be carefully considered for career development and advancement while providing leadership training in pharmacy education.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/nursing-professor-publishes-research-article-pharmacy-leadership 

 

Shirley G. Discher-Drowos
College of Arts & Sciences

Chemistry Faculty Named to Executive Board of the Eastern Analytical Symposium

Professor and Chair of Chemistry Shirley Fischer-Drowos has been elected to the executive board for the Eastern Analytical Symposium (EAS), the second largest international conference of analytical chemists. With over 1000 attendees annually, the symposium features vendor exhibits and poster presentations covering the latest in pharmaceuticals, environmental science, forensics, and more.

Fischer-Drowos has served on the symposium board for a number of years in various roles. In her new executive board role as Secretary, she can continue to help organize and execute the symposium annually along with other board members and sponsoring organizations. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/chemistry-faculty-named-executive-board-eastern-analytical-symposium

Zora Wolfe Headshot
College of Health & Human Services

Faculty Publishes Book Chapter on First-Generation Doctoral Students

Zora Wolfe, associate dean of the College of Health & Human Services and interim director for the Center for Education, has published a chapter in "First-Gen Docs: Personal, Political, and Intellectual Perspectives from the First-Generation Doctoral Experience.” This newly release is the third volume in The Doctoral Journey in Education series of books.

Wolfe’s chapter, titled “Program Supports for First-Generation Education Doctoral Students: A Faculty Perspective,” gives her personal insight into working with first-generation doctoral students pursuing a degree in the field of education.

This book serves to highlight the determination and resilience of the first-generation doctoral student population. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/faculty-publishes-book-chapter-first-generation-doctoral-students

A composite photo showing the faces of five people associated with the law schools
Schools of Law

Law professors speak at environmental law symposium

In a recent symposium held in Philadelphia, four law professors and a law alumna explored the right to a clean environment through the lenses of state and federal courts. The event, presented by the Journal of Constitutional Law at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School, featured the following participants:

  • Delaware Law Professor Erin Daly moderated the panel "Environmentalism: the History, the Source of Law, and the Future."
  • Assistant Professor Quinn Yeargain of Commonwealth Law School presented "Against Environmental Rights" as part of the panel "Litigating Constitutional Environmentalism: Current Realities and Future Considerations."
  • Delaware Law Professor James May and John Dernbach, emeritus professor of law and former director of the Environmental Law Sustainability Center at Commonwealth Law School, both spoke on the panel titled "Green Amendment Movement: Pennsylvania Roots and Nationwide Reach." May discussed the pursuit of climate rights at the state level in the U.S., while Dernbach examined judicial decisions under the environmental rights amendments to explain their contribution to environmental protection.
  • Delaware Law alumna Maya van Rossum ’94, the Delaware Riverkeeper and founder of Green Amendments for the Generations, also participated on the panel with May and Dernbach.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/31334

Nancy Laplante
School of Nursing

Nursing Professor Co-Authors Textbook

Nancy Laplante, professor of nursing, co-authored a new textbook geared toward preparing nursing students for the Next-Generation NCLEX exam. The textbook, "Clinical Nursing Skills & Techniques, 11th Edition," provides clear, step-by-step guidelines to more than 200 basic, intermediate, and advanced skills. With more than 1,200 full-color illustrations, a nursing process framework, and a focus on evidence-based practice, this manual helps students learn to think critically, ask the right questions at the right time, and make timely decisions. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/nursing-professor-co-authors-textbook

Sachin P. Patil
School of Engineering

Engineering Professor and International Collaborators Publish Artificial Intelligence-enabled Cancer Drug Discovery Tool

Professor of Chemical Engineering Sachin Patil, together with a team of international collaborators from Imperial College London in the United Kingdom and the Cancer Research Center in Marseille, France, published a paper in the Journal of Advanced Research titled, “Inactive-enriched machine-learning models exploiting patent data improve structure-based virtual screening for PDL1 dimerizers.” The paper presented novel PDL1-specific machine-learning scoring functions as a powerful drug design tool for detecting small-molecule PD1/PDL1 inhibitors, forming the basis for developing novel cancer immunotherapies with better patient outcomes and milder side effects.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/engineering-professor-and-international-collaborators-publish-artificial-intelligence-enabled-cancer 

A photo overlooking the pride cafe with tables full of students socializing
School of Business Administration

Widener Hosts High Schoolers for Future Business Leaders of America Conference

The School of Business Administration (SBA) hosted over 225 area high school students on Widener’s Chester campus for the Future Business Leaders of America (FBLA) Delaware County Leadership Conference.

Students from eight high schools across Delaware County gathered for a day of Widener faculty-led workshops covering topics such as the basics of banking, sales and marketing, artificial intelligence, leadership and communication, and more.

In addition, students competed for prized in events judged by Widener students, alumni, staff, and industry partners. Overall, students earned awards in 55 categories, and the top students will move on to compete at the state level. This was the first time the competitions were held in person since before the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It was everything we say the SBA is – hands-on, engaged, real world, future looking, and industry aligned,” said Donna McCloskey, associate dean for undergraduate programs in SBA. “It was a great day to be a part of the pride!”

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/widener-hosts-high-schoolers-future-business-leaders-america-conference

Stacey Robertson speaking with brian communications banner behind her
Office of the President

President Stacey Robertson Speaks at Dynamic Leaders Event

Widener President Stacey Robertson was recently a panelist at the “Breakfast with Brian” event, “Leading Through Change: Insights and Perspectives from Dynamic Leaders” in center city Philadelphia. She was one of four remarkable leaders invited to the conversation. Others included Lisa Hughes, publisher and CEO of The Philadelphia Inquirer, Angela Val, president and CEO of VISIT PHILADELPHIA, and P. Sue Perotty, president and CEO of Tower Health. 

The conversation examined the difficulties of taking over a leadership role in the midst of a global pandemic, and lessons learned. Leaders shared their perspectives on how to lead through change, with a focus on successful strategies in their industries.

Robertson highlighted Widener’s culture of belonging, and how it supports student well-being. “Sometimes it's just a matter of one person, one connection, one place where you feel safe,” she said.
 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/node/31232

Lauren O. Shermer
College of Arts & Sciences

Lauren Shermer Named New Widener University Program Director for Project Pericles

Lauren Shermer, professor of criminal justice, has been named the new Widener University Program Director for Project Pericles effective January 2024. Project Pericles is a national consortium of 29 member colleges and universities that promotes civic engagement in higher education of which Widener has been a member for nearly two decades.

Shermer looks forward to growing Project Pericles engagement with faculty, staff, students, and community partners. She was named a Periclean Faculty Leader in 2021 and has presented at two Project Pericles conferences held in the last year. Shermer brings a deep commitment to civic engagement to this role.

This role was formerly held by Associate Dean of Social Sciences James Vike, who has been a leading member of Project Pericles at Widener since 2005. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/lauren-shermer-named-new-widener-university-program-director-project-pericles
 

Mark A. Nicosia
School of Engineering

Engineering Faculty Presents at the 2023 World Dysphagia Summit

Mark Nicosia, vice provost for Academic Affairs and Strategy and professor of engineering, was a featured speaker during a panel discussion at the 2023 World Dysphagia Summit. The summit was hosted by the Dysphagia Research Society (DRS) in affiliation with the European Society for Swallowing Disorders, the Japanese Society for Dysphagia Rehabilitation, and the Latin America Society for Dysphagia. 

Nicosia, who also serves as president of the DRS, is an expert in dysphagia which is the medical term for difficulty swallowing. The summit was held on World Swallowing Day to increase worldwide awareness among health care professionals as well as the public to increase knowledge about normal swallowing and swallowing disorders, their causes, early detection, complications and management.

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/engineering-faculty-presents-2023-world-dysphagia-summit

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. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/business-faculty-named-epas-clean-air-act-advisory-committee

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.

    Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/widener-commends-faculty-2023-awards-event
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. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/widener-students-visit-new-york-city-urban-excursions-trip

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). 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/widener-hosts-aapt-members-fall-meeting-physics-faculty-share-research

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. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/library-staff-present-student-scholarship-pala-conference

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. 

Share link: https://www.widener.edu/news/noteworthy/business-faculty-presents-two-aib-conferences