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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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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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John Suarez 260x300
School of Engineering

Engineering Professor Awarded Manufacturing PA Innovation Program Grant

John Suarez, associate professor of electrical engineering, received a grant from the Manufacturing PA Innovation program funded by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development. The project, titled “Capacitive and Infrared Sensing for Precision Chemical Analysis of Polar Compounds,” will build upon preliminary work completed by Probes Unlimited, Inc. (PUI) to design, prototype, rigorously test, and manufacture a precision sensor for monitoring the quality of cooking oil. Suarez will lead a research team to conduct the necessary research and development to assist PUI in developing the capacitive sensor with the required characteristics as well as investigate the viability of infrared sensing technology in this application.

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Sachin P. Patil
School of Engineering

Engineering Professor Named Journal Guest Editor

Sachin Patil, professor of chemical engineering, was invited to serve as the guest editor for a special issue in the peer-reviewed journal Pharmaceuticals. Titled “Alzheimer’s Disease: Small-Molecule Modulators of Novel Therapeutic Pathways,” this special issue is dedicated to gathering novel Alzheimer’s disease mechanisms, with a particular emphasis on targeting these mechanisms using small-molecule drugs. 

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Amanda DiAlessandro stands in front of her research poster and talks with a conference attendee.
School of Engineering

Engineering Student Presents at National Conference

Amanda DiAlessandro '22 '23, a two-time graduate of Widener's mechanical engineering program, presented research at the 2023 National Conference on Undergraduate Research in Wisconsin in April. The poster, "HVAC Design of a Performing Arts Center to be Located in Sidney, Australia," was co-authored by DiAlessandro and teammates Jacqueline Loeliger, Jamal Badamassi, Tristan Fish, Michael Hutchinson, and Madeline Reynolds and showcased findings collected during the team's senior project. 

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Sachin P. Patil
School of Engineering

Engineering Faculty Presents Funded Research at International Symposium

Sachin Patil, professor of chemical engineering, attended and presented findings at the Heart Development and Disease: From Genes to Cures conference hosted by Keystone Symposia in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The conference gathered researchers from around the world to advance knowledge and understanding of heart formation and homeostatic function and how derangement in these processes lead to diseases and organ dysfunction.

In his presentation, “Small-molecule stabilizers (and inhibitors) of immune checkpoint PD1-PDL1 for heart disease and beyond,” Patil highlighted his novel findings on the role of immunotherapy in the heart disease treatment. Patil’s research is supported by a funding grant from the W. W. Smith Charitable Trust.  

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David J. Coughlin
College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Professor Receives Cynthia H. Sarnoski Faculty Fellowship to Continue Climate Change Research

Biology Professor David Coughlin has been awarded the Cynthia H. Sarnoski Faculty Fellowship award to support his research focused on climate change and wild brook trout. This is the second time Coughlin has been the recipient of this award, which will run from July 2023 through June 2025.

“The future of biological systems, upon which humans depend, is imperiled by climate change. My laboratory uses multiple experimental approaches to examine how changes in the environment affect the physiological performance of a given organism,” Coughlin explained.

Coughlin works together with Widener students to examine the impact of rising temperatures due to climate change on muscle function in brook trout. Working in the lab, the team has found a strong physiological response to a warming environment in a controlled setting. In the past year, Coughlin has begun analyzing wild, native brook trout populations across the state of Pennsylvania. 

“This study aims to bring data together from throughout the year to determine how wild trout are responding to changing environmental temperatures,” says Coughlin. “We hope to gain insights that will contribute to management of threatened brook trout populations.”

The Sarnoski Fellowship supports science faculty through a generous gift made by Cynthia H. Sarnoski, who serves as vice chair of Widener’s Board of Trustees. Sarnoski graduated from Widener in 1974 with a bachelor's degree in chemistry. She is a retired senior vice president for Global Compliance and Quality Systems for Pfizer Pharmaceuticals. 

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Janice L. Krumm
College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Faculty Receives Continued National Science Foundation Funding

Associate Professor of Biology Janice Krumm is the recipient of over $143,000 from the National Science Foundation to continue a multi-year project aimed at making undergraduate research more accessible for students. This is the fourth grant that this project has received, bringing the total funding to nearly $2 million of which nearly half has been awarded directly to Widener. 

Krumm served as primary investigator for the first three awards and is now collaborating with additional researchers from George Washington University, Texas Tech University, Westfield State University, and Anoka-Ramsey Community College. The project has been focused on creating Course Based Undergraduate Research (CURE) classes which utilize a newly created online database of natural history resources that are free and available for use by students across the country. 

This new funding will:

  • Support recruitment and training of more faculty nationwide to implement accessible CURE strategies into their classrooms
  • Allow researchers, like Dr. Krumm, to assess the effectiveness of these new practices using newly designed research instruments
  • Provide funding to support students participating in these CURE courses to attend national conferences to present their research. Dr. Krumm estimates that nearly 100 students will be able to attend and present their work over the next 3 years. 

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Kathleen R. Sheikh
School of Nursing

Nursing Professor Publishes Promising Learning Strategy for Integrating Telehealth Practices

Associate Professor and Assistant Dean of Nursing Kathleen Sheikh published a paper in the Journal of the American Association of Nurse Practitioners titled, “Rapid-cycle deliberate practice telehealth as an integrative learning strategy in nurse practitioner education.” The paper shares a cognitive technique called rapid-cycle deliberate practice that teaches learners skills through purposeful repetition and accumulation. Students were able to combine skills and previous knowledge from in-person simulation sessions and translate those experiences toward telehealth services. 

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Robin L. Dole
College of Health & Human Services

Robin Dole Wins National Award from the APTA Academy of Education

Robin Dole, dean of the College of Health & Human Services and professor of physical therapy, was presented with the 2022 Stanford Award by the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) Academy of Education. The award was created by Katherine Shepard, PT, PhD, FAPTA, in honor of her former faculty colleagues at Stanford University, to recognize the author(s) of a manuscript containing the most influential educational ideas published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education for the calendar year. Dean Dole, who also serves as the chief delegate for APTA PA, is recognized for her contributions as an author on the paper "Competency-Based Education in Physical Therapy: Developing a Framework for Education." 

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Babatunde O. Odusami
School of Business Administration

Business Professor Receives Funding for Collaboration with South African University

A collaborative research project between associate professor Babatunde Odusami and Omokolade Akinsomi from the University of Witwatersrand in South Africa has been chosen to receive funding from The Carnegie African Diaspora Fellowship Program. This grant funds partnership projects between African-born scholars and higher education institutions in Africa. 

Odusami and Akinsomi’s project, entitled “Development of Pan African Real Estate Database and Co-Curriculum Development and Mentorship in Machine Learning Competencies for Real Estate Research,” will work to develop real estate knowledge and research capacities in Africa. 

Odusami will spend a month during the summer of 2023 in Africa working with Akinsomi and graduate students at the University of Witwatersrand. The two researchers will also be presenting another joint project at the American Real Estate Society Conference in March 2023. 

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Christine A. Pariseault
School of Nursing

Nursing Professor Reports Findings on Nurses' Experiences during COVID

Christine Pariseault, assistant professor of nursing, co-authored a study that explored the perceptions and experiences of nurses in clinical practice engaged in caring for patients diagnosed with COVID‐19 during the early months of the pandemic. The qualitative descriptive study published in Research in Nursing & Research addressed clinical nurses' daily struggles at the bedside while caring for patients diagnosed with COVID‐19. Analyzed findings showed five themes: navigating uncertainty, managing death and loss, acknowledging emotional responses, learning opportunities, and facing community undercurrents. The report concluded on the important of collecting and analyzing data and disseminate findings to inform the nursing profession, healthcare industry, and the public. 

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A group photo captures and students and faculty whose projects were named winners of the 2022 SURCA Symposium.
Undergraduate Academics

Undergraduate Students Named Winners of the 2022 SURCA Symposium

The annual Summer Undergraduate Research and Creative Activities (SURCA) program offers a high-impact experience through faculty-mentored undergraduate research, collaborative engagement, and a student-faculty learning community. The months-long program culminated with a symposium event which allowed participating students to present their projects and findings to the Widener community as well as a panel of volunteer judges who ranked the presentations by category.

The winners of the 2022 SURCA Symposium are:

Biochemistry: Michaela Jemison (advisor: Alexis Nagengast)
Detecting phenotypic difference of Alzheimer’s progression in a variety of Drosophila genotypes

Biology: Zachary Anderson (advisor: Caroline Fortunato)
Understanding the biogeographical patterns of microbial communities within the grassland soils of Northeastern Pennsylvania

Business & Computer Science: Shea’lyn Hubbs & Daniel Wiedl (advisors: Babatunde Odusami & YoungHa Ki)
Green bond performance in the United States

Chemistry: Elana Nguyen (advisor: Robert Mishur)
Microwave-assisted synthesis of transplatin, trans-[Pt[NH3]2Cl2]

Engineering A: Jared Ware (advisors: Babak Eslami &Kamran Fouladi)
Investigation of effect of melting temperature on the quality of 3D printed parts out of PLA filaments

Engineering B: Brian Hoffman (advisor: Dipendu Saha)
Conversion of Styrofoam into value-added products

Environmental: Emily Mills (advisor: Chad Freed)
Spatial modeling to support conservation of Sialia sialis, Eastern Bluebirds, in Pennsylvania

Humanities: Madison Smith & M’Nya Preston (advisor: Jordan Smith)
Hidden History of Widener

Molecular Biology: Adam Oladeji (advisor: Michael Toneff)
Transient expression of miR-200c does not permanently inhibit breast cancer cell aggression

Social Science A: Zora DeSeignora & Kaitlyn Lathrop (advisor: Angela Corbo)
Belonging, inclusion, and collaboration in communication studies: Building self-awareness and community

Social Science B: Cloë Di Flumeri & Marissa Fowler (advisor: Jeremy Backstrom)
Intimate partner violence during civil war

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 A portrait of Carly Kearney
School of Nursing

Nursing PhD Student Named a Jonas Scholar by National League for Nursing

Carly Kearney, a PhD candidate in the School of Nursing, was named a 2022-23 Jonas Scholar by National League for Nursing (NLN). The highly competitive scholarship provides direct funding for Kearney in her final year of doctoral study, leading to completion of her dissertation projects, as well as support for travel expenses to attend conference. Launched in 2010, the Jonas Scholars Program has been generously funded by Jonas Philanthropies, a New York-based foundation that promotes excellence in nursing, to advance the science of nursing education. 

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School of Nursing's Founders Hall
School of Nursing

Nursing Study Examines Faculty Administrators’ Experiences Amid COVID Disruptions

A research team consisting of faculty, students, and an alumni in the School of Nursing published a study examining nurse faculty administrators’ experiences of rapid transition and disruption in nursing education during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Published in the journal Nursing Education Perspectives, co-authors Anne Krouse, dean of nursing, Kristen McLaughlin, nursing graduate, Rose Rossi, associate dean of undergraduate nursing, Wendy Black-Dorn, nursing PhD candidate, Bette Mariani, nursing graduate, and Barbara Patterson, director of the nursing science doctoral program, implemented a descriptive survey methodology to understand the experiences of academic nurse administrators during the pandemic. The survey utilized the Four Cs of Disaster Partnering conceptual framework which encompasses communication, cooperation, coordination, and collaboration and the interrelatedness of those activities in partnering relationships. The authors' findings showed that key elements of the Four Cs framework played a role in the successful adaptation to new learning environment realities.

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Center for Human Sexuality Studies

Human Sexuality Graduate Publishes in Academic Journal

Amanda Baker, a graduate of the Center for Human Sexuality Studies, published an article that investigated the association between sexting and satisfaction within a relationship. The research, which published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine, explored the positive impact sexting can have on important relationship constructs and provides clinicians and educators with reliable data that can assist them with informing adult clients on ways they can utilize sexting in a meaningful and positive way.

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Catherine Safran Profile Image
College of Arts & Sciences

Biology Professor Published in Genetics Journal

Catherine Safran, assistant teaching professor of biology, and her collaborators have had their article, "Osteocytic Pericellular Matrix (PCM): Accelerated Degradation under In Vivo Loading and Unloading Conditions Using a Novel Imaging Approach," published in Genes, a peer-reviewed journal covering genetics and genomics. 

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Michelle Storrod
College of Arts & Sciences

Criminal Justice Professor Publishes Findings on Impact of Phone Removal Among Girls in the Juvenile Justice System

Michelle Lyttle Storrod, assistant professor of criminal justice, published a paper in the International Journal for Crime, Justice and Social Democracy demonstrating that removing access to phones for young females in the juvenile justice system can cause a rupture of girls’ digital ecology. The research, generated from an ethnographic study, showed that phones act as a positive and protective force supporting girls through feelings of safety, helping them cope with challenging events at home and on the street. 

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Robert Wellmon
College of Health & Human Services

Physical Therapy Professor Publishes on Influence of Clinical Instructor Experience on Assessing DPT Student Clinical Performance

Robert Wellmon, distinguished university professor in the Institute for Physical Therapy Education, is a co-author on this mix-methods study published in the Journal of Physical Therapy Education. The purposes of this study were to examine whether novice and experienced clinical instructors' assessment practice differ and explore the reasons for these differences. Findings showed a low number of statistically significant differences between novice and experienced clinical instructors awarding Clinical Performance Instrument ratings which suggests that there were few true quantitative disparities between the assessors.

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Robin L. Dole
College of Health & Human Services

Robin Dole Co-Authors Paper on Competency-Based Education in Physical Therapy

Robin Dole, dean of the College of Health & Human Services, is a co-author on this paper published in Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation Journal discussing competency-based education (CBE). In this perspective article, Dole and the co-authors demonstrate support for utilizing the CBE philosophy and highlight four themes: the need for a shared language, an overview of CBE and the impetus for the change, how to shift toward CBE in physical therapy, and why the profession should adopt a mindset requiring purposeful practice across one’s career in order to safely and most efficiently practice in a given area.

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