Faculty and Staff Briefs: August 2021   


Inika Pierre Williams (Center for Academic Retention and Enhancement) has been selected as a Leadership Tallahassee Class 39 member. She has also been awarded $20,000 from the City of Tallahassee to combat the disparate impact that COVID-19 has had on learning for students in our community.

Patricia Homan, Ph.D. (Department of Sociology) received the Distinguished Article Award from the American Sociological Association’s Sex and Gender section for “Structural Sexism and Health in the United States: A New Perspective on Health Inequality and the Gender System,” published in 2019 in the American Sociological Review.

Vanessa Dennen, Ph.D. (College of Education) doctoral student Daeun Jung and Undergraduate Research Opportunity Program students Casey Cargill and Amber Hedquist received the outstanding paper award at the International Conference on Web Based Communities and Social Media for their paper “Parents, Social Media, and Online Support: A Systematic Review of the Literature.”

Tasha Weinstein (Education & Engagement at WFSU Public Media) was named the 2021 recipient of the Janyth Righter Innovation Award. This award honors those whose work is moving public media in Florida forward in new and innovative ways by looking at things differently and thinking out of the box.

Ted Chiricos, Ph.D. (College of Criminology and Criminal Justice) has recently been named a Fellow of the American Society of Criminology (ASC). The prestigious status of Fellow recognizes those who have made a scholarly contribution to the intellectual life of the discipline, whether in the form of a singular, major piece of scholarship or cumulative scholarly contributions.

Chris Graham (Fraternity & Sorority Life) received the 2021 Dick McKaig Award, given annually by the Delta Chi International Fraternity to one campus professional who leads the industry in a positive and impactful way.

Giray Ökten, Ph.D. (Department of Mathematics) received the silver medal in the category of Children-Education from the 2021 Florida Authors & Publishers Association President’s Book Awards for his children’s book, “The Mathematical Investigations of Dr. O and Arya.”

Hank Bass, Ph.D. (Department of Biological Science) received the silver medal in the category of Young Adult – Non-fiction from the 2021 Florida Authors & Publishers Association President’s Book Awards for co-authoring the book, “Crazy Lazy Corn!!!”

Prashant Singh, Ph.D. (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology) was named a research fellow for a new Scialog initiative sponsored by the Research Corporation for Science Advancement and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The initiative, Mitigating Zoonotic Threats, tasks a multidisciplinary team of early-career researchers to investigate the potential threats to human health caused by animal-borne infectious diseases.


David Merrick (Center for Disaster Risk Policy) is the lead investigator on a National Science Foundation grant to FSU and two other universities to study the use of remote sensing and robotic technology in disaster response. Other key FSU personnel on the research project include Jarrett Broder, research faculty II; Laura Hart, doctoral student in the Askew School of Public Administration; Austin Bush, doctoral student in the Department of Geography; and CDRP researcher Justin Adams.

Sylwia J. Piatkowska, Ph.D. and Brendan Lantz, Ph.D. (College of Criminology and Criminal Justice) recently received a National Science Foundation grant totaling $236,985 to fund a two year-study “Understanding Hate Crime Victimization and Reporting.” Piatkowska and Lantz are part of the college’s Hate Crime Research and Policy Institute, which is committed to advancing research on hate crime offending and bias victimization.

Bahram Arjmandi, Ph.D., RDN (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology) received a grant from the National Mango Board to work on his project “The Effects of Fresh Mango Consumption in Indices of Glycemic Control, Cardiovascular Health, and Body Composition in Overweight and Obese Individuals with Prediabetes.” The project looks at the role mangos could play in helping to decrease associated risk factors that could delay the development of diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Robert Hickner, Ph.D. (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology) and postdoctoral researcher Raedeh Basiri serve as co-principal investigators on the project.

Orlando Laitano, Ph.D. (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology) received a grant from the National Institutes of Health to examine skeletal muscle weakness in patients recovering from sepsis. Patients who survive sepsis frequently experience severe atrophy and skeletal muscle weakness that never fully recovers to their pre-septic state for unknown reasons; Laitano and his team will investigate this phenomenon.


Vincent Joos, Ph.D. (Department of Modern Languages and Linguistics) published the “Haiti Can Solve Its Own Problems, if Foreign Powers Would Let It,” in World Politics Review.

Amy L. Ai, Ph.D. (College of Social Work) had an article “Childhood Mistreatment, PTSD, and Substance Use in Latinx: The Role of Discrimination in an Omitted-Variable Bias,” published in the International Journal of Behavioral Medicine.

Stacey Rutledge, Ph.D. (College of Education) co-published the book “Steps to Schoolwide Success,” based on a multiyear research project in Broward County Schools that focuses on the relationship between social-emotional learning and academics in terms of student success.

Patricia Homan, Ph.D. (Department of Sociology) and doctoral student Brittany King co-authored a research paper “Structural Intersectionality as a New Direction for Health Disparities Research,” published in the Journal of Health and Social Behavior.

Paul Renfro, Ph.D. (Department of History) published the article “Fear in the Heartland” in Slate. Renfro also published the article “The New ‘Crime Wave’ Panic and the Long Shadow of John Walsh” in the New Republic.

Aaron Thomas, Ph.D. (School of Theatre) published the essay “Infelicities” in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, produced by the University of Kansas, Department of Theatre and Dance. Thomas’ essay addresses the confusions that attend the uses of the word “performative” within theatre and performance studies.

Melissa Radey, Ph.D. (College of Social Work) co-published “‘I’ve Been Through It’: Assessing Employment Barriers among Unaccompanied Women Experiencing Homelessness” in the journal Social Work Research.

Kellen Hoxworth, Ph.D. (School of Theatre) published the essay “Performative Correctness; or, the Subject of Performance and Politics” in the Journal of Dramatic Theory and Criticism, produced by the University of Kansas, Department of Theatre and Dance. This essay analyzes popular uses of the term “performative” to consider how contemporary performance and politics are haunted by discourses of “political correctness.”

Christopher Uejio, Ph.D. (Department of Geography) co-authored a study “Using Social Security Number to Identify Sub-populations Vulnerable to the Health Impacts from Extreme Heat in Florida, U.S.”

Maxine Montgomery, Ph.D. (Department of English) published the book “The Postapocalyptic Black Female Imagination” as part of its African Diaspora Literature and Culture series. Through an examination of representations of catastrophes, the book extends the scholarly conversation on Afro-futurism and speculative fiction.

Charles Upchurch, Ph.D. (Department of History) will publish his second book “Beyond the Law: The Politics of Ending the Death Penalty for Sodomy in Britain” with Temple University Press in September 2021. It’s the first book to identify and analyze the earliest debates in any parliament where humanitarian arguments were used in an attempt to end the death penalty for sodomy, emphasizing the immorality of executing men for a private consensual act.

Carrie Pettus, Ph.D. and Tanya Renn (College of Social Work) co-published “Correlates of Post-Traumatic Stress Among Victimized Women on Probation and Parole” in the Probation Journal.

Erik Hines, Ph.D. and Mia Hines (College of Education) co-published an article “‘You Are Going to School’: Exploring the Precollege Experiences of First-Year Black Males in Higher Education” in the journal Professional School Counseling.

Megan Buning, Ph.D. (College of Education, FSU COACH) co-wrote the chapter “Survey and Question Construction” in the book, “Basic Elements of Survey Research in Education: Addressing the Problems Your Advisor Never Told You About.”

Shawn Bayern, J.D. (College of Law) authored “Moving Beyond Mutual Funds,” a piece for Columbia Law School’s Blue Sky Blog.

Chari Arespacochaga, MFA (School of Theatre) co-authored the article “Missing: A Musical Dramedy: Engaging with the Missing Through the Perpetually Present,” published by Studies in Musical Theatre.

Vanessa Dennen, Ph.D. (College of Education) and a team of Instructional Systems and Learning Technologies students, Lauren Bagdy, Ömer Arslan, Hajeen Choi and Zhichun Liu, co-published the article “Supporting New Online Instructors and Engaging Remote Learners During COVID-19: A Distributed Team Teaching Approach” in the Journal of Research on Technology in Education. The article examined emergency remote teaching in spring 2020 due to COVID-19.

Amal Ibourk, Ph.D. (College of Education) co-authored the article “The Role of Collective Sensemaking and Science Curriculum Development within a Research–Practice Partnership” in the journal Science Education. The study examines how researchers can better understand the instructional and practical realities of teachers through collective sensemaking.

Michael Killian (College of Social Work) co-published “Psychometric Properties of Three Measures of Stigma Among Hispanics with Depression” in the Journal of Immigrant and Minority Health.

Nicole Patton Terry, Ph.D. (College of Education, Florida Center for Reading Research) published the article “Delivering on the Promise of the Science of Reading for All Children” in The Reading Teacher. The article discusses how reconciling the science of reading with the lived experiences of children who are vulnerable to poor academic achievement may be the key to ensure that every child can read and succeed in school.

Michael Ormsbee, Ph.D. (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology) published an article “Modified Carbohydrates: Wave of the (Sports Nutrition) Future?” on Mysportscience looking at modified carbohydrates and the role they could play in sports nutrition. Ormsbee also co-authored “Prevalence of Normal Weight Obesity and Health Risk Factors for the Female Collegiate Dancer” in the Journal of Strength and Conditioning Research. The article found a significant difference in carbohydrate intake between dancers classified as normal weight lean and normal weight obese, as well as a significant positive correlation with fat mass between carbohydrate and total calories in normal weight obese dancers.


Peggy Wright-Cleveland (Faculty Development and Advancement) participated in a moderated panel discussion “Hemingway and Race,” sponsored by the Hemingway Society. The discussion focused on Hemingway’s interactions with Black people, his portrayals of Black characters and his awareness of and relationship to social movements related to race.

Antonio Cuyler, Ph.D. (Department of Art Education) virtually presented “Access, Diversity, Equity & Inclusion (ADEI) in Cultural Organizations,” hosted by the Arts Council of Hillsborough County on Aug. 12.

Bruce Thyer, Ph.D. (College of Social Work) presented “How to Successfully Publish in English Language Social Work Journals” at a virtual colloquium for the School of Social Work at the Chinese University of Labor Relations in Beijing, China.

Brad Johnson, Ph.D. (Department of Geography) was invited by the president of the National Academy of Sciences to participate in its 32nd Annual Kavli Frontiers of Science Symposium, which brings together outstanding young scientists to discuss exciting advances and opportunities in a broad range of disciplines. According to the symposium directory, he is just the fourth academic from FSU to attend.

Fred Abbott, J.D. (College of Law) spoke at the international seminar “Harnessing Public Research for Innovation in the Time of COVID-19 and Beyond – The Role of Knowledge Transfer Policies,” which took place virtually and was organized by the World Intellectual Property Organization.

Carrie Pettus, Ph.D. (College of Social Work) presented a virtual talk “Incorporating Well-Being into Correctional Programming and Practices” to members of the Prison Fellowship Warden Exchange on August 5th. She also presented a virtual talk “Using a Well-Being Orientation to Address the Opioid Crisis During Reentry” to members of the National Institute on Drug Abuse’s Justice Community Opioid Innovation Network (JCOIN) on Aug. 11. Pettus also led the Institute for Justice Research and Development inaugural Summer Institute Workshop “Conducting Intervention Research in Criminal Justice Settings” on July 26-30 at the FSU-Panama City Campus.

Amberly Prykhodko, LCSW (College of Social Work) presented a talk “Building Resiliency: Learning to Understand and Manage the Impact of Secondary Trauma and Job-Related Stress” at the 91st Annual Criminal Justice Training Institute in Orlando on Aug. 25.

Amberly Prykhodko, LCSW and Jennifer Joseph, MSW (College of Social Work) presented a talk “Childhood Sexual Abuse: How to Identify Early Signs and Respond Responsibly” to members of a community group in Dallas, Texas.

Mark Messersmith, MFA (Department of Art) is presenting his third solo show “The Lost Garden of Hesperides” at Venvi Art Gallery in Tallahassee. The exhibition will showcase the artist’s stunning narrative landscapes that explore the difficult relationship that we have with the environment and will be open to the public from Sept. 3-Oct. 10.

Jessica Bahorski, Ph.D., APRN, PPCNP-BC, WHNP-BC (College of Nursing) presented “Infant and Toddler Dietary Guidelines” at the virtual Florida Nurse Practitioner Network Annual Conference. She also presented “Current Practice, Knowledge, Beliefs and Confidence Level of Nurse Practitioners in the State of Florida on Tongue and Lip Ties Before and After an Educational Module” at the virtual Florida Nurse Practitioner Network Annual Conference.


Thayumanasamy Somasundaram, Ph.D. (Institute of Molecular Biophysics) and President of Southeastern Shared Resource Facilities presided over the eighth annual meeting of the organization. Due to COVID-19, the in-person two-day meeting was converted into a virtual event on June 10-11, 2021.

Lonna Atkeson, Ph.D. (Department of Political Science) served as program co-chair for the Election Sciences, Reform and Administration Fifth Annual Conference at MIT.

Valerie Boulos, MLIS, Renaine Julian, MLIS and Scott Schmucker, MLIS, MSP (University Libraries) participated in the recently published Ithaka S+R report “What’s the Big Deal? How Researchers Are Navigating Changes to Journal Access.”

Stacy L. Wheeler, MSN, RN (College of Nursing) has been educating private and public schools, including bus drivers with the “Stop the Bleed” program. This teaches the public the proper way to stop bleeding in an emergency situation; including the correct way to apply a tourniquet. She is also teaching this to the FSU CON Community Health students to help roll out this program.

Geneva Scott-King, DNP, MSN, FNP-BC (College of Nursing) participated in the 2nd mobile Noah’s Kids Club, a mobile unit to teach health, diet, exercise, life lessons, art, dance and self-esteem to youth ages 2-18 each Thursday in July in Thomasville, Georgia. Scott-King visited apartment complexes each week and partnered with Restoration Tabernacle Ministries and community volunteers.


David Landau, J.D., Ph.D. (College of Law) had his co-authored article “Transnational Constitutionalism and a Limited Doctrine of Unconstitutional Constitutional Amendment” cited by the Kenyan Court of Appeal.

Fred Abbott, J.D. (College of Law) was appointed to the Technical Advisory Group on the World Health Organization COVID-19 Technology Access Pool for a two-year term.

Prashant Singh, Ph.D. and Ravinder Nagpal, Ph.D. (Department of Nutrition & Integrative Physiology) are serving as co-principal investigators on the project “Development of a Microbiome-Based Method for the Identification of the Region-of-Origin of Imported Shrimp,” funded by the Southern Shrimp Alliance. The project aims to create a way to identify the region-of-origin on the widely traded white leg shrimp (L. vannamei).