Skip to content

Intellect Spring 2018

CA&S News

SJU Podcast Explores Faculty Research

This semester, Saint Joseph’s University launched “Good to Know,” a new podcast showcasing professors and students. Each episode, released biweekly on Wednesday, features an interview with someone who's doing interesting research or has topical expertise.

In the first episode, Jennifer Choi Tudor, Ph.D., assistant professor of biology, discusses her research on the effect sleep deprivation has on the protein synthesis necessary for proper memory formation, and why getting the right eight hours of slumber — sleep when it's dark, work and play when it's light —
is critical. The third edition features Paul Patterson, Ph.D., associate professor of English, sharing the medieval roots of Valentine’s Day.

“Good to Know” is available on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play, TuneIn and most other podcast subscription services. It can also be accessed at

IJCR Offers Discussion on Relationship Between Orthodox Jews and Catholics

On Nov. 9, the Institute for Jewish-Catholic Relations sponsored a panel discussion featuring two leading rabbis, Rabbi Mark Dratch and Rabbi Eugene Korn, Ph.D., who discussed their involvement in preparing two recent statements regarding the Jewish community’s relations with the Catholic Church from their Orthodox Jewish perspective.

“This program marked the first time that contributors to the two statements publicly shared their distinctive approaches,” says Philip A. Cunningham, Ph.D., professor of theology and religious studies and director of the IJCR.

Dratch is the executive vice president of the Rabbinical Council of America, and founder of JSafe: The Jewish Institute Supporting an Abuse-Free Environment, an organization addressing issues of domestic violence, child abuse and institutional and professional improprieties in the Jewish community. Korn is a scholar in the areas of Jewish ethics, Jewish-Christian relations and Israel. He is also the academic director of the Center for Jewish-Christian Understanding and Cooperation in Israel and co-director of its Institute of Theological Inquiry.

Faculty Earn Awards for Research, Teaching and Advising

Saint Joseph’s University recognized members of the College of Arts and Sciences faculty with awards throughout the year.

Michael J. Morris '56 Grants for Scholarly Research

  • Christopher Close, Ph.D., assistant professor of history
  • Piotr Habdas, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of physics
  • Susan Liebell, Ph.D., associate professor of political science
  • Kersti Powell, D.Phil., assistant professor of English
  • Jenny Spinner, Ph.D., associate professor of English

Faculty Research Awards

  • Steve Cope, M.F.A., assistant professor of art
  • Rommel Regis, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics
  • Aimee LaPointe Terosky, Ed.D., associate professor of
    educational leadership
  • Brian Yates, Ph.D., assistant professor of history

Faculty Teaching Awards

  • Christopher Close, Ph.D., assistant professor of history
  • Millicent Feske, Ph.D., associate professor of theology
    and religious studies
  • Brian Forster, Ph.D., GEP science lab coordinator
  • Ginger Hoffman, Ph.D. Ph.D., assistant professor of philosophy
  • Eric Hoffman, Ph.D., visiting professor of philosophy
  • Grace Wetzel, Ph.D., assistant professor of English

Faculty Advising Award

  • Rommel Regis, Ph.D., associate professor of mathematics

Lindback Award

  • Millicent Feske, Ph.D., associate professor of theology
    and religious studies

Lecture Series Celebrates 20th Anniversary of Environmental Science Program

Saint Joseph’s University’s Environmental Science and Sustainability program, which offers a major and two minors within the College of Arts and Sciences, celebrated its 20th anniversary in spring 2017 with a series of lectures featuring experts in policy, agriculture, physics and chemistry.

Jonathan Fingerut, Ph.D., associate professor of biology, says that the series — which included lectures such as “The Southern Ocean and its Significant Role in Climate,” presented by Irina Marinov, Ph.D., assistant professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Pennsylvania — represented the variety of topics that SJU students explore.

“We bring in a wide range of speakers each semester to provide our students the chance to hear from practitioners in the field, find out what the latest research is and get a better idea of what career opportunities are available, both within and outside of the sciences,” Fingerut says. “This series gave attendees a sense of the breadth of possibilities available to
our students.”

Lab Students Go Back to the Sandbox with Augmented Reality

This semester, Saint Joseph’s University unveiled an augmented reality sandbox, designed as an educational tool for natural science laboratory students. Based on a model designed at the University of California Davis, the sandbox models topography and storm water runoff for environmental science and sustainability lab students.

“One of the challenges in studying topography is having students visualize something that is three-dimensional using only a two-dimensional map and a traditional lesson,” says Brian Forster, Ph.D., science lab coordinator for the general education program. “The sandbox brings our lessons into 3-D.”

Students recreate a topographical map in the sandbox and mimic rain events to study where water runoff occurs. The experiment can help lab students learn about areas at risk for runoff damage and the effects of pollutants in a watershed.


‘The Tobacco Project’ Bridges Art and Public Health

Untitled by Joshua Loscano ’19

In partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, students in the Appropriated Art class led by Ronald Klein, M.F.A., professor emeritus of art, used confiscated tobacco products to create pieces of art that called attention to public health concerns.

“The products used to create these works of art were illegally sold to undercover youth surveyors in the city,” explains Elissa Martel, special projects coordinator at Get Healthy Philly, an initiative of the Philadelphia Department of Health. “As a result of compliance checks, we have amassed a sizable collection of tobacco products. We wanted to use these items that traditionally cause harm to create art as a tool for social change and education.”

Inspired by patterns such as those found in mandalas and wallpaper, Klein encouraged the students to create their work in small, square frames. Some of the resulting pieces are geometric and repetitive, calling to mind the habitual use of the materials from which they are created. Others employ shredded cigars, empty boxes or crumpled wrappers to create abstract art.

The exhibit was displayed at Boland Hall through September 2017 and was then exhibited in Philadelphia’s City Hall for the months of October and November.

Panel Discusses Global, Local Issue of Human Trafficking

The Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, the Faith-Justice Institute, and the Justice and Ethics in the Law program sponsored a panel discussion about human trafficking on Nov. 13. The panelists included special agent Marlon    Miller ’96, agent in charge of the Philadelphia Homeland Security Investigations Office; Kelly Sagastume ’15 from the School of Social Policy and Practice at the University of Pennsylvania; and Claire Renzetti, Ph.D., holder of the Judi Conway Patton Endowed Chair for Studies of Violence Against Women at the University of Kentucky.

In Philadelphia, thousands of men, women and children are trapped by the industry. In 2017, 117 known human trafficking cases were filed in the state of Pennsylvania, and a large percentage of them were adult females enslaved in sex trafficking. Of the 331 calls that tipped authorities on cases, a majority were from community members who were able to spot signs of human trafficking.

“Sagastume and Miller are two alumni doing the difficult work of combatting human trafficking,” says Susan Clampet-Lundquist, Ph.D., associate professor of sociology, who organized the event. “After talking with both, I saw an opportunity to discuss trafficking from different vantage points that would give our students a fuller understanding of the issues.”

Professor Awarded for Excellence in Experiential Education

Ann Green, Ph.D., professor of English, accepted the 2017 Outstanding Leader in Experiential Education in Higher Education award from the National Society for Experiential Education (NSEE) at its annual conference on Sept. 26.

To receive the NSEE award is a huge honor,” Green says. “Experiential learning not only deepens students' understanding of course material, but inspires them to engage with the world on a broader level.”

Green has long been a leader in experiential education on campus, teaching at least one service-learning course each semester since 1999. In the fall 2017 semester, Green taught two service-learning courses: a first-year section of Craft of Language where students performed service related to writing, literacy and education at five different sites in the Philadelphia area, and an upper-level course, Hospital Stories, where students read about health care and medicine from health care professionals, caregivers and patients' points of view and engaged in relationship-based service with medically fragile clients at local care facilities and hospices.

Green was nominated for the award by Ann Marie Jursca Keffer, director of the Faith-Justice Institute, which celebrated its 40th anniversary in 2017. Keffer has worked with Green to develop her service-learning course.

“Ann is a dedicated scholar in the field of experiential education,” Keffer says. “Her leadership, commitment and promotion of service-learning pedagogy are invaluable resources to SJU.”

Two-Day Conference Commemorates Pakistan’s
70th Anniversary

In recognition of the 70th anniversary of the creation of Pakistan on August 14, 1947, Saint Joseph’s hosted the Pakistan at 70 Conference on Oct. 20 and 21. Events included a film screening and panels of international experts who discussed contemporary Pakistan, issues of gender and the country’s cultural arts scene.

The conference, sponsored by the Bernadette B. and James J. Nealis III ’69 Program in Asian Studies, opened with a screening of Dobara Phir Se, a romantic drama about a divorced Pakistani woman living in New York City and her star-crossed romance. Co-writers Mehreen Jabbar and Bilal Sami attended the screening, along with the film’s child star, Musa Khan, of Lower Merion, Pennsylvania.

At the conference, panelists from across the country spoke on a number of issues currently affecting Pakistan.

“This conference, which marked the 70th anniversary of Indian independence and the birth of Pakistan as a nation, was an opportunity to reflect on Pakistan's journey in light of the challenges it has faced in creating a stable democracy that ensures equal rights for all of its citizens,” says Amber Abbas, Ph.D., assistant professor of history and the conference organizer. “In addition, we focused the event on the lived experiences of Pakistani men and women rather than primarily on American concerns about national security in relation to Pakistan's geopolitical goals.”

Student, Alumni Award Winners Further Research
and Studies

Undergraduate students and alumni are earning scholarships to advance their education and secure service positions locally and around the world.


Marisa Egan ’18, a senior biology major, was named a recipient of the 2017 Barry M. Goldwater Scholarship. The prestigious scholarship, given annually to sophomores and juniors who intend to pursue careers in the natural sciences, mathematics and engineering, covers the cost of tuition, fees, books, and room and board, up to a maximum of $7,500 per year.

Egan, who also holds minors in mathematics, philosophy and chemistry and is a John P. McNulty Scholar at SJU, is one of only 240 students nationwide to receive a scholarship from a pool of 1,286 applicants.


Senior international relations major Daniel Soucy ’18 was awarded the Critical Language Scholarship by the U.S. Department of State for summer 2017. The scholarship is a part of the Competitive Language Program, a United States government effort to increase significantly the number of Americans studying abroad and mastering critical foreign languages.

Soucy used his scholarship to continue his study of Hindi, the national language of India, at the American Institute of Indian Studies Summer Language Program, in Jaipur, India. The award covered all of his expenses and also provided a stipend.


The St. Andrew’s Society of Philadelphia awarded junior HaleyWaites ’19 the St. Andrew’s Scholarship. The$25,000 award enabled her to study at the University of Edinburgh this year.

Waites’ award marks the seventh consecutive year, and the eighth overall, that a Saint Joseph’s student has received a scholarship from the St. Andrew’s Society, which was founded in 1958 to foster understanding between Scotland and the United States.

Waites, a political science major, hopes to pursue work in domestic and international environmental policy after graduating.


Brenna Ritzert ’17 earned a Fulbright English Teaching Assistantship position in Slovakia. She is currently spending a year in the town of Trebišov teaching English to students at a local high school and representing the United States as a cultural ambassador.

The Fulbright Program is one of the most competitive scholarship opportunities in the United States. Approximately eight students per year are selected for the Fulbright ETA in Slovakia. Ritzert is one of the few to make it through Fulbright’s highly selective application process, which is based on academic excellence and personal accomplishment.

Mexican Consul Delivers Lecture Honoring Former Latin American Studies Professor

Alicia Kerber-Palma, consul of Mexico in Philadelphia, delivered the Charles F. Shreiner ’50 Latin American Studies Lecture on Nov. 8. The talk drew on Kerba-Palma’s decades of government experience to discuss U.S.-Mexico trade and immigration policies and, in particular, the economic relationship between Mexico and Pennsylvania.

Kerber-Palma has served as a career member of the Mexican Foreign Service since 1991. She has held positions throughout the Mexican government and has represented the country in Colombia, Honduras, Ireland and Washington, D.C., and served as Head of the Consulate of Mexico in Kansas City, Missouri, where she promoted the creation of the Window of Integral Attention to Women, a program that supports survivors of domestic violence. The program now exists at every Mexican consulate in the United States.

At the lecture, University Provost Jeanne Brady, Ph.D., presented Shreiner with a plaque for his contributions to the Latin American Studies program, which celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2010. Shreiner, whose tenure at SJU spanned almost 30 years, first joined the Saint Joseph's social sciences faculty in 1965. When SJU’s current Latin American studies minor was created in 1990, he signed on as program director until his retirement in 1993.