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Experts Guide


The Mercyhurst University Experts Guide includes faculty and administrators with a broad range of expertise who are available for media interviews as well as to speak to community and professional organizations on subjects spanning business ethics, forensic anthropology, strength training and fitness, spirituality and cross-cultural parenting to name a few.

To talk to an expert or to arrange a speaking engagement, please contact the Mercyhurst University Office of Public Relations, 814-824-2552, and ask for Debbie Morton; or e-mail her at

Requests from media seeking to interview one of our experts will be handled immediately. For speaking engagements, we ask that you allow three to four weeks advance notice and have several choices in case your preferred speaker is unavailable. Your request should specify the name of your organization, a contact person and a phone number, as well as the date, time and location of your meeting, along with the approximate size of your audience.

501 E. 38th St.
Erie, PA 16546; 814-824-2000

Mercyhurst University is a fully accredited, four-year, Catholic comprehensive institution, founded in Erie, Pa., by the Sisters of Mercy in 1926. The Erie campus, located on a picturesque hillside crowning the city, offers more than 100 fields of undergraduate study as well as unique adult programs and nine graduate programs. In addition, it maintains its one- and two-year programs at a campus in scenic North East, just 20 minutes from Erie. Also Mercyhurst maintains a satellite campus in Corry and one at the Booker T. Washington Center in Erie.

A Mercyhurst education combines a rich sense of tradition with a progressive approach to the complexities of modern life. Alumni of Mercyhurst are found in every major profession and in every state in the nation. Current enrollment is approximately 4,000 on its four campuses.

Mercyhurst emphasizes the role of the liberal arts, which provides a basis for sound career preparation and for many other life objectives. With this balance, the university supports a wide range of programs, from dance and art to geology and computer management systems, and also prides itself on its service to students. To this end, it strives constantly to become distinctive in the choice of it academic offerings.



Mary B. Breckenridge, D.Ed.
Dean of the Walker College of Business
Associate Professor, Organizational Leadership graduate program
  • Leadership Education and Development
  • Women and Leadership
  • American Higher Education
  • Assessment

Robert D. Cullen, MBA, CFP
Program Director, Assistant Professor of Finance

  • Investing
  • Personal Financial Planning



Kimberly Zacherl, M.B.A.
Assistant Professor of Business
  • Genealogy: Manual recordkeeping or Internet Research



Adrienne E. Foos, Ph.D.
Program Director
Assistant Professor of Marketing
  • Consumer Behavior
  • Consumer Attittudes and Persuasion
  • Consumer Biases in Information Processing and Memory
  • The Impact of the Self-Concept on Consumer Behavior
  • Social Media Marketing
  • Marketing Research and Analytics




belfiorePhillip Belfiore, Ph.D.
Director, Graduate Special Education and Applied Disability Studies
Professor-Special Education
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Urban Education and Teacher Preparation
  • Vocational Training and Intellectual Disabilities


Kathleen Bukowski, Ph.D.
Dean, Associate Professor of Education 

  • Trends in Education
  • Elementary Education
  • Special Education



hoffRob Hoff, M.A.
Professor of Psychology 

  • The Psychology of Gratitude




Sarah K. Howorth, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Special Education

  • Special Education & Digital Technology for Instruction
  • Teacher Education and Virtual Simulation
  • Autism Spectrum/ Asperger's Syndrome
  • Applied Behavior Analysis
  • Literacy and Students with disabilities


johnsonSusan Johnson, M.S. Ed.
Instructor of Special Education; Director, Mercyhurst Honors Program

  • Autism Spectrum Disorders
  • Special Education Law
  • Inclusion of Students with Disabilities
  • Emotional/Behavioral Disorders of Children & Youth


kitchenThomas Kitchen, MS, BCBA
Director, Applied Behavior Analysis Program

  • Autism & Evidence-Based Practice
  • Behavioral & Educational Challenges for Children with Autism
  • General Behavioral Programming in Schools



weaverMatthew T. Weaver, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Psychology

  • Legal and Illegal Drug Abuse and Addiction
  • Risky and Impulsive Behavior
  • Neurobiological and Behavioral Issues and Theory



boudreauDouglas Boudreau, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of French

  • 16th Century French Literature
  • French-Canadian Literature and Culture
  • Francophone Literature of North Africa



cardotGary Cardot, MFA
Assistant Professor of Art

  • Photography & Its Role in the Media
  • Architecture & Preservation of Local Interest
  • History of Photography



edwardsAlice Edwards, Ph.D.
Professor of Spanish

  • Language Education in a Changing World
  • Latin American Literature in the 20th and 21st centuries
  • Childbirth and Women's Empowerment
  • Women and Leadership in Higher Education


ForsthoefelThomas Forsthoefel, Ph.D.
Professor of Religious Studies
Poet Laureate of Erie County, 2010-2012

  • Hinduism/Buddhism/Mysticism/Islam
  • Spirituality
  • Poetry of the Sacred


Jodi Staniunas Hopper, M.F.A.
Chair, Art Department
Assistant Professor, Graphic Design
  • Branding
  • Publication Design
  • Graphic Design History
  • Semiotics in Design


hunterTauna Hunter
Chair, Mercyhurst Dance Department

  • Dance/Emphasis on Ballet
  • Arts Administration
  • Grant Writing
  • MFA credentials



mcfeeDaniel McFee, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies; Co-Director, Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics & Society

  • Ethics and Emerging Technologies
  • Ethics and Society
  • Science and Religion
  • Religion and Society


Caesar A. Montevecchio, Ph.D. (ABD)
Instructor of Religious Studies

  • Catholic Theology
  • Contemporary Catholic Church
  • Religion & Film


C. Noelle Partusch, MFA
Associate Professor of Dance

  • Liturgical/Sacred Dance
  • Selecting a Dance School for your Child
  • Dance in Higher Education


Christy Rieger, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of English

  • Victorian Literature & Culture
  • Gothic Literature & Contemporary Horror Novels/Film
  • Literatures of the Middle East (focus on representations of terrorism)
  • Academic Reading and Writing in a Digital Age

roessnerJeffrey Roessner, Ph.D.
Dean, Professor of English

  • Contemporary Literature
  • Film Studies
  • Popular Music & Culture
  • Creative Writing

roessnerCraig Alan Stevens MA, MT-BC, NMT
Director of Music Therapy

  • Music Therapy
  • Music Therapy in Neurological Rehabilitation
  • Music Therapy in Hospital Settings
  • Music Therapy for Hospice, End of Life Care


Kevin Sullivan, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Philosophy; Co-Director, Evelyn Lincoln Institute for Ethics & Society

  • General Issues in Ethics with Special Focus on Bioethics, Medical Ethics and the Ethics of Public Officials
  • Issues in Aesthetics and the Arts



msullivanMarnie M. Sullivan, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of English

  • Nature Writing, Writing about the Environment, and Ecocriticism (includes science writing and popularizations of science)
  • Gender, Race, Class, and Sexuality in American Literature, Film, and Culture
  • Literature and Culture in 1930s America
  • Critical Thinking and Writing for College Students (includes study skills and introduction to college life)


Robert H. von Thaden, Jr., Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Religious Studies

  • Biblical Studies
  • Creation of the Bible and its History of Interpretation
  • Christian History (esp. Antiquity)
  • Apocalyptic Groups (i.e., Groups Fixated on the End of the World)


WeidenboernerKathy Weidenboerner, M.Ed.
Assistant Professor of Interior Design 

  • Interior Design
  • Feng Shui



kwilliamsKaren C. Williams, Ph.D.
Professor of Spanish

  • Spanish Phonetics & Pronunciation, Spanish Dialects
  • Sociolinguistics – specifically that which relates to how various social factors affect our use of language (English dialects, language change, slang, prescriptivism vs. descriptivism, language and ethnicity, language and gender, etc.)


Michael Federici, Ph.D. federici
Professor of Political Science

  • American Politics with an Emphasis on Constitutional Questions
  • Political Theory of the American Framers
  • The Supreme Court
  • Alexander Hamilton


Tina Fryling M.S., J.D. fryling
Associate Professor of Criminal Justice

  • Sexual Harassment and the Court System
  • Criminal Law



Frank Hagan, Ph.D. hagan
Professor of Criminal Justice

  • Spies
  • White Collar/Organized/Political Crime
  • International Corruption and Extortion



Randall Howarth, Ph.D. howarth
Professor of History

  • Ancient and Medieval History
  • Ocean Sailing and Navigation


Chris Magoc, Ph.D. magoc
Professor of History 

  • 20th Century American History
  • U.S. Foreign Policy History
  • U.S. Environmental History
  • Environmental Sustainability and Environmentalism
  • American Memory and Public History

Joseph Morris, D.A. morris
Director, Mercyhurst Center for Applied Politics (MCAP)/Associate Professor of Political Science

  • Elections
  • Voter Behavior
  • Recent MCAP Public Opinion Polls


John OlszowkaOlszowka, Ph.D.
Chair, History Department
Associate Professor of History
  • Labor History & Labor Relations
  • Civil Rights Movement
  • Immigration and Ethnic History
  • The Great Depression

Bora Pajo, Ph.D. pajo
Assistant Professor of Sociology

  • ADHD in Children & Supporting Medication for their Behaviors
  • Medicating Children with Psychiatric Needs
  • Rationale on how Society Decides what is Normal and Abnormal



Brian Ripley, Ph.D.
Professor of Political Science, Director, MCAP Public Affairs Forum

  • Current Foreign Policy Issues
  • History of the Cold War
  • Civic Engagement and Democracy
  • The 2012 Presidential Campaign


Benjamin G. Scharff, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History

  • Colonial Pennsylvania/Colonial America
  • Early Native America
  • Seven Years War
  • Atlantic British Empire


Nathan Hess, D.M.A
Chair, D'Angelo Department of Music


Assistant Professor, Piano
  • Piano Perfromance
  • Chamber Music
  • Collaborative Piano
  • Piano Pedagogy/Class Piano


Averill Earls, Ph.D.
Visiting Assistant Professor of History

  • Gender and Sexuality Studies
  • Digital Humanities
  • Modern European History



Jonathan R. Moser
Orchestra Director, D'Angelo Department of Music

  • Music
  • Orchestra and Chamber Literature
  • Strings Pedagogy
  • Musician Injury Prevention




Michael Elnitsky, Ph.D.
Dean, Zurn College of Natural and Health Sciences
Assosciate Professor, Biology
  • Physiology
  • Entomology
  • Climate change
  • Polar Exploration
  • Science

danowitzAmy Danowitz, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Chemistry

  • Advancements in New Applications of Chemistry
  • Autism and Mood Disorders
  • Community Mental Health & the Incarcerated



dirkmaatDennis Dirkmaat, Ph.D., D-ABFA
Chair, Department of Applied Forensic Sciences
Board Certified Forensic Anthropologist (#50)
Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences
  • Forensic Archaeology and Forensic Anthropology
  • Forensic Taphonomy
  • Mass Disaster Scene Recovery
  • Human Evolution
  • Charles Darwin

jacobsonBradley Jacobson, M.A., A.T.C.
Chair, Sportsmedicine 

  • Sportsmedicine
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Strength Training and Fitness



Heather M. Garvin, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology

  • Forensic Anthropology
  • Human Evolution
  • 3D Scanning
  • Human Anatomy
  • The Human Skeleton


rjolieRuth Burgett Jolie, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Anthropology/Archaeology

  • Class, Status & Gender
  • Changing Trends in Family Life
  • Ethnographic Field Methods
  • Wool Textiles (e.g., Navajo, Medieval Scandinavian)


jonesClint Jones, Ph.D.
Chair, Associate Professor of Chemistry

  • General Astronomy
  • Chemical Sensors
  • Nanoscience



mckenzieScott McKenzie
Curator, Sincak Collection of Natural History/Assistant Professor of Geology

  • Prehistoric Animals (Dinosaurs, Mammals)
  • Fossils & Meteorites



     Darlene Melchitzky, M.S.
     Research Associate/Laboratory Director, Biology 

  • Neuroscience and Neurological Research
  • Neurobiology of Psychiatric and Neurological Disorders


owocMary Ann Owoc, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Anthropology/Archaeology

  • Erie County's Historic Cemeteries and Gravestones
  • Attitudes toward Death and Funerary Practices
  • Prehistoric Religion and Ritual
  • Neolithic and Bronze Age Societies of the British Isles


symesSteven Symes, Ph.D., D-ABFA
Associate Professor of Anthropology & Applied Forensic Sciences

  • Forensic Anthropology with Emphasis on Bone Trauma, Mutilation and Dismemberment



Nick Lang, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Geology

  • Planetary Science
  • Volcanology
  • Natural Disasters




Thomas B. Cook, M.P.H., Ph.D. cook
Assistant Professor of Public Health

  • Psychiatric Disorders, Suicide and Interpersonal Violence
  • Neurological Disorders and Dementia
  • Environmental Health (Biological and Chemical Exposures)
  • Unintentional Injury Prevention (Falls, Drug Overdose, Accidents)


James Teufel, M.P.H., Ph.D. teufel
Director, Mercyhurst Institute for Public Health; Assistant Professor of Public Health

  • Medical-Legal Partnerships
  • Social Inequities and Health
  • Health Promotion Theory
  • Scaling and Sustaining Health Programs


Tim Johnson, MA, M.A.T.
Lab Manager
Instructor of Biology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Cancer Biology
  • Education






James Breckenridge, Ph.D. breckenridge
Dean, Tom Ridge School of Intelligence Studies and Information Science

  • Leadership and the Role of Intelligence
  • Strategy and the Role of Intelligence
  • Modern Middle Eastern History



David Grabelski Grabelski
Chair, Department of Intelligence Studies

  • Law Enforcement Intelligence and Crime Analysis
  • Violent Crime, Homicides and Gang-Related Crime
  • Serial or High-Profile Criminal Investigations



Charles Redmond, Ph.D. redmond
Professor of Mathematics and Computer Systems

  • Computing Education




Brian Sheridan, M.A. sheridan
Communication Instructor

  • Broadcast Journalism
  • Political Communication
  • Martial Arts and Hong Kong Cinema
  • Film, Television and Old-Time Radio


Kristan Wheaton, M.A., J.D wheaton
Associate Professor of Intelligence Studies

  • International Affairs and International Criminal Law
  • Intelligence Analysis and Operations
  • Military Analysis and Operations
  • Games, Game Design & Game-Based Learning


James Lohrey, MA
Associate Professor of Communication

  • Media and Society/Media & Pop Culture
  • Gender/Sexual Identity and Media
  • Television/Film History and Studies
  • Oral Communication


Linda Bremmer, M.Ed.
Director of Online and Offsite Graduate Programs/Intelligence Studies

  • Online Learning: When Working Professionals are Students
  • GOnline Learning: Issues with Instructors
  • Developing Online Courses
  • Online Learning: Working with Traditional Campus Services


EmmaLeigh E. Kirchner, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice

  • Juvenile Delinquency
  • Parenting and Delinquency
  • Gender Differences in Offending
  • Deviant Behavior



Angela Berardinelli, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Criminal Justice
  • Database Design - Relational and NoSQL
  • Data Science and Analytics, including machine learning
  • Algorithmic Problem Solving
  • Combinatorics
  • Pure mathematics research involving reflection groups, representation theory, invariant theory


Orlandrew E. Danzell, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of Intelligence Studies

  • International and Domestic Terrorism
  • Ethnic Conflict
  • National Security and American Foreign Policy
  • Military Interventions
  • African Politics
Charles F. Kuntz
IT Director, Ridge College of Intelligence Studies and Applied Sciences
Twenty-three years of Information Technology experience, network support, CompTia A+


  • Information Technology
  • Network Support
  • Cyber Security






Mary Gavacs, M.Ed., ORT/L
Director, Occupational Therapy Assistant Program

  • Occupational Therapy
  • Pediatrics in Rehabilitation & OT
  • Physical Rehabilitation & OT with Traumatic Brain Injury, Spinal Cord Injury



Judy Lynch, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History & Sociology

  • Women in Politics
  • Tool and Die Industry in Erie and Crawford County
  • Politics and Health Care



Stephen Szwejbka, M.S.
Director, Associate Criminal Justice Program

  • Community Policing
  • The Role of Police in Society
  • Alternatives to Incarceration



Marion E. Monahan, RN, MAEd
Director, Practical Nursing Program

  • Nursing




Kari Dundore Shrout, M.Ed.
Biology Director, North East Campus
Assistant Professor of Biology
  • Anatomy and Physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Pathophysiology


Beth Ann Sheldon, AS, BS, M.Ed.
Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management
  • Nutrition and Food Science
  • Changing One's Diet
  • Food Allergies
  • Menu Consulting


Chef Jessica Law, AS, Pastry Chef certification

  • Pastry Chef
  • Wedding Cakes


Chef Dennis Dunne

  • Classic Culinary Practices



Arthur Amann, Ed.D.
Director, Mercyhurst Public Safety Institute

  • Regional Police Academy
  • Regional Corrections Academy
  • Driving Under the Influence and Drug/Alcohol Abuse
  • Probation/Parole/Prison


Greg Baker, M.A.
Director of Campus Ministry

  • Youth & Young Adult Ministry
  • Technology & Religious Faith
  • Ecumenism
  • Spirituality


Michael T. Victor, J.D., LL.D.
Mercyhurst University President

  • Trends in Higher Education
  • Value of Liberal Arts Education



Colin Hurley, M.S.
Director of Community Engagement

  • Volunteerism, Service-Learning (K-12, college/adult)
  • Team-Building, Facilitating Group Reflection/Debriefing



Bradley McGarry, M.A. mcgarry
Director, Autism / Asperger Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) and Foundations Program

  • Autism in Higher Education
  • Program Development
  • Autism and Family Advocacy 




Rick Gotkin
Head Coach, Men's Hockey

  • Leadership: Building a Winning Culture
  • The Value of Role Models in Our Society




Marty Schaetzle
Head Coach, Football

  • Teamwork, Goal Setting, and Determination



     Mike Sisti
     Head Coach, Women's Hockey
  • Motivation and Time Management in Athletics
  • How to Market Your High School Athlete in Pursuit of the Right College
  • Having a Winning Attitude