You are here

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.



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






belfiorePhillip Belfiore, Ph.D.
Professor-Special Education

  • Urban Education and Teacher Preparation
  • Mental Retardation
  • Special Education
  • Applied Behavior Analysis


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.
Associate Dean, Professor of Spanish

  • International Education in a Changing World
  • Literature and the Nation in Latin America
  • 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 

  • Adobe Creative Suite featuring Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign
  • Branding You or Your Company
  • Graphic Design History Metathemes and Trends in Design
  • Brainstorming and Idea Generation for Better Solutions


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


millerKeiko Takioto Miller, M.A.
Director of Asian Cultures Program/Assistant Professor of Japanese, French

  • Japanese/Chinese Calligraphy
  • Cross-Cultural Parenting and Social Adjustments
  • Transculturality and Dynamic Global Communication
  • Eco-mythology: Seed, Soil and Spirit


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)


wangDaliang Wang, Ed.D.

Associate Professor of Chinese

  • Chinese Language & Literature
  • Asian Cultures



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.)





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, Applied Forensic Sciences; Professor of Anthropology

  • Outdoor Crime Scene Recovery
  • Forensic Archaeology and Forensic Anthropology
  • Mass Fatality Recovery and Victim Identification



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

  • Sportsmedicine
  • Health and Nutrition
  • Strength Training and Fitness



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



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 Rome
  • Ancient Greece
  • The Middle Ages



Chris Magoc, Ph.D. magoc
Chair, Professor of History 

  • Historical Roots of Contemporary Environmental Problems
  • Post-1945 Roots of Contemporary American Foreign & Military Policy
  • Histories of the 1960s, including Civil Rights, Kennedy Administration, Antiwar Movement and Women’s Movement
  • American Memory: How Americans preserve personal memory or history (through oral histories, family photo albums, etc.); how the nation commemorates its history through monuments, museum exhibitions, historic sites, etc.


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.
Associate Professor of History

  • Labor & Labor Relations
  • American History (20th Century, 1930s & WII)
  • Civil Rights Movement



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


Lena Surzhko-Harned, Ph.D. Surzhko-Harned
Assistant Professor of Political Science

  • Ukrainian Politics/Russian Politics/European Politics (The EU and Member States)
  • Political Behavior
  • Ethnic Conflict
  • Nationalism


John Olszowka, Ph.D.
Assistant Professor of History

  • America, 1890-1945
  • PThe Great Depression
  • History of the American Labor Movement
  • History of Immigration & Ethnicity
  • The Civil Rights Movement




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




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



Mary Gravacs, 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



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