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Monday, September 21, 2015

Staff members of the Autism Initiative at Mercyhurst (AIM) presented Aug 3-6 at the National Autism Conference and participated in panel discussions for the Pennsylvania Training and Technical Assistance Network (PaTTAN) at the Penn Stater Conference and Hotel, State College, Pennsylvania. AIM director Brad McGarry presented on “Postsecondary Education Transition Considerations for Students with Autism,” and McGarry and Career Path Coordinator Adam Glass presented on “Workforce Transition Considerations for Students with Autism.”

Art Professor Dan Burke, a Mercyhurst research fellow, recently exhibited his work at the Heeschen Gallery, Meadville Council on the Arts. The show titled “The Dimensional Effect” featured reclaimed, reused and repurposed inexpensive and impermanent materials to create low-relief 3D art pieces. Pictured is Burke’s “Birdscape.”

Daniel Burke Birdscape


Phil Belfiore, Ph.D., professor of education, and David Lee, Ph.D. (Pennsylvania State University) were recently named co-editors of the Journal of Evidence-Based Practices for Schools. The journal will be jointly run by Penn State and Mercyhurst. Published by Rowman and Littlefield, it is a leader in publishing research-to-practice articles for educators and school psychologists. Its mission is to positively influence the daily practices of educators and school psychologists through empirical studies successfully demonstrating research-validated practices in general and special education settings. The editors say they are committed to articles with an eye toward improving student performance by advancing educational and psychological practices in the schools. In addition, Youjia Hua (who received his master’s degree in special education at Mercyhurst and is now on the faculty at the University of Iowa) will serve as an associate editor.

Magdalena Dryka, a business economics and finance major from Swidnik, Poland, has received the Mildred R. Marion Award form Delta Mu Delta International Honor Society in Business. The scholarship is presented each year to an outstanding student of business, selected on the basis of academic achievement, demonstrated leadership, service to the community and institution, and character. Magdalena is active in many campus organizations, serving as fundraising chairperson for the Business Club and treasurer of the International Student Organization. She is also a member of the Mercyhurst UNICEF chapter, taking part in the Tap Project and Trick or Treat for UNICEF. She was previously honored with a scholarship award from the Insurance Accounting and Systems Association.

Magdalena Dryka


A new article in the Hamline Law Review by James Teufel, Ph.D., assistant professor of public health, and Shannon Mace of Thomas Jefferson University breaks down how legal aid data not only highlight where injustice occurs, but can also be used to predict health disparities. The authors also share how civil legal aid interventions can improve health and health care outcomes. Journal editors call the article “a must-read for all medical-legal partnerships.” Download the full article.

The admissions department is now distributing t-shirts designed by sophomore Olivia Brandow to prospective students. Students in a graphic design course taught last spring by Jodi Staniunas Hopper were challenged to create three t-shirts, and Olivia’s designs were chosen by the admissions staff for production. One of her shirts is given to high school students who visit for campus tours, a second to those attending open houses, and the third to students attending an event next spring for accepted students. Olivia is pictured with two of her designs.

Olivia Brandow models tshirt designs


Rob von Thaden, Ph.D., associate professor of religious studies, published “Digging Down and Reaching Out: A Story of Biblical Scholarship in the Twenty-First Century” in the journal Expositions: Interdisciplinary Studies in the Humanities 9 (2015): 106-113. It’s available online.

An article by Lena Surzhko-Harned, Ph.D., assistant professor of political science, appears in the European Political Science Review. "The effect of supranational identity on cultural values in Europe” is co-authored with Galina Zapryanova, Ph.D., of Manheim University. The article explores independent effects of supranational identity on individuals’ beliefs about culturally contested issues in their national systems. While traditional theories of international norm diffusion focus almost exclusively on state-level interactions, the findings of this research provide further evidence to the existence of a more direct mechanism through which norms reach some citizens. A sense of identification with a supranational entity such as Europe makes citizens more likely to espouse the views and opinions promoted by supranational organizations. Results from the multi-level models indicate that supranational identity exerts a systematic effect on attitudes toward lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights and gender equality. Additionally, while these effects are more consistent in EU member states, supranational identity exhibits a similar impact on social attitudes in non-EU countries such as those in the former Soviet Union. Access the full article.

Two dozen student volunteers joined faculty members Dr. David Hyland and Sarah Bennett on Sept. 12 for the fifth Adopt-A-Beach cleanup at Budny Beach on Presque Isle. With the large turnout (despite rain, wind and chilly temperatures), the group was also able to help clean up Sunset Beach with a team led by Renee Wright of Student Financial Services. Hyland reports they collected 8 kilograms of trash at Budny, much less than the 25 kilograms picked up the previous month. He noted a huge and inexplicable increase in the number of cigarette butts (777), as well as thousands of ladybugs massing on the beach in what is known as a ladybug washup. The team was also able to watch as participants in the Barber Beast on the Bay obstacle run ran through the beach. The final cleanup for 2015 is set for Saturday morning, Oct. 10.

September beach cleaniup crew


Tom Hubert, professor of art, was invited to exhibit three of his teapots in the Del Mano Gallery of Fine Contemporary Craft show, "Hot Tea 2015." The show in Altadena, California, runs Sept. 26-Oct. 24. Pictured is "Red Flame Teapot", a 26" tall porcelain and spalted Pashaco hardwood piece.

Tom Hubert Red Flame Teapot