Faculty, Staff — Update, In Memoriam, Welcome


Alevoor “Ravi” Rao, computer engineering/computer science (Metro), was named Fellow of the Asia-Pacific Artificial Intelligence Association, a nonprofit international academic organization focused on building a broad artificial intelligence (AI) industry, in 2021. He has been active in the field of AI since 1984. Rao is also an IEEE (Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers) Fellow and an IBM Master Inventor.

COVID-1 Disruption of College Students: Academic and Socioemotional Implications,” an article cowritten by Anthony Tasso, psychology and deputy director of psychology/counseling (Flor), and Nesrin Hisli Sahin, Becton College (Flor), along with Gabrielle San Roman, MA’21 (Flor), for Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, and Policy, was the most downloaded article across the American Psychological Association’s 89 journals in 2021 — out of more than 5,000 articles published. To read more go to “FDU faculty publish most downloaded psychological study of 2021.”

Martha Papson Garcia, MBA’92 (Ruth), MA’20 (Metro), Army veteran and director of veterans services (Metro/Flor), was a finalist for the Advisor of the Year award of the Student Veterans of America. Winners were announced during the SVA Honors Luncheon at the 14th Annual National Conference held on January 7.

In celebration of Black History Month, Randall Westbrook, education (Flor), spoke about “Let the World Discover: The Politics and Art of the Harlem Renaissance.” His presentation explored the social and political significance of Harlem Renaissance and emphasized the deeper meanings of work of luminaries such as Zora Neale Hurston, Langston Hughes and W.E.B. Du Bois. The February 15 hybrid event was held in-person at the Florham Campus and via Zoom.

Derek Phillips, executive director of the University’s MS in clinical psychopharmacology program (Metro), and an alumnus, MS’20 (Metro), received his prescribing license in November 2021. He is Illinois’ 12th licensed prescribing psychologist and one of only approximately 250 prescribing psychologists nationwide. Prior to joining FDU, Phillips was an adjunct faculty member at Lake Land College in Mattoon, Ill., and in the MA in clinical psychology program at Eastern Illinois University in Charleston. To read more go to “MS Clinical Psychopharmacology Director Earns Industry Distinction.”

Anastasia Rivkin, pharmacy practice and executive associate dean, pharmacy/health sciences (Flor), will serve as interim dean of the School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences while a search is being conducted for the school’s new dean.

Carrie Shanafelt, literature (Metro), will be giving the keynote address on “Jeremy Bentham and the Politics of Queer Aesthetics” at the PGR/ECR Long Nineteenth Century LGBTQ+ History Month Seminar on Thursday, February 24. The virtual event, which will be held from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. is being hosted by Manchester Metropolitan University, Manchester, England. 

Walter Cummins, emeritus, English (Flor), wrote a review for A Little Hope, the debut novel by Ethan Joella, MFA’05 (Flor), for California Review of Books.

This year, Scott Behson, management (Metro), has been selected to write a column for the four quarterly issues of Workspan magazine, an award-winning publication of WorldatWork®. He also has two in-press articles with WorldatWork® publications: in #evolve, a digital quarterly publication on cutting-edge approaches to human resources; and at the Journal of Total Rewards, a peer-reviewed academic/practitioner journal. In addition, Behson has an article in press with Harvard Business Review’s (HBR) digital edition at HBR.org. Last year, he contributed five chapters to HBR’s Working Parents Series Collection, which has three books. Behson was also a guest on 23 business, leadership and human resource podcasts. To listen to some of his most recent podcasts, go to Scott Behson Media Appearances.

The Darkness Outside Us, the latest novel by Eliot Schrefer, creative writing (Flor), received the Stonewall Book Award – Mike Morgan and Larry Romans Children’s and Young Adult Award Honor Book from the American Library Association (ALA). In Schrefer’s multilayered mystery, two teenage space farers from warring societies leave a climate-ravaged future Earth on a deeply personal mission. The award is presented to children’s and young-adult books of exceptional merit relating to the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience. The awards ceremony will be held at the ALA’s Annual Conference and Exhibition in Washington, D.C., in June.

Marie Roberts, art (Metro), designed the T-shirt for the Coney Island Polar Bear Club’s annual New Year’s Day Plunge. The Coney Island Polar Bear Club, the oldest winter-bathing organization in the United States, celebrated its 119th year at the event.

Richard Palm, head men’s/women’s swim coach, athletics (Flor), announced that for the first time in program history, the Devils women’s swimming team earned the College Swimming and Diving Coaches Association of America Scholar All-America Team Academic Award. The team was one of 11 teams in the Middle Atlantic Conference to earn the honor.

Elma Kaiser, social work, and Zakia Clay, social work and field placement coordinator for the Master of Social Work program (both Flor), cowrote the article “Barriers to Help-Seeking Among Immigrants and Refugees” for the January 2022 issue of NJFOCUS.

Bradford Hurlbut, director of athletics (Metro), announces a partnership between FDU Knights Athletics and Return on Inclusion™ (ROI), an online learning platform for coaches and athletic administrators. FDU Knights is the first Northeast Conference institution to join the learning platform and participate in the ROI Inclusive Leader Certificate Program. The ROI team is led by Nevin Caple, ROI founder/consultant, an FDU alumnus (BS’02 [Metro]) and former student-athlete. To read more go to “ROI Partners with FDU Knights Athletics.”

Favorite Son,” a 2008 film directed and cowritten by Howard Libov, film; chair, School of the Arts; and director, MFA in film (Flor), can now be streamed on Apple TV and Amazon Prime Video.

Staff members will be leading virtual LEAD Now workshops, revolving around the theme “Leaders Are Everywhere,” for students on both New Jersey campuses. They are Sarah Azavedo, assistant dean of students for operations/leadership development (Flor), “Confidence and Leadership”; Jillian Keshecki, campus life coordinator for student affairs (Flor), “Conflict Resolution”; Loren Darzano, assistant director of campus life for student engagement (Metro), “Just Say No: Setting Limits”; and Ryan Stalgaitis, director of career development (Flor), “Leadership Experiences: Your Résumé and Beyond.”

Rebecca Chace, creative writing and director, MA in creative writing and literature for educators (Flor), was part of the reading/storytelling series presented by the House of Speakeasy at Joe’s Pub in New York City in February.

Kathleen Stein-Smith, languages (Metro), is coeditor of the book French All Around Us: French Language and Francophone Culture in the United States, which will be published by TBR Books, a program of The Center for the Advancement of Languages, Education and Communities (CALEC), in early 2022. She is the author of The French in Our Lives: Past, Present, Future — Influence and Implications, which was published by Routledge on December 29, 2021. Three of Stein-Smith’s articles were published online in February. These include “Language at the Intersection,” in Language Magazine; “Rethinking Language Education in the US — A New Paradigm for Language Educators, Advocates, and Stakeholders,” in the International Journal of Contemporary Education; and “French Language and Francophone Culture in Sub-Saharan Africa — Interdisciplinary Reflections on Multilingualism and French Language Education,” in the International Journal of Humanities and Social Sciences. Stein-Smith was featured in a conversation about “Language Matters” in the Tennessee World Affairs Council podcast in January. In addition, she was interviewed — in French — on French language and Francophone culture in the U.S. by Michel Doucet on “Michel le Samedi” on Radio Canada December 11.

Library staff members are conducting online workshops on a variety of topics for students at the Florham and Metropolitan campuses. They are David Biel, research and instruction librarian, Monninger Center for Learning and Research (Flor); Paul Dunphy, head reference librarian, Metropolitan Campus Library; Eleanor Friedl, research and instruction librarian, Monninger Center (Flor); Christine Jansen, research and instruction librarian, Monninger Center; Michael Liss, evening/weekend librarian, Metropolitan Campus Library; Leanne Minkoff, research and instruction librarian, Business Research Library (Metro); Patricia Murray, research and instruction librarian, Metropolitan Campus Library; Michele Nestory, librarian and coordinator of outreach/advancement, Business Reference Library (Metro); Nicole Potdevin, associate University librarian/director of public services, Monninger Center (Flor); Robert Richlan, research and instruction librarian, Monninger Center (Flor); Dirk Wijnen, research and instruction librarian/assistant reference coordinator, Metropolitan Campus Library; and Robert Wolf, associate University librarian for technical services, Monninger Center (Flor). For a full list of workshop topics and dates go to Upcoming Library Events.

Adrian Miller, Silberman College (Metro), was appointed vice president, investor relations, at PAVmed, Inc. and its majority-owned subsidiary Lucid Diagnostics, Inc. He previously served as director of investor relations and chief market strategist at Concise Capital.

The Student Counseling and Psychological Services (S-CAPS) at the Metropolitan Campus is sponsoring virtual Personal Development Workshops on a variety of topics this semester. Among the presenters (all Metro) are Scott Fisher, director, Fitness Center; Charles Imbimbo, psychological counselor, S-CAPS; William Maurice, psychological counselor, S-CAPS; David Mednick, codirector of counseling, S-CAPS; Alice Mills, codirector of counseling, S-CAPS; and Rev. Jim Om, director of campus ministries. For a list of the topics go to Upcoming S-CAPS Workshops.

In the News …

President Christopher Capuano was interviewed for the following February articles: “The Interview: Why this New Jersey university wants to become more specialized,” in The Business Journals; and “Spotlight On: Christopher Capuano, President, Fairleigh Dickinson University,” on capitalanalyticsassociates.com.

Peter Lappas, assistant men’s basketball coach (Metro), was quoted in the December article “Emotions Run High in The Bronx for a Manhattan Win,” published in The Quadrangle (mcquad.org).

Meghan Sacks, criminology (Flor), was quoted in the December article “Amid a spike in other violent crimes, rape reports dipped in the Twin Cities during the pandemic,” posted on minnpost.com

Jeremy Wright-Kim, higher education (Metro), was quoted in the December article “How Columbus’ new community college promise program compares across the U.S.,” posted on bizjournals.com.

Michael Avaltroni, University provost and senior vice president for academic affairs, was quoted in several January articles: “Fairleigh Dickinson University Names New Provost: Longtime faculty member and administrator to begin as top academic officer in January 2022” (New Jersey Business, bizwireexpress.com, WFMZ.com, Yahoo.com and benzinga.com); and “Avaltroni named provost at FDU: Founding dean of School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences has been instrumental in growth of university” (roi-nj.com).

Chris Rasmussen, history and deputy chair, social sciences/history (Metro), was quoted in the January Newsweek article “Joe Biden Races Against Time to Achieve Priorities, Avoid Midterm Meltdown.”

Bruce Peabody, government/politics and director, Florham Institute for Lifelong Learning (Flor), was quoted in the January Newsweek article “New SCOTUS Pick Could Bring the One Thing Biden Needs — A United Party.”

Scott Behson, management (Metro), was quoted in the following articles about WalletHub’s study on 2022’s States With the Highest Job Resigation Rates, where he was one of the expert panelists: “CT’s Resignation Rate Among Lowest in the U.S.,” on ctbythenumbers.news; “The ‘great resignation.’ KY has 4th-highest rate of people quitting jobs, study shows,” on The Lexington Herald Leader (kentucky.com); “ “Report indicates Ohioans more satisfied with their jobs than most,” on thecentersquare.com; “NC in the top 10 of people leaving the workforce,” on laurinburgexchange.com; “ND ranks 6th in the nation when it comes to the ‘Great Resignation,’” on kxnet.com; “Montana is Top 5 in the Nation for Workers Resigning. Why?” (NewsTalk 95.5); and “NC in the top 10 of people leaving the workplace” (Yahoo News and The Laurinburg Exchange).

Daniel Cassino, government/politics and executive director, FDU Poll (Flor), was quoted in the following articles about FDU polls: “Is the ‘war on Christmas’ finally over?” (deseret.com); “American support for conspiracy theories and armed rebellion isn’t new — we just didn’t believe it before the Capitol insurrection” (theconversation.com, yahoo.com and Talking Points Memo); and “Capitol attack showed Americans the real danger of conspiracy theories” (upi.com and pressherald.com). He also was quoted in The Washington Post’s February article “Fox News doesn’t carry Trump rallies live anymore. ‘He’s got to be very unhappy about it.’”

In Memoriam

Robert Makey, library receptionist/security, Metropolitan Campus Library, died on February 5 at the age of 88. He joined FDU in 2003 and had worked in the library since. He is a veteran of the Korean War having served his country in the U.S. Navy. In 2017, he was featured in The Equinox, the student publication at the Metropolitan Campus. He is survived by his wife of 63 years, Ethel, a former FDU staff member who also worked at the library; children, Donna Marie Leavy, Robert “Bob” Makey, Karyn Ann Seo and John Christopher Makey; and five grandchildren. In his memory, donations may be made to the Our Lady Queen of Peace Church, 400 Maywood Avenue, Maywood, NJ 07607.

Vanessa Eatman Muhammad, program coordinator, enrollment services (Metro), died on December 27, 2021, at the age of 64. She joined enrollment services in 2000 and had been with the department for 21 years, assisting many academic departments and programs both on- and off-campus with registration matters and financial guidance for their students. She graduated from FDU’s Metropolitan Campus in 2017 with a BA in individualized studies. She is survived by her husband Munir Muhammad (aka Alfred Eatman, Jr.); children, Rashad and his wife, Danyel; Tariq and his wife, Medinah; and Hakim; grandsons, Eisah and Bilal; father, Lonnie Early; siblings, Jacqueline Early and Lorenzo Jacobs; mother-in-law, Sister Harriet Muhammad; father-in-law, Alfred Eatman, Sr.; cousins; nephews; and grand-nephew.

George Sella Jr., trustee emeritus, died on January 25 at the age of 93. He began his professional career as a chemical engineer for American Cyanamid in 1950 and retired in 1993 as its chief executive officer. He had served on the University’s Board of Trustees in from 1990 to 2008. As chair of the board’s Finance, Audit and Budget Committee, his service was transformational. In 1987, he was instrumental in the establishment at FDU of the Comprehensive Support Center for the Learning Disabled (now known as the Regional Center for Learning Disabilities). He is survived by his wife of 67 years, Janet Auf Der Heide; his sister, Irene Cundari; children, Carlie Sella; George “Chip” Sella and his wife, Donna; Jaime Sella; Lorie Sella-Loughbourough and her husband, Joe; and Michael Sella and his wife, Darcy; 14 grandchildren; and 14 great-grandchildren. Donations in his memory should be sent to Fredon Fire and Rescue, 443 Route 94, Newton, NJ 07860.


The University welcomes new full-time and part-time employees who joined FDU as of February 11, 2022.

Welcome to Melody Cano-Amparo, assistant director, financial aid (Flor); Brian Clarke, officer, public safety (Flor); Michael Cucciniello, sergeant, public safety (Flor); Susan Hart, lecturer, nursing (Flor); Lisa Infante, administrative assistant, academic/disability support, Academic Support Center (Flor); Melissa Ingala, assistant professor, microbiology (Flor); Courtney Lonesky, administrative assistant, academic/disability support, Academic Support Center (Metro); Yasir Malik, assistant professor, computer science (Van); David Nguyen, head women’s volleyball coach, athletics (Metro); Joey Rivera, officer, public safety (Metro); Kenneth Schneider, assistant vice president/dean of undergraduate admissions (Metro); Matthew Wells, executive director, Small Business Development Center, Silberman College (Metro); Caroline Wichman, nurse practitioner, student health services (Metro); and Alfonso Wilson, officer, public safety (Flor).


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