University of Saint Joseph Welcomes New Faculty

The University of Saint Joseph (USJ) welcomed new faculty members at the start of the 2017-18 academic school year.

“At the University of Saint Joseph, we know our students’ distinctive education starts with knowledgeable professors who are leaders in their respective fields,” remarked Provost Michelle Kalis, Ph.D. “We are happy to welcome these expert faculty members to our institution.”

Christiana Best-Giacomini, Ph.D., LMSW, assistant professor, joined the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in the department of Social Work this fall. Dr. Best-Giacomini received her Ph.D. in Social Welfare from the Graduate Center of the University of the City of New York. She is a licensed social worker with expertise in child welfare and immigration. Prior to joining USJ, she spent 30 years in the New York City child welfare system. Her research agenda has primarily centered on transnational parenting, or long-distance parenting, and its impact on immigrant families from the English-speaking Caribbean. In child welfare, her body of work has focused on racial equity and the implementation and evaluation of staff development programs related to addressing implicit bias and racial disproportionality and disparity in the child welfare system. Most recently, Dr. Best-Giacomini curated the Historical Child Welfare Timeline Exhibit: A Transformational Experience, which chronicles almost 200 years of child welfare policies, procedures, and practices from the 1800s to present day, highlighting issues of inequities and racial disproportionality and disparity.

Aaron Burton, Pharm.D., BCPS, assistant professor, joined the School of Pharmacy in the department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration in fall 2017. Dr. Burton received his Doctorate of Pharmacy from the University of Connecticut. He is a pharmacist with expertise in acute care/internal medicine and pharmacy administration. Prior to joining USJ, he was director of Pharmacy at Waterbury Hospital in Connecticut. His research explores delirium, patient falls caused by medications, and drug dosing in obesity. Dr. Burton’s professional background includes over eight years in pharmacy practice. He currently holds a board certification in pharmacotherapy and is an active member of the American Society of Health-System Pharmacists (ASHP). Through ASHP he has served on several national committees focused on developing both pharmacist preceptor skills and innovative student pharmacy practice experiences. He is also a present degree candidate at the University of Auburn for a master’s in Business Administration.

Morgan Comee, Pharm.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Pharmacy in the department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration in fall 2017. Dr. Comee received her doctoral degree in Pharmacy from Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences (MCPHS) University. Prior to joining USJ, she was an assistant professor of Pharmacy Practice and initiated Pharmacy programs with a focus in diabetes in two departments: solid organ transplant and the Diabetes Center of Excellence at UMass Memorial Health Care (UMMHC). Most recently serving as manager of Diabetes Education at the Diabetes Center of Excellence, Comee maintains a clinical practice at the UMMHC in primary care, partnering with other health care professionals to optimize medication therapy and promote safe medication practices in primary care with a focus in diabetes. Her research interests include the use of pharmacist integration into clinical practice, diabetes, medication compliance, and innovative teaching practices.

Jesse Crandall, Ph.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Health and Natural Sciences in the department of Chemistry this fall. Dr. Crandall received his Ph.D. in Environmental Chemistry from the State University of New York, College of Environmental Science and Forestry (SUNY-ESF). He has served as a visiting assistant professor of Chemistry at Vassar College and Utica College, both in New York. His research explores energy and nutrient acquisition in coral reefs, and he uses analytical chemistry techniques to better understand how corals will respond to a changing ocean. He also applies these techniques to other aquatic and terrestrial systems. In the past, his research has taken him to the Florida Keys and the Bay Islands of Honduras to collect samples for analysis in the lab. Prior to his academic career, Dr. Crandall worked in industrial research labs at 3M in St. Paul, Minn. and at SC Johnson in Racine, Wis.

Kate Dooley, assistant professor, joined the School of Education in the department of Special Education in fall 2017. Professor Dooley will receive her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from the University of Connecticut. She is a special educator with expertise in Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports, classroom management, and self-management. Prior to joining USJ, she was a graduate fellow at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Her research explores self-management for high school students with behavioral challenges. Professor Dooley’s professional background includes eight years as a special education teacher in a clinical day school for students with behavioral challenges.

Kathryn Henderson, Ph.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in the department of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies in fall 2017. Dr. Henderson received her Ph.D. in Counselor Education and Supervision from the University of New Orleans. She is a licensed professional counselor in Georgia and Texas and a national certified counselor with expertise in ethical and legal issues in counseling and crisis and trauma counseling. Prior to joining USJ, she was an assistant professor at Augusta University in Augusta, Ga. and at the University of Texas at San Antonio. Her research explores service learning and graduate education and remediation in counselor education.

Janet Howes, Ph.D., visiting assistant professor, joined the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in the department of Business Administration this fall. Dr. Howes received her Ph.D. in Sport Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. She has developed and taught courses in Sport Management and Marketing. Prior to her position at the University of Saint Joseph, Dr. Howes taught in the Sport Management Department at Marshall University. She also taught classes in Sport Marketing, Event Management, and Effective Leadership at Metropolitan State University in Denver, Colo. and Johnson and Wales University in Providence, R.I. Dr. Howes taught at Bay State College in Boston, Mass. in the Entertainment Management, Business Management, and General Education departments.

Rev. Emmanuel Ihemedu, M.Div., M.S., assistant professor, joined the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in the department of Counseling and Applied Behavioral Studies in fall 2017. Rev. Ihemedu received his master’s degree in Counseling from Southern Connecticut State University. He is currently a doctoral candidate in the Counselor Education Program at the University of Connecticut. He is a counselor with expertise in multicultural and developmental counseling. Before joining USJ, Rev. Ihemedu served as the pastor of Saint Justin-Saint Michael Parish in Hartford, served as an adjunct professor at Southern Connecticut State University, and as an instructor at Goodwin College. His research explores whether the way individuals are raised can predict adolescent suicidal behavior or the ability of adolescents to express feelings when they are facing academic expectations, peer pressure, questions about sexual orientation, identity confusion, dating problems, maltreatment, and bullying.

Jennifer Kowitt, Ph.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Education in the Special Education program in fall 2017. She is currently a doctoral candidate in the department of Educational Psychology at the Neag School of Education, University of Connecticut. Her dissertation research explores implementing an evidence-based practice for students with Autism Spectrum Disorder in the high school setting. She has published in peer-reviewed journals on a range of topics, including the impact of the Higher Education Opportunity Act on students with disabilities and the relationship between social support and academic success for college students. Prior to beginning her doctoral work, she was an art museum educator, specializing in designing and implementing programs and classes for visitors with disabilities of all ages. She has her B.A. from Yale University and her M.A. from the University of Bristol, England.

Mariann Cookie Mankowski, Ph.D., MSW, assistant professor, joined the School of Graduate and Professional Studies in the department of Social Work and Latino Community Practice in fall 2017. Dr. Mankowski received her Ph.D. from Smith College and her MSW from the University of Michigan. Previously, she was on the faculty of the School of Social Work at West Virginia University. Dr. Mankowski has focused her research on veterans, specifically their reintegration and readjustment needs. Dr. Mankowski is a licensed clinical social worker with over 25 years of clinical practice, including working with children, adolescents, young adults, and older adults. She has worked in community-based mental health clinics, elementary and high schools, university psychological centers, and the VA.

Meredith McConnochie, Ph.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Education this fall. Dr. McConnochie received her Ph.D. in Education from Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey. She is an educator with expertise in multilingual and multicultural learning, home-school relationships in immigrant communities, culturally-responsive pedagogy, and the sociocultural context of schooling. Prior to joining USJ, she was a part-time lecturer and graduate student at Rutgers. Her research explores the ways in which elementary-aged Latino children and their families understand and navigate education policies and practices relating to language and parent involvement.

Mohamed Ismail Nounou, B.Pharm., M.PSc., Ph.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Pharmacy in the department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in fall 2017. Dr. Nounou received his Ph.D. in Pharmaceutics from the University of Houston, department of Pharmaceutical Sciences in 2011. He received his bachelor’s degree in Pharmacy and master of Pharmaceutical Sciences from Alexandria University in Egypt. He is a pharmacist, professional pharmaceutical formulator, medicinal chemist, and pharmacologist.

Dr. Nounou has more than 12 years of experience in drug formulations, pharmaceutical bioconjugation, chemical synthesis, polymeric and peptidomemetic structures design, anti-cancer drug evaluation, targeted drug delivery, brain drug delivery, and CNS and brain cancers and metastases. Prior to joining USJ, he was an assistant professor of Pharmaceutical Sciences at Appalachian College of Pharmacy in Oakwood Va., Alexandria University in Egypt, and University of Padova in Italy.

Kerri Ann Rall, MPAS, PA-C, assistant professor, joined the School of Health and Natural Sciences in the department of Physician Assistant Studies in fall 2017. Professor Rall received her bachelor’s degree in Medical Studies with a minor in Healthcare Administration in 2007 from King’s College in Wilkes Barre, Pa. She went on to receive her master’s from King’s College in Physician Assistant Studies in 2008. She practices as a physician assistant at Yale Smilow Cancer Hospital and Dana Farber Cancer Institute with expertise in hematological malignancy and bone marrow transplant. Professor Rall has 10 years of experience as a physician assistant focusing on oncological diagnosis including Leukemia, Lymphoma, and Multiple Myeloma, and researching prophylaxis and treatments for Graft vs. Host Disease in the Bone Marrow Transplant population.

Alaina Rotelli, Pharm.D., BCACP, assistant professor, joined the School of Pharmacy in the department of Pharmacy Practice and Administration in fall 2017. Dr. Rotelli received her doctor of Pharmacy from Butler University. She is a pharmacist with expertise and board certification in ambulatory care. Prior to joining USJ, she was an ambulatory care clinical pharmacist at Indiana University Health-Southern Indiana Physicians in Bloomington, Ind.  Her research interests include chronic disease state management, underserved populations, and teaching strategies. Dr. Rotelli’s professional background includes over three years of experience as a licensed pharmacist. She has a clinical practice site at Middlesex Hospital working with patients with chronic diseases such as diabetes, COPD, and heart failure.

Stacy Spiro, M.D., assistant professor, joined the School of Health and Natural Sciences in the department of Physician Assistant Studies in fall 2017. Dr. Spiro received her M.D. from the State University of New York (SUNY) Upstate Medical University in Syracuse, N.Y. She is an Obstetrician/Gynecologist with expertise in adolescent gynecology. Prior to joining USJ, she was in private practice in South Windsor. Dr. Spiro’s professional background includes teaching residents and medical students at both New York Presbyterian Hospital – Cornell University and Yale-New Haven University.

For more information about USJ and its expert faculty, visit www.usj.edu.

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