The Agora Series

University Talks

Throughout the year, the Student Research and Creative Activity Center facilitates “The Agora,” a monthly series of research-in-progress talks open to the whole University community where faculty from all disciplines present their current scholarly projects and dialog about the next steps and the greater picture of what it all means.

Happening This Academic Year! 2021-22 Talks

  • Yvonne Joy, Nursing,
    • It Starts with a Problem-PechaKucha Style
  • Chadene Tremaglio, Biology
    • It’s the Journey, Not the Destination: The EducationalValue of “Failure” in Scientific Research, and How it Led to Success in a Course-Based Research Project on Respiratory Syncytial Virus
  • Fr Joseph Cheah, Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies (SASBE)
    • Jesus, the Perpetual Foreigner
  • Anthony Johnston, Education (SASBE)
    • TIPPS for Teachers: An Integrated Heuristic in Teacher Preparation
  • Christiana Best, Social Work and Equitable Community Practice (SIHS) 
    • Beyond the Ivory Tower: Using Podcasting to Educate, Build Relationship and Inspire Change 
  • Michelle Kraczkowski, Biology (SASBE) 
    • Uncovering cryptic species using DNA analyses 
  • Doreen Szollosi, Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPAS)   
    • Returning to a Pre-antibiotic era: the threat of antibiotic resistance isn’t looming (it’s here) 
  • Rammi Hazzaa, Business Administration (SASBE) 
    • Promoting sport employees’ well-being and development through positive organizational behavior 
  • Rachel Payne, Spanish (SASBE) 
    • Pathways to Inclusion: Pairing Universal Design for Learning & Open Educational Resources for Language Learning 
  • Anisha Gupta, Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPAS) 
    • Nucleic acid-based therapy for targeting OncomiRs 
  • Karen Myrick, Nursing (SIHS) 
    • Evaluating the Sensitivity, Specificity Predictive Value of Myrick THIRD Test for Hip Labral Tears, a 13-year Retrospective Study 
  • Kaydian Reid, Nutrition and Public Health (SIHS) 
    • A Qualitative Study Utilizing the Health Belief Model in Understanding College Students Behaviors during the COVID-19 Pandemic 

Previous Talks

Agora Series Highlights

Discomforting Pedagogies and Affective Learning Processes in Diversity and Social Justice Courses 
Presenters: Gina Rosich, Social Work and Equitable Community Practice (SIHS) 

  • The discomforting pedagogies framework was utilized to analyze 41 syllabi from MSW diversity courses (nationally) to assess the use of syllabi in establishing classrooms that support critical reflexivity and affective learning, encourage the sharing of feelings, and support classroom safety as a space for exploration rather than avoidance. Strategies for creating equity-minded learning spaces are also provided. 

The Impact of Pre-Student Teaching Clinical Experience on Literacy Preservice Teachers’ Pedagogical Development and Their Perception as Teachers  
Presenters: Randa Elbih, Huijing Wen, & Dianna Wentzell, Education (SASBE) 

  • This qualitative case study examined the impact of pre-student teaching clinical experience on literacy pre-service teachers’ pedagogical development and their perception as teachers. Educational implications on the use of reflective practices and the role of supportive cooperating teachers and university supervisors will be discussed. 

It Starts with a Problem- PechaKucha Style  
Presenters: Yvonne Joy, Nursing

  • In this presentation, I will share my UDL-inspired class assignment related to the DNP Scholarly Project. Students in their first semester of the DNP program create a poignant presentation about a clinical problem using PechaKucha, an innovative presentation application. 

It’s the Journey, Not the Destination: The Educational Value of “Failure” in Scientific Research, and How it Led to Success in a Course-Based Research Project on Respiratory Syncytial Virus 
Presenters: Chadene Tremaglio, Biology (SASBE) 

  • Students who took BIOL350 Advanced Cell Biology this year got to participate in a semester-long research project studying respiratory syncytial virus (RSV). Early experiments were met with difficulties, but students worked in groups to optimize the experiment, which enabled them to obtain interesting results in the second half of the semester. Their experience serves to demonstrate the value in troubleshooting a failed experiment, as they gained a better understanding of the project, became skilled at performing a particular assay, and learned the importance of persistence in science research. 

Jesus, the Perpetual Foreigner  
Presenters: Father Joseph Cheah, Philosophy, Theology, and Religious Studies (SASBE) 

  • Jesus, God’s incarnate, who became a human being like us in all things except sin (Heb 4:15) was no stranger to the perpetual foreigner stereotype experienced by Asian Americans. I will employ the Gospels of Matthew and Luke to demonstrate that Jesus spoke Aramaic with a Galilean accent and that he knew what it was like to be a foreigner, someone who did not seem to quite fit into the mainstream of his culture. To the best of my knowledge, this is a new perspective that no one has written about and it will appear in my new book in 2022.  

TIPPS for Teachers: An Integrated Heuristic in Teacher Preparation  
Presenters: Anthony Johnston, Education (SASBE) 

  • In response to neoliberal education policies and an increase in alternative certification programs, teacher education has shifted to an increasingly functional and utilitarian model emphasizing teacher education as a series of practice-based approaches. At USJ, we value addressing aspects to entering the teaching profession that has become, perhaps, bygone relics but that can be salient for new teachers, for preparing effective educators, and for supporting teachers to sustain in the profession. TIPPS is an acronym that references teacher identity, teacher passion, teacher presence, and teacher stance. While each of these is, at times, discussed in teacher education, we are the only program that thinks about them collectively. Taught first separately, then viewed as an intersectional heuristic, our work looks at how students, past and present, explore these concepts and benefit from their learnings as they enter the profession.  Anthony Johnston, Ph.D. 

Who are our Muslim Students beyond Hollywood and Bias News?
Presenters: Randa Elbih, Ph.D.,
Assistant Professor of Education

  • The news media and popular culture shape most of our perceptions of Muslim students who come to our classrooms. Many times, these perceptions are inaccurate and could lead to bias and false expectations. So, who are our Muslim students beyond Hollywood and Bias News? I have researched this question and reported the results in an article currently under review. I wish to discuss my research with USJ faculty.

Using Theater to Explore Poverty and Food Insecurity Issues in an Undergraduate Community Nutrition Course
Presenters: Margot Zaharek-Girgasky, Ph.D., R.D., C.D.-N.,
Assistant Professor of Nutrition

  • The potential of theater in shaping students’ attitudes, beliefs, and empathy toward individuals living in poverty was explored in an undergraduate community nutrition course. Students attended a theatrical performance at the University of Saint Joseph’s Autorino Center that confronted a wide range of social issues connected to food insecurity. The mixed-methods evaluation indicated greater overall empathy, awareness of barriers to accessing resources, and likelihood of viewing the underlying causes of poverty-related to lack of opportunity.

The New Hatred: Anti-Muslim Politics and the Ghosts of Anti-Semitism in Post-Holocaust Europe and America
Presenters: Ken Long, Department of History and Society

  • There are disturbing parallels between the treatment of Muslims now and the abuse of Jews in the past. This presentation criticizes European and American policies, specifically the warfare directed against Muslims, either directly or through the intentional aggravation of intra-Muslim conflicts, and the immigration exclusion of those attempting to flee these conflicts. The results have already claimed many millions of Muslim lives and are genocidal or quasi-genocidal in effect. (A reprise of a presentation given at Linnaeus and Stockholm Universities.)

Religion in a Lockbox: Faith Development in the College Years
Presenters: Elizabeth Vozzola, Department of Psychology

  • This study began as a simple survey of the religious affiliations and conceptions of a higher power of incoming USJ students; but soon grew into a three-year exploration of relationships between college student’s faith development, religious practices, and moral and cognitive complexity at two institutions with different student bodies and campus cultures. Our findings suggest both unique patterns of thinking and practice in specific settings as well as common themes that reflect trends found in large national studies and surveys.
Meg Gaughan
Assistant Professor of Nutrition
Tamara Malm
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy
Derek Dube
Assistant Professor of Biology, SRCA Director