The Agora Series

Upcoming Talks

  • Who are our Muslim Students Beyond Hollywood and Bias News?
    Randa Elbih, Education (SASBE)

  • Using Theater to Explore Poverty and Food Insecurity Issues in an Undergraduate Community Nutrition Course.
    Margot Zaharek-Girgasky, Nutrition and Public Health (SIHS)

  • Recruiting Vulnerable Populations for Research: Next Steps
    Heather Evans, Nursing (SIHS)

  • TESOL Students’ Ethnographic Investigations of Cultural Knowledge
    Meredith McConnochie and Eileen Gonzalez, Education (SASBE)

  • Putting World War I on Trial: The Peace Activism of Austrian Socialist Friedrich Adler through Political Assassination
    Kevin Callahan, History and Society (SASBE)

  • Training counseling graduate students as group leaders using service-learning and skills coaching
    Marte Ostvik-de Wilde & Kathryn Henderson, Counseling & Applied Behavioral Studies (SIHS)

  • Using Minority Stress Theory to Unpack the Experience of Transphobia among Trans Identified Job Seekers
    Gina Rosich, Social Work and Equitable Community Practice (SIHS)

  • Nanotoxicology: The Tip of the Iceberg
    Swetha Rudraiah, Pharmaceutical Sciences (SOPPAS)

Agora Series Highlights

Who are our Muslim Students beyond Hollywood and Bias News?
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

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.

Examples of Previous Talks

The New Hatred: Anti-Muslim Politics and the Ghosts of Anti-Semitism in Post-Holocaust Europe and America
Presenter: 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
Presenter: Elizabeth Vozzola, Department of Psycology

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 students’ 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.

Ozlem Dilek
Assistant Professor of Chemistry
Meg Gaughan
Assistant Professor of Nutrition
Tamara Malm
Assistant Professor of Pharmacy
Derek Dube
Assistant Professor of Biology, SRCA Director