University UpdatesWinter/Spring 2016

Winter 2016: Occupational Therapy, Psychology, Sociology & Criminal Justice, Student Affairs, Theatre, Woodrow Wilson, Writing Lab

School of Occupational Therapy: Bettering Belize

BelizeSeveral faculty led a group of alumni and students on a two-week service trip to Belize this past summer. Dr. Candace Beitman, Dr. Jennifer Fogo ’85 ’87, and Dr. Julie Gahimer ’85 (Krannert School of Physical Therapy) took 21 UIndy OT and PT alumni and students from the Doctor of Health Science, Master of Occupational Therapy, and Doctor of Physical Therapy programs. Interprofessional teams worked with community organizations serving clients from birth
to older adults in Belize City, Belmopan, and San Ignacio. Teams created posters and presentations on healthy aging and exercise for common chronic conditions, mental health, and caregiver burden issues for older adults and sensory integration for children. Students also worked directly with alumni and faculty to provide skilled habilitation and rehabilitation services to clients and families.

In August Dr. Julie Bednarski ’96 and Dr. Lori Breeden ’97 partnered with Dr. Angelia Ridgway, Deborah Sachs ’78, and Donna Stephenson, School of Education faculty, to present the Institute of Emerging Educators in Healthcare. The IEEH was developed to help clinicians transition from working in a clinical setting to teaching in higher education. In September Breeden presented on the topic of Home Safety Education for Older Adults via Telehealth at the 2015 Indiana Occupational Therapy Association fall conference. Dr. Victoria Wilburn ’14 and Dr. Rebecca Barton ’07 joined colleagues from IUPUI and Eskenazi Health to present “Interprofessional Education and Practice: From Classroom to Clinic” at the same conference. Dr. Sally Wasmuth delivered the closing presentation, “Re-conceptualizing Occupation to Address Difficult Social Problems,” to the attendees of the International Institute on the Model of Human Occupation. Wasmuth also published “Gehlen’s Philosophical Anthropology: Contemporary Applications in Addiction Research” in the book Naturalism and Philosophical Anthropology.

Dr. Beth Ann Walker ’01 and her student research team presented “A Comprehensive Model for Understanding Acceptance and Use of Technology by Older Adults” at the Gerontological Society of America’s Annual Scientific Meeting in November in Orlando, Fla. Members of Walker’s research team included Master of Occupational Therapy students Brenda Ausberger ’15, Kelly France ’15, Katelyn Kessler ’15, Sydney Nields ’15, Troy Thompson ’15, and Shelby Zornes ’15. Colleen Wasemann ’00, Dr. Alison Nichols ’08 ’09, and graduate students Hannah Boone ’15, Danielle Coatie ’15, Courtney Rafalski ’15, Erica Moon, and Jennifer Weller have been accepted to present their research, “Impact of Raising a Child with a Feeding Disorder on Parental Role Perceptions” at the American Occupational Therapy Association’s National Conference in April 2016 in Chicago.

Assistant Professor Victoria Wilburn of UIndy’s School of Occupational Therapy was appointed to a two-year term as president of the Indiana Occupational Therapy Association. As president, Wilburn will help lead IOTA’s advocacy efforts on issues such as broadening the role of OTs in home care and other treatment settings. Dr. Wilburn is the school’s academic fieldwork coordinator, and her own expertise involves emerging areas of practice, organizational leadership, and pediatric autism spectrum disorder. “I feel that our profession is in a prime position for positive change, especially with the overwhelming number of new practice areas made possible by the Affordable Care Act,” she told UIndy’s Health Sciences blog. “I hope to empower Indiana’s OT practitioners to advocate for the unique services they provide clients, in not only new areas of practice, but existing areas as well.” Wilburn, a registered occupational therapist, completed a bachelor’s degree in occupational therapy from Boston University, and earned her master’s and doctor of health science degrees from UIndy. She officially assumed the new role at IOTA’s fall conference, and another member of the UIndy OT faculty, Assistant Professor Alison Nichols, will continue to serve as the statewide organization’s secretary.

School of Psychological Sciences: New app to help save lives

Gradute student Peter Phalen ’18 has created a smartphone app that uses a blood test to predict suicidality. Several UIndy students including Elizabeth Belanger ’16, Sunita George ’17, and Holly Weber ’18 were coauthors doing clinical assessments. The group’s work, “Predicting Suicidality Using a Combined Genomic and Clinical Risk Assessment Approach,” has been published in Molecular Psychiatry, Washington Post, Smithsonian, Popular Science, and New Scientist (which included an editorial about their work written by the director of the National Institutes for Mental Health). Their work has also been featured on the front page of the NIH website.

In August, faculty and a number of graduate students presented at the American Psychological Association Convention in Toronto, Canada. Nour M. Abdelghani ’15, Samantha Goodin, Marissa Ohlstrom ’15, and Dr. Mixalis Poulakis presented “Female Genital Mutilation and the Development of PTSD in Egyptian Women: Treatment Considerations.” Nidaa Kazi ’14, Renita Sengupta ’14, and Poulakis presented “Factors Contributing to Marital Satisfaction in South Asian Americans: A Qualitative Study.” Sengupta, Poulakis, Kazi, and Siegel presented “Underutilization of End-of-Life Care Services by South Asian Hindus.” Kazi, Poulakis, Sengupta, Amira Zein, and Abdelghani presented “Underutilization of Marital and Premarital Counseling for Muslims: A Literature Review.” Poulakis, Angeliki Menediatou ’03, Sengupta, Kazi, Maria Milo ’15, and Emma Carter ’14 presented “A Modern Tragedy: The Continued Impact of the Financial Recession on Greek Mental Health.” Poulakis, Kazi, Sengupta, Carter, and Milo presented “The Sad State of Psychiatric Hospitals in Greece.” Poulakis and Licci Jaimes ’15 presented “Despair and Instability: A Review of Psychopathology, Mental Health Services, and Violence in Mexico.”

In October Abdelghani, Milo, and Jaimes presented at the Diversity Challenge conference, hosted by Boston College. Nour and Poulakis presented “Woman at Point Zero: The Continuing Practice of Female Circumcision in Egypt;” Milo and Poulakis presented “Are you a Greek or a Barbarian?” and Jaimes presented “Powerless: The Implications of Violence in Mexico on Mental Health and Immigrants.”

Dr. Katie Kivisto published “Family Enmeshment, Adolescent Emotional Dysregulation, and the Moderating Role of Gender” in the August issue of the Journal of Family Psychology.

Sociology & Criminal Justice: Art on the road

Maher-paintingDr. Tim Maher and his wife, Sandra Maher ’02 exhibited their art (painting and ceramics respectively) at Ariodante Gallery in New Orleans in June. It was their second exhibit at Ariodante and they have been invited back for a third show in 2017. Dr. Maher, along with co-authors Mark Taxter of the Marion County Prosecutor’s Office, Laurel Himmel ’03 ’16, and Patrick Moore ’15, presented “Community Impact Panels and Local Justice” at the meeting of the Association for Humanist Sociology in Portland, Ore., in October. At the same meeting, Dr. Amanda Miller and student Ahmed (Zak) Mitiche ’16 presented “Race, Gender, and Urban Farming: Oral Histories in America’s Heartland.” Miller also offered the solo teaching presentation “Student Assignments in the Sociology of Food.” Dr. Jim Pennell presented “Going Local in What Ways and to What Effect? The Case of Wine,” and participated in the panel discussion “Humanist Conversations on the Pedagogy of Doing Local Sociology.”

Student Affairs: Providing programs for students

In October Campus Program Board traveled to Grand Rapids, Mich., for the National Association for Campus Activities Mid-America Regional Conference. Stephanie Barry, UIndy’s director of student activities, received the 2015 Outstanding Professional Staff Member Award at the conference. Students attended educational sessions, networked, competed for conference awards, and participated in cooperative buying efforts to bring artists and performers to UIndy. UIndy was represented by students Marissa Burgess ’16, Kieri Everett ’18, Benjamin Lawson ’18, Kristen Maroney ’19, Audrey McGrady ’18, and Jensen Swaim ’18. UIndy is making a strong effort to raise awareness, education, and safety around campus in the areas of sexual violence, relationship abuse, harassment and violence prevention, sexual well-being, drug and alcohol awareness, mental health, bystander education, and more. The UIndy PACT to Act is a campus-wide movement to join faculty, staff, and students in making a stand against violence and commit to being a strong voice and advocate for the cause. Those that sign the PACT (an acronym for “protect, advocate, communicate, and transform”) agree to be an active bystander, stand up for others, and help put an end to violence. To show your support and sign the PACT, visit

Theatre: Encore for Theatre alumni

The October production of King Lear (cover photo by production manager and technical director Christian McKinney) featured many current and former students, including Kirk Fields ’90, Lucy Fields ’91, Barry McFarlane ’04, Jennette McFarlane ’07, Jenni White ’97, Daryl Hollonquest ’15, Nathan Pellow ’13, Manny Casillas, and Sam Fain. The show included design and crew work by Christina Robinson Schwinn ’12, Alexis Sheree Damron ’14, and Caitlyn Spires ’13. The play was directed by department chair Brad Wright with help from junior MacKinsey Taylor.

Woodrow Wilson Indiana Teaching Fellowship Program: The complex teenage mind

In October Deb Sachs ’78 presented “The Adolescent Brain: What’s Going On In There?” at the national conference of the Association for Middle Level Education in Columbus, Ohio.

Writing Lab: The right writers

Dawn Marie Hershberger ’92 ’98 presented “Whose Paper Is It Anyway? How a ‘Yes-And’ Mindset Connects the Writers with Their Writing” at the 2015 International Writing Centers Association conference, which was held in Pittsburgh, Penn., in October. Richard Marshall presented “The Shakers’ Porous Stone Walls,” at the national conference of the Communal Studies Association held at Shakertown of Pleasant Hill, Kentucky, in October.

the authorMarty