New Kensington faculty honored for publications, awards and promotions

Annual celebration recognizes accomplishments
Man smiles as another man talks

Richard Wentling, assistant professor of criminal justice at Penn State New Kensington, enjoys conversation during the 2022 Penn State New Kensington Faculty Publications and Promotions Party on Dec. 7. Wentling was recognized for being the 2022 Full-Time Excellence in Teaching Award recipient, as well as co-authoring a published work.

Credit: Rebecca Dietrich

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. — Penn State New Kensington honored campus faculty at the 20th Faculty Publications and Promotions Party held in the Elizabeth S. Blissell Library on Dec. 7. The annual celebration was organized and led by Jennifer Gilley, interim co-director of the Penn State Commonwealth Campus Libraries and head librarian at the New Kensington campus.

2022 Honorees


Donald Bruckner, professor of arts and humanities, authored “Perfectionist Preferentism,” in American Philosophical Quarterly.

Javier Gomez-Calderon, professor emeritus of mathematics, authored “On lifting ideals, a classroom capsule,” for the Far East Journal of Mathematical Sciences.

Richard Harnish, professor of psychology, co-authored “Consumers’ personality and compulsive buying behavior: The role of hedonistic shopping experiences and gender in mediating-moderating relationships” for the Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services; “Hedonism, hedonistic shopping experiences and compulsive buying tendency: A demographics-based model approach” for the Journal of Marketing Theory and Practice; “A hierarchical personality approach toward a fuller understanding of onychophagia and compulsive buying” in Psychological Reports; “From materialism to hedonistic shopping values and compulsive buying: A mediation model examining gender differences” in the Journal of Consumer Behaviour; and “Attitudes toward protecting endangered species: The impact of perceived physical attractiveness of animals and political ideology” in Psychology & Marketing.

Joie Marhefka, program coordinator and associate teaching professor of biomedical engineering technology, authored three articles for TechNation, including, “The Future: Education Shifts Gears Amid COVID-19”; “The Future: Importance of Mentors”; and “The Future: Is the Future Here?”

Robert Mathers, distinguished professor of chemistry, co-authored “Minimalistic ice recrystallisation inhibitors based on phenylalanine” for Chemical Communications; “Sustainable Polymers: Our Evolving Understanding” for Accounts of Chemical Research; “Log Poct/SA Predicts the Thermoresponsive Behavior of P(DMA-co-RA) Statistical Copolymers” for ACS Macro Letters; “Sugar-Based Polymers with Stereochemistry-Dependent Degradability and Mechanical Properties” for the Journal of the American Chemical Society.

Penelope Morrison, associate professor of biobehavioral health, co-authored two articles, including, “Barriers to care for pregnant and post-partum women experiencing co-occurring intimate partner violence and opioid use disorder” for the Journal of Family Violence and “Partner violent men’s perspectives on the factors that they believe contributed to their abusive behaviors” for Violence Against Women. Morrison also co-authored “Exploring the Use of Justice Reinvestment: Perceptions of Victims Service Providers and the Promise of Reinvestment” in Victims & Offenders with Richard Wentling, assistant professor of criminal justice.

Lauren Pearce, assistant professor of physics, co-authored “Generating non-topological solitons via thermal corrections: Higgs balls” for the Journal of High Energy Physics.

Haifeng Wang, assistant professor of electro-mechanical engineering technology, co-authored “Current progress on power management systems for triboelectric nanogenerators” for IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics.


  • Donald Bruckner, professor of philosophy
  • Joie Marhefka, associate teaching professor of biomedical engineering technology
  • Penelope Morrison, associate professor of biobehavioral health



  • Robert Mathers, distinguished professor
  • Debra Majetic, George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching
  • Richard Wentling, Penn State New Kensington Excellence in Teaching Award (Full-Time)
  • Jane Viti, Penn State New Kensington Excellence in Teaching Award (Part-Time)


  • Donald Bruckner, awarded sabbatical for the 2022-23 academic year