New Kensington faculty, staff honored for publications, awards, promotions

Annual celebration recognizes accomplishments
Dr. Harnish and Dr. Bridges stand while looking at book

Rick Harnish, left, and Rob Bridges,right, both professors of psychology at Penn State New Kensington, peruse through faculty publications at the annual Faculty and Staff Publication Party on Dec. 5. Both professors had works recognized in the celebration, which also showcased faculty and staff who have won awards or received promotions in the past year.

Credit: Rebecca Dietrich

NEW KENSINGTON, Pa. – Faculty and staff gathered in the Penn State New Kensington Elizabeth S. Blissell Library for the 16th Publications Party on Dec. 5. The annual celebration was organized and led by Jennifer Gilley, head librarian, to celebrate faculty and staff achievements throughout the year.

2018 faculty and staff honorees


Donald Bruckner, associate professor of arts and humanities, authored an article, “Gun Control and Alcohol Policy” for Social Theory and Practice. In addition, he co-authored, “Belief, Desire, and Giving and Asking for Reasons” for Philosophia.

Joseph Cuiffi, program coordinator and instructor for electro-mechanical engineering technology, co-authored the paper and presented, “CLEAN WATER Outreach Program” for the 2018 ASEE Southeastern Section Conference.

Jennifer Gilley, head librarian, authored, “Ghost in the Machine: Kitchen Table Press and Third Wave Anthology that Vanished” for Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies. In addition, she provided the following reviews for American Periodicals: A Journal of History and Criticisim: “Feminist Literacies, 1969-75 by Kathryn Thoms Flannery” and “The Archival Turn in Feminism: Outrage in Order by Kate Eichhorn.”

Craig Hammond, assistant director of academic affairs and associate professor of history, authored, "Mid-Continent Borderlands: Illinois and the Early American Republic, 1774-1854" for the Journal of the Illinois State Historical Society and "The Birth of a Nation: A Roundtable" for Civil War History. He also provided a review for Reviews in History (UK) titled, "Making an Antislavery Nation: Lincoln, Douglas and the Battle over Freedom by Graham A. Peck.

Richard Harnish, professor of psychology, and Robert Bridges, professor of psychology, authored, “Student and Faculty Experiences with Goanimate4schools: A Case Study” for the Society for the Teaching of Psychology’s book, The Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning. In addition, they also co-authored the following articles: “The Impact of Money Attitudes and Global Life Satisfaction on the Maladaptive Pursuit of Consumption” for Psychology & Marketing; “The Maladaptive Pursuit of Consumption: the Impact of Materialism, Pain of Paying, Social Anxiety, Social Support, and Loneliness on Compulsive Buying” for the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction; “The use of technology in teaching and learning” for the Society for the Teaching of Psychology and “Compulsive Buying: The Impact of Attitudes Toward Body Image, Eating Disorders, and Physical Appearance Investment” for Psychological Reports.

Richard Harnish, professor of psychology, also co-authored, “The tripartite model of aberrant purchasing: A theory to explain the maladaptive pursuit of consumption” for Psychology & Marketing.

Xiang Ji, assistant professor of mathematics, authored “Deformations of Courant algebroids and Dirac structures via blended structures” for Differential Geometry and its Applications.

Joan Kowalski, senior instructor of engineering, and Ruth Herstek, assistant coordinator for academic and student success, co-authored and presented, “Engagement in Practice: Partnering with a Local Community in an Effort to Promote Revitalization” for the American Society of Engineering Education (ASEE) National Conference in July 2018.

Rujirutana “Dr. A” Mandhachitara, associate professor of business and economics and program coordinator of business program, authored, “Can a credit card be “cool”? If so, how? Which would you say is the coolest credit card on the market?” for Wallethub, “Culture and Fashion Styles: Do They Co-Exist in Women’s Fashion Magazines? An Explorative Investigation from New York, London and Bangkok” for the Journal of Textile Science & Fashion Technology, and “Incorporating Community Service Learning in Business Classes: A Food for Thought“ for presentation at the 45th Annual Northeast Business & Economic Association.

Joie Marhefka, program coordinator for biomedical engineering technology and instructor of engineering, authored, “Growing a Career: Viewpoint: Recruiting More Women to HTM” and “Growing a Career: Essential Skills for Today’s BME” for the Solutions for Healthcare Technology Management’s 24x7 magazine.

Robert Mathers, professor of chemistry, authored, “Overview of Ring‐Opening Metathesis Polymerizations (ROMP) and Acyclic Diene Metathesis (ADMET) Polymerizations with Selected Ruthenium and Molybdenum Complexes” for the Handbook of Transition Metal Polymerization Catalysts second edition. In addition, he also co-authored, “Predicting Monomers for use in Polymerization Induced Self‐Assembly” for Angewandte Chemie International Edition and “Quantitative Measurements of Polymer Hydrophobicity Based on Functional Group Identity and Oligomer Length” for Macromolecules.

Penelope Morrison, program coordinator and assistant professor of biobehavioral health, co-authored, “The Challenges of Working With Men Who Perpetrate Partner Violence: Perspectives and Observations of Experts Who Work With Batterer Intervention Programs” for the Journal of Interpersonal Violence and “Male Intimate Partner Violence Perpetrators’ Perceptions of the Positives and Negatives of Peer Interactions In Group Batterer Intervention Programs.”

Haifeng Wang, assistant professor of electro-mechanical engineering technology, authored "Utilizing Imbalanced Data and Classification Cost Matrix to Predict Movie Preferences" for the International Journal of Artificial Intelligence and Applications (IJAIA). In addition, he also co-authored, “Movie genre preference prediction using machine learning for customer-based information” for the 2018 IEEE eighth annual Computing and Communication Workshop and Conference.

Yang Xu, associate professor of business and economics, authored, “Entrepreneurial Human Capital, Benefit Offerings and Early-Stage External Financing,” “The Mediating Role of HR Practices in the Relationship between Founders’ Human Capital and a Startup’s Early-stage External Financing” and “Entrepreneurial Cognitive Structure, Social Capital and New Venture Innovation: A Study of Chinese Entrepreneurs” for the proceedings of the 2018 International Council for Small Business World Congress in Taipei, Taiwan. In addition, she co-authored, “Founding Conditions and Benefit Offerings: Evidence from US Startups” for Personnel Review.


Theresa Bonk, John Romano Diversity Recognition Award

Gregory DePalma, Penn State New Kensington Excellence in Teaching Award (part time)

Ruth Herstek, Outstanding New Advisor Award from the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA)

Melba Amador Medina, Penn State New Kensington Excellence in Teaching Award (Full-Time)


Jennifer Gilley, librarian

Richard Harnish, professor