Faculty Members Awarded Connelly Faculty Grant

GMercyU faculty members Stephanie Fratantaro, MS, NCC, LPC; John Gunn, PhD; Elizabeth Brokamp, PhD; and S. Meghan Walter, PhD were awarded the Connelly Faculty Grant for the 2023-2024 academic year. The Josephine C. Connelly Endowed Scholarship Fund was created in the 1970s by the Connelly Foundation to support student scholarships and faculty development. The grant’s purpose is to encourage faculty development through scholarly activity.

Public Health and Psychology Service Trip to Jamaica

In partnership with Public Health program faculty, Professor Fratantaro helped to create PUB/PSY 437 Promoting Global Health Through Service, an exciting new course offered as a collaboration between the Psychology and Public Health programs. The course is designed to prepare students for a service trip to Kingston, Jamaica to volunteer with Mustard Seed Communities.

The course was originally funded through a President’s Mini Grant awarded to Public Health faculty members Sharla Willis, DrPH, MPH, MA, CHES; Maria Warnick, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC; and Victory Osezua, PhD. After connecting with Psychology faculty, it was decided to be an interprofessional learning opportunity for both Public Health and Psychology students, prompting Professor Fratantaro to apply for the Connelly Faculty Grant. Student interest played a significant role in the creation of the course and Psychology’s involvement.

While in Jamaica, students will provide health/mental health education for residents of Mary’s Child, Dare to Care, and Matthew 25:40. Some of the student-led trainings will be for adolescents and young adults with HIV and pregnant teens/new teen mothers and for caregivers for the teens. Training topics will include maternal health, infant development, health relationships, communication/boundaries, and managing stress/chronic health conditions. As part of the curriculum, students are studying Jamaican culture and public health/social service systems.

Partnership with Western Galilee College

In partnership with Yehuda Peled, PhD from Western Galilee College, Dr. Gunn is utilizing the Connelly Faculty Grant to collect data on the relationship between various psychological factors and suicidal thoughts and behaviors amongst individuals exposed to cyber bullying. The partnership was spearheaded by SoYoung Kang, PhD, Director for the Center for Teaching and Learning, who brought together representatives from each institution to connect. Dr. Gunn and Dr. Peled both have an interest in exposure to bully victimization which inspired the project.
Dr. Peled is set to collect data in Israel while Dr. Gunn will use the U.S. Alchemer, an outside company, to crowdsource for participants. Dr. Gunn and Dr. Peled estimate around 1,000 participants to be collected in Israel and the hope is the same for the U.S.

There will likely be an opportunity for Psychology students to engage with the research as Dr. Gunn enjoys offering them the hands-on learning experience. Through the creation of scholarly presentations and publications, the project will contribute to the psychological/social scientific literature more broadly than before.

Social Work and Counseling Partnership

Faculty from GMercyU’s Social Work and Counseling programs created a partnership to offer Social Work, Counseling, and School Counseling Virtual Supervision Groups for alumni. The purpose of the groups is for alumni to work towards obtaining their LCSW or LPC, obtain free CEU’s for Social Work, Counseling, and School Counseling, and to engage in ways to increase self-care and enhance professional competence. Attendees will also re-connect with faculty and classmates and work in profession-specific and interprofessional groups.

Qualified faculty supervisors include Professor Nuss; Elizabeth Brokamp, PhD, LPC, ACS; and S. Meghan Walter, PhD, NCC, LCMHCA. The Connelly Grant allows the faculty members to lower the fee for this opportunity. Virtual sessions will begin in September 2024 and last through May 2025.