Pi Gamma Mu Key
International Honor Society in Social Sciences
The mission of Pi Gamma Mu is to encourage and promote excellence in the Social Sciences and to uphold and nurture scholarship, leadership, and service.

November 2019

The Pi Gamma Mu Alumni Council congratulates all Pi Gamma Mu members on their accomplishments.  The Council encourages alumni members to email their educational and career updates to [email protected] for inclusion in a future issue of the Pi Gamma Mu Newsletter.

Neveen Shafeek Amin
Neveen Shafeek Amin was elected as the Vice President of the Arkansas Sociological and Anthropological Association (ASAA) for 2019-2020. Amin also had two recent publications: 

Shafeek Amin, Neveen and Nichola Driver. 2019. "Sex Differences, Duration of Stay in the US, and Serious Psychological Distress: The Case of Middle Eastern Immigrants in the United States." Journal of Family and Community Health, Vol. 42, No. 2, Pp. 90-103.  doi: 10.1097/FCH.0000000000000217.

Driver, Nichola and Neveen Shafeek Amin. 2019. "Acculturation, Social Support, and Parental Maternal Stress: Evidence from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study." Journal of Child and Family Studies, Vol. 28, No. 5, Pp. 1359-1367. 

Wesley R. Attwood
Wesley R. Attwood and two other Pi Gamma Mu alumni from the Pennsylvania Lambda Chapter recently had a research manuscript published in the Criminal Justice Policy Review journal.  The title of their research is Circumstantial Powers of "Special Fire Police" in Pennsylvania: Statutory Consequences and Recommendations

Michael Barile
In February 2019 Michael Barile graduated from American Military University (AMU) Cum Laude with a B.A. in Political Science. He is presently in AMU Graduate School pursuing an M.A. in the same field.

Allen Bonner
Since becoming a member in 2011, Allen Bonner has obtained a master of science in counseling psychology and then became the disability services coordinator and counselor at William Carey University in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. He became a Licensed Professional Counselor in the state of Mississippi in 2014. Bonner obtained his doctorate of professional counseling (August 2018). In addition to his role at William Carey University, he also now serves as a psychology instructor. Bonner practices counseling at the Oaks Integrative Christian Counseling, also in Hattiesburg. He lives in Petal, MS with his wife and three daughters and attends Carterville Baptist Church.

Jake Brown
Jake Brown is a graduate student in the Student Affairs program at Troy University. He recently accepted a full-time position at Troy University as Coordinator of Housing Operations. Bonner graduated from Troy University with an undergraduate degree in Social Science. 

Alan Bruce
Alan Bruce is a Professor of Sociology and Director of the Criminal Justice program at Quinnipiac University in Connecticut. His teaching and research interests include issues related to children's justice, media effects upon thinking about crime, and prisoner re-entry to reduce recidivism. He recently completed the co-authored text "A Re-Introduction to Criminal Justice" which is forthcoming from Kendall Hunt publishing.

Lisa Burnham (left)
Lisa Burnham earned her Master of Science degree in Human Services Administration in Summer 2019 from Saint Leo University. She maintained a 4.0 GPA and carried the Gonfalon for the College of Education and Social Services for the afternoon graduation ceremony. Burnham is now the Interim Treasurer for the Madison County Chamber of Commerce and Tourism for Madison, Florida. She also is President-Elect for the Madison Kiwanis Club of Madison, Florida.  Burnham is an Adjunct Instructor for Saint Leo University's Introduction To Human Services and Human Services Administration courses for the Human Services Undergraduate Programs. 

John Carter
Dr. John Carter is Central Methodist University's Director of Graduate studies.

Lashonda Dale (right)
Lashonda Dale is a Graduate of Langston University in Langston Oklahoma as of May 18, 2019 with a Bachelor's of Corrections Social Science and Associate of Criminal Justice Social Science and a proud lifetime member of Pi Gamma Mu. 

Viviana DeCohen (left)
As Viviana DeCohen was being honored by her alma mater at a planned event recently, she was surprised to receive an additional distinction: a proclamation from the Westchester County Board of Legislators.  At their Bronx Leadership Awards Reception, Mercy College recognized DeCohen as an alumna who has worked to deepen and strengthen the institution's connections in the Bronx community; DeCohen served as the Program Manager and Military/Veterans Counselor at Mercy before joining Concordia.  DeCohen didn't realize she'd have an additional honor to take home. The Westchester County Board of Legislators has named June 29, 2019 Viviana DeCohen Day, and presented her with an official framed proclamation in honor of her career-long commitment to veterans.
A veteran of the United States Marine Corps, DeCohen has over 20 years of experience in veteran services and health care. She also serves as the Associate Pastor of Mount Vernon Heights Congregational Church and in 2018 was named one of the Bronx Times Reporter's 25 Influential Women for the impact she makes in the Bronx.DeCohen is also now an Adjunct Professor at Concordia College- NY, teaching First-Year Experience, in addition to being the Director of Military & Veteran Affairs.

Christopher Demers
Christopher Demers started his career at KOAA News 5 right out of college. He has been there for a little over a year. During this time Demers has received two raises and a promotion. He is now a director, editor, floor director and photographer.

Marika' Dillard
Marika' Dillard, LMSW is a therapist at Stepping Stones Counseling Services, LLC in South Carolina. She received her certification as a Licensed Master Social Worker in 2018. She is currently under supervision to obtain her certification as a Licensed Independent Social Worker- Clinical Practice. 

Terri Goodman
Terri A. Goodman, graduated from the University of Maryland University College with a BS in Social Science in May 2019. Goodman began working as a Prevention Specialist at an HIV clinic in August 2019, and started working on his Masters in Psychology degree in September 2019.

Shawn Hardiman
Shawn Hardiman is happily married to his beautiful wife Barbara and is raising a beautiful daughter Madison (14).  He has a B.S. Social Studies Education (Secondary) with a minor in History from Evangel University, Springfield, MO.  Hardiman also has an M.A. in Educational Leadership from Evangel University. He is a secondary education teacher and teaches Social Studies, AP Human Geography, AP World History, and U.S. History and the Constitution at the Faith Christian Academy in Orlando, FL.  He is also the Washington D.C. Historical Study Trip Co-Coordinator for the Academy.

Kia Harris
Kia Harris joined Pi Gamma Mu as an undergraduate student at Coppin State University in 2013. Harris has a graduate degree from Edinboro University in Educational leadership (2015) and an Executive Certificate in Business Communication from Johns Hopkins Carey Business School (2018). 

Clay Hatfield
Clay Hatfield completed a 2nd Master's Degree in International Relations through American Public University last September and is beginning his 16th year as a public school teacher. It is Hatfield's 1st year at Homedale High School in Homedale, Idaho teaching Spanish 1-4 and AVID.

Chris Hernandez
Chris Hernandez completed his master's program capstone project and will have his degree conferred on the 1st of August. This has been a long road for Hernandez spanning multiple deployments and moving across the country.  

Tara M. Kane
Effective July 1, 2019 Tara M. Kane was named the Interim Dean for the College of Natural and Social Sciences at Madonna University. She has been the Department Chairperson for the Criminal Justice Program for the past six years and will continue to teach in the Criminal Justice graduate program while working on completing her dissertation.

Kane is also a Madonna University alumnus - B.S. in 2002 and M.S.B.A. in 2008.

Betsy Koch
Betsy Koch is now Vice President of Global Human Resources at Afiniti, an AI data and software company located in Washington DC, next to the White House.  In her role, Koch oversees all aspects of Human Resources for all employees and all locations (over 1,000 employees in over 30 countries). In 2019 she was inducted as a member of the Forbes Human Resources Council.

Jocelyn Lacey (right)
Jocelyn Lacey is an alumnus from East Tennessee State University, class of 2002 and received a B.A. in Mass Communications.

She has published two children's books. One is about a peacock that was inspired by one that showed up at her back door and is called "Pierre the Peacock" and the other is about a mermaid named Coral who lives off the coast of Maine and goes to her first sleepover. That one is fittingly called "Coral's First Sleepover."

Her books can be found on Amazon and Barnes & Noble websites.

Cheryl Lovell
Cheryl Lovell is President of Adams State University.

Michael C. Martin
Michael C. Martin is an LAC in NJ, expecting LPC status shortly. He also became a Certified Clinical Trauma Professional

Jesse McGuire
After receiving an MA in Spanish, with a concentration in Literature and a certification in Latin American, Caribbean and U.S Latino Studies, Jesse McGuire has been working for the Schenectady County Legislature, in Schenectady, New York. McGuire was the Director of Legislative Operations, and was recently appointed to Deputy Clerk of the Schenectady County Legislature.

Stephen Medvec
Stephen Medvec held a popular off-campus lecture entitled "Lewis & Clark Expedition of 1803-1806".  As of mid-January 2019, his lecture is housed in the Library Archives at Monticello.  The Head Librarian, Mr. Jack Robertson, wrote to him:   "This is an example of exemplary scholarship of the legacy of Thomas Jefferson to this day, that is unpublished, that is unique."  Next 2-5 August 2020, Medvec is attending the Lewis & Clark Trail Heritage Foundation, Inc. Annual Meeting in Charlottesville, Virginia, his first attendance at this event.  

Savannah Musto
Savannah Musto and graduated from Campbell University with a BA in History and accepted a position at Branch Banking and Trust Company (BB&T), a bank founded in 1872. She is currently working full time at the Greensboro center where she was immediately hired post-graduation.

Lisa Nelson
Lisa Nelson is a Co-Advisor for Pi Gamma Mu at Wayne State College (WSC) in Nebraska. She recently had the wonderful opportunity to accompany WSC students on a Study Abroad trip to Greece. They spent 33 days in May/June visiting archaeological sites, museums, studying the language and working on Service-Learning projects (see photo).

*Please note that Josephine Peitz (bottom left corner in photo) is also a PGM member, and some of the other students will probably be inducted this fall.  Nelson am in the middle of the photo in black.

 On May 9th  Nelson was recognized with the college's Professional Staff Award – Dr. Randy Bertolas (Pi Gamma Mu Chapter Co-Sponsor at WSC) nominated her and several other faculty members provided letters of support (i.e. Dr. Jean Karlen-Emeritus, Dr. Eric Colvard, Dr. Lesli Rawlings and Dr. Dan Miller all Pi Gamma Mu Co-Advisors and members).

In addition, Nelson was elected to serve on the John G. Neihardt Foundation Board of Directors in April 2019.   Neihardt is WSC's most famous student and Poet Laureate in Perpetuity of Nebraska.

Jennifer Falbo-Negron
Jennifer Falbo-Negron, owner of Phoenix Rising Solutions, LLC, a counseling and wellness practice, has recently expanded from solo practitioner to hiring two new therapists to join the team.  The Elgin-based practice is 45-minutes northwest of Chicago along Interstate-90 and ready to serve clients as young as three years old through adulthood.  They specialize in mindfulness and trauma-informed practices and welcome referrals for healing the whole person.  They are currently seeking a fully-licensed bilingual therapist (Spanish-preferred).

Sharron Ortiz
Sharron Ortiz graduated from the University of Maryland University College in May 2011 and entered Graduate school at Old Dominion College in January 2012 graduating with an M.S.Ed. in mental health Counseling in December 2013. She obtained her LPC (Licensed Professional Counselor) and NCC (National Certified Counselor) and has worked in Emergency Services, Forensic Services, and Private Practice. Ortiz was a military spouse for 23 years during her educational pursuits and now that her husband has retired, they are finally settled in one place she is in the process of transitioning to private practice.

McKinley Pillsbury
McKinley Pillsbury is a lifetime Pi Gamma Mu member and recently graduated from the University of Hawaii at Mānoa and is currently working at a Law firm in Honolulu.

Christopher J. Purdy
Christopher Purdy is a Federal Law Enforcement Officer and Veteran. His biggest regret in life was not completing his degree. At the age of 42, he went back to school and completed his undergrad at Mississippi College in 2017, and became a Pi Gamma Mu Member. Purdy immediately began a Masters of Criminal Justice program at Florida State University in August of 2018. Two days after his Florida State Graduation, Purdy began a program to get his Juris Doctor at Mitchell-Hamline School of Law. He did all of this while managing time with his family and working full-time.

Charles Rhoades
In May, 2019, Charles Rhoades was named Teacher of the Year.  He teaches at Brewton-Parker College (Georgia Xi Chapter) and is the program director for the Psychology Department.

Dennis Richmond, Jr.
On May 23rd, 2019, Dennis Richmond Jr. graduated with his Master of Science in Education from Sarah Lawrence College. He is the founder and director of the NYNJ HBCU Initiative.

Irvin Rivera
Irvin Rivera is an alumni member. He registered in April 2016 through UMUC.  After graduating from UMUC, Rivera was hired full time by the US Secret Service, in their Forensic Services Division. Recently an article on the agency's ink laboratory was released by the Associated Press. His name is mentioned in the photo, and there is a YouTube video of the published article.

Elizabeth Ruiz
Elizabeth Ruiz is a strategic business consultant with 25+ years of business experience with a focus on leadership development, human capital, psychology, wellness, communication, sales, marketing, strategy, change, and growth. As a result, she has a seasoned perspective on how to grow business and develop leaders.  Ruiz provides strategic business solutions for people and organizations with learning assessments, training, and development empowering people with the skills they need to drive success at their organization. For Ruiz, helping others grow is the most rewarding part of consulting. 

She holds an MBA degree from the University of Texas of the Permian Basin and a Bachelor of Science in Psychology with a minor in Communication Studies, Summa Cum Laude, from the University of Houston-Downtown. Ruiz completes her second masters this December, a Master of Science in Strategic Communication from Columbia University in the City of New York. She is also a doctoral student earning her Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership from Concordia University Chicago.  While her speaking engagements and consulting have taken her around the world, Ruiz is proud to call Houston, Texas home. Outside of the office, she enjoys snow skiing, water skiing, night bike skiing, sailing, flying planes (and jumping out of them), climbing 14ers, SUP, kayaking, biking, hiking, helping animals and those in need.

Regan Hall Sellers
Regan Hall Sellers received her Ed.S. in Educational Administration and Supervision from Delta State University, and has taken a district level administration position (Case Manager) at Tate County School District.

Michael Shaffer (below)
Michael K. Shaffer, American Military University graduate with a MA Military History - Civil War Studies, and a Pi Gamma Mu member, recently authored a new book, "In Memory of Self and Comrades: Thomas Wallace Colley's Recollections of Civil War Service in the 1st Virginia Cavalry," published by the University of Tennessee Press. In addition to teaching at Kennesaw State University's College of Professional Education, earlier this year, he started teaching Civil War courses at Emory University's College of Continuing Education. Shaffer and his wife Karen reside in Kennesaw, Georgia. He remains a member of the Society of Civil War Historians, Historians of the Civil War Western Theater, Georgia Association of Historians, and Georgia Writers Association. Readers can learn more at his website, www.civilwarhistorian.net.


Fred A. Shaw
Fred A. Shaw retired in 2011 after 40 years as a lead pastor in the West Ohio Conference United Methodist Church.  Fred is of Shawnee national heritage and now directs a national school for American Indian pastors who maintain their cultural heritage.  He is a published photographer, author, and historian.  He participates in historical reenactments of North American history from 1750 through the Cowboy period, mostly on horseback. 

Photos taken by Fred A. Shaw: Lakota Sioux Spirit Lake Reservation, ND  and the Durango & Silverton Railroad.

M. Katrina Smith
As we begin the new academic year, M. Katrina Smith was granted tenure and has been promoted to Associate Professor. 

Suzanne Farrell Smith
Suzanne Farrell Smith published two books in 2019. The Writing Shop (Brill | Sense) shows teachers and writers how to transform writing workshop into an authentic shop. The Memory Sessions (Bucknell) is an experimental memoir that excavates lost childhood memory. Both are available on Amazon. 

Jeanetta Warren
Jeanetta Warren is a Program Director for Catholic Charities, Diocese of Camden New Jersey. In this role she is responsible overseeing six counties Community Stabilization Programs, which are chartered to assist individuals and families with achieving sustainable lives.  Under her leadership on May 21, 2019 Catholic Charities Employment Program hosted its very first Employment & Resource fair in Atlantic City. The event was a major success.  Over 400 people attended seeking employment and resources.

Jeanetta Warren is pictured second from the left, dressed in pink.

Beth White
Beth White (American Military University '13, '15, '18) is preparing to enter the dissertation phase of the Ed.D. program at Liberty University in Lynchburg, VA. Her dissertation topic seeks to ease the transition for student-veterans from the battlefield to the classroom and hopes to make improvements in the classroom by using the veterans' perspectives. Beth hopes to teach collegiate American History as a result of earning a terminal degree. She received the Education Specialist (Ed.S.) degree from Liberty University in 2017 and is a three-time graduate of American Military University (M.A. American History, M.A. Military History/ Civil War Studies, Grad Certificate American Revolution respectively).

Galan Wortham
Galan Wortham is currently enrolled in the Business Administration Program at Springfield College and is looking forward to Graduating in December 2020.


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