2017-2018 Provost Scholars Mentors

Amy Zhang

Amy Zhang, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, CWRU. She teaches a SAGES course on complementary and alternative therapies to undergraduate students. She has been a member of the National Institutes of Health grant review panels and a member of the university's faculty senate and its executive committee. Her research focuses on improving the quality of life of cancer survivors and their families. She has conducted NIH-funded studies to reduce urinary incontinence of African American men with prostate cancer and depression. She is a recipient of a 2017-18 Fulbright Scholar Research Grant where she will continue her research in China.  

Provost Scholars Mentor Annie Pecastaings

Annie Pécastaings, Ph.D., is a native of France and a SAGES Fellow affiliated with CWRU's Department of English. Since completing her doctorate degree at Tufts University, she has taught both English and French at Clark University (Worcester, MA), the Berklee College of Music (Boston, MA), and Ohio University (Athens, OH). She has also held positions within the French educational system. At CWRU, she teaches writing-intensive seminars on a wide range of topics, such as "Coffee and Civilization," "To Everest and Back: The Politics and Culture of Mountaineering," "Paris in the Arts," and "Travel Literature in the Age of Discovery." Her main interests include literature, history, and the visual arts. 

Brandon Vu

Brandon Vu, Graduate Work Study Assistant, B.A., is currently a graduate student in the School of Medicine studying Anatomy and Bioinformatics. At Stanford University, he studied the genetics of brain cancer and how to use genetics to train the human body to use its own immune system to recognize and remove tumors in a field called cancer immunology. He became involved with teaching and mentorship with the Provost Scholars because he wants to work with the next generation of thinkers and activists.

Chirag Kharangate

Chirag Kharangate is leading the Two-Phase Thermal Management Laboratory in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at CWRU. Dr. Kharangate received his Ph.D. in Mechanical Engineering from Purdue University ( West Lafayette, IN) in 2016 and has multiple years of research and industry experience working on projects dealing with thermal management technologies utilizing single-phase and two-phase flows for automotive, computer, and aerospace applications. He has extensive expertise testing and modeling flow boiling, flow condensation and evaporation phase change schemes. His research interests also include understanding the effect of gravity, from microgravity to hyper gravity, on phase change technologies. His recent work with NASA’s Glenn Research Center is laying the ground-work for implementation of two-phase thermal management systems in future space missions. 

Daniela Schlatzer Photo

Daniela SchlatzerBA, has over 15 years of analytical chemistry experience in both clinical and research environments. At Magellan Laboratories and GlaxoSmithKline, Ms. Schlatzer developed and managed both small molecule (SRM, MRM analysis) and large molecule (protein/peptide analysis) biomarker discovery efforts in clinical studies. Prior to her position in the Center for Proteomics and Bioinformatics, Ms. Schlatzer was a Senior Research Scientist at GlaxoSmithKline for seven years conducting proteomic research in disease and biomarker discovery. In Ms. Schlatzer's current position, she has implemented a label free protein expression analysis platform for biomarker discovery in support of clinical proteomic studies. She provides project management and consulting services regarding experimental design for discovery and verification analysis as well as project plan development to research clinicians within the university and external collaborators.  

David Van Leer

David Van Leer is a volunteer and active mentor with the Provost Scholars Program. A native of Cleveland and an alumnus of Glenville High School, Mr. Van Leer has served in numerous administrative capacities in the East Cleveland School District, including as Assistant Vice Principal at Shaw High School. He first began serving with the Provost Scholars in the fall of 2017 by assisting the Program Director, Dr. Faye Gary, with managing the multi-faceted nature of the Tuesday and Thursday afternoon sessions, overseeing the homework completion of the Provost Scholars, and assisting the students in completing complicated assignments. Additionally, he provides unique support to the Parents College at Case and remains liable, dedicated and passionate in his commitment.

Eboni Porter

Eboni Porter is the Assistant Director for ESS Disability Resources at CWRU. In her role as Assistant Director, she determines and implements accommodations and advocates for students with disabilities. She endeavors to ensure all students are able to fully participate in their chosen programs and activities at CWRU. Prior to joining the ESS Disability Office at CWRU, she was a Treatment Specialist and Cottage Supervisor at Applewood Centers, Inc. for a total of seven and a half years. Porter also served as a Youth Advocate for the Domestic Violence Shelter in Cleveland, Ohio, and is trained in Therapeutic Crisis Intervention. She received her bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Kent State University in 2002, and her master's in Education, with a concentration in Community Health, from Cleveland State University in 2008. In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with family and friends, exercising and volunteering. 

Portrait of Elizabeth Tracy

Elizabeth Tracy, PhD, MSW, BA, is the Grace Longwell Coyle Professor in Social Work at the Jack, Joseph and Morton Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences. She teaches courses in direct social work practice theory and methods in the master level program and a seminar in social work education and teaching in the doctoral program. She has also directed the school social work program that leads to licensure through the Ohio Department of Education for master and post-master level students. Reflecting her interest in schools and families, she has served on the advisory board to the Center for Math and Science Education, UCITE, and as faculty associate of the Schubert Center for Child Development. Dr. Tracy received her doctoral degree and masters in social work from the University of Washington, and her bachelor’s degree from Radcliffe College.

Portrait of Dr. Faye Gary

Faye Gary, EdD, RN, FAAN, is the Medical Mutual of Ohio Kent W. Clapp Chair and Professor of Nursing at the Bolton School of Nursing at CWRU. She holds a secondary appointment with the Department of Psychiatry at the School of Medicine, is an Emerita Distinguished Professor at the University of Florida, Gainesville, and she consults with local and global community leaders across six continents. Her relentless pursuit for helping to create the next generation of diverse scholars, researchers, and leaders inspired her to build and expand the Provost Scholars Program. The work with Provost Baeslack and Dr. Myrna Corley has resulted in a novel program designed to provide phenomenal opportunities for youth. 

Gary Edmunds

Gary Edmunds, BS, is a research assistant at the Department of Bioethics at CWRU's School of Medicine and an Affiliated Staff Member of the Office of Faculty Development and Diversity. For several years, he has been a mentor in the Provost Scholars Program. Gary is a very reliable mentor, seldom misses a mentoring session, and is committed to assisting youths with improving their academic performance. He is an expert dancer and he has taught dance to couples. Gary has worked at CWRU since 2002 and we are appreciative of his services to the Provost Scholars Program.   

James Eller

James Eller is the Associate Director for Academic Resources in the Educational Services for Students (ESS) Office at CWRU. His role as the Associate Director is to provide leadership and guidance to students who facilitate the Supplemental Instruction (SI) program that offers students enrolled in SI supported courses the opportunity to collaboratively engage with course material. Additionally, he meets with students to help them develop strategies and techniques for improving time-management, note-taking, exam preparation and other essential skills. Originally from Northeast Ohio, James claims the Tidewater region of Virginia as his second home. He is officially in his third career after previously serving as an Education and Career Counselor in the U.S. Navy and as a middle and high school social studies teacher. 

James Sheeler

Jim SheelerBA, MA, is the Shirley Wormser Professor of Journalism and Media Writing at Case Western Reserve University. He is the author of a Pulitzer Prize-winning newspaper feature on the war in Iraq that led to a book, Final Salute, which was a finalist for the 2008 National Book Award in nonfiction. As a young newspaper reporter, he specialized in narrative obituaries of people whose names had never before appeared in the newspaper, but whose stories were often more fascinating than any celebrity or politician. Those lives and the lessons they taught (which were also collected in his first book Obit), largely guided his coverage of the war in Iraq that began in 2003. He followed the first casualty from Colorado and continued by recording the story of a U.S. Marine Casualty Assistance Calls Officer and the families he touched while saddled with one of the most difficult duties in the military. 

Janice Eatman-Williams

Janice Eatman-Williams is the Director of the FOCUS Group School-Based Outreach in the CWRU Division of Student Affairs.  She has been an advocate and activist for access and excellence in education for young people for more than 25 years.  Her services have been shared through the years while employed at Tri-C Metro Campus, Vocational Guidance Services, the (now) Cleveland Metropolitan School District and other institutions.  She devotes her time to many organizations and efforts whose mission is the empowerment of community. She is a graduate of Hawken School, received her undergraduate degree from Northwestern University in Evanston, IL and is a graduate of the Weatherhead School of Management and the Mandel School at Case Western Reserve University.  

Portrait of Jonathan Gordon

Jonathan Gordon, JD, BA, teaches legal writing and professional responsibility to international law students in the school’s LLM program. Gordon has taught various other JD courses over the years, including conflicts resolution, the lawyering process, pretrial practice and professional responsibility. Gordon was one of the founding members of the Stephanie Tubbs Jones Summer Legal Academy for local high school students. Gordon has also served as the faculty liaison for various externships with the U.S. Attorney’s Office, the Federal Trade Commission, the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission and several state Attorney General offices in Ohio and elsewhere. A graduate of Columbia University School of Law, Gordon began his legal career in private practice, focusing on civil rights and employment issues. Prior to joining the law school, he spent several years as a trial attorney for the U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, where he was involved in cases involving race, gender, religion, national origin, age discrimination, sexual harassment, retaliation and various class action matters. 

Karyn Newton

Karyn M. Newton is the Executive Aide to the Vice President in the Office for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity and is the Manager for Development Operations at CWRU. Prior to her appointment, she was an Executive Aide at Case School of Engineering, and was the Direct Mail Coordinator for the Office of Annual Giving. She also served as Secretary IV at the CASE School of Law. She has a professional working proficiency in both French and Latin, and limited working proficiency in both Arabic and German. In 2011, she was the recipient of the Fuller Prize in Beginning Greek Translation at CWRU. On campus, she served as a Senator for the Graduate Student Senate, and as a Staff Advisory Council Representative for four years. Newton received her bachelor's degree in Mass Media Communications from Cleveland State University.

Portrait of Lee Thompson

Lee Thompson, PhD, MA, is the Chair of the Psychological Sciences department and a Professor at Case Western Reserve University. Her research has explored the development of cognitive skills, temperament, and language from infancy through childhood using siblings, twins, and genetic techniques. She is particularly interested in how the genetic code is translated into complex behavior at the level of brain function. Dr. Thompson has also been the recipient of the McGraw-Hill Excellence in Teaching First-Year Seminars Award and a co-creator of the Seminar Approach to General Education and Scholarship (SAGES) program at Case. Dr. Thompson received her bachelor’s degree from Case Western Reserve University and her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Colorado at Boulder. 

Marguerite Peg DiMarco

Marguerite (Peg) DiMarco, PhD, RN, CPNP, is an Associate Professor in the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, where she received her PhD. She has been a pediatric nurse for 40 years, taught nursing for 35 years and practices as a pediatric nurse practitioner for the last 19 years. Her research interests involve health/dental care for poor children. She has international and national presentations, publications, and funded research projects in this area. She had NIH funding for her dissertation "Access/Utilization of Dental Care for Homeless Children." Her latest interdisciplinary project received a $1+ million grant from Kellogg to provide oral healthcare and education to WIC mothers and children. Further, DiMarco became interested in the health of homeless children since she started her faculty practice at ACCESS in 1997. Lastly, she is an active member of the National Association for Pediatric Nurse Practitioners, where she also served on the board and as its oral health expert. 

Mary Assad

Mary Assad, PhD, earned her master's and doctorate degrees in English from CWRU, with her doctoral dissertation focusing on medical rhetoric. She also studied history and earned a degree from Baldwin-Wallace University (Strongsville, OH). Her research interests include examining how language is used to help shape the beliefs, attitudes, and actions that are associated with health and illness. As a faculty member, one of her primary goals is to embed research into the classroom and encourage students to examine the various definitions of health that are disseminated among the public, both verbally and visually. Lastly, she challenges students to think about the ways that health can be defined and discussed on the university campus.

Portrait of Patricia McDonald

Patricia McDonald, PhD, RN, is an associate professor in the Francis Payne Bolton School of Nursing. Her primary research interests include the prevention and treatment of diabetes, particularly for African-Americans, chronic illness and health promotion for caregivers. She was also the principal investigator for the “Teaching Acceptance to Chronically Ill Older Adults,” “The Beauty for Ashes” projects, and co-investigator for the Parent Grant program with Dr. Jaclene Zauzniewski. Dr. McDonald earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in Nursing and Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, respectively, from The Ohio State University, and her doctorate in Nursing from Case Western Reserve University. While studying nursing, Dr. McDonald's educational interests were advanced practical nursing and mental health nursing. She has also been a visiting professor at the Department of Nursing, University of Zimbabwe. Finally, she completed a post-doctoral fellowship at Henry Ford Health Systems in Detroit, Michigan. 

Portrait of Robert Walser

Robert Walser, PhD, MA, earned doctoral degrees in both musical performance and musicology, and has since acquired certification as a Pro Tools Operator and an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician. He has published extensively on jazz and other popular music, including his books Running with the Devil: Power, Gender, and Madness in Heavy Metal Music, and Keeping Time: Readings in Jazz History are examples of his scholarship writings. His writings has been translated into German, Spanish, Japanese, and Hungarian, and he is currently working on projects concerning contemporary music production technology and the implications for humanists of recent research in neuroscience. Professor Walser has received NEH and ACLS fellowships and has twice won the Irving Lowens Award for Distinguished Scholarship in American Music.

Portrait of Rolfe Petschek

Rolfe Petschek, Ph.D., is a theoretical physicist and an associate professor in the Physics Department at CWRU. Dr. Petschek is interested in light and heat, and how light can be controlled for practical devices. He thinks mostly about “soft condensed matter.” A prime example of soft condensed matter he has chosen to research is the liquid crystals that are changed by electric fields to make flat panel displays work. Two of his patents are in these displays. He has also expressed interest in pure and applied science – both by understanding how things tick and how we can make practical devices from them. Outside of science, he enjoys languages, food, particularly exploring new ethnic cuisines, and outdoor activities like hiking and picking and eating wild mushrooms with his wife and daughter. Dr. Petschek received his S.B. degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his doctoral degree from Harvard University.

Ronald Hickman

Ronald Hickman, PhD, RN, ACNP-BC, FAAN, is an associate professor at the Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing, CWRU, and practices as an acute care nurse in the Department of Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine at University Hospitals Case Medical Center, Cleveland, OH. Dr. Hickman is a triple alumnus of CWRU, with a bachelor's degree in Biological Science; a certificate in Professional Nursing; a master's degree in acute care practical nursing; and, a doctoral degree in Nursing Science. He received his post-doctoral training in clinical and translational science, cost-effectiveness evaluation, as well as molecular genetics sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). His efforts in mentoring students and caring for the critically ill have earned him two university honors for excellence in mentoring: The J. Bruce Jackson Award and the John S. Diekhoff Award. 

Ruqaiijah Yearby

Ruqaiijah Yearby, JD, MPH, is the David L. Brennan Professor and Associate Dean of Institutional Diversity and Inclusiveness at CWRU's School of Law. A nationally and internationally recognized scholar, her scholarship focuses on racial disparities in health care, and law, justice, and medical research. Due to her expertise in these areas, she recently presented her work on law and medical research at the Oxford Global Health and Bioethics International Conference in Oxford, England. Based on her expertise, she has served as a book proposal reviewer for Oxford University Press and Cambridge University Press, England, as well as a grant reviewer for the Wellcome Trust (the United Kingdom's largest non-governmental source of funds for biomedical research). Her scholarship has been used in law and social science classes at New York University, Fordham, the University of California, Berkeley and others. 

Ruzica Conic

Ruzica Conic is a current PhD student in the Clinical Translational Science program at Case Western Reserve. Her current research funding is through an NIH T32 Translational Dermatology grant, and her research focuses on melanoma. Originally from Belgrade, Serbia, Ruzica came to Cleveland in 2004 to escape the bombing in Belgrade. Upon graduating from Cleveland Heights High School, she returned to Serbia to attend Belgrade University School of Medicine from 2009 to 2015. She has also served as a researcher for the Institute of Dermatology and Plastic Surgery, and the Department of Dermatology at Cleveland Clinic. In her free time, she likes to play sports and video games. 

Susan McClary

Susan McClary, PhD, is a MacArthur Fellow and a Professor of Music at CWRU, where she teaches courses in music history, music theory, and historical performance practices. Her research focuses on the cultural criticism of music, both the European canon and contemporary popular genres. She is best known for her book Feminine Endings: Music, Gender, and Sexuality, which examines cultural constructions of gender, sexuality, and the body in various musical repertoires, ranging from early seventeenth-century opera to the songs of Madonna. She won university-wide teaching awards at the University of Minnesota and the University of California, Los Angeles. She has delivered keynote addresses on six continents. 

Umut Gurkan

Umut A. Gurkan, PhD, is leading the CASE Biomanufacturing and Microfabrication Laboratory (CASE-BML) in Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering at Case Western Reserve University (CWRU). Inspired by modern advanced manufacturing methods, the primary focus of CASE-BML is developing micro/nano-scale technologies for biomanufacturing complex multiscale biological systems and microengineered methods for rare cell isolation and manipulation. Micro/nano-engineered systems and platforms developed at CASE-BML enable broad applications in blood cell research, cardiovascular medicine, orthopaedics, musculoskeletal research, regenerative medicine, and advanced cell therapies. Dr. Gurkan has received the IEEE-Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society Wyss Award for Translational Research in 2011 for developing a clinical microfluidic chip based white blood cell isolation and monitoring platform for kidney patients. Dr. Gurkan's work has been highlighted by national and international institutions, news agencies, newspapers, and scientific publishers including MIT News, McGovern Institute for Brain Research at MIT, Harvard-MIT Health Sciences and Technology, and others.