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Expert Commentary

Reporters seeking information, analysis or a compelling quote can reach out to Cal U's community of scholars.

Need a comment from a well-informed source? Want background on a subject in the news? The Cal U faculty includes knowledgeable individuals with expertise on a wide variety of topics, issues and trends.

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Meet Some of the Experts

Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson

Portrait of Dr. Summer Arrigo-Nelson.Dr. Arrigo-Nelson studies the effects of habitat disturbance on forest regeneration and primate behavior and ecology.

Specifically, she is interested in how animals respond to disturbance by changing their diet and social behavior. She is also interested in social dominance and the role of age and sex in behavior and how predators and parasite infections alter behavior. 

Additionally, her work involves the integration of rain forest conservation and local development programs.

Since 2001, she has conducted a long-term study of the effects of habitat disturbance on the Milne-Edwards sifaka at two research sites within the Ranomafana National Park in Madagascar.

This project includes work on forest quality assessments and forest regeneration, examining lemur densities, ranging patterns and habitat use using GIS technology, documenting animal feeding ecology, socioecology and social behavior, demography and reproduction, parasitism and predator-prey relationships. 

Dr. John Cencich

This is a photo of John Cencich.Director of the Institute of Criminological and Forensic Sciences at Cal U, Dr. Cencich is a member of the General Assembly's Study on Wrongful Convictions and president of the International Association of War Crimes Investigators. A decorated police veteran and investigator, he has investigated international war crimes and has special expertise in forensic law, gambling device examination, analysis of racketeering records and interrogation of criminal suspects. Dr. Cencich teaches courses in law, criminal justice and special crimes, and he is acting dean of the School of Graduate Studies and Research. Learn more.

"The Institute of Criminological and Forensic Sciences offers a wide range of  professional services for police officers, detectives, district attorneys, coroners, public defenders and others involved in the administration of justice."

Dr. Paul Crawford

Paul Crawford pictureDr. Crawford is a specialist in the history of the crusades and of the military-religious orders (such as the Knights Templar, Knights Hospitaller and Teutonic Knights).  He has published a number of works on these subjects, including the first English-language translation of a 14th-century crusader chronicle known as the 'Templar of Tyre'; several articles and book chapters; a number of encyclopedia entries on crusade-related subjects; and several popularly oriented essays.  Along with Helen Nicholson (University of Wales) and Jochen Burgtorf (California State University-Fullerton), he has edited a collection of scholarly papers on the trial of the Templars, and he is currently working on general history of the Templars and Hospitallers.

He has assisted in the preparation of several television programs on the crusades and the military orders, and has appeared in three: "History's Mysteries: The Children's Crusade" (2000), "The Crusades: Crescent and the Cross" (2005) and "Lost Worlds: Knights Templar" (2006), all first aired on the History Channel. Learn more

Dr. Kyle Fredrick

Portrait of Dr. Kyle Fredrick.Dr. Kyle Fredrick's expertise is in groundwater hydrology and groundwater modeling. He has research interests in hydrology, especially stream and groundwater interaction. His doctoral research focused on determining effective data requirements for evaluating regional aquifers using the analytic element method, as well as developing a systematic approach for building conceptual groundwater models.

Fredrick is leading a program that received a $25,000 grant from the Dominion Foundation to monitor Pike Run, a Monongahela River tributary. Learn more

Dr. Cassandra Kuba

Dr. CasDr. Cassandra Kubasandra Kuba is a biological anthropologist, specializing in forensic anthropology and historic bioarchaeology. She enjoys sharing her excitement regarding the human skeleton with her students.

Her reasearch interests include the human skeleton; taphonomy (what happens to the body from death to recovery); impact of burial environments on the interpretation of decomposed remains at crime scenes; skeletal traumas and pathologies; post-medieval British skeletal remains; and the impact of family burial practices.

Learn more about Dr. Kuba

Read more about her work to help a Washington, Pa., church find unmarked burial locations

Dr. Katherine Mitchem

This is a photo of Katherin Mitchem.Dr. Mitchem is widely known for her research in special education and autism spectrum disorder. She currently is studying the use of electronic performance support tools to support students with learning disabilities, behavioral disorders and autism. Dr. Mitchem holds the Edith L. Trees Charitable Trust Endowed Chair in Education. Learn more.

"The special needs students I work with inspire me each day, and I am privileged to be in their company. I hope to pass this passion on to the next generation of special educators."

Dr. Mary O'Connor

This is a photo of Mary O'Connor.Dr. O'Connor is an experienced health care professional, as well as an educator. She led the steering committee that developed Cal U's new online master's degree program in nursing administration and leadership. Dr. O'Connor also serves as coordinator and teaches across the curriculum in Cal U's Bachelor of Science in nursing program. Learn more.

"The new MSN program responds to the high demand for qualified nursing administrators both in Pennsylvania and across the nation."

Dr. Melissa Sovak

Dr. Melissa Sovak

Dr. Melissa Sovak is a former market research analyst. She earned a Master of Science and her Ph.D. in statistics from the University of Pittsburgh and a Master of Science in Computational Mathematics from Duquesne University. Dr. Sovak also taught at both those schools and her research interests are statistics education and teaching methodology. She is extensively published on topics such as statistical reasoning and color models for image decomposition.

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Dr. Emily Sweitzer

Dr. Emily Sweitzer Dr. Sweitzer is a nationally certified school psychologist and is certified as a K-12 principal in West Virginia. She has been employed as a family therapist, school psychologist and assistant principal prior to coming to Cal U. She has completed a post-baccalaureate certificate in forensic science and law from Duquesne University. She is a graduate of Violent Behavior 1, a specialized and invited training offered by former and retired members of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI.

In 2007, Dr. Sweitzer was awarded the Presidential Faculty Award for Teaching.

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