New Faculty and Faculty Promotions

by John Conroy

New Faculty

Visiting Assistant Professor Abiola Farinde-Wu earned her Doctor of Philosophy degree at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in curriculum and instruction with a focus on urban education. She received her Master of Education degree in administration from Lamar University and her Bachelor of Arts degree in English from Texas A&M University. She initially worked as a secondary English, language arts, and reading teacher in an urban district in Texas and as an instructor for preservice teachers at UNC Charlotte. After earning her doctorate, she worked as a postdoctoral research fellow at the University of Pittsburgh School of Education’s Center for Urban Education. In this position, she managed and studied the Ready to Learn program, a tutoring and mentoring initiative that connects University of Pittsburgh college students with Pittsburgh Public Schools (PPS) students to provide the PPS students with experiences that support their academic and social skill development. Her research interests include the educational experiences of Black women and girls, teacher retention, and urban teacher education. Farinde-Wu is an avid runner and enjoys vacationing with her partner.

Robert Gallen has joined the Department of Psychology in Education as an assistant professor and coordinator of the master’s program in applied developmental psychology. He holds a Doctor of Philosophy degree in clinical psychology from the University of Kentucky in addition to a Bachelor of Arts degree from Bucknell University. Prior to joining Pitt, Gallen worked in various roles at Chatham University, including director of the program in infant mental health, director of the program in infant and toddler development, and associate professor of psychology. He was selected as a ZERO TO THREE fellow in 2009–10 and is active in infant mental health efforts in Pennsylvania and beyond. He also is a licensed professional psychologist and sits on several advisory boards, including the Child, Youth, and Family Advisory Board in Allegheny County; Early Head Start in the University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development; and the Pennsylvania Association for Infant Mental Health. Gallen’s research interests include understanding qualities of infant-caregiver interactions and measuring the impact of reflective supervision on the early childhood workforce. In his spare time, Gallen enjoys traveling and kayaking with his wife, two daughters, and dog.

Visiting Assistant Professor Erin Meikle earned her PhD at the University of Delaware, her Master of Arts in Teaching at the University of Pittsburgh, and her Bachelor of Science at Pennsylvania State University. She initially worked as an instructor for undergraduate students at Immaculata University and the University of Delaware as well as a teacher at Shaler area middle and high schools. After earning her doctorate, she was a program officer in teacher development at the Knowles Science Teaching Foundation, where she supported beginning high school mathematics and science teachers as well as planned and implemented online and in-person professional development activities. She was named an Outstanding Doctoral Student in Mathematics Education at the University of Delaware. Meikle has recently been published in Mathematics Teacher Educator and Teaching Children Mathematics. Her research interests include exploring ways to support preservice and in-service teachers in facilitating class discussions in mathematics classrooms and exploring the effects of teacher preparation programs. Meikle enjoys watching movies, baking, and trying new restaurants with her husband.

Sally Sherman has joined the Department of Health and Physical Activity as a visiting assistant professor for its programs. She teaches undergraduate exercise science ma jors and specializes in teaching students to be instructors. She recently completed her PhD in exercise physiology at the School of Education, where her research focused on studying vinyasa yoga. Her dissertation, “Energy Expenditure in Yoga versus Other Forms of Physical Activity,” was the first study of its kind and revealed that vinyasa yoga meets exercise requirements. Sherman also holds a BA in dance, an MEd in teaching, and an MS in exercise science. She is a certified Baptiste yoga instructor and has assisted in trainings for Baron Baptiste and regional yoga organizations. In addition, Sherman is a triathlete and sponsored member of the Reaction Nutrition Triathlon Team, for which she competes in long-distance cycling events, marathons, and IRONMAN triathlons.

Beth Sondel is a research assistant professor of social studies and social justice education in the Department of Instruction and Learning. She earned her PhD in curriculum theory at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, her MEd in education policy at Harvard University, and her BA in cultural anthropology at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Sondel’s research partners critical theory with qualitative methods to investigate the multiple, often divergent ways in which educators and education leaders come to understand and attempt to enact social justice in policy and practice. Her dissertation on the role of Teach For America in the market-based reforms of post-Hurricane Katrina New Orleans, La., won the 2014 Outstanding Dissertation Award from the Critical Educators for Social Justice Special Interest Group of the American Educational Research Assocation. Her work has been published in Education Policy Analysis Archives, Critical Education, Educational Policy, The Educational Forum of Kappa Delta Pi, Rethinking Schools, Jacobin, and Theory & Research in Social Education. Outside her work, she enjoys singing, dancing, spending time with loved ones, and engaging with her community.

Faculty Promotions

Elizabeth "Betsy" Nagle has been promoted to associate professor in the Department of Health and Physical Activity within the School of Education, where she serves as the undergraduate program coordinator. Nagle completed her PhD in exercise physiology at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a fellow of the American College of Sports Medicine, and her research interests include development and validation of aquatic test protocols of aerobic and anaerobic capacity for shallow water running, swimming, and military performance. She holds a secondary faculty appointment with the School of Health and Rehabilitative Sciences, and is currently collaborating on the Naval Special Forces Injury Prevention & Human Performance Research Initiative investigating the combat swimmer. Her personal interests include swimming, gardening, cooking, and volunteer coaching for her son’s swimming team.

John Jakicic, chair of the Department of Health and Physical Activity and director of the Physical Activity and Weight Management Research Center, was designated a Distinguished Professor by Chancellor Patrick Gallagher— only the second Distinguished Professor in the school’s history. In addition to this promotion, Jakicic also recently was appointed by the U.S. secretary of health and human services to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Advisory Committee and serves the National Institutes of Health in a variety of capacities. He has a national and international reputation as a leading scholar in the area of physical activity as it relates to weight control and chronic diseases. Jakicic earned his PhD at the University of Pittsburgh and both his Master of Science and Bachelor of Science degrees at Slippery Rock University of Pennsylvania. In his leisure time, he enjoys a variety of activities, including jogging, cycling, skiing, powerboating, and spending quality time with family and friends.