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Harrisburg, PA – Welcome to your June 2024 Harrisburg University of Science and Technology (HU) Research Roundup! Our talented faculty members are busy presenting at conferences, publishing boundary-pushing research, and building fruitful partnerships with other schools, government agencies, and organizations. It’s been a great month for research and recognition at HU, so let’s get right to it!

1. Albert Sarvis Presents at Aerium Summit 2024

Professor Albert Sarvis, PMP, GISP, Associate Vice President of Continuous Improvement and Program Lead of Geospatial Technology, was a panelist on the “Workforce Pathways University Roundtable” at the 2024 Aerium Summit in late May. Drawing over 300 attendees, the event brings together industry leaders, students, and experts to explore innovative opportunities in aviation and aerospace, and to discuss the future of these critical fields.

Professor Sarvis said, “I was very excited to attend the Aerium Summit this year to discuss workforce pathways in the aviation industry. It was good to connect with representatives from the FAA as well, who’ve been friends of HU since we received the first round of workforce grant funding in 2022.”

HU has a robust College in the High School program that allows area high school students to earn their FAA Remote Pilot Certification and launch careers in drones such as agriculture or drones for forensics. Harrisburg University has twice received grant funding from the FAA in recognition of its positive impact on local and national talent pipelines associated with critical industries like aerospace engineering and airfield operations.

2. Heather Tidwell Presents at National Institute of Rural and Minority Health (NIRMH) Conference

Harrisburg University’s Heather Tidwell presented at the annual National Institute of Rural and Minority Health Conference alongside academic leaders representing Carnegie Mellon University, West Virginia University, and University of the Incarnate Word. The presentation was entitled, “Public Health Community-focused Efforts and AI – and Impact Presentation.”

“The research I’ve been working on has to do with the implications of social worker burnout due to recidivism and mental health concerns among clients,” said Professor Tidwell. “Increasingly, social workers aren’t able to provide the necessary help because they have so many individuals in their caseloads. We are seeing high numbers of social workers leave the field or even commit suicide since the pandemic because of anxiety and depression.”

She continued, “To help with burnout and resource management, I’m currently working on a model AI assistant that helps social workers in the field manage their client base using an interactive intake model. It learns more about clients from the get-go and helps social workers determine what they need more quickly.”

This is timely research; rates of emotional exhaustion and depersonalization (70.1% and 48.5% respectively) have lurched upwards since the COVID-19 pandemic, spurring new questions – and new interventions through technology – for keeping staff energized and engaged, while improving patient outcomes.

3. Leena Pattarkine and Wei-Chien Hung Contribute Chapter to New Book

Leena Pattarkine, PhD, Program Lead for Biotechnology, alongside HU corporate faculty member Wei-Chien Hung, contributed the final chapter in the newly published science textbook, “Bioreactor Design Concepts for Viral Vaccine Production.” The pair’s contribution, “Current Advances in Separation Technologies for Vaccine Production,” tackles high-profile challenges and solutions emerging in vaccine supply chains over recent years.

“Vaccine production has been a major healthcare topic with respect to innovation, commercial impact, and workforce skills. We [at HU] have an entire track on Biomanufacturing with a post-bac certificate in Biomanufacturing. I believe this publication will help demonstrate the agile nature of the Master of Science in Biotechnology curriculum and show why HU students are well-prepared to enter the industry as innovators.”

In June, Dr. Pattarkine further distinguished herself in representing HU when she presented research at the annual @Philly Cell and Gene Therapy Annual Conference, hosted by SAPA-GP (Sino-American Pharmaceutical Professionals Association – Greater Philadelphia). The topic, part of the event’s Business Track, was “Strategic Value Creation: Where Biotechnology Businesses Meet Project Management.”

4. Michael Seavers Presents at 2024 Healthcare Payment & Revenue Integrity Conference

Michael Seavers, PhD, MBA, MHA, MSCS, Assistant Professor and Program Lead of Healthcare Informatics at Harrisburg University, recently attended the Healthcare Payment & Revenue Integrity Conference in Boston to give a presentation on pre-pay vs. post-pay in health insurance payment integrity areas.

“My presentation was one of only two presentations where conference participants could receive CEUs,” said Dr. Seavers. CEUs are continuing education credits, which measure a scholar-practitioner’s progress towards professional licenses and certifications. “I was also on a panel discussing communication between health insurance companies and providers or hospitals – or the lack of it.”

Dr. Seavers’ conference presentation was very well received. “If only my professors were as engaging as you have been during your session, I would’ve stayed in school much longer,” wrote one attendee on LinkedIn. “Thank you for this incredible presentation explaining all the pros and cons of pre-pay and post-pay.”

Another attendee added, “My favorite part of the Healthcare Payment & Revenue Integrity Series Conferences are always the Payor – Provider panels, and this one definitely did NOT disappoint. Such a fantastic discussion with Corella LumpkinsCathleen NewmanVladimir-Ducarmel Joseph and Dr. Michael Seavers, who really emphasized the importance of establishing clear lines of communication between payers and providers. Such a highlight of this event – if you didn’t come, you have truly missed out on something great!”

5. Rachel Fogle and Joseph Tetreault Publish Aquaponics Research Paper

HU’s Rachel Fogle, PhD, Associate Professor and Program Lead of Environmental Sciences, and Joseph Tetreault, Research Scientist for Controlled-Environment Agriculture, have published a research paper in Reviews in Fisheries Science & Aquaculture. Their contribution, “Development and Standardization of Physical, Operational, and Performance Metrics for Aquaponics,” was co-authored by John Colt, PhD, formerly of the NOAA Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Washington State.

The paper discusses challenges and potential solutions for scaling aquaponics greenhouses – which integrate fish culture with plant cultivation – to commercial levels of production.

“Our research marks a pivotal advancement in the optimization and standardization of aquaponic systems to enhance productivity and sustainability,” said Dr. Fogle. “We believe this publication will significantly contribute to the broader understanding of aquaponics, offering valuable insights for both practitioners and researchers. We are excited about the potential impact of our work and look forward to engaging in further discussions and collaborations within the community.”

The HU Aquaponics Lab has published six peer-reviewed research papers since July 2021. These works have included original research on aquaponics waste valorization, developing a nutrient bioeconomy in controlled-environment agriculture, and novel aquaponic system design methods for scalable production.

Previous co-authors have included HU undergraduate students, faculty from Cornell University and the University of New Hampshire, engineers from the US Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (USDA NRCS) and National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and scientists from the University of Vermont Extension Program.

6. Rebekah Harriger Presents Experiential Learning Framework at Conference

Rebekah Harriger, Experiential Learning Director at HU, is a member of the Society for Experiential Education (SEE) Fellows Research Program. Fellows have ongoing opportunities to conduct research together on refining and expanding experiential education and removing boundaries from the learning experience. Rebekah recently joined the fellowship in presenting a proposed framework for this type of learning at the Society for Experiential Education Annual Conference.

“Since the conference, we’ve continued our research and had the opportunity to present it at the Community Engagement Administrators Conference as well,” said Rebekah. “This achievement is a testament to the strength of HU’s commitment to experiential learning. I am very grateful for the chance to contribute to this field and showcase HU as an innovative leader.”

Rebekah’s group of fellows also collaborated on a paper slated for publication in Experiential Learning and Teaching in Higher Education Journal this fall, entitled “Exploring the Impact of Institutional Context on Experiential Education in Higher Education.”

The group is now working to share their framework design more widely with the academic world. They have submitted the framework proposal, under the title, “Building Bridges: A Collective Case Study of an Experiential Education Boundary-Spanning Framework in Action,” to Journal of Higher Education Outreach and Engagement. Having works published to two academic journals in the same year would be a notable achievement, and one worthy of HU’s boundary-pushing faculty.

7. Roozbeh Sadeghian, PhD, Named Topic Editor for Journal Frontiers

In June, Roozbeh Sadeghian, PhD, Associate Professor and Program Lead of Analytics, was chosen to serve as the “Methods in Artificial Intelligence for Dementia 2024” topic editor for the widely read scientific journal Frontiers. As of this writing, Frontiers has been cited 9.4 million times and their articles have been viewed or downloaded over 2.8 billion times.

“I am honored to announce my selection as the topic editor for this esteemed journal series. The series aims to showcase the latest experimental techniques and methods using artificial intelligence to address fundamental questions in dementia research. Our focus is on studying risk factors, biomarkers, genetics, genomics, and the implementation of novel technologies to mitigate dementia care burdens.

“This role is not only a significant personal achievement but also represents prestigious recognition for Harrisburg University. By contributing to this influential series, we are positioning ourselves at the forefront of cutting-edge dementia research, particularly in the application of AI in healthcare. This opportunity underscores our commitment to advancing scientific knowledge, reinforces our reputation as a leader in innovative research, enhances our visibility and credibility in the global research community, and paves the way for future collaborations and breakthroughs in the fight against dementia.”


Harrisburg University is accredited by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education and is a private, nonprofit university offering bachelor’s and graduate degree programs in the fields of science, technology, and mathematics. For additional information about the University’s affordable, demand-driven undergraduate and graduate programs, please call 717-901-5146 or email Stay updated by following Harrisburg University on XLinkedInInstagram, and Facebook.