The 21 new inductees of UCF’s Scroll and Quill Society represent a broad spectrum of academic expertise, such as fiction writing, artificial intelligence, police-community relations, nursing and terrorist recruiting tactics on social media.
The Scroll and Quill Society celebrates faculty members who for at least a decade have made scholarly contributions of impact to advance knowledge in their fields, benefit society and distinguish UCF at national or international levels.
Here are this year’s inductees:
Ladislau Boloni, professor, computer science, College of Engineering and Computer Science
Ladislau Boloni’s research in computer science primarily focuses on artificial intelligence and its applications to practical problems. For instance, he has applied artificial intelligence techniques to robots to explore how they can assist disabled people or help farmers improve the yield of their farms. Over his career, he has published two books, 13 book chapters, 41 journal and 126 conference in work chapters, most of them at UCF.
Martha Brenckle, professor, writing and rhetoric, College of Arts and Humanities
Martha Brenckle writes poetry and fiction that are evolving as she ventures more into narrative poetry and historical processes and characters, such as with a recent collection about Marie and Pierre Curie and the discovery of radium. Since 2016, her published creative work has included 16 individual poems, two short stories and a poetry collection. She has won one national award while being a finalist for four others and was a guest on the Knights Do That podcast where she discussed fostering inclusion through the arts.
Jacinta Gau, professor, criminal justice, College of Community Innovation and Education
Jacinta Gau studies policing with an emphasis on police-community relations and perceptions, racial issues, use of force, job-related attitudes of officers and training. She presents knowledge that leads to better and fairer policing that is racially neutral and safer for law enforcement and communities. Her 43 peer-reviewed journal articles and two solo-authored books on criminal justice have been widely read and cited.
Richard Hartshorne, chair/professor, learning sciences and educational research, College of Community Innovation and Education
Richard Hartshorne explores the production and integration of technology into teaching and learning. His research has contributed to the field of instructional technology through extensive distribution of theoretical, empirical and practical applications of his work. His scholarship includes a co-authored book, eight co-edited books, 23 articles or editorials in impactful peer-reviewed, scholarly journals, 10 book chapters and 60 refereed professional and conference presentations. He currently serves as editor-in-chief for the Journal of Technology & Teacher Education, the top journal in his field.
Qian Hu, associate professor, public administration, College of Community Innovation and Education
Qian Hu analyzes how organizations communicate and coordinate during disasters ranging from hurricanes and floods to bombings and the pandemic. Her research findings have resulted in a national and international reputation for delivering policy guidance for enhancing community partnerships and improving emergency management. She has produced 30 refereed journal articles (17 as lead author), one co-authored peer reviewed book and three book chapters with another book project under contract with the Cambridge University Press.
Claire Connolly Knox, associate professor, public administration, College of Community Innovation and Education
Claire Connolly Knox explores how environmental policy and planning intersect with emergency management with an emphasis on building resiliency against disasters starting at the local government level. Her research examines post-disaster policies, emergency plans and reports in coastal-zone communities to identify problems and barriers to effective emergency and crisis management. She has presented at more than 60 international, national and regional conferences while publishing an award-winning, co-edited book, 23 refereed journal articles, eight book chapters and five policy white papers. Learn more about Knox and her work on the Knights Do That podcast.
Joseph LaViola, professor, computer science, College of Engineering and Computer Science
Joseph LaViola strives to find new ways to improve the user experience with computers. His development of new approaches led to venturing into broad areas that include STEM education, pen and touch-based user interfaces, 2D and 3D gestures using machine learning and writing, speech, video games, robots and training applications. He is the lead author of 3D User Interfaces: Theory and Practice, the most comprehensive textbook of its kind and used widely at other universities.
Mary Little, professor, teacher education, College of Community Innovation and Education
Mary Little is passionate about addressing inequalities and inequities of students from various socio-economic backgrounds and communities. Her research — supported by more than $19 million in federal, foundation and state funding over the years — seeks to provide insights and solutions for multiple stakeholders that can reframe achievement gaps as opportunities for progress. Her research benefits from professional experiences that include roles as a teacher, program coordinator and principal.
Jonathan Matusitz, associate professor, communication and media, College of Sciences
Jonathan Matusitz examines the role of communication and symbolism in terrorism. He analyzes how international terrorist organizations — such as The Islamic State (ISIS), Al-Qaeda, Aum Shinriyo and the Tamil Tigers — use social media to recruit volunteers for violent and deadly activities. He has published six books along with 80 articles in peer-reviewed competitive journals. Matusitz has also been a featured speaker at law enforcement workshops and military training sessions, including for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and U.S. Department of Homeland Security.
Eduardo Mucciolo, professor, physics, College of Sciences
Eduardo Mucciolo concentrates on theoretical physics with focuses on condensed matter physics and quantum information processing. His work has led to practical applications and novel technology for encrypting data, which also resulted in him receiving a patent for invention. Mucciolo’s scholarship includes authoring more than 70 papers in international, peer-reviewed journals and receiving more than 2,300 citations, and he is invited to speak at conferences and institutions around the globe.
Lindsay Neuberger, associate professor, communication and media, College of Sciences
Lindsay Neuberger explores how to fashion messages that encourage people to do things that are good for themselves and society. Her team-based research leads to effective communications in health, risk and crisis areas that include COVID-19, vaccinations, financial literacy, sexual assault and structural racism. She publishes in high-impact journals and has received research funding from the World Health Organization and U.S. National Science Foundation, among others.
Patrick Pabian ’20PhD, professor, kinesiology and physical therapy, College of Health Professions and Sciences
Patrick Pabian ’20PhD researched orthopedics and sports medicine early in his career. He has since focused on contemporary issues of professional education on patient care, where his vast array of partnerships has led to positive impacts and broad recognition for excellence. National and international organizations have recognized Pabian’s scholarship, and he holds appointments to councils that support the mission of enhancing care and addressing problems through professional preparation in physical therapy.
David James Poissant, associate professor, English, College of Arts and Humanities
David James Poissant is a literary fiction and nonfiction writer whose works are being translated into multiple European languages. He has published three books, more than 75 short stories and essays that are in national and international venues along with numerous textbooks and anthologies in Europe. He has received multiple awards and nominations for his writing. Poissant’s fiction explores domesticity, family and religion along with sexuality and violence in the American South, and his essays explore literature, religion, politics and current events.
Amy Reckdenwald, associate professor, sociology, College of Sciences
Amy Reckdenwald is an expert in examining the response to non-fatal strangulation (NFS) in domestic violence cases. She has been instrumental in creating awareness about NFS and aiding prevention efforts for this potentially lethal form of domestic violence. Another aspect of Reckdenwald’s research is advancing understanding of intimate partner homicide and the role of socio-economic factors such as poverty, gender inequality and geographic location. Her scholarship has appeared in top scholarly journals and is widely recognized across disciplines.
Beatriz Reyes-Foster, associate professor, anthropology, College of Sciences
Beatriz Reyes-Foster is a cultural and medical anthropologist. Her research spotlights the intersections that create socio-economical differences and health disproportions, particularly at the crossings of health, medicine and society in different settings and regions. She’s a prolific researcher and writer, with two books and 24 peer-reviewed articles among her scholarly works.
Mary Lou Sole, professor, nursing, College of Nursing
Mary Lou Sole is dean of the College of Nursing, an Orlando Health Endowed Chair in Nursing, a UCF Pegasus Professor and a recognized Fellow of the American Academy of Nursing. She has authored over 100 publications that include 89 peer-reviewed publications at UCF. Her primary area of research addresses care of critically ill patients who have a breathing tube and require a ventilator. She is an inductee of the Sigma Theta Tau International Researcher Hall of Fame, the highest honor a nurse researcher can achieve.
James Szalma, professor, psychology, College of Sciences
James Szalma explores how the cognitive, motivational and affective traits and states of personalities interact with the influence of performance, workload and stress. His scholarship at UCF includes 60 peer reviewed journal articles and 19 book chapters. He has also co-edited two books and three special issues of two journals. Szalma is an elected Fellow of the Human Factors and Ergonomics Society as part of the American Psychological Association.
Jayan Thomas, professor, materials science and engineering, College of Engineering and Computer Science
Jayan Thomas has vast expertise in energy storage with research that includes supercapacitors and hybrid batteries for use with electric vehicles. A recent example of his high-impact research is the development of a system that processes and stores information like the human brain. This baby step toward developing neuromorphic computers opens possibilities for machines that can adapt to their environment. Thomas has published 50 peer-reviewed papers since joining UCF.
Lynn Unruh, professor, global health management and informatics, College of Community Innovation and Education
Lynn Unruh studies nurse staffing and quality in hospitals and nursing homes along with broader healthcare reform and policy issues. Her extensive publishing during two decades at UCF includes authoring four books and seven book chapters. She is a former hospital and home care nurse and has worked with a U.S. team associated with the World Health Organization’s Health System Policy Monitor, and last spring, with the organization’s COVID-19 Health System Response Monitor. Her years of research places her in the top 2% of global nursing researchers, according to Mendeley Data.
Harry Weger, professor, communication and media, College of Sciences
Harry Weger collaborated on pioneering research in one of the first looks at how couples in close romantic relationships argue. His interest in argument later expanded to include nonverbal communication by political candidates in televised political debates, which led to his co-authoring of a book on the subject that has drawn national and international attention. Weger’s career highlights include being named editor-in-chief of the prestigious peer-reviewed journal Argumentation and Advocacy.
Gregory Welch, professor, nursing, College of Nursing
Gregory Welch is the current AdventHealth Endowed Chair in Healthcare Simulation and a Pegasus Professor who has acquired nearly $9.6 million in active sponsored research. With a background in computer science, his research entails virtual and augmented reality, human-computer interaction, human motion tracking and human surrogates for training and practice, with a focus on applications such as healthcare and defense. Welch’s work has led to groundbreaking patient simulators for training healthcare practitioners.