Saint Leo University faculty are transforming the lives of students and making significant contributions to their fields of study. Take a look at some of the most recent accomplishments from our faculty.
Christina Cazanave, director of internships and instructor for the Undergraduate Social Work Program, was appointed legislative chair for the NASW-Florida Chapter. In this five-year, statewide leadership position, Cazanave works closely with NASW-FL lobbyists to develop legislative proposals, collaborates with the chapter board to set legislative priorities, tracks bills relevant to social work practice, prepares testimony on critical bills, assists members in communicating issues to their elected officials, and builds relationships with other supportive organizations.
This role allows Cazanave to support Florida social workers, lobby for social justice and equitable policies, and mobilize the profession in Florida to engage in voter and civic engagement. This work includes creating a statewide voter engagement toolkit and leading the charge in voter activities across Florida.
Cazanave has served as co-chair for the Social Work Programs’ LEAD Day committee and as chair of the university’s Why Vote? campaign. Additionally, she demonstrated her passion for civic engagement by conducting workshops, conference presentations, and discussions on civic engagement and expanding advocacy within the social work practice.
Dr. Passard Dean, interim dean of the Tapia College of Business, was appointed to the Institute of Management Accountants Committee on Ethics (IMA® CoE).
“The purpose of the IMA Committee on Ethics is to encourage IMA members, their organizations, and other individuals to adopt, promote, and execute superior business practices consistent with IMA’s mission in management accounting and finance and its Statement of Ethical Professional Practice by advocating the highest ethical principles,” according to the IMA.
“The objectives of the Committee on Ethics are to advance these principles by regularly contributing meaningful insights, perspectives, opinions, and analysis to ethical issues, activities, publications, and networking opportunities, as well as membership compliance, brought before or identified by the committee.”
Dr. Stephen Okey, associate professor of philosophy, theology, and religion, contributed to a story for The History Channel on the history of exorcisms. Written by Dr. Elizabeth Yuko, a bioethicist and journalist, the story examined the centuries-long practices of expelling evil, and it was published and posted just in time for Halloween.
“According to Okey, the term ‘exorcism’ is most commonly associated with Christianity, especially Catholicism, partly because of the numerous explicit references to Jesus casting out spirits in the Gospels,” the story stated. “In 2017, Pope Francis told priests that they ‘should not hesitate’ to call on a Vatican-trained exorcist should they need one.”
Dr. Matthew Tapie and Rabbi David Maayan, director and assistant director of the university’s Center for Catholic-Jewish Studies, will work with the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum, the Vatican, and other organizations to host a conference on the newly opened archives from the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII. The conference, New Documents from the Pontificate of Pope Pius XII and their Meaning for Jewish-Christian Relations: A Dialogue Between Historians and Theologians, will be held at the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome in October.
Dr. Jacci White, professor of mathematics in the School of Computing, Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Data Science (CARDS), received the prestigious Mathematical Association of America’s (MAA) National Meritorious Service Award in 2022.
The award was established by the MAA Board of Governors in 1983 and is given once every five years to one recipient in each section — Saint Leo is in the Florida Section. It is awarded in recognition of extraordinary service to the MAA and the section.
“White is known for her dedicated teaching, providing student-centered education, and implementation of innovative teaching techniques,” the MAA noted. “At FL-MAA meetings, she often can be found surrounded by students who give presentations, participating in student competitions, and giving talks.”
For her distinguished teaching, White previously was awarded the 2007 MAA Florida Section Teaching Award.
Dr. Tammy Lowery Zacchilli, professor of psychology, was elected as the Southeastern regional vice president of Psi Chi, the international honor society in psychology, beginning in July 2022.
Psi Chi has more than 800,000 members and is one of the largest honor societies in the United States. Zacchilli works with chapters in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Mississippi, North Carolina, Puerto Rico, South Carolina, Tennessee, U.S. Virgin Islands, Virginia, and West Virginia. In this role, she coordinates Psi Chi programming at the Southeastern Psychological Association Conference. She also serves on committees, reviews for awards, and serves as a liaison between the southeastern chapters and the Psi Chi Board of Directors.
Zacchilli has served as the Psi Chi faculty advisor at Saint Leo University since 2010 and has served as an associate editor to the Psi Chi Journal of Psychological Research since 2017. She also was the 2015 recipient of the Psi Chi Faculty Advisor Award for the Southeastern Region and has recently served as a psychology expert on WTVT, FOX 13, several times.