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GSLC Dissertations : New and Featured

Alex Zayas, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

From a Boy to a Leader




From the abstract: 

The following autoethnographic dissertation examines my personal experiences of trauma, abuse, and violence. Drawing on journals, memories, and artifacts from my life, I use self-reflection to illustrate the impacts of trauma on my childhood and adulthood. My traumatic experiences of sexual abuse, childhood violence, and emotional abuse are situated within broader sociocultural contexts of masculinity, Hispanic culture, and social norms. This study illuminates possibilities for healing and transformation for myself and others with shared traumatic backgrounds. It calls for trauma-informed education, masculinity, and resiliency. Evocatively sharing my traumatic life events provides an accessible window into often silenced experiences, bearing witness to injustice while offering empathy, connection, and hope.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Alex Zayas is a business owner focused on helping individuals reach their fullest potential. From a traumatic childhood, Alex coaches people to help deal with their past through coaching. Alex has built multiple successful organizations, from the healthcare field to the entertainment field. Alex hopes to help as many people as possible by coaching or providing employment. Alex lives in Scottsdale, Arizona, and enjoys fitness, writing, philosophy, and art when not working or coaching.


Read more about Dr. Alex Zayas and download this dissertation at

Anya Piotrowski, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

Landscaping Wellness at Work: A Participatory Model for Worker-Centered Health




From the abstract: 

This study contributes to a body of scholarship that demonstrates the benefits and need of employee-driven and defined wellness at work processes. This participatory action research study brought together a team of employees within a remote-work, start-up organization to define and design a process for implementing wellness at work for their organization. Through a participatory process that allowed outcomes to emerge from the group, employees identified opportunities to foster embodied wellness in their organization in three core areas: organizational, personal, and cross-boundary initiatives. Through a reflective collaboration, employees generated ideas and developed a plan to address employee-identified priorities that will foster wellness in their organization. What emerged from the process is a model for participatory health meaning-making called the Landscaping Wellness model that future practitioners and scholars may utilize to facilitate storytelling, idea generation, and planning processes for worker-defined wellness, thus honoring the nuanced and complex nature of wellness itself.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Anya is passionate about putting her values into practice by centering relationships; unlearning internalized, oppressive behaviors that come with being a cisgender white woman of settler colonizer identity and ancestry in both Brazil and the U.S.; and working collectively toward community-based systems change. Her work at a consulting firm includes project design and implementation, community-centered advancement strategy, and strategic organizational development rooted in values of equity and justice. Anya has nearly 15 years of experience in higher education, including over a decade of work prioritizing reciprocal community and campus relationships for student and community partner-focused programs. She adjunct teaches World and U.S. History online for a university in East Tennessee. Anya lives across from one of the lakes in Madison, WI with a variety of well-loved houseplants. When she is not working in community or gathering with loved ones, she can be found artmaking, baking, biking, and reading.


Read more about Dr. Anya Piotrowski and download this dissertation at

Nora Malone, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2023

Elementary School Leadership, Climate, and Resilience during COVID-19: A Comparative Case Study of Two Independent Schools




From the abstract: 

The recent worldwide pandemic impacted educational systems on a global scale, forcing school leaders to reimagine educational structures as they faced the ongoing wounding of the unprecedented, shared trauma wrought by COVID-19. Mandated U.S. school closures in March of 2020 forced an immediate transition to distance learning and presented unforeseen academic and social challenges for students, educators, parents, and school leaders. As school campuses re-opened over the next year, the pandemic continued to present hardships. School leaders were tasked with developing systems to follow appropriate health and safety measures, develop systems to accommodate stakeholders’ individual health circumstances, and communicate school policies regularly to those affected by them while still prioritizing the needs of students and their academic progress. Using comparative case-study methodology, this study explored the relationship between school leadership, school climate and organizational resilience in response to the ongoing wounding of COVID-19 from its onset in March of 2020 to the declared end of the pandemic in May of 2023, at two small independent elementary schools. This study illuminated the experiences of the schools’ leaders and provided actionable and transferable guidelines for educational leaders facing organizational trauma or crisis. The five key findings support practical implications for school leaders striving to support organizational resilience. They include: the importance of positive school climate, enhanced communication, adaptive capacity, organizational structure and embracing change. The study concludes with implications for future research.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Nora C. Malone has enjoyed a long career in independent schools, first as a teacher and school administrator at both elementary and secondary levels and then, for over two decades, as the head of school for an independent elementary school in the Los Angeles area. Her experience in educational leadership led to her long-term interest in understanding the relationship between positive school climate and organizational resilience.  The emergence of Covid-19 provided the backdrop of shared trauma that invited her to investigate that relationship through studying leaders’ responses to the pandemic from its onset in the spring of 2020-to its declared end in the spring of 2023 at two independent elementary schools. The resulting comparative case study probes and compares the resilient outcomes at these two schools, and its findings present transferable implications for educational leaders who will inevitably face future traumas or crises.

In addition to her multi-faceted career in educational administration, Nora has served as a trustee on several independent school boards and also as a vice-chair of the board of the California Association of Independent Schools (CAIS) and also as the chair of the CAIS elementary board of standards. Currently she is co-chairing an independent school board. Additionally, Nora consults professionally with independent school boards and heads of school on issues surrounding educational leadership

Nora holds a BA in English, and an MA in Educational Leadership from California State University, Northridge. She also holds an MA and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, Graduate School of Leadership and Change.

Read more about Dr. Nora Malone and download this dissertation at

LauraLynn Jansen, Ph.D.  [C 19]  2023

Mokṣa, Seeking a Humanizing Way of Being: I am Recognized. I am Acknowledged. I am Human.




From the abstract: 

This dissertation delves into the intricate dimensions of humanization by shifting the analytical focus from denial and exclusion to affirmative aspects of inclusion. The central aim of this research is to unravel the mechanisms underlying the process of humanization, or how individuals perceive and internalize their being recognized as human beings. Employing the critical incident technique, this research methodically examined the lived experiences of a highly diverse group of individuals living with varying social stigmas and how they experience humanization. This research displays the intricate interplay of language, actions, and sensory elements engendered before, during, and after a humanizing moment. Several key findings and contributions to theory and practice emerged from this study. A dominant revelation of this study is somatic cueing’s role within the humanizing process and how it underscores the wholistic nature of this phenomenon. Moreover, this research highlights how genuine acknowledgment is significant in shaping a humanizing encounter. This research also unveils that the humanizing process is not unidirectional; the effect of humanization can traverse various directions within an interaction. Lastly is the dynamism of certain humanizing characteristics, such as empathy, and how they can morph in capacity to serve the entire humanizing process. Some of the findings resonated with extant literature emphasizing the importance of personal awareness and self-reflection, along with the vital role of real-time implementation between individuals. Overall, this research advocates for proactive measures that extend beyond theoretical understanding. In conclusion, this dissertation enriches the discourse on humanization by explaining the complex processes that facilitate humanization. Through a meticulous exploration of lived experiences, this study advances the understanding of humanization as a dynamic, multidimensional process. By underscoring the potency of genuine acknowledgment, somatic cues, and reciprocal interactions, this research offers a comprehensive framework for fostering humanizing encounters.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

LauraLynn Jansen, Ph.D., PCC, is an author and innovator in humanizing leadership. LauraLynn’s rich background as a Co-Active coach and leadership facilitator spans nearly twenty-five years. She is a maven who encompasses both introspective and highly interactive delivery styles.

At the core of LauraLynn’s work is a commitment to the value of dignity, a principle that guided her to her doctoral research exploring how humanization occurs. Recognizing her foresight and contribution to the field, she received the prestigious Academy of Management’s 2023 Promising Dissertation Award. She is also a Fetzer scholar and a fellow of the International Humanistic Management Association.

LauraLynn’s impact extends beyond academia, as she has developed comprehensive curriculums designed to nurture our inherent capacity for connection on both individual and collective levels. Her transformative offerings have found application in diverse settings from DC to Hawai’i. Notably, she has curated multi-year, immersive retreat-based experiences and seamlessly blends in-person and online hybrid formats. She has facilitated and provided programming in leadership, well-being, and humanizing engagement within various organizations, from the US military to hospitals to non-profit settings.

An advocate for personal sustainability and community building, LauraLynn integrates authentically embodied leadership models that address intra- and interpersonal dimensions of awareness. Her passion lies in exploring the profound connection between intentional action, self-awareness, and societal well-being. Her Eastern and Western-based approaches bring a refreshing perspective to settings where she is engaged.

LauraLynn is not merely an innovator in theory; she lives what she champions, aspiring towards a future marked by self-consciousness and heightened vibrancy rooted in awareness. Her vision revolves around honoring the individual and collective spirit, ushering in a new era of interconnectedness and human flourishing.


LauraLynn’s doctoral degree in Leadership and Change focused on how individuals experience being humanized. Her master’s degree is in Integrative Health Education, providing a unique perspective in addressing issues of whole-person well-being from Eastern and Western-based approaches. She has acquired a multitude of certifications focused on integrating somatic and mindfulness programming since 1999.

Read more about Dr. LauraLynn Jansen and download this dissertation at

Naomi Docilait, Ph.D.  [C 19]  2023

Navigating Opportunities to Improve Youth Outcomes in a Least Developed Country: An Action Research Study




From the abstract: 

“The ambitious United Nations-adopted Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) require the concentrated effort of governments, the business sector, and other key stakeholders, including women and youth, for its success. Effective leadership will be essential for different sectors to integrate these development goals into strategic plans and operational activities in the service of realizing this agenda by 2030. Unfortunately for Least Developed Countries (LDCs), the COVID-19 pandemic caused the worst economic outcomes in 30 years. For this group of countries, the pandemic has negatively influenced efforts to eradicate poverty and improve social outcomes. This setback makes achieving the Sustainable Development Goals by 2030 a more distant prospect for LDCs, which include 20% of the world’s youth. Although governments need to take the lead, additional stakeholders, such as non-profit organizations, including youth-focused organizations, are vital to achieving the SDGs. Therefore, this research study focused on the work of a youth organization operating in Haiti, and its alignment with the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Using action research, this dissertation aimed to provide support for the prioritization of youth outcomes in the developmental goals of countries.  The findings of this action research study underscored existing opportunities to improve youth outcomes in Haiti. The study participants agreed that previous volunteer opportunities, available to active and engaged members of the organization HAITI5, allowed the youths to get training regarded as work experience. Hence, the study participants designed an intervention to expand volunteer opportunities, and to provide more youths with professional experiences that could be leveraged in the recruitment process for employment. Also, the study participants considered the youth-focused organization invaluable to the professional and personal development of members and agreed that HAITI5’s commitment to developing the skills of its members through training should be incorporated into the designed intervention. The study results provide an understanding of measures undertaken by youths in a Least Developed Country to improve youth outcomes and the importance of partnerships with youth-focused organizations to make progress toward achieving the SDGs.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Naomi Docilait is a public health professional with 15 years of work experience. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Cardiopulmonary Science and a Master of Public Health. Naomi works in international development sector, collaborating with local organizations to improve their health and well-being. Naomi is also passionate about working with youths and young adults in building their personal and professional capacities. As a youth advisor, Naomi encourages young people to be engaged in social change for themselves and their communities.

Read more about Dr. Naomi Docilait and download this dissertation at

Christina Wild, Ph.D.  [C 19]  2023

Teaching Without Walls: A Portraiture Study of Nature-Based Educators in Duluth, Minnesota




From the abstract: 

“This dissertation explores the lived experience of nature-based educators in Duluth, Minnesota. Portraiture served as the methodological framework for learning about how teachers in Duluth got into teaching and why they remain on the job. Teacher turnover and attrition is a national problem exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Yet, teachers who perceive better working conditions are less likely to leave the profession. In addition, nature-based education has positive influences on students. Past research in nature-based education has looked at students rather than teachers. This study’s findings offer key lessons in the stories of educators who stay in teaching and experience joy.”

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Christina Wild is a dedicated educator with a passion for the outdoors and teaching. With a teaching career spanning 16 years across Minnesota, Vermont, and New Hampshire, Christina's love for both nature and education has been at the forefront of her life. Her journey began in Boston, where she attended Cambridge Rindge and Latin School, laying the foundation for her future endeavors. Christina's educational journey led her to Sterling College, where she earned degrees in Resource Management and Sustainable Agriculture, reflecting her deep commitment to environmental sustainability. Later she pursued a Master’s in Education with a focus on Curriculum & Instruction, further refining her teaching skills. Outside the classroom, Christina finds her happiness in the great outdoors. Hiking through scenic trails, gardening and indulging in her passion for baking are all cherished pastimes. Her connection to the land is deeply rooted, as she started an education program at Cedar Circle Farm after college. Prior to her teaching career, Christina gained valuable experiences as a gardener and even had the unique opportunity to milk water buffalo. Christina's dedication to place-based education is evident in her collaboration with other like-minded educators in Vermont. Her journey from a Boston native to a seasoned teacher with a profound love for nature and teaching has shaped students to be stewards of the environment and passionate learners.

Read more about Dr. Christina Wild and download this dissertation at

Taran Cardone, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2023

Once More, With Feeling: Partnering With Learners to Re-see the College Experience Through Metaphor and Sensory Language




From the abstract: 

"This study focuses on better understanding students and their internal worlds through conceptual metaphor theory and sensory language. Using a phenomenological and arts-based approach, I examined students’ metaphorical constructions of their college experiences and the sensory language and information informing those constructions. By engaging participants in a multimodal process to re-see their experience through connoisseurship and criticism, I explored the following research questions: How do students metaphorically structure their college experience? What sensory language do college students use to describe the metaphorical dimensions of their college experience? How does sensory information shape the metaphorical structuring of their college experience? Through conversations centered on participant-generated images and chosen sensory language, I identified five complex metaphors that represented participants’ constructions of their college experience: college is an unwieldy package; college is up, forward, and out; college is current and future nostalgia; college is a prism; and college is a movie and peers are the soundtrack. By considering these themes, it may be possible for educators to better partner with diverse learners to design personally meaningful experiences that support student development and success."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

I chose the Antioch University PhD in Leadership and Change program because it aligned with my authentic self. The world needs more authentic people who show up as themselves, living their strengths, doing what comes most naturally to them. My entire vocation­—no matter the field or position­—is centered around this belief. My mission is to help others remember their magic and show up as their authentic selves. I bring this outlook and purpose with me to every environment I find myself. 

I combine a variety of approaches, ideas, and interests especially my background in adult development (self-authorship in particular), transformative learning, and conceptual metaphor theory. I also bring in my expertise with restorative practices, and various personality assessments including my work as a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach. I listen and ask questions to see where I can be of service and then partner with individuals and communities to imagine what’s possible when they author and design their own lives. The participants in my study taught me the critical role that metaphors play in shaping learners' perspectives and experiences. They showcased the enormous value of metaphors for exploring perceptions, beliefs, identities, and actions central to meaning making and transformative possibility. 

My previous work as a student affairs educator led to my focus on learners in the collegiate environment. I served on three college campuses including as Leadership Coordinator at Miami University (Ohio), Director of Student Life Curriculum & Residential Staff Development at Lehigh University, and Director of Strengths-Based Learning / Director of the Office for Learning Partnerships at Virginia Tech. I also created a model of practice known as personal learning design, which helps learners design and maximize their experiences. To implement this approach, I collaborated with student affairs divisions on two campuses to oversee bLUeprint at Lehigh University and ExperienceVT at Virginia Tech. It was a joy to support learners in using their strengths, reflecting on what mattered to them, and sharing those reflections in the form of their bLUeprints and ExperienceVT maps. I also developed and facilitated living-learning communities, which combined personal and group coaching, and the entrepreneurial work of supervising, marketing, recruiting, fundraising, and coordinating an organization. 

I first landed in Higher Education because I experienced the power of transformative learning environments myself. I studied Speech Communication (BA) and Spanish Language and Literature (BA) with a minor in Italian Language and Literature. I was intrigued with the way humans communicate and the many ways they were similar and different. I became so involved on campus that I was taken with the idea of supporting young adults in their development and studied Student Affairs in Higher Education (MS) at Miami University (OH). In my professional work, I saw the importance of leadership and change for improving learners' experiences, which led me to studying Leadership and Change at Antioch University (MA and PhD). 

I have since expanded my perspective and work beyond higher education through coaching, entrepreneurship, consulting, and podcasting. As it turns out, there are human beings who desire transformation everywhere. I believe that transformation is contagious and, when one person changes, it changes everything. And when we transform together in community, we change the future and become more fully human. 

Read more about Dr. Taran Cardone and download this dissertation at

Kathy Eggert, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

Counselors’ Lived Experience Treating Patients Utilizing Methadone: The Intersection of Culture, Policy, and Stigma




From the abstract: 

"The United States continues to experience unprecedented deaths related to the opioid epidemic. Efforts to address the epidemic remain hampered by war-on-drugs policies that stigmatize people who use drugs and create barriers to accessing evidence-based treatments, particularly methadone maintenance treatments (MMT). Despite 50 years of research regarding MMT, it remains highly regulated, and arguably the most stigmatized treatment. The punitive regulatory structure of MMT remained unchanged until emergency waivers were initiated during the COVID-19 pandemic. The study used an exploratory, critical phenomenological approach to examine the intersection of culture and regulation on the lived experiences of 26 addiction counselors who provide treatment for opioid use disorder employing MMT. The phenomenon is examined through lenses of structural competency, cultural healthcare capital, structural racism, and self-determination theories. Using individual interviews, the study investigated whether counselors perceived, conveyed, or enacted stigma in treating those receiving MMT. The study explored whether the pandemic-era regulatory changes shifted counselors' perceptions of the treatment. Findings indicated that counselors enacted and mitigated stigma, two-thirds expressed moderate to high levels of stigma. Counselors perceived and enacted stigma by expressing frustrations regarding programs that embraced harm reduction strategies fearing approaches enabled symptomatic behaviors. They also expressed frustrations with patients’ symptomatic behavior as reflected in paternalistic attitudes and feeling compelled to surveil patients’ behaviors. A number of factors aligned with counselors’ stigmatizing beliefs and attitudes: their pre-career negative experiences with methadone, personal abstinence-based recovery, recovery- oriented training, and/or their lack of exposure to information about the origins of the methadone regulatory structure. Stigmatization was enacted through labeling, discrimination, social exclusion, and the counselors’ use of power. Counselors who mitigated the stigmatized identities of patients held whole-person views and were more likely to have personally utilized methadone. Counselors’ reactions to the loosening of MMT regulations were mixed, most welcomed some level of change. Regulation changes, however, did not significantly impact counselors’ attitudes. This finding, coupled with counselors' stigmatizing behaviors, appears grounded in the socio- historic, racially-biased cultural roots of MMT. Counselors' mitigation of stigma offers implications for future studies focused on abating ingrained cultural stigmatization of methadone and people who utilize it."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Kathy Eggert possesses more than three decades of experience as a social worker specializing in treating people with substance use and mental health disorders. Eggert, a long-term employee of the APT Foundation, serves as their director of an inner-city methadone maintenance program, one of many roles she has held during her tenure there. During her career, Eggert has held a number of leadership roles including the launching director of new programs that were designed to reduce barriers to treatment and enhance retention of people in services.

Eggert’s sustained commitment to working with people with opioid use disorder was birthed during the height of the HIV/AIDs epidemic and has shaped her research interests and scholarship. As a practitioner-scholar focused on the intersection of regulatory structures, culture, stigma, and practice implications, Eggert has presented her research to the College on Problems of Drug Dependence entitled Lived Experiences of Addiction Counselors: A protocol exploring stigma in a time of regulatory change. She has collaborated on numerous research publications, including the most recent publication, Xylazine in the drug supply: Emerging threats and lessons learned in areas with high levels of adulteration published in the International Journal of Drug Policy.

Eggert holds a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Albertus Magnus College, a Master of Arts in Psychology from Connecticut College, a Master of Social Work from the University of Connecticut, a Master of Arts in Leadership and Change and Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. 

Kathy lives with her husband, Henry, in Connecticut, where they share a passion for horticulture.

Read more about Dr. Kathy Eggert and download this dissertation at

Chanté Meadows, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

Black Mental Health Clinicians' Experiences and Lessons from the Intersecting Crises of Black Mental Health, COVID-19, and Racial Trauma: An Interpretive Phenomenological Study




From the abstract: 

"This study explored the experiences of African American mental health clinicians’ during the intersecting crises of the Black mental health crisis, the highly publicized racial tension tied to extrajudicial violence and over-policing of Black Americans, and the COVID-19 pandemic. The pandemic started a global crisis that affected millions of people’s physical and mental health and overall well-being. Shared trauma explores the duality of mental health clinicians’ personal and professional experiences. Grounded in critical race theory and models of trauma, this study explores Black mental health clinicians’ lived experiences and lessons. This is an interpretive phenomenological study with narrative interviews of 10 mental health clinicians who provided services to at least 50% Black clientele before the advent of COVID-19. The study explored how Black mental health clinicians providing mental health care fared, personally and professionally, during COVID-19 and with racial upheaval: How did they adapt their lives and practices? What did they learn personally and professionally during these crises? Data were collected in individual qualitative interviews and analyzed using Saldaña’s first-cycle and second-cycle thematic coding model. Themes that emerged were (a) anxiety and fear regarding the unknown of COVID-19; (b) anger towards the continued racism and over-policing and killing of the Black community; (c) the importance physical activity and therapy as a clinician as means of self-care (d) connection to others to help with emotional support and the isolation of COVID-19; (e) transitioning to telehealth from in-office clinical services; (f) increase in demand of services, and (g) increase in demand for the expertise of Black clinicians, specifically. Understanding the lived experiences of Black mental health clinicians during these crises informs future practices of clinicians by teaching how to optimize health and well-being for self-care and not to burn out. The findings also encourage the development of more clinicians of color to serve the Black community and clients with trauma-informed and racially-informed care. "

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Chanté Meadows is the Founder and CEO of Meadows Counseling Group.  She is a licensed clinical social worker with an emphasis in mental health.  She specializes in working with BIPOC, women’s issues, relationship issues, life transitions, college counseling, couples counseling, anxiety, and depression.  She holds a Bachelor of Arts in Communication from the University of Maryland, College Park.  She has her Master of Social Work from The Ohio State University where she is currently a Senior Lecturer.  She holds certificates in sex therapy and EMDR (trauma therapy).  Chanté is also heavily involved with the National Association of Social Work and is the 2023-2025 Ohio NASW Board of Directors President.  Chanté is a speaker, trainer, educator, and has presented at TEDx regarding mental health in the Black Community.  Her passion is spreading the word about mental health and defeating stigma.

Read more about Dr. Chanté Meadows and download this dissertation at

William E. Keating, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

A Case Study on Factors Influencing Retention of Mental Health Clinicians in a New Hampshire Community Mental Health Center




From the abstract: 

"This study examined the perspectives of master-level clinical mental health providers and members of leadership at a Community Mental Health Center (CMHC) in New Hampshire, to understand clinician and leadership perspectives as to why master-level providers choose to continue working at CMHCs. Most prior research on turnover in such organizations has focused on why so many leave their positions, however this study instead focuses on factors related to the decision to stay at a specific CMHC in an urban area of New Hampshire. A single case study method was utilized to focus on masters-level mental health care providers with additional interviews with leadership at the CMHC. Some of the findings that will be explored is what draws providers to community mental health centers, the importance of connections with colleagues and leadership, and aspects of why master-level providers stay. The study contributes to the understanding of clinician retention in community mental health centers and provides recommendations for master-level providers, CMHC leadership, and clinical mental health educators. Some of the overarching themes that surface from the data were around why clinicians remain in the CMHC, the reasons why providers do the work they do each day, the draw to CMHC, and reasons why people master-level providers consider leaving a CMHC. Connections with leadership and supervisor were very important in why clinicians want to stay at the CMHC. Licensure contracts were also an area that was explored in this research. Clinicians and members of leadership provided their perspective on licensure contracts and the implementation of the contracts."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

William Keating is currently working as a consultant for Mental Health Treatment Providers and SUD Treatment Providers. These consultations focus on clinical skills, administrative workflows, and retention of employees. William has led multiple clinical teams, providing care to patients needing different acuity level of treatment. His scholarship was focused on retention of master-level providers in a Community Mental Health Center setting.  Looking at the themes on why these individuals continue to work in Community Mental Health. William holds a Bachelor of Science in Childhood Studies from Plymouth State University, a Master of Arts in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from Antioch University New England, and a Master of Arts and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. William is currently living with his husband in New Hampshire, enjoying time with family and friends.

Read more about Dr. William E. Keating and download this dissertation at

Elana Micahl Haviv, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

Learning from the Courageous Actions of War and Post-War Time Teachers: A Bricolage of Bosnian Educators



Elana Haviv


From the abstract: 

"The purpose of this study was to identify the preconditions that inspire courageous action through exploration of the choices made by four classroom teachers in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Each educator had made the decision not only to teach during or after the 1992–1995 war and genocide in their country, but to do so in ways that went against official post-war teaching guidelines. Although there are a vast number of studies on courage in literature, there is little research that includes teachers who remained in their classrooms during wartime or chose to enter their classrooms in transitional societies after their communities experienced a war and genocide. Bricolage researchers investigate topics in exploratory ways beyond the standard and accepted sensemaking tactics to reveal unique outcomes that may have previously existed but have not yet had light shed upon them. As the bricoleur, I threaded three divergent topics: courage, a violent history, and sharing of personal narratives through the five senses. The teachers shared a range of artifacts with me, which created the foundation of this study. These three topics, although vastly different from one another, when merged provided insight into the pre-conditions needed to encourage courageous action. Stories, artifact photos or other materials are included within the dissertation as well as a digital archive I created. The archive includes the anecdotes, artifacts and historical context as a supplemental element to support the study and serve as a window to the wartime and post-war teacher experiences."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Elana is the founder and Executive Director of Generation Human Rights, a non-profit organization that empowers youth to chart a world free of human rights abuse & genocide through human rights education in the classroom and in the field ( She has designed and implemented human rights-based curriculum projects for schools across the United States and in Europe, in refugee camp settings, and in humanitarian emergencies worldwide. Her independent consulting work has included editing and revising teaching materials on anti-Semitism for the OSCE/ODIHR. Elana has also written four guides for UNESCO aimed at providing practical advice for teachers on launching and managing constructive classroom discussions on violent extremism. She is on the Executive Committee of Human Rights Educators USA. She holds an MA in Historiography in Education from Antioch University McGregor, and an MA and a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Elana is an Oral History Fellow at Columbia University and a George Eckert Institute of International Textbook Research fellow.

Read more about Dr. Elana Micahl Haviv and download this dissertation at

Sharon Wamble-King, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

Empowered Presence: Theorizing an Afrocentric Performance of Leadership by African American Women




From the abstract: 

There is a paucity of theorizing concerning leadership enactments performed by African American women. The performances have been marginalized and obscured within the Western leadership canon as they fall outside its epistemological boundaries; they have also been sidelined within Critical Leadership Studies. This study employed Afrocentricity as a decolonizing paradigm and Africology as the research methodology to describe and define a leadership phenomenon enacted by African American women. Setting aside Western conceptions of leadership, focus groups of African American women examined video excerpts of Africana women’s oral performances through an Africological lens. Participants’ Afrocentric-oriented perceptions sparked collective storytelling and Meaning-Making regarding their lived experiences of African American women who mobilize and energize others employing spiritually-anchored, embodied, affective approaches to engagement. Centering the African American women’s culturally distinct ways of being, knowing, and doing, the participants’ collective narratives were used to identify the four elements of the leadership phenomenon which included: spirituality, knowing, orality, and embodiment. A framework emerged from the data reflecting the interconnected, interrelated, interdependent, Afro-circular dynamism of the enactment’s elements and their characteristics; it served as the foundational architecture upon which to construct a theory of Empowered Presence, a culturally-distinct, spiritually-anchored, holistically-embodied performance of galvanizing, mobilizing, and engaging others within the collective. This study not only expands Western leadership theorizing but provides the groundwork for Afrocentric researchers to enhance decolonizing approaches to investigate African American women’s leadership within a Africological methodological framework.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Sharon Wamble-King, a native of Berkeley, California, is a management consultant who possesses decades of executive leadership experience in corporate, consulting, and not-for-profit settings across the healthcare, biotech, retail, energy, entertainment, and manufacturing industry sectors. As a change leadership and organizational communication strategist, she has provided leadership development, coaching and organizational effectiveness solutions to a range of clients. Additionally, she led diverse teams of staff and consultants who implemented communication and change and communication strategies spanning merger & acquisitions, divestures, executive, board, employee, multicultural, sales, and brand communication, crisis, disaster, and reputation management. Sharon has served in Board leadership roles in higher education, youth development, public broadcasting, organizational communication, cultural tourism, and arts, entertainment and recreation sectors. Her scholarship was focused on decolonized examinations of culturally-distinct ways that African American women engage, mobilize, and galvanize moored in the traditional African worldview and intergenerationally transmitted through socialization and communal generativity. Sharon holds a Bachelor of Science in Communication Arts and Sociology from the University of the Pacific, a Master of Science in Mass Communication from California State University, and Master of Arts and PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. Sharon is married with three bonus children and six grandchildren; she loves jazz, theatre, comedy, travel, reading, and serving in her church and community

Read more about Dr. Sharon Wamble-King and download this dissertation at

Trisha Swed, Ph.D.  [C 18]  2023

Towards an Ecosystem of Youth Leadership Development




From the abstract: 

This study is aimed at understanding how youth leadership development programs can be more inclusive and promote a broader range of leadership values, qualities, and behaviors by focusing on young people who have been disaffected by leadership development programs. The study design was intended to provide a creative space for youth to engage in meaningful conversations about their evolving concepts and expectations of leadership. Using critical youth participatory action research to engage a group of youth, cohort members co-created a new youth leadership development program while addressing their identified challenges and needs. Findings from this study highlight the importance of adults in youth programs and provide insights toward an ecosystem approach to youth leadership development. Practitioners, funders, and community leaders can create more inclusive and meaningful youth development opportunities and programs by understanding the youth program’s ecosystem.

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Trisha Swed is a leadership development practitioner and consultant with experience teaching and researching communication and education. Working with many different groups of people, Trisha has a soft spot for youth development. Her recent work explores ways youth leaders can implement community change through tools like dialogue, conflict process, philanthropy, and informal education. In one of her joint projects, Resolution Partners Program, Trisha supports building programs and community experiences which foster intergenerational learning and repairing relationships between Philadelphia Police and systems-involved youth. Trisha has been in communal education for eleven years and has a record for helping communities start new programs and reimagine existing ones. She has experience working with communities throughout the United States and Israel.

In addition to her consulting work, Trisha teaches at Temple University in the Klein College of Media and Communication and West Chester University in the Department of Communication. Trisha has been teaching for seven years and, in 2022, was acknowledged as an Instructor Extraordinaire at Temple University. In her time at these institutions, Trish has the pleasure of teaching core communication classes, public speaking, and conflict classes and supporting creative, independent student projects for students. She has also helped consult on university rubric practices and certifying course materials.

Trisha lives in Philadelphia with her husband, two cats, and a Corgi named Al. When she is not working with youth, you can find her hiking, reading a book, working on a new art project, or watering her plants.

Read more about Dr. Trisha Swed and download this dissertation at

Stephanie L. Fox, Ph.D.  [C 19]  2023

What does it Look Like for Mental Healthcare Organizations to be Healthy Places to Work? An Action Research Study




From the abstract: 

“Mental healthcare organizations have a reputation for being unhealthy places to work. The irony of this reputation is keenly felt by its workforce who report unsustainable workloads, high levels of stress, and lack of support or engagement from higher-level leadership. As a mental healthcare provider now in a position of leadership, who has worked across all levels of care within the sector, it was of interest to me to explore how a mental health organization can become a healthier and more sustainable place to work. I approached this study with the assumption that if an organization was healthy and intentional about health in its operation, this would be beneficial to the members of that organization, to the individuals whom the organization serves, and to the organization itself. This study endeavored to answer the question of how mental health organizations can become healthier places to work, considering both the factors that are within the control of mental healthcare organizations as well as those that are not. This study built on prior research by considering multiple factors identified in the research as functioning in relationship to each other. This is a development on previous research which has predominantly investigated aspects of work environment, mental healthcare worker experience, and patient care as siloed elements. Informed by the literature review, an Action Research study was developed and conducted. Study participants represented a cross-section of work experiences within mental healthcare organizations ranging from direct care providers to program directors and administrators. Participants engaged in discussion groups for the purpose of perspective sharing v across experiences in order to collaboratively investigate the question of how mental health organizations could become healthier places to work. Key findings of the study were that practical solutions to improve the work environment are feasible and accessible, and not novel. The most important finding was the critical determinant of a healthy work environment is the willingness of organizational leaders to engage with and invest in their workforce.”

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Stephanie Fox is a licensed mental health counselor, substance use disorder professional, credentialed clinical supervisor, and registered yoga instructor. She also serves as an adjunct professor in addiction studies and substance use disorder treatment. Dr. Fox currently works as the director of operations for a mental health treatment facility, and previously served in direct care and clinical leadership positions in mental health and substance use disorder treatment programs. Dr. Fox holds a bachelor's degree in psychology from Seattle Pacific University and a master’s degree in counseling psychology from The Seattle School of Theology and Psychology. During the second year of her graduate training Dr. Fox completed a 200-hour yoga instructor training with the intent to integrate aspects of the practice into her clinical work. Dr. Fox continues to research and develop integrative approaches to mental health treatment, provider and workplace development, improving mental healthcare systems, and leadership practice within the mental healthcare field.

Read more about Dr. Stephanie Fox and download this dissertation at

Tyler Guy Olson, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2023

Navigating Conflict During Periods of Change in Higher Education: Deconstructing Academic Leaders’ Construction of Meaning




From the abstract: 

"Navigating departmental and organizational conflict is an essential function and responsibility of an academic unit leader (dean, associate dean, director, or chair) in higher education institutions (HEIs). During periods of organizational change, conflict tends to increase in complexity and difficulty—in part due to resistance to change—making it more difficult to manage in a constructive manner (Marcus, 2014). Much of the literature that looks at the academic unit leader and conflict focuses on personal conflict styles (or modes), types of conflicts encountered, and training on techniques and skills for conflict resolution and management. Missing from the literature is research that examines academic leaders’ constructive-developmental mindsets (i.e., meaning-making structures) when dealing with and navigating conflict within their division (or institution) and the relationship between one’s developmental mindset and their approach to engaging and navigating complex conflict. This study examines how nine academic unit leaders construct meaning when experiencing and navigating conflict situations amid organizational change (which HEIs experienced at an unprecedented level in 2020 and 2021). Additionally, it examines the relationship between how one constructs meaning and their capacity for constructive engagement and navigation of conflict. The primary finding from this study supports the hypothesis that academic leaders who demonstrate complex developmental mindsets hold a greater capacity to engage and navigate complex conflict situations in more deliberate and potentially constructive ways. Additionally, data from the research supports the notion that as an individual develops an increasingly more complex developmental mindset, their capacity for cognitive empathy (i.e., perspective-taking) increases. The study employed a multimethod approach, incorporating multiple case studies and a modified critical incident technique. Data were collected through the Subject-Object Interview (Lahey et al., 2011), a modified critical incident interview, and a loosely-structured closing interview. Each of the nine leaders participated fully in all three interviews in this order. This exploratory study contributes to the continued scholarly discussion on leaders navigating conflict and change in HEIs. "

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Tyler “Ty” Olson, PhD, is driven by meaningful and mission-driven work aligned with his values. He finds deep meaning in supporting efforts and organizations committed to adult education and development, that promote social equity and justice, and empower individuals and communities to engage conflict constructively and thrive.

Ty currently serves as an interim Associate Dean of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences of the Metropolitan Campus of Cuyahoga Community College (Tri-C) in Cleveland, Ohio (since November 2022). Additionally, he manages the Conflict Resolution and Peace Studies program at Tri-C, which he has overseen since 2013. In addition to serving in these roles, he regularly adjunct teaches courses on conflict engagement (i.e., conflict resolution, management, and transformation), peace studies, and civic engagement and service learning. He is a founding partner of (re)Frame Conflict, LLC (est. 2018), which works with individuals and organizations to support constructive and equitable processes for engaging and addressing conflict. Much of his work as a practitioner and consultant over the past decade has focused on identity and values-based conflicts within organizations and communities (i.e., race, religion, gender, and politics).

Ty grew up in the Pacific Northwest (Washington and Oregon states) and then relocated to Cleveland, Ohio, in early 2013 to work at Tri-C. From 2007 to 2009, he worked as an English literature teacher at a bilingual middle school in Honduras, Central America. This experience solidified his passion for education and inspired him to pursue a career focused on conflict resolution and transformation. In addition to living in Honduras for two years, he has traveled extensively in Latin America, Africa, and North America.

From 2021 to 2022, Ty participated in the Cleveland Leadership Center’s Advanced Leadership Institute program, which “provides mid-level, community-minded professionals the space, skills, knowledge, and connections to collaborate on creating experiences that transform our community for the better.” In 2022, he received the American Association of Political Science (APSA) Community College Faculty Award for teaching and work in conflict resolution and peace studies at Tri-C and in the community.

In addition to a PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, Ty holds an MA in Leadership and Change from Antioch University (2020), an MA in Conflict Resolution, with a concentration in Peace and Justice Studies from Portland State University (2012), and a BA in Religion from George Fox University (2007).

Ty’s core aim is to empower individuals and organizations to critically understand political, social, and interpersonal conflict to support individuals and communities in reframing conflict as an opportunity for constructive change and growth at the individual, organizational, and community levels.

Read more about Dr. Tyler Olson and download this dissertation at

Katherine Penn Lampley, Ph.D.  [C 17]  2023

Experiencing Workplace Inclusion: Critical Incidents that Create a Sense of Inclusion for Professional Staff in Higher Education



Katie Lampley headshot


From the abstract: 

"Professional staff make up the majority of employees at colleges and universities in the United States but are rarely the focus of research in higher education. As a result, little is known about how these employees experience the workplace, creating a challenge for educational institutions working to attract, develop, and retain this essential resource. Employees who feel included in the workplace have higher performance levels and are more likely to remain with their organizations, but workplace inclusion is a complex and undertheorized psychological phenomenon. This exploratory study provides insight into the psychological experience of inclusion by examining the experiences, interactions, and moments that caused professional staff to feel included at work. Using constructivist critical incident technique (CIT), semi structured interviews were conducted with 23 participants to uncover 78 inclusion incidents and the context surrounding those incidents at various levels within the organization. The findings reveal two main pathways to inclusion for professional staff in higher education: the affirmation and impact pathways. Inclusion incidents in the affirmation pathway emerged from experiences or interactions where an individual, team, or organization affirmed the professional staff member’s personal or professional identity. Inclusion incidents in the impact pathway emerged when professional staff members took some action that impacted an individual or the organization. An intersectional view of the results demonstrates that all participants, irrespective of social identity, experience inclusion in the workplace, expanding the perception of who benefits from inclusive environments. Analysis of the detailed descriptions of the outcomes of these incidents supports the expansion of the dominant conceptualization of workplace inclusion to include authenticity in addition to belongingness and uniqueness."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Katie Penn Lampley, Ph.D., is an organizational development and diversity, equity, and inclusion practitioner with 25+ years of experience in various industries, most notably Higher Education and Financial Services. As the VP and Chief Diversity & Inclusion Officer at Bentley University, Katie leads institution-wide strategic efforts to advance the University’s commitment to inclusive excellence. Her portfolio includes the Office of Diversity & Inclusion and the Office of Equal Opportunity & Institutional Equity. Katie collaborates with campus leaders to identify and implement strategic initiatives, build capacity through professional development, and ensure accountability and compliance efforts for professional and administrative staff, faculty, and students.outreach.

Katie’s passion for organizational change and diversity work stems from learning to navigate the many dualities in her life. Raised in the US Virgin Islands, Katie embraces her Caribbean and American cultural heritage. She also identifies as bi-racial with white Irish and black Afro-Caribbean ancestry. The experience of resisting the labels and binaries used to categorize others has informed her approach to developing inclusive learning environments and cultures in her professional life.  

Katie holds an MBA with a concentration in Marketing from the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill and a B.S. in Economics and Finance from Bentley University. Her research interests include inclusive workplace culture and the creation of brave spaces in higher education.

Read more about Dr. Katie Lampley and download this dissertation at

Christopher T. James, Ph.D.  [C 19]  2023

Narrative-Driven Educational Practice: Guiding Principles for Academic Success of Black and Latinx Male Collegians




From the abstract: 

"On the heels of America grappling with various racial and ethnic inequities, this dissertation explored the experiences of Black and Latinx males who graduated with bachelor’s degrees from 4-year institutions. Participants navigated through different environments, including Historically Black Colleges and Universities [HBCUs], Hispanic Serving Institutions [HSI], and Predominately White Institutions [PWIs]. The study inquired about topics concerning their unique experiences and how they informed their collegiate academic success. Narrative Inquiry was the basis for 20 qualitative interviews (10 Black and 10 Latinx; interviewed for 60–90 minutes). Participants identified as U.S. citizens and graduated with a cumulative grade point average [GPA] of 3.0 and above. Reflexive Thematic Analysis [RTA] was performed to analyze the data. RTA is a distinguishing element of this study as it integrates the researcher’s positionality, qualitative findings, and feedback from code reviewers (Braun & Clarke, 2021). This study constructed five main themes for Black and Latinx male collegians', ranging from Salient Identities to identifying Catalysts for Academic Success. Key findings of the study unearthed factors contributing to academic success that included factors such as: parental involvement, academic rigor, mentorship, and creating and engaging in spaces of fellowship and belonging. Findings also revealed cultural distinctions between groups are vital to understanding the appropriate academic resources. These distinctions between groups were factors such as: parental citizenship, cultural group sub-cultures (e.g., traditions, food, dance), and language and vernacular. Participants’ salient identities (identities that they are closely associated with—for example, being a scholar or community leader) were at the center of their high achievement. The dissertation concludes with guiding principles meant to assist educators in producing and implementing culturally responsive approaches to support Black and Latinx collegians academically."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Christopher James is currently leading his leadership and performance coaching business which inspires and guides individuals to achieve success. He leverages his prior professional experiences at postsecondary institutions to instruct those how to fully embrace their educational experiences by maintaining high GPAs and taking advantage of internships, study abroad, and extracurricular activities. His passion focuses on aiding minoritized populations in realizing their potential and executing their purpose. Dr. James holds a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University and a master’s degree from New York University in Applied Psychology and Antioch University in Leadership and Change. He constantly pursues personal and professional development through books, conferences, and podcasts. As a first-generation college student, he has been shown support throughout his doctoral journey by those closest to him. Dr. James is excited to take on the next chapter of his life by growing the number of lives he impacts through his business and community outreach.

Read more about Dr. Chris James and download this dissertation at

Lisa Marie Gick, Ph.D.  [C 12]  2023

Theoretical Modeling for Curious Leadership and Instrument Development and Validation for Measuring Curious Leader Capacity



Lisa Gick profile photo


From the abstract: 

"When curious, we admit we do not know. With the contemporary workplace emerging through increased complexity, leaders are compelled to shift mindsets and practices from more traditional methods to those more in service to the uncertainty of the day. The purpose of this mixed-methods study was to generate an integrated theoretical framework for curious leadership, a validated scale for its measurement, and practical methods for engaging differently in the context and practice of leading. Drawing from the literature review of relational leadership, adaptive leadership, complexity leadership, growth mindsets, and curious behavior, and from my practice, 12 sub-constructs were identified as possible scale components of curious leader behavior. A mixed-methods approach was taken with three differently composed focus groups who reviewed the 12 sub-constructs and honed them to four based on their intersections in Phase 1 of the study. In Phase 2, a survey was thereby developed identifying 66 items for further subsequent appraisal. A finalized survey was undertaken with 274 respondents. From principal and confirmatory factor analysis, four sub-scales were eventually identified: Encourage Emergence, Enable Openness, Engage Experiments, and Honor Humanness resulting in the development of the Gick Curious Leader Capacity Scale. The scale's application and future implications for research and practice are discussed."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

After 25 years at Macy’s Inc., most recently as Vice President of Employee Engagement for the enterprise, Dr. Lisa Gick is currently Assistant Professor of Management and Leadership at Mount St. Joseph University, and Director of the University’s Master of Science in Organizational Leadership program. She is a certified Leadership Coach through Georgetown University, with a PCC designation through the International Coaching Federation.  Lisa is also owner of [curious]® leadership + change agency, a researched-based, creative agency deepening organizational commitment to work culture and leader impact. Her research is focused on the notion of emergence as it relates to leader capacity, strategy, and organizational development in the modern world.

Lisa presents regularly on leadership and the organizational experience globally and is a collaborative researcher and co-author of a chapter on leader identity development in the book Theorizing Women in Leadership:  Insights and Contributions from Multiple Perspectives and a chapter on leading in the liminal space in Adaptive Leadership in a Global Economy: Perspectives for Application and Scholarship. 

Lisa holds a Master of Science degree from Miami University in College Student Personnel Services, and both a Master’s degree and PhD from Antioch University in Leadership and Change.  Her dissertation research involved a 2-phase, mixed methods study exploring the curious capacity of leaders and instrument validation for its measurement.  More information about Lisa and her consulting practice can be found at

Dr. Lisa Gick’s LinkedIn:

Read more about Dr. Lisa Marie Gick and download this dissertation at

Paula C. Lowe, Ph.D.  [C 15]  2023

Mind Wandering in Daily Life: A National Experience Sampling Study of Intentional and Unintentional Mind Wandering Episodes Reported by Working Adults Ages 25 – 50




From the abstract: 

"Numerous researchers have investigated thinking that drifts away from what the individual was doing, thinking that is known as mind wandering. Their inquiries were often conducted in university lab settings with student participants. To learn about mind wandering in the daily life of working adults, this experience sampling study investigated intentional and unintentional mind wandering episodes as reported by working adults, ages 25–50, living across the United States. In this age frame, work and family responsibilities have increased in complexity and overlap. Using a smartphone app, participants were randomly notified to answer experience sampling surveys six times a day for up to five days. Eight questions concerned frequency, intentionality, and the descriptive characteristics of thought type, thought content, temporality, context, context demand, and emotion. Based upon 7,947 notification responses and 4,294 reported mind wandering episodes, the research findings showed that mind wandering is a common thinking experience in working adult daily life and is differentiated by intentionality, parent status, and gender. Parents reported more frequent mind wandering and intentional mind wandering episodes than nonparents. Episode thought type was most often indicated as practical thought. Episodes were more often reported as having the content related to context although out of context mind wandering episodes were also highly reported. Context demand and emotion at the time of the notification were related to mind wandering episode frequency and were further differentiated by intentionality, parent status, and gender. Working parents reported mind wandering episodes during higher demand, particularly male parents, than nonparents. By generating new knowledge about the thinking life of working adults, this study’s results and methodology contribute to the fields of leadership and change, thought research, intrapersonal and interpersonal psychology, work and family studies, and education. Future studies focused on underlying factors related to the mind wandering of working adults and the differences between parent and nonparent mind wandering may inform our understanding of working adult mind wandering."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Dr. Paula C. Lowe experiences mind wandering to be a vital part of her creative work in educational psychology and leadership and change as well as her story telling as an artist and poet. Truth be told, she mind wanders often. When stuck on solutions that don’t fit, she lets thoughts pop up. When in the early stages of writing, she intentionally begins with a blank page and maybe there comes a character wearing a red backpack. She remembers doing this in grade school, looking out the window to the corn fields, watching a farmer start up his tractor. Across decades as a professional in educational psychology, she has found schools, workplaces, even families have held discouraging biases about off-task thinking, even considering those who mind wander as evidencing attention deficit. Lowe conducted her research to inform this bias, studying this thought process and learning about its importance to individuals as well as leaders. Her inquiry confirmed that mind wandering is a common type of thinking working adults do and connects us to people, ideas, and events in places and temporality beyond the moment we are in. As said aptly by J. R. R. Tolkien, “not all those who wander are lost.” Lowe believes we cannot teach or learn or work or lead without recognizing and incorporating the realities of off-task thought that she found occurred one out of every two times when a participant was randomly asked, “are you mind wandering right now.” Her findings support that mind wandering is a valuable and co-existent thought process that cannot be extracted from an individual’s daily life.

Dr. Lowe has been helping others for many years. She consulted, developed learning programs, and conducted research for various constituencies, i.e., Head Start, military, at-risk, working families, urban and rural schools, corporations, universities, and more. Her book on parents helping parents, CarePooling, reached a national audience and served army communities stationed in Europe. Lowe’s educational programs include Parenting For Education, Choicercises, HomeWorks, Here’s Looking At You Two. She has trained thousands of people in multi-day settings, directed educational curricula evaluations, served as a family therapist, and taught art to every age, always with a passion for helping individuals appreciate themselves and their potential.

Lowe’s next book, Those Thoughts: Mind Wandering in Daily Life, aims to help others learn about their mind wandering. She continues to publish poems in an assortment of literary journals and anthologies including The Iowa Review, River Styx, Poet Lore, Crosswinds, burntdistrict and many more. Six of her poems have been selected as finalists for poetry awards. Her book MOO (2014) was a finalist for the 2015 International Book Award in poetry. Lowe’s contributions include serving as a small press publisher and on boards of directors such as the TEACH Foundation and San Luis Obispo County Library Foundation.

Earning her PhD in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, Yellow Springs, OH, Dr. Lowe also holds two master’s degrees, the first in Educational Psychology from the University of Washington and the second in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. She attained her undergraduate degree in art education and art history at Augustana College, Rock Island, Illinois. Lowe studied graduate poetry at the University of Iowa and completed the story development credential at the University of Washington.

Read more about Dr. Paula C. Lowe and download this dissertation at

Jane Feinberg, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2023

Being and Becoming Across Difference: A Grounded Theory Study of Exemplary White Teachers in Racially Diverse Classrooms




From the abstract: 

"Of the roughly 3.5 million public school teachers in the United States, approximately 80% are White. In contrast, about 51.7% of the nation’s students are African American, Hispanic, Asian, and American Indian. This mismatch is expected to grow as the number of BIPOC students in our nation’s public schools continues to increase. Studies have shown that strong positive relationships are essential for learning, but often, the relationships between White teachers and BIPOC students are strained at best, leading to poorer learning outcomes. The purpose of this Constructivist Grounded Theory study was to explore an understudied question: How do White teachers who have been deemed exemplary by educators and parents of Color perceive their relationships and experiences with BIPOC students in an educational system and a society that often marginalizes them? Open-ended interviews were conducted with 19 middle and high school teachers in Massachusetts. Dimensional analysis revealed Being-and-Becoming Across Difference as the core dimension. Five primary dimensions were identified: Reflecting, Relating, Embodying Humility, Affirming Culture, and Holding Hope. Results of this study suggest that significant changes are needed in the recruitment and hiring of White teachers and that pre-service and in-service professional development must support White teachers in far more robust and sustaining ways than currently exist."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Jane Feinberg is the Founder and Executive Director of Power of Place Learning Communities (PoP). For much of her career, she has supported mission-driven organizations in developing their communications, engagement, learning, and leadership capacities as a foundation for driving meaningful and sustained social change. 

Feinberg began her career as a journalist and documentary producer. She developed, wrote, and produced for award-winning public television programs and series, such as “MacNeil/Lehrer NewsHour,” “The American Experience,” “Frontline,” “Long Ago & Far Away,” and PBS specials on Amelia Earhart and the Honorable Thomas P. O’Neil, Jr. She was also a writer/producer for the popular ABC-affiliate nightly newsmagazine “Chronicle," where she often covered social issues. Feinberg directed a two-year statewide media campaign for the ABC affiliate in partnership with the United Way of Massachusetts. The campaign, which won the coveted Service to America Award, elevated the importance of after-school programs to youth development and thriving communities. 

In addition to her previous media work, Feinberg served as the Director of Communications and Press Secretary for the Boston Public Schools. She also served as Senior Associate for FrameWorks Institute in Washington, D.C., where she helped translate social science research about how Americans think about key social issues into messaging for senior leaders engaged in policy and program change. Feinberg was a strategist to school districts in northern New England that received funding from the Nellie Mae Education Foundation to embed student-centered philosophies and practices. She also served as Regional Partnership Lead for Reimagine Learning, a project of New Profit that focused on better supporting marginalized and minoritized students. This work led to the creation of the Essex County Learning Community (ECLC), which launched in 2018 with generous funding from the Peter and Elizabeth C. Tower Foundation. ECLC is the flagship program of Power of Place Learning Communities.

Feinberg is a Summa Cum Laude/Phi Beta Kappa graduate of the University of Minnesota, holds masters degrees from Boston University and Antioch University, and a PhD from Antioch University. Her research focuses on the relational dimensions of teaching and learning, with a particular emphasis on white teachers and students of color.

Read more about Dr. Jane S. Feinberg and download this dissertation at

Angela Wellman, Ph.D.  [C 16]  2023

Exploring Supervisory Needs of First-Generation Professionals Working in Higher Education




From the abstract: 

"As first-generation students enter the workforce and traverse through their careers, their work supervisors are solidly positioned to positively influence their experiences. There is very little literature to be found that addresses the professional experiences of first-generation professionals in relation to their supervisors. The purpose of this exploratory study was to learn, directly from first-generation professionals working in higher education, what they believe they need from their supervisors to support their well-being and success. This research also sought to discover how important participants thought that each need statement was, as well to gain insight to what extent the identified needs are being met. This study utilized a web-based concept mapping methodology that employed both qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis. The findings of this study indicate that first-generation professionals have identified six need areas that supervisors can address to support their well-being and success. These are (a) Professional Growth and Development; (b) Institutional Onboarding; (c) Guidance and Understanding; (d) Communication and Feedback; (e) Humanity; and (f) Cultural Intelligence. This study contributes to the field of practice in higher education because it has empowered first-generation professionals to identify their unique needs specific to supervision. Equally important, garnering this information from first-generation professionals better informs supervisors on what this population needs, and offers suggestions on how these needs can be met."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Angie Wellman is the Director of Belonging and Education for Student Life at The Ohio State University. In this role, she serves as a thought-partner with department colleagues on staff-focused belonging, inclusion and equity-minded initiatives, working to ensure that inclusion and equity are imbedded in our collective work.  Angie facilitates community building and educational opportunities scaffolded to continuously develop team members’ capacity to effectively relate, work and lead across identity, cultures, and experiences. Additionally, she supports Student Life managers and supervisors in advancing a culture in which students and staff feel valued, included, and affirmed as integral parts of the university.

A licensed professional clinical counselor, Angie is also a lecturer in the College of Social Work and College of Education & Human Ecology at The Ohio State University. Before her work at Ohio State, Angie held the position of Executive Director at Kaleidoscope Youth Center. Prior to this, she led programming efforts at other non-profit organizations including Stonewall Columbus, Oriana House and an Akron-area YMCA.

Angie is a proud first-generation college graduate who earned her bachelor's degree from Kent State University, a Master of Science degree from the University of Dayton and a Doctor of Philosophy in Leadership and Change from Antioch University. An experienced scholar-practitioner, Angie’s ongoing research interests are in the cultivation of individual self-efficacy, institutional access, and organizational development.

Read more about Dr. Angela R. Wellman and download this dissertation at

Sarah R. Villarreal, Ph.D.  [C 14]  2023

A Narrative Inquiry of Latinx Undergraduates' Participation in High-Impact Educational Practices




From the abstract: 

"There are systematic barriers to educational equity in the U.S. higher education system, and the system overwhelmingly fails Latinx undergraduates more often than other students. It is crucial that evidence-based methods be used to reduce the existing postsecondary student success inequities. Scholars have linked specific educational practices to positive learning effects. A growing body of evidence has suggested these educational practices, coined high-impact practices (HIPs), provide amplified benefits to historically underserved students (HUS) and may be an effective tool for advancing equity and closing achievement gaps. The extant literature has neither adequately explained the reason(s) that HIPs provide an academic boost to HUS nor described their lived experience. Such qualitative research is important for understanding how HIPs contribute to HUS’ learning and engagement, better support student success, and address inequities. Through narrative inquiry and inductive/emergent analysis, this study explored the lived experience of Latinx in HIPs at a 4-year public university. Deductive/a priori analysis drew from two theoretical frameworks: validation theory and cultural capital. This study investigated several guiding questions: In which curricular experiences do Latinx undergraduates experience the deepest learning and engagement? To what elements or aspects of the experiences do Latinx undergraduates attribute the learning and engagement? What are the key validating experiences or experiences that recognize/reward cultural capital? Findings revealed five major course elements as associated with deep learning and engagement: professor behaviors or traits, real-world and relevant content, preparation for future or career, relationships with peers, and diverse perspectives. A key implication for practice is that faculty are central to student success and through the application of teaching and curricular elements, every academic course can ensure deep learning and engagement for HUS. Faculty/individual, institutional, and policy level changes and efforts can rapidly scale HUS’ access to courses that result in positive educational outcomes including retention and graduation."

From the AURA: Antioch University Repository and Archive Page

Sarah is the daughter of postsecondary educators and herself has been a public higher education professional since 2001. She currently serves as Chief of Staff at California State University San Marcos, overseeing the Office of the President. In this role, Sarah provides strategic support and leadership for high-priority campus projects and initiatives and serves as the liaison to a variety of internal and external constituencies. Prior to Chief of Staff, Sarah held various positions at Cal State San Marcos including Associate Vice President for Community Engagement and Associate Dean of Extended Learning. Sarah began her higher education career at the University of California, Riverside.

Sarah’s research interests as a scholar practitioner include Latinx and first-generation student success and reducing equity gaps for historically underserved students. Sarah is the proud partner of a changemaker and K-12 leader, Dr. José Manuel Villarreal, and the proud mother of two amazing and caring children, Nathan and Noah Villarreal. Sarah holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and Change from Antioch University, an M.B.A. from the University of Redlands, and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of California, Los Angeles.

Read more about Dr. Sarah R. Villarreal and download this dissertation at