News & Events

Something is always going on in the Department of Social Sciences. Below are some highlights from our students and faculty.


Geography Program

On September 16 and 17, 2016, Concord University, The National Geographic Society, The National Park Service, West Virginia Geographic Alliance, and Hinton Elementary School will join forces to host a Geography Day at the New River Gorge National Park for 85 area elementary students. The featured event is a BioBlitz. The 24-hour program will include lessons on plants, birds, animals, dendrochronology, and archaeology. On Friday night, thirty students will participate in a camp fire, storytelling, and astronomy activities. They will spend the night in the camp dormitories, and enjoy breakfast on Saturday morning. Participating Concord University faculty include Geography professors Dr. Tom Saladyga and Dr. Joe Manzo, and Physics professor Dr. Alice Hawthorne-Allen.

Geography professors Dr. Shimantini Shome and Dr. Joe Manzo presented their work at the annual meeting of the National Council for Geographic Education in Tampa, FL, July 28-31, 2016. Dr. Shome gave a talk titled, "The Importance of Field Trips in Geography Education,”  while Dr. Manzo discussed, “Physical Geography through the Novel.” 


Concord University students, Charles Moustapha Seye and Arrienne MacAulay, completed a study abroad program in Korea and Japan during Summer 2016. The students spent the first sixteen days at Kangwon National University located north of Seoul, Korea. The program at Kangwon National University included classwork in Korean economics, geography, history, politics, and language and featured field trips to the DMZ, Seoul, and the East Sea. Following their time in Korea, Charles and Arrienne spent their last four days in Japan, touring Tokyo, with Geography professor Dr. Joe Manzo and Sharon Manzo. They also had the opportunity to meet with the President of the Japan Concord Alumni Chapter.

Geography professor Dr. Tom Saladyga and five Geography students took part in “Geography Day at the Park” at Harpers Ferry National Park on May 20-21, 2016. Dr. Saladyga demonstrated dendrotechnology techniques and interpretation to 80 students from Mountain Ridge Middle School, Berkeley County. Accompanying Dr. Saldayga were students Robert Jessee, Anastasiia Vorobeva, Brianna Hammons, Mark Large, and James Kemp. The event was part of the National Geographic BioBlitz series, a fun, fast-paced biological survey of a park’s creepers and crawlers, plants and pollinators, mammals and more held in conjunction with the National Parks 100th Birthday Celebration. More than 100 BioBlitzes took place across the country. 


Sponsored by the Geography Program, the National Geographic Bee statewide competition was held at Concord on April 1, 2016. Sixty-five 4th through 8th grade students, their teachers, and parents came from across the state. Surya Perla of Cross Lanes, an eighth grader from Andrew Jackson Middle School, finished as the West Virginia Geographic Bee Champion. Perla represented West Virginia in the 28th annual national competition in Washington D.C., May 23-25, 2016. The second place winner was Ethan Fisher of Harpers Ferry, a sixth grader representing Harpers Ferry Middle School. Third place went to Joshua Shupe of Charles Town, an eighth grader from Charles Town Middle School. Linda Poff was in charge of this event on behalf of the WV Geographic Alliance. 

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Political Science Program


Political Science professor Dr. Jim White participated as a moderator and presenter at West Virginia Center on Budget & Policy's inaugural Summer Policy Institute, July 29-31, 2016, at West Virginia Wesleyan College in Buckhannon. Dr. White moderated the session on Legislative and Policy Processes. He also presented, “Should You Want Us and Should We Want You,” at the Careers in Public Policy and Administration session. During the three-day event, participants had the opportunity to sit in on sessions including budget and taxes, legislative and policy process, West Virginia’s health policy, policies on how to build West Virginia’s middle class, and race and public policy. Panel discussions included an intervention and prevention model for better youth outcomes, health care in West Virginia, and careers in public policy and administration. Dr. White serves as a member of the Steering Committee that created the Institute. 

On May 29, 2016, Dr. Jim White's article, “Sanders, Trump differ on how to restore chance to live American dream,” was published in the Charleston Gazette-Mail.

Political Science's Pi Sigma Alpha Honor Society hosted Dr. Vinod Joseph, Fulbright Scholar in Residence at Morgan State University in Baltimore, on March 8, 2016. As Professor of Political Science and chair of the Political Science Department at Bangalore University, India, Dr. Joseph research and publications  focuses on United States-India relations, U.S. policy towards South Asia, nuclear issues with particular focus on South Asia, South Asian security issues, American foreign policy / Indian foreign policy and political theory.

In March 2016, Dr. Sally Howard traveled to the Southwestern Social Science Association Annual Meeting where she chaired two panels and presented her research, “Social Contract Theory and Modern States in Crisis.”


The induction ceremony for Concord's inaugural class of Alpha Iota Chi of Pi Sigma Alpha, the National Political Science Honor Society, was held November 5, 2015. Concord students' Bobby Erickson, Carolyn Chonoles and Elisa Sperandio were inducted into the honor society.

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Psychology Program

Thanks to a $15,000 health sciences educational opportunities grant, Dr. Adriana Falco spent Summer 2016 upgrading the Psychology Program’s laboratory facilities. Two new behavioral apparatuses were added: the elevated plus maze, which measures anxiety-like behavior in rats, and place conditioning which measures context and reward in rats. The lab has also added an analytical balance and PH meter for solution formulations. The equipment will further student learning opportunities in classes and individual research. 

Ten Concord Psychology students attended the Tri-State Psychology Conference at Marshall University on Friday, April 22, 2016. Students Nicole Hash, Katherine Engo, Cory Haines, Jeremy Starks, Tim Ward, Michael Bailey, and Tim Johnson presented their research at the conference.


The Psychology and McNair Scholars programs organized and hosted the 9th Annual Undergraduate Research Day and Graduate & Professional School Fair on April 14, 2016. Student researchers gave presentations on their papers, followed by a poster session and keynote speaker in the afternoon. This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Daniel Ehlinger, a second year postdoctoral research fellow at Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School. He has a passion for both neuroscience research and the training/teaching of graduate and undergraduate students. The event featured more than a 100 research posters and oral presentations from majors across the university. McNair Scholars from Bluefield State College and West Virginia State University also shared their work at the event. More than a dozen institutions participated in the Graduate & Professional School Fair.

During the Spring 2016 semester, the Psychology Program received a $15,000 grant to provide educational opportunities for Concord students in the health sciences, primarily focusing on nicotine and tobacco research and education. Dr. Adriana Falco, will be using the bulk of the funds to updating the psychology research facilities in order to continue her research on predictors of nicotine dependence and to educate Concord students in the methods of Behavioral Neuroscience, providing further research opportunities for students. The remainder of the funds will be allocated towards student support personnel and tobacco education outreach.


Dr. Adriana Falco and the Psychology Program have added an interdisciplinary Neuroscience minor to Concord University's curriculum! This will make the psychology students more competitive in the job market and for graduate/professional schools. This minor was approved for Spring 2016.

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