Current Institutional Review Board Members

Rebecca Hays, Ph.D. (Chair)

Dr. Hays is an Assistant Professor in the Biology Department at Eastern University. Dr. Hays has a Master’s degree in Marine Science and a Ph.D. in Oceanography, and uses aerial photography, LiDAR (Light Detection and Ranging), and GIS to examine the relationship between vegetation and ground elevation in salt marshes.  She teaches courses in Marine Biology and Environmental Issues, and works with undergraduate researchers on nutrient chemistry in wetland and aquatic systems, using remote sensing and GIS to examine vegetation patterns, and examining the relationships between organisms and their hydrological and geochemical environments.

Joe Giammarco, Ph.D.

Joe is a Professor in the Physics Department at Eastern University. He got his Ph.D. in Particle Physics Theory from Temple University. His specialties include computational physics, binary stars, and optical tomography. Dr. Giammarco has been at Eastern since 2007.

Cathy Kunsch, Ph.D.

Cathy is an Assistant Professor of the Counseling Psychology department at Eastern University. Cathy earned her Ph.D. in School Psychology from Lehigh University, where has been employed as a research scientist in the study of Autism Spectrum Disorders (primarily with adolescents) for the past five years. She is also a certified school psychologist in Pennsylvania and nationally certified school psychologist (NCSP).  She worked for the Devereux Foundation and maintains those professional connections. Cathy is the Co-Coordinator of the School Psychology program at Eastern and her professional and research interests include autism, positive behavior support, and self-management.

Meg Laakso, Ph.D.

Dr. Laakso is an Associate Professor in the Biology Department at Eastern University. Meg earned a Master's degree in Genetics from Kansas State University in Manhattan, Kansas, and a Ph.D. in Molecular Virology from Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. Previous research interests include the use of HIV as a gene therapy vector, and the molecular basis of drug resistance in HIV patients. Current investigations focus on two economically important plant viruses in an effort to understand how they are transmitted. She teaches Biotechnology, Virology and Molecular Biology, and a Genetics course that includes collaborative student research projects.

Kirk Mensch, Ph.D.

Dr. Mensch is an Associate Professor at Eastern University where he teaches courses ranging from the philosophy and psychology of leadership to advanced quantitative methods in the PhD in Organizational Leadership program. Kirk spent over 20 years in public service working primarily within the U.S. Intelligence Community and began his academic career as an Assistant Professor at the College of William & Mary in 2004. He holds a B.S. in Economics, a M.B.A. and two Ph.D.'s. His research centers in moral psychology and his current project is focused on understanding religiously and theologically oriented antecedents of moral disengagement in hopes of reducing propensities for self-destructive behaviors.

Stephanie Pérez-Jarmul, M.S.W.

Stephanie has been a full time faculty member in the Social Work department at Eastern since 2013. Stephanie holds a Master of Social Work degree from Temple University where her concentration was Social Work in the Community and Policy arenas. She has over a decade of practice experience in working with Latino Communities of Philadelphia in the areas of Maternal and Child Health. Stephanie spends most of her time at the Esperanza College campus where she serves as site coordinator for the Bachelor of Social Work program. Her research interests include modern marianismo, parenting and fatherhood.

Cheryl Sparks, Ph.D.

Cheryl is an Assistant Professor of Marriage and Family Therapy at Eastern University. She is interested in attachment theory and the integration of theology and psychology. Dr. Sparks maintains a private therapy practice near campus and is on the Philadelphia Center for Emotionally Focused Therapy, an empirically validated approach for healing couple relationships.

Melissa Terlecki, Ph.D.

Dr. Melissa Terlecki is an Associate Professor at Cabrini College in the Department of Psychology who serves as the IRB’s external reviewer. She received her PhD. from Temple University in Cognitive Psychology with a specialization in Neuroscience. Her research interests include spatial ability, gender studies, and metacognition. She serves multiple empirical journals as a peer-reviewer and is on the Editorial Board of Sex Roles. Likewise, Melissa serves the community by educating gradeschool students, especially young females, on the importance of STEM education. As an author, she has presented and published numerous articles and a book on training in spatial ability and closing the gender gap. Her most recent efforts involve building a new leadership program at Cabrini College, with a focus on metacognition. As a workshop presenter, she engages faculty and staff in metacognitive techniques and provides the pedagogical tools to share with students both inside and outside of the classroom. Melissa also serves as the Chair of the Institutional Review Board (IRB) at Cabrini College.

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