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2023 Keynote Panel

four keynote panelists posting for photo

Thursday, April 20, 1 to 2:30 p.m. ET
Mitchell Auditorium

Watch the Recording [YouTube]

Shifting Perspectives: Mindfulness in a Mind-Full Time 

To be well means to tend to the self and our needs in authentic ways. When we are well, we can do well and be available in healthy ways for others. However, graduate students experience depression, anxiety, and high rates of stress six times higher than the general population. The prevalence of graduate students’ mental distress has led to multiple studies targeting learners in the STEM and healthcare fields to assess the efficacy and feasibility of mindfulness practices. Mindfulness-based stress reduction has been proven to help and optimize well-being. You matter and your work, an extension of you, matters. When your mind is "full" and not "mindful," it is a sign to pause, take inventory, and shift perspective so that you can effectively problem-solve, innovate, and create.

Presented by Michelle Rattigan, MA, ATR-BC, NCC, LPCWoman with glasses

Associate Clinical Professor, Creative Art Therapies Department, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Michele Rattigan (pronouns: she/her) is a registered, board-certified, licensed art therapist and nationally certified, licensed professional counselor with specializations in trauma, post-partum depression and anxiety, disordered eating and body image concerns, self-harming behaviors, and dissociative disorders. Her teaching philosophy is informed by Universal Design for Learning and focuses on the dynamic teacher-student relationship and presence as pedagogy to support student growth that is trauma-informed, compassionate, socially mindful, and grounded in cultural humility. The intersections of daily arts practices, creativity, well-being, mindfulness, self- and community compassion, interdisciplinary collaboration, and equity in mental healthcare influence her work as a clinician, artist, writer, volunteer, and 24 years as an educator.

Following the "Shifting Perspectives" presentation, a panel discussion will be held by Drexel's faculty and professional staff sharing advice on how to improve wellness during your graduate career.

Stephen Gambescia, PhD, MED, MBA, MHUM, MLS MCHESMan with suit and tie

Clinical Professor and Director of Doctor of Health Science, Health Administration Department, College of Nursing and Health Professions

Stephen F. Gambescia is a professor of health services administration and Director of the Doctor of Health Science program in the College of Nursing and Health Professions. His teaching and research interests are in macro policy issues in health and education. He has held a range of academic administrative positions at three universities (two colleges within Drexel—CNHP and Goodwin) from assistant program director to serving on a college’s Board of Trustees. He has robust academic formation studying through seven-degree programs. These experiences allow him to give sage advice and facilitate complex student "issues."

Peter Gaskill, PhDMan sitting outside near trees

Associate Professor, Pharmacology & Physiology, College of Medicine

Dr. Peter J. Gaskill has been interested in the neuropathogenesis of HIV for longer than he has been a scientist but began to formally study HIV infection of the CNS with Dr. Howard Fox at the Scripps Research Institute. As a graduate student, he used the Rhesus macaque model of SIV infection to define the genotypic and phenotypic features of neurovirulent viral strains. This research drew his attention to the impact of the neuropathologic, cognitive, and behavioral features now known as neuroHIV, as well as the increased prevalence of substance use disorders in this population. He developed this interest as a post-doctoral fellow with Dr. Joan W. Berman at Albert Einstein College of Medicine, examining the impact of dopamine on monocytes and macrophages.

When he transitioned to Drexel to start his own lab, Dr. Gaskill’s research further expanded to examine the interaction of ART with these processes and the broader role of dopamine as an immunomodulatory factor. Currently, his laboratory uses molecular biology, high-content imaging, and pharmacology to examine the receptors, signaling pathways, and genetic changes regulating HIV infection and inflammatory activity in human myeloid cells in the presence of dopamine, stimulants, ART, and other therapeutics. This research has taken on greater importance in light of the increased use of neurotransmitter modulating therapeutics, as the neuromodulatory effects of these drugs remain unclear. Dr. Gaskill believes that defining the mechanism(s) by which changes in neurotransmitters alter viral infection and influence immune function is critical to effectively combating infection and disease in today’s increasingly medicated world.

Terrance Harris, MEdMan with button down shirt

Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion, College of Engineering

Terrance Harris serves as the Director of Diversity, Equity, & Inclusion for the College of Engineering at Drexel University. Harris is responsible for the college's DEI initiatives supporting and promoting programs, policies, events and other activities for students, faculty, and staff. He previously served as Director of the LBH Black Cultural Center at Oregon State University, worked collectively with campus and community partners, advised multiple student orgs, and advocated for Black and brown faculty and staff. Terrance received a Master of Education from UNT 2012, and a Bachelor of Science in Business from Western Kentucky University 2007.

Terrance is actively involved with the National Conference on Race & Ethnicity (NCORE), a member of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA), and a proud member of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. Harris is a true southerner originally from Louisville, KY Terrance has lived all over the south in cities such as Dallas, Atlanta, and OrlandoTerrance believes that his everyday mission is to be the vessel to foster student development while always being your authentic self.