Research Scholars and Fellows


Senior Scholars

Ann Baker 2014   

Ann Baker

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Ann C. Baker is Emeritus Professor in the School of Policy, Government, and International Affairs (SPGIA), a Senior Scholar in the Center for the Advancement of Well-being, and affiliate faculty in Women and Gender Studies. She served two terms as the program director of the Masters in Organization Development and Knowledge Management program and as the Senior Associate Dean of the School of Public Policy from 2010-2013.  She has been teaching at GMU since 1996 and teaches in the six master’s degree programs and the Ph.D. program in SPGIA.

Dr. Baker's research interests include organizational change, cross-cultural communication, conflict and change, group dynamics, knowledge creation, and virtual conversations. She is the author of numerous publications related to her research interests including her book, Catalytic Conversations: Organizational Communication and Innovation, published in 2010. Her previous book, Conversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation, was published in 2002. Contact Dr. Baker at



Beth Cabrera

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Beth Cabrera's mission is to help people build more joyful, meaningful lives. As an author, researcher, and speaker, she teaches individuals strategies for achieving greater success and well-being. She has a special interest in helping women create lives they love. Dr. Cabrera also advises companies how to design positive work environments where people thrive.

After earning her Ph.D. in Industrial/Organizational Psychology from the Georgia Institute of Technology, Beth joined the faculty of Universidad Carlos III de Madrid, one of Spain's top universities. Upon returning to the States, she continued her academic career as a professor of management at Arizona State University and later as a senior research fellow at Thunderbird School of Global Management. Her research has been published in over 30 articles in some of the world's leading academic and professional journals. More information can be found at Contact Dr. Cabrera at


Paul C. Gorski

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Paul C. Gorski is Associate Professor of Integrative Studies, teaching in the Social Justice and Human Rights concentration and in Women and Gender Studies and Higher Education Program. He studies and writes about burnout and sustainability among social justice and human rights activists, poverty and educational access, and social justice teacher education. He is most interested today in building bridges between the mindfulness community and the social justice activists who need mindfulness practices desperately but do not see themselves represented in that community.

Gorski founded EdChange (, a coalition of social justice educators and activists who develop free resources and engage in cutting-edge scholarship to support the development of socially just and equitable educational opportunity. He is serving his second term on the Board of Directors of the International Association for Intercultural Education, serves in editorial capacities for a variety of journals, and speaks internationally about social, educational, and economic justice. His most recent books is Reaching and Teaching Students in Poverty: Strategies for Erasing the Opportunity Gap. ,Contact Dr. Gorski at

Todd Kashdan   

Todd B. Kashdan

Senior Scientist, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Todd B. Kashdan is Professor of Psychology and Senior Scientist at the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being at George Mason University, and Professor at the Institute for Positive Psychology and Education, Australian Catholic University. He is a world recognized authority on the science of well-being, strengths, relationships, stress, and anxiety. His honors include being a distinguished faculty member of the year and early career awards from the American Psychological Association, Association for Behavioral and Cognitive Therapies, and International Society for Quality of Life Studies. He has published over 150 scholarly articles and authored Curious? Discover the Missing Ingredient to a Fulfilling Life (William Morrow), Designing Positive Psychology (Oxford University Press), and Mindfulness, Acceptance, and Positive Psychology (New Harbinger), and his new book, The Upside of Your Dark Side: Why being your whole self - not just your “good” self - drives success and fulfillment (Penguin). His research has been featured in several media outlets, including the New York Times and The Washington Post. He's a twin and has twin 7-year old daughters, with plans to rapidly populate the world with great conversationalists. More information can be found at Contact Dr. Kashdan at

Dr. Maddux  

James E. Maddux

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Maddux is University Professor Emeritus and former director of the clinical psychology doctoral program. He is also a visiting professor at Klaipeda University in Lithuania where he teaches in their masters' program in counseling psychology. His major scholarly interest is the interface of social, clinical, and health psychology and how the research can be used to understand psychological adjustment, psychological disorders, and health-related behavior. Most of his research has been concerned with the role of agency beliefs, also known as self-efficacy beliefs, in psychological adjustment and health-related behavior.

Dr. Maddux is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association Divisions of General, Clinical, and Health Psychology, a Fellow of the Association for Psychological Science, and a member of the Examination Committee of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. He has published over 120 journal articles and book chapters and is co-editor of Psychopathology: Foundations for a Contemporary Understanding and Social Psychological Foundations of Clinical Psychology and editor of the forthcoming Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction. More information about this book can be found at:
Dr. Maddux may be contacted at


Duhita Mahatmya

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Duhita Mahatmya is an Assistant Professor of Integrative and Childhood Studies in New Century College. Dr. Mahatmya’s scholarship focuses on the intersection of child and adolescent well-being with family systems, schools, and neighborhoods; she is particularly interested in the development of student and civic engagement and intergenerational relationships in marginalized communities. Dr. Mahatmya builds this area of scholarship by exploring the influence of well-being on college students’ academic success.

Dr. Mahatmya's current research projects include; Positive Youth Development in Poverty: Risk and Protective Factors for Healthy Physical and Psychosocial Development in Low-Income Urban Families, Pathways and Predictors to Well-Being in Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood: Family, School, and Neighborhood Influences, and The Thriving Student: Cultivating Well-Being and Engagement in Emerging Adulthood. Contact Dr. Mahatmya at


Olivia (Mandy) O'Neill

Senior Scientist, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Olivia (Mandy) O'Neill is an Assistant Professor of Management in the School of Business. She holds a Ph.D. in Business Administration from the Stanford University Graduate School of Business and a B.S. in Psychology from the University of Maryland. Prior to being on the faculty at Mason, Professor O'Neill taught at The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and the Terry College of Business (University of Georgia).

Professor O'Neill has taught MBA and undergraduate courses in organizational behavior, negotiations, global management, introduction to management, leadership, and organizational change. Her primary areas of research include the study of organizational culture, emotions, and gender. She has worked with organizations across a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, emergency services, and retail. Contact Dr. O'Neill at

Julie Owen   

Julie Owen

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Julie Owen is an Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and teaches courses on leadership theory, social change, and civic action. Julie has fifteen years of professional experience in the field of leadership development and is a frequent consultant and speaker. She is active on several research teams, including the Multi-Institutional Study of Leadership (MSL) and the Leadership Identity Development project (LID). With the support of CWB, Julie received a competitive research grant for 2015-2017 from the Bringing Theory to Practice (BTtoP) Project of the Association of American Colleges & Universities (AAC&U) entitled: Thriving Together: Leveraging Well-Being and Civic Engagement as Pathways to Flourishing for First-Generation College Students. 

Julie received her B.A. in Psychology and English from the College of William and Mary, and her M. Ed. in College Student Personnel Administration from James Madison University. She holds a certificate of non-profit administration from Duke University and received her Ph.D. in College Personnel Administration at the University of Maryland, College Park, with a concentration in leadership development. Contact Dr. Owen at


Paul M. Rogers

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Paul M. Rogers has a Ph.D. in Education from UC Santa Barbara and is an Associate Professor of English and the Associate Chair of the English Department. A Senior Scholar for the Center for the Advancement of Well-Being since 2011, he works at the intersections of social entrepreneurship, well-being, and leadership. He is the co-chair of Mason's Well-Being Learning Community and has contributed to a number of CWB initiatives. His recent publications include the co-edited volumes: International Advances in Writing Research: Cultures, Places, and Measures; Writing Across the Curriculum: A Critical Sourcebook; and Traditions of Writing Research. Dr. Rogers' current research projects include a study on the relationship of written communication and social innovation and an extended research study aimed at improving the well-being of doctoral students. He recently was a featured expert on the Washington, D.C. PBS station WETA's award-winning series of innovative programs about how to help young children to read and write ( Contact Dr. Rogers at


Linda Schwartzstein

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Linda Schwartzstein is Professor of Higher Education, Law and Society and Distinguished Service Professor and an executive coach. Dr. Schwartzstein served as Vice Provost for Academic Affairs at George Mason from 1999 to 2012.

Dr. Schwartzstein's work focuses on well-being in higher education and well-being for adults transitioning to retirement. She has taught Well-Being in Higher Education, along with classes in Law and Higher Education and Higher Education Finance.

Dr. Schwartzstein received a JD from the University of Michigan, LL.M. in Taxation from New York University and a Ph.D. in Economics from George Mason University. Contact Dr. Schwartzstein at


Dr. Richard Strozzi-Heckler

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Richard Strozzi-Heckler has a Ph.D. in Psychology and a sixth-degree black belt in Aikido.  He is a nationally known speaker, coach, and consultant on leadership and mastery.  He is the Founder of Strozzi Institute, which offers consulting and coaching services to individuals and companies on five continents.  Over the past forty years, he has coached and advised thousands of executives from Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, technology start-ups, the U.S. government, and military.

Dr. Strozzi-Heckler was featured on the front page of The Wall Street Journal for the leadership program he designed and implemented for the U.S. Marine Corps. He was named one of the Top 50 Executive Coaches in The Art and Practice of Leadership Coaching, Jossey-Bass, and Profiles in Coaching, Linkage Publications.  He was a William Dickson Leader in Residence at California State University at Long Beach from 2009-2012.  He is also the Honorary President of the Peruvian Coaching Association.  From 2002 to 2007 he was an advisor to NATO and the Supreme Allied Commander of Europe (SACEUR) General Jim Jones, and the National Security Advisor.

Dr. Strozzi-Heckler is the author of 8 books including the nationally acclaimed The Leadership DojoIn Search of the Warrior Spiritand The Art of Somatic Coaching: Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom, and Compassion.


Gregory C. Unruh

Senior Scholar, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Gregory C. Unruh, Ph.D., is the Arison Professor of Values Leadership and an expert on sustainable business strategy. Dr. Unruh has served as a technical reviewer for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the group that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former US President Al Gore. He is the creator of Carbon Lock-in theory, a line of academic research that has spurred new lines of climate policy research around the globe. He is a strategic partner of the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and presented Principles of Responsible Business Education to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon at the Palais de Nations in Geneva. Dr. Unruh co-founded the Center for Eco-Intelligent Management with renowned “green” designer William McDonough and has published his findings in the Harvard Business Review, MIT Sloan Management Review, and Forbes Magazine. Contact Dr. Unruh at


Research Fellows


Robyn S. Mehlenbeck

Research Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Dr. Mehlenbeck is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of the GMU Center for Psychological Services, a clinic committed to training graduate students and providing evidence-based, accessible services for the community. Her individual specialty is working with adolescents and kids with medical conditions, including eating disorders and diabetes. Her research focuses on adolescent weight issues, and she currently supervises research involved in preventing suicide on college campuses.  Committed to the Clinical Science model, Mehlenbeck engages in clinical work, teaching and research, with an interdisciplinary focus. She has trained medical students, psychology interns and fellows, pediatrics and psychiatry residents and fellows and developmental-behavioral pediatricians. Contact Dr. Mehlenbeck at


Fallon Goodman

Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Fallon Goodman is a third-year doctoral student in the Clinical Psychology Department at George Mason University. She received her Bachelors of Science in Psychology and Family Science from the University of Maryland, where she graduated with Summa Cum Laude honors. She is working on several projects that are integral to Mason becoming a model Well-Being University, including co-chairing a working group on resilience and coordinating with Gallup Organization to implement well-being measurement activities. Fallon has taught university level classes in research methodology, psychological disorders, and scientific foundations of well-being. Fallon’s scholarly interests are in well-being measurement and intervention, emotion regulation, intimate relationships, and social anxiety. Within these areas, she is passionate about doing work that can be easily translated and used to improve people’s everyday lives. Contact Ms. Goodman at

 Melissa Stiksma  

Melissa Stiksma

Doctoral Research Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Melissa is a first-year doctoral student in Todd Kashdan's lab with a research focus on psychological flexibility and distress tolerance. She is currently working on several lab projects involving strivings, social anxiety disorder and alcohol, and distress tolerance in couples. Broadly, she is interested in studying the fusion between positive and clinical psychology in order to improve well-being in people's lives. 

Melissa received her Master's degree in Psychology from Florida Atlantic University (F.A.U.) under Ryne Sherman's advisement. Melissa received her Bachelor's from the Honors College of F.A.U. She received an Outstanding Thesis award for developing an effective mindfulness meditation session with Laura Vernon. 


Senior Fellows


Louis Alloro

Senior Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Lou·is [n. loo-is] A·lloro [uh-lohr-o], M.Ed., MAPP is a change-agent working with individuals and networks in systems to enable positive evolution. He is one of the first 100 people in the world to earn a Master of Applied Positive Psychology from the University of Pennsylvania. At MAPP, he published a framework for how communities evolve called Social-Emotional Leadership. This thesis work has been piloted in a city-wide well-being initiative in Cleveland, OH  and will expand to Philadelphia, PA later this year. The work is to find, leverage, connect and build psychological muscle in SOcial-eMOtional (SOMO) leaders, who are the influential change-agents within networks in systems. In coming together to learn to think expansively, SOMO leaders become more effective facilitators to innovate differently in business, healthcare, education, and a variety of areas to most importantly: get different results. Alloro owns a private consultancy founded in New York, NY, and is a founder and Director of the Certificate in Applied Positive Psychology (CAPP) program, a 6-month personal and professional journey into the science of flourishing. When he's not working on cool culture change and mind expansion initiatives, he can be found learning, beaching, exercising, eating, or playing with his puggle, Rocco. Learn more at Contact Mr. Alloro at


Tomasz Arcizewski

Senior Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Tomasz Arciszewski, Ph.D. is an engineer and a global transdisciplinary scholar who has been at the forefront of engineering creativity research for the last 40 plus years. His holistic research covers heuristic methods and fundamental models of the inventive engineering design processes and their computer simulation. He initiated a project with colleagues from Harvard and Princeton on “Creating Holistic Leaders” that has led to many university workshops. Tomasz has also been working with cognitive psychologists on the complex relationship between the well-being of designers and their creativity as discussed in his recent book Successful Education: How to Educate Creative Engineers.

The Center for the Advancement of Well-Being and the NSF EAGER Program jointly funded his most recent project (2012-2013) with Dr. Robert Youmans (GMU Department of Psychology) on the “Transdisciplinary Theory of Inventive Designing.” Tomasz is an inventor with patents in Canada, Poland, and America, his latest invention is a temporary crash barrier with a U.S. patent pending. He is also a leader within the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) and founding Chair of the Global Center for Excellence in Computing. Contact Dr. Arciszewski at


Deanna Busteed

Senior Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Deanna Busteed is adjunct faculty in Sport and Exercise Nutrition in the College of Education and Human Development and a registered dietitian with a board certification in Sports Nutrition. She brings more than 15 years of experience developing health and wellness programs as well as providing cutting-edge nutrition. Her specialties include health promotion, disease prevention, weight management, sports nutrition, wellness, and fitness.

Deanna graduated from the University of Rhode Island and obtained her Master of Science degree in Nutritional Science from the University of Massachusetts. She completed her Dietetic Internship at Framingham State College. Deanna is presently the Sports Dietitian for George Mason's Center for Sports Performance, servicing over 500 Division I athletes.


Steve Gladis

Senior Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

An executive coach, author, and speaker, Dr. Steve Gladis is an authority on the subject of leadership. CEO of Steve Gladis Leadership Partners—a leadership development company—he is the author of 19 books on leadership and a professor at George Mason University.  His company works with businesses, associations, and US government agencies, and he speaks regularly at conferences and corporate gatherings. A former faculty member at the University of Virginia, Dr. Gladis also served as an FBI special agent and was a decorated officer in the US Marine Corps.  His company donates a significant portion of corporate profits back to the community.  His newest book, Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work, was released in 2013 and is available on Amazon. Contact Mr. Gladis at

Ricardo Sanchez  

Ricardo Sanchez

Senior Fellow, Center for the Advancement of Well-Being

Ricardo Sanchez, M.Ed. is a third-year doctoral student in the College of Education and Human Development’s Counseling and Development Program. He has a master's degree in Counseling and Human Development and a graduate certificate in Grief, Loss and Life Transitions. Ricardo’s research focuses on family well-being, specifically on family reunification and well-being among Latino immigrants. He has led cross-cultural group counseling and service learning projects for GMU’s counseling program. Ricardo also works on domestic violence prevention and interventions with Fairfax County's Office of Family Services. 

As an Andean musician, a practitioner of Peruvian Native healing arts, and founder of Inka, Ricardo leads workshops incorporating music and hands-on activities sharing Native cultural approaches to well-being. Growing up in Peru, Ricardo experienced teachings passed on from his Quechua-speaking parents that are grounded in a love and reverence for nature and an awareness of the interconnectedness of community. Since 2005, he has led groups from the U.S. and South America on cultural-spiritual journeys to Peru. Contact Ricardo at



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