Research Scholars and Fellows


Senior Scholars

 Ann Baker 2014


Ann Baker

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 Mason since 1996 and teaches in the six master’s degree programs and the Ph.D. program in SPGIA. Ann'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 books, Catalytic Conversations: Organizational Communication and Innovation, and Conversational Learning: An Experiential Approach to Knowledge Creation. 

Melissa Broeckelman-Post


Michelle Broeckelman-Post

Dr. Michelle Broeckelman-Post is the Basic Course Director and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Communication.  She is responsible for planning, supervising, assessing, and improving the communication courses that meet the general education requirement at Mason.  Each year, she is responsible for recruiting, training, and supervising a staff of 50-60 instructors who teach 3,700-4,000 undergraduate students per year in these courses. In 2016, her program was the recipient of the NCA Basic Course Division Program of Excellence Award, which recognizes introductory communication course programs that can serve as best practice models for programs across the country.  In 2015, she was the recipient of the NCA Basic Course Division Textbook of Distinction Award for the textbook that she extensively adapted to meet the specific needs to Mason’s students, instructors, and program. Michelle is also serving as the co-chair of the Social Science Research Council’s Measuring College Learning Project Panel on Pubic Speaking as was a co-recipient of a National Communication Association Advancing the Discipline Grant for A National-Level Assessment of Core Competencies in the Basic Communication Course.   

Michelle is the co-author of two national communication textbooks, The Speaker’s Primer and Communication Pathways, and serves on the editorial boards of Communication Education, Communication Teacher, The Basic Communication Course Annual, and Journal of Communication Pedagogy. She is also a quantitative methods and mixed-methods research specialist who conducts research in communication assessment, communication pedagogy, and instructional communication. She has published research in Communication Education, The Basic Communication Course Annual, Journalism and Mass Communication Educator, Communication Teacher, Journal of Media Literacy Education, IIIE Transactions on Education, and other academic journals. 


Beth Cabrera

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. Beth 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 United 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. Learn more at


Paul C. Gorski

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.

Paul 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. 

Todd Kashdan   

Todd B. Kashdan

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. Todd 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 many 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 daughters, with plans to rapidly populate the world with great conversationalists. Learn more on

Dr. Maddux  

James E. Maddux

Dr. James 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 theory and research from social psychology 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.

Jim 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 former member of the Examination Committee of the Association of State and Provincial Psychology Boards. He has published many 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 Subjective Well-Being and Life Satisfaction. Since his retirement from Mason in 2011, Jim has traveled extensively internationally for conferences, lectures, workshops, and classroom teaching - mainly in countries where clinical psychology is an evolving scientific discipline and profession, such as the former communist-bloc countries of Eastern Europe.

 Wendi Manuel-Scott  

Wendi Manuel-Scott

Dr. Wendi Manuel-Scott is an Associate Professor within the School of Integrative Studies and the Department of History and Art History. In May 2017, she was recognized by Mason President Angel Cabrera for the inaugural Alcalde Family Medal for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. Her research and teaching focus on how the past – New World slave systems, Jim Crow-era segregation, corporeal systems of incarceration, patriarchal cultures, and anti-black racism – shapes our modern understanding of freedom and liberatory movements for justice. Both inside and outside of the classroom, her approach is to show students that history is relevant to their lives regardless of their chosen major, professional interests, or future activities. Wendi’s intention is to support each student’s journey toward becoming a more culturally responsible and better-informed citizen of our increasingly interconnected world.

Wendi’s research is guided by her interest in black resistance and agency from a diasporic and gendered perspective. After receiving a generous grant from the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities & Research (OSCAR), she and Dr. Benedict Carton are mentoring the Enslaved Children of George Mason project, which hopes to illuminate the 18th-century histories of African Americans living on the Gunston Hall Plantation just miles from our Fairfax campus. To learn more about the project take a look at a recent video produced to showcase the project: In addition to her teaching and research, Wendi is a regular keynote speaker at graduation ceremonies, libraries, and schools. She is guided by an inclusive pedagogy that seeks to create a transformative learning experience for all – a learning opportunity that recovers the forgotten and makes the unseen seen. Wendi graduated from the College of Charleston where she received a BA in History and then received her Ph.D. from Howard University in History. 


Olivia (Mandy) O'Neill

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, Mandy taught at The Wharton School (University of Pennsylvania) and the Terry College of Business (University of Georgia).

Mandy 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.

Julie Owen   

Julie Owen

Dr. Julie Owen is an Associate Professor of Leadership Studies and teaches courses on leadership theory, social change, and civic action. Julie has more than 15 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 our center, 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.


Paul M. Rogers

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. He works at the intersections of social entrepreneurship, well-being, and leadership. Paul is the co-chair of Mason's Well-Being Learning Community. 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. Paul's 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 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 (


Linda Schwartzstein

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

Her 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. Linda earned a JD from the University of Michigan, LL.M. in Taxation from New York University and a Ph.D. in Economics from Mason.


Dr. Richard Strozzi-Heckler

Dr. 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.  Richard is the founder of Strozzi Institute, which offers consulting and coaching services to individuals and companies on five continents.  Over the past 40 years, he has coached and advised thousands of executives from Fortune 500 companies, NGOs, technology start-ups, the U.S. government, and military.

Richard 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. He is the author of eight books, including The Leadership DojoIn Search of the Warrior Spiritand The Art of Somatic Coaching: Embodying Skillful Action, Wisdom, and Compassion.


Gregory C. Unruh

Dr. Gregory C. Unruh, Ph.D., is the Arison Professor of Values Leadership and an expert on sustainable business strategy. Greg 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 U.S. Vice 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. Greg 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.


Research Fellows


Robyn S. Mehlenbeck

Dr. Mehlenbeck is a Clinical Associate Professor and Director of Mason's 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, Robyn 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.


 Melissa Stiksma  

Melissa Stiksma

Melissa is a 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


Tomasz Arcizewski

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.

Our center and the NSF EAGER Program jointly funded his most recent project (2012-2013) with Dr. Robert Youmans (Mason's 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.


Deanna Busteed

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.

Laurie Cameron   

Laurie Cameron

Laurie Cameron is the author of The Mindful Day: Practical Ways to Find Focus, Calm and Joy, National Geographic, 2018, and is known for her warmth, energy and insight sharing the science of human flourishing and development. Laurie integrates emotional intelligence, positive psychology, mindfulness, compassion and neuroscience into everyday language for modern work and life.

Laurie is the founder and CEO of PurposeBlue – a consultancy focused on mindfulness-based leadership programs that build resilience, creativity and engagement. PurposeBlue’s Mindful Leader programs have been delivered in Deloitte across the United States. Laurie is also a mindfulness teacher with Search Inside Yourself Leadership Institute (which offers the Search Inside Yourself program developed by Google) and a guest professor on Mindful Leadership at the R.H. Smith School of Business at the University of Maryland. Laurie speaks on the power of mindfulness around the world.

 Steve Gladis  

Steve Gladis

An executive coach, author, and speaker, Steve is an authority on the subject of leadership. CEO of Steve Gladis Leadership Partners—a leadership development company—he is the author of more than 20 books on leadership. His company works with businesses, associations, and U.S. government agencies, and he speaks regularly at conferences and corporate gatherings. A former faculty member at both Mason and the University of Virginia, Dr. Gladis also served as an FBI special agent and was a decorated officer in the U.S. Marine Corps. His company donates a significant portion of corporate profits back to the community. His latest books include Leading Well: Becoming a Mindful Leader-Coach, Smile. Breathe. Listen: The 3 Mindful Acts for Leaders, and Positive Leadership: The Game Changer at Work



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