Fellows of the 2008 Class

Brenda I. López Ortiz's picture
  • Ed.D., Instructional Technology and Media, Columbia University Teachers College
Brenda I.

Assistant Professor

  • Advancing the design, development, implementation and inquiry of meaningful technology-supported online, hybrid and face-to face learning environments

"I welcome this opportunity to contribute to the Vincentian vision and spirit within the University and to work with the Fellows to advance equal opportunities of excellence to disenfranchised communities and students through education aided by technologies. "

St. John's University

During her nearly 20-year long professional career, Dr. Brenda I. López Ortiz has worked as middle school teacher helping low income students learn English language skills, as teacher professional developer, educational website developer/editor and instructional technology assistant professor. Her research interests focus on online collaboration to foster meaningful learning helping students bridge social, cultural, economic, gender-based and digital divides.

Joan S. Tropnas's picture
  • Ph.D., Social Work, Fordham University
Joan S.

Associate Professor, Director, Human Services Program

  • Disparities in health care for minorities, women and children with a specific focus on women and families affected by HIV/AIDs.

"As a new Fellow, I look forward to learning from the sharing of information, and research and teaching activities of my colleagues. I will integrate this experience into the courses I teach broadening my students' education, while expanding my own research horizons."

St. John's University

Joan S. Tropnas, Associate Professor and Director of the Human Services Program in the College of Professional Studies at St. John’s University, holds a M.S.W. and Ph.D. from Fordham University Graduate School of Social Service and a M.P.A from New York University. Named a Vincentian Research Fellow in 2008, Dr. Tropnas’ research interests are in the area of medical and mental health disparities among minorities, women, and children. In addition to her teaching responsibilities, Dr. Tropnas is an expert on Women at the Holy See Mission to the United Nations. Her professional career as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (New York State) has included working in medical and mental health organizations, child welfare agencies, and in research.

Yvonne Pratt-Johnson's picture
  • Ed.D., TESOL/Spanish, Columbia University Teachers College

Professor of Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages (TESOL)

  • First and second language acquisition
  • Standard English as a second dialect

"Becoming a part of the Vincentian Fellow's Program will enable me to further focus attention and expand the scope of what has been a lifelong personal mission: to be an ear for the unheard and a voice for the voiceless members of our diverse community."

St. John's University

Yvonne Pratt-Johnson is a Professor in the School of Education and has just attained the rank of Senior Vincentian Research Fellow. She has taught English as a Second Language for over 30 years and has been the recipient of several research grants. Through her research, presentations, and publications, she has raised awareness of the special needs of second language learners, especially the English/Creole-speaking population in U.S. Schools. Dr. Pratt-Johnson serves as a consultant for the NYC Board of Education and holds a Ed.D from Teachers College, Columbia University.

Irvin N. Hirshfield's picture
  • Ph.D., Biology, University of Pittsburgh
Irvin N.

Associate Professor

  • Public health issues involving microbiology and poverty
  • How bacterial cells respond on a molecular level to environmental stress
  • Food-borne pathogens

"As a Fellow I will continue to sensitize my students to how extreme poverty results in populations being subject to disease. Presently, I begin each class by reading brief sections of "The End of Poverty."

St. John's University

Dr. Hirshfield is a Senior Vincentian Research Fellow and Associate Professor, department of Biological Sciences, St. John’s College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. He holds a Ph.D. in biochemistry and has worked in the field of molecular microbiology, microbial physiology and genetics. He conducts various sponsored research at St. John’s University on the regulation of gene expression in prokaryotes in response to environmental stress with special emphasis on acid stress responses and microbial pathogenesis. His interest as a Vincentian scholar is the relationship between parasitic and bacterial diseases and poverty, especially in developing countries

Christopher J. Borgen's picture
  • J.D., New York University School of Law
Christopher J.

Associate Professor of Law

  • Law and geopolitics with a specific focus of how law is used in the interaction of self-determination, secession and sovereignty.

"As a Fellow, I hope to engage in a broader discourse on issues of international law and policy and invite my colleagues to participate in that discourse via "Opinio Juris" a web site I founded."

St. John's University

Food for Thought

A Catholic university is called to become an evermore effective instrument of cultural progress for individuals as well as for society. Included among its research activities, therefore, will be a study of serious contemporary problems in areas such as the dignity of human life, the promotion of justice for all, the quality of personal and family life, the protection of nature, the search for peace and political stability, a more just sharing in the world’s resources and a new economic and political order that will better serve the human community at a national and international level.

Pope John Paul II,
Ex Corde Ecclesiae (32)