Experts on "Health"

Electra Allen

  • Assistant Professor of Nursing

Electra Allen’s teaching interests are in the areas of pediatric nursing, mental health nursing and nursing pharmacology. She teaches courses in the Bachelor of Science in Nursing program including Pediatric Nursing, Mental Health Nursing, and Essentials of Clinical Nursing Pharmacology. She uses discussion, group work, simulation, case studies and reflection in her pedagogy. Integration of Christian faith includes “enhancing empathy for patients experiencing auditory hallucinations,” “the role of a Christian nurse in enhancing coping and adjustment,” an emphasis on nonjudgmental spiritual care, and reflective prayerful activities about student’s academic and clinical experiences in the nursing program.  

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Marc Apkarian

  • Associate Professor of Kinesiology and Health Science

Marc Apkarian's teaching interests are in the areas of exercise physiology, fitness evaluation, exercise instruction, and health promotion. He teaches in the undergraduate B.S. in Kinesiology program, with coursework focused primarily on junior and senior level students, facilitating internships and fieldwork as well. His courses include Exercise Physiology, Exercise Physiology Laboratory, Health Concepts, Exercise Professional Certification Preparation, and a senior capstone Directed Studies course. Apkarian incorporates didactic education, practical skill acquisition, applied learning methods, current equipment, and professional development opportunities to empower students to think analytically, inquire critically, solve problems, and reach others. Apkarian especially enjoys developing and incorporating ways to integrate Christian faith in teaching a range of Kinesiology and Health-related topics, and is passionate about enabling students to develop a deep appreciation for the stewardship of personal health, well-being, and the design of the human body.

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Donell L. Campbell

  • Associate Professor of Nursing
  • Associate Director of Nursing

Donell Campbell uses her love of learning to teach and mentor B.S.N. students from their very first nursing course to their final transition to independent practice as new graduates. Her courses include: Nursing First Year Seminar, Introduction to Professional Practice, Management and Leadership in Nursing, and Community / Public Health Nursing.  She infuses her classes with discussions related to culture and diversity, uses case studies, application and integration activities, as well as inclusion of current events and trends within healthcare and nursing research to teach course content. Campbell also teaches internationally on topics related to Communication, Conflict Navigation, Team Building, Self-Care, Resilience and Burnout and has presented and published the findings from related research. Other research and study interests include: the development of professionalism in nursing students, utilization of peer mentors in the skills lab setting, and international and volunteer service as burnout prevention.

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Jacob Gardner

  • Chair, Department of Kinesiology and Health Science
  • Assistant Professor of Kinesiology and Health Science

Jake Gardner’s teaching focuses on areas of human mechanics, including injury prevention, rehabilitation, and performance. He teaches in the undergraduate B.S. in Kinesiology and Health Science program, and his classes include Biomechanics, Kinesiology, Analysis of Human Movement, and Directed Studies. Gardner uses current research literature and his personal research experiences to augment his teaching. He enjoys integrating his courses with the Christian faith and highlighting God’s incredible design of the human body.

Gardner’s research in biomechanics encompasses the utilization of mechanical principles to explore biological problems in the human body. Broadly, Gardner is interested in the biomechanics of lower extremity injuries and diseases, injury rehabilitation strategies, and optimizing mechanics to improve athletic performance.

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Akiko Kobayashi

  • Associate Professor of Nursing

Kobayashi’s interests in teaching include pathophysiology of diseases related to oncology and immunology, surgical nursing, nutrition, and nursing research in the B.S.N. program. Her courses include Nursing Care of Patient and Family II, Introduction to Nursing Research and Applied Nursing Research. She teaches in both the traditional classroom setting and the online teaching environment. She enjoys integrating her Christian faith with clinical learning environments as well as through teaching human physiology and pathophysiology to nursing students.

Kobayashi has done research studies in immune responses in cancer development and in clinical nursing education for novice nursing students. Kobayashi’s ongoing research studies in B.S.N. education include an online/hybrid environment for B.S.N. students to learn nursing research effectively. She has published multiple articles on mucosal immune responses during cancer development in scientific journals and more recently presented her studies on clinical education for novice nursing students.

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David Shane Lowry

  • Associate Professor of Anthropology

David Shane Lowry obtained his bachelor of science degree in anthropology at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his doctorate degree from the University of North Carolina. His scholarship focuses on human empathy. His graduate research took place between 2009 and 2012 when he spent hundreds of hours with missionaries, healthcare providers, and social justice advocates from the Lumbee Tribe of North Carolina.

Lowry is writing two books. One book is an anthropology of Michael Jordan, and the other book is a story of how the Lumbee Tribe became a hub for healing in America. Lowry is currently part of an interdisciplinary research team that is funded by the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study the environmental aftermath of Hurricane Matthew in North Carolina. He will be teaching courses in cultural anthropology, medical anthropology, and other topics related to his research and writing.


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Rachel Van Niekerk

  • Director of Nursing

Rachel Van Niekerk is a pediatric nurse practitioner and brings her love of children and teaching into the classroom. She has taught in most areas of the B.S.N. Program. She enjoys the mentoring aspects of clinical and helping students see the importance of caring for the patient’s physical, emotional and spiritual needs but also recognizing the importance of the family especially in the pediatric population. She has utilized virtual patients, evolving case studies, interactive games, social media and simulation to enhance her lecture content in the classroom and clinical setting. She has developed and implemented multiple prayer projects and contemplative exercises for the clinical setting allowing students the opportunity to spend time caring for their own spiritual needs but also praying for their patients, peers, and instructors. She recently co-authored a book chapter in Inclusive Strategies for Individuals with Physical and Health Impairments, a book developed through the Biola School of Education.

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K. Erik Thoennes

  • Professor and Chair of Theology

Erik Thoennes is committed to teaching biblical and systematic theology so that he and his students love God and people more fully. He strives to make the necessary connections between the study of theology, obedience to Jesus and fulfilling the Great Commission. He has taught theology and evangelism at the college and seminary levels for several years and is a frequent guest speaker at churches, conferences and retreats, in addition to co-pastoring a local church. Thoennes has received the University award for faculty excellence and professor of the year. His research interests include godly jealousy, the atonement, the exclusivity of Christ and theology of culture.

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Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
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