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Center for Contemplative Studies


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Center for Contemplative Studies

Contact Info:
Donald McCown
Associate Professor

Christine Moriconi
Associate Professor

700 S. Church St.
West Chester, PA 19383
(across from Anderson Hall)

Phone: 610-436-2200


Donald McCown

Donald McCown, PhD, MAMS, MSS, LSW is an Associate Professor of health, director of the minor in contemplative studies, and co-director of the center for contemplative studies at West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He holds a Master of Applied Meditation Studies degree from the Won Institute of Graduate Studies, a Master of Social Service from Bryn Mawr College, and a PhD in Social Science from Tilburg University. He trained as an MBSR teacher through the Center for Mindfulness at University of Massachusetts and at Thomas Jefferson University. His primary research interests include the pedagogy of mindfulness in clinical applications and higher education, applications of complementary and integrative medicine in the community, and the contemplative dimensions of the health humanities. He is author of The Ethical Space of Mindfulness in Clinical Practice, primary author of Teaching Mindfulness: A Practical Guide for Clinicians and Educators, New World Mindfulness: From the Founding Fathers, Emerson, and Thoreau to your Personal Practice, and primary editor of Resources for Teaching Mindfulness: An International Handbook.

Christine Moriconi

Christine Moriconi, Psy.D, LMFT, RN is an Associate Professor of Nursing at West Chester University and ACES specialist. As a licensed clinical psychologist, she specializes in the systemic impact of parenting children and adults with intellectual developmental disorders and other chronic illnesses. She is a licensed marriage and family therapist and clinical fellow with the American Association of Marriage and Family therapists. As a faculty member, Christine serves on department committees, chairs a college committee for underrepresented minority students. At the university level she is co-director of the Center for Contemplative studies at WCU. Her interest in service learning is ongoing and a springboard for her interest in global health. Christine is also pursuing a NP in psychiatric nursing at the University of Pennsylvania. She received training in Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction at the University of Massachusetts, Worcester, Massachusetts and has been teaching Mindfulness since 2000.

Alison Donley

Alison Donley E-RYT 500
Faculty, WCU Kinesiology Department

Alison Donley discovered her love for yoga when, at the age of 16, she discovered B.K.S. Iyengar's Light on Yoga in the library of the small town she grew up in. While she continued to practice yoga asana throughout the remainder of High school and four years of NCAA competitive gymnastics, the real journey began when the competition ended, and the true practice of Yoga began.

Alison has been practicing yoga for 39 years and teaching for over 34 years. She started yoga programs for two large health clubs in the West Chester area, and opened The Light Within Yoga Studio in November of 2004 after she and her husband Dean, and two children, Rachel and Trevor, moved to Southern Chester County.

Alison created two 3-credit electives (Yoga I and Yoga II) for West Chester University, where she has been teaching since 1998, and continues to teach full time. In addition, she and Pamela Walsh, owner of The Spirit of Yoga studio in West Chester co-created a Yoga III course and a 200-hour yoga teacher training program at West Chester University.

She contributes articles on Yoga and Wellness for the foundation as well. Alison was a hospice volunteer for 6 years and also spent a year volunteering for a child-abuse prevention program.

Alison believes that her strongest quality as a teacher is her passion for sharing yoga and her love for her students. The Light Within Yoga Studio was featured in the October 2005 issue of Yoga Journal magazine, as part of Omtown Heroes, an article about small town yoga studios. She is infinitely grateful for the love and support of family, friends, and students and for the ability to share this ancient (and AMAZING), system of self-care.

Samantha Fernandes

Samantha is a Research Assistant and works with both Dr. McCown and Dr. Moriconi on their research projects on mindfulness. She also acts as a resource for undergraduate students by assisting them with their research projects they conduct through the center. She is originally from Goa, India, but grew up in Dubai, UAE and now live in West Chester. Samantha is excited to be a part of the center and learn more about mindfulness and how it helps individuals in their daily lives.

Tiffany Kennedy

Tiffany Kennedy is a junior here at WCU studying nutrition and contemplative Studies, while also working on completing her 200-hour YTT (Yoga Teacher Training) program. She started practicing yoga in 2014 and has done many different forms of yoga, but her favorite is restorative. She is very excited that she has the opportunity to teach and share her passion for yoga here at the Center for Contemplative Studies.

Michelle Laurenzi

Michelle Laurenzi is a senior Public Health major from Media, Pa. and an intern at the Center for Contemplative Studies. She is expected to graduate in May 2017. She hopes to help bring mindfulness and contemplative practices to our student body as well as show everyone how easy it is to incorporate into their lives. It is especially easy with our center here on campus for everyone to use free of charge! Mindfulness has greatly helped Michelle as a student, and she believes she thinks it can be beneficial to everyone else as well.

Jess Spackman

Jessica Spackman is currently a sophomore studying nutrition and dietetics. She has been practicing mindfulness through yoga and meditation for the past four years. Throughout this journey she has noticed a series of changes in her day to day life--changes which brought light into the darkness and through that found that yoga as well as mindfulness has changed her life.

She is excited to be a part of the center and can't wait to guide others through the experience of yoga.

Amy Williams

Amy Williams is a liberal professions major, minoring in contemplative studies and nutrition as well as a member of the yoga teacher training programming. She currently lives in Elkins Park, Pa.

Amy enjoys helping people to create the space they need to decompress and re-energize themselves. She is looking forward to including yoga and mindfulness into her scope of practice. Amy hopes to see you at the beautiful new Center for Contemplatives Studies for a meditation or yoga session where, together, we can create your space!