News & Announcements

CSU Professors Selected for Crain’s 40 under 40

Wendland and King-White cited for contributions to community

Madalynn Wendland and Dakota King-White were chosen for the annual ranking, which highlights the top young professionals in Northeast Ohio who are making major contributions to their communities.

Madalynn Wendland Wendland is an associate clinical professor in the School of Health Sciences, Associate Director for Interprofessional Education in the School of Health Sciences and Co-Founder and Coordinator, PLAAY on the Move, an initiative that promotes independence, mobility, and access for young children with mobility and sensory impairments within the community setting. King-White is an assistant professor and coordinator of the school counseling degree program in CSU’s College of Education and Human Services. Her research focuses on efforts to improve mental health and educational outcomes for children in K-12 schools.

“Madalynn and Dakota are both dedicated and talented faculty members who provide tremendous Engaged Learning opportunities for their students, while conducting innovative research that truly benefits society,” says Jianping Zhu, CSU’s senior vice president for academic affairs and provost. “I congratulate them both for earning this honor it is certainly well-deserved.”

Through her efforts with PLAAY on the Move, Wendland leads a multidisciplinary team of faculty, students and volunteers who foster the use of low-cost adaptive technologies in the community. This includes adapted battery-powered ride-on cars, many of which are then donated to local families due to the generous support of National Interstate Insurance and the Reinberger Foundation. Wendlands’ team also takes these cars as well as multi-directional, body-weight supported, hands free harness systems to local attractions such as the Cleveland Botanical Gardens, Metroparks Zoo and the Children’s Museum of Cleveland where environmental barriers are minimized allowing children of all ability levels to independently play and explore.

“I began my career as a pediatric physical therapist and saw first-hand how mobility is a catalyst for all other areas of development in young children,” Wendland adds. “Through my work at CSU, I am able to help numerous children learn to move, while helping to prepare our next generation of therapists.”

Dakota King-WhiteKing-White studies the psychological, emotional, and behavioral health of children in K-12 schools with an emphasis on children of incarcerated parents. She is currently working with local school districts to develop and implement learning and support models that can improve both mental health and educational outcomes for all students. Among the tools she is using is a children’s book she authored, Oh No! When a Parent Goes Away, which provides specific engagement tools for working with elementary school children.

“Parental incarceration is an issue effecting many children across the country and can have a significant impact on mental and emotional health as well as on learning outcomes,” King-White notes. “Through my research I hope to improve opportunities for children and help school districts better address the mental health of all of their students.” 

“What makes this year’s chosen under-40s stand out from the crowd is not just their contributions to Northeast Ohio but their dedication to its future,” Crain’s said in their announcement. “Through both their careers and their work in the community, this year’s honorees reach all sectors of our region, and we expect their influence will only grow with time.”