The St. Bonaventure University community is mourning the death of Kimberly Young O’Mara, Ph.D., a faculty member in the Jandoli School of Communication and internationally renowned expert in internet addiction.
Kimberly Sue Young O’Mara, 53, of 54 South Kendall Ave., formerly of 474 South Kendall Ave., passed away Feb. 28, 2019, at Hope Hospice in Lehigh Acres, Florida.
Born Sept. 9, 1965, in Buffalo, New York, she was the daughter of the late David Pawlowski and Florine Young, who lives in Clarence, New York; her late stepfather was William Meyer.
On June 7, 1997, in St. Francis Church, she married James Edward O'Mara, who passed away Feb. 5, 2017.
A 1983 graduate of Clarence Senior High School, she graduated from the University at Buffalo in 1988 with a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Finance. She later graduated from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1991 with a master’s in Clinical Psychology and in 1994 with a doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
She completed an internship in clinical neuropsychology through the Cleveland Veterans Administration Center in 1994 with an externship at the Cleveland Clinic Foundation in neuropsychology. She completed a post-doctoral fellowship at the University of Rochester Medical School prior to entering teaching and academia at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford, where she taught psychology from 1995-2002.
In 2002, she joined the faculty at St. Bonaventure University, teaching in the School of Business until 2006. In 2006, she joined the Jandoli School of Communication as the director of the master’s in Strategic Leadership program.
The pinnacle of her career was being the pioneer researcher to first identify internet addiction as a psychological condition in 1995. She is a licensed psychologist and became an internationally known expert on internet addiction. She founded the Center for Internet Addiction in 1995 and published numerous articles and books including, “Caught in the Net,” the first to identify internet addiction, “Tangled in the Web,” “Breaking Free of the Web,” and “Internet Addiction: A Handbook and Guide for Evaluation and Treatment.”
Her work has been featured in the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, London Times, USA Today, Newsweek, Time, CNN, CBS News, Fox News, “Good Morning America,” and ABC’s “World News Tonight.” She has received the Psychology in the Media Award from the Pennsylvania Psychological Association and the Alumni Ambassador Award for Outstanding Achievement from Indiana University at Pennsylvania.
Dr. Young also founded the first U.S.-based in-patient hospital clinic for Internet Addiction at the Bradford Regional Medical Center and she created the 3-6-9-12 Screen Smart Parenting Guidelines, the first parenting guidelines based on the developmental age of the child (ages 3-6-9-12 and beyond).
She testified for the Child Online Protection Act Congressional Commission and served as a keynote speaker at the European Union of Health and Medicine, the International Conference on Digital Culture in Seoul, South Korea, the U.S. Army War College in Pennsylvania, and the First International Congress on Internet Addiction Disorders in Milan, Italy. She also served on the National Academy of Sciences panel for the Digital Media and Developing Minds colloquia.
She served on the editorial boards of the Journal of Behavioral Addictions, the American Journal of Family Therapy, Addicta: The Turkish Journal of Addiction, the International Journal of Cyber Crime and Criminal Justice, and on the advisory board of Cyber Psychology: Journal for Psychosocial Research on Cyberspace, and was a member of the American Psychological Association.
In 2013, she pursued a creative side to her writing when she wrote, “The Eighth Wonder,” her first and only novel, a love story similar to “Bridges of Madison County” that takes places around the Kinzua Bridge in Mount Jewett, Pennsylvania. Later, after her battle with cancer and after the passing of her husband, she finished her memoir, “Building Mountains from Dust,” in 2017.
She was also active in a variety of civic activities in Bradford where she served in numerous leadership capacities. She served on the boards of Journey Health Systems, Beacon Light Behavioral Health Systems, and Rotary Club of Bradford, where she also served as president and was a Paul Harris Fellow. She also served on the University of Pittsburgh’s Advancement Council.
She is survived by a stepsister, Suzie (Jerry) Maras of Buffalo; and two nephews, Christopher (Chelsea) Maras of Buffalo and Blake (Kimberly) Maras of Westfield; two grandnieces, Pearl Maras and Eleanor Maras; and one grandnephew, Wesley Maras.
Friends are invited to call from 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday, March 16, 2019, in St. Bernard Church, Bradford, Pa., where a Mass of Christian Burial will be concelebrated immediately after at 11 a.m. with Rev. Raymond Gramata, pastor of St. Bernard Church, Rev. Leo J. Gallina, retired pastor of St. Bernard Church, and Fr. Michael Calabria, O.F.M., of St. Bonaventure University. Burial will be in St. Bernard Cemetery.
A memorial service to celebrate Kimberly’s life will be held at the St. Bonaventure University Chapel at 11:30 a.m. Thursday, March 28, 2019.
Memorial contributions, if desired, can be made to the Bradford Hospital Foundation, J.E. O’Mara Fund; St. Francis of Assisi Church, Bradford; or to the charity of the donor’s choice.
Arrangements are under the direction of the Hollenbeck-Cahill Funeral Homes, Inc.
Online condolences may be made at www.hollenbeckcahill.com.
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