Schreyer Honors College (SHC)at Penn State


Collaboration, commitment, excellence, and enterprise are addressed in the values statement developed and adopted by the Schreyer Honors College’s administrative staff. When you visit the college's offices in Atherton Hall, you will see our values prominently displayed. More importantly, you will see staff members working together to put our values into action in all that we do on behalf of the Schreyer Honors College.

Organizational Chart

Peggy Johnson headshot

Dr. Peggy Johnson Dean

Dr. Peggy Johnson, a Professor of Civil Engineering in the College of Engineering, became Dean of the Schreyer Honors College in July 2017. She has been a Penn State faculty member since 1996 and was the Head of the Civil and Environmental Engineering department for nine years. Dr. Johnson received her bachelor's degree in geological sciences from New Mexico State University and her master's degree and Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of Maryland at College Park.

Dr. Johnson is a Fellow and past president of the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Environmental and Water Resources Institute (ASCE-EWRI) and has published numerous papers in peer-reviewed journals on bridge scour (sediment), stream restoration, uncertainty in hydraulics, and the probability of scour-related bridge failure. Her stability assessment method for bridge-stream intersections is incorporated as part of the Federal Highway Administration’s manual on stream stability at bridges.

Dr. Johnson is the winner of the ASCE’s Hans Albert Einstein Award, recognizing her work in the area of sediment transport as it applies to control structures and stream restoration projects, and the ASCE-EWRI Margaret S. Petersen Outstanding Woman of the Year award, honoring her mentorship of young women pursuing water-related technical careers. She also is the recipient of the Penn State Howard B. Palmer Faculty Mentoring Award for her outstanding mentorship of junior faculty.

Before coming to Penn State, she held a faculty position in Civil Engineering at the University of Maryland and served as a Graduate Research Fellow at the Federal Highway Administration in Virginia.

You may reach Dr. Johnson at

Mitch Kirsch headshot

Dr. Michele "Mitch" Kirsch Associate Dean for Student Affairs

Dr. Kirsch joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2005. Dr. Kirsch is responsible for the management and operations of the college as well as recruiting and marketing. She brings a wealth of experience to this position, having served as the MBA admissions director at both Penn State and Indiana University. Dr. Kirsch received her bachelor's degree in history and a teaching certificate from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., master's degree in education from Indiana University in Bloomington, and doctoral degree in counseling and personnel from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa. You may reach Dr. Kirsch at

Keefe Manning headshot

Dr. Keefe Manning Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Dr. Manning joined the Schreyer Honors College in January 2017. A professor with the Penn State Department of Biomedical Engineering, he earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in bioengineering from Texas A&M University and earned his doctorate degree in biomedical engineering from Virginia Commonwealth University. He joined Penn State as a postdoctoral scholar in 2001 and became an assistant professor in 2004. He was also a visiting professor at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy in 2013-2014. He is the director of the Artificial Heart and the Cardiovascular Fluid Dynamics Laboratories with funding from the American Heart Association, the National Institutes of Health, National Science Foundation, U.S. Army, U.S. Food and Drug Administration, foundations and industry.

Dr. Manning is a member of the American Heart Association, the American Society for Mechanical Engineers, the American Society for Engineering Education, and the Biomedical Engineering Society. He is an associate editor for Cardiovascular Engineering and Technology and the ASME Journal of Biomechanical Engineering. He received the 2016 Penn State Engineering Alumni Society Outstanding Advising Award.

You may reach Dr. Manning at

Allison Austin headshot

Allison Austin Associate Director of Development

Allison joined the Schreyer Honors College in November 2018. Allison is responsible for raising major gifts in support of the College. A native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, she obtained her bachelor’s degree in communication/public relations from Slippery Rock University and master’s degree in public administration from Penn State. Prior to joining Penn State, Allison was employed in higher education in alumni and parent relations, career services, and student affairs. Allison is excited to bring her diverse work experience to the Development and Alumni Relations team and to connect with the College’s alumni, friends, and Scholars.

Allison lives in State College with her husband, two sons, and rescue dog, Bella. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends, cooking, hiking, gardening, and kayaking. Allison can be reached at

Wade Bennett Director of Strategic Communications

Wade Bennett joined the Schreyer Honors College in February of 2016 and serves as the college's director of strategic communications. With more than 20 years of experience in higher education, he is no stranger to academia.

He earned his bachelor's degree in English from the State University of New York at Geneseo and began his career there as a community relations assistant. He's held leadership roles in communications and marketing at a number of institutions, including Cornell University, Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology and Union Theological Seminary, with most of his professional career spent in Manhattan.

Born and raised in upstate New York, Wade comes from a family of teachers and has a passion for education and its power to transform. His experience in higher education marketing includes digital and print advertising, web communications, social media, search engine marketing and media buying and planning. With media placements in The New York Times, The New Yorker, TimeOut New York, The Wall Street Journal,,, and others, Wade is a creative consultant, designer and producer who knows how to leverage an institution's brand to drive recruitment and enrollment.

You can reach Wade at

Benjamin Carr headshot

Benjamin Carr Admissions Counselor

Ben joined the Schreyer Honors College in January 2018 as an Admissions Counselor. Prior to returning to University Park, he served in the same role at Lycoming College, counseling prospective students and their families through the admissions and financial aid processes.

Ben began his Penn State journey as a first-year student at Penn State Altoona before earning his bachelor of science degree in education at University Park in 2013. After he completed his Penn State degree, he taught seventh grade social studies in North Carolina before moving back to Pennsylvania to earn his master's of educational leadership in higher education administration from Bloomsburg University.

Ben enjoys attending sporting events on campus. As a season ticket holder and lifelong Penn State fan, you will find him at Beaver Stadium on fall Saturdays, cheering the Nittany Lions to victory. Ben also enjoys playing golf and hitting the ski slopes in his free time.

Ben can be reached at

Stephanie Chambers headshot

Stephanie Chambers Financial Officer

Stephanie Chambers joined Schreyer Honors College in August 2017. As the Financial Officer of the College, she develops budgets and maintains oversight to ensure compliance of how the funds are spent. Some of her other roles include awarding scholarships and grants and approving financial forms.

Stephanie has worked for Penn State since 1997, in Hospitality Services and the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. Both positions were in the accounting/finance offices. She graduated from Mansfield University with a bachelor's degree in business administration.

Stephanie currently resides in Clarence with her son and daughter. Her free time is spent watching her children play sports, reading, or traveling/camping. She has been on three Disney cruises and counting!

You may reach Stephanie at

Wilson Diaz headshot

Wilson Diaz IT Consultant

Wilson joined the Schreyer Honors College in July 2017 and started working at Penn State in 2014. He administers the College's servers, computers, and domain. Wilson also consults with the IT team and Schreyer staff to ensure that technology is supporting their missions, and is also available to consult with students about IT-related questions.

Prior to 2014, he worked as a high school teacher and wrestling coach in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. Wilson graduated from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in secondary education and a master of professional studies in the psychology of leadership. Interested in travel, wrestling, football, and golf, Wilson can be found at nearly any Penn State sporting event. Wilson lives in State College with his wife, Michele, and son, Nico. He is also an Army veteran.

You may reach Wilson at

Melissa Doberstein headshot

Melissa Doberstein Director, Presidential Leadership Academy Coordinator of Diversity

Melissa has been the Schreyer Honors College Diversity Coordinator since September 2012. Melissa is also the Director of the Presidential Leadership Academy. Previously, Melissa worked as a coordinator in the Office of Residence Life and as the student volunteer coordinator in the Undergraduate Admissions Office at Penn State. A Long Island native, she earned her bachelor's degree in political science and her master’s degree in higher education administration at The State University of New York at Buffalo.

Melissa enjoys spending time with her husband, two Siberian Huskies, and a cat. She is also a Penn State Fitness instructor.

If you have questions about diversity programming, feel free to contact Melissa at

Sean Goheen headshot

Sean Goheen Coordinator of Constituent Relations & Annual Giving

Sean, a Scholar alumnus, returned to the Schreyer Honors College as a staff member in January 2018. Sean works with the Scholar Alumni Society Board, SHC Parents Council, and annual giving programs to support the College and its Scholars' success. Prior to returning to University Park, Sean worked at the University of Kentucky, advising the Student Activities Board and other student engagement programs.

Sean proudly started his Penn State experience as a first-year student at Penn State Berks before earning his bachelor's degrees in both political science and history from the College of the Liberal Arts at University Park in 2011. His Schreyer experience was centered in his political science major, with his honors thesis focused on state legislators' educational backgrounds and the effects they have on funding for public higher education. Sean's thesis focus stemmed from his involvement on campus with the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments, University Park Undergraduate Association, THON, Fresh START, and SHO Time. After a year interning at Penn State Berks in campus life, he went on to earn his Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2014 while working in student activities and fraternity and sorority life.

Sean lives in State College with his fiancé, Elizabeth, and their three rescue dogs, Julep, Rosie, and Groot. When not wrangling their pack, Sean loves keeping up with pop culture, baking, watching sports, and talking sports. His favorite season is college football season.

Sean can be reached at

Shawna Gonsman headshot

Shawna Gonsman Administrative Support Assistant, Career Development Receptionist

Shawna Gonsman joined the Schreyer Honors College in July 2018. She provides administrative support to the Director of Career Development and assists with planning events, managing email, scheduling appointments, and overseeing student groups and programs. She also serves as the College’s chief receptionist, managing telephone and email inquiries and welcoming students, families, alumni, and guests to campus. Shawna graduated from the South Hills School of Business & Technology in 2008 with an associate’s degree in administration.

Shawna lives in Tyrone with her husband Jonathan and two daughters, Evirleigh and Emereigh. In her free time, she likes to spend as much time as possible with her family enjoying all the wonders of nature. Shawna can be reached at

Tom Harrington headshot

Tom Harrington Web Developer

Tom joined the Schreyer Honors College in September 2013, having previously worked as a web designer and developer for other Penn State departments and at AccuWeather. In the Honors College, he is responsible for a wide variety of tasks from web design/development and graphic design to database design and server administration.

Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Tom graduated from Penn State with a degree in Meteorology in 2005. He furthered his education by obtaining a Master's Certificate in Web Design from Sessions Online School of Design in 2008.

Tom lives in State College with his wife and daughter. He is a die-hard sports fan, music lover and certified nerd. You can contact Tom at

Amanda Basalla-Hepfer headshot

Amanda Hepfer Administrative Support Assistant, Presidential Leadership Academy and Academic Affairs

Amanda Hepfer joined the Presidential Leadership Academy and Schreyer Honors College in October 2016. She provides support to the PLA’s Director, processing budgets and coordinating events. She also provides administrative support to the Office of Academic Affairs. Amanda graduated from The Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2007 with an associate’s degree of science in paralegal studies and in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree of science in paralegal studies with a minor focus in business administration.

In her free time, Amanda enjoys traveling, reading, painting, and spending time with her family and friends. Amanda can be reached at

Lisa Kerchinski Director of Career Development

Lisa is responsible for career and professional programming as well as counseling and advising Scholars regarding internships, scholarships, graduate school applications, and job searches. Lisa joined Penn State in 2003 as a graduate program coordinator and continuing education instructor at The Lancaster Center. At University Park, Lisa has served as the internship coordinator for the College of the Liberal Arts, a career coach for the Smeal MBA program, and as the assistant director of alumni career services. Prior to joining Penn State, Lisa was employed in higher education in career development, student affairs, development, and continuing education.

Lisa earned her bachelor's degree in communications at Bowling Green State University and her master's degree in higher education administration at Indiana University. You can reach Lisa via email at

Lisa Mellott headshot

Lisa Mellott Executive Assistant to the Dean

Lisa came to the Schreyer Honors College in November 2010. She began her career at Penn State in 1989 and worked in Pattee Library, the Eberly College of Science, the Undergraduate Admissions Office, and the Smeal College of Business before coming to the College. Lisa’s primary responsibility is providing support to the dean. She manages the dean’s calendar and assists the dean with strategic planning, budget, and annual reports. She provides staff support to the Associate Dean for Student Affairs, the IT Director, the External Advisory Board, as well as various committees and task forces. She is also the Parking Coordinator and works closely with other staff assistants.

Lisa lives in the State College area with her wonderful husband, Bob, dog, Nittany, and her son, Mason who is currently attending Penn State and is part of the Nittany Lion Baseball team. She enjoys spending time with her family and friends and attending various sporting events. You can contact Lisa with questions at

Rosanna Mersinger headshot

Rosanna Mersinger Administrative Support Assistant, Student Programs and Strategic Communications

Rosanna provides administrative support to the student programs coordinator. Her other responsibilities include: assisting Scholars with general housing concerns, sending the weekly listserv announcements, and serving as support to the Schreyer Honors College Scholar Assistants. If you have questions or concerns in any of these areas, stop by her desk in Simmons Hall.

Rosanna lives in Coburn with her husband, Duane. They have two daughters and four grandchildren. She is very active in fundraising events which support her local fire company, and she enjoys reading. Feel free to stop by and say hello when you are in Atherton Hall. You may contact Rosanna at

Donna Meyer headshot

Donna Meyer Director of Student Programs

Donna began her career at Penn State in the University Scholars Program in 1989 and years later assumed the role of the College's first coordinator of alumni relations. Today, Donna coordinates student engagement and signature programming. She serves as co-adviser to the Schreyer Honors College Student Council, supervises the Scholar Assistant Team and, coordinates the fall orientation for incoming Scholars.

Donna is a graduate of Centre Business School, Inc., and a 2006 graduate of Leadership Centre County. In her spare time, Donna enjoys traveling, barbershop and doowop music, baseball, musicals, and playing the piano. You can contact her at

Sean Miller Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Sean joined the Schreyer Honors College team in January 2012. Previously, he was the associate director of development for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences and the development assistant in the Office of Gift Planning at Penn State. Sean is responsible for raising major gifts in support of the College and overseeing the development and alumni relations team.

Sean obtained his bachelor's degree in political science from Penn State in 2005. He currently serves on the board for the Parmi Nous Alumni Interest Group and the Discover Space Children's Science Museum. In addition, he serves as a member of the fundraising committee for the Pink Zone, a charity in support of breast cancer research and funding that is centered on the Penn State Lady Lions Basketball team. Sean is also involved with the Young Survival Coalition. Previously he served on the board of directors for the Centre Country Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association and Penn State Hillel.​

Sean resides in State College with his wife, daughter, and chocolate lab.

You can contact Sean with questions about how to make a gift, community and alumni involvement, or how to get involved with Penn State's Schreyer Honors College philanthropy at

Deyo Olorunnisola headshot

Deyo Olorunnisola Director of Admissions

Deyo joined the Schreyer Honors College in July 2016 after serving as Director of Recruiting for the College of Information Sciences and Technology, and in the Undergraduate Admissions Office prior to that.

Deyo is originally from Nigeria and came to the U.S. as an undergraduate student in 1981. She earned her bachelor's degree in political science from St. Francis College in New York and earned a master’s degree in counselor education from Penn State. She has spent her career working in recruiting and admissions because she is passionate about helping students discover the appropriate path to their life vocation.

When she is not working Deyo enjoys singing, reading, crafting, traveling and spending time with her three children and her husband.

Deyo can be reached at

Michelle Powers headshot

Michelle Powers Administrative Support Coordinator, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Michelle coordinates programming in the Academic Affairs department of the Schreyer Honors College and is the Administrative Support Coordinator to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs and the Coordinator of Academic Advising and International Programs. She works with the Distinguished Honors Faculty Program, the IUG program, MD/PhD programs, honors advising, and academic events happening within the College.

Michelle joined the Schreyer Honors College in February 2016, initially with the Admissions team. She began her career at Penn State in 2008 and has worked in the College of Agriculture, Outreach, and the College of Education.

Before moving to central Pennsylvania, Michelle was born in Boston, MA, grew up in Syracuse, NY, and has spent the past 20+ years living in State College. She lives with her son and daughter along with their two Cavalier King Charles Spaniels. You may reach Michelle at

Jeff Rice headshot

Jeff Rice Public Relations Assistant

Jeff joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2016 after working as the Penn State football and men’s basketball beat writer for the Centre Daily Times for nine years and for Lions247, a website covering Penn State sports and recruiting, for four years. He won several Keystone Press Awards, including those for beat reporting and column writing.

A Penn State graduate, he has taught news writing and sports writing as an adjunct instructor at the University’s College of Communications since 2010.

Jeff seeks to tell the unique stories of Schreyer’s students and alumni and the impact they have around the world. A resident of Boalsburg, Jeff enjoys reading, writing, traveling, playing golf and spending time with his wife, Mary Anne, and dog, Winston.

You can reach Jeff at

Debra Rodgers Coordinator of Academic Services

Debra plans and implements student-focused programs and services including orientation, Thesis Boot Camps, Thesis Formatting Sessions, Senior Meetings, and the Medals Ceremonies. She also coordinates student records related to the successful enrollment, transition, and graduation of all Schreyer Scholars. Debra supports students through degree audits, Schreyer Plans, theses, graduation checkouts, and overall maintenance of honors requirement records.

Debra joined the Schreyer Honors College in 2008. She has earned a bachelor's degree in psychology from Penn State and is currently pursuing a Master of Professional Studies in the Psychology of Leadership through Penn State World Campus.

Scholars with questions regarding honors requirements are encouraged to stop in or make an appointment to meet with her. Debra can be reached at

Anmarie Rodriguez headshot

Anmarie Rodriguez Administrative Support Assistant, Admissions

Anmarie joined the Schreyer Honors College in October 2017 as an Administrative Support Assistant. Her primary responsibility is providing support to the director of admissions. Anmarie assists students, parents, and school administrators with admission questions and concerns. She manages the admissions calendar and assists with admission events as well as handling email, incoming mail, and phone calls.

Born and raised in Florida, Anmarie moved to Pennsylvania in 2005 with her wonderful husband, Jose, two daughters, Jessica and Julia, and two cats. Jessica is currently pursuing a degree in architecture at Penn State. Julia is currently attending high school and looking forward to becoming a fellow Nittany Lion as well. Anmarie enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling whenever possible to see distant relatives. You may reach Anmarie at

Alexis Spain headshot

Alexis Spain Graduate Assistant

Alexis joined the Schreyer Honors College in January 2018. She began her work in the Admissions Department, where she served as an intern who aided in the recruitment and selection of prospective Scholars. She transitioned to work in the Student Programming Department as a Programming Assistant for Honors Orientation. Beginning Fall 2018, Alexis will serve as the Graduate Assistant for the Schreyer Honors College.

Alexis is currently pursuing a master’s degree in higher education here at Penn State. Prior to attending Penn State, she completed a bachelor’s degree in political science from Christopher Newport University. Other academic passions of hers include leadership, sociology, and policy studies.

In her free time, Alexis enjoys gardening, cooking, traveling, and trying new things.

You may reach Alexis at

Dr. Richard Stoller Coordinator of Academic Advising and International Programs

Dr. Stoller is responsible for overseeing honors advising and international grants and programs. Contact him about:

  • Overall academic goals and progress
  • Questions and concerns about honors advising and thesis supervision
  • Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate Program
  • Internationalizing your education through study, research, service, or internships abroad
  • Honors College signature international programs
  • Honors College grants for research, presentation, and travel

You can make an appointment through the online scheduling system or email him at Dr. Stoller is from New York and has an undergraduate degree from Wesleyan (the original, in Connecticut) and a Ph.D. from Duke. He has been with the Honors College since 1998, first with admissions and now with advising, but always working with the College's international programs. He has written several articles on Colombian history and honors education, but never about both in the same article.

Cheryl Vonada headshot

Cheryl Vonada Administrative Support Assistant, Development and Alumni Relations

Cheryl joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2014. Cheryl’s primary responsibilities include providing support to the director of development and alumni relations, associate director of development and alumni relations, coordinator of stewardship and the coordinator of alumni relations and annual giving.

Cheryl began her career with Penn State Extension in the College of Agricultural Sciences and then serving in the Office of the Vice President for Commonwealth Campuses before coming to the Schreyer Honors College.

Cheryl actively serves as an appointed member of the Commission for Women, serves on the CFW Executive Committee, and is the co-chair of the CFW Membership Committee. She is a community volunteer, dedicated member of the Walker Township Park and Recreation Board, and has served as Judge of Elections for Walker Township West.

If you would like to contact Cheryl she can be reached by emailing or simply stop by the Development Office in C-5 Atherton Hall.

Tom Weber headshot

Tom Weber IT Director

Tom joined the Schreyer Honors College in December 2008. Tom grew up on a dairy farm in eastern Pennsylvania, graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science degree in agricultural engineering, and spent more than 24 years providing technology services to the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State. During his time with the College of Ag, he played key roles in the creation of its computer infrastructure. He was also on the team that developed PEN*PAGES, one of the first electronic public information sources for Cooperative Extension information in the country.

Tom lives in Boalsburg with his wife and daughter and can be seen most weekends working around the house, researching family history, and (of course) tinkering with computers. You may contact Tom at

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