Schreyer Honors College (SHC)at Penn State

Staff

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 B.S. in Geological Sciences from New Mexico State University and her M.S. 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 paj6@psu.edu.

Mitch Kirsch headshot

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

Dr. Kirsch joined the SHC 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 B.A. in history and a teaching certificate from Westminster College in New Wilmington, Pa., M.S. 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 msk11@psu.edu.

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 kbm10@psu.edu.

Amanda Basalla headshot

Amanda Basalla Administrative Support Assistant, Presidential Leadership Academy and Strategic Communications

Amanda Basalla joined the Presidential Leadership Academy and Schreyer Honors College in October 2016. She provides support to the PLA’s Director, processes budgets and coordinates events. She is also responsible for providing administrative support to the Director of Strategic Communications. Amanda graduated from The Pennsylvania College of Technology in 2007 with her Associates of Science in Paralegal Studies and in 2009 with her Bachelor 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 alb410@psu.edu.

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 B.A. 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, CNN.com, Washingtonpost.com, 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 wdb7@psu.edu.

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 B.S. in secondary education and a M.P.S. 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 wad120@psu.edu.

Hillary Diehl headshot

Hillary Diehl Graduate Assistant

Hillary joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2016 as a graduate assistant. Her primary responsibilities include working with the Office of Career Development and the Office of Student Affairs. She was born and raised in Richmond, Virginia and attended Christopher Newport University for her B.A. in Communications, with a Leadership Studies minor. She then spent a year working as a University Fellow for Undergraduate Admission at her alma mater before moving to State College. She is a current graduate student in the M.Ed. in Higher Education program at Penn State, with a focus on Student Affairs.

In her free time, Hillary enjoys cooking, baking, running, watching Netflix, listening to country music and reading a good book. Hillary can be reached at had13@psu.edu.

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 undergraduate 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 mif3@psu.edu.

Tigiste Habtemariam headshot

Tigiste Habtemariam Coordinator of Alumni Relations and Annual Giving

Tigi Habtemariam joined the Schreyer Honors College in December 2016. Hailing from Michigan, the beautiful Great Lakes State, she holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Siena Heights University and brings to the College various professional experiences, including more than seven years in Michigan state government and work in alumni engagement at Michigan State University and The Ohio State University. Tigi is excited to connect with Schreyer students, alumni and friends! Please check out the many ways to support Scholars, and stop by Atherton Hall to say hello anytime!

Tigi looks forward to exploring State College and all the area has to offer; in her free time, she enjoys singing, traveling, trying new restaurants, and especially spending quality time with family and friends.

You can reach Tigi at trh44@psu.edu.

Tom Harrington headshot

Tom Harrington Web Developer

Tom joined the Schreyer Honors College in September 2013. Born and raised in central Pennsylvania, Tom graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in meteorology with a concentration in weather communications. He furthered his education after graduation by obtaining a master's certificate in web design from Sessions Online School of Design. In his time working at Penn State, Tom has been involved in a wide variety of projects, including the redesign of the Schedule of Courses, eLion, and FTCAP websites.

Tom lives in State College with his wife and daughter. He is a die-hard sports fan, lover of music, and craft beer connoisseur. You can contact Tom at tph134@psu.edu.

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 esk10@psu.edu.

Jessica Lee headshot

Jessica Lee Admissions Counselor

Jessica joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2015 as an Admissions Counselor. Providing information sessions for prospective students and families, she attends local and out-of-state college fairs, and assists with admissions events as well as the processing of applications and alumni interviews.

Born and raised in Salt Lake City, Utah, Jessica graduated from the University of Utah as an Innovation Scholar with a B.A. in Mass Communication. Her husband is a current graduate student in Penn State's School of International Affairs. Jessica loves to travel and try new things, participate in any outdoor activity, watch college football games and spend time with her husband and dog. You can contact her at jal73@psu.edu.

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 SHC. 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 SHC External Advisory Board, as well as various committees and task forces. She is also the Parking Coordinator and works closely with other SHC 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 llk3@psu.edu.

Rosanna Mersinger headshot

Rosanna Mersinger Administrative Support Assistant, Student Programs

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 C-4 Atherton 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 rlm29@psu.edu.

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 SHC 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 dlh15@psu.edu.

Melissa Meyer headshot

Melissa Meyer Administrative Support Coordinator, Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

Melissa Meyer 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 extensively with the Distinguished Honors Faculty Program and can readily answer questions about the IUG program, MD/PhD programs, honors advising, R.O.A.R. and academic events happening within the College.

Melissa began her career at Penn State in 1999 and came to the honors college in 2014. She has worked in various academic records units including the Eberly College of Science, University Registrar's office, College of Engineering, and College of Health and Human Development.

Melissa lives in State College with her two children, Ian and Ryan. She grew up in a military family and has spent time all over the U.S., including Newport, RI, Mankato, MN, and many places in between. If you need assistance from Melissa, please reach her at mah300@psu.edu.

Sean Miller Director of Development and Alumni Relations

Sean joined the SHC 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 B.A. 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 smm401@psu.edu.

Kelly Nguyen headshot

Kelly Nguyen Coordinator of Stewardship

Kelly joined the Schreyer Honors College in July 2017. Her responsibilities include stewarding endowment and annual fund donors by providing timely reports on how funds are utilized and coordinating annual stewardship events to connect friends and alumni with fund recipients. A native of Scranton, Pennsylvania, she obtained her B.A. in American studies and minor in math from Lafayette College. She has held positions at a number of institutions, including the Food Network and the Metropolitan Opera. Most recently, she worked at Barnard College, where she managed and reported on student-focused endowed funds such as scholarships and internships. Kelly 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 students.

In her free time, Kelly enjoys cooking, running, and exploring Central Pennsylvania with her husband. She is also a member of Lafayette College’s Alumni Council, co-chair of the Chapters Committee, and Class President.

Kelly may be reached at keb315@psu.edu.

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 B.A. 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 mzd1@psu.edu

Michelle Powers headshot

Michelle Powers Administrative Support Assistant, Admissions

Michelle joined the Schreyer Honors College in February 2016. She began her career at Penn State in 2008 and has worked in the College of Agriculture, Outreach, and the College of Education. Michelle is the first point of contact in the Dean’s suite and provides administrative support to the Admissions Team. Her responsibilities include admissions data processing, statistical reporting, event planning, and fiscal obligations.

Before moving to central Pennsylvania, Michelle was born in Boston, Massachusetts. She grew up in Syracuse, New York, 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 can contact Michelle at mmf17@psu.edu.

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 jar342@psu.edu.

Debra Rodgers Coordinator of Academic Services

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

Debra joined the Schreyer Honors College 2008, and has earned a B.S. in psychology from Penn State. She is the proud mother of two daughters who are currently enrolled at Penn State and resides with her husband, Brett. She enjoys walks, camping, movie nights with her husband, and loves to develop and explore her creative side with new recipes, crafts, and hobbies.

Scholars with questions regarding honors requirements are encouraged to stop in C-4 Atherton or make an appointment to meet with her. Debra can be reached at djr255@psu.edu.

Dr. Richard Stoller Coordinator of Academic Advising and International Programs

Dr. Stoller is responsible for overseeing honors advising and SHC 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
  • SHC signature international programs
  • SHC grants for research, presentation, and travel

You can make an appointment through the online scheduling system or email him at rjs27@psu.edu. 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 SHC since 1998, first with admissions and now with advising, but always working with the SHC's international programs. He has written several articles on Colombian history and honors education, but never about both in the same article.

Katie Van Dyke headshot

Katie Van Dyke Assistant Director of Development

Katie Van Dyke joined the Schreyer Honors College in June 2017. Her responsibilities include engaging with alumni and friends of the College to ensure philanthropic support for our programs and students.

Katie was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest and received her undergraduate education at the University of Portland. As an alumna of an Honors Program, Katie understands and appreciates the great value an Honors education can provide. Katie couldn’t be more thrilled to be a part of the Penn State family and to support the exceptional students who make up the Schreyer Honors College.

In her free time, Katie enjoys exploring her new home of Central Pennsylvania and spending time with her family, friends, and two cats. Katie can be reached at kvv3@psu.edu.

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 ccv3@psu.edu 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 thw@psu.edu.

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