Dedicated Support Staff

The Schreyer Honors College staff values collaboration, commitment, excellence, and enterprise. When you visit the College's offices in Atherton and Simmons Halls, you will see staff members putting these values into action in all that we do on behalf of the Honors College and our Scholars.

Organizational Chart
Trees with pink flowers around Atherton Hall and the Schreyer Honors College

Office of the Dean

Patrick Mather headshot
Dr. Patrick Mather Dean

Patrick T. Mather earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Penn State in Engineering Science and Engineering Mechanics, respectively, and was a member of the University Scholars Program. He went on to receive his doctorate degree in Materials at U.C. Santa Barbara in 1994. He then worked for the Air Force Research Lab until 1999, focusing on polymeric nanocomposites. His academic career has included positions at the University of Connecticut, Case Western Reserve University, and Syracuse University, where he led the creation of Syracuse Biomaterials Institute as its first director. In 2015, Dr. Mather enjoyed a sabbatical at Army Research Lab’s Macromolecular Science and Technology Branch, where he conducted research on the design of polymeric materials for improved performance in extreme environments. Subsequently, he was recruited to serve as the Richard E. Garman Dean of Engineering at Bucknell University, a position held from 2016-2021.

At Bucknell, he led the establishment of a values-based strategic plan, following which the college has expanded student success programs with focus on first-year experience and enhanced undergraduate research opportunities. He created a new advisory council, oversaw construction of a third building, launched multiple interdisciplinary programs with other colleges at Bucknell, and established a working group for an inclusive engineering community that has launched four inclusion initiatives.

In June 2021, Dr. Mather was appointed Dean of the Schreyer Honors College following a national search. With this return to his academic home, he is excited to advance the College’s academic mission via its comprehensive strategic plan while engaging directly with students. In addition to this administrative role, he is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and will direct a research group that continues his long-term focus on smart polymeric materials.

Dr. Mather enjoys traveling the world to give scientific lectures and has delivered more than 200 invited lectures to date. He is married to Tara Mather and enjoys their blended family of five children. In his spare time, he enjoys playing guitar, distance running, and road cycling.

Cyndi Meyers headshot
Cyndi Meyers Executive Assistant to the Dean

Cynthia joined the Schreyer Honors College in January 2024. Prior to that, she worked as the Records Coordinator and Assistant to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Students in the Eberly College of Science. In this role, she served as the Associate Dean's right hand, overseeing calendar management and providing crucial administrative support. She was also responsible for managing graduation approvals, academic records, and other processes related to undergraduate education.

Cynthia graduated from Penn State with a bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She can be reached at cab408@psu.edu.

Richard Stoller headshot
Dr. Richard Stoller Interim Associate Dean for Academics

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, then 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. His most recent publication is here.

Lynette Yarger headshot
Dr. Lynette Yarger Associate Dean for Equity and Inclusion

Dr. Lynette Yarger joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2019. An associate professor with the Penn State College of Information Sciences and Technology, she earned her bachelor of science degree in computer information systems from Mercy College, and her master of science and doctoral degrees in computer information systems from Georgia State University.

Yarger served as an Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Vice President for Information Technology and CIO during the 2018-19 academic year. She is a recipient of the National Science Foundation Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award, the College of IST George J. McMurtry Teaching and Learning Award (2013), and the Penn State Teaching Fellow Award (2014). She is also the recipient of the University of Pittsburgh’s iSchool Inclusion Institute Mentoring Award (2018) for her outstanding mentorship of undergraduate scholars from underrepresented populations.

Before coming to Penn State, she worked as an information technology professional at AT&T, Lucent Technologies, and Avaya Communications.

You may reach Dr. Yarger at lmk12@psu.edu.

Zaryab Iqbal headshot
Dr. Zaryab Iqbal Office of the Dean

Dr. Iqbal joined the Schreyer Honors College in January 2022. She has been a faculty member in the College of the Liberal Arts since 2008 and holds appointments in Political Science and Jewish Studies. Before joining Penn State, she was on the political science faculty at the University of South Carolina. She received her Ph.D. in Political Science from Emory University, her M.A. from the Korbel School at the University of Denver, and her B.A. from the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill. She is a graduate of the honors program at UNC, where she was also inducted into Phi Beta Kappa.

Dr. Iqbal’s research interests lie in the area of international relations with a specific focus on the consequences of militarized conflict, issues related to political violence, and state failure. Her work to date has primarily been at the nexus of international conflict and comparative politics, combining aspects of domestic and international politics to assess the dynamics of global security and political instability. She is the author of War and the Health of Nations and State Failure in the Modern World.

Dr. Iqbal served as Administrative Fellow in the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost at Penn State in 2016-2017; during that year, she was also a fellow in the Big Ten Academic Alliance Academic Leadership Program (BTAA-ALP). From 2018 to 2020, she held an appointment as Program Director in Social, Behavioral, and Economic Sciences at the National Science Foundation (NSF).

You may reach Dr. Iqbal at zxi1@psu.edu. For questions regarding the Schreyer Honors College, please email SHCAcademics@psu.edu.

Academic Affairs

Rhonda Demchak headshot
Rhonda Demchak Administrative Support Coordinator, Associate Dean

Rhonda began her Penn State career in 2000 and has held various administrative professional roles throughout the University. She joined the Schreyer Honors College in June 2021, providing administrative support to the Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, including calendar management, budget, and the Distinguished Honors Faculty Program.

Rhonda lives in Philipsburg with her husband, Tom, a pug, and a cat. In her spare time, Rhonda enjoys playing tennis and golf, riding her motorcycle, and spending time with their children who live nearby.

Sarah Lyall-Combs headshot
Sarah Lyall-Combs Coordinator of Academic and International Programs

Sarah joined the Schreyer Honors College in July 2019 after serving as the Associate Director of Penn State's Center for Global Studies (CGS) where she managed the daily operations of the CGS and developed the Center's network to facilitate and coordinate outreach. She has extensive experience in grant writing and administration for international education programs.

Sarah earned a bachelor's degree in economics and French from Ohio Wesleyan University (Delaware, Ohio) and a master's in French from Indiana University (Bloomington).

Scholars interested in learning more about study abroad (including Schreyer programs) and funding are encouraged to email Sarah or make an appointment.

Sarah Richards headshot
Sarah Richards Coordinator of Student Records and Advising Services

Sarah joined the Schreyer Honors College in September 2022 after serving as an administrative support assistant in the College of Health and Human Development’s Center for Student Advising and Engagement, and in the College of Engineering Dean’s Office prior to that.

Sarah earned her bachelor’s degree in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State. Born and raised in South Jersey, as an undergraduate she loved State College so much that she couldn’t move away after graduation and has continued to live here ever since.

In her free time, she enjoys hiking, spending time with friends, and being involved at her church.

Admissions

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 mzd1@psu.edu.

Celine Freetage headshot
Celine Freetage Admissions Counselor

Celine joined the Schreyer Honors College in December 2022 as the Admissions Counselor. A native of a small town in Ohio, she graduated in 2022 with degrees in both Political Science and Philosophy, where she also wrote her undergraduate honors thesis on hazing in the Greek Life community. She received these degrees from Ohio University - not to be confused with Ohio State, a very important distinction to make, as Celine happily cheers on Penn State any day of the week.

Both Celine and her fiancé, Kell, moved to Pennsylvania following graduation, where shortly after arriving, they adopted their cat, Aemon, from Centre County PAWS. In their spare time, they enjoy kayaking and hiking around Happy Valley! 

For kayaking recommendations (and also any admissions questions), you can reach Celine at cfreetage@psu.edu or (814) 867-4993.

Elizabeth Knapp headshot
Elizabeth Knapp Administrative Assistant

Elizabeth joined the Honors College in November 2023 before graduating as a Schreyer Scholar with honors in Biology in December 2023. Her honors thesis, entitled "Generating human STR DNA profiles from blood ingested by leeches," was published in the Canadian Society of Forensic Science Journal in February 2023.

Elizabeth is from a small town called Lebanon and is passionate about helping students achieve their potential and find their home within the Schreyer Honors College. In the future, Elizabeth hopes to become an attorney with a focus on public health, aiding global policy in epidemiology and infectious disease.

When she is not in Atherton Hall, Elizabeth enjoys spending time with her family, her four cats and dog, and her friends. Elizabeth can be reached at egk5135@psu.edu.

Career Development

Matt Ishler headshot
Matt Ishler Director of Career Development

Matt joined Schreyer Honors College in May 2023, following 22 years of work with Penn State Career Services. Matt's role with Schreyer involves providing Scholars with career counseling focused on self and career exploration. He will assist Scholars in developing strategies to seek and secure internships or full-time employment or to further their educational goals. Matt holds a strong passion for career counseling as well as developing services and programs to connect students, alumni, and employers. Matt earned his bachelor's degree in accounting and his master's degree in counselor education, both from Penn State.

Outside of work, Matt enjoys spending time with family, reading, and music.

Development and Alumni Relations

Melanie Frantz Finocchio headshot
Melanie Frantz Finocchio Coordinator of Stewardship

Melanie came to the Schreyer Honors College in February 2019. She began her career at Penn State in 1993 and worked in the Office of Human Resources, the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences, and Penn State Law before coming to the College. Melanie serves as Coordinator of Stewardship and is responsible for managing the College’s stewardship efforts including endowment spending and eSteward use and training. She also oversees the acknowledgement process for all gifts made to the College.

Melanie lives in Warriors Mark with her husband, Rob and their dog, Duffy. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, outdoor walks, and anything chocolate.

Melanie can be reached at mqf2@psu.edu.

Sean Goheen headshot
Sean Goheen Coordinator of Constituent Relations and Annual Giving

Sean, a Scholar alumnus, returned to the College as a staff member in January 2018, working with the Scholar Alumni Society, volunteer programs & engagement events, and coordinating annual giving efforts to support Scholars through philanthropic support from alumni, parents, and friends.

Sean also hosts and produces Following the Gong, a podcast for Schreyer Scholars featuring conversations with Scholar alumni providing mentoring on demand. You can learn more about him by listening to his interview on episode 48.

Sean started at Penn State Berks before earning his bachelor's degrees in both political science with honors and history from the College of the Liberal Arts at UP in 2011. His honors thesis focused on state legislators' educational backgrounds and the effects they have on funding for public higher education. After interning at Penn State Berks in campus life, he earned his Master of Education in Student Personnel Administration in Higher Education from the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 2014 and went on to work in student programming at the University of Kentucky for several years.

Sean earned his MBA from the Penn State Smeal College of Business in 2023.

Sean lives in State College with his wife, Elizabeth, their two future Nittany Lions, and Rosie, their rescue mutt. His favorite season is college football season, while his wife's is college basketball season.

Sean can be reached at spg5096@psu.edu.

Douglas Martin headshot
Douglas Martin Assistant Director of Development

Douglas Martin received his BA in Marketing & Management from Drexel University's LeBow College of Business in 2008. Prior to joining Penn State in July 2022, he held several professional roles in private equity and project development across a wide array of industries, including real estate, energy, agriculture, technology, media, sports entertainment, and medicine. A State College native and graduate of State College Area High School, Douglas returned to his hometown in 2017 after residing in Philadelphia for more than 15 years.

Douglas likes to stay involved in his community and looks for opportunities to volunteer. During his time in Philadelphia, he served as vice president of The Friends of Bancroft, a professional group supporting Bancroft Neurohealth and its mission to help people with autism and intellectual and developmental disabilities. He is a board member and vice president of The ACRES Project, a local State College non-profit providing critical programs to the autistic and neuro-diverse community.

Douglas currently resides near campus with his wife Traci, a 2010 Penn State alumna. Together, they can be seen walking their mini Goldendoodle, Jolene, around town and on campus. He is an avid Penn State sports fan and the son of two Penn State alumni from the classes of 1972 and 1973. In his free time, he enjoys golf, boxing, and fitness.

You can reach Douglas at djm774@psu.edu.

Cheryl Vonada headshot
Cheryl Vonada Administrative Assistant

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 constituent relations and annual giving.

Cheryl began her career at Penn State in 2008 as part of 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 has served on the Division of Development and Alumni Relations (DDAR) Staff Support Committee for several years to provide staff support with the tools and resources needed to perform their duties while empowering confidence and positive motivation. She is a community volunteer, dedicated to fulfilling the plans to enhance the Walker Township Park, 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.

Finance and Business

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 sqc9@psu.edu.

Operations and Technology

Tom Weber headshot
Tom Weber Director of Operations

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.

Tyler Davis headshot
Tyler Davis IT Consultant

Tyler joined the Schreyer Honors College in April 2020. Tyler grew up in northeast Pennsylvania and graduated from Penn State with a bachelor of science degree in kinesiology. Tyler has been with Penn State for 12 years, most recently as an IT Support Specialist with the Enterprise Information Technology Group. There, he helped users with computer issues daily and was heavily involved in the rollout of major computer programs such as Office 365 and Enterprise Active Directory.

Tyler lives in Bellefonte with his wife, his son, Jacob, and his daughter, Katie. He enjoys staying physically active, golfing, and being outdoors when the weather is warm so he can play sports with his kids.

Tyler may be reached at tmd129@psu.edu.

Tom Harrington headshot
Tom Harrington Applications 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 and lover of music. You can contact Tom at tph134@psu.edu.

Presidential Leadership Academy

Lisa Ford headshot
Lisa Ford Acting Director, Presidential Leadership Academy

Lisa joined the Presidential Leadership Acaedmy from Penn State’s Smeal College of Business where she has served in various capacities since 1999. Lisa graduated from Smeal in 1991 with a bachelor of science degree in economics. She also received her master’s degree in Human Resources from Penn State.

Lisa most recently held the position of associate director of the Borrelli Institute for Real Estate Studies. There she developed and implemented Real Estate Boot Camp programming for undergraduate and graduate students, coordinated numerous events to enhance students’ engagement with real estate professionals, advised the Real Estate Association student organization, and more.

Strategic Communications

Shea Bracken headshot
Shea Bracken Director of Strategic Communications

Shea joined Schreyer Honors College in 2022 as Director of Strategic Communications. She is responsible for the public image of the College and communicating with Scholars, alumni, and other stakeholders. Prior to coming to Schreyer, Shea worked in various positions at Penn State, including as the Director of Communications and Marketing for Student Affairs and as a marketing professional in the College of Engineering and the Energy Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.

Shea received a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Penn State and a master’s degree in professional writing from New England College in Henniker, NH. Her areas of expertise include, public relations, crisis communication, web content strategy, strategic planning, change management, and staff mentoring.

Shea is a Pennsylvania native and currently lives in State College with her husband and daughter.

Ray Schmitt headshot
Ray Schmitt Marketing Communications Specialist

Ray Schmitt joined the Schreyer Honors College in January of 2022 as a marketing communications specialist. Ray brings with him nearly two decades of experience as a professional storyteller and content marketer.

A 2007 graduate of the Bellisario College of Communications with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he spent nearly a decade as a public relations and broadcasting director in minor league professional hockey. After stints in PR and marketing communications in veterinary healthcare and in an agency setting, he returned to Penn State in 2018 as a PR specialist with Teaching and Learning with Technology, a unit of Penn State IT.

Ray is a west/central Pa. native who grew up in a Penn State family. His father (’83), brother (’10), and sister (’11) are all Penn State graduates. Away from work, he still gets his hockey fix by playing in adult recreational leagues and enjoys staying active by biking, running, skiing, and more. Ray and his fiancé keep busy at home with four kids and three dogs.

You can reach Ray at rrs182@psu.edu.

Student Aid

Austyn Yatison headshot
Austyn Yatison Student Aid Counselor

Austyn joined the Schreyer Honors College in May 2022 as the college’s Student Aid Counselor. Prior to that, she served in Penn State’s Office of Student Aid. Although relatively new to working at the University, she has been bleeding blue and white her entire life and comes from a long line of Penn Staters. Austyn grew up in a small town in Western PA where she spent her time showing dairy cows in her local 4-H club, playing softball, and cheering on the Pittsburgh Penguins - a passion that has grown to include Penn State Hockey. She came to Penn State in 2013, earned undergraduate degrees in World Languages Education and German, and then decided that there was no better place to stay than Happy Valley.

In 2020, Austyn received her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Southern New Hampshire University and now resides in Bellefonte with her husband, son, and their three dogs; Lucy, Champion, and Socks. Pictures of all three can be found in her office on the ground level of Atherton Hall.

You can reach Austyn at arp5418@psu.edu.

Student Programming

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 dlh15@psu.edu.

Lisa Dierks headshot
Lisa Dierks Scholar Success Associate

Lisa moved to Penn State from Boston to join the Schreyer Honors College team in 2023. She has worked in education for the past 10 years, from middle school all the way up to the collegiate setting. She has always been committed to providing a memorable student experience for everyone.

In her free time, Lisa works in her garden, visits the Arboretum, or tries out new dinner recipes. She lives with her husband, Jonny, and their two cats, Franklin and Fenway.

Rosanna Mersinger headshot
Rosanna Mersinger Administrative Assistant

Rosanna joined the Schreyer Honors College in August 2000. Her primary responsibilities are providing administrative support to the Director of Student Programs and the Director of Strategic Communications. Other responsibilities include, assisting Scholars with general housing concerns, and serving as support to the Schreyer Honors College Scholar Assistants, assisting them with the coordination of student events.

Rosanna lives in Coburn with her husband, Duane. They have two daughters and five grandchildren. She is very active in fundraising events which support her local fire company and church. Feel free to stop by and say hello when you are in Simmons Hall.

Schreyer Scholar Marissa Works

I chose Schreyer because it is one of the top-rated honors programs in the country. I knew it would make a large community such as Penn State feel smaller, and more intimate.

Marissa Works ' 19 Music Education and Advertising/Public Relations

Dedicated Support Staff

Organizational Chart