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
Office of the Dean
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.
Dr. Zaryab Iqbal Associate 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 email@example.com.
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 Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion, 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 husband, Bob and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Dr. Lynette Yarger Assistant 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 email@example.com.
Dr. Richard Stoller Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs
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.
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, two pugs, 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 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).
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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. In May 2022, Jessica earned her bachelor's degree in Architecture from Penn State and Julia is currently pursuing an undergraduate degree in Early Childhood Education from Penn State. Anmarie enjoys spending time with her family and friends and traveling whenever possible to see distant relatives. You may reach Anmarie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
Shawna Gonsman Administrative Support Assistant, Career Development
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Development and Alumni Relations
Sean Miller Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations
Sean Miller obtained his BA in Political Science from Penn State in 2005. His current position is with the Division of Development & Alumni Relations for the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State as the Senior Director of Development and Alumni Relations where he is responsible for raising major gifts and supervising a team of four individuals.
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.
As an undergraduate, Sean was a member of Penn State Hillel, the Undergraduate Student Government, East Halls Residence Association, and the Association of Residence Hall Students. He was also a participant in THON, the largest student-run philanthropy in the world, and served as the Overall Finance Chairman for THON 2004. Also, as an undergraduate, Sean was recognized and honored with membership in the Parmi Nous Senior Honor Society.
Sean is currently heavily involved in the community in State College and Penn State. He serves on the board for the Parmi Nous Alumni Interest Group and serves as the undergraduate advisor for the Parmi Nous Society. He is also a member of the board for the State College Jewish Federation, Congregation Brit Shalom and the Pennsylvania Pink Zone. 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, the Discovery Space Children's Science Museum, Penn State Hillel and the Adoptive Parent Advisory Committee for the Open Arms Adoption Network.
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 email@example.com.
Melanie 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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, volunteers programs & engagement events, and coordinating annual giving efforts. Sean also hosts and produces Following the Gong, a podcast for Schreyer Scholars featuring conversations with Scholar alumni and their advice and career insights.
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.
Sean lives in State College with his wife, Elizabeth and their two kids & three rescue dogs, Julep, Rosie, and Groot. His favorite season is college football season. Sean is currently pursuing an MBA through the Smeal College of Business's Online MBA program.
Sean can be reached at email@example.com.
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 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 actively serves as the Chair of the Division of Development and Alumni Relations (DDAR) Staff Support Committee 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 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 firstname.lastname@example.org or simply stop by the Development Office in C-5 Atherton Hall.
Finance and Business
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 email@example.com.
Tom Weber Director of Information Technology
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Presidential Leadership Academy
Melissa Doberstein Director, Presidential Leadership Academy
Melissa has been the Schreyer Honors College Director of Health and Wellness since August 2020. She coordinates activities to enhance overall wellness in the College through programs, speakers, and events focused on physical and mental wellness. 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 and two Siberian Huskies. She is also a Penn State Fitness instructor.
If you have questions about health and wellness programming or the Presidential Leadership Academy, feel free to contact Melissa at email@example.com.
Glorie Josephs Administrative Support Assistant, Presidential Leadership Academy
Glorie Josephs joined the Presidential Leadership Academy in 2019. She is responsible for managing all events and travel, including budget oversight. She collaborates with students, staff, vendors, and alumni across the University to enrich and support the Academy team and to “glorie-fy” office operations.
A Penn State alumna with a Bachelor of Arts in telecommunications, Glorie is originally from Philadelphia. Fun fact: Glorie interned at Marvel Comics in New York City. Glorie spent several years in the advertising world and then moved to State College to run a printing company with her husband. Since 2014, she has worked for the University in client service roles, most recently for the Penn State Alumni Association.
Glorie lives in State College with her husband, Steve, and sons, Cooper and Griffen. She enjoys conversing with the bright stars in the Presidential Leadership Academy, trying new recipes, flowers, and fun. You may reach Glorie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 25 years of experience in communications and marketing 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 has held leadership roles in communications and marketing at a number of institutions, including Cornell University, Columbia University, Stevens Institute of Technology and Elmira College, 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. He is a senior communications professional with extensive experience in branding, marketing, advertising, and strategic communications and a creative leader who knows how to leverage an institution's brand to drive engagement.
You can reach Wade at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Austyn Piepenhagen 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 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 Pennsylvania where she showed dairy cows in her local 4-H organization. She came to Penn State in 2014 and earned undergraduate degrees in World Languages Education and German in 2018. It was then that she decided that Happy Valley was her home.
In 2020, Austyn received her master’s degree in Higher Education Administration from Southern New Hampshire University and now resides in Bellefonte with her fiancé and their three dogs; Lucy, Champion, and Socks. Her office is on the ground level of Atherton Hall, and – recreationally, she can also be found in Pegula, as she is an avid hockey fan of both Penn State and the Pittsburgh Penguins.
You can reach Austyn at email@example.com.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Rosanna Mersinger Administrative Support Assistant, Student Programs and Strategic Communications
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.