Name: Carol Cowan-Crawford
What is your role on the Shenango campus? Human Development and Family Studies Lecturer
When did you start here? Part-time in the spring of 2017 and full-time in fall 2019.
What were you doing before you came to Shenango? I taught HDFS part-time at Kent State University for four years and worked in the counseling field for twelve years.
Tell us about your education: I received a master's degree in human development and family studies from Kent State University and a bachelor in human development and family studies from Penn State University.
What attracted you to the Shenango campus? I am a proud Penn State Shenango Alumni! I have many wonderful memories as a student.
What do you like about the Shenango campus so far? The Shenango campus has a very friendly atmosphere.
Who has made an impact on your life? Why? My husband has made a big impact on my life because he has always been supportive of my goals and dreams. He has cheered and helped me every step of the way.
One surprising fact about yourself: Deep down, I’m still a seventies hippy!
What do you enjoy outside of the classroom? Hobbies, interests, etc.: Spending time with my family, bike riding, antique shopping for retro items, reading, and traveling.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment? Teaching at Penn State Shenango!
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? As a graduate of this campus, I can say the education I received was a solid foundation for my career in counseling. My education was built on research and evidence-based practices. Going to a smaller campus, I felt part of a caring community that sought to offer me the best education possible; I chose to learn and grow with the help of my professors and the staff. Coming back to Penn State Shenango, I feel the caring community continues and I am very proud to be part of this campus.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee? My experiences have been a feeling of family and highly qualified professionals seeking a common goal of excellence regarding student education.
If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing? Counseling
Name: Lauren Altenburger
What is your role on the Shenango campus? I am an Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies, so my role on campus is primarily to teach, conduct research, and serve. My research focuses on parenting quality and the development of children’s self-regulation, or the strategies a child uses to manage their emotional and behavioral responses in order achieve a goal. Noncognitive factors are especially important for success in school. If you think about an early childhood classroom, successful children have to be able to sit still, focus on a task, and raise their hand when they have a question. Why are some children better at this than others? I am interested in what types of parenting behavior during infancy/toddlerhood support young children’s self-regulation. I use lots of observational data, so I ask families to come into a lab space and record them interacting with their children. We look for different behaviors and examine how they support the child’s self-regulation.
When did you start here? I started in August 2019.
What were you doing before you came to Shenango? Before I came to Shenango, I was finishing my Ph.D. at The Ohio State University. I also worked for two years at The Ohio Department of Education and supervised a team of social science researchers. Our team was responsible for producing the Ohio Report Card, which is a system used in Ohio to measure school performance. We worked across the state to help educators understand the system and use the system to drive educational improvements. I also worked on several research projects, which informed educational policy in Ohio.
Tell us about your education: I earned my B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Science at The Ohio State University. I also have a specialization in quantitative research methods, and enjoy applying novel and innovative methodological techniques to answer important research questions.
What attracted you to the Shenango campus? The Shenango campus has the feeling of a small college. Faculty members get to know students and can really help understand and support their professional goals. At the same time, “We are… PENN STATE” and have the resources of a large, Research I university. I enjoy small class sizes and a tight community, but I also enjoy working with some of the research centers, like the Social Sciences Research Institute, at the University Park campus.
What do you like about the Shenango campus so far? I am really appreciating the support of my colleagues and other staff. Everyone has been very helpful and responsive. We also have a new HDFS lab space. I am looking forward to recruiting undergraduate research assistants.
Who has made an impact on your life? Why? Too many people! I am very grateful for the support I receive each and every day from my family. I also would not be where I am at today without the support of exceptional mentors, who took the time to guide and train me. I am especially grateful for my Ph.D. advisor, Dr. Schoppe-Sullivan. I remember meeting her when I was a high school student considering OSU. Her passion and excitement for research inspired my own.
One surprising fact about yourself: I began playing the tuba at a young age, and played in several community bands during junior high school. I do not play (regularly) anymore, but I still have my tuba at home in case I decide to take it up later in life.
What do you enjoy outside of the classroom? Hobbies, interests, etc.: I am very passionate about running (i.e., training, injury-prevention, racing, etc). I participate in my local road runners club and enjoy running various local races. My favorite distance is the half marathon. I also enjoy hiking and spend a lot of time in Cuyahoga Valley National Park (CVNP). I am a big fan of live music. My favorite music venue is G.A.R. Music Hall (located in CVNP). I am a very big Cleveland Cavaliers fan!
What is your proudest professional accomplishment? My proudest professional accomplishment is doing a live radio interview on NPR. I discussed one of my recently published studies and answered questions from live callers. I enjoyed speaking about technical research findings in a practical way for a general audience.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? I would recommend Penn State Shenango to future students because I truly believe we have excellent faculty who are committed to helping students achieve their professional goals. Students have many incredible opportunities and can gain research experience, study abroad, or complete an internship. Students leave our campus with the tools they need to be successful in their field.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee? (I would recommend for the reasons I stated in questions 6 and 7.)
If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing? I would probably work in educational policy because I enjoy using data to improve student achievement and school performance. However, I would be tempted to own a running shoe store because I could spend all day talking about training, running shoes, running gear, injury prevention—and never tire!
Name: Travis Milburn, Ph.D.
What is your role on the Shenango campus? Assistant Professor of Administration of Justice
When did you start here? Fall 2019
What were you doing before you came to Shenango? I was an assistant professor of sociology and director of criminology and criminal justice at Tennessee Tech University.
Tell us about your education: I started college at the University of Louisville before transferring to Eastern Kentucky University where I earned a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice and a master’s degree in criminal justice. Following EKU, I earned a doctorate in criminology and criminal justice from Old Dominion University in Norfolk, Virginia.
What attracted you to the Shenango campus? This area felt familiar due to its similarity to the areas where I have spent much of my life. I was attracted to the size of the campus and that there is a dedicated four-year degree in my field.
What do you like about the Shenango campus so far? The people at Shenango are fantastic! I’ve found the faculty and staff to be warm and helpful. There are also great, engaged students here.
Who has made an impact on your life? Why? There are several people that have made significant impacts on my life, but since I just got married this semester, I’ll mention my wife, Sam. She makes life outside of work nothing short of wonderful; her positivity is contagious and I admire how she handles life with such grace. She has been incredibly supportive and has made the transition to a new state and a new position much easier.
One surprising fact about yourself: I worked for the US Secret Service for four years in Lexington, Kentucky.
What do you enjoy outside of the classroom? Hobbies, interests, etc.: Outside of work, I enjoy spending time with Sam and our dog, Tate, a boxer. Sam, Tate, and I visit family in Kentucky and Michigan when we are able to, and we enjoy traveling in general. I try to stay active, but also enjoy breweries, stand-up comedy, concerts, and I closely follow University of Louisville athletics.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment? Earning a doctorate.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? Shenango provides you the opportunity to earn a Penn State degree in an intimate environment and, as I mentioned previously, the people here are outstanding.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee? Not to sound like a broken record, but my colleagues make working here enjoyable. The people at Penn State Shenango are dedicated and it shows when you’re here.
If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing? This is a difficult question because I’ve had most of my eggs in the higher education basket for much of my adult life. Maybe the most likely answer would be government work of some kind within the criminal justice system since I have both a professional and educational background there.