What is your role on the Shenango campus? I wear three “hats” at Shenango: Assistant Director of Academic Affairs, Associate Teaching Professor in English, and Coordinator of the Shenango Academic Resource Center (SHARC).
How long have you been at Penn State? I’ve worked at Penn State since January 2009, when I was hired at the last-minute as an adjunct to cover a couple writing courses when a faculty member left unexpectedly. In Fall 2009, I was hired as a full-time instructor in the English department. In Fall 2010, in addition to my teaching, I took on new responsibilities as the Learning Center Coordinator, and by Fall 2011, I began my current administrative role in Academic Affairs.
What are you involved in on campus? During the last several years, most of my day-to-day work has been administrative, but I still enjoy teaching literature courses too. On the Academic Affairs side, I am responsible for hiring part-time faculty, for managing the schedule of courses, and overseeing the Academic and Career Planning Center. I work closely with Dr. Carrick on a variety of academic-related initiatives and day-to-day operations in academic affairs. I also have the privilege of serving as part of the campus leadership team. I have also coordinated our tutoring center for the last 5 years.
What are you involved in outside of campus? I have served on the Board of Directors for the College English Association for several years. Last year, I served as President, and the year before, I was the Program Chair and organized our 50th Anniversary Conference in New Orleans in 2019.
Tell us about your education: I graduated with my Ph.D. in English with a focus on 19th-Century British Literature from Ohio University in Athens, Ohio. I also earned my Master’s degree in English at OU. I earned my Bachelor’s degree in English and Communications in Theatre from Youngstown State University.
What is your favorite Penn State memory? I would have to say that it is hard to pinpoint only one, so I’ll mention two: 1) Shaking hands with each of our graduating students on the auditorium stage at the end of the semester; and 2) Watching the awesome, yearly spectacle of the ugly holiday sweater contest at our holiday luncheons.
Why do you love the Shenango campus? The strong, student-centered focus from faculty and staff. Everyone is always talking about new ways to help in whatever way we can. It’s such a supportive environment. It’s also wonderful to see the high positive impact of the education on our students’ lives. So wonderful to see!
Who has made an impact on your life? Why? My husband Corey and our two children, Louis and Lillian. They pretty much keep things real for me on a daily basis (my children are both teenagers now!), and their love and sense of humor bring me so much joy. I feel very fortunate to have them in my life.
One surprising fact about yourself: My parents are immigrants from Macedonia, a country in Eastern European. I’m a first-generation college student and a first-generation American.
What do you enjoy outside of the campus? Basically, anyone who knows me well knows it all boils down to art, literature, and antiques! I make postcard collages almost every day.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment? Organizing the College English Association Conference in New Orleans last year. It was the largest conference to date for the organization.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? You can’t beat the quality of instruction and nurturing environment.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee? We are a close-knit, caring place to work. Career-wise, it’s hard to beat all the professional opportunities and resources for research available at Penn State. It’s also a great place to be a self-starter, since there’s an openness to new ideas and initiatives.
If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing? I’d be the curator of a fashion museum. I’m a total fashion history nerd.
What is your role on the Shenango campus? I am the Administrative Assistant for the Office of the Campus Director, Development, and Alumni Relations.
How long have you been at Penn State? I have been here for almost five years.
What are you involved in on campus? I am the Shenango Staff Advisory Council Secretary. I am also a member of the Shenango Diversity and Inclusion, the Heart of Shenango, and the People of Color Employee Resource committees. I am also the editor of the Shenango eNewsletter.
What are you involved in outside of campus? I volunteer at the Greenville Public Library on occasion and the Greenville Heritage Days during the Independence Day weekend.
Tell us about your education: I received a Bachelor of Arts from Thiel College in communication in 2002. In 2016, I earned a Master of Education in learning, design, and technology from Penn State World Campus.
What is your favorite Penn State memory? There are so many! When I went to University Park for the first time as a part of Development and Alumni Relations (DDAR) Orientation - there was so much to see and experience. I also enjoyed meeting DDAR employees from other campuses.
Why do you love the Shenango campus? During my time at Shenango, I have been pleasantly surprised to learn that many people who I have known and liked for years are alumni. It is like these relationships were meant to be.
Who has made an impact on your life? Why? My family – from them I have learned the importance of doing things to the best of one’s ability.
One surprising fact about yourself: I was a staff writer for the Record-Argus. I had a weekly column entitled, The City Girl, that covered making the transition from living in the Pittsburgh area to Greenville.
What do you enjoy outside of the campus? Before the pandemic, I was an active member of the American Poolplayers Association and I tried to attend a Broadway tour performance every so often. I also like to exercise, garden, and read.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students? A student has the luxury of getting a Penn State education without possibly getting lost in the crowd at University Park. Students receive the personal touch at Shenango; faculty and staff work together to make the students’ success their main priority.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee? From the moment I walked in the door as a temp, I have been treated like a member of the Shenango family. Nothing beats working with people you like!
If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing? Good question! I would be a television news reporter... Or maybe I would be working for Blackboard Inc. or a similar organization, training educators. I love playing with new technology and showing people how to use it.
What is your role on the Shenango campus?
Assistant Teaching Professor, Communications
Program Coordinator, Corporate Communication
How long have you been at Penn State?
This is my third-year as a full-time faculty member. Prior to that, I was an adjunct for two years.
What are you involved in on campus?
As much as I can be! I love Shenango. I am a member of the Research and Faculty Development Committee, and we are in charge of the research fair each semester and promoting some great activities for faculty research. I am also a member of the Faculty Affairs Committee. This semester, we are working on how to better shape the ratings of teaching effectiveness.
Each semester, I have been involved in Girl Scout Day on campus, and I absolutely love it. I also do the Earth Fest committee and really love being a part of that.
What are you involved in outside of campus?
Communication studies are my true calling, and I’m trying to be involved in discipline-related activities at all levels.
Internationally, I’m a member of the Media Ecology Association. This year, a group was formed to improve diversity and inclusion, and I’m involved in that. I present my research annually at the Media Ecology Association conference.
Nationally, I help review submissions for our national organization, the National Communication Association, and I have been nominated and hope to serve on the Teaching and Learning Council.
Regionally, I am involved with the Eastern Communication Association. I am currently the Executive Council represented for the Philosophy of Communication Division. I also review submissions for the annual conference and present research regularly. I enjoy helping to chair panels, also.
At the State level, I am a member of the Pennsylvania Communication Association and also present yearly at our conference. I hope in the future to hold a position of leadership for PCA.
Tell us about your education:
I was actually a student at Penn State Shenango from 2004-2006. At the time, I was studying biology. I left in 2007 and transferred to YSU to finish my biology degree. Once there, though, after a year I completely switched fields and ended up in Communication Studies! I graduated there in December 2009.
In December 2010, I started my Master’s Degree at Cleveland State University. I was studying Theory and Applied Methodology in Communication and was there about two years before I paused my education and started my family.
I finished my Master’s Degree at Edinboro University in 2014. At first, I didn’t transfer any classes and wanted to start from scratch. Whereas my focus was social science at Cleveland, my work at Edinboro was much more humanities oriented. My master’s thesis was on the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict, which I presented at the 2014 National Communication Conference in Chicago.
Duquesne University is where I earned my Doctorate Degree. They have an intense six-year program. I loved every minute of it though! I commuted back and forth the entire time from Sharon. My dissertation had to be defended via a conference call! It was definitely an interesting experience. I studied friendship and technology. Currently, my dissertation is under review with Routledge.
What is your favorite Penn State memory?
I have so many good memories. I thought about this for the Pardon the Pandemic Podcast, but I have to change my answer. I love family day. I love getting to see other’s loved ones and bringing my own family to campus. Each family day is so special and that is my favorite time on campus.
Why do you love the Shenango campus?
Because WE ARE family! Each and every student matters to me, and I know I matter to them. Each and every employee matters to me and I know I matter to them. Here, we are all more than just a number. We matter.
Who has made an impact on your life? Why?
My two grandmothers. I was raised by my paternal grandparents. My paternal grandmother was a strong woman. She was extremely intelligent but stayed at home to care for her children. She emphasized the importance of breaking gender stereotypes and wanted more for me. She also did everything she could to encourage my education. She died before I got my degree at Edinboro and it devastated me.
My maternal grandmother was a bookworm. She gave me a constant supply of reading content (especially Grisham books). She was a journalist for a paper in Clarion, PA and also a tax assessor and jury commissioner for Clarion County. She instilled a sense of dedication to community and respect for elected offices and positions. She went to college, which was unique for women in that era, and she always kept me motivated to study hard. She attended my graduation at Edinboro, but passed before I graduated from Duquesne.
I know both grandmothers would be so proud though, and I carry them with me in everything I do.
One surprising fact about yourself:
I am a clearance shopper and couponer. I am that woman with a binder of coupons holding up the line in front of you. I’m sorry! But if you ever need pens, pencils, or highlighters, I’m your person! I literally have an entire desk drawer full of them in my office that I got for free.
What do you enjoy outside of the campus?
I started running about four years ago and love to be outside. Before Covid, I was studying Krav Maga and hope to start up soon again. Camping and kayaking are some of my favorite summer activities. I also have a great garden! I guess that honestly, being outside in any way I really love. If I could just sit in the middle of a forest doing nothing, I’d be perfectly happy and content.
What is your proudest professional accomplishment?
I have two. Research-related, I have two international publications in the journal Explorations in Media Ecology. I worked so hard on them and when they were accepted, I was so happy.
Teaching-related, I received the Jack P. Royer Teaching and Collaborative Learning Award. I have no clue who nominated me or how. It was such a surprise. It made me feel so grateful to everyone I work with, too. I can only do good work because I work with great people who help me!
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to future students?
I have been at small universities and big universities. I have studied online and in person. I have attended private and public institutions. All have been wonderful and have shaped me into who I am. But my time at Shenango really was like the foundation for the house. Shenango is a place that helps you build a solid and sturdy foundation. So whether your time here is two years, four years, or even more now that we have our advanced nursing program, you are starting somewhere that helps strengthen you as a person in general.
Why would you recommend Penn State Shenango to a future colleague/employee?
You matter here. You aren’t just a number.
If you weren’t working in higher education, what would you be doing?
I miss waitressing! I made good money doing it and loved always having cash on hand! I think I’d still be doing that. I also really loved meeting so many people. Less realistically, I would be a wild woman in the woods. I would build a small cabin in Alaska and survive on the land!