Continuity of Operations planning information for the College of Education: Click here


Graduate Research Assistants

Kevin Curry graduated from Penn State University and Arizona State University. He is interested in improving access for low-income minorities and academic support systems for first-year students.

Frank Fernandez graduated from Imperial Valley College, the University of San Diego, and Stanford University. He is interested in community colleges, proprietary education, non-traditional students, student veterans, transfer student issues, and the politics of higher education policy.

Rachael Gebely is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Program. She received her B.A. in Psychology from Susquehanna University (Selinsgrove, PA) and her M.S. in College Student Personnel from Miami University of Ohio (Oxford, OH). Before returning to the classroom, Rachael worked at Bucknell University (Lewisburg, PA) in Student Affairs and Residential Education for six years. Rachael currently works as a research assistant to Dr. Leticia Oseguera in the Center. She also serves as the professional development chair of the Higher Education Student Association (HESA).

Rachael's current research interests include student development, the concept of self-authorship, and high-ability/high-achieving students.

Allie Goldstein is a Ph.D student in Higher Education. She received her Masters in Post Secondary Educational Leadership with an emphasis in Student Affairs from San Diego State University in 2012. Allie currently serves as a graduate assistant for Education Policy Studies, and TAs the Professional Seminar course. Her research interests include the in the use of technology in education, and student identity development. Allie also serves as the Managing Editor for the Higher Education in Review (HER) and the president-elect for the Higher Education Student Association (HESA).

Kaitlin Gurganus is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Program. Kaitlin received her B.A. in Political Science from Penn State and her M.S. in Higher Education Administration from Marywood University. Kaitlin's research interests include the intersection of law and higher education and college student success. Kaitlin also works as an academic mentor for student-athletes at Penn State.

Jihee Hwang is a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education Program. She earned her B.A. in Education, B.A. in Korean Language and Literature, and M.A. in Education from Yonsei University in Seoul, South Korea. Her research interests include college access, community colleges and for-profit postsecondary schools, underrepresented students in higher education, institutional research, and quantitative research methodology using large national data sets. She served as a data analyst in Student Affairs Research and Assessment at Penn State from 2011 to 2013. Jihee is currently working at the Center as a graduate research assistant with Dr. Leticia Oseguera.

Karla Loya is an ABD doctoral candidate in the Higher Education Program. Born in México, she received her bachelor’s in Higher Education with a focus on gender studies from the University of Colima, México, and her master’s in Higher Education from the University of Kansas. She has worked for more than ten years in higher education administration, and her last position was Associate Dean for Academic Affairs at a graduate-level seminary school in Kansas City, MO.

Karla’s research interest include curriculum, teaching & learning, and assessment; identity, gender, and race/ethnicity studies; access, equity, and diversity; and faculty issues. At the CSHE, she is a Bunton-Waller fellow, where she works with Dr. Leticia Oseguera on projects related to college access, gender, and underrepresented students. Karla serves on the presidential advisory Commission for Women, and on the University’s Faculty and Staff Achievement Awards Committee.

Michael F. Minutello is a doctoral candidate in the Higher Education program. Michael was awarded the Allan Ostar Administrative Fellowship for the 2013-14 academic year and is currently working in the Office of Planning and Institutional Assessment, where he supports Penn State’s Middle States accreditation process. He also serves as a Guided Study Group Supervisor in Penn State Learning, helping undergraduate peer tutors to develop their pedagogical skills.

Michael’s current research interests include undergraduate student learning, institutional assessment, and faculty professional development.

Justin Ortagus is a Ph.D. candidate in the Higher Education Program. He received his B.A. in English and M.Ed. in Educational Leadership from the University of Florida. Justin's research interests include issues related to the proliferation of online education, faculty productivity, and education finance. He currently works with Drs. John Cheslock and Fred Loomis as a graduate assistant for Penn State's online graduate certificate program in Institutional Research. Justin serves as a consulting editor for Higher Education in Review and as treasurer of the Higher Education Student Association (HESA).

Liang Sun is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Program. She received her masters degree in education from Central China Normal University (China) and a bachelor's degree in Statistics from Wuhan University (China). With a comparative and global perspective, she is interested in internationalization of higher education and educational exchange. Her masters thesis probed into the history of the Institute of International Education. Currently she is a research assistant and works with her advisor, Dr. Liang Zhang, on conducting quantitative research in higher education.

Mark Umbricht is a doctoral student in the Higher Education Program. He received his B.A. in psychology from Eastern Illinois University and his Masters in Educational Organization and Leadership, with a concentration in Higher Education, from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). At UIUC Mark worked at the Office of Community College Research and Leadership (OCCRL) and completed his master's thesis on factors affecting time-to-degree in first-generation students.  Mark currently works as a graduate assistant with John Cheslock at the Center on projects related to institutional productivity and data usage. He also serves as the treasurer of the Higher Education Student Association (HESA) and a consulting editor of Higher Education in Review.

Mark’s current research interests include first-generation students, finance of higher education, institutional productivity, and institutional research.

Josh Wymore is a Ph.D. student in the Higher Education Program. Originally from West, Texas, he received his B.A. in Mathematics from LeTourneau University (TX) and his M.A. in Higher Education and Student Development from Taylor University (IN). Before coming to Penn State, Josh worked in residence life and retention at Taylor University and in student activities, first-year experience, and residence life at Gordon College (MA).  Josh is currently working with John Cheslock in the Center for the Study of Higher Education (CSHE) and is studying higher education finance with an emphasis on the sustainability of liberal arts colleges. His goal is to reimagine the liberal arts model to reduce costs and lower student debt.