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Alumni Profiles

Brief bios of program alumni

April Bailey (2009) D.Ed.
April is an Associate Professor in the John L. Grove College of Business at Shippensburg University of Pennsylvania (Shippensburg, PA) where she currently works with incoming first-year business students.  Her research interests are nontraditional students and understanding more about students' transition to college.

Lisa Bailey (2009) M.Ed.
Lisa is a distance education teacher for adults with Tuscarora Intermediate Unit 11 for the state of Pennsylvania. This project helps adult learners achieve their GED and improve their work skills via distance learning.

Tom Buckmiller (2009) Ph.D.
Tom, originally from Winner, South Dakota, has a B.A. in elementary education from Mount Marty College, and a M.A. in Educational Administration from Iowa State University. His work experience includes: Fifth grade teacher; and elementary and middle school principal. His research interest is Native American adult learners. Tom is currently an Assistant Professor at Drake University in Des Moines, IA in the Educational Leadership Department.

Michelle Covert (2016) Ph.D.
Michelle has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State University and an M.S. in Higher Education from Drexel University. Additionally, she earned a Certificate in Distance Education from Penn State University.  Michelle is currently pursuing a PhD in Adult Education. She has worked as a counselor for women and children in both educational and shelter environments, was formerly a co-owner of an art/antique/gift store, and has held internship positions in higher education focused on student affairs, student engagement, retention, and program development.  Her research interests include understanding the work/life balance of student-mothers, rural adult students' experiences in higher education, adult student retention in higher education, distance education, and lifelong learning.

David Eichler (2009) D.Ed.;
Dave has a B.S. in Health and Physical Education, as well as a minor in Recreation and Outdoor Pursuits from West Chester University of Pennsylvania. He has a M.Ed. in Health Education and a D.Ed. in Adult Education from The Pennsylvania State University. His master's thesis - "Implementing an Outdoor Experiential Education Program in a High School Setting," and his doctoral dissertation - "The Experience of Reflective Journaling in an Outward Bound Course" are available trough the Penn State Library system. His current work experience includes teaching secondary physical and outdoor experiential education at Donegal High School, Mount Joy, PA, adjunct instructor teaching high and low ropes facilitation in the Wellness and Sport Sciences Dept., Millersville University of Pennsylvania, as well as serving as a Deputy Waterways Conservation Officer with the PA Fish & Boat Commission.

Edith Gnanadass (2016) Ph.D.
Edith has a B.A. in Finance from the University of Wisconsin – Madison and a MBA in International Business from the Thunderbird School of Global Management.  Her work experience includes community development, social services and adult literacy in New York City.  Her topic of interest is the racialized experiences of South Asian Americans in the United States of America.

Ramazan Gungor (2016) Ph.D.

Ramazan Gungor, Ph.D. is a post-doctoral scholar in the Adult Education Program and the World Campus at Penn State University, where he is currently investigating the relationship between institutional scholarships and retention for distance education students. He received his B.A. in Foreign Language Education and M.A. in Adult Education from Bogazici University in Istanbul, Turkey. He completed his Ph.D. with a dual-title in Adult Education and Comparative and International Education non-state actors in both the USA and Turkey, motivational orientations for participation, social support within these programs, and state and federal level policy and curriculum analysis. Dr. Gungor has also studied distance education in different contexts, including its use for adult basic education programs. As a result of this work, he and his co-authors (Esther Prins, Cathy Kassab, and Brendaly Drayton) received the Mildred B. and Charles A. Wedemeyer Award for Outstanding Scholar in Distance Education in 2013. This project also paved the way for his research on distance education.

Patricia "Patty" Holland Webb (2016) Ph.D.
Patty has a B.A. in English from the University of Pittsburgh, a B.S. in Nursing from Ohio State University and a Master’s in Adult and Community Education from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.  Her work experience includes: healthcare, professional writing, large animal training for therapeutic animal and corporate leadership programs (involving dogs & horses).  Her research interests are: the nature & evolution of reflective consciousness, and its relation to learning, to the development of social networks, to perceptions & expressions of agency, and to transformative social action;  discourse theory & analysis, critical theory (particularly related to psychoanalytic thought), theories of language & literacy, and mystical traditions of spirituality in both Western & Eastern religions.

Adelina Hristova (2016) Ph.D.
Adelina has earned her B.AA in Russian Philology and M.A. in Teaching Russian Language and Literature from Sofia University, Bulgaria; her Interim teaching certificate from Lethbridge University, AB, Canada; and her M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) from University of Idaho. Currently she is a TOEFL writing instructor for the State College Area School District Community Education and Adult Education Center. Her research interests include literacy for culturally and linguistically diverse populations, bilingualism and multilingualism in the global context, measurements of success for adult learners, comparative and international education, distance education and web-based learning.

Haijun Kang (2009) Ph.D.
Haijun is an Assistant Professor in the College of Lifelong Learning at Jackson State University in Jackson, MS.  In addition, to earning a doctorate in Adult Education he also earned a dual doctorate degree in Comparative and International Education.  He currently works with undergraduate and graduate students. His research interests are distance education design and development; quality assurance; comparative and international distance education.

Courtney Karmelita (2016) D.Ed.
Courtney earned a B.S. in French and Francophone Studies from Penn State. She then went on to earn a M.Ed in Secondary Education from Chestnut Hill College while concurrently teaching full time in Philadelphia through Teach for America. After her assignment with Teach for America, Courtney taught at Central Bucks South High School. She is currently in the D.Ed program for Adult Education at Penn State. 

Ally Krupar (2017) D.Ed.
Ally Krupar earned her Ph.D. in Adult Education and Comparative and International Education, holds a Bachelors of
Arts in Anthropology from Case Western Reserve University and a Masters of Arts in Interdisciplinary Studies focusing on conflict resolution, human rights law and anthropology from American University. She also teaches online at American University (AU) and has taught at the American University of Afghanistan in Kabul and worked in distance and e-learning at AU and Marerere University's Infectious Disease Institute In Uganda. She teaches qualitative methods, project monitoring and evaluations, software, digital media, and  professional development workshops, emphasizing technology supporting learning with foci on accessibility, synchronous and asynchronous tools, and mobile learning. Her research interests include adult learning, women's education in conflict-affected environments, technology innovations in education (emphasizing online learning and mobile learning in low resource areas or low income populations), ethnography (especially visual ethnography), higher and continuing education planning and programing, and human right advocacy.

Kristine Lalley (2009) D.Ed.
Kristine is the Director of Engineering Initiatives at the Swanson School of Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. In this role she develops various programs for engineering students to have an international education experience, including study abroad, international internships, international research experiences, and international service learning opportunities. Her research interests include assessing how students learn from context in an international program, as well as using qualitative research to understand the learning experiences of students engaging in international education programs.

Keon Mercedes Liberato (2017) Ph.D.

Keon holds a B.A. in Sociology and M.S. in Human Resources and Employment Relations from Penn State University. Keon has a broad range of work experience ranging from union organizer with the United Food and Commercial Workers and Metro Industrial Areas Foundation to railroad maintenance and construction. Keon is a member of the Brotherhood of Maintenance of Way Employees Division of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (BMWED-IBT). As an Adult Education Ph.D. candidate he is interested in combining Marxist theory and Cultural Historical Activity Theory to explore the role of learning in Left social movement organizing.

Wendy McDonald (2009) M.Ed.
Wendy has a B.S. in Business Administration from the University of Alabama and is a recent graduate of the Masters program in Adult Education rthrough the Penn State World Campus.  She is now pursuing a Ph.D. in Business Education at Auburn University.  She is an Employment Service Representative for the state of Alabama's Department of Industrial Relations.  Her research interests include helping displaced/dislocated workers transition into new employment.

Michele Mont (2009) D.Ed.
Michele continues to work as an owner/consultant for a consulting firm she established in 2000, MAM Education Center.  She primarily works with private and public sector firms interested in enhancing their employee development efforts.  Occasionally, she works with individuals interested in one-on-one coaching.  Her research interests include: art-based learning activities within adult education settings, and multicultural education.

Shelley Moore (2009) M.Ed.
Shelley has a B.A. in Psychology from Lock Haven University and is currently the Assistant Director of Career Services at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA.  Her past work experience includes:  higher education - career services, and adult basic and literacy education - professional development.

Hyewon Park (2016) Ph.D.

Hyewon Park is a Ph.D. candidate in Adult Education program. Hyewon holds a B.A. in Business and a M.A. in Education focusing on Human Resource Development (HRD). Her work experience includes a lecture on civic education and HRD. She also participated in various researches projects related to the curriculum development for vocational education and lifelong learning at a vocational education and training research institute in Korea. Her research interests are informal learning, sociocultural learning, workplace learning and career development for uneducated/low-skilled adults. She is writing her dissertation about North Korean young adult defectors' learning and identity reconstruction now.

Paul Rutter (2013) D.Ed.

Paul, also a six year Navy Veteran of Nuclear Submarines as a Machinist Mate, and a former banker with a BS degree in finance from Carolina is Regional Director of the University of Mount Olive, in eastern North Carolina where he oversees the administration of five campuses serving adults, from Raleigh/Durham (RTP), to Goldsboro/Seymour Johnson AFB, to the main campus in Mount Olive, NC. Current enrollment includes over 1,500 students who earn undergraduate and graduate degrees. Paul also teaches research methods, ethics, and leadership in the graduate education program and social science research for the business school at UMO. Paul has been with UMO since 2011 beginning as director of a single campus and has expanded his responsibilities in the past eight years.

Steve Seman (2009) M.Ed.
Steve is an Instructor of Meteorology at the Pennsylvania State University Park campus.  He works primarily with returning adult students who are seeking a Certificate of Achievement in Weather Forecasting from Penn State's World Campus.  In addition, he also performs some weather forecasting and broadcasting duties for the department's daily weather TV show, "Weather World" on WPSU and PCN.

Elizabeth (Beth) Shakespeare
Beth has a B.S. in Communications and Spanish from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and an M.A. in Elementary Education from Teachers College, Columbia University. Beth is a dual-title Ph.D. candidate in Adult Education and Comparative & International Education. Beth has experience teaching elementary and adult English language learners in both public and continuing education settings. Beth has additional experience in corporate training and development, and her research interests include adult women’s learning and multicultural notions of success in the global workplace.

Melissa Stocum (2009) M.Ed.
Melissa is the Coordinator of Matriculation and Retention for the School of Natural Resources Management at Pennsylvania College of Technology in Williamsport, PA.

Amy Thul-Sigler (2016) D.Ed

Amy has a B.A. in Creative Writing from Susquehanna University and a M.Ed. from Bloomsburg University with a concentration in Student Affairs. She is currently employed with Penn State Alumni Career Services as the Assistant Director and had previously been an adult education and English instructor for numerous years. Amy is currently pursuing her D.Ed. in Adult Education. Her research interests are learning environments, adult career development, and validity of career assessments.

Jacqlyn S. Tricari (2009) D.Ed.
Jacqlyn is a co-owner of the Triscari Group, a media production company located in Camp Hill, PA, where she serves as Senior Vice President and COO.  Her research for her doctorate focused on transformations that occur in companies during power shifts.  One of her primary interests is the area of collaboration of which she has written numerous articles, spoken at conferences and currently is working on a book.

Ozlem Zabitgil (2010) Ph.D. or
Ozlem is working as a translator and interpreter for the Immigrant Services, Guelph (Ontario, Canada). She is also a freelance interpreter for the ABLE translations (Mississauga, Ontario). Özlem has a BA in English Literature and Humanities from the Eastern Mediterranean University (North Cyprus). Her M.A. and Ph.D. are in Applied Linguistics/TESL and Adult Education (Language & Literacy Minor) respectively both from the Pennsylvania State University. During her graduate studies she worked as a writing tutor/consultant at the Penn State University’s Earth and Mineral Sciences. She also taught several ESL, Writing and Adult Literacy classes in Cyprus and the United States.

Amanda C. Neill (2010) D.Ed.
Amanda is Enrollment and Industrial Relations Coordinator in the Engineering Division at Penn State School of Graduate Professional Studies (Malvern, PA) where she works with adult graduate students and performs corporate outreach.  She is an adjunct faculty member at Holy Family University.  Her research interest include non-formal learning and learning in museums.

Denise Rill (2010) M.Ed.
Denise has an M.Ed. in Adult Education and a Postbaccalaureate Certificate in Distance Education from Penn State University. Her research interests include student support services in online distance education and program planning and administration. Originally from Maryland, she completed a Bachelor of Science Degree in Corporate Communication from University of Baltimore. She is currently a team member of the newly forming Penn State Solutions, Penn State University Park.

David Ulonska (2010) M.Ed.

David is a senior instructional design manager in the Learning & Development organization of PricewaterhouseCoopers. He is responsible for designing learning interventions across various staff classes and lines of service.

Mark Boccia (2010) M.Ed.
Mark is a global training director for Marriott International's lodging operation division, based in Bethesda, MD.  He has a B.S. in Hotel, Restaurant, and Institutional Management from Penn State, and a M.B.A. from Saint Joseph's University.  Mark leads a start-up training & development team charged with creating and sustaining all lodging operations training initiatives for Rooms, Food & Beverage, and Engineering disciplines from Marriott's managed and franchise hotel portfolio worldwide.  He is also an active member with ISPI and ASTD at the local and national level.

Rita Brooks (2010) M.Ed.
Rita is the Director of Diagnostic Services at Capital Health (Trenton, NJ) where she currently oversees an educational program for non-traditional students in polysomnography and collaborates in a fellowship program for sleep medicine physicians. In addition, she is working with Thomas Edison State College in Trenton, NJ to establish an online associate degree program in polysomnography. Her research interests are focused on nontraditional students entering healthcare as a career change.

Rhonda Schwinabart (2010) M.Ed.

Rhonda has a B.A. in political science from Hood College.  She has served as an AmeriCorps member, a university service-learning director, and an AmeriCorps* VISTA project supervisor.  She is Director of the Pathways for Success Program at Allegany College of Maryland.  Pathways is a TRIO Program funded by the U.S. Department of Education to serve low-income, first-generation college students and/or students with disabilities.  Her professional interest is in community education.

Susan Simpson (2010) M.Ed.
Susan has a B.S. in Recreation, Park and Management and a Master’s in Leisure Studies as well as her M.Ed. in Adult Education from Penn State.  Susan is an Adult Education Instructor for Employment and Training, Inc., in Huntingdon, Pennsylvania where she currently teaches a postsecondary education transitionary program for adults entering the medical field. 

Sue Snider (2010) D.Ed.
Sue is the coordinator for the Southwest Professional Development Center, (located in Pittsburgh, PA). She provides professional development to adult education practitioners in seven counties in the southwestern part of PA who receive state and federal adult education dollars. Her research interests include how the GED® Tests affect adult learners and how professional development is transferred to adult learners in the classroom.

Kristin H. Spiker (2010) M.Ed.
Kristin is the Director of Admissions and International Students for the Community College of Allegheny County (Pittsburgh, PA).  Her educational focus surrounds the use of social media in the area of higher education and specifically with international students.

Hyunmin Lim (2010) Ph.D.
Hyunmin is a researcher at the Institute of Educational Research at Yonsei University, Seoul, South Korea.  Her research interests are old women, social process of aging, educational gerontology, learning theories and CHAT.

William (Will) C. Diehl (2011) Ph.D.
Will has a B.S. is in K-8 education from Penn State and his master's work is in Adult Education at Penn State.  He is a former elementary and middle school teacher, web designer, developer and multimedia consultant.  He has also consulted as a Subject Matter expert and designer of university faculty development, graduate and undergraduate courses.  He is currently the education director for American, the executive director of the International Museum of Distance Education and Technology and the Interviews Editor for The American Journal of Distance Education.  Will is a songwriter and has released multiple CDs, and has written and recorded original music for The American Poverty Project, Oxfam American, Alvin Ailey Dance and The Boston's Children's Theatre.  His research interests include distance education, educational technology, foundations of adult and distance education, open education and intercultural literacy.

Junghwan Kim (2012) Ph.D.

Junghwan is an Assistant Professor of Adult and Higher Education at the University of Oklahoma, Norman. He has expertise across three fields: (1) Adult and Community Education, (2) Human Resource Development, and (3) Continuing Higher Education. His research interests include adult and informal learning, adult learners in higher education, civic engagement and higher education, community education and social change, international lifelong learning, and workplace learning and organizational change.

Joanna "Josy" Lyons (2013) D.E.d
Josy is an R.N. with a B.S. in Education from St. Josephs College, Maine; an M.Ed. and a D.Ed., both in Adult Education from Penn State.  At Penn State she has worked as a Research Project Coordinator, a Research Nurse at the Clinical Research Center, and currently works in Quality Management, including Post-IRB Approval Review activities, at the Office for Research Protections, all at University Park. Her research interest is the experience of volunteers in research.