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Current Student Profiles

Brief bios of students' research interests

Tammy Bennett
Tammy has a B.A. from the University of Pittsburgh, with a certificate in Communication. She earned her M.Ed. from Lock Haven University. Currently, she is an academic advisor and course instructor in the College of Agricultural Sciences. Tammy teaches a FYS course for the Environmental Resource Management section, and an international embedded study course to Costa Rica. Her areas of interest include online learning, international study abroad, learning styles and developing engaging curriculum. She has presented at the NACTA –North American Colleges and Teachers of Agriculture conference in Blacksburg, VA, as well as serving as a panelist at the Penn State Media Commons annual symposium where she spoke on using mobile media in an embedded study abroad course. has a B.A. in Media from Penn State and is currently working on her Masters in Adult Education through the Penn State World Campus.

Jennifer Blackburn Miller
Jennifer has a B.A. in Philosophy and Religious Studies from Radford University in Virginia, and a M.A. in Teaching English as a Second Language from Penn State University. Jennifer is currently pursuing a dual-title doctoral degree in Adult Education and Comparative and International Education. Her work experience includes primarily ESL tutoring and teaching. Her research interests involve using creative methods in teaching and trans-formative adult learning.

Richard Brungard

Richard has a B.S. in Hotel and Restaurant Management from the University of Houston, a M.S. in Hospitality and Tourism from the University of Wisconsin-Stout and a M.Ed. in Adult Education from Penn State and is currently in the D.Ed. program. He is currently the Academic Support Resource Coordinator at Penn State World Campus and has worked as an Academic Adviser in the College of the Liberal Arts and as a Program Manager at the University Learning Centers at Penn State. His research interests are in using Web 2.0 technologies to build community amongst adult, distance education learners to enhance retention.

Carolyn Callaghan
Carolyn has a B.S. in Social Science and History and an M.S. Ed. in College Student Personnel from Illinois State University.  She has done Post-Master’s graduate work in American Studies from William and Mary College.  Her work experience includes GED Instructor at a Community College; Special Projects Assistant to the President at a Private Liberal Arts College; Assistant Director of Career Services at State University; Executive Director of a Tax Conference; Director of Career Education at a proprietary school; and Coordinator of Off-Campus Programs for state university.  Currently, she serves as Assistant Dean for the Office of Extended Studies at Shippensburg University.  Her research interest is culturally diverse cohorts.

Leslie Cano

Leslie is a Ph.D. candidate in Adult Education. She completed her Bachelor of Arts in Law and Society from Penn State University and a Master of Arts in Administration with an emphasis in Communication Arts from the HEB School of Business and Administration at the University of the Incarnate Word (UIW). Her professional experience includes working with a Texas House of Representatives, where she collaborated with constituents, government officials and agencies on issues ranging from Veteran’s Affairs to Public- and Higher Education. She has also worked for UIW's Adult Degree Completion Program (ADCaP) helping adult students transition into the role of a college student. As well as an Editorial Assistant in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies at Texas A&M University Thesis and Dissertation Office. Her research interests includes the influence of identity on the educational experience of the adult learner specifically for active duty military personnel and veterans.

Maricela Carrera

Maricela has a B.A. in Psychology and Spanish from The State University of New Jersey–Rutgers and a Masters in Educational Psychology from Penn State. Her work experience includes: English as a Second Language Teacher (ESL) and a Spanish & Successful Strategies Teacher for Upward Bound Program and Educational Opportunity Fund Program (EOF). Her research interest is developing programs and trainings for parents to incorporate literacy activities in their preschoolers’ everyday life.

Jinhee Choi

Jinhee has a B.A. in Industrial Design from Korea University and a M.A. in Culture Technology from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology (KAIST). Her hands- on experience includes time as a Human Resource Manager. She is interested in continuing to research lifelong learning, public pedagogy, adult learning, online learning, and themes relevant to North Korean refugee issues. Currently, Jinhee is in the doctoral program and enriches her life by collaborating with colleagues and supporting them through encouragement and sharing experiences.

Tara Diehl
Tara has a B.S.Ed. in Mathematics from Millersville University and a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from Bloomsburg University.  Her work experience includes: teaching eighth grade mathematics and collegiate developmental mathematics.

Carl B. Dwyer

Carl holds a Masters of Business Administration from Webster University. He is currently working on his Masters in Adult Education through Penn State World Campus as part of the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) Fellowship Program. His work experience includes over 27 years of service in the U.S. Army as a Senior Healthcare NCO.His research interests are technology enhanced learning and e-learning design.

Terrance L. Faunce
Terrance has an associate degree in Art from La Verne College, a B.S. in Work Force Education from Southern Illinois University – Carbondale and is currently working on his Masters in Adult Education through the Penn State World Campus.  His work experience includes instructing.

Shannon Frey

Shannon has a B.A. in Linguistics from Purdue University and a M.A. in Linguistics from Trinity Western University. Her work experience includes working with inmates and teaching Adult Basic Education (ABE) students, focusing on those in distance learning programs. Her research interests involve distance learning for ABE students and ideas of success in the ABE environment.

Enes Gokce

Enes holds a B.A. in primary school math teaching from Bogazici University, Turkey and a Master's in Adult Education from University of Minnesota. Enes is currently in the doctoral program in Life-Long Learning & Adult Education. His research interests is mobile learning.

Annie Holmes
Annie has a B.S. in Early Childhood and Elementary Education from Temple University and a M. Ed. in College Student Affairs from Penn State. Annie is currently pursuing her PhD in Adult Education concurrently with a Masters in Higher Education. Her work experience includes teaching from K-graduate level, diversity education and student affairs. She is currently employed in the Affirmative Action Office at Penn State. Her research interests are campus climate for staff and the role of diversity educators.

Pei-ling Hsieh
Pei-ling has a B.S. in Forestry from the National Taiwan University and a M.Ed.  in Educational Technology from Arkansas Tech University.  Her work experience includes: math teacher and data assistant.  Her research interest is distance education.

Adam Jenkins
Adam has a B.A. in Mass Communication from York College of Pennsylvania and an M.A. in Communication Studies from Ball State University.  He is currently a face-to-face and online instructor of various communication courses at several colleges and universities.  His research interest is in distance education, particularly in retention issues in community colleges.

Xiaoying Jiang

Xiaoying has a B.A. in English from Hebei Normal University in China and two masters in international relations from University of International Relations in China and Aalborg University in Denmark. Her work experience includes managing an international program in a university in Beijing and providing teaching consultant in a Chinese MOOC company. Currently, she is pursuing her Ph.D. in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education. Her research interests is foreign aid to education and distance learning.

Hye su Kuk

Hye su has a B.A. in English Language Education and also a teacher's license in English from Seoul National University, South Korea. Her ctitical stance towards English education and schooling let her to pursue and earn a M.A. in Lifelong Education at the same university, SNU. She participated as a coordinator in community education programs and democratic participatory programs in her graduate studies. Her interests in experiental learning and theory-practice gap in education during master's led to further interests in the collective nature of knowledge. Currently, she is a first-year student in Ph.D.program in Lifelong Learning and Adult Education.

Pei-Wei Lee
Pei-Wei has a Bachelor degree in Elementary Education from National Taichung University of Education, Taiwan and a master degree in Instructional Systems from Penn State. She is working on her Ph.D. in Adult Education. Her research interests are informal learning, technology enhanced learning and e-learning.

Evelyn Lenton
Evelyn has a B.A. in Design from the University of California – Los Angeles.  Her work experience includes numerous years as an Adult Ed teacher.

Erin Long
Erin has a B.A. in advertising and public relations, a post baccalaureate certificate in distance education, and a M.Ed. in Adult Education, all from Penn State. She currently leads the Learning Design and Communications Group at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness at Penn State. In this role, Erin oversees instructional design, web, and  multimedia teams working to develop effective online and blended courses collaboratively with faculty, subject matter experts, and military partners. The goal is to create successful participant learning outcomes through teaching, learning, assessment, and reflection. Prior to her current position, Erin was a lecturer and learning designer at Penn State’s John A. Dutton e-Education Institute in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences.  Her research interests include: MOOCs, generational differences and the effect on preferred learning methods and technology use in education, digital literacy, and the use of Web 2.0 tools and other enhanced technologies in learning environments.

Stacy Lutter
Stacy has a B.S. in Nursing from Duquesne University and a Master’s in Nursing from Widener University.   Her work experience includes: registered nurse - cardiovascular, Staff Development, and assistant professor in nursing. Her research interest is nursing retention.

Mike Mariotti
Mike has a B.S. in Operations Research from the U.S. Air Force Academy and is currently working on his Masters in Adult Education through the Penn State World Campus.  His work experience includes: an active duty Air Force officer, Mathematics TA at the Academy, USAF pilot.  His research interest is workplace learning environments.

Patrick Mason

Patrick has a B.S. in Liberal Arts from Excelsior College. He has taught computer network engineering in a community college associate's degree programs for three years and served in the U. S. Army for over twenty-seven years. Patrick is a Purple Heart combat veteran of multiple campaigns beginning with the Persian Gulf War through the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns, with shorter expeditionary and humanitarian developments in between on multiple continents. As a member of Penn State's fellowship program with the U.S. Army Sergeants Major Academy, upon completion of the Penn State M.Ed. in Adult Education, he will teach future Sergeants Major at the Academy at Fort Bliss, Texas. Ultimately, Patrick plans to return to teaching in higher education after a successful career in the Army and pursue a doctoral degree.

Lisa A Murray
Lisa has a B.A. in Psychology from the University of Arkansas – Fayttville and a Master’s in Training and Development from Penn State University.  Her work experience includes research administrator at Penn State, and faculty training facilitator. Her research interest is critical media literacy.

Tulare W. Park

Tulare earned a Bachelor of Science in Administration of Justice/minor in Sociology from Penn State University, and a Master of Social Work (MSW) from Temple University. She is a faculty instructor and Director of the Office of Disability Services at Lock Haven University. Tulare has been a college instructor, academic advisor, and social work/mental health practitioner in college, community, and correctional facility settings. She is pursuing a D. Ed. in Adult Education & Lifelong Learning, with research interests in emotional and relational experiences of adult learners, particularly students with disabilities in distance education.

Pedro Quinones

Pedro has a B.S. in Computer Information System from Saint Leo University and a M.S. in Computer Information System from Nova Southeastern University. His professional experience include 29 years as a United States Army Soldier and 10 years as a professional musician in Puerto Rico before joining the US Army. As a professional musician in the US Army he as performed in Japan, Korea, Saudi Arabia, 17 European countries, and 14 states of the United States of America. He has worked in various supervisory positions in the Army from a small 5-staff element to over 300-staff company. Currently, Pedro is in the United States Army Sergeants Major Academy (USASMA) Fellowship Program pursuing a Master's in Adult Education.

Victoria Rollins

Victoria has a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Education from Rutgers University, and is pursuing her Master's in Adult Education, living and working Philadelphia. She is currently a Senior Project Manager for a SaaS company in the clinical trials industry, handling curriculum management and special projects oversight for the Learning and Development team. Her interests are curriculum management, virtual learning, and new technologies in both the education and healthcare fields.

Ruth Parrish Sauder

Ruth graduated from the Penn State University Schreyer Honors College with a Bachelor's Degree in French and Francophone Studies and minors in music and linguistics. She earned her Master's degree in Teaching ESL (also from Penn State). and has worked with learners of all ages, teaching both French and English as an additional language in community, college-preparatory, and university contexts. She has taught most recently at the Intensive English Communication Program as a faculty member and prior to that, worked as the ESL coordinator for the refugee resettlement program in State College (which is not longer active). Her work with adult refugees learning English and desire to learn more about how to offer support in their transition to like in a hew place were key motivations in her to return to school. She is interested in the intersections between language learning, social justice, and adult education.

Alison Schiver

Alison has a B.S.Ed in Elementary Education from Penn State, an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from Penn State, and a Master's of Science in Literacy from Walden University. Her work experience includes teaching grades second through fifth grade, being a reading specialist for Kindergarten through third grade and collegiate reading strategies.

Carol Rogers-Shaw

Carol earned a Bachelor of Arts in English, a Master of Arts in English, and a Master of Science in Education with a concentration in Reading from Fordham University. Certified as both a secondary school teacher and supervisor, she taught high school English for over 30 years. Carol's interest in distance learning led her to complete the Distance Education Certificate from Penn State University's World Campus and then to pursue a Ph.D. in Adult Education. Having taught extensively in a program that transitioned learning disabled adolescents, English language learners, and socio-economically disadvantaged students with weak basic skills into mainstream classes, she developed a strong interest in providing educational opportunities for marginalized students. Her research interests include Universal Design for Learning, increasing access to higher education and lifelong learning, particularly through distance education, Identity development of learners with disabilities in the online environment.

Rebecca A. Stametz
Rebecca has a B.S. in Exercise Science from Bloomsburg University and a Master's of Public Health from East Stroudsburg University. She is currently employed with Geisinger's Henry Hood Center for Health Research in Danville, PA. Her research interest is weight bias and obesity stigma as it relates to community health education and program design.

Jennifer Tobin
Jennifer has a B.A. in English from Lebanon Valley College and a Master’s in Humanities from the Capital College.  Her work experience includes: high school and adjunct English teacher. Her research interest is somatic and embodied experiences of creative writers.

Collen Unroe

Colleen has a B.A. from Allegheny College in Environmental Studies with minors in Biology and Ethics & Dynamics of Social Action. She worked in Eastern Kentucky for 8 years as a community organizer with a multi-issue organization focused on environmental, economic, and social justice. Her primary work consisted of supporting and engaging communities negative impact on the coal industry and transitioning to a clean energy economy. She continued organizing work around fossil fuels in Northeastern Ohio related to hydro-fracking for a couple of years. She came to Penn State in 2013 to pursue a M.S. in Rural Sociology. She is currently in the doctoral program in Adult Education and is particularly interested in informal learning within social movements. More specifically, she wants to explore adult learning theory related to environmental justice, sustainability, anti-oppression frameworks/inclusive organizing, and self-care of movement leaders with a particular interest in Central Appalachia.

Melissa Weida Ventresca
Melissa has a B.S. in Public Policy and a Master’s in Public Administration from the Penn State University Capital College.  Melissa is currently employed by the Federal Emergency Management Agency in Washington, DC.  Her research interest is informal educational experiences of drug addicts in group counseling settings.

Debra L. Weston

Debra has a B.S. in Medical Imaging with two registries; X-Ray Technologist and MRI Technologist from Mount Aloysius College in Cresson, PA. She is currently the MRI Technologist for Social Life & Engineering Imaging Center in Chandlee at University Park. She is also the Chief Safety Office and in charge of conducting safety training sessions to individuals that utilize the MRI facility. She is currently in the Adult Education Masters program. Her interests are with Distance Education and becoming an adult educator in the medical field. Her previous experience was with Altoona Regional Hospital and Mount Nittany Medical Center.

Xiaoqiao Zhang

Xiaoqiao came to the United States after her last year of high school. She has a B.A. in Communications from Wilkes University and an M.S. in Social Enterprise Administration from Columbia University. She worked in two different higher education institutions in the United States in the International Student Admissions office recruiting students from around the world to come and study in the United States. She is now a full time doctoral candidate studying in the Lifelong Learning and Adult Education and Comparative International Education duel-title. She is interested in exploring and understanding the dilemma of fitting in for international students when the come to the United states to study.

Nancy Zimmerman
Nancy has a BA in Spanish from Millersville University, an MA in Spanish Language and Literature from the University of Delaware and is currently in the data collection stage of her docotroal dissertation.  Her teaching experience includes middle school and high school Spanish, ESL to adults, and teaching Spanish at the University of Delaware, HACC, and in her current position at Kutztown University, she is teaching methods and supervising the World Language student teachers as well as teaching Spanish.  Other work experience includes working as a bilingual claims representative for Social Security.  Her research interests include service learning as well as her dissertation topic which is university faculty who teach Spanish as a heritage language.