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College of Education > Virtual Role Play > Interdisciplinary Team Members

Interdisciplinary Team Members

Jennifer L. Frank, PhD. (Principal Investigator)

Jennifer Frank     Dr. Frank is an Assistant Professor of Special Education and School Psychology in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education in the College of Education and Research Assistant Professor at the Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center in the Department of Health and Human Development at the Pennsylvania State University. Her research interests focus on school-based prevention and effective strategies to modify the ecology of risk (family-school-peer) from middle childhood to late adolescence.  Her current research interests include: school-based prevention, positive behavior supports, innovative statistical and experimental methods to validate evidence-based interventions, social-emotional learning, and mindfulness-based interventions..

Deborah L. Schussler, EdD. (co-Prinicipal Investigator)

Deborah Schussler

     Dr. Schussler is an Associate Professor of Education and Visiting Scholar in the College of Education at Penn State University with an affiliation with the Prevention Research Center. Dr. Schussler brings expertise in curriculum development and teacher education, especially the use of case studies as an instructional tool. Dr. Schussler has taught CI 405, Classroom Management, every semester since she started at Penn State. She has used a variety of online learning tools, including electronic portfolios (Taskstream), online lectures and online Wimba discussions, WebCT, Blackboard, and Angel. Dr. Schussler has designed and conducted qualitative and mixed methods studies exploring teacher candidate dispositions and teacher reflection. She has worked with pre-service teachers and experienced teachers for 15 years at Vanderbilt University, Villanova University, and now Penn State. Her work has been recognized by the American Association for Colleges of Teacher Education where she serves as the chair of the TEAM-C (Teacher Education as a Moral Community) taskforce.


Patricia A. Jennings, Ph.D. (co-Principal Investigator)

    Board_Jennings.jpg Dr. Jennings is Director of the HDFS World Campus BS Program and also a Research Assistant Professor in Human Development and Family Studies affiliated with the Prevention Research Center at Penn State with a research-track appointment. With a focus on interdisciplinary and translational research, Dr. Jennings brings expertise in curriculum development and online learning, as well as direct experience working with children and teachers in educational settings for over 25 years. Dr. Jennings has extensive research and teaching experience in the field of education. After receiving a master’s degree in education, she founded and directed an experimental school where she developed and field-tested curriculum for children from infancy through 5th grade. Dr. Jennings later taught courses in education and developed a teacher training curriculum at St. Mary’s College Graduate School of Education primarily focused on teaching classroom management and supervising student teacher practicum. Dr. Jennings is currently the PI of an IES Goal 3 project which is assessing the effectiveness of the CARE Program for Teachers in the New York City Schools.

Tsan-Kuang Lee (Programmer & Developer)

Tsan-Kuang Lee     T.K. is the lead developer in TLT Studio, part of Teaching and Learning with Technology of Penn State University. After receiving his master’s degrees in Computer Information Science and in Linguistics from University of Pennsylvania, he has worked in the fields of search engine, natural language processing, data analysis, and recently education technology. At Penn State, he helped develop a wide range of technological solutions to various teaching and learning needs, such as learning data analytics systems, blog systems, badge systems, education games, conference interaction apps, etc. In this project, he is responsible for implementing a scalable AI core infrastructure, integrating the AI backend engine with the user front-end interface, providing technical training and consultation, as well as strategizing AIML content development process.

Serena Epstein (UX designer)

     Serena is a web designer/developer in TLT Studio. She received her degree in English literature from the University of Mary Washington in 2009. After graduation, she worked for the Alliance Française in Washington, DC, where she ran cinema programs, designed promotional materials, and developed the Alliance's blog. Serena worked as a web designer/developer at Penn State University from 2010-11 before moving to Morocco to work at the American School of Tangier. As head librarian and educational technology specialist at AST, she founded and and implemented several programs, including student blogging and portfolio platforms, enrichment and literacy initiatives for students, and technology workshops for teachers. Serena rejoined Penn State in 2013 and has been working with TLT Studio to develop websites and online tools for faculty and university projects. In addition to her work with Penn State, Serena has managed her own graphic and web design business since 2009, working primarily with non-profits, individuals, and universities. She contributed initial wireframes and mockups for this project, as well as  building the front-end interface.

Emily Chukusky (Research Assistant)

  EmilyBio.jpg   Emily is a Research Support Assistant at the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center through the College of Health and Human Development at the Pennsylvania State University. She earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Penn State in May of 2013.  While earning her Bachelor’s Degree, Emily worked as a Research Assistant in Dr. Amy Marshall’s Relationships and Stress Psychology Research Lab. She has prior experience with video data coding and work surrounding Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  Emily plans to return to graduate school in the near future to pursue a Master’s Degree.

Alex Collopy 
(Research Assistant)

Alex Collopy      Alex is a PhD student in the dual-degree programs Curriculum & Instruction in Early Childhood Education and Comparative & International Education at Pennsylvania State University. She currently serves as President of the Disability Studies Student Group. Alex is particularly interested in cross-cultural understandings of inclusive education for deaf and disabled children.