Skip To Main Content
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Penn State College of Arts and Architecture
Select where to search:


Scholarships + Awards

Amplifying opportunity

The College of Arts and Architecture and the University as a whole steward a wide range of awards and scholarships that recognize excellence, achievement, and the impact that individuals have on the Penn State, local, and global communities. Many awards also mitigate needs, and amplify opportunity by providing financial assistance.


Arts and Architecture’s units each have a variety of scholarships, and in many cases, incoming students are automatically considered for available scholarships. Some scholarships are reserved for advanced-standing students or groups, however, the College of Arts and Architecture has been blessed with numerous supporters who have created a deep pool of scholarships for individual students.

Applications and nominations are accepted at various times throughout the year, and new funding and recognition options arise regularly. Feel free to reach out to faculty and program administrators in your academic program to learn about new and upcoming scholarships. The resources listed below are excellent starting points to explore available opportunities.


Resources


Penn State Scholarship Facts

  • Both Pennsylvania and non-Pennsylvania residents receive equal consideration for scholarships and awards.
  • Penn State scholarships and awards comprise 9% of the available funding for undergraduate students.
  • Approximately 6,700 first-year students receive a University scholarship (all campuses).
  • 35% of first-year scholarship/award recipients are at University Park; the remaining 65% at Penn State campuses.
  • Typical Penn State scholarships/awards are between $1,500 to $7,000 per academic year.
  • Approximately 15% of first-year students receive private scholarship support.

A&A Opportunity Fund

Supporting undergraduate research and creative activities
The purpose of these funds is to provide undergraduate students with the opportunity to engage in research or creative activities related to their field of study and should be planned in close consultation with a faculty mentor in the student’s major field of study and supported by the faculty mentor on the Funding Request Form.

First-year student awards

6,700

Across all Penn State campuses, approximately 6,700 first-year students receive a University scholarship.


2021 A&A Award Winners

The College of Arts and Architecture is pleased to announce its student, faculty, and staff special scholarship and award winners for 2020–21. It is an honor to celebrate the extraordinary achievements of these remarkable individuals in the arts and design community.

In addition to reading about the awardees below, you can view a recording of the 2021 A&A Awards Ceremony presentation online.

A&A Student Awards | Graduate Student Awards | Faculty & Staff Awards



Faculty and Staff Awards

Barbara O. Korner Award


Steven Rubin is a professor of art and assistant director of the School of Visual Arts, where he teaches photography. His photographic work addresses a variety of critical issues, including health disparities, rural poverty, refugee migration, immigrant detention, and the social and environmental impacts of energy development. He has photographed for national and international media publications and human rights organizations, and has exhibited across the United States and internationally. His book, Shale Play – Poems and Photographs from the Fracking Fields, with documentary poet Julia Spicher Kasdorf, was selected by the Pennsylvania Center for the Book as Pennsylvania’s title for the 2021 Route1Reads Initiative, in a partnership with the Center for the Book in the Library of Congress and its state affiliates.


Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring


Margaret Higgins’ career at Penn State started in Undergraduate Admissions in 2013. In 2017 she became an academic advisor in the Department of Biobehavioral Health, and a year later joined the College of Arts and Architecture. She advises for fourteen undergraduate majors and five minors in the School of Music and School of Theatre and represents the College of Arts and Architecture on the New Student Orientation advising committee. The most rewarding aspects of her position are getting to know our students as unique individuals and helping them find creative solutions to academic challenges as well as life challenges. Her educational background is in music, and she has many years of performing experience in community theatre.


Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching


Robin Gibson is an artist working in multiple print media and works on paper. She is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Madison with an M.F.A. in Printmaking and holds a B.F.A. in Printmaking and a B.A. in Psychology from the University of New Hampshire-Durham. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Robin held faculty appointments at California State University-Long Beach and Montgomery College in Rockville, Md. Robin’s work has been exhibited in numerous solo exhibitions, including the Hoyt Institute of Fine Arts, Pennsylvania; Northville Art House, Michigan; Cannon Gallery, Oregon; and Washington Printmakers Gallery, Maryland. Recent group exhibitions include: Biennial: Printmaking Reimagined, Massachusetts; All About Paper, Montana; and Printmaking Now, Rhode Island, among others. Her work is included in the permanent collections of the Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University, Cambridge, Mass.; National Museum of American Art, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.; Achenbach Foundation, Museum of Fine Arts, San Francisco; Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; Brooklyn Museum, New York; and the New York Public Library, among other public and corporate collections.Recent projects and residencies include Big Ink at the Center for Contemporary Printmaking, Norwalk,Conn., andPickwick Independent Press, Portland, Maine, as well as several two-week residencies at Zea Mays Printmaking, Florence, Mass.  An upcoming solo exhibition of her work is scheduled in 2022 at the BlackRock Center for the Arts, Germantown, Md.


Staff Award for Outstanding Service


Jamie Behers began employment with Penn State nearly fifteen years ago, and for the last five years, she has worked for the Stuckeman School of Architecture and Landscape Architecture as the business operations manager. As the assistant to the director of the Stuckeman School, Jamie oversees operations of the school’s business service units, including the development and implementation of strategic goals in the administration office, marketing and communications office, wood and metal shop, facilities, IT, and the Digital Fabrication Lab. She supervises eleven staff members across all units within the Stuckeman School and is responsible for risk management and compliance with University policies and procedures. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she has been responsible for implementing the return to work/school safety plan, including safety protocols for student studios, and developing procedures for virtual facility use.


Graduate Student Awards

Alumni Association Dissertation Award


Karly Etz is a Ph.D. candidate in Art History studying the inclusion of tattooing within contemporary art spaces. Her research examines the ways in which this understudied medium evokes marginalized histories, as well as its ability to produce timely commentaries on a variety of contentious issues ranging from decolonization to the future of human remains collections. She has presented her research at the College Art Association annual meeting, and an essay based on her dissertation has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming, peer-reviewed book, Traveling Bodies. In 2020 she was the recipient of Penn State’s Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award, as well as a College of Arts and Architecture Creative Achievement Award. Last summer, her work was supported through a Humanities Institute Graduate Student Summer Residency.


Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award


Celeste Belknap is a second-year graduate student pursuing a Master of Arts in Musicology. In 2020, Celeste’s paper on Soviet composer Nina Makarova was selected for a musicology conference in Vipiteno, Italy, and for the spring 2021 edition of the Journal of the International Alliance for Women in Music. In 2019, she was awarded the Schreyer Honors College Paul Axt Prize, and the School of Music’s Brewster Memorial Scholarship. She also received an Erickson Discovery Grant in 2018, which she used to conduct archival research in Moscow, Russia. After graduation, she will pursue a Ph.D. in musicology at Princeton University.


Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award


Tazrin Islam’s research interest pivots around climate change mitigation strategies using design as a tool. She comes from Bangladesh, a tropical riverine country in the deltaic plains of South Asia that is highly affected by climate change and remains most vulnerable to rising sea levels. Therefore, green and sustainable design has been an instinctive choice for her research focus. Tazrin’s master’s thesis deals with performance analysis of green living walls. Sustainable implementation of these nature-based design strategies requires quantitative analysis to support current intuitive design practice.


Thomas and June Beaver Fund Award


Naveen Muthumanickam is a Ph.D. candidate in Architecture who specializes in using advanced machine learning-based optimization technologies to design better, more efficient buildings. He was a part of the Penn State team at the finals of the NASA 3D-Printed Mars Habitat Challenge, where he worked on the Building Information Modeling-based optimization and digital twin simulation for robotic concrete 3D-printing. Naveen is originally from Chennai, India, and earned a Bachelor of Architecture degree at Anna University along with a master’s degree in Architectural Science and Building Technology at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor. He has a wide spectrum of industrial experience in the architectural engineering construction field, ranging from being an intern at prestigious architectural practices like Studio Daniel Libeskind, to working as a researcher for world-leading construction technology companies such as Autodesk.


Graduate Exhibition Awards

Design Option, 3rd Place
Konrad Wachsmann’s Shift from Product to Process: Prefiguring Automated Industrialized Building in Architecture Through Developments in ‘Universal’ Building Machines

Elizabeth Andrzejewski is a designer and maker trained in architecture. She is currently in her second year of her Ph.D. at Penn State. She received her M.S. in Architecture from Penn State in 2018, after receiving a Bachelor of Architecture from Marywood University in 2016. Currently Lizz is researching remotely at her home shop space near Scranton, Pa. She teaches architecture at Marywood University and works part-time in R&D at Boyce Products, an architectural fabrication firm, in Damascus, Pa. Lizz studies the work of Konrad Wachsmann, prefabrication, and architectural metal fabrication. She has an interest in blacksmithing and sheet metal forming.

Design Option, 1st Place: Theatre
Take a Walk in My Shoes

Jennifer Delac is a second-year M.F.A. Directing student under the mentorship of director Susan H. Schulman. Jen holds a B.A. in Theatre from Fordham University, Lincoln Center campus, and has been working in New York City for the past decade. Penn State credits include: The Last Five Years (Director/Choreographer), Songs for a New World (Director), and Spamalot (Associate Director/Choreographer).Jen has taught dance at STEPS on Broadway and worked as a choreographer for the development of new dance-driven work through New York Theatre Barn’s choreography lab. She is also the co-host of the podcast “What I Don’t Know Yet: Research in Performance.”

Design Option, 3rd Place: Theatre
Jekyll and Hyde: Designing the Spectacular and the Intimate for The MUNY Stage

Ryan Douglass is currently a third-year graduate student studying Scenic Design. He received Bachelor of Arts degrees in Music and Theatre from The Florida State University. Previously he was a high school theatre teacher in Orlando, Fla., for seven years, and a performer at Walt Disney World for eight years. He has a passion for musical theatre and themed entertainment. He strives to find ways to introduce new and burgeoning technology into his design and the theatre world at large.

Visual Arts Option, 1st Place
DISCRIMINATION AND HUMANITY

Olorunfemi Kinrin attended the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, where he graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Painting) in 2004. Since graduating, he has practiced painting and drawing. Femi’s works are majorly inspired by themes of humanity and discrimination; he believes people should not treat other people harshly, or deny them certain privileges on grounds of ethnicity, race, religion, gender, or sexual orientation. He has repeatedly employed the human skull as a subject matter and a motif in his paintings, because the skull as a symbol represents humanity for him. Recently Femi’s attention has shifted to expressive portrait painting. He believes painted portraits have the potential of capturing certain moods, characteristics, and expressions that the camera can’t possibly capture.

Performance Option, 1st Place: Piano Performance
Ravel’s Alborada del gracioso

Chinese pianist Junwen Liang has performed in major cities in China, Canada, and the United States. He has appeared as soloist at Carnegie Hall in New York City and the Kimmel Center in Philadelphia, as well as public broadcast concerto performances on WSKG Radio in New York as a featured artist with Ithaca College Symphony Orchestra. Junwen has been invited to participate in the Philadelphia Young Pianists’ Academy, Orford Musique, Art of the Piano at University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, and Aspen Music Festival. He also won major prizes in competitions such as Nouvelles Etoiles International Music Competition (France), Juliusz Zarębski International Music Competition (Poland), Chopin International Piano Competition at Hartford, and New York International Piano Competition. Junwen holds degrees from Ithaca College and Indiana University Jacobs School of Music. He is currently pursuing a Doctor of Musical Arts degree at Penn State, where he serves as graduate assistant in piano and studies with Dr. Christopher Guzman.

Performance Option, 2nd Place: Pedagogy and Performance
“Mescíku na nebi hlubokém” from Antonín Dvorák’s Ruslaka

Ciara Emily Newman is a soprano and an Alaska native. She is currently pursuing her master’s degree in Vocal Performance and Pedagogy. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Ciara has continued to perform, exploring the many ways opera can live outside of the theater. Most recently, she performed a live radio broadcast of Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief with Penn State Opera Theatre. Ciara was seen in the concert premiere of Griffin Candey’s The House of Bernarda Alba as Magdalena in January of 2020. She also performed in the Midwest premiere of Tom Cipullo’s Glory Denied as Older Alyce Thompson. Previous roles include Papagena in Opera Fairbanks’ production of The Magic Flute, Madame Lidoine in Baldwin Wallace University’s production of Dialogues of the Carmelites, and Elizetta in Cimerosa’s Il Matrimonio Segretto. She studies voice with Dr. Rachel Copeland and had the pleasure of completing her undergraduate studies under the tutelage of nationally acclaimed mezzo-soprano Nancy Maultsby.

Arts and Humanities, 1st Place: Architecture
Designing ‘Safe’ Schools: Identifying Areas of Research in School Safety & Security

Michael S. Nowak is a registered architect, Certified Passive House Consultant, NCIDQ Certified Interior Designer, and Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) Certified Practitioner currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Architecture at Penn State. He is a member of the American Society of Industrial Security, where he serves on the Security Architecture and Engineering Council and School Security and Safety Council. He practiced architecture for 25 years prior to his Ph.D. work at Penn State, with experience in K-12 and higher education design. Michael’s research centers on the role of architectural design in mitigating violence in learning spaces. This ranges from examining physical security to the nuances of interior spaces that affect the psychological comfort and wellbeing of occupants.  His research includes how design might affect acts of civil and uncivil behavior, as well as how the built environment influences academic performance.

Design Option, 2nd Place
Les Mis: The Video Game

Alyssa Ridder is a third-year Master of Fine Arts student in Costume Design. She earned a Bachelor of Art in Theatre Design and Technology at George Fox University in 2015, where she later served as a costume shop manager, costume designer, and adjunct faculty member. During this time Alyssa also worked as a freelance costume designer in Portland, Oregon. While at Penn State, Alyssa has designed the costumes for A Little Night Music, directed by Phillip Fazio; Seawall, directed by Alison Morooney; and The Last Five Years, directed by Jennifer Delac. Alyssa has published work in The Theatre Times, Prompt, and the peer-reviewed journal Performing Ethos. She has also presented scholarship at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. In addition to her studies, Alyssa has been a graduate assistant for the School of Theatre’s costume shop, co-instructed courses in intro and advanced costume design, and served as a costume mentor for The Lucky Boy, directed by John Simpkins. In spring 2021, Alyssa was awarded a Community Arts Project Grant by the Studio of Sustainability and Social Action to produce a short documentary on sustainable garment production. After graduation, Alyssa plans to continue her work in costume design and technology for both the theatre and on the digital stage.


Undergraduate Student Awards

Reuben and Gladys Golumbic Scholarship

Design Achievement

Jonathan Langberg, from Milford, Pa., is a third-year B.F.A. Theatre Design and Technology student in the Schreyer Honors College with a dual emphasis in Lighting and Sound Design. He also is pursuing minors in Information Sciences and Technology, and Music Technology. Since coming to Penn State, Jonathan has worked professionally at Eisenhower Auditorium, The State Theatre, and the Bryce Jordan Center on a wide mix of shows ranging from rock and roll tours to local community theater shows. With the Penn State School of Theatre, he has served in a variety of positions on eight mainstage productions, with plans for another four by the end of the fall 2021 semester. This summer he will be working as the master electrician for the Bristol Valley Theater in Naples, N.Y.

Humanistic Achievement

Lauren Rickert, a native of Lancaster, Calif., is currently a third-year student in the Schreyer Honors College and Paterno Fellows Program. She is double-majoring in Art History and Communication Arts and Sciences and intends to graduate in December 2021. She has repeatedly sought out opportunities to conduct independent research and study abroad, all while serving as a mentor-in-training through Penn State’s Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP). Lauren was awarded an Erickson Discovery Grant for summer 2020. Her research was also supported over the summer by a Remote Experience Innovation Grant, which placed her in a cohort of students also attempting to pursue a variety of summer experiences during the pandemic. Her project, which mapped out Isabella d’Este’s spheres of influence, biography, and known works of artistic patronage through the Google Earth platform, was completed in August 2020. A subset of that material, d’Este’s majolica ceramic services, is currently the focus of an independent research internship hosted through the Visual Resource Centre. Her final project will take the form of a research paper and an accompanying website hosted on the VRC site, which will link to her earlier Google Earth project. Lauren was the recipient of the Department of Art History Townley Memorial Scholarship for study abroad, which she plans to use in the fall of 2021 in Florence, Italy.

Performance Achievement

Parker Konkle is from Williamsport, Pa., and has been playing piano since the age of 7. He is currently a junior studying Piano Performance in the studio of Dr. Christopher Guzman. Parker has been highly active in the Penn State music scene as accompanist of the Penn State Glee Club and keyboardist for Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, and Baroque Ensemble, as well as collaborating with many vocalists and instrumentalists. He regularly accompanies vocalists in the annual Sing Out! competition and Voice Forum, a weekly vocal coaching session held by the voice department. As a competitor, Parker has been the recipient of first prize in the 2019 Steinway and Sons Junior Piano Competition, honorable mention in the 2020 Music Teachers National Association (MTNA) Pennsylvania State Competition, and finalist in the 2017 Williamsport Symphony Orchestra Young Artist Competition. As a freshman at the Penn State School of Music, he achieved Undergraduate Jury Recognition for two consecutive semesters and Jury Honors in the fall of 2020. He has also won significant prizes in the 2019, 2020, and 2021 annual Penn State School of Music scholarship competitions, including the William and Lois J. Kesterson Leight Award and the Presser Undergraduate Scholar Award. Parker is active in the greater Penn State community, serving as a resident assistant in the Arts and Architecture Special Living Option and as a mentor for first-year students in the College of Arts and Architecture Buddy System. He will be auditioning for a master’s degree in piano performance in the spring of 2022.


Valley Family Scholarship


Luke Early is a third-year student in the Stuckeman School pursuing a Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree. Having spent his formative years in Lancaster, Pa., and Queens, N.Y., Luke developed a deep appreciation for America’s complex and beautiful landscapes at an early age. Since coming to Penn State from Temple University’s music education program, he has cultivated his passion for people and landscapes by immersing himself in the Department of Landscape Architecture. He is a mentor to two underclassmen through the Landscape Architecture Student Society and speaks with prospective students about the profession of landscape architecture during scheduled tours. He is also a new member of the Alpha Rho Chi professional fraternity for students in architecture and the allied arts. Luke has worked as a research assistant in the Hamer Center for Community Design, a Penn State research center for socially and environmentally conscious approaches to community design issues. His work within the department focuses on cultural relationships with landscape, sustainable planting design, and regional land use policy. After graduation, he would like to work at a firm that specializes in ecological restoration and landscape preservation. Following several years of professional practice, Luke plans to pursue a graduate degree in urban and regional planning.


Anissa Erkert is a fourth-year student in the School of Visual Arts and the Schreyer Honors College studying sculpture (B.F.A.) with a minor in Art History. Her work spans several media, including performance art, sculpture, fiber arts, collage, drawing, and painting. Anissa has been featured in several Penn State shows in the Zoller Gallery, including the spring 2020 and fall 2020 Undergraduate Juried Exhibitions, the spring 2021 Undergraduate Exhibition, and the fall 2019 Foundations Show. Some of her collages are currently on display in the HUB for the Center for Arts and Crafts Student and Instructor Exhibition. She is also a collaborator on a piece centered on climate change in the upcoming C/O Commonwealth Show at the HUB-Robeson Gallery. Anissa is an instructor at the Penn State Center for Arts and Crafts, as well as an event staffer and stage manager at Penn State’s Schwab Auditorium.


Marshall Joun is a junior B.F.A. Acting major. Originally from Arlington, Mass., Marshall has been in numerous professional theatre productions in the Greater Boston area from a young age, including the IRNE and Elliot Norton Award-winning production of In the Heights at Wheelock Family Theatre. This year, Marshall has been workshopping their original play, The Reunion, directed by Steven H. Broadnax III. Following the model of a “29-Hour Reading” workshop, Marshall has been collaborating with both faculty and peers to bring their play about queer identity, gender fluidity, and young love to life. Marshall recently starred as Romeo in Penn State’s radio production of Romeo and Juliet. When not acting or taking classes, Marshall works part-time at Diversity at Workplace, a consulting firm for diversity, equity, and inclusion at the workplace based in Cambridge, Mass. Their acting credits include, at Penn State: Romeo and Juliet, Spamalot (Penn State Centre Stage), Violet (Penn State Off-Centre); Regional: A Chorus Line (Reagle Music Theatre), In the Heights, Akeelah and the Bee, A Year with Frog and Toad (Wheelock Family Theatre). Film: The Silenced (2021), Egg Tart (2018).


Tori Millsap is a junior at Penn State majoring in Graphic Design and minoring in French. Through the Graphic Design program, she has discovered her passion for experimentation with typography, photography, and physical craft. Tori pushes concepts by expanding her perspectives through critique and during her design process. She believes her design approach should focus on social impact and how to communicate thought-provoking solutions. Engaging with the community is a key part of her life; she actively advocates for her fellow students as a Graphic Design class representative, and continues to help the community as a resident assistant. Tori was selected to design for the Design for Life initiative, a compilation of work from Stuckeman School students. At home, she volunteers at the Delaware Art Museum and has worked as a designer for local political campaigns. After graduation, Tori will continue exploring sustainability in the industry and how integral design is to advocating for social awareness.


Leah Mullen is a composer, vocalist, and Schreyer Honors Scholar pursuing a B.M. in Music Composition, a minor in German, and a Diversity Studies Certificate at Penn State, where she studies with Dr. Baljinder Sekhon and Dr. Steven Rice. Leah has experience writing for a variety of instrumentations, including electronics. Some of Leah’s current compositional interests include pitch systems, sounds and conceptualizations of nature, women’s rights in music, and timbre-based composition. Leah has had her works performed in several states, such as Florida, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, and New York. Last summer, Leah attended and interned at the 2020 Charlotte New Music Festival. Also in 2020, Leah was selected as a finalist for International Composition Competition – Electronic & Electroacoustic Vol. 1 – Sound Silence Thought. Leah is currently working on a collaboration with the Penn State Dance studios and with Chelsea Opera in New York City, where she has been commissioned to write a new work for voice and piano. She is the sitting vice president of Living Music, a new music club at Penn State, and has been a panel member for the Penn State Young Composers Contest since 2019. She is also a member of the Empow(h)er concert committee and Arts for Health committee at Penn State


Ding Wang began his academic career studying mathematics in China. Shortly into his studies, he realized mathematics did not satisfy his passion for creativity, art, or connecting people to nature. Ding discovered the field of landscape architecture through a friend. He found that he could apply his creativity and passion to an area where he can make a meaningful contribution to the environment. Considering the complexity of the field, Ding transferred to Penn State to formally study landscape architecture. At Penn State, he learns how landscape architecture is a dynamic process that connects people, culture, and nature. He appreciates how successful landscape designs can be an influential art, changing people’s lives and making for a better world.


Jonathan Wong, from Garnet Valley, Pa., is a fourth-year Schreyer Honors College student concurrently studying architecture and mathematics. A LEED Green Associate, his designs have been recognized through various competitions, including the AIAS InStudio: Portfolio Competition, the NCMA Student Competition, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. Outside of his courses, Jonathan works as the marketing and graphic design coordinator for Penn State Housing’s student-led sustainability program, EcoReps. As a part of Penn State’s Solar Decathlon team, he has had the opportunity to step into leadership roles on campus, present before industry professionals about sustainable design, and design three net-zero energy-ready homes. Outside of Penn State, Jonathan volunteers with Mastery Hour to offer free, one-on-one math tutoring to K-12 students. As he sees it, mathematics should no longer be merely an analytical tool to quantify architecture, but instead should further our knowledge about the field and push it into new frontiers.


Alumni Society Scholarship Winners

Architecture

Jonathan Wong, from Garnet Valley, Pa., is a fourth-year Schreyer Honors College student concurrently studying architecture and mathematics. A LEED Green Associate, his designs have been recognized through various competitions, including the AIAS InStudio: Portfolio Competition, the NCMA Student Competition, and the U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon Design Challenge. Outside of his courses, Jonathan works as the marketing and graphic design coordinator for Penn State Housing’s student-led sustainability program, EcoReps. As a part of Penn State’s Solar Decathlon team, he has had the opportunity to step into leadership roles on campus, present before industry professionals about sustainable design, and design three net-zero energy-ready homes. Outside of Penn State, Jonathan volunteers with Mastery Hour to offer free, one-on-one math tutoring to K-12 students. As he sees it, mathematics should no longer be merely an analytical tool to quantify architecture, but instead should further our knowledge about the field and push it into new frontiers.

Art History

Sydney Bollinger is a junior majoring in Art History and Social Studies Education. She has a passion for teaching history through art and plans to go into museum education or teaching at the high school or collegiate level. During her time at Penn State, Sydney has worked with the Nittany Lions Read program, which places students at different educational sites within the Centre Region. She has worked with students of all ages virtually and in local elementary schools, and at the Centre County Library. Sidney also just completed her pre-student teaching, during which she created and taught different lessons that incorporated art history into the curriculum. She is excited to continue creating art historical lessons when she student teaches in Pittsburgh next spring.

Landscape Architecture

Minh Anh (Mak) Kieu is a Landscape Architecture major planning to graduate in December 2021. Mak became interested in landscape architecture because it allows her to combine her pursuit of environmental and social justice with her love for art and nature. Her perception of the world was shaped greatly by growing up in Vietnam, as she saw injustice firsthand in her home country. As she continued traveling the world, she came to understand that the issues of climate change and late-end capitalism were not limited to Vietnam, but shared with the rest of the world. Mak currently lives in San Diego. Outside of school, she spends most of her time immersed in nature, including a recent trip to Sequoia National Park.

Music

Meghan Nardella is a third-year voice student in the studio of Dr. Norman Spivey, pursuing a major in Music Education and a minor in Theatre. As a vocalist, she earned Jury Recognition in the fall of 2019, and was a semi-finalist for classical and musical theatre in local and regional NATS competitions. She also was the 2021-22 recipient of the Nina and Raymond Brown Music Scholarship in Voice. Meghan is involved in various organizations at Penn State, including Concert Choir (secretary), NAfME Collegiate, ACDA Student Chapter, SNATS, and the College of Arts and Architecture Buddy System, and she has served in various music directing positions with the Penn State Thespian Society and School of Theatre. Meghan interns for the College of Arts and Architecture, where she helps manage social media for the School of Music and Voice area. This spring, she is co-producing the School of Music Empow(h)er concert, which is dedicated to uplifting the music of women composers.

Theatre

Frederick D. Miller, from Mechanicsburg, Pa., is a third-year student pursuing Bachelor of Arts degrees in Theatre Studies and Comparative Literature. He is a dramaturg whose work focuses primarily on the American theatre of the 20th and 21st centuries. Frederick received the 2020 Golumbic Scholarship for Humanistic Achievement and is the 2021 Penn State nominee for the Beinecke Scholarship. He is the instructor of THEA 497-008 – American Musical Theatre History: From 9/11 to COVID-19, a new course made possible through Penn State’s Students Teaching Students program. In addition, he is a project associate on #HereToo Project, a theatrical play and podcast dedicated to amplifying voices of youth activists. After Penn State, Frederick hopes to pursue a Master of Fine Arts in Dramaturgy and Dramatic Criticism.

Visual Arts

Jessica Snyder is a junior double-majoring in Digital Arts & Media Design and Film Production. She plans to use the experience and skills gained within her majors to pursue a career in motion graphics and animation. Since her freshman year, Jessica has been involved in many extracurriculars across campus. She volunteers as the studio manager for the Digital Arts & Media Design Program, and as a tour guide for Lion Scouts and the Arts Ambassadors, sharing her love for Penn State with prospective students and their families. She is also an active member of Alpha Rho Chi, the professional fraternity for architecture and the allied arts, in addition to being the THON chair for her tap dance organization. Most recently, Jessica co-founded the Animation Club at Penn State, and is planning on directing the first annual Happy Valley Animation Festival at the end of April.


Creative Achievement

Architecture
Benjamin Nahum
Benjamin Nahum is a fifth-year architecture student in the Bachelor of Architecture program, graduating in May. As an aspiring architect and Certified Passive House Designer (CPHC), he has always been interested in how buildings can work for us and has been drawn to high-performance design and building science principles. He believes buildings should keep us comfortable, healthy, and safe while simultaneously responding to local conditions and minimizing environmental impact. Benjamin hopes that in the future, he can push these principles towards an innovative aesthetic that the public can embrace, ushering in a new architecture where our buildings give back to us.

Manushi Patel
Manushi Patel is an aspiring architect who will graduate with a Bachelor of Architecture degree in May. In September 2019, she was a member of the winning team at the Piranesi Prix De Rome group design competition and was awarded a graduate scholarship. Manushi served as an architecture intern at KSD Architects in 2020 and 2019, where she gained valuable experience in various design sectors while working with architects and interior designers. In addition, she has worked on a wide variety of projects and has participated in numerous design competitions at Penn State, including the Hajjar Competition to design a home, Corbelletti Competition, and National Concrete Masonry Association (NCMA) Competition to design a museum. She traveled to Rome in fall 2019 as part of a study abroad program, which helped her gain a deeper understanding of architecture and its history.

Rana Zarei
Rana Zarei is a Master of Architecture graduate student who came to Penn State after receiving a bachelor’s degree from the School of Architecture at Art University in Isfahan, Iran, where she focused on implementing human-centric ideas as an infrastructure that allows people to freely experience the sense of spaces. Rana has worked at architecture firms in Iran and while at Penn State was an intern with Gensler in summer 2019 and NAC Architecture in summer 2020. Moving forward, she hopes to start a professional career in a leading company that focuses on improving people’s way of living, which would enable her to accomplish her personal goals and be a part of shaping the future of design.

Art History

Claire Heidenreich
Claire Heidenreich distinguished herself this year as the instructor of two courses: ARTH 105 – Pictures and Power in the fall, and ARTH 130 – Art of Africa, Oceania, and the Americas in the spring. She has demonstrated achievement through her research and her essay, “Chiffonniers in the Periphery: Émile Bernard’s Ragpickers of Clichy and Nineteenth-Century Artificial Cranial Modification,” was published in the peer-reviewed journal Nineteenth-Century Art Worldwide in the fall of 2019. Claire held a summer residency at Penn State’s Humanities Institute in 2020 and this year was selected to present “Mystery, Lourdes, and La Salette: Maurice Denis’ Catholic Mystery and Miraculous Apparitions” at the Barnes Foundation Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art. She is also presenting a paper on Denis and medieval revivalism at the Nineteenth-Century Studies Association Conference this spring.

Hyoungee Kong
Hyoungee Kong’s scholarly accomplishments include her authorship of published catalogue entries with online materials for two exhibitions, “Whistler in Watercolor” at the Freer Gallery in Washington and “Félix Buhot: Printmaker of Nineteenth-Century France” at the Palmer Museum of Art. Hyoungee was awarded a short-term research fellowship by the Huntington Library, as well as the Big Ten Academic Alliance Smithsonian Fellowship. She presented her research at the College Art Association Annual Conference in 2020 and will present at the Nineteenth-Century French Studies Association Conference in 2021, as well as several other invited and juried conference presentations. Hyoungee was the instructor for Penn State’s ARTH 100 – Introduction to Art History in summer 2020, and currently teaches the evening section of the course.

Lauren Rickert
Lauren Rickert is a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors College student who is double-majoring in Art History and Communications. She has repeatedly sought out opportunities to conduct independent research and study abroad, all while serving as a mentor-in-training through Penn State’s Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP). Lauren was awarded an Erickson Discovery Grant for summer 2020. Her research was also supported over the summer by a Remote Experience Innovation Grant, which placed her in a cohort of students also attempting to pursue a variety of summer experiences during the pandemic. Her project, which mapped out Isabella d’Este’s spheres of influence, biography, and known works of artistic patronage through the Google Earth platform, was completed in August 2020. A subset of that material, d’Este’s majolica ceramic services, is currently the focus of an independent research internship hosted through the Visual Resource Centre. Her final project will take the form of a research paper and an accompanying website hosted on the VRC site, which will link to her earlier Google Earth project. Lauren was the recipient of the Department of Art History Townley Memorial Scholarship for study abroad, which she plans to use in the fall of 2021 in Florence, Italy.

Graphic Design

Blake Thresher
Blake Thresher is a second-year Master of Fine Arts in Graphic Design student from Tulsa, Okla., who earned a bachelor’s degree at Oklahoma State University in 2019. Blake has won several awards, including a 2021 “Best in Category” Flux Award for the poster “A Marvelous Order” and is a recipient of Penn State’s Professional Master’s Excellence Award. His work is primarily concentrated in motion graphics and data visualization. His interests include climate change, sustainability, art activism, and the history of racism in America. His thesis is a motion graphic focusing on the history of Sundown Towns. Blake is working under the direction of Phil Choo.

Cassie Luzenski
Cassie Luzenski is a senior majoring in Graphic Design. During her time at Penn State, she discovered a passion for design photography, visual identity, and brand campaigns. She strives to create work that stretches the boundaries of design and pushes her out of her comfort zone. She aims to strike up conversations about social issues and overall design with purpose. She believes that the core of a great project begins with thorough research and strong conceptualization. Last semester, while working with PepsiCo for a student internship, Cassie collaborated with a team of three students to create a brand campaign for LIFE WTR that was selected to be installed on campus. The campaign, “Clarity Within Chaos,” relates the artwork on the bottle to experiences during the pandemic. This semester, the Student Engagement Network awarded her a grant to expand on an independent-study project where she worked with two other students to create a theoretical sexual health brand called Ludus. Cassie recently received a Platinum Award in the Graphis New Talent Competition for her Glossier social campaign.

Samantha Chung
Samantha Chung is a third-year student pursuing a Bachelor of Design in Graphic Design with minors in Arts Entrepreneurship and Photography. Samantha has an eye for detail, loves working with both technology and people, and is excited by the thought of communicating visual messages to a large audience. She is currently the creative director and graphic designer for a student-run multicultural media site called The Underground. She has also worked with creative teams and assisted other designers in a variety of projects. Her most recent project involved creating a new brand identity for the Pennsylvania Native Plant Society, which is a movement that advocates for rare and endangered plants. She received three general winner awards in the American Institute of Graphic Arts’ Flux Blue Ridge 2020 design competition, with one awarded under the category “identity” and two under UX/UI. She was also awarded honorable mention for the University and College Designers Association’s Vote 2020: Student Poster Design Initiative. After graduating, Samantha plans to work with a company that shares her admiration of makeup and fashion.

Landscape Architecture

Grace McNeill
Grace McNeill is a creative, driven, and environmentally minded fourth-year Landscape Architecture student. Within her class cohort and college, she is a student leader in the Arts Ambassadors and Landscape Architecture Leaders, working with other students and faculty to represent the Stuckeman School. She is passionate about ecology and climate change and is working toward a minor in Environmental Inquiry, focusing on ecology and biodiversity. With the courses she is taking in the minor, and her past professional experiences, she is curating a strong background in ecology related to design. In her future career, Grace hopes to create effective and aesthetically beautiful design to improve quality of life.

Yiru Zhang
Yiru Zhang is a third-year graduate student originally from Shanghai, China, who is set to graduate in May with a Master of Landscape Architecture degree. Her master’s capstone project redesigns a play system spatially to support active, engaged, meaningful, and socially interactive play for children in underserved urban neighborhoods. Co-presenting with her advisor, Ken Tamminga, the duo will give an oral presentation at the 17th Computational Urban Planning and Urban Management International Conference held virtually in Helsinki, Finland, in June. She was a finalist in the 2021 Urban Land Institute’s Hines Student Competition, which addresses housing affordability, equity, transportation, and resilience that reflects Kansas City’s vision for a thriving mixed-use, mixed-income area.

Yiwei (Leo) Wang
Yiwei (Leo) Wang is a fifth-year student pursuing two undergraduate degrees in the Landscape Architecture and Art B.F.A. degree programs. He has been inspired by both fields and put his art background and skills into landscape designing. As a multimedia artist, fashion model, and aspiring landscape architect, he is the proud recipient of several merit awards and has been showcased in two solo exhibitions. To highlight his work and personality, he has been featured in several publications, including Valley Magazine, The Daily Collegian, Kalliope Magazine,and Internationals of Penn State.

Music

Bri Wiegand
Bri Wiegand is a senior studying film-video development and music technology with a focus in sound design and music composition in film. In the School of Music, she is a recording studio engineer, percussionist, and president of the Percussion Club. She is an active member in the Percussion Ensemble, Mallet Ensemble, Philharmonic Orchestra, Symphonic Band, and Symphonic Wind Ensemble. Under director Dennis Glocke, she performed in Carnegie Hall for Penn State’s President’s Concert last year. Currently she collaborates with musicians and composers to create, perform, and broadcast new pieces and projects safely under COVID-19 precautions. In film, Bri is a director, editor, and sound specialist. In 2019, she interned for the American Pavilion during the Cannes Film Festival in France. She has also been invited to multiple film festivals and collaborates with other students at Penn State and around the country. For her senior project, she is combining all her skills to create a live performance of film score arrangements with dance and visual media that she has created. Bri is a member of Tapestry Dance Company, where she choreographs and performs for campus events including Homecoming and THON. She also works as a dance instructor at MindBodyArt School of Dance, teaching tap, jazz, and ballet for competitive and recreational students of all ages.

Cody Gemmell
Cody Gemmell is a fifth-year senior from St. Clair, Pa., set to graduate in May with bachelor’s degrees in Music, Music Education, and Mathematics. In his studies, he took a special interest in keyboard percussion, especially marimba. Cody began playing guitar at age 11 and soon followed with percussion lessons. In the School of Music, Cody was an active member in Symphonic Band, Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Philharmonic Orchestra, Chamber Orchestra, Percussion Ensemble, and Mallet Ensemble. In February 2020, he traveled with the Symphonic Wind Ensemble under the direction of Dennis Glocke to perform at Carnegie Hall. Currently, Cody is student-teaching elementary general and instrumental music. He enjoys working with elementary students because he is passionate about teaching young musicians and starting them on their musical journeys. His senior project focused on arranging music for percussion ensembles. His most recent project is arranging Mussorgsky’s “Pictures” at an exhibition for a marimba quintet. Outside of academics, Cody is very involved in THON and represented his organization as a dancer in 2019. After graduation, he plans to teach elementary music and eventually pursue a master’s degree in percussion performance.

Visual Arts

Anna Graef
Anna Graef will graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art with a concentration in ceramics this spring. Anna is interested in function, utility, absurdity, practicality, efficiency, and humor as she attempts to subvert expectations of function and inspire childlike wonder through her work. Anna has been featured in three Penn State School of Visual Arts undergraduate juried exhibitions, and received several merit scholarships, an Erickson Discovery Grant to pursue glaze research, and scholarships to attend workshops at Peters Valley School of Craft and Anderson Ranch. This year, Anna is one of five undergraduates nationwide to be selected to participate in the esteemed Red Lodge Advanced Student Project Network Residency Program, and she was nominated to apply for the Windgate-Lamar Fellowship. In addition to her commitment to excellence in personal endeavors, Anna is invested in building her studio community. She has been instrumental in expanding the capacity of Penn State’s Ceramics Club to host numerous visiting artists, via dedication in grant writing and program organization. Anna also took initiative in production and overall execution of clay c0ven’s Bowled Over project to help fight food insecurity.

Amara Eke
Amara Eke is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art degree with a concentration in drawing and painting, accompanied by Art History and Gender Studies minors. Her work uses vibrant colors in mixed media to illustrate themes dealing with Black womanhood, queerness, spirituality, conspiracy, time, space, and everything in between. Amara intertwines themes of art history with her own experiences to represent a wealth of diversity, while paying homage to the artists and history that came before her. She is president of Opulence, Penn State’s Drag Ambassadors. Amara completed a residency at Overland Artworks, received a merit award in the 2020 SoVA undergraduate juried show, received the Margaret Schoenfelder Memorial Scholarship, and recently created an installation in the HUB Galleries that celebrates LGBTQ+ pride. Amara is committed to pushing art past its limits, encapsulating her own experience by making a bright, vibrant space with her large-scale works to bring a moment of joy to any viewer.

Kaichen Wang
Kaichen Wang is a second-year graduate student completing a Master of Fine Arts degree with a concentration in photography. Kai’s upcoming graduate exhibition will be large-scale digital prints of images gathered within the past three semesters. His work has been noted as distant and curious, introducing a sense of wandering and alienation. Kai has served as teaching assistant and now instructor for Photo 202, while being instrumental in maintenance of facilities for the photography area. He travels and works constantly while never excluding experimentation in image-making and photographic presentation.

Theatre

Crystal Dahm
Crystal Dahm is graduating with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Theatre Design and Technology with emphases in Technical Direction and Lighting Design, along with a Bachelor of Science degree in Applied French. Crystal was the recipient of the President’s Freshman Award and the Petracca French Department Travel Award. During her time at the School of Theatre, she has worked on several productions, including The Last Five Years, Spamalot, Marry Me a Little, Angels in America, Cabaret of Many Colors, and Seawall. This year she designed a new hydraulic lifting system for one of the School of Theatre’s automated cable lifts. During her third year at Penn State, she studied abroad in France for a semester to expand her knowledge of the language and French theatre. When not at Penn State, Crystal worked at Millbrook Playhouse as an assistant technical director. For the upcoming summer, she has accepted a job at the Santa Fe Opera working with stage operations.

Jalen Martin
Jalen Martin is a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Acting whose accomplishments include creation of the original play The Black Boy Who Thought He Had It All, which he subsequently adapted and developed into a film of the same name. The film was screened as one of the primary events in the Penn State Centre Stage Virtual season in fall 2020. Jalen voiced the characters of Langston Hughes, Floyd J. Calvin, and Young Man in the radio drama Harlem Queen. Onstage, Jalen played Marquis in Hooded, or Being Black for Dummies; Jackie Thibodeaux and Dance Captain in Caroline, or Change; and was a soloist and understudy for Tom Robinson in To Kill a Mockingbird, among other projects. Jalen was instrumental in restructuring and reassembling the School of Theatre Student Diversity group and initiating conversations with current and former students to address topics of equity, diversity, and inclusion in the school, university, and entertainment industry. Away from Penn State, Jalen’s film, The Black Boy Who Thought He Had It All, was incorporated into the equity, diversity, and inclusion trainings for teachers in the Cherry Creek School District in Aurora, Colo.

Alyssa Ridder
Alyssa Ridder is a third-year Master of Fine Arts student in Costume Design. She earned a Bachelor of Art in Theatre Design and Technology at George Fox University in 2015, where she later served as a costume shop manager, costume designer, and adjunct faculty member. During this time Alyssa also worked as a freelance costume designer in Portland, Oregon. While at Penn State, Alyssa has designed the costumes for A Little Night Music, directed by Phillip Fazio; Seawall, directed by Alison Morooney; and The Last Five Years, directed by Jennifer Delac. Alyssa has published work in The Theatre Times, Prompt, and the peer-reviewed journal Performing Ethos. She has also presented scholarship at the Mid-America Theatre Conference. In addition to her studies, Alyssa has been a graduate assistant for the School of Theatre’s costume shop, co-instructed courses in intro and advanced costume design, and served as a costume mentor for The Lucky Boy, directed by John Simpkins. In spring 2021, Alyssa was awarded a Community Arts Project Grant by the Studio of Sustainability and Social Action to produce a short documentary on sustainable garment production. After graduation, Alyssa plans to continue her work in costume design and technology for both the theatre and on the digital stage.

A&A Award Archive

2019–2020 Awards

University + Faculty and Staff

University-Level Awards

President’s Award for Engagement with Students

Shannon Goff, Associate Professor of Art

Shannon Goff

Shannon Goff, associate professor in the College of Arts and Architecture, has received the 2020 President’s Award for Engagement with Students. The award is given to a faculty member who goes beyond his or her responsibilities to engage and encourage students in learning. The honorees have made themselves available to interact with students outside class, link students to opportunities and help them build their confidence as learners and potential contributors to society.

Colleagues say Goff has been instrumental in recruiting students to the School of Visual Arts and is a tireless supporter for students because she’s able to connect them to prestigious centers and institutions in the art world. She’s strengthened the program by further stressing experiences with visiting artists, exhibitions and public engagements. FULL STORY »

Faculty Scholar Medal in the Arts and Humanities

Marica Tacconi, Professor of Musicology

Marcica Tacconi

Marica Tacconi is a pre-eminent scholar on the music of 15th-, 16th- and 17th-century Italy, especially Florence and Venice. Her work shines light on the political and cultural history of the Italian Renaissance and early Baroque. Nominators said the way Tacconi combines the arts and humanities into her research is truly remarkable and qualifies her uniquely for the honor.

Last fall, Tacconi presented at Penn State the lecture-recital “Musical Gems from Three Newly Uncovered Venetian Manuscripts,” which was based on material she uncovered while on sabbatical in Venice, Italy, in Fall 2018. While there, she studied three music manuscripts preserving works that, in some cases, had not been heard in nearly 400 years. Tacconi transcribed several of the compositions into modern notation and brought the music back to the concert stage, performed by internationally acclaimed soprano Liesl Odenweller and harpsichordist Marija Jovanovic, both based in Venice. Additionally, she has collaborated with Grammy Award-winning early music ensemble Apollo’s Fire (The Cleveland Baroque Orchestra), exposing audiences to less familiar styles of music. FULL STORY »

Penn State Alumni Association Dissertation Award

Debora Verniz, Architecture Ph.D. Student

Distinguished Master’s Thesis Award

Stella Murray, Architecture Master’s Student

Thomas and June Beaver Fund Award

Negar Ashrafi, Architecture Ph.D. Student

Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award

Yang Deng, Art Education Ph.D. Student
Karly Etz, Art History Ph.D. Student
Eric Mainzer, Architecture Ph.D. Student

Professional Master’s Excellence Award

Zsuzsanna Nagy, Art. M.F.A. Student
Lance Rautzhan, Art Education M.P.S. Student


Faculty and Staff Awards

Award for Excellence in Advising and Mentoring

Lisa Bontrager, Distinguished Professor of Music in Horn

Lisa Bontrager

Lisa Bontrager is known as an encouraging and caring presence among her students, guiding them in academics, in music, and in their personal lives. Fondly referred to by some former students as their “school mom,” she has a genuine concern for their wellbeing both inside and outside the classroom. An accomplished professional musician and longtime faculty member, she has the knowledge and experience to advise her students during their time at Penn State and beyond—and does so with a special touch that leads many of them to keep in touch with her long after graduation. According to one former student, whose sentiments echoed many others, “As an advisor, educator, and mentor, Professor Bontrager is of the highest kind and quality. She embodies the qualities that this award seeks to promote.”

Faculty Award for Outstanding Teaching

Daniel Armstrong, Professor of Music in Percussion

Daniel Armstrong

Dan Armstrong, a School of Music faculty member for more than 30 years, has taught and mentored hundreds of students who have gone on to a wide range of successful careers in academia and the professional music industry. His faculty colleagues praise his dedication to his students, his creative pedagogy, and his leadership. Recognized by his former students for his superb mentorship and ability to tailor his teaching to each individual’s strengths, he prepares students to excel in their careers, calling on his own extensive experience as a professional musician and educator. One former student summed up Professor Armstrong’s lasting influence: “Through his dedication and hard work, he instills in his students an endless drive for excellence. His students learn a habit of self-determination and independence that can come only from consistently high expectations from one’s mentor.”

Barbara O. Korner Faculty Award for Outstanding Service

David Goldberg, Associate Clinical Professor in Landscape Architecture/Stuckeman School Technology Operations Manager

David Goldberg

According to his nominators, David Goldberg is devoted not just to “doing” service, but to making a difference that helps people in everything he does. His service efforts fall into three main areas: 1) Technology optimized for everyone; 2) Landscape architecture student scholarships and awards; and 3) Extracurricular professional leadership in the American Society of Landscape Architects (ASLA). In his role as the Stuckeman School’s technology operations manager, he is committed to providing faculty and students with optimal technology resources that allow them to advance and excel. In the awards arena, Professor Goldberg has long provided leadership on the departmental awards committee, innovating and streamlining the process for selecting student winners. His leadership at the department level is actually an extension of his leadership in ASLA. He has been involved in the Pennsylvania/Delaware chapter since 2007 and currently serves as co-chair of the Central Pennsylvania Section, and in that role facilitates networking among students, faculty, and professionals. One supporting letter sums up Professor Goldberg’s qualifications: “In these types of recommendation letters, it is customary to refer to one or two incidents that are worthy of praise, but for David there are too many occasions to even begin. He is the person faculty and students depend upon, respect, and know that he is there for us when we need help.”

Staff Award for Outstanding Service

Diane Kerstetter, Office of Academic Affairs and Outreach

Diane Kerstetter

Diane Kerstetter’s colleagues praise her for being a detail-oriented and self-motivated team player who is always happy to go the extra mile. She is recognized particularly for her efforts related to recruitment events, from placing directional signs around campus at 7 a.m. to prepping and delivering supplies to each academic unit to helping visitors. Her attention to detail shows in her meticulous record-keeping  and budget oversight. Known as the utmost professional who treats everyone with respect and kindness, her positive energy and welcoming attitude are a true asset to the Office of Academic Affairs and Outreach.

Student

Student Awards

Reuben and Gladys Golumbic Scholarship

Humanistic Achievement

Freddie Miller

Frederick Miller is a second-year student in the School of Theatre pursuing a B.A. in theatre studies with a minor in world literature. He has worked extensively with Penn State Centre Stage, as a production dramaturg and assistant director on productions such as Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches; A Little Night Music; To Kill a Mockingbird; and Caroline, or Change. For his work on A Little Night Music, Frederick was the recipient of the 2020 Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival Region II Award for Outstanding Dramaturgy and was a semi-finalist for the national competition. He is a teaching assistant for THEA 112 (Intro to Musical Theatre) and serves on the School of Theatre’s Student Advisory Board as the student representative for the Theatre Studies program. Frederick frequently collaborates with No Refund Theatre and, most recently, directed their production of Doubt: A Parable. He wrote the book and lyrics for Outcasts, a new musical receiving a developmental reading in New York City this fall.

Design Achievement

Oscar Wegbreit

Oscar Wegbreit is a fourth-year landscape architecture student scheduled to graduate in December 2020. At Penn State, he is highly active in the Department of Landscape Architecture through his involvement with the Landscape Architecture Student Society and giving departmental tours to prospective students. Throughout his life, he practiced art in a variety of different mediums in numerous art classes. This background is demonstrated in his artistic approach to design, which he credits with his success in the program. Majoring in landscape architecture was an easy decision for him as it combined his interests in art, design, and sustainability, and his love for the outdoors. Last summer, he interned at a high-end residential landscape architecture firm where his skills were utilized through design visualization and rendering designs for clients. After graduation, his goal is to work at a firm that focuses on public spaces and shares a common design mission to his own. Ultimately, he hopes to open his own firm that focuses on community design projects.

Performance Achievement

Annie Liu

Annie Liu is a junior in the Schreyer Honors College pursuing a bachelor of musical arts in bassoon performance and a bachelor of science in general science. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Annie grew up in State College, studying bassoon with Professor Daryl Durran since 2013. She is a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the premier ensembles of the School of Music, and the Pentavalent Wind Quintet. Through a school-wide audition, Annie was selected to perform a solo with percussionist Gage Kroljic in the 2018 Mosaic concert, which showcases the school’s outstanding soloists and ensembles. She was a finalist in the Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, receiving an honorable mention in January 2020. Every semester of study, Annie has earned Jury Honors, a distinction awarded for excellence in final performance exams. She received the inaugural Sue Haug School of Music Leadership Award in 2019. In the 2020 School of Music Scholarship Competition, she was again a winner of the Haug Leadership Award and she also won the Presser Scholarship and a College of Arts and Architecture Creative Achievement Award. This semester Annie has worked as lab manager of the Pitch Exploration Lab, a music cognition research lab. Beyond her music activities, Annie serves as the engagement director of Science Lion Pride and volunteers at Discovery Space of Central PA. She interned with the German Academic Exchange Service RISE Germany program doing biology research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Annie intends to pursue a master’s degree in bassoon performance.

Valley Family Scholarship

Madison Borsos

Madison Borsos is a third-year student in the landscape architecture program. She is involved within the department as a member of Landscape Architecture Leaders and the Landscape Architecture Student Society, and within the College of Arts and Architecture as the president of Students for Environmentally Enlightened Design. She especially enjoys this position because it allows her to engage in conversations about climate change and sustainability with her peers. Her involvement with these three groups offers her the chance to connect with her classmates, students from related disciplines, and prospective students. Studying landscape architecture has opened her eyes to the breadth of possibilities for her future and she eagerly shares this knowledge with others, including a recent presentation she gave at her high school, in hopes of encouraging people of many backgrounds to contribute to the larger discussion. From a young age, her family fostered within her a curiosity about the outdoors through gardening, hiking, camping, and backpacking. Although she came to Penn State to study architecture, she transferred to the landscape architecture program because the environmental goals of the profession resonated with her. Madison’s work is inspired by her connection with nature. She hopes that, as a professional, she can create spaces for those who have not had access to restored natural areas in order to share enjoyment of nature with others.

Jasmine Forsberg

Jasmine Forsberg is a junior B.F.A. musical theatre major. Originally from Orlando, Florida, she grew up performing on many professional Central Florida stages, including the Orlando Repertory Theatre (the REP), the Winter Park Playhouse, and the Garden Theatre. Jasmine made her professional theatre debut at the REP when she was 10 years old as Roo in The House at Pooh Corner. This past year, she made her Off-Broadway debut in Broadway Bounty Hunter, written by Tony Award-nominee Joe Iconis. She recently recorded the Original Cast Album for Broadway Bounty Hunter, which will be released on several music streaming platforms in mid-2020. Jasmine also originated the role of Brenda “Rat” Ratowski in Two River Theater’s world premiere production of Love in Hate Nation. Favorite Penn State Centre Stage credits include Almastasa in The Lucky Boy and Norma in Hands on a Hardbody. When she is not onstage, Jasmine is writing her own music. In 2018, Jasmine helped write Penn State’s New Student Orientation musical, Results Will Vary, and will be joining the cast this summer for a third installment of the production.

John Kaufman

John Kaufman’s interest in lighting design was sparked at the age of 8 when he attended his first concert, the Trans-Siberian Orchestra during their 2008 tour. His focus was immediately drawn to the various production elements of the show. A native of Dillsburg, Pennsylvania, he was the technical director for his high school theatre, while simultaneously serving as the lighting designer for a local community theatre. At Penn State, some of John’s most recent works include the School of Theatre’s She Kills Monsters and THON 2020. His upcoming projects include designing several shows for the School of Theatre, and he plans to continue working on outside projects. Additionally, John works professionally at Illuminated Integration, The State Theatre, and the Bryce Jordan Center.

Danielle Vickers

Danielle Vickers is a fourth-year architecture major and Schreyer Honors student minoring in global and international studies. She recently returned from studying in Rome and has also completed study abroad programs in Japan and South Korea. Although a native of Pittsburgh, she has always dreamed of living and working in another country (most likely Italy). She has always been passionate about learning other languages, cultures, religions, and worldviews because they teach her so much about different values and lifestyles that she often tries to incorporate into her work as a designer. Danielle serves as a mentor for freshman architecture students and has co-hosted the Student of Color welcome event series held during the fall semester. Prior to studying in Italy, she was the treasurer of the Penn State chapter of the National Organization of Minority Architecture Students, for which she also planned workshops and social events. She says she loves being able to create a supportive community for minorities within the design majors so that everyone has a space where they feel like they belong.

Alumni Society Scholarship

Architecture

Emily Troutman

Emily Troutman is a fourth-year student pursuing a bachelor’s degree in architecture. During her time at Penn State, she has received multiple design and academic achievement awards including being selected as the winner of the Hajjar competition and placing second in the Corbelletti competition. Emily was also the winner of the essay competition for the Richard L. Grube Memorial Scholarship, which awarded her a trip to London to study adaptively reused buildings. In 2019, Emily worked as an intern with Norr Philadelphia, which led to her accepting a job offer from a firm that specializes in adaptive reuse. In addition to her architecture education, Emily has a passion for writing and is currently editing an original 25-chapter novel that she hopes to have published in 2020. Looking forward, Emily plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and form her own small business as a licensed architect.

Art History

Lauren Rickert

Lauren Rickert is a Schreyer Honors College and Paterno Fellows Program student who has pursued two undergraduate degrees (B.A. in Art History and B.A. in Communication Arts and Sciences) and is on track to graduate one year early and with distinction. While at Penn State, Lauren was active with the Pennsylvania Literacy Corps as a tutor and was a member of the Schreyer for Women Club. She was also an active member of CHAARG, a women’s fitness club, and was a research assistant within the Department of Communications Arts and Sciences. After graduating, Lauren intends to spend one year participating in an internship, traveling, or working for the Teach for America program. With the year of real-world experience, she intends to continue her education by attending graduate school to pursue a higher degree in art history or enrolling in law school.

Graphic Design

Samantha Smith

Samantha Smith is a graphic design student who is on track to graduate in the spring of 2021 with distinction. Originally from Avondale, Pennsylvania, Samantha has leaned on her strong work ethic and faith to excel in and out of the classroom. While also working a part-time job, she has been a leader in the on-campus student ministry (Cru), where she has mentored youths, led weekly bible studies, and planned and executed the organization’s weekly large group meetings. After graduation, Samantha intends on entering the graphic design professional workforce.

Landscape Architecture

John Montefour

John Montefour is a fourth-year landscape architecture student on track to graduate in the fall of 2020. Within his department, he has been an LA Leader, Arts Ambassador, Landscape Architecture Student Society (LASS) member, upperclassmen mentor, and Professional Mentorship Program participant. John served as director of The Digital Beehive, where he was tasked with tutoring and assisting students with various computer programs and other design-related tasks. In addition, he was a Harris Township Tree Commission student assistant, landscape architecture intern at Thomas J. McLane & Associates, and a Penn State Architecture/Landscape Architecture Summer Camp counselor and teaching assistant. In addition to his studies, John was one of the founders of Overtime Performance Nutrition, a business that provides fresh “meal prep” meals.

Music

Grace Everett

Grace Everett is a music education student who is on track to graduate in the spring of 2021 with distinction. Grace came to Penn State with an orchestral emphasis in violin, but expanded her education by participating in several organizations, including the Bravo! Violin Performance Club, Jazz Educators Network, American String Teachers Association, Vocal Dimensions, and Penn State NAfME Collegiate Chapter. In addition to her education, Grace was a marching band teaching assistant for the Hollidaysburg schools and a string teaching assistant at Altoona Youth Orchestra, Altoona Summer String Camp, and Interlochen.

Theatre

Jasmine Forsberg

Jasmine Forsberg is a B.F.A. in musical theatre student and is on track to graduate with distinction in spring of 2021. During her time at Penn State, Jasmine has performed in several productions. Most recently, she played Almastasa, an immigrant who fled a war-torn country to find a better life for her child, in The Lucky Boy. In 2018, Jasmine joined a group of her School of Theatre classmates to write and perform Results Will Vary, a musical for New Student Orientation (NSO). In addition to her coursework, Jasmine served as co-cultural director of the Penn State Filipino Association, where she planned, wrote, directed, and hosted “Barrio Fiesta,” the organization’s annual cultural showcase. She was also on the Penn State Musical Theatre Student Committee and volunteered with Penn State Nittany Greyhounds, where she helped with upkeep of a local greyhound shelter.

Visual Arts

Marina Gurevich

Marina Gurevich is a Penn State World Campus student majoring in digital multimedia design on track to graduate in summer 2021 with distinction. Marina is an adult-learner and a mother of four who, after returning to school as a psychology major, enrolled in a sculpting class that unexpectedly steered her education and led to her discovering a passion for digital design. Since then Mariana has immersed herself in visual communication and design, which led to her volunteering as a beta-tester of newly released online courses. Her role as a tester has helped her to better understand UX/UI design and digital content creation, which she hopes will lead to a career as an illustrator and a UX designer.

Creative Achievement Award

Architecture

Grant Davis

Grant Davis, of State College, graduated from Penn State in 2019 with a bachelor of architecture. He returned to complete his master of science in architecture in the 2019-20 academic year. His research chronicles the impact of maritime travels on the architectural writings and works of Le Corbusier, and the impact of maritime history on the metaphorical role of ships in modern architecture. His research interests include 20th-century theories of modernism, functionalism, and mid-century American design, as well as urban design and redevelopment, housing, historical preservation, maritime history and design, and architectural semiotics. Grant has served as a teaching assistant for first-year architecture students (2019-20) and given tours and helped with visit days for prospective students. He was a 2019 Stewardson Design Competition finalist in the Stuckeman School, and received the 2018 Steele Fund Architecture Scholarship and 2017 Arthur v. K. Anderson Jr. Award for Study Abroad. Grant has participated in architectural internships at Kohn Pedersen Fox, Schradergroup Architecture, and Fernsler-Hutchinson Architecture, and looks forward to entering the profession and gaining his architect’s license following graduation. He is interested in potentially returning to academia to continue his research and teaching after practicing professionally.

Ray Hanley

Ray Hanley will earn his master of architecture degree in May, the final chapter in his academic career. He already holds an associate’s degree in architecture and construction technology from Harrisburg Area Community College and a B.S. in architecture and environmental design from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Growing up, Ray was always fascinated by the deep, profound impact that the design of spaces has on our lives. For him, architecture is responding to the cultural needs and identity of a place, both using what is working and strengthens the community, as well as innovative methods to create new meaning that correlates to a cultural context. He says design is a powerful tool, but successful design has the ability to change people’s lives and the environment on which it sits for the better.

Thomas Leonard

Thomas Leonard, of St. Louis, Missouri, will graduate with his B.Arch. in May. He has a strong interest in architecture at the urban scale, as well as the psychological implications of the built environment. He was a finalist in the 2020 John Stewardson Memorial Fellowship in Architecture. He has been involved with the American Institute of Architecture Students (AIAS), where he served as president of the Penn State chapter in 2017-18. At the national level, he has served on the AIAS Elections Committee and represented the AIAS on the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB) accreditation visits at the Southern California Institute of Architecture (SCI-Arc) in Los Angeles, California, and Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama. Thomas’s thesis focuses on the architectural implications of building in the Mississippi River alluvial plain, and the possible ways architecture can take advantage of the dynamic landscape. This summer he will enter professional practice at LSM Studio in Washington, D.C.

Art History

Karly Etz

Karly Etz has distinguished herself academically as well as through teaching and service. Karly presented “Mapping the Body: Tattooed Cartographies in Twenty-First Century Art” at the College Art Association conference in February, and a related article has been accepted for inclusion in the forthcoming, peer-reviewed book, Traveling Bodies. Her research and writing will be supported in the coming months by a Humanities Institute Summer Residence Fellowship. A 2020 recipient of Penn State’s Harold F. Martin Graduate Assistant Outstanding Teaching Award in recognition of her excellence as a TA, Karly has also served as the instructor of record for two courses. She was a fundamental part of the College of Arts and Architecture’s redesign of the online version of “Introduction to International Arts” for the World Campus platform, and she delivered a presentation on this experience at the Digitally Engaged Learning conference held at York University in the fall of 2018. Karly’s dedication to service is likewise noteworthy. She has served as graduate coordinator for the Department of Art History’s Colloquia Series (2018-19) and as the elected graduate representative for the Department of Art History.

Jinny McGill

Jinny McGill, an outstanding graduate student, had a paper accepted for presentation at the Association of Asian Studies Annual Conference in Boston in March 2020, “Bugs and Bodhisattvas: Science Museums in Early 20th-Century Japan.” She received a prestigious travel fellowship from the Society of Architectural Historians to participate in their Field Seminar to Japan, which took place December 6-18, 2019. Jinny is also a recipient of a Penn State Department of Art History Dissertation Fellowship, and she presented a paper (based on a chapter of her dissertation), titled “An Ethos of Liminality: Shibakawa Mataemon’s Eight Scenic Views of Kōtōen,” at the 2019 Graduate Student Symposium. In 2018, Jinny received a grant from the Japan Foundation to participate in their “Japanese-Language Program for Specialists in Cultural and Academic Fields.” In her first year as a Ph.D. student, she presented a paper (based on her M.A. thesis), titled “Agents and Emissaries: Josiah Conder, Iwasaki Hisaya, and Japanese Modernism,” at the Graduate Student Symposium on the History of Art, Philadelphia Museum of Art, April 8-9, 2016.

Sadie Middleton

Senior art history major Sadie Middleton has set a high bar as the first student representative on the Undergraduate Program Committee this year. Sadie has also been instrumental in restarting our undergraduate art history organization by meeting individually with fellow art history majors and by using a variety of social networking platforms to help majors connect with each other. She helped organize a fall ice cream social where art history students could meet faculty members in an informal setting, and she recruited new officers for the revamped and reenergized Undergraduate Art History Association. Sadie also lent her considerable energy and excellent organizational skills to THON, serving as a committee chair. A dedicated student who has contributed positively to the Penn State community, Sadie is featured in College of Arts and Architecture recruitment materials. Next year, she will begin graduate study in counseling.

Graphic Design

Anjana Padmakumar

Anjana Padmakumar graduated from Loughborough University in 2015 with a bachelor’s degree (Hons) in 3D Design: New Practice. Originally from India, she studied and worked in Singapore and London, with experience in the advertising industry. Her experience in multicultural environments has affirmed her belief that design is a language used to create objects that reflect the value and purposes of any society. Given the ever-increasing problem of global waste in our lives, she believes that only truly innovative products can light the path to an inclusive future.Spanning different mediums and different forms of expression through making, her current practice lies at the flux of data and design. With her master’s education, she uses her work as a medium to talk about current world issues. Her recent project attempts to visualize data with a humanistic and emotional quality—such that it moves people from a personal standpoint, encouraging viewers to study data that would otherwise have been ignored. She focuses on topics like climate change, immigration, and children’s education with the understanding that interdisciplinary intersection creates depth and clarity for visual communication of complex information.

Taylor Mazzarella

Taylor Mazzarella will graduate from Penn State with a bachelor of design in graphic design. During her three years at the University she has been the merchandise chair of her THON organization, the vice president of Design Association, and a loyal Penn State football fan. After spending time studying abroad in Italy, she has expanded her cultural understanding of design and learned new techniques to broaden her ideation practices. Her biggest accomplishment at Penn State was her acceptance into her exclusive program of 18 students and her success within it—without having any previous design experience.

Christie Warren

Christie Warren is a third-year graphic design student specifically interested in user experience and user interface design. Her love for UI/UX design is inspired by the immense impact technology can make on nearly any area of people’s lives, especially when design is used to make this technology intuitive and enjoyable to use. Christie was the sole designer on the first place teams in the Nittany AI Challenge in both 2018 and 2019. In the 2018 Nittany AI Challenge, Christie’s team designed and developed LionPlanner, a web application that generates four-year academic plans for college students to eliminate the manual and tedious work of course planning. In the 2019 Nittany AI Challenge, Christie’s team created Revu, a web application that generates multiple-choice quizzes from readings to help teachers increase students’ out-of-class participation. LionPlanner was awarded $30,000, and Revu $18,000. Christie has continued her work on LionPlanner for three semesters as an intern in the Nittany AI Alliance, where she also works with other intern teams to design interfaces for their projects. She has also held internships at Pfizer in 2018 and West Arete in 2019, and will be a user experience design intern at the software development company Appian this summer. Christie has been invited to speak about her work and experiences at multiple events, including President Barron’s tailgate, the annual Penn State Outreach Appreciation Dinner, and the February 2020 Board of Trustees meeting.

Landscape Architecture

Chen Chen is a fourth-year undergraduate student in landscape architecture. The social and academic experience grounds her as an advocate of environment equality. She actively engages in cross-cultural studies while learning multiple languages, including English, Chinese, Japanese, and German. Her practices in conservation, sustainability, and community design initiate her reflections on the paradox of human scale design in modernization, for which she wishes to pursue further education in landscape architecture after graduating in summer 2020. She plans to pursue a career in academia.

Hannah Gomez is a fifth-year landscape architecture student graduating this May. During her time at Penn State, Hannah has held internships at Bradley Site Design in Washington, D.C., and the campus planning department at Penn State, and has taught art camps and classes for young children, students, and faculty at the Center for Arts and Crafts. Hannah has taken studio courses in Barcelona, Spain, and Bonn, Germany, and this past summer she spent a month studying Aboriginal art and culture in Australia and New Zealand. In 2018, Hannah received a travel award for her work, which allowed her to travel to Utah to visit Bear Ears National Monument. Last spring, Hannah was awarded a Student Merit Award by the Pennsylvania Delaware ASLA Chapter. Hannah is currently working on her Schreyer honors thesis, a design and research project in collaboration with the Office of the Physical Plant exploring the possibility of reintroducing forested ecosystems into pockets of University Park, potentially increasing the habitat quality and ecological value of the Penn State flagship campus.

Shengwei Tan is a third-year master of landscape architecture student. The world of creating sustainable city environments and experiential landscape inspired him to pursue the major of landscape architecture. His master’s degree capstone project is particularly focused on the vision of urban micromobility, from current streetscapes to the city of the future. Shengwei had three years of urban planning study experience at Beijing University of Civil Engineering and Architecture in China before coming to the United States to study landscape architecture.

Music

Emmanuel Houndo

Emmanuel Houndo is a senior undergraduate student double-majoring in general music and health policy & administration. Throughout his time at Penn State, he has engaged in many ensembles; has performed solo at events like THON; and has taken on opportunities in the healthcare field that include research and internships. These opportunities have allowed him to explore the different ways in which music and healthcare can intersect. Going forward, he hopes to continue using his passion for music to connect with a wide range of people, from classical concertgoers to hospital patients. He intends to use music as a bridge and gateway to new connections, new ideas, and better understanding of the world.

Annie Liu

Annie Liu is a junior in the Schreyer Honors College pursuing a bachelor of musical arts in bassoon performance and a bachelor of science in general science. Originally from Toronto, Canada, Annie grew up in State College, studying bassoon with Professor Daryl Durran since 2013. She is a member of the Philharmonic Orchestra and the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, the premier ensembles of the School of Music, and the Pentavalent Wind Quintet. Through a school-wide audition, Annie was selected to perform a solo with percussionist Gage Kroljic in the 2018 Mosaic concert, which showcases the school’s outstanding soloists and ensembles. She was a finalist in the Philharmonic Orchestra Concerto Competition, receiving an honorable mention in January 2020. Every semester of study, Annie has earned Jury Honors, a distinction awarded for excellence in final performance exams. She received the inaugural Sue Haug School of Music Leadership Award in 2019. In the 2020 School of Music Scholarship Competition, she was again a winner of the Haug Leadership Award and she also won the Presser Scholarship and a College of Arts and Architecture Creative Achievement Award. This semester Annie has worked as lab manager of the Pitch Exploration Lab, a music cognition research lab. Beyond her music activities, Annie serves as the engagement director of Science Lion Pride and volunteers at Discovery Space of Central PA. She interned with the German Academic Exchange Service RISE Germany program doing biology research at Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg. Annie intends to pursue a master’s degree in bassoon performance.

Theatre

Sophia Tepermeister

Sophia Tepermeister is graduating with a B.F.A. in theatre design and technology with an emphasis in scenic design, and a minor in anthropology. She is the recipient of the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, the President Sparks Award, and the President’s Freshman Award. She is also the recipient of the 2019 Oliver Smith Award for Excellence in Design and Production. During her senior year, she trained in the School of Theatre’s graduate design studio. Sophia has served as the set designer for two Penn State Centre Stage productions: Men on Boats and Angels in America: Millennium Approaches. She was recently accepted to the United States Institute for Theatre Technology’s (USITT) Emerging Creatives Showcase. Her work will be showcased at the 2020 USITT Conference in Houston. Sophia has worked as a scenic artist at various production companies in the Boston area, as well as the Ohio Light Opera in Wooster, Ohio. She has also worked as a resident assistant in East Halls for the last two years.

Tania Barrenechea

Tania Barrenechea is a third-year M.F.A. candidate in scenic design. She received her B.Arch. in architecture and urban planning from Pontifical Catholic University of Peru in 2015. Before coming to Penn State to pursue an M.F.A. in scenic design, Tania worked as an architect for five years in the studio Vicca Verde in Lima, Peru, starting as a trainee and working her way up to project manager. While at Penn State, Tania has designed the sets for the Penn State Centre Stage productions of A Little Night Music, directed by Phillip Fazio, and To Kill a Mockingbird, directed by Susan Schulman. Other Penn State scenic design credits include Polaroid Stories and A Year with Frog and Toad. In addition to her scenic design work, Tania has been a graduate assistant for the School of Theatre’s prop shop and paint shop, and a TA teaching undergraduate classes in design and technology. After graduation, Tania plans to pursue an academic career while continuing to expand her portfolio as a professional scenic designer.

Phillip Fazio

Phillip Fazio is a third-year M.F.A. candidate in directing. Penn State directing credits include: A Little Night Music, which was his thesis project; Caroline, or ChangeMarry Me a Little; and Peter and the Starcatcher. New York City directing credits: The Book That I’m Going to Write, by Judy Garland (Jerry Orbach Theater); Gay Camp (HERE Arts Center); and Company (St. Bart’s Players). Regional directing credits: Parade, Ragtime, Follies, Grey Gardens, August: Osage County, Sunday in the Park with George, Proof, Cabaret, Sweeney Todd, and City of Angels. Assistant director credits: Pippin (co-production with Center Theatre Group and Deaf West Theatre) and West Side Story (Signature Theatre). Associate member of SDC and alumnus of Lincoln Center Theatre Directors Lab. www.phillipfazio.com

Visual Arts

Min Gu

Min Gu is a Ph.D. candidate in art education. As an artist, educator, and researcher, she works with artists who have disabilities. Her research problematizes conceptions that consider disability as a personal, biological deficit. For her dissertation research, Min’s ethnographic study of the Creative Growth Art Center (California), serving artists with developmental, intellectual, and physical disabilities, offers a unique perspective on disability and art through her use of contemporary theories and innovative research methodologies. This work calls attention to the ways in which artists with disabilities engage with and conceive of artmaking that might otherwise either go unnoticed or be dismissed as “disabled” art.

Kaitlyn Innerst is a senior pursuing a B.A. in integrative arts with minors in photography and psychology. She has had work in several exhibitions over the past year, including the Creative Resolutions exhibition at the Palmer Museum of Art, where she displayed “End the Stigma.” Additionally, she became published for a piece, “The French Dancer,” in the art magazines Folio and Kaleidoscope. She is driven to create work that makes a difference in the world and her ultimate goal is to pursue her M.F.A. to further hone her photography skills.

Cairus Larsen is an M.F.A. candidate in the sculpture program whose work, research, and teaching explore familiar materials and objects from domestic spaces as transformed through a lens of cultural critique. Cairus’ works reflect upon living as a differently abled individual making sense of the world via making, particularly when struggling with words. Cairus utilizes a broad range of techniques, including metal casting, sewing and needlework, and digital fabrication. Her work subtly tweaks found objects ranging from the iconic to the mundane in ways that make us question what exactly we are seeing. Cairus has recently been nominated for an International Sculpture Center Award and has exhibited her work in solo and group exhibitions.