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College Guide program

College guides

College guides assist faculty, staff, and graduate students in conflict resolution and solutions-oriented support. This includes facilitating communication among conflicting parties and referring people to resources for further assistance. Although each department has at least two guides, faculty, staff, and graduate students within the College can choose to meet with any guide across the College.

Meet your guides

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Julia Kregenow

Julia Kregenow
Astronomy and Astrophysics
jmk50@psu.edu

Julia is an Associate Teaching Professor of Astronomy and Astrophysics, where she works to improve how science is taught to non-science majors. She loves sharing science and math with the world by bringing the wonder of the universe down to Earth. She is part of a community of passionate educators at Penn State who share ideas to continually improve their teaching. As an ombudsperson she hopes to spread empathy, transparency, and sincerity, and tap into the infinite power of human connection to open ever more doors for communication. As Bill Nye likes to say, we are all in this together folks.

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John Nousek

John Nousek
Astronomy and Astrophysics
jan2@psu.edu

John Nousek is a Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics, serving on the faculty since 1981. John is the Mission Director for the Neil Gehrels Swift Observatory, operating this satellite for NASA since its launch in 2004. Swift is designed to react in seconds to new events that occur in the sky, especially Gamma-ray Bursts, supernovae and gravitational wave and neutrino source discoveries. John spends his spare time playing board games such as Gloomhaven, and on-line video games. He believes the role of an ombudsperson is to listen with an empathetic ear to issues which are bothering people, and to allow them to phrase the problem in a way that looks at solutions to the problem.

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Maria Krasilnikova

Maria Krasilnikova
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
muk19@psu.edu

Maria Krasilnikova is an Associate Research Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. She is teaching several undergraduate level classes and performing research in instability of DNA repeats. Maria is also a certified yoga instructor and enjoys teaching yoga classes to her students and friends. As is an ombudsperson, she encourages people to initiate conversations to promote positive change.

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Lorraine Santi

Lorraine Santy
Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
lcs13@psu.edu

Lorraine Santy is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, whose research focuses on understanding the signaling and trafficking processes that promote migration of epithelial cells. Epithelial migration plays important roles in tissue repair after injury and in cancer metastasis. She currently teaches a Cancer Biology course and a graduate Cell Biology course, and she has previously taught introductory Cell and Molecular Biology. She enjoys cooking, hiking and has a teenage daughter. Dr. Santy served as the BMMB Graduate Student Liaison Officer before becoming one of the BMB department’s ombudsperson. She serves as an ombudsperson because she believes it is important for students to have a place to go for support when experiencing difficulties that impact their academic progression.

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Leana Topper for the ombuds website.

Leana Topper
Biology
lvm12@psu.edu

Leana received her PhD from the Department of Cell Biology at The University of Virginia where she studied the metaphase checkpoint and cell cycle control. She has been part of the Biology Department for over 13 years as an instructor and academic adviser. She teaches introductory biology, genetics, and developmental biology courses. She aids faculty in creating online course content, guides new faculty in course design, and works closely with transfer students entering the department. In her free time, she can be found walking her dogs, teaching science to elementary school children, and coaching gymnastics at the local gym or dance studio. As an Ombud, she is eager to listen and to connect members of our PSU community to applicable resources aimed at favorable outcomes.

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Aaron Garner for the ombuds website.

Aaron Garner
Chemistry
rag57@psu.edu

Aaron Garner is an Associate Teaching Professor in the Department of Chemistry. Aaron teaches the introductory general chemistry series (CHEM 110/112 and CHEM 130) and the learning assistant pedagogy course (SC 220). Aaron’s academic background is in biochemistry, which inspired the creation of the biological chemistry specialty sections of our general chemistry courses (CHEM 110B and CHEM 112B). Aaron earned his B.S. in Chemistry, Biological Sciences, and Botany from North Carolina State University in 2008 and his Ph.D. in Chemistry from Harvard University in 2014. Outside of teaching, Aaron enjoys cooking, football, and movies (especially the horror genre). As an ombud, he hopes to help build and maintain a welcoming and inclusive climate within our college.

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Nestor Handzy

Nestor Handzy
Mathematics
nzh100@psu.edu

Nestor Handzy is a Teaching Professor in the Department of Mathematics focused on undergraduate education as well as training graduate students to prepare lectures and teach mathematics. His lectures and discussions with students center around applications of math to anything from nuclear particles to the human brain. He enjoys a good game of chess and spends most of his time with his family. He is an ombudsperson because he thinks everyone should feel respected and comfortable in the workplace, and there should be a resource for people who experience harassment or other unprofessional conduct.

Diane Henderson photo for the ombudsperson website.

Diane Henderson
Mathematics
dmh9@psu.edu

Diane Henderson is a Professor in the Department of Mathematics. She enjoys teaching, especially when she sees a student "get it". Her research involves laboratory experiments on nonlinear water waves in the Department's Bill Pritchard Fluid Mechanics Laboratory. A long-standing hobby is white-water kayaking; more recently she has begun learning to play fiddle. She recommends starting this hobby at an earlier age. Her PhD is in Physical Oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. She became an omsbud in the hope that she could help all math-folk feel safe, welcome and at home in the Department.

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Louis Leblond

Louis Leblond
Physics
lul29@psu.edu

Louis Leblond is an associate teaching professor of physics teaching primarily undergraduates at the world campus and undergraduate physics and astrophysics majors at University Park. He earned his PhD at Cornell University where he conducted research in high-energy theoretical physics. He has now transitioned to physics education research and he is active in promoting evidence-based pedagogy and in diversity, equity and inclusivity efforts. At home, he likes to spend time with several hobbies, often jointly with his wife and daughter, such as board games, baseball, hiking, cooking and woodworking. As an ombud, he hopes to help others, to be an agent for change or just a friendly listening ear to students and colleagues.

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Sarah Shandera
Physics
ses47@psu.edu 

Sarah Shandera is a Professor of Physics and the Director of Penn State's Institute for Gravitation and the Cosmos. She is a theorist who enjoys collaborating with observers to understand how the universe works. Her idea of perfection is a quantum superposition of doing physics on the blackboard with a cup of coffee and a long hike above the treeline with family, friends, and a good dog. Through the Guide role, she strives to support individuals and strengthen the community, enabling everyone to feel at home to pursue their best work. 

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Francesca Chiaromonte for the Ombuds website.

Francesca Chiaromonte
Statistics
fxc11@psu.edu

Francesca Chiaromonte has been a faculty in the Department of Statistics at Penn State since 1998. Since 2019, she holds the Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Statistics for the Life Sciences. She develops methods for the analysis of large, high-dimensional and complex data, and works on applications in “Omics”, Biomedical Sciences, Meteorology and Economics. She received a Laurea (cum laude) from the University of Rome La Sapienza (Italy), and a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota. At Penn State, she is part of the graduate programs in Statistics, and in Bioinformatics & Genomics. She also entertains a number of international collaborations, and is part of the faculty of graduate programs in Data Science and AI in Italy. She has a long history of advising doctoral and postdoctoral students across disciplinary, geographical and cultural boundaries. She is an ombud because of her passion for mentoring young scientists, supporting them as they chart their paths, and fostering collaboration at all levels of academia.

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Jeff Engelman.

Jeff Engelmann
Dean's Office
jqe5132@psu.edu

Jeff Engelmann is an IT Consultant for the College, assisting staff in identifying their technology needs and helping to make their tech-based dreams a reality. Before coming to the University and a life in IT, he spent over a decade as a Registered Nurse. In his off time he enjoys gaming and home brewing. He is an ombud because of a personal drive toward empathy and inclusion, as well as a desire to help people navigate challenging situations.

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Beth Johnson

Beth Johnson
Dean's Office
bai107@psu.edu

Beth Johnson is the Director for the Integrative Science Major and the Director of Academics for the Science BS/MBA Program within the college. Beth works with undergraduate students pursuing the Integrative Science Major or the BS/MBA duel degree major. When she is not working with students, she can usually be found chasing after her little kid who always seems to be two steps ahead. Her hobbies include cooking, gardening, fishing, and homebrewing. She earned her PhD from Penn State’s Entomology Department where she conducted research in the areas of plant-insect interactions, chemical ecology and plant biology. She is an college guide because she enjoys empowering others to take action toward the goal of positive change.

If you would like to utilize a program outside of the Eberly College of Science, there is a separate University Faculty Ombudsperson program administered by the University Faculty Senate who have specific responsibilities for faculty, and there are Graduate Student Ombudspersons administered through the Graduate School.