Core Team


Andrea Tapia


Dr. Tapia is an academic with expertise in social research methods and social theory, applying those to the study of information and communication technologies (ICT) and their context of development, implementation and use. Dr. Tapia’s work has been funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Defense, the United Nations, and Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College. All of her recent work investigates the great potential role that social media data might play in local community resilience, crowdsourced early warning systems, and the organized response to emergencies and disasters.

307B Information Sciences and Technology Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 865-1524


Jess Kropczynski


Dr. Jess Kropczynski is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information Technology at the University of Cincinnati. Her research interests are primarily in the design and evaluation of civic technology to support collective action in community networks. She has also worked with local and state governments to assess communication and information needs of target audiences in order to promote informed decision-making.

238F Teachers-Dyer Complex
Cincinnati, OH  45221
Anna Squicciarini

Dr. Squicciarini is interested in various aspects of data and system security. To solve practical security problems, Dr. Squicciarini uses system techniques, as well as access control and machine learning, and a bit of game theory. To date, her work primarily focuses on security topics related to data control, management and distribution. Her current specific research interests include: 1) Access Control, Online Deviance and Privacy issues in Social Networks This line of work is supported by grants from NSF and Army Research Office. 2) Brokerage, Accountability and Verification of Computations in Cloud Environments. This line of work is supported by an NSF award.


301D Information Sciences and Technology Building
University Park, PA 16802
(814) 863-7614


Nick Lalone

Nick LaLone is a PhD Candidate in Information sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. His research focuses on the way humans engage the limitations of their surroundings. Whether they be in line at a grocery store or suddenly within a disaster response scenario, the limitations of an area form the manner in which humans can act. He is interested in the unintuitive information that is missed, the margins, the tiny details that can help us understand what it would take to complete the last mile. Nick holds an MA in Sociology and is advised by Andrea Tapia at Pennsylvania State University.

Mark Campbell


Mr. Campbell is a PhD candidate in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State.

Shane Halse


Mr. Halse is a PhD candidate studying in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. Currently, his primary focus is in the domain of big data and crisis response with a particular interest in improving the adoption of social media data within emergency situations. Shane also holds a Master’s in Software Engineering which he utilizes to develop tools and application for improving crisis response managers’ abilities to respond effectively to a disaster. He is advised at Penn State by Dr. Andrea Tapia.

Rob Grace


Mr. Grace is a PhD candidate at the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Pennsylvania State University. His research adopts a Community Informatics approach to explore how citizens can participate in emergency management. In particular, he is interested in examining how citizens and emergency management officials can cooperate in assessing and managing local risks through the use of social media to monitor and communicate risk-related information.

Bill Aurite


Mr. Aurite received his Master’s degree from the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State, and is now pursuing a PhD. Mr. Aurite received his Bachelor’s degree from the University of Delaware, where he specialized in Environmental Economics. After graduating in 2013, he conducted research for the Center for Effective Public Management at the Brookings Institution in Washington D.C. His research now focuses on using social media, citizen science, mathematical algorithms, and other technical tools to better understand how disaster response can be improved during disease outbreak. He is advised at Penn State by Dr. Andrea Tapia.

Prasanna Umar


Mr. Umar is a first year PhD student at College of Information Sciences and Technology. He is originally from Nepal and has a Bachelor’s degree in Electrical and Electronics with specialization in Communication from Kathmandu University. At Penn State he is affiliated with the Critical Resilient Interdependent Infrastructure Systems and Processes (CRISP) group, where he is advised by Dr. Andrea Tapia. Currently, he is on the university graduate fellowship and working on the area of crisis informatics. His research focus is on emergency communication in the developing countries. Outside academics, he serves as a secretary of Nepalese Society at Penn State.

Scott Pezanowski


Mr. Pezanowski is the GeoSpatial Technology Lead at the GeoVISTA Center in the Department of Geography at The Pennsylvania State University. Mr. Pezanowski is also pursuing a PhD in the College of Information Sciences and Technology at Penn State. He has over 12 years’ experience as a researcher at GeoVISTA in many research projects focused on crisis management, geovisualization, geospatial data analysis, GIScience, and Cartography. Prior to joining Penn State, Mr. Pezanowski worked at GIS industry leader Esri, and earlier at He holds a MS in Geography from the University of South Carolina and a BS in Geography from Penn State.