New Staff and Faculty
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
Andrews comes to Penn State from the University of Washington (UW) where she earned her doctorate in the built environment, her master’s in landscape architecture and a graduate certificate in global health. She holds a bachelor’s degree in landscape architecture from Ohio State.
Andrews has served as a lecturer within the Department of Landscape Architecture at UW since 2013, leading introductory to advanced technical and studio courses and managing projects in the Green Futures Research and Design Lab. Andrews co-directs the InterACTION Labs, a transdisciplinary action research program in partnership with UW, three Peruvian universities and now Penn State, focused on understanding and improving human and ecological health through participatory design with an informal urban community living in floating houses on the Amazon River in Iquitos, Peru.
Andrews also comes from professional practice. She has worked in several firms including URS (now AECOM), an interdisciplinary engineering firm in Cleveland, Ohio, and is now a director of the non-profit Traction. Andrews is SEED-certified and a registered landscape architect in the state of Washington.
Andrews is a member of numerous committees and organizations, including: the International Federation of Landscape Architects Advisory Circle to the executive committee; the Landscape Architecture Foundation Emeritus Board; the Center for Technological, Biomedical and Environmental Research in Peru; Architects without Borders, Seattle Chapter; and the National Council of Science, Technology and Technological Innovation in Peru.
Associate Professor of Architecture
Rahman Azari is an architect and an associate professor at PSU Department of Architecture since August 2020. He previously taught as assistant professor at Illinois Institute of Technology and University of Texas San Antonio. Azari’s research focuses on life cycle environmental impacts of built environments; energy and carbon efficiency; innovative materials for energy production and carbon sequestration; and data-driven models for energy use. Azari has received the American Institute of Architects’ Upjohn Research Grants in 2018 and 2019. He has also sponsored winning entries in ACSA+AIA COTE Top Ten student competitions in 2016 and 2017. Azari’s research has been published in various journal venues such as Energy and Buildings, Building and Environment, and Applied Energy. In 2019, Azari was nominated by IIT provost and recognized as a “Researcher to Know” by the Illinois Science and Technology Coalition. With an Architectural background, Azari holds a Ph.D. in Built Environment from the University of Washington
Will Bergmann joined the staff of the Palmer Museum of Art as Chief Preparator on April 1. Will came to Penn State after working as an art preparator for five years at the Albright-Knox Art Gallery in Buffalo, where his responsibilities included framing, exhibition fabrication, managing incoming and outgoing loans, and offsite storage management. At the Albright-Knox, Will was also a collaborative member of the prep team responsible for many exciting projects, including the traveling exhibition Robert Indiana: A Sculpture Retrospective, which won Honorable Mention (first runner up) for the best solo contemporary exhibition of the Global Fine Art Awards for 2019.
As the Palmer’s chief preparator, Will coordinates the installation of permanent collection displays and temporary exhibitions and oversees the maintenance of gallery spaces and the preparation and handling of artwork. He’s excited to be a part of the Palmer team, especially with the new museum at the Arboretum on the horizon.
Before accepting an offer last September to work alongside Erica Quinn advising ARCH, LARCH, and Graphic Design students in Stuckeman, Robin Bierly worked as a middle school counselor in Richmond, VA, a school counselor at State High, and an academic adviser in the College of Communications. Although a Syracuse University graduate (with degrees in advertising and HR) and a West Virginia University graduate (with a Master’s in school counseling), Robin grew up relatively close to State College (in South Williamsport, PA) and has always felt like at Nittany Lion at heart. When not watching their daughter, Ava (a junior at State High), play softball and basketball **or**roller blading through Greentree in search of Pokemon with their son, Parker (a senior at State High), Robin and her husband, Stan (a Penns Valley native and Penn State engineer), will be busy this fall teaching their kids to drive. Wish us luck! 🙂
Administrative Support Assistant
Sherry joined the Art History Department at the end of September 2019, she is the Administrative Support Assistant to provide operational support within the department, that includes undergraduate and graduate program assistance, as well as financial processes, and to assist the Department Head. Sherry has been with Penn State since 2001, took a few years hiatus from 2008-2010 to care for her two granddaughters. Returned in July 2010 as a Human Resources Assistant for Penn State Law for five years, then most recently was a Financial Assistant in the Civil and Environmental Engineering Department for four years. She looks forward to new adventures in the College of Arts and Architecture.
Assistant Teaching Professor of Creative Arts Therapies
Erin is an Assistant Teaching Professor of Creative Arts Therapies in the Office of Digital Learning. She was brought on to design an introductory course in art therapy for inter-disciplinary learning and recently designed a second course related to practical applications of the creative arts.
Erin is a Board Certified Art Therapist (ATR-BC) who holds her Master of Science in Art Therapy Counseling and a Graduate Certificate in Autism Spectrum Disorders from Emporia State University in Kansas. She also holds a Bachelor of Science in Family and Child Sciences with a minor in Psychology from The Florida State University. She is currently pursuing her doctorate at Drexel University with expected graduation by 2022. Before joining Penn State, Erin facilitated art therapy with people of all ages and abilities. Additionally, she created and supervised internships for PSU students. Erin loves to read, create art, practice yoga, and spend time in nature with her children.
Associate Professor of Voice and Speech
Kris Danford joins Penn State’s School of Theatre as Associate Professor of Voice and Speech. She comes to Penn State from the University of Michigan and has previously held appointments at Southern Oregon University, University of Iowa, and the University of West Florida. Kris’ professional work as a voice, text and dialect coach includes coaching at theatres such as the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, American Stage, and Urbanite Theatre. As a professional actor, she has appeared at regional theatres around the country, including Asolo Repertory Theatre, Riverside Theatre, and Ashland New Plays Festival. In the realm of research, she is currently leading a multidisciplinary research study which utliizes theatre-based voice training as a potential tool for women in childbirth. Kris holds a BFA in Musical Theatre from SUNY Fredonia, an MFA in Acting from the FSU Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training, and is a certified Associate Teacher of Fitzmaurice Voicework®.
Undergraduate Student Service Coordinator
Debbie Diercks joined the School of Music in January 2020 and is the Undergraduate Student Service Coordinator. Debbie has 22 years of experience working at Penn State. She maintains undergraduate student records, coordinates the drop/add process, the undergraduate schedule of classes, graduation checkout, and grade reporting. Prior to moving to the School of Music, Debbie worked in the Office of the University Registrar, the LionPath Project, and Penn State Law. Debbie earned a Bachelor of Science in Spanish from Penn State. Outside of work, Debbie enjoys attending Penn State sporting events, reading, hiking, traveling, and spending time with friends.
IT Support Specialist
Kelly Dietz graduated from Penn State University in 2014 with a Bachelor of Science in Information Science and Technology. She was welcomed into the College of Arts and Architecture IT department as an IT Support Specialist in April of this year. She moved here from her hometown, DuBois, Pennsylvania- where she worked as an IT Support Specialist at RAK Computer Associates. In her free time, she enjoys; traveling, crocheting, and doing yoga.
Administrative Support Coordinator
Cori began at Penn State began as a student-athlete, recruited out of high school on Long Island by Russ Rose to play volleyball. After earning a BA in Communications, she married her husband (of now 23 years) at Eisenhower Chapel and moved around the country for a while, landing in Charlotte, NC, and San Francisco, before coming back to Happy Valley in late 2001. Her professional life at Penn State has spanned over the course of about 15 years. She started with the Penn State Alumni Association back in 2004, serving as the Associate Director for Alumni Events and then as administrative support for Alumni Career Services. She moved off campus for about 5 years, working as the Executive Officer for the Homebuilders Association of Central PA, but then found herself back at Dear ol’ State taking a position as an administrative coordinator with the School of Visual Arts. She was the course scheduler for SoVA when LionPath first launched, and worked very closely with area heads in studio art and art education. She worked with faculty to submit special topics classes for review, administered their SRTEs, supported the Director in the Promotion & Tenure process, and provided administrative support to the student teaching supervisor and art education students out in the field … among other things.
From Art, Cori moved on to the College of Education, where she served as the Executive Assistant to Dean David Monk for 3 years, leading up to his retirement in the Fall of 2019. Currently, Cori works as the financial assistant for the Professional Personnel Development Center—a Workforce Education affiliate, funded by a $1.4 million-dollar grant from PDE, that trains and certifies new educators in career and technology fields, and provides professional development for educators and administrators across the state.
Through her experience, she brings a wealth of knowledge to the College. She’s confided in me that she feels as if returning to Arts and Architecture is a homecoming of sorts—returning to work alongside former colleagues, and friends.
Cori is outgoing, energetic, and quick-witted. She’s got a sense of humor that she can wield as a tool for teaching, building relationships, and mitigating tense situations. Cori is a survivor—literally a 3-time cancer survivor; a high school volleyball coach; lead singer in a local rock band; a WPSU FM and TV on-air host and, most importantly…a daughter, sister, spouse, and mother of three.
Administrative Support Coordinator
Kimberley Ducato, a Penn State Alum, joined the College of Arts and Architecture in December 2019, joining as the administrative coordinator to the associate dean for research/creative activities and graduate studies. In this position, Kimberley handles anything graduate student-related, from funding to awards to travel to working with graduate faculty members. She also assists with Dr. Mallika Bose’s calendar and works with several research budgets. This is her first student-facing role at Penn State, having joined us from an administrative position in the Office of the Senior Vice President for Research. Outside of work, she is “mommy” to one adorable 5-year-old son, and is always happy to share stories or pictures of him! Together they enjoy hiking, swimming, board games, watching PSU sports, snuggling with their two cats, and singing car karaoke at the top of their lungs! Kimberley has enjoyed her time in A&A so far, and is excited to continue to grow in her role here.
Associate Professor of Theatre
Wendell joined the Penn State Acting Faculty after several years working as a professional actor in New York and regionally. He still works professionally, as time permits, and regularly brings fresh professional and practical approaches to the craft back to his students. His teaching is intensely aimed at inspiring and encouraging his students to find their unique and authentic creative voices. He has worked in several theatres and venues across the country, including at Sundance Theatre Institute, The Culture Project, The Billie Holiday Theatre, Berkeley Repertory Theatre, La Jolla Playhouse, Huntington Theatre Company, Cleveland Playhouse, Arkansas Rep., and Illinois Shakespeare Festival.
Associate Technical Director
Stephen Woodrow Hill Frausto is proud to join the School of Theatre team as their new Associate Technical Director. He recently comes from Purdue University, Boiler Up!, where he received his MFA in Technical Direction. In the past he has served as a Technical Designer for Adirondack Studios, Technical Director at Dorset Theatre Festival, and was the resident Assistant Technical Director at North Carolina State University for several years. He has also served as a carpenter/welder at a myriad of theatres. He would like to thank his husband, John-Mark, for all his love and support and is excited to begin this new journey with him.
Associate Director of Choral Studies
Kathryn (Katy) Hylton is joining the PSU School of Music faculty as the Associate Director of Choral Activities. She will be leading Oriana Singers and Campus Choir, co-directing the school’s vocal jazz ensemble Vocal Dimensions, and teaching courses in conducting, choral methodology, and choral literature. She comes to us from the University of Maryland where she received her D.M.A. in Choral Conducting. Past teaching/conducting positions include Director of Music at Holy Family Church (MD), Choral Music Teacher at St. Thomas More Academy (MD), and Director of Choral Music at Blair Academy (NJ). In addition to her work as a music educator, Katy is an active composer, arranger, and Dalcroze practitioner. As a lover of both ice cream and outdoor activities, the Penn State creamery combined with the mountains of central PA sealed the deal for her move to State College!
Assistant Teaching Professor of Architecture
Heather Ligler is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the College of Arts and Architecture at the Pennsylvania State University. She is a licensed architect and her teaching, research, and practice focus on rule-based design as a computational basis for architecture. She has been invited to present her work at several universities including Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Emory University, National Chiao Tung University, and National Taiwan Institute of Technology. Heather is a doctoral candidate in the Design Computation concentration in the School of Architecture at Georgia Institute of Technology and holds an M.S. Arch from Georgia Tech and dual Bachelor of Architecture and Bachelor of Interior Architecture degrees from Auburn University. Her background includes teaching at Georgia Tech, research at the Shape Computation Lab, and professional experience on domestic and international projects, primarily with John Portman & Associates.
Assistant Teaching Professor (School of Visual Arts)
Kimberly Lyle is an Assistant Teaching Professor in the School of Visual Arts, instructing courses in digital art and media design. Prior to coming to PSU, she was a Faculty Associate in the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts at Arizona State University. She received her MFA in Intermedia from ASU and holds a BA in both Psychology and Studio Art.
Formerly the Assistant to the Associate Chief Information Officer at Penn State, Kaylie Maines is now a Records Specialist in the School of Visual Arts. After graduating from Penn State in 2018 with three degrees, Kaylie also pursued a year as a Special Student in Studio Art. Her undergraduate degrees in English, Art Education, and Sculpture have made her a passionate advocate for students and artists, and she is excited for her new role as the primary support for the undergraduate programs in Art, Art Education, Digital Arts and Media Design, and Professional Photography.
As the newest addition to the SoVA front office, Kaylie is responsible for day-to-day interfacing with students, faculty, staff, and guests. She is also responsible for assisting in coordinating the Patterson and Zoller Galleries and will be part of the overall communications team for the School of Visual Arts.
Assistant Teaching Professor of Landscape Architecture
Zannah Matson is joining the Department of Landscape Architecture as an Assistant Teaching Professor with a focus on social issues. Her research focuses on the histories and contemporary reinterpretations of landscapes throughout processes of colonization, violence, and state infrastructure projects, and right now she’s specifically researching a highway in the eastern piedmont of Colombia. While at Penn State, Zannah will be teaching studios and seminars and will be redesigning the Built Environment and Culture online general education course. In 2019-2020, Zannah was a Design for Spatial Justice Fellow at the University of Oregon School of Architecture and Environment, and prior to this, she has taught at Ryerson University and the University of Toronto in Urban Planning and Design as well as Human Geography. Zannah received her MLA from the Harvard GSD and is currently a Ph.D. Candidate in Human Geography at the University of Toronto.
Lecturer of Dance (Musical Theatre)
Tyler McKenzie (performer, director, choreographer, and educator) was last seen in Hamilton the Musical and is the founder of Tyler McKenzie Creative Studio, an online musical theatre training space. He is a Long Island native with a BFA in Musical Theatre from Western Carolina University, where he studied with three-time Tony Award nominee Terrence Mann, former WCU Phillips Distinguished Professor of Musical Theatre, and Charlotte d’Amboise, a two-time Tony nominee and Mann’s wife.
He has since performed regionally and in the Broadway & National Tour productions of Mamma Mia, Matilda, and Hamilton. In 2019, Tyler received the Western Carolina University Young Alumni Award celebrating his level of distinction in his field of work, his commitment to the service of others, and his potential for future leadership/distinction. He also recently received honorary acknowledgment and membership from the National Society of Leadership and Success. Tyler has a major passion for education and has worked with young artists all over the country and online. Tyler is excited to be joining the Musical Theatre Faculty of Penn State University this Fall.
Director of School of Visual Arts
Vagner Mendonça-Whitehead, chair of the Department of Visual Arts at Texas Woman’s University, has been appointed director of the Penn State School of Visual Arts (SoVA), a unit of the College of Arts and Architecture, effective September 15, 2020.
Mendonça-Whitehead’s practice encompasses traditional and newer media art-making, curatorial projects and creative writings on visual culture. His artworks display accidental and forced intersections of personal experiences, histories, geo-locations, languages and found artifacts, and manifest themselves through traditional and new media pieces, presented extensively in group and solo exhibitions in galleries and museums, as well as film and video festivals, nationally and internationally, including Latin America, Europe, Australia, India, Russia and United Arab Emirates. His writings unravel similar media/visual encounters in the form of critical and poetic essays.
In addition to presenting at national and international professional conferences, Mendonça-Whitehead has presented his works as a visiting artist at University of Kansas–Lawrence, University of Wisconsin–Eau Claire, Southern Illinois University–Edwardsville, Champlain College and San Jose State University, to name a few. He has also participated in artist residencies in the United States, Argentina and Scotland.
Mendonça-Whitehead was the president of the New Media Caucus from 2014 to 2017, where he has also served on the Board of Directors since 2011. In 2016 he was selected as an Emerging Arts Administrator Fellow with the National Council of Arts Administrators, and a Fellow with the Advocacy Leadership Institute for the National Association for Latino Arts and Culture. Mendonça-Whitehead frequently serves the National Endowment for the Arts as a grant review panelist for its Art Works program. He currently serves on the board of directors for the National Council of Arts Administrators, focusing on equity and social media initiatives.
Before joining Texas Woman’s University, where he taught graduate-level courses in intermedia art, Mendonça-Whitehead had faculty positions at Oakland University (new media art) and Southern Illinois University (video art). He holds degrees from the Savannah College of Art and Design and University of Florida–Gainesville.
Director of Wind Band Studies and Assistant Professor of Music
Dr. Tonya Mitchell-Spradlin is Director of Wind Band Studies and Assistant Professor of Music. In addition to conducting the Symphonic Wind Ensemble, overseeing the graduate wind conducting program, teaching courses in wind band literature, and wind conducting, she oversees all aspects of the concert band programs at Penn State. Her appointment at PSU follows three years as Assistant Director of Bands and Associate Director of Athletic Bands at the University of South Carolina. Prior to her tenure at UofSC, Mitchell-Spradlin taught at Valdosta State University as Director of Athletic Bands and was Director of Bands at Chamblee High School in Chamblee, Georgia. She moved to State College early this summer with her husband Nick who is a Sound Designer and dog Shadow.
Lecturer of Oboe
Andreas Oeste is joining the faculty of Penn State’s School of Music as the new Lecturer of Oboe. His responsibilities will include teaching undergraduate and graduate oboists in private lessons and reed-making classes; teaching Orchestral Literature and Chamber Literature courses to upperclassmen and graduate students; coaching student chamber ensembles; and performing with the resident faculty chamber ensemble, the Pennsylvania Quintet. Andreas is coming from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he was previously the Adjunct Assistant Professor of Oboe. Andreas graduated with his Doctor of Musical Arts from the University of Michigan. He received Master of Music degrees in both oboe performance and chamber music from the University of Michigan and earned Bachelor of Music degrees in oboe performance and oboe composition from the University of Central Arkansas.
Assistant Teaching Professor of Theatre
Sam Osheroff is joining the performance faculty at Penn State. He is an actor, writer, director, and educator who holds an MFA in acting from the FSU/Asolo Conservatory for Actor Training. Sam has performed and directed in New York City as well as regional venues throughout North America and in Argentina and Brazil. He has held artistic Directorships at the Pensacola Shakespeare Company and at Riverside Theater in Iowa City, Iowa. Sam has taught Acting and Directing technique at The University of West Florida, Southern Oregon University, The University of Michigan, and, most recently, New World School of the Arts in Miami, FL.
Lecturer, Musical Theatre Voice
Patricia Phillips has altered the history of American Broadway theatre, twice. Patricia is the first woman of color to portray the Tony Award-winning role of Carlotta in the longest-running show in Broadway history, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA. She is also the only woman of color to appear in KINKY BOOTS Broadway. Trained at Carnegie Mellon University, Patricia’s other NY credits include the Emmy Award-winning Live at Lincoln Center production of SWEENEY TODD, JERRY SPRINGER THE OPERA (US PREMIER), BAZ LUHRMANN’S LA BOHÈME (OBC), THE SECRET GARDEN (OBC) and THE SOUND OF MUSIC (OBC Revival). She can be heard on three original cast recordings on DreamWorks, Columbia, and RCA.
Patricia’s television credits include BILLY ON THE STREET, SHADES OF BLUE, and THE TONY AWARDS. Her film credits include EVERYBODY’S FINE with Robert De Niro. Patricia has soloed with The Pittsburgh Symphony, The Baltimore Symphony, The Minnesota Orchestra, The Indianapolis Symphony, and many others.
Currently, Patricia is an Adjunct Professor at The New York Film Academy and New Jersey City University. She taught previously at Carnegie Mellon University and NYU Tisch New Studio on Broadway.
Patricia Lives in the greater New York City area where she savors dual citizenship between the United States and Italy. She considers her son, DIF, her finest production of all time.
Assistant Professor of Music (Piano)
Described as a “poet with titanium fingers” by the Vancouver Sun, Dr. Melody Quah has performed extensively on the stages of her native Malaysia as well as across Asia, Europe, Australia, and North America. Quah’s music career encompasses a wide range of activities—soloist, recitalist, collaborative pianist, chamber musician, educator, adjudicator, masterclass clinician, and music director.
A prizewinner of the 7th International Paderewski Competition held in Bydgoszcz, Poland, she has appeared in recital at Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall, and as chamber musician at the Kennedy Center’s Terrace Theatre. Quah has soloed with the Ku-Ring-Gai Symphony and Central Coast Symphony Orchestras in Australia, the Pomeranian Philharmonic in Poland, and the Richmond Philharmonic, Academy Philharmonic, Vancouver Philharmonic, West Coast Symphony and Vancouver Symphony Orchestras in Canada, as well as the Malaysian Philharmonic Orchestra.
Quah is also a proponent of broadening the piano repertoire with compositions by under-represented composers. In 2019 she commissioned Malaysian composers Adeline Wong and Tazul Tajuddin to write two solo piano works, which she will premiere in the 2020-2021 season. Her presentation, Diversifying Student Repertoire Through Works by Alberto Ginastera was released as part of the 2020 Music Teachers National Association Virtual Conference.
Prior to her appointment as Assistant Professor of Music at Penn State in 2020, Dr. Quah served as Visiting Instructor of Applied Piano at Elizabethtown College in Pennsylvania. She has been on the faculties of the Community College of Baltimore County and Levine Music in Washington D.C. and taught secondary piano lessons at Yale University. She has taught workshops in multiple countries and is an active adjudicator for the MTNA in the United States. Beyond piano instruction, she also enjoys teaching chamber music and classroom subjects.
Quah has a long history of community-engaged music-making. She regularly gives presentations at senior living communities and schools, performs benefit concerts internationally, and, between 2016–2020 served as Music Director of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Baltimore, MD. She also served as a Junior Board Member of the Shriver Hall Concert Series in Baltimore between 2015–2017.
Quah earned the Doctor of Musical Arts degree from the Peabody Institute of the Johns Hopkins University as well as graduate degrees from the Yale School of Music and The Juilliard School. She received her Bachelor of Music from the Vancouver Academy of Music and completed her high school education at the Australian Institute of Music in Sydney. Dr. Quah’s principal teachers included Boris Slutsky, Peter Frankl, Matti Raekallio, Lee Kum Sing, and Snezana Panovska.
Brian Reed joined the Stuckeman MarComm group as Creative Designer in July of this year. He comes to Arts and Architecture after spending two years as a photographer, videographer, and graphic designer for Penn State IT. Prior to that, he spent over twenty years working in broadcast and cable, most notably with Cox Communications as the creative director for Cox Media within the Southeastern United States. He worked one-on-one with hundreds of advertising clients to develop creative campaigns for traditional and digital media marketing efforts. And he oversaw hundreds more. He’s not big on acclaim and awards, but he does have a drawer full of certificates and trophies that might indicate how he possesses a tiny amount of ability to get things done quickly and competently. He’s thrilled to be a part of the A&A community and is looking forward to building new friendships with as many people as possible.
STANLEY LEE RALPH III
Assistant Professor of Theatre (Stage Management)
Stanley Ralph hails from Long Island, New York. Prior to accepting a position in the College of Arts and Architecture, Ralph was working as a Production Stage Manager on the first National Tour of Summer: The Donna Summer Musical. Ralph has been working as a Stage Manager for 10+ years. Ralph has worked several national tours national and abroad. Selective Credits: National Tours; Summer (first national), Chicago (Cellblock tour), The Bodyguard (first national), Motown (second national, 1st SM), Hello Dolly (50th-anniversary with Sally Struthers). He is blessed to have been taken around the world to do theater.
Administrative Coordinator (School of Music)
Shell Reese joined the College in February 2020 as the Administrative Coordinator for the School of Music. She comes to us from the Office of the Senior Vice President, Office of Industrial Partnerships. During her 30 year tenure with the University, she had held appointments in Undergraduate Admissions, Meteorology, and Psychology. When not in the office, Shell and her husband, Steve, enjoy fishing, gardening, and doing home improvement projects. She’s very excited to be part of the School of Music and has appreciated everyone’s patience as she navigates a new college and department and was only in the office 11 days before we were directed to work remotely.
Assistant Professor of Music Technology and Composition
Dr. Steven Rice has been appointed Assistant Professor of Music Technology & Composition in the Penn State School of Music. Described as “evocative” (Resonance) and “surreal” music “to bewilder, amuse, and provoke” (Epoch Times), the works of Dr. Rice have won great acclaim and inspired intense debate. His music has been championed internationally by soloists and ensembles such as the Cabrillo Festival Orchestra (Marin Alsop, director), the Cleveland Chamber Symphony, Brave New Works, and the Aspen Contemporary Ensemble.
Active in the production and performance of electronic music, Dr. Rice served as an audio engineer and technician for the Eastman Computer Music Center and in this capacity produced and performed works with musicians as divers as ensemble eighth blackbird, composer Tristan Murail, and the avant garde jazz Cuong Vu Trio. For his own electronic music, he has installed electronics into the high towers of carillons (Zimbelstern, with Tiffany Ng) and dragged equipment into the depths of old churches (Praetorius Ear with Randall Harlow). His On the Floodis of Babiloyne has been performed internationally by saxophonists.
“It is such an honor to join faculty at Penn State that I admire,” said Dr. Rice. “I eagerly anticipate what musics and discoveries the students and I will make together.”
Rice’s dramatic works for voice have attracted particular attention; his Murmurs from Limbo for vocal soloists and ensemble took 1st Prize in the 2005 Salvatore Martirano Memorial Composition Award and Wake Nicodemus for tenor soloist and sinfonietta received a 2009 ASCAP/Morton Gould Young Composer Award. The committee for the Tyler Youth Orchestra’s New Music Project described Rice’s Amazing Grace and Wake Nicodemus as “genuinely original, fresh, and socially conscious.” Rice holds a Ph.D. in composition from the Eastman School of Music, where he studied as a Raymond N. Ball Fellow under Robert Morris, Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez, and Allan Schindler.
For more information please visit riceklang.com.
User Experience Manager for IT
Bob is the new User Experience Manager for IT. He will be leading the team of Support Specialists and Consultants. While there will always be break-fix issues that need to be resolved, Bob and the team will be working to make Arts IT a more proactive organization.
Prior to joining Arts and Architecture, Bob was the Research Faculty Consultant for the Eberly College of Science IT team.
Through his career in IT, he has had the opportunity to function in a wide range of roles. He has been a helpdesk support technician, network and server administrator, programmer, database administrator, security liaison, and consultant.
Outside of work, Bob helps his wife as a second shooter for her photography business during wedding season. In his spare time, he trains for and runs marathons.
Student Teaching Coordinator
Ashley Shank coordinates the student teaching program for the music education area. Her duties include assigning placements, in-servicing new cooperating teachers, conducting student teaching seminars, supervising student teachers, and teaching music education courses. As of August, she also serves as the recruitment coordinator for the School of Music.
Prior to her appointment at Penn State, Dr. Shank was an adjunct professor of music and director of the music preparatory program at Susquehanna University. She is also an active freelance flutist and teacher. BS: Music Education IUP; MM: Flute Performance and Music History The University of Akron, and DMA: Flute Performance the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Ashley is a Pennsylvania native and so happy to be teaching in her home state! She recently moved to Boalsburg and is looking forward to exploring the area; she enjoys hiking, biking, and kayaking. Her other non-musical hobbies include gardening and genealogy.
Assistant Professor of Landscape Architecture
Sosa is a 2007 Stuckeman School alumna, having earned her Bachelor of Landscape Architecture degree along with a minor in geography from Penn State. She went on to the University of Florida where she earned both her professional master’s degree—with a minor in urban and regional planning – and her doctorate in design, construction, and planning. Her thesis is titled “International development, environmental ethics, and landscape architecture: Exploring socio-environmental ethics and power dynamics in the postcolonial landscape.”
Sosa’s expertise revolves around community engagement, cultural competency, designing for marginalized communities, design communication, environmental ethics, postcolonial development discourse, and sustainable development. She was awarded a Graduate School Doctoral Dissertation Award from the University of Florida in 2018 along with a teaching fellowship from 2012-2016.
Her focus at Penn State will be on social issues in landscape architecture.
Associate Professor of Landscape Architecture
Peter Stempel creates realistic visualizations used for hazard and risk communication that integrate tangible concerns expressed by community stakeholders with models of coastal storms created by oceanographers. This work bridges social science, computer science, and design to connect abstract scientific data to real people in real places. He is part of an interdisciplinary team of researchers doing work for agencies such as the US Department of Homeland Security and the National Park Service.
In his role as associate professor of landscape architecture, he is developing an inclusive curriculum in water-related resilience and training designers to collaborate more effectively with scientists, policymakers, and stakeholders to equitably address complex societal issues like climate adaptation. Peter comes to Penn State from the Rhode Island School of Design. His multi-domain expertise builds on a career as a sculptor, architect, activist, and non-profit leader conducting public engagement.