Category Archives: Getting to Know You

Getting to Know You: Brett Spencer

The Star Wars' franchise character Yoda holding a book for a promotional "Read" campaign posterby Jennifer Cywinski and Tracy Reilly

Brett Spencer has been a part of the social fabric at the Penn State Berks Thun Library since 2014. He is the Reference and Instruction Librarian for the Social Sciences and also the liaison to the Humanities and Art Sciences.

Brett originally worked in a public library while in graduate school and earned his degree in Library Sciences in 2000 from the University of Southern Mississippi. He was then hired at the University of Alabama and left his native home of Mississippi. However, living in the south had some drawbacks, and eventually, Brett’s family began looking for better opportunities for their son Trent, who has autism.

After doing some research, Brett and his wife discovered that Pennsylvania was supportive of families who have children with autism. Brett applied for his position at Penn State Berks Thun Library while looking forward to moving and helping his son prosper. Now Trent attends The Vista School in Hershey, which boasts wonderful staff and state-of-the-art facilities to address the special needs of children.

When Brett isn’t working he enjoys spending time with Trent and their little rat terrier dog “Nemo.” Both he and his wife, Danielle, are big Star Wars fans and Brett actually owns a homemade lightsaber!

Brett says that working for Penn State has been a great opportunity for him and his family. He says “the co-workers, faculty, staff, and students, you could not ask for a better work environment!”

Getting to Know You: Tricia Super

dark-haired woman smilingby Tracy Reilly and Jennifer Cywinski

Tricia Super is the type of employee that most supervisors want on their staff. She started working for the libraries as part-time, nighttime staff in 2005. Over the years she has had other full-time positions, but she’s remained dedicated to the library where she spends her nights and Saturdays. She especially loves working with faculty and students to get the materials that they need for success!

Great Valley’s graduate professional studies courses are held in the evening, which means that the library is busiest when Tricia is on the clock. Tricia also helps many of the local residents who visit Great Valley for a place to research and work. She has worn many hats including working with serials, databases, circulation, and reference. When you work at a smaller campus library, you tend to learn all aspects of the job.

Something you might not know about Tricia is that she and her family are long-time members of the Mummers in the Fancy Brigade Division! The Mummers Parade takes place every New Year’s Day in Philadelphia and is believed to be the oldest Folk Festival in the United States, having begun in 1901. It’s a local tradition that shouldn’t be missed!

Tricia is a current member at St. Joseph’s Catholic Church where she is a Eucharistic Minister, a volunteer with Cabrini University’s Alumni Office, and a member of the Ladies Ancient Order of Hibernians in Chester County. To top it all off, Tricia spent 12 years in the Girl Scouts and earned the Gold Award, which is the association’s highest achievement.

Getting to Know You: Binh Le

by Tracy Reilly and Jennifer Cywinski

If you want to talk about library science with someone, you might choose a person with extensive experience like Binh Le. He’s had more than 25 years in the field. Between him and his wife, Christine, they combine for more than 50 years of experience! As Le says, “The library Gods have been very good to us,” and he just might be right!

man with glasses wearing a coat and tie standing in front of a building

Originally from Vietnam, Binh started out in Grand Rapids, Michigan, as a busboy at a Chinese restaurant in the late 1970s, which was his very first job. Fast forward to 2017 and you’ll find him working at Penn State Abington as an associate librarian and is a liaison to the Division of Social Sciences. Some of his responsibilities include coordinating reference and library services for ELS and international students. Binh is a member of the American Library Association, he is on the board for the Library and Education Foundation for Vietnam (LEAF-VN), and he is also very active in the Association of College and Research Libraries.

Binh doesn’t have any pets, but he has plenty of critters that live in his backyard including deer, foxes, raccoons, and lots of birds, but no bears … yet!

When Binh is not working, he enjoys being active in the outdoors doing activities such as skiing, hiking, walking, cycling, playing tennis, and, of course, he loves to travel.

Binh says that his favorite thing about working at Penn State is “working with colleagues in various disciplines and campuses/colleges.”

Getting to Know You: Tom Reinsfelder

by Tracy Reilly and Jennifer Cywinski

If you work in a PSU library, you may have a story similar to Tom Reinsfelder’s.

In 2002, he started out at the Penn State Abington Library working evenings and weekends part time and a year later went full time. During this time, Tom worked on his MSLS degree from Clarion University. He then secured his current position as Reference and Instruction Librarian at Penn State Mont Alto in 2004.

One of Tom’s many jobs is to coordinate the “Ask A Librarian” service, which Tom says “is a great example of how we operate as “one library, geographically dispersed.” It involves many people working together from all of our locations to serve our users. In addition to monitoring a few hours a week, most of Tom’s involvement revolves around troubleshooting, communicating with support and sales representatives from the vendor SpringShare, adding/removing user accounts, and configuring settings and features in LibAnswers and LibChat. To top it all off, Tom is on the Board of Directors for the PA Library Association and is also co-editor of the journal, Pennsylvania Libraries: Research & Practice.

side-by-side portraits of woman and man and a girl, boy and dog

Tom currently lives in Shippensburg with his wife Jessica, their two children, Megan (13) and Brandon (10), and Jack (2), his golden retriever. Tom keeps himself very busy as he is an Eagle Scout, and in keeping with tradition, his son is in the Cub Scouts. Tom volunteers as a Cubmaster (and webmaster) for Cub Scout Pack 251. When he is not being Cubmaster, Tom enjoys kayaking on lakes such as Long Pine Run Reservoir, Letterkenny Reservoir or in Codorus State Park. He also loves to hike, bike and watch baseball. In addition, he likes to play the piano and occasionally helps with the music at his church.

We asked Tom what his favorite thing is about working for Penn State and his answer was, “I enjoy being connected to such a large and diverse organization. Penn Staters are doing so many interesting things and it’s great to be a part of that!”

Getting To Know You: Carla Rapp

woman wearing Penn State clothing standing at the beach

Carla Rapp

by Tracy Reilly and Jen Cywinski

If you’ve ever had Media Commons come to your campus for instruction, and you live on the Eastern side of the state, then you probably had a chance to meet Carla Rapp. As the Media Commons campus consultant for Penn State’s eastern campuses, Carla travels often to work with faculty in creating
multimedia projects that can be used for classroom instruction. She also provides in-classroom training for students, including demos of software, guidance in creating scholarly multimedia projects, best practices, and project critiques. Carla also supports campuses through the Media Commons
website.

Carla received her undergraduate degree in Communication and Public
Relations from La Salle University and a master’s in Learning Design and
Technology from Penn State. Her first job after graduation was a position at
Bucks County Community College.

Before she settled at Penn State, she enjoyed a diverse range of jobs,
including seven years of filming behind the scenes at the high school football
show “The Big Ticket” for WFMZ in Allentown. She was also involved with
production work and public announcements for “Musikfest,” which is one of
the nation’s largest 10-day music festivals. She also worked for the Lehigh
Valley Iron Pigs, a minor league baseball team and a Triple-A affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies where she did video production and also worked the scoreboard.

As you can probably imagine, Carla is a big sports fan. She loves to watch the Philadelphia Flyers, and, of course, she is a big Penn State fan! She also loves to cook and try new recipes she finds on Pinterest. She especially loves to cook for her fiancé who she is going to marry this fall, her favorite time of the year!

Carla loves her position at Penn State. She likes working as a team, and Penn State gives her the freedom to come up with new ideas – and new ideas can lead to big things.

Getting to Know You: Lana Munip

by Tracy Reilly and Jen Cywinski

After growing up in Scotland, Lana Munip moved back to Malaysia in her 20s where she worked as a newspaper reporter. While working on her Masters in Television, Radio, and Film at Syracuse she met her husband. They have two children: a college sophomore and a high school senior. Eager for learning, she has also earned a masters in higher education as well as certification in institutional research. She says she loves the State College area because there is so much to do outdoors and loves gardening and hiking in her free time.

image of woman standing on a shore

Lana Munip is pictured in In Poolewe, Scotland, where she spent part of her vacation last summer.

Currently on the Library Assessment team, Lana is an analysis and planning consultant in support of the administration in Strategic Planning. Her previous role at Penn State was in the Libraries’ public relations and marketing department, but she is now tasked with external reporting for the Association of College & Research Libraries (ACRL) and the Association of Research Libraries (ARL). Right now she is summarizing the physical items in the libraries for the annual inventory report to risk management.

When asked what she likes best about her job, Lana said, “I have great colleagues and have learned a lot from them over the years.”

 

 

‘Getting to know you’: Emma Davidson

By Andrea Pritt, Penn State Mont Alto Library

If you’ve ever wandered up to the fifth floor of Paterno, no doubt you have met and chatted with Emma Davidson. Hired in November 2013, Emma has been working as an administrative assistant for the Dean’s Office. In her role, she provides support services for the Dean, Associate Deans, and their assistants. Along with these duties, Emma also does web work for the Dean’s Office as well as various library groups and committees. You may not know that before working for the University Libraries Emma worked for a not-for-profit and would travel to Washington, D.C. to lobby members of Congress about diverse issues.

emma

Davidson…loves live music and embroidery!

Born in Seattle, Washington Emma later moved to Missoula, Montana when she was twelve years old. She studied Women and Gender Studies and Native American Studies at the University of Montana and moved to State College with her partner, Dora, in 2013. A few years ago, they adopted a cat from PAWS and named him Pants. Back in Montana Emma has a Border Collie named Farmer Ted (he was already named that when her family adopted him!).

One of Emma’s main interests is live music! Emma enjoys traveling around Pennsylvania (and its neighboring states) to attend her favorite musicians’ concerts. She is a devoted Sleater-Kinney fan and had a dream-come-true experience when she was able to see them perform live in Philadelphia. When she isn’t traveling to concerts Emma is learning how to embroider. She has only been embroidering since the summer but has been loving it so far!

Getting to Know You: Nicolle Nicastro

By Barbara Kopshina, Penn State DuBois Campus Library

If you have ever worked with electronic reserves at Penn State, you are familiar with Nicolle Nicastro’s name. She is the electronic reserves coordinator at University Park and handles all new materials for her location, Dickinson Law, Great Valley, Greater Allegheny, and World Campus. She also assists liaisons from other campuses and serves as a copyright reviewer for Hathitrust. In 1998, Nicolle started working at Schuylkill’s Ciletti Memorial Library as a student. In August of 2001, she began working for Lending Services and in 2007 made the move to Course Reserves Services.

Outside of work, Nicolle has been blogging for the American and European Mori Kei communities for two years. Mori Kei is a Japanese street fashion style created in 2005 that features modest, layered clothing to create a fairytale look. The lifestyle side of Mori Kei focuses on being closer to nature and creating a more peaceful life. Check out Nicolle’s blog at http://baaikha.tumblr.com/. Sewing, crochet, machine embroidery, and art journaling are also hobbies that she follows.Nicolle Nicastro

In her spare time Nicolle is a gamer and describes herself as an “all around geek playing everything from board games to table top RPG’s, to AAA video games like Pokemon to independent games like Undertale and Five Night at Freddy’s.” She loves vacationing at the beach, attending board game conventions, and absolutely has to have Tazo’s Organic Chai Latte concentrate! Nicolle adores spending time with her husband, David, and their two children, Lily, 6, and David, 2.

Getting to Know You: Chris Brida

by Andrea Pritt, Penn State Mont Alto Library

Originally from Marion Heights, a small town in northeastern PA, Chris Brida joined Penn State as a development intern, and later a development assistant, for the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences in 2013. His role in the Division of Development and Alumni Relations has him currently stationed in the University Libraries as the Assistant Director of Development.

Chris’s main function is to engage and interact with supporters of the Library and to ensure that our supporters get the most out of their connection, both to the Library and University. Whether it be through financial contributions or volunteer opportunities, Chris helps many of our supporters give back to the Library. His ultimate goal is to align the passions of the donors with the needs of our Library community in a way that leaves both parties feeling satisfied.

image1Outside of his work with the Libraries, Chris is a member of the Academic Library Advancement and Development Network, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education, as well as the Association of Fundraising Professionals. He currently lives in State College with his wife, Rachele (who also works for the University, in Human Resources), their two year old son, Connor, and their Old English Mastiff, Bella. Chris is an avid comic book fan and still enjoys collecting comic books in his spare time; something he hopes to pass on to his son someday. In addition, he likes to play basketball on the weekends and loves to cook for his family.

Getting to Know You: Amy Rustic

by Barbara Kopshina, Penn State Dubois Campus Library

Amy Rustic, Reference and Instruction Librarian at New Kensington’s Elisabeth S. Blissell Library, has been with Penn State for over eight years. Her name may be familiar to you as she is part of the Web Implementation and Management Team here at Penn State where she represents the discovery portion of the team. She obtained her MLIS from the University of Pittsburgh and lived in Washington D.C. for five years before joining Penn State. One of Amy’s interests is integrating technology into the classroom. She really enjoys working at a smaller campus as it provides unique opportunities and allows her to develop relationships with students, faculty and staff. Amy has served on the International Committee at New Kensington which aims to help students learn about other cultures through its Country of Focus program. This was a good fit for her as international travel is one of her many interests. In recent years, Amy has traveled to places such as the Netherlands, Germany, Ireland and Iceland.

Amy Rustic

Rustic…loves to travel and has served on New Kensington’s International Committee.

As a resident of Pittsburgh, Amy often takes advantage of what the city has to offer. She has participated in Knit the Bridge, a community-led arts project. She enjoys attending art gallery openings, museum and cultural events, and monthly gallery crawls which are quarterly showcases of art and entertainment of the cultural district. She also enjoys knitting, sewing, trying new restaurants, seeing bands and continuously discovering new places and things to do in the community.

Amy is a member of several organizations including ALA, her local chapter of ACRL and is the incoming chair of the Reference Services Section of RUSA (Reference & User Services Association).

Getting to Know You: Bonnie Imler

by Barbara Kopshina

Bonnie Imler, head librarian at the Penn State Altoona Campus, has been with the University since 1992. Originally from Williamsburg, Pennsylvania, Bonnie was raised on a dairy farm where her parents still reside. She received her bachelor’s degree in Spanish with a certificate in Latin American Studies from Dickinson College. After graduating, she worked for a year at a concierge service company in Washington D.C. Bonnie’s job was to answer any questions from customers. One of the more extraordinary questions came from a man wanting to know how he could get live penguins for his wife’s birthday party. I might also mention that this was prior to the internet and a simple Google search.

Bonnie went on to get her master’s degree in Library Science from University of Pittsburgh and has several memberships with associations including PALA and ALA. Some areas of interest for her include user research and usability studies. She is also known for her love of redesigning areas and buying new furniture. Outside of work, Bonnie enjoys quilting. She’s been quilting for about 12 years and started out knowing very little about sewing. Now, she volunteers to teach classes on the subject.

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Bonnie has been quilting for 12 years.

Bonnie and her husband of 25 years have two sons, Gabe and Kendrick. Both are very musically inclined and are involved in marching band and jazz band. The entire family attends several concerts yearly and has seen Stevie Wonder, Paul McCartney and Elton John, to name a few. Bonnie is also very involved with her church and holds several leadership positions including working on campaign committees.

Pencils

Nancy Drew

‘Getting to Know You’: Barb Kopshina

by Andrea Pritt, Penn State Mont Alto

From part-time student worker to full-time staff, Barb Kopshina has a plethora of library experience. As a student at Penn State DuBois Barb worked in the campus library and upon transferring to University Park she joined the Interlibrary Loan team for a year and a half. Following her time in the ILL department Barb worked for the library affiliated company, Brodart before rejoining the University Libraries in 2006. Barb worked at the Dickinson School of Law Library at University Park until 2010 and ultimately transferred back to the library where it all began: DuBois.

Barb currently lives in her hometown of Sykesville, Pa, just 15 minutes south of DuBois, on the Walker Century Farm. This 60 acre farm has been in Barb’s family since her relative, Christian Walker, originally purchased it back in 1855. Along with a whole host of vegetables, the family farm is home to chickens, cats, and dogs. And as a lover of animals, Barb has four Siamese cats of her own, three males and one female, ranging from six to 12 years old.

cats

Barb’s four Siamese cats

Outside of being my fellow co-author of the “Getting to Know You” series and sitting on various University Libraries committees Barb really enjoys genealogy research. She has traced her family history back to the 1700’s and actually has the original German Army discharge papers of her fourth great grandfather, Christian Walker, from 1845. Acting as Secretary for the Rumbarger Cemetery Preservation Society she volunteers to help restore the cemetery. The Rumbarger Cemetery is the oldest cemetery in DuBois and requires long-term preservation and maintenance.

‘Getting to know you’: Nancy Adams

by Barbara Kopshina, DuBois Campus Library

Nancy Adams is passionate about many things but two that stand out are education and her fondness for tea! She joined Penn State Hershey in 2010 and currently serves as associate director, coordinator of education & instruction for the George T. Harrell Health Sciences Library at the rank of assistant librarian. Currently, she provides instruction to medical students and residents and coordinates the library educational mission, among other things.

In the fall of 2011, Nancy started working towards a doctoral degree in adult education through Penn State and hopes to complete the program and write her dissertation in 2016. As a former high school and college science teacher, Nancy has had a variety of experiences with education. A few of her interests in education include learning theory, research in general and qualitative research, specifically. Particular areas that she likes to focus on are team- based, case-based and problem-based learning. Nancy enjoys designing instructional videos and incorporating creative aspects into them such as poetry and music in relation to medicine.

Nancy is a member of the Medical Library Association, Association for College and Research Libraries, American Library Association, and Pennsylvania Library Association. She was recently invited to the Admissions Selection Team for the Penn State College of Medicine where she will be helping to select our nation’s future doctors!

When Nancy isn’t working on her dissertation or collecting data for her Ed.D.., she enjoys drinking a variety of teas. She especially enjoys Earl Grey and herbal and green teas. She’s also partial to most outdoor activities including camping and hiking.

‘Getting to know you’: Megan Mac Gregor

by Andrea Pritt, Penn State Mont Alto Campus Library

Born in Alabama and raised in Pepperell, Massachusetts, Megan Mac Gregor now resides in
Wilkes-Barre, PA. She joined the Nesbitt Library in September 2010 and has been working at the Wilkes-Barre campus ever since. Megan started her new position as the student engagement and outreach librarian (the first of its kind) in August 2015 and has been busy coordinating library events and marketing the library services to the campus.

macGregor

Mac Gregor…started an informal study hall in the library

This year Megan created a campus wide initiative called Get It Done. Get It Done is an informal study hall that is held in the library every Wednesday and Thursday. These study halls are attended by both students and faculty, and offer a quiet space to promote learning. Megan has a very talkative black cat named Assam who is nine years old and, in her spare time, is an avid croquet player.

Megan began playing Six Wickets Croquet back in middle school with her family in Maine. In this version of croquet the mallets and balls are larger, but the wickets are narrower. A player is not allowed to stand on an opponent’s ball and knock it into oblivion so, with the disgruntled player’s ball still close at hand, one must be strategic in one’s efforts.

‘Getting to know you’: Andrea Pritt

by Barbara Kopshina, Penn State DuBois Campus Library

Ever wondered who the individuals are that put together the “Getting to Know You” columns? Well, I’d like to introduce my colleague and fellow collaborator, Andrea Pritt. Andrea has been at Mont Alto as a library staff member for five years. She was born and raised in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania and graduated with a bachelor’s degree in biology from Penn State, University Park. During her time as a college student in the biology department, she worked as a teaching assistant. Shortly after graduation, Andrea joined the team at Penn State Mont Alto Campus Library. She has enjoyed her time in the library immensely and recently decided to start working towards her MLIS degree at the University of Pittsburgh.

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Pritt…volunteers as a certified adult literacy tutor and teaches English to migrant workers

In her spare time, Andrea volunteers as a certified adult literacy tutor in Adams County. She works with a variety of people, including prisoners, to help them obtain their G.E.D. She also has her E.S.L. (English as a Second Language) certificate and volunteers to teach migrant workers in the area. Andrea feels strongly that people can better themselves through education and her volunteer work reflects that.

Andrea was just elected as the vice president of the Adams County Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. She helps to select recipients for scholarships, and participates in fundraising and community outreach. Aside from volunteering, Andrea enjoys spending time with her two dogs, Riley, a Jack Russell/terrier mix, and Jackson, a boxer/lab mix, both of whom she rescued from the S.P.C.A.

Getting to Know You: Nick Smerker

man with beard sitting at table typing on laptop

Nick Smerker

by Andrea Pritt, Penn State Mont Alto Library

While he is not technically a University Libraries employee, Nick Smerker certainly has experience working with our Libraries colleagues. If your library is located in the western half of Pennsylvania, chances are that you and he have crossed paths before. From 2003 to 2007 Nick worked with Teaching and Learning with Technology (TLT) and since 2010 has been a member of the Media Commons team.

Nick works as a traveling media consultant and is based out of the Pittsburgh area. Much of his time is spent traveling to various campuses and consulting with faculty on their class projects. He often makes repeat visits to ensure that students know how to create effective storyboards and rough drafts for their media projects.

Nick, a native of Shippenville, Pa., now resides in Pittsburgh with his two cats, Clyde and Morgan; interesting fact: he is actually allergic to cats! In his spare time, Nick freelances as a web designer and has worked on multiple projects. Recently he redesigned the websites for Frank Lloyd Wright’s Kentuck Knob as well as Allegheny West neighborhood, where he resides.

‘Getting to know you’: Stephanie Diaz

Submitted by Andrea Pritt, information resources and services support specialist, Penn State Mont Alto Library

10390086_10102136126088200_2817891089953099234_nOriginally from the small town of Fremont, Ohio, Stephanie Diaz joined the University Libraries in August 2013. After completing her Masters in Library Science degree at the University of South Carolina she was hired as the Reference and Instruction Librarian at Penn State York. Stephanie spent two years at the York campus where her duties included bibliographic instruction as well as collection development. She recently moved to Erie, Pa., and is now the reference and instruction librarian at Penn State Erie. Stephanie’s new opportunity at the John M. Lilley Library is a welcomed relocation for her, her family and friends, and her cat, Libby.

During her time at York, Stephanie served on the Diversity Committee and helped to coordinate
events for Black History Month. She is also a new member of the University Libraries Innovation
Microgrant Program Review Committee. Outside of the university, Stephanie sits on the PaLA
Conference Planning Committee and has helped plan the upcoming PaLA poster session events.

Stephanie is a film enthusiast and, in her spare time, can often be found at the movie theater. A
few of her favorites include “Thelma & Louise,” “Forrest Gump” and “Good Will Hunting.”

‘Getting to know you’: Jane Ingold

by Barbara Kopshina, Penn State DuBois Library

If you’ve ever had questions about archiving material at your campus, Jane Ingold would be an excellent resource! An associate librarian, Jane has been working with the archives at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, for about 10 years. She has extensive knowledge of the archives which include the Behrend Family Collection, the Penn State Behrend Collection and the Hammermill Paper Company Collection. Besides library instruction, Jane counts organizing gifts that have been donated to the college over the years as one of her many duties.

The Pioneer Reunion for Penn State Erie alumni who attended the college between 1948 and 1963 is another project that Jane has contributed to. This is a two-day reunion which includes guided tours, a picnic, oral history presentations and much more. Jane has interviewed several of the alumni and shares and preserves this history through her writing. Raised in Cranesville, Erie County, Pennsylvania, she has a special connection to the area and works with many different non-profit organizations. Jane writes the newsletter for the Presque Isle Woman’s Club, which does fundraising for various charities and strives for community improvement. She also sits on the board of the Harborcreek Historical Society, another local organization that both promotes and preserves local history.

Erie Yesterday, a group of historic organizations related to Erie County, is another non-profit that Jane is involved with. The John M. Lilley Library Archives, Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, is one of the many consortia members that works together to promote local history among other things.

Besides genealogy, local history and charity work, Jane also finds time to spend time with her cat, Tye, who she rescued from a shelter.