Meet the Team
Keith R. Aronson, Ph.D.
Director of Faculty Development
Keith R. Aronson, Ph.D., is the Associate Director of the Clearinghouse and is a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Biobehavioral Health at Penn State. He received his Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Penn State, a master’s degree in clinical psychology from Ball State University, and a bachelor’s degree in economics and English from Rutgers University.
Nicole D. Hurlbutt, M.P.S.
Director of Administration
Nicole D. Hurlbutt, M.P.S., received her M.P.S. in Organization Development and Change from Penn State University; a B.M. in Music Composition from Penn State University, and a B.A. in Music from Lock Haven University. She is currently pursuing her Ph.D. at Penn State in Workforce Education and Development with an emphasis on human resource development and organization development.
Daniel F. Perkins, Ph.D.
Principal Investigator & Scientist
Daniel F. Perkins, Ph.D., is the Principal Scientist and Founder of the Clearinghouse and is a Professor of Family and Youth Resiliency and Policy at Penn State University. He received his Ph.D. from Michigan State University in Family and Child Ecology; his M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies; and his B.A. in Developmental Psychology from the Pennsylvania State University.
Faculty and Staff
Grejika Abram-Erby, M.S., M.P.H. earned her B.S. in Biology from Tougaloo College and her M.S. in Forensic Science, with a concentration in Molecular Biology, from Drexel University. She received her M.P.H. in Community-Oriented Primary Care from George Washington University. Prior to joining the Clearinghouse family, Grejika evaluated projects with the D.C. Department of Health as well as the Leadership Council for Healthy Communities in Washington, D.C. and served as a mental health technician in Centre Hall, PA. Grejika’s research interests focus on improving the health and well-being of vulnerable communities through increased access to tools, resources, and services, while also engaging communities via collaborative partnerships with advocacy groups, researchers, and other professionals. In her spare time, she enjoys dancing, cooking, watching movies, and laughing with her family and friends. Grejika is excited for the opportunity to help strengthen military families.
Brandon Balotti, M.S., received a B.S. in Psychology from Slippery Rock University and a M.S. in Psychological Science from Shippensburg University. He is interested in applied research—especially of education programs on the topics of health, nutrition, and well-being. Outside of the office, he enjoys traveling, hiking, and learning computer programming. He also enjoys a good book and cup (or more) of coffee.
Brandon Balotti, M.S.
Research and Evaluation Associate
Julia Bleser, M.S., M.S.P.H., received an M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Penn State in 2015, an M.S. in Public Health in Health Education and Health Communication from Johns Hopkins University in 2011, and a B.S. in Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Studies from the University of Southern California in 2009.
Julia Bleser, M.S., M.S.P.H.
Research and Evaluation Associate
Mandie Boone, a Research and Evaluation Assistant at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readinessat Penn State, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Behavioral Social Sciences from Mount Aloysius Collegein 2007. Prior to her work at the Clearinghouse, Mandie worked as a preschool teacher for Hort Woods Child Centerat Penn State, and she has worked in the field of mental health for seven years as the Mental Health TechnicianManager and Staff Development Coordinator at the Meadows Psychiatric Center. Mandie is a military spouse, and sheis passionate about improving the health and well-being of our military Service members and their families. Mandieenjoys spending time with her husband and two children.
Kristi Brawley received her B.S. in Management from the Louisiana State University. She is a 27-year veteran of the U.S. Air Force and was deployed in support of operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Being a military member, military spouse, and a parent, she understands the challenges and opportunities that face our military communities. At the Clearinghouse, she is passionate about assisting partners with implementing evidence-based programs that will have a positive impact on Service members and their families.
Molly Burns, M.A., received her M.A. from Duquesne University in Communication Rhetoric in 2000 and her B.A. from Westminster College in Broadcast Communications with minors in Speech and Theater in 1999. For 15 years, Molly taught courses in Communications at Penn State Altoona and Saint Francis University. In her free time, she and her husband enjoy traveling and performing with theater groups in the area.
Bryan’s biographical information will be posted soon.
Ryan Chesnut, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Communication Arts & Sciences, with a specialization in Family Communication, from Penn State. He received his M.A. in Communication and his B.S. in Communication from Southern Illinois University – Edwarsdville. His research primarily focuses on understanding how parent-child interaction shapes children’s developmental outcomes. He is particularly interested in investigating how parenting prevention and intervention programs can be harnessed to strengthen parent-child relationships and promote child well-being. His current work at the Clearinghouse focuses on the dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of a suite of parenting programs that have been adopted by the Department of Defense to support military families. He is also currently working on understanding how moral injuries that military personnel suffer during their service impact relational functioning. This work will help to inform family prevention and intervention services designed to strengthen Service member resilience and promote successful reintegration into family life.
Katie Davenport, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in Agricultural and Extension Education from the Pennsylvania State University. Her research focused on program delivery methods to enhance veterans’ employment outcomes. She received a B.A. in French and Global Studies from Winona State University and an M.A. in Political Science from the University of Illinois Springfield. Katie joined the Clearinghouse in 2012 and has worked on a variety of projects that have focused on the implementation and evaluation of programs to support military family well-being.
Elise F. Dreibelbis earned her B.A. in English – writing option from Penn State University. She has used her professional editing skills in the following disciplines: Business, Continuing and Distance Education, Education, Engineering, Environmental Science, Geology, History, and Political Science. She has served as Editorial Coordinator for two professional Journals: The Association of Continuing Higher Education and Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. Elise joined the Clearinghouse in 2012 and is very excited to be working in a field which positively impacts Military personnel and their families. She is married and has four children, two of whom have graduated from Penn State and two of whom are currently undergraduates at Penn State. She is the proud mom of an Army veteran.
Katie Dry, D.P.T., earned her MS and BS in Biology from Bucknell University. Prior to joining the Clearinghouse, Katie worked as a clinical research coordinator at Brooke Army Medical Center at Joint Base San Antonio for 3 years. While there, she developed a passion for helping to improve the health and readiness of active duty members and their families. She is specifically interested in equipping clinicians and other wellness providers with evidence-based methods to optimize the delivery and efficacy of their interventions.
Phillip L. Ealy, M.P.S., earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Communications from West Virginia State University, and a Master’s degree in Organization Development and Change from The Pennsylvania State University. Phillip is a retired Army Officer who has spent time working with foreign military around the world including Korea, Czech Republic, Jordan, Iraq, Afghanistan, and Romania to name a few. His interest includes leadership and organization development. Phillip is passionate about military families and the challenges they face on a daily basis.
Forziat Pytel, Kellie
Kellie Forziat is a first-year Ph.D. student in the Counselor Education and Supervision Program at the Pennsylvania State University. She received her Bachelor of Science degrees in Psychology and Crime, Law, and Justice from The Pennsylvania State University. She received her Master of Science degree in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from The Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania with an emphasis on working with the military population. In addition, she is recognized as a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC). Her main professional interests in research related to counseling are: military related issues, suicide prevention, self-care, addiction, and ecotherapy.
Jerah Griggs, M.Ed., majored in Social Science with a minor in Government at Campbell University, and received her M.Ed. in Community Counseling from Georgia Southern University. Having been an active-duty military spouse for over 20 years, and with a background in mental health, Jerah has worked to advocate for military service members and their families for many years.
Cristin Hall, Ph.D., is an assistant professor in the School Psychology Program at Penn State and a faculty affiliate of the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness. She received her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Penn State in 2000 and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2003. Cristin received her doctoral training from the Penn State School Psychology Program (graduated 2011). She has many clinical and school-based experiences with children and adults in a variety of settings including residential treatment, community mental health, corrections, and private practice. Her previous work as a research scientist for the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and the Child Study Centers at Penn State sparked her interest in the dissemination of evidence-based practice using the internet and other technology-assisted platforms. She is committed to assisting with Clearinghouse projects that utilize technology-assisted delivery platforms to help serve remote and under-served families.
Kyle R. Hawkey, M.Ed., received his B.S. in Psychology from Brigham Young University, and his M.Ed. in Human Relations from Northern Arizona University. In addition, he earned his Family Development Credential from the University of Connecticut. Before joining the Clearinghouse team, Kyle managed various federally funded research projects at the University of Arizona and the University of Minnesota. His research interests vary, but all focus on impacting families in a positive way by providing research, tools, and resources to individuals, policy makers, and professionals in similar fields. Kyle is excited to contribute to the team’s ability to further enhance military family readiness, resilience, and well-being.
Mark Hixon received his B.S. in Information Sciences and Technology from the Pennsylvania State University with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. After graduation, he worked for Dell EMC in Pittsburgh but decided to return to Penn State and began working for the Clearinghouse in 2018. Mark diagnoses and resolves personal computer problems and consults with individuals to help them collaborate and streamline projects. Mark enjoys tennis, biking, recording music, and playing video games.
Jennifer Karre, Ph.D., received her Ph.D. in developmental psychology from Northern Illinois University. Her research interests include father-child relationships, parenting, adolescence, and program evaluation. She has taught undergraduate psychology courses and has presented her research at several national conferences.
Miranda Kaye, Ph.D., earned her B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Cornell University and her M.S. in Kinesiology from Arizona State University. She received her Ph.D. in Kinesiology, with a focus in Sport Psychology, from Penn State. Prior to coming to the Clearinghouse, Miranda taught undergraduate- and graduate-level courses in research methods, statistics, sport and exercise psychology, and a variety of health and wellness education classes. Miranda’s research focuses on motivation and well-being in sport, exercise, health, and education settings; the development, refinement, and testing of health and well-being interventions; moral behavior in achievement contexts; and positive youth development. She has presented her research at several national conferences. Miranda is excited to be working to promote military family readiness.
Marissa Kosko-Blyler, M.S.W., received her M.S.W. from Shippensburg University and her B.S. in both Psychology and Equine Facilitated Therapeutics from Wilson College. Marissa’s passion is helping children and families, which informed her decision to pursue research opportunities with the Clearinghouse. Prior to her work with Penn State, Marissa worked in the mental health field in school, hospital, and other outpatient settings. Marissa’s current professional interests include performing research in developmental and cognitive psychology fields, continuing to learn from peers and mentors, and driving the development of constructive trainings for individuals who work with military members and their families. In her free time, Marissa enjoys spending time with her partner and her animals – preferably outside!
Renee Kotch, M.A., received her B.A. in Psychology from Bloomsburg University and her M.A. in Counseling Psychology at the University of West Florida. Her research interests are driven by previous research experience at a military installation and her life as a military spouse. Renee’s interests, other than research, include exploring all that State College has to offer with her husband and two young children, volunteering, photography, and running.
Brittny Mathies, Ph.D., is originally from New Orleans, Louisiana. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Mississippi State University, her M.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from The University of Alabama, and her Ph.D. in Educational Psychology from Auburn University. Prior to joining the Clearinghouse, Brittny worked as a director at a large non-profit organization where she oversaw research, strategic initiatives, and afterschool programming. She has also taught a number of undergraduate-level courses in child and adolescent development. Brittny is passionate about studying and serving children and families, especially those considered to be at risk.
Timothy Mazer received his B.S. in Secondary Education and History from Bloomsburg University. Prior to joining the Clearinghouse, he worked as a lead teacher for a cyber school and provided training and support services to his colleagues. He is interested in the research, dissemination, implementation, and evaluation of school-based programs that improve the well-being of at-risk student populations.
Kimberly McCarthy is the Coordinator of the CYFAR Coaching Model for Sustainable Community Projects for the CYFAR Professional Development and Technical Assistance (PDTA) Center. The CYFAR PDTA Center is a joint initiative of the University of Minnesota and the Pennsylvania State University. In her role, Kimberly contributes to the federal Children, Youth, and Families At-Risk (CYFAR) Grant Program’s efforts to improve outcomes for low-resource populations. Kimberly supports the strategic objectives of the CYFAR PDTA Center and coordinates the professional development and technical assistance activities of a cadre of coaches housed at various Land Grant Universities across the nation. Kimberly, based on previous career experience, brings to her position the unique ability to embrace the perspectives of a community implementer, technical assistance provider, master trainer, coach, and program developer.
Matt McGee, M.Ed., graduated with his B.S. in Psychology and his M.Ed. in Learning, Design, and Technology from Penn State. He is passionate about creating engaging learning materials and designing interactive learning experiences.
Michalopoulou, Lito Eleni
Lito Eleni Michalopoulou, Ph.D., earned her doctorate degree in School Psychology and her M.Ed. from Penn State University. She completed her undergraduate studies in Psychology with a focus on developmental and school psychology at the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece.
Lito Eleni Michalopoulou, Ph.D.
Research and Evaluation Scientist
Nicole R. Morgan, Ph.D., received her B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Dakota and her M.S. and Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from the Pennsylvania State University. She takes a developmental approach and applies advanced statistical analysis to evaluate prevention programs designed to reduce child maltreatment, post-traumatic stress, and improve well-being for Veterans and their families. Dr. Morgan has extensive experience in data management, measurement, program evaluation, and analysis. She has been data manager and analyst for The Veterans Metrics Initiative, a longitudinal study utilizing an innovative method for understanding the relationship between program components and Veteran well-being. Dr. Morgan’s experience with analytic models includes weighted data analysis, matched propensity, and longitudinal growth models. Prior to entering college, Nicole served five years in the U.S. Air Force as an Air Traffic Control Radar Specialist and Quality Control Specialist.
Christopher Nebgen graduated from South Hills School of Business and Technology with an associate’s degree in Information Technology. He is currently pursuing his bachelor’s degree in Psychology at the Pennsylvania State University’s World Campus. He has spent many years doing freelance web development and design. Chris spends his off-hours playing the electric guitar, creating artwork, working out, and reading anything he can on a wide range of topics.
Holly Nusom, M.A., received her M.A. in Teaching from Concordia University and her B.S. in Child, Family, and Consumer Studies from the University of Idaho. As the spouse of an active duty Soldier and the parent of four, Holly understands the complex challenges and opportunities inherent to military life. She works to cultivate connection and wellness in the military community through implementing educational and social outreach efforts and by enhancing military-civilian partnerships. At the Clearinghouse, Holly combines her military family experience and real-word insight with science-informed research and practices. She strives to improve the lives of Service members and their families by contributing evidence-based solutions to those working with this unique population.
Holly Nusom, M.A.T.
Research and Evaluation Associate
Lauren O’Donnell, M.A., earned her M.A. in Professional Communication, specializing in Organizational Development, from The University of Alaska – Fairbanks in 2003, and her Bachelor’s Degree in Television, Radio and Film from Syracuse University’s Newhouse School for Public Communication in 1990. Lauren is a proud Army spouse, with over 26 years of experience learning from and advocating for soldiers, spouses and Army families. Most recently, Lauren worked as a transition counselor for military service members across all branches preparing to transition from the service to civilian life. Lauren is excited to be combining her personal experience and knowledge as an Army spouse with her professional knowledge of military family programs and transition programs. She is eager to continue serving the military population, which she considers to be the bravest, most resilient, most resourceful, and most noble group on Earth! In her down time, Lauren enjoys volunteering in her community and spending time with her own awesome service member and their two children.
Lauren O’Donnell, M.A.
Stephanie Papas, M.P.H., earned her M.P.H. in Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences from Tulane University and her B.S. in Kinesiology and Psychology from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Stephanie is also a Master Certified Health Education Specialist (MCHES) and Certified in Public Health.
Cameron Richardson, Ph.D., received his Ph.D. in Human Development from the University of Maryland in 2011. His research interests include: (1) Positive family and youth development; (2) Moral development across the lifespan; and, (3) Inter- and intra-group relations. He has taught college-level courses in research methods, developmental psychology, and psychological theory and has presented his research at several national conferences. Cam is excited to be working with service members, military families, and support staff to promote military family readiness.
Jillian Rodgers, M.P.S., earned her M.P.S. in Community and Economic Development and her B.S. in Community and Economic Development from Penn State University. Jillian’s research interests include international development, policy, and the evaluation of community-based programs.
Terri Rudy, M.P.A., earned her M.P.A. and B.A. (Psychology) from Penn State University. Terri is a Research and Evaluation Associate at the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and the Project Manager for the Resource Center for Improving Family Health Behaviors. She joined the Clearinghouse in 2012 and, currently, manages the outreach and communication efforts for several applied social science research projects. Terri has been involved in the development and implementation of programs and projects that focus on promoting health among military families, including the programs that fall within the THRIVE Initiative.
Tara Saathoff-Wells, Ph.D., CFLE (Certified Family Life Educator) earned her M.S. in family relations and child development at Oklahoma State University, received her doctorate in organizational culture and family development from the University of Alabama in 2000, and became a certified family life educator in 2011. Her research focuses on strengths and challenges experienced by highly mobile families, early intervention, and parent education and home visitation programming. She recently co-authored a textbook on military families and taught a variety of Human Development and Family Studies (HDFS) courses including a course on military family life, during her time as a faculty member at both Central Michigan University and the University of Central Florida.
Jill A. Schulte, M.Ed., earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Family Services in 2005 from the University of Northern Iowa and graduated with a M. Ed. in Youth and Family Education from the Pennsylvania State University in 2011. Prior to earning her Master’s degree, Jill worked as the Program Coordinator for the Department of Children and Youth Domestic Violence Program in Buchanan County, Iowa and as a Family Worker for Head Start, also in Iowa. Her research interests include programing that promotes well-being for families and youth. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two children.
Jennifer Smith, M.Ed., earned a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with an emphasis in Communication Arts at Clarion University in 2000. She completed her graduate work in 2008 at Lancaster Bible College and earned her M.Ed. in School Counseling. Outside of her work with the Clearinghouse, Jennifer’s interests include being a group fitness instructor, running, theater and music performance, and being a mom of four children.
Lori A. Tricou received her B.A. in English from Penn State University. Her professional background includes work in copywriting, proofreading, and design. She also worked in church and non-profit settings as director and coordinator of a variety of community programs, volunteers, and events.
Avery Urusow graduated from The Pennsylvania College of Technology with an A.A. in Advertising Art, and Temple University with a B.S. in Advertising. Although classified as a graphic designer, Avery also enjoys illustration, animation, and anything else art related.
Brett Weldon is a graduate of the University of Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Family, Youth, and Community Sciences with a minor in Organizational Leadership for Nonprofits. Brett is currently working on earning his Master’s degree in Public Administration at Penn State. His current professional interests are concentrated on program design, development, and evaluation.
Lisa White earned her B.A. in Anthropology and an M.Ag. in Horticulture from Penn State. She has 15 years of experience managing applied research in the natural and social sciences. Lisa enjoys managing complex research and evaluation projects from their launch and is very gratified to be working to help enhance the resilience and well-being of military families via her work at the Clearinghouse.
Lisa White, M.Ag.
Research and Evaluation Associate
Savanna Woika, M.Ed., received her master’s degree in counseling education and her B.S. in Rehabilitation from Penn State. At the Clearinghouse, she has worked as a graduate assistant and as a research assistant for the Schools Empowering At-Risk Students (SEAS) project since January of 2019. She is excited to be working with the SEAS team because it is an opportunity to positively affect the school experiences of thousands of military-connected children.
Sing Wong, M.Ed., received his M.Ed. in Higher Education Administration, with a focus in Curriculum Development, from the Pennsylvania State University and a B.S. in Finance from Penn State. Prior to joining the Clearinghouse, Sing worked in several different roles, from instructional production to learning design, that have centered around curriculum development and online learning. His research interests include the use of education technologies and learning sciences in creating effective communities of learning. Outside of the office, Sing enjoys spending time with his family and his dog.
Melissa Zack, Ph.D., earned a B.A. in Sport and Exercise Science, an M.S. in Nutrition in Sport and Chronic Disease, and a Ph.D. in Nutritional Sciences. Melissa enjoys spending her free time walking, weight training, reading, and being with friends and family.
Rebecca Bertuccio is a Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program in the College of Education at Penn State. Rebecca received her B.A. in Psychology, Spanish, and English from Manhattan College.
Carly’s biographical information will be posted soon.
Amanda Ferrara is a Graduate Assistant. She earned a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy from the University of Pittsburgh. Currently, she is pursuing a Ph.D. in educational psychology at Penn State.
Sean Gernon is a graduate of the University of California, Riverside, with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Applied Statistics. He is interested in applying qualitative and quantitative data analysis to support future research and program practices.
Sara’s biographical information is coming soon.
Christienna Tawiah is a Ph.D. student in the School Psychology program in the College of Education at Penn State. Christienna received her B.A. in Psychology and minor in Biology from St. Mary’s College of Maryland.