The Penn GSE Magazine

Spring 2022 Alumni Notes

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Heidelise Als, GED’68, GR’75, recently retired from her academic position as professor of psychology at Harvard Medical School. She continues to direct the Neurobehavioral Infant and Child Studies Program and the National Newborn Individualized Developmental Care and Assessment Program at Boston Children’s Hospital.


Myrna Skobel Agris, CW’63, GED’73, GRD’79, has been promoted to vice president at Morgan Stanley in Houston, TX.

Amy Pollack, GED’74, wrote The Adventures of Jelly Bean (Austin Macauley, 2022). The book follows the ups and downs of life at home and at school for fourth-grader Jelly Bean and her beloved dog, Roger-Over.

Joan Shapiro, GED’71, GRD’78, released the fifth edition of her coauthored ethics book, Ethical Leadership and Decision Making in Education (Routledge, 2021), which she wrote with Jacqueline Stefkovich.

Penn Affiliations

At Penn, all alumni have an affilia­tion, or series of letters and numbers, following their name to indicate their degree, school, and year of graduation. A master’s degree from GSE is represented as GED and an education doctorate as GRD. A philosophy doctorate from any school at Penn is represented as GR. An undergraduate degree offered by the School of Education until 1961 is represented as ED. The two numbers following the letters represent the year in which that degree was completed.


Margaret Mulqueen, GED’78, GR’84, has been writing for outlets including NBC News THINK, Psychotherapy Networker, and in addition to running her private practice.

Shelley B. Wepner, GED’73, GRD’80, released the sixth edition of her coedited book, The Administration and Supervision of Literacy Programs (Teachers College Press, 2021). She also coauthored “School-Based Leadership Perspectives on University Partnerships” (Excelsior: Leadership in Teaching and Learning, 2021, Volume 13, Number 3).

 Joyce Hatfield Wise, GED’88, has accepted an assistant solicitor position with Somerset County Children and Youth in Somerset, PA. She was previously the solicitor for Washington County Children and Youth for eighteen years before retiring in 2016.


Deirdre Morris Abrahamsson, C’93, GED’94, a communications consultant, has worked with Wallingford-Swarthmore School District in Wallingford, PA, since 2013. She founded the Strath Haven High School Ultimate Frisbee team, one of the top programs in Pennsylvania.

Waldo Alvarado Baires, GED’90, was appointed principal of Reading High School in Reading, PA. He has been interim principal since November 2021 and director of equity and inclusion for Reading School District since 2014, having joined the district in 2001 as a school counselor.

Barbara Caruso, GR’93, is director of educational programs at BAC Health and Wellness Associates. She offers experiential workshops about aging and spirituality.

Two individuals, smiling, stand together behind a registration desk. The Penn GSE logo is seen in the background.

G. Loessner, GR’94, emeritus professor and former administrator, recently received the University of Delaware’s Medal of Distinction, presented by its board of trustees. He retired after thirty-seven years at the university and twenty-six at the Unidel Foundation Inc. 

Gloria McNeal, GNU’75, GR’98, associate vice president, community affairs in health at National University, was an invited speaker on “Episode 2: Health Equity” for the National Academy of Medicine’s The Future of Nursing podcast, which explores the underlying causes of health disparities and the social determinants of health.

 Michael Townsley, GR’94, published two books with Gatekeeper Press in 2021, Colleges in Crisis: How Private Colleges and Universities Can Survive and Cash Defines Survival: Cash is King. He and his wife are working on a new book about transformational turnarounds in higher education.


Katie Carella, GED’05, executive editor at Scholastic Inc., applies what she learned at Penn GSE to create quality books for new and newly independent readers. She conceptualized and launched the Branches early chapter book line, which has more than twenty-two million books in print.

Natasha Charles, CGS’06, GED’09, WEV’09, WEV’10, is CEO of Intuitive Coaching with Natasha Charles. She is a member of the Forbes Coaches Council and is writing a chapter for the anthology Sacred Promise by Tererai Trent.

Sandra Dean, W’59, GRD’06, expressed concern about loss of academic freedom in a letter to the editor, “Let’s not stifle teachers or students,” published by The Washington Post on February 14, 2022.

Pamela Felder, GRD’05, was nominated secretary/treasurer of the American Educational Research Association’s International Studies Special Interest Group.

Tracie Gilbert, GED’09, released her first book, Black & Sexy: A Framework of Racialized Sexuality (Routledge, 2021). It looks at the structures and schemas of racialized sexuality among descendants of the transatlantic slave trade in the United States and discusses her theoretical model, Black Sexual Epistemology.

Stephanie Raible, GED’07, assistant professor of social entrepreneurship at the University of Delaware, coauthored her first book, Social Entrepreneurship: A Practice-Based Approach to Social Innovation (Edward Elgar Publishing, 2022). She was invited to keynote the Be Like Ben event honoring the Penn Club of Delaware’s 2021-2022 scholarship recipients.

Joel Seligman, GRD’09, has accepted a position as chief communications and marketing officer at the University of Vermont, his sixth research university in over thirty-one years and his fourth land-grant institution.

Sarah Steinberg, GRD’05, was appointed provost and senior vice president of the University of Arizona Global Campus in January 2022.

Steven Szilagyi, GED’04, is associate head of school for institutional advancement at The Kiski School, an independent boarding high school for boys in Saltsburg, PA.

Herbert Turner, GR’02, is president and principal scientist at Analytica Insights, Inc. which has partnered with Texas A&M University and WestEd on a $17 million grant to evaluate and scale up the Knowledge and Transformation intervention to improve reading comprehension among elementary-aged children from underserved communities.

Martha Wright, C’80, GR’02, teaches in Penn’s English Language Program (ELP) and serves as curriculum and assessment coordinator of a major curriculum review for Rowan University’s ELP. She continues to consult for READ for Life and other literacy organizations in Uganda.


Seher Ahmad, GRW’14, GR’16, leads the research and analytics team at the Delaware Department of Education. She was slated to present “STEM’s Mommy Problem: Gender, Aspirations, and the Reproduction of Inequality among First-Year STEM Majors” at the 2022 American Educational Research Association Annual Meeting.

Melanie Betchen, GED’15, is a third-year internal medicine resident at Cooper University Hospital. She has been matched into a critical care medicine fellowship at Montefiore/Einstein Medical Center in New York City.

Beverly Brooks, GED’16, began a new role as director of college counseling at St. Mary’s Episcopal School, a Memphis girls’ school that is the oldest independent school in Tennessee. Previously she was director of academics and college counseling at YSC Academy in Pennsylvania.

Audience members sit under a tent at the groundbreaking ceremony, some seated and some standing, raising their glasses for a toast.

Craig Carter, GED’19, has accepted the position of senior director of diversity, equity, and inclusion and employee engagement for Elwyn, a provider of education and support services to children and adults with autism, intellectual and developmental disabilities, and related behavioral health challenges.

Nina Cross, GED’19, a researcher at Princeton University’s Center for Research on Child Wellbeing, works on a team that manages the landmark Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing study

Lourdes Delrosso, GED’16, associate professor at the University of Washington, leads the World Sleep Academy, an initiative from the World Sleep Society to provide education about sleep medicine to underserved areas of the world. She was awarded a Ph.D. from the University of Portsmouth in Hampshire, England, in 2022.

Janet Duliga, GRD’18, was promoted to executive vice president, chief administrative officer of JOANN, Inc., one of the largest fabric and craft retailers in the United States. In her spare time, she is writing a book on hiring and selection and considering her first public board seat.

William Dunworth, GRD’13, recently evacuated from Kyiv, Ukraine, and is working virtually to lead the five-year USAID/ Ukraine Monitoring and Learning Support Contract as chief of party on behalf of EnCompass LLC.

Sarah Fears, GED’18, has accepted the position of development manager for Recidiviz, a nonprofit organization that partners with state criminal justice agencies to advance their use of data and reduce incarceration.

Christine Galib, GED’13, released a collection, Parables from the Pandemic: Holding onto Hope in a Hurting World (Road Less Traveled Enterprises, 2021), geared for reflection and faith-based book groups. Her debut novel, a Grail- quest adventure and mystery, is forthcoming this summer.

 Stacy R. Gill-Phillips, GRD’10, is a chair member of the African American Charter School CEOs and the National Advisory Council for Foundations, Inc. As a panel speaker at the Foundations, Inc. Beyond School Hours 2022 conference, she shared results of the 2021 Summer Reach Partnership, which were statistically significant in showing growth in all grades.

Tyrah Hodge, GED’13, is an education officer in the Examinations Unit in the British Virgin Islands. She collaborates with stakeholders to create education policies and implement school programs throughout the overseas territory. Previously, she was math team coordinator at Al Jood School with the Ministry of Education in Abu Dhabi.

Ashley R. Johnson, GED’17, joined America on Tech (AOT) as program director for the New York region. AOT is an award-winning talent accelerator that provides tuition-free technology courses and learning programs to promote the advancement of underrepresented students in technology.

Candace Kenyatta, GED’11, was a finalist for the 2022 Greater Philadelphia Social Innovations Awards in the Racial Justice category for her focus on addressing barriers in research and evaluation. The company she cofounded, Grovider, was recently profiled by Inc. magazine for its human-oriented hiring practices.

Runlin Mao, GED’19, is putting her learning from Penn GSE into practice as an Advanced Placement Psychology teacher in Beijing. She hopes to build connections and exchange experiences with teachers and educators.

Leya Mathew, GR’16, assistant professor at Ahmedabad University in Gujarat, India, wrote English Linguistic Imperialism from below: Moral Aspiration and Social Mobility (Multilingual Matters, 2022), to be published this spring.

Ebbie Parsons, GRD’11, is managing partner at Yardstick Management, which was named the number one consulting firm in Georgia by the Georgia Business Journal and also named to Inc. magazine’s 2021 Best in Business.

Jessica Pavelka, GED’14, provides individual counseling, meditation, yoga, and movement therapy through her private practice to adults who would like to enhance their emotional well-being. She recently started offering group supervision to pre-licensed professionals.

Christina Riso, GED’14, was appointed assistant vice president of university advancement at Gwynedd Mercy University. She oversees strategies for development and alumni engagement to maximize philanthropic support in preparation for GMercyU’s upcoming comprehensive campaign.

Two blue hard hats are placed on a flat surface. Text contained within the logo printed on the hard hat reads “Extraordinary Impact: The Campaign for Penn GSE.

Hui Shi, GED’18, events manager for Penn Wharton China Center (PWCC), provides virtual and on-the-ground support for events and collaborations between Penn’s twelve schools and many Chinese alumni, academic, government, and business partners. She would like to assist more schools in establishing alumni clubs and creating value for PWCC and Penn.

Wei Shi, GED’12, is a lecturer of communication research and insights at Columbia University’s strategic communication master’s program. In 2021, she received a research fellowship from the Japan Society for the Promotion of Science to study Japanese family firms at Waseda University in Tokyo, Japan.

Jamilah Thompkins-Bigelow, GED’12, released her third children’s book, Abdul’s Story (Simon & Schuster, 2022), which is about a little boy who has great stories to tell about his Philadelphia neighborhood but is too ashamed to write them, until a visitor changes his perspective.

Rebecca Thompson, GED’15, a science teacher at Montclair Kimberley Academy in Montclair, NJ, recently earned a master’s degree in chemistry from Montclair State University.

Kimberly Truong, GR’10, chief equity officer at MGH Institute of Health Professions, was named to Color magazine’s Inaugural Power 50 Chief Diversity Officers list for her accomplishments as a diversity, equity, and inclusion leader.

Justice Walker, GEN’12, GR’19, assistant professor at The University of Texas at El Paso, has received a three-year appointment to the Equity and Ethics Standing Committee of the National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

Courtney Worth, GED’12, of Wallingford-Swarthmore School District in Wallingford, PA, is approaching the end of her tenth year teaching reading and special education. She thanks Penn GSE for helping to prepare her to work with so many amazing students, families, and teachers.

Qianqian Zhang-Wu, GED’14, published Languaging Myths and Realities: Journeys of Chinese International Students (Multilingual Matters, 2021). She is assistant professor of English and director of multilingual writing in the Department of English, Northeastern University.


Curtis Callands, GRD’20, director/principal of Elwyn’s Davidson School, created a training manual, A Principal’s Mission in Designing Trauma-Informed Care (independently published, 2021). His doctoral research focused on helping schools and organizations understand and mitigate trauma’s impact on children.

Hollyann Freso-Moore, GRD’21, is chief academic officer at Carlos Rosario Charter School in Washington, DC. She is grateful to Penn GSE and particularly John D’Auria, Sharon Ravitch, and Gerald Campano for preparing her to support the next generation of principals.

Nora Gross, GR’20, coedited Care-Based Methodologies: Reimagining Qualitative Research with Youth in U.S. Schools (Bloomsbury Academic Press, 2022), which argues for care as essential to research in schools, particularly when participants are from nondominant communities. Two of the book’s coeditors are Veena Vasudevan, GR’17, and Katherine Clonan-Roy, GR’16.

Amanda Jones-Layman, GED’17, GRD’21, was appointed assistant professor in the School of Education and Human Services at Neumann University. She teachers qualitative research and serves as methodologist in the Ed.D. program in educational leadership.

Jinsong Li, GED’20, started a company in China, Ivy Praxis, to provide social-emotional learning and positive psychology courses for K–9 students. Focusing on the mental health of children and adolescents, he blends courses with holistic modalities such as bilingual and cross-cultural learning, learning in nature, meditation, and sound therapy.

Huimin Tang, GED’21, has found it challenging yet rewarding to work for three public schools as a teacher of English as a new language. She is excited to begin her next chapter in life, pursuing a Ph.D.

Submissions have been edited due to space constraints and magazine style guidelines.