Engineering Young Alumni Advisory Board Members
Katie Kirsch, Chair
Katie Kirsch is a Ph.D. student in the Experimental and Computational Convection Laboratory (ExCCL) at Penn State. Her research focus is on the cooling of turbine vanes and blades in gas turbine engines. She has also conducted research in the area of gas turbine heat transfer at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, Germany. Additionally, she works with the Engineering Ambassador National Network and is active in spreading the program to other universities.
Katie is a member of the Penn State Engineering Alumni Society and Engineering Ambassador Alumni Association. She graduated from Penn State with a B.S. in mechanical engineering and a minor in engineering leadership development in 2011 and an M.S. in mechanical engineering in 2013.
Ryan graduated from Penn State in 2015 with a B.S. in civil engineering and a minor in engineering leadership development. Ryan was involved as a Teaching Assistant for several engineering leadership courses and as a mentor with the Engineering Orientation Network.
Upon graduation, Ryan moved to the Washington, D.C. area to begin working for Kimley-Horn & Associates as a land development engineer. He focuses on the regulatory and design-specific aspects for various commercial development projects throughout the United States. Ryan is also currently involved with Penn State as a member of the Engineering Leadership Alumni Society Board.
Since earning her bachelor's and master's degrees in architectural engineering from Penn State in 2006, Becca has progressed from a mechanical engineer to mechanical team lead for the design firm of Skidmore, Owens and Merril's sustainable engineering studio in Chicago. She previously served as a senior mechanical engineer with Primera Engineers for four years and mechanical engineer for Buro Happold.
Becca volunteers in Africa with numerous humanitarian agencies such as Engineers Without Borders and serves as a mentor for the ACE Program, African Dream Initiative, and Umama. She was recognized in 2015 with the ASHRAE New Faces of Engineering Award, which recognized her industry leadership in mentoring students and sharing her passion for engineering around the globe.
Alyse Falconer graduated from Penn State in 2010 with a bachelor’s degree in architectural engineering with a minor in architectural studies. Currently, she is a senior mechanical engineer at MEP design firm Interface Engineering in San Francisco, California. She’s on the Golden Gate ASHRAE Chapter’s Board of Governors where she also leads the Young Engineers of ASHRAE subcommittee. She’s also involved in ASHRAE Technical Committees TC 7.01 and TC 9.06.
She spends time volunteering with First Graduate, a program for students in the Bay Area who commit to spending 10 years with the program to become the first college graduates in their family. She values this program immensely as she was the first college graduate in her own family.
A registered professional engineer and LEED Accredited Professional, Alyse has worked on energy-efficiency strategies and sustainable design for higher education, healthcare, labs, mixed use, and residential projects. She has designed, managed, and completed multiple LEED projects, CHPS projects, Net Zero Energy and Passive House projects.
Abby Kreider is a 2014 graduate from the College of Engineering with a Bachelor's of Architectural Engineering and a focus on Construction Management. After graduation, Abby began her career in the construction industry as a Project Engineer for Barton Malow Company (BMC). While working with BMC, Abby helped to implement a new productivity tracking application to encourage efficiency within the field for current and future projects.
Abby volunteers with the Barton Malow Foundation as well as a young professionals' organization, which both promote community outreach benefitting a variety of charities. While at Penn State, Abby was involved with the Lion Ambassadors and Engineering Ambassadors.
Josh Lavra graduated from Penn State in 2011 with a B.S. in chemical engineering. Outside of his studies, Josh was heavily involved with Engineering Ambassadors and the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON); he also spent several semesters as a tutor for CAS 100A: Effective Speech Techniques for Engineers and co-developed a presentation skills program for freshman engineering students.
Chasing his passion for design, technology, and communication, Josh began his career in San Francisco as a program manager for a large international organization where he focused on bringing an innovative product to market.
Currently, Josh is a product manager at IDEO. In 2016, Josh was a speaker for TEDxPSU: Drive Y(our) Reality.
Jason graduated from Penn State in 2012 with a B.S. in electrical engineering. Once graduated, he worked for several years in financial technology as a systems analyst at a Fortune 500 corporation, focusing on software solutions in sales relationship management, case management, fraud, and disputes. After recognizing a unique problem with the rising costs of higher education, Jason founded EdFundr, a software company with the mission of removing financial barriers in education and providing an incredible experience for anyone who helps. He currently serves as the Chief Executive Officer, where he leads the team in developing software solutions, creating new revenue streams for colleges and universities, and ultimately decreasing the burden of tuition costs on students.
Bio to come ...
Eric graduated from Penn State in 2008 with a BS in mechanical engineering. While an undergraduate student, he was involved with the American Indian Housing Initiative. This sparked Eric's interest in the build environment and he remained at Penn State to earn his master's degree in architectural engineering.
After graduating in 2010, Eric spent two years working on commercial energy systems at Envinity, a State College-based company that provides renewable energy, green design and construction, building performance contracting, and energy services.
In 2010, Eric and his longtime friend, Steven "Spud" Marshall ('08 M E), started New Leaf, a nonprofit organization in downtown State College. New Leaf provides a central portal for community members looking to get plugged in to the surrounding innovation ecosystem and offers dynamic and innovative space for coworking, meetings, and events.
John Stillman joined Verizon in 2012 serving as a network implementation project manager at Verizon Wireless. His projects ranged from expanding the charging collection function capacity to ensuring first responders had access to commercial communications systems in times of crises. In 2013, John joined the Global Network Product Technology & Strategy team in Ashburn, VA. Here, he teamed up with network engineers and scientists to compose plans that deployed 100GE access speeds to the Global IP Backbone and supported network peering analytics and MSO strategy.
John spent time in the New York Metro Region on the RF Design and Traffic Team planning, designing, and optimizing RF coverage and capacity in northern New Jersey. In July of 2015, John re-joined the HQ Network Implementation team responsible for deploying the next generation network functional virtual infrastructure (NFVI) across the enterprise mobile private network. He currently leads a team of more than 200 employees, vendors, and contractors.
John began his career at Bosch and advanced through a series of rotations in logistics and manufacturing operations.
John is former president of the American Society for Quality Penn State Student Chapter. He actively mentors STEM students involved with the National Academy Foundation as well as the Engineering Career Resources and Employer Relations Offices at Penn State and Cornell University.
Elaine Tanella is a 2012 graduated from the College of Engineering with a bachelor's degree in biomedical engineering and minors in biology and Italian. During her time as a student, Elaine was involved with the Penn State Dance Marathon (THON) and served as a teaching intern for BME 201: Cell and Molecular Bioengineering.
Upon graduation, Elaine began work in Accenture's strategy consulting practice working in the medtech and life sciences fields. In 2014, Elaine made the jump to the ad tech world and now works for an ad network in New York performing data analysis.
Caitlin Zankowski received her bachelor's degree in industrial engineering in 2010. As a student, she was involved with THON and completed two summer internships at GE Transportation. Following graduation Caitlin began a full-time career in the GE's Operations Management Leadership Program. Upon finishing the program in 2012, she held roles in supply chain supporting GE's mining business. In 2014, Caitlin took a commercial role as a Product Manager for the PowerHaul locomotive, supporting fleets and customers in the UK, Germany, Turkey and Australia.