Elaine Meder-Wilgus founded Webster’s Bookstore Cafe in 1999; it has since become a State College institution. Webster’s is not only a bookstore and café but also a performance venue, so Elaine does a great deal with event coordination, including such writing tasks as corresponding with participants and writing scripts.
Elizabeth Brady is an Associate Teaching Professor in CAS where she teaches Public Speaking and enjoys a dual appointment with Penn State’s Global Programs as a Public Relations Consultant. After the sudden death of her son, Mack, in 2012, Elizabeth began research, writing, and participating in life after the death of a child. She is a contributing author to OpentoHope.com where she writes essays on child loss and serves on the board of the Tides program, a local organization that supports bereaved children.
Stephanie Scott is a public relations specialist in the College of the Liberal Arts’ Office of Alumni Relations and Development. In this role, Stephanie researches, writes, and designs communications targeting alumni and friends who provide philanthropic support to the college. These communications include gift acknowledgments, impact reports, and institute and center updates. Stephanie also serves as the copy editor to Associate Dean B. Richard Page and the Liberal Arts Undergraduate Studies office.
Heather is, among many other wonderful things, a scholar, writer, blogger, wife, and mother of two girls. She graduated from the University of Virginia and then went on to finish her PhD in English Literature from the University of Michigan. She teaches college writing courses—both Freshman Composition and Advanced Writing—at Penn State. She serves on the staff of Cru with her husband, who is the Executive Director of Graduate Student Ministries at Penn State. She is also the author of six books that encourage writers and teachers to reflect on spiritual principles in everyday life: How to Write with Flair; Live with Flair: Seasons of Worship and Wonder; Seated with Christ; Guarded by Christ; Included in Christ; and Chosen for Christ. Additionally, Heather runs a vibrant, active blog titled Live with Flair (inspired by her first book How to Write with Flair), in which she explores the ways that we can make every day joyful and meaningful just as we can make a sentence beautiful with the right verb and punctuation. Heather would be delighted to talk with students about her writing habits, securing an agent and working with publishers, and marketing, among other topics.
Ali is the author of Where Hope Lives, a debut memoir that tells the story of Ali’s entry into the adrenaline-fueled world of firefighting, within which she reflects on the fire storm of opposition to her gender and competence that took place in a small Pennsylvania town. Today, Ali is a firefighter, emergency medical technician, a self-published author, a business owner, an inspirational speaker, a mental health advocate, a suicide prevention instructor, a domestic violence and sexual assault counselor, and a sexual assault and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder survivor. Cultivating her voice after experiencing trauma has given Ali the opportunity to let people battling their own trauma find their voice too.
In 2012, Ali founded Hope Lives Publishing, a company that she created with goal of offering grounded and passionate authors a platform to bring their stories to the page. Additionally, Ali facilitates the Where Hope Lives Empowerment Workshops, a four-part interactive program that is designed to cover different topics including mental health education, overcoming obstacles, self-advocacy, and the importance of seeking help if it’s needed. Ali has presented to numerous conferences and organizations on topics including PTSD, post-traumatic growth, empowerment and resilience, social justice, gender equality, rape culture, mental health, suicide prevention, entrepreneurship, and self-publishing. Ali also runs an active blog at aliwarrenhope.tumblr.com.
Rick is the Executive Director of the Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts (CPFA). He joined the paid staff of the CPFA as its Director of Visual Arts in 1999, though his involvement with the Festival dates back to 1984, when he first volunteered on the trash crew. Rick was named Executive Director of the CPFA in 2005.
Rick earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Virginia’s School of Architecture in 1979. In 1996, he earned a Chartered Property and Casualty Underwriter designation, and in 2013, he completed the Pennsylvania Rural-Urban Leadership Program.
In addition to serving as a long-time Festival volunteer, Rick has volunteered for many community organizations. He has served on the board of the Art Alliance of Central PA, the State College Board of Health, the Board of Deacons at State College Presbyterian Church, the Community Advisory Board for Penn State’s Center for Performing Arts, the State College Historic Resources Commission, and the State College Historic and Architectural Review Board. He also runs an active blog site called The Wandering Wahoo.
Ann Donovan is a retired Watershed Specialist for the Centre County Conservation District. The Conservation District implements effective, locally-led conservation programs that include abandoned mine reclamation and acid mine drainage, agricultural assistance, erosion and sediment control, dirt and gravel road maintenance, stream stabilization and restoration, and conservation education.
As the Watershed Specialist, Ann was required to use her English degree on a daily basis as she composed documents ranging from brochures, pamphlets, and booklets to press releases, newsletters, and articles, to grant applications, quarterly reports, and partnership letters, email announcements and general correspondences, to displays and technical reports, and anything in between.
Though Ann has retired from her position as the Watershed Specialist, she remains interested in helping young people develop communication sills that will serve them well as they embark on various career paths. More specifically, she wants to help students learn how to present themselves in a professional environment because she knows how important it is for students to learn how to write correctly and handle themselves well so that they can communicate clearly in even the most intimidating of environments.
Cody is a technical communicator and statistician who wants to help people collect the right data and analyze it to make informed decisions. His specialities include statistics, technical communication, statistical reliability, JMP, SAS, and writing for translation.
Andrew currently works for Parsons. He has held a number of roles in engineering and EPCM consulting companies over the last 30+ years; he credits clear and effective communication as the catalysts for his mobility, both horizontally and vertically. He has held both technical and business management roles, domestically and internationally, in the areas of engineering, contracts, finance, accounting, HR, safety, and quality.
As a guest speaker, Andrew is most interested in focusing on career communication topics related to job search, reading and interpreting position requests, resumes, cover letters, interview tips, and working in global teams. He is open to answering any questions from students and wandering in any of the directions toward which they are interested in steering the conversation. Because Andrew lives in South Carolina and works in North Carolina, he joins classes remotely via video conferencing.