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.
Bellamarie is the Executive Director of the ACRES Project, a growing community designed by adults with autism for adults with autism. The ACRES Project (Adults Creating Residential and Employment Solutions) is a non-profit organization located in the heart of Central Pennsylvania. This unique team consists of people with autism, educators, parents, and community members working together to meet the social, vocational, and residential needs of adults with autism. ACRES provides a nurturing environment to help individuals build a foundation for a productive, independent life.
By fostering social, vocational, and self-advocacy skills, ACRES helps individuals optimize their potential to develop practical life skills, increase social capacity, and transition to work and independence. Bellamarie welcomes the opportunity to speak with students about the role that writing plays in the ACRES curriculum and how it empowers members to find and express their unique voices, as well as about the importance of considering accessibility and accommodations in writing.
Molly is the Executive Director for the Centre Foundation and a Board Member of ACRES (Adults Creating Residential and Employment Solutions). The Centre Foundation is an organization devoted to inspiring and facilitating a culture of giving which creates a vibrant community. Beginning in 1981, generous donors have invested in Centre Foundation, giving them over $35 million dollars in Foundation assets today. The Centre Foundation believes that everyone can be a philanthropist; they provide excellent personal service to donors and have a team of people ready to help them achieve their personal philanthropic goals. They pride themselves on a deep understanding of the community’s needs and their ability to provide innovative and traditional giving opportunities that match the passions of their donors with the needs of the community. The Centre Foundation believes in the organizations that are working to create a better future for the Centre County community; they provide services to help those organizations build endowments, to create support through community engagement, to strengthen themselves through training and research, to fund transformative projects, and to convene effective partnerships with stakeholders around community issues. To date, the Centre Foundation has invested over $18 million back into the Centre County community.
As the Executive Director, Molly is responsible for leadership and management of the organizations, as well as working with board of directors to develop and implement strategic plans that will ensure long-term growth and success.
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.
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.
Joe is the President/CEO of the Blair County Chamber of Commerce, an organization with 1,054 members. Apart from his administrative role, he is responsible for writing a column and a majority of the stories featured in the Blair Business Mirror, the Chamber’s print-newsletter that is published the second Tuesday of each month in the Altoona Mirror newspaper.
Joe has a B.A. Degree in Journalism from Shippensburg University and has a passion for writing. He has given presentations at both Penn State and Juniata College on the importance of writing to people in business, so he feels very comfortable speaking to students on any topic related to writing and communication.
Tarun Chawla is a Technical Manager at Remcom Inc. An electrical engineer, Tarun has particular interests in the areas of technology, customer interaction, product ownership, and management. He has experience in engineering applications, leadership, communication, and international business.
Tarun works in the Business Development group where his primary focus is selling simulation software to major tech companies like Apple, Google, and Samsung; his customers include engineers, end users, procurement agents, and managers.
Tarun is required to work with the whole chain of command within various groups in large corporations; thus, collaboration, writing, planning, and technical delivery are all crucial to his success.
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.