Sending a ‘We Are!’ to these Penn Staters

Nittany Lion Hug

As part of our regular “We Are!” feature, we recognize Penn Staters who have gone above and beyond what’s asked of them in their work at the University.   

Credit: Penn State

As part of our regular “We Are!” feature, we recognize 13 Penn Staters who have gone above and beyond what’s asked of them in their work at the University.   

This week, on behalf of the entire Penn State community, we’d like to say thank you to: 

  • Kristen Comstock, assistant director of alumni relations at Penn State Behrend, whose nominator wrote: “Kristen is responsible for all aspects of the alumni part of Parents, Families and Alumni Weekend. She organized several dinners and awards, along with a wine tour; handled registration, both online and in person; and managed the unexpected with calm and grace. She is a rockstar! Behrend is lucky to have her.” 
  • Becky Eckenrode, senior associate director of admissions at Penn State Berks, whose nominator wrote: “Becky is truly the face of Penn State to future Penn Staters in Berks County. She takes her enthusiasm with her wherever she goes, and it is infectious. She leaves high school students with an amazing view of Penn State and inspires them to be a part of ‘We Are.’” 
  • Tara Grajeda, nutrition education advisor for Penn State Extension, whose nominator wrote: “Tara offers nutrition education programs to youth and adults facing food insecurity in Huntingdon, Fulton and Franklin counties. She recently adapted one of her programs to include adults with intellectual disabilities. Tara does everything with a smile and makes everyone around her feel better!” 
  • Jenneth Layaou, director of campus enrollment and retention in the College of Agricultural Sciences, whose nominator wrote: “Jenneth goes above and beyond in everything she does, and her attention to detail is astounding. She is the director of The Pennsylvania School for Excellence in the Agricultural Sciences, a program for rising high school juniors. Her kindness and dedication to the students that cross her path is unmatched.” 
  • Clayton Lose, senior graphic designer in the College of the Liberal Arts, whose nominator wrote: “Clayton always goes above and beyond for our college's staff. He's always been approachable with any question or request—no matter how large or small—and is genuinely passionate about the impact of his work. He never fails to exceed expectations with the high-quality work and design he contributes.” 
  • Lisa Marzka, associate director of development in the College of Arts and Architecture, whose nominator wrote: “Lisa is such a good colleague. She is talented and thoughtful when working with donors. She also regularly goes out of her way to support our division and colleagues by taking on committee work, mentoring others, and welcoming and encouraging new employees.”   
  • Jennifer Onopa, extension educator in Penn State Extension, whose nominator wrote: “Jenn pioneered the creation of her unit’s Digital Transformation Team, which expanded educational reach and impact. She also coordinated the development of an online food safety curriculum using a new virtual platform. Jenn works with excellence and is a model educator.” 
  • Kimberly Petrosky, research integrity analyst in the Office for Research Protections, whose nominator wrote: “Kim recently used her problem-solving skills to tackle an urgent issue that was impacting our whole team. She always volunteers herself for the tasks no one else wants and does them with a smile and sense of humor that uplifts us all. Any team would be lucky to have her, but we're so glad she's ours!” 
  • Cathleen Phillips, area representative for continuing education at Penn State Berks, who received multiple nominations. One nominator wrote: “I would like to shout out Cathleen Phillips for her contribution to connecting me with Project Reconnect. With her help, I was able to receive a grant that allowed me to take my last course for my degree. She was fast to reply an provide me with answers and resources needed to receive the grant.” A second nominator wrote: “Cathleen helped to link me to Project RECONNECT, which helped me to finish out my last semester. If it weren't for Cathleen and Project RECONNECT, I wouldn't have graduated with my friends in December and started my journey as a nurse. Cathleen has gone above and beyond to help me.” 
  • Tasha Rockey, director of transfer credit services at Penn State World Campus, whose nominator wrote: “Thank you, Tasha, for providing our team with an inclusive workplace environment that includes a safe space to talk. Your support gave me courage to be able to talk about my invisible disability and bring awareness to others during Invisible Disabilities Week.” 
  • Ryan Strohl, program coordinator at the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, whose nominator wrote: “Ryan is a superstar employee. He often goes above and beyond his regular work duties to create meaningful engagement opportunities for students. He also serves as a fantastic role model for the student staff in our office, helping them to grow and be successful in their endeavors.” 
  • Caylie Taylor, administrative support assistant in Undergraduate Education, whose nominator wrote: “Caylie is simply phenomenal! She is a critical member of the Student Success Center team and an absolute joy to work with each day. Her creative thinking, organizational skills and positive attitude are essential to the success of our programs and events.”   
  • Adrian Weaver, interim human resources strategic partner in the Eberly College of Science, whose nominator wrote: “Adrian has done a great job in her interim role. She goes above and beyond to ensure everyone is treated fairly. She is very thoughtful in her responses to questions and concerns. She has a positive attitude that spills over to her co-workers. She makes HR more approachable and less intimidating.”   

Thank you Kristen, Becky, Tara, Jenneth, Clayton, Lisa, Jennifer, Kimberly, Cathleen, Tasha, Ryan, Caylie and Adrian — and to everyone who helps make Penn State such an incredible community! 

Do you know someone who deserves a shoutout? If you do, consider nominating that person by filling out a short online form