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Meet Our Team

Current Committee Members

Next STEPS Committee Chair
Associate Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Mahony Lab Website


Verne M. Willaman Professor

Professor in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics


Associate Professor, Astronomy and Astrophysics
Cindy Yuexing Gulis's faculty web page

As a member of the Next STEPS committee, Cindy Gulis is interested in improving diversity, equity and inclusion in STEM education. Her research focuses on the formation, evolution, and properties of galaxies and black holes by combining numerical simulations and multi-wavelength observations.


Associate Professor of Statistics
Ephraim Hanks' personal website


Assistant Professor, Psychology
Assistant Professor, Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies
Jes Matsick's faculty web page

As the Director of the Underrepresented Perspectives (UP) Laboratory, Jes Matsick’s research incorporates feminist perspectives into the social psychological study of stigma, with an emphasis on improving psychological outcomes for marginalized groups. She joined the Next STEPS committee to apply her knowledge and expertise to diversity-focused initiatives in ECoS, and she very much values the interdisciplinary partnerships created through this committee.

Jes is a recipient of Penn State's Graduate Mentoring Award in Psychology and the Academic Achievement Award from Penn State's Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, and she also advises Penn State's unique dual-title Ph.D. program in Psychology and Women's, Gender, and Sexuality Studies in the College of the Liberal Arts.


Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology
Timothy Meredith's faculty web page

Tim Meredith is excited to be part of the Next Steps committee, and is particularly interested in understanding best practices for equity, inclusivity, and excellence as it relates to the tenure-track faculty hiring and retention. Tim's research is focused on understanding microbial cell envelope structures, and their role in bacterial physiology and detection by immune system receptors.


Professor of Biology and Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology

Moriah Szpara lab website

Moriah is an Associate Professor in the Department of Biology and the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. Moriah comes to the Next STEPS committee after many years of search committee service and DEI advocacy -- an average of one search per year over the last decade at Penn State, across multiple colleges and units. Moriah's group is a founding member of the Rainbow Science Network in the Eberly College of Science, working to support an inclusive environment for our LGBTQ+ community and beyond. Moriah also serves as a Gender Equity Ambassador, working with the Gender Equity Center at Penn State to build awareness of the effects of interpersonal violence on our campus community. Moriah's research focuses on viral genomics and evolution, and the impacts of viral diversity on the outcomes of infection.


Former Committee Members

  • Dave Hunter, Professor, Statistics, 2018-2024
  • Chad Hanna, Professor, Physics, 2021-2024
  • Raymond Schaak, Professor, Chemistry, 2022-2024
  • Tim Jegla, Associate Professor of Biology, Associate Department Head of Graduate Education, Biology, 2020-2024
  • Nate Brown, Professor, Mathematics, 2018-2021
  • Santhosh Girirajan, Associate Professor, Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, 2018-2021
  • Jan Reimann, Associate Professor, Mathematics, 2018-2021
  • Sarah Shandera, Associate Professor, Physics, 2018-2021
  • Chuck Fisher, Emeritus Professor and Distinguished Senior Scholar, Biology, 2018-2019
  • Katriona Shea, Professor, Biology; Alumni Professor, Biological Sciences, 2018-2020
  • Bekki Dawson, Shaffer Career Development Professor, Astronomy & Astrophysics, 2018-2021
  • Lingzhou Xue, Professor, Statistics
  • Miriam Freedman, Professor, Chemistry