Alan Rieck

Dr. Rieck joined Penn State’s Office of Undergraduate Education in 2016 from the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, where he served as the chair of the Department of Music and Theatre Arts and professor of choral music and music education. He holds a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction (Music Education), as well as master's and bachelor's degrees in Music Education, all from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. As associate vice president and associate dean for Undergraduate Education, Dr. Rieck leads undergraduate research initiatives offered through the Office of Undergraduate Education, including the University’s annual Undergraduate Exhibition and leadership for the Student Engagement Network.

Phone: 814-863-1864

Caitlin Ting

Dr. Ting joined the Undergraduate Research and Fellowships Mentoring Office in 2016. She holds a Ph.D. in Psychology and Language Science from the Pennsylvania State University. She also earned a master's degree in Psychology and bachelor's degrees in Psychology and Spanish from Penn State.

Entering college, Dr. Ting studied music education and only identified her interest in psychology after participating in undergraduate research. She is enthusiastic about helping undergraduates discover and pursue research and fellowship opportunities that nurture their personal and professional interests.

Lara LaDage

Dr. LaDage joined Penn State Altoona as an assistant professor of Biology in the Fall of 2013. Her research focuses on the relationship between naturally-selected behaviors and the underlying neural architecture that support those behaviors. Dr. LaDage has mentored over 30 Penn State undergraduates in her research laboratory and strongly believes that undergraduate research is a high-impact educational practice that contributes to academic success. As the Undergraduate Research Faculty Fellow, she intends to understand the undergraduate research models at the Penn State campuses, streamline access to undergraduate research information for students and mentors across Penn State, track student participation in undergraduate research, and assess learning gains from participating in an undergraduate research experience.


Tara Winchester

Tara joined the office in June of 2019 and keeps it running smoothly. Since joining, she has immersed herself in learning all that she can on the application procedures, eligibility criteria and deadlines of the opportunities supported by the office. If you have any questions about an opportunity, run into problems when scheduling an appointment, or want to request a presentation, make sure to contact Tara.

Phone: 814-863-8199

Ryan O’Donnell

Ryan is a Ph.D. candidate in the Cognitive Area of the Department of Psychology. His research interests include visual attention and visual working memory, and he utilizes behavioral, neuroscientific, and machine learning techniques to answer his research questions. Ryan received a bachelor's degree in Biological Sciences and Psychology from the University of Notre Dame, where he participated in undergraduate research, an experience that included travelling to conferences and completing his own senior thesis. On the fellowship side of things, Ryan has applied for the NSF Graduate Research Fellowship Program. He can offer an insider's perspective of what it was like to apply and what you can learn from the mistakes he made.

Ben is a Ph.D. candidate in the Department of Philosophy. His research focuses generally on social and political theory, and his dissertation is on the concept of hope in Immanuel Kant and Theodor Adorno's philosophies. He majored in Comparative Literature and Philosophy at Dartmouth College and received his M.A. in Philosophy from the University of Essex. He has advising experience as well as personal experience applying for research opportunities and scholarships.


Nancy is a second-year Ph.D. student in the Counselor Education program in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education. Her research interests include trauma, adverse childhood experiences, and protective factors that influence mental health outcomes in college students. Nancy received her B.A. in Psychology from The College of Wooster and her M.A. in Clinical Mental Health Counseling from the University of Texas at Tyler. Nancy can assist students with questions about fellowships and research opportunities as well as provide feedback on CVs, resumes, and application materials.