Health and Human Development honors standout alumni

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — The College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society will honor its 2017 award winners at the Oct. 27 College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society Board Awards Dinner.

All recipients are graduates of the College of Health and Human Development and have distinguished themselves in their careers and service.

Alumni Service Award

Mark Grabowski, who graduated in 1983 with a bachelor’s degree in recreation and parks, is the director of safety and security at Southwest Baptist University, a role he has held since 1991.

Grabowski has been very active in professional organizations holding numerous leadership positions within the safety and security industry. He has also been involved in international mission and humanitarian trips to El Salvador, Venezuela, Kenya, Germany, Greece, Morocco and South Sudan.

In addition to Penn State, he graduated from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary with a master’s degree in religious education and Drury University with a master’s degree in criminal justice.

Emerging Professional – Undergraduate Degree Award

Catherine Kuhns, who graduated in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in human development and family studies and was a Schreyer Honors Scholar, is a doctoral student in the department of Human Development and Quantitative Methodology at the University of Maryland, where she is also pursuing a Certificate in Population Studies from the Maryland Population Research Center.

She recently received the prestigious Doris Duke Fellowship for the Promotion of Child Well-Being to fund her last two years of dissertation research. Prior to returning to graduate school, Kuhns served as a Teach For America corps member in New York City, where she became interested in the resilience and strength of families living in poverty.

Kuhns’ time in the classroom shaped her research interests, which include a focus on parenting young children in low-income and ethnic minority populations as well as improving the local, state and federal policies that target these families.

She received her master’s degree in teaching English to speakers of others languages (TESOL) from Fordham University.

Emerging Professional – Undergraduate Degree Award

Joseph Kindler, who graduated in 2012 with a bachelor’s degree in nutritional sciences and was a Schreyer Honors College Scholar in the Department of Kinesiology, is a post-doctoral research associate in the Department of Nutrition Science at Purdue University.

In 2017, he completed his doctoral studies in foods and nutrition at the University of Georgia, focusing on pediatric nutrition, obesity, and musculoskeletal development. His dissertation research was aimed at understanding the influence of obesity and obesity-related chronic health conditions, namely insulin resistance, on pediatric muscle and bone growth.

After completing his doctoral studies, Kindler joined the laboratory of Connie Weaver, distinguished professor in nutrition science, at Purdue University to further his training in pediatric nutrition and cardiometabolic health. Following his postdoctoral training, Kindler plans to pursue a career in academic research, focusing on the role of diet and diet-related chronic health conditions in pediatric musculoskeletal development.

Kindler has published in several high-impact factor journals, including The Journal of Bone and Mineral Research, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, Calcified Tissue International, and The Journal of Nutrition, to name a few. Additionally, he has received awards at several regional, national and international research meetings including The American Society for Bone and Mineral Research Annual Meeting and The International Symposium on the Nutritional Aspects of Osteoporosis.

Alumni Recognition Award

Lisa Weyandt, who graduated in 1984 with a bachelor’s degree in individual and family studies and was in the University Scholars Program at Penn State (now the Schreyer Honors College), is a psychology professor at the University of Rhode Island (URI), and a faculty member of the Interdisciplinary Neuroscience Program, and the George and Anne Ryan Institute for Neuroscience.

Weyandt earned her master’s degree in psychology from the University of Rhode Island and subsequently served as a Rotary International Ambassador to Oslo, Norway, where she studied Norwegian and Neuropsychology at the University of Oslo.

Upon her return to the United States, Weyandt earned a doctorate in school psychology at the University of Rhode Island and specialized in neuropsychology. She joined the faculty of the Department of Psychology at Central Washington University in 1990, where she received the Distinguished Professor of Research Award in 2004. Weyandt returned to URI as a faculty member in 2006 and over the years has mentored hundreds of undergraduate and graduate students in various capacities.

She is the author of four books as well as over 70 journal articles and book chapters and is currently on sabbatical writing her fifth book, "Clinical Neuroscience: Foundations of Psychiatric Disorders and Neurodegenerative Disease." She recently completed a five-year National Institutes of Health-funded, multi-site longitudinal study with co-principal investigators in North Carolina and Pennsylvania, to investigate the educational, cognitive, psychological, social and vocational functioning of college students with and without ADHD.

Last Updated October 19, 2017