Program Planning Committee

Carrie Brown

Carrie Brown is the Advanced Cyberinfrastructure Research and Education Facilitator (ACI-REF) at PSU’s Institute of Computational and Data Sciences. Building on an educational and research background in bioinformatics and statistics, she specializes in matchmaking computational and data-driven research questions with the most appropriate cyberinfrastructre resources and works closely with researchers to provide guidance on how best to develop and optimize their workflows. Prior to her arrival at Penn State in 2021, she worked as the Outreach and Training specialist at the University of Nebraska where she led the training and onboarding efforts at their high performance computing core and served as a regional mentor in the midwest. She has received her certification as an Instructor (2018) and an Instructor Trainer (2020) with The Carpentries, a nonprofit organization focused on building global capacity in essential data and computational skills for conducting efficient, open, and reproducible research.

Mike Burnham

Mike Burnham is a graduate student in the Social Data Analytics (SoDA) program.

Bruce Desmarais

Bruce Desmarais is the DeGrandis-McCourtney Early Career Professor in Political Science, Director of the Center for Social Data Analytics, and a co-hire of the Institute for Computational and Data Sciences at Penn State University. His research is focused on methodological development and applications that further our understanding of the complex interdependence that underlies politics and public policy. Methodologically, he focuses on methods for modeling networks, analyzing text, and running experiments on social systems. Primary application areas of interest to Bruce include public policy diffusion and digital communications involving political elites.

Rick Gilmore

Rick Gilmore is Professor of Psychology and Director of the Open Data and Developmental Science (ODDS) initiative with the Penn State Child Study Center (CSC). He co-founded and co-directs the Databrary data repository, and serves as Co-PI on the Play & Learning Across a Year (PLAY) Project. Gilmore served as inaugural director of the Penn State Social, Life, & Engineering Sciences Imaging Center. His research examines the development of perception and action in infants, children, and adults using behavioral, neural, and computational methods.

Frank Hillary

Frank G. Hillary is a Professor of Psychology and Neurology at Penn State. His research examines the influence of brain injury and disease on functional brain organization over the lifespan. To do so, he incorporates cognitive testing, structural and functional MRI, and network neuroscience approaches (e.g., graph theory) in his work. There is a critical need in the neuroimaging literature for open code and data sharing and convergence on accepted methods to increase scientific reliability. Because of this, over the past 5 years Dr. Hillary’s work has shifted to focus on the reproducibility of neuroimaging work in the study of brain disorders. He is the leader of an international working group, ENIGMA Brain Injury (see:, focused on genetics and neuroimaging data sharing and reproducible science.

Sai Koneru

Sai Koneru is a graduate student in the College of Information Sciences and Technology (IST).

Nicole Lazar

Nicole Lazar is Professor of Statistics at Penn State. Her research interests include the foundations of statistical inference and the analysis of functional neuroimaging data. In particular, she has worked on fundamental inferential topics such as model selection, multiple testing problems, and likelihood theory, specifically in the context of modern large-scale data analysis problems. She has done pioneering work on the statistical analysis of cognitive neuroscience data, with a focus on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Most recently, Lazar has been involved in the application of topological data analysis methods to scientific questions of interest in psychology and climatology. These techniques are at the interface of statistics, mathematics, and computer science, and exemplify her cross-disciplinary approach to research. Lazar is the author of the book The Statistical Analysis of Functional MRI Data published by Springer. Lazar is also Co-PI on an NSF-funded project on fostering open science education for graduate students NSF-1955049 which has led to the formation of the Open Science Alliance.

Daisy Lei

Daisy Lei is a PhD candidate at Penn State, pursuing a dual-title degree in Psychology and Language Science. She is in Dr. Janet van Hell’s Bilingualism and Language Development (BiLD) Lab. Her research interests include native- and nonnative-accented speech processing and word learning in monolinguals and bilinguals. She uses behavioral and neuropsychological (EEG) measurements in her research.

Kevin McManus

Kevin McManus is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics at Penn State, Director of the Center for Language Acquisition, and Director of the Center for Advanced Language Proficiency, Education, and Research. His research focuses on second language acquisition, especially psycholinguistics, crosslinguistic influence, and instruction, and research methodology, including replication research and open science. ## Hollie Mullin {-}

Hollie Mullin is a first year Clinical Psychology student in Dr. Frank Hillary’s lab at Penn State. Hollie would like to combine neuropsychological assessment and neuroimaging to examine how abnormal aging and TBIs affect cognitive functioning and brain network organization. Hollie also hopes to address replicability issues in neuroimaging to better predict long term outcomes and enhance rehabilitation interventions for patients.

Jenae Neiderhiser

Jenae Neiderhiser is Distinguished Professor of Psychology and Human Development and Family Studies. Dr. Neiderhiser’s research is focused on understanding how interpersonal relationships, especially those within the family, are influenced by genetic factors via gene-environment correlation and interaction and the subsequent links to later adjustment in children and adults. More recently her work has included the examination of prenatal and early life risks in relation to child and adult adjustment. Dr. Neiderhiser is interested in understanding how interpersonal relationships shape and are shaped by children throughout the lifespan. One of the more novel findings emerging from her current work is that prenatal and early life risks appear to be mechanisms by which genetic factors influence child adjustment. Dr. Neiderhiser has used a variety of genetically informed research designs to examine gene-environment interplay including a longitudinal adolescent twin/sibling design, a study of twin parents of an adolescent and their family, a prospective longitudinal parent-offspring adoption study, a study of preadolescent twin children oversampled for residing in high risk neighborhoods, and a large international data harmonization study including multiple adult twin samples. These studies include extensive assessment of the environment within the household, interpersonal relationships, adult and child adjustment, temperament and personality and other related measures and together span the lifespan.

Alaina Pearce

Alaina Pearce is Assistant Research Professor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences and Center for Childhood Obesity Research and is an affiliate of the Institute of Computational and Data Sciences. Dr. Pearce is a cognitive neuroscientist and her research interests center on understanding on the reciprocal association between neurocognitive functioning and pediatric obesity. Dr. Pearce’s current research aims to: 1) characterize cognitive function, neural food-cue responsivity, and eating behaviors in children at high and low familial risk for obesity prior to the development of excess adiposity; 2) identify neurocognitive processes and eating behaviors that confer either risk or resiliency to pediatric obesity; and 3) characterize child eating behaviors through meal microstructure and computational modeling.

Jennifer Valcin

Jennifer Valcin is a Statistical Data Analyst at the Penn State University Libraries. Dr. Valcin conducts individual consultations, workshops, and small group trainings to support researchers in the PSU community with data analysis planning and quantitative statistical methods using various software. Prior to joining Penn State University Libraries, she received her Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences with a focus in Genetics, Genomics, and Bioinformatics from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.

Briana Wham

Briana Ezray Wham is Research Data Librarian – STEM at the Penn State University Libraries. Dr. Wham conducts data management plan reviews and provides guidance, training, and consulting services for data management planning, active data management, reproducible research workflows using R, data visualization, data publication, as well as ORCiD integration and utility. She also works as one of the data curators for ScholarSphere, Penn State’s institutional repository. Prior to joining Penn State University Libraries, Briana received her Ph.D. in Entomology from Penn State, where she studied aspects of ecology, evolution, and conservation of bee communities. Briana’s interests include open science, museum collection digitization, and bee conservation.