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It’s been an exciting year at Penn State, particularly in Biobehavioral Health. This fall we welcomed our students, faculty, and staff back to a fully in person academic year with nearly all of our classes being taught in person for the first time since before Spring Break of 2020.

This year we welcomed several new members to our BBH family, including Elaina Read, Krysia Gutierrez and Will Bakken. Elaina will manage our social media and website as well as human resources and facilities management. Krysia will handle finances and Will is taking the place of Carol Brytczuk at the reception desk. Carol, our long-time receptionist, retired at the end of December 2021.

Despite the challenges of navigating a return to in-person activities amidst an ongoing pandemic, it has been an exciting year for us in BBH. Our advisors have been hard at work continuing to innovate ways to assist our growing undergraduate student population. You can see photos of the newly designed Advising Center in BBH elsewhere in the newsletter. Heather Low was recently awarded the Martha “Marty” Adams Undergraduate Advising Award.

Many of our faculty have had their outstanding research and teaching accomplishments recognized this year. Several had work featured in Penn State Today, including Mike Russell, Lori Francis, Stephanie Lanza, Danielle Rhubart, and Steve Branstetter. Chris Engeland, Orfeu Buxton, Hannah Schreier, and Idan Shalev all received R01 awards. Maggie Bedillion received an HIDA F31 award. Orfeu Buxton, along with faculty in other departments, was awarded a grant from the Penn State Center for Human Evolution and Diversity. Asher Rosinger received the HWISE-RCN Collaborator Accelerator Award. Dana Naughton and Noel Habashy were awarded the Customized Program Development Grant and a Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence grant, both to further develop our Global Health Minor. Hannah Schreier received the Ann C. Crouter Early Career Faculty Award. Linda Wray received the Evelyn R. Saubel Faculty Award. JoAnn Foley-DeFiore received the HHD Alumni Society Excellence in Teaching award.

A number of our graduate and undergraduate students also have had their accomplishments recognized this past year. Allison Roby was awarded the Mullarkey Family Scholarship Award. Brooke Mattern, Elyse McMahon, David Reichenberger, and Katja Waldron were each awarded the BBH Dissertation Award. Laura Guay was named a Rhodes Scholarship finalist. Sam Stull was awarded the Ruth W. Ayres-Givens Scholarship. Leslie Ford was awarded the Elizabeth J. Susman Enhancement Fund Award. Claire Swedberg and Nicholas Prestayko were awarded the University Faculty Senate John White Memorial Fellowship, an award given to eight graduating seniors from across the entire university who are planning to attend graduate programs. Claire Swedberg also served as the HHD student marshal for the spring 2022 commencement. Three Global Health minor students, Claire Swedberg, Chloe Connor, and Siddhi Deshpande, have been awarded Fulbright Scholarships for research or graduate study.

Biobehavioral Health continues to grow and thrive, still holding our place as the largest undergraduate major at Penn State. We continue to find ways to collaborate with our colleagues across the campus at University Park, across the university system, and around the world to find innovative ways to improve health and quality of life. We are proud of and grateful for all our students, faculty, staff, and alumni that make significant contributing to advance health in all of its facets. Please keep in touch and let us know about all of your great accomplishments.


Tom Gould
Jean Phillips Shibley Professor and Department Head
Biobehavioral Health