Ten Penn Staters Elected To Alumni Council Amid Shockingly Low Voter Turnout

The Penn State Alumni Association elected ten Penn State alumni to serve three-year terms on its Alumni Council, the governing board of the Alumni Association itself. The Alumni Council advises the Alumni Association on programs and initiatives to fulfill its mission.

All alumni members of the Alumni Association are eligible to vote in the online election. Of the 139,273 alumni eligible to vote, 7,865 individuals (or 5.64 percent) voted in this year’s election. Shockingly, this is an even lower voter turnout than the controversial 2016 election, which clocked in at 7.36 percent. You can see the full 2017 voting results here.

Controversy has riddled the Alumni Council election in recent years, leading to the Alumni Association establishing a nominating committee in 2016 to vet candidates — a process that has been criticized for preventing many of the more vocal alumni (especially those involved with the PS4RS interest group or who have publicly criticized the Alumni Association) from appearing on the ballot.

Those elected to the Alumni Council will serve from July 1, 2017 to June 30, 2020. The following ten individuals were elected, with biographical information provided by the Alumni Association:

  1. Thomas Ulmer ’96 Lib, Wellsboro, Pennsylvania; Ulmer is executive assistant for the deputy under secretary of the Navy for Policy for the U.S. Navy.
  2. Tracey Baker ’93 H&HD, Philadelphia; Baker is an information technology specialist for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services/Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
  3. Kristen McMullen ’89 H&HD, Charleston, South Carolina; McMullen is director of the Student Success Center at College of Charleston, School of Business.
  4. Melissa Schipke ’09 Bus, ’09 Com, Haddon Township, New Jersey; Schipke is founder and CEO of Tassl.
  5. Trisha Fehlinger Mikita ’00 EMS, State College, Pennsylvania; Mikita is vice president of Digital Media Strategy for AccuWeather.
  6. Heather Wolfe ’14 H&HD, Oxford, Pennsylvania; Wolfe is an assistant athletic trainer at Lincoln University, for NovaCare Rehabilitation.
  7. Shawn Manderson ’03 IST, Philadelphia; Manderson is director of Global SOCR Compliance Program for ADP, Inc.
  8. Michael Catino, P.E. ’70 Eng, Shamokin, Pennsylvania; Catino is president of Catino Associates, Inc.
  9. Jay Weitzel Jr. ’74 Lib, Springfield, Virginia; Weitzel is division counsel and corporate director for Northrop Grumman Corporation.
  10. John Hook ’82 DUS, State College, Pennsylvania; Hook is president of The Hook Group.

Four candidates endorsed by the PSAAForAll interest group were elected in 2016, down from the nine positions the group secured in the 2015 election. This year, the group did not specifically endorse candidates, but instead reached out to each candidate published a voting guide on their website, shown below.

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Elissa Hill

Elissa is a junior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.


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