Director Bios


In addition to Homecoming's Executive Director, there are 16 Homecoming Directors, one for each of the Captain Committees. Directors from each Committee form the Homecoming Executive Committee (HEC).  Throughout the year Directors plan and organize all Homecoming events and are vital to the success of Penn State's Homecoming celebration.


Executive Director

Ally Berdan

Ally Berdan is a junior Supply Chain and Information Systems major who is the 2018 Homecoming Executive Director. She first became involved with the organization during her freshman year as a Merchandise Captain, and then served as the 2017 Internal Development Director. Ally has loved every part of her experience, but most enjoys seeing the entire Penn State family, past and present, come together as a community to show pride for our favorite school. Outside of Homecoming, Ally is the Women in Business President and Powerful Women Paving the Way Conference planner, a Smeal Student Mentor and an active member in Club Snowboard’s THON efforts. She is most excited to work together with the Executive Committee this year to find ways to better engage with the Penn State community and celebrate what the future holds for Homecoming!

Alumni Relations

Sarah Leipham

Sarah is a Junior from Horseheads, New York majoring in Psychology and Political Science with a minor in Labor & Employment Relations. She has been involved with Homecoming in the past through the Pride Events Committee and the Alumni Relations Committee as the Grand Marshal/Honorary Grand Marshal Liaison Captain. Outside of Homecoming, Sarah has been involved with THON through the Dancer Relations and Donor & Alumni Relations Committees. Her favorite part of Homecoming is showing off exactly why those in the Penn State community hold such pride for this university through carrying on the legacy of those before us and implementing new traditions. This year, Sarah is most looking forward to working with her captains to integrate Penn Staters of the past and present, all while celebrating the possibilities of the future!


Ashley Wong

Ashley is a Junior from Clarksburg, Maryland majoring in Biology with a focus in Vertebrate Physiology. Ashley was an Organization Liaison Captain for the Competition Committee in 2017 before she became the Director of Competition. Outside of Homecoming, Ashley is the Public Relations Director of Science LionPride and Students Helping Honduras, Community Chair of Vaccinate America, and a member of Kappa Alpha Theta Sorority. She has been a long-time Lecture Assistant for general chemistry and enjoys helping students succeed inside and outside the classroom. This year she is most excited for celebrating the pride she has for Penn State through the spirit of Homecoming.

Distribution Management

Hannah Lanzelotti

Hannah is a Junior from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. She is currently studying Supply Chain and Information Systems with a minor in Information Systems Management. She has been involved in Homecoming since she was a freshman and had Captain positions on both Competition and Distribution Management. Outside of Homecoming, Hannah is involved with Penn State Dance MaraTHON as a Finance Committee Member and a brother of Phi Beta Lambda - Professional Business Fraternity. Hannah loves being involved in Homecoming for the sense of pride she and all Penn State students share for this amazing school. She looks forward to working with her fellow Directors and Captains to make Homecoming the best it can be for all students, alumni, and members of the community!

Donor Relations

Isabella Webster

Isabella is a sophomore from Bucks County, PA.  She is double majoring in Security Risk Analysis and Economics.  Outside of Homecoming, Isabella is an OPPerations committee member for THON, has studied abroad in Singapore, has worked as a LEAP Mentor for Penn State, and has been involved with several other academic clubs and projects.  She served as the Donor Relations Tent Captain in 2017 and is excited to serve as the Donor Relations Director for 2018.  Isabella’s favorite part of Homecoming is seeing alumni, faculty and students come together to celebrate Penn State’s proud past, present and future. She is looking forward to working with her captains and the other directors to make Homecoming 2018 the best it can possibly be!


Kristen Luzell

Kristen is a Junior from Punxsutawney, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Economics with minors in Philosophy and Business and the Liberal Arts. She has been involved with Homecoming since her Freshman year as a member of the First-Year Involvement Committee. After this, she was the Registration Captain on the Finance Committee for two years. Outside of Homecoming, Kristen has been involved with the Economics Association as a Finance Associate, and as a THON Finance Committee Member. Her favorite part of Homecoming is seeing alumni and current students interacting and showing their Penn State pride. Kristen is excited to continue Penn State traditions with her fellow directors and captains for Homecoming 2018.


Allison Gaddis

Allison is a Junior from Leonardtown, Maryland majoring in Enterprise Risk Management with minors in Psychology and Statistics. She has been involved with Homecoming in the past as a Royalty Captain for Homecoming 2016 and a University Relations Captain for Homecoming 2017. Outside of Homecoming, she is involved with THON through committees and her special interest organization, Springfield. Allison's favorite part of Homecoming is how the whole Penn State community comes together to show pride for our university and to celebrate its legacy and accomplishments. She is looking forward to working with the other Directors and her Captains to leave a mark on Penn State Homecoming.


Sean Karasik

Sean is a Junior from New Haven, Connecticut. He is currently studying Accounting in the Smeal College of Business. Outside of Homecoming, Sean is involved in THON as an OPPerations Committee Member and is on the 2017 National Champion Club Croquet team. Sean has previously been involved in Homecoming on the OPPerations committee as the Equipment Logistics Captain. His favorite Homecoming memory was following the end of the Parade and seeing the excitement of everyone that lined the streets. This year, Sean is looking forward to improving Homecoming's sustainability efforts and making the events just as great for the environment as they are for the Penn State community.

Internal Development

Maggie Straub

Maggie is a Sophomore from Downingtown, Pennsylvania majoring in Marketing. Outside of Homecoming, Maggie is involved in Women in Business. She is also involved in THON, acting as the Secretary of Futures (a special interest organization), as well as a Dancer Relations Committee Member. Maggie was involved with Homecoming 2017, where she worked as a captain for Internal Development, helping organize committee member workshops and activities. She loves seeing how Homecoming impacts the State College community, as well as the opportunity to form such strong friendships with other students involved in Homecoming. This year, Maggie is most excited to promote Homecoming even more around campus and to get to work with her captains to make exciting new changes!


Lexie Naber

Lexie is a junior from Lower Gwynedd, Pennsylvania majoring in Biobehavioral Health with minors in Women’s Studies and Human Development and Family Studies. Outside of Homecoming Lexie is research assistant and a member of Alpha Omicron Pi sorority. She has been involved in Homecoming in the past as a Parade Captain both as the VIP/Convertible Liaison in 2016 and as the Student Organization Liaison Captain in 2017. Lexie’s favorite memory of Homecoming was standing at merge point and watching the parade come together. This year she is looking forward to working with her captains and other members of Homecoming to plan, organize, and execute the largest student-run parade in the nation!

Pride Events

Olivia Soda

Olivia is a Sophomore from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania majoring in Biobehavioral Health. Outside of Homecoming, she participates in THON as an OPPerations committee member. Olivia became involved with Homecoming her freshmen year as the Pride Events Project Development Captain. Her favorite part of Homecoming is seeing the excitement and involvement from the Penn State community at all of the different events that the members of Homecoming have worked so hard to put together. This year, Olivia is looking forward to working with her fellow directors, captains and committee members to make a lasting impact on Homecoming all while making memories along the way.


Alex Hyneman

Alex is a junior from Reading, PA. He is a Film/Video major with a minor in English. Alex first participated in Homecoming his freshman year through the First Year Involvement Committee. Since then in the following year, Alex was a Scriptwriting Captain for the Production committee. The year after that, he served as the Webcast Captain also for the Production committee. Beyond Homecoming, Alex has been a part of THON through the Dancer Relations and Public Relations committees. He has also been worked on the Penn State Network Television and served as Treasurer for Penn State Association of Journalists for Diversity. The spring of his sophomore year, Alex was selected as a member of a committee within the Bellisario College of Communications to search for the new Dean of Multicultural Affairs. Alex’s favorite part of Homecoming is working with Captains and Directors to inspire others for the future of Homecoming. Every year, he looks forward to watching so many people come together through Homecoming and the pride Penn Staters have for their community.

Public Relations

Kylie Schneck

Kylie is a Senior from Lancaster, Massachusetts. She is majoring in Advertising with a double minor in Digital Media Trends and Analytics and Business. Outside of Homecoming, Kylie is the secretary of ServeState, a community service organization, the Marketing Chair for Her Campus at Penn State, and a member of the Penn State chapter of the American Marketing Association. She has been involved with Homecoming in the past as a Social Media Captain for Homecoming 2017. Kylie’s favorite part of Homecoming is being able to celebrate all generations of Penn Staters and their pride for the university. This year she is looking forward to seeing all of the captains’ and directors’ hard work throughout the year come together during Homecoming Week!


Renne Clauson-Rivera

Renee is a Junior from Wilmington, North Carolina majoring in Political Science.She has been involved with Homecoming since Sophomore year, as a 2016 Pride Events committee member and later a 2017 Royalty University Court Captain. Outside of Homecoming, she is heavily involved at Penn State as a Teacher Assistant, Alternative Break Site Leader and public relations committee member for Relay for Life.Renee’s favorite part of Homecoming is seeing groups of Penn Staters with different interests and involvement, come together to celebrate, all with the same shared passion for this University.She is looking forward to seeing how the Homecoming organization continues to grow this year, and building lifelong friendships and memories.


Deanna Gavlick

Deanna is a Junior from Robbinsville, New Jersey majoring in Industrial Engineering. Outside of Homecoming, Deanna works in a party planning business. Deanna has previously been involved with Homecoming as a Security Captain as the competition liaison. Her favorite part of Homecoming is getting to see everyone, from the students to the greater State College community, enjoy the parade together. This year, Deanna looks forward to introducing new students to Homecoming and guiding her captains to a fun and successful Homecoming.


Aaron McKenzie

Aaron is Sophomore from Brooklyn, NY majoring in Information Sciences & Technology with a minor in Security and Risk Analysis. He has been involved in Homecoming in the past as a Technology Captain. Outside of Homecoming, Aaron is involved in THON as an OPPerations committee member and is the Finance Chair of IST Benefitting THON. Aaron’s favorite part of Homecoming is celebrating Penn State’s past, present and future and embracing its diverse community. He looks forward to working with the Executive Committee and his Captains to refresh the appearance of the Homecoming website.

University Relations

Emily Ianovale

Emily is a Junior from Drexel Hill, Pennsylvania. She is majoring in Accounting and Finance. Along with Homecoming she is involved in THON as a Hospitality Committee Member as well as a Smeal Student Mentor. Emily became involved in Homecoming last year as a University Relations Captain. Her favorite part of Homecoming is seeing all different organization and members of the school and community coming together to celebrate our Penn State pride! She is excited to work with her captains and see everyone’s hard work pay off!