Graduate Court

Branden D. Elmore 

Branden D. Elmore is a fourth-year PhD candidate in the Higher Education program at The Pennsylvania State University. He is a graduate of Fayetteville State University, where he obtained a B.A. in Communication with a Certificate in Professional Writing, as well as, a M.A .in Communication Studies (PR and Organizational Communication) from University of Cincinnati. An esteemed student leader, Branden has served on executive positions in Student Government, Graduate Student, Student Activities, and Professional associations. Entering Penn State in 2016, Branden received a fully funded Bunton-Waller Fellowship to complete his graduate studies. Since his time at Penn State, Branden has worked closely with the Office of Graduate Educational Equity to help provide an inclusive experience for graduate students throughout the university. Branden also has served on the Graduate School Alumni Society Board as a graduate student representative. In 2018, Branden sat on the College of Education’s Graduate Student Council and lead the planning committee for a Blue and White Tailgate event partnering with other graduate student organizations. Branden has also been a part of the Black Graduate Student, as well as, Higher Education Student Associations while at Penn State. In addition, he was named one of the inaugural National Black Justice Coalition’s “100 Emerging Black LGBT Leaders”; was awarded with a National Association of Student Personnel Administrators Graduate Student Research Award; and, has presented at numerous conferences in his field of Higher Education. Branden’s favorite memory while at Penn State is spending his summers enjoying the beauty of Happy Valley.

Valerie Sullivan

Valerie Sullivan is a 4th year PhD Candidate in the Nutritional Sciences program in the College of Human Development. Valerie graduated with Honors in Nutritional Sciences and a Psychology minor from Penn State in 2007. After graduation, she earned her Registered Dietitian credentials and practiced as a clinical dietitian at a Philadelphia community hospital for several years before returning to her alma mater for graduate studies. Her research, conducted under the mentorship of Dr. Penny Kris-Etherton, explores how diet affects risk for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases. As part of her dissertation research, she conducted a 55-person clinical trial evaluating the effect of dried fruit consumption on lipids, glucose, and vascular health in adults. Her research has been presented at the American Society for Nutrition conference and was awarded third place in the Health & Life Sciences division at this year’s Graduate Exhibition. Outside of the lab, she has led her peers as President of the Nutrition Graduate Student Association; instructed an undergraduate nutrition course; and taught nutrition lessons at Centre county schools. Valerie is also a Penn State Campus Recreation fitness instructor, teaching Barre and dance fitness classes. On weekends, you might find her hiking Mt. Nittany, running around campus, or enjoying her favorite flavor – Black Walnut Frozen Yogurt – at Berkey Creamery. After graduation, she plans to return to Philadelphia with her husband to continue researching and teaching to advance our knowledge of diet and health. And adopt a Corgi.