Meet our Team

The Political Science Department has three full-time academic advisers as well as an undergraduate staff coordinator. Our academic advisors are located in 201 Pond Lab.

Angela Hill - Undergraduate Programs Assistant

I have been the undergraduate staff coordinator for the Department of Political Science since 2006. I thoroughly enjoyAngelaHIll.jpg working with students in this position. I enjoy the new challenges I encounter every day of each semester, and I love meeting new students and getting to know them! I find great joy in seeing students work through their degrees and meet the huge accomplishment of graduation after their years here. In my position, I interact with faculty as well as students and one of my main responsibilities is course scheduling. I enjoy both my role in advising and the administrative side of my job.

I love following Penn State sports and traveling, camping, going to the beach, and playing in the snow and skiing with my family! I am married and have two young children and love watching them play sports. They both say they want to attend Penn State!!


Kristie Kalvin headshotMia Parise - Academic Adviser

My undergraduate degree is from Penn State. I received a BFA in Theatre with a concentration in Stage Management and a minor in Dance. After working in the industry for a short period of time, I completed a Master of Science in Elementary Education at the University of Scranton. I am a certified teacher and have taught K-6 in both Pennsylvania and New Jersey. My favorite grade to teach was Kindergarten!

I have an extensive background in dance including Ballet, Tap, Jazz and Modern. I am a classically trained Ballet dancer and these days I enjoy teaching both children and adults. I performed in many classical ballets including over 100 performances of The Nutcracker. In 2015, I traded my ballet slippers for running shoes and I completed my first marathon in October 2017!

If I could do college over again or at least give advice to my younger self, I would tell myself to slow down and enjoy all that college has to offer. I went through college at hyper speed and didn’t take advantage of all of the resources and opportunities that were available to me. I would study abroad at least once and participate in an internship. Also, I would make time to participate in the Dance team or some extracurricular sport. Though I loved my college experience, hindsight tells me that the real world would still have been waiting for me even if I slowed down and took time to engage in those opportunities. Of course, now I know they would have enhanced my experience and allowed me to enjoy it even more. I love that as an Academic Adviser I can use myself as an example to encourage my students to explore all that PSU has to offer and help to connect them with all the great opportunities available to them!

I love that my job gives me the opportunity to meet new people and learn about their interesting lives and goals. My students inspire me every day with their passions and impress me with their motivation, drive and accomplishments. I feel lucky to be able to play a part in their journeys and help them reach their academic goals. 

___________________________________________________________________________________ Marcus Toomer - Academic Adviser

I started working as an adviser in the Pond Lab on September 7, 2019. I work with a host of majors (Political Science, International Politics, Social Data Analytics, CAS, Philosophy, African Studies and African American Studies) so stop by the Pond Lab to learn more. Before moving to advising, I worked at Penn State - University Park in Residence Life for 5 years. Prior to Penn State, I worked in Residence Life at my Alma Mater, York College of Pennsylvania for 4 years. I earned both my Bachelor's Degree in Sport Management (2008) and my Master's Degree in Educational Leadership (2014) from York College of Pennsylvania.

I am a huge sports fan and love supporting the Nittany Lions!! You may see me at various sporting events across campus so don't hesitate to stop by and say hi. I am also the Head Varsity Coach for Girls Basketball at Bellefonte Area High School. Coaching is a huge passion of mine and I am really excited to create a winning program in the local area!!


Maddy Whittemore - Academic Adviser

I received a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration & Marketing (2015) and a Master's in Business Administration (2017) from Towson University, which is outside Baltimore, MD. I am excited to be advising for PLSC, PHIL, INTPL, SODA, and CAS and to be working with the amazing Liberal Arts students! As someone who attended a Liberal Arts institution, I value the perspective these disciplines provide and the ways in which it shapes your thinking. Before starting as an adviser in September 2020, I worked in Residence Life here at University Park for over two years as a Residence Life Coordinator in East Halls. Prior to coming to Penn State I worked at Eastern Connecticut State University as a Hall Director. Working with students to help them achieve their goals, foster growth and development, and have the best collegiate experience possible during this unique time of life is so extremely rewarding.

Personally, I am a big outdoors person as I grew up in the mountains of Western Maryland spending every season outdoors kayaking, hiking, skiing, etc. It's one of the reasons I love living here in Happy Valley with many things to do outside as well. I enjoy going to concerts, traveling, cooking, going to the movies, reading, and spending time with my dog and cat. I look forward to meeting as many students as I can and supporting you the best I can. 

Kelsey Block - Academic Adviser

I earned my Bachelor’s degree in Arts and Humanities from Michigan State University in 2016. After that, I worked in state government as a communications representative for the Michigan Department of Natural Resources. I started at Penn State in 2019 as a graduate student, where I had the opportunity to work with Adult Learner Programs and Services. I graduated with my M.Ed in Higher Education in 2021.  

My own undergraduate experience instilled in me the immense value of studying the liberal arts at a large, research institution. I truly believe it’s the best of both worlds; students can access the vast array of opportunities Penn State provides, while still getting a tight-knit, personal classroom experience. To me, the chance to work as an academic adviser for the College of the Liberal Arts feels a lot like coming home. I am beyond excited to help others in their journey to become curious, critical, compassionate, and creative lifelong learners.  

On a more personal note, I grew up on a dairy farm in rural Michigan. I enjoy hiking, baking, reading, writing, spending time with my family, and hanging out with my two cats, Merry and Pippin. I dabble in music (flute and piano) as well as crochet. I am slowly building my at-home library. My favorite fictional worlds and stories include: Harry Potter, The Mortal Instruments, The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit, anything by Jane Austen, Avatar: The Last Airbender, Downton Abbey, The Umbrella Academy, and the Good Place.