Meet the Team
Deepa L. Sekhar, MD, MSc
Deepa serves as executive director for Penn State PRO Wellness and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Penn State College of Medicine. Her responsibilities include leading PRO Wellness; engaging agencies, organizations, schools and community groups; maintaining a team-focused climate which attracts, keeps and motivates a staff of high quality individuals; and ensuring that research and projects further our important work to advance the health and wellness of our communities, both within Pennsylvania and beyond.
Kara Bowers, RD, LDN
Kara is a Registered Dietitian who serves as a project manager for the PRO Wellness Center. She utilizes her background in counseling and community nutrition for health promotion to assist in planning, implementing, and evaluating outcomes related to obesity and overall wellness. She is working specifically with Boy Scouts of America to implement an obesity prevention program, which aims to create a supportive nutrition environment and increase opportunities for physical activity within the Boy Scouts organization. Additionally, Kara works with employee wellness programs across multiple Penn State campuses to expand opportunities for wellness in the workplace.
Kara holds a Bachelor of Science in Nutrition and Dietetics from Messiah College and obtained her RD status through the Sodexo Allentown program. In her spare time, Kara enjoys cooking, reading, working out, and relaxing with her husband and two cats, Yoda and Vader.
Heather Costigan, BS
Lauren Green, MPH, CHES
Research Project Associate
Lauren serves as a part-time research project associate for Penn State PRO Wellness. She uses her background in health education to assist the center with the Healthy Champions program. She also aids in grant writing and program planning, implementation and evaluation.
Lauren holds a Bachelor’s degree in Health Promotion from Liberty University as well as a Master of Public Health degree with a concentration in Community and Behavioral Health from Penn State University. She has also been a Certified Health Education Specialist for over ten years. She enjoys reading and experimenting with food in her free time.
Elizabeth Hivner, M.Ed, CHES
Research Project Manager
Elizabeth is a Certified Health Education Specialist who serves as a Research Project Manager for PRO Wellness. She utilizes her public health, education and research background to provide educational opportunities for schools and manage research initiatives through the Center. Specifically, she is responsible for implementing a multi-tiered school-based research study to enhance school-aged children’s recommended vaccinations. She also oversees the qualitative component of a school-based depression screening research study funded through the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute.
Elizabeth holds a degree in Health Sciences with a concentration in Public Health Education from James Madison University and a Master’s of Education in Health Education from Penn State University. Elizabeth also enjoys running, cooking, going to the beach and traveling.
Alicia Hoke, MPH, CHES
Senior Project Manager
Alicia serves as senior project manager for our school-based grants, which create supportive nutrition environments and increase opportunities for physical activity in school districts across the Commonwealth. She utilizes her background in health education to develop educational materials and informational webinars on various school health topics.
Alicia holds a Bachelor’s Degree in biology from Lycoming College and a Master of Public Health from Penn State University. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist. In her spare time, Alicia enjoys boating and skiing with family and friends.
Chelsea Keller, BS
Chelsea serves as a Project Coordinator for PRO Wellness. She utilizes her knowledge and experience in biology, research, education and public health to coordinator evidence-based interventions. Currently, she is helping to implement a multi-tiered community and school-based research study to increase intent to vaccinate school-aged children.
Chelsea holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Juniata College, and is pursuing her Master of Public Health in Community and Behavioral Health at Penn State University. She is a dog-lover and an avid hiker and biker. Chelsea enjoys exploring new places and foods with her family and friends.
Abbey Kinard, BA
Marketing Communications Specialist
Abbey serves as Marketing Communications Specialist for PRO Wellness. Her responsibilities include the development and design of promotional and educational communications. Utilizing social media, web design and web analytics Abbey manages PRO Wellness’s online presence. She also assists with the implementation of our marketing strategy and brand consistency through digital and print advertising.
Abbey holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication/Journalism, from Shippensburg University. In her spare time, she enjoys diving into creative DIY projects, photographing life’s special moments and making memories with friends and family.
Nidesh Lamichhane, BS
Nidesh holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology from Duke University and is pursuing his Master of Public Health with a Nutrition concentration online through UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health. In his spare time, Nidesh enjoys cooking experiments, rooting for the underdog outside of his favorites (Broncos, Blue Devils, Lebron, Serena and Federer), and spending time with his parents, grandmas and friends.
Alissa Molinari, MPH
Alissa serves as a project coordinator for PRO Wellness. She utilizes her knowledge and experience in education, outreach and health promotion to assist with the implementation of a school-based study that focuses on mental health and community engagement.
Alissa holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology from East Stroudsburg University and a Master of Public Health from West Chester University. In her spare time, Alissa enjoys working out, skiing, traveling, and cheering on the Philadelphia sports teams.
Andrea Murray, M.P.H.
Andrea holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Nutrition and Dietetics and a Masters of Public Health from West Chester University. In her spare time, she enjoys skiing, days at the beach and spending time with her husband, son and their dog and cat.
Krista Pattison, MS
Research Project Manager
Krista serves as a Project Manager for our school-based grants, which promote obesity prevention efforts for children ages 2-19 across the Commonwealth. She utilizes her background in child development and education to assist schools in planning, implementing and evaluating policy and practice changes in order to work toward sustainable improvement of the wellness environment. Additionally, Krista works on a randomized control trial examining the benefits of conducting a universal depression screener with high school students.
Krista holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from Washington and Jefferson College and a Master’s Degree in Applied Developmental Psychology, with a concentration in Program Design and Leadership, from the University of Pittsburgh. In her free time, Krista enjoys cooking, crafting and spending time with friends and family.
Amy Rhine, BS
Social Media and Events Specialist
Amy holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Sport Management from DeSales University. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, supporting her favorite sports teams, learning to golf and spending time with her husband, golden retreiver Hemi as well as family and friends.
Angela Schlegel, RD
Angela holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from Penn State University and obtained her Registered Dietitian credential through the Penn State University Dietetic Internship program. In her spare time, Angela enjoys traveling, cooking/baking and outdoor activities such as kayaking and hiking.