Speaker Bios

Short biographies on each speaker at the 2018 Discovery Summit

Listed below are the College of Education faculty members who will be presenting at the 2018 Discovery Summit.

María Schmidt, is the Assistant Dean for Multicultural Programs at Penn State's College of Education. A native of Puerto Rico and a resident of Pennsylvania for the last 30 years, María has dedicated her life to addressing issues of educational equity and college access for underrepresented students. Throughout her professional career at Penn State she has exercised several leadership positions such as Chair for the Commission on Racial/Ethnic Diversity and was awarded the 2005 Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award in recognition for her commitment and leadership in fostering diversity and her service to under-represented communities. María frequently serves as consultant and advocate on Latina/o issues and engages in a variety of speaking, teaching and translating activities for community and University endeavors. She is advisor to several student organizations at Penn State and one of the founders of "Mujeres Bellas" a sociocultural group of Latinas in Centre County. María holds a BS in Sociology with a minor in Political Science from the University of Puerto Rico (Río Piedras). She earned a M.Ed. in Curriculum & Instruction from The Pennsylvania State University. Ms. Schmidt was appointed to the Pennsylvania Governor's Commission on Latino Affairs in 2006 where she served for several years as commissioner representing Blair and Centre Counties.

Mary Catherine Scheeler earned her Ph.D. and M.Ed. in Special Education, and B.S. degree in Special Education and Elementary Education at Penn State. Her research focuses on finding effective techniques to prepare teachers to work with students with special needs. Her work with immediate feedback in teacher preparation, use of technology in teacher supervision, and generalization of teaching techniques from University to K-12 classrooms supports this research focus. Dr. Scheeler currently serves as the Professor-in-Charge of the Special Education Program and is also the Past -President of the Teacher Education Division of the Council for Exceptional Children (CEC).

Andrew Markelz, a Doctoral Candidate in the Department of Educational Psychology, Counseling, and Special Education at the Pennsylvania State University, joins Dr. Scheeler. His research interests include expediting the novice to expert teaching curve with technology in teacher education, behavioral fluency, and programming for generalization.

Linsey Covert currently wears multiple hats that include being the Director of Project TEAM at The Pennsylvania State University and the Founder and CEO of TEAMology LLC. TEAMology is the entity commercializing the Penn State IP Project TEAM training, curriculum, materials, and a first of its kind cloud based software to enhance a school’s ability to collaborate and implement Project TEAM school wide programming that promotes teamwork, leadership, and career readiness for all students. Project TEAM is an innovative comprehensive school-wide anti-bullying movement to help schools evolve into TEAM oriented communities. It ultimately aims to increase school culture and reduce bullying. Project TEAM is based on a framework that she began developing as a graduate student in the Counselor Education program at Penn State. She is a former teacher and school counselor that served in public education for a handful of years before gaining some experience in higher education. Her journey has led her down an exciting path as she has successfully worked with administrators, school counselors, teachers, and community leaders to implement Project TEAM in over 20 schools. Linsey is currently providing continued support and consultation as Project TEAM grows across schools in Pennsylvania and beyond. As Project TEAM continues to grow, her hope is to create positive impact for students and schools across the country and beyond. She has spoken at a number of conferences and events related to topics such as school climate, impact of teamwork in schools, bullying prevention, successful school wide implementation, entrepreneurship, and leadership.

Crissy Hall is in her fourth year as an assistant professor in the School Psychology Program at Penn State. She received her B.S. in Communication Sciences and Disorders from Penn State in 2000 and an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs in 2003. Dr. Hall received her doctoral training from the Penn State School Psychology Program (graduated 2011). Dr. Hall has many clinical and school-based experiences with children and adults in a variety of settings including residential treatment, community mental health, corrections, and private practice. Her work as a research scientist for the Clearinghouse for Military Family Readiness and the Child Study Centers at Penn State sparked her interest in the dissemination of evidence-based practice using the internet and other technology-assisted platforms.

Efrain Marimon is an instructor at Penn State University in the College of Education. He is currently developing community-based programs with various university departments and exploring new initiatives related to social justice, human rights, law, and education.

Prior to working for Penn State, Efrain served as a teaching fellow and adjunct professor for the Street Law Clinic at Georgetown Law. At the Street Law Clinic, Efrain selected, trained, and supervised J.D. students who taught curricula to high school students throughout Washington, D.C. He also designed curriculum, co-taught a weekly legal seminar, coordinated placements with administrators, and regularly liaised with government agencies and nonprofits. 

Efrain also co-taught a summer clinic at Georgetown Law that supervised instructors teaching adults in various settings: correctional facilities; treatment centers for alcohol, drug, or HIV problems; homeless shelters; halfway houses; and other community centers. He also managed instructional and programmatic responsibilities at Georgetown Law for a program called After School Kids (ASK). The ASK Program is a youth diversion program that pairs Georgetown University students as mentors for court-involved youth. The mentors worked with law instructors to deliver weekly classes at the Law Center for program participants.

Prior to working for the Georgetown Law, Efrain clerked for the Miami-Dade School Board Attorney and the General Counsel for Florida’s Department of Education. He earned his J.D. from Nova Southeastern University Law, where he graduated with honors. He received his Master of Laws (LL.M.) from Georgetown Law and is licensed to practice law in Florida.

Before law school, Efrain earned his M.S.Ed. in Urban Education from the University of Pennsylvania. He taught Social Studies and Literacy in Philadelphia; and he frequently led professional development for his school, the district, and worked for Teach for America as a high school curriculum specialist.  During his time as an educator, Efrain was awarded the “Top 100 Teachers” recognition by the Philadelphia Federation of Teachers and presented a formal commendation by the School District of Philadelphia’s Superintendent for “Exemplary Community Leadership.”

Recently Efrain has conducted professional training for various national and international groups. In 2015, he trained graduate students, teachers, and attorneys at The Law Society of Scotland and at the University of Hong Kong Human Rights Clinic. Similarly, he led a session for attorneys, teachers, and administrators on innovative teaching methods at the 2015 Law-Related Education Conference for the American Bar Association. Currently, Efrain has plans to train clinical law faculty in Russia to establish Street Law Programs.