Penn State Scranton welcomes new employees

DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Scranton Chancellor Marwan Wafa has announced the hiring of new staff and faculty at the campus. New staff members are: Colin Dempsey, enrollment services specialist; Allison Karpinski, administrative support assistant; and Joel Perkins, alumni relations and stewardship officer. Mizanoor Rahman, has joined the campus as an assistant professor of engineering.

Dempsey graduated cum laude from Temple University in 2008 with a bachelor of science in tourism and hospitality management. He is currently working toward his master of science in higher education, with a focus on higher education management. Prior to accepting his new position at Penn State Scranton, Dempsey worked at Keystone College in La Plume, Pennsylvania, where he started in 2018 as an admissions counselor, and worked his way up to associate director of admissions. Before that, he worked at Maximo Nivel, a study abroad and educational travel organization, for five years, starting out in 2013 as a field manager and ending his time there as the country manager for the Maximo Nivel institute in La Antigua, Guatemala.

Dempsey said that it is the worldwide recognition of the Penn State name, as well as the University’s dedication to, and implementation of, diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) initiatives and student activities that attracted him to the position.

“From University Park to Scranton, and everywhere across Pennsylvania, I saw that Penn State truly does this,” Dempsey said of the campus’ DEI and student activities efforts. “This has been apparent on personal visits to University Park and from the moment I stepped onto the Scranton campus for my interviews, and it feels great to be a part of this now!”

In his role as enrollment services specialist, Dempsey will be working alongside the rest of the admissions team to recruit students and welcome them into the Penn State family, just as he says he has felt since joining the admissions staff.

“I was very warmly welcomed by the entire campus from the first time I stepped onto campus, and I am grateful for that,” said Dempsey. “I am home.”

Dempsey currently resides in Factoryville, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Yury, who is from Little Corn Island, Nicaragua. They have two children, Cory and Chaska, who were both born in Antigua, Guatemala.

Karpinski is the administrative support assistant for the campus’ Center for Business Development and Community Outreach (CBDCO). Prior to accepting this position, she was the administrative assistant for the director of special education at New Story Schools in Wyoming, Pennsylvania, which is a private school for students with autism and emotional support needs; a paraprofessional at Riverside School District; and an assistant at Tiny Tots Preschool.

According to Karpinski, seeing students succeed in education has always been an enjoyable part of their career, which was a motivating factor in their decision to come to Penn State Scranton.

“I applied for this position at Penn State with the excitement and pride that comes with being a part of Penn State,” Karpinski said. “I was looking for a position that would have room for personal growth and would provide stability for my family.”

Some of her duties in this position will include course set-up and completion, class registrations, general office duties, processing expenses, and tracking income for the department. She also provides general office support of the Scranton LaunchBox and the Innovation Center.

“I am so excited to learn all that goes into helping the community gain access to all of the customized training programs, youth programs, and other learning experiences that this department has to offer!” Karpinski exclaimed.

Karpinski currently resides in Taylor, Pennsylvania, with her husband, Tony, and their two children: Alese, who is currently a freshman at the University Park campus studying marketing, and Anthony, who is a junior at Riverside Jr/Sr High School.

Perkins obtained his undergraduate degree in music from Louisiana State University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, and has a masters in business administration (MBA) from Penn State. Prior to joining Penn State Scranton as the alumni relations and stewardship officer, Perkins was a major gifts officer with the University’s College of the Liberal Arts. He also worked for the Boy Scouts of America for six years before enrolling in Penn State’s MBA program.

Perkins cited family as one of his biggest motivating factors in taking his job at Penn State Scranton. “My wife is originally from Scranton — most of her family still lives in the area,” Perkins said. “We decided we wanted to move to the area and raise a family here, and this position opened at a very fortuitous time. I have been working with volunteers for many years, both in my job and as a volunteer myself, so I thought it would be a great fit, and so far it has been.”

He then went on to say that he has enjoyed his time so far at the Scranton campus, citing the welcoming atmosphere he has felt from the staff and faculty. “It’s completely different than University Park, but I like it in many ways,” Perkins stated. “The people here have been very friendly and welcoming, and I have enjoyed getting to know everyone.”

Perkins is originally from Buffalo, New York, and now resides in Scott Township, Pennsylvania, with his wife, Kelly; their son, Graham; and their dog, Bon. Additionally, Perkins owns a home in State College, Pennsylvania, and visits the town frequently.

Rahman graduated from Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology in Dhaka, Bangladesh, in 2003 with a bachelor of science in industrial and production engineering. He then went on to Mie University in Tsu City, Mie, Japan, to earn his master of science in mechanical engineering in 2008, and his doctorate in mechanical engineering in 2011.

Prior to joining Penn State Scranton, Rahman was employed at a number of universities, including Tuskegee University in Tuskegee, Alabama, New York University in Brooklyn and most recently the University of West Florida in Pensacola as an assistant professor. He has also been a postdoctoral fellow at Clemson University and Vrije University of Brussels in Brussels, Belgium, and a research fellow at Nanyang Technological University and the National University of Singapore, both located in Singapore.

Rahman has been very active with research in his field, and has focuses on human-friendly industrial robotics for flexible manufacturing and co-manipulation for Industry 4.0; assistive, rehabilitation, biomedical and soft robotics; social robotics and social agents; unmanned autonomous robotic vehicles; and robotics-enabled STEM education. In addition, he has been the first author on four peer-reviewed book chapters, over two dozen international journal papers, and nearly six dozen full-length conference papers. He also serves as an editor of two peer-reviewed journals in his field.

One of the reasons Rahman chose Penn State Scranton, he said, was for the opportunity to be part of a world-class, prestigious university.

“In addition, the newly started program in mechanical engineering attracted me, as it opened a great opportunity for me to lead a program from its beginning,” Rahman stated. “I was also impressed by the small, but beautiful campus, at Penn State Scranton.”

Rahman will have several duties as an assistant professor of engineering, including teaching core mechanical engineering courses and contributing to the development of the engineering laboratories. He is also working on developing an externally funded research program suitable for undergraduate engineering students.

Rahman currently resides in Scranton with his wife Sania, and their daughter, Sarina.

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