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Meet Our Instructors

Program Director

Stephanie Gush is a Penn State graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in Art, with an emphasis in printmaking. She began her career with the CFAC many years ago as, an instructor for art camps and after school art classes. She enjoys working with Penn State students to develop and promote art programs for all ages. Stephanie freelances in graphic design and illustration, paints, enjoys hiking, and volunteers in the administration of community art events. She has experience teaching printmaking, bookmaking, drawing/ painting to children and adults.

Assistant and Instructor

Mandi Gatto is a Penn State graduate with a bachelor of arts degree in Integrative Arts, with a focus in drawing and painting. She joined the CFAC in 2006. She teaches scrapbook workshops to adults through the CFAC, and is also the Administrative Support Assistant, creating ads, maintaining email lists, and helping PSU students, staff and faculty sign up for art classes! Mandi has past experience teaching drawing/painting, pottery, and woodworking at summer camps. She enjoys doing anything crafty, including scrapbooking, drawing, and card making in her free time.


Sonya Aboud has been teaching ceramics for more than fourteen years and still can’t get enough! Teaching children and adults wheel thrown and handbuilt ceramics is one of her most ful lling experiences. She minored in ceramics at George Washington University. She was born in Trinidad and has traveled to Turkey, Florence, Rhodes, England and Crete.

Kelly Beck is a B.S. Community, Environment and Development major at Penn State and also a local to State College. Kelly has been working with ceramics for over two years and enjoys learning new ways to work with clay. She participates in 4-H Club, where she has held of cer positions and taught baking and rabbitry.

Sophia Capaldi is an artist interested in challenging ideas about artwork and life. They work in many mediums including, ceramics, traditional pen and ink, sculpture, and performance. Capaldi is interested in collaborative works, and combination of mediums and techniques. Blurring divisions is of high interest.

Melanie Devon is a junior at Penn State, majoring in Interdisciplinary Studio with a Minor in Landscape Architecture. Her passion for art stretches across a wide variety of mediums, as she enjoys creating both 2D and 3D art. She also enjoys working with others to help them nd their own creative outlet!

Elizabeth Durdan is a Secondary Education major with a focus in Biology at Penn State. She likes to combine science with the arts. She has experience with STEAM programs and this is her rst year as an instructor. Her favorite medium to work with is paint. She enjoys watching movies and spending her free time with friends and family.

Rafael Izakov has extensive experiences in black and white, color, slide, and digital photography. He has worked as a freelance reporter, and his works have been published in magazines and newspapers. Rafael has won many photo competitions and enjoys photographing people, landscapes, streets, theatre, sporting events, and travel scenes. He works as a volunteer assistant instructor for photography classes at PSU and is now focusing on digital photography, with emphasis on improving photographs using new software

Lindsey Kircher is a recent graduate with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Drawing and Painting in the School of Visual Arts at Penn State. She is also earned minors in
Spanish and Arts Entrepreneurship. She hopes to earn her Master of Fine Arts degree and pursue a career as an artist. Aside from spending time in the art studio, Lindsey loves to travel, read, and spend time outside. She is excited to be teaching and sharing her love of art through the Center for Arts and Crafts at Penn State!

Ryana Lawson is a recent graduate from the Penn State School of Visual Arts with her MFA in Ceramics. She received her BFA from Alfred University in 2015 and attended CU Boulder as a special student. She is a former artist in residence from the Flower City Arts Center in Rochester, NY and recently accepted a residency position at Pottery Northwest in Seattle, WA starting in September.

Andrea Linn is a rst year student at Penn State studying Visual Arts and has experience in a wide variety of medias. She has been studying art for four years and her rst love is ceramics. She is looking forward to learning more through teaching and sharing her knowledge of the arts.

Erica Parsons is a graduate of Penn State with a Bachelor of Science degree in Art Education. She has recently begun substitute teaching within the local district and her main artistic interest is in drawing and painting. She plans to go to graduate school to pursue a Master of Fine Arts degree in the near future. In her free time, she enjoys camping, reading, and watching Steeler football with friends and family.

Ken Plattner has studied at the University of Maryland, in Munich, Germany and at Penn State. In 1978 he opened his own stained glass studio on East Main Street in Boalsburg, PA. His work is distributed throughout the world. Ken began teaching stained glass for CFAC in the late 1970s.

Sarah Snyder has been crocheting since she was eight years old with her mom. She has learned more about ber arts, through teaching others here at the Art Center and the Drop in Knitting group. She also maintains an Etsy Shop selling her crocheted and needle worked items. She has lived in Happy Valley since 2008 with her two cats, Fleury and Sawyer. Sarah also works in Penn State Athletics and helps run the video board, running replays and graphics.

Mike Theuer is a professional portrait artist who has been painting and drawing portraits in pencil and transparent watercolor full time these last twelve years. He has been an art teacher for almost twenty years starting from the time he taught his rst watercolor class at the CFAC in 1994, continuing until 2015 when he of cially retired. Until now. He’s back teaching again! In his class, students from beginner to competent can expect individual guidance on watercolor techniques and general art principles while they create three to four nished paintings over the length of the course. Expect to learn, chat, listen to music, and paint.

Maritha Yeboah is a senior at Penn State, studying sculpture and architecture. She is originally from Newark, New Jersey and always had a passion for art but did not recognize it until she became a student at Penn State. Coming from Newark, she was not able to gain access to much art so she would create her own using found objects. Her goal is to work with both forms of art that she is studying once she graduates and create a medium between architecture and sculpture.

Seth Young graduated from Edinboro University with a Bachelors in Applied Media Arts. He attended The Governor’s School for arts in 2007 and studied four years of animation in college. He has always had a lifelong passion for comics and loves to study the different styles and techniques used in them. In his spare time, Seth is working on a comic with a collaborator in Philadelphia, as well as participating in upcoming conventions.