Alumni Profiles

Denise Bressler

  • Ph.D., Learning Sciences and Technology

Throughout her research, writing and professional career, Denise has always been interested in the affordances of innovative technologies and how they can best be used as effective educational tools. In 1997, for her undergraduate thesis at Princeton University, she conducted a meta-analysis of internet usage in K-12 education and determined that several variables showed positive correlations with improved student learning: interactivity with analysis, the subject of science and working in groups. As a master’s student at Teachers College, Columbia University, she built a CD-ROM game grounded in educational theory because she saw the potential of technology to personalize learning through intelligent-computer assisted instruction.

In 2000, as Denise began her career, dot-coms were on the rise and her first job was with, an educational website for children based on constructionist learning. Ultimately, she found a happy home for over 6 years at Liberty Science Center in Jersey City, NJ.  There, she studied the current technology trends of the time and conceived of a mobile learning project because she hoped that if visitors used their mobile phones in her exhibits, it would inspire them to continue learning once they left the museum. Finally, as a doctoral student in Lehigh University's College of Education, she has seen that schools are beginning to embrace mobile devices but there are so few pedagogical models to follow, so she built a series of mobile science games called School Scene Investigators to engage learners through feelings of flow and successful collaboration. As Denise move's forward in her career, she intends to keep creating innovative learning experiences based on what the next new tool can best provide.

Andrea Harmer

  • Ed.D., Educational Technology

Recently, Andrea was elected Chair of the Instructional Technology and Library Science Department at Kutztown University. She is also part time Director of Educational Outreach in the Materials Science & Engineering Department and the Center for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology at Lehigh University, where she began her career in 1979. In her new position as Chair, Andrea will lead both undergraduate and graduate programs for students seeking Pennsylvania Certification as Library Media Specialists and Instructional Technologists. She works closely with undergraduates and professional teachers seeking to integrate emerging digital technologies into their classroom activities for enhanced learning. Her research interests include bringing nanotechnology education and visualization tools to middle school students to engage young learners in science.

Sara Heintzelman

  • M.S., Instructional Technology

Sara is currently a lead teacher at Centennial School of Lehigh University, an approved private school for students with emotional disturbances. She mentors new teachers and provides a positive, supportive, and engaging classroom environment for students. Recently, her students participated in a state technology conference where they were featured as part of a student showcase. Her students use technology daily to innovate and collaborate with their peers.  One of Sara's interests is providing professional development to adult learners.  She has presented at conferences on topics including technology integration and designing individualized behavioral interventions.  In the fall, Sara will pursue her PhD in Educational Sciences with a focus on School Technology Leadership at the University of Kentucky.  

Abraham (Dan) Pennebacker

  • Ph.D., Teaching, Learning, and Technology

Dan Pennebacker grew up hearing stories from his grandfather about Bethlehem Steel and his own experience at Lehigh University. The stories filled Dan’s childhood and instilled a sense of educational commitment. In 2008, Dan left Zionsville, PA to travel to Philadelphia to study Accounting and earn a B.B.A. from Temple University. While attending Undergrad, Dan’s love for the outdoors inspired him to share his experience with others. He guided professionally for various organizations teaching Rock Climbing, Backpacking and Leave No Trace ethics.

Focusing on education, Dan pursued a M.S. in Education at Gwynedd-Mercy University and earned his certification in Business, Computers and IT. Utilizing undergraduate knowledge and a desire to educate, Dan started to teach at Perkiomen Valley High School. Since starting coursework for his Ph.D., in Teaching, Learning and Technology, Dan has participated in two research grants. The first being part of a team to develop an interactive iPad game. Dan is currently assisting PEAK to create a web-based curriculum utilizing a database of users and create an effective online learning environment. The most rewarding aspect of Dan’s career in education is that he is now in a position to give back to education through research and creating new learning opportunities for his students.

Yuanyuan Zhang

  • Ph.D., Learning Sciences and Technology

Yuanyuan Zhang is currently pursuing her Ph.D. in Learning Sciences and Technology in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Technology. She obtained her bachelor’s and master’s degree from Henan University, China, and worked as a tour guide, interpreter, translator and English editor before coming to the United States in 2002.

While studying at Clemson University, SC for her second master’s in Professional Communication, Zhang served as a cabinet member of the Graduate Student Government (GSG). Under her leadership, the GSG worked with university administrators and state legislators and obtained an annual subsidy of $500 for graduate student health insurance.

Before coming to Lehigh for doctoral study, Zhang had four years’ working experience in rich media recording, editing and publishing, producing online training materials, distance education courses, and digital portfolios for faculty and college students.