We're always here for you! E-mail any of our officers to learn how to get involved with Newman, or for any other things you may need. If you'd like to meet with a particular officer, don't hesitate to contact one of us. Additionally, the Newman Office in 203 HUB will be open during office hours. (The Newman library has a bunch of great books!)


  • Kristen Garrity
  • President
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Matt Himes
  • Vice President
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Talia Follador
  • Social Chair
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Morgan Leap
  • Service Chair
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Chelsea Benzie
  • Religious Education Chair
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Nikki Kashur
  • Publicity Chair
  • (Email| Bio)
  • Ali Manbeck
  • Fundraising Chair
  • (Email| Bio)
  • Bobby Gaffney
  • Web Coordinator
  • (Email| Bio)
  • Lea Spiewak
  • Music Coordinator
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Eric Grady
  • Thon Co-Coordinator
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Katia Abate
  • Thon Co-Coordinator
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Erik Millstine
  • IM Sports Coordinator
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Alyssa Kaupas
  • Outreach chair
  • (Email | Bio)
  • Bridget Backer
  • Thon Co-Coordinator
  • (Email | Bio)


Kristen Garrity ^-- Top --^

Hi everyone, my name is Kristen Garrity and I will be the President of Newman this year. Newman is an organization built on faith, fellowship, and friendship. I have been involved in Newman since my freshman year and it has proved to be an amazing part of my life here at Penn State. I am excited to work with other board members to plan and execute meetings, social events, religious ed. events, and much more. I will be a junior majoring in international politics with a concentration in national security. I am also a resident assistant in East Halls and a proud Lion Ambassador. I enjoy running and downhill skiing with family and friends. I am excited to see where this year takes us and I am excited to meet all of you at our next meeting!

Matt Himes ^-- Top --^

Hi! My name is Matthew Himes and I will be serving as Vice President for Newman this year. I am a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and minoring in Engineering Mechanics. Although I spent my first two years at the Altoona campus, I have been involved in Newman since I was a sophomore, and it has been a great experience. I highly encourage you to get involved in any way you can because Newman gives you the opportunity to make genuine relationships with people that share the same views of faith. As Vice President, I’ll always be available if you have any questions in general or about Newman and you can email me any time at I hope to hear from you soon!

Bobby Tavenner ^-- Top --^

My name is Robert Tavenner, but no one calls me that, so I rather go by Bobby. I am a Junior majoring in History with a minor in Middle Eastern Studies. I am the Treasure for Newman, which means I manage the finances for the club. I have been involved in Newman since the Spring Semester of my Freshman year at Penn State, and I have made a lot of good friends. My advice in getting involved is to do the activities outside the meetings like IM sports and social events. If decide to come to a meeting and want to talk just look for the tall person it will probably be me.

Brennan Heiser ^-- Top --^

I'm secretary of Newman, which means that I keep track of everything that is going on and make sure that people are informed. I send out the Newman newsletter every week, keep things organized, and I do the announcements at the end of the meetings. I'm from the south hills of Pittsburgh and this year I will be a sophomore trying to become a chemical engineer. Besides Newman I'm on a THON committee and I'm president of Penn State Apologetics.

Talia Follador ^-- Top --^

Hello! I am Talia Follador, and I am honored to serve as Newman's 2013-2014 Social Chair! Newman is my safe haven here at Penn State and where I met most of my close friends. I can't wait to bring more people together with some awesome social events! I am a sophomore majoring in Nutritional Sciences; I aspire to become a registered dietitian after I graduate and hopefully work with people who are battling eating disorders. My hometown, Harrison City, is a tiny suburb about 30 minutes southeast of Pittsburgh. I'm a huge science geek, especially when it comes to biology and chemistry. My other interests include reading, baking, coffee, baseball (let's go Bucks!), chocolate, running, watching old movies (Jimmy Stewart never gets old), and peanut butter. I love meeting new people, so be sure to introduce yourself! I can't wait to meet you all and create some awesome memories. God Bless!

Morgan Leap ^-- Top --^

Hello! My name is Morgan Leap and I am the Service Chair for Newman this year! Newman is a huge part of my life here on the Penn State campus. It is where I have met so many close friends, and I always have so much fun with the club no matter what we do, whether its service or social events, bible studies, adoration, or regular weekly meetings! I am a sophomore studying Rehabilitation and Human Services. I hope to work with people, especially those suffering with addiction, those with disabilities, or social work. I am from Dormont in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania, where I belong to Saint Bernard’s Parish. I was a part of my youth group in high school, and I was also the Diocesan Youth Council representative for the South Hills of Pittsburgh for three years. My interests are playing volleyball and basketball, drawing, writing, CANDY, and anything outdoors. The other half of my life I volunteer whenever I get the opportunity, at soup kitchens, elderly homes, childcare facilities, and everything in between. I’m so excited to meet the new members, so be sure to say hi! Newman this year is going to be a blast! Peace and God bless!

Chelsea Benzie ^-- Top --^

Hi all! I am Chelsea Benzie and I am your Religious Education Chair for the year! I am from the wonderful state of Iowa and am a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering and Physics. Some of my duties as Religious Education Chair are planning the Fall Retreat (which everyone should attend) and leading the rosary after meetings. Newman is a great club and I love it because I have grown so much deeper in my faith and have met some of my best friends! I love watching sports, especially Penn State and Steeler football! I love swimming and playing sports. I also LOVE THON, but what Penn Stater doesn't! Come say hi to me any time and if you have any questions and need to contact me my email is God bless!

Nikki Kashur ^-- Top --^

My name is Nikki Kashur and I'm this year's publicity chair for Newman! I'm a sophomore Business Management and Spanish major and I'm from the great city of Pittsburgh, PA. I've been very involved in my youth group at home and I can't wait to be more involved in Newman here at Penn State. This year, I'll be in charge of tasks that get Newman more recognized and hopefully get more people interested in the fun events this club has to offer! I'm really looking forward to the challenges as well as meeting new members.

Ali Manbeck ^-- Top --^

Hey everyone! My name is Ali Manbeck, and I serve as this year’s Fundraising chair. My absolute favorite fundraising event involves Newman’s Penn State football concession stand. We have so much fun cooking up and serving food while jamming to the radio and chilling with Newman friends. Some of my happiest PSU memories come from working in the concession stand. No lie. It’s seriously the highlight of my fall semester; maybe it will become yours too. Anyway, as a psych and pre-med dual major, I have so much free time on my hands (sarcasm), but I do love to dance, watch old movies, and volunteer at blood drives and nursing homes. Here are a few of my favorite things: raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens…Just kidding, but really, I like pugs, the elderly, marshmallows, literary classics, India, hanging with friends, and thanking God for all of the beautiful people and opportunities in my life. So if you are up for a good time and supporting our club, then email me at for more info about the concession stand. Or if you just want to hang out because my random list of likes amuses you, hit me up. Cheers and God bless!

Bobby Gaffney ^-- Top --^

I'm Bobby Gaffney, I am the Newman Web Coordinator for the 2013-2014 school year. I have been involved with Newman since my freshman year, so I can tell you this is a great place to be. I am a senior majoring in mechanical engineering. I am from Easton, Pa in the great Lehigh Valley. At Penn State I am involved with Apologetics and Bread of Life. I help out at the Pasquerilla Center as a mass coordinator. I am also a part of SHPE, which is the Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers. I enjoy playing basketball and soccer. If you have any questions about Newman feel free to email me at, I may not know all the answers but I can point you to someone who can help.

Lea Spiewak ^-- Top --^

My Name is Leatrice Spiewak, but everyone calls me Lea. I am the Music Coordinator for Newman, which is good because I absolutely love music. This year I will be a Junior in Mechanical Engineering. All growing up I lived in Wildwood Crest, New Jersey, which is a barrier island off the southern tip of New Jersey. It is a beach town so I absolutely love the beach. I also love singing, dancing, and anything that has to do with Broadway. Here at school I take part in ballroom dance, WEP (Women in Engineering Program), and of course Newman.

Eric Grady ^-- Top --^

Hello everyone - I am Newman's THON chair for the 2013-14 academic year. With the two other THON chairs, I am responsible for all of Newman's THON activities including canning trips, alternative fund-raisers, and THON weekend activities. Newman has been such a big part of my life over the past year. It is a fantastic place to meet people as everyone is so open and accepting. Outside of Newman, I am a junior majoring in Management Information Systems from West Chester, PA. I'm very involved with Smeal, and I enjoy playing sports (soccer, tennis) whenever I can. If you have any questions about how to get involved with Newman or THON, feel free to e-mail me!

Katia Abate ^-- Top --^

Hi! I'm Caterina Abate, but my nickname is Katia. I am one of the three THON coordinators and I am very excited for a great year with Newman and especially Newman THON! Things you should know about me is that I am a New Yorker and a senior biology major with a ton of school pride. You can talk to me about anything but graduation, I'm choosing to not acknowledge that it's almost that time. If you want to get involved or have any questions please e-mail me!

Erik Millstine ^-- Top --^

My name is Erik Millstine, and I am the IM Sports Chair this year. I am a sophomore majoring in Risk Management-Actuarial Science and minoring in Statistics. I am from the suburbs of Pittsburgh (Hampton Township). I joined Newman in the spring semester of my freshman year, and I highly encourage anyone who is interested to come to our meetings and events. I am willing to play just about any sport, and I am a fan of the Pirates, Packers, Penguins, Steelers, and Novak Djokovic. As IM Sports Chair, I am in charge of organizing and leading the IM teams. I also will be planning various pick-up sports throughout the year. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions about IM or pick-up sports.

Alyssa Kaupas ^-- Top --^

Hi! My name's Alyssa and I'm your Outreach Chair! My goal this year is to establish a solid student/alumni relationship with past Newmanites, and to set a foundation for this to continue in the future. Although I'm a transfer junior from West Chester University, I've been involved in Newman since day one of freshman year and have loved every second of it. I'm studying Animal Science and Psych, with the hope of eventually working in animal-assisted therapy or or teaching people how to farm. I raised sheep, poultry and cattle for about ten years, and have a few pets and a brother at home. I'm better at sailing than driving, I like pink, big cats, reading God books, volunteering, a capella, dystopian novels, and eating. If you have any questions about alumni stuff, chickens, libraries, or also have an affinity for any of these things, I'd love to talk! My email is and I can't wait to meet y'all!

Bridget Backer ^-- Top --^

Hello everyone! My name is Bridget Backer, and I am one of Newman’s THON coordinators this year! I am a junior, and I'm pursuing the actuarial science option of a mathematics degree. I have been involved with Newman since the start of my college career, and a lot of my favorite memories here at Penn State are with my Newman friends. Outside of Newman, I play piccolo for the Blue Band and Irish dance with Rince na Leon. As a THON co-coordinator I help to organize all of our fundraising efforts FTK. We plan canning trips and alternative fundraisers, send THONvelopes, participate in overall THON events (like THON Hoops and the THON Dodgeball), and so much more! Feel free to reach out to me with any questions or ideas that you have about Newman and THON!