Meet Our Team

Lizz Brandt

Interim Assistant Director for New Student Orientation Operations

Lizz Brandt (she/her) joined the SOTP team in October 2021 as the Coordinator of NSO and now serves as the Interim Assistant Director for New Student Orientation Operations. She graduated from Penn State Scranton in 2019 with a bachelor's degree in Human Development and Family Studies. She plans to work towards her master’s degree in the near future. During her time at Penn State Scranton she was highly involved on campus, taking on roles such as Social Media Coordinator, New Student Orientation Leader, President of the Campus Activities Board and many more! Her passion for working in higher education began when she was a New Student Orientation Leader during her undergrad, so she’s very excited to be in this new role. Outside of work Lizz enjoys live music, traveling, and spending time with friends!

Ben Giuliana

Assistant Director for Welcome Programs

Ben Giuliana joined Student Orientation and Transition Programs in May 2021 as the Assistant Director for Welcome Programs. He earned his bachelor’s degree from Towson University in Towson, MD and his master’s degree in Higher Education and Student Affairs from New York University in New York, NY. Prior to coming to Penn State, Ben served in multiple student activities- and orientation-related roles at Marymount Manhattan College. In his spare time, he enjoys reading and writing, hiking, and pretending to be a better cook than he actually is.

Ashley Griffith

Orientation Team Coordinator

Ashley Griffith (she/her) began working for the SOTP team in May 2023 as Frontline Staff and now serves as the Orientation Team Coordinator.  She graduated from Penn State in May 2022 with a degree in Education Public Policy. She has continued her education at Penn State and is now pursuing her master’s in Higher Education.  Ashley was a member of the Penn State Blue Band and Presidential Leadership Academy during her time in undergrad which sparked her passion for working with college students.  She has worked in multiple capacities with Penn State including with the Presidential Leadership Academy, Parents Program, and in academic advising.  In her spare time, Ashley can usually be found doing homework, watching TV, and wishing she had a dog.

Becki Leonard

Assistant Director for Transition Programs

Becki earned her Bachelor of Science in Secondary English Education and Master of Arts in College Counseling both from Edinboro University. She started as an academic adviser at Penn State Behrend, located in Erie, PA, in November of 2017 and worked primarily with students exploring majors or intending business majors. She assumed the role of Assistant Director for Transition Programs in SOTP in March 2022. In her spare time, she can be found doing homework for her PhD program, walking with her dog Wally, re-watching her favorite TV shows, or exercising her creativity through crafting. 

Michelle Malinich

Office Manager

Michelle started at Penn State in August of 2020 as part of the Contact Tracing team and joined the Student Orientation and Transition Programs team as the Office Manager in January 2023. Prior to Penn State, Michelle worked as a pediatrics nurse.  Her desire to work in higher education took root when she attended NSO at Penn State with her son in 2018. She is currently pursuing her BA in Organizational Leadership through Penn State World campus. When she is not studying, Michelle enjoys cooking, spending time with her family, and loves to go on road trips.
Katie Motycki

Katie Motycki

Director of Student Orientation and Transition Programs

Katie Motycki joined Penn State as the associate director of New Student Orientation in 2013, was promoted to senior associate director in 2018, and is currently serving as the director of Student Orientation and Transition Programs (SOTP). She provides leadership for the entirety of SOTP’s portfolio including New Student Orientation, Transfer Student Orientation, Change of Campus orientation and initiatives, Welcome Programs, and President’s New Student Convocation. She received her bachelor’s degree from Penn State and her master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education from IUP. As a Penn State alum, she is proud to welcome new students to her Alma Mater. Prior to Penn State, she worked at La Roche University (Pittsburgh, Pa) and Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, Pa), Katie currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors for the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education (NODA).

Brandon Stagner

Interim Associate Director for New Student Orientation

Brandon Stagner joined Student Orientation and Transition Programs in June of 2018 and serves as the Interim Assosciate Director for New Student Orientation. Originally from Nashville, TN, Brandon received a B.S. in Business Administration and an M.S. in College Student Personnel from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his spare time, Brandon enjoys spending time with friends and family, watching or attending sporting events, and cooking.