Penn State Center Pittsburgh team is your liaison to Penn State resources.

Tom Bartnik, AICP, LEED AP


Tom Bartnik

Tom serves as the director of Penn State Center Pittsburgh, which includes offices for Outreach and Extension. He provides overall leadership and coordination in building relationships, supporting local funding efforts, and serving as liaison to key partners within Allegheny County. His focus is to connect the entire Penn State system with local partners and Penn State resources. Tom works collaboratively with the assistant director and the leadership at Outreach and Extension and across the University and Commonwealth campuses. He supports all staff in understanding the Land Grant obligation and the role of Pittsburgh Center in addressing community problem solving. Tom possesses expertise in urban planning, community design, and sustainable development. He has a B.A. in Political Science from Potsdam College of the State University of New York and a Master of Urban Planning and Policy from the University of Illinois at Chicago.


Leanne Dengler

Administrative Support Assistant,

Leanne Dengler

Leanne supports the staff for the combined offices of Outreach and Extension, with day-to-day operations and financial reporting. She is a member of the marketing team, responsible for social media, and assists with event planning. Leanne is a graduate of Penn State with a B.S. in Administrative Management.

Mary Ann Farrell

Business Operations Coordinator,

Mary Ann Farrell

Mary Ann has been with Penn State since 2006 and joined Outreach in 2008. She works with the director on many initiatives that includes the Penn State Center Pittsburgh Advisory Council, CITY, Study Away, and engaged scholarship activities with faculty and students. Mary Ann also provides support across a variety of units within Pittsburgh Center, assisting with budgets, grants, contracts, human resources, facility management, and day-to-day operations. Mary Ann received her B.S. in Labor and Employment Relations from Penn State.


David Himes, RLA, ASLA

Landscape Architect,

David Himes

David has been working as a landscape designer since 2012. In 2016, David became a registered landscape architect. He is responsible for managing natural environments and designing urban plazas. He works alongside community organizations to tackle design and planning challenges, with a focus on stormwater management through green infrastructure. David’s work includes recreation master planning in Bloomfield, the design and installation of a bio-retention system at Baldwin High School, assistance with an urban orchard, work on streetscape improvements in Lawrenceville, and the design of green infrastructure systems in the East End for Project 15206. David strives to uplift our environment and celebrate our homes within the greater natural system. David received his Bachelor of Landscape Architecture from Penn State.

Naomi Ritter, MA

Program Manager, CITY (Penn State Community Innovation for Youth),

Naomi Ritter

Naomi became the program manager of the CITY program in June 2017 and was the program assistant since 2015. She leads program planning and implementation for the Penn State Community Innovation Training for Youth (CITY) Program, as well as 4-H youth development initiatives. Some of her other responsibilities include student recruitment and providing data and policy analysis for youth programs. Naomi Received her B.A. in Rhetoric and Political Science and Master of Arts in Social Public Policy from Duquesne University.

Lisa Kunst Vavro, MLA, RLA, ASLA

Manager, Sustainable Environment,

Lisa Kunst Vavro

Lisa has been working as a manager since 2010. Lisa has worked with various municipalities to build capacity in developing green infrastructure, and collaborated with the City of Pittsburgh Construction Division to design several stormwater mitigation projects, including the first bioswale within the city’s right-of-way. She has developed a series of continuing education workshops for those in related fields and works to engage students from Penn State in real-world aspects in Pittsburgh. Lisa received her B.A. in Restoration of the Urban Environment from the University of Pittsburgh. She studied Landscape Architecture at the University of Pennsylvania and received a Master of Landscape Architecture from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.