Theresa Kotanchek

  • EMS Degrees: B.S., Ceramic Science and Engineering (1984)M.S., Ceramic Science (1987)Ph.D., Materials Science (1991)
  • My Job: CEO, Evolved Analytics
  • Hometown: Midland, Michigan
  • Fun Fact About Me: I lived in Shanghai, China, for five years

More About Me

In a nutshell, my job today entails leading an internationally recognized data science and analytics software and solutions company.

Through my career I hope to develop and deliver effective, affordable cancer vaccines. I am currently working on a team discovering, developing, and scaling cancer vaccines. My sister died of Burkitt lymphoma at age thirty-five with three young children at home. If I can help other mothers from being afflicted with this disease then I will have accomplished one of my major purposes in life.

The holiday I most look forward to is Christmas! It's all about love and renewal. Bright lights, delicious morsels, fabulous wine, family, and laughter. What's not to love?

The professor I'll never forget is Carlo Pantano. He saw the potential within me and believed in me. He encouraged me to attend graduate school before I finished my B.S. He later offered me the Corning Glass Fellowship to return for graduate school. Not only did he ensure I received the fellowship, he also gave me the freedom to do independent research (resulting in self-reinforced nanomaterials development via organometallic methods) and to attend graduate classes of interest outside of the department, including engineering science, meteorology (light-scattering theory), chemistry, physics, business (entrepreneurship), and others. He truly changed my life.

My favorite quote is "It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent, but the one most responsive to change." (Charles Darwin)

My favorite Penn State tradition is visiting the Berkey Creamery for a peanut butter cone!

My must-watch TV shows are the Big Bang Theory, Grey's Anatomy, Chopped, and Fixer Upper.

My advice for graduating students: Stand up and lead. Take action. Remain curious and committed to lifelong learning. Travel and understand the consequences of human actions and the opportunities that abound to improve the world. The only constant is change itself. Those who adapt and evolve will thrive; those who don't will not.

Theresa Kotanchek