Tom & Joanna Sperlich
Tom and Joanna met each other through their involvement with Cru at Penn State. After receiving degrees in Psychology, they got married and joined staff all within a month in 2006. In 2016, Tom was named the Campus Director for Penn State Cru, and throughout his and Joanna’s staff life, their love for PSU students and Happy Valley has only grown.
Emma, who is almost five, brings unimaginable joy and delight to her parents. She likes to take her dolls for stroll through the neighborhood and is diligently learning German. Jacob, the younger brother, receives lots of love—both wanted and unwanted—from Emma. Jacob is the smiliest boy who ever lived and is currently into solid foods in a big way. Tom is an avid reader (think classics, spiritual formation, and fantasy), loves to play games (current top shelf ones are Dominion, Dixit, and Hanabi), is still a raging fan of Lost, and is addicted to Coke (the drink). Joanna enjoys the challenge of trying a new recipe, especially if it is a dessert. She loves to sit down with a good cup of coffee and either a good book or a great friend. She also can’t get enough of Emma and Jacob’s laughter and personality.
Alex & Hannah Verseput
Alex here! Born in Texas and raised in Alaska, I was blessed with a loving community of Christians to encourage my steps towards a relationship with God. As such, in the last 25 years God has brought me from apathy, to intellectual acceptance of the truth, to a heart broken over my own sin, to a passion of inviting others to the Good News. Much of this transformation in my life came during my time at Calvin College and after. After graduating in 2011, I came to Penn State as a graduate student. After one year into a long Chemical Engineering program, God called me in a new direction and placed me in full-time ministry with Cru. He is daily teaching me to walk by faith and praise His name. Most recently, God has blessed me with an incredible wife, Hannah, and uses our marriage daily to guide me to worship Him! Some of my hobbies include board games, driving, watching movies, and occasionally exercise and reading. Beyond these frequent endeavors, I love free food, spontaneous late-night movies, kite-flying at midnight, and paintball outings. Finally, while I’m no longer a typical student, I continue to love learning and have been learning about astrophotography, soteriology, and home care maintenance.
Hannah was born in Northern New Jersey and raised in Southwest Florida. Coming to Penn State was what you can call an experience. Being raised in a Christian home was deemed upon her life as a foundational blessing but became revolutionary when she became involved with Cru her freshman year. The Lord took what was a private, secretive thing in Hannah’s relationship with Him into becoming a personal, attractive thing. She was taught how to “live the talk” so she joined staff in Winter 2012 and says she’s “Abundantly overjoyed to be settled back into a place I call home. God surely has been unleashing Himself onto my life that I eagerly anticipate His overflow on this campus. We are!”
Mike & Bec Shepski
Mike grew up in the Susquehanna Valley of Central PA and is 2002 graduate of Penn State. He’s been on staff with Cru for 10 years, eight of those years in Melbourne, Australia serving both as a campus, and state director. He’s been married to his wonderful Australian wife, Bec, for the past 8 years. Mike’s focus this year will be helping our students understand how they can best intersect the beauty of the gospel message with the lives of their Penn State friends. He loves his wife and kids, ministering on campus, and enjoys watching and playing sports (American and Australian).
Bec grew up in Australia and has only lived in the States for a year with Mike and their three children Ellie (5), Ezra (2) and Josiah (5 mths). She attended LaTrobe University in Melbourne, Victoria however it wasn’t until she met Mike in 2004 that her heart was captured for the call to reach the nations. God convinced her of her personal responsibility to be an ambassador for him wherever her feet may fall. She has a passion for neighborhood ministry, mental health (prior work as a social worker with expertise in first episode psychosis and forensic mental health) and loves to bring Christ into the middle of a crisis. She also loves food/nutrition (ie. total coffee snob and foodie – all the way), social justice and asking tough questions. Bec remains committed to seeing Australia reached with the gospel and building up life-long, world-focused, kingdom-visioned missionaries.
Tobin & Cassandra Simonetti
Tobin and Cassandra met while students at Penn State. They were involved in a wide variety of capacities within Cru during their time in Happy Valley. After graduation the Lord sent them out, Tobin headed overseas and Cassandra headed to Washington, DC. They love serving with Cru here at Penn State. Tobin serves part-time with Cru and is a Food Science Research Tech for Penn State and Cassandra serves full-time with Cru.
They are passionate about creating the space for everyone around them to come to know Jesus more, no matter where they are in their faith. It is their joy to exhort, encourage, and equip those around them to walk fiercely with the Lord. And it is a privilege to serve at Penn State.
Tobin loves anything to do with food. With a degree in Food Science, he’s always uncovering new things in the kitchen, firing up the grill, and enjoying creating delicious dishes. He’s always up for a good story, whether in a new movie, the pages of a book, or the life of a friend. Cassandra loves quality time with friends, bringing beauty and life to something old or unwanted, crafting and creating, as well as pursuing health and fitness.
When a new adventure is beckoning, both Tobin and Cassandra love to jump right in.
We’re looking forward to getting to know you!
James was born and raised in a small town outside of Erie, PA, and his love of music began forming at a very young age. He started taking piano lessons at the age of 7 and started playing the trumpet in 6th grade. After convincing his parents that a degree in music wouldn't leave him without a job, he started school at Grove City College as a music education major. While at Grove City, his love for performing began to grow, which led him to pursue a masters degree in performance. Penn State University is where he got his Masters degree and where James experienced the most growth in his walk with Jesus. He began to see how much college students, like himself, need to hear about Jesus. He loves a lot of things including, Jesus, ministry, Penn State, photography, videography, hiking, motorcycles, sports, and lifting!