Board of Directors Members

Ryan Macaluso - President

My involvement with PAWS started in 2015 when I began volunteering at the front desk. Since then, I've been a dedicated foster parent for both dogs and cats and contributed to PAWS development, serving on the Facilities and Strategic Planning Committees. Currently, I hold a position on the Finance and Executive Committee, solidifying my commitment to the PAWS mission.

My professional background spans various fields including operations, finance, human resources, real estate, and project management. With a bachelor’s degree in finance and a master’s in business administration from Penn State University, I bring a diverse skill set to support PAWS in numerous capacities. Presently, I work as the Plant Controller at Cook Medical, building upon my prior experiences at Amazon, Service Access & Management, and ALDI.

Our family at home consists of three dogs and a cat, two of which we gratefully adopted from PAWS. This close bond with the organization embodies our deep connection. For me, being a part of PAWS is not only an honor but also a constant source of joy and fulfillment.

Ryan Macaluso board bio


Ginny Newman - Vice President

I have been a PAWS volunteer since 2016 doing weekly cat care, serving as a trainer and leader of the New Cat Care Volunteer Training Team, and have fostered several litters of kittens. I have served on special event committees, the Executive Director Search Committee, the Strategic Planning Committee, the Nominating Committee and the Executive Committee in my role as Vice President of the Board of Directors. Professionally I have worked as a government official, a nonprofit executive director, and a higher education administrator. My main expertise lies in management and organizational leadership, but I also have experience in fundraising and marketing. As a retiree I am fortunate to be able to volunteer both in the facility on a weekly basis and in a leadership role on the Board. I am continually impressed with PAWS reputation in the community and am proud to be a part of this fine organization. 

Ginny Newman

Reenie Ferretti - Treasurer

I’ve had a passion for animals since my first job pet sitting for neighbors in Boalsburg when I was 10. I also have over 20 years of accounting experience as both a consultant and controller for public and private companies. I was grateful for the opportunity to join the Finance Committee at PAWS in 2017 so I could use my experience to help further support a cause I am passionate about. In 2018, I was elected to the PAWS board and became the Treasurer. I serve as the Finance Committee chair and I have served as a member of other special event committees in the past, including the Fur Ball Committee and the Executive Director Search Committee. I worked with the Investment Committee and the Board to improve investments of excess reserves to provide more income to PAWS. I’ve enjoyed supporting PAWS as a Board member and hope to continue in this role. I live in State College with my husband, Chris, daughter, Dinah, and our three rescue cats, Cricket, Lion and Bert.

Reenie Ferretti

Melinda Ampthor

My life’s work has been to help others realize and obtain their best selves, on all levels of the systems within which I worked. The PAWS values of compassion and generosity specifically resonate with me and are descriptive of my way of being in all that I do. My professional experience includes a 34-year career with the Central Intelligence Agency where I developed and delivered comprehensive leadership and tradecraft development instruction, and facilitation services for numerous cadres of officers across the organization. Currently I serve as an Associate with COPIA providing leadership coaching and consulting to their contract clients. I love to work with individual and teams that are ready for change and transformation. I am passionate about serving PAWS as an organization, staff, and a host of volunteers and would be honored and privileged to serve as a member of the Board of Directors.

Melinda holding a book

Maureen Brown

A PAWS volunteer since 2008, I have watched PAWS become an integral part of the community. Starting as a Cat Care Volunteer in 2008 and joining the Cat Medical Team shortly afterwards, I have spent Sundays at PAWS as part of the Medical Team to evaluate and treat sick animals and provide routine preventive care. I establish medical protocols, offer training sessions, inventory and order medical supplies, serve on the Cat Euthanasia team and assist with intakes. While working at Metzgers, I established the HART Fund to assist clients with medical care payments. I would be able to utilize this experience with fundraising at PAWS with events such as the Furball, Bingo, etc. I have established relationships with local vets.

Maureen Casey

Dr. Sima Bruggeman

I have been volunteering as a veterinarian at PAWS since 2018 and currently work as a Clinical Veterinarian at Penn State. One of the greatest pleasures in my life is seeing dogs and cats (and all animals!) live healthy and fulfilling lives. I enjoy watching animals at PAWS get their second chance at life and experience the love and compassionate care that each and every one of them deserves. I feel lucky to work alongside such a selfless and caring team of volunteers and to see and hear of so many animals finding homes because of the work that they do. The community that PAWS has fostered is one of the best things about the Centre region and I hope to continue to support PAWS in my role as a board member. I live in State College with my partner, Tim, our window-well rescue kitten, Finnegan, and our English Setter, Pippin.

Sima Board with text

Mike Chilcot

It’s been my pleasure to serve on the PAWS Board of Directors since 2019. I’m also a member of the personnel committee. Even though I’ve only been involved with PAWS for a short time, I’ve been a lifelong lover of our animal friends; cuddly, and not so cuddly included! I was born and raised in central Pennsylvania and received my undergraduate degree from Penn State in Chemical Engineering. After a career as a professional poker player, I obtained my Juris Doctorate from Pitt. While at Pitt I expanded my ability and love of giving back to the community. I am currently an attorney with Leech Tishman in State College; focusing on Family law. My unique background and skillset helps me contribute to PAWS and the board of directors and hopefully will for years to come! I reside in State College with my wife, daughter, and our two lab mixes (one of which is a PAWS rescue).

Mike Chilcot

Steven Chichester

I was first introduced to PAWS in 2017, when searching for a dog to adopt.  Since then, I have adopted a PAWS dog, become a PAWS volunteer on dog side, and have served as a full-time dog foster. Originally from Waldorf, Maryland, I earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree while living in Virginia, and in 2015, I moved to Bellefonte, PA when I was offered a position at Penn State University. With previous experience in enrollment management and student services, I currently work in strategic planning for Penn State, while also pursuing a Ph.D. in Higher Education. As a strategic planner, I help organizations articulate goals, identify actions required to achieve those goals, and formulate plans that sequence those actions in a logical and efficient manner. Additionally, I previously owned and operated Eleventh Paw Properties, a property management company in the Bellefonte area. In my free time, I enjoy working on home improvement projects, attending sporting events, exercising, and spending time with my dog, Chaco.

Steven wearing turquoise button up

Linda Friend

Animals have always been an important part of my life, particularly dogs, both breed and mixed breed. About 14 years ago I started to work the Friday night sift in the cat wing and have had that assignment ever since. I assisted with the first and second PAWS strategic plans, served on the Boards Nominating Committee for several years, and am becoming a regular sponsor of PAWS activities including the Tennis Ball Tosses and the recent Trivia Night at Axemann Brewery. Before my retirement from Penn State Libraries I had increasingly responsible positions, mostly in technology, spending the last 8 years as co-head of Library Scholarly Publishing. I was responsible for the departmental budget, strategic planning, and chaired and served on numerous library and university committees. I’ve been a witness to the ways PAWS has grown and flourished over its history and I’ve appreciated being able to see and participate in the growth.

Linda in a purple coat

Virginia Ishler

I have been an active PAWS volunteer for almost 2 decades. During that time, I have worked as a dog handler on the Sunday dog showings, adoption counselor, foster program coordinator and in the last few years a board member. I was on the search committee for the Executive Director position. I have participated in the Fur Ball and personnel committee. I am currently serving on the Governance committee. It has been a fantastic experience being involved in a proactive organization that keeps raising the bar in how PAWs can help animals. It has been rewarding to be part of the process to advance the care of rescue animals both medically and behaviorally. I adopted my first PAWs dog in 2005. I adopted our second dog in January 2021. Using resources from PAWS, I was able to work with Layla to overcome separation anxiety, anxious behavior, and leash reactivity. With the education PAWS provided I have a completely different dog from the one I brought home over a year ago. I would like to continue as a board member to support and promote PAWS mission to help animals overcome their challenges and provide the community with resources to improve animal care.

Virginia Ishler headshot


Spencer Lewis

Since moving to State College in 1988, I have had the pleasure of being an active part of our wonderful community, working at Penn State and giving back as a volunteer/donor to numerous non-profits. I retired from Penn State after thirty years in fundraising for the University in September 2021 and I am now free to focus my attention on volunteer activities. My love of animals (especially dogs) led me to focus on service with PAWS. While at Penn State I served as the Director of Development for Penn State Outreach and Online Education (Shaver's Creek, Penn State Public Broadcasting, World Campus, etc.) for eighteen years, raising more than $40M during the latest campaign. I also held fundraising positions in Penn State's Smeal College of Business and the College of Engineering, and as Executive Director of the American Cancer Society. I also worked with local non-profit organizations, including the American Red Cross, the Boy Scouts, and our church.  My wife and I have three grown children, and a Jack Russell Terrier named Chelsea.

Spencer Lewis

Karen Mayes

I have been blessed to grow up in this beautiful and friendly Happy Valley since 1983. I was 1st introduced to PAWS in one of the first years of opening up, to attend a child's birthday party.  After graduating from Leadership Centre County in 2021, I excitedly became reconnected to PAWS to build upon my love and passion for animals and to become a servant leader. My expertise in Construction Project Management and Engineering Leadership was a good fit that aligned with PAWS strategic plans and I am currently serving as Co-Chair on their Facilities Committee. In 2023, we joyfully adopted for the first time, a new (11.5 years old) dog from PAWS that fit perfectly into our home. Additionally, I'm currently serving on the operations committee at our local church and have been involved in the past with Boy Scouts of America, coached Penn State Learn to Skate, as well as Bald Eagle Youth Soccer and Basketball programs. I live in Howard with my husband, JP, daughter and son, Sierra and Hunter and our three sweet dogs, Echo, Roxy and Autumn.

Karen Mayes with 2 dogs

Daniel Nelson

I have heard it said that the real measure of a society-the true test of its moral compass-is how that society chooses to care (or not) for the most vulnerable within that society. An animal who finds its way to a shelter, for any variety of reasons, is among the most vulnerable within our society. Ballpark Frank was one such animal. We made the right call going to PAWS. Today, Frank is living his best life, and Kelly and I could not be more grateful to have him with us. I serve as a partner and attorney-at-law with the Law Firm of Mason and Nelson in Philipsburg. I bring prior Board experience, much of that has been focused on not-for-profit and non-profit organizations. My sincere hope is that-between my previous experience, professional background, and love of the PAWS mission-I can bring a new, helpful voice to the Board members already working to guide PAWS in its mission.

Dan holding a beagle in kitchen

Ming Tien

PAWS is an organization that I have known since the adoption of my first dog: Sammi. I have also adopted Boomer (previously named Prancer) and Annie. Beside of the affection I have for dogs, I adopted these dogs mainly for my family, something for my son and I to engage in raising, enjoying and bonding on. Indeed, many ours are spent on outings, sharing laughter and joy that these dogs have brought into our lives. I am retired now and have much more free time. One contemplates how to best spend that free time and of course one is always: how do I give back? One way is to facilitate the processes which have brought you happiness in life. PAWS did that for me. So in some ways, I would like to give back that joy to the organization of PAWS, but also facilitate the happiness to both the animals and the people that would share in this bond.

Ming Tien pic