Board of Directors Nominations

The 2021 Board Election will take place virtually on Saturday, May 29. Members are welcome and encouraged to participate. To confirm you are a current member, you can email To renew your membership or become a new member, visit our membership page

This year's new nominees and members up for re-election are listed below. 

Steven Chichester

Board Nominee

I was first introduced to PAWS in 2017, when searching for a second dog to join our family. Since then, I have adopted a PAWS dog, volunteered on dog side, and currently serve as a full-time foster.  Originally from Waldorf, Maryland, I earned a bachelor’s and master’s degree while living in Virginia, and in 2015, our family 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, with my wife, Christy, who is a PAWS volunteer and Kennel Assistant, I own and operate Eleventh Paw Properties, a property management company in the Bellefonte area. In my free time, I enjoy working on home improvement projects, cooking unique vegetarian meals, exercising, and spending time with our three dogs, Chaco, Champion, and Silly Girl.

Steven Board with text


Dr. Sima Lionikaite

Board Nominee

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



Ryan Macaluso - Vice President

Up for Re-election

I started as a front desk volunteer at PAWS in 2015, expanded my role as a dog foster (fostering over 40 dogs in 2 years), then joined the Finance and Facilities Committees, began fostering cats (over 15 and counting), and joined the Board in 2019. Most of my Sundays (pre-pandemic) were spent at PAWS greeting the public and providing information about the work our amazing staff and volunteers do to assist animals in our area.  Merging my project management and finance skillset, I have been able to assist in finding contractors for various projects including the expansion of the cat wing. Currently, I work as the Director of Fiscal Operations for a human services provider in Centre County and am a trusted advocate and resource for the commonwealth. I enjoy working with people in the community and thrive on helping others. My background and experience have spanned finance, human resources, real estate, and project management. Additionally, I volunteer on the leadership team of ACAP (Aging Children of Aging Parents) Centre County as their Finance Director and as an undergraduate student mentor for the Smeal College of Business. I graduated from Penn State University in Finance and am currently an MBA student. In my free time, I cherish spending time with our family’s three dogs and my wife, Jeannette, who is a PAWS Shift Leader, Dog Floor Volunteer, and Personnel Committee member.

Ryan Board text



Monica Wright

Up for Re-election

Monica Wright has enjoyed living, working and volunteering in central PA for more than 19 years.  Her diverse experience with social and economic challenges guide both her professional and private life.  As Director of Development for Centre Volunteers in Medicine (CVIM), she focuses on community health and education by raising awareness and resources for those individuals who lack health insurance.  Monica is a supporter/volunteer for numerous community organizations including Rotary, The State Theatre, Chamber of Business and Industry in Centre County, Mount Nittany Health, ClearWater Conservancy, and Pets Come First to name a few.  She has supported PAWS for nearly 16 years volunteering on several fundraising committees and she has been on the PAWS Board for over three years.  She enjoys fostering kittens and has fostered 82 kittens over the last five years.  Professionally, Monica has taught both graduate and undergraduate courses at Penn State.  She has conducted research with interdisciplinary teams collecting and analyzing data for varied research projects.  She worked with K-12 students as a certified school psychologist in Kentucky for several years before relocating to PA.  Monica is an honorably discharged veteran of the United States Army Reserves having served six years as a licensed practical nurse.    

Monica board text


Mike Chilcot

Up for Re-election

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 Board text