Kristine Allen

Program Director

Kristine Allen is Program Director of WPSU-FM.  She also files feature stories for WPSU on the arts, culture, science, and more. When she's not at WPSU, Kris enjoys playing folk fiddle, acting, singing and portrait-sketching.  She is also a self-confessed "science geek."  Kris started working in public radio in college, at age 17, and says she "just couldn't stop."

Ways to Connect

photo: WPSU

On September 14th, to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the Vietnam War, WPSU-TV will broadcast A TIME TO HEAL, a documentary which explores the Vietnam War from a Pennsylvania perspective. On this edition of Take Note, WPSU's Kristine Allen speaks with WPSU’s Lindsey Whissel Fenton, co-producer, writer and director of the documentary.  Whissel Fenton shares her experiences producing the show, in which she also appears, talking with Pennsylvanians affected by the Vietnam War.

photo: courtesy of NASA & Zena Cardman

In the spring of 2017, Zena Cardman was a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Penn State, with a Bachelor of Science Degree in biology and a Masters Degree in marine sciences.  Then  she was one of 12 Astronaut Candidates selected by NASA out of more than 18,000 applicants. She is now training to become an astronaut.

Cardman talks about her interest in creative writing, studying microbes, working in the Antarctic (where she played in a band), sailing on a tall ship, how she feels about going to Mars, and what the chance to fly in space means to her.

photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU

The Great American Eclipse is almost here.  On Monday, a ribbon of land about 70 miles wide, from the West coast of Oregon to the East Coast of South Carolina, will see a total eclipse of the sun. It will be the first total solar eclipse in the continental US since 1979.  We asked two astronomers about their plans, and what’s in store.  One will travel to the path of totality to see the total eclipse, and one will stay in Pennsylvania to watch the partial eclipse.

photo: Min Xian

Health care and climate change were hot topics last night at a town hall with Republican Congressman Glenn Thompson, of Pennsylvania’s 5th district.  The forum was hosted by WPSU, and broadcast live on WPSU TV & FM.

Questions were submitted by the public in advance and also came from members of the audience, who identified themselves by first name only, like Max from State College.

“Your vote for the Republican healthcare bill, regardless of how many people are uninsured now, was a vote to throw 20 million people off of health insurance,” Max said.

photo: Amy Grantham

Rock icon Graham Nash, formerly of The Hollies, Crosby Stills & Nash, and Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, will play a concert on Friday, August 4 at The State Theatre in State College. He spoke with WPSU's Kristine Allen about recent upheavals in his life, his outlook on the future and his recent solo album, titled "This Path Tonight." 

original photo: Paul M. Howey

B.J. Leiderman wrote the theme music for many public radio shows, including Morning Edition, Weekend Edition, Marketplace and Science Friday. After decades in the music business, as a composer and performer, Leiderman has finally released his very first album of songs.  On Take Note, BJ Leiderman talks with WPSU’s Kristine Allen about his album, his obsession with the Beatles, and how to write catchy theme music. We also hear a bit of music from the album.

photo: NASA

NASA recently selected 12 new astronaut candidates from among more than 18,000 applicants. WPSU’s Kristine Allen speaks with one of those talented twelve: Zena Cardman, a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow at Penn State. She will begin her astronaut training in August.

photo: courtesy of B.J. Leidermann

You’ve heard the name B.J.Leiderman many times during the credits at the end of public radio shows. . And if you’re a devoted WPSU listener, you probably hear his music every day.  After a decades-long career as a composer and performer, Leiderman has finally released his first album, titled "BJ." WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with him from his home in Asheville, North Carolina.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

Opera legend Marilyn Horne returned to her hometown of Bradford on Saturday, May 6 for the dedication of the Marilyn Horne Museum at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford.  WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with Horne and toured the museum.

(photo: NASA.gov)

In the last 15 years, thousands of planets have been discovered, outside of our own solar system.  They’re known as exoplanets. The pace of exoplanet discoveries has increased dramatically in recent years, and there have been some very exciting discoveries in the past few months.

WPSU's Kristine Allen speaks with Angie Wolfgang, a National Science Foundation post-doctoral fellow in the Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics at Penn State University. Dr. Wolfgang studies a special class of exoplanets called “super-Earths.” 

Quinn Lease

A line of powerful  storms hit Pennsylvania Monday afternoon and evening, prompting many severe thunderstorm warnings and a few tornado warnings across the state.

There were reports of numerous trees down, including one across Atherton Street in State College.  Snapped power lines closed a portion of Boal Avenue in Boalsburg, where crews worked late into the night.  Street flooding was reported in Altoona. Quarter-size hail was spotted in Kane. 

This month’s show includes a Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano by Andre Caplet from a 2016 Music at Penns Woods Concert; “Se Ela Perguntar” by Dilermando Reis, played by guitarist Jonathan Gangi in a 2017 PSU faculty “Spotlight” concert; and “Les Preludes” by Franz Liszt, played by the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Gerardo Edelstein.

Lemont Granary
Jonathan McVerry

Each year, WPSU-FM holds a contest to choose a design for a limited edition poster print that we offer as a fund drive thank-you gift. WPSU’s Kristine Allen went to find out more about Jonathan McVerry, whose photograph, titled "132 Winters in Lemont," won this year's Art for the Airwaves contest.

(photo: WPSU)

The upcoming vote on the GOP health care bill, known as the American Health Care Act, or AHCA, inspired a group of about 35 citizens to gather outside 5th district Congressman Glenn Thompson’s office in Bellefonte on Wednesday afternoon.  They held a variety of homemade signs designed to send a single message: "Vote No."

Psychologist Theresa Welch of Bellefonte said she's concerned about the effect the bill will have on her clients, especially the working poor.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we hear the Penn State Concert Choir, directed by Christopher Kiver, in music by English Renaissance composer William Byrd; and the Music at Penns Woods Orchestra, led by Gerardo Edelstein, in Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6, known as his “pastoral” symphony.

Melissa Hart
Min Xian / WPSU

FUSE Productions presents the musical "Cabaret" Thursday through Saturday in Penn State's Schwab Auditorium.  The production blends professional actors with local talent. And it includes one Broadway veteran and former Penn State theatre professor who has played the two major female roles in Cabaret - decades apart.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program showcasing performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear music from the African and African American choral traditions sung by Penn State’s Essence of Joy in their Fall 2016 concert; “Songs and Dances for Horn and Piano” by Paul Basler, from a Penn State Spotlight concert, featuring Lisa Bontrager, horn and Sue Haug, piano; and The Piano Concerto No. 1 by Felix Mendelssohn from a Music at Penn’s Woods concert with José Ramón Méndez as soloist and Gerardo Edelstein conducting.

(photo: Kristine Allen, WPSU)

Hollidaysburg Area High Shool is one of a few hundred schools in the U.S. with their own planetarium, built during the space race in the 1960's. But the vintage projector, which worked its magic mechanically, no longer works. WPSU's Kristine Allen reports on a fundraising effort to bring the old planetarium into the 21st century. 

View the slide show above for photos of the planetarium and murals.  

Hollidaysburg Area High School will hold a Save The Planetarium concert and silent auction Friday, Feb. 10.  Details here: http://radio.wpsu.org/community-calendar/event/87762

Jerry Zolten
Photo courtesy of Jerry Zolten

Jerry Zolten, Associate Professor of Communication Arts and Sciences and American Studies at Penn State Altoona, will share his music and pop culture knowledge Saturday night on the nationally-syndicated  program "American Routes" from PRX!  You can hear the show Saturday night, February 11, from 8:00 to 10:00 on WPSU-FM.

(photo: Penn State)

Penn State President Eric Barron released a statement Sunday on President Trump’s executive order blocking citizens from Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen from entering the U.S. for at least 90 days.

Kristine Allen, WPSU

On Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday, a group called "Writers Resist" held more than 90 events around the country and abroad.  One of the Pennsylvania events  was held Sunday evening at Webster's Bookstore Cafe in State College.

The tables at Webster's were filled with an attentive audience, ready to hear powerful words on race, gender and freedom.

Author and poet Nicole Miyashiro, writer and editor for the PA Center for the Book, read from some of her poetry.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program showcasing performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear the Symphony No. 1 in C by George Bizet conducted by Gerardo Edelstein at the 2016 Music at Penns Woods Festival; the Penn State Symmphonic Band, led by Dennis Glocke in a Star-Trek inspired suite titled “Vulcan” by Michael Daugherty; and Penn State faculty pianist Jose Ramon Mendez playing the Ballade Nol 3 by Frederic Chopin.  

photo: Kristine Allen

This past fall,  yard signs for Clinton, Trump and other candidates peppered the lawns of Central Pennsylvania.  Now, new kinds of yard signs are popping up.  These  signs are meant so send a message of healing after a divisive election.

On University Drive, one of the main thoroughfares in State College, you’ll find multiple examples of two yard signs on display.  While the two designs look very different, they spring from the same sentiment.

This month, hear a Quintet for Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon and Piano by Andre Caplet, from the 2016 season of Music at Penns Woods; and the Symphony No. 3 by Franz Schubert, played by the Penn State Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerardo Edelstein, in October of 2016.

(photo: courtesy of Tempest Producitons)

Edgar Allen Poe is the inspiration for an original multi-media performance tonight at the State Theatre in State College.  WPSU’s Kristine Allen tells us how it all comes together.

Actors dressed in Gothic black; dancers wearing handmade masks; eerie images and haunting sounds will share the stage tonight when Tempest Productions presents “Poe: Deep Into That Darkness.” 

(Photo: AP)

WPSU-FM has been taking a look at some of the races in the Pennsylvania State Legislature that will be decided on election day.  WPSU’s Kristine Allen reports on the 171st State House district race, which pits a long-time incumbent against a lawyer who’s a newcomer to politics.

NPR's Shankar Vedantam
(Photo: Gary Knight VII)

The Hidden Brain recently celebrated it’s first anniversary as an NPR podcast. WPSU’s Kristine Allen speaks with the show’s host, NPR Correspondent Shankar Vedantam, about the unseen mechanisms behind human behavior.

ALLEN: Shankar Vedantam, NPR’s Social Science Correspondent and host of the Hidden Brain podcast, thank you so much for spending time with us.

VEDANTAM:  Oh, happy to be here, Kris.

(Photo: WPSU)

Senator Pat Toomey made a campaign stop in State College Tuesday to meet with a group of local farmers gathered at Hess Farm, just off Route 45.

The senator came to the farm to make a point about what he sees as overreach by the EPA in a recent rule aimed at protecting waterways and wetlands. He says the “Waters of the United States” rule places undue burdens on farmers.  Toomey said he also objects to such rules being handed down by unelected bureaucrats.

(Photo: AP)

The head of Penn State’s Department of Political Science, Professor Lee Ann Banazak, took some of her students are to Cleveland this week. They’ve been studying protesters outside the Republican National Convention. WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with Banazak by phone to find out what this research project is all about.

BANAZAK: My name is Lee Ann Banazak, I’m Professor of Political Science at Penn State.

ALLEN: From where are you speaking to me right now?

Photo courtesy of Pat Lloyd & The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts

The 50th Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts continues this week in State College.  WPSU's Kristine Allen Reports on how the festival began.

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