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

Credit: National Science Foundation/LIGO/Sonoma State University/A. Simonnet

NASA’s Swift satellite, controlled by scientists at Penn State, took part in a groundbreaking scientific discovery announced Monday: the first observation of two colliding neutron stars.

First, some background.

Last year, scientists at LIGO (the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-Wave Observatory) first detected gravitational waves, or ripples in the fabric of space-time. Gravitational waves are caused by high-energy events in the cosmos, and fan out in all directions like a stone thrown into a pond.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear Penn State Faculty pianist Jose Ramon Mendez play two of the Four Impromptus, D. 935: No. 2 in A-flat and No.3 in B-flat; The Penn State Philharmonic playing The Fountains of Rome by Ottorino Respighi, with guest conductor Theresa Cheung; and PSU faculty saxophonist David Stambler, with pianist Kathy Gattuso-Cinatl, in Moment Musicaux by contemporary American composer Mark Lanz Weiser.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear the “Overture, Scherzo and Finale,” by Robert Schumann, from a Music at Penns Woods Concert;  the "Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano" by Bill Douglas from a 2015 Penn State Faculty Recital with Naomie Seidman, Tim Hurtz and Christohper Guzman; and the Penn State Philharmonic Orchestra, conducted by Michael Dolan in a 2017 performance of “Rhapsody in Blue” by George Gershiwn.

images: courtesy of John Pielmeier

Actor, Broadway playwright, movie scriptwriter and now novelist John Pielmeier grew up in Altoona and got his MFA at Penn State.  He has recently published his debut novel, titled “Hook’s Tale.” The book is a fresh take on the familiar pirate, Captain Hook, and other characters created by J.M. Barrie.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, hear Autumn Song by Felix Mendelssohn, sung by Discantus, a chamber choir from the Oriana Singers with Jane Glocke conducting and Svetlana Rodionova at the piano; then The Planets by Gustav Holst, played by the Penn State Philharmonic led by Gerardo Edelstein.

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.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we hear Mozart’s Symphony No. 38, from the 2015 Music at Penn's Woods Festival Orchestra; music from a John Williams film score played by the Penn State Trombone Choir, and Panamanian Dances by William Grant Still from a Music at Penn's Woods chamber music concert.

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." 

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we hear music by Bach and Geminiani, played by the duo Dipaison in the Music at Penns Woods Series; “Ave, Regina caelorum” in a setting by Philip Stopford, a composer born in 1977, as performed by the Penn State Concert Choir in April 2015; a Bach Fantasy transcribed for winds, played by the Penn State Symphonic Band; and the Haydn Variations, by Johannes Brahms, played by the Penn State Chamber Orchestra, conducted by Gerardo Edelstien.

image: WPSU

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month’s show includes a Trio Sonata by early 18th century composer Giovanni Benedetto Platti from a Penn State School of Music Spotlight concert; The Oriana Singers, directed by Jane Glocke, performing music from a Bach Cantata; the Opening Movement of the Piano Concerto No.

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.

This month’s show includes two performances form Music at Penns Woods 2016.  The Penns Woods Festival Orchestra plays “La Flute de Pan” by Jules Mouquet, with Naomi Seidman as soloist; and the Symphony No. 4 by Franz Schubert.  Guest conductor for both performances is Eitan Globerson.

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.


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:

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.