Staff Directory

Renee Farkas, Interim Director
(607) 255-1107

Renee has worked at the PSC since its inception in 1991.  Prior to that, Renee worked for CIVITAS. In addition to her duties as Associate Direct of the PSC, Renee coordinates the Community Work-Study Program and the Volunteer Program, leads the Pre-Orientation Service Trip (POST) program, and serves as the PSC liaison for many initiatives and committees both on campus and off, such as the First-Year Experience committee, College Orientation committee, Cornell Days, First-Year Family Weekend and many others.

Renee works closely with students and community partners and also serves in a variety of capacities in the local community including offering trainings for students and community partners, and helping to coordinate the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day event.

Amy Somchanhmavong, Associate Director, Service-Learning and Partnership
(607) 254-8072

As Associate Director of Community Service-Learning and Partnership Amy has dedicated herself to purposeful work that produces lasting impact. Amy's programs encompass student-centered programs such as the Public Service Scholars, to faculty engaged scholarship via action research in teaching and practice, to delivering collective empowerment initiatives for improved community health and wellbeing. Most recently she launched the Patient Care Advocacy Team (PCAT) program  in collaboration with Cayuga Medical Center and Cornell Career Services to expose students interested in the field of medicine to a direct service partnership with Cayuga Medical Center for what Amy refers to as a process of instilling and building a "culture of care” into healthcare for future practitioners.

Chelsea Benson, PreK-12 Program Coordinator
(607) 255-0255

Chelsea coordinates an array of student volunteer and work-study opportunities with local schools and community organizations. Activities range from tutoring and mentoring, to advancing scientific literacy, to preparing students for college. These services not only support PreK-12 students, they also provide Cornell students with valuable skills and experiences.

Prior to joining the Public Service Center, Chelsea worked at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology supporting the Lab’s citizen-science initiatives. She also served as the Education Program Coordinator for an environmental learning center in New York’s Hudson Valley. Chelsea has a B.A. in Psychology and English from Allegheny College and an M.A. in Environment and Community Studies from Humboldt State University.

Joyce Muchan, Assistant Director, Student Programs
(607) 255-8851

Joyce, ILR '96, has been with the Public Service Center since 1999. Her focus is student program leadership development and co-circular project management, evaluation, student leadership trainings, student-run grant allocation, curriculum based service trips, as well as the coordination of Cornell's largest student-run service projects.

Joyce has been a Tompkins County Human Rights commissioner and has served on several community boards task forces including, the City of Ithaca Rental Housing Commissioner 2004-2012, Ithaca City School District Affirmative Action Committee 1993-1996, Ithaca City Drug Task Force 2000, and Ithaca City Community and Police Conflict Management Task Force 1996.


Jennifer RudolphDirector, Pre College Opportunity Programs
(607) 255-5364

Jen directs three college access grants and supervises the K12 Outreach efforts in the Public Service Center.  The Upward Bound Program is a free college preparatory program for qualifying students funded through the US Department of Education’s TRIO Programs on their path to success in college and the Science Technology Entry Program (STEP), funded through the NY State Department of Education to support qualifying students on their path to higher education and careers in the STEM fields and licensed professions.

She has a B.S. in Human Development and Family Studies from Indiana University, and an M.A. in Experiential Education from Minnesota State University, Mankato.  Jen has spent the last 20 years working with youth helping them maximize their potential and plan for their futures.

Kurt Sarsfield, Assistant Director of the Science & Technology Entry Program (STEP)

(607) 255-1309

Kurt comes to the Public Service Center having worked as a teacher and administrator in schools dedicated to preparing all students for college.  In his role at the PSC, Kurt will work to support Ithaca middle and high schools students on their path to higher education through the Science and Technology Entry Program (STEP).  

Kurt has a B.A. in English Language and Literature and Secondary Education from the University of Michigan and a M.S. in Education from Relay Graduate School of Education.

Matteo Lundgren, Assistant Director of Upward Bound

(607) 255-5814

Matteo is enthusiastically dedicated to helping students develop life skills and to help them gain perspective as they transition from High School to College. Matteo has a Masters in Counseling Education from St. Bonaventure University. He has worked in a variety of educational settings; as School Counselor at New Roots Charter School in Ithaca NY, as Camp Director of Steve and Kate's Summer Camp in Seattle Washington, as a Mental Health Counselor at St. Bonaventure University Counseling Center, as a teacher in South Central Los Angeles Charter Schools, as Coordinator of Student Recruitment at Front Range Community College in Boulder Colorado.  

Matteo has also volunteered abroad and here in the United States; disaster relief work after Hurricane Katrina in Mississippi, disaster relief work after the Earthquake in Haiti, disaster relief work after Hurricane Sandy in New York City. He also volunteered and worked with adults with disabilities in Torino Italy and in Rhodes Greece.  

Matteo's great personal passion is within the art of natural building, as the owner of "Cob Therapy" ( he teaches workshops across the country.

Kristin P. Kurz, Events and Office Coordinator
(607) 255-0144

Kristin helps coordinate the Public Service Center's major events. She also oversees the day-to-day operations for the office. 

Kristin has a background in event and theatrical production stage management. She came to Cornell 4.5 years ago and has a M.F.A. from the University of Iowa in Theatre Arts: Stage Management.  

Sandy Hickey, Administrative Assistant
(607) 255-7882

Sandy provides administrative support to staff members of the Public Service Center in addition to assisting the Associate Director, Renee Farkas, in the day-to-day operations of the Community Work-Study Program.

Sandy has worked at Cornell for 30 years, spending 25 years in the Office of Financial Aid and Student Employment before moving to the Public Service Center. She has a B.A. from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell.