As Executive Director of the Fred Rogers Center, Rick Fernandes is responsible for strategic partnerships, program development, and outreach and communications. He has been involved in children’s television for 30 years where he has worked on shows including Blue’s Room, Between the Lions, Out of the Box, Bear in the Big Blue House, and Reading Rainbow. Rick’s achievements include 11 Emmy nominations covering five different children’s series for PBS, Disney Channel and Nickelodeon, and one Emmy win for directing Disney Channel’s Bear in the Big Blue House. He also has experience in general entertainment, working on sitcoms, reality, game shows and music videos. Previously, Rick served as Executive Director, General Entertainment Content in Southeast Asia for Turner International Asia Pacific Limited.
As the Center’s Co-Director and resident faculty member, Junlei Li integrates the mission of the Center, the College, and child-serving partners in our larger community. His research lab Incubator 143 partners with educators, trainers, advocates, and researchers. With active projects in low-income child care centers, urban schools, community programs, and the larger child-serving non-profit sector, the Incubators focus on identifying and amplifying the simple active ingredient that universally helps serve children—the power of human connection. Junlei joined the Center after serving as the Principal Research Scientist at the Fred Rogers Company, Director of Applied Research and Evaluation at University of Pittsburgh Office of Child Development, and principal investigator on federal research grants at Carnegie Mellon University. He holds a Ph.D. in psychology and M.A. in instructional science from Carnegie Mellon University, and a B.S. in computer science from University of Notre Dame.
As Director of Development and Communications, Karen Struble Myers oversees multi-year, multifaceted fundraising and communications plans designed to promote and support the mission and programs of the Fred Rogers Center. She is responsible for annual giving, major gifts, grant writing, special events, brand strategy, external relations, publications, and e-communications. A graduate of Penn State University, she holds a B.A. in Advertising-Public Relations, and minors in Speech Communication and Business. Karen received an M.S. in Professional Leadership, Training, and Development from Carlow University. She is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE), serving as a frequent lecturer on annual fund strategies, and has more than 15 years of experience in nonprofit development and marketing roles.
As Program Coordinator, Tanya Baronti supports all of the Fred Rogers Center Digital Media and Learning initiatives. She designs and delivers professional development seminars for early childhood educators and workshops for parents on the appropriate use of technology and digital media for our youngest learners. Tanya also builds relationships and collaborations with agencies and schools that serve the needs of our most underserved young children and their families. Additional work experiences include professional development (PQAS certification), college teaching, early literacy, counseling, mobile therapy, and case management. She has a B.A. and M.Ed. from the Pennsylvania State University, and a M.S. degree in early childhood education from the Erikson Institute.
As Archivist, Emily Uhrin oversees the cataloging, indexing and organization of materials related to Fred Rogers’ personal and professional life, formulates and implements archival usage and access policies, and manages the collection of digitized print and video materials in the Fred Rogers Archive. Emily is a 2005 graduate of Saint Vincent College where she studied English and worked in the library as a student assistant. Her enjoyment of library work led her to the School of Library and Information Sciences at the University of Pittsburgh. She received her M.L.I.S. in 2007 with a concentration in Archives and Records Management. While studying at Pitt, Emily worked for the Fred Rogers Center as an intern, completing an inventory of files that were housed at Family Communications, Inc. She also worked at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History Library to gain field experience.
As Administrative Assistant, Theresa Noel supports the daily operations of the Fred Roger Center. She provides general support to the Center’s professional staff including greeting visitors, scheduling, making travel arrangements, financial processing, and other office duties. Prior to joining the Fred Rogers Center staff, Theresa was employed by the Greater Latrobe School District as a personal assistant providing learning support services. She is married and has three sons.