Penn State Scranton professor wins conference award for research excellence

group of professors posing for photo at conference

Posing for a photo at the recent ISCAP Conference in New Mexico, are, from left: Pratibha Menon, Pennsylvania Western University; Alan Peslak, Penn State Scranton; Lisa Kovalchick, Pennsylvania Western University; and Dana Schwieger and Daniel Rush from IS Applied Research.

Credit: Ira Goldstein

DUNMORE, Pa. — Penn State Scranton Professor of Information Sciences and Technology Alan Peslak has been recognized with a Meritorious Paper Award for his outstanding contributions at the Information Systems and Computing Academic Professionals (ISCAP) Conference.

The conference, held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, late last year hosted professionals from diverse areas such as information systems education, cybersecurity, applied research and data analytics.

Peslak, an Education Special Interest Group (EDSIG) member for over two decades and a fellow since 2015, shared his journey into this international organization for the ISCAP Conference.

“I got involved through another faculty member from Penn State who mentioned it to me,” he said. “I looked into it and submitted a paper. My first conference I went to was in San Diego in 2013. I have been to almost every conference since then.”

Volunteering his time and expertise, Peslak has also served on the board of EDSIG, including as president of the board.

“We’re all volunteers, nobody is paid. We’re all educators,” Peslak said, reflecting on the collaborative nature of the group. It’s a very supportive and collegial group where we listen to pedagogical and empirical research. I learn a lot from attending these conferences that suit my interests — both to support my teaching capabilities, as well as my general research area — so it’s a good mix.”

His award-winning paper, titled, "Social Media Only Has Two Clusters: A United States Analysis," resulted from a year-long research effort in collaboration with Pratibha Menon and Lisa Kovalchick from Pennsylvania Western University. The study utilized Two-Step Cluster Analysis on a 2021 Pew Internet dataset to identify distinct user clusters for social media in the United States. The paper classified social media users into two clusters — multi-platform (MP) and limited-platform (LP) users based on the number of social media platforms they use. The research, an update of a prior study, provides insights into the behavior and preferences of social media users, particularly in the context of a nationwide survey.

“I never expected to be an award recipient, but I think you can never expect it. I knew we had a good paper," Peslak said. “I was surprised and appreciated the award. It’s a nice honor, as I am extremely interested in this topic.”

Peslak's extensive background includes over 25 years of experience in diverse manufacturing and service industries. He holds a doctorate in information systems from Nova Southeastern University in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. His research areas encompass information technology social, ethical and economic issues, as well as information technology pedagogy.

As a testament to his commitment and impact on EDSIG, Peslak also developed the idea of the Conference on Information Systems Applied Research (CONISAR) and was the first papers chair. His involvement in the conferences since 2003 showcases a longstanding dedication to advancing the field of information sciences and technology.

“I just enjoy doing research,” Peslak said, reflecting on the significance of his research. “And I want to stay active in it.”