Penn State Research Team

The Center for Survey Research is a unit within the Institute of State and Regional Affairs (ISRA) at Penn State Harrisburg.  ISRA is an applied research unit that has been conducting social, economic, political, and environmental research for over thirty-five years. Other related units housed under the ISRA umbrella include the Pennsylvania State Data Center, Pennsylvania’s official source of population and economic statistics, and the Center for Geospatial Information.  These units provide demographic and spatial data analysis.  Many project activities benefit from collaborative interaction between these related centers.

Senior leadership within the Institute includes:


Michael Behney, Director, Institute of State and Regional Affairs

For over 30 years, Mr. Behney has worked in a variety of social science research positions with Penn State University, including Assistant Director for Demographic Research and Director of the Pennsylvania State Data Center.  He has served as Director of the Institute of State and Regional Affairs since 1993 and has successfully managed hundreds of applied research projects and activities.  Mr. Behney is known for sensitivity to sponsor needs and concerns and keeping projects on task and within budget.


Mr. Behney is a founding member of the Measuring Success Consortium of South Central Pennsylvania. The mission of the Consortium is to collaborate, measure, and report program impacts for clients, stakeholders, and communities through a partnership of human and health services, government agencies, and academia.


He holds a graduate degree in Urban and Regional Planning from Penn State and an undergraduate degree in Economics from Towson State University in Baltimore, Maryland.


Stephanie L. Wehnau, Director, Center for Survey Research

In her role as Director, Ms. Wehnau provides senior leadership to multiple research teams and oversees the Center’s operations and budgets.  She has expertise in project design and management as well as questionnaire design. Ms. Wehnau has lectured on survey research methods, questionnaire design, and cognitive interviewing for a variety of audiences, including social science professionals and Penn State Harrisburg faculty, staff, and students.


Steph holds a Master of Science in Administration of Justice from Shippensburg University as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Administration of Justice and minor in Political Science from The Pennsylvania State University.  She is a also a member of the American Association for Public Opinion Research and has received graduate training through the Joint Program in Survey Methodology, the nation's oldest and largest program offering graduate training in the principles and practices of survey research.

Sue Copella, Director, Pennsylvania State Data Center

As the Director of the Pennsylvania State Data Center, Ms. Copella provides leadership for all activities at the Center.  Sue has over 30 years of experience in managing various demographic projects. This includes performing a variety of activities including computer programming, data base management and collection, graphics and mapping; statistical analysis, and report writing.  For over ten years, Ms. Copella has served as the Data Manager for the collection, cleaning, and reporting of all special education data in the state of Pennsylvania through the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Bureau of Special Education. 

Ms. Copella is the state liaison for the National State Data Center Program, Federal State Cooperative for Population Estimates, and Federal State Cooperative for Population Projections. As such, Sue in involved with providing assistance to the Census Bureau.

Prior to coming to the Pennsylvania State Data Center, she worked for both a regional and county planning agency and an economic development board. Sue is a graduate of the University of Pittsburgh with a degree in Urban Studies and Geography.