Secret Lives of Faculty: Ricardo Estremera, home remodeler and Olympic-level athlete

There’s so much more to Penn State Behrend’s faculty and staff members than what you see them doing on campus. In this occasional series, we take a look at some of the interesting, unconventional, and inspiring things that members of our Behrend community do in their free time. 

By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend

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What’s an Olympic-level runner to do when he is injured and can’t work out and the entire country is taking a pandemic pause? How does a guy who runs sub-4-minute-miles survive being stuck at home for months?

He flips.

A house.

Trading in his racing flats for a tool belt, Ricardo Estremera, 36, assistant teaching professor of Spanish, and his wife, Sherez Mohamed, a professor of Spanish and linguistics at Mercyhurst University in Erie, invested in a fixer-upper and got to work.

“We figured it would keep me busy,” said Estremera, who was training for a spot on the Puerto Rico Olympic steeplechase team when Achille’s tendon issues forced a layoff.

The couple had their work cut out for them. The house, while solidly built, needed an entire interior overhaul.

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“The home was built in the 1890s, and I think cats have been peeing in it since 1891,” Mohamed wrote in a post on the Instagram page—The Professors Flip—that the couple started to document the progress of turning a $33,000 stinker into a sparkling, modern home on a tight budget.

Estremera approached the job with all the energy and enthusiasm he would have spent at the track, as did Mohamed who did her share of the remodeling, renovating, and restoration work, too.  Estremera learned his handyman skills as a reluctant teenage helper to his father, repairing things around their home in Puerto Rico.

“When you’re a kid, parents make you do things and you hate it, but you end up learning a lot,” he said. “I didn’t like having to help fix things back then, but I love it now. Going to Home Depot is a good day for me.”

As soon as they closed on the house, they began a to-the-studs overhaul and transformed it into a modern home with an open concept. (See  photos on Instagram. Click on the “Before and After” story.)

“The first house was an experiment to see if we could do it,” Estremera said. “We learned a lot. It’s amazing what you can figure out watching YouTube tutorials.”

Given the results, they decided to renovate another home – a duplex, which they are now renting out.

Being landlords wasn’t in the original plan for Estremera and Mohamed. It’s more of an altruistic endeavor than a business for them.

“We decided we wanted to provide beautiful, affordable housing for people in Erie,” he said. “The city has lots of old houses with charm that are not taken care of, and the landlords don’t seem to care. We do. We will take care of our properties and renters.”

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Behrend Blog caught up with Estremera after he wrapped up a morning workout (yes, he’s back in training) to learn more about his life off campus.

What are the things you’re looking for when you’re investing in a new property?

We are very patient and look for deals in neighborhoods that are in the sweet spot. For example, houses in one area of Erie might be $130,000, but if you go a few blocks in any direction, you can find them for $60-$70,000. We are looking for residential areas where we can find a bargain, fix it up, and improve the community.

We also look at what the home needs, especially if there are any big-ticket improvements needed, such as a roof, electric, furnace, chimney or foundation repairs. These things are not deal-breakers, but we need to factor that in and make sure the renovation will pay off.

How many properties have worked on?

Our first was the home we live in. Then, we did the duplex, and we just bought another house.

So, you don’t actually “flip” them?

No. We learned that it’s actually very hard to make money flipping houses. The more time you spend doing it, the less cost effective it is.

Do you do all the home renovation work yourselves?

Most of it, yes. I enjoy the challenge, and it’s cost-effective to do the work yourself. Neither of us love painting, but it’s expensive to hire someone to do it, so we paint to save that money for other things, such as electrical work.

What have you learned the hard way?

Old houses are not square.

What are your top tips for anyone who might want to do what you do?

Do your research, shop around, and negotiate. I do a lot of research when we are looking for a new property, contractor or appliances/materials. I know how much things should cost. We shop around, even when looking for a bank loan, and we negotiate. My wife is an expert negotiator.

Switching gears, how is the running going? Are you injury-free now?

I am injury-free now, but I have found that it’s hard to stay in shape over winter in Erie due to the lack of indoor facilities. A treadmill is fine for a regular run, but not when you’re doing fast-paced training and I cannot run hurdles until at least April, so I’m months behind my competition. My plan is to train for longer distance (half marathon) in the fall and winter, then slowly shift to track season.

What are you training for now?

My end goal in the 2023 season is to wear my Puerto Rican jersey at the Central American and Caribbean Games (CAC Games) and Pan American Games.  After the 2023 season, I will retire from track and field and compete in road races, like 5k, 10k, 21k and 42k.

Do you train with anyone?

I wish that I could. It’s hard to find partners who can run my pace. I do my hard workouts at a sub-4:00 to 4:30 (minutes per mile) pace. A recovery day is a 5:45 to 6:30 pace. I do volunteer with Behrend’s track-and-field team, though.

When did you start running?

I was about 15 or 16 years old when I started running seriously. Before that, I was a competitive swimmer. I hated it, though. I only did it because my brothers did, so we all went. When I started running, I knew that it would be my ticket to college.  (Editor’s note: It was not only his ticket to college, but to a spot on the Puerto Rico Olympic team in the steeplechase. Read more about that here).

What do you enjoy about running?

It’s relaxing and it’s my time to think. I get a lot of work done while I’m running. I like to teach and then run because it gives me time to reflect on what went right, what went wrong, and what I might change.

Switching gears again…Why should students consider a Spanish minor?  

A second language is an asset to any field or major and will make you stand out. In a global world, being bilingual is beneficial. It also gives you the full experience when traveling abroad. It will open the doors to another world!

You are a full-time faculty member, a husband, a member of the Puerto Rico Olympic team, a volunteer with the college’s track team, and a Ph.D. candidate who renovates homes in his spare time. What do you say to students who don’t turn in their assignments on time?

(Laughs). I say: Do you have a better excuse than I might to not get your work done? But seriously, I tell them they need a plan. Look at your calendar and fill it in with your No. 1 priorities and things that can’t move, such as classes. Then, find the gaps in your schedule to fit in other things—a workout, lunch, a date, meal prep, etc. Time management is key to success.

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Standout Seniors: Meet Breanna McClain (Marketing)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Breanna McClain. 

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Major: Marketing

Minor: Communication Arts and Mass Media

Certificates:  Public Relations and Advertising

Hometown: Columbus, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: Joseph Defrees Scholarship

On choosing Behrend: I knew coming to a smaller campus would increase the possibility of having a positive relationship with my professors. I wanted to be known by name, not just be one of a number of students in a program.

On choosing her major: I chose my major because marketing is the creative side of business. I’ve always been a creative person, and I wanted to use these gifts to help advertise products, services, or events.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: My proudest accomplishment has been my ability to increase my GPA every semester. I have continued to improve academically, and I am very proud of my dedication to continue to do better.

Campus involvement: I am the Vice President of Advertising in the American Marketing Association Club and am a Business Ambassador. I also was a part of the concert band whenever my schedule would allow it. I play the tenor saxophone.

A really “wild” internship: I did an internship at the Erie Zoo where I helped with social media and event planning. I loved helping the zoo staff get ready for events and watching visitors enjoy them.  I got to have some cool interactions with the animals, and a lot of them recognized me by the end of my internship, which made me feel pretty special. I have some great photos with the zoo’s male orangutan, “Joe,” who recently passed away. I was really upset to hear that news and am glad to have made some memories with him.

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Awards and recognitions: I recently received the Outstanding Marketing Student Award, and I made the Dean’s List every semester.

What makes her unique: I have an eye for design. I can take information and make a visual that will better represent and communicate what needs to be shared.

Her definition of the good life: My definition of living a good life is to treat everyone with kindness. If I can make someone else’s day a little brighter, I am satisfied that I am living the best possible life I can.

Her passion: One of my passions is photography. I enjoy capturing the small things people might otherwise overlook. It has helped me see at the world differently because I used to miss these things like everyone else. Now, I take time to notice and appreciate things around me and want to help others do the same.

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Advice for first-year students: My advice would be not to get lost in the stress of the world. Life is easier if you can think of at least one good thing that happened in your day. If you can find that one good thing, it can completely change your outlook on life.

After graduation, Breanna plans to explore non-profit or for-profit organizational work in social media and event planning or pursue advertising work for a small marketing firm

Standout Seniors: Meet Laura Gil (BECON, IB, MIS)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Laura Gil. 

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Majors: Business Economics, International Business and Management Information Systems

Hometown: Bogota, Colombia

Scholarships: Pathway to Success: Summer Start Scholarship, Erie Insurance Group Leadership Scholarship, PNC Leadership Scholarship, Benjamin A. and Carolyn A. Lane Open Doors Scholarship, and Pam and Greg Slusher Open Doors Scholarship.

On choosing her majors: My journey to three majors started when I saw the economic crisis that was happening in Venezuela and decided to major in Business Economics. After doing some research, I learned that there are many factors, even very small ones, that can affect a country’s economy, so I added International Business. Finally, I realized that I needed to understand how to better comprehend and portray data for other people to understand issues that happen globally, so I added Management Information Systems.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Graduating with three majors in four years.

Campus involvement: Student Government Association, Multicultural Council, Global Boarders, and Global Ambassadors.

Awards and Recognitions: Behrend Excellence Award and the Ardeth and Norman Frisbey International Student Award, a Penn State award that recognizes undergraduate students who have contributed significantly to furthering international understanding.

What makes her unique: I am very organized and driven to learn more about what is happening around the globe.

Globe-hopping: I have traveled to more than ten countries already!

Top priority: Getting a doctoral degree.

Her passion: Learning about how we are all connected through data.

Advice for first-year students: Get involved and start networking early on!

On overcoming obstacles: As an international student, I have faced many challenges to get to where I am, but I never let any of those stop me from reaching my goals.

After graduation, Laura plans to attend graduate school and eventually earn a PhD.

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Mike Binni (Marketing)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Mike Binni. 

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Major: Marketing

Hometown: Canonsburg, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: I wanted the Penn State degree and experience, but with smaller class sizes. I’ve been able to form great relationships with all of my professors, which I don’t think would’ve been possible at a larger school.

On the many paths of Marketing: I chose my major because it is a diverse degree that offers a lot of potential career paths, from data analysis to social media management to graphic design to sales.

MVP on the mat: My proudest accomplishment at Behrend was being a two-time MVP on the varsity wrestling team.

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Penn State Behrend wrestling at UMU Invitational, Alliance, OH

He’s a people guy: I enjoy putting myself out there and talking to everyone.  I just love to hear about other peoples’ lives and experiences. I think my extroverted personality makes me a natural for a career in sales.

Highest priority in the coming years: First, I’d like to grow into an account managing role at Ansys Engineering Software Company, where I’ve accepted a sales position. Eventually, I want to move out of Pittsburgh for a couple of years, see the country, and learn more about who I am.

Priorities, part II: My definition of a good life would be retiring at a young age so that I can spend time with my family and friends, and do something I’m really passionate about, like helping others, teaching, or mentoring.

Advice for first-year students: Put yourself out there and go to events and join clubs. Stay an extra couple of minutes after class to connect with your professors. Also, enjoy your time in college; it goes much faster than you can imagine.

Mike has accepted a position as a sales development representative with Anysys Engineering Software Company in Canonsburg.

Standout Seniors: Meet Cara Harben (Software Engineering)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Cara Harben. 

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Major: Software Engineering

Hometown: Attica, Ohio

On choosing Behrend: Two of the most important items on my college checklist were small class sizes and hands-on engagement. Behrend’s intimate classroom settings were instrumental in allowing me to feel connected to the course material and the faculty here. My labs have been more challenging than I ever imagined, too, but they have taught me vital skills that have left me better prepared for my career.

On switching gears: I always planned to go into medicine, but in my senior year of high school, I took a web design course and fell in love with programming. It completely flipped my plans upside down. I attended Google’s Computer Science Summer Institute before college, and it solidified my decision. I couldn’t be happier now.

Proudest accomplishments at Behrend:  I’m fortunate to have had internships for the last three years at TechnipFMC in Erie and  Northrop Grumman’s Space Systems division in California. As a member of Northrop’s intern council, I was able to pitch and start a support program for interns at my location to prevent discrimination in the workplace. That was my proudest moment during my academic career.

Campus involvement:  I am a member of Behrend Engineering Ambassadors, Phi Sigma Rho (engineering/science sorority), and the Cultural Cooking Club (CCC). We just made dumplings for CCC, and while the ones I made were not aesthetically pleasing, they sure were delicious.

Java master: Being in this field has taught me the necessity of experimenting with different coffee brewing methods. I’m told I make a mean cup of coffee with my AeroPress, or so my partner says.

What you’d be surprised to know about her:  My hometown is a village of fewer than 800 people in the middle of nowhere.

Take a moment to enjoy life: If you move too fast from one thing to the next, you’ll miss out on a lot of beautiful experiences. I like to stop and smell the flowers sometimes, whether by watching the sunset from the Burke parking garage, looking for the International Space Station on good nights, or cooking a good meal after a rough day. That’s what makes me happy.

Adventures await I am ecstatic to have a clean slate to work with once my partner and I move to Colorado Springs this year. I’d really like to spend some time learning a new language and getting back into playing guitar. We’d also like to try backpacking!

Cultivating the next generation of engineers: Computer science outreach is what inspired me to become a software engineer. Currently, I am in the process of designing a program for a local middle school that teaches kids how to create their own Space Invaders style game in Scratch, which teaches kids to program through drag-and-drop code!

Advice for first-year students: Go to the career fair in your first year. Worst case scenario, you come out of it better equipped to face the next fair. In my case, I never thought I’d have an internship after my first year, but I did!

Parting thanks: My professors have been wonderful throughout my time here, and I’m grateful to them for their help, advice, and patience, especially Dr. Wen-Li Wang, associate professor of computer science and software engineering; Dr. Amed Sammoud, lecturer in computer science and software engineering; and Dr. Abdallah S. Abdallah Abousheaisha, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering.

After graduation, Cara will be joining Progressive Insurance in Colorado Springs, Colorado, as a software developer.

Standout seniors: Meet Emily Wargo (Marketing)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Emily Wargo.

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Major: Marketing

Minors: Management Information Systems and Data Visualization

Hometown: Erie

Scholarships: Provost’s Award, Black Family Excellence and Opportunity Fund, and the Addison H. Gibson Foundation Grant.

On choosing her major: I was interested in Marketing because it offers a broad range of career opportunities. It’s a degree that pairs well with almost any minor or certificate. This allows you to customize your degree to specialize in whatever interests you.

On choosing her minors: I decided to add on a Management Information Systems minor after I took an MIS introductory class. I enjoyed the content and learned how technical skills can be used in the marketing field. I also took a Data Visualization course and learned that I enjoy working in Excel, especially creating graphs with data.

Campus involvement: I was involved in many open houses and other events hosted by the Black School of Business. I represented the Marketing and MIS majors as a Business Ambassador and served on the executive board for the American Marketing Association (Behrend’s marketing club).

Hands-on learning:  During my junior and senior years, I worked as a data visualization intern in the area of Corporate Strategy and External Engagement at Penn State Behrend. I worked to learn a visualization platform and create new processes for creating reports with research award data.

What makes her unique: I’m resourceful. Whether it’s with cooking, collecting craft materials, or concisely taking notes, I like to keep things as logically organized as possible, while also consciously thinking about the resources being used, and allocating them in the best way. This applies to my personal relationships, as well, because I have a caring concern for others and enjoy pleasing those in a way that best suits everyone involved.

Top priority: My highest priorities for the coming years are to pay off my student loans and travel.  While at Behrend, I have had the chance to explore many outdoor hobbies including hiking, kayaking, and car camping. I’m looking forward to using these newfound skills to explore new places in the coming years.

Emily has accepted a position as a Business Systems Analyst at TEKsystems contracted by PNC, following her graduation in May.

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Grant Oishi (Nursing)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Grant Oishi: 

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Major: Nursing

Minor: Biology

Hometown: State College, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: The Clark Family Scholarship and the Class of 1922 Memorial Scholarship, as well as several grants to aid in my undergraduate research.

Why did you choose Behrend? Initially I did not. I applied to the nursing program and the Schreyer Honors College at University Park but was not accepted. So, I did some research and found Behrend, which had a BSN nursing program and campus honors program. Erie also had a few major hospitals, which was a key factor, as I wanted the best clinical experiences. I applied and was accepted to the nursing and Behrend Honors Program.

Serendipity: It turns out that not being able to attend the campus I thought I wanted to attend was one of the best things to happen to me. At Behrend, I immediately made connections with my peers and faculty, was able to easily get involved in clubs, and being so far from home, I was forced to grow as an individual.

On choosing nursing: I chose nursing for the reason most people do – I like helping people. It’s incredibly rewarding to care for someone and watch them improve, knowing that you played a role in their recovery. It’s also very humbling to have the responsibility of caring for individuals on some of the worst days of their lives. Nursing also involves a great deal of critical thinking, especially in the ICU. However, I have always enjoyed my science classes the most, which is why I have also pursued research and a minor in Biology.

Proudest accomplishments: I am proud of a lot of what I have done at Behrend, especially since so many things were new for me. I held executive board positions in multiple clubs, became a Schreyer scholar and completed a thesis, became a tutor, and won scholarships. But the thing I’ll carry with me are the relationships I made with students, staff, and faculty that have shaped my time at Behrend and the trajectory of my future.

Involvement: I am the treasurer of Scrubs Club, a pre-health club that exposes students to different disciplines within the field of healthcare through guest speakers, advising, and volunteer opportunities. I joined Cultural Cooking Club (CCC) my first year and have served as everything from secretary to president of the club. CCC’s mission is to explore the world and its many cultures through the lens of regional and national dishes.

Awards: In 2019, I received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, which is given to the top five juniors and seniors.

Don’t give up: I eventually joined the Schreyer Honors College during my junior year, which proves that just because one path to your goal is blocked, doesn’t mean another one won’t open up.

The good life, defined: A good life involves happiness, fulfillment, and purpose in whatever forms those come in. Material possessions, recognition, and even your GPA often steal the spotlight, but at the end of the day, our close personal relationships are our greatest legacy and what I believe matter the most.

He’s a music man: Beyond science and medicine, I love music. I think it’s amazing that combinations of sound can have such a profound an effect on us and be so evocative. I’d like to learn how to play a few instruments now that I’ll have more free time.

Advice for new students: Get organized before the semester starts. Email your professor before the semester starts to ask if you actually need to buy the textbook for the class (most will be honest). Use Google Calendar (or something similar) to keep your schedule organized – it’s free, easy to use, and synchs across devices.

Following his graduation in May, Grant plans to take time for a cross-country solo trip to explore more of the country and scout locations where he might want to live. He’ll then look for a nursing position in a critical care specialty, preferably trauma medicine. He plans to return to school in the future to work on a graduate degree in the sciences or as a nurse anesthetist.

Standout Seniors: Meet Katrina Stevenson (Electrical Engineering)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet: Katrina Stevenson.

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Major: Electrical Engineering

Hometown: Cheswick, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: I wanted to go somewhere away from my hometown, but close enough to go home on weekends. Behrend’s Electrical Engineering program also has a great reputation.

On choosing her major: I chose Electrical Engineering because it was the engineering discipline that I knew the least about, but was interested in.

Campus involvement: I am involved in Behrend Engineering Ambassadors, Society of Women Engineers, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineering, and the Behrend STEM Mentoring Program.

What you would be surprised to know about her: I love to be outdoors! I like to hunt, fish, kayak, hike, and just explore.

Her definition of the good life:  One in which you feel accomplished and keep learning. Most importantly, live your life on your terms – put yourself and your goals first and do what makes you happy.

Top priority: Learning as much as I can! As I start my first full time job, I am looking forward to combining my internship experiences with everything I have learned in school and applying it to my position. Continuing to learn is important to me and it gives me a sense of accomplishment.

Advice for first-year students: You can still be successful if you struggle at the beginning. Don’t give up. Your GPA does not define you. Also, try to get industry experience through internships or co-ops as soon as possible.

After her graduation in May, Katrina will begin working as a Product Development Electrical Engineer at Xylem Inc. in Seneca Falls, New York.

Standout Seniors: Meet Jasmine Lewis (Psychology)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Jasmine Lewis: 

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Major: Psychology

Certificates: Trauma Studies and Behavioral Health and Counseling Psychology

Hometown: Fairview, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: Behrend Excellence Scholarship.

On choosing her major: I initially chose Psychology because I wanted to become a therapist.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: You might expect me to say something related to academics, but I would say that I am most proud about meeting so many wonderful people and taking advantage of experiences that have helped me grow exponentially as a person from when I arrived here four years ago.

Campus involvement: I was a member of the Student Government Association where I served as Secretary of Commuter Affairs and as an upper-class Senator. I was also a Welcome Week Guide for three years and a peer mentor in Belonging@Behrend and the college’s Behrend Excellent Student Transition Mentor Program.

What makes her unique: I love volunteering and am especially adept at being a “people-mover” and getting things organized for events. Also, I have my purple belt in Goju-Ryu karate.

Singing in the rain (and sun and clouds and…): I love to sing. If I could sing my way through life, I’d be the happiest woman on Earth.

Her definition of the good life: To me, living the good life means looking at every opportunity, setback, or hurdle in a positive light. There is always something good to be found in every situation, and I live my life looking for positive notes in the things I do.

What she’s passionate about: I am incredibly passionate about educating people on mental health and reducing the stigmas associated with it.

Advice for first-year students: The best thing I ever did was to look at the degree requirements for my major in my first year. I highly recommend working closely with your academic adviser and the amazing staff in the Academic and Career Planning Center to make sure you’re on track. Your “What If?” report is quite literally your best friend (aside from the schedule builder) when it comes to scheduling classes. Some classes I took ended up counting for two or three categories in my degree path. This tool saved me a lot of time and stress.

Jasmine has accepted a job with the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) of Erie County, after her graduation in May. She also was accepted into the Disney College Program, which she will participate in from mid-July through February 2023.

Standout Seniors: Meet Taylor Love (Project and Supply Chain Management and Management Information Systems)

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2022 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend. Over the next several weeks, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Taylor Love

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Major: Dual Majoring in Project and Supply Chain Management (PSCM) and Management Information Systems (MIS)

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: My dad went to Behrend, so we scheduled a visit and I fell in love. I immediately knew that it was where I was supposed to be.

On choosing her major: I was drawn to PSCM because of the uncertainty involved. I liked the idea that every day is a new challenge. I then fell into my MIS major after doing some MIS research and realizing I could easily dual major. MIS just seemed like a natural fit for me.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I’ve done a lot in my four years at college, but I would have to say the privilege of tutoring other students is something I’m proud of having done. It’s one thing to be able to understand things on your own, but when you can translate that knowledge into helping others, it’s very fulfilling.

Campus involvement: I participated in undergraduate research with Dr. Babajide Osatuyi, assistant professor of MIS, served as a peer tutor, and was an academic mentor for the Black School of Business. I was also a Business Ambassador and president of PSCM Club.

Recognition: I was accepted into and presented my research work at two national conferences—Decision Sciences Institute and The Americas Conference on Information Systems.

She’s a people-person: I have an innate ability to connect with others. I love getting to know people and I think my personality is open and comforting.

What you’d be surprised to know: I struggle a lot with my mental health. I think it’s a very common misconception that people who are deemed successful or high functioning don’t have these issues, but that is not the case. I have generalized anxiety disorder and it’s a battle I fight with myself every day, yet people don’t see it when they look at me.

Her definition of the good life: To me, living a good life is about the journey. I try to live every day of my life as if the next one isn’t guaranteed. I’m big on listening to myself and doing what feels right. I do the things that make me feel fulfilled and I spend time with the people I love.

Top priority: To not stretch myself too thin. I am notorious for taking on too much. I want to make sure the things I’m putting my energy into are things that I’m really passionate about.

A student for life: I absolutely love to learn. I think that to live a well-rounded life, you have to constantly be learning. That doesn’t mean reading ten books a day, it can simply be introspection. I also love teaching others the things that I’ve learned. I think the true value of knowledge comes when you can share it with others.

What she wishes she had known as a first-year student: I wish I realized that everything would unfold exactly how it was supposed to. I had this fear of failure and a need to prove myself in this new environment. It caused me a lot of stress, and I wish that I had known it would all work out.

After graduation, Taylor will be working at American Eagle Outfitters in Pittsburgh as an Inventory Planning Teammate.