Athletics to host cool 5K fun run (ice cream is involved!)

Ice Cream Run TV

By Heather Cass

Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Some people run for fun. Some people run for fitness. Some people run to spend time with friends.

What would you run for?

How about free Berkey Creamery ice cream (and a cool T-shirt, too)?

Ah…now there’s a tempting reason and sweet reward for running (or walking) the Penn State Behrend Athletics first Ice Cream Run on Friday, August 28 at 6:30 p.m.

Not up for 3.1 miles? There’s also a Family Fun 1-Mile Walk.

The races start and finish in the Junker Center parking lot, near the new soccer complex. The course is on all paved paths through campus and Coach Greg Cooper (cross-country and track) was merciful when he designed the course as it goes up first, then is mostly flat or downhill. Course map here (also posted below).

Race registration is $25 and includes a long-sleeve shirt and free Berkey’s Creamery ice cream when you finish the race. Register here (online registration only). By the way, this is a family-friendly event – there’s a $5 discount for every additional family member you register.

Four legged friends are even welcome to run with you, too, but they must be leashed and under control at all times.

This is a fun run, so there will not be a timer or awards.

All proceeds benefit Behrend Athletics! For more information call 814-898-6240.

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Young Erie authors publish one-week novels at College for Kids

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By Robb Frederick
Public Information Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Once upon a time there was a boy named David. He liked to write. He came to a college called Penn State Behrend for a program called College for Kids. He was one of 1,283 kids in the program.

The kids had fun. They launched rockets and built robots and made stained-glass mosaics. David’s class was called “Author’s Club.” The kids in it made their very own hard-cover books. David’s book was “The Magic Stones,” by David Showers, age 10. He dedicated it to his Gramma.

His teacher, Ms. Lenze, helped him write it. She taught him about plot and character and conflict. She made him practice. One time, she gave the class the ending of a story and asked them to write what the characters did to get to that point. That was like a backward book.

Ms. Lenze played classical music while the kids wrote. Some kids sat at desks. Some sat on the floor, their legs folded crisscross applesauce. David sat next to Audi, whose book was called “Mark and Jasmine Meet an Alien.” The boy across from them wrote “Attack of the Changeos.” Whatever those are.

“They are so creative at this age,” Ms. Lenze said. “The stories they come up with are just so imaginative.”

David’s story was about a boy who found three magic stones. The red stone made the boy invisible. The gold stone helped him fly. The black stone granted all of his wishes. But not right away. That was in a later chapter.

“I just moved here like six months ago,” David said. “I read a lot of books. I think it’s cool that I’m making my own.”

He wrote the first draft in a notebook. Then he copied the story into a blank book that Ms. Lenze gave him. He spent a lot of time on the drawings. Especially the first page, where he drew the boy and the boy’s dad and the big house they lived in. He drew all the bricks and shingles and even put smoke on the chimney.

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“I’m really good at drawing houses,” David said. He pointed to the front door, which looked like wood. “Isn’t that good?”

On the next page, the boy goes into the woods. He finds the magic stones. He starts to learn about their power.

Ms. Lenze said a good book should have some conflict. Like a fight. So David made his boy meet another boy – a friend, but not really – who also wanted the magic stones. That boy planned to do bad things with the power. So the boys wrestled, each of them grabbing at the stones, until the magic rocks dropped and broke.

And then?

Then it just ends. The last pages are blank. Ms. Lenze would call that a cliffhanger. David called it time-to-clean-up-for-lunch.

“That’s as far as I got,” he said. “I’ll have to write some more tomorrow, I guess.”

A Textbook Case of Win-Win: Student filmmakers, professors, textbook company team up to create educational videos

Papiya

Dr. Papiya Bhattacharjee

By Christine Palattella
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Associate professor of mathematics Dr. Papiya Bhattacharjee’s daily summer lectures have an audience of just one unblinking video camera, but the potential to reach millions of math students.

Bhattacharjee is one of four calculus teachers chosen by regional audition to act as talent in supplemental video content to be distributed by Erie-based Larson Texts. The video series is being produced using equipment provided by Greater Erie Arts Rental (GEAR), a new outreach services of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences, and with the assistance of Behrend students working as production interns for Larson.

“I think the videos are going to be extremely helpful for any student, but especially the visual learners,” says Bhattacharjee, who spends four hours each morning in the Kochel Center television studio, working aloud while illustrating her commentary in grease marker on a large pane of glass. (The glass will be flipped in post-production to make the pane readable.)

Years of teaching have left Bhattacharjee comfortable speaking in public. It’s the addition of technology that’s the challenge. “I need to remember to always look at the camera while speaking, move away from my writing so it can be seen clearly in the camera, and so on,” she says. “I am trying to have fun. All I have to remember is that the camera is my student, and I am tutoring my student.”

But this is no average student: The camera is an Epic-M Red Dragon Pro, the same model used to film Game of Thrones, The Hobbit, and Avenger: Age of Ultron. This camera is just one piece of equipment in GEAR’s inventory, which includes high-end cameras, lighting kits, and other hardware and software. The equipment is available to professional and student filmmakers and regional artists. GEAR’s equipment inventory, purchased using a $500,000 gift commitment from the Samuel P. Black Family Fund of the Erie Community Foundation, also includes lenses, tripods and stage legs; six-channel sound mixers; shotgun and wireless mics; Fresnal, LED, and HMI lighting systems; and Mac Pro, Adobe and DaVinci Resolve editing and rendering software.

Tim Larson ’87 is a partner in Grant Larson Productions, creator of the calculus video series. He anticipates filming 700 individual videos averaging seven minutes in length by the time the shoot wraps in August. Larson calls GEAR “a wonderful resource. It’s so nice to have this kind of equipment in Erie. On previous shoots we’ve had to rent cameras and equipment from Columbus and Buffalo, so this is an astounding benefit to us.”

An additional GEAR benefit is a ready-made film crew, since a rental discount is available to GEAR clients who hire Penn State Behrend students. “I feel so incredibly lucky to be able to work on this project,” says Erik Brown, a spring Communication graduate and one of six Behrend students and young alumni working for Grant Larson as paid production interns. “The great thing about working here is not only learning about the film industry itself, but also being exposed to high-quality equipment. We’re not using just a couple house lights and DSLR cameras, but industry-standard gear for lighting, sound recording, and cameras. I’ve always wanted to work in the film industry and, now, working on this shoot, I feel like I have a realistic chance of doing that.”

Erik Brown, left, Josh Lapping

Erik Brown, left, and Josh Lapping, (above) are two of six Behrend students and recent alumni working on the videos for Grant Larson Productions using equipment from the Greater Erie Arts Rental, or GEAR, a new outreach service of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences that provides professional and student filmmakers and regional artists access to high-end cameras, lighting kits, and other hardware and software. 

Josh Lapping, Ciara Smith

Penn State students, Josh Lapping, left, and Ciara Smith, work on a series of videos for Grant Larson Productions.

Shelby Dailey

Shelby Dailey, Penn State Behrend Communication major and intern for Grant Larson Productions.

Intern Shelby Dailey, pictured above, a Communication major starting her senior year at the college, appreciates that Grant Larson rotates its student workers. “We’re given the chance to experience all the moving parts of film, such as camera operating, producing, directing, and script supervising. I’ve learned things that textbooks can’t adequately prepare students for, such as (crew) dos and don’ts, set etiquette, and (the importance) of networking.”

“We want to offer an educational experience that is at the same time a close facsimile of what students will experience once they enter the professional environment of producing film and television,” says GEAR coordinator Michael Berlin, whose previous professional experiences include managing crew and equipment for New York City’s Fashion Week and the E! and Pop television networks and production management for ABC World News, CNBC, and ESPN. “The students working on these calculus videos are gaining technical know-how and a type of muscle memory that characterizes this industry, plus they are learning the responsibility that comes with arriving on-set day in and day out. They also are enjoying the benefit of getting paid for their hard work—believe me when I tell you that this type of arrangement is a very rare and very special as a teaching tool that is fair to all parties involved.”

For additional information about GEAR, email Michael Berlin at mbb21@psu.eduLarson Texts and Grant Larson Productions online.

Move over, Bill Nye. Penn State Behrend has its own ‘Science Guy’

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Joel Solomon (3)

Joel Solomon, a physics major, was the recipient of this year’s T. Reed Ferguson Award. The award recognizes a junior who has demonstrated scholarship, leadership and citizenship through academic and out-of-class involvement and gives promise of further achievement in the senior year.

For some kids, it’s Cartoon Network. For others, it’s Nickelodeon. For Joel Solomon, it was the Science channel?

“Growing up, I just always watched that channel,” says Solomon, who recently completed his junior year at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. “I was fascinated by what humanity has been able to do over the years, and I knew that I wanted to be a part of that.”

Math and science resonated with Solomon, and that interest led the New Wilmington, Pa., native to Penn State Behrend. As he got older, he knew he wanted to pursue research in college, and he could think of no better destination than Behrend.

“Being able to get a great education at a small campus is great,” says Solomon, a physics major. “I was looking for a research-oriented institution, and Behrend is one of the few schools in the region that offers such opportunities. I know that with a degree from here, I can go anywhere that I choose.”

This past year, Solomon collaborated with Bruce Wittmershaus, associate professor of physics, on a research project titled, “Concentration Dependence of Coated Gold Nanoparticles for Metal Enhanced Fluorescence.” The project was recognized as the Best Poster Presentation this past April at the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Student Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference.

Undergraduate research has been a big part of his time at the college, but Solomon’s interests go beyond the academic realm. For the past three years, he’s been a goalie on the men’s soccer team. This past year, Solomon was inducted into Chi Alpha Sigma, a national society that honors collegiate student-athletes who excel in both the classroom and in athletic competition. The society recognizes student-athletes who received a varsity letter in their sport while maintaining a cumulative GPA of 3.4 or higher throughout their junior and/or senior years. Solomon is also a former AMCC All-Academic selection.

“I feel as if soccer complements my academics. Just being physically active helps me keep up with my coursework,” he says.

Solomon’s accomplishments on the field and in the classroom played a key role in his receiving the 2014-15 T. Reed Ferguson Award last April at the college’s 66th annual Honors and Awards Convocation. The award recognizes a junior who has demonstrated scholarship, leadership and citizenship through academic and out-of-class involvement and gives promise of further achievement in the senior year.

“I was very happy to receive the award, and it was nice to know my work is paying off,” Solomon says. “It just reassured me that I’m on the right path, but I know there’s more that I can do.”

Solomon will get the chance to fulfill that promise of further achievement this fall, continuing his undergraduate research as the recipient of a grant to explore the topic of “Enhancing the Photostability of Fluorophores Using Metal Enhanced Fluorescence.”

For the future, Solomon plans to attend graduate school and possibly work with optics. His ultimate goal, though, has its roots in the programs he watched on Science as a boy.

“My dream job is always going to be something with NASA. I have always been fascinated by all of NASA’s accomplishments,” he says, “so that’s the dream, and that’s what I’ll keep working toward.”