Class of 2016: Meet Jordan Mushrush

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 couple months, 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 Jordan Mushrush.

Jordan Mushrush1

Jordan Mushrush

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Minor: Operations and Supply Chain Management

Hometown: McKean, Pennsylvania

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: As president of the engineering society Tau Beta Pi, I led an expansion of activities that included bringing a speaker from NASA and a Pi Day charity fundraiser. I also was president of Behrend Robotics, involved in Omicron Delta Kappa and a musician for the student theatre production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” I am also involved in Omicron Delta Kappa.

Not-so-secret superpower: I am a musician, composer, orchestra member and conductor. I have played with and conducted orchestras for several community theatre groups, including the Erie Playhouse and Lake Effect Theatre. I like playing in pit orchestras because the books usually are written for many instruments (I play bassoon, saxophone, clarinet, and flute), which challenges me and improves my abilities.

Spirit in spades: I also orchestrated part of “Spirit of Erie,” a 200-actor pageant created and produced by an amazing team from the Erie Playhouse as part of 2013’s Oliver Hazard Perry bicentennial celebration.

Advice for current students: Whatever you decide to major in or do in your spare time, pursue what makes you happy. The rest will follow.

Jordan plans to find work as an engineer or project manager after his graduation in December, but hopes to own his own business someday.

2016 Standout Seniors: Meet Jalyn Eaton

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 couple months, 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 Jalyn Eaton.

 Jayln Eaton

Jalyn Eaton

Major: Project and Supply Chain Management

Minor: Management Information Systems

Hometown: Pittsburgh

On choosing Behrend: I didn’t choose Behrend; Behrend chose me. I visited the campus multiple times with a program called Upward Bound and I just fell in love. I love the size of the college because it’s easy to network and connect with other students and faculty and staff members.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Over the course of my college career, I’ve done a lot of things I never thought I’d do in terms of leadership, but being a guest speaker at the 29th Annual Scholarship Luncheon here on campus this fall is among my proudest accomplishments. It was absolutely amazing that I was chosen to speak in front of my fellow scholars, parents, faculty, staff, and chancellor!

Campus involvement: I am currently president of the Human Relations Programming Council. In the past, I’ve been the vice president of the HRPC, treasurer of the Multi-Cultural Council, and secretary of the National Society of Engineers. I’m also a member of the Association of Black Collegians and the Organization of African and Caribbean Students as well as the National Society of Leadership and Success.

Historical vision: I love to research abandoned properties. I can look at an empty structure and bring it back to life in my mind. It’s interesting to learn the history and back story.

Advice for current students: Do not come to college with expectations. Imagine you’re about to ride a roller coaster for the first time and have no clue what’s beyond that first hill climb. You’ll have lots of ups and downs while you’re here, but it’s exhilarating. And, there’s a lot of support at Behrend; someone is always willing to help you.

Jalyn plans to work in supply chain management in Pittsburgh following her graduation in May.

2016 Standout Seniors: Meet Nick Swanson

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 couple months, 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 Nick Swanson.

Nick Swanson1

Major: Physics

Minor: Mathematics

Hometown: Lakewood, New York

On choosing to major in Physics: Originally, I wanted to design 3D graphics for video games and movies, so I entered Behrend as a Software Engineer major and planned to minor in Physics. Come to find out, I wasn’t a huge fan of coding, so I switched to a Physics major because I thought it would give me a lot of opportunities, and it has.

Physics can be fun (no really): I credit my love for physics to my high school physics teacher, Jefferson Padgett. He made physics fun and interesting. I couldn’t wait for class. I always knew I’d be in a good mood when I left.

All the world’s a math problem: Being able to understand how and why something works is a really great feeling. Sure, it can be frustrating at times, but when you break it all down and figure it out, you realize how beautiful and mathematical the world really is.

Embracing winter: I picked up snowboarding a few years ago. I wish I would’ve started earlier because it’s really relaxing and fun.

On continuing education: I love to learn and am looking forward to having more time after school to learn more about energy systems, home improvement, and electronics. I have a 3D printer and I’d like to be able to incorporate electronics into the prints because it would be a cool achievement.

On nuclear power: I’ve had an interest in nuclear energy since high school. Although dangerous, nuclear energy is actually a super-efficient way of obtaining power.

Advice for current students: Make friends with older students. They’ve been in your shoes and understand your struggles. They might even learn something from you, too.

Nick has accepted a position as an engineer at Rolls-Royce Nuclear in Pittsburgh following his graduation in May.

Students escape to Madagascar via Washington, D.C.

Reem Elhafiz Abdalla, Jillian Dunn, Lillie Gabreski, Dalia Tenda Batuuka

Reem Elhafiz Abdalla, Jillian Dunn, Lillie Gabreski and Dalia Tenda Batuuka represented Penn State Behrend at Howard University’s 14th Annual National Model African Union Summit last month.

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Dalia Tenda Batuuka, Jillian Dunn, Lillie Gabreski and Reem Elhafiz Abdalla are not natives of Madagascar. None of them has ever stepped foot in the country.

Talk to any of these four Penn State Behrend students for even a few minutes though, and you might just think they were native-born Malagasy.

Last month, the students attended and participated in Howard University’s 14th Annual National Model African Union Summit. Sponsored by the African Union Mission and Member State Embassies in Washington, D.C., the four-day summit is a simulation of the proceedings of the African Union, requiring participants to research their assigned countries in-depth before attending the conference.

This marked the first time that Penn State Behrend was represented at the summit, held in February with more than 45 colleges and universities participating. The Behrend students’ assigned country was, of course, Madagascar. The group represented the college well, winning the Michelle Tooley Outstanding Delegation in Committee Award in recognition of their performance on the Social Matters Committee.

“Students really do have to act as delegates and adopt the stance of the country they’re representing,” said Naaborle Sackeyfio, a lecturer in comparative politics who also attended the summit.

The students chose to participate after taking Sackeyfio’s Introduction to Contemporary Africa course during the fall semester.

“We were in the course together, and Dr. Sackeyfio mentioned this summit. It just seemed like such a great opportunity,” said Batuuka, a first-year psychology major.

Each student was assigned a different committee for the summit, in this case Economics (Gabreski), Peace and Security (Batuuka), Social Matters (Abdalla) and Regional Economic Matters (Dunn). This meant that the group had plenty of studying to do beforehand.

“The whole point was to go there and play the role of actual delegates from Madagascar, so you had to be very familiar with the country in advance,” Batuuka said.

The group met several times a week and spent long hours preparing for the event. There were times during the summit where other countries’ delegates would call their expertise into question, but the students held their ground.

“People would contest things over even the smallest words. There were times where you definitely had to stand up and make your case heard,” said Gabreski, a senior political science major.

“The margin for error was very small,” added Dunn, a sophomore political science major.

While the students were happy to receive an award for how they represented Madagascar, it was not the only thing they took away from the summit.

“After this experience, I have such a newfound appreciation for politicians,” Batuuka said. “You always hear, ‘What’s wrong with Congress? Why aren’t they passing this?’ but you realize that it’s not that easy.”

2016 Standout Seniors: Meet Nicole King

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 couple months, 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…..

Nicole King2

NICOLE KING

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Grove City, Pennsylvania

On choosing to major in Mechanical Engineering: I have always loved science, math, and physics. Also, my father, who is an engineer, had a huge influence on my life. I love talking to my dad about the things I’m learning at school and how they related to his work.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Probably when one of my freshman residents told me that they looked up to me so much that they wanted to get involved with all the clubs I was involved with.

Campus involvement: I’m the president of Reality Check and a member of the Lion Entertainment Board and the Lion Ambassadors. I sit on the Student Government Association budget committee, and I am also a resident assistant.

Advice for current students: Get involved! There’s so much more to learn at Behrend than just those things that relate to your academic major. You will meet many different types of people here. I challenge you to try and have an impact on the lives of those around you and get them involved, too.

Nicole has accepted a position as an engineer at Bechtel in Pittsburgh following her graduation in May.

Sophomore creates Behrend’s first Model United Nations chapter

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Delegate-Ivan Pan, Moustafa

Ivan Pan, left, and Moustafa Elhadary were two of the student delegates who represented Penn State Behrend at the 62nd annual Harvard National Model United Nations.

Weibin “Ivan” Pan was optimistic prior to attending the Penn State Behrend Student Leadership Conference in February 2015. The Xiamen, China native had just started his second college semester and was looking to get more involved on campus.

But he did more than just get involved. He paved the way for others to get involved, too.

“I came out of that conference knowing that I wanted to create a Model United Nations at Penn State Behrend. I was very involved in Model UN in high school, and I knew that a lot of students at Behrend would be interested in the group,” says Pan, a sophomore Finance major.

Within a month, he had found a faculty adviser and plenty of interested students. Today, the group, now an official Model UN chapter, has more than 30 members.

Pan said a key reason he wanted to start a chapter was to provide opportunities for the college’s growing international student population. Last year, Penn State Behrend welcomed 186 new international students, the largest international class in its history.

“Model UN is a great place for international students to practice their public speaking skills, English skills and to learn to negotiate with others,” Pan said.

In February, Pan and an additional seven Penn State Behrend student delegates attended the 62nd annual Harvard National Model United Nations (HNMUN). More than 3,000 student delegates from more than 70 countries and 100 universities attended the four-day international relations simulation in downtown Boston. Founded in 1955, the conference is the largest and oldest of its kind, and this year was the first time that Penn State had ever been represented.

For the simulation, Pan and the other student delegates (Stephanie Zhao, Naman Tanwar, Tyagadipta Biswal, Deniz Himmetoglu, Hank Pinge, Moustafa Elhadary, and Keshav Prabhu) were assigned the country of Poland. They spent nearly a year researching the country and its policies to prepare for the event.

“We prepared and met regularly before the event,” Pan said. “It was a great honor to be invited to the conference. Everyone wants to be invited, but there was only a limited number who went.”

While they did not take home any of the major awards at HNMUN, the team plans to apply to attend the conference next year. The group has also applied to attend the eleventh annual Los Angeles Model United Nations (LAMUN) in April at the University of California, Los Angeles.

“There are so many great opportunities for students here at Behrend,” Pan said. “The fact that I was able to start a Model UN chapter just shows that Behrend really does provide great opportunities for its international students.”

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