Class of 2016: Meet Lillie Gabreski (Political Science)

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 Lillie Gabreski:

Lillie Gabreski

Major: Political Science

Minor(s): Women’s Studies, History

Hometown: Jamestown, New York

On choosing to major in Political Science: When I was a senior in high school, I volunteered for a candidate for U.S. Congress and learned a lot about how campaigns work and the issues involved. Although the candidate I worked for didn’t win, the experience motivated me to pursue a career in which I could study and shape policies that could help people and improve their lives.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: At Behrend, I learned not just how to be a good student, but how to be a good teacher. I work at least once a week helping students pursue their goals in college, whether through tutoring or coordinating events through the organizations that I’m involved in.

Summer in South Africa: Last summer, I studied abroad at the University of Cape Town. The experience was fully funded by a grant from Penn State Behrend to complete my research in international and constitutional law. While I was there, I participated in the Students’ Health and Welfare Centres Organisation (SHAWCO) Education program and spent 20 hours a week volunteering in the township of Manenberg teaching English and Math to middle schoolers.

On giving back: It feels good to give back, that’s why I enjoy volunteering, teaching, and mentoring. I feel like I’m making a positive impact.

Campus involvement: I have worked as a writing tutor in the LRC and as a student assistant to the Behrend Honors Program. I have also served as the president of Alpha Sigma Alpha sorority and the campus chapter of College Democrats. I’m a member of both the Student Activity Fee and Student Integrity committees.

Good under pressure: I’ve become very good at solving problems under pressure. There are a lot of instances in college when you have a deadline and people with dissenting opinions working on the project with you. I’ve learned how to take chaos and work towards order and how to listen to people on get everyone the same page so that we can come to a resolution.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I almost pursued music as a major, but in the end, my passion for politics won out. I was able to channel my love for music by participating in the campus choir and musicals.

A very hungry bookworm: I love to read and learn about the world around me. I could spend all day wandering around a bookstore.

Advice for current students: Study abroad! It really helped me find my direction, and I credit the postgraduate opportunities I’ve been afforded in part to my experiences in Canada and South Africa.

Following her graduation in May, Lillie plans to attend Cornell University where she received a fellowship covering half of her tuition to pursue a Master’s in Public Administration degree.

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