A Maryland State of Mind: Transitioning to Erie

By Brandon Moten
Senior Communication Major

Hello Penn State Behrend students, faculty, and staff. This is Brandon Moten, and I’m back with another post in my new blog series, “A Maryland State of Mind,” where I share my experience of attending Penn State Behrend as an out-of-state student from Bowie, Maryland.

Today’s post is about my transition from living in Bowie to moving to Erie to begin my journey at Penn State Behrend. Since I was a child, I had always wanted to go to Penn State, something just drew me to this school. I never thought that dream would come to fruition, but in 2013, it became a reality. I accepted my opportunity to attend Penn State Behrend on the same day I received my acceptance letter. However, in the back of my mind, I knew this would be a big change for me, and there were many days where I wondered if I was ready for such a change.

I had lived in Bowie my whole life. I love everything there: my friends, family, environments, and just the general lifestyle, too. I never had been to Erie before, so knowing that I would be moving away for four or five years was hard to comprehend. It was hard to imagine living on my own, doing things on my own, balancing schoolwork, maintaining a new social life, and other numerous changes. The whole situation created a lot of nerves and doubts for me.

Thankfully, I put my nerves and doubts behind me after visiting the campus in July. I immediately felt like the Behrend campus was the place for me to succeed, grow, and enjoy life. The campus gave me a home-style feel, and my nerves and doubts turned into excitement and determination. Also, having amazing support from my family and friends gave me the motivation to continue my transition to Penn State Behrend.

That August, it was time to move into Senat Hall and leaving Maryland was not as difficult as I felt it would be. Based on my July visit, I knew my transition would be a good one. There were definitely rough times throughout my freshman year. I often missed home, family, friends, and even Maryland food. In the end, I got through all of it because  of what Behrend had to offer. I quickly made new friends and found Senat Hall to be a wonderful place to live. It was amazing to go to a college I have always wanted to attend since I was a kid.

Leaving your hometown is never easy, but Penn State Behrend made it a lot easier for me. I’m happy that I can say today that it was one of the best decisions I have ever made. I have grown as a person, met amazing people, and the learning experiences here are really something special.

Brandon Moten’s Maryland State of Mind

By Brandon Moten
Senior Communication Major

Hello Penn State Behrend students, faculty, and staff, my name is Brandon Moten. I’m a senior from Bowie, Maryland, majoring in Communication with certificates in Advertising & Social Media. I have been attending Penn State Behrend since August of 2013 and have loved every minute of it. From the people to the class experiences, it’s been an awesome time.

Over the course of the semester, I’ll be writing a new series of blog posts called “A Maryland State of Mind” where I’ll share my experience of attending Penn State Behrend as an out-of-state student. I will discuss my transition from moving from a place I lived my whole life to a new state, differences between where I’m from and Erie, how I balance school and daily life, and how I handled the challenges I faced along the way.

Penn State Behrend is an amazing school, and I have grown in many ways and experienced so many new things. When I first came to college in 2013, I had no idea of what to expect. I have been living in Bowie, Maryland, my whole life and leaving home was not easy. In the beginning, I had nerves about experiencing new cultures, being six hours away from home, leaving my friends and family, and so much more.

I’m sure there are many current and future out-of-state students who are or will be experiencing the same emotions. I hope this blog series helps those students who have these same thoughts and emotions as I once did. Ultimately, I hope to give everyone a better idea on the life of an out-of-state Penn State Behrend student.

Stay tuned for more… WE ARE PENN STATE!

Class of 2017: Meet Rachel Rattay

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2017 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 Rachel Rattay:

Rachel Rattay

Rachel holds a Hololens, a new holographic device from Microsoft. She worked with the new technology during her internship last summer and her capstone project this year. She will continue working with the device when she joins Microsoft as a software engineer after her graduation in May. Learn more about how Rachel’s senior design team put the HoloLens to use for a Fortune 500 company in the 2017 issue of Engineering News.

Major: Software Engineering

Minor: Management Information Systems

Certificate: Video Game Development

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pa.

On choosing Penn State Behrend: Coming from a small high school, I felt more at home with the smaller class sizes and I knew that professors would know me by name rather than see me as just another student among hundreds.

On choosing to major in Software Engineering: In high school, I was able to take computer science as an elective course and I really enjoyed it. I originally planned to major in Computer Engineering, but realized right away that I liked the software aspect more than the hardware aspect of computing. I immediately switched my major. It was one of the best decisions I made at Behrend.

Scholarships and awards: I received the Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship twice, the Edward P. and Barbara F. Junker Leadership Scholarship, the Allyn and Alice Wright Leadership Scholarship, and the Commonwealth Campus First Year Student Award.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: My proudest accomplishment has been growing the women in engineering community at Penn State Behrend. Before I was elected president of Behrend’s Society of Women Engineers, we had just a few members. I’m proud to say that we now have more than fifty active members who attend meetings, conferences, and networking events.

Rachel Rattay at STEM fair

Rachel, third from left, with other members of Behrend’s chapter of the Society of Women Engineers at the 2017 GE STEM Fair in Junker Center.

Campus involvement: During my four years at Behrend, I was involved in and held leadership positions in many organizations. I was a member and treasurer for both Lambda Sigma and Omicron Delta Kappa and a member of the Tau Beta Pi Engineering Honor Society. I have been vice president of the Association for Computing Machinery and president of the Society of Women Engineers for the past two years.

On mentoring future female engineers: I’m passionate about inspiring the next generation of women engineers. I enjoy speaking and volunteering at outreach events on campus, and have even organized two outreach events with local Girl Scouts to introduce them to engineering. Getting to watch the girls’ faces light up as soon as they figure out how to solve an engineering problem we give them makes all the planning and organizing worth it.

Advice for current students: The best advice I have is to form good relationships with your professors. They are here to help us learn and understand course information, so make sure to utilize office hours! Meeting with professors one-on-one will not only help you in your studies, but could open the door to research or internship opportunities.

Rachel has accepted a position as a software engineer at Microsoft in Seattle, Wash., where she will be working on the new HoloLens technology.

Class of 2017: Meet Brandon Ford (History)

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2017 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 Brandon Ford:

 Brandon Ford - first choice

Major: History

Minor: Politics and Government

Hometown: Fort Myers, Fla.

On choosing to major in History: I love history from any time period. History enables us to look at the past and learn not only about the people who lived in that time, but their culture as well. Understanding another group’s culture is important in becoming a more enlightened individual.

On examining belief through the ages: I’m a religious historian and my research work was on the Catholic church’s view of the bubonic plague. I’m especially interested in the Middle Ages to Enlightenment and also Greek, Roman, and pagan mythology.

On whether history repeats itself: In some instance, yes. The same patterns can happen. But, in a lot of ways, history can’t really repeat itself because of the number of advances in technology and society.

Favorite Historical Figure: I admire Winston Churchill because of how influential he was to not only the people of the United Kingdom but also the world. His policies that he had implemented and amazing speeches that he gave inspired Britain in its time of need in the years prior to World War II. One of my favorite quotes is from Mr. Churchill and it was my mantra through four years of college: “If you’re going through hell, keep on going.”

 

Scholarships: I received two Anonymous Friend Trustee Scholarships and was a recipient of the Penn State Behrend Academic Excellence Award. I also received the Chancellor’s Award and the Provost Award from Penn State University.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Making Dean’s List for the past two years and keeping my GPA up!

Campus involvement: I was involved in Delta Chi, the Intrafraternity Council, THON, Order of Omega, and Leadership Ambassadors.

Highest priority for the coming years: I was just accepted into graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania, so finishing grad school is my immediate priority.

Career plans: I’d love to work in higher education someday, specifically in student affairs or student activities.

Advice for current students: Get involved with student clubs and organizations. It will increase how much you enjoy your college experience exponentially!

After his graduation in May, Brandon will be attending graduate school at Indiana University of Pennsylvania.

 

 

 

Class of 2017: Meet Mary Beth Burbules (Mechanical Engineering)

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2017 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 Mary Beth Burbules:

Mary Beth Burbules - first choice

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Erie

On choosing Penn State Behrend: My two older siblings, Timothy and Katie, attended Behrend’s School of Engineering. They both truly enjoyed their experience at Behrend and encouraged me to become a Penn Stater, too. I was also drawn to Behrend because of the smaller size that allows for students to have one-on-one connections with faculty members.

On choosing to major in Mechanical Engineering: Throughout middle and high school, I was involved with Science Olympiad, where students compete in events in a variety of STEM disciplines. I was always most interested in the hands-on events. I like being able to create unique design solutions to problems and the fact that, in Mechanical Engineering, you never stop learning. My sister was an M.E. major and I saw from her coursework and activities that it was the perfect major for me, too.

Scholarships: I’ve been the grateful recipient of several scholarships. I received the Shirley L. Roth Trustee Scholarship all four years and the Irvin Kochel Leadership Scholarship in my first year. I also received the Jake Boyle Memorial Scholarship in my junior year.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: The undergraduate research I was involved in. My work has focused on the design, fabrication, and functional aspects of testing equipment and machines used in the research of direct methanol fuel cells and lithium-based batteries.

Standout research work: In one challenging project, another student and I partnered to design and manufacture a lithium battery test machine to induce internal short circuits by physical cell penetration with increased functionality and precision compared to industry models. Our work was accepted to the ASME 2017 Power and Energy Conversion Conference. I was also honored to have my contribution to the project recognized by a Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Award.

Campus involvement: I’ve been greatly involved in Behrend’s Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage Team since my first year. I’ve served as the secretary and am currently the vice president of the club. I have a unique role in the club as I’m one of the drivers of the high-efficiency vehicle the club designs, fabricates, and races each year. I’m also a member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society.

Lifelong love of learning: From the time I was a young child, I’ve loved to learn, whether from books or after-school activities. College further strengthened that passion. Engineering is unique in that it is a continuously evolving field, and I know that as a professional engineer, I will always have the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills.

Sister act: I’ve always looked up to my older sister, Katie. She’s taught me to be a compassionate person and demonstrated to me the necessary dedication to studies. A degree in Mechanical Engineering is one more thing I have in common with my best friend.

After her graduation in May, Mary Beth will be attending graduate school. She would ultimately like to find a job in industry in the area of product development and design.

Class of 2017: Meet Marissa Knox (Communication)

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2017 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 Marissa Knox:

Marissa Knox - first choice- snow edited out

Major: Communication

Minor: Marketing

Certificate: Advertising

Hometown: Pittsburgh

On choosing to attend Penn State Behrend: After touring the school, I really felt at ease. Then, when I started receiving acceptance letters from schools, I found myself to be way more excited about Penn State Behrend than any of the other schools.

Hands-on experience a benefit of Behrend: In my four years at Behrend, I’ve worked with four different companies in creating ad campaigns or strategies to increase membership or readership. I worked closely with faculty members on these projects, and I don’t believe I would’ve been able to have those experiences at a larger college.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: When my team was chosen to present our strategic solutions to the Erie Times-News and the U.S. Brig Niagara’s Flagship Niagara League. My team was selected as the winner for both companies because we presented our suggestions in the most effective and applicable manner.

Campus involvement: I’m a member and former secretary and vice president of Alpha Sigma Tau, and a member of the Order of Omega (Greek life honor society) and Lamba Pi Eta (Communication honor society). I’m a writer for Her Campus and was the marketing and promotions manager for BVZ Radio. I was vice president of the Behrend Communication Network and a member of THON and Behrend’s volleyball club. I have also served on the spring concert committee for the past two years.

Proven in the workplace: I did an internship with Federated Investors in Pittsburgh last summer that definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone. While there, I mastered an authoring software called Articulate, which is used to create learning courses for employees. I was basically writing code and developing learning courses for the employees of Federated. My supervisor told me that out of all the interns they had that summer, I was the most dedicated and accomplished the most. That definitely boosted my confidence.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I’m an outdoors girl at heart. I love hiking, kayaking, camping, fishing, and even target shooting with shotguns.

Live in the moment: Our generation, the Millennials, are constantly glued to our phones. Take a moment to look up and appreciate your surroundings and really be in the moment. You’re only at college for four years and it goes faster than you think. Be present for those four years!

Advice for first-year students: Things change, and that’s OK. You don’t have to have your whole life figured out in your first semester or your first year!

Following her graduation in May, Marissa hopes to find a job in the field of marketing.

Class of 2017: Meet Taryn Testa (Project and Supply Chain Management)

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2017 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 Taryn Testa:

Taryn Testa

Major: Project and Supply Chain Management

Minor: Management Information Systems

Hometown: Cranberry Township, Pa.

On choosing to major in Project and Supply Chain Management: I knew I wanted to major in business, but wasn’t quite sure what area to focus on. During my first-year seminar, Dr. Michael Brown, professor of management, talked to our group about the PSCM major and it sparked my interest. I enjoy the new and different challenges that a company’s supply chain faces every day.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Becoming a Schreyer Honors College scholar and the various internship and hands-on experiences I’ve had with GE Transportation, Covestro, and PSNergy.

Campus involvement: I’m a member of Lambda Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma. I’m the president of the Project and Supply Chain Club and newsletter coordinator for the PSCM program.

Strong work ethic, courtesy of parents: My family owns a small business in Millvale, Pa., and my parents always instilled in me the value and importance of hard work and doing whatever it takes to deliver results. My father taught me that you can’t hand a problem off to someone else, but work on it until you find a solution.

Advice for first-year students: One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Randy Pausch who said: “Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all that you have.” Enjoy your time at Behrend; you are only here for a short four years. It goes fast! Have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. Meet with your professors and get involved in campus clubs and activities.

Following her graduation in May, Taryn will be working as a supply chain associate on the Corporate Supply Chain Excellence Team at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh.