By Heather Cass, Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend
In this tumultuous year when nothing is normal, we can take comfort in one thing that hasn’t changed: Christmas carols. Everyone has their favorites and most of us have more than a few.
We asked the music experts on campus to share with us their favorite holiday tunes and also to suggest some new songs/artists or albums to expand our holiday music playlist.
Here’s what they had to say:
Emily Cassano, assistant teaching professor of theatre, music, and arts
My all-time favorite Christmas tune is “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas” because I love the musical Meet Me in St. Louis. I don’t necessarily have a favorite version; there are a lot of great renditions.
For more modern music, I typically turn on any of the Pentatonix Christmas Albums, and their song “White Winter Hymnal” is a favorite of mine.
In November, the three Fates from Hadestown (last year’s Tony Award Winner for Best Musical) released a Christmas album called If the Fates Allow. It’s really great, and very non-traditional, like Hadestown itself. One of the three Fates is played by an Erie native and Penn State alumnus Mike Karns’ wife, Kay Trinidad.
Gabrielle Dietrich, director of choral ensembles and associate teaching professor of music
I have to admit my holiday music tastes are eclectic, and also more modern in their conception.
As for classics, I have a real soft spot for “You’re a Mean One, Mr. Grinch” because what says “Happy Holidays” better than some good old-fashioned insult comedy!
Gary Viebranz, teaching professor of music
The first classic that comes to my mind is an oldie, but a goodie: “Mary’s Boy Child” by Harry Belafonte. In a most traditional sense, I love “Lo, How a Rose E’er Blooming,” especially the rendition by the King’s Singers.
If you want to expand your horizons, I’d encourage you try some instrumental collections. My favorites include “A Canadian Brass Christmas” and the Philadelphia Orchestra’s “A Christmas Festival,” which is an amazing album recorded in 1964.
By Heather Cass Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend
Today, when most of us in the United States are focused on the pandemic and political warfare, Jerry App, a junior History major, need only walk down his basement stairs to escape current affairs and lose himself in the drama of 1500s Italy.
App is a kriegsmodelle enthusiast. He paints tiny figures and scenery and then stages elaborate and historically accurate battle scenes in miniature. Lately, he’s been working on the Italian Wars, depicting battles between the Holy Roman Empire and France for control of Italy.
He has plenty to work with. Between 1494 to 1559, the Italian peninsula became the main battleground for European supremacy. Everybody wanted a piece of Italy’s “boot,” which was economically advanced but politically divided among several states, making it an attractive target.
“I’ve had to do a lot of research before I could actually begin building and painting the models, but it’s worth the effort,” App said.
Delving deep into history is a labor of love for App who can trace his fascination with the past to a classic fantasy game he played as a child.
“My dad taught me to play Dungeons and Dragons when I turned 10,” he said. “I got really interested in the medieval ages, specifically the realistic and historical sides to fantasy tropes. We bought some old pewter Grenadier models and painted them together. Later, I discovered a game called Warhammer Fantasy, and that is what really kicked off my interest in miniature painting and wargaming.”
It’s a pastime that he and his father still share today, and one that is particularly suited for a pandemic.
“It’s been a great hobby to have during the lockdown,” App said. “Earlier this year, I was home from college and my parents were off work for a while, too, which gave us a lot of time to catch up on painting and playing. A typical wargame takes an hour or two to play out, so we had plenty of time to play. You could start a wargame on Sunday and play it all week.”
We caught up with App to learn more about his hobby, his personal history, and how both influenced his academic and career choices.
Your dad introduced you to both fantasy gaming (Dungeons and Dragons) and modeling?
Yes. He started modeling when he was a kid, putting together World War II kits. He actually still has some of those kits, and he’s assembled a few WWII models recently. He was inspired by our recent visit to Gettysburg, and he recently bought some Civil War models. So, we’ve been working on those, too.
What do you enjoy about Kriegsmodelle?
I enjoy being able to take gray, flat plastic sprues (generic figures) and turn them into fully built and painted pieces. It’s very calming and helps me relieve stress after a long day. When I build and paint models, my mind is completely focused on what I am doing at that moment. It’s almost like meditation.
Where do you buy the figures?
It depends on the genre. Historical models can be difficult to find, depending on the period. For example, you can easily find Napoleonic or Late Imperial Romans, but you’ll really have to scrounge for Wars of Lombardy or Russian Civil War. I’d recommend Perry Miniatures or Warlord Games. Science fiction and fantasy models are easier to find, and you can find them on Ebay or Amazon for a decent price. Local stores or hobby shops that carry models are especially nice to work with, if you have one nearby.
The figures arrive in need of a paint job?
Yes, that’s the best part! I try to sit down for an hour or two every day to work on a squad of models. It can take a while to paint them up (a few hours per model), but I paint them in groups which speeds up the process a lot; this is referred to as “batch painting.”
How many models have you done?
I have around 2,250 models, but only about 1,000 of them are painted with 100 still needing assembly. My dad has a comparable amount. We work on the models in our basement, which is affectionately named the “Nerd Bunker” by friends and family. I’ve been painting for ten years this month.
What are you working on now?
The Italian Wars, as well as some medieval levies (militia units raised by conscription), a couple of Warhammer 40,000 armies and the Civil War models my dad picked up. It’s a lot of different projects, but I’m never without something new to paint.
You also study German?
Yes, I’m working toward a certificate in German. My grandmother, Omi, is from southern Prussia, and she inspired me to take up German. I’m hoping I will become proficient enough to be able to speak with her in Deutsche.
What are your career goals?
Originally, I wanted to become a civil servant and work for a government agency. However, I’ve also looked into museum work and law school. Right now, I’m considering using my degree as a launch pad into Naval Officer Candidate School. I’m not committed to one plan yet, but I’m starting to narrow it down.
What advice do you have for those who might want to try modeling?
I’m the Vice President for the Behrend Game Club, and I’m also the club’s strategy committee head. If any students are interested in pursuing the kriegsmodelle hobby, join the club on Behrend Sync and get involved. I’m happy to answer any questions and share resources to help another start their own collection.
By Heather Cass Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend
Penn State Behrend Managing Chef Kyle Coverdale
Ever wish you could have a professional chef next to you, walking you through a new recipe? Thursday night, you can. Penn State Behrend’s culinary king, a.k.a. Managing Chef Kyle Coverdale will be offering a virtual cooking tutorial via Zoom.
The event, cohosted by two student clubs, Leaders in Education and Action in Food Systems (LEAFS) and Greener Behrend, is not a watch-and-learn, but an interactive cook-along. Sign up and you’ll get a list of ingredients along with your Zoom meeting link. Then, get your shopping done, do the recipe prep work and log on Thursday, November 19, at 6:30 p.m. from your kitchen to cook with Kyle and dozens of other members of the Penn State community.
“As periods of isolation and quarantine continue, we wanted to create a sense of community by coming together, virtually, to learn, cook, and share a meal and conversation,” said Pearl Patterson, a senior Psychology major and co-president of the LEAFS club.
Coverdale said the Food Services staff, including Behrend’s five chefs, have been looking for ways to bring students and the college community together and, traditionally, those events on campus revolve around food.
“Last week, we did a cooking class with students in-person at Bruno’s (with all COVID safety measures and distancing in place) and we made and enjoyed classic Ukrainian dishes,” Coverdale said. “Doing it virtually allows us to include a lot more people because we’re all in our own kitchens.”
We caught up with Chef Kyle to find out what attendees will be making and what he loves about cooking for Penn State Behrend students, faculty, staff, and guests.
What’s on the menu for the Fall Cooking Party? We’ll be making a Roasted Butternut Squash with Quinoa, Kale, Dried Cranberries and Feta bowl, and Beet Carpaccio with Roasted Carrots and Goat Cheese Mousse.
How long have you been a chef? I have been cooking for more than fifteen years. I attended culinary school at Mercyhurst University.
What do you enjoy most about being a chef? Being able to bring people together with my work. When I travel and get to cook with other chefs from all over the world, it is amazing how we can “talk” through food. Also, it is an ever-changing artform. There is always something new to learn.
What do you enjoy about cooking at Penn State Behrend? We have so many great events and a diverse population. It gives me a lot of opportunities to cook different things, learn new dishes, and get ideas from our students.
What is the most popular meal/food you make at Behrend? This is a hard one. From a catering perspective, I have a surf-and-turf meal that is quite popular. It includes a fillet and crab cake over garlic mashed potatoes and asparagus topped with bearnaise sauce. In the dining hall, we just offered a Katsu sandwich, which is an amazing Japanese street food sandwich, that was very popular.
What makes or breaks a recipe? Bad ingredients. If you start with low-quality ingredients, the outcome of the dish will likely be subpar.
What would you say to people who say they hate to cook? Anyone can cook and if you don’t believe me, watch the Disney movie Ratatouille. Cooking doesn’t need to be hard, and it’s okay to use items that are already prepped to help make the task less daunting. If you do eat out, please do support local restaurants.
Want to cook with Chef Kyle? Email email@example.com to receive a list of ingredients and a link to attend the Zoom event!
It’s safe to say the last few weeks have been a difficult and challenging time for all of us. But now that we’ve had some time to adjust to studying and working remotely, we are ready to inject a little fun and creativity into your day and the college’s social media pages with a month-long photo challenge.
“It’s one thing to have a memory, which we know can deteriorate over time, but it’s another to document it forever with a photo,” said Rob Frank, owner of R. Frank Media and adjunct lecturer of Photo 100 classes at Behrend.
We asked Frank a few questions to help you up your photo game:
BEHREND BLOG: What would people be surprised to learn about photography?
BB: What is the first step in taking a good photo?
RF: Composition is 95 percent of a great photo. Look at the items in the background and make sure it’s a nice, clutter-free setting. Frame the subject in an interesting or unique way and follow the rule of thirds.
BB: What one thing can everyone do to improve their photos?
RF: Slow down. Everyone is quick to flick open their phone and start snapping. Then they get back to their computer and the image is blurry because they weren’t paying attention or rushed through taking the photo.
So take a break for second. Give yourself a few moments to look up from your computer and capture the world around you. Beautiful, amazing, and incredible things can be found in even the most ordinary and familiar places, if only you look for it.
Find it, photograph it, and share it with us on Facebook (@pennstatebehrend), Instagram (psbehrend), or Twitter (@psbehrend) with the hashtag #behrendathome.
Below is our April photo challenge to you. Feel free to interpret these any way you like. Creativity is, of course, encouraged, but please do be mindful of the audience following the college’s social media pages, which includes children.
April 2: Home office – Show us where you’re working now
April 3: Windows on the world – Show us your favorite view from inside your house
April 4: Blue – Anything Penn State Blue
April 5: Co-workers – Who is now sharing your workspace?
April 6: Nature – Go outside and take a photo of anything that makes you happy
April 7: Home – What is home to you?
April 8: Lunch – What’s for lunch today?
April 9: We ARE… – Show us how you display your Penn State pride at home
April 10: Shadows/light – Capture an imagine with creative lighting or shadows
April 11: Filter fun – Play with the filters on your phone or camera and post your favorite one
April 12: Easter – Rabbits, eggs, baskets…share an Easter image with us.
April 13: Product you can’t live without – Show us something you cannot imagine living without
April 14: Trees – Show us the tree you love most in your yard or neighborhood
April 15: Sunrise or sunset – Share your best sunrise/sunset photo
April 16: Enjoy the little things – What small or little thing makes you happy
April 17: I’m reading this – What are you reading right now?
April 18: Cozy – What place in your house or yard do you find comfort?
April 19: Self-portrait – Let us see you!
April 20: Spring – Share a sign of spring with us!
April 21: Task you hate – What job or chore do you despise doing?
April 22: Love – Who or what do you love?
April 23: Black & white – Share a photo taken in monochrome
April 24: Exercise – How are you staying fit these days?
April 25: Landscape – A landscape-oriented photo or a photo of actual landscape around you
April 26: What’s on your desk? – Send us a photo of the strangest item on your desk right now
April 27: Pattern – Find a pattern, any pattern and take a cool photo
April 28: Clouds and/or sky – Send us a photo of the world above you
April 29: Blessed – What are you grateful for today?
April 30: Friends – Share a photo of you with your PSB Bestie (or besties) that you are missing.
With schools closed across the country, parents have found themselves suddenly thrust into the role of teacher and activities director. It’s no easy task.
The experts in Penn State Behrend’s Youth Education Outreach (YEO) program are here to help you. They have plenty of experience holding kids’ attention while teaching them about Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM). They have put together a few fun activities/resources that you can use.
Halmi shared one activity that caught her eye as an experiment that kids would find fun: Analyzing root beer floats is suggested for students in grades 1-5, but we’re guessing “kids” of any age would enjoy it.
Robyn Taylor, K-12 program educator for YEO, said the website littlebinsforlittlehands.com offers several STEAM activities with eggs that are easy and fun to do at home. Here are a few of her favorites:
Easter Egg Catapults. Experiment with motion, design, and basic engineering and physics principals by designing a simple machine to launch plastic eggs into the air.
Egg Crystals: With just a few simple materials, your young learners will be ready to start growing cool crystals in the shape of eggs in this hands-on chemistry experiment disguised as a fun holiday craft.
Lego Maze Challenge. If you have a bin full of building bricks, kids will have a blast making their own Lego mazes while also learning about engineering, design, and physics. There is no limit to how elaborate or creative the mazes can be – students can incorporate buildings and figures into their mazes and then compete with siblings to see who can race the marble through fastest!
By Heather Cass, Publications Manager at Penn State Behrend
Science and the arts might seem to be very different disciplines, but the scientific method and the creative process are quite similar; inquiry is at the heart of each.
“People sometimes think science is about memorizing facts, but it’s really about making discoveries and wringing answers out of nature,” said Dr. Pam Silver, associate dean for academic affairs and distinguished professor of biology. “When you have a scientific question, it takes a lot of creativity to find the answer to it.”
Scientists are, by nature, creative individuals and the School of Science has recently added two works of art that visibly illustrate that.
Ties that bind
A colorful quilt, titled “A Way of Knowing,” was created by Silver and hangs in Hammermill Hall. Each color in the quilt represents a scientific discipline taught at Behrend—biology, chemistry, environmental science, nursing, physics, and mathematics and mathematics education. A spiral in the quilt represents the net movement of scientific discovery from observation to hypothesis to testing to understanding.
Furthermore, the underlying geometric design “symbolizes that the building blocks of science are not individual disciplines, but rather the discoveries to be made by merging diverse ideas, points of view, and approaches to form a strong and unified way of knowing with the goals of wisdom and the power to enact that wisdom,” Silver said.
“A Way of Knowing,” by Dr. Pam Silver, associate dean for academic affairs and distinguished professor of biology, hangs near the stairwell in Hammermill Hall.
Math in flight
High overhead at the entrance of Roche Hall, is another work of art—a stage-5 Sierpinski tetrahedron that models a fractal with infinite triangles—created by the School of Science Math Club under the direction of club president Thomas Galvin and Dr. Joe Previte, associate professor of mathematics.
“A fractal is a self-similar structure with recurring patterns at progressively smaller scales,” Previte said. “Fractals are useful in modeling natural structures such as plants, coastlines, or snowflakes.”
Some natural objects appear to be completely random in shape, but there is an underlying pattern that determines how these shapes are formed and what they will look like, according to Previte. Mathematics can help us to better understand the shapes of natural objects, which has applications in medicine, biology, geology, and meteorology.
Students built the fractal using Zometool construction parts. It consists of 2,050 white balls and 6,144 red and blue struts. Learn more about fractals at www.mathigon.org/world/Fractals
A stage-5 Sierpinski tetrahedron created by the School of Science Math Club hangs above the entrance to Roche Hall.
Guest Post by Molly Joyce, senior Plastics Engineering Technology major
Day 4 Sunday, October 21, 2018
The fourth day was a day that the students became experts in public transportation in Copenhagen. Not really, but a couple of us did successfully use the bus and subway a few times. This sounds like a simple task, but most of use are from rural areas back home without public transportation systems, and it was in a different language. We had some bumps along the way; we may have jumped on the right bus but it was going in the wrong direction, but we still arrived at our destination, and we (or I) considered it a successful feat. All of us, both students and professors, ended up climbing the Church of our Savior at one point or another. This meant climbing up very steep steps in cramped areas for about 20 minutes until you got to see an unforgettable view of the city. Another group of students learned the laws of the road for bicycles and biked to the Copenhagen zoo. In the afternoon, we took a train ride from Copenhagen to Fredericia. This gave us the opportunity to see a little bit of Denmark’s country side. Our hostel had a view of a pond and a “little” village.
Day 5 Monday, October 22, 2018
LEGO day! Today, after a quick train and bus ride we arrived at LEGO headquarters. Usually, Mr. Meckley does a great job at transportation and getting us places. However, today was not his best day. I will give him that the building was under construction. Nonetheless, we walked in very cold weather for a bit. But we did find it after some touring of the city of Billund. It was amazing to see the LEGO factories surrounded by cow pastures. Our tour started with a quick history of the company LEGO, where we learned that it started as a wooden toy company by a carpenter. We learned about LEGO’s motto of ‘Learn through play’. They gave each of us a bag of six LEGOs. Then, they started the clock and told us we have 45 seconds to create a duck with these six pieces. It was interesting to see some of the different designs, some resembled a duck, one resembled a platypus, and we’re not really sure what Mr. Meckley was going for in his. Next, we got to tour the evolution of LEGO throughout the years. We met a design engineer that explained product development to us. It was neat to hear his story. He wanted to be a LEGO engineer since he was little, and emailed LEGO to ask about how to become one. They responded with a list of qualifications for the job title but could not guarantee a job at the end. Well, he completed those qualifications and ended up getting a job with them as soon as he graduated. It was clear to see that the employees at LEGO are passionate about what they do and the message they convey. Afterwards, we had lunch at their cafeteria, which made me want to be a LEGO employee, so I could eat their food every day because it was delicious. We then took a tour of one of the buildings. One building had 64 injection molding machines, and there were 12 buildings. That’s 768 injection molding machines!! The process they have for the LEGOs is efficient and minimizes human error. There are robots that take the parts from the press to the conveyor belt on the other end of the room. From there, we took another bus and train back to Copenhagen for our last night there. This was a night that the students had to book their own hostels so we all went our separate ways.
Day 6 Tuesday, October 23, 2018
Today was a tour of the Technical University of Denmark (DTU). We had two awesome PHD students named Macerana and Sebastian to give us a tour and tell us what they do. They served some of the best pastries I’ve ever had at breakfast. The program we were learning about was Additive Manufacturing (AM), and they told us about their projects and gave us a tour of the lab. They are trying to make innovations in their fields, so they can share their knowledge in this topic. It was really neat to see they strongly believe that we need collaboration across universities and companies in order to expand our knowledge on areas in this field. Sebastian’s project was building a mock machine of one that already exists so he can modify it and see if it is replicable.
Lilley Library art exhibit invites remarkable women to the table
By Heather Cass Publications Manager, Office of Strategic Communications, Penn State Behrend
“For most of history, Anonymous was a woman.”
This quote by author Virginia Woolf sums up the invisibility of women in the collective history of the world. Overshadowed by the accomplishments of men, few females have made it into the history books. And, yet, women have made their presence known in every aspect of human existence from art to banking to the military to the board room and beyond.
In 1979, feminist artist Judy Chicago gave thirty-nine women a seat at the table in her masterwork “The Dinner Party,” a giant sculpture that imagines famous women from myth and history engaged in conversation.
The installation art, which took more than five years to produce, is composed of thirty-nine ornate place settings on a triangular table with thirteen plates on each side. An additional 999 women’s names are written in gold on the floor. The piece toured the world, gaining an audience of millions; it is now on permanent display at the Brooklyn Museum.
Closer to home, you’ll find another dinner party happening in the John M. Lilley Library.
Students in last spring’s WMNST 106 Representations of Women in Literature, Art, and Culture taught by Dr. Sarah Whitney, assistant teaching professor of English and women’s studies, painted plates to honor a women from a wide variety of backgrounds. The students’ work is on display in the gallery space near the entrance to the library.
“For this project, students researched a woman of their choice who made significant contributions,” Whitney said. “They designed and painted on china as Judy Chicago did, using color and shape creatively to demonstrate the chosen figure’s importance. Students also wrote a reflection paper exploring their figure’s historical, and personal, impact on the artist.”
“The purpose of ‘The Dinner Party’ was to recognize women who history had forgotten and I wanted someone who was unconventional, even by today’s standards,” Boniger said. “Pavlichenko has an incredible story. She is a young woman from a Ukrainian village who became the Soviet Union’s greatest sniper during World War II. She showed that woman can be hard and strong, and they don’t have to be the delicate, soft things that society would prefer we be.”
Boniger is an aspiring screenwriter who took WMNST 106 to learn what she suspected she was missing.
“The class was amazing,” Boniger said. “I could not believe the amount of exposure I received and just how much women’s contributions to art and culture have been excluded from the narrative we’ve all been taught.”
Whitney was pleased with the range of women and topics that students picked.
“The plates reflect a diversity of choices, which is wonderful,” Whitney said. “I especially enjoyed learning about new women from our international students whose choices spanned the globe. Furthermore, some students chose mythical or fictional figures, such as Shakti, which were also quite enlightening.”
Junior biology major Caitlin Kent, chose to celebrate the essence of womanhood and give a nod to her future career as an obstetrician/gynecologist.
“I painted a uterus as the center of the universe to represent a feminine divine force or a female creator,” Kent said. “All life stems from women. On my plate, one ovary is painted as the sun and one as the Earth to center the uterus as the birthplace of the universe.”
The plates are simple porcelain and students used a china paint, just like Judy Chicago, to adorn them.
“Using hands-on materials to make historical events come alive is a key part of my teaching practice in general,” Whitney said. “I think using manipulatives is particularly important in studying ‘Dinner Party’ both because it is a visceral, intense piece, and because Chicago was intentional about using traditional women’s art practices, like china painting and embroidery, to honor forgotten female artists. By doing it, you sort of experience Chicago’s process.”
Kent and Boniger gave the project, and the entire course, high marks.
“I think WMNST 106 is a class that all people can benefit from,” Boniger said. “These women’s histories are all of our histories. The class covers such a range of subjects, I can guarantee that any student taking it will learn something new, and enjoy doing so. It’s about time we start bringing women into the conversation and including them in the history they have helped create.”
“My Dinner Party” will be on exhibit in the Lilley Library until October 26. Whitney would like to acknowledge the help of the Lilley librarians, and Scott Rispin, assistant teaching professor of art, who helped to assemble the display.
It’s crunch time. The holidays are nearly here and there’s only so much time left to grab the perfect gift.
Still need some help? No worries, Penn State Behrend’s faculty and staff members are here for you.
Here are some suggestions for gifts that are both fun and educational:
Idea provided by Tom Noyes, professor of English and Creative Writing
2018 Pushcart Prize XLII. The annual Pushcart Prize anthology gathers the best fiction, nonfiction and poetry published in America’s literary magazines and small presses over the course of the previous year, making it an ideal gift for any book lover on your list. The newest edition, 2018 Pushcart Prize XLII, contains a special treat. The poem “Praying Mantis in My Husband’s Salad” by Laura Kasischke was chosen from the pages of Lake Effect, Penn State Behrend’s award-winning literary journal. $13
Idea provided by Mary-Ellen Madigan, director of enrollment management
BRIXO. Enjoy LEGOs? Then you’ll love BRIXO, which is similar but with even more customization. Some of the things that young people can create include vehicles, wacky lamps, remote-controlled lighthouses and motorized quadcopters. If someone on your list has a big imagination, this gift is for them. Prices vary.
Ideas provided by Tracy Halmi, assistant teaching professor of chemistry
Bath Bombs. It’s a chance to bring chemistry to the tub. Bath bombs are hard-packed mixtures of dry ingredients and give off bubbles when wet. They can be purchased from the web, or young chemists can use this Bath Bombs guide to make their own. $19
Ideas provided by Richard Zhao, assistant professor of computer science and software engineering
Amazon Echo Dot or Google Home Mini. Who wouldn’t want a personal assistant that can tell the weather, order pizza, play music, control home appliances and more? These home automation gadgets from Amazon or Google are also on sale this holiday season. $30
Themed Night Lights. While this makes a nice holiday gift, the lights can actually be used as a home decoration all year round. Prices vary.
Catan. Able to be played by up to four players, this popular board game can be enjoyed by both family members and friends. It’s also easy to learn and fun to play. $49
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.