Class of 2017: Meet Patrick Kress (Finance)

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 Patrick Kress:

Patrick Kress - first choice

Major: Finance

Certificate: Financial Planning

Hometown: Waterford, Pa.

On choosing to major in Finance: I really like helping people and I’ve always been good with numbers, so being a financial planner gives me the ability to combine the two and make a living while helping people reach their retirement and finance goals.

Spring break spent in service: I went on the Alternative Spring Break trip to San Francisco with Reality Check this year, and it was one of the greatest weeks of my life. I loved giving back and I highly recommend current students try an ASB trip.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: My junior year, I was given the Kenneth L. Spencer Award, which recognizes outstanding achievement by a student majoring in Finance or Accounting. It was an honor on its own, but the most humbling part was seeing the other students I was honored with at the different awards ceremonies. They were peers who I looked up to throughout my time at Behrend, and I was proud to be in their company.

Campus involvement: I have been involved in many organizations in my time at Behrend, but two that really stand out are my time as the treasurer and then vice president of the Student Government Association and my role as secretary of the Lion Ambassadors. I’m also the president of the Financial Planning Association. My very best memories at college all stem from student organizations. I can’t tell you how much I will miss them and the people involved when I graduate.

On managing real money for the School of Business: I’m currently the lead analyst of the industrials sector for the Intrieri Family Student-Managed Fund. I’m proud to say we’ve done pretty well with it. Working on the fund has been a really valuable hands-on learning experience, especially in light of the fact that the stakes are high because we’re managing real money.

What you’d be surprised to know about him: I was born with an extra lower vertebra; most people have 33, but I have 34. It is my go-to ‘tell us something interesting about you’ at icebreakers.

Advice for current students: Professors are not here to make your life harder. They have a passion for what they do and chose a career where they can help students learn and become the best version of themselves possible. Once I understood that, I stopped viewing faculty members as people who gave me too much homework and began seeing them as resources and role models. Every faculty member at Behrend wants you to be successful and they will help you in any way they can, so don’t be afraid to ask questions and learn from their wealth of knowledge and experience.

After his graduation in May, Patrick plans to work as an advisor-in-training at his family’s business—Kress Financial Services, a retirement planning and investments firm.

Class of 2017: Meet Connor Combs (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 Connor Combs:

Connor Combs - 2nd choice

Major: Project and Supply Chain Management

Minor: Management Information Systems

Hometown: Corry, Pa.

On choosing Behrend: I liked the smaller class sizes and there were lots of opportunities to earn minors and certificates in the School of Business.

On choosing to major in Project and Supply Chain Management: I want to work in executive management and I felt like PSCM would give me a great foundation of knowledge that could be applied to any industry.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Staying on the Dean’s List while also working and being involved in various club and activities on campus.

Campus involvement: I’m president of Delta Sigma Pi, a professional business fraternity. I work at the Academic and Career Planning Center as a student ambassador, and I have participated in many intramural sports, including basketball, Frisbee, soccer, and flag football.

He stands out: I’m 6’ 4” tall, so that makes me stand out, physically. I’m also a hard worker, highly goal-oriented, driven to succeed, and a proven leader, which I hope will make me stand out in the business world.

Advice for current students: Go to events on campus. There are tons of guest speakers and company representatives who come to Behrend to share their knowledge, and they can help you advance professionally and personally. Also, use the services available at the Academic and Career Planning Center. They want to help you find and get the job or internship experiences you are after.

After his graduation in May, Connor plans to find a job in operations. At press time, he was entertaining a few offers.

Class of 2017: Ariana Gloeckner (International Business and Accounting)

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 Ariana Gloeckner:

Ariana Gloecker - first choice

Majors: Accounting and International Business

Minor: Spanish

Hometown: Cranberry Township, Pa.

On choosing her major: I have always loved working with numbers, so becoming an accountant just made sense. I double majored in International Business so that if I am given the opportunity, I can work abroad.

Campus involvement: I’ve been involved with the Accounting Club, served as president of the International Business Club, and was the student leadership chair of the business clubs. I was also a member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Alpha Sigma Pi honor societies, a peer mentor, and a student adviser on the International Business Advisory Board, and I’m currently the lead accountant on the CFA Investment Research Challenge Team.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I’ve been married for almost four years. My husband is a full-time student at Behrend, too. He is an Electrical and Computer Engineering Technology junior with plans to pursue a Master’s in Manufacturing Management.

Why they chose Behrend: One of the reasons my husband and I chose Behrend was because it had such strong business and engineering programs. We’re both very active in our respective schools. I have been employed in the School of Business office as an assistant and the business newsletter coordinator for two years. My husband is in charge of the unmanned aerial vehicle drone research at Behrend and is a prototype product developer at Innovation Commons, the college’s high-tech maker space in Burke Center.

Postgraduate education: I will be returning to Behrend in the fall to work on my Master’s in Professional Accounting degree. My goal is to obtain my CPA license by the time I graduate from the master’s program.

Leading the line: I am honored to have been chosen as the student marshal for spring commencement. I will carry the School of Business banner and lead the school’s graduates into the ceremony.

Hidden talents: In my spare time, I love to paint. My specialty is painting realistic photos of landscapes or pets. My newest hobby is crocheting.

Scholarships: I received the Erie Insurance Group Leadership Scholarship and the Prischak Family Trustee Scholarship.

Advice for current students: Get involved. I’m very shy and planned to just quietly earn my degree at Behrend until one of my accounting professors reached out to me and recommended me for a position as the newsletter coordinator for the Black School of Business. Before I knew it, I was getting involved in everything and making many contacts. It was the best thing that happened to me. I’ve had so many opportunities because I put myself out there.

After her graduation in May, Ariana will be returning to Behrend to obtain her Master of Professional Accounting degree. After that, she’d like to find work as a controller or an internal auditor. She dreams of opening a business with her husband someday.

 

Class of 2017: Meet Josh Sitter (Marketing and PSCM)

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 Josh Sitter:

josh sitter - first choice

Josh Sitter

Majors: Marketing and Project and Supply Chain Management

Hometown: Erie

On choosing Behrend: When I was in high school, I took dual enrollment classes at Behrend and fell in love with the campus. Also, the faculty and staff members I came in contact with were always very kind and helpful.

Campus involvement: I’ve been involved with multiple organizations, including the Student Government Association, Lion Ambassadors, the National Society of Leadership and Success, Commuter Council, Beta Gamma Sigma, and Phi Alpha Theta.

Scholarships/support: When I was a sophomore, I received the Erie Insurance Group Leadership Scholarship and a the Kurt and Janet Cavano Award. This year, I received a Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship. I never realized that donors saw my campus involvement as having a positive impact on others; I was just doing things I enjoyed. Their support, however, inspired me to get even more involved and try things I otherwise might not have.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Being involved in the creation of the SGA Leadership Scholarship. In the SGA, I worked with a great group of students, many of whom had received scholarship funds, and we realized that we had an opportunity to give back to others through the SGA. It’s nice to be able to leave a legacy like that.

Advice for current students: Don’t be afraid to fail. The things I learned most from during my time at Behrend were things that I failed at. Go out and do the things that are new to you or hard for you. Challenge yourself. Go outside your comfort zone and meet new people, and you’ll get a lot more out of your college experience.

Josh has accepted a position as an associate I.T. analyst at Erie Insurance following his graduation in May.

 

Marketing students to explore buyer behavior for Sprint

By Heather Cass
Publications and Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

This semester, students in Dr. Mary Beth Pinto’s MKTG 344 Buyer Behavior class will have a unique opportunity to work on a collaborative research project with a leading wireless telecommunications company, and it is all thanks to one of the first classes that Pinto ever taught three decades ago at the University of Maine.

Pinto made a strong impression on student Mark Nachman who recalls that Pinto was a “highly engaged” professor who kept her classes fun and relevant. “The things she taught were applicable, not just theory,” he said.

So when Nachman, who is now a regional president for Sprint, covering Pennsylvania, Ohio, and West Virginia, was looking for a new regional marketing director, he thought of Pinto, professor of marketing, and connected with her on LinkedIn.

“I was looking for a young person with fresh perspectives and cutting-edge ideas who would not be afraid to take risks,” he said. “I thought: ‘What better way to get an inside track on recent marketing graduates than to reach out to a few professors?’”

nachman-mark_2016

Mark Nachman, regional president for Sprint

Pinto happily supplied Nachman with several leads, and then opened the door on other ways Sprint could get involved at Behrend, including offering internships, participating in a “Corporate Day” at the Black School of Business (where representatives can meet directly with students about internship and career opportunities), and engaging students in doing research work for the company.

“I suggested he think about any ways he could put upper-level marketing students to work doing a hands-on project for Sprint,” she said.

Nachman didn’t have to think about it for long. He knew that, despite substantial investment in technology and cell towers in the Erie region, Sprint had been struggling to gain market share in the area among its key demographic (18 to 25 year olds), but he didn’t know why.

This spring, he’ll have forty-plus MKTG 344 Buyer Behavior students on the case.

Students will work in small teams using a variety of marketing strategies, including market analysis, focus groups, personal interviews, and more, to learn more about the perceptions, attitudes, and cell-phone provider preferences among Sprint’s target demographic in the Erie area.

“This is real market research for an actual client,” Pinto said. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity for these students to get hands-on experience and put some of the things they’ve been learning into practice.”

mary-beth-pinto

Dr. Mary Beth Pinto, professor of marketing

Students will also assess current Sprint promotions in the Erie area and, based on the team’s research findings, offer recommendations and develop “guerrilla” marketing plans that can be used to boost Sprint’s profile and users in the region.

Guerrilla marketing is an advertising strategy that focuses on low-cost unconventional marketing tactics that yield maximum results. The original term was coined by Jay Conrad Levinson in his 1984 book Guerrilla Advertising.

The top six teams will present their work to a team of executives from Sprint in April.

Nachman can’t wait to learn what they discover.

“I’m super fired up about this collaboration,” he said. “I love the whole concept and the grass-roots initiative of this project. I anticipate the students will come up with ideas that could be implemented nationwide at Sprint.”

Nachman has invested both time and money in the project. He and other Sprint executives will be on campus for the kickoff and final presentations and Sprint will be providing each student with Sprint T-shirts and demo phones so that they can be familiar with the company’s products and services.

“When I was a college student, I remember sometimes feeling disappointed and empty as I jumped through hoops and did research that was all theory,” he said. “This exercise will be entirely tangible and executable. If I were still a student, I’d find that inspiring and motivating.”

It bears noting that the college-age researchers are themselves in Sprint’s target demographic. Who better to find out what 18-24 year olds think about a company and product than their own friends and peers?

“Young adults are influencers, especially when it comes to technology decisions,” Nachman said. “They are intentionally and unintentionally steering their parents and friends on products and services daily.”

The same could be said for Pinto, whose influence on Nachman thirty years ago has clearly led to opportunities for Penn State Behrend students today.

MEET WITH SPRINT

Sprint executives will be on campus on January 12 for the class project kickoff and will participate in a “Corporate Day” at the Black School of Business. Sprint representatives will be in the Clark Café to talk with students about internship and job opportunities and, at 4:00 p.m., Nachman will be giving a talk about “Warrior Leadership” in the Black Conference Room at Burke Center. Nachman’s presentation is free and open to all.

 

 

Trip to Japan becomes ‘defining memory’ for Behrend students

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Fifteen Penn State Behrend students visited Japan this summer as part of the PSYCH 232 Cross-Cultural Psychology and PSYCH 499 Foreign Studies in Psychology embedded courses. While there, they attended the International Congress of Psychology (ICP 2016), a premiere psychology conference held once every four years.

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Grace Waldfogle expected Aug. 6 to be a somber day. Not only was it the last day of her trip to Japan as part of a Penn State Behrend embedded course, but it also marked the 71st anniversary of the Hiroshima bombing.

It turned out to be the opposite.

Fireworks engulfed the sky. The sadness she had expected was not present. Rather, there was a tone of optimism.

“We asked people about it, and they said, ‘It’s not something we dwell on,’” said Waldfogle, a senior psychology major. “It was just so different from how we approach that type of thing here in the United States.”

Cultural differences like this were one of the biggest takeaways for Waldfogle and the 14 other students who visited Japan for 18 days in July and August. The students visited the country as part of the PSYCH 232 Cross-Cultural Psychology and PSYCH 499 Foreign Studies in Psychology embedded courses, which were taught by faculty members Dawn Blasko, associate professor of psychology; Heather Lum, assistant professor of experimental psychology; and Victoria Kazmerski, associate professor of psychology.

Their trip began with a visit to Yokohama to attend the International Congress of Psychology (ICP 2016), a premiere psychology conference held once every four years. Several of the students presented research poster presentations during the five-day conference.

ICP 2016 also offered networking opportunities for the students, who heard from a number of prominent speakers, including famed animal rights activist Jane Goodall.

“The whole conference itself was a total blast,” said Emily Galeza, a senior Psychology major who presented research on the effectiveness of a dog therapy program with students with autism. “The size of (the conference) was just incredible, and we had the freedom to go to any session we liked.”

Stephen Dartnell, a general business student who will graduate in December, agreed.

“I got to interact with people from all over the world,” Dartnell said. “It was kind of the icing on the cake on my educational experience, and I definitely would love to attend a psychology conference like this again.”

Beyond the conference, the students also spent time in Kamakura and visited several temples across the country. To help prepare for the cultural changes, students met with MBA student Yuki Takahashi, a native of Japan, for language and culture lessons prior to the trip.

Even with the advance lessons, the language barrier was a challenge. However, the students were impressed at how easily it could be overcome with some patience (and Google Translate, of course).

“Everyone was just so friendly and willing to help,” Dartnell said. “There was one instance where I needed a trash bag for my camera because it was raining. I just kind of explained it, and a woman at the hotel helped me. You just constantly saw language barriers being broken down.”

The numerous public art displays and eastern-style architecture were also a point of culture shock for students.

Perhaps the most significant cultural difference for students, however, was the food.

“I thought I liked fish, but then I got there, and I realized I did not. They’d give you the entire fish, and you’d have to just use chopsticks,” Waldfogle said. “Every meal was a workout.”

Not all of the food differences were negative, though.

“They had so many different items that they called ‘sweets.’ They were really, really good,” Dartnell said.

From attending the conference to visiting temples across the country, the trip provided students with a once-in-a-lifetime cultural experience. It might have only been an 18-day visit, but the memories will last.

“This will be one of my defining memories of Behrend,” Galeza said. “I could never have planned all of these activities by myself.”

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Noce to be honored by Boys and Girls Club of Erie

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Dr. Kathleen Noce, senior lecturer in Management Information Systems, grew up in a warm, loving home that was a haven for neighbors and friends in need.

“My mother was that woman in the neighborhood who all the kids knew they could go to for a meal, a hug, a few dollars, even a couch, if they needed a place to stay for a night or two,” Noce said.

Noce said her parents noticed early on that she, too, was a nurturer.

“They saw that I enjoyed helping others and they really encouraged me to do it,” she said.

It makes sense, then, that Noce would end up in a helping profession, educating college students in the finer points of MIS and business.

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But her service to others extends beyond the classroom and into the community, where she serves on several boards and volunteers for a variety of nonprofit organizations, including Boys and Girls Club of Erie which plans to honor Noce on Oct. 19 with the Woman and Youth Award, the highest honor the organization bestows on volunteers.

Noce has been a board member and volunteer at the Boys and Girls Club of Erie for more than twenty years. In addition, she has helped the club with many of its technology needs through Partnership Erie, a nonprofit outreach center of the Black School of Business that provides web design, web marketing, and content management services for free.

The majority of the work is done by students in MIS387 Website Design and Administration who are learning to design and manage websites. It’s a win-win: nonprofits benefit from the tech help and students get hands-on experience working with real clients.

Since Noce established Partnership Erie at Behrend in 2001, students have built more than 125 websites for a variety of nonprofit organizations.

“I realized I could incorporate an element of community service into my coursework, while also giving students the benefit of real-world work experience.”

Noce concedes she had an ulterior motive in forming Partnership Erie.

“I wanted students to learn about the enormous challenges that some people face,” Noce said, “and I wanted them to become good citizens who give back.”

It worked, even inspiring some students to take on personal volunteer projects for their clients outside of the classroom. She regularly hears from alumni who thank her for introducing them to the personal satisfaction to be found in helping others.

In addition to Boys and Girls Club of Erie, Noce volunteers at the Quality of Life Learning Center, the Islamic Center, Butterflies for Kids, Erie Youth Leadership Institute, and the Italian-American Women’s Association, in addition to other organizations.

In twenty years working with the Boys and Girls Club of Erie, Noce said she has witnessed firsthand the powerful impact of community service.

“Sometimes, you’ll see these kids come in and the deck is stacked against them,” she said. “They have parents who are largely absent or have substance abuse problems. They are living in poverty. They’re hungry. And you think, ‘This kid doesn’t have a future.’ But he starts coming to the club and there are people there who care about him and help him and watch out for him and he comes out a different person.”

“I’ve worked with kids at the club who I thought had a bleak future who have become doctors, teachers, and lawyers,” she said. “because somebody cared and provide a safe place for them to grow and learn.”

Noce is grateful for the opportunity to serve.

“I’ve led a blessed life,” she said, “so If I can help someone in need, my life is richer and I feel like I’m fulfilling my purpose for being here.