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.

Class of 2017: Meet Nursazlin “Lin” Sidek (IB & 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 Nursazlin “Lin” Sidek:

lin sidek

Majors: International Business and Project and Supply Chain Management

Home country: Malaysia

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I am proud of the work that I’ve done with the Muslim Student Association in working to promote diversity and cultural awareness on campus.

Campus involvement: I was a member of the International Student Organization, president of the Muslim Student Association, and historian for the Multi-Cultural Council.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: People are often surprised to find that I’m not from the Middle East, but from Malaysia, which is in Asia.

Post-graduation priorities: I will be returning home where I hope to find a reliable job so I can take care of my parents and live my life as a truly good Muslim, helping people to understand what Islam is.

Who inspires her: I’m inspired by little things. For example, one time a stranger walking past me on campus suddenly smiled at me for no reason. It felt so good that it inspired me to start doing the same as I passed other students. I wanted them to feel the happiness that I did when someone smiled at me.

Advice for current students: Explore all the clubs that exist on campus and don’t be afraid to join a diverse group or attend a variety of cultural events. Don’t restrain yourself to only the people and things you are familiar with. Go outside your comfort zone and learn about others.

On being a Muslim: My religion is Islam, and it is a religion of peace. People associate Islam and Muslims with terrorism, but that is one small group of people and they are not representative of all Muslims.

After her graduation in May, Lin plans to return to Malaysia and find a job in business management.

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.