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!

Secret Lives of Faculty — Ashley Weber, tiny terrarium artist

By Heather Cass
Publications Manager, Penn State Behrend

There’s much more to Penn State Behrend’s faculty and staff members than what you see on campus. In this occasional series, we’ll take a look at some of the interesting, unconventional, and inspiring things that members of our Behrend community do in their free time.

terrarium1

When Ashley Weber, lecturer in English language learners (ELL) composition, wants to relax, she reaches for her glue gun and escapes into a world of itty-bitty terrariums. Using a mixture of miniature materials, she creates scenes in a variety of containers, including those as unique as Altoid boxes and gum ball machines.

“I started making my ‘Wild World Terrariums’ when I was in graduate school and needed a creative outlet,” she said. “I stumbled across Twig Terrariums and was inspired to make my own.”

It is a hobby that harkens back to her youth.

“As a child, I loved to make little houses for squirrels out of sticks, rocks, and other materials I found in the woods, so it’s no surprise that I would be attracted to creating small-scale worlds as an adult.”

Her first terrarium was a scene of a bear chasing a woman through the forest. “Dark, I know,” she said with a laugh.

She found early on that making her terrariums living pieces was not feasible.

“When I first started, I tried to keep them alive like traditional terrariums by watering them,” she said. “It was disaster. They grew mold, and the moss died. I quickly learned that I should consider them mixed-media pieces of art that do not have to be kept alive. The moss dries out a bit, but it still maintains a green shade without watering.”

She started out making them for herself, but now custom-designs them for friends and family and other customers.

Her most unique creation so far?

“I made a series of seven terrariums that, when placed next to each other in sequence, look like one long, winding, connected path,” she said. “They followed a couple through dating, marriage, buying a house, having children, and growing old together. I displayed them at my wedding.”

ashley at wedding

Weber said her miniature masterpieces provide a much-needed mental break.

“Making terrariums calms my mind in a meditative way,” she said. “I like to have complete silence and be alone in my basement workshop while I’m making them. This gives my mind a chance to quiet down, take a break from screens, and exercise the creative part of my brain.”

They also provide her with a little extra income. She sells her artwork for anywhere from $25 to $300 depending on the size and materials involved. Her terrariums have also been exhibited and sold at Erie art galleries, including Glass Growers and Kada Gallery.

She has no pieces at the galleries now, however, as she’s working on her next big masterpiece.

“I’m pregnant with my first child, a daughter, due January 20,” she said.

At Penn State Behrend, you can see Weber’s terrariums on display in the Humanities and Social Sciences Office and in Otto Behrend Annex II. Online, you can see her work on Instagram or at her online shop.   

 

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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 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 Brandon Petras

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 Petras:

brandon Petras

Major: Political Science

Minor: Communication Arts and Mass Media

Hometown: Worthington, Pa.

On choosing Penn State Behrend: I attended both University Park and Penn State New Kensington and, to me, Penn State Behrend seemed to be the best of both worlds – a large college campus feel with a small college experience that allows for one-on-one interactions with professors. I feel like somebody at Behrend.

Proudest accomplishment(s) at Behrend: That’s hard. I have a few: becoming a resident assistant, completing my senior thesis, and having a study abroad experience in Germany/Europe.

What makes him unique: I play the drums for my church and I’m an outdoorsman and a good writer. I’m also in the Navy Reserve and I’ve traveled all over Europe.

Scholarships: I received the Lake Erie Trustee Scholarship at Penn State Behrend twice and the John K. Henne Endowment for International Travel.

His definition of a good life: Being humble, raising a family and serving others, my country, and God.

What you’d be surprised to know about him: I have epilepsy. I want to become a Naval Reserve chaplain. I met my fiancé, Danielle Ropp ’15 at Behrend. We’re getting married in October.

Advice for current students: Don’t conform to what you think others want from you; be true to yourself. Also, definitely go to at least one Nittany Lions football game at Beaver Stadium!

After his graduation in May, Brandon hopes to become a part-time Naval Reserve chaplain and a full-time high school English or social studies teacher. He dreams also of reviving his family’s farm and may also consider running for public office in the future.

Class of 2017: Meet Grace Waldfogle (Psychology)

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 Grace Waldfogle:

Grace Waldfogle - first choice

Major: Psychology, Human Factors and Design option

Hometown: Pittsburgh

On choosing to major in Psychology: I originally intended to major in Biology, but fell in love with the faculty research projects that were happening in the Psychology department. After my first year, I decided that Psychology was the right major for me.

Campus involvement: I’ve been involved in multiple organizations. I was the Student Government Association treasurer and sat on the SGA’s Academic Affairs Committee. I am the past president and vice president of Gamma Sigma Sigma (a national service sorority) and a member of Omicron Delta Kappa, and Psi Chi honor societies. I was also president of the Psychology Club.

On helping others: I’m passionate about helping others. I love to volunteer in my free time. I try to be the kind of person who people can lean on if they need help.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I’m most proud of the faculty-led research I’ve had the opportunity to do since my first year. I’ve been able to travel around the world to present our research work and have made connections with professionals in the field that have been very beneficial. With an extensive background in research, I am confident I will succeed in graduate school.

Awards: I received the Christopher M. Geitner award in the spring of 2016.

Priorities and puppy love: My priorities in the immediate future are to complete a Ph.D. program, obtain a tenure-track faculty position, and get a puppy.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I joke that I’m a 75-year-old woman stuck in a 22-year-old woman’s body. I love to stay home on weekends and read a good book.

Advice for current students: The first few weeks of college are stressful. Just remember that everyone is as nervous as you are. Don’t be afraid to be the person who walks up to a group of strangers and introduces yourself. That is how I made some of my best friends.

After her graduation in May, Grace plans to attend graduate school and obtain a Ph.D. in Human Factors and Applied Cognition.

Class of 2017: Meet Gretchen “Berry” Haislip (Political Science)

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 Gretchen “Berry” Haislip:

Gretchen Haislip - first choice

Major: Political Science

Minor: Transnational Perspectives

Hometown: Smithfield, North Carolina

On choosing to Penn State Behrend: I have always known about Penn State and when it came time for me to apply to college, something told me to choose Behrend. It was the best decision of my life.

On choosing to major in Political Science: When I was in high school, I was on a path to go into forensic science, but then I took a political science class at my local college and it changed everything. I realized I had interest in politics and government.

Scholarships: I have received the Penn State Behrend Chancellor’s Scholarship, the Bunton-Waller Scholarship, and the Anonymous Friend Trustee Scholarship.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Surprisingly, this has nothing to do with academics, but rather how I found myself. I realized what I am capable of and what I can and want to do in my life. This ultimately led me to love who I am completely and gave me confidence to face the world head on.

Campus involvement: I’m a member of Alpha Sigma Tau where I serve as the director of philanthropy, asdirector of alumni relations, and as a judicial board representative. I’m a member of Alpha Phi Omega service fraternity, Omicron Delta Kappa honor society, and Phi Sigma Alpha Political Science honor society; president of the Political Science Society, vice president of College Democrats, secretary of the Outdoors Club, and a member of Bread Circus and Order of Omega. I’m also a resident assistant.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I’m only 19. I went to a hybrid high school that placed me on a college campus in ninth grade, allowing me to earn a high school diploma and an associate degree at the same time. I have only been at Behrend for two years.

Back to school: My highest priority in the near future is returning to school for both my master’s degree and Juris Doctorate degree, which I hope to earn at Georgetown University.

Who inspires her: My grandparents inspire me. They raised me and even though we had very little when I was growing up, they did everything in their power to make sure I was happy and had what I needed. Knowing that they put their dreams on hold and spent their nights working and raising me, inspires me to always do my best, not just to make them proud but to ensure that their dedication and love to me continue to be the foundation of something great.

Advice for first-year students: Do not be afraid to fail, not know the answer, or be lost. We come to college to learn!

After her graduation in May, Gretchen plans to serve in AmeriCorps before attending graduate school.