Standout Seniors: Meet Samantha Stauffer

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Samantha Stauffer:

samantha stauffer

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Bradford, Pennsylvania

On choosing Penn State Behrend: It was the first college I visited and I simply fell in love and knew that I was meant to attend Behrend. The campus was gorgeous, everyone I met was helpful and friendly, and I was given a plethora of information about expectations for the first year. I also have many family members in Erie, so it was practical for me to attend Behrend.

On choosing nursing: My grandma was a nurse at our local hospital for forty-two years. I grew up hearing endless stories from her. She was extremely influential in my life so I wanted to be like her and dedicate my life to helping others.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Completing the nursing program! Earning a nursing degree is incredibly challenging and extremely time consuming, so it is definitely a huge accomplishment for me to finally finish.

Campus involvement: I was involved in Lion Ambassadors, the Joys of Nursing Club, the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Random Acts of Kindness club, and the Spring Concert Committee. I also served as a Welcome Week guide.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I love to golf. Most of my family has invested a lot of time in golfing so it was only natural for me to follow in their footsteps.

Advice for new students: Get organized! One of my biggest mistakes in college was being disorganized. Take time to prioritize your classes, clubs, and organizations and be prepared for upcoming events and assignments. Staying organized is key to success in college!

Samantha has accepted a position as an emergency room nurse at Saint Vincent Hospital in Erie.

Standout Seniors: Meet Ashlyn Kelly

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Ashlyn Kelly:

Ashlyn Kelly (2)

Major: Chemistry

Minor: Biology

Hometown: Bradford, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I have received the John K. Henne Scholarship for International Study, the Louis W. and Evelyn H. Balmer Trustee Scholarship, and the Mary G. Chisholm Undergraduate Research Award. I am also a two-year recipient of the Janet Wood Reno Memorial Scholarship for my leadership and service, a 2017 Undergraduate Summer Research Fellowship, and a 2017-18 Undergraduate Research Grant.

On choosing Penn State Behrend: The campus reminded me of home. I grew up on a hill in the middle of the woods, and we got a lot of snow in the winter. I like the colder weather, so Behrend was a perfect fit for me. But the main reason that I chose Behrend was because of the chemistry labs. I wanted to work with the most up-to-date technology, and Behrend’s labs are everything I could ever want. We have many instruments that most students don’t get to work with until graduate school.

On choosing her major: I really liked science in middle school and high school. Comparing the different science disciplines, chemistry stood out because of its versatility. You can go into nearly any industry with a chemistry degree.

On research opportunities: In March, I presented my research work at the National American Chemical Society Conference in New Orleans! I also had the chance to do research for my biology minor in Costa Rica last spring as a part of a study abroad program.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend? Creating the Random Acts of Kindness (RAK) stairwell where people can leave positive notes for one another. When I became president of the club last year, I wanted the organization to have a bigger presence and impact on campus, so I came up with the idea of a motivational wall.

At first, we hung up a piece of paper in Reed where students could leave one another motivational messages to read. As time progressed, we decided to expand it and we eventually took over an entire stairwell in Reed. We placed sticky notes with positive messages on them and stuck them all over the walls. We also hung blank notes for students to write their own. The theme of the project is “take what you need, give what you can.”

One day when we were adding new notes, one of our members wrote the phone number for the suicide hotline on some of them. A few days later, they were all gone. That inspired us to create a permanent poster with a variety of hotline numbers on it such as the sexual assault, addiction, eating disorders, and domestic violence hotlines. Knowing that I have been a part of something that has helped others and possibly saved lives is rewarding.

Campus involvement: I am a Lion Ambassador, and I have been president of RAK for the past two years. I was also a part of Lambda Sigma Honor Society. I have served as president and treasurer of both the Nittany Catholic Club and Chem Club. I am also a part of the Lion Service Council and the liturgical minister coordinator for Catholic Campus Ministries. Last semester, I taught a chemistry lab and I have worked as a Lion Scout for the past three years. I have participated in many community service projects, such as ServErie and MLK Day of Service. This spring, I participated in an Alternative Spring Break trip to Beaumont, Texas, to help with Hurricane Harvey disaster relief efforts.

Why she gives back: I went through a lot during my first two years in college, including the death of my grandmother, and some serious family health scares and roommate issues. At that time, I was at my all-time low. That’s when I was joined RAK. Helping others has helped me in so many ways. I don’t want anyone to ever feel like I did.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I have never dyed my hair.

Advice for new students: Say yes! Behrend offers so many opportunities, so take them. Try something new. Get out of your comfort zone.

Ashlyn has accepted a job at Plastics Services Network (PSN) in Erie after her graduation in May.

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Standout Seniors: Meet Jeanie Laura Davies

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Jeanie Laura Davies:

Jeanie Davies

Major: Biology (concentration in biochemistry and microbiology)

Hometown: Brufut, Gambia (the “smiling coast” of Africa)

Scholarships: Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship, Special International Grant-in-Aid (SIGIA PSU), and the Penn State Behrend Institutional Scholarship.

On choosing Behrend: I did not know much about universities in the United States before I came here, so it was based on luck and a roll of the dice. I believe Behrend chose me. At Behrend, I have met many different types of amazing, fun, and uplifting people. I have formed friendships and memories that will last a lifetime.

On choosing her major: My twelve years of primary education in Gambia was centered on the sciences and other disciplines such as technical and building drawing, visual art, and geography, which prepared me to be a well-rounded individual. I aspired to work in healthcare and figured biology would give me a solid foundation to pursue a profession as a doctor.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Getting out of my comfort zone to meet new people, being an integral part of executive boards in various organizations on campus, excelling academically, and also surviving the demands of college in terms of assignments, finances, etc. Most of all, it is a privilege and great blessing to graduate from the prestigious Penn State University!

Support in spades: I am very humbled, honored, proud, delighted, blessed, and empowered to know that my professors believed in me, encouraged me, inspired me, supported me, and wrote me the best recommendations any person could ever receive! (No, I didn’t read them, but I know they were good as I have had invitations from more than fifty graduate schools!)

Conversations with the Chancellor: I have had the opportunity to meet and talk at length with Chancellor Ralph Ford twice. It was a fabulous opportunity that I did not take for granted.

Campus involvement: I have been involved in the Art Club, the American Association of University Women, the Association of Black Collegians, the Multi-Cultural Council, the student chapter of the NAACP, and the Organization of African and Caribbean Studies. I’m also a member of TriBeta (the biology honors society), and the volleyball club, and I have served as a STEM tutor.

What makes her unique: My name. Because I come from a country in Africa, most U.S. students assume I have a traditional African name, but I don’t. Jeanie is my given birth name. Sometimes I wish I had a traditional African name, but my name makes me unique.

A woman of many talents: I am an artist and a dancer. I love to sing and cook and I speak five languages.

Who inspires her: I find inspiration from people, situations, and even visions. As human beings, we are created to be interdependent on one another. We can consciously choose who influences us, so we must make the right choice; it could be either be a poison or panacea to your life.

Props to Mom: My mother inspires me and instills confidence in me, as she has always believed that I shall prosper in anything that I do. If it were not for her powerful and, at times, soothing, words, I would not be where I am today. I thank God for her life.

Advice for new students: Be yourself! Dare to stand out. Relax when you have the chance: college can be overwhelming so it is important to take breaks. Joins some clubs or organizations that are of interest to you. Remember that if you have a functioningl brain and body and all five senses, you are blessed. Many would be grateful for what you have.

Following her graduation in May, Jeanie will attend graduate school with the goal of earning a Doctor of Pharmacy degree. Shehopes to work toward eradicating life-threatening diseases.

 

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Standout Seniors: Meet Lauren Myers

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Lauren Myers:

Lauren Myers cropped

 

Major: Nursing

Hometown: Kane, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I received the Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship

On choosing Behrend: I enjoyed the campus scenery and size. Growing up, I always wanted to go to Penn State, but after visiting University Park, I realized it was way too big for me. I also chose Behrend because students in its nursing program had high pass rates for the National Council Licensure Examination.

On choosing her major: My best friend’s mom battled cancer for years. Unfortunately, she passed away during our senior year of high school. When she was dying, my mom and I were at the hospital as a support system for my friend and her family. The last two days were very tough and being there with them really opened my eyes to the role of the nurse. The nurses were the people who were there for the family twenty-four hours a day, making sure every need was tended to, and providing the best care possible to my friend’s mother even during the final hours of her life. It was a very inspirational moment as I realized I wanted to become that person who is there to help others during difficult times.

Campus involvement: I have been a Welcome Week Team Leader for two years, a member of the Joys of Nursing club, a Lion Ambassador, a member of the National Society of Leadership and Success, Circle K, Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing, and the National Student Nurses Association.

Secret talent: I guess I am good at organizing/planning. I’ve always been the planner in my circle of friends.

Who inspires her: My mom. She was a young, single parent and provided me with a great life. I’m also inspired by the nursing staff that I have had the opportunity to work with.

After her graduation in May, Lauren plans to work as an ICU nurse.

 

 

 

 

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Jon Schrecengost

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Jon Schrecengost:

Jonathon Schrecengost (2)

Jonathon Schrecengost

Major: Physics

Minors: Chemistry, Astrophysics, Computer Science, and Mathematics

Hometown: Greensburg, Pennsylvania

On working with faculty members: Behrend has faculty members who go out of their way to help you succeed, in the classroom and through research. The small class sizes at Behrend allow you to have a lot of really meaningful and personal interactions with faculty members.

On majoring in Physics: It’s a versatile major. Physics requires you to develop excellent learning and problem-solving abilities, and it gives you a strong understanding of the fundamentals that are used in other science and engineering disciplines. It’s not uncommon to find physics graduates in many different career paths.

Seeing the light: I’ve done research work with Dr. Bruce Wittmershaus, associate professor of physics, for three years. I’ve been helping him to improve his luminescent solar concentrators. These devices use fluorescent materials to redirect sunlight onto solar cells and produce an electric current. I’ve grown a lot as a researcher and I’ve been fortunate to submit a manuscript for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. It’s also the topic of my Schreyer Honors thesis.

On being a teaching assistant: I enjoyed the opportunity to gain teaching experience as a teaching assistant for the college’s introductory physics courses. I learned that teaching material to others is the most effective way to truly understand course material yourself.

Who inspires him: Elon Musk

Advice for new students: Start doing research work with a faculty member as soon as possible. Don’t be shy about reaching out to them because they are very willing to help you and share their experiences with you.

Following his graduation in May, Jonathon plans to attend graduate school.

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Dylan Langharst

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Dylan Langharst:

Dylan Langharst

Majors: Concurrent majors in Physics and Mathematics

Minors: Concurrent minors in Astronomy and Political Science

Hometown: Sarver, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I’ve received the Anonymous Friend Trustee Fund Scholarship multiple times, a School of Science scholarship, the Lake Erie Trustee Scholarship at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, the McMannis Educational Trust Fund Scholarship, and the Dr. and Mrs. Arthur W. Phillips Scholarship for Schreyer Scholars.

On choosing his majors: In high school, I was really interested in understanding the physical world and decided to major in physics. However, during my time here at Behrend, I fell in love with mathematics, due in part to the faculty members in the department.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I studied abroad in Germany during the summer of 2015, and during the summer of 2017, I was employed by the Department of Energy doing quantum computing. However, these are not my proudest accomplishments. My proudest accomplishment is when I was contacted by one of the students I tutored/taught through the Learning Resource Center who said that, without my help, he wouldn’t have passed Physics 211 or had such a solid start for Physics 212. This was my proudest moment.

Campus involvement: President of the Physics Club, vice president of the Math Club, and vice president of Behrend’s branch of Pi Mu Epsilon, the national math honor society.

Hidden talent: I am almost fluent in German.

What you would be surprised to know about him: I have a big interest in history, especially medieval history. I almost majored in history instead of physics.

Who inspires him: Faculty members inspire me, especially Dr. Chuck Yeung, Dr. Blair Tuttle, Dr. Darren Williams, Dr. Bruce Wittmershaus, Paul Becker, Dr. Antonella Cupillari, Dr. Daniel Galiffa and Dr. Amos Ong. They are always willing to answer any questions I have, even if my questions have nothing to do with material we are learning in class. Also, Dr. John Gamble, distinguished professor of political science and international law, who has been a life mentor since I started college.

Advice for new students: Pick a field of study that you genuinely enjoy learning about or classes will be difficult.

After his graduation in December, Dylan plans to attend graduate school for a master’s degree in mathematics. He then wants to obtain a Ph.D. and, eventually, teach at the college level.

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Briana Young

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

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2018 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 Briana Young.

Briana Young

Briana with the 2004 Mini Cooper she restored.

Major: Physics

Minor: Mathematics

Hometown: Port Allegany, Pennsylvania

On choosing her major: My high school physics teacher had a poster in his classroom that listed a bunch of careers you can pursue with a physics degree. I love understanding how everything works, and I knew I’d never be bored with physics.

Scholarships: I have been the lucky recipient of the LORD Corporation Scholarship and the National Science Foundation STEM Scholarship.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend? I have two. The first is when I got an internship with LORD Corporation the summer before my sophomore year. The second is when I was asked to present my undergraduate research work at the American Physical Society conference in Los Angeles this spring.

Campus involvement: I have been involved with an array of organizations on campus. In my first two years, I was involved with International Student Organization where I was able to meet so many people that I never would have met in my small town. In my sophomore year, I was accepted into Lambda Sigma Honor Society and into Pi Mu Epsilon, a national math honor society, in my junior year. I have also been part of Campus Health and Fitness, which is a new club on campus.

What makes her unique: I have a handful of hobbies. I am very into art and I have my own Etsy account. I love cooking, hiking, and camping. I also have completed two half marathons while in college.

What you would be surprised to know about her: My car is a 2004 Mini Cooper that I bought as a wreck and fixed up. I learned how to do it from my dad who has done body work on cars his entire life.

On being a champion for Women in Physics: The longer I have been in school the more involved I have gotten with Women in Physics. In January, I attended a Women in Physics conference that made me realize there would be a lot more of us in this field if it weren’t for self-doubt. I am passionate about encouraging other generations of girls to get excited about physics.

On giving back: I want to involve myself with outreach and teaching kids in the community the importance of science. (Editor’s note: No doubt she’ll have that chance at LORD, as they are an avid supporter of Penn State Behrend’s K-12 Outreach programs, often allowing their engineers to help lead events and each workshops for young students.)

Inspiration at home: My parents inspire me every day. They both work hard for their own success and still manage to dedicate a great deal of their time to helping others. They are both involved in different programs to help troubled kids and they inspire me to not only work hard for myself and my family, but also to actively help others.

Advice for new students: There are no shortcuts to get to where you want to be. It’ll be hard and frustrating, but keep your eyes on your ultimate goals. And don’t forget to take care of both your body and your mind.

Briana has accepted a position as a quality engineer at LORD Corporation following her graduation in May.