Excellence runs in Schupp family, twice chosen to Marshal

By Christine Palattella
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Kelsey Schupp (3)

Student Marshal Kelsey Schupp

On Friday night, Student Marshal Kelsey Schupp ’16 will lead her fellow Black School of Business commencement candidates into Erie Insurance Arena just as her sister, Brooke ʼ14, did two years ago.

Only five Student Marshals are chosen for a commencement ceremony, one representing each of Penn State Behrend’s four academic schools plus an Honors candidate to lead the college’s Schreyer Scholars. To recognize their outstanding academic achievements, Student Marshals are given the honor of carrying the banners that precede each of the five candidate groups onto the arena floor.

Kelsey will receive concurrent degrees in Accounting and Finance and soon will begin working as a proposal analyst associate at Lockheed Martin’s Missile and Fire Control division in Orlando. Brooke joined GE Transportation after graduating with a degree in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies; this fall she completes her fourth and final rotation in GE’s Operations Management Leadership Program.

Was being named Marshal a goal for you, Kelsey?

I wouldn’t necessarily say being Marshal was a specific goal I made, but I knew there was a good chance of it happening because my personal goal was graduating with a cumulative 4.0 GPA.

Was Brooke an inspiration? Are you two competitive?

Brooke graduated with a 4.0 GPA too. I’ve always wanted to do my very best in school purely for my own satisfaction, but Brooke’s performance at Behrend pushed me to try even harder. She definitely left me some big shoes to fill.

In my junior year I started a game with myself –I decided to see how much more I could take on while maintaining my GPA. This is when I started working at internships during the school year and participating in academic competitions like the Chartered Financial Analyst Institute Research Challenge. I was captain of the team that reached the global semi-finals, ending as the 21st team out of over 1,000 competing.

I think Brooke and I are more competitive with ourselves than each other. But we do sometimes push each other, to make each other a better person, of course.

Looking back, Brooke, what did the Marshal experience mean to you?

Kelsey summarized it right when she said we are more competitive with ourselves than we are with each other. Being a Marshal allowed me to see that my parents had done an amazing job creating self-motivating adults capable of anything we put our minds to – even a 4.0 in college – a trait I hope I can someday pass on to those around me.

Brooke Schupp (2)

Brooke Schupp, Kelsey’s sister and a 2014 Marshal

How do you feel about Kelsey following in your footsteps?

In college I mainly focused on my coursework, working to prove to myself that a 4.0 wasn’t impossible. Kelsey took that to the next level by being extremely active in other groups and competitions, for example taking her team to Nationals for the CFA Institute Research Challenge competition! The dedication, time management, and leadership she was able to muster over her senior year is beyond incredible to me and proof that my little sister isn’t so little anymore.

Penn State Behrend’s 2016 spring commencement will be held on Friday, May 6, in Erie Insurance Arena, 809 French St. The ceremony begins at 6:30 p.m. and will be streamed live at behrend.psu.edu.

Class of 2016: Meet Brittany Ochs (Plastics Engineering Technology)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 Brittany Ochs.

Brittany Ochs2

Major: Plastics Engineering Technology

Hometown: Lucinda, Pennsylvania

On choosing to major in Plastics Engineering Technology: I have always been interested in math, science, and art. I also enjoyed working with my dad at our farm back home and tearing things apart and putting them back together. This major allows me to use my creativity and art to design parts and molds, my math and science skills to perform experiments and analyze data, and my hands to work with the equipment. It’s all the things that I enjoy.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Winning first place in a Society for Professional Engineers blow-molding design contest.

Campus involvement: I’m the president of the plastics engineering technology club and a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, Society of Plastics Engineers, and Society of Women Engineers. I’m also a STEM scholarship recipient and a member of two national honor societies, Tau Alpha Pi and Lambda Sigma.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: Eventually, I’d like to own a small farm and raise beef cattle.

Personal passions: I love the outdoors, hunting, and sports.

Advice for current students: Do not be afraid to ask for help!

Brittany has accepted a position as a process engineer at US Endoscopy following her graduation in May.

Class of 2016: Meet Trey Neveux (Mechanical Engineering)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 Trey Neveux

Trey Neveux2

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Butler, Pennsylvania

On choosing to major in Mechanical Engineering: I’ve always enjoyed science and creating things. Mesh those two things together and you’ll find engineering at the intersection. I chose mechanical engineering to engage my widespread interest in physical systems that are easy to visualize, such as clutches, gearboxes, brakes, etc.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I was part of the student team which created the disc golf course on campus. It really highlights the college’s beautiful grounds and it’s the only disc golf course in the Erie area. Learn more about the disc golf course here and here. Use this QR Code to go directly to the Disc Golf map:

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Campus involvement: I’ve been involved in Residence Life, the Lion Entertainment Board, Disc Golf Club, the SGA’s Supreme Court, and Tau Beta Pi, and I sat on both the Information Technology Fee and Student Activity Fee Allocation committees.

On flying, scuba diving, and woodworking: I’m never bored because I have a wide variety of hobbies. After graduation, I really want to explore some hobbies that just weren’t feasible in college, like flying, scuba diving, and woodworking.

Advice for current students: Your time at Behrend is finite, and the rate at which that time disappears is faster than you can imagine. Take advantage of all the opportunities that Penn State Behrend offers you!

Trey has been accepted into the Ph.D. graduate program in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Michigan.

Class of 2016: Meet Courtney Hopson (Elementary and Early Childhood Education)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 Courtney Hopson

Courtney Hopson1

Major: Elementary and Early Childhood Education

Hometown: Erie

Why Behrend? I knew I wanted to go to a Penn State campus because of the rigorous, hands-on programs offered. I chose Behrend specifically so I could play volleyball.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Winning the MVP award this volleyball season, because it was given to me by my teammates. I have been through so much with my team and couldn’t be prouder to be a part of something so special.

What makes you unique? My level of motivation when facing a challenge. I am always trying to improve myself in every aspect of my life. I love to set goals and strive to reach them. I am a really competitive person and I love the process that goes into getting great results.

What’s your passion? I am passionate about inspiring children like I have been inspired through my life. I have such a great support system in my family and in my church, and it really bothers me to know that some children don’t have that support. I want my students to know that they have someone who cares for them and is rooting for them to succeed.

Advice for current students: Not everything is going to go smoothly, and that is okay! It’s all about the journey, so enjoy your time in college and do the best that you can.

Courtney plans to work as an elementary school teacher following her graduation in May.

Class of 2016: Meet Jordan Mushrush

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 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 Jordan Mushrush.

Jordan Mushrush1

Jordan Mushrush

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Minor: Operations and Supply Chain Management

Hometown: McKean, Pennsylvania

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: As president of the engineering society Tau Beta Pi, I led an expansion of activities that included bringing a speaker from NASA and a Pi Day charity fundraiser. I also was president of Behrend Robotics, involved in Omicron Delta Kappa and a musician for the student theatre production of “The 25th Annual Putnam County Spelling Bee.” I am also involved in Omicron Delta Kappa.

Not-so-secret superpower: I am a musician, composer, orchestra member and conductor. I have played with and conducted orchestras for several community theatre groups, including the Erie Playhouse and Lake Effect Theatre. I like playing in pit orchestras because the books usually are written for many instruments (I play bassoon, saxophone, clarinet, and flute), which challenges me and improves my abilities.

Spirit in spades: I also orchestrated part of “Spirit of Erie,” a 200-actor pageant created and produced by an amazing team from the Erie Playhouse as part of 2013’s Oliver Hazard Perry bicentennial celebration.

Advice for current students: Whatever you decide to major in or do in your spare time, pursue what makes you happy. The rest will follow.

Jordan plans to find work as an engineer or project manager after his graduation in December, but hopes to own his own business someday.

Love of writing defines O’Neill’s time at Behrend

Katherine O'Neill

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

As a child, Katie O’Neill always had a keen interest in writing and creative expression. This affinity continued when she got to grade school, and it was not long before others started to notice.

“I had a teacher when I was in first grade who told my mom to get me a journal,” O’Neill recalls.

That would seem to have been excellent advice. As O’Neill has grown up, her passion for writing has become a defining characteristic.

“I’ve always been a writer before anything else,” the Lake Winola, Pa., native says.

That passion is what brought her to Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. The college’s BFA in Creative Writing piqued her interest as the only such program in the Penn State system and one of only a few in the country.

“That was definitely the number one draw,” she says.

Through the inventive program, O’Neill, who graduated this past May, says she was able to focus intently on improving her inventive writing skills. She also improved her editing abilities serving on the staff of Lake Effect, an international literary journal published by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Penn State Behrend.

Along the way, O’Neill garnered accolades. This past year alone, her non-fiction story, “Achill Strikes Again,” won Behrend’s Farrell Nonfiction Award while her fiction piece “Juneau” was the college’s Smith Fiction Award winner. Her short fiction piece, “Tony and Rebecca” was also named an honorable mention in the Annual Creative Writing Awards, sponsored by Suffolk County Community College in Long Island, New York.

O’Neill says her inspiration comes from “the weirdest things,” but also a more traditional source. Thanks to the college’s Creative Writers Reading Series and professional conferences, O’Neill met and networked with numerous professional authors throughout her college career. With every interaction, she says she would pick up a tip or two that she put to good use.

During her time at Penn State Behrend, O’Neill was involved beyond creative writing activities. She was the captain of the college’s dance team, a member of the Behrend Choir and a writing tutor in the Learning Resource Center.

This past spring, O’Neill’s efforts were recognized with two awards: Behrend’s Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award and a university-wide Eclipse Award. The Walker Award recognizes a student whose character, scholarship, leadership and citizenship have been directed into student programs and services. The Eclipse Award recognizes Penn State students for service and volunteerism to their campus and local communities.

This fall, O’Neill will start pursuing her MFA in Creative Writing at Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio. She reflects fondly on her time at Penn State Behrend and hopes new students will choose to follow a similar path.

“My advice is to get involved from the start. I’m so glad I got involved right away. It can be overwhelming, but it’s (worth it),” she says. “I’ve made some amazing friends. I’m going to miss everything about this place.”

Turnbull Award winner relishes her time spent at Behrend

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By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

First impressions go a long way. Just ask Amyelia Payne.

Four years ago, while searching for colleges, the New Castle native toured Penn State Behrend. That’s all it took for her to make up her mind.

“We had this awesome tour guide, and right away, I knew Behrend was for me. I instantly fell in love with the campus,” the senior interdisciplinary business with engineering studies (IBE) and international business major recalls.

Payne’s experience that day would later influence her campus involvement as a student. When she looked into organizations to join, one club resonated with her.

“I loved Lion Ambassadors because a Lion Ambassador was the first person that I met when I came to campus,” Payne says. “I remember how that influenced me, and I wanted to have that same impact on students when they came to tour Behrend.”

Joining Lion Ambassadors was just the start of Payne’s influence and involvement. She joined Lambda Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma, both national honor societies, and also became very active in Student Government Association (SGA). As a junior, she was SGA vice president before serving as president this past year.

Through SGA, Payne has left her mark. She’s helped spearhead discussions and preliminary plans to transform Erie Hall into a fitness and recreation center and Behrend’s SGA played a part in expanding Penn State’s smoking policy to include electronic and vapor cigarettes.

As SGA president, Payne also introduced an international seat on the organization’s board in response to the college’s growing international student population. This past fall, Penn State Behrend welcomed 186 international students, the largest such class ever at the college.

“We’ve seen such an influx of international students, and this was done to ensure that they had equal representation,” Payne says.

Payne’s involvement on campus was recognized in April at the 66th Honors and Awards Convocation where she was named the recipient of the Thomas H. Turnbull Award. The award recognizes a Penn State Behrend student who has contributed to the college community through outstanding qualities of character, scholarship, leadership and citizenship.

As it happens, when it came time for the naming of the Turnbull Award winner, Payne was already on stage handing out awards as part of her duties as SGA president.

“I had been standing up there for more than two hours smiling, and by the time they got to the final awards, my face hurt. I heard them say IBE and international business major and I thought, ‘Wait a minute; I’m the only one here with that double major,’” she recalls. “I was so shocked, but it was an incredible feeling to be recognized. I’ve given a lot to Behrend in four years, but I could never repay the experiences that it’s given to me.”

This week, Payne will graduate with her IBE degree and head to Cary, North Carolina, to intern with LORD Corporation this summer. She will study abroad in Barcelona this fall before graduating with her international business degree in December.

She says she will miss her time at Behrend, but she’s also hopeful and excited for the future.

“I’m not sad. There have been times over the past month when I’ve thought about it, but why be sad? It’s inevitable, so there’s no reason to dwell on it,” Payne says. “Everyone comes to college to get a degree and for their academics, but it’s what you do outside your degree that makes your experience unique. I’ve done all that I could, and I think I’m looking forward to that next stage of my life. ”