Standout Seniors: Meet Nicole Kuhn

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 Nicole Kuhn:

Nicole Kuhn cropped

Major: Marketing

Minor: Biology

Hometown: Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: I actually transferred to Behrend in my sophomore year from a small college in Pittsburgh. At my previous school, I was on the women’s volleyball team, which consumed most of my time. I was looking for a medium-sized school with a lot of opportunities that was not in a city and was a couple of hours from home. When I visited Behrend, I was able to check off all of those boxes.

On choosing her major: I began as a biology major, but soon realized that I couldn’t see myself working in a hospital as I’d planned. I chose marketing because it is an exciting and ever-changing field. I kept biology as a minor because I think it is important to differentiate yourself and having a STEM background will do that.

Career outlook: Short term, I think digital marketing is an area where I see a lot of growth and excitement. Long term, I hope to transition into a branding position that will enable me to combine all ofmy marketing experiences.

Campus involvement: I’ve been involved in several clubs and through them I’ve found some of my best friends and created lifelong memories. I have been a member of Behrend Benefiting THON for three years. I was the executive director my junior year, and this year I was the fundraising chair. I also had the honor of representing Behrend as one of the 700 dancers in THON 2018 to raise money for pediatric cancer and the Four Diamonds Fund.

I’ve also been involved with Lion Ambassadors for three years. This year, I was one of the membership chairs and was responsible for interviewing, inducting, and training all of the new members into the family.

The most recent club I have been involved with is Reality Check. I had the amazing opportunity to go with this club to Houston, Texas, to participate in Alternative Spring break this year. Nearly thirty of us worked to help victims of Hurricane Harvey.

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Nicole helping at an animal shelter in Beaumont, Texas, during Alternative Spring Break in March.

Learning to serve others: One thing I’ve solidified throughout my college career is my underlying love of community service and helping others. Every club I’ve been involved with is service-based. Whether it is organizing events to raise money for THON, helping pack and move thousands of books to a local high school, participating in TOPS soccer, or helping flood victims in Houston, service projects have significantly impacted my overall character.

Advice for new students: Don’t feel like you need to have everything figured out in this moment. Don’t stress over the things you can’t control, and live in today. Enjoy the late-night study sessions in the library, early morning coffees with your roommate, Saturday afternoon tailgates, and everything in between.

After her graduation in May, Nicole hopes to secure a marketing position with an established firm.

 

 

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Maura Franks

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 Maura Franks:

Maura Franks

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Gibsonia, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I received the LORD Corporation Scholarship twice.

On choosing her major: When I was growing up, I actually wanted to be a geologist. But later, I saw how much my older sister enjoyed engineering and decided to look into different types of engineering. I chose mechanical engineering because of its diversity in jobs and opportunities, and because I wanted to choose a career path that would continuously challenge me.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Being able to maintain a high GPA while working as an intern at LORD Corporation, taking classes, and teaching a computer lab for first-year students.

Campus involvement: I am currently the vice president of Tau Beta Pi, the engineering honor society, and I was a Bible study leader during my first and second years at Behrend.

Free-time fun: Some of my interests/hobbies include playing the alto saxophone, fishing, photography, and riding all-terrain vehicles.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: In my spare time, I help out at a dairy farm.

On her faith: I’m passionate about my faith in God. It has helped me learn more about myself, appreciate all the amazing people in my life, and grow as a person.

Who inspires her: My dad inspires me. He is the most hard working and intelligent man I have ever known.

Advice for new students: Do an internship in your field of study. I’ve learned a lot about engineering by getting hands-on experience and working with professional engineers.

Following her graduation in May, Maura hopes to begin her engineering career in Erie.

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Chantel Drake

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 Chantel Sade Drake:

Chantel Drake

Major: Political Science

Hometown: Glendale, Wisconsin

On choosing Behrend: I wanted to attend a school that challenged me but also made me feel at home. I found what I was looking for at Behrend. I met some great friends that I now consider family. My professors helped me gain the knowledge I needed, not just in the field of political science but in life, too.

On choosing her major: I knew that I wanted to work within the government, but I could not define what I wanted my career to be and who I wanted to be. Now that I’m graduating, I know I found the right field for me.

Campus involvement: I was a member of International Model African Union in 2017. I am now a member of Harvard Model United Nations and Sigma Alpha Pi, the National Honor Society of Leadership and Success.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I’m a contemporary dancer. I’ve been working up the guts to try out for So You Think You Can Dance. Maybe one day I will.

Avid bookworm: I love to read. I used to go to the library at home and check out about thirty books and read them in a week. James Patterson is one of my favorite authors.

Puzzling hobby: I work on 1,000-piece puzzles with my boyfriend, who is also a Penn State Behrend student. It’s a great stress reliever.

Who inspires her: I’m inspired by every person who has believed in me. My family has had to make a lot of sacrifices for me. I am the first person in my household to go to college and I could not have done it without the love and support of my family.

Advice for new students: Believe in yourself. The hardest thing you will go through will not just be exams, homework, or difficult classes, but the growth of oneself. The only person who can push you forward is you. The only person who can push you back is you.

After her graduation in May, Chantel plans to attend graduate school to earn a master of arts degree in international relations.

 

 

 

 

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Brianna Riley

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 Brianna Riley:

Brianna Riley

Brianna working on a job site at this year’s Alternative Spring Break in Beaumont, Texas.

Major(s): Concurrent majors in Accounting and Management Information Systems

Minor: Finance

Hometown: Bethel Park, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I received the Erie Insurance Group Leadership Scholarship and the Stan Latta Dedication Scholarship.

On choosing her majors: I chose Accounting because I like to have a clear definition of what is right, what is wrong, and what my next step is. I chose Management Information Systems because information technology has infiltrated every aspect of our lives. It turns out that the Accounting and MIS pair well together. I ended up finding a full-time job that will utilize both of them.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Participating in an Alternative Spring Break trip to San Francisco in 2017. When I went on the trip, I knew just one person, but I came back with twenty-seven new friends. This is an accomplishment to me, because before that, I was afraid to step out of my comfort zone and friend circle. Soon after the trip, I ran for treasurer of the club (Reality Check) that sponsors ASB. Now I am heavily involved with Reality Check and the planning of this year’s trip. It is truly a blessing to have friends with similar passions, with ours being service.

Campus involvement: I have held executive board positions in the Accounting Club, Reality Check, Circle K, the Entrepreneur Club, and the National Society of Leadership and Success. I am also involved with the Management Information Systems Club. I am a part of Beta Gamma Sigma and ATHENA Connections. I have participated in two Innovation Through Collaboration (ITC) projects that are sponsored by the Black School of Business. One focused on the accounting systems of a local winery and the other focused on bitcoin in accounting.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I love photography. I aspire to be like one of my high school teachers who continued her passion for photography alongside her career.

Passionate about service: I love to help others and make their day better, whether that means donating clothes, making cards for Meals on Wheels, or traveling across the United States for a week of manual labor to help with disaster relief.

Who inspires her: My mother is my inspiration. She is an astonishing woman. She has four children and a full-time job, but that is not what makes her so remarkable. It is how she comes home every day from her nine-hour workday with a smile on her face. She is selfless, compassionate, and an inspiration to everyone she meets.

Advice for new students: Get involved early. Maybe in high school it was not cool to be involved with clubs, but college is different. Getting involved with clubs, whether they are directly related to your major or not, gives you the chance to take on leadership roles, learn from your peers, and get some valuable hands-on experience. Also, clubs can help you meet some of the best friends you will ever have.

Brianna has accepted a position as an IT auditor with Deloitte Advisory in Pittsburgh following her graduation in May.

Game on: Students Make Connections at Conference

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

GDC 20182

For the past five years, students enrolled in GAME 495: Senior Internship have had the opportunity to attend the Game Developers Conference (GDC) in San Francisco. Eight Penn State Behrend students and two faculty members recently returned from this year’s conference which was held in late March.

GDC is the world’s largest professional game industry event. There, students join game designers, programmers, artists, producers, and business professionals for five days of education, inspiration, and networking in the global game development community.

“Students are exposed to the game industry from the inside, get a chance to talk to professionals, and make connections that are invaluable as they set course for their own career in the game industry,” said Dr. Heather Lum, assistant professor of psychology.

Students who attended the GDC were not only from the School of Engineering, but also Psychology majors from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences who are in the human factors track, which focuses on user interface and user experience.

Lum was a GDC trip leader along with Dr. Richard Zhao, assistant professor of computer science and software engineering.

“The students who went to the GDC are enrolled in the interdisciplinary minor in Game Development,” Zhao said. “While we can teach students the technical and artistic skills needed to design and develop games in other classes, GAME 495 provides students the opportunity to showcase their product and interact with the world in a way that a traditional classroom is never able to.”

One good example: face-to-face networking with industry insiders at the GDC.

“I met a user experience analyst, which is my chosen field, from my favorite gaming company, Blizzard,” said Tiffany Eichler, a senior Psychology major. “We have been e-mailing since the conference and it has been so enlightening. I have learned a lot about the industry and why psychology has a place in it. He shared with me the best time to apply for an internship with Blizzard, so I am biding my time until I can get my name in there.”

“Students who have attended GDC in previous years have gotten internships and job offers from companies like Microsoft, Amazon, and others,” Lum said.

Prior to the trip, students in GAME 495 write and practice their elevator pitches, create resumes and business cards, and learn how to get noticed and have a meaningful conversation with professional contacts, including alumni.

“We had a chance to meet up with some Penn State Behrend graduates who are now working on the west coast,” Lum said.

Students who attended the GDC trip included, Computer Science majors: Cole Trexler, Matt Benkart, Jordon Torunian, and Morgan Farabaugh; Software Engineering majors, Frank Corso, Joe Craig, and Richard Shultz; and Psychology majors, Tiffany Eichler and Donald Fromknecht.

GDC 20181

Standout Seniors: Meet Zachery Smith

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 Zachery Smith:

zachery smith

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Lower Burrell, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I received the Penn State Provost Award and the Chancellor’s Award

On choosing Behrend: I started my college career at Penn State New Kensington, which was in my hometown. After experiencing that, I realized that having small class sizes and personal interactions with professors created a more ideal learning environment and figured Behrend would be the best place to finish my degree.

On choosing his major: I excelled at physics and mathematics in high school. I also had a passion for working on cars and other mechanical systems. I was constantly tearing things apart to understand how they worked.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: My senior design team and I drove to the NASA Space Marshall Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, to visit our industry sponsor and see some of the equipment that we will be working with for our capstone project.

Definition of a good life: Sitting on a beach listening to Jimmy Buffet and drinking margaritas.

Advice for new students: Don’t sell yourself short; hard work goes a long way.

Following his graduation in May, Zachery has accepted a position as an engine development and validation engineer at General Motors Global Propulsion Systems.

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.