Curiosity leads to opportunity for nursing student

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

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Efua Crentsil, senior nursing major

Has your curiosity ever led you down a rabbit hole? It starts with reading something online and then you have a question, so you open another browser window and Google it. Next thing you know, you’ve lost forty-five minutes of your life researching how almonds grow (on trees!) or how spiders survive winter in northern states (in eggs!).

An inquisitive mind is an asset for students when it’s channeled toward topics in their field of study. A need to know more can lead to opportunity.

It did for Efua Crentsil, a senior nursing major, whose interest in a class project spilled into independent summer research work, which led to an invitation to present her work at two different industry events.

Crentsil, a native of Ghana, began researching whether nurses preferred to work with nurse practitioners or with physicians and what impact that had on their job satisfaction for her NURS 200W Principles of Nursing Research and Evidence-Based Practice class. The project piqued her interest and she continued working on it after the class was over.

“I wanted to know more and look deeper at the subject,” she said. “Dr. Alison Walsh (assistant teaching professor of nursing) had been asking if any nursing students wanted to develop a research project, so I told her I’d be interested.”

Walsh says Crentsil exceeded expectations. “She took her evidence-based class project and continued to develop it into a systematic review—Job Satisfaction in Registered Nurses: The Effect of Working with Nurse Practitioners Compared to Physicians.”

While Crentsil did not receive academic credit for her research work, she was rewarded with an invitation to present her work at the Annual Scientific Sessions of the Eastern Nursing Research Society in New Jersey.

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That invitation, in turn, led to a second opportunity to speak at UPMC Hamot Hospital’s Research Symposium in Erie where Crentsil won the Student Award for her work, which came with a $250 education scholarship.

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Crentsil said she used existing data from four online databases to do her research work, but that next she would like to collect her own research data.

“I did informal polling and observation while I did an internship at The Cleveland Clinic this summer, but I primarily relied on existing data,” she said.

Crentsil said her research showed an 80/20 percent split with the majority of nurses reporting higher job satisfaction working with nurse practitioners than with physicians.

“This was mostly due to communication,” she said. “Nurses felt that nurse practitioners listened to them more and gave them more independence and respect. Those who reported higher satisfaction in working with physicians said they preferred doctors because they tended to be straight to the point, more confident, and more knowledgeable than nurse practitioners.”

Crentsil has reason to be interested in nurse practitioners and research: She sees both as potential career paths.

“I wanted to be a nurse practitioner, but now I’m considering being a nursing researcher because if institutions can see why they should make changes, they’re more likely to do so,” she said. “The research has to be done first.”

Crentsil, who graduates on Friday with a bachelor’s of science degree in nursing and a minor in women’s studies, is currently considering several job offers. She plans to stay in the United States for a few years and return to graduate school after she gains nursing experience.

Crentsil is a recipient of the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation scholarship, the Penn State Behrend Chancellor Scholarship, and a Special International Grant-in-Aid (SIGIA). “I am so thankful,” she said. “I truly would not be here if not for this financial support.”

Standout Seniors: Meet Jenessa Islas-Parker

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:  Jenessa Islas-Parker:

Jenessa Isla-Parker

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Palatine, Illinois

Scholarships: I received the Penn State Behrend Academic Excellence Award last year.

On choosing Behrend: I visited Penn State Behrend at the invitation of Joe Tristan, the head coach of the water polo team. After visiting the campus, I fell in love. I realized Behrend was the perfect school for me because of the small class sizes, an amazing psychology program, and the ability to play water polo at the collegiate level.

On choosing psychology: I was 15 years old when my older sister was diagnosed with depression and anxiety. She is the reason that I decided to study psychology. I became very interested in people, especially in how we function and why we struggle sometimes.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I was on one of the nine research teams that was selected to represent Penn State at the Undergraduate Research at the Capitol event in Harrisburg. My research team looked at the effects of gender on blame attributions in violent crime scenarios. We will be presenting our research at three conferences this semester.

On earning a degree in half the time: It was always my plan to graduate from Behrend in two years. I came to college with 47 credits from AP exams I took in high school. My plan still required taking more than the average amount of credits in order to reach my goal. I took six or seven classes each semester and took two courses over the summer to reach the required number of credits necessary for my degree.

On playing water polo, too: At one point, I was taking 20 credits while in water polo season. This meant I had two- to three-hour practices each day and was traveling each weekend to compete in tournaments. I often did projects on the airplane or went back to a computer lab after a late practice to finish a paper. It was certainly challenging, but it was also very rewarding.

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Campus involvement: I am a member of the Behrend S.A.V.E. club, which tries to bring awareness to domestic or relational violence. I was also a mentor at the Autism Society of Northwestern Pennsylvania where I was able to spend time with the young clients, while helping them build interpersonal skills.

Tri-lingual: I am fluent in Spanish and intermediate in French. I learned Spanish growing up in a Mexican household and picked up French in school. I have a passion for languages, which I must get from my family because we all speak Spanish and my mother and sister speak German, too.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I will be the first person in my family to graduate from college. My parents worked very hard to give me opportunities that were not available to them. I am very grateful to have hard-working, motivating parents who did everything in their power to get me through college.

Who inspires her: My family is my biggest inspiration. My dad came from Mexico when he was 18 years old with nothing but the clothes on his back. He made a living as a seasonal worker, and now he is supporting my dream of going to college. My mom began working at 18 years old, and now she runs a very successful company. My sister has battled depression and anxiety for the past five years, but still continues to be successful in her work and social life. My family is the sole reason I am at college and graduating this year.

Advice for new students: Take advantage of the resources available to Penn State students! Resources such as the Academic and Career Planning Center and faculty members are here to help you. Also, be aware of the classes and course sequences required in your major. I almost had to stay an extra semester because of the sequencing.

After her graduation in May, Jenessa hopes to secure an entry-level job at the Federal Bureau of Investigations where she has been doing an internship for the past year. She plans to work toward being a Special Agent.

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Kris Knorr

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: Kristopher Knorr.

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Major: Concurrent majors in Finance and International Business

Minor: Spanish

Hometown: Northumberland, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: Erie Insurance Group Leadership Scholarship, PNC Leadership Scholarship, and the A&M Loechner Endowed Scholarship.

On choosing Behrend: It is the only Penn State campus where I could major in International Business, which is a huge passion of mine. I also chose Behrend because of the potential for personal growth. It is a place that offers many opportunities to really find out who you are and what you like.

On choosing his career path: I wanted to become a Certified Financial Planner because I have a love for helping others and I am a very organized and analytical individual. I also love to travel and working in a different country and obtaining dual citizenship is something I have always desired.

Campus involvement: I have been in thirteen clubs and organizations and held seventeen executive board and leadership roles over my four years. Some of the positions I enjoyed most include president of Tone-Acious, an acapella group; vice president of Reality Check, a service organization; chairperson of the Lion Ambassadors’ Founder’s Day; secretary of the Financial Planning Association, and a chair on the Student Activity Fee committee. I have also been a Resident Assistant for two years.

What makes him unique: I’m a Finance major with a passion for writing, composing, and performing music of all kinds. I also love fashion and I dress well every single day.

Striking a pose: I have a real love for photography and modeling, whether I am in front of or behind the camera.

The good life defined: To me, a good life is one in which you are truly and genuinely happy. To be content and have a positive mindset is ideal in achieving that.

Pile of passions: I am passionate about many things, but especially about giving back to others through community service, mentoring, and pushing people to be the best that they can be. I also enjoy traveling, exploring, and trying new things. Finally, I have been passionate about music of all kinds since I was very young.

Who inspires him: Rihanna, Britney Spears, and Oprah Winfrey. The reason these women inspire me is because they have overcome tremendous life circumstances and have proven to have resilient and successful careers regardless of those events in their past.

Advice for new students: Be ambitious and do it all! Take advantage of opportunities as they come your way and constantly seek ways to grow your own brand and network throughout your four years at Behrend.

After his graduation in May, Kris plans to take the Certified Financial Planning exam. He would like to work as an international financial consultant in the United Kingdom, Spain, or Ireland.

 

 

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:

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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 Alex Payne

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 Alex Payne:

Alex Payne

Major: Project and Supply Chain Management

Minor: Technical Sales

Certificates: ERP with SAP

Hometown: New Castle, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I have received the Addison Gibson Foundation Grant and the Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship.

On choosing Penn State Behrend: My older sister, Amyelia, attended Behrend and I frequently visited her during my senior year of high school. From these visits, I realized there were a lot of opportunities at Behrend. I also really liked the nature-oriented campus and how personable the students and faculty and staff members were.

On choosing his major: I chose Project and Supply Chain Management because I enjoy working with and leading people. I also enjoy figuring out the logistical, production, and project management challenges that companies face every day.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I, along with all of Lion Ambassadors, led a large service project that resulted in about 10,000 books being donated to my hometown school district (New Castle, Pennsylvania). I learned that an Erie-area school was going to be updating its library and the books were destined for Goodwill or the trash. At the same time, I knew that they were trying to establish mini-libraries in classrooms at New Castle High School and could use the books. So the club collected and boxed the books and I delivered them in a rental truck. You can read more about it here.

Campus involvement: I was a senator in the Student Government Association for my first two years at Behrend, have been a Lion Ambassador since my first year, and have I been a Resident Assistant since my sophomore year.

What makes him unique: I am able to talk to almost anyone about anything. I come from a large family and have never been afraid to talk to or meet new people. This has helped me greatly throughout my time at Behrend as a student, as a campus leader, and in the professional world.

Who inspires him: My dad is a self-made man who has held many different positions throughout his life. He has owned six businesses and has taught me many important life lessons. These lessons range from teaching me how to brush my teeth to understanding what honor is and everything in between. If it weren’t for him, I would not be who or where I am today.

Advice for new students: Get involved on campus and stay busy. Your time at college is limited and there are so many opportunities at your fingertips. At twenty years old, our lives are more than 25 percent over already! Make today count and pursue every opportunity that you can.

 

 

 

Standout Seniors: Meet Elizabeth Mamros

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 Elizabeth Mamros:

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Major: Mechanical Engineering

Minor(s): Mathematics and Spanish

Hometown: McMurray, Pennsylvania

Scholarships: I have received the PNC Leadership Scholarship, the Academic Excellence Scholarship, and the Penn State Behrend Chancellor’s Scholarship.

On choosing Penn State Behrend: I had no idea where I wanted to go to college, so I applied to thirteen schools. I was accepted at University Park but had been in Erie doing an overnight at Gannon when I decided to visit Behrend. I immediately fell in love with the gorgeous landscape on campus, the faculty-to-student ratio, the abundant opportunities, and the school’s reputation. Receiving an acceptance letter into the Schreyer Honors College sealed the deal.

On choosing her major: If you look around the room you are in right now, engineers were likely somehow involved in the creation of everything you see. Engineers are the change-makers of the world. I chose mechanical engineering because I am an extremely curious person who enjoys problem-solving and using innovative thinking to make a difference. I also knew that my dream job would involve working on medical devices or designing amusement park rides, which both fall heavily into the mechanical side of engineering.

Campus involvement: I am the president of Reality Check and the vice president of Behrend Engineering Ambassadors. I serve as a student representative on the Student Activity Fee and Student Facility Fee committees. I am a Resident Assistant and was previously the webmaster for the Lion Entertainment Board and a staff writer for the Behrend Beacon. I am also a member of Tau Beta Pi, the Society of Women Engineers, and the Equestrian Club.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I spent a summer abroad in southern Spain (Ronda) taking classes and being fully immersed in the Spanish culture. I lived with a family who only spoke Spanish and had my first experience traveling alone. To say it put me outside of my comfort zone would be an understatement, but I am so incredibly grateful that I had the courage to pursue this dream come true.

Committed to serving others: I am a firm believer in paying it forward and using my skills and talents to help others through community service. I am also extremely passionate about being an inspiration/spark/beacon of hope for others so that they, too, will follow their dreams.

Who inspires her: Dr. Seuss has always been an inspiration to me. As a quote lover, I am blown away by the depth and truth in everything this man has ever said or written.

Advice for new students: Get comfortable being uncomfortable! Join clubs that offer things that you have always wanted to try. Sign up for school trips and conferences that will take you to new places. Plan ahead so you can study abroad and be immersed in another culture. Be innovative, and leave your mark on this campus. Let your college experiences be the springboard that helps you go further in life.

After her graduation in December 2018, Elizabeth plans to pursue a graduate engineering degree and work for an international engineering firm.

Standout Seniors: Meet Connor Kasten

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 Connor Kasten:  

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Majors: Concurrent majors in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies, Project and Supply Chain Management, and International Business

Hometown: Bradenton, Florida

On choosing Penn State Behrend: I chose Behrend because I love the resources available on a smaller campus. There are so many opportunities to excel in your interests here, and the faculty and staff members are always willing to go the extra mile to help you.

Campus involvement: I have been involved in many different campus activities during my four years at Behrend, but the ones that stand out the most are my times as president of Lion Ambassadors, as secretary of the Student Government Association, and as a Resident Assistant.

What you’d be surprised to know about him: I lived in New Zealand for four years when I was growing up.

What he’s passionate about: Helping others, in particular, helping my residents. We are like a family here in Niagara Hall. I want to make sure that the students I’m responsible for have everything they need to have a successful start to their college career.

Advice for new students: Having lived with first-year students for three years now, what I always tell them is that it’s okay to be yourself. If you like different music, that’s okay. If you like to stay up all night or go to bed early, that’s okay. You’ll be much happier if you are doing things that you like to do and you will meet people who like doing the same things as you, especially at Behrend where there are so many great people. You can find some truly lifelong friends here.

Lion Pride: I am so proud to say that I am from the Penn State Behrend family!

Following his graduation in May, Connor has accepted a position as an operations manager at theTarget distribution center in Chambersburg, Pennsylvania.