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 Mary Beth Burbules (Mechanical Engineering)

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 Mary Beth Burbules:

Mary Beth Burbules - first choice

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Erie

On choosing Penn State Behrend: My two older siblings, Timothy and Katie, attended Behrend’s School of Engineering. They both truly enjoyed their experience at Behrend and encouraged me to become a Penn Stater, too. I was also drawn to Behrend because of the smaller size that allows for students to have one-on-one connections with faculty members.

On choosing to major in Mechanical Engineering: Throughout middle and high school, I was involved with Science Olympiad, where students compete in events in a variety of STEM disciplines. I was always most interested in the hands-on events. I like being able to create unique design solutions to problems and the fact that, in Mechanical Engineering, you never stop learning. My sister was an M.E. major and I saw from her coursework and activities that it was the perfect major for me, too.

Scholarships: I’ve been the grateful recipient of several scholarships. I received the Shirley L. Roth Trustee Scholarship all four years and the Irvin Kochel Leadership Scholarship in my first year. I also received the Jake Boyle Memorial Scholarship in my junior year.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: The undergraduate research I was involved in. My work has focused on the design, fabrication, and functional aspects of testing equipment and machines used in the research of direct methanol fuel cells and lithium-based batteries.

Standout research work: In one challenging project, another student and I partnered to design and manufacture a lithium battery test machine to induce internal short circuits by physical cell penetration with increased functionality and precision compared to industry models. Our work was accepted to the ASME 2017 Power and Energy Conversion Conference. I was also honored to have my contribution to the project recognized by a Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Award.

Campus involvement: I’ve been greatly involved in Behrend’s Society of Automotive Engineers Supermileage Team since my first year. I’ve served as the secretary and am currently the vice president of the club. I have a unique role in the club as I’m one of the drivers of the high-efficiency vehicle the club designs, fabricates, and races each year. I’m also a member of Tau Beta Pi, the National Engineering Honor Society.

Lifelong love of learning: From the time I was a young child, I’ve loved to learn, whether from books or after-school activities. College further strengthened that passion. Engineering is unique in that it is a continuously evolving field, and I know that as a professional engineer, I will always have the opportunity to develop my knowledge and skills.

Sister act: I’ve always looked up to my older sister, Katie. She’s taught me to be a compassionate person and demonstrated to me the necessary dedication to studies. A degree in Mechanical Engineering is one more thing I have in common with my best friend.

After her graduation in May, Mary Beth will be attending graduate school. She would ultimately like to find a job in industry in the area of product development and design.

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 Taryn Testa (Project and Supply Chain Management)

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 Taryn Testa:

Taryn Testa

Major: Project and Supply Chain Management

Minor: Management Information Systems

Hometown: Cranberry Township, Pa.

On choosing to major in Project and Supply Chain Management: I knew I wanted to major in business, but wasn’t quite sure what area to focus on. During my first-year seminar, Dr. Michael Brown, professor of management, talked to our group about the PSCM major and it sparked my interest. I enjoy the new and different challenges that a company’s supply chain faces every day.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Becoming a Schreyer Honors College scholar and the various internship and hands-on experiences I’ve had with GE Transportation, Covestro, and PSNergy.

Campus involvement: I’m a member of Lambda Sigma and Beta Gamma Sigma. I’m the president of the Project and Supply Chain Club and newsletter coordinator for the PSCM program.

Strong work ethic, courtesy of parents: My family owns a small business in Millvale, Pa., and my parents always instilled in me the value and importance of hard work and doing whatever it takes to deliver results. My father taught me that you can’t hand a problem off to someone else, but work on it until you find a solution.

Advice for first-year students: One of my all-time favorite quotes is by Randy Pausch who said: “Are you spending your time on the right things? Because time is all that you have.” Enjoy your time at Behrend; you are only here for a short four years. It goes fast! Have fun and don’t sweat the small stuff. Meet with your professors and get involved in campus clubs and activities.

Following her graduation in May, Taryn will be working as a supply chain associate on the Corporate Supply Chain Excellence Team at PPG Industries in Pittsburgh.

Class of 2017: Meet Aizat Fadhil (Mechanical Engineering)

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 Aizat Fadhil:

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Major: Mechanical Engineering

Home country: Malaysia

On choosing Penn State Behrend: The Mechanical Engineering program is accredited and highly regarded. I also liked the environment at Behrend; it’s diverse but not too large.

On choosing to major in Mechanical Engineering: I’ve been mechanically inclined all my life. I’ve always been more interested in how things work than what that particular thing can do. Mechanical Engineering is a versatile degree that covers a lot of different sectors and gives me a wide skill set.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: My proudest accomplishment was reviving the Diverse Organization of Photo and Video Enthusiasts (DOPE) club. I am president of the club, which had been dormant for three semesters when I took it over. The workshops and services we organized were unique and fun.

Campus involvement: In addition to being president of DOPE, I have been involved with the Multi-Cultural Council, Muslim Student Association, Model United Nations, and Makerspace during my time at Behrend.

Avid shutterbug: I’m passionate about photography. Capturing that perfect moment is priceless to me.

What inspires him: Sacrifice inspires me. The act of doing something for the benefit of someone else is very sacred, especially when it is done anonymously. There are people in my life who deserve to claim my achievements as their own because, without their sacrifices, I might have taken a different path.

After his graduation in May, Aizat plans to return to Malaysia and begin his career in engineering.

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 Nursazlin “Lin” Sidek (IB & PSCM)

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 Nursazlin “Lin” Sidek:

lin sidek

Majors: International Business and Project and Supply Chain Management

Home country: Malaysia

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: I am proud of the work that I’ve done with the Muslim Student Association in working to promote diversity and cultural awareness on campus.

Campus involvement: I was a member of the International Student Organization, president of the Muslim Student Association, and historian for the Multi-Cultural Council.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: People are often surprised to find that I’m not from the Middle East, but from Malaysia, which is in Asia.

Post-graduation priorities: I will be returning home where I hope to find a reliable job so I can take care of my parents and live my life as a truly good Muslim, helping people to understand what Islam is.

Who inspires her: I’m inspired by little things. For example, one time a stranger walking past me on campus suddenly smiled at me for no reason. It felt so good that it inspired me to start doing the same as I passed other students. I wanted them to feel the happiness that I did when someone smiled at me.

Advice for current students: Explore all the clubs that exist on campus and don’t be afraid to join a diverse group or attend a variety of cultural events. Don’t restrain yourself to only the people and things you are familiar with. Go outside your comfort zone and learn about others.

On being a Muslim: My religion is Islam, and it is a religion of peace. People associate Islam and Muslims with terrorism, but that is one small group of people and they are not representative of all Muslims.

After her graduation in May, Lin plans to return to Malaysia and find a job in business management.