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FALL 2009

Nittany NEWS


BLOG’S the thing

Students studying abroad share their experiences with the world

Also inside: Physical changes keep Beaver campus beautiful

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Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Fall 2009

A Message from Chancellor Keefer

Now more than ever, individuals are forced to assume the financial responsibility of obtaining a degree from a university such as Penn State. ... My fear is that higher tuition could put a Penn State degree out of reach for many of our current and future students.

As I write this message in mid-October, the Pennsylvania legislature has yet to pass Penn State’s allocation for our 2009-2010 fiscal year, which began July 1. At this point, the nonpreferred allocations are being held until the tax rate on table games is agreed upon. In the end, Penn State hopes to receive the same allocation as last year. While Pennsylvania was the last state to approve a budget this year, the state support-related challenges we face are a national issue. In fact, many universities across the country have seen significant cuts in funding, necessitating layoffs, salary reductions, program elimination and significant tuition increases. In difficult budget times, higher education is often the first target for cutbacks. Ironically, it’s during periods of economic slowdown and its associated higher rate of unemployment that even more individuals seek to renew or improve their skills through higher education. More importantly, higher education can help drive economic recovery by re-educating the work force, yet we see higher education budgets decreased disproportionately to other services. Now more than ever, individuals are forced to assume the financial responsibility of obtaining a degree from a university such as Penn State. Up until the last decade or so, public higher education was viewed as an enterprise that helped to improve our quality of life and, therefore, was found worthy of state-funded support. However, as state support wanes, tuition must be increased to cover lost revenue and increased operating costs. My fear is that higher tuition could put a Penn State degree out of financial reach for many of our current and future students. Many students who are graduating now find themselves burdened with signifi-

cant loan obligations, often totaling more than $20,000. At some point, a new, stronger commitment to tax-supported public higher education must be made. If you have the opportunity to pass this message along to legislators here in Pennsylvania or in your home state, I encourage you to do so. Considering its lack of state funding, Penn State has weathered this period well by dipping into reserves and foregoing pay raises for all employees this fiscal year. In an attempt to keep a Penn State degree affordable, tuition increases were kept below four percent for the campuses. Through generous donor support, Penn State Beaver continues to offer additional scholarship funds to our students to help offset tuition. State funding will continue to be a challenge in the future and, in particular, in 2011 when the federal stimulus funding is eliminated. At

Penn State Beaver, we will continue to be conservative in our financial commitments while providing our students with the best possible experiences both in and out of the classroom. The good news is that Beaver campus did see a slight increase in our fall enrollment. We’re at 855, an increase of ten from last year and the highest enrollment headcount we’ve seen in the last decade. Much of our growth over the last several years has been driven by the increase in the number of high school students who are taking our campus courses through the Dual Enrollment Program. This program, which is a win-win for everyone involved, allows our faculty to deliver courses to area high school students, either here on campus or in the high schools. High school students receive Penn State credit before graduation and, in some cases, can use these courses as advanced electives in their respective schools. They get a chance to see the commitment level required for a college course while we expose them to our campus and faculty, which are the best recruiting tools we have. Our Strategic Plan was built upon enrollment reaching 900 by the fall of 2012 and, at this point, we are on the right path. I continue to stress the value of a Penn State degree to our prospective and current students, and I believe it’s a message that continues to resonate with them in this challenging job market. We’ve found that when our students begin their job search and see the number of Penn State alumni in the workplace, they begin to understand, even more clearly, that “WE ARE … PENN STATE.”

Office of Campus and Community Relations Ross Administration Building, Suite 201 100 University Drive, Monaca, PA 15061 Editor������������������ Amy M. Krebs Designer�����������Cathy Benscoter Portraits��������������Graule Studios Phone��������������������724.773.3815

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Please direct all inquiries about this newsletter to the Penn State Beaver Office of Campus and Community Relations at 724.773.3815 or This publication is available in alternative media upon request.

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Fall 2009

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While living in South Africa, Cassandra Miller-Butterworth developed an interest in wildlife, bats in particular. Now, in addition to studying the DNA of wild things, this biology professor is busy working on a new project: raising baby son Joshua.

biology, bats and a baby Claire Kraynak

Penn State Beaver Student

y f a c u l ti l e prof

Most of the Penn State Beaver community knows Dr. Cassandra Miller-­Butterworth as a biology professor. But there’s more to her than meets the eye. Miller-Butterworth, assistant professor of biology, joined the Penn State Beaver faculty in 2008. Before coming to the United States in 2004, she lived in South Africa. “I was born in Johannesburg, South Africa. I later moved to Cape Town and went to the University of Cape Town,” Miller-Butterworth said in her distinctive accent. While living in South Africa, Miller-Butterworth said she developed an interest in wildlife, in particular, bats. “I got my bachelor’s and doctoral degrees in zoology,” Miller-Butterworth said. “I’ve studied wildlife since I started my master’s degree in 1997, so about 12 years now.” In addition to teaching, she works with the Pennsylvania Game Commission by researching bats. “I’m doing research on conservation genetics, which involves using DNA-based techniques to study wildlife,” she said. She explained that there are several applications for the use of conservation genetics, such as studying the structure of populations and genetic diversity and identifying new species. “My Ph.D. research was on a South African species of bat, and my postdoctoral work was on monkeys, particularly the macaques. I now work on several species of bats, particularly the species in Pennsylvania that are being killed by the fungus that causes white nose syndrome.” White nose syndrome is a mysterious disease that is killing off more than 75 percent of bats in colonies, Miller-Butterworth said. She is working with the Pennsylvania Game Commission to determine where the fungus will

Photos courtesy of Cassandra Miller-Butterworth

Cassandra Miller-Butterworth, left, collects blood samples from a tranquilized sable antelope at a ranch in South Africa for a DNA study.

Miller-Butterworth holds her son, Joshua, at their home in Pittsburgh.

strike next, because it has recently made its way to Pennsylvania and is affecting the little brown bat population. Miller-Butterworth is also collaborating with Dr. Minhnoi Wroble Biglan, assistant professor of psychology at Beaver campus, to work on the genetics of people’s response to stress. Additionally, she is hoping to begin a project on bobcats in collaboration with Duane Diefenbach, a professor in the Forestry Department at Penn State University Park. Students help Miller-Butterworth with her research. Sophomore Joel Rosenstern said doing research with Miller-Butterworth is a great opportunity for him because it pertains to his major. continued on page 4

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Fall 2009

Faculty publish papers, honored for their work In spring 2009 Dr. Robin Bower, associate professor of Spanish, served as a visiting professor in the Department of Romance Languages at Duke University, where she also taught an upper-level undergraduate seminar and a graduate seminar in medieval Spanish literature. In addition, Princeton University’s Department of Spanish and Portuguese Languages and Cultures has invited Bower to participate in a workshop on the topic of “Purity and Danger” in April 2010. Dr. Cassandra Miller-Butterworth, assistant professor of biology, is the corecipient of a $50,000 grant from the Winifred Violet Scott Estate in Australia. The funds will be shared by Penn State, the University of Melbourne, and the Australian Museum for a project designed to place the Australian Museum Collection of bent-winged bats (genus Miniopterus) in a modern conservation context, to verify species boundaries and geographic distributions of Miniopterus, and to verify species identifications as recorded in the Australian Museum. Dr. John Chapin, associate professor of communications, wrote an article, “Domestic Violence Beliefs and Perceptions Across the Lifespan,” that was published in the International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 7, Number 1. In addition, Chapin was elected vice head for the Internships and Careers Interest Group of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (AEJMC). He also participated in an AEJMC Convention panel on “Integrating Internships into the Communications Curriculum.” This fall Chapin was a co-presenter for the Magee Womancare International delegation from Kyrgyzstan at Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC. The Civic Hosting Program Domestic Violence Prevention event was sponsored by the Open World Leadership Center and the Library of Congress. In July three faculty members received

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Cassandra Miller-Butterworth explains her ongoing research in her lab at Penn State Beaver.

Professor merges research, teaching and family life continued from page 3 “My major is veterinary biomedical sciences, so a project focused on animals and studying their genetic variability is something that is indeed useful for me,” Rosenstern said. He is helping Miller-Butterworth in her research of the little brown bat and white nose syndrome. “There is an unknown killer of many, many bats, sometimes up to 100 percent of individual populations, across New York and now spreading to Pennsylvania,” he said. Rosenstern said the only common symptom the dead or dying bats have is a white fungus on their noses, hence the term white nose syndrome. “My role in this research project is to extract mitochondrial DNA and determine how genetically variable the little brown bat species is, and if white nose syndrome will cause a bottleneck effect, which is when a species loses more genetic diversity, potentially changing or even killing off an entire species,” Rosenstern said. Rosensern isn’t the only student who has worked with Miller-Butterworth. Melissa Schultz, a former Beaver student now studying at University Park, said she had Miller-Butterworth for biology in the 2008 spring semester. “I did really well in the class,” Schultz said. “Toward the end of the semester, she approached me about being a teacher’s assistant to help with grading the following fall, and to ask if I was interested in working on a research

project with her.” Schultz said she worked with Miller-Butterworth in the lab, where they did genetic research in conjunction with the Pittsburgh Aviary on the Louisiana waterthrush, which is a species of small bird. “The goal was to extract DNA from the feathers and analyze it to determine the sex of the bird,” Schultz said. According to Schultz, doing this would help scientists gain a better understanding of breeding rituals in that species. On top of her research and job, MillerButterworth is a new mother to son Joshua, who was born February 21. She said balancing her personal life and her work is difficult. “I have a lot of late nights,” she said. “I live in Pittsburgh, so I have about an hour to an hour-and-a-half drive home from Penn State Beaver, depending on the traffic. When I get home, I spend time with my son before I get to work grading papers and preparing for the next day’s classes.” She said she hopes that after this semester is over, balancing her personal life and her work will be a little easier. “I’m teaching a new class this semester, and I’m hoping that after having the class mapped out, things will be a little easier. And when Joshua gets a little older, balancing the two should be easier as well,” MillerButterworth said. Claire Kraynak is a junior print journalism major and acting managing editor of The Roar student newspaper. Read her blog at

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Campus hires new faculty and staff This fall eight full-time faculty and staff members and two part-time staff members were appointed. Dr. Matthew Grunstra is assistant professor of earth and mineral sciences. He was a lecturer in environmental systems and a teaching assistant in biology at the University of Texas at San Antonio. He also worked as a field service engineer for Herr-Voss Corp. and Westinghouse Air Brake Co. He holds a doctorate in environmental science and engineering and a master’s degree in environmental science from the University of Texas at San Antonio and a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from Grove City College. Cathy Benscoter is the campus marketing and Web specialist. She has been an adjunct lecturer in journalism and communications for two years. She spent eighteen years working in newspaper design and editing at the Beaver County Times and the Jacksonville JournalCourier in Illinois. Benscoter holds a bachelor’s degree in journalism and mass communications from Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, and has studied Web design and programming at The Art Institute of Pittsburgh. Nathan J. Bickerstaff is a landscaper and member in the Office of Physical Plant. Before joining the campus, he worked as a groundskeeper at the Baltimore Ravens’ facilities and on the grounds crew at Penn State’s Beaver Stadium. He also served as crew manager of Bickerstaff Lawn Service and Landscaping. He holds a bachelor’s degree in turfgrass science from Penn State. Mona DeLisio, now external relations assistant in the Office of Development, previously worked part-time as staff assistant for Student Activities in the Office of Student Affairs. Additional jobs included working as a teacher assistant at Center Area High School, administrative assistant for Copperweld Corp., and staff administrator for MCI Telecommunications. She holds an associate degree in administrative services from Robert Morris University. Nicholas DiPietrantonio is a member of the Office of Physical Plant and previously worked as a staff member in campus Housing and Food Services. He also worked as a customer service agent for USAirways Express/PSA Airlines and Aerolink International Inc. and as a quality control inspector for the Duquesne Light Company Nuclear Group, Davy McKee International, and Sargent Electric Co. He holds an associate

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Bender Volkmar degree in nuclear quality assurance from Community College of Beaver County. Lisa J. Harris, formerly a part-time library clerk on campus, was appointed library assistant. Previous employment includes working as a requirements management analyst and software quality assurance engineer for Union Switch & Signal Inc., a quality control/quality assurance coordinator and consultant for Development Dimensions International, and a quality assurance analyst consultant and senior test consultant for Computer Horizons Corp. She studied computer science and mathematics at Youngstown State University. Rebecca M. Mulholland has moved from part-time to full-time adult and transfer admissions recruiter. Previously Mulholland served as a case manager for Pittsburgh’s Ursuline Senior Services and assessed emergency calls for Protective Services for the Elder Abuse Hotline. She also taught middle and secondary school in the Springfield (Ill.) public schools and served as a teaching assistant at the University of Rhode

Island, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology. Robin Schreck is student activities and residence life coordinator in the Office of Student Affairs. Previously she was a temporary program coordinator and graduate assistant in Student Center Programs and a practicum student in the Office of Housing and Residence Life at Ball State University, where she earned a master’s degree in student affairs administration in higher education. Schreck holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Indiana University East. Jill Bender is part-time staff assistant for Student Activities in the Office of Student Affairs. Previously she worked as a teaching assistant in the Freedom Area School District for five years and has also held staff positions in retail merchandising. She holds a bachelor’s degree in elementary and special education from Slippery Rock University. Judith L. Volkmar is part-time night and weekend supervisor for the library. Previously she was the library director for the Moon Township Public Library and the Wayne County Public Library in Kenova, W.Va. She has also worked as a library substitute for the Beaver County Law Library at the Beaver County Courthouse and the Beaver Area Memorial Library. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from the University of Pittsburgh and a bachelor’s degree in education from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania.

nico bellissimo

Boats line up along the sidewalks of Venice, Italy, one of the places Nico Bellissimo has visited during his semester abroad.

blogs with a foreign accent By Claire Kraynak

Penn State Beaver Student

nt e d u t s news

Penn State Beaver juniors Dana Sklack and Nico Bellissimo are spending their fall semester studying abroad, and they’re not afraid to tell the world about it. Sklack, who is managing editor of The Roar, Penn State Beaver’s student newspaper, is studying at City University in London, and Bellissimo is studying at the University of Limerick in Ireland. Both of them are blogging on the Penn State Beaver website about their experiences abroad. Bellissimo said he’s attending his classes and has taken an interest in the culture. “Since I am in Ireland, I took a special interest in the study of the Irish culture. I’m studying the Irish lan-

Dana Sklack, center, hangs out with some of her new friends on the wall surrounding Cardiff Castle in Wales. guage, Gaelic, Irish history, Irish folklore, and traditional Irish music,” Bellissimo said. Sklack is sticking with a few classes that per-

tain to her major, journalism. “I’m taking three journalism classes, a history of London class, and a criminology class. Sur-

ON THE COVER: Nico Bellissimo enjoys the view off the Cliffs of Moher on the west coast of Ireland. The 45-minute uphill bike ride to reach the cliffs, during which he thought several times he was going to die, “was completely worth it,” Bellissimo said in his blog.

Fall 2009

prisingly, I like my history of London class and criminology class the most,” she said. Sklack said that classes at City University are a little different than they are at Penn State Beaver. “The school system is so different here. I only have class three times a week, and each class is about two hours long. The coursework is also a lot lighter, and I didn’t have to buy textbooks,” she said. Bellissimo said he joined the University of Limerick’s International Club. “It’s a club on campus that takes international students around Ireland for, usually, discounted pricing,” Bellisimo said. “They try to get input from the members on where everyone wants to go and then make a decision.” Bellissimo said that the club doesn’t travel outside of Ireland, “just around the country.” “The country is small enough so that it is possible to do day trips and overnight trips often,” Bellissimo said. Sklack said she isn’t involved in any programs or clubs. “I haven’t joined anything. My thought was that I spend so much time back home trying to do everything I can, that I really am just relaxing this semester. If I feel like just getting on the Tube (London’s subway system) and going to the museum for the day, I can,” Sklack said. Bellissimo’s and Sklack’s blogs both focus on their experiences living in another country. “I’ve written one blog on everyday life in Ireland, but there are only so many of those types of blogs that you can post,” Bellissimo said. “After getting a routine schedule here, it would be pretty repetitive if I were to constantly blog about each day’s experience.” His first blog was about his arrival in Ireland. “I described the ups and downs of that first chaotic day. I also blogged about my trip to the Cliffs of Moher,” Bellissimo said. Sklack said she mostly writes a blog after an exciting weekend or after a day trip, though she’s also focused on everyday life in London. “People in the UK drive on the other side of the road. I knew that before coming here, but it’s confusing after 20 years of expecting the cars to be on one side of the road,” Sklack said. You can access their blogs, and those of other Penn State Beaver students, at www­.­beaver.psu. edu/blogs. Claire Kraynak is a junior print journalism major and acting managing editor of The Roar student newspaper. Read her blog at


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Above, Nico ­Bellissimo ­enjoyed his visit to the ­Colosseum in Rome. Left, Dana Sklack’s visit to Cardiff Castle in Wales included a walk up 100 stairs to the top of the keep. dana sklack

Notes from cyberspace Nico Bellissimo Oct. 7: Lately, I’ve had several people ask me about the odds and ends in Ireland. Questions like “Do they drive on the left side of the road?” and “Do they have any different lingo?” Those are just two of many more questions that I will answer in this blog entry. First and foremost, I’m into my 6th week of classes and am doing just fine. University of Limerick’s system

is a little different from Penn State’s. For starters, homework is not nearly as intense as it is at Penn State. On occasion, I get a reading assignment, but rarely do I have actual overnight assignments to return by the next class. No complaints here! Speaking of reading assignments, purchasing books for a class is barely enforced! Many courses don’t even continued on page 16

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alex williams

New sidewalks, benches and landscaping enchance the beauty of the plaza outside the General Classroom Building.

changes keep beaver campus beautiful camnepwuss T

he face of Penn State Beaver today is a healthy mix of old and new. Old buildings are gone, new ones have risen to take their place, and changes are ahead as the face of the campus continues to evolve. Gone are the old Administration Building (former site of the county tuberculosis sanatorium), the former maintenance garage and office, the sidewalks leading up to them, the road that used to run through the campus core, and the old sign at the campus’ main entrance. Instead, the campus now has the Ross Administration Building, with a new plaza at its lower entrance, a new physical plant building, grass and sidewalks where a road used to be, and a new entrance sign welcoming all to the campus. And more changes are on the way. “Enhancing the campus physical environment is very important as we strive to position Penn State Beaver to make a great first impression on prospective students,” said Chancellor

justin vorbach

The entrance to campus is highlighted by flowerbeds and plantings, as well as views of the Ross Administration Building, left, and the Student Union Building, right. Gary Keefer. “We also want to provide our current students with an aesthetically pleasing setting in which to further their studies.” “We’re going to concentrate on the core of the campus now,” said Luke Taiclet, director of finance and business. “Our Site Development Plan will include new walkways, seating areas, plazas, and parking areas. New, wider walkways

will be added on the east and west side of the campus quad as well as in the core of the campus. If funding permits, we’re planning to build plazas in front of the classroom buildings and the Housing and Food Services building.” Taiclet also noted that a comprehensive tree continued on page 13

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Gifts add to student scholarship funds Alumni Society raises record $18,000 at golf outing about the Not only was the Penn State ng i d n u f commitment Beaver Alumni Society’s Ninth and dedicaAnnual Golf Outing a success, it date p u tion of all was a record-breaker, too.

John Dorman, board member and plant manager of Eaton Electrical Inc., presents a check for $2,500 to Diana Patterson, Beaver campus director of development.

Eaton Charitable Fund donates $2,500 to Advisory Board awards The Eaton Charitable Fund has donated $2,500 to fund the five annual Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Awards that are given to faculty and staff at the annual spring awards banquet. John Dorman, board member and plant manager of Eaton Elec-

trical Inc., facilitated the gift to fund the following awards: the Faculty Excellence in Service Award, the Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award, the Faculty Excellence in Research Award, the Staff Service Award, and the Staff Excellence Award.

The outing netted more than $18,000, compared to $15,000 last year. The event, which drew 108 players, was held in September at Seven Oaks Country Club in Brighton Township. All proceeds benefitted the Alumni Society’s endowed scholarship for Beaver campus students. “The success of our outing was the result of a great deal of hard work by our volunteer golf committee and our campus volunteers on the day of the event, as well as the generosity of our golfers,” said Diana Patterson, Beaver campus director of development and campus liaison with the Alumni Society. “The weather was great, the donations for our auctions and gifts were plentiful, and the fact that we were able to raise more than $18,000 in these difficult economic times speaks volumes

those involved. However, the most important thing is that the funds will help our campus students,” said Patterson. “These days it’s more important than ever to be able to provide financial assistance for these students whenever possible. The Alumni Society’s endowed scholarship is proof of their determination to help our students succeed.” The Golf Outing Committee was chaired by Norman Kraus, CBA Northeast sales manager, Hachette Book Group USA. Committee members were Jeff Bauman, vice president, Bauman Office Equipment; John Hertneky, engineering consultant; Laura Tocci, attorney; Vince Troia, optometrist; Don Veri, owner, Hopewell Realty; Mona DeLisio, Beaver campus external relations assistant for development; and Patterson.

Gilchrist children make $10,000 gift in father’s memory Jane and Tom Gilchrist Jr. ’67 Bus, daughter and son of the late Thomas A. Gilchrist Sr. ’41 Agr, have donated $10,000 to their father’s memorial scholarship at Penn Tom Gilchrist Sr. State Beaver. Because of their gift, funds in the Thomas A. Gilchrist Sr. Memorial Endowed Scholarship now total $40,000. The scholarship was established years ago by the Beaver Valley Area Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association. For more than 25

years, Tom served as the Alumni Chapter’s longest term treasurer and member of the Board of Directors. He was also known as “The Ice Cream Man” because for decades he coordinated and worked at the chapter’s sales of Penn State Creamery ice cream in the community. All proceeds from the sales have always benefitted Beaver campus students. After Tom passed away in May 2008, the Alumni Chapter’s Board of Directors unanimously voted to rename their scholarship in honor of Tom’s dedication to the chapter and his love of Penn State. “We’re making this gift to honor our father and to ensure that his dedicated hard work continues to provide educational opportunities for

deserving students,” said Tom Gilchrist Jr. The Alumni Chapter continues to add to the scholarship by donating all proceeds from the sales they conduct every summer at the Brodhead Cultural Center concession stand. “We’re honored to be able to donate our concession stand proceeds to this scholarship honoring Tom’s memory,” said Daniel J. Pinchot ’91 Com, ’04 M.Ed, campus director of enrollment and coordinator of the alumni concession stand. “Tom did so much for our students and our chapter. We’re just happy to be able to give back in his name.” To make a gift to the Gilchrist ­Memorial Scholarship, contact Diana Patterson, director of development, at or ­724-773-3558.

cathy benscoter

Kirk Manson of Cranberry Township poses with his children, Tori, 9; Abbie, 6; and Jake, 3, before receiving his bachelor of communications degree from Penn State Beaver in May.

penn state proud, no matter the age When Kirk Manson, 42, of Cranberry Township walked across Penn State Beaver’s stage in May, the years of struggling to complete his degree melted away. Only one thing mattered: His 9-year-old daughter’s opinion. “Daddy, I’ve never been more proud of you in my whole life,” Tori Manson told her father. Suddenly, it was all worth it.

That’s the story for the many adult learners at Penn State Beaver who work hard and make numerous sacrifices in order to earn their college degree. For some, the motivation is their need to advance their careers. For others, it’s the prestige of a Penn State degree. Still, for nearly all adult learners, the desire to complete what they started — or to start what they’ve put off for entirely too long — is the most rewarding accomplishment of all. In 2004, at the age of 38, Manson decided to finish what he’d started in

1989: his Penn State bachelor’s degree. He enrolled as a part-time communications student at Penn State Beaver and, five years later on a beautiful May evening, he received the degree he’d set out to get so long ago. As a veteran, Manson enrolled at Penn State University Park in 1989 as a film and video major. There he met his wife, Julie, and life took a different turn. They married, and Manson left Penn State in 1991 to move to Erie, where he worked for ABC News as a news and

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sports photographer. He continued that work when he moved in 1996 to Pittsburgh, where he worked for WTAE-TV Channel 4 and FOX 53. He’s been a freelance television photographer and owner of H2Video since 1994. Despite his success in television, Manson said he felt something was missing and knew it was his Penn State degree. He realized that Penn State Beaver would be able to provide him with the communications degree he wanted while allowing him to continue to work full-time and raise his three children with Julie. “Penn State Beaver was the ideal campus for me. It offers so much for so many students of any age,” Manson said. Financial aid and scholarships are available to support adults in their return to the classrooms. In addition, new federal G.I. Bill benefits can provide significant financial support to veterans who cathy benscoter qualify. Kirk Manson plays with Any trepidation that Manson his son, Jake, before comhad as an adult returning to school mencement in May. quickly vanished. “The faculty members at Beaver are incredible,” he said. “They really welcomed me warmly into their classrooms, and I felt at home right away.” As an adult learner, Manson wasn’t alone. Penn State Beaver boasts about 100 adult learners as part of its 800-student campus. “It was fun and interesting to attend class with other adult students as well as traditional-age students. The students’ backgrounds were often very different than mine, but that made my experiences in the classroom even more interesting and enlightening,” Manson said. “I know the faculty looked to me to provide my ‘real life’ experiences for classes,” he added. “They relied on me for input, and my opinions were always welcome.” For now, Manson will continue his work with H2Video and his freelance photography. But with his new Penn State communications degree, his options are wide open. “I like being able to put my bachelor’s degree down when listing my qualifications and background now. And knowing it’s a Penn State degree really means something. It’s a name everyone recognizes, both here and around the world,” he said. In addition to Tori, Manson and his wife are also the parents of Abbie, 6, and Jake, 3, all of whom saw Kirk graduate in May at the campus. “When Tori told me how proud she was of me at commencement, I was tremendously moved. What a powerful thing to hear your child say,” Manson said. “It was one of those ‘once-in-a-lifetime’ things you never forget. Penn State Beaver made that moment possible for me, and for that I’ll always be so grateful.”

academic promotions: Dr. Zhongyuan Che, mathematics, to associate professor; Karen Barr, business, to senior instructor, and Dr. Irene Wolf, philosophy, to senior instructor. In addition, Che’s article “Existence of perfect matchings in a plane bipartite graph” was accepted for publication in the Czechoslovak Mathematical Journal. Penn State Beaver’s Fall Faculty Symposia featured Dr. W. Timothy Few, assistant professor of business, in October and Abhijit Dutt, instructor in information sciences and technology, in November. Few’s topic was “Who Am I? Who Are We? How Questions of Identity Shape Life at Work” and Dutt spoke about “Cloud Computing.” Dr. Michael Hay, associate professor of chemistry, and former student Derek Pettner ’09 Eng, co-authored an article, “Aerobic oxidation of tetrahydrofuran by a series of iron (III) containing POSS compounds” that appeared online at Lauren R. Herckis, lecturer in anthropology, is the recipient of a Fulbright Award from the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board. Herckis, who will conduct archaeological research as partial completion of a doctorate in anthropology, will examine cultural diversity in an ancient Mayan urban center by leading a dig in the lowlands of Chiapas, a state in southern Mexico near Palenque. Anthony J. Sadar, lecturer in meteorology, wrote a book review of “Corporate Environmental Management” by John Darabaris. The review was published in Pollution Equipment News, April 2009, Volume 42, Number 2. He also reviewed a book by John R. Cashman entitled “Emergency Response Handbook for Chemical and Biological Agents and Weapons, 2nd Edition.” His review was printed in Industrial Hygiene News, July 2009, Volume 32, Number 4. Dr. Donald Sheffield, affiliate professor of education, teaches curriculum and instruction courses in the after-school program for education majors at Beaver. He is the author of “Practice Makes Perfect — NOT: Excellence is a Habit!” Sheffield was a former administrative assistant to Joe Paterno, served as director of the Academic Support Center for Student Athletes at Penn State, and was director of diversity outreach for the Office of Outreach and Cooperative Extension. He developed field programs to improve the multicultural education of undergraduate students and is the founder of TAME (Techniques Assisting Motivation and Excellence) Inc., a consulting firm dedicated to cultural excellence. Dr. Robert Szymczak, associate professor of history, wrote an article entitled “ ‘Darwin’s Bulldog’ as a Man of Letters: Thomas Henry Huxley and the Crusade for Science in Victorian England,” which was published in Confluence, Volume XIV, Number 2, Spring 2009. His book review of “The Exile Mission: The Polish Political Diaspora and Polish Americans, 1939-1956,” written by Anna D. Jaroszynska-Kirchmann, was published in the journal American Communist History, Volume 8. Courtney L. Young, associate librarian and associate professor of women’s studies, had five articles published by the Oxford University Press in the “Encyclopedia of African American History 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-First Century.” Young’s articles focused on African American astronauts, including Penn State alumnus Guion S. Bluford Jr. ’64 Eng; Octavia Butler, awardwinning science fiction author; actress Pam Grier; Mae Jemison, the first African American woman in space; and Dorothy Porter, a pioneer of librarianship in African American history and studies and the first African American to earn a library degree from Columbia University.

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Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Fall 2009

News from our alumni Cynthia Behr ’07 Bus is an associate product marketing manager for McKesson Provider Technologies, Automation Solutions, Cranberry Township, Pa. Michael Boser ’98 Bus is a recovery analyst with Coventry Health Care in Cranberry Township, Pa. Michael Hamilton ’98 Lib is an attorney with Dell, Moser, Lane, and Loughney in Pittsburgh. Jessica Locke Hoover ’91 Com is the owner of Disc Jockey Services by Jessica L. Hoover in Evans City, Pa. Eric McIntosh ’05 Bus is a human resources consultant for UPMC, Pittsburgh. Jacqueline Kayla Pinchot ’92 Edu, ’04 M.Ed is an English teacher at Riverside High School, Ellwood City, Pa.

Keith Poleti ’06 Bus is an assistant vice president/financial services manager with ESB Bank which has offices in Allegheny, Beaver, Butler, and Lawrence Counties, Pa.

Sandra Reigel ’82 A&A is choir director and drama teacher at Center High School, now part of the Central Valley School District, Beaver County. Don Veri ’72 Bus is the owner of Hopewell Realty, Hopewell Township, Pa.

Michael Yost ’08 Bus is the space planning coordinator for General Nutrition Center (GNC) Corporate Headquarters, Pittsburgh.

Don Zimmerman ’81 Bus is employed by Ernst & Young in Atlanta, Ga.

Plan now for ’90s Beaver reunion Thereen Daley ’98 Lib and friends are organizing a Penn State Beaver Reunion for all Beaver alumni, although they’re especially targeting those who attended campus during the 1990s. The event is set for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, April 17, 2010, at Center Stage, 1489 Brodhead Road, Monaca. Tickets are $65 and include dinner, open bar, Penn State keepsake, a DJ, and a donation that will

provide funds for Penn State Beaver students in need. Tours of campus will also be provided that day from 2 to 4 p.m. Tickets will be sold on a firstcome, first-served basis and must be purchased in advance. For event information, call 443-540-2026 or send email to ReunitingClassmates_77@ Join the “Penn State Beaver Reunion This Spring” Facebook group to receive updates.

Sign up for Penn State Beaver Newswire The public is invited to receive a free subscription to the weekly Penn State Beaver Newswire. Visit http:// and create an account today. Once you register, click on “Subscriptions” and select “Beaver.” You’ll automatically receive campus news each week via email. No matter where you are, you can take advantage of this quick, easy

way to receive the latest news and information about Beaver campus happenings, as well as updates about our faculty, staff, students, alumni, programs, and events. If you need more information, please contact Amy M. Krebs ’78 Lib, director of campus and community relations, at or 724-773-3816.

Join our official Penn State ­Beaver Alumni fan page on Facebook.

i n m u l a te upda

If you have news to share, we’d love to hear about it. Complete this form and mail it to the address below or fill it out online at: First name ���������������������������� Last name ����������������������������� Maiden name �������������������������� Home address ������������������������� City______________ State ____ Zip ������� Home Phone �������������������������� Personal Email�������������������������� Job Title ������������������������������ Employer ����������������������������� Work Address ������������������������� City______________ State ____ Zip ������� Work phone��������������������������� Work email���������������������������� Years at Beaver Campus ������������������ Penn State Degree����������������������� Graduation year������������������������ What news do you have to share? (new job, honors/awards, marriage, birth, promotion, etc.) ������������������������������������ ������������������������������������ ������������������������������������ ������������������������������������ ������������������������������������ Attach additional page if necessary. Mail to: Alumni Update, Penn State Beaver, 100 University Drive, Monaca, PA 15061 or email

Fall 2009

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Page 13

Campus advisory board honors faculty, staff The Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Awards were announced at the 41st Annual Awards Banquet held last spring: Dr. John Chapin, associate professor of communications: Penn State Beaver AdviChapin sory Board/NOVA Chemicals Inc. Faculty Excellence in Service Award; Dr. Rajen Mookerjee, associate professor of economics: Penn State Beaver Advisory Board/Bayer MaterialScience LLC Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award; Dr. Juliette Storr, assistant professor of communications: Penn State Beaver Advisory Board/Michael Baker Corporation Faculty Excellence in Research Award; Patty Forrest, staff assistant, Educational Opportunities Center: Penn State Beaver Advisory Board/ Unis Dental Associates Staff Service Award; Beth Hewitt, assistant financial officer: Penn State Beaver Advisory Board/ESB Bank Staff Excellence Award.









s u p m a c ds r a w a

Students gave awards to: Gretchen Samchuck, coordinator, division of undergraduate studies, Outstanding Academic Advisor; and Christina Winniewicz, former external relations assistant in development, Outstanding Organization Advisor. (Winniewicz now works for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Bank.)

affairs, and Jessica Jackson, former coordinator of residence life and student activities, were winners of the Outstanding Program of the Year Award. (Jackson is now employed by Juniata College.) They were honored for “MLK Day On, Not a Day Off” for the January 2009 Martin Luther King Jr. national holiday. The program engaged more than 100 students and staff members from multiple Penn State campuses in a daylong effort to serve the needs of various nonprofit organizations in Beaver County. Larissa (McDoniel) Ciuca, student personal and career counselor, received an honorable mention in the Outstanding Program of the Year Award for “Mocktails and Myth Busters,” which was designed to create discussions about drinking, smoking, drug use and healthy living.

Student Affairs staff honored

Hain receives Walker Award

Three members of the Penn State Beaver Office of Student Affairs were honored at the Student Affairs Student Staff Awards and Recognition Program at Penn State University Park. Amy Gartley, associate director of student

Jennifer Hain, a corporate communications major, received Penn State’s most prestigious student honor when she was named the recipient of the Eric A. and Josephine S. Walker Award at the annual Penn State Beaver Awards

Banquet. The award recognizes one student’s highest achievements in and out of the classroom at each Penn State campus. At the dinner, she also received a Student Life Award. In addition, she was recently recognized as a 2009 Beaver County College Student of the Year by the Beaver Valley Business and Professional Women’s (BVBPW) Club. The annual award recognizes Beaver County college students who have been honored for their accomplishments in and out of the classroom. A native of Bellevue, Pa., Hain is a resident assistant in the campus residence hall, a member of the volleyball and softball teams, and was captain of the volleyball team when it won the 2007 Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC) Championship. She has worked in the Offices of the Chancellor, Academic Affairs, Development, and Campus and Community Relations and has been a member of the Student Computer Fee Committee. She serves on the Penn State Beaver Communications Advisory Board. Upon graduation she plans to pursue a career in marketing and event planning.


library,” Taiclet said, “but they needed to come down. What we now have is additional green space and walkways there that open up the space for visitors and campus community members.” “Our changes are carefully planned out and done in conjunction with administrators at University Park campus,” noted Taiclet. “Anything we do here is done with their approval. In fact, the administration there has applauded the changes we’ve made at Beaver

and have held us up to other campuses as a great example of how to go about carefully planning and carrying out significant, necessary changes to the look and feel of a campus. That recognition is welcome and something we’ll continue to be proud of as we move through our plans for the future.” For more information about plans to change the look and feel of the campus, contact Taiclet at or 724-773-3551.

Students give awards to staff

continued from page 8 plan is underway, which included the removal of dead or dying trees, including an old pin oak and several sycamores, and the placement of new trees wherever needed to keep the beauty and harmony of the campus in balance. “Most of the trees we removed were near the

Page 14

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Fall 2009

women’s team goes green spnoerwtss Penn State Beaver’s Lady Lions basketball team recently assisted with the Independence Conservancy’s Community Tire Collection program at the Brighton Township Public Works Complex. The Independence Conservancy is part of the PA Land Trust Association, the first and only land trust based in Beaver County. At the tire collection, the Lady Lions greeted patrons who brought tires to dispose of and then hauled, stacked, de-rimmed, and sheared more than 225 tires. Following the collection, Independence Conservancy properly disposed of the tires and recycled the rims. In addition, the Lady Lions also teamed up with Matt Kramer 00 Agr, Pennsylvania Game Commission officer, in cleaning up an illegal tire and trash dumping site at a watershed habitat on PA State Game Land. “Through the Lady Lions basketball team’s continuing community service efforts this season, we hope to educate and inspire community action while preserving the local environment,” said Head Coach Bert DeSalvo. The Lady Lions will culminate their community service efforts when they host Penn State DuBois in a “Go Green” game at 6 p.m., Monday, Feb. 1, in hopes of increasing awareness of World Wetlands Day the following day.


Women’s basketball players Brooke Mulneix, Shelby Parks and Brittany Tomaselli recycle tires for the Independence Conservancy’s Community Tire Collection program at the Brighton Township Public Works Complex.

2009-10 women’s basketball schedule Date Time Site Opponent

Tue., Oct. 27 6 p.m. H CCAC South scrimmage Tues., Nov. 3 6 p.m. H Carlow College scrimmage Sat., Nov. 14 6 p.m. H USCAA Pre-Season Tournament Sun., Nov. 15 TBA H USCAA Pre-Season Tournament Wed., Nov. 18 7 p.m. H Franciscan University Sat., Nov. 21 8 p.m. A Mt. Aloysius Tournament Sun., Nov. 22 TBA A Mt. Aloysius Tournament Tues., Nov. 24 6 p.m. H Geneva College Mon., Nov. 30 6 p.m. A Westminster College Thurs., Dec. 3 7 p.m. A Slippery Rock University Sat., Dec. 5 1 p.m. H PS Worthington Scranton* Mon., Dec. 7 6 p.m. H PS Greater Allegheny* Wed., Dec. 9 6 p.m. A PS Fayette* Fri., Dec. 11 6 p.m. A PS Schuylkill* Sat., Dec. 12 1 p.m. A PS York* Sat., Dec. 19 2 p.m. A Ohio University-Eastern

Date Time Site Opponent

Sat., Jan. 9 noon A Pitt-Titusville Fri., Jan. 15 6 p.m. A PS Brandywine* Sat., Jan. 16 1 p.m. A PS Mont Alto* Mon., Jan. 18 6 p.m. H Westminster College Fri., Jan. 22 6 p.m. H PS Hazleton* Sat., Jan. 23 1 p.m. H PS Wilkes-Barre* Sat., Jan. 30 1 p.m. A PS Greater Allegheny* Mon., Feb. 1 6 p.m. H PS DuBois* Sat., Feb. 6 1 p.m. A Penn College* Tue., Feb. 9 6 p.m. H PS Fayette* Sat., Feb. 13 1 p.m. A PS DuBois* Mon., Feb. 22 TBA TBA PSUAC Elite 8* Thur. Feb. 26 TBA State College PSUAC Tournament Fri. Feb 27 TBA State College PSUAC Tournament March 3-6 TBA TBA USCAA Tournament * Conference game

Fall 2009

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Page 15

Student survives 40-foot fall, sports notes returns to basketball court sports Soccer, volleyball teams end seasons in playoffs


Joe Omogrosso

penn state beaver student

On Aug. 14, 2008, Nick Miller was on a training run with Beaver Falls High School’s cross country team. The high school senior jumped over a concrete barrier on the New Brighton side of the Route 18 bridge that connects the towns. He thought there was a grassy spot in which to land. He was wrong. Miller ended up tumbling forty feet onto the concrete pavement beside the railroad tracks. “I saw him fall off the bridge and I was thinking he was dead,” Beaver Falls teammate Micah Anderson said. “He was our top runner, so I thought we were going to have a rough season. But I knew he would overcome it.” Miller did overcome it, and now the Penn State Beaver freshman is a point guard on the men’s basketball team. After Miller fell, he was rushed to Allegheny General Hospital with various injuries, including a concussion, a broken jaw and fractures in bones in his right wrist, right hip and left knee. He spent fourteen days in the hospital and was in a wheelchair when he got out. He had a pin in his wrist and plates in his repaired jaw. Most people would be worried about having a limp. Miller was worried about being ready for the start of the basketball season. Beaver Falls Coach Doug Biega figured Miller might be able to join the team in February, in time for the WPIAL playoffs.

Nick Miller overcame his injuries to play again. Miller had a different timetable. While healing and still in a wheelchair, Miller kept his shooting touch by taking about fifty shots a day at the hoop in his back yard. He would count the final ten, seeing how many of those he could make. “After a while, I started to make seven, then eight, then nine,” he said. “I had to wear a strap on my right [non-shooting] wrist so it wouldn’t bend.” Miller is now sporting No. 4 for the Lions, and Coach Marcess Williams said Miller’s accident has had no impact on his performance at Penn State Beaver. “If you wouldn’t have known, you wouldn’t know,” Williams said. Freshman Joe Omogrosso originally wrote this report for The Roar, Penn State Beaver’s campus newspaper.

2009-10 men’s basketball schedule Date Time Site Opponent

Thur., Nov. 5 7 p.m. A CCBC (Exhibition) Sat., Nov. 14 8 p.m. H USCAA Pre-Season Tournament Sun., Nov. 15 TBA H USCAA Pre-Season Tournament Fri., Nov. 20 TBA A La Roche-Crons Tip Off Sat., Nov. 21 TBA A La Roche-Crons Tip Off Tues., Nov. 24 8 p.m. H Grove City College Mon., Nov. 30 8 p.m. H Geneva College Thurs., Dec. 3 7:30 p.m. A Indiana University of Pa Sat., Dec. 5 3 p.m. H PS Worthington Scranton* Mon., Dec. 7 8 p.m. H PS Greater Allegheny* Wed., Dec. 9 8 p.m. A PS Fayette* Fri., Dec. 11 8 p.m. A PS Schuylkill* Sat., Dec. 12 3 p.m. A PS York* Wed., Dec. 30 TBA H PS Altoona (Scrimmage) Sat., Jan. 9 3 p.m. A Geneva College Fri., Jan. 15 8 p.m. A PS Brandywine*

In October the Penn State Beaver Nittany Lions soccer team and the Lady Lions volleyball team ended their successful seasons with semi-final losses in the PSUAC Tournament. The men lost to Penn College, 2-0, and finished the season at 8-3-1 in the PSUAC and 9-8-1 overall. The women lost to Penn State Mont Alto, 3-2, and were 14-4 in the PSUAC and 15-11 overall.

Hockey team builds strong following The Fightin’ Beavs, Penn State Beaver’s new hockey team, is drawing a lot of attention on campus, despite its standing as a club sport. Roughly thirty fans have shown up in support of the team at each of its first four games, no easy feat considering most of those games were played at 11:30 p.m. Sophomore Pat Vaughan goes to every game. “The team is insane, and the fans are amazing,” he said. The team plays at the Robert Morris University Neville Island Sports Complex. It has faced club teams from Slippery Rock University, Geneva College, and the University of Pittsburgh. To learn more about the Fightin’ Beavs, join the “Fans of THE Penn State Beaver Fightin’ Beavs” on Facebook.

Date Time Site Opponent

Sat., Jan. 16 3 p.m. A PS Mont Alto* Mon., Jan. 18 6 p.m. H Westminster College Wed., Jan. 20 7:30 p.m. H Thiel College Fri., Jan. 22 8 p.m. H PS Hazleton* Sat., Jan. 23 3 p.m. H PS Wilkes-Barre* Tue., Jan. 26 8 p.m. A PS New Kensington* Sat., Jan. 30 3 p.m. A PS Greater Allegheny* Mon., Feb. 1 6 p.m. H PS DuBois* Wed., Feb. 3 8 p.m. H PS New Kensington* Sat., Feb. 6 3 p.m. A Penn College* Tue., Feb. 9 8 p.m. H PS Fayette* Sat., Feb. 13 3 p.m. A PS DuBois* Mon., Feb. 22 TBA TBA PSUAC Elite 8* Fri., Feb. 26 TBA State College PSUAC Tournament Wed., Mar 5 TBA Uniontown USCAA Tournament *Conference game

Office of Campus and Community Relations Ross Administration Building, Suite 201 100 University Drive Monaca, PA 15061

Blogs continued from page 7

have an assigned book, but a lecturer/ professor will give a “reading list” which consists of several readings the lecturer/professor finds helpful for his or her course. Feeling a little guilty about not having any books, I bought one book for my Sociology of Media class, as the professor wrote it himself. The book was around 25 euro, or about 35 dollars. After I informed my housemates of my recent purchase and explained that I “only paid 25 euro for it,” they could not believe it. At their initial reaction, I thought, “Yeah, it isn’t expensive at all.” Then I realized they were appalled at how “expensive” it was. Little do they know that each semester, American students dish out hundreds of dollars for books, myself included. Only $35.00 total for a semester of books? I’ll take it!

Dana Sklack

Oct. 20: I packed this past weekend full of shopping and site-seeing. Due to my four-day weekend, I usually have plenty of time for exploring the city. And although I spent Friday in and doing laundry, I visited two key places in the United Kingdom. Saturday afternoon was spent in Camden, a borough of London known for its markets as well as its Goth and Punk subcultures. Armed with more cash on me than I should, my friend

dana sklack

Camden Market in London holds many fascinating sites and a lot of great bargains for people willing to barter.

Elaine and I began walking through Camden Market, an area with narrow walkways filled with little tented areas filled with dresses, souvenirs, purses, and so much more. Whatever your style, you’d find something here. The best part is that things aren’t very expensive and many of the people working there are willing to barter. For £15 I bought two dresses, and even with the conversion rate, that’s still under $30. Not a bad deal. Sunday was spent in Cardiff, the capital of Wales located about three hours outside of London. Cardiff isn’t what you would expect a capital city to be like. While it was Sunday, and here Sundays are definitely slower days, the

roads seemed deserted compared to being in London. Visiting Cardiff Castle, it’s easy to forget you are not in the middle of nowhere, until you turn around and see Millennium Stadium towering behind the clock tower. But I avoided looking in that direction, and in the opposite direction was a park beyond the walls of the castle area that helped me forget I was in the middle of a city. At the far end of the walled off area was a towering keep, one of the original structures on the site (although it has been rebuilt multiple times). After walking over a hundred stairs, we reached the top and were able to see all of Cardiff and beyond.


the thing the Also inside: Physical changes keep Beaver campus beautiful StudentS Studying abroad Share their experienceS with the world FAL...

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