Nittany News Fall 2011

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Campus thriving despite state cuts

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Penn State Beaver Nittany News



n the spring issue of The Nittany News, I devoted much of my message to the state budget proposal and the adverse impact it was likely to have on Penn State, including Penn State Beaver. After the dust cleared last summer, Penn State received a 19 percent reduction in its state budget allocation. While this reduction was still severe and resulted in our allocation being reduced to levels not seen in more than a decade, it was certainly better than the 50 percent reduction that was proposed in the state’s original budget. A great number of Penn State alumni and concerned community members contacted their legislators and Governor Tom Corbett’s office to express their concern about the size of the proposed reduction. Those voices were heard because the cuts we received were greatly moderated from those that were originally proposed. However, as a result of the budget cuts, each academic and administrative unit within the University has seen a budget reduction of 2 percent. Additionally, a University committee (referred to as the Core Council) that has been meeting for more than a year is in the process of making final recommendations to University administrators that should result in annual budget savings of approximately $30 million. The Core Council has made extensive use of data to drive its recommendations, which are designed to eliminate or consolidate programs with low enrollment as well as improve operational efficiency. However, it’s important to note that many of these cuts will result in a reduction of the programs and support we’ve been able to provide for our campus community. Any significant budget flexibility within the University has already been lost over the last several decades. The most severe impact of the budget cuts will be felt by Cooperative Extension, which doesn’t generate revenue through tuition and, therefore, won’t be able to offset any cuts. By the time you read this, I will have received the Core Council report for Penn State

Our campus will be commended in the Core Council report for increasing the number of students who, since 2005, have entered Beaver campus through all three “access points”: traditional high school graduates, transfer students, and adult students.

Beaver. I’ve been briefed on the main points that are likely to be included in the report, and I’d like to share some of those with you. Our campus will be commended for increasing the number of students who, since 2005, have entered Beaver campus through all three “access points,” a term that is used to define traditional high school graduates, transfer students, and adult students. This fall Beaver’s enrollment is 870 compared to less than 670 in 2005 but, more importantly, our full-time equivalent count is almost identical to last year’s. Therefore, this year’s budget allocation for Beaver, which is based on our enrollment, will remain essentially the same as last year. In addition, the Core Council report will strongly recommend collaboration between campuses. Western Penn State campuses have already established a practice of working together by jointly hiring faculty. Our Administration of Justice program is offered in partnership with Penn State Shenango and Penn State New Kensington, and I believe we’ll be commended for those efforts and cited as an example for other campuses to follow. Beaver campus will be challenged to improve the retention of our students from their freshman to sophomore year. Historically, that number has been approximately 70 percent, and we’re hoping to raise that figure to 80 percent in the next several years. A faculty-led Retention Task Force has been in place for more than a year and has

recommended several initiatives for our incoming freshmen students, including a specialized course to help at risk-students improve their chances of success. Our freshman-to-sophomore retention rate has improved by approximately 4 percent. Student retention has become a focal discussion point for our faculty at their monthly meeting, and I believe this effort will make great strides in helping our students become more successful. In addition, we’ll begin to offer more campus-based courses via technology, whether online or via interactive video. This will offer our students more flexibility in scheduling and is something today’s students have come to expect. We’ll continue to partner with community colleges to provide their graduates with a local opportunity to earn a baccalaureate degree. Collectively, these initiatives will leave us well positioned for the future as the market becomes increasingly competitive. Construction on our Wellness Center continues to progress smoothly, with completion scheduled for next spring. This new facility will be another significant improvement to our campus physical plant and is already generating a great deal of student anticipation. I’ve found that, almost without exception, when someone from the University visits Beaver for the first time, they comment that our campus is one of the most attractive within the system. Recently, a visitor made an even more gratifying comment to me. She said that, out of all the Penn State campuses she’s visited, Beaver has the loveliest facilities and people. That was good to hear because an attractive campus won’t support long-term growth and success without the right kind of people, and I agree with our visitor. We have both. We hope you’ll visit us when the Wellness Center is completed to see how the campus continues to improve. Your ongoing support is vital and enables us to continue to provide the best for our students and campus community, in and out of the classroom, and we look forward to sharing our progress with you.


COVER STORY 2 To South Korea and back. Penn State Beaver alumnus Justin Lyon thought he 1 wanted to pursue a career in information technology, but he changed his mind after traveling abroad as a student. Find out how and why Lyon’s new world view led him to teach English in South Korea.

IN THE CLASSROOM 4 History comes alive. Dr. Robert Szymczak (he’ll tell you how to pronounce it) has taught history at Penn State Beaver for 28 years. But his students insist that he doesn’t just teach history — he lives it. Take a closer look at the people, places, and traditions that shaped his desire to make history come to life. 7 Faculty promotions, publications, and honors New job? New baby? 8 Technology brings campuses closer together New you? Su bmit your news onl ine at beaver.psu.e du/ alumniupda te


16 A healthy business. When Beaver alumna Kim Kockler graduated, she headed to Harrisburg for a job in the capitol and quickly moved up the ranks. But she didn’t imagine that one day she’d be in a position to affect health care in Pennsylvania. 15 What are Beaver alumni doing now?


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Campaign donations near $2 million Campus goes green and gets caffeine Arrivals and departures Sports update



EDITOR Amy M. Krebs

FAX 724.773.3578

DESIGNER Cathy Benscoter


PHONE 724.773.3816

AOL IM BrAdmissions

© 2011 Penn State Beaver

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Justin Lyon ’09 IST teaches science in English to a group of South Korean first and second graders. Lyon abandoned his plans to work with computers in favor of traveling and working abroad.

The Nittany News is a publication of the Penn State Beaver Office of Campus and Community Relations, 100 University Drive, Monaca, PA 15061. Please direct all inquiries about this newsletter to 724.773.3816 or amk6@ This publication is available in alternative media upon request. U.Ed. BR 12-08


10 Making friends. Facebook helped members of the Class of 2015 adjust to campus life before they even got here. 24 Wild. Senior communications major Amy Green spent her summer playing with penguins. 18 Wellness Center to be completed by spring



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Penn State Beaver Nittany News



istening to someone talk about the history of Pennsylvania isn’t the most exciting thing in the world. Watching someone perform the history of Pennsylvania, however, is another matter. That’s exactly what Dr. Robert Szymczak does each time he lectures about the Keystone State. Instead of telling students what William Penn said, Szymczak gets into character, voicing and bringing life to each historical figure he speaks about.

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Story by Matt Jones ‘10 Com

the young Szymczak. “We realized we were kind of living in an ethnic cocoon,” he said. Szymczak’s love of history was born in East Vandergrift’s Polish church, which was steeped in Polish tradition. “It made me curious to know the history of these peoples and their lands of origin,” he said. To add even more ingredients to this concoction of curiosity, East Vandergrift was also home to a multitude of World War II veterans, and Szymczak said he enjoyed talking with them. But it was his father who had the biggest influence on him. “My father and I had long, long conversations about many topics of interest, ranging from Shakespeare to ancient history, to the history of Eastern Europe, World War II, and even the history of baseball. The older I get, the more remarkable I realize he was.” With his love of history and interest in learning

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

But it’s not just Pennsylvania that the Penn State Beaver associate professor of history brings to life; it’s every subject he teaches, from the history of Russia to World War II. Sitting in Szymczak’s class is like watching a oneman historical theater being performed. But for every remarkable story he tells and acts out, the story of his own life is equally remarkable. From an early age, Szymczak was surrounded by people with fascinating stories of the past. He was born in 1946 in East Vandergrift, Pa., a town with a booming steel mill in Westmoreland County. East Vandergrift was divided into three neighborhoods based on ethnicity: a Slovak section, a Lithuanian section, and a Polish section. Szymczak grew up in the Polish neighborhood, where his father, Bernard, and many others spoke fluent Polish and English. The town’s division along ethnic lines didn’t escape



Photos by Cathy Benscoter


DR. ROBERT SZYMCZAK Associate Professor of History

Areas of interest n Modern Eastern Europe n U.S. Ethnic History n U.S. Diplomatic History n World War II n The Cold War n The Holocaust n The Soviet Era n Has conducted extensive research and authored many publications on Fascism, Nazism, Russian history, Poland, World War II, the Holocaust

A sampling of courses taught over the years n History of the Holocaust 1933-1945 n Medieval and Modern Russia n American Civilization Since 1877 n The Western Heritage n History of Fascism and Nazism n History of the Soviet Union

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Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Some of his awards


n Penn State’s prestigious George W. Atherton Award for Excellence in Teaching (annual award given to only 4 individuals from across the University system) n Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Excellence in Research Award n Three-time recipient of Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Excellence in Teaching Award n Penn State Commonwealth College Excellence in Teaching Award

Education n Doctorate in Modern World History, Carnegie Mellon University n Doctorate in Recent American History and Politics, Lancaster University, Lancaster, UK n Master’s degree in Liberal Studies, Duquesne University n Master’s degree in History/International Relations, West Virginia University n Bachelor’s degree in History and Literature, West Virginia University n Certificate of Study from Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland

First of all, you must really, really, really be immersed in the subject.You must have the knowledge to teach that subject, and then you should do it with passion. ... I love what I do. I still haven’t lost the passion for it.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 affirmed, Szymczak had a good idea of what he wanted to do for a living. “I liked the idea of teaching history,” he said. Szymczak had a general love of school that extended beyond teaching. He also liked being a student. Szymczak holds a bachelor’s and a master’s degree from West Virginia University, a second master’s degree from Duquesne University, a doctorate from Carnegie Mellon University, and a second doctorate from Lancaster University in England. But for all of his experience learning in the classroom, it’s his time teaching in it that has endeared him to so many Penn State Beaver alumni. After teaching political science classes at Penn State New Kensington from 1976-1982, Szymczak moved to Penn State Mont Alto, where he taught for a year. In the fall of 1983, when a position opened up closer to home at the Beaver campus, Szymczak transferred. But it wasn’t an altogether familiar setting for him. “I had never set foot in Beaver County in my life,” Szymczak said. Despite that, he adapted quickly, and so did his students. Amy Gartley ’90 Com, who is now Beaver’s associate director of student affairs, had Szymczak in class her freshman year in 1986. She said her former professor was very engaging and passionate about his work, adding that the level of detail in his lectures really stood out. “I sensed the immensity of what he was teaching,” she said, and recalled that taking notes became secondary to listening. Gartley isn’t the only student with fond memories of Szymczak. John Grace ’90 Eng graduate, said he remembers Szymczak as being incredibly fascinating. Grace, who works in Detroit as a manufacturing engineer manager for Ford, said Szymczak gave the complete picture when teaching his subject matter. Szymczak’s ability to captivate his students isn’t just because of his intimate knowledge of history, but because of the way he tells it. He said that he became a good storyteller by listening to other people speak and using his natural

Students in Dr. Szymczak’s American Civilization to 1877 class work to take notes and listen to the lecture at the same time. knack for speaking. “First of all, you must really, really, really be immersed in the subject. You must have the knowledge to teach that subject, and then you should do it with passion,” Szymczak said. And even after teaching for so long, he still enjoys his job. “I love what I do. I still haven’t lost the passion for it.” Yet for all the passion he teaches with and all of the fond memories his students have of him, there’s still one thing most of his students — and people in general — can’t do: pronounce his name. The proper pronunciation is Shimchuk. Regardless of whether people can pronounce his name correctly or not, few students will ever forget him. “I would like to be remembered as somebody who taught his classes with all the knowledge that I could muster about the subject, and all the passion that it took to teach it well,” he said. And as for his view of life outside the classroom, Szymczak has a true historian’s perspective. “Everybody has a story. It’s just too bad that some of them don’t know what that story is.”

Communications faculty receive promotions

Dr. John Chapin has been promoted to professor of communications, and Dr. Juliette Storr has been promoted to associate professor of communications. Chapin has conducted extensive research and written numerous publications about mass media, intimate partner violence, bullying, stalking, racism, school violence, popular music and culture, social networks, and effective public health campaigns for adolescents. He has taught courses in cinema art, broadcasting and cable television, news writing, TV production, and mass media and has been recognized statewide for his work with domestic violence victims. He has received the Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Faculty Excellence in Service Award. Chapin holds a Ph.D. in communication, information, and library studies from Rutgers



University; a master’s degree in communication studies and mass media from Shippensburg University; and a bachelor’s degree in education from Bloomsburg University. Storr was honored for her research and publications in intercultural communication, business communication, Caribbean journalism, and digital technology.

She teaches a variety of related classes, including public relations. She has served on the Penn State Beaver National Domestic Violence Awareness Month Committee and has co-implemented events for the “Voices Against Violence” program on campus. She is a former member of the Executive Committee of the Penn State Commission for Women, the founder and coordinator of Beaver’s annual Communications Day, and a recipient of the Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. Storr holds a doctorate in mass communication and a certification in contemporary history from Ohio University; a master’s degree in radio-television-film production from Wayne State University; and a bachelor’s degree in mass communication from the University of Windsor, Canada.



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Competitiveness, Volume 5(3), 2011. Dr. Rajen Mookerjee, associate professor of economics, is the co-author of two publications. “Banking services, transaction costs and international remittance flows” appeared in Applied Economics Letters, 2011, 18, 199-205. “Availability of financial services and income inequality: The evidence from many countries” was published in Emerging Markets Review 11 (2010) 404-408. Dr. Clare Conry-Murray, assistant professor of psychology, gave the opening presentation in this fall’s new Colloquium Series in Psychological Sciences and Human Behavior at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. The first topic was gender essentialism, and ConryMurray presented her research on “Children’s Reasoning About Gender Equity.” Dr. Kristen Olson, associate professor of English, presented “End of the Line: Shakespeare and Queen Elizabeth, Last of the Tudors” as the final program in the 2011 Spring Faculty Speakers Series. Dr. Mari Pierce, assistant professor of administration of justice, received a grant for $1,100 from the Penn State Schreyer Institute


the IWMF in areas including website redesign and database expansion. Neelam Dwivedi, instructor in information sciences and technology, received a SAP Business Associate Certificate (TERP10) from the TERP10 SAP Academy after completing an intensive two-week training course offered by SAP America in Georgia. The certificate enables her to introduce SAP-based course content for junior and senior IST students. Dr. W. Timothy Few, assistant professor of business, co-authored “Psychological Contracts and Organizational Identification: The Mediating Effect of Perceived Organizational Support,” which appeared in the Journal of Labor Research, Volume 32, Number 3. Dr. Matthew Grunstra, assistant professor of earth and mineral sciences, was awarded $1,750 by the Penn State Schreyer Institute for Teaching Excellence. The funds will be used in support of the implementation of his proposal, “Increasing Participation in Larger Classrooms through Creative Use of Technology.” Dr. Talha Harcar, associate professor of business, co-authored “Young Consumers’ Cell Phone Usage in Developing Market: The Case of Turkish Youth Market” which appeared in the Journal of Marketing Development and

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Kevin Bennett, instructor in psychology, opened the 2011 Fall Faculty Speakers Series with “Science, Perception, and Reality: What Do Sensory Illusions Tell Us About the Mind?” Dr. Cassandra Miller-Butterworth, assistant professor of biology, received a $28,000 grant from the Pennsylvania Game Commission to assist her in continuing her research of the little brown bat and conducting research on conservation genetics. She is researching white nose syndrome in bats and is working in conjunction with the Game Commission to track the disease. Dr. John Chapin, professor of communications, wrote “Optimistic Bias About Intimate Partner Violence Among Medical Personnel,” which was published in Family Medicine, Vol. 43, No. 6, June 2011. Peter DeNardis, lecturer in information sciences and technology, received the 2011 Jefferson Award for his dedication and service as a volunteer for the International Waldenstrom’s Macroglobulinemia Foundation (IWMF). The Jefferson Awards recognize outstanding public and community service. In 2003 DeNardis was diagnosed with Waldenstrom’s macroglobulinemia, a rare, incurable lymphoma, but he continues to work full time while volunteering for



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Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Dr. Mari Pierce teaches a criminal justice class at Penn State Beaver to students from Beaver, Shenango and New Kensington campuses. Polycom technology (see below) allows Pierce to communicate with all three classrooms at once.



Beaver, Shenango and New Kensington campuses create model degree program Dana Sklack ’11 Com On a recent afternoon in October, three students met to work on a project for Criminal Justice 426: Special Offender Types. What makes this situation unique is that one student is sitting in Room 1 of the General Classroom Building at Penn State Beaver, while another is in a classroom at Penn State New Kensington and the third is at Penn State Shenango. Yet, all three students are enrolled in the same class. The students, led by Dr. Mari Pierce, assistant professor of administration of justice, see

each other in class each week via the Polycom videoconferencing unit, though they’ve never met in person. Penn State Beaver has partnered with New

Kensington and Shenango to use technology to launch the campuses’ newest degree, Administration of Justice. Now in its second year, the innovative program that brings students and faculty together via technology is being looked at as a possible model for future degree programs across Penn State. While core classes and general education classes are all offered in person on each campus, many of the Administration of Justice required courses are offered through Polycom, whereby the class is taught on one campus and broadcast live to the other two campuses. Students at the remote locations can interact with and pose questions to the instructor in real time.


the room in which the instructor teaches, along with video monitors and speakers. Audio and video of the professor is broadcast in real time to the students at the remote locations, where a camera and microphone allow those students to be seen and heard by the instructor and students at the other locations. Lecture slides, if used, are projected on a second video monitor, and anything written on the board is also shown to the students at the other campuses. Instructors of Polycom classes have special office hours online and by phone for students not located at the same campus as the professor. Students are also encouraged to communicate with each other by working on group projects, according to Pierce, who said she often assigns students from different campuses to work together.

Dr. Carol Schafer, associate professor of theatre, integrative arts, and women’s studies, worked with students on the spring publication of “Panorama,” Penn State Beaver’s Journal of the Arts, which included original artwork, photography, poetry, and essays submitted by campus students, faculty, and staff. In addition, she directed students from her Theatre Production and Practicum class in the spring production of “Jack’s Big Adventure,” which was designed to help children understand and prevent bullying. Dr. Juliette Storr, associate professor of communications, presented “Communicating Across Cultures: Building Effective Cross Cul-

tural Relationships,” a summer workshop that was designed to prepare faculty and staff for increased international enrollment on campus. Dr. Robert Szymczak, associate professor of history, authored “Cold War Crusader: Arthur Bliss Lane and the Private Committee to Investigate the Katyn Massacre, 1949-1952,” which was published in Polish American Studies: A Journal of Polish American History and Culture, Vol. LXVII, No. 2, Autumn 2010. In addition, he was a featured speaker on the topic of “Katyn and the Politics of Massacre” in the September lecture series presented by the S. A. Blejwas Endowed Chair in Polish Studies at Central Connecticut State University.

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through Penn State Harrisburg. Beaver, Shenango and New Kensington are trying this new model as an alternative to that. Each campus has a full-time professor who teaches courses in his or her particular area of expertise. Those courses are offered simultaneously through Polycom to students at all three campuses. Benjamin Cadman, a junior from the Shenango campus taking Pierce’s class, admits that Polycom courses take a little getting used to. “(It) was kind of confusing at first,” Cadman said. “But after hearing the teachers describe their syllabus and the methods they use, it was just like sitting in a class with them there.” Pierce described the Polycom rooms as resembling a television studio. Two cameras and a microphone are set up in


for Teaching Excellence and a $700 grant as part of the 2012 SAGE Junior Faculty Professional Development Teaching Award. She is the coauthor of “Assessing the Influence of Familial Paternalism on Child Neglect Sentencing Decisions,” an article published online in June in the American Journal of Criminal Justice. She gave a presentation on “A Review of Women in Violent Roles” as part of the Penn State Beaver 2011 Spring Faculty Speakers Series.


LaVarr McBride, top right, Administration of Justice program coordinator, meets with Penn State Beaver students about their internship requirements.

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

This allows campuses to easily share faculty members with the other campuses while increasing the variety of classes students have available to them. “It definitely diversifies the topics,” said Pierce. “For example, I’m teaching a childabuse class right now that probably Dr. (Kristine) Artello (assistant professor of administration of justice) wouldn’t teach due to her area of expertise.” Artello, who is a lawyer, is teaching Introduction to Law via Polycom from New Kensington campus. “(It) doesn’t mean we couldn’t teach the class, but it means that the expertise is there and you want a professor who wants to teach a class (in a certain focus) to teach the class,” Pierce said. “It gives more offerings to the students at each campus.” According to Beaver Chancellor Gary Keefer, the goal of the Administration of Justice program at the three campuses was to have a self-sustaining degree that would be successful by having the required degree enrollment and funding at each campus. Keefer said that this model of offering a degree program with shared resources is being looked at by the University as a possible template for other future degree programs on Commonwealth campuses. In the past, instead of sharing a degree, campuses would offer degrees already supported by other campuses, and the faculty from those programs would travel to other campuses or use technology to teach required classes. Two examples of this at Beaver are the R.N.-to-B.S. degree in nursing offered through Penn State Shenango and the master of education degree in Teaching and Curriculum offered



Rachel Hido and Rob Trhlin laugh with each other while studying in the Bistro. The friends met on Beaver’s Class of 2015 Facebook group months before they met in person.

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Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Facebook group gets Class of 2015 talking


FRESHMEN LIKE US Dana Sklack ’11 Com

our freshmen sit in the Brodhead Bistro on a Thursday afternoon early in the fall 2011 semester, studying for their first psychology exam. The four have the easy way of old friends. They’re goofing off, talking about things they did together recently, teasing each other. Ask them how long they’ve been friends, and Rachel Hido, Samantha Kaup, Rob Trhlin, and Natalie Gamble will tell you they’ve known each other for months. But ask them when they first met, and they’ll admit that the first time they saw each other was on

move-in day three weeks before. Those four and many other freshmen became friends on Facebook in a group created by Penn State Beaver for the Class of 2015. They have had all summer to get to know each other online. “I joined during my senior year (of high school) in April or May,” said Hido of Erie. She friended a few of her future fellow students and started connecting with them. “I was really good friends with two people before I got here.” As future roommates, Kaup of Wexford and Gamble of McKees Rocks had the chance over the summer to get to know each other and plan what to bring for their room. CONTINUED ON PAGE 11

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 10 “People thought we were best friends (when we arrived),” Kaup said. The Facebook group’s purpose was to help students connect prior to coming to campus. According to Larissa Ciuca, student personal and career counselor, the page helped the incoming freshmen with their transition into college. “We’ve made it strictly for them so they can talk openly about any concerns or questions they have without being afraid,” said Robin Schreck, coordinator of student activities and residence life. Student peer leaders and staff members from admissions, student life, advising and counseling monitored the group to offer answers and reassurances. “I was on the page a lot answering questions,” said Cathy Benscoter, marketing and web coordinator. “I had a long conversation with one girl about whether she should miss classes the first week so she could show her animals at the county fair. I gave her a ‘mom’ answer — ‘go to class’ — and I think that finally helped. My favorite discussion, though, was ‘what are you wearing to school tomorrow?’ Some guy popped in with ‘I’m wearing a skirt.’ That got a lot of responses.” The group was created early in 2011 by the Admissions Department and promoted at events for students who had been offered admission. It was slow going at first. “We wanted students to be able to connect with each other, and we wanted a way to be able to reach out to them as they got ready to come here,” said Daniel J. Pinchot ’91 Com, ’04 M.Ed, director of enrollment. “It took a while to get people involved. The conversation really got going during FTCAP.” About 50 students were part of the group before the First-Year Testing, Consulting, and Advising

Program began in June; today, more than 120 students are active members. When students came to campus for FTCAP, they were encouraged by the peer leaders, a group of current students who help incoming freshmen with their transition, to join the group. “(The freshmen) weren’t very verbal with us during FTCAP, so they had the chance to ask us questions on Facebook, which seemed to help them open up,” sophomore peer leader Amanda Deitch said. She, along with her fellow peer leaders, went to the page to answer questions and poll the students on what they expected from their upcoming school year. Since the beginning of the fall semester, the freshmen have continued to use the Facebook group as a way to keep in touch and ask questions about campus and classes. From comforting each other on a possible failed calculus exam to finding out who else has joined the Blue and White Society, the freshmen have taken advantage of the page. Tony Pittavino of Cranberry Township admits that he doesn’t use Facebook much, but being part of the group helped him to meet a few other resident students before moving into Harmony Hall. “(Now) it feels like I can easily call this home,” he said. Pinchot said he’s glad the Facebook group has helped new students make the transition to Penn State Beaver. The Class of 2016 Facebook group has already been built, and a handful of prospective students have already joined. “We’re promoting it on all of our marketing material,” Benscoter said. “We’re really hoping to engage students as they begin to make the decision of where to go to college.” Schreck said Facebook has turned out to be a great way to communicate with students. “Obviously, Facebook isn’t going away.”

chancellor and campus and community relations, received the Value Ambridge Properties Inc. Staff Service Award. Beaver campus students presented the Outstanding Club Adviser Award to Judson Sammons, residence life coordinator and adviser for the campus 2011 THON Committee. Dr. Minhnoi Wroble Biglan, assistant professor of psychology, received the students’ Outstanding Academic Adviser Award.

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Research Award. The NOVA Chemicals Inc. Faculty Excellence in Service Award was given to Dr. Robin Bower, associate professor of Spanish. Judy Berasi, lecturer in speech communications, was honored with the ESB Bank Adjunct Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. Rebecca DeSalvo, adult and transfer admissions recruiter, received the Andrews Industrial Controls Inc. Staff Excellence Award. Renata Shaw, staff assistant, offices of the


Eight faculty and staff members were honored at last spring’s annual awards banquet. The Penn State Beaver Advisory Board presented the following awards: Dr. Cassandra Miller-Butterworth, assistant professor of biology, received the Markwest Energy Partners Faculty Excellence in Teaching Award. Dr. Clare Conry-Murray, assistant professor of psychology, received the Michael Baker Corporation Faculty Excellence in

Nittany News

Faculty and staff honored at spring awards banquet


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Penn State Beaver Nittany News




OF COURSE Beaver grad Justin Lyon thought he wanted to work with computers, but after two spring break study-abroad trips, he decided what he really wanted to do was travel the world. Matt Jones ’10 Com


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Justin Lyon plays a shopping game with young students at the English Village, helping them practice words such as “pencil” and “candy.”



Penn State Beaver Nittany News

hen Justin Lyon ’09 IST visited Penn State Beaver in September for the first time in nearly two years, his two-hour drive from Cleveland wasn’t unusual. His 20-hour flight from South Korea, on the other hand, was far from typical. The Penn State Beaver alumnus took a job teaching English in South Korea shortly after graduating in December 2009 with a degree in Information Sciences and Technology. He quickly adapted to both his new career and his new home. “I didn’t know anything about Korea before I went,” he said. Having lived there for more than a year now, Lyon said he’s learned how to fit in. The working environment and learning proper etiquette were the hardest adjustments, he said. And the language can be intimidating. “I think I’ve done well learning their language for the past year and a half,” he said. Lyon’s desire to live abroad was planted during his high school years when his family began hosting foreign exchange students. “I always had it in the back of my mind that I wanted to travel a bit,” he said.



Justin Lyon serves kimchi (fermented cabbage) for lunch to students at the English Village. Kimchi is as much a staple of the Korean diet as rice.

Making a new plan

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Penn State Beaver Nittany News



Still, as a freshman at Beaver campus Lyon knew exactly what he wanted out of college. “I was looking for an IT program, and Penn State’s IST program is unique,” Lyon said. “They have a broad range of subjects that they cover that aren’t available at other universities.” As an IST major at Penn State Beaver, Lyon wasn’t simply sitting in front of a computer all day. Each year, Dr. Kay Wijekumar, associate professor of IST, takes a group of her students on an international trip. In Lyon’s case, he went to Germany and Spain, two experiences he said furthered his desire to move abroad after graduation. Wijekumar described her former student as low-key but ambitious. At the time he was in her class, Lyon was looking into moving to Japan after completing his degree, but Wijekumar encouraged him to look at other opportunities.

Students order sandwiches and orange sodas during their cafeteria class, which helps them practice conversational English.

With Wijekumar’s advice in the back of his mind, Lyon did start looking at other opportunities. But he didn’t just shift his focus away from Japan; he shifted it away from IST. “After my internship, I realized it wasn’t the environment I wanted to be in,” he said. It didn’t take Lyon long to figure out what his next step was: become an English teacher in South Korea. Although Lyon said his mother was supportive of his decision, he had to prepare a comprehensive argument to convince his father that the move was a good idea. Eventually, Lyon’s father approved of his plan, and in March 2010, just three months after graduating from Penn State, Lyon’s plane was landing on a runway in South Korea. Lyon works for the Muju Global Education Center, a company that gives children exposure to Western culture and teaches them basic

While Lyon spends a large amount of his time teaching, he had some learning of his own to do when he arrived in his new home. That required an ability to adapt that he developed at Penn State Beaver. Dr. Chris Rizzo got to know Lyon well in his time at the Beaver campus. The director of student affairs at Beaver said Lyon has qualities that would help him adjust to his new home. “He struck me as a very open-minded guy,” Rizzo said of Lyon, who was a member of the Student Government Association. While at Beaver, Lyon was a founding member of the men’s soccer team, from its inception as an intramural club to its current status as an intercollegiate sport. “He’s always struck me as somebody who’s not afraid to take risks,” Rizzo said.

A look to the future

David D. Anderson ’79 Bus is the manager of commercial development for Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. Diane McClune ’76 H&HD is director of operations for Pittsburgh Business Group on Health and immediate past secretary of the Beaver Valley Area Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association.


Ed Bardella ’81 Eng is enrolled in the Lock Haven University Master of Public Health program at the Clearfield campus where he will receive a master’s degree as a physician assistant. In addition, he received a U.S. patent for an innovative design to route wiring harnesses that is now used in the Ford Edge. H. Scott Cunningham ’80 Bus is executive vice president, PNC Wealth Management Group, Pittsburgh.


Matthew Ciciarelli ’98 Com is senior marketing manager at Pershing LLC, a BNY Mellon company, in King of Prussia, Pa. He and his wife, Julie (Rookstool) Ciciarelli ’99 H&HD, are the parents of Aaron, 4, and Faith, 1, and live in Willow Grove, Pa. Michael Hamilton ’98 Lib is an attorney with Davies, McFarland & Carroll, Pittsburgh. Patrick McGivern ’90 Eng, ’00 M.Eng is a senior staff systems engineer at The SI Organization Inc. headquartered in Valley Forge, PA, and was the speaker at Penn State Beaver’s 2011 spring commencement. Nell Mellon ’94 Com, ’94 A&A is the owner of Otto’s Shrunken Head Tiki Bar and Lounge, New York City. The bar features a wide variety of music and offers open mic night, poetry readings, karaoke, and film screenings.


Deric Bolland ’09 IST is the information technology/network administrator at Bolland Machine; associate implementation delivery engineer at EMC; computer support technician at Pulaski Township Municipal Office; and a race crew member and volunteer at Bol-Tech Motorsports Inc. Amanda Brobeck ’08 Com is a self-

employed writer and editor in Goldsboro, N.C. John Elsman ’07 Lib is an account executive at Integra Marketing Group. He received an M.B.A. in Human Resource Management from South University in 2010. Richard Kraemer ’03 IST is a Web developer for Dollar Bank, Pittsburgh. He and his wife, Jessica, are the parents of their first child, Jackson George, who was born in April. Adele A. Majzlik ’07 Bus is a technical writer for Michael Baker Corporation, Moon Township. Derek Pettner ’09 Eng is serving as a missionary and teaching science to middleand high-school students at Glory Christian School in Heredia, Costa Rica. Keith Poleti ’06 Bus is assistant vice president and financial services manager at ESB Bank, Hopewell Township. Matthew Politylo ’07 Com, who now uses Preston as his stage name, is an actor in New York who has appeared in background and stand-in roles on TV shows, including “White Collar” and “Boardwalk Empire.” A 2010 graduate of the New York Film Academy, he is a member of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists and a member of the Actors’ Equity Association. Emily Riggs ’08 Lib recently received a master’s degree in Student Affairs in Higher Education at Slippery Rock University, where she is assistant director of transfer admissions. David G. Walker ’04 IST, a senior network engineer for Lockheed Martin, was a member of a winning team in the competition for HammerBlock DUTCH penetration testing and hacking. In addition, he visited Penn State Beaver in September to give a special presentation to IST students. He is married to Lauren (Wilharm) Walker ’04 Com.


Dustin Baxa ’10 IST is a business intelligence analyst at Bayer MaterialScience. Seth Edwards ’11 Bus is a mentor/ cluster leader for the Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh (BMLDI Program). Jennifer Hain ’10 Com is a recruiting CONTINUED ON PAGE 18

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Lyon’s teaching job is based on one-year contracts. Currently halfway through his second contract, Lyon said he plans to take at least one more when his current contract expires. “I’m pretty comfortable in Korea,” he said. Lyon’s already made friends from around the world, including people from South Africa, New Zealand, the United Kingdom, Australia, and Canada. Lyon doesn’t have any plans to sit still for too long. After his time in South Korea is finished, he said he’d like to move to Germany or Austria. With so many possibilities, Lyon still looks back at Penn State Beaver as a major influence. “Beaver provided the experiences that helped me make my decision on what I wanted to do.”



Adapting well


Penn State Beaver Nittany News

English. The center, which Lyon said is simply shortened to “the English Village,” is located in the town of Muju, about three hours south of Seoul, South Korea’s capital. Each week, Lyon and his fellow teachers get a new group of children, but the curriculum doesn’t change. “It’s an immersion camp. We’re there mostly to give them exposure to foreigners,” he said. Despite only spending a week with each group of students, Lyon gets the opportunity to share a part of his life with them. “I’ve shown my students pictures of home (in Cleveland), and it just blows their minds that we have a lake you can’t see the other side of,” he said. Lyon also teaches adult classes twice a week.



FALL 2011


Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Beaver alumnus Kim Kockler sits in her office across the street from the Pennsylvania capitol building in Harrisburg.


CAPITOL VIEW After Penn State, Kim Kockler moved to Harrisburg — ­ and never looked back Matt Jones ’10 Com Sitting in the office of Kim Kockler ’87 Lib, it’s easy to forget there’s anything special about where she works. Her building is not a skyscraper; she only has to go down six floors to get to the front door. Stepping out of the elevator, she doesn’t walk into an ornately decorated lobby. She doesn’t have to scramble past people hurriedly running to and fro through constantly revolving

glass doors. The cafe just inside the building’s entrance may be the one thing Kockler notices as she steps out onto the sidewalk — and stares straight up at the Pennsylvania Capitol. While Kockler’s office may sit in the shadow of the state’s capitol building, Kockler herself is right in the thick of things. The Penn State Beaver alumna is the vice president of government affairs for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania, a position that places her in the midst of all things health care in the state. Kockler returned to the Beaver campus to

speak at the fall 2010 commencement ceremony. And while she shared some of her experiences and success in her speech, she barely had time to scratch the surface.

Small beginnings Kockler’s journey to Harrisburg wasn’t something she expected while a student at Penn State Beaver. “I never really saw myself leaving the area, to be honest,” Kockler, a native of Monaca, said. When she walked onto campus in 1983,

To me it was ideal. I mean, this is what it was all about. This is what you learned about in political science class. And I can tell you that the way it works is nothing like what you learned in class.

Kockler thought she wanted to be an attorney. But after speaking with her adviser, Dr. Sid Elkin, Kockler changed her mind and began pursuing a political science degree. After two years at Beaver, Kockler moved to Penn State University Park. Then, after graduation, she returned to Monaca to begin job hunting. The only jobs she could find, though, were in sales, an area that wouldn’t allow her to use her degree. Ever-determined, Kockler paid a visit to then-State Representative Nick Colafella, who proposed an interesting idea to her: move to Harrisburg. Kockler was open to the idea of moving, and before long she had an interview to work in the state capitol.

A daunting prospect

An old friend While the politicians Kockler has worked with are an ever-changing group, Sen. Pat Vance is a constant. Vance, who represents Cumberland County and northern York

A lasting legacy While Kockler has found success as a lobbyist in Harrisburg, she and Vance both agree that the field has been — and in some cases still is — a challenging field for women. “I think and I hope that I’ve helped some younger lobbyists to maybe either consider lobbying or advise them in how they proceed, and serve as a sort of mentor in a way,” Kockler said. And while she wants to continue serving as a role model and mentor for others, her own story of success is far from over. “I think I’ve got one more big step in me,” Kockler said. “I love having responsibility, and I love the environment I work in, and I love health care, so I’m hoping that it involves all of those things.” Despite her success and all the challenges in the area of health care, Kockler hasn’t lost sight of why health care is so important. “Health care is anything but a black and white issue. There’s always a story and a person.”

FALL 2011

Kockler spent three years working for the House before moving over to the Senate. After spending another three years there, she took a

Kockler found success in her new position, and in 2007 she was promoted to vice president of government affairs for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania. “I actually am the first vice president of government affairs they ever had,” she said. The title was unexpected. “I certainly never thought I’d be called vice president of anything,” she said. The new position put Kockler in a unique place within the health insurance company. “Basically, the way I like to explain it is, I’m the bridge — the bridge from the company to the state or federal government.” Kockler says she enjoys her job because it ensures she’s always moving from one task to another. “I think I like that it’s always different. You know, the players are different. The legislators are different. The people you deal with are different. The issues change. It’s dealing with the whole environment.”


The work of a lobbyist

New title, same government

County, has been a part of the state’s Legislature since 1991. As the chair of the Senate’s Public Health and Welfare Committee and a former nurse, Vance’s career has been steeped in health care. Articulate, wise and energetic, Vance speaks with the assuredness her senatorial position commands, but does so with the kindness and warmth of a next-door neighbor. When Kockler walked through the door of Vance’s office, the feeling of genuine friendship between the two was palpable. “She’s always been knowledgeable and wellinformed,” Vance said. “She’s as good as any (lobbyist) I’ve worked with.” But it’s not just staying current on the health care landscape that makes Kockler so good at her job. With all of the hustle and bustle in the state capital, Vance said Kockler possesses the ability to state her case, and do it logically and succinctly. “I do value someone who tells me their points clearly and doesn’t take three hours to do it,” Vance said.

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Fresh out of college and only 22 years old, Kockler climbed the stone steps of the massive capitol building for the first time. “The day I first set foot in the capitol for my interview was the day I first set foot in the capitol,” she said. As if that weren’t intimidating enough, Kockler didn’t know anyone in Harrisburg. But the intimidation made no difference, and she was hired to work for the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. “My first assignments were writing speeches and press releases for members of the House, and it was amazing,” she said. Kockler knew she’d made the right decision in moving to Harrisburg, but she soon learned the state legislative process is much different than what she had learned about in the classroom. “To me it was ideal. I mean, this is what it was all about. This is what you learned about in political science class: how the process works, how you write legislation, what the public agenda is,” she said, laughing. “And I can tell you that the way it works is nothing like what you learned in class.”

job with a private consulting company that had a variety of clients. In working with those clients, Kockler did consulting and lobbying work in areas such as transportation and economic development. But it was health care, Kockler said, that really grabbed her interest and led her to take a job as the director of policy management for Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania in 2000. As a lobbyist for Blue Cross, Kockler did many of the same things she’d done in her previous consulting job. But instead of writing speeches, creating press releases, and organizing media events for a variety of clients, Blue Cross of Northeastern Pennsylvania was the only client she worked for. The company provides health insurance to approximately 500,000 people in 13 counties.


ALUMNI UPDATE CONTINUED FROM PAGE 15 administrator at ConsultUSA, Pittsburgh. Justin I. Harmon ’11 Bus is a private banker for J.P. Morgan, Asset Management Division, Miami, Florida. Matthew Jones ’10 Com is a freelance writer. In addition, he has written for the New Castle News and is a youth sports coach at the Beaver County YMCA and a youth soccer coach for Center Area Soccer. Jason Magnotte ’11 Bus is an Apple Certified Macintosh Technician at Apple Inc., Ross Park Mall, Pittsburgh. Lucas Morack ’11 Bus is a guest services representative at Marriott Hotel, Cranberry Township, and the founder/disc jockey of The DJ Booth. Joel Rosenstern ’11 Lib is a self-em-

ployed natural hoof care practitioner with a national reputation as a specialized trimmer for miniature horses and ponies. A resident of Beaver County, he has traveled to Kentucky, West Virginia, Ohio, and northern Pennsylvania to treat his patients. In addition, he is compiling a series of original songs and novels. Beth A. Serych ’11 Lib is enrolled in the Doctor of Pharmacy program at the Duquesne University Mylan School of Pharmacy. She is a pharmacy intern at Giant Eagle, Northern Lights Shopping Center, Baden. Maria Shamsi ’11 Bus is a management trainee at Enterprise Rent-A-Car, Cranberry Township. Stephanie Shearer ’10 Lib is an administrative assistant for Wraparound Services, Pittsburgh. Dana Sklack ’11 Com is a freelance writer and sales associate at The UPS Store, Monaca.

Justin Vorbach ’11 Bus is an admissions counselor at Penn State New Kensington. He is founder and designer of Justin Anthony Graphic Art & Design.

Alumni Board members

The following Beaver alumni are new members of the Board of Directors for the Beaver Valley Area Chapter of the Penn State Alumni Association: Nick DeSalle ’90 Edu is a science teacher in the Hopewell School District. Evelyn Kurianowicz ’76 H&HD is supervisor of Customer Service Operations for Coventry Healthcare, Moon Township. Julia McDowell, PHR, ’04 Bus is a talent specialist for Thermo Fisher Scientific. Andrew Selby ’06 Bus is CFO, Becker Enterprises Inc., which owns Center Stage, an all-occasion rental hall, and Bowsers Restaurant, both located in Monaca.

Wellness Center project continues; gym done

FALL 2011


Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Julie Leeper, Senior Com


While the new Wellness Center construction continues to progress, updates to the existing gym have been completed. During the summer phase of the gym’s renovations, two major updates were completed before classes resumed in August. The existing main entrance now serves as a concession and ticket area and will be used strictly as an event entrance after the completion of the new Wellness Center, according to Chancellor Gary Keefer. The second big improvement was the complete redesign of the restroom facilities. The renovation includes environmentally conscious elements such as low-flow water fixtures. Director of Finance and Business Luke Taiclet ’82 ’83 Lib, ’85 M.Ed said that prior to a renovation, an analysis based on usage and cost is conducted to see if an opportunity exists to make sustainable upgrades. In a similar fashion, the design of the new Wellness Center also incorporates green elements and will provide the campus with an improved facility. The east-facing glass wall, a design element that is typically a challenge in terms of energy


Heavy equipment and construction workers have been a common site on campus as work continues on the Wellness Center project.

Watch the construction project as it unfolds. Check out our Wellness Center webcam at:

conservation, will feature strategically designed louvers as part of the architecture, Keefer said. Taiclet further explained that the building’s design is intended to minimize cooling energy

in the summer and take advantage of the internal brick walls’ ability to moderate heat in the winter. While the building is not Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) certified, “They are making the building as green as economically possible,” said Dr. Matthew Grunstra, assistant professor of earth and mineral sciences. Weather permitting, Keefer anticipates the Wellness Center will be completed by the end of spring 2012.


Your gift counts, no matter the size Two new endowments have been established recently at Penn State Beaver. Through these gifts, our annual gifts, and other donors, we’ve received almost $2 million as part of “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.” Beaver’s goal is $3 million, which we plan to reach by the close of the campaign in 2014. In honor of his parents, David D. Anderson ’79 Bus has established the David G. and Ruth I. Anderson Endowment. This scholarship will be awarded to students in all academic disciplines if they meet the academic criteria. The endowment is David’s way of giving back to Beaver campus, where he began his Penn State education.

Sometimes people tell me they’re concerned that the size of their gift won’t impact our campus. In reality, the opposite is true. Every cent we receive for Beaver campus stays here to provide support for our students, faculty, staff, and our community.

In addition, the Penn State Alumni and Friends Trustee Endowed Scholarship was announced and will be awarded only to students from Beaver County. The scholarship’s founders are John P. O’Leary, David E. Sebastian ’69 H&HD, and George W. Brett III ’73 Sci. The group

hopes to encourage growth of this endowment through gifts received from community leaders and Penn State alumni living in Beaver County. I often hear people say they’d like to make a gift now, but it wouldn’t be as large as one made through an estate plan. While current support is vital to us, we also appreciate those who plan for the future of the campus, which is why there’s information about planned giving below. Sometimes people tell me they’re concerned that the size of their gift won’t impact our campus. In reality, the opposite is true. Every cent we receive for Beaver campus stays here to provide support for our students, faculty, staff, and our community. Gifts of all sizes are important, and I want to assure you that your support will make the difference in the lives of our students and our community. Thank you for your past and future support!

Blue and White forever…

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

You’ve worked a lifetime to create financial security for yourself and your family. Now you can share that legacy with Penn State through your will or living trust. Whether you choose to direct your support to scholarships or research, or faculty and program support, your bequest will be an enduring expression of your passions and values. Our Gift Planning team can work with you and your attorney to ensure that your intentions are fulfilled and that your estate receives the full tax benefits of your gift. To learn more about these opportunities, please contact: Tom Parrish Gift Planning Officer Office of Gift Planning 888-800-9170

| FALL 2011

Diana Patterson Director of Development Penn State Beaver 724-773-3558

19 GP ad_Beaver_half_B&W_will.indd 1

9/19/11 1:19 PM

FALL 2011


Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Bistro adds Starbucks to new features


The Brodhead Bistro is no longer a bland college cafeteria thanks to the addition of Starbucks, increased sustainability efforts, and a complete overhaul of the facility’s design. “This renovation gets us closer to what other state-of-the-art universities look like,” said Jeremy Lindner ’99 H&HD, ’00 Bus, director of housing and food services. The University had been looking to switch coffee vendors once its contract with Seattle’s Best Coffee expired, Linder said, and student interest helped push Starbucks to the forefront. “The addition of the Starbucks is a nice change and really gives the feeling of a larger campus,” said senior James Barum. Barista Krista Kane, a senior criminal justice major, agreed. “Everyone likes Starbucks,” she said, “and it’s a positive element for potential students.” Other noticeable changes are aligned with campus-wide sustainability efforts. Disposable place settings have been replaced with reusable, durable plates and utensils, and recycling receptacles have been set up near the exits. Though not noticeable to students, the Office of Housing and Food Services also invested in a new gas-powered boiler to replace the existing unit from 1965. It is drastically smaller and more energy efficient and will produce significant energy savings, Lindner said. To complement the investment in updating the Bistro, the physical design has been streamlined. Previously unused space now houses open-faced beverage coolers and a new wall of convenience items. Lindner said he had been pushing for these changes for several years and, with the help of a food services architect and the collaborative work of the Bistro staff, the undertaking has resulted in a positive change. ­— Julie Leeper



Junior Kaela Martin fills a reusable water bottle at a hydration station in the Student Union Building. The filtered water station is part of the campus’s green initiative.

Campus embraces efforts to be environmentally aware Julie Leeper, Senior Com

The campus is having some work done, and it’s a makeover of the “green” type. A campus-wide movement to make Penn State Beaver more sustainable is underway by promoting recycling, decreasing waste, and conserving energy. Last summer the campus formed a Green Team led by Dr. Matthew Grunstra, assistant professor of earth and mineral sciences. “The group is a committee of faculty, staff, and students dedicated to looking for ways to incorporate suitable concepts to campus life,” he said. Their mission is to look at on-campus initiatives to make Penn State Beaver’s eco-footprint smaller, Grunstra said. Luke Taiclet ’82 ’83 Lib, ’85 M.Ed, director of finance and business, explained that a contract with ABITIBI, a paper retriever program, enables the campus to recycle paper and other comingled recyclables. As an added incentive, the company’s EcoRewards program gives Beaver an opportunity to generate profit. Another change is the installation of hydra-

tion stations. These innovative successors of traditional water fountains offer a convenient way to refill water bottles, which helps in reducing campus waste. Students love the new option. “I use it daily,” sophomore Danielle Fullwood said. “I think it’s one of the best things Beaver has ever done.” Four stations have been installed, and three more are expected. To date, the stations have saved waste from more than 8,300 plastic bottles. Energy conservation remains a key part of the sustainability effort. Taiclet said Beaver has invested about $1.5 million in a Guaranteed Energy Savings Program (GESP) along with other improvements. High-efficiency lighting controlled by sound and motion sensors has been added to most buildings, low-flow water fixtures have been installed, and alternative fuel sources are being utilized. The campus has saved between 20 and 25 percent per year in utility costs since the base year (2007-2008), according to Taiclet. The core theme of sustainability prevails in all updates and changes. “Every renovation has a green component,” Taiclet said.







NEW ON CAMPUS J. Parker Goolsby was appointed residence life coordinator in August. Previously he was resident director at George Mason University. He holds a master’s degree in student affairs in higher education from Slippery Rock University and a bachelor’s degree in political science from Austin Peay State University. Barbara Kugel was named campus health services nurse in August. She has served as a school nurse throughout the region. She holds a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Carlow University, a school nurse certification from Slippery Rock University, and an associate degree in nursing from Thomas Nelson Community College, Virginia. LaVarr McBride was appointed instructor in administration of justice at Penn State Beaver, Penn State New Kensington, and Penn State Shenango. In addition to teaching at each

campus, he will serve as program coordinator and internship supervisor. He was an assistant professor and program director of criminal justice at Weber State University. He holds a master’s degree in sociology from Utah State University and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice from Weber State University. Dr. Neha Pandit is a regional instructor in psychology. She teaches psychology courses and provides internship supervision for Penn State Beaver, Penn State New Kensington, and Penn State Greater Allegheny. She was an assistant professor and counselor at Georgian Court University and an associate professor and course leader in psychology at London Metropolitan University. Pandit received a Ph.D. in counseling psychology from Temple University. She holds a master’s degree in community counseling and a bachelor’s degree in sociology/crimi-

nal justice from George Washington University. Nick Pentz was named computer systems specialist. Previously, he was an IT/Telecom analyst for EDMC and a customer service representative for Highmark. He received a bachelor’s degree in communication with an emphasis on emerging technology and multimedia from Slippery Rock University. Jill M. Tress is the learning center and disabilities coordinator. She worked at Carlow University for more than 20 years as an instructor, learning skills specialist, and adult program coordinator. Tress received a master’s degree in creative writing from Carlow University, a master’s degree in English from Slippery Rock University, a bachelor’s degree in English and philosophy from Mount Holyoke College, and a Pennsylvania Teaching Certificate in secondary English from Geneva College.

to raise $3 million by 2014. He has been a playwright in his free time and is currently writing a play about Pittsburgh steelworkers. His work has been read and produced in Pittsburgh, and he was a member of the Pittsburgh Public Theatre Playwrights. Luce holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Geneva College. In her role on campus, McDanel was an advocate of quality health care as well as support and guidance for students with disabilities. She offered a variety of health care educational events for the campus community, including the annual Health Fair, which enabled students, staff, and faculty to meet with experienced health care providers on campus. She was known for her holistic approach to nursing and, over the years, was frequently recognized for her development of training sessions, workshops, clinics, and outreach

programs designed to emphasize maintaining good health as part of daily life. In addition to her work on campus, McDanel was a member of the Board of Directors for Family Services of Beaver County and the Executive Women’s Council of Beaver County. She volunteers for the McGuire Memorial Home, Girl Scouts, and the YMCA. Because of her outreach on and off campus, McDanel received the 1999 Penn State Beaver Advisory Board Staff Excellence Award and the Penn State Commission for Women’s Achieving Woman Award in 2002. She plans to write more, increase her volunteer outreach in the community, and spend time with her husband, grandchildren, and family. McDanel earned a master’s degree in health education and a bachelor’s degree in nursing from Carlow University.

RETIREMENTS Penn State Beaver Nittany News | FALL 2011

Two longtime staff members retired from Penn State Beaver in May. James B. Luce, media consultant II and senior instructional services specialist, began working as an instructional services assistant in 1975. Barbara McDanel, campus nurse and disabilities liaison, joined the campus in 1995. Over the years, Luce’s position covered a variety of responsibilities, including oversight of instructional media, video conferencing, and scheduling; implementation of student evaluations; and scheduling on-campus meetings and conferences for internal and external groups. He was the campus representative for the United Way of Beaver County for nine years and a founding member of the Technology Users Subcommittee. Luce will remain an active member of the Penn State Beaver Campaign Steering Committee, which hopes


AD Kirschner receives national honor


Penn State Beaver Athletic Director Andy Kirschner ’08 M.Ed was recently named Athletic Director of the Year by the United States Collegiate Athletic Association (USCAA). The honor was announced at the USCAA’s national convention in Norfolk,Va., in June. Kirschner, who was also appointed to the USCAA board of directors, was chosen out of 75 eligible athletic directors.

FALL 2011


Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Interim women’s basketball coach named


Women’s basketball Assistant Coach Tim Moore has been named interim head coach for the 2011-12 season. Moore, who has been an assistant with the team for the past three years, replaces MOORE Bert DeSalvo, who recently accepted a position as assistant coach for Clarion University’s women’s basketball team, an NCAA Division II program. In his four years at Beaver, DeSalvo’s record was 96-26, and his team won three PSUAC championships. In addition, DeSalvo took his team to the USCAA National Tournament for four consecutive years, finishing second in the nation this past March. DeSalvo resurrected the women’s basketball program at Beaver after an absence of more than 20 years. Prior to coaching, Moore was a successful collegiate athlete and served as team captain for the Penn State Beaver men’s basketball team under then-Coach Ken Fusina. As a sophomore, he received the Robert J. Miklos Memorial Award for leadership and accomplishments on and off the court. Moore began coaching in 2002 at his alma mater, Freedom Area High School, where he was assistant coach for the boys’ varsity team. In 2003 he became assistant coach for the girls’ varsity basketball team at the former Mo-

John Fritz, commissioner of the Penn State University Athletic Conference (PSUAC), presented Kirschner with the award, saying his hard work and positive thinking have elevated the USCAA. “In addition to his achievements as the Beaver campus athletic director, (Kirschner) serves on a variety of committees, directs some of the most successful athletic championships, developed and maintains the

PSUAC and Beaver campus athletic websites, and is coach of one of the consistently top softball teams,” Fritz said. “Andy is a credit to Penn State Beaver as well as the PSUAC and the USCAA, and we thank him for making us Penn State proud.” As the Lady Lions softball coach, Kirschner took his team to fifth place at the USCAA National Tournament in May.

naca High School, where he helped lead his team to three WPIAL playoff appearances, one PIAA state playoff appearance, and a section title in 2006. Later he became head coach, leading the team to two consecutive WPIAL appearances with an overall record of 18-27 and a section record of 15-9. The Lady Lions will start the 2011-12 season at the Chatham University Tip-Off Tournament Nov. 18.

Softball team takes fifth place in the nation

Men’s basketball team begins play after national success

Women’s soccer winless again


After placing third in the nation last March, the men’s basketball team will begin the 201112 season Nov. 14 at Penn Highlands Community College. Coach Marcess Williams is in his seventh season, with a career record of 93-78.

Penn State Beaver’s softball team finished last season on a high note. The women took fifth place in the USCAA National Tournament, defeating the No. 6 seed Penn State Mont Alto by a score of 9-1. The team had an almost spotless record in the PSUAC, losing just two of its 16 games. The Lady Lions finished the season with an overall 23-13 record. The team will begin its season on March 17 at St. Vincent College.

It’s been another tough season for the Penn State Beaver women’s soccer team. The team failed to win a game in its inaugural year, and its sophomore season has seen more of the same. The team has scored just five goals in 15 consecutive losses.

KNOW THE SCORE Stay up to date on Penn State Beaver varsity sports with schedules, scores, game coverage and stats on our new Athletics website.



Sophomores Wesley Mummert, left, and Dylan Winkle recover from a practice bout while volunteer assistant wrestling coach Chad Jodikinos, in yellow, gives freshman Bob Tempalski a workout. The wrestling team will start its inaugural season in November.

Wrestlers hit the mat for first season previously coached at Hopewell Area High School. Only two other teams in the PSUAC — Penn State Fayette and Penn College of Technology — have wrestling teams. Other Beaver opponents will include Washington and Jefferson College, Ursinus College, Waynesburg University, and Gettysburg College.

Volleyball team ends season in first round of playoffs

ent weather brought the game to a halt, ending in a 5-5 tie. The tie meant that Beaver finished its season with the odd-looking record of 11-18-1. Yet despite not qualifying for the USCAA National Tournament, the team finished with an 11-8-1 record in the PSUAC, meaning a third-place finish in the regular season. The team will open the 2012 season March 14 at Point Park University.

Penn State Beaver’s baseball team did something last season that isn’t too common: they tied a game. During their second game against Penn State Wilkes-Barre on April 18, inclem-

It hasn’t been an easy season for the Penn State Beaver men’s soccer team. With just two wins in 16 games, the season hasn’t gone according to plan for Coach Dan Grant. But with several playoff runs made in the last few seasons, the team is hoping they can prepare for next season and get back into the mix.

­— Dana Sklack ’11 Com

FALL 2011

Baseball takes third in PSU conference

Losing season keeps men’s soccer out of the playoffs


Penn State Beaver’s women’s volleyball team ended the 2011 season in the first round of the PSUAC tournament, losing 3-0 to Penn State Wilkes-Barre. After a slow start to the season, losing four consecutive matches, the team came back strong with wins against La Roche College, Penn State DuBois, and Penn State Greater Allegheny, earning a place in the PSUAC Elite 8. The team ended the season 11-13 overall, 10-7 in the conference.

Penn State Beaver Nittany News

Ten student athletes are representing Penn State Beaver in the inaugural season of varsity wrestling. Led by Coach Jeff Winkle, most of the players are former high school wrestlers excited about the opportunity to continue their sport in college. “We have a good core nucleus of wrestlers participating this season,” said Winkle, who

I dreamt of working in a zoo,” she said. “I have a passion for animals.” In addition to her penguin duties, Green helped feed the freshwater fish, tested water quality, and helped train a tiger shark to hit a target with its nose. She even got to swim with cownose rays. Throughout the summer Green gave behind-the-scenes tours to family and friends. “I was told that friends were encouraged to come because that way I could brag about my cool job,” Green said. The high point of the visit for friends was getting to interact with the penguins in a holding room behind the exhibit. Green often brought in Mickey or one of the aquarium’s other friendly penguins to meet her friends. Green was one of 12 unpaid interns in the aquarium and the Water’s Edge areas of the zoo. About 70 people applied for the position. According to Kathy Wozniak, who oversees hiring interns for the aquarium and Water’s Edge, Green was persistent, and while she wasn’t majoring in animal science, she showed a strong love of animals. “That’s how I was in high school and college,” Wozniak said. “I got the opportunity, so I wanted to give others the opportunity.” Wozniak said that Green had many jobs and learned them quickly. Though Green’s internship is over, she decided to stay on to volunteer twice a month. “My favorite part was learning more about penguins and realizing how dog-like they are. They love to follow you around,” Green said. “My favorite part wasn’t being bit in the face by a baby penguin.” Green’s goal is to get a job working at a zoo after graduation, and she’s hoping her time at the zoo will help. “I always pictured myself working with animals,” Green said. “I love animals more than I love people sometimes.”


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my Green, senior communications major, grinned as she sat on a man-made rock in a frigid room cuddling her new friend, a macaroni penguin named Mickey. “I just love spending time with them,” Green said as dozens of visitors to the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium snapped pictures of her through the glass of the penguin exhibit. Cuddling the penguins wasn’t actually part of her internship responsibilities this past summer at

the aquarium. Rather, it was one of the perks. Green, dressed most days in khaki shorts and a blue shirt with the zoo’s logo, was responsible for cleaning up and helping out at the aquarium, but one of the highlights was feeding and bathing the penguins. A self-professed animal lover, Green said her internship was a dream come true. “Ever since I was a little child, CONTINUED ON PAGE 23


Senior Amy Green, left, plays with penguins at the Pittsburgh Zoo and PPG Aquarium during her summer internship. Above, Green and fellow intern Laura Knecht from the University of Findlay clean algae off a baby sea turtle.

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