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Fall Two Thousand Nineteen

Contents Dean

Dean’s Message . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1



Longtime friends of the College fund new scholarship, honor assistant dean . . . . . . . . . 2


Office of Multicultural Programs . . . . . . . . . . . . . 3

Kimberly Lawless Annemarie Mountz Brynn Boehler, Jim Carlson, Annemarie Mountz Jim Carlson, Annemarie Mountz

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247 Chambers Building University Park, PA 16802-3206 814-863-2216 • Published twice a year by the Penn State College of Education

College of Education Alumni Society Officers

President: Pamela Peter President-elect: Joe Clapper Immediate past president: Tonnie DeVecchis-Kerr Secretary: Douglas Womelsdorf

Directors Nicole Birkbeck John Czerniakowski Kiley Foley Pamela Francis Kaela Fuentes-Packnick Shubha Kashyap Jonathan Klingeman Jonathan Lozano

Amy Meisinger John Rozzo Sharon Salter Bethany Shawver Cathy Tomon Lawrence Wess Jeannene Willow Sharlene Yontosh

Student Members Undergraduate: Sydney Chiat Hannah Chisler

Graduate: Ashwin Mohan

Schmidt’s dedication to students is the hallmark of her long career . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4 Experiences as students lead to lasting connections for alumni . . . . . . . . . . . . . 5 Program endowment funding enables students to focus on helping others . . . . . . . . . . . 8 College welcomes new director of Development and Alumni Relations . . . . . . . . . 9 Golden Lions have fond memories of their college days . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Personalized learning in College of Education the highlight of Muñiz’s Penn State experience . 12 Beating the odds, Education freshman is ready to make his mark on the world . . . . . . . 14 New endowments, scholarships and awards established in the College of Education . . . . . . . 15 Penn State breaks fundraising record for second straight year . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 New faculty appointments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17

The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to the Affirmative Action Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 16802-5901, Email:, Tel (814) 863-0471. U.Ed EDU 20-10

Secretary of Education shares reasons teaching became his calling . . . . . . . . . 18 Message from the co-chairs of the Dean’s Development Council . . . . . . . . . . 21 On the cover: María Schmidt, assistant dean for Multicultural Programs, takes an interest in every student who walks into the Multicultural Office. Longtime donors John and Maryann Gilmartin have recognized the work she and her team do by creating an endowment in her name. See story on page 2. (Photo by Annemarie Mountz)

Dean’s Message As I begin my tenure as the dean of the College of Education, I want to take a moment to reflect on the powerful opportunities presented by new beginnings. This fall, new beginnings for me are about more than my new career phase. They also include the move to State College from Chicago, a new home and becoming an empty-nester as my youngest started freshman year here at Penn State. While new beginnings can signal an end to what came prior, they also bring with them the hope that anything is possible. When this hope is met with intentionality, planning and action, greatness follows. This is an incredibly exciting time for the College and the University as a whole – and I am blessed to be a part of it with you all. I am sure that many of you are wondering what lies ahead for the College, what new initiatives are on the horizon and what Dean Kim Lawless changes will result from the change in leadership. While I do have some initial thoughts and plans, what I am engaging in right now is a listening and learning tour to understand the College and learn its values as an aggregate body of dedicated educational professionals, students and alumni. What is clear to me across these initial learning and listening opportunities, is that the College of Education is an amazingly vibrant and dedicated community of scholars, students and staff focused on the betterment of our society through education. To help with this process, I am really interested in hearing from you – your thoughts, your ideas, and your affinity for the College that continues to fuel your engagement. What can we do – together – in the next year and beyond to develop powerful ideas and translate them into consequential action through our teaching, research and outreach? Please feel free to send your comments to The information gleaned from this listening and learning tour, combined with other internal and external data, will help us to not only know who we are, but also allow us all to think about who we will be. It is said that while change is scary, what is scarier is failing to take the first step. As we embark together on this exciting journey, I very much look forward to taking those first steps with you to ensure we have the best College we can possibly envision. I am grateful to have this opportunity to collaborate with, and learn from, all of you.

Penn State Education


Longtime friends of the College fund new scholarship, honor assistant dean By Annemarie Mountz

Longtime friends of the Penn State College of Education, John and Maryann Gilmartin, have committed $600,000 to the College. The gift will endow a $500,000 Open Doors Scholarship and establish the $100,000 María J. Schmidt Endowed Program Fund, named for the current assistant dean for Multicultural Programs in the College of Education.

Photo by Annemarie Mountz

The endowment from the Gilmartins may be used to support professional learning opportunities in the College, including programs such as the Teaching Tolerance Workshop held this past spring through the Office of Multicultural Programs.

The endowment is intended to support multicultural programs in the College, including the Summer College Opportunity Program in Education (S.C.O.P.E.) and the D.C. Social Justice Fellowship course, as well as other initiatives that further the College’s commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Funds will be used to cover the expenses associated with travel, conference attendance and registration fees, supplies and materials, and other general operating expenses of the programs.

“I’m honored beyond words,” said Schmidt. “This gift from John and Maryann Gilmartin is one of the most meaningful forms of validation and recognition, personal and professional, I have ever received. It recognizes not only my work, but the work and passion of the Multicultural Programs team.” Schmidt said proceeds from the 2

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endowment will help in sustaining programmatic efforts in the Office of Multicultural Programs. “We will be able to provide further academic support and increase access and opportunities for professional development to underserved students in the College. It also will assist in providing professional learning opportunities to the College of Education community at large,” Schmidt said. “This is fantastic news,” said Divine Lipscomb, an undergraduate student in rehabilitation and human services and special projects coordinator for the Restorative Justice Initiative in the College. The initiative is a University-wide coalition of faculty members, graduate students, staff and

community groups dedicated to restoring and empowering individuals who are incarcerated, through education and meaningful engagement in civic life. “I think this endowment is a testament to the commitment Dean Schmidt has made to students in the College of Education, and particularly students of color,” Lipscomb said. Lipscomb has overcome a number of challenges in the pursuit of his education. “In the midst of my most difficult financial situation here at Penn State, Dean Schmidt utilized all the resources at her

disposal to ensure that I was able to continue my education,” he said. Those resources include the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship; the Joan and David Cotterill Open Doors Scholarship; and the Floyd B. Fischer Scholarship in the College of Education. “The fact that it is the Gilmartins who have bestowed this honor on Dean Schmidt infuses me with a deeper appreciation for their unwavering pledge to make education accessible to individuals that can relate to some of my most salient identities.” Schmidt and Dean Kimberly Lawless agree that the endowment not only recognizes the work of the office, but also highlights its educational equity and social justice efforts as a priority that needs continuous and permanent resources to truly create long-term change. “The Gilmartins have been very significant supporters of diversity, equity and inclusion efforts in the College of Education for a long time, and we are tremendously grateful for their support of this extremely critical work,” said Lawless. “This most recent gift will help to ensure that our Photo: Annemarie Mountz students will have the Students often can be found in the Office of Multicultural Programs, support they studying, socializing and relaxing. need while they are here, and also that they will leave Penn State with a much greater understanding of the diverse world they need to navigate upon graduation.” Schmidt said, “For many students, having scholarship support has been the difference between going or not going to College, graduating or not graduating from college. Period.”

Office of Multicultural Programs The Office of Multicultural Programs is a unit under the Office of the Dean in the College of Education. The office serves a broad clientele and performs a multitude of roles in its goal of creating an inclusive learning and working environment. The mission of the Office of Multicultural Programs in the College of Education is to facilitate the development of an infrastructure and climate that promotes and values the principles of social justice, equity and inclusion; infuses diversity across the curriculum and student experiences; facilitates access to post-secondary opportunities; supports the advancement of outstanding under-represented educators; and works toward the greater diversification of the education profession.

The Office of Multicultural Programs aims to: • Promote a sense of community and improve the quality of life for all education students in general and underrepresented/underserved students. •

Foster equity and inclusion by creating educational opportunities, raising awareness and developing strategies and tools to enhance intercultural, racial/ethnic competence. • Promote inclusive excellence by working to ensure equitable access to opportunities, benefits and resources for all students and College of Education community members.

• Collaborate in the construct of institutional values that are responsive to the core principles of Penn State’s Fostering and Embracing a Diverse World — Strategic Plan 2016-2020 (Diversity, Inclusion and Social Justice). • Provide leadership for the College’s initiatives to enhance the intercultural competence of faculty, staff and students. • Nurture individual and group growth among the College of Education community by advancing students, faculty and staff learning through programs and experiences that integrate self-awareness, multicultural and intercultural communication, and social justice education. Penn State Education


Schmidt’s dedication to students is the hallmark of her long career By Annemarie Mountz A native of Puerto Rico and a longtime resident of Pennsylvania, María Schmidt has dedicated her life to addressing issues of educational equity and college access for under-represented students. “I have always been very passionate about issues of equity and social justice,” said Schmidt, assistant dean for Multicultural Programs in the College of Education. Throughout her professional career at Penn State, she has always put the needs of her students at the forefront. And it’s seeing students succeed that keeps her going. “Throughout the years, I worked with many students coming from difficult life experiences and underserved due to inequities in our education system. Students who were not validated as learners and usually heard they were not ‘college material.’ Still, against all odds, they earn their admission to Penn State, work hard, graduate and go on to successful careers and to impact their communities in meaningful ways. It may sound cliché, but that’s why I’m still here,” Schmidt said. “That’s the truth. It inspires me when I see people not give


up even under the most difficult circumstances. That endurance! I’ve been lucky to witness that strength in many of our students.” During her time at Penn State, Schmidt has exercised several leadership positions such as chair for the Commission on Racial/ Ethnic Diversity and was awarded the 2005 Dr. James Robinson Equal Opportunity Award in recognition of her commitment and leadership in fostering diversity and her service to under-represented communities. Schmidt frequently serves as consultant and advocate on Latina/o issues and engages in a variety of speaking, teaching and translating activities for community and University endeavors. She is adviser to several student organizations at Penn State and one of the founders of “Mujeres Bellas,” a sociocultural group of Latinas in Centre County. Schmidt holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology with a minor in political science from the University of Puerto Rico (Río Piedras), and an M.Ed. in curriculum & instruction from Penn State. Schmidt was appointed to the Pennsylvania Governor’s Commission on Latino Affairs

in 2006, where she served for several years as commissioner representing Blair and Centre Counties. Knowing she is making a difference in students’ lives is what keeps Schmidt going. “I would never see myself doing a job that doesn’t have a meaning beyond receiving a paycheck at the end of the month,” she said. “I actually wouldn’t be here if this was not the kind of role I was playing. I don’t see myself holding positions that do not entail working with students; that are not addressing or helping the system transform itself to become more welcoming, more inclusive and accessible to those populations who traditionally have been dismissed or marginalized.” She continued, “It’s not only that I’m here for so long, but it’s the nature of the work that I’ve been doing. I just don’t see myself doing any other job within the institution.”

Lipscomb commented, “As a recipient of both the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship and an Open Doors Scholarship, I cannot begin to express the level of gratitude I have for the Gilmartins.”

In 2018-19, the College of Education awarded more than $1.6 million to 345 students from 190 individual scholarship funds. The average individual award amount was $3,500.

He continued, “I am able to pursue an elite education at an elite institution largely due to the contributions made by donors like the Gilmartins and the dedication, passion and tireless service of legendary educators like Dean Schmidt. It is undoubtedly an honor and a privilege to have Dean Schmidt and the Gilmartins rooting for your success.”

This latest scholarship from the Gilmartins, along with other scholarships formed in this past year, will increase that amount and enable the College to increase support to its students. For a list of new endowments, scholarships and awards established in the College of Education, see page 15.

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Experiences as students lead to lasting connections for alumni By Jim Carlson the schools all the time. I always found a niche to volunteer in the school that my kids were in and doing something in the educational aspect. I felt connected to the University.” She is still volunteering at The Heritage School in Newnan, Georgia, a private pre-K to 12thgrade school.

Eighty-one-year-old Ellen Winston graduated from the College of Education in 1960 and has felt connected ever since. “I just believe that it’s a great university and how it helped me,” said Winston, who lives about 30 miles southwest of Atlanta. “It made me the person I think I became. It helped me to mature and when I was on campus, I was very, very active on campus. I was counseling freshmen women when I was a junior; I did that for the Dean of Women.” Winston was on campus in September and took a tour of the College of Education facilities with Education Student Council member Sarah Losco. “She was fabulous; I know she’s applying for a fellowship and I just thought she was a wonderful person,” Winston said. “She could tell me about the College of Education and what was happening. Good personality. I was very pleased to meet her. It gives you hope. I don’t have any grandchildren and I’m not too familiar with young people today, but it gives me hope with who she was.” Losco, a junior majoring in secondary English education, used scholarship funding she received through unrestricted gifts to participate in the Teaching English as a Second Language (TESL) Immersion Program in Ecuador. “It helped me to realize that the field of TESL encompasses many of the things that I am passionate about including teaching, advocacy and current events,” Losco said. “The program has inspired

Ellen Winston

me to go into TESL, and maybe even teach abroad. Without the support of the College of Education, I wouldn’t have been able to participate, and I could not be more grateful for the chance to experience this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” Winston is the only Penn Stater in her family. Her late husband graduated from Virginia Tech, her daughter from Georgia Tech and her son from the University of North Carolina-Asheville. While she did earn a teaching degree, she ended up teaching for only 3½ years because her husband was a Chevron executive who was asked to move to a new city every two to four years, she explained. “I didn’t teach long but I really felt connected to the University ever since graduating,” Winston said. “Once you’re a teacher, it kind of stays in your blood. I would have taught more school if we didn’t move like we did. “It was so important as to how it formed my career and my going forward. I volunteered in

While living at Hilton Head, Winston met former College of Education Dean David Monk at a 1999 alumni event and stayed active ever since. “I’m pro Penn State,” she said. “I wanted to contribute a little bit. I think I gave more time than money talking about Penn State and maybe talking to students who were planning to go there. That’s what I would try to do.” It was unrestricted giving such as Winston’s that enabled Taylor Young to travel to Ecuador. Like Losco, Young is a secondary English major, and she was grateful for the financial assistance. “This experience wouldn’t have been possible for me without the generous support from College of Education donors,” said Young, who is from the suburban Philadelphia town of Lansdale. “Spending five weeks in Ecuador proved to be an incredibly rich learning experience, since I had the opportunity to engage in the program’s classes and teaching practicum, live with a host family, take a class in Kichwa at La Universidad de Cuenca, visit different parts of Ecuador, and learn from so many people.” While Losco and Young used funding to head to Ecuador, Kelly Hyland was able to go to Ireland and Devon Preston traveled to Florence, Italy. Penn State Education


Photos: Provided by Kelly Hyland, Devon Preston

Because they received Education Future Funds, College of Education students Kelly Hyland, left, and Devon Preston were able to study in Ireland and Italy, respectively.

“Traveling to Ireland to study the intersection of culture and disability has left a huge impact on me not only as a future educator but also as a person,” said Hyland, an elementary and early childhood education major. “After visiting different sites and attending the 2019 National University of Ireland Summer Disability School, I now realize that at the end of the day, no matter who you are, we all want the same things and those are opportunities, choices and a sense of belonging within society.

“I am truly grateful for this opportunity to travel to Ireland and gain a better sense of the world around me. Thank you for providing me with this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hyland said.

Italian history, education, family relationships and family businesses, but I was also able to discover more about myself, my passions and my love for travel.

Preston, a middle-level education English major, studied in Florence through the Human Development and Family Studies program. “It allowed me to be immersed in the unique and beautiful culture of Italy,” she said.

“This trip has given me a new and unique Italian educational perspective that I can access when I become a teacher one day. Thank you, donors, for granting me an entirely new world of knowledge, lifelong memories and many new friends,” Preston said.

“Not only was I able to — through firsthand experiences — further my knowledge of

All of these students were able to enrich their educations because of the latitude the College has

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Unrestricted gifts to the Education Future Fund can be used for whatever the greatest needs of the College are. In this case, scholarship funds enabled students such as Taylor Young and Sarah Losco to participate in the Teaching English as a Second Language Immersion Program in Ecuador.

Photos: Provided by College of Education

“Thank you, donors, for granting me an entirely new world of knowledge, lifelong memories and many new friends.”

~ Devon Preston

in awarding financial assistance through the Education Future Fund. The people who receive those funds that aren’t specifically designated typically can’t thank the donors enough. And the people who provide that financial generosity talk about a lifelong connection to and affinity formed with Penn State. Donors who designate their charitable contributions to the Education Future Fund can help the journey to earning a degree — from studying abroad to affording tuition — become significantly less stressful for College of Education students. “Unrestricted gifts come in and that’s just it, there are no restrictions on them,” said

Jenn Moore, assistant director of stewardship, alumni and development in Penn State’s College of Education. “Dean (Kimberly) Lawless can put those gifts toward scholarships, use them for program expenses, or to address whatever the greatest needs of the College might be at the time.” And many times, Moore said, that funding is the difference that allows students to take advantage of study abroad experiences, or in students’ abilities to finish their student teaching in order to earn their degree. “Unrestricted gifts can make all the difference,” she said. “Unrestricted gifts, such as those made to Future Funds or our College’s general scholarship, have the potential to be awarded

as tuition support to any student: students can be full-time, half-time or part-time and they don’t have to have a particular GPA or a specific level of financial need,” Moore said. “If the scholarship committee determines that a student has a legitimate need, we can award them support from unrestricted funds.” Scholarships generated by unrestricted giving of up to $4,000 are also available for short-term teaching abroad. These funds further support the Ecuador Immersion Program in addition to aiding the Family Literacy Certificate scholarship program, the Alumni Student Teacher Network and even graduate assistantships, according to Moore. “They are the most flexible dollars that the College has at its disposal,” she said. Penn State Education


Program endowment funding enables students to focus on helping others


By Brynn Boehler

ne of the longest-accredited doctoral school psychology programs in the country, Penn State’s School Psychology Program trains students to become scientist-practitioners with interdisciplinary coursework across the fields of psychology and education. The majority of the program’s graduates work as professional school psychologists in schools or community settings; however, a significant number also work in higher education as faculty who train the next generation of professionals and engage in research to address problems that many children encounter in schools today. Funds from a program-specific endowment enable the program to support its students during “critical junctures” in their academic pursuits. These critical junctures typically occur in the second and fourth years in the program, as students are completing their master’s degree projects and dissertations. School psychology aims to assist students during these demanding times, showing them that they are valued members of the program and affirming their significant efforts to become doctoral school psychologists. Emily Sturtz, a fourth-year doctoral student in school psychology, described philanthropy’s impact on her, saying “This scholarship assisted me with logistics throughout the academic year, as well as continued membership to a variety of professional organizations and programs.”

Text PSUSchoolPsych to 41444 today to make a gift of at least $5 to the endowment for the School Psychology Program in the College of Education. 8

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The endowment funds allowed Sturtz to take care of financial concerns so that she is able to focus on the experiences that matter most to her.

“Our alumni truly care about the current students in the program, even as they’ve gone off to work in incredibly meaningful positions within the field.”

~ Jim DiPerna

“Every practical experience I have completed through my program has truly solidified my passion not only for working with children but also the field of school psychology in general,” Sturtz said. Alumni of the school psychology program have continued to provide the primary support for the school psychology endowment, as they have experienced firsthand the merit of their education and the work that they perform. As these alumni know extremely well, school psychology is a unique profession that both provides necessary mental health resources to individual students as well as works to improve educational systems as a whole. “Our alumni truly care about the current graduate students in the program, even as they’ve gone off to work in schools and universities throughout the country,” said James DiPerna, professor of education and the current professor in charge of the program. At Penn State, the Text to Give program allows users, via campaign-specific keywords, to make gifts of at least $5 over their phone with 100 percent of donations going directly to a stated fundraising cause. All gifts retain Penn State’s tax-deductible charitable status. Today, gifts made by texting PSUSchoolPsych to 41444 will allow the College of Education’s School Psychology Program to advance its mission of training psychologists to work in schools and meet the needs of students, teachers and parents. The school psychology endowment officially began in 1992 as a result of a collaborative effort between College of Education alumni, friends and professionals in related fields. Additional financial support today will help the program continue to be able to recruit and

retain highly talented graduate students who are passionate about making a meaningful difference in the lives of youth and families. The endowment provides the school psychology program with some flexibility regarding use of the funds, giving opportunities for both scholarships and for program support costs. DiPerna emphasized the faculty’s primary goal has been to use the funds strategically and maximize their impact by providing students with timely support during their graduate training. School psychology programs – and increasing their sources of funding – have become increasingly important at Penn State and across the nation. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment of psychologists is expected to grow faster than the national average for all careers through 2026. Though this demand for school psychologists exists, more students need to pursue the academic path to this career in order to fill positions. Societal awareness of the importance of mental health, especially in places of learning, is growing – which causes more people to seek psychological services for themselves or their children. This has caused a noticeable shift across the United States, and a need for more psychological resources. As DiPerna noted, some of the places with the most need are rural communities, such as those found throughout central Pennsylvania. To help offset the lack of services in certain areas, Penn State’s school psychology program requires students to complete a full-year, full-time internship in schools as a capstone experience to their doctoral training. In addition, the program also offers mobile clinic services where advanced graduate students work part-time in schools to provide educational and psychological services for children and adolescents whose needs would otherwise go unmet. Intensive doctoral programs like this one rely heavily on funding from outside sources. It was for this reason that the program leadership in school psychology has recently decided to take advantage of the University’s Text to Give program. As philanthropy modernizes, giving via text has become a popular and easy way to underwrite important events and projects, especially for nonprofit organizations. “I’m truly optimistic that this [initiative] will allow us to have a greater impact on our school psychology students and the students they serve,” DiPerna said. To make an online gift to School Psychology, visit online.

College welcomes new director of Development and Alumni Relations After a national search, Steve Wilson has been named the new director of Development and Alumni Relations for the College of Education. Wilson comes to the College of Education from the College of Arts & Architecture, where he served as director of major gifts since 2017. In that role, he worked on collaborative gifts, including gifts that benefited the College of Education. “Education is the most powerful tool by which to positively affect people’s lives and society at large. The chance to serve and support the students, faculty and staff devoted to training the next generation of educators is an opportunity I wholeheartedly embrace,” said Wilson, who began his new role on Dec. 9. “We are very excited to bring Steve’s diverse and progressively successful development experience and strong track record of proven fundraising success to the College,” said Dean Kimberly Lawless. “Steve is eager to lead a high-performing team and to sustain their impressive performance in the future.” As director, Wilson will guide and oversee all Development and Alumni Relations activities for the College of Education, collaborating with the College’s leadership and volunteers to define fundraising priorities that are consistent with the College and University priorities. Wilson earned his M.F.A. in acting in from Penn State. A former professional actor, he appeared in numerous Broadway, national tour, regional and stock productions around the United States before retiring from show business in 2010. Wilson came to Penn State from his undergraduate alma mater, Miami University (OH). Penn State Education


There are countless reasons why people stay loyal to and give to Penn State, but perhaps one of the most prevalent is that graduates give back because, at one time, someone had given to them.

Golden Lions have fond memories of their college days By Jim Carlson

Which is exactly what Koch has done. “In the spirit of Mr. and Mrs. Turney’s generosity, I asked that my contribution be provided to other students in need of financial support through the College of Education’s Future Fund,” Koch said. “My mother, an educator herself, worked diligently to send both my twin sister and me to Penn State. I know what a financial burden higher education can be to many families like mine, and I hope that someday I can help a student at Penn State the way that Mr. and Mrs. Turney supported me.”

One of many cases in point is Danielle Koch, a 2012 College of Education graduate who is an elementary teacher in the Downingtown Area School District near Philadelphia. “During the summer of my junior year, I received a letter in the mail that changed my life,” Koch said.

the Senior Class Gift. From there they continue each year. It’s one of the ways our alumni can stay engaged with the University.”

She chose to contribute to Penn “An alumni Because Danielle Koch received a ‘generous’ scholarship when she was at Penn State, she State because of couple, Estelle and asks that her contribution be provided to other students in need of financial support. fond memories William Turney, of the education State,” said Jenn Moore, assistant had named me program. “At a large school like director of stewardship, alumni the recipient of their generous Penn State, I was shocked when and development in the College of scholarship. I felt blown away to be my adviser, Myrna Covington, Education, adding that the Golden recognized at a university as large recognized me by name at various Lion Society represents alumni as Penn State. Their scholarship College events,” Koch said. who have given to Penn State for was a tremendous support to me “My freshman seminar at least four years in a row or every as I completed my senior year and instructor, Catherine Augustine, prepared to enter the work force.” year since graduation. Currently, sometimes brought in homemade Penn State has 29,675 Golden Lion That was enough to prompt treats for us, and once took our Society members University-wide. Koch to become a donor soon after entire class to the Creamery for graduation. And because she has “The Golden Lion Society is all ice cream. Time and time again, made gifts to the University for about loyalty, making that annual professors and advisers made seven consecutive years, she is a commitment. Ideally Golden Lions efforts to ensure that students felt member of the Golden Lion Society. would start giving as soon as they at home within the department and graduate,” Moore said. “Often exemplified just how Penn State “To be a Golden Lion means you are loyal in your support for Penn times that first gift is their gift to came to be affectionately known as 10

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Photo: Provided by Danielle Koch

“When I proclaimed my major as EPP, I had no clue what my career would look like, but the resources and support of the faculty and staff of the program gave me the confidence to not fret too much about my future.”

­~ Christine O’Hare

Photo: Provided by Christine O’Hare

Christine O’Hare said she would not have had the experience she did at Penn State were it not for donors who believe in Penn State.

Happy Valley,” she said. Moore said philanthropy at any level keeps a person connected to and engaged with the College. “As they get into their jobs and their careers, those that start giving loyally and annually at graduation are our best lifetime donors,” Moore said. “They just continue to be loyal; they continue to increase their giving as they can. “They are showing their true Penn State pride and their faith in the work that the University is doing and what the College is doing. It’s their gratitude for the opportunities the College has afforded them, thanks to the alumni before them who have made those annual gifts,” she said. For Koch, Penn State feels like home. “To this day, driving into State College and looking at the silhouette of University Park still gives me the chills,” she said. “Memories of standing shoulder to shoulder with my friends in Beaver Stadium, my first scoop of Creamery ice cream, and the gorgeous views of campus still make me smile. “I can attribute four of the best years of my life to my time in Happy

Valley, and many of my closest friends, too. At first, formulating plans for after graduation made me uneasy because it was hard to imagine a time when I’d have to leave Penn State. Not only did Penn State help me land my dream job, I met my husband there, too. He proposed to me at the volleyball court where we met our sophomore year, knowing just how special Penn State was to me,” Koch said. “I have Penn State to thank for the strong network that I’ve established, the lifelong friendships that I’ve made, and the love that I’ve found. For these gifts, I am extremely grateful.” Christine O’Hare, now the assistant director of donor relations at Saint Joseph’s University in Philadelphia, is another member of the Golden Lion Society because she loved her experience in the College of Education. “I learned so much in and out of the classroom, and without Penn State I certainly would not be the person I am today,” she said. “I give back to the College of Education specifically because of the resources provided to me as a student. I knew that I did not want to teach, but I have always

loved school and knew I wanted to continue to be involved with education in some way after graduation.” She said she found the College’s Education and Public Policy (EPP) program and knew early on that was the program for her. “I had the opportunity to take the typical large elective courses but also be in small seminar structured classes. When I proclaimed my major as EPP, I had no clue what my career would look like, but the resources and support of the faculty and staff of the program gave me the confidence to not fret too much about my future,” O’Hare said. “Another reason I feel it is so important to support Penn State and the College of Education is because I work in higher education advancement now. In my role I have the opportunity to witness what higher education philanthropy can accomplish. “I get to witness every day how a gift, of any size, can directly impact the student experience from unique academic opportunities or student support resources. I know that I would not have had the experience I had in my time at Penn State if it were not for donors that believe in Penn State,” she said. Penn State Education


Personalized learning in College of Education the highlight of Muñiz’s Penn State experience


aquel Muñiz decided early in the process of earning her doctorate from the College of Education that instead of solving problems in the classroom, she’d be better off thinking about those problems at the system level. After receiving her juris doctor and Ph.D. in educational theory and policy joint degree from Penn State in 2018, Muñiz has initiated that procedure. The Laredo, Texas, native said she’s always been interested in the education system and what that system can do to help vulnerable populations. Her degree in mathematics from Texas A&M International University provided her with the critical thinking skills she was hoping to hone, and she opted to pursue advanced law and education degrees at Penn State.

By Jim Carlson finish by the time I wanted to finish and plan out accordingly,” she said. Muñiz started at Penn State Law in 2014 and began her doctoral quest in 2015. “I was able to combine work for both and graduate in May 2018,” she said. “Through research, I came across the law; it’s a little unconventional. Through my research I was like ‘oh, the law sets the structures in our society and governs a lot of

education policy for BC’s Lynch School of Education. “Boston College is research intensive and I was used to it because Penn State prepared me,” Muñiz said. At Penn State, her adviser was Mindy Kornhaber, associate professor of education (educational theory and policy), who holds Muñiz in the highest regard. “The words exceptional, outstanding, brilliant and amazing fall short in describing Raquel Muñiz,” Kornhaber said. “Why? Raquel is a top-notch thinker and scholar.” Kornhaber said Muñiz submitted a draft of her dissertation proposal in 2017. Kornhaber responded with a “bunch of suggestions” and within a few hours Muñiz had “substantively revised, improved and resubmitted it,” according to Kornhaber. “I have never seen anyone – neither faculty nor student – who is able to turn work around both faster and more effectively than Raquel,” she said. “It was some kind of magic trick that I have yet to figure out, even though I’d seen her do variations of it multiple times.

“Penn State was very generous with their scholarships, and the law school offered me a full tuition merit scholarship,” Muñiz said. “The College of Education provided Photo: Submitted by Raquel Muñiz me with multiple sources of scholarships and Raquel Muñiz graduated from Penn State with a doctorate in educational “And she operated like theory and policy, and a law degree. She is an assistant professor at Boston fellowships. I didn’t pay this while also juggling College. tuition out of pocket, and responsibilities at the I did have my graduate Law School’s Center for what we do, including in education assistantship. I was working at Immigrant Rights, serving as and within the family unit.’” That Upward Bound.” editor for the Arbitration Law research in law school led her to Review, organizing a monthly task She said the scholarships and pursue both a law degree and her force with a state legislator to fellowships meant everything to Ph.D. advance policy on trauma-informed her as she began graduate school. education and working with Now a second-year, tenure-track “Being able to have that support Erica Frankenberg on civil rights assistant professor and liaison to from the College of Ed meant that research,” Kornhaber said. the law school at Boston College I could actually attend the courses and keep on track to be able to (BC), Muñiz teaches law and She also told the amusing tale 12

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“That was something that was encouraged through the College, and just the accessibility of the professors was something that stood out. I never felt hesitant that I couldn’t go. They were very open and supportive when it came to their students. I appreciated that kind of structure.”

~ Raquel Muñiz

of how Muñiz ended up landing at BC. “While in line for the hot buffet at Division L’s business meeting during the 2017 AERA (American Educational Research Association) annual meeting, I overheard another attendee talk about the search he was heading at BC for a policy person interested in law and equity,” Kornhaber said. “I interrupted and said ‘I know the ideal candidate.’” “I shared Raquel’s name and by the time I got back to my hotel room to email Raquel about this encounter, Professor Vincent Cho of BC’s Lynch School of Education had already contacted her. So that’s some interesting history,” Kornhaber said, “but what will be more interesting is Raquel’s future.” Muñiz said a lot of the work she’s done thus far is broadly defined. “But I do a lot of work around immigrant populations and undocumented and documented students and trying to look at the structural barriers that are created,” she said. She said she recently led a study of policy of inclusion in higher education: an analysis of policies at every flagship institution in the United States to determine how these policies are actually helping inclusivity or not. “We have found five different types of inclusivity. I was surprised because a lot of the time undocumented students have to go under the radar to find the resources they need; the resources are not very vocalized or out there for the most part. We did find there was a lot more support than we anticipated,” Muñiz said.

Support is something she is quick to point out she had while at Penn State. “I liked the advisee/ adviser models they had. That’s what stood out to me the most because I worked very, very closely with my adviser (Kornhaber), who took a very holistic approach to advising,” Muñiz said. “Not only academics but how are other areas of my life impacting that.” “That was something that was encouraged through the College, and just the accessibility of the professors was something that stood out. I never felt hesitant that I couldn’t go. They were very open and supportive when it came to their students. I appreciated that kind of structure.”

How can I get involved with the College of Education? Alumni and friends of the College of Education are important partners in the success of our students. We need volunteers, student mentors and goodwill ambassadors for the College.

She said María Schmidt, assistant dean for multicultural programs, helped her identify sources of funding, and Muñiz also cited Dana Mitra (professor of education) and Katerina Bodovski (associate professor of education) in the College of Education for assisting her while she was in the program. “What stands out the most was the humanity, that holistic approach to graduate school education that I think might be unique,” said Muñiz, who said “paying it forward” is on her radar. “I would like to express my gratitude. It was the College of Education and there was collaboration between the law school and the College of Education. It was very personalized learning. That’s what I felt was the experience,” she said.

To learn more, contact: Development and Alumni Relations College of Education 814-863-2146 Penn State Education


Beating the odds, Education freshman is ready to make his mark on the world


By Annemarie Mountz

errance Jefferson views every day of his life as a good day.

“I could have a really horrible day, but at the end of the day I look at myself and I go ‘well, I’m alive, so this was a good day.’ I’m blessed to be where I am now,” Jefferson said. Where Jefferson is now, just two years after a failed suicide attempt, is in his freshman year in the Penn State College of Education. That attempt on his own life came on the heels of some really bad times for Jefferson. Within a three-year time-span, his best friend died in a car accident, and his father was diagnosed with, and later died from, cancer. “It was a lot. … One day I had decided that life wasn’t worth living anymore,” he said. His attempt on his life caused him to lose two pints of blood. When he regained consciousness, the first thing he saw was his mother and sister huddled together, crying. “One of the images that really reminds me of why it’s not a good idea to go back to that place is I could see how terrified my mother looked. My mom was in mental pain, but it was such a great pain that it was causing her physical pain. I shouldn’t do that to my mother. And, I did it. I did it for selfish reasons,” Jefferson said.

Photo provided

Terrance Jefferson has big dreams, and is working to make them come true as a student in the College of Education.

know.’ I truly didn’t know,” he said. “I looked at her and I said, ‘I’m not going to do this again.’ And she looked at me and she said, ‘I’m gonna hold you to that.’ And I’m glad she doesn’t really have to put a whole lot of effort into doing that anymore.”

encouragement to remind myself that, you know, every day is worth living,” he said. Although Jefferson felt a strong desire to be there to take care of his mother and sister, they pushed him to leave home to go to college, so he could do something better for himself. “And you know, I’m glad they did,” he said.

“The math says I’m not supposed to be here, and yet here I am. And I’m ready to make an impact and a change on the world around me.”

“My mom looked at me and she didn’t ask me if I was all right cause she already knew I wasn’t. She said, ‘Why?’ And I said, ‘I don’t 14

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Jefferson’s parents instilled ~ Terrance Jefferson a love of learning in their children, and made them understand that it’s OK to be smart. Jefferson, who grew up Jefferson says he excelled, in spite just outside of Harrisburg in of the odds. Middletown, said it was at that “I come from a very, very white moment that he realized that as community. I was one of three black weak as he felt, he had to be strong male students in my grade. It’s kind for them. of odd to look around and see that “It was difficult. It took a lot of out of a hundred students, three conversations, a lot of positive selfof them look like you. But it’s the regard, a lot of self-coaching and reason that I wanted to get into

education,” Jefferson said. Jefferson said that he was always meant to be different. “I think that it is abnormal to see an African American male walk into the doors of the College of Education and say, ‘I want to teach.’ That’s something that throws people off,” he said. Jefferson did not have an African American teacher until he came to Penn State, and he said that’s something he wants to change, by becoming a teacher and letting students who look like him and come from circumstances he came from know that they are not alone.

New endowments, scholarships and awards in the College of Education The following endowments, scholarships and awards were created recently in the College of Education. For information about how to make a gift, contact the College of Education Office of Development and Alumni Relations at or 814-863-2146.

Pamela and Gabriel Pugliese Scholarship in Education Benefactors: Pamela and Gabriel Pugliese

“I know that if I would’ve had someone that I could talk to, that could relate to where I’ve been, it would’ve made going to school a lot easier,” Jefferson said. “And to think that I can do that for other students and all I have to do is teach? That sounds so simple. And I know it’s much more complicated than that, but that’s really the fact of the matter.”

Janet Morehouse Schrock and Jay R. Schrock Scholarship Benefactors: Janet and Jay Schrock Blanche Liddicote Jones Scholarship for Teaching in the College of Education Benefactor: Lloyd Jones

Jefferson was excited when he received his offer of admission to Penn State – on his mother’s birthday – but still, there was the question of how to pay for school. “Just a few days later I got an email from the College of Education Multicultural Programs Office about a merit scholarship for $9,000 a year for four years,” Jefferson said. “And then I got another email about the John Gilmartin Trustee Scholarship, which is $3,000 a semester, $6,000 a year. That adds up to almost the half the tuition. And that makes it a lot easier.” Jefferson said the number to express the chances that someone with his life experiences and his socioeconomic status coming to Penn State “takes 56 zeros after a decimal point on a calculator before we can even express the first non-zero number.” And yet, he’s here, in a place that believes in his goals.

Carolee K. Lesyk, Ph.D. Scholarship Benefactor: Carolee Lesyk Maria J. Schmidt Endowed Program Fund Benefactors: John and Maryann Gilmartin College of Education Open Doors Scholarship Benefactors: John and Maryann Gilmartin Nancy S. Arnold Scholarship Fund Benefactor: Nancy Arnold Anna Brown Scholarship for Foreign Language Instruction in the College of Education Benefactor: Anna Brown

“How can you conceptualize the idea that somebody else sees the same thing that you see and says, ‘you know what, we’ll cover it. Just show up,’” he asked. “This is an accredited Big Ten school. This is a world-famous school. They have the largest alumni network and the most enhanced programs.” Jefferson values not only the education he’s getting in the Penn State College of Education, but also the added value that comes with a Penn State degree. “I’m at a school that isn’t just a good school to show up to. It’s a school that’s equipped to help me

after I get out of here. After I graduate, Penn State has resources for me to end up somewhere. Through Penn State, I met a Penn State grad who’s a teacher in the New York City School District. He told me that after I graduate, if I’m looking for a job and they have an opening to come see them and say, ‘I’m here to see David about a job.’ That means the world to me.” Jefferson continued, “That’s crazy. The math says I’m not supposed to be here, and yet here I am. And I’m ready to make an impact and a change on the world around me.” Penn State Education


Penn State breaks fundraising record for second straight year For the second year in a row, Penn State supporters have broken the University’s record for fundraising results, committing $372,555,732 to its current campaign, “A Greater Penn State for 21st Century Excellence” – an increase of 3.1 percent over last year. That total, which came from 221,263 donors, marks the third consecutive year that the University has raised more than $300 million in new commitments. Penn State’s leaders credit these results to the enthusiasm of alumni and friends for the campaign’s vision, which is closely tied to the institution’s strategic plan. “This University was founded to serve the public through education, teaching and research, and ‘A Greater Penn State’ represents our continued commitment to that mission in an era of rapid change and global connections,” said University President Eric J. Barron. “I am profoundly grateful to the donors who have invested in our students, faculty and programs through gifts to the campaign, and to the volunteers who set a powerful example through their own support and service. The philanthropic response from our alumni and friends is a resounding vote of confidence in our vision for Penn State’s future and the strategic plan that supports that vision.” In fiscal year 2018-19, the College of Education raised $5,063,115, bringing its total to $15,446,769 raised in the current campaign. Earlier this year, Penn State became one of only 11 universities nationwide — including top-ranked public and private institutions — to 16

Penn State Education

secure $1 billion or more in three consecutive fundraising campaigns. The “Greater Penn State” campaign has now achieved a total of $1.087 billion in commitments, more than two thirds of the way to its overall goal of $1.6 billion. O. Richard Bundy III, vice president for development and alumni relations, said, “Thanks to the generosity of our supporters, we have remarkable momentum as we enter the remaining years of the campaign, but we must stay focused on our mission to meet the needs of our students, our communities, and the commonwealth through philanthropy. Private support is essential in fulfilling our potential for leadership in higher education and beyond.” Bundy pointed to the success of the Open Doors programs, which provide targeted financial and

academic support to students facing a range of challenges in earning their Penn State degrees. Over the last two years, alumni and friends of the University have created more than 545 scholarship endowments for these programs, and there has already been a measurable impact for students. Scholarships and other forms of direct support to students will continue to be priorities as “A Greater Penn State” continues, said Rick Sokolov, volunteer chair of the campaign’s executive committee. Another signature initiative of the campaign is its focus on economic development in the commonwealth, and the University continues to offer matching funds for gifts that supporting the LaunchBoxes, Penn State’s business incubators and entrepreneurship education centers located in the communities that host each of the

New faculty appointments

Bill Brendel

Christine Cunningham

Bill Brendel

Bill Brendel, assistant professor of education (workforce education), earned a doctorate from Columbia University in adult learning and leadership. His research investigates how the ancient wisdom tradition of mindfulness practice may be incorporated as an approach to developing resilient leaders, cohesive teams and healthy organizational cultures. Utilizing wearable biofeedback technology, virtual reality simulations and guided meditation, his research explores how employees who practice everyday mindfulness may transform their ability to lead complex change efforts, think creatively, make ethical decisions and act with greater compassion.

Christine Cunningham

Christine Cunningham, professor of practice in education and engineering, earned a doctorate from Cornell University in education. A professor of practice with a dual appointment in the College of Education and the College of Engineering, she will lead a pre-K-12 engineering education initiative that will create curricular materials; offer professional development for teachers; and conduct educational research. Cunningham’s interest focuses on making engineering and science more relevant and accessible, especially for populations underserved and under-represented in these fields.

Hollie Kulago

Hollie Kulago, associate professor of education

Hollie Kulago

Charlotte Land

(curriculum and supervision), earned a doctorate in curriculum studies from Purdue University. She comes to Penn State from Elmira College, where she was on faculty since 2012. Her research interests include Indigenous teacher education; Critical Indigenous Curriculum and Pedagogy (centering Indigenous knowledges and philosophies); current teacher education certification examination requirements for Indigenous teacher candidates; and Indigenous family, school, community relationships. Kulago is Diné (Navajo), originally from the Navajo Nation in Arizona.

Charlotte Land

Charlotte Land, assistant professor of education (secondary education English), earned a doctorate in curriculum and instruction through the language and literacy studies program at The University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests focus on teacher learning and identities; writing studies and pedagogies; and critical, humanizing literacy instruction that empowers both students and teachers. While her teaching and research projects now include early elementary through college learners and teachers, Land taught high school English language arts in Kansas City, Missouri, before beginning her career in academia.

Elizabeth Prosek

Elizabeth Prosek, associate professor of education (counselor education), earned a doctorate in counselor education and supervision from Old Dominion University. She comes to Penn State from University of North Texas,

institution’s 21 Commonwealth Campuses, as well as numerous other specific economic development initiatives. Part of the Invent Penn State initiative announced by Barron in 2015, the LaunchBoxes already have supplied the necessary tools for 1,792 entrepreneurs to grow their business plans, along with the development of 170 new products, the establishment of 45 Pennsylvania companies, the creation of 424 jobs and internships and the engagement of 5,049 faculty, students and staff. “We are proud of the campaign’s success to

Elizabeth Prosek

where she was on faculty since 2011. Her research interests include counseling military populations; expanding mental health and substance abuse treatment capacity in Veterans’ courts; diagnosis and assessment of co-occurring Peggy Schooling disorders, including protective factors of substance misuse; and promoting ethics, competence and professional identity development in counseling and counselor education.

Peggy Schooling

Peggy Schooling, professor of practice in education leadership and executive director of the Pennsylvania School Study Council (PSSC), earned a doctorate from Immaculata University in education leadership. In her dual roles, she will continue to foster partnerships between Penn State and PSSC-member school districts, intermediate units and career-technical schools toward improving public education. Schooling’s interests include leadership development, curriculum and instruction and social justice issues in education.

date, because we see firsthand that philanthropy increasingly provides the ability to differentiate great institutions — those that innovate and lead — from others,” Sokolov said. “The generosity of our supporters, the hard work of our development staff and volunteers, and the leadership of President Barron and the Board of Trustees are all essential components of continuing to fulfill the University’s mission in the decades ahead. Fundraising results like the ones we have achieved this year validate all of those efforts, and we thank all Penn Staters for continuing to help move this campaign forward.” Penn State Education


Secretary of Education shares reasons teaching became his calling Pennsylvania Secretary of Education Pedro Rivera gave the keynote address for the College of Education’s spring commencement ceremony. Following are excerpts from his remarks.

honest with you, those individuals who knew me as a kid, they said it a bit differently. They asked, ‘how did you become the Secretary of Education?’

and I saw that it just wasn’t connecting for him, he just wasn’t getting it. And saw how in his eyes I could measure the level of frustration he was feeling.

Now I have to be honest, I don’t know. I don’t know how you become the Secretary of Education. But I can tell you why I chose teaching as not only my profession but my calling.

Good afternoon everyone. Are we not celebrating today? I know it’s Sunday. I know it’s been a long weekend for some of you. But let’s try that again. Good afternoon everyone. [Hears response.] Now that’s much better.

Unlike you, unlike everyone in this room, I struggled in school. Going through K to 12, coming on here to college and receiving my degree and then it got easier as I continued to further my degree.

I thought to myself, ‘wow, that must’ve been me when I was sitting in classrooms struggling around different content areas.’ But I kept trying. And I kept trying. And I kept trying. And eventually, I saw a difference in his demeanor. I saw his eyes start to perk up. He sat straight. He pulled the hood off of his head and pulled it back and we started to engage. He started to understand the lesson.

I want to share with you a few secrets and little of how and why I have been blessed to serve in the roles that you’re going to be serving in over the course of your lifetime moving forward. Probably one of the most interesting questions or most impactful questions I get especially from young educators is ‘how do you become Secretary of Education?’ Now I’m going to be 18

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But I learned through this experience that I was called into teaching. I didn’t know when I started college what I wanted to be, what I thought my trajectory would be. But I had an opportunity to tutor a high school student in a community much like the one I grew up in. It was an experience that really opened my eyes. As I sat and tried to engage and tutor him in algebra and I saw his facial expression and his body language

And I was hooked. I wanted to continue. I knew this is what I wanted to do in continuation of my career. I wanted to make a difference each and every day with students who felt like I did sometimes in school but didn’t necessarily have the resources and the support to get me over the finish line. I knew I wanted to connect with kids each and every day to make a difference. My ‘why’

was going to be changing the trajectory for students who grew up just like me in urban and poor communities. So, I couldn’t wait to get my career started. But I had to. Because I really wanted to teach in Philadelphia. I really wanted to teach in the community I grew up in. I really wanted to teach in North Philadelphia. Some folks called it the badlands. I called it home. But I had to wait. Because I just hadn’t gotten a call back from the School District of Philadelphia. And although I had three other offers on the table I was holding off to the very last minute. But I started to panic. Because what if I had to move? What if I had to buy a car because I didn’t own a car at the time? What if I had to leave my family and friends again after I had just gotten home? During my free time in between shifts at work I took the time to volunteer. I took time to better get to know my community through a different lens. I volunteered with the block captain, helping give out free summertime lunches. Now I will tell you, you’ve never experienced anything until you are sitting on a porch in July and you open a big box of bologna sandwiches. If nothing else brings you home to reality that absolutely will. But although I loved it and I loved every minute of it, there was an unintended opportunity and a consequence through these interactions. I started to build a professional network. I met other teachers. I met other volunteers. I met community members. I started to establish relationships with parents and children. And the relationships and the opportunity of what I learned then continue to inform me through my experiences as a teacher and ultimately an administrator. So, my “why” at that point was knowing that you’re volunteering and engaging in a community but relationships matter. Now finally I get my call

back from the School District of Philadelphia. Even better, I was only one bus ride away from my first teaching classroom. And this is where I learned another important lesson. Because one day when I stepped off the bus to 47th and started walking to my school, there was a parent in front of me walking their two children to school as well. And it was a rough walk. The kids were in a bad mood, the parent was in a bad mood. They had an exchange that probably wasn’t the most comforting of exchanges. It was obviously a stressful morning. It was the longest short walk I have ever seen in my life.

are starting to make not only a difference in the life of that child but you are starting your day on the right foot.

So I made a decision that day right then and there, I was going to stand outside of my classroom and I was going to greet, look in their eyes, smile and greet and say ‘good morning’ to each and every one of my students. I still start every interaction – like I did today – with a ‘good morning,’ ‘good afternoon’ or ‘good evening.’

I transitioned from middle school to high school, and I wanted to be helpful. And that’s where I learned another important lesson. I approached our union rep at the time and asked if I could help him. Because he used to handwrite the meeting minutes and then run them through a thermal fax machine. Now how many students in this room know what a thermal fax machine is? There you go.

And I won’t stop until they acknowledge that I said ‘good morning,’ ‘good afternoon’ or ‘good evening’ – with enthusiasm. Because when you’ve stood in front of seventh and eighth graders and said ‘good morning,’ and they look at you and respond ‘ugh’ and you do it again and again and again, until they finally start to look at you with a smile on their face and say ‘good morning.’ Or they stop and wait for it, you know that you

I did it for every child. Even Carlos. Now you don’t know who Carlos is? But you are going to have a Carlos in your classroom. You’re going to have a Carlos in your life. So I remind you, that you don’t know what’s going on at home for Carlos. Look them in the eye, smile and say ‘good morning.’ I had the opportunity to engage in that way and learn that important lesson over the course of my teaching career.

We had computers. We had technology and had we copy machines. Thermal fax were these machines that used to use hot ink to transfer what you wrote on one page to different pages. The only thing they were good for back in those days and I’m sure your parents in the auditorium will tell you is taking the hot ink piece of paper and taking a big whiff of Penn State Education


the hot ink because it just smelled really interesting. So, I approached him and I shared, ‘hey, if you give me the minutes, I will type them up and run them off on the photocopy machine and put them in everyone’s mailbox so we actually know what took place at our last meeting.’ I was trying to be helpful. And he looked at me and he said ‘you know, you little piece of something, if you think you can do a better job run against me.’ I was thrown back. I was in shock. I walked away. I was a newer teacher. So, my classroom is on the third floor the back corner. I walked up the first flight of stairs and I was still a little in shock to be honest with you. By the second flight of stairs, it all started to sink in. By the time I made it to the third floor, I was angry. And when I made it all the way to the corner in my classroom, I decided I was going to run against him. So, we campaigned, we had five minutes to share our campaign. This individual shared the history of everything he’s done and he engaged in a different way. Then I have my five minutes. I stood up and said ‘look if you elect me, I’m going to type up all the minutes, run them off on the photocopy machine and put them in your 20

Penn State Education

mailbox. Thank you very much.’ And I won. Little did I know that was my trajectory into leadership. But the lesson learned there was as educators, we sometimes have to walk into our classroom and spend time alone, but that’s not an excuse to not be collaborative. That’s not an excuse to not listen to others because there might be a better idea out there. And this is a lesson to you all in this room that you will absolutely have something to share with the most tenured and seasoned teachers in your building. So, don’t be shy. Share, collaborate and support. As teachers, remember you don’t only influence as educators, you don’t only influence the students that are in front of you but your impact follows them home after school, over the weekends and over the summer. The relationships you build one relationship at a time can help change the trajectory of communities. You’ll be the individual that makes a difference in the lives of all of those who are entrusted to your care. So, in a little over 20 years I remember all the smiling faces, I remember the ‘good mornings,’ I remember the interactions, I remember the relationships. I remember the reasons why I chose

to become a teacher and ultimately a leader in education. But I never lost sight of the fact, as I like to share, my role, my job as an educator is to ensure our kids are better – they have to be better – the day they leave us than they were the day they started. So today you get to start your own chapters and understand, this is an awesome and amazing responsibility. Educating our next generation of leaders, educators. Our next generation of community members and neighbors. As a student teacher once shared with me on one of my visits, she said I’m excited to become a teacher because it’s the occupation that creates all other occupations. And since that time, I added it’s the act of service that prepares all others that serve. It’s the gift the talented use to cultivate talent. It’s the calling that transforms communities one student at a time. So the future is quite literally in your hands. So remember why you chose to become an educator. You chose to do so to change the world and because of that, I am proud to now call you my colleague. Thank you, good luck and move forward.

Dean’s Development Council Message from the Council Co-Chairs As many know, this year has brought significant changes to the College of Education. After 20+ years as dean of the College, David Monk has stepped down and returned to faculty to begin a phased retirement. His influence and guidance of the College will be missed. We wish Dean Monk, his wife Pam and their family the best as he moves into this next phase of his life. Our new Dean, Kim Lawless, formerly of the University of Illinois at Chicago, has hit the ground running, impressing everyone with her enthusiasm and energy in her first few months on the job. We look forward to working with the dean and supporting her in her new role at Penn State. Additionally, Simon Corby, director of Development and Alumni Relations, left Penn State to explore development outside of the College in the medical field. Simon’s contributions and leadership also will be missed. At the same time, we are excited to welcome Steve Wilson as the College’s new director of Development and Alumni Relations. These changes present a significant challenge to the College and its Development and Alumni Relations staff as the University enters the fourth year of its “A Greater Penn State” fundraising campaign. The first three years have been highly successful with the College of Education and the University exceeding goals set at the beginning of the campaign. The College’s Development staff and Dean’s Development Council are up for the challenge and expect to reach and perhaps even surpass these goals by the end

Barb and David Kucharski

of the campaign. However, we will need the support and generosity of all our alumni to get there. At a recent Volunteer Campaign Chairs’ meeting, which included chairs from all colleges, campuses and units at Penn State, we learned that only 14% of Penn State’s alumni make financial contributions to the University. Working with the College of Education Alumni Society Board, we will strive to improve this rate and involve more of our members in the campaign effort. Your generosity goes a long way to support the students, faculty and staff of the College. Thank you to all the members who have contributed in the past and to those who will in the future. Barb Kucharski EDU 1970; David Kucharski ENG 1970

Annual scholarship dinner enables students, donors to form connections Each fall, the College of Education holds a special dinner for scholarship recipients and those who endowed the scholarships. Speakers at the dinner include students such as Luke Darrop, right, whose stories illustrate vividly the impact scholarships have on those who receive them. The students also get to meet the people whose generosity has helped to lighten their financial load, enabling them to concentrate on their studies and also be involved in cocurricular activities that further enhance their educational experiences.

Ways to Give You can help shape the future of the College of Education by donating online or via the options below. • Gifts by Check, Credit Card and Electronic Funds Transfer (EFT) • Stocks, Bonds, Mutual Funds • Matching Gifts • Pledges • Planned Gifts • Employee Giving

Photo: Annemarie Mountz

Scholarship donations can make a significant difference in students’ lives, no matter the amount of the individual gift. For information about making a gift, see the information box at the right.

For more ways to give visit or contact Development and Alumni Relations in the College of Education, at education@psu. edu or 814-863-2146. Penn State Education


247 Chambers Building University Park, PA 16802

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Penn State College of Education Fall 2019 Alumni Magazine  

Fall 2019 edition of the Penn State College of Education Alumni Magazine

Penn State College of Education Fall 2019 Alumni Magazine  

Fall 2019 edition of the Penn State College of Education Alumni Magazine