Department of Biobehavioral Health NEWsâ€‚ page 12
Health and Human Development News
| Winter 2013-14
you& your health
College of Health and Human Development Dean
Ann C. Crouter
Associate Dean for Undergraduate Studies and Outreach Dennis Shea
Interim Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Education Kathryn Drager
Greetings from the College of Health and Human Development At its heart, our college is focused on improving the quality of human health and the quality of life for people of all ages and backgrounds, as well as training the next generation of leaders in this important area. You can find our faculty members in their laboratories where they might be studying exercise physiology or developmental neuroscience, out in the community where they might be examining quality of life for cancer survivors or conducting an intervention to prevent diabetes, or in the classroom where they share their knowledge every day with future speech pathologists, physicians, experts on children and youth, physical therapists, community health leaders, outdoor educators, hoteliers, dietitians, and hospital administrators. The stories in this magazine will give you a flavor for the wide variety of research going on in the college. We’ve created eight versions with sections specifically tailored to each of our academic units to give readers an opportunity to learn more about what is going on in the part of the college that they remember best. All of the versions of the magazine are available on the web, so if you are curious about what the graduates of other majors are reading, please go to: hhd.psu.edu/magazine. A magazine is no substitute for what you can learn by returning to campus. Please schedule a visit to Penn State—and to our college—for 2014. You would be welcome to tour our facilities, sit in on a class or two, and soak up the energetic, rejuvenating spirit that Penn State’s incredible students bring with them to everything they do. I look forward to welcoming you back!
Assistant Dean for Undergraduate Education
Director of Development Kathleen Rider
Assistant Dean for Alumni Relations and Special Projects Abigail Diehl
Assistant Director of Alumni Relations Kristi Stoehr
Director of Communications and Creative Services Scott Sheaffer
Science Writer/Editor Sara LaJeunesse
Communications Specialist Jennifer Hicks
Alumni Mentoring Program Coordinator and Staff Assistant for Alumni and College Relations
V. Diane Collins
Warmly, Articles may be reprinted with permission; for more information please contact the Office of Alumni and College Relations at 814-865-3831 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ann C. Crouter Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean College of Health and Human Development
For general correspondence, please write to the Office of Alumni and College Relations, College of Health and Human Development, The Pennsylvania State University, 201 Henderson Building, University Park, PA 16802-6501; e-mail email@example.com; or visit www.hhd.psu.edu. This publication is available in alternative media on request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. (HHD14032) U.Ed. HHD 14-032
Special Section: News From Your Department page 12
you & your fitness nutrition health care relationships
YOU & YOUR Fitness
Exercise for Life
Sayers John Miller, III, assistant professor of kinesiology and former athletic trainer for the San Francisco 49ers, gives tips on how to prevent exercise-related injuries and maintain fitness throughout life. Got knee pain? Plantar fasciitis? IT-band syndrome? Achilles tendinitis? Chances are, if you’re suffering from one of these overuse injuries, you have weak hips, glutes, or abdominals—or all three. According to Miller (featured in the images), weaknesses in these major muscle groups can lead to knees that collapse inward during exercise, a habit that can wreak havoc on the body. “Once you’ve damaged cartilage or torn ligaments, they’re never quite the same,” says Miller. “One of the things we commonly
see is knee, ankle, and lower back pain, and one of the common causes of these types of pain is the inability to control the lower extremities.” To avoid injuries that can squash our hopes of maintaining fitness into old age, Miller says we should regularly dedicate time to strengthening the muscles—hips, gluteals, and abdominals—that control our lower extremities.
Keep the knee over the foot and the beltline parallel to the ground (image A) while squatting. A band (image A) can help prevent the knees from collapsing inward (image B).
As you develop strength, begin to do single-leg squats (image C). Another variation is to place an exercise ball against a wall and hold a static squat position (image D).
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Clamshell Leg Lifts
Clamshell Leg Lifts With Band
Lie on your side with knees at right angles. Lift the top knee up, then lower it. This exercise strengthens the glutes and the external rotators of the hip.
When you become stronger, a band can provide additional resistance.
Leg Presses With Band
Extend one leg at a time while lifting the gluteals and lowering them. This exercise strengthens the gluteal, hamstring, and abdominal muscles.
Doing a leg press with a band around the knees forces you to pull the knees out at the same time you are moving up and down, which emphasizes external rotation of the lower extremity, rather than internal rotation.
Plank Rotations To strengthen the abdominals, position your body parallel to the floor with upper body resting on elbow and forearms and lower body resting on toes. Hold.
To do a side plank, rest on one hand while raising the opposite hand in the air. Balance on sides of feet.
Winter 2013-14 | 3
YOU & YOUR Fitness and Nutrition
Is it Safe to Exercise? Research consistently shows that exercising while pregnant delivers tremendous health benefits, yet many women avoid exercising because they worry about falling. In a recent study, Danielle Symons Downs, associate professor of kinesiology and obstetrics and gynecology, and Jinger Gottschall, assistant professor of kinesiology, examined whether and how pregnant women’s gaits change as they transition between level and hill surfaces, such as when walking or running outside.
“Most people alter their gait to avoid tripping when walking on uneven ground, but we found that pregnant women adopt an exaggerated gait strategy compared to non-pregnant adults,” says Gottschall. The team concludes that although pregnant women do exaggerate their gaits, walking or jogging outside are generally safe activities. However, if pregnant women do not feel comfortable walking outside, a treadmill or a track are good alternatives.
Visit a Park for Your Health Want to become more physically fit? Head to your local park, says Andrew Mowen, associate professor of recreation, park, and tourism management. “Studies show that people exercise more when they have access to parks,” he says. “They also are less stressed and have fewer anxiety disorders when they visit parks.”
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“Work Out” Your Hot Flashes Menopausal women who exercise may experience fewer hot flashes in the 24 hours following physical activity, according to Steriani Elavsky, associate professor of kinesiology, and colleagues. “Some people think that performing physical activity could increase hot flashes because it increases body temperature,” says Elavsky. “But our research shows that this is not true. On average, the women in our study experienced fewer hot flash symptoms after exercising.”
Binge-Eating Disorders Roughly four million Americans regularly binge eat to the point of feeling sick. Repeated bingeing on fatty food may change patterns of neural signaling in the brain in a manner similar to that which occurs during drug use, according to research on rats conducted by Professor of Nutritional Neuroscience Rebecca Corwin. “These changes in the brain could perpetuate the bingeing behavior and may explain why binge-eating disorder is so difficult to treat,” she says. “What’s particularly interesting is that only rats with restricted access to a fatty treat a few times a week will binge on the treat. Rats that get to eat a little of the treat every day don’t binge and don’t show the same changes.”
Symptoms of Binge-Eating Disorder Provided by the Mayo Clinic
• Eating unusually large amounts of food • Eating even when you’re full or not hungry • Eating rapidly during binge episodes • Eating until you’re uncomfortably full • Frequently eating alone • Feeling that your eating behavior is out of control • Feeling depressed, disgusted, ashamed, guilty, or upset about your eating • Losing and gaining weight repeatedly, also called yo-yo dieting If you or a loved one has any symptoms of binge-eating disorder, seek medical help as soon as possible.
For Healthy Weight Loss, Ditch the Diet The Atkins Diet, the Paleolithic Diet, the Cabbage Soup Diet. Some of us have tried every fad diet out there in an attempt to lose weight and keep it off. Yet, according to Penny Kris-Etherton, Distinguished Professor of Nutrition, people might have better success if they think NOT in terms of dieting, but rather on eating healthful foods over their lifetime. “That means eating a lot of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, skim-milk dairy products, lean meats, and a small amount of liquid vegetable oil,” says Kris-Etherton. “It also means avoiding high-calorie snacks. Certainly they can be incorporated in small amounts in a healthy diet, but if you focus on eating the healthier foods, you might naturally eat fewer sweets and treats.” Kris-Etherton says if you feel you really need the structure of a diet, check out the research-based DASH Diet, which emphasizes eating healthful foods in three meals and two snacks a day. Kris-Etherton recently served on a panel of scientists that ranked the diet at the top of the list in a U.S. News & World Report diet ranking.
Take a dip Can’t get your kids to eat their vegetables? Try offering the veggies with a side of dip. Research by Jennifer Savage Williams, associate director of the Center for Childhood Obesity Research, showed that more kids like vegetables when they are paired with a yummy dip compared to vegetables without a dip. “Just because children refuse to taste a vegetable doesn’t mean they don’t like it,” Savage says. “It’s foreign—the key is to try to get them to taste it in a positive light.”
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YOU & YOUR Nutrition
Nutrition Concerns in your
20s, 40s, & 60s As we age, our calorie needs and nutrient requirements change. Lynn Parker Klees, instructor in the Department of Nutritional Sciences, shares tips on how to eat healthfully in your 20s, 40s, and 60s.
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You may be working long hours, making new friends and dating, and possibly getting married and having children. Life is unpredictable, yet grabbing meals on the go often means taking in more calories and fewer nutrients. • When eating in restaurants, take half of the portion home. • Aim to have fruits and vegetables constitute half of your plate at lunch and dinner. • Substitute fruit for dessert most of the time. • When you need a quick meal, pick up healthy convenience foods like rotisserie chicken, instant brown rice, and frozen vegetables. • Reduce sugar-sweetened beverages and substitute water or no-calorie beverages. • Moderate alcohol consumption—one serving per day for women and two servings per day for men.
Life is hectic and you may not notice your metabolism starting to slow down. Watch out for increased belly fat as a result of dropping estrogen levels for women and long hours sitting for both men and women. • Find ways to add movement during the day. Get up early to go to the gym, take off during your lunch break to walk or bicycle, or jog or walk around the soccer field during your kids’ games. • Add strength training to slow the inevitable loss of muscle mass with aging. • Calorie needs drop as we get older. Cut 100 calories a day from your pre-40 diet. For every decade after 40, we need about 1 percent fewer calories, or the equivalent of a cookie. • Limit extra fats and sugars to about 100-150 calories per day.
You may be looking forward to increasing your physical activity in retirement or you may be slowing down due to injuries or chronic health problems. Despite your fitness level, your calorie needs have decreased while your nutrient needs have stayed the same or increased. • If you live alone, try to halve recipes or freeze in small portions for later use to avoid eating spoiled leftovers. • As we age, our thirst mechanism decreases but our fluid needs are maintained. Drink plenty of fluids to avoid dehydration. • People in their 60s need more protein to maintain their muscles. Choose lean meats, fish, beans, nuts, and tofu, and eat them throughout the day. • Beware of losing too much weight. People who are underweight and undernourished don’t fare as well when faced with illness and injury.
Percentage of Americans who are overweight.
Percentage of Americans who are projected to be obese, not just overweight, by 2030.
Source: Gordon Jensen, professor and head of the Department of Nutritional Sciences
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YOU & YOUR Health care
The Affordable Care Act: A Primer One in seven Americans does not have health insurance. When they do, the average family’s health insurance costs more than $15,000 per year. The Affordable Care Act (Obamacare), which was signed into law in 2010, promises to increase and improve health insurance coverage and reduce the cost of health care. How will this benefit you? According to Pamela Farley Short, professor of health policy and administration, it depends on who you are. Below, Short summarizes the primary provisions of Phase I and II of the Affordable Care Act, as it has evolved with Supreme Court decisions, stateby-state decisions about participation, and the Obama administration’s interpretation and implementation of the law.
Phase I (now in effect ) Insurer Limitations Preventive Care Prescription Drugs Young People Small Businesses Lifetime Limits Pre-Existing Conditions High-Risk Patients
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Insurers are limited in how they spend premium dollars; if too little goes into health care for their customers, they must give some of it back through rebates. No additional costs for preventive care, like screenings and vaccinations, for anyone with health insurance. People on Medicare who use a lot of prescription drugs pay less for them. Young people can stay on their parents’ policies up to age 26. Some small businesses get tax breaks to help them buy insurance for their employees. No more lifetime limits on health insurance. Insurance companies can’t turn kids down because of pre-existing conditions, like asthma and diabetes. High-risk pools supported by the government were set up to cover the sickest of the uninsured, even before the big expansions in health insurance scheduled for 2014.
Phase II (effective as of January 1, 2014) Medicaid
States have the option of expanding Medicaid to cover all low-income people, with the federal government picking up the entire cost for three years and then slowly shifting 10 percent to the states by 2020. Because of the Supreme Court ruling, states also have the option of leaving Medicaid unchanged and poor people uninsured.
Tax credits are available to offset health insurance costs of anyone without Medicaid or access to affordable employment-based health insurance if their family income is between 100 percent and 400 percent of the federal poverty line (between $23,000 and $94,000 for a family of four). Lower-income families in this range get more help than higher-income families.
People with no option to get health insurance through work can buy it through an online marketplace, organized by their state or by the federal government on behalf of their state.
Insurers cannot turn people down or charge them more if they are sick.
Insurance Requirement Large Businesses
Everyone is required to have insurance. Those who donâ€™t must pay a special tax that is relatively small in 2014 but increases in subsequent years. Starting in 2015, larger businesses will pay special taxes if they donâ€™t insure their full-time workers.
The Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation was an important source of information in compiling these lists.
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YOU & YOUR Relationships
How to connect with kids at any age Greg Fosco, assistant professor of human development and family studies and the Karl R. and Diane Wendle Fink Early Career Professor for the Study of Families, explains two of the most important ways parents can connect with their kids. Focus on positive behavior—Rather than focus on corrective feedback and nagging, parents can praise their kids’ good behavior, notice their successes, and make a point of helping them understand when they are meeting expectations or behaving appropriately. Strive for a ratio of three praises for every one corrective statement. Be a good listener—Children’s disclosures provide a range of opportunities for parents, such as problem-solving difficult peer interactions or learning about challenges their children are having with classwork. Parents are wise to take advantage of any opportunity to learn with whom their children are spending time and what happens while they are unsupervised. The most skillful parents are non-reactive listeners who ask questions like, “What happened next?” or “How did you respond?” or “Was that scary?” which can help kids open up.
“Should I allow my teenager to drink alcohol at home?”
“Many parents believe if they provide alcohol early it takes the mystery away and their kids are less likely to drink outside the home, but research shows that when the first drink is provided within the home, kids are more likely to drink more heavily and frequently,” says Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health.
Caring For Older Family Members 39.8 million. That’s the number of Americans over age 15 who provided unpaid care to someone over age 65 during a three-month period in 2012, according to a Bureau of Labor Statistics report. Distinguished Professor and Head of the Department of Human Development and Family Studies Steven Zarit gives some tips on how to manage the stress of caring for aging family members: • Get the information you need. Information about your relative’s condition and the options you have for providing care will help a lot. • Connect with other caregivers in a support group or on-line chat, share ideas about what works, and give support to one another. • Ask for help when you need it. • Get regular breaks from caregiving. My research has shown that adult day service programs have therapeutic benefits for their clients, while also reducing stress and improving well-being of caregivers. • If you feel upset and don’t know what to do, a social worker or psychologist with training in caregiving can be very helpful.
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Department of Biobehavioral Health
Burning question Does a shorter time to the first cigarette after waking up in the morning indicate greater nicotine addiction among teens? Imagine a heavily addicted smoker reaching for a pack of cigarettes on the bedside table and lighting up before getting out of bed in the morning. Chances are the person youâ€™re thinking of is an adult, not a 12-year-old child. Yet adolescents as young as 12 do smoke, and researchers have found that the sooner they do so upon waking in the morning, the more addicted they may be.
“Among adults, a shorter time to the first cigarette after waking up in the morning has become increasingly recognized as an indicator of nicotine dependence because of its association with biological measures of nicotine exposure, smoking relapse, and failed cessation attempts,” said Steven Branstetter, assistant professor of biobehavioral health. “However, until now, no one had examined the relationship between time to first cigarette and these measures among adolescents.” Branstetter and colleague Joshua Muscat, professor of public health sciences at the Penn State College of Medicine, examined the relationship between time to first cigarette, the number of cigarettes smoked per day, and blood levels of continine (a metabolite of nicotine) for 220 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 19 who were regular smokers. The team found that the time to first cigarette was significantly related to several smoking behaviors, including the number of cigarettes smoked per day, the time since the last cigarette, and having a family member who smokes at home. “Most importantly, we found that a shorter time between waking and having the first cigarette of the day is a strong indicator of nicotine uptake, as defined by serum continine levels, in adolescents,” said Branstetter. “Adolescents who smoke sooner after waking up in the morning tend to inhale more deeply and more thoroughly, which is why they have higher levels of continine in their blood. And these kids who take in more nicotine per cigarette may be more dependent on nicotine—regardless of the number of cigarettes they smoke per day.” According to the researchers, compared with adults, adolescent smokers tend to be lighter smokers overall, are less likely to inhale when they smoke, and are less likely to smoke when they are ill. Nevertheless, even adolescent smokers who smoke less than five cigarettes a day or who are nondaily smokers experience dependence and withdrawal symptoms at very high rates.
Early morning smoking and cancer Not only does early morning smoking suggest greater nicotine dependence, it also is linked to a higher likelihood of acquiring lung or oral cancer, Branstetter and Muscat found. “Our research on 1,945 adults shows that smokers who consume cigarettes immediately after waking have higher levels of NNAL—a metabolite of the tobacco-specific carcinogen NNK (4-(methylnitrosamino)-1-[3-pyridyl]1-butanone)—in their blood at any given time than smokers who refrain from smoking a half hour or more after waking, regardless of how many cigarettes they smoke per day,” said Branstetter.
How soon after waking did study participants smoke their first cigarettes?
smoked more than an hour after waking
smoked within 60 minutes of waking
smoked within 5 minutes of waking
smoked within 30 minutes of waking
“The time to first cigarette could be important in screening for high-risk smoking among adolescents and could also help in designing tailored smoking cessation interventions for these youth,” said Branstetter. ●
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Department of Biobehavioral Health
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Gerald Susman, Klein Professor Emeritus of Management, and Elizabeth Susman, Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Penn State professors create fund to support graduate students Penn State Professors Elizabeth J. Susman and Gerald I. Susman have created two new endowments to support graduate students in the College of Health and Human Development and the Smeal College of Business, their respective colleges. The Elizabeth J. Susman Enhancement Fund in Biobehavioral Health in the College of Health and Human Development and the Gerald I. Susman Enhancement Fund in the Department of Management and Organization in the Smeal College of Business will provide annual support for graduate students in the academic departments where the Susmans have spent their distinguished academic careers. “Over the years, Gerry and Liz have mentored and advised many graduate students. These endowments reveal how deeply committed they are to nurturing Penn State students and to building the programs that attract talented individuals to academia,” said Ann C. Crouter, the Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development.
lege of Business as the Klein Professor Emeritus of Management, as director of the Center for the Management of Technological and Organizational Change, and as director of Smeal’s Sustainability Council. The Susman endowments will support young scholars by covering travel expenses for professional conferences, academic competitions, conference registration and lab fees, and other thesis-related expenses. “Liz and I are deeply committed to supporting Penn State graduate students in whatever capacity we can,” said Gerry. “They and their faculty mentors have enriched our lives in countless ways over many decades, and these individuals have made and will continue to make Penn State one of the finest research universities in the world.”
With these new gifts, the Susmans have found yet another way to help the next generation of scholars.
Elizabeth Susman, the Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health, joined the faculty of the College of Health and Human Development in 1977. Her research integrates behavioral endocrinology and developmental psychology and is published in biomedical and psychological journals. She has served on multiple research and health-policyrelated national committees, and her research has been funded by numerous agencies and foundations. She is the co-chair of HHD’s Development Council for the current campaign, For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. Gerald Susman joined the Smeal faculty in 1969 and partially retired in 2010. He continues to serve the Smeal Col-
- Ann C. Crouter
These enhancement funds are the latest commitments from the Susmans, who have a long history of philanthropic leadership at Penn State. The Susmans also have established professorships through their estates. The couple co-chaired the Faculty and Staff Campaign during the University’s Grand Destiny campaign, and each has served on numerous fundraising committees for their respective colleges.
The new Susman endowments will help the College of Health and Human Development and the Smeal College of Business to reach their goals in For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students. This University-wide effort is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America.
For more information on the For the Future campaign, visit giveto.psu.edu.
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Department of Biobehavioral Health
Poor stress responses may lead to obesity in children Children who overreact to stressors may be at risk of becoming overweight or obese, according to Lori Francis, associate professor of biobehavioral health, and colleagues.
On average, the children consumed 250 kilocalories of the snack foods, with some consuming small amounts (20 kilocalories) and others consuming large amounts (700 kilocalories).
“Our results suggest that some children who are at risk of becoming obese can be identified by their biological response to a stressor,” said Francis. “Ultimately, the goal is to help children manage stress in ways that promote health and reduce the risks associated with an over- or under-reactive stress response.”
“We found that kids who exhibited greater cortisol release (those who overreacted to the lab stressor) had significantly higher body-mass indices [BMI] and consumed significantly more calories in the absence of hunger than kids whose cortisol levels rose only slightly in response to the stressor,” Francis said. “We also found that kids whose cortisol levels stayed high—in other words, they had low recovery—had the highest BMIs and consumed the greatest number of calories in the absence of hunger.” ■
The team—which included Elizabeth Susman, Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health— examined the children’s reactions to a laboratory stressor and measured the extent to which they ate after saying they were not hungry.
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Pre-college talk between parents and teens lessens college drinking College students are significantly more likely to abstain from drinking or to drink only minimally when their parents follow the recommendations suggested in a parent handbook developed by Robert Turrisi, professor of biobehavioral health. “Over 90 percent of teens try alcohol outside the home before they graduate from high school,” said Turrisi. “It is well known that fewer problems develop for every year that heavy drinking is delayed. Our research over the past decade shows that parents can play a powerful role in minimizing their teens’ drinking during college when they talk to their teens about alcohol before they enter college.” The researchers recruited 1,900 study participants by randomly selecting incoming freshmen to a large, public northeastern university. Each of the individuals was identified as belonging to one of four groups: nondrinkers, weekend light drinkers, weekend heavy drinkers, and heavy drinkers. The team mailed Turrisi’s handbook to the parents of the student participants. The 22-page handbook included an overview of college student drinking, strategies and techniques for communicating effectively with teens, ways to help teens develop assertiveness and resist peer pressure, and in-depth information on how alcohol affects the body. The parents were asked to read the handbook and then talk to their teens about the content of the handbook at one of three times to which they were randomly assigned: (1) during the summer before college, (2) during the summer before college and again during the fall semester of the first year of college, and (3) during the fall semester of the first year of college. “Our results show that if parents follow the recommendations suggested in the handbook and talk to their teens before they enter college, their teens are more likely to remain in the nondrinking or light-drinking groups or to transition out of a heavy-drinking group if they were already heavy drinkers,” Turrisi said. ■
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Department of Biobehavioral Health
Wanted: Bodily Fluids Got blood, saliva, or urine, but don’t know what to do with them? The folks at the Biomarker Core Laboratory can help. Directed by Laura Cousino Klein, associate professor of biobehavioral health, the Biomarker Core Laboratory contains the equipment, training, and personnel needed to glean important information from bodily fluids, such as how stressed a person was at the time the fluid was collected. The fee-for-service facility, currently located in Chandlee Laboratory, is available to any Penn State faculty member, researcher, or student who wants to examine biomarkers—biological units, such as hormones, that can be used as indicators of an organism’s physiological state—in their samples. For example, researchers have used the facility to investigate stress hormones in the saliva of children who have been exposed to vio-
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lence and of family caregivers of people with dementia, as well as the health of migrant farmworkers. “Researchers can drop off their samples and we can do all of the work, or we can train them or their students to use the equipment and run their own samples,” said Klein. “Basically we offer an à la carte service. This is quite different from what you get when you send your samples to a company. We work collaboratively with the investigators so they can be as engaged in the process as they want.” Established in 2008, the lab already has analyzed tens of thousands of samples. For more information about using the lab, contact co-director Mary Curran at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814865-5559. Are you interested in supporting the Biomarker Core Laboratory? To make a gift, contact Kathleen Rider at email@example.com or 814-865-1064.
The Lingering Effects Of Violence On Children It might be a hold-up in a convenience store, a brawl outside a restaurant, or a drive-by shooting down the road. Whatever form it takes, community violence is stressful for the children who witness it. Yet research by Elizabeth Susman, Jean Phillips Shibley Professor of Biobehavioral Health, shows that not only are kids who witness such acts affected in the short term, they continue to exhibit a physical stress response up to a year after the event, suggesting that exposure to violence may have long-term negative health consequences. The team gave 124 adolescents a questionnaire to identify their lifetime exposure to violence and exposure within the past 12 months. They then gave the kids story-completion and mental-arithmetic tasks, both of which are commonly used to elicit a stress response in laboratory settings. They monitored the kids’ salivary cortisol levels. “Our data show that the stress reaction to violence exposure is not just immediate; there’s an effect that endures,” said Susman.
Stressed? Eat pistachios. Gotta love those pistachios. Now, in addition to being good for your heart and low in fat and calories, compared to other nuts, the pistachio appears to reduce the body’s response to the stresses of everyday life, according to Sheila West, associate professor of biobehavioral health, and colleagues. In particular, the team’s results show that a diet supplemented with pistachios helps decrease systolic blood pressure, peripheral vascular resistance, and heart rate during acute stress. “Daily events, such as work stress, a tight deadline, or public speaking can increase blood pressure, and we know that we can’t avoid all of the stressors in our lives,” said West. “Our results are significant because they show that physiological responses to stress are affected by the foods we eat.”
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Department of Biobehavioral Health
Stress relief for caregivers of aging family members Family caregivers of older adults with dementia are less stressed and their moods are improved on days when dementia patients receive adult day services (ADS), according to Penn State researchers. “Caregivers who live with and care for someone with dementia can experience extraordinary amounts of stress,” said Laura Cousino Klein, associate professor of biobehavioral health. “The use of adult day services appears to provide caregivers with a much-needed break that can possibly protect them from the negative health effects caused by chronic stress.” The researchers conducted eight daily telephone interviews on consecutive days with 173 family caregivers of individuals with dementia who use an ADS—a service
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that is designed to provide social and some health services to adults who need supervised care outside the home during the day. The researchers found that caregivers had lower exposure to care-related stressors and more positive experiences on days when their family members with dementia used ADS. On these days, caregivers also were exposed to more non-care stressors. Yet the overall effect of the use of adult day services on caregivers was lowered anger and reduced impact of non-care stressors on depressive symptoms. The results appeared in a recent issue of The Gerontologist. Other authors on the paper include principal investigator Steven Zarit, distinguished professor and head; Kyungmin Kim, postdoctoral scholar; Elia Femia, research associate; and David Almeida, professor—all in human development and family studies. n
Two BBH student-athletes honored as Big Ten Distinguished Scholars Lindsay Musgrove and Merritt Krawczyk, student-athletes from the Department of Biobehavioral Health, were among 68 Penn State student-athletes to have been selected for the Big Ten Distinguished Scholar Award for earning a grade-point average of 3.7 or higher during the 2012-13 academic year.
Lindsay Musgrove (senior), Women’s Gymnastics
Unhealthy eating can make a bad mood worse By Matthew Swayne
College-age women who are concerned about their diet and self-image report that their moods worsen after bouts of disordered eating, such as binge eating, loss of control over eating, and food intake restriction, according to Joshua Smyth, professor of biobehavioral health, and colleagues. “This study is unique because it evaluates moods and eating behaviors as they occur in people’s daily lives, which can provide a more accurate picture of the relationship between emotions and eating,” Smyth said. “The results from this study can help us to better understand the role mood may play in the development and maintenance of unhealthy eating and weight-control behaviors, which could be useful for creating more effective treatment programs for people with eating and weight concerns.” n
Merritt Krawczyk ’13, Women’s Swimming and Diving
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Department of Biobehavioral Health
Penn State offers online HIV/AIDS education programs More than a million Americans are living with HIV, and about 50,000 more become infected each year. Education plays a critical role in combating the spread of HIV, especially among youth. To help, Penn State is offering a new series of online continuing-education programs focused on HIV/ AIDS prevention and education. “We want to make the most current information about HIV/AIDS as accessible and convenient as possible for the professionals who provide sexual and health-promoting information to young people and others,” said Patricia Barthalow Koch, professor of biobehavioral health. The online programs, designed for teachers, counselors, therapists, psychologists, coaches, school nurses, and other health care professionals, include: • The Changing Face of the HIV/AIDS Epidemic • HIV/AIDS: From Infection to Disease • HIV/AIDS Education and Prevention • HIV/AIDS in the 21st Century For information about the online HIV/AIDS prevention programs and to register, visit www.outreach.psu.edu/programs/plase online.
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Credit: Laura Stocker Waldhier
Affiliate Program Group (APG) Update Since 2012, the BBH APG has added two new members in executive positions (vice president and mentoring chair), two undergraduate student representatives, one graduate student representative, and eight at-large members to its board.
The College of Health and Human Development Alumni Society is currently seeking nominations for its alumni awards. For more information on the awards and to nominate deserving BBH alumni, visit www.hhd.psu.edu/awards.
The APG hosted an alumni career panel in conjunction with the BBH Student Society on Thursday, October 24, in the new Biobehavioral Health Building with five alumni representing various BBH-inspired career paths. Seventy students were in attendance. The event represents a successful collaboration with on-campus student groups as well as BBH faculty members and alumni.
The Communications Committee is working on its first-ever “Alumni Spotlight” series, to be highlighted on its Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. The goal of the “Alumni Spotlight” series is to connect alumni and students to other BBH alumni, as well as to generate discussions about various topics within the BBH field.
The APG continues to support the College of Health and Human Development’s Mentoring Program. To learn about the program and/or to become a mentor to a BBH undergraduate student, visit www.hhd.psu.edu/alumni/careers.html.
The Social/Professional Committee is planning a social and speed networking event for March 2014. More detailed information is forthcoming. Please be sure to keep your contact information updated with the Penn State Alumni Association at alumni.psu.edu/about_us/contact_us/update_info. Connect with the BBH APG at alumni.hhd.psu.edu/bbh, on Facebook at “Penn State BBH Alumni”, on LinkedIn at “Biobehavioral Health Affiliate Program Group (BBH APG)”, and on Twitter at “bbh_psu”.
The Awards Committee is now accepting nominations from undergraduate students for the inaugural BBH APG mentoring award, which will honor a BBH faculty member who goes “above and beyond” to mentor students personally and professionally. The award will be presented at the college-wide mentoring dinner in BIOBEHAVIORAL HEALTH To learn more about the BBH APG, contact the presiMarch. Please email Matthew Turley ’99 BBH at mturAFFILIATE PROGRAM GROUP firstname.lastname@example.org to nominate deserving faculty members. dent, Alyssa Brooks ’10 BBH, at email@example.com.
BIOBEHAVIORAL HEALTH AFFILIATE PROGRAM GROUP
BBH BIOBEHAVIORAL HEALTH AFFILIATE PROGRAM GROUP
Winter 2013-14 | 23
Older adults learn to Skype with help from Penn State students The moment she laid eyes on her beautiful great-granddaughter Sallee Wilkins knew she was in love…with Skype. “My great-granddaughter lives in Italy, and I only get to see her maybe once a year,” said Wilkins, “but with Skype I can watch her grow up.” Wilkins is one of 26 residents of The Village at Penn State, a State College retirement community, to receive a Skype lesson from volunteers Amanda Gresh, undergraduate student in health policy and administration, and Courtney Polenick, graduate student in human development and family studies, since January 2013. The student volunteers decided to teach older adults at The
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Village to use Skype after learning of their interest in such help from Amy Lorek, research and outreach associate with the Center for Healthy Aging. The center conducts and supports research, outreach, and educational activities focused on promoting health and well-being from early adulthood into later-life. “It’s important to stay connected, whether it is with family or by participating in the community,” said Lorek. “Students and older adults have much to teach each other. Student volunteer opportunities help facilitate conversations between generations and strengthen our connection and sense of community. We can be a happier, healthier community with that exchange. This project helps to connect students to community members while also connecting community members with their families.”
< Penn State students Amanda Gresh (left) and Courtney Polenick (right) help Annetta Pierce (middle), a resident at The Village at Penn State, learn to Skype. Lorek introduced Gresh and Polenick to Kellie Vogt, a resident of The Village and self-described “techy,” who helped the students to train other interested residents. “I’ve always had a knack for solving tech-related problems,” said Vogt. “When dining with fellow residents, I often hear comments like, ‘I can’t get my email,’ or ‘My daughter replaced my old printer with a new one, but I don’t know how it works.’ I leave the meal thinking, ‘I could fix that.’” Vogt’s own children and grandchildren live out of state, so she has experienced firsthand the joy of visiting with them via Skype. “Since my oldest son, his wife, and his three children moved to Wyoming last year, I’ve toured their new home and visited with them on Thanksgiving, Christmas, and birthdays, all via Skype,” she said. “The face-to-face conversation that Skype enables is superior to a phone call, text message, or email.”
Nancy Gamble, a resident at The Village at Penn State, talks about how her lessons in Skype enabled her to talk with family members while they were on vacation in Mexico.
Room Service Since January, the team has been meeting with residents of The Village in their homes to give them one-on-one tutorials in Skype. In March, Gresh and Polenick met with Annetta Pierce and Mary Gundel ’46 PH ED, ’53 M.Ed., the twenty-fifth and twenty-sixth residents to receive the training. The students were greeted at the door of the apartment by the women’s toy poodle and were quickly welcomed inside. Pierce, a former Harrisburg School District guidance counselor, was particularly interested in using Skype to talk with her nephew and his family in Camden, Maine. “We visit him in Maine from time to time, but it would be so nice to see him more frequently,” she said. The Penn State students quickly got to work showing Pierce how to operate Skype. They then helped her practice dialing out and receiving calls. When they were finished with the lesson, they left the women with a handout containing step-by-step instructions and an invitation to contact them if they had questions.
and we couldn’t go, so we Skyped with them. They could pick up their laptops and show us around the apartment where they were staying and around the pool and beach. One daughter I talk to almost every week by Skype.” “I thought I couldn’t learn how to do it,” said Wilkins, “but slowly I am learning, and if I can learn anybody can.” But of all those involved, the students have, perhaps, benefitted the most. “Skype opens up the opportunity for people to have more face-to-face communication with their families,” said Polenick, who is studying adult development and aging with a focus on family relationships. “By participating in this volunteer work I hope to understand the potential for Skype to assist in maintaining and enhancing family relationships.” Gresh, too, is interested in working with older adults in her future career. Her goal is to become a nursing home administrator. “I’ve always felt at home working with older adults,” she said. “I really appreciate the wisdom they have to share.”
The residents who have participated with Gresh, Polenick, and Vogt in the Skype program each have their own story to tell about how they have benefitted.
Both students, as well as Vogt, plan to continue to help other residents of The Village learn to use Skype.
“I have used it to reconnect with a couple of my high school friends,” said Nancy Gamble ’52 H EC, ’55g CD FR. “Also, at Christmas time, our kids were going to Mexico
“The program is such a wonderful way for older adults to stay connected with their families,” said Gresh. “It feels really good to be able to help them do this.” n
Winter 2013-14 | 25
Biobehavioral Health Building Dedication Food, music, and cheerful chatter filled the halls and meeting spaces of the Biobehavioral Health Building on September 12, when faculty and staff members, alumni, and friends gathered to dedicate the new building. The event began with remarks from Ann C. Crouter, Raymond E. and Erin Stuart Schultz Dean of the College of Health and Human Development; Rodney A. Erickson, president; and Paul H. Silvis â€™06g BUS, vice chair of the Board of Trustees. Following the presentations, guests were given a chance to tour the building, peruse posters describing faculty and student research, and listen to live music by the band Pure Cane Sugar. Photos taken by Paul Hazi Photography
Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center Dedication Philanthropist Edna Bennett Pierce ’53 H EC has supported prevention research at Penn State for nearly two decades. The college recently honored her transformational support by naming the Prevention Research Center in her honor. A dinner was held on September 13, 2013, to commemorate the dedication of the Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center. Bennett Pierce’s longstanding support of the center began in 1994 when she and her late husband, C. Eugene Bennett ’52 SCI, endowed the Edna Peterson Bennett Faculty Chair in Prevention Research, held by Mark T. Greenberg, founding director of the center. Edna continued her support by establishing the Bennett Endowment for Children and Adolescents and the C. Eugene Bennett Chair in Prevention Research. The Edna Bennett Pierce Prevention Research Center serves as a catalyst for the development and implementation of collaborative projects among Penn State faculty and Pennsylvania community members. The Prevention Research Center’s purpose is to promote healthy social and emotional development and to prevent problems Ann C. Crouter, dean, Ednafailure Bennett and Mark Greenberg, founding of social and academic in Pierce, children and youth.
director of the Prevention Research Center.
A. Duer “Bud” Pierce and Edna Bennett Pierce
Celebration of Scholarship Recipients On September 15, the College of Health and Human Development celebrated its student scholarship recipients and the generous donors who are responsible for making these scholarships available. Around 125 students participated in the event, which included a breakfast and a presentation by Suzanne Martin ’74 CRS. “My mom struggled financially to enable me to finish school,” said Martin, who created the Joanne Durrwachter Finke Memorial Trustee Scholarship. “When I graduated, I promised myself I would pay her back. I never got the chance because soon after I graduated, she died of a rare auto-immune disease. Shortly after her death, I started giving to Penn State as a way to honor her memory.” Students at the celebration had the opportunity to talk with donors and share their gratitude for the financial assistance that has made it possible for them to pursue their dreams. “Meeting Ricardo Ortiz, who is a current recipient of my scholarship, was exciting,” said Martin. “With his Penn State education, Ricardo will be wellequipped to make a difference in the lives of others.”
SHM students, donors, and faculty members
Adam Fenton, Janet Atwood, and Mary Grace Hill
Dean Crouter addresses the group
Development Council Update
Mary E. Good (left) and Elizabeth J. Susman (right)
Scholarship recipient Jasmyn Franklin
Dear Friends, The people supporting For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students are inspired to give for a variety of reasons—a professor whose mentoring steered them toward a successful career; the financial aid that enabled them to receive a Penn State education; the opportunity to help the college attract the best and brightest junior faculty; or the chance to support research to improve the lives of children, youth, and families. While individual motivation for giving may vary, the overarching reason our alumni and friends support this campaign is simple—they believe in Penn State.
Stan Mayers talks with scholarship recipient Nicholas Santone
The top priority of the campaign has been to increase scholarship support, making a Penn State education a possibility for all students, regardless of economic background. As the campaign comes to a close this spring, we hope that if you have not had the opportunity to participate, you will join us. A commitment to the For the Future campaign is a commitment to ensuring generations to come will have the opportunity to experience the Penn State we all know and love. For the Glory, Mary E. Good ’85 I F S Elizabeth J. Susman ’71 I F S, ’73g, ’76g HD FS Campaign Committee Co-Chairs
For more information on how you can lend your support to the campaign, contact Kathleen Rider at firstname.lastname@example.org or 814-865-1064.
Christina Ellis, Alyssa Hischak, Nicole Phillips, and Valerie Katulka Photos taken by Jennifer N. Sloss, Blink of an Eye Photography
Health and Human Development New Faculty Sy-Miin Chow
Associate Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Assistant Professor of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management
Sy-Miin Chow’s research focuses on study methodology, with particular emphasis on investigating the development and adaptation of modeling and analysis tools that are suited to evaluating linear and nonlinear dynamical systems models, including longitudinal structural equation models and state-space modeling techniques. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, she was an assistant professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill from 2007 to 2012. She earned a Ph.D. degree in quantitative psychology at the University of Virginia.
In his research, Carter Hunt investigates tourism-supported biodiversity conservation, sustainable community development, impacts of tourism on both destination communities and on travelers, and environmental anthropology. He earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Kentucky and master’s and Ph.D. degrees at Texas A&M University. He conducted postdoctoral research at Stanford University.
Christopher Engeland Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
Christopher Engeland’s research focuses on how factors such as stress, age, gender, and hormones affect immunity, inflammation, and health. He also examines the feasibility of biomarkers for predicting health outcomes. Prior to joining the faculty at Penn State, Engeland was an assistant professor at the University of Illinois at Chicago since 2008. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees at Carleton University in Ontario and a Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario.
Naleef Fareed Assistant Professor of Health Policy and Administration
Naleef Fareed’s research focuses on health care topics related to organizational theory, information technology, and patient safety. He earned a bachelor’s degree in management at Hartwick College, a master of business administration degree in health care management at Union Graduate College, and a Ph.D. degree in health services organization and research at Virginia Commonwealth University.
Helen Kamens Assistant Professor of Biobehavioral Health
In her research, Helen Kamens seeks to identify genetic mechanisms that contribute to complex behaviors with a special emphasis on alcohol and tobacco use. She was an assistant research professor at the University of Colorado from 2012 to 2013. She earned a bachelor’s degree in biobehavioral health at Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in behavioral neuroscience at Oregon Health & Science University.
Ji Min Lee Assistant Professor of Communication Sciences and Disorders
Ji Min Lee’s research goal is to examine and expand the foundational research on speech production and clinical application of that research to speakers with speech disorders. In particular, she examines the relationship between articulatory acoustics and kinematics, the development of various speech subsystems and their control in children with and without motor speech disorders, and identification of comprehensive production variables that predict speech intelligibility in young children with speech disorders. She received a Ph.D. degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2010.
Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences
Associate Professor of Hospitality Management
Alison Gernand’s research focuses on micronutrient deficiencies, pregnancy, fetal and placental growth, and child growth. She received a master of public health degree at the University of Texas at Houston’s School of Public Health in 2003 and a Ph.D. degree at the John’s Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health in 2011.
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Seoki Lee’s research focuses on corporate social responsibility, internationalization, and financial distress and equity valuation. Before coming to Penn State, he served on the faculty at Temple University. He earned bachelor’s and master’s degree at Michigan State University, and a Ph.D. degree at Penn State.
Assistant Professor of Hospitality Management
Associate Professor of Nutritional Sciences
Larry Martinez’s research examines employee diversity and employee retention and turnover. Specifically, he investigates stigmatization, prejudice, and discrimination across the spectrum of employment experiences, particularly from the target’s perspective. He also researches the role of non-stigmatized allies in reducing discrimination. He earned bachelor’s, master’s, and Ph.D. degrees at Rice University.
In his research, Gregory Shearer seeks to understand disease-related functional changes in lipid mediators—bioactive metabolites of dietary fatty acids that act on tissues to alter many disease-related functions, including the stiffness of blood vessels and the body’s response to stress. He uses lipid mediators to identify markers of disease and better ways to prevent or manage disease. He earned a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry at the University of California, Riverside, and master’s and Ph.D. degrees in human physiology and nephrology, respectively, at the University of California, Davis.
Assistant Professor of Kinesiology
Kristina Neely’s research focuses on understanding how the central nervous system organizes the preparation, execution, and inhibition of skilled, purposeful actions. She is especially interested in how the brain mediates precision grasping by the hand. Neely earned a bachelor’s degree at the University of Minnesota, a master’s degree at Indiana University, and a Ph.D. degree at the University of Western Ontario. She conducted postdoctoral research at the University of Florida.
Peter Newman Professor and Head of Recreation, Park, and Tourism Management
Peter Newman’s research focuses on the human dimensions of natural resource management and social carrying capacity decision making in the context of protected areas management. In particular, he studies visitor management in protected areas, soundscape/acoustic management in parks, transportation management and planning, and efficacy and communication of “leave no trace” principles. He earned a bachelor’s degree in political science at the University of Rochester, a master’s degree in forest resource management at the State University of New York, and a Ph.D. degree in natural resources at the University of Vermont.
Jennie Noll Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Jennie Noll’s research examines the bio-psychosocial consequences of childhood sexual abuse, pathways to teen pregnancy and high-risk sexual behaviors for abused and neglected youth, the long-term adverse health outcomes for victims of sexual abuse, and the propensity for abused and neglected teens to engage in high-risk internet and social media behaviors. She received a Ph.D. degree in developmental psychology and statistical methodology from the University of Southern California. She then spent eight years at the National Institutes of Health in Washington, D.C., before going to Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, where she spent ten years as a professor of pediatrics.
Chad Shenk Assistant Professor of Human Development and Family Studies
Chad Shenk focuses on longitudinal pathways from child maltreatment to the onset of psychological disorders in childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. He also conducts experimental and observational research to identify the mechanisms of various psychological disorders in the child maltreatment population across multiple levels of analysis. From 2010 to 2013, Shenk was an assistant professor of pediatrics at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center. He earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology at Penn State and a Ph.D. degree in clinical psychology at the University of Nevada, Reno.
Matam Vijay-Kumar Assistant Professor of Nutritional Sciences
In his research, Matam Vijay-Kumar examines host metabolic adaptations to inflammation, innate immunity-gut microbiotal interactions in metabolic diseases, and iron homeostasis in inflammation. Before joining the faculty at Penn State, he was an assistant professor of biology at Georgia State University. He earned a Ph.D. degree in biochemistry at the Central Food Technological Research Institute in Mysore, India, in 2002.
Photos by Paul Hazi (12) and Chuck Fong, Studio2 Photography (2)
Winter 2013-14 | 31
Benedick Brothers Pay it Forward
Jeff (left) and Jim (right) Benedick created the Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development and the College of Engineering with the goal of helping students to realize their academic dreams, just as others helped them. The Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Health and Human Development and the Benedick Family Scholarship in the College of Engineering will provide recognition and financial assistance to outstanding undergraduate students in those colleges. “I wanted to give other young people an opportunity to move forward with their lives,” said Jeff ’72 CRS. “But I also wanted to honor my family and everyone who raised me and gave me the encouragement and guidance to move on with my life and have it be wonderful.” Jeff credits his education at Penn State with preparing him to establish a successful and rewarding career in interior design. For 25 years, he ran Saddleback Homes, an interior design company specializing in model homes for builders. Today, he enjoys creating interior designs for high-end private residences internationally. “Being from York, Pa., back in the late 1960s, I thought that was all there was,” said Jeff. “I was somewhat isolated. At Penn State, being exposed on the university campus to different cultures and different ways of living was eye opening for me. Now I’ve been all over the world, which is way beyond what I ever expected in my life and career.” “My brother and I did not come from an affluent family, but we managed a most important achievement:
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to get a degree from Penn State,” added Jim ’66 ENG. “I have been very fortunate in my education, career, and life, and now it is our desire to assist others to achieve their aspirations and dreams.” Jim, the chief operating officer for ProFun Management Group—which specializes in the management and operation of theme parks, entertainment centers, visitor centers, World Expos, and other leisure-time projects—added, “The opportunity to attend Penn State exposed me to individuals and cultures that empowered me to think way beyond my presumed limits. During my time there I grew tremendously and my excellent education helped propel me into a world that I had never imagined.” Jim’s first job out of college was with the Apollo Moon Program. “I like to say ‘I helped to put a man on the moon!’” he said. His second job was as an industrial engineer at Disneyland. “Since those wonderful experiences, I have had the opportunity to travel the world, consulting with and operating numerous entertainment facilities. I could never have done all of these things without my first major step—getting a great education from Penn State.” Learn more about planned gifts and other ways to support Penn State at www.gftpln.org/Home. do?orgId=5701.
University’s history, and more than 500,000 alumni and friends have already joined in. Have you? For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students ends on June 30, 2014, so please give now. We’re counting down, and every gift counts.
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2013-14 winter issue of the College of Health and Human Development's magazine (Department of Biobehavioral Health Edition)