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Inside Arts Administration major added_____________ 1 Director’s message___________________________ 2 Twelve years of Lake Effect___________________ 2 Commemorating the War of 1812_____________ 4 Ben Lane Plaza dedicated____________________ 6 History honor society established_____________ 7 Students experience politics firsthand________ 7 Mural points the way to media labs___________ 8

School of Humanities And Social Sciences 2013

H&SS News Penn State Erie, The Behrend College

Rethinking Bullying New Major Blends Arts and Business Vee Butler was that kid in junior high who knew every act of The Glass Menagerie and every line of The Sound of Music. “I fell in love with the theatre in sixth grade,” Butler said. “I was always carrying around play scripts. I read them like books.” The Pittsburgh native decided to attend Penn State Behrend on a whim. It may have seemed an unusual choice for an artsy girl with a flair for event planning. “I knew that Behrend wasn’t exactly known for its arts programs, but something just felt right about it,” Butler said. Her intuition proved correct when she received an email last summer from Dr. Sharon Dale, associate professor of art history, announcing a new Arts Administration major. Butler immediately responded with her interest in the program. “It’s a secure career path because you Continued on page 8 }

Erie Day School students participate in a trust-building exercise with Bianca Bramblett, left, a senior Psychology major.

First things first: It’s no longer called bullying; it’s peer mistreatment. Victims are now targets and bystanders are now witnesses. Got that? You can say it’s all just semantics and that bullying hasn’t changed much since you grew up, but Dr. Charisse Nixon, associate professor of psychology, her student research assistants, and 13,000 fifth- through twelfthgraders across the country beg to differ. Labels matter, words hurt, and adults

and peers can minimize the damage. These are facts backed up by three years of research conducted by Nixon and her Maine-based colleague, Stan Davis, for their Youth Voice Project, the first largescale research effort to ask students which prevention and intervention methods are actually helpful. Armed with that knowledge, Nixon and three of her senior psychology stuContinued on page 3 }


Director’s Message It’s been another busy and exciting year in the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. With the addition of new faculty members, we’re strengthening our offerings. This includes the introduction of an Steven V. Hicks, Ph.D. Arts Administration major—the only one of its kind in the Penn State system. You can read all about this innovative program on page 1. The school also recently began offering certificates in Behavioral Health and Counseling Psychology, Child Development, Consumer Psychology, Human Factors, Legal Studies, and Social Media as well as minors in Spanish and American Studies. As you’ll read on page 7, our faculty members continue to distinguish themselves in remarkable ways. And our students are on the go. Last year, they took studyabroad trips to Spain, Italy, Canada, Jordan, and South Africa and, closer to home, they participated in exciting new internships. Our outreach programs are thriving as well. The Young People’s Chorus of Erie, as one example, received a $10,000 grant to continue its work with local youth. Our future is exciting. We’re working with members of Penn State Behrend’s Council of Fellows to support the development of a Digital Media, Arts, and Technology Center. When completed, this center will blend creative arts with digital technologies, serve as a hub for new interdisciplinary majors, and become a catalyst for development of an advanced media industry in the Erie region. It’s an exciting venture, and I will keep you updated on the committee’s progress. In closing, I’d like to thank our alumni and friends for their continued support in providing scholarships and learning resources for our students.

Perfect-Bound Creativity If you want to know pressure, just try Lake Effect is an important teaching tool writing a creative story about Lake Effect, for students in the Creative Writing prothe college’s acclaimed student-run intergram at Penn State Behrend. national literary journal. “The best way to become a better Tap, tap, tap … backspace, backspace, writer is to read everything you can get backspace … tap, tap, tap … your hands on,” Looney said. “Not just Knowing your work will be read, disthe good stuff, but bad stuff, too, because sected, and discussed by dozens of creative then you learn what not to do.” writing students and faculty members can But the lessons learned working on give even the most confident writer pause. Lake Effect go beyond writing and editClearly, they are a group of people who ing. Students also are introduced to the know good—and business end of bad—writing publishing. Lit • er •ar • y mag• a• zine, when they see it. “It has demystiThey should. fied the journal noun; a publication, ofThey have plenprocess,” said ten associated with a ty of experience Elliot Smith, a culling the thouCreative Writing university, that exists to major and cosands of submissions that arrive editor of poetry showcase creative writeach year for posfor Lake Effect. ing that otherwise may sible publication “I am hardened in Lake Effect. to the realities of not find an audience in Those submispublishing.” sions arrive in It’s a hands-on mainstream, commerhard copy. Black learning opporcial publishing. type on white patunity that few, if per. No digiany, other students tal submissions are accepted. And why in undergraduate creative writing proshould they be? Lake Effect is more subgrams have. stantial than that. It’s a printed, perfect“Because we don’t have graduate stubound book with 200 pages, give or take, dents, our B.F.A. students are actually of creative prose. Student editors review able to be part of the working staff of an every submission and decide what gets in international literary journal that is gainand what doesn’t. ing in respect every year,” Looney said. “Quality is number one,” said George That respect has been hard-earned with Looney, the professor of English and crethe blood, sweat, and tears of dozens of ative writing who has served as an editor student editors committed to finding the of Lake Effect for a decade. “We get plenwords to inspire, educate, and entertain. ty to choose from, so we can be picky.” Gulp. Did this piece In fact, being picky is the whole point. pass the test?

About Lake Effect • Published annually in February • About 800 copies printed • Seventy to 100 submissions received each week • One-year subscription is $6; two years is $10 For information on how to submit work or buy a copy of Lake Effect, visit hss/lakeeffect.


What Actually Helps Here, according to the research done through the Youth Voice Project, are what students who have been mistreated say are the most (and least) helpful responses.

What Parents and Educators Can Do to Help • Do: Listen to them; check in with them later to see if the behavior has stopped; give them advice • Consider: Talking to both students together • Don’t: Ignore it; tell children to stop tattling; tell children to solve the problem themselves; tell children it wouldn’t happen if they acted differently

What Witnesses Can Do to Help

Psychology students, from left, Alyson Eagle, Kimberly Cook, Jennifer Slane, and Zack Cathcart worked with Dr. Charisse Nixon, associate professor of psychology, to develop a mentoring program to reduce peer aggression. Eagle, Cook, and Slane presented their research at a national conference in Kansas City and won first place for their bullying research presentation at the Sigma Xi undergraduate research conference at Penn State Behrend this spring. Continued from page 1 }

dents—Kimberly Cook, Alyson Eagle, and Jennifer Slane—started a mentoring program at several Erie-area schools in which undergraduate psychology students are teaching youth (and educators) effective strategies to reduce peer mistreatment. “The mentoring is a vehicle to change students’ attitudes and behaviors based upon the data,” Nixon said. “It’s practice based on research.” It is also a valuable hands-on learning experience for Behrend psychology students like Zack Cathcart, who spent a recent Wednesday morning rocking on his heels, arms crossed and eyes closed, in a tight circle of fifth-graders at Erie Day School, confident the students wouldn’t let him fall to the ground. Cathcart and four more Behrend students, under the supervision of Nixon and EDS principal Dr. Karen Tyler were engaging the children in a trust-building activity meant to help classmates

develop mutual respect, openness, empathy, and teamwork skills—the building blocks for a kinder generation. “We focus on teaching these traits because then the children can work together and get to know each other,” Eagle said. “Familiarity breeds kindness and empathy; kids are less likely to mistreat someone they know well.” For an hour each week for six weeks, the student psychology team met with the EDS children, facilitating conversation among classmates, sharing strategies for managing emotions, and engaging the kids in activities designed to change the way they feel about each other. “We’re not trying to stop bullying, but to change the whole culture around it,” Nixon said. A lofty goal? Perhaps, but Nixon isn’t daunted. “We’ll just take it one child, one class, one school at a time,” she said. To learn more about the results of the study, visit

• Do: Spend time with the child being mistreated; talk to the child; help the child get away from the situation; give the child advice; tell an adult • Consider: Supporting the child who is being mistreated • Don’t: Ignore it; blame the child who is being mistreated; make fun of the child


History Majors Bring War of 1812 to Light The War of 1812 is a relatively little-known part of America’s past, but Penn State Behrend History majors are working to change that, writing a series of essays about the war that have been published in the Erie Times-News and other newspapers.

The Battle of Lake Erie, 1885-1887, oil on canvas by Julian O. Davidson, painting on loan to the Erie Maritime Museum


m. Photo ©1993 Maritime Collectors.


Five Fascinating Facts about the War of 1812 «« Francis Scott Key wrote a poem that would become the lyrics to “The Star Spangled Banner” after witnessing the Battle of Fort McHenry on Chesapeake Bay. Moved by the sight of an American flag by “the dawn’s early light,” and realizing it meant the United States has survived the battle and stopped the enemy advance, he penned our national anthem.

«« A serendipitous thunderstorm saved

“Most Americans today are at best only vaguely aware of why the War of 1812 was fought,” said junior Erik Rizzo in his essay, “History Student Sees Parallels Between War of 1812, Now,” published in the Erie TimesNews on January 25. It’s understandable. It was a war with complicated causes and an inconclusive outcome, but it helped establish the credibility of the young United States and further demonstrate its independence. The Battle of Lake Erie, a bloody fight in which nine small ships led by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry decisively defeated a British fleet of six vessels, was a pivotal event in the war, gaining American naval control of the western Great Lakes, cutting British supply lines, securing the Northwest territory, and lifting the nation’s morale. The victorious American fleet was built and outfitted in Erie’s shipyards. “Let’s just say that if we hadn’t won the Battle of Lake Erie, we’d probably all be on the Canadian health care system today,” John Rossi, associate professor of history, said with a laugh. Rossi said students in his course HIST 497A: The War of 1812 were excited to have the opportunity to bring their research to the community and share their observations with a broader audience. Interest is at an all-time high. This year, the city of Erie will celebrate its place in history with a year-long Perry 200 Commemoration, recognizing the commodore’s naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. A series of events—concerts, lectures, tours, parades, and more—are planned. Visit

Washington, D.C., from total destruction. British troops marched into Washington on August 24, 1814, and set the White House, Capitol, and other federal buildings on fire. The arson continued until a drenching two-hour thunderstorm the following day extinguished the flames.

«« It is unclear who, if anyone, won the War of 1812. In this rematch of the American Revolution, the two sides fought to a draw, with the Treaty of Ghent reverting to status quo ante bellum, or “the state existing before the war.”

«« Political and military leaders in the United States expected that conquering Canada, a British colony with one-twentieth the population and many American-born citizens, would be, as former President Thomas Jefferson wrote, “a mere matter of marching.” Rather than welcoming them with open arms, however, Canadians took up arms to repel the Yankee invaders.

«« With his victory in the Battle of Lake Erie, Commodore Perry not only won the first U.S. Navy fleet action but defeated and captured an entire British fleet for the first time in British history. Sources:,

Did You Know? All of the residence halls at Penn State Behrend are named after ships or captains from the Battle of Lake Erie. Dobbins Dining Hall is a nod to the War of 1812, honoring Daniel Dobbins, a Great Lakes shipmaster who oversaw construction of Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry’s fleet.


Briefly Noted Plaza Named for Ben Lane Family members, former colleagues, and students gathered this fall to dedicate Ben Lane Plaza, the outdoor seating area at the south entrance to Reed Union Building, shown above. Hired in 1954 to teach English and theatre, Lane went on to serve as director of Admissions and dean of Student Affairs before his retirement in 1985. He died in 2011. The plaza is the perfect tribute to a man who truly enjoyed being surrounded by students.

Psychology Students in South Africa Last summer, Penn State Behrend Psychology students presented their research to an audience of psychology professionals at the International Congress of Psychology conference in Capetown, South Africa! It was not a student conference, but a gathering of psychologists from around the world. Few students in undergraduate psychology programs have the chance to attend and even fewer actually present their work. The eight student presenters, along with seven other students, attended the conference as part of a twenty-day embedded travel course—PSYCH 497A South Africa: Psychological Research and Culture, which was teamtaught by associate professors Dr. Dawn Blasko and Dr. Vicki Kazmerski. Read about their trip and see their photos at the college’s studyabroad blog: (under “Categories,” choose “South Africa 2012”).


Congress Comes to Campus While it sounds like an oxymoron in today’s political climate, “Civility in Politics” was the topic of a fall Speaker Series presentation by two former members of Congress—Richard Stallings, an Idaho Democrat, and Steve Kuykendall, a California Republican. The former lawmakers’ appearance was the culmination of three days of events focused on civility in public discourse sponsored by the college’s Political Science program, Janet Neff Sample Center for Manners and Civility, and the U.S. Association of Former Members of Congress. Stallings and Kuykendall spent a day on campus talking to political science students, hosting an information session about congressional internships, and dining with students before an evening presentation to a community-wide audience. Both agreed that civility is severely lacking in Washington today, with politicians succumbing to black-and-white thinking, resolutely siding with their party and refusing to compromise. Students, from left, Casey Graml, Danielle Ropp, Alec Italiano, Nick Leghart, Carmela Vega, and Nick Loukides with Kuykendall, in red tie, and Stallings, second from right.

Students Visit Washington, D.C. Twenty-eight students in Dr. Robert Speel’s PL SC 177: Politics and Government in Washington, D.C., class spent spring break exploring the nation’s capital. The group met with all four Erie-area members of Congress, witnessed the longest Senate filibuster since 1992, and visited dozens of important political sites, memorials, and monuments. On the day they were scheduled to visit the White House, tours were canceled due to the budget sequestration, giving students a first-hand look at politics in play. In the photo below, students pose with Representative Glenn Thompson on the Capitol building steps.

History Honors Society Established Nine students and four faculty members recently were inducted into the college’s new chapter of Phi Alpha Theta, the national history honor society. Amy Carney, assistant professor of history and the chapter’s adviser, said she plans to schedule guest speakers and career-development seminars for the group. Established in 1921 at the University of Arkansas, Phi Alpha Theta now has more than 350,000 members in 860 chapters across the nation.

Faculty and Staff News New Faculty and Staff The school welcomes seven new faculty members: assistant professors Dr. Joe Beilein, history; Dr. Melanie Micir, English, and Dr. Nicole Shoenberger, sociology, and lecturers Dr. Gabrielle Dietrich, music; Dr. Susan Martis, art history; Dr. Mara Taylor, German and women’s studies, and David Vegh, theatre.

Honors and Distinctions George Looney, professor of English and creative writing, received the Penn State Behrend Council of Fellows 2012 Excellence in Faculty Research Award. Dr. Dawn Blasko, associate professor of psychology, received the Math Options Vision and Passion Award. Dr. Richard Aquila, professor of history and American studies, has been invited to serve as an Organization of American Historians Distinguished Lecturer. Dr. Mary Connerty, senior lecturer in English, provided expert testimony to the British House of Lords on English education for immigrant, refugee, and international students. Dr. Sharon Dale, associate professor of art history, was a visiting professor at the University of Rome Tor Vergata last summer.

Books and Articles Books published recently include those by: Dr. John Champagne, associate professor of English, Aesthetic Modernism and

Masculinity in Fascist Italy; Dr. Eric Corty, professor of psychology, Using and Interpreting Statistics, second edition; George Looney, Monks Beginning to Waltz, a book of poetry; Dr. Robert Roecklein, lecturer in English, Machiavelli and Epicureanism: An Investigation into the Origins of Early Modern Political Thought; Kim Todd, assistant professor of English and creative writing, Sparrow, an eponymous natural history. Recent papers and publications include those by: Dr. Leigh-Ann Bedal, associate professor of anthropology, a paper on the Petra Garden and Pool Complex presented at an archaeology conference in Warsaw, Poland; Dr. Kilic Kanat, assistant professor of political science, two articles about Turkish foreign policy and one about China’s treatment of minorities; Dr. Inkyu Kang, assistant professor of journalism, an anthology of columns that earned him OhmyNews Journalist of the Year honors in 2011, and Dr. Tom Noyes, associate professor of English and creative writing, two short stories, Curb Appeal and Easter, 1979.

Grants Dr. Glenn Kumhera, assistant professor of history, and Dr. John Champagne received grants from the Institute for Arts and Humanities, and Dr. Tom Noyes was awarded a grant from the Sustainability Arts Foundation. 7

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This Way to Communication: Members of the Art Club are helping point the way to Communication’s studios and labs in Kochel Center with colorful floor-to-ceiling murals that pay homage to the evolution of the industry. “We wanted to create a special kind of vibe, even an excitement, about all of the creative and cool things that can be accomplished in communications,” said Scott Rispin, lecturer in art. Check it out on the lower level of Kochel Center.

Continued from page 1 }

learn the business end of things, too,” she said. Arts Administration students are trained in marketing, management, and event planning—skills that will prepare them for work at auction houses, art galleries, museums, music companies, and other arts-related organizations. There are jobs there. Pennsylvania alone has more than 20,000 arts-related businesses, according to a study by Americans for the Arts, a nonprofit artsadvocacy group. “You can work at your passion, and you can eat too,” Dale said. Butler is currently doing an internship, one of two required of all Arts Administration majors, at the Erie Playhouse. She is helping with behind-the-scenes operations, including fundraising and event planning. Her experience at the Erie Playhouse and as the comedy chair of the Lion Entertainment Board will serve her well in her senior year, when she will be required to organize and manage a campus arts event. After graduation, the sky is the limit for Butler, who is willing to relocate to work as an administrator at a theatre or playhouse. Her dream job lies across the country in sunny California.

Need a Good Read?

English faculty members share their favorite books Elizabeth Fogle, lecturer in English Autobiography of Red by Anne Carson. A game-changer for what a novel and a poem can be. Beautiful and moving. Exit Wounds by Rutu Modan. An Israeli graphic novel written in English that will astonish and inspire.

Dr. Greg Morris, professor of American literature Beyond the Bedroom Wall by Larry Woiwode. My wife and I fell in love with this book in 1975. It’s an expansive and moving family novel set in the modern American Midwest and a book we regularly take pleasure in re-reading.

Dr. Craig Warren, associate professor of English and professional writing The Sisters Brothers by Canadian novelist Patrick deWitt. This Western captures an important episode in the lives of Eli and Charlie Sisters, men who are brothers, partners, and killers for hire. It is funny, disturbing, and poignant all at once.

“Like” us: The School of Humanities and Social Sciences is on Facebook at Learn about upcoming events, read alumni success stories, and keep up with news of interest to humanities and social science grads and students. Stay up-todate on all of the college’s happenings on our main Facebook page at

H&SS News is published annually and provided free to alumni and friends of the Penn State Behrend School of Humanities and Social Sciences by the Office of Marketing Communication, William V. Gonda, wvg2@, director. Editor: Heather Cass, Designer: Martha Ansley Campbell, This publication is available in alternative media upon request. Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce. U.Ed. EBO 13-137


H&SS News - 2013  

News and feature stories from the School of Humanities and Social Sciences at Penn State Behrend. Topics include a bullying prevention outre...

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