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JULY 2013

Mentoring Middle Schoolers Psychology students put research into practice to reduce peer mistreatment.

Message from the Chancellor A college education delivers value in more ways than one


s a college degree worth the money? It’s the question of the moment for higher education in this uncertain economy. And the answer I would give a prospective student? It’s rooted in that of a larger question: Just what do you want out of your life? I think we’d all agree that college isn’t for everyone—but it is for a great many. And it offers advantages both measurable and immeasurable. Numerous studies have confirmed that, on average, those with bachelor’s degrees earn more than high

“ Choose a job you love, and you will never have to ‘work’ a day in your life.” — Confucius

school graduates. A study by the Pew Research Center, released in 2012, found that the typical college graduate earns nearly twice that of the typical high school graduate over a forty-year career. For Penn State Behrend, the economic argument is strengthened by our recent ranking as second among all colleges and universities in Pennsylvania for return on tuition investment. The ranking by the Online College Database reflects our relatively affordable tuition and the high average starting salaries of our graduates. Undoubtedly, making good money is important to having a good quality of life. So too is the satisfaction that comes from being of service to others and helping to make the world a better place for future generations. And when you can get all of that in a job you truly love, that’s when higher education yields its finest rewards.

A local magazine recently asked me for “advice I would give my college self” if I could go back and do it all over again. This is part of the advice I gave, and it’s based on what I’ve experienced and observed in others: “I would think clearly about what it is I want to do after graduation. Ideally, that’s something that you can make a good living doing and also have a real passion for doing.” Here at Behrend, we’re helping students find their passions in all kinds of ways: • Collaborating with faculty members and aerospace

engineers on research and development projects in the new open-lab environment of the SKF Aerospace NA Innovation Center in Knowledge Park. • Engaging in a mentoring program with grade

school children designed by associate professor of psychology Charisse Nixon and a colleague to teach youth effective strategies to reduce bullying. • Contributing to research by assistant professor of

chemistry Jason Bennett that may eventually lead to new methods for monitoring brain and heart health. We recognize that college is indeed a big investment, both in time and dollars. It’s why we have a mission of giving students the tools to discover their own potential for successful futures, measured not just by financial return, but also by the joy of what they do.

Don Birx, Chancellor

Vol. 30 No. 2 Penn State Behrend Magazine is published twice a year and provided free to alumni and friends of Penn State Behrend by the Office of Marketing Communication. Executive Editor: William Gonda Editor: Heather Cass Associate Editor: Christine Palattella. Contributors: Robb Frederick ’92, Jill Yamma ’00. Photos: Rob Frank ’06, John Fontecchio, Tim Rohrbach, Anna McCartney. Design: Vizzini Creative. Change of address/ unsubscribe: Development and Alumni Relations, 814-898-6159 or Correspondence: Behrend Magazine, 207 Glenhill Farmhouse, 4701 College Drive, Erie, PA 16563-1902. Phone 814-898-6419. Copyright 2013 Penn State Erie, The Behrend College. 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 13-157.



enn State Behrend psychology students are working with Erie-area middle-school students in a unique mentoring program designed to change the culture of bullying and reduce peer aggression. This spring, a student psychology team met with children from Erie Day School, facilitating conversation among classmates, sharing strategies for managing emotions, and engaging the kids in activities designed to change the way they feel about one another. The program, developed by Dr. Charisse Nixon, associate professor of psychology, and her student research assistants, Alyson Eagle, Kimberly Cook, and Jennifer Slane, is based on three years of research conducted by Nixon and her Maine-based colleague, Stan Davis, for their Youth Voice Project. In the cover photo, Eagle and Cook review the Erie Day School students’ journals, while, in the background, Slane leads EDS children in a trust-building exercise. Full story on pages 4-5.


Black School Welcomes New Director.....................................2 Getting a Handle on Germs.............................………………..6 Pop Quiz: War of 1812........................ …………………………8 Ingenuity Bubbles Up............................... ……………………10 Gorge Trail Plan in the Works.................. ……………………13 Trustee Scholarship Match Doubled....................................... 14 Community Service Team Makes Giving Fun ....................... 15 Pennsylvania Sea Grant Gains National Attention................. 16 Jacobs Pitches Perfect Game.........................…….…………..18 Special-Needs Kids Get Kick Out of Program........................ 20 Alumni News.....................................................………………22 Alumnus Helps Discover New Planets................................... 24




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Briefs Meet Dr. Balaji Rajagopalan New director of the Sam and Irene Black School of Business An expert in business information systems is the new leader of the Black School of Business. Dr. Balaji Rajagopalan brings with him years of international academic and business experience. He’s worked with universities in the United States, India, China, and Taiwan, and partnered with IBM, Ford, GM, and Daimler Chrysler on research and consulting. “Dr. Rajagopalan’s experience will help advance the direction of the Black School, including the open lab concept, where students, faculty members, and business leaders collaborate,” said Dr. Don Birx, Chancellor. Behrend Magazine had a number of questions for the new director, including:

Q. What is your impression of the Black School?

The quality of both the faculty members and students is impressive. Faculty members are clearly passionate about their work, and the students I met displayed a real drive to succeed. The Black School is among an elite group of institutions with AACSB accreditation. Fewer than 5 percent of business schools worldwide have achieved this distinction! The interdisciplinary programs developed are evidence of a college that leverages its intellectual capital for innovation.

Q. What will be your first order of business? To learn more about the college and the Black School

Vital Statistics

through the eyes of all stakeholders—students, faculty, staff, administrators, alumni, industry partners, community leaders, benefactors, and more.

Age: 46

Q. What is your perspective on the open lab concept

Previous position: Pro vice chancellor and dean at Galgotias University in Greater Noida, India, and professor of management information systems at Oakland University in Michigan.

I have always maintained strong ties with industry through consulting engagements, teaching in executive programs, and applied research projects. The open lab concept of learning was an important part of my considering this position. Throughout my career, I have implemented various incarnations of the concept, and I am excited about its potential to enhance learning for Black School students. The idea of open lab is a classic example of how Behrend is focusing on student learning through an innovative platform.

Degree: B.S. in mechanical engineering, Andhra University, India; M.S. and Ph.D. in management information systems, University of Memphis.

(bringing students and faculty together with business and industry partners)?

Q. How would you describe your leadership style? I strive to build trust, inspire, and empower those I work

with. I encourage a collaborative culture and believe in setting goals and empowering teams to achieve them. Above all, I believe it’s important to maintain an attitude of humility and a sense of humor in one’s daily work.



Family: Wife, Sukanya Rangarajan; daughter, Shreya, 9.

Leisure activities: Reading, watching sports, and spending time with family. Currently reading: The Upside of Irrationality by Dan Ariely. Pet peeve: Negative attitudes. Personal philosophy: “Care about people around you just a little more than you care about yourself.” What people would be surprised to know about him: His dream job is to do stand-up comedy.

Record THON Donation

NSF Research Grant Awarded Jason Bennett, assistant professor of chemistry, has received a $243,462 grant from the National Science Foundation to fund research that may eventually lead to new methods for monitoring brain and heart health. The grant for Bennett’s proposal, “Advancing Electrodeposited Dicyano-ferriprotoporphyrin as an Electrocatalytic Material Capable of Selectively Oxidizing Hydrogen Sulfide Over Interfering Gasotransmitters,” advances his efforts to develop a material that can selectively oxidize physiological levels of hydrogen sulfide in the presence of carbon monoxide and nitric oxide. All three gases are produced naturally in mammals and serve important roles within the cardiovascular and central nervous systems. The long-term goal is to develop an internal sensor that can detect hydrogen sulfide levels within the body. Funding was made through NSF’s Research at Undergraduate Institutions program. Over three years, Bennett expects to involve seven Penn State Behrend undergraduate chemistry majors in the project. The students’ contributions will be substantial enough to result in their own research publications and presentations.

A $20,000 match by GE Transportation helped Penn State Behrend contribute a record $43,569.68 to THON, Penn State’s annual fundraiser, which culminates in a forty-six-hour dance marathon. This year’s THON raised more than $12 million for Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital.

Shown, from left, student Marianne Piatek, a sophomore from New Castle; Nancy Anderson ’97 M.B.A., chief information officer, GE Transportation; Anne Eisert, ’86, ’95 M.B.A., manager, Engineering Service Productivity, GE Transportation; and student Taylor Hennon of Bethel Park, who graduated in the spring.

Foosball, Anyone?

Game On!

Students have a new hangout on campus—Oliver’s in Lawrence Hall. The space features flat-screen TVs, foosball, and billiards tables, as well as Wi-Fi, arcade games, and a wall-sized projection screen. All campus residents have access to the lounge, which is named after Oliver Hazard Perry, the commander who led America to victory in the War of 1812’s Battle of Lake Erie.

A dozen students got their hearts pumping this winter by participating in the Global Game Jam, a worldwide, timed game-development challenge. Working in teams of four, students had just forty-eight hours to create, code, and upload their games. The time limit kept the games simple. “When you know you only have two days, you think small,” said Dr. Matthew White, lecturer in game development. “You don’t dream up a space opera.” The theme for this year’s Jam was the sound of a heartbeat. One team created “Blood Lock,” a maze played in an animated blood stream. Another team built a dark maze with only audio; players are guided by the sound of the heartbeat, which speeds up as the exit nears. More than 12,000 gamers in sixty-three countries participated in this year’s Global Game Jam. They created more than 3,000 heartbeatthemed games and posted them, free, for anyone to test. Want to play? Visit for a link to download and play the games.

Solid Return on Investment Penn State Behrend graduates earn, on average, $46,900 in their first year of work—the second-highest rate in the state, according to a new study by the Online College Database. The study ranks institutions according to return on investment, weighing the amount students pay to attend against their average salaries after graduation. The group compiled a list of what it calls “20-40 institutions”: schools with tuition rates less than $20,000 and average starting salaries of more than $40,000. Penn State Behrend is second on that list. The full rankings, including studies from other states, are at

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Research Provides Blue Psychology students work to reduce peer mistreatment


s adults, we tend to think we know what’s best

which prevention and intervention methods are actually

for kids. We’ve been there, done that. And we

helpful. Their survey of 13,000 fifth- through twelfth-graders

know how to handle bullies.

across the country reveals that ignoring bullying often only makes it worse.

Or do we?

Few escape high school unscathed by the effects of some

Armed with that knowledge, Nixon and three Psychology majors—Kimberly Cook, Alyson Eagle,

type of bullying. Many carry bully baggage into adulthood, sporting emotional scars made worse by well-meaning adults who advised, “just ignore it and they’ll leave you alone.”

Ignoring it didn’t work then and it

doesn’t work now.

That’s a fact backed up by three

years of research conducted by Dr. Charisse Nixon, associate professor

“ The mentoring is a vehicle to change young people’s attitudes and behaviors based upon the data,” Nixon said. “It’s practice based on solid research.”

of psychology, and her Maine-based

and Jennifer Slane—started a mentoring program at several Erie-area schools where undergraduate psychology students are teaching youth (and educators) effective strategies to reduce peer mistreatment. “The mentoring is a vehicle to change young people’s attitudes and behaviors based upon the data,” Nixon said. “It’s practice based on solid research.” It’s also a valuable hands-on learning experience for Behrend psychology

colleague, author and bullying expert Stan Davis, for their

students who, this spring, under the supervision of Nixon

Youth Voice Project, the first large-scale effort to ask kids

and Erie Day School principal Dr. Karen Tyler, spent an hour



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

What parents and educators can do Do listen to the child; check in later to see if the behavior has stopped; give advice.

Consider talking to both children together. Don’t ignore it; tell the child to stop tattling; tell the child to solve the problem himself or herself; tell the child it wouldn’t happen if he or she acted differently.

What witnesses can do Do spend time with the child being mistreated; a week for six weeks with students at EDS engaging them

talk to the child; help the child get away from the situation; give advice; tell an adult.

in activities designed to help classmates develop mutual respect, openness, empathy, and teamwork skills—the

Consider ways to support the child who is being

building blocks for a kinder generation.


“We focus on teaching these traits because then the

Don’t ignore it; blame the child who is being

children can work together and get to know one another,”

mistreated; make fun of the child.

Eagle said. “Familiarity breeds kindness and empathy; kids are less likely to mistreat someone they know well.”

“The sensitive conversations, role playing, and

collaborative interactions better equip our students to

Psychology students,

support one another and make positive choices when

from left, Alyson Eagle,

coping with both verbal and nonverbal peer aggressors,”

Jennifer Slane, and

said Tyler.

Kimberly Cook worked

with Dr. Charisse Nixon,

Eagle, Cook, and Slane graduated in May but trained

several Penn State Behrend students to continue their work

associate professor of

this fall. Nixon hopes to expand the mentoring program into

psychology, to develop

other schools.

a mentoring program to

“We’re not trying to stop bullying, but change the whole

reduce peer aggression.

culture around it,” Nixon said.

They presented their research at a national conference in Kansas City,

A lofty goal? Perhaps, but she isn’t daunted. “We’ll just

take it one child, one class, one school at a time,” she said

Missouri, and won first place for their work at the Sigma Xi undergradu-

with a smile.

ate research conference at the college this spring.

To learn more and read about the results of Nixon and

Davis’ study, visit

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From Start to Finish: New Ideas T


an a door handle keep you healthy? That depends on what’s on it. Most are teeming with bacteria: Staph, E. coli, Enterococcus, and

staplers, electric razors. Office Depot puts it on pens. Adidas uses it to stop shoes from smelling bad.

Greg Yahn, president of Advanced Finishing USA, sprays

sometimes even Salmonella. That stuff can

the Agion film onto hospital doors. After a meeting with

make you sick.

Dr. Diane Parente, professor of management and director

of the Interdisciplinary Business

Doors in the Reed, Prischak,

Burke, and Junker buildings on

with Engineering Studies program,

campus are now coated with

he had ideas for even more uses.

something different: Agion silver,

Students suggested adding the film

an antimicrobial compound that

to water bottles, bus-strap handles,

doctors put on catheters and heart

gas pumps, and emergency-exit

valves. Moisture—in this case,


the sweat and oils on a person’s

hand—activates the silver ions,

level,” Yahn said. “They did the

which bind to the bacteria’s cell

research, saw what was possible

walls. The cells die, and the

and turned a ‘what if’ discussion

surface is cleaner.

into something tangible.”

“It does seem to be effective,”

“They really took it to the next

Parente then brought in Dr.

said Dr. Beth Potter, assistant

Mary Beth Pinto, professor of

professor of microbiology.

marketing. Pinto’s students thought

Her students have swab-tested

through the one problem Yahn had

fifty door handles on campus,

not yet been able to solve: How do

measuring bacterial differences

you market an invisible product?

on surfaces with and without the

silver powder. The treated handles

stairwell railing in Burke Center—

are consistently cleaner.

Potter’s study is the first of its

kind. Until now, the effectiveness

Dr. Beth Potter, assistant professor of microbiology, center, supervises as biology students Holly Pier and Marcelo Lob swab a door handle in Reed Union Building to check for bacteria.

For an early test project—a

Yahn had given the Agion film a bright white glossy finish. People were reluctant to touch it, thinking it was wet paint.

of Agion silver had been tested only in laboratory settings.

the door handles at two local Country Fair convenience

Manufacturers have been applying the silver film to

all kinds of products: cell phones, computer keyboards,



Yahn switched to a clear coating, which he applied to

stores. That look posed a different problem.

Tested Here

“If you walk up and grab the handle, you have no clue

that it’s benefiting you,” Yahn said. “There’s nothing to give it away.”

Pinto’s students developed signs and logos that

explained the value of Agion products. They surveyed shoppers, asking if they worried about germs. (Some didn’t. Others opened their purses, showing vials of hand sanitizer.) They filmed commercials touting the benefits of antimicrobial products. The next step, the students proposed, would be to develop a small, industry-accepted

Penn State Behrend marketing students, from left, Melissa Lichtinger, Aaron Morelli, and Megan Sidelinger survey a shopper about the Agion silver-coated door handles at the store she had just exited.

logo—a mark similar to the Underwriters Laboratories stamp, or the recycling triangle— that consumers can use to identify Agion-coated surfaces.

“Ideally, we’ll get to some kind of identifiable symbol,”

Yahn said. “Something like the Nike swoosh, where you know from ten feet away, ‘That’s antimicrobial. It’s OK to touch it.’”

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History Majors Shed Light on War of 1812 Making sense of America’s second war for independence

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



Pop Quiz: 1. Why did the United States declare war on Great Britain in 1812? 2. Where was the Battle of Lake Erie fought? 3. Who won the War of 1812?


ANSWERS ON PAGE 1??? Photo © 1993 Maritime Collectors.

hink carefully. Like almost everything associated with this little-known war in America’s history, drawing a conclusion can be murky and confusing. (Answers on page 10) Penn State Behrend history majors have been working to change that, though, educating the public by writing a series of essays about the war that have been published in the Erie TimesNews and other newspapers. “Most Americans today are at best only vaguely aware of why the War of 1812 was fought,” junior Erik Rizzo wrote in his essay, “History Student Sees Parallels Between War of 1812, Now,” published in the Erie Times-News in January. 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 was a bloody fight in which nine small ships built in Erie and led by Commodore Oliver Hazard Perry soundly defeated a British fleet of six vessels. It was a pivotal event in the war, giving America naval control of the lake, cutting British supply lines, securing the Northwest territory, and lifting the nation’s morale. “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 his students in HIST 497A: The War of 1812 were excited to have the chance 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 celebrates its place in history with a year-long Perry 200 Commemoration, recognizing the contributions of the commodore’s naval victory at the Battle of Lake Erie. Visit Perry for more information. Read the students’ published essays at

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Photo by John Baker

Ingenuity Bubbles Up Engineering students create a better bubble experience for children’s museum


he bubble machine at the ExpERIEnce Children’s Museum isn’t as much fun in the summer. The bubbles are supposed to be big

—a gerbil ball version of the Dawn-and-water mix we blew across the lawn as kids. But the humidity pops them.

The setup has other problems: The pulley rope keeps

breaking. There’s rust on the frame. The bubble solution spills out, making a mess of the museum’s floor.

Museum officials asked Melanie Ford, lecturer in

computer science and software engineering and head of the college’s Engineering K-12 Outreach Center, to help fix it. Ford put them in touch with three mechanical engineering technology students—Ryan Alexas, Brian

Banaszek, and Eddie Orzehowski—who agreed to build

bubble walls. If one pops, the others can hold their shape.

a new, improved bubble machine.

when a child lets go. That will limit the splashing. A side

They started by changing its shape. Bubbles are

The pulley on the new machine raises four separate A three-pound counterweight slows the guide rod

stronger when they form

exhibit explains bubble science: Museum visitors will

a square.

be able to form bubble sheets, and to push their hands

through without popping the surrounding material.

“It’s a lot more reliable,”

Ford said. “The surface

The engineering students tested it—blowing bubbles

tension is better.” That

for credit—in a workshop in Knowledge Park. They

means the bubbles can be

showed a video of their progress at the Fasenmyer

bigger and can last longer.

Engineering Design Conference.

Answers to page 9 quiz: 1.) Primarily because Britain was bossing the United States around—imposing trade restrictions with France, forcing American sailors into service on British ships, and insulting the new country won the war. 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.”



Matching Research and Industry School of Engineering hires director for research and technology transfer


s associate director for research and technology transfer in the School of Engineering, Dr. Greg Dillon is finding new uses for the work faculty members do outside the classroom. He matches faculty research projects to companies that can directly benefit from them. Dillon, a former deputy division head at Penn State’s Applied Research Lab, has worked with the National Science Foundation and the Department of Defense. He is using those contacts, and others in the private sector, to boost funding for research at Penn State Behrend. “Money follows talent,” he said, “and there is an extraordinary talent pool here.” Dillon joined the college in January. Three things already are clear to him: Graduate-level research has its limits. “A lot of Ph.D.level research is theoretical, foundational, or exploratory,” he said. “The work we’re doing here can have a very real and near-term impact. Within a very reasonable amount of time, the client can benefit from it.” Companies fund research in part to scout students. “A lot of companies also see us as a pipeline of future employees,” Dillon said. “LORD Corporation looks at us that way. GE looks at us that way. FMC Technologies looks at us that way. And for our students, that’s a very good thing.” The best students have other skills. “I was a typical engineering student,” Dillon said. “I knew nothing about business. Today, that isn’t enough. This image of an engineer sitting in a room, drawing and dropping designs over the fence, just isn’t realistic. No business works that way today.”

The new machine was installed this month.

“The students put their classroom knowledge to work by creating a hands-on exhibit for young children to not only learn from but play with for years to come,” said

No. 1… Again!

Ryan Brosius, president of the board of directors for the

The Penn State Behrend Supermileage Team took first place in the SAE International Supermileage Competition for the second year in a row! The team’s carbon-fiber test car got 1,290 miles from a single gallon of gas during the competition, which was held in June at Eaton Corporation’s test track in Marshall, Michigan.

museum. “We hope this is just the beginning of a long-term partnership with Penn State Behrend.”

country’s national honor. 2.) Put-in-Bay, Ohio 3.) It is unclear which

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Global Healing Nursing graduate on a mission to serve


ndres Morales was just 15 and working as an interpreter at a rehabilitation center for children in his native Costa Rica when he met a young boy with one leg who made him question God. By his own account, Morales was leading a blessed life in a nice home with a loving family. Clearly, the boy was not.

Andres Morales

“It felt so wrong that I had been given so much and this poor boy had so little,” said Morales, his voice breaking, the memory still fresh and vivid after more than a decade. Morales had a heart-to-heart with God, silently imploring him to explain the injustice. “God put the thought in my mind that instead of complaining about what others don’t have, I should take the gifts I had been given and use them to help others,” he said.

Fast forward fifteen years and Morales, 30, has traveled the globe doing just that, participating in, and then leading, missionary trips for Teen Mania Ministries. He’s helped build homes in Haiti, taught English in Russia, and comforted orphaned babies in Thailand. Yet he wanted to do more. So, inspired by his wife, Katie, who is a nurse, and by his previous work as a medical interpreter at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, he decided to pursue a nursing degree. In May, he graduated from Penn State Behrend with an associate degree in Nursing. He will return in the fall to work toward his bachelor of science in Nursing. Andres and Katie, a Fairview native, met on a missionary trip in 2006 and married in 2008. They dream of one day working in a remote area of the world with limited medical facilities, perhaps Nepal, using their nursing skills to help the community. For now, Katie works at UPMC Hamot in Erie while she and Andres plan their next move. Surely, it will be a selfless one.

“We believe that helping other people is more fulfilling than a life spent climbing corporate ladders and collecting possessions and property,” he said. It’s not for everyone, Morales acknowledges, and he’s careful to point out that he doesn’t look down on those

“God put the thought in my mind that instead of complaining about what others don’t have, I should take the gifts I had been given and use them to help others” who place value on homes, cars, and the latest electronics. It’s just not how he and Katie want to live. “Possessions and debt tie you down,” said Morales, who graduated with no college loans to pay off. “We want to be free to go wherever we are called to serve.” While at Behrend, Morales was a standout hurdler for the Lions track and field team, easily leaping over the highest obstacles with strength, precision, and speed — attributes that will serve him well in his nursing mission, wherever in the world it might take him.

Morales helping to build a home in Haiti.

Nursing Moving to Four-Year Program In 2014, Penn State Behrend will begin offering a four-year bachelor of science in Nursing degree, which will replace the two-year associate degree program. “Our health care system is complex and changing in ways that expand the role for nurses in a multitude of care settings,” said Dr. Jo Anne



Carrick, coordinator of the nursing program at Penn State Behrend. “Nurses will need additional education and skills to address these changes.” The college will continue to offer its popular R.N.-to-B.S. degree completion program, which uses a blend of in-class, web-enhanced,

and online courses to advance diploma and associate-degree nurses to a bachelor’s degree in just three semsters. Enrollment in that program has doubled in the past year, reflecting local employers’ interest in baccalaureate-prepared nurses.

Sustaining the Wintergreen Gorge trail College receives $47,660 grant to create master plan for gorge trail


hen horses trampled the first known winding path along the lush banks of Four Mile Creek in the early 1900s, no one could have predicted that the Wintergreen But the trail, which was never meant for Gorge trail would someday see major heavy public use, is eroding in several foot traffic from thousands of college spots. Trees are being stressed by the students and community members. loss of soil at their roots, stormwater But when Mary Behrend donated her has created gullies, and clumps of earth 400-acre Glenhill property, including are falling into the creek. the gorge tract, to Penn State in June of Drainage pipes, gravel, and topsoil 1948, it didn’t take long for students to are temporary fixes. discover the horse trail and the gurgling “The college has been more than waters, swimming holes, and waterfalls progressive in its efforts to maintain alongside it. the trail,” said Ann Wintergreen Gorge, VIDEO Quinn, lecturer in a 3,980-foot-long, biology, “but, as it is 250-foot-wide chasm, currently exists, the is estimated to have trail is unsustainable.” been formed more What the gorge than 11,000 years trail needs is an ago at the end of the ecologically-minded last Ice Age, when overhaul and rushing water below realignment. Thanks the melting iceberg to a $47,660 grant Learn more about the Wintergreen Gorge’s carved through shale from the Pennsylvania geological significance in a video created by and sandstone on its Department of student Talia Finotti. Visit meandering path to Conservation and magazine for a link. Lake Erie. Natural Resources Today, the gorge is a popular secured by Quinn and Dr. Mike Naber, destination for hikers, birders, lecturer in geosciences, it will get one. naturalists, fossil-hunters, and waders Pashek Associates, a landscape who want to cool off in the creek. architecture firm based in Pittsburgh,

is designing a master plan for a better and more sustainable trail using switchbacks, rain gardens, and other techniques to stabilize the trail system. “We don’t want to restrict use or access,” Naber said. “We want to preserve the trail and the gorge so that more people can use it for a longer time. Once we have a plan and make the suggested changes, the trail will preserve itself.” With a master plan in hand in the near future, Quinn, Naber, and the college can work together to redesign the trail system to serve students and the community for decades to come.

We have many more Wintergreen Gorge photos than we could use in print here. Visit behrend.psu. edu/magazine to watch a slideshow of images.

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University Increases Trustee Scholarship Matching Funds


or 180 years, Penn State has been committed to creating opportunity. Now the University is pairing philanthropic support with increased matching funds to help even more students in need. Rising costs, declining state support, and the nation’s economic slump have combined to place increasing financial pressure on college students and their families. Many undergraduates work multiple jobs while carrying a full course load, yet they still graduate

Meet a Student Scholar

“Remember there’s no such thing as a small act of kindness. Every act creates a ripple with no logical end.” — Scott Adams, American cartoonist

with an average debt of more than $33,000. These financial realities are restricting the dreams of many students and families. In an effort to ease the burden, the University has doubled the match on Trustee scholarships created after March 1, to 10 percent. Add in the fair market value of 4.5 percent earned from endowments, and the scholarships are able to pay out 14.5 percent of their book value!

“What other investment produces that kind of return?” asks Margie Taylor, director of development and alumni relations. But the investment and return on Trustee scholarships go far beyond dollars and cents, producing results that cannot be easily measured, like changing lives.

Kymberly McClellan graduated from Penn State Behrend in May with a degree in Psychology, an achievement she says might not have been possible without support from the John M. and Gertrude E. Petersen Trustee Scholarship and the Petersen Scholarship. The Petersen Trustee Scholarship gives preference to graduates of Erie’s East and Strong Vincent high schools. The Petersen Scholarship gives preference to East and McDowell High School graduates. As a graduate of East, McClellan was eligible for scholarship money from both funds. “When I started college, I didn’t really have much financial aid, and I was paying out of pocket,” McClellan said. “I can’t even tell you how helpful that scholarship money was.” She said it also inspired her to excel. “It motivated me to work hard every year because I did not want to let the money from those good donors go to waste,” she said. McClellan plans to attend graduate school in a year or two. In the interim, she is hoping to work at a local nonprofit organization, using her education and expertise to give back and help others.

About the Trustee Scholarship Program What is the need? There are 1,290 Trustee scholarship-eligible students at Penn State Behrend, but only 116, or 18 percent, receive funding. What kind of students benefit? • They are academic achievers, with a typical grade-point average of 3.3. • They have demonstrated financial need. A typical recipient has two working parents and a household income of



less than $50,000 a year with about $7,000 in savings. • More than half are the first in their families to pursue a college degree. How to help • Create your own Trustee scholarship endowment with a gift of $50,000 or more, payable over five years. Development staff can help you structure your gift to target the students with whom you feel the deepest

connection. Endowments created between now and June 30, 2014, will have a 10 percent annual match. • Make a gift to the general Trustee scholarship that Barnes and Noble has established for Penn State Behrend. Your gift will be pooled with those of other donors for maximum impact. • Contact Margie Taylor at 814-898-6159 or for more information or to make a gift.

Shining Star Guides Staff to Community Service Housing, food services, and maintenance staffs have fun while giving back


t all started with a shining star. Rhonda Reynolds, a food service worker in Dobbins Dining Hall, heard about the college’s participation in the Shining Star program, a partnership with an Erie social service agency to provide holiday presents for local children in need. In response, she took up a collection among her housing, food service, and maintenance coworkers to sponsor a child. They gave enough for five children. Reynolds and a few of her coworkers got up early on Black Friday to shop for their “stars” and snag the best deals on toys, clothes, and games. They bought each child a brand new bicycle, too. It felt good to give back. They wanted to do more.

Rhonda Reynolds, who founded Housing and Food Services’ Community Service Team, recently won a 2013 Achieving Women award given by the Penn State Commission for Women for her philanthropic leadership. With the blessing of Mike Lindner, director of Housing and Food Services, they formed a Community Service Team and began fundraising in earnest. Rhonda Reynolds The committee started offering dress down, or rather, dress up days, giving housing, food services, and maintenance employees the chance to trade their traditional work polo shirt for their favorite team gear on opening day of baseball season, on the first NFL game day, and during hockey playoffs.

Food service employees, from left, Shelley Sonney, Annie Rogala, and Rhonda Reynolds display the Shining Star gifts they bought with money collected from housing, food services and maintenance staffs.

“Our tie-dye T-shirt day went over really big,” Reynolds said “We raised more than $200 on that one.” Once the committee had collected enough money (about $500) for the Shining Star program, they began donating to other charities. Proceeds from their camouflage dress-up day were donated to the Wounded Warriors Project. In October, money collected from selling pink ribbons went to Susan G. Komen For the Cure. An unexpected benefit of the committee’s work has been increased morale and unity among housing, food services, and maintenance employees. “The stronger team morale has a direct effect on workplace satisfaction, which results in improved customer service for our students,” said Lindner. The group’s philanthropic efforts have rippled to include service projects. This spring, they organized volunteers to participate in a local beach cleanup and the Harborcreek Relay for Life event, raising $2,300 in their first year. They also hosted a book fair that earned more than $600 for Books for Kids. Reynolds said that student employees embrace the fundraising and volunteer efforts, too.

“They’re very receptive to it,” Reynolds said, “and I think it’s good to teach them to help others and to show them that you don’t need to have a lot of money to help; a dollar or an hour goes a long way when lots of people give.”

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State Water Stewards Outreach program works to safeguard freshwater resources


hatever you do, don’t

offer Anna McCartney,

freshwater to watch over—84,000

the ecological and economic

communications and

miles of streams, seventy-seven miles

sustainability of coastal resources

of Great Lakes shoreline, many inland

through the development of science-

education specialist for Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania has plenty of

Sea Grant’s mission is to promote

Sea Grant, any hand sanitizer

based research, education, and

before lunch.

extension programs.

“Do you know what is in that

Pennsylvania Sea Grant provides

stuff?” she asks.

educational workshops and training,

oversees the fight against invasive

It’s the job of McCartney and her

dozen colleagues at Pennsylvania Sea

species, sponsors relevant research

Grant, an outreach program of Penn

projects, and produces a variety

State Behrend, to educate us about the

lakes, and fifty-seven miles of tidal

of outreach programs designed

multitude of concerns that threaten the


to encourage proper use and

Commonwealth’s watershed.

conservation of coastal resources.

in 1998 as a partnership between

“If your sanitizer has antibacterial

agents like Triclosan, you are

Pennsylvania Sea Grant, established Penn State, the

Several staff members have received

accolades and national attention for


Commonwealth of

their work. Outreach specialists Sean

adding a

Pennsylvania, and

Rafferty and Sara Grisé ’06 received


the National Oceanic

awards from the Great Lakes Sea

toxin to the

and Atmospheric



McCartney says.

(NOAA), is one

“We need to

of thirty-three

be careful with

National Sea Grant


college programs

and personal care

serving citizens

products because they are getting into our water supply.”



in coastal communities across the United States.

Sara Grisé ’06

Grant Network for their exceptional individual efforts. McCartney and Marti Martz, senior outreach specialist,

Safeguard our Water Supply

received the 2012 Great Lakes

Five things you can do to help any watershed:

Outstanding Outreach Programming

1. Stop buying antibacterial products. Triclosan, a broad-spectrum antibiotic ingredient, has a devastating effect on the ecosystem in lakes and streams, killing plankton, cyanobacteria, and algae that form the foundation of aquatic food chains. It wreaks havoc on microbial communities and can paralyze fish. For hand sanitizing, use an alcoholbased product.

Award, the highest award bestowed by the network, for their pharmaceutical and personal care products awareness campaign urging coastal communities to “undo the chemical brew.”

DID YOU KNOW that less than 3 percent of the Earth’s water supply is fresh water?

They hope to expand the program

nationwide because they are finding audiences sympathetic to the issues. “Once people are educated about the danger of everyday toxins—or any other coastal problem—they’re willing to change their habits,” McCartney says. “Everyone understands the vital importance of clean water.”

2. Dispose of unwanted medication properly. Never flush any kind of medication. Take it to a scheduled collection event (most communities offer one). In the Erie area, you can leave it anonymously at drop boxes in the Erie County Courthouse and municipal police departments. 3. Put in a rain garden. When it rains, water runs off impervious surfaces such as roofs, driveways, and roads, collecting pollutants along the way. A rain garden—a depressed flowerbed with shrubs and perennials—collects stormwater runoff and allows it to soak into the ground, reducing the amount of pollutants that leave the yard. Visit nemo. for how-to info.

4. Fight invasive species. Nearly 200 species of aquatic invasive species have been recorded in the Great Lakes region alone and a new one is introduced every six months. They are nearly impossible to eradicate as they have no natural predators in the area. Find out which species are a problem in your area and how you can prevent the spread. 5. If you live in the Erie area, participate in Pennsylvania’s Lake Erie International Coastal Cleanup on September 21. Each fall, hundreds of volunteers spend the morning of the third Saturday in September picking up trash in and around the Lake Erie watershed. Greener Behrend organizes a large group to clean Four Mile Creek, which runs through Wintergreen Gorge, and its tributaries. Contact Ann Quinn at 814-898-6993 or to volunteer. Children are welcome to participate with parents. Sources:; nemo.uconn. edu; Keep up with Sea Grant. Visit and like Pennsylvania Sea Grant on Facebook to learn about other initiatives.

Field Guide IDs Invasives Sara Grisé ’06, senior coastal outreach specialist with Pennsylvania Sea Grant, has written a field guide to help identify aquatic invasive species in the Commonwealth. Limited copies are available for purchase. Contact Grisé at or call 814-217-9020. You also can download a high-resolution printable PDF of the book at for free.

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Ryan Jacobs Pitches first perfect game in Penn State Behrend history


y the fourth inning of the Behrend Lions’ April 14 game, pitcher Ryan Jacobs realized he had a chance to make history. The Mount Aloysius team hadn’t had a hit. “Every time I walked out to the mound, I looked up at that scoreboard, and I just kept seeing all those zeros,” Jacobs said, as he motioned to the giant board in center field. While he’s not normally the superstitious type, he started knocking on the wooden bench when he left the dugout to pitch, hoping his luck would continue. But Jacobs didn’t need luck. He had a whole repertoire of pitches and a field full of talented teammates. They didn’t allow one hit. Not one walk. Not one base runner. It took just ninety minutes and sixty-eight pitches to reach perfection. “Ryan has been a bulldog for us,” coach Paul Benim said. “He’s been bringing it his whole career.” That career is over now. Jacobs, who graduated in May with a degree in Plastics Engineering Technology, started a new career this summer at Honda of America in Marysville, Ohio. Jacobs said he’ll miss playing ball, but he’ll miss his teammates more. “Coach worked really hard to make us like a family,” he said. “We had each others’ backs, on and off the field.” That much is perfectly clear.



College Wins AMCC Presidents Cup … Again!


or the twelfth time in thirteen years, Penn State Behrend has won the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate Conference (AMCC) Presidents Cup. The award is presented each year to the college that accumulates the most points in conference competition among fifteen sports.


The Lions won their fifth AMCC championship. They also won the AMCC regular season with a 15-1 conference record to earn the right to host the tournament. Behrend defeated La Roche College in the championship game to advance to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2010. Seven players were selected to the All-AMCC team, including Pitcher of the Year Ryan Jacobs, Newcomer of the Year John Hlavinka, and Coach of the Year Paul Benim.


The Lions made their thirteenth appearance in the AMCC tournament but were eliminated in second-round action to finish with a 15-21 overall record. Behrend had four players named to the All-AMCC team: Kelsey Fuller, Kelly Hedderick, Katie Kirik, and Stacey Herzog.

Men’s Tennis

The men’s tennis team took second place in the AMCC championship tournament. The team was undefeated in AMCC play until the final regularseason match against Franciscan University of Steubenville, this year’s AMCC champion. Seven members of the team earned All-AMCC team honors, with four receiving accolades for both singles and doubles.

Track and Field

You know it has been a great season when there are too many records broken and too many athletes who qualified for the ECAC Track and Field Outdoor Championships to list them all. One highlight: Sophomore Dylan Bilka became the first-ever male athlete to be named the ECAC Indoor Champion in the pole vault. He also qualified for the indoor and outdoor NCAA championships and was named USTFCCCA Division III Honorable Mention Athlete of the Week. He currently holds the program record in the pole vault. Both the men’s and women’s teams finished second at the Mason-Dixon Outdoor Championships, with the women earning their best finish ever.

Year in Review AMCC Presidents Cup Winner 2001-2003, 2005-2013 2013 AMCC Tournament Champs • Women’s soccer • Cross country (men’s and women’s) • Men’s golf • Men’s basketball • Swimming (men’s and women’s) • Baseball 2012-13 Honors and Awards • 145 AMCC All-Conference Selections • 91 Academic All-Conference Honorees • 9 AMCC Players of the Year • 7 AMCC Rookies of the Year 2012-13 AMCC Coaches of the Year • Jen Wallace, men’s swimming • Greg Cooper, cross country (men’s and women’s) • Patrick O’Driscoll, women’s soccer • Brian Streeter, men’s golf • Paul Benim, baseball

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Compassionate Coaching Special-needs kids, college students get a kick out of soccer skills program


ike most boys his age, Lucas Smith, 6, is all go, all the time. But for his small stature and the scar zigzagging down one side of his scalp, you wouldn’t know he is medically fragile. Born with hydrocephalus, he is missing part of his skull and, in his young life, he has already had two liver transplants, a massive stroke, cancer, and more than fifty major surgeries. He seems blissfully unaware of his fragility as he darts across the gym floor after his “coach,” Mike Worthy, a first-year student and defender for the Lions soccer team. Lucas and Mike are paired in TOPSoccer, an eight-week program that gives special-needs children the opportunity to work one-on-one with Penn State Behrend student athletes to develop soccer skills and build friendships. Sweaty and smiling from ear to ear, Lucas runs to his mom to get a drink from his water bottle. As quick as he appeared, he’s gone, kicking his soccer ball toward Mike in the middle of the Junker Center gym. “He sure doesn’t think he’s got any physical limits,” Lucas’ mom, Shelly, said with a laugh as she sits on the bleachers, watching her son play. ********** Penn State Behrend men’s soccer coach Dan Perritano learned about TOPSoccer, a national program established by U.S. Youth Soccer, at a conference twelve years ago. As the father of a daughter with cerebral palsy, Perritano was especially interested in bringing TOPSoccer to the college. He and women’s soccer coach Patrick O’Driscoll worked together to establish the program, recruiting their players to volunteer as coaches.



In the first year, the program attracted a dozen pairs of children and college students. This year, there were nearly seventy. “It looks like organized chaos,” Perritano said, gesturing to a gymnasium floor filled with twoperson teams that were kicking or rolling balls to each other, sitting and

syndrome. “I really enjoy Mackenzie’s fun and silly attitude. She’s always singing, laughing, and surprising me with her witty remarks.” Students aren’t the only ones who are surprised. “Every year, I’m so amazed that college kids who are so busy and stressed would give up their time to do this for our kids,” Shelly Smith said. “Our problems seem minor compared to the challenges these kids work through every single day,” Monte added. “It really puts things in perspective.” **********

Lucas Smith, 6, and

his coach, Mike Worth y

talking, or shooting baskets with soccer balls. Some, like Mackenzie Mazon, a 15-year-old with an organic brain disorder, and Maddie Monte, a sophomore majoring in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies, are simply strolling arm-in-arm, chatting and giggling. “As you can see, it’s not as much about soccer as it is about play and forming relationships,” Perritano said. “Special-needs kids don’t typically have a lot of friends, so this is a lot of fun for them.” “I know from personal experience how much events like this mean to the kids who participate,” said Monte, who has a younger sister with Down

Perritano and O’Driscoll take great care in matching participants, taking into consideration personalities, common ground, and parental input. They also set clear expectations for student volunteers. “I tell them: ‘You are committing to a child for eight weeks, and you have to show up because that kid is counting on you,’” Perritano said. Students are paired with the same children each year as long as they are in the program. Often, the child and student end up forming a deep friendship.

“As you can see, it’s not as much about soccer as it is about play and forming relationships.”

— coach Dan Perritano

Valerie Wagner, who graduated in May with a degree in Biology, coached Emily Stevens, a 16-year-old girl with Down syndrome, for four years. Valerie patiently drew Emily out. “The first year, Emily wouldn’t even touch a soccer ball; they just played on the mats,” Maria Stevens, Emily’s mom, said. “This year, they’re actually working on soccer skills.”

“I really felt like I had a positive impact on someone’s life,” Wagner said. “It was really hard to say goodbye to Emily this year. She said ‘Val, don’t leave, I’ll miss you,’ and that touched me in a way I can’t even describe.” Because of the friendship she formed with Emily, Wagner said she is now considering a career in mental health. “This is a really great learning experience for the students,” Stevens said. “They learn compassion and how to deal with special-needs students. They don’t normally teach that in college.”

as each child has an opportunity to kick a goal into the soccer net. Lucas steps up and launches a ball to the center. He returns to his coach, who is waiting with a big smile and high five. “These kids are like any other kids,” Mike Worthy said. “They just want to run around, have fun, and enjoy themselves. I’m excited I get to work with Lucas again next year.” Judging by the thousand-watt smile on Lucas’ sweaty face, the feeling is mutual.

“Our problems seem minor

compared to the challenges these kids work through every single day.” — Maddie Monte, sophomore majoring in Interdisciplinary Business with Engineering Studies

********** At the end of each TOPSoccer session, there’s a short game. Then the entire group, college students and children, sits on the gym floor and cheers wildly

See more photos in an online slideshow. Visit for a link.

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Alumni News The Latest Word from Your Classmates Do you enjoy finding out what they’re doing?

How to interpret these class notes

Are Class Notes one of the first things you turn to when a new issue of Behrend Magazine arrives? Then consider sending us an update about what you have been up to lately. See the next page for details about how to do that. If social media sites are more your style, we have that covered, too. Here’s where to find us on the web: • On Facebook: “Penn State Erie, The Behrend College Alumni” • On LinkedIn: “Penn State Behrend Alumni Society” • On Twitter: Follow us at “BehrendAlum”

All alumni whose names are in bold type spent some or all of their Penn State years at Penn State Behrend. For those who completed their studies elsewhere in the University, years at Behrend are shown in parentheses after the graduation year. Regular type indicates a Penn State graduate who did not attend Behrend—most often a spouse of someone who did. Also, if no state is given after a city name, that city is 1) in Pennsylvania, 2) in the state referred to earlier in that class note, or 3) a major city requiring no further identification.

Class Notes

George Dodworth ’99 and his company, Lightwave International, created the laser effects for the motion picture Oblivion starring Tom Cruise.

1960s Harold E. Borland ’65 retired at 50 as

vice president for sales and marketing at an aerospace manufacturer. Over his career he worked for the Army Security Agency, the Department of Defense, McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell, Purolator, and Tektronix. He lives in northern California.

Gregory K. Glassner ’66 (Behrend

1962-64) has retired from a 40-year career in newspaper journalism, most recently as editor of the Herald-Progress in Ashland, Va. Greg is the author of two books, Adopted Son: The Life, Wit and Wisdom of William Wirt, 1772-1834 and Extra Billy Smith, Virginia’s Governor/General: The Life and Times of William Smith, 1797-1887, as well as three collections of his newspaper columns.

Jacquelyn Munger Keebaugh ’68 (Behrend 1964-65) and her husband, Allen D. Keebaugh ’69, live in Maineville, Ohio. Jacquie is a remote monitor engineer at Belcan Engineering.

1970s John A. Fessler ’73 (Behrend 1969-71) is director of capital projects for the University of North Carolina at Charlotte.

1980s Edward F. Bell ’83 owns Belfry Bees

& Honey in Yorkville, Ill. “Dr. B.” introduces honeybees and the important roles they play to more than 2,500 children each year; you can learn more about Ed’s products and public information programs at



Glenn Brooks ’86 was named a 2013 American Cancer Society Voice of Hope and is the state human resource manager for Student Transportation Inc. Glenn and his wife, Amy ’85, are excited that their daughter, Lindsay, will be a first-year Behrend student this fall. William J. Gagliardino ’86 (Behrend 1982-84) has opened a law office in the North Hills of Pittsburgh, where he lives with his wife, Lauren. Richard M. Breeswine ’87 (Behrend 1983-85) was appointed general manager of U.S. operations for Koenig Maschinen GmbH, an Austrian company that produces machinery for the bakery industry. He and his wife, Carrie, live in Doylestown with their two dogs.

Tim Dean ’87 (Behrend 1983-85)

earned his professional-coach certification and opened his own business, The Coaching Dean. He helps his clients to realize their professional and personal potential.

Brian O’Keefe ’88 (Behrend 1984-86) is a software QA engineer working at Avere Systems. He lives in Pittsburgh with his wife, Mary, and children Connor, Kyle, and Madeline.

1990s Nahleen Baybrook Amarchih ’93 is a property tax analyst for AvalonBay Communities Inc.

Steve Logan ’98 works in Clinton, Mass., as a global supply chain manager for machines, automation, and tooling at Nypro. He lives in Sudbury.

Edward A. Fatula ’99 (Behrend 199597) and his wife, Angela, live in Ellicott City, Md.

2000s Jennifer Osmanski Macpherson ’00 recently was promoted to director of the

Division of Thoracic Anesthesia at the University of Rochester. She and her husband, Mark A. Macpherson ’98, live in Pittsford.

Brian L. Jarrett ’01 is a mechanical engineer for R.J. Corman Railpower. Brian lives in Erie with his wife, Barbara. Beth Ann Miller ’01 is an attorney in the state of Florida’s Department of Business and Professional Regulation. She works and lives in Tallahassee. Tyler G. Travis ’01 is executive director of the Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine Medical Fitness and Wellness Center in Erie. Elizabeth M. Johnson ’02 received her master’s degree in special education from Mercyhurst University. She is co-host of the podcast 2 Funny Girls. Nicholas R. Pflugh ’02 and Mary Kerch Pflugh ’02 live in Greensburg

with their sons, Connor, 8, and Brock, 6. Nick is the director of operational excellence at Kennametal, and Mary recently completed her first Ironman, in Wisconsin.

Brian Musick ’03 is webmaster and social media manager for The Salvation Army of Northeast Ohio. Dana J. Williams ’03 is a technical communications specialist at Penn State’s University Park campus. Dana lives in Lock Haven. Melissa Donnelly Kohler ’04 is a senior systems analyst for UPMC. She lives in Pittsburgh with her husband, Christopher, and daughters Cahlen, 5, and Meara, 1. Timothy J. Inman ’05 is a vice president at BNY Mellon. Tim lives in Bethel Park. Thomas R. Pietro ’05 is a commercial litigation associate at Pepper Hamilton in Pittsburgh.

Matthew Arch ’06 (Behrend 2002-04) is the program manager for regional community initiatives at the UPMC Center for Inclusion and is pursuing a master’s degree in social work at Pitt. Matt was named one of Pittsburgh’s 50 Finest 2013 to recognize his fundraising work on behalf of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation of Western Pennsylvania. Cody Earhart ’06 is an engineering manager for Cameron International in Singapore. Gillian Young ’06 is a senior business analyst for Tokio Marine Management in New York City. Gillian earned an M.S. in information systems from Touro College in 2011.

Kara Struski Frye ’07 is an office assistant at RoviSys in Aurora, Ohio.

We asked our Penn State Behrend Facebook friends to recommend a good book: Brian McKay: Crazy Love by Francis Chan Jeremy O’Mard: Chained Eagle by Everett Alvarez Jr. and Anthony S. Pitch Matt Lachesky: Anthem or The Fountainhead by Ayn Rand…or both Brianne E. Campbell: A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson Mackenzie Yoho: The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare Juniper Leigh: Joyland by Stephen King Carrie Egnosak: Travels with Charley in Search of America by John Steinbeck Jaewoong Kim: Eight Days to Live by Iris Johansen

Christopher Lyons ’07 and his wife,

Abagail, have a new daughter: Gianna Rose, born April 5. Big sister Mary Teresa turns 2 in October. The family lives in Erie.

George D. Black II ’08 recently

relocated to the Indianapolis area.

Melanie Brewer ’08 is coordinator

of marketing and public relations for The Westminster Group, a Realtor with Coldwell Banker, president of Strategic Video and Imaging Co., managing consultant for Malaspina Medical/Code Kit Pro, managing partner of Above the Bar Research, and marketing director of Chrysalis Group.

Rodney J. Knight ’09 and his wife,

Margaret, live in Erie.

Lauren Schau ’09 ’12 M.B.A.

is a project manager for Erie Insurance Group in Erie.

Joshua S. Teti ’11 lives in McKeesport.

He works for Provident Funding Associates as a vendor manager and loan administration specialist.

Krista M. Dietz ’12 and her husband, Addison Root ’11, reside in Hummelstown. Krista is a claims specialist at Nationwide Insurance in Harrisburg.

Jocelyn O’Donnell ’13 works in

Ali M. Khan ’13 is a business systems

analyst for AbbVie Pharmaceuticals’ global R&D department. Ali lives in Lake Zurich, Ill.

Mt. Lebanon as an infant teacher for Kindercare. She lives in Pittsburgh.

Jeremy C. O’Mard ’13 was accepted

Frank L. Marks III ’13 M.B.A.

Justin T. Kieffer ’12 lives in

Bret Metzger ’13 works for

John Oleksak ’13 works for GE in Erie. John lives in Fairview.


Brandon J. Landfried ’12 lives

in New Haven, Conn. He is an associate web developer at LogicSource in Norwalk.

Samantha J. Vertosick ’12 works

Leslie Nichols ’11 lives in Houston,

Timothy J. Burbules ’13

Lisa R. Puhak ’11 is a marine and stationary project manager at GE Transportation. She lives in Erie.

Nicholas A. Kasunic ’13 lives in


employee at Shenango Valley Cinema. She lives in Farrell.

for Millcreek Community Hospital as an IT database administrator. She and husband Jonathan live in Erie.

as a mechanical systems design and analysis engineer for Boeing Defense Space and Security. Texas.

Samantha J. Myers ’13 is a floor

into IBM’s Consulting by Degrees leadership development program. He works as an IT specialist in its Application Innovation Service Center in Washington, D.C.

Bethany Ames Dunlap ’12 works

as a residential advocate for the Alle-Kiski Area HOPE Center. She is attending graduate school at IUP and operates the IUP at Northpointe Writing and Success Center.

Jason Ferguson ’11 works in St. Louis

Sarah Jo Crosby ’13 is a mechanical engineer at Metso Minerals. She lives in Baden.

works for GE Transportation in Erie.

is an account manager for Otis Elevator Co. He and his wife, Stacey, live in Fairview.

Edward Jones as a financial adviser.

Nathan J. Voelker ’13 works for U.S.

Michael E. Montanari ’13 is an

Steel as a management associate. He lives in Pittsburgh.

Kaley R. Morgenstern ’13 is a staff

Eileen Cubbon Wieszczyk ’13 lives in North East with her husband, Gregory. She is a registered nurse and works at Saint Vincent Health Center.

environmental scientist/technician at Neumeyer Environmental Services. Mike lives in Aliquippa.

accountant at Malin Berquist and Co. in Erie.

Now let’s hear from you! Let your friends from college know what you’re up to. Email your Class Note information to Kristen Comstock ’06 at, mail it to her at Penn State Behrend, Metzgar Alumni and Admissions Center, 4701 College Drive, Erie, PA 16563, or submit it online at

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A Future Second Home for Humans?

Alumnus helps discover most Earth-like planets yet


ustin Crepp’03 knew he was looking at a new planet because of what he couldn’t see: The star he was watching had lost some of its brightness, as it had 122 days earlier, and 122 days before that. To Crepp, an assistant professor of physics at the University of Notre Dame, the pattern suggested a planet was passing in front of the star, casting a shadow. It wasn’t obvious—the head of Crepp’s NASA-funded research team likened it to a fruit fly in front of a car headlight—but the star did flicker. Other astronomers had seen

“ That’s the Holy Grail,” said Crepp. “These are more like Earth than any planet we have found yet.” it in images from the Kepler space telescope, which monitors more than 100,000 stars near the Cygnus and Lyra constellations. Kepler had measured a slight change in this particular star, Kepler-62, every six days. Sometimes

it was more frequent than that. Over time, Crepp and the others realized what they were looking at: five entirely new planets, each orbiting the star at consistent intervals. Even better: Two fall within the “Goldilocks” zone, where the possibility of water and rock could make a planet habitable. “That’s the Holy Grail,” said Crepp, whose study of the new planets was published in Science in April. “These are more like Earth than any planet we have found yet.”

Kepler-62 and the Solar System This diagram compares the planets of the inner solar system to Kepler-62, a fiveplanet system about 1,200 light-years from Earth in the constellation Lyra. The five planets of Kepler-62 orbit a star classified as a K2 dwarf, measuring just two-thirds the size of the sun and only one-fifth as bright. At seven billion years old, the star is older than the sun. Much like our solar system, Kepler-62 is home to two habitable zone worlds, Kepler-62f and Kepler-62e. Kepler-62f orbits every 267 days and is 40 percent larger than Earth, making it the smallest exoplanet known in the habitable zone of another star. The other habitable zone planet, Kepler-62e, orbits every 122 days and is roughly 60 percent larger than Earth. NASA Ames/JPL-Caltech




• • • •

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4701 College Drive Erie, PA 16563-0101

Non-Profit Org. U.S. Postage

P  A  I  D

State College, PA Permit No.1

Address Service Requested

A Winning Breed Ernie, a 4-year-old Affenpinscher who works as a service dog in the Personal Counseling Office, enjoyed four seconds of fame on the NBC Nightly News after another Affenpinscher, Banana Joe, won Best in Show at the 2013 Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show. The NBC broadcast included footage of Ernie in a segment introducing America to the little-known breed, nicknamed “little devil with a mustache.” We, of course, know Ernie as an angel with a mustache. Visit for a link to Ernie’s NBC Nightly News video.

Bottle rockets, baking, and “blood spatter” analysis

Summer is far from the slow season at Penn State Behrend. From sports camps to College for Kids to Math Options for Girls, the college draws hundreds of students to campus all summer long for hands-on educational opportunities. Summer school has never been so cool. Visit and click on “Outreach” for more information on summer youth programs.


Behrend Magazine - July 2013  

News and feature stories from Penn State Behrend in Erie, Pa.

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