SCHOLAR – The Magazine of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State

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2020-2021 Annual Report

Back on campus A conversation with Dean Patrick Mather

IN THIS ISSUE Former NASA astronaut inspires Scholars Students and staff collaborate on diversity initiatives Alumni giving back with time and expertise

Message from Dean Patrick Mather Table of Contents Message from Dean Patrick T. Mather


Mission, vision, and history


New student organization building community


Luchinsky speaker directs gazes to the skies


Scholars creating change for women on global scale


The year in review


Student and alumni award winners


Back on campus: Q&A with Patrick Mather


Recent grad to tackle climate change at MIT


Enterprising Scholar builds clothing company


Facts and figures


Scholars and staff drive new inclusion initiatives


Nostalgia sparked Scholar alumni collaboration


Scholars connect with international faculty in new lecture series


Johnson leaves legacy of leadership and service


Scholar alumni use expertise to empower others


Engineering alumnus supports entering Scholars


Board and council listings


Scholars connect with alumni in various ways online


Credits: Creative Director: Wade Bennett Director of Strategic Communications, Schreyer Honors College Editor-in-Chief: Jeff Rice Public Relations Specialist, Schreyer Honors College Graphic Design: Jim Pryslak

Greetings from 101 Atherton Hall! The moment has arrived and I am thrilled to write to you from the Schreyer Honors College as the new dean — a return to my academic home. Over the course of my first few weeks on the job, I have had many opportunities to meet with students, staff, faculty, and even a few Scholar alumni as I learn about the aspirations of individuals for the future of our honors college. A highlight for me was SHO TIME, which gave me a chance to connect (and sing) with our students, all of whom are excited about their residential learning experience to come. I have also had time to stroll campus on my own, rediscovering the beauty it has to offer. As I shared with our incoming Scholars recently, it’s evident that many new buildings have been built since I graduated 30 years back. Nevertheless, our tree-lined paths providing shade and sound, unwavering Old Main, and the bustle of College Avenue instill now the same peace that they did in my formative years. That feeling, combined with an inner excitement about giving back to the institution and to honors education through leadership and service, tells me this: I’m at the right place at the right time. I invite you to read up on the latest happenings in the Schreyer Honors College described in this installment of SCHOLAR: The Magazine of the Schreyer Honors College. You can join us in reflecting on the legacy of Dean Peggy Johnson’s leadership … creating big shoes to fill for me! And you can learn about the impactful scholarship of several of our students, including The Student Pad Project, which is poised to support female hygiene globally. And be sure to check out our updates on exciting equity and inclusion work led by such student groups as MASS (Multicultural Association of Schreyer Scholars) — a group I can’t wait to engage with this fall. Speaking of the season, autumn sights and sounds are arriving. And if you cup your ear, can you hear the roar of the Nittany Lion? Should your fall schedule allow you to visit University Park, please stop by Atherton Hall so that we can connect and exchange ideas about our Scholars and the upward trajectory of the College. Our ability to deliver on the Schreyer vision is counting on such connections. We Are!

Photography: Steve Tressler, Provided images Produced by the Schreyer Honors College Office of Strategic Communications Contact: 814-863-2635,

Patrick T. Mather, PhD Dean, Schreyer Honors College The Pennsylvania State University


New student organization providing Scholars with resources and community Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schreyer (GSDS) is a new registered student organization founded by Scholars in October that aims to create a more inclusive environment for the LGBTQIA+ community in the Honors College.


The mission of the Schreyer Honors College is to promote: • Achieving academic excellence with integrity • Building a global perspective, and • Creating opportunities for leadership and civic engagement


To educate people who will have an important and ethical influence in the world, affecting academic, professional, civic, social, and business outcomes. To improve educational practice and to continue to be recognized as a leading force in honors education nationwide.

History of the Schreyer Honors College The Schreyer Honors College is a leading force in honors education. Under the leadership of director Paul Axt, Penn State launched the University Scholars Program in 1980. In September 1997, William and Joan Schreyer presented a $30 million gift, and the College was expanded and renamed in their honor. A gift of an additional $25 million in 2006 was part of the “For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students.” In the last four decades, more than 15,000 Penn State graduates have earned the distinction of being a Scholar.

Although the group was forced to hold meetings via Zoom for its first year due to the pandemic, it established an executive board and counted more than a dozen Scholars in biweekly meetings held throughout the fall and spring semesters and roughly twice that many in its online group chat. Forming numerous partnerships with organizations across campus, including Counseling and Psychological Services, the AIDS Resource Center, Penn State Career Services, and the Center for Sexual and Gender Diversity, GSDS held workshops that explored inclusive language, networking, healthy relationships, and sexual health. “Overall, we just want to foster a safe space for the LGBTQIA+ community in Schreyer,” said GSDS President Jake Snyder, a second-year Scholar majoring in biology, “because we do a lot of collaborative outreach to expose our general body to campus at large, but also provide mental and sexual health resources.” The organization’s leadership is excited for the chance to grow its membership when students return to campus in the fall. GSDS also plans to partner with Scholar alumni to create a mentoring network and to obtain representation on the University Park Undergraduate Association. “I feel like without having this community, I was kind of forced to choose what kind of organizations I wanted to be a part of on campus, and it was like, do you want to find something that’s in Schreyer, or find something that’s queer?” said GSDS Secretary Cassidy Pitts, a

second-year Scholar majoring in biomedical engineering. “This gave me a way to merge those things and find my community in both of my communities in that way.” GSDS also supported students in other ways; when students went home for winter break, the executive board offered to check in with members to ensure they felt safe in their home environments. And while GSDS is about creating and maintaining a safe space and community within the College for Scholars, it is also about empowering them to be leaders in other campus organizations and outside of Penn State. “We, as leaders, can inspire other people to be leaders in the spaces that they occupy, and actively advocate for themselves as LGBTQIA+ people in whatever field or profession they’re pursuing,” Snyder said. “It’s important for us to stand our ground and take up space in spaces that aren’t necessarily inclusive for us.”

Support Scholar wellness through the Dr. Michele “Mitch” Kirsch Fund at



Former astronaut inspires students during Luchinsky Lecture Former NASA astronaut Leland Melvin took an important lesson from the popular children’s book, Curious George.

“Make sure you have a man or woman in the yellow hat that has your back,” Melvin said. “I’ve always had at least one person that helped me, no matter what happened to me.” Melvin, who flew a pair of missions on the Space Shuttle Atlantis in 2008 and 2009 and logged more than 500 hours in space, spoke about grit, grace, and perseverance to an audience of more than 300 Penn State students, alumni, and others during the Schreyer Honors College’s annual Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture in January. That grit helped Melvin, a star wide receiver at the University of Richmond,

pivot to a graduate degree in materials science after hamstring injuries derailed his NFL career. It helped him overcome an underwater training accident that left him completely deaf for several weeks and medically disqualified for space flight, and the loss of his friends and colleagues who were aboard the Space Shuttle Columbia when it disintegrated as it returned to Earth in 2003. Melvin would later speak at each of the seven astronauts’ memorial services about their sacrifice. He has had several people help him along the way, including NASA’s then-chief flight surgeon Rich Williams, who signed a waiver clearing Melvin for space flight. But Melvin’s setbacks only made him more determined to keep going, he said. “I believed that anything is possible,” he said. “And it truly is.”

Student Pad Project making a difference for women across the globe

Melvin later became the NASA Associate Administrator for Education and he remains an advocate for STEAM education, speaking to groups around the world. Following the virtual lecture, he also fielded questions from roughly four dozen Schreyer Scholars about leadership, overcoming challenges, and pursuing passions during a separate online session. He encouraged the students to make sure they were getting the self-care they needed, reminded them “to find joy in the simple pleasures,” and urged them to turn their dreams into goals. “Start owning who you are right now,” Melvin said. “You are the future. You are going to be doing whatever you dream and desire. So own it now.”

This January, with the help of a registered nonprofit, the Student Pad Project set up its first production site for sanitary napkins in southern India. The student organization, founded in 2019 by Scholars Philip Ratnasamy and Katelyn Rudisill, has raised more than $10,000 and used it to fund the site, which is in the Irula tribal region just east of Bangalore. Ratnasamy and Rudisill, both biochemistry and molecular biology majors who graduated in May, were inspired to establish the organization after watching the documentary “Period. End of Sentence,” which follows a group of women in Hapur, India who are operating a machine that makes sanitary pads while also dealing with the nation’s taboos regarding menstruation. As they spread word of their registered student organization and the importance of their work, the students discovered that those taboos weren’t unique to India.

“Although we knew this was a serious problem and we wanted to make an impact, unfortunately the idea of women’s health and feminine hygiene is sort of a taboo topic, even here in the United States,” said Ratnasamy, the president of the Student Pad Project. “People don’t like to talk about it. It’s also an issue that most people in the United States aren’t aware that it exists or the degree that it exists to.” Ratnasamy and Rudisill were joined in the organization by four other Penn State students who had interest in medicine and, by advertising on social media and going to involvement fairs, eventually grew the group to roughly two dozen members. They’ve raised funds in a number of ways, including direct mailings to donors, a virtual bingo night, and a virtual green-screen gala that raised more than $1,500 in 30 minutes. The organization hopes to begin raising funds for additional sites.

Project inspired her to do global work once she becomes a physician. “It gives you a perspective on your life in the United States,” Rudisill said. “Just because you don’t see the issues doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect people in other countries.” Ratnasamy remembers speaking with some of the women who operate the site — with the help of a translator — shortly after its launch and how excited they were about the chance to use it to make sustainable change. “Just seeing that initial idea (born) in a dorm room translate into an impact on hundreds, if not thousands of lives for the foreseeable future is something I’ll always take away from my time at Penn State,” he said, “and I’m hopeful that future leaders of this club get to experience that as well.”

Rudisill, who now attends the Lewis Katz School of Medicine at Temple University, said her experience with the Student Pad 4



A Year-in-Review 1. In December, the College’s Information Technology, Strategic Communications, and Development and Alumni Relations teams collaborated to create a new award wall on the lower level of Atherton Hall. The wall includes a digital touchscreen that allows visitors to easily access an archive of winners of the College’s various awards as well as additional information about its history and mission. 2. In January, Penn State women’s swimmer and Scholar Niki Nolte made her return to competitive swimming after a two-year hiatus when she battled leukemia, swimming as part of the 200-meter medley relay team in the Nittany Lions’ meet at Northwestern. Nolte, a biobehavioral health major, was also named a 2021 Winter Academic All-Big Ten honoree.

Student Awards






3. Scholar alumna Rachel Aul, a “hotdogger” and brand spokesperson for the Kraft-Heinz Company, brought the famous Oscar Meyer Wienermobile to the University Park campus in February as part of a recruiting and promotional session. 4. The Schreyer Honors College held its inaugural Virtual Golf Championship throughout the month of May. More than 50 Scholars, alumni and/or friends of the College from around the nation competed as individuals or as part of four-person teams on their home courses, raising more than $2,300 for the College’s Emergency Fund in the process. 5. Girls Code the World, a nonprofit corporation that works to provide opportunities, resources, and role models for young girls in STEM-related fields and was cofounded by Scholar Sydney Gibbard, was one of three student startup teams that won $10,000 during the Inc. U Competition hosted by the Pennsylvania Technical Assistance Program (PennTAP) in May. 6. In March, the Schreyer Honors Student Council collaborated with counterparts from Rutgers University to host the virtual Big 10 Student Alliance Conference. Student council representatives from seven other Big Ten institutions participated in the event, which included group discussions, presentations, and brainstorming and centered on the theme of the 9 Dimensions of Wellness.




7. Scholar Victoria Vanriele won the 800meter run at the Big Ten Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in February with a personal-best time of 2:05.59 and was named the conference’s Freshman of the Year in March.

competition and then became the first Penn State team to win the national competition in the event’s 10-year history. The team presented to partners and directors from Deloitte and each student received a $1,000 cash prize.

8. In March, third-year Scholar Erin Boas and second-year Scholar Najee Rodriguez were elected president and vice president, respectively, of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA). Their campaign focused on the pillars of immediate relief, fostering a culture of care, building relationships, and institutionalized change.

10. Tahj Morales, who graduated with honors in biochemistry and molecular biology from Penn State Berks in May, was featured in a story in the Reading Eagle for his service to his community, including his work with the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH) initiative at Penn State Health St. Joseph, which aims to remove barriers to health linked to race, ethnicity, education, and other social and economic factors.

9. Scholars Benjamin Burlovic, Ritika Nagpal, and Kristine Wang were part of a four-person team from Penn State that won first place in the Deloitte Undergraduate Case Competition in March. The team, Valley Consulting Group, emerged from a group of a dozen Penn State teams in the first part of the



11. Janiyah Davis, a Scholar majoring in public policy, criminology, and psychology, was elected a student trustee on the Penn State Board of Trustees in May. She will hold the position for two years.


Astronaut Scholarship Kiara Smith Owen Chase Emily Snow Edward Spagnuolo Erickson Discovery Jiwoo Song Grants Elizabeth Soucy Ishaan Anavkar William Starnes Sidra Arshad Jacquelyn Stochel Alessandro Ascani Rebecca Stroschein Orsini David Taglieri Shravan Asthana Michael Thomas Nicholas Banerjee Rajiv Thummala Taylor Berek Shay Toner Annabelle Bernard Matthew Venable Rachel Blansfield Mae Vine Julia Botvinov Jingyu Wang Autum Bugda Alexander Wu Abriana Cain Yiru Xiang Katie Cardone Ashton Zillhardt Melissa Cesaire Chaewan Chun Barry M. Goldwater Quinn Deitrick Scholarships Eilene Deng Eilene Deng Priya Devanarayan Peter Forstmeier Katelyn Dinsmore Bryce Katch Molly Ehrig National Science Anna Foltz Foundation Graduate Peter Forstmeier Research Fellowship Victor Ginsburg Autumn Deitrick Maanasi Gothoskar Nathaniel Osikowicz Julia Hamilton Madison Reddie Tim Hamilton Lucy Spicher Fredric Hancock Michael Hanold Schreyer Honors Keally Haushalter College Awards Jack Ibinson Sara Jimenez Rincon The Paul Axt Prize Alexander Kedzierski Hope Bodenschatz Ellie Kim The Evans Award Abbey Kollar Andrew Tamis Kunal Koka Samantha Landmesser Bear Koehler Award Yoon-Jae Lee Faith Gongaware Alexandra Lister Weisheng Li The Reddy Mission Mengde Liu Award Nicholas Malizia Siena Baker Jannah Martin Erin Brown Katherine McRury Autumn Deitrick Kristen Miller 2020 Student Peyton Moore Involvement Award Leah Mullen A’dryanna Jenkins Bram Nealon Thomas Nguyen Penn State Awards Lauren Onweller Kaleigh Quinnan 2021 Alumni Aayushi Patel Achievement Award Vanessa Peduzzi Heather Bennett ’08 Lib, Jack Piazza ’13g Law, ’17g Edu Ritvik Prabhu Emily Zheng ’14 Bus, Lib Hannah Priller 2020 Alumni Eleni Prodes Achievement Award Chloe Roberts Hallie Grossman ’07 Lib Mikel Shabloski Mikayla Shaffer 2021 Distinguished G. Michael Shott Jr. Alumni Award Jordan Sigler Lisa Baird ’82 Lib, ’84 Bus Safitaj Sindhar Charlotte McLaughlin Maria Smereka ’75 Bus

7 10


Back on c



Patrick Mather ’89 Eng, ’90g Eng knows how transformative the honors experience at Penn State can be — he lived it as a student himself. The Schreyer Honors College’s new dean, who began his appointment in August, developed an intellectual curiosity as a University Scholar and has cultivated his leadership style in recent years at Syracuse University and Bucknell University. In a wide-ranging interview, Mather discusses the journey that led him back to Penn State and his vision for the future of the College. SCHOLAR Magazine: Why was the thought of returning to Penn State and specifically to the Schreyer Honors College appealing to you? Patrick Mather: There’s a few things that come together in terms of appeal. First, the excellence that the Schreyer Honors College has come to enjoy. I’m just drawn to leading a place with such an outstanding reputation. From what I glean — and this is independent of being an alum — they are pretty much best in class. And from what I hear from my other dean colleagues around the nation, there is immediate recognition of best-in-class excellence. Another part is existential. It focuses on students … students who have broad interests and great potential to impact their future yet very diverse worlds that they’re going to enter. I view that as aligned well with my own mission professionally where I enjoy, student by student, helping navigate a pathway. And I derive great joy from the wide range of pathways. Even in my recent history in a college of engineering, which might sound narrow, everybody’s motivated in a different way and everybody’s going in a different direction. I just love it. And students give me a lot of energy and a lot of hope for the future. Finally, I would say, there’s the soft spot in my heart that derives from the personal experience as a University Scholar in the past that has left an emblem of family feel. It feels like family to me that renders this move back to leading the College as one that just feels very natural and one that I’m absolutely drawn to. SM: What were you like as a Scholar? PM: I’d say the most accurate word would be ‘curious.’ I loved it all intellectually. ‘All’ is the operative word there. I could not distinguish what I liked the most. My favorite classes ranged from electromagnetic waves to poetry to American comedy to, you name it — bowling, squash. I just loved it all. And being a University Scholar, I got messages that this was good, this was what it means to be a Scholar, is to take it all in and then try to make some sense of that through some form of integration. Curiosity sort of energized me, animated me. I would go to seminars, I would just ask questions, and then I got the research bug later in my academic career as a Scholar. 8





In the original letter inviting me to Engineering Science and the University Scholars Program, that was definitely a draw. It said you would be able to do independent research culminating in a thesis. I didn’t really know what that meant, but I knew I liked the independent part — one of my core values is freedom — and I didn’t know it at the time but as a musician, I just loved the freedom of a blank page, and this research thing sounded a lot like music to me. The research bug happened my senior year — I got in a lab and that’s all she wrote. That was where I found out that you could make something from nothing. It could be an idea in your mind or your mind with your professor, and three weeks or three months later, it’s been tested and the idea has come to life. I’ll never forget coming out of Hammond Building, 11:30 at night on a Thursday, and campus was quiet, and it felt like my campus. I had just finished an experiment, it went well, and I was going to catch the last CATA bus out to my apartment, and it just felt like I was on top of the world, on top of campus. It felt like my place. SM: How have previous leadership positions you’ve held helped you grow as a leader and helped prepare you for this role? PM: At Syracuse University, I learned the principle that different communities may have very different value systems and derive their motivation and excitement from ways different than me personally. And it’s quite natural, whether you’re in the natural sciences, or the humanities, social science, or engineering … it’d be kind of odd if everybody in these communities were the same; it’d be a boring place to live. And then I learned within those communities, everybody’s an individual. And so it’s exciting just to have those conversations and develop relationships. Before that role, I wasn’t as patient with the human relationship part of science. At Syracuse, I started to focus more on the relationships, and I found, ‘Oh, I’m pretty good at this, and I enjoy it. I like getting to know people and it’s very fulfilling, and I can also grow while achieving the goals of the Institute.’ I also started to learn about public communication and how, like it or not, as I had that role, what I said mattered more than what I would ever give my own words credit for. I just had to own that, that if I said something publicly, it could impact a lot of people. The steepest learning curve for me has been at Bucknell. The amount I’ve grown is probably as steep as it was at Penn State, which was very steep. I learned a ton about myself; what are my values? I got an executive coach. I became a student of leadership. I must have read 50 books a year for the past five years on human psychology. Leadership, teamwork — I was just eating that stuff up. I learned

a ton about who I am, who other people are. I love different models of human behavior, whether it’s Myers-Briggs or DISC … I learned how to do strategic planning. … Bottom line, I’ve learned just to be myself. When I first became dean, I thought I needed to put on dean clothes. Really, they had hired me for what they saw in me innately, not some pre-conceived “Dean Mather,” just “Pat Mather.” The lesson I learned there is trust. It’s said that progress happens at the speed of trust and I’ve found that trust hinges upon authenticity — demonstrations of authentic behavior,

so if you want to lead progress, be yourself. I try to just be myself instead of some person I think I should be. That, I learned at Bucknell. SM: Why is it important for the College’s Scholars to connect in multiple ways with Scholar alumni, and vice versa, for the alumni to connect with students? PM: I read this book once, and its thesis was ‘Start with why.’ Students in particular need to see where things might go in Continued on page 17


Recent graduate bringing research experience to MIT grad program

Student entrepreneur grows clothing business in midst of pandemic

Autumn Deitrick sought out undergraduate research opportunities not long after arriving at Penn State. Conducting that research earned her national recognition while also giving her a better understanding of the research process itself.

Austin Thomas had a promising startup business and a new brand gaining traction. Then the coronavirus pandemic hit. The Smeal College of Business student and Schreyer Scholar was forced to adapt, and the way he did kept that brand’s momentum and set the foundation for his honors thesis.

“You want to keep moving forward, but sometimes you have to move backward, sideways,” she said. “It’s taught me to have a lot of tenacity and not give up and to be OK with things not working out as soon as I’d like them to or as smoothly as I’d like them to.”

Thomas is the creator of JERPA Jeans (, which are lined with Sherpa fleece but lack the bulk of flannel or similar liners. Inspired by friends tailgating at football games in cold weather, Thomas set out to create a pair of jeans that was both warm and fashionable and, after several months of product testing, launched the company.

After graduating with honors in civil engineering this May, Deitrick began work toward her doctoral degree in applied ocean science and engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) — Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute Joint Program. She will start classes this fall, but this summer, she has been working in the Nepf Environmental Fluid Mechanics Lab with MIT Professor of Civil and Environmental Engineering Heidi Nepf, studying how mangrove trees may mitigate climate change by trapping carbon- rich sediment with their roots — often at double the rate of terrestrial ecosystems.

“I don’t really like to just come up with something and then sit around and let it happen elsewhere or not go through with it,” he said. Thomas, a supply chain and information systems major, used the money he had earned from a summer internship with Campbell’s Soup to purchase his initial product and kept costs low by using a sold-out launch model. He would order small quantities of product, promote them on social media, then announce that those products wouldn’t be available again until the next cycle.

“They’re an important species that a lot of coastal cities are now interested in restoring and figuring out how much carbon can they actually contain for climate change purposes,” Deitrick said.

“If you order 500 and the demand’s only 200, now you’re left with 300 in inventory which you don’t know what to do with,” said Thomas, who often slept on his couch because stacks of jeans were occupying his bed.

At Penn State, Deitrick spent time in Dr. Xiaofeng Liu’s Environmental Fluid Dynamics Group and Dr. Caitlin Grady’s Food Energy Water Nexus (FEWs) Lab. She was honored with a Barry Goldwater Scholarship in 2020 in part for her research with Liu on predicting attraction flow for nature-like fish passages which help aquatic life complete their migratory

Thomas had more than 100 students from Penn State and nearly two dozen other universities working as “ambassadors,” who received commissions determined by their level of involvement, helping him with both. By the time JERPA Jeans competed with six other student startups for a share of $30,000 on WPSU’s Shark Tank-style TV show, “The Investment,” this May, the company’s revenue had surpassed $84,000. “I realized I liked these coastal ecosystems,” Deitrick said, “and over time I gained confidence and realized this is what I wanted to challenge myself to do in graduate school. I’m already really enjoying my work.”

journeys. Her interest in ocean-related research began to pique when she attended and presented research at the MIT Water Summit in 2019 and met students in the MIT-Woods Hole Joint Program. She will co-direct the upcoming Water Summit in November.


Deitrick, who was a learning assistant for CE 360: Fluid Mechanics and a facilitator for the Women in Engineering program for EMCH 212: Dynamics, said she gained the confidence to take challenging courses from the honors classes she took during her first two years and that she was inspired by watching her professors convey difficult material. She hopes to become a professor herself. “It’s really astounding how much I’ve learned at Penn State,” she said. “I’m really grateful for all of the opportunities I’ve had at Schreyer to set me up to do what I’m doing now.”

Support Scholars conducting undergraduate research at

“The fact that his supply line was disrupted … I don’t think that fazed him much,” said Penn State Associate Professor of Supply Chain and Information Systems Robert Novack. Novack, Thomas’ thesis supervisor, encouraged him to use his experience with JERPA in his honors thesis. “Talk about how you chose the product, the demographic you’re after, how you decided on sourcing, how you got around tariffs, transportation costs,” Novack said. “So someone can pick up his thesis and say, ‘I can start a business now. I know all of the details and all of the pitfalls.’” Thomas graduated in May and will pursue a master’s in real estate degree in the Smeal College of Business this year. The lessons he has learned about small businesses, supply chains, marketing and more have reinforced his belief that success is not a solo endeavor.

“I’ve always been a team player,” Thomas said. “I’ve seen it through my internships — supply chain is very team-oriented. You’re working with teams, with suppliers. There’s a lot of people interaction. “Being able to work with people is something I always want to do.”


Facts & Figures

37 28

Scholars come from and

states (including PA)

Arts & Architecture




Schreyer Honors College students (55 percent female, 45 percent male)


Pennsylvania residents (72%)


Earth & Mineral Sciences


Eberly College of Science




Engineering 510 Health & Human Development


Information Sciences & Technology


Intercollege 1


Out-of-State residents (28%)

Liberal Arts

International students (7%)


School of Nursing

17 Total: 1,973

Some Scholars have multiple majors across different colleges.

First-Year Students Fall 2019

Fall 2018

SHC mid-50% range High School GPA 4.26 – 4.33

4.20 – 4.33

4.00 – 4.33

PSU mid-50% range High School GPA

3.55 – 3.90

3.55 – 3.97

Fall 2020

3.68 – 4.15

Because the Schreyer Honors College has not used test scores in its admissions process for over 15 years, and because Penn State, like many universities, has adopted a “testoptional” policy, we no longer report SAT information in the Annual Report. High school GPA admission reflects weighted grades, truncated by Penn State to a maximum of 4.33. Comparison information for Penn State University Park and other campuses is available at

H&HD 126 (6%)

Agriculture Sciences 87 (4%)

Business 167 (9%)



First-year entry

Second-year entry

Other 340 (17%)


Number of Countries Represented:




(service, research, internships)

50 countries









































Lehigh Valley



Mont Alto



New Kensington



University Park



3 1,931


2 1,177



Because most grant-fundable activities were restricted during the pandemic, we are not reporting 2020-2021 statistics. We look forward to resuming our support of research, internships, service, and foreign study by Scholars during the upcoming year.

DVM 4% MBA 1% DO 1%

Underrepresented Minorities (by percent per class)


Incoming 1st year (Fall 2021)

4.82 3.10





Incoming 2nd/3rd year







Received Spring 2021 Medals







2020-2021 Graduate Outcomes Other 7%

Graduate School 42%

Workforce 51%

How Graduating Scholars Perform Summer†




Avg. GPA


14 19 30

29 52 36

448 467 438

538 538 504

3.80 3.83 3.86

50 59 47

Number of Graduating Scholars

Five- and Ten-Year Outcomes

Sample listing of Graduate Schools

First-year entry 1,179 (61%)

307 1

Scholars studied abroad

The Schreyer Honors College tradition of academic excellence follows our Scholars well into their futures. Review the break-down of post-baccalaureate degrees obtained by Scholars five and ten years after they’ve graduated from the honors college online at

Third-year entry 361 (19%)

Second-year entry 391 (20%)

JD 12%

IUG is the Integrated Undergraduate-Graduate Program in which Scholars simultaneously complete requirements for bachelor’s and master’s degrees in selected disciplines.

13 1

MA/MS 34%




PhD 38%

MD 10%


Australia, Brazil, China, Fiji, Hungary, Jordan, Russia, Senegal, Sri Lanka, United Kingdom (sample)

Eberly College of Science 335 (17%)

Third-year entry



Engineering 510 (26%)

Liberal Arts 408 (21%)




2020 – 21 2019 – 20 2018 – 19

Enrollment by Campus as of the beginning of fall 2020

Worthington Scranton


2017 – 18



Division of Undergraduate Studies

2018 – 19

Travel Grants Issued:

Communications 54


Campus Location:

2019 – 20 72

Agricultural Sciences

2020-2021 Graduate School Breakdown

Building a Global Perspective

Scholars at University Park by Primary College as of the beginning of fall 2020

* Current Penn State students are offered admission to the Schreyer Honors College upon the conclusion of at least one semester at Penn State having demonstrated a record of academic achievement and having merited a recommendation in support of their application from their academic department.

Cornell University Drexel University School of Medicine Duke University Duquesne University School of Law George Washington University Harvard Law School Johns Hopkins School of Medicine Stanford University Tufts University School of Medicine University of Cambridge University of Chicago University of Pennsylvania University of Toronto University of Wisconsin - Madison Washington University in St. Louis Yale School of Medicine

*Breakdown of Other Outcomes Service 9%

Internship 3%

Travel 9%

Other 38%

Research 16%

Fellowship 25%


Scholars, staff create opportunities to increase cultural diversity The administration and staff of the Schreyer Honors College have been working hard to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for Scholars across all of Penn State’s campuses. Including Scholars in those conversations and initiatives has been an integral part of the process and has helped build several new initiatives. The Multicultural Association of Schreyer Scholars, better known as MASS, grew out of the Schreyer Honors College Diversity Task Force, and became a registered student organization this past winter. Where the task force was designed to advise staff on issues of inclusion, MASS became a vehicle for the Scholars to develop their own initiatives, and the members of the organization found an administration willing to provide support and advice in implementing them. “As students, we can’t do it alone. It’s with the support of the staff and faculty on different levels that we can really push these initiatives forward,” said Scholar Adwait Chafale, the director of MASS. “And I think what we take to heart in MASS is it’s a community effort. The more community members we can have creating these initiatives, the more success we have ultimately.” Last summer, the student group developed the Diversity and Inclusion Scholar Connect Opportunity (DISCO), which used surveys to match incoming Scholars or Scholars from campuses other than University Park with returning Scholars from University Park who shared similar backgrounds and/or interests. MASS continued that initiative heading into the Fall 2021

New discussion series connects Scholars with international faculty

semester. The group helped create a cultural competencies workshop, in partnership with the Paul Robeson Cultural Center, for Schreyer Honors Orientation (SHO TIME). Discussions in MASS also helped lay the groundwork for a new class focused on anti-Black racism in America that Scholars Maryah Burney and Janiyah Davis designed and will teach this fall as part of Penn State’s Students Teaching Students program. MASS has grown in membership since converting from the Diversity Task Force and has organized into various branches (peer-to-peer relations, university relations, etc.) each led by a member of its executive board. Collectively, they strive to create inclusive spaces for underrepresented students, recruit and retain minoritized students, and help all Scholars develop cultural awareness. “One of the tensions that we talk about in MASS is that we want to grow in terms of our diversity, we want this broad array of students, and we focus a lot on recruitment activity and outreach,” said Assistant Dean for Equity and Inclusion Lynette Yarger, “but what can we do within the college to better serve students who are here and keep them and have an environment where they can thrive?” MASS’ initiatives and priorities have complemented those of Yarger and other Schreyer staff members. During the 2020-21 academic year, the Schreyer Honors College introduced the Inclusive Conversations series, which featured guest speakers

In October, the Schreyer Honors College launched “World in View,” a global discussion series in which Penn State faculty and peers from universities and institutions around the world helped Scholars build global perspectives during one-hour, virtual sessions.

who bring expertise and perspectives on issues of inequity, including Penn State education professor Ashley Patterson, who spoke about understanding identities, and McKinsey and Company partners Earl Fitzhugh and Samuel Yamoah, who discussed the disproportionate impact of COVID-19 on Black Americans and ways to respond. The College’s Development team has made it a priority to establish educational equity scholarships, which will support Scholars who contribute to the diversity of the student body and who have a demonstrated financial need. The College has created 16 such scholarships for a total of $1,625,000. The Summer Bridge program, an all-expenses-paid, on-campus experience that includes two honors courses, was designed to help underrepresented students enjoy a smoother transition to college and build non-academic skills for selfadvocacy. Part of Penn State’s Learning Edge Academic Program (LEAP) program for first-year students, Summer Bridge debuted during the second summer session.

“World in View” discussions allowed students to interact in small-group settings with experts in a variety of fields, including social justice, sustainability, history, and global health. Those discussions examined how the pandemic has affected communication worldwide, altered business and healthcare in Sweden, and affected refugee populations on multiple continents. Other discussions explored how and why the practice of mindfulness has become more popular in contemporary America and building post-secondary education in Africa. John Affleck, Knight Chair in Sports Journalism and Society and journalism professor in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications, hosted a discussion about mental health and sports during the fall semester and another in February with Dr. Matthew Smith of the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland. The fall session was a general lecture with a Q&A, while students participated in small-group discussions in Zoom breakout rooms this spring before reconvening as a group. Affleck was pleased to see Scholars in majors he doesn’t typically interact with, including those in STEM fields, participate in those events, which he believes is reflective of the value of the program.

One of the keys to creating a more inclusive environment for a diverse group of Scholars, said Yarger, is ensuring that discussions and relationships go beyond surface-level. “If we are talking about this mission of ‘shaping students who are going to shape the world,’ then the world is even more diverse than we are,” Yarger said. “Students really need that cultural competency. That’s the key that the MASS students think is lacking. Interactions with students who do not share similar identities and experiences can be somewhat superficial and sometimes challenging because we can’t have that depth of communication. What I think our minoritized students would like to feel is more connected and part of the community and better understood.” Fostering a community in which all Scholars feel welcomed and valued remains a priority for the College and a key component of its strategic plan, and students having their voices and opinions heard will continue to be an important piece. “Providing equitable support for a diverse population of Scholars is engrained in so much of what we do in the Schreyer Honors College,” said Schreyer Honors College Dean Emeritus Peggy A. Johnson. “There is more work to be done, but I am encouraged by the thoughtfulness and dedication of our staff and our Scholars in these efforts.” 14

“I think it’s understanding of a few things: That people are thinking about these other issues in general, and that our University and others all over the world are working on these different problems, and some of the solution strategies, while it might be in a completely different subject, might have something to do with what you are thinking about in your life,” Affleck said. “Maybe something these people are trying might be a solution to our problem in another field.” In addition to helping build and foster partnerships between Penn State faculty and international peers, the series offered students of all disciplines more in-depth examinations of issues and topics that have wide-ranging impact. “Tapping into the expertise of Penn State’s faculty is a great benefit to our Scholars,” said Schreyer Honors College Associate Dean Keefe B. Manning, a professor of biomedical engineering and surgery. “The World in View series takes those relationships a step further by introducing experts from around the world who add valued perspectives and knowledge to these important, timely discussions and expose students to ideas or information they may not have considered before.”


Scholar alumni business built from nostalgia taking off

Asia Grant and Alejandro Cuevas began their friendship when they were members of Penn State’s Presidential Leadership Academy. In 2019, the Scholar alumni founded Redoux, a scent and skincare company that aims to put consumers in touch with memories through scent. The friendship is at the core of Redoux’s main products; its signature scent, “529” was inspired by a visit Cuevas had paid Grant in the summer of 2015, when she was an intern in New York. It was also important to Grant that all products be vegan and environmentally conscious.

This past fall, Redoux was the recipient of a $30,000 grant from Glossier, which helped the company scale its business for the holiday season, boosted its brand recognition, and allowed Grant to make Redoux her full-time job. Nicole Keller, a 2017 Penn State graduate who was also a member of Grant’s Presidential Leadership Academy class, joined the company as partnerships lead.

“It should just be the basis of how people operate,” she said. “There shouldn’t be anything that’s not clean in your process.” As 2020 began, Grant was still working a full-time job and Cuevas was continuing doctoral studies at Carnegie Mellon University. They were forming partnerships and doing small craft fairs and were focused on building in-person experiences. The COVID-19 pandemic took a toll on that strategy, but during the summer, Redoux was featured in Vogue magazine in a story about Black-owned businesses. More media coverage followed, and things began to move quickly. The company was also featured on a Facebook Live #BuyBlack Friday Show. “We went from selling one bar of soap a day to selling 60 bars of soap a day,” said Grant, who wrote her honors thesis about the cosmetics industry. “We had a bunch of stores reaching out to us and saying, ‘We want to stock you.’ “It was exciting and also very stressful.” 16

Grant likes to write out gift notes that accompany the products by hand and saves them to share with her team. Often, they are about a memory the giver shares with the recipient. “Those are the pieces that are the most rewarding,” Grant said, “because it gives people emotional comfort and gives them a sense of connectivity, both with their past and others.”

Continued from page 9

the future, so that they can relax in their academic pursuits without a concern about this obscure future. I think alumni connections can really paint a picture that’s accurate and authentically shows how many paths will be just fine. You’re at the right place, the right time, you’re at Schreyer. Students, especially honors students, will be able to take a lot of these conversations and distill them into something that aligns with their emerging raison d’être. That’s a big one. I think another student benefit is possible connections for their careers; not necessarily directly, but those career advice conversations can be really big. Now, it is a two-way street, and I think alumni love and derive a lot of fulfillment from hearing from today’s students and I think they can also learn a lot about this present generation. For example, students that are currently undergraduates are much more motivated by purpose than career. Not necessarily, ‘Am I a doctor or lawyer or chemical engineer?’ but rather, ‘What is needed in the world? I’ll do that.’ I think alumni hearing that probably brings them a lot of joy, brings them a lot of vision for their own future, and giving back in some form or fashion through scholarships or opportunities or even just relationships.

SM: What in your opinion are some of the current challenges facing honors education and higher education in general? PM: I will start with higher education in general. There are a few significant challenges facing all universities and paramount among them is that costs continue to rise at an unsustainable rate, rendering a college education inaccessible for a large portion of the population. Further, there are demographic shifts in graduating high school students that will require universities to be more creative and entrepreneurial than ever in building each incoming class, particularly those in the northeast. Honors education, now more than ever, can help comparatively affordable institutions recruit students who show outstanding potential for academic growth and impact on the institution and — in the future — in the workplace and communities. A challenge for honors education at a place like Schreyer Honors College — arguably the best in its class — is to offer opportunities to exceptionally talented minds that are simultaneously broad in their reach across many disciplines and individualized to resonate with the passions and emerging values of each student. In many ways, an honors college is horizontal in structure — spanning disciplinary colleges — and our challenge is to provide a home-like community to a group of students with a wide range of interests. Schreyer has excelled at that and it can continue to improve.

SM: How can the Schreyer Honors College attract and retain a diverse student population and at the same time, increase cultural competence for all Scholars? PM: This area will be a high priority for me. It’s something that I’ve worked on a lot the past five or six years in other roles. I think the operative word was ‘how.’ For bringing students to Schreyer, the key is outreach early and strategically. And by outreach, I mean getting the word out, either locally, maybe through feeder schools in the Commonwealth, and in the region, about what honors education is, what opportunities there are for independent and interdisciplinary work, and what, in the language of an eighth grader, the possibilities are of making a place like Penn State small, deep, and effective for them and a sense of identity that yes, an eighth-grader at perhaps an inner-city school that this could be a place where you could be really happy and really thrive. I think that’s best done by experiences and not by words. And so, I think designing experiences for middle-schoolers will be key in strategic and in partnerships with admissions.

(top) Mather with his parents, Patricia and James, at the Nittany Lion Shrine in 1988. (bottom) Mather honed his guitar skills while at Penn State

SM: What are some of your personal interests and/or hobbies? PM: I love music and enjoy writing and recording songs in a small home studio, having played guitar pretty much my whole life. (Back in high school, Penn State was my second choice after Guitar Institute of Technology … fortunately my dad nudged me in the right direction and I never looked back.) My wife, Tara, and I love cycling and running and you can often catch us out on the roads cycling with friends and catching great views in central PA. SM: What is your favorite Creamery ice cream flavor? PM: Ah, that’s easy: Peachy Paterno!

Make a gift to the Emergency Fund to support Scholars with unexpected need at


Johnson retires after

impactful Penn State career

Peggy Johnson with 2020 Luchinsky Lecture speaker Jeanine Staples, a Penn State education professor.

Peggy Johnson applied to work and teach at Penn State four times. There were no openings available during the first three occasions, but “I just could not think of any more perfect place to live and work,” she said. When a teaching position in hydraulic engineering opened up in 1996, Johnson applied again, this time landing a job as an associate professor. And, in the years since, she has not been disappointed. “I felt like I was always inspired by my faculty peers to do more,” she said. “It’s like being a runner — being with fast, incredible runners inspires you to keep going, and that’s how I felt about my position as a professor in engineering.”

Johnson retired in August after 25 years at Penn State, including the last four as the dean of the Schreyer Honors College. As a professor of civil and environmental engineering and the former head of that department, she led research efforts and received recognition for her role as a mentor to female engineering students and junior faculty. As the dean of the Honors College, she worked to create a more inclusive environment for Scholars and to break down the distinctions between first-year entrants and second- and third-year entrants to the College. This spring, the College honored those efforts. Gifts from the External Advisory Board, the Scholar Alumni Society Board, and the Schreyer Parents Council endowed the Dean Peggy A. Johnson Educational Equity Honors Scholarship, which will support students with a demonstrated financial need who contribute to the diversity of the College’s student body, a fitting tribute to nearly three decades of service and leadership. Johnson grew up in Bradford Woods, a small borough north of Pittsburgh. She took more than three years off after graduating from high school, repairing vending machines, waiting tables, and ultimately deciding she wanted more direction. She found it as an undergraduate at New Mexico State University, where she studied geology — and started her family. After graduating, she taught high school math part-time in Maine, but five years later decided she wanted to pursue a graduate degree in civil engineering at the University of Maryland. “I wanted to solve problems. I wanted to somehow be useful and helpful,” she said. “And I wanted to be in the area of water resources, so I thought doing that from the civil engineering end would fulfill all those things.” In 2006, Johnson became the head of the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering at Penn State. During the next nine years, she would recruit world-class faculty, revise the undergraduate curriculum to meet the needs of the civil and environmental engineering professions, lead the department through accreditation twice, and develop


new research initiatives. She received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the ASCE-EWRI (Environmental & Water Resources Institute) and the ASCE Hans Albert Einstein Award (2016) and was named the ASCE-EWRI Outstanding Woman of the Year in 2012. “It was mind-boggling. I felt like I was sitting on a gold mine. I couldn’t believe all the incredible research our faculty and students were doing,” she said. “I felt like I was better at leading that pack and opening doors for them than competing for research.” When she heard the Honors College was looking for a replacement for former dean Christian Brady, she was intrigued. Johnson had worked with Schreyer Scholars for several years before joining the College but said she was pleasantly surprised to discover all of the support and programs the College offered Scholars. She credits the staff for its collective cooperation and willingness to help her implement new ideas. “I think I was really taken by how much everybody in the College wanted the same thing,” she said. “Everybody’s walking down the same path, trying to make life great for this group of selected Scholars.” Johnson had planned to hike in Switzerland during the summer of 2020 and had those plans halted by the pandemic, so she hopes to make that trip in 2022. First, she will drive across the country to visit her daughter in Bishop, California, and then take a different route back, stopping frequently to see sights, hike, and take photographs in both directions. She looks forward to the down time that comes with retirement but is grateful for the time she spent with students, faculty, and staff in the Honors College, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and the University at-large. “I will certainly miss the intellectual atmosphere,” she said, “Just being around people who are thinking and doing and generating ideas and all the energy that goes with that.”

Make a gift to the Dean Peggy A. Johnson Educational Equity Honors Scholarship at


Inspired to Em p o w e r Schreyer Scholar alumni are motivated to succeed after they leave Penn State. Many of them are equally motivated to use their position, experience and/or knowledge to help others succeed. These are just three Scholar alumni who have, in the past year, created organizations capable of helping countless others succeed.

Carpenter graduated from Penn State with honors in music in 2014 and began a career that has included more than 250 performances in Munich, Berlin, Nuremberg, and Freiburg, Germany. He and Graham Sanders, his teacher and mentor, and Joseph Helinski, a 2017 Penn State graduate and a private voice and piano instructor in Pittsburgh, were inspired to create the business by the pivot to virtual connection during the coronavirus pandemic.

The network gives members weekly challenges, such as tracking how many times they apologized in a week or brainstorming ways to say “no.” It also generates discussion via regular posts and topics and allows members to customize their notifications and feeds.

Consequential Flowers also committed to donate a portion of its net profits from product sales to support Rebuild the Block, a nonprofit organization that helps Black-owned business

Garcia Todd partnered with Science ATL, an organization that aims to build equitable access to science in the metro Atlanta area, to start the STEM Professionals School Partnership Program last fall. In only a few months, the program paired 32 STEM professionals with 32 teachers in the region to create regular interactions throughout the school year. They recruited diverse STEM professionals to ensure underrepresented students saw themselves in these individuals.

“I thought it would be cool to be able to afford resources to those communities where kids are interested in learning from these people, but they don’t have the resources to get to these cities. This is a way to connect them online.” Carpenter credits the “entrepreneurial spirit” he saw in his fellow Scholars with helping him craft the skill set that has helped him launch MAESTRO Artists. He has long believed the arts help maintain beauty in society and wants to help bring them to others.

“We’ve worked to identify the needs that each teacher has around enhancing their STEM education, their programming,” Garcia Todd said, “and what are the assets that the STEM professionals have to fill those needs to make it a very fruitful year together?”

“I think if we can teach people or provide them the resources to connect better with each other, I think that’s invaluable,” he said. “We’re trying to bridge that gap for people so that they can learn what I think is essential to their lives, really, even if they don’t know it.”

With the expansion of virtual meetings throughout the pandemic, Garcia Todd, a global strategic manager for pharma solutions at International Flavors & Fragrances, now engages with classrooms and organizations across the country on almost a weekly basis. In May, Garcia Todd was one of more than 120 female STEM professionals honored with 3D-printed statues in their images in the #IfThenSheCan — The Exhibit at the North Park Center in Dallas, Texas. She said she began to understand the impact she could have as a role model — for female students in particular — after she started visiting her children’s school, where she would talk about careers or perform chemistry experiments for the students.

Scholar alumna Jayme Anne Goldberg launched Consequential Flowers, a private social media network designed to help young women grow together as leaders, in January with partnerships formed with the College of Information Sciences and Technology and the Smeal College of Business. The network is designed for undergraduate and graduate female students and young professionals and uses a collaborative, data-driven approach to develop impactful leadership skills that will apply to any industry. “Women’s support of each other will be motivated by the joy we feel from bringing out the best in ourselves and each other,” said Goldberg, who graduated from Penn State with honors in finance and has taken active roles as a mentor throughout her career as an executive in the investment and data analysis industries. “It will be a behavioral norm for women within and across industries, communities, and cultures to learn, support, and collaborate together.” 20

“I want our next generation of leaders to have more impact and have joy, by knowing what their passion is and be great at it and enabled,” Goldberg said. “They’re going to be able to underwrite culture before they go somewhere to make sure it’s a place where they’re able to thrive.”

“I wanted it to be more meaningful and to be a long-term relationship,” she said.

“Most of these professionals live in New York, London, Berlin,” Carpenter said. “I was thinking, ‘What happens if you’re someone who’s in the middle of central Pennsylvania?’

John Carpenter, a Scholar alumnus and opera singer, wanted to help aspiring singers learn how to audition and navigate the profession on multiple continents. That’s why he and two colleagues, including his former singing teacher, launched MAESTRO Artists, an online musical education platform designed to connect students of all ages with professionals who have successfully navigated the music world and can offer advice and guidance.

founded in 2020 by Scholar alumna Zelnnetta Clark and fellow Penn State alumna Alexis Akarolo. Its on-campus partnerships include one with Smeal Women in Business.

Paula Garcia Todd had attended lots of career days, visiting grade-school or high school classrooms and engaging students about the possibilities of STEAM careers. When the 2003 chemical engineering alumna was awarded a grant from the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences’ IF/THEN Ambassador program in 2019, she saw an opportunity to have a greater impact on those students and their teachers.

“A lot of kids questioned whether I was really an engineer, because they expected a man to come into the classroom,” she said, “and I realized I could make a big impact on a lot of kids if I just put myself out there more.”


Alumnus establishes scholarship for honors engineering students

operating officer, Safegard Group, Inc.

Mr. Ryan Newman, managing director,

Financial Group

Mr. Robert Edwards, retired executive vice president, PNC Bank; vice-chairman, External Advisory Board

Mr. Robert Poole, president and CEO, S&A

Goldman, Sachs & Co.

Homes, Inc.; CEO, Poole Anderson Construction; chairman, External Advisory Board

Mr. Mark Prybutok, managing director, GI

Ms. Linda Gall


Mr. Arthur Glenn, retired vice president, General

“One thing at the time was kind of difficult for me as I was weighing the decision to apply or not to apply was that I wasn’t getting the financial benefit,” Lucas said. “That was something that has stayed with me.”

Accenture (Comms/High Tech/Energy)

Mr. Brian Stern, general counsel, Cetera Ms. Kathryn Sutton, partner, Morgan, Lewis &


Mr. Joseph Versaggi, senior vice president— real estate, Washington Capital Management

Mr. David Wagner, president and CEO, Zix


Mr. Rick Riegel, chairman, ActiGraph &

Mr. Edward Weber, senior vice president and

Electric Company

Deerfield Agency

Ms. Lisa Hart, vice president, M&T Bank

Ms. Tracy Riegel

Mr. Reginald Hedgebeth, chief legal officer, Capital Group American Funds

Mr. Brian Schmanske, program manager, U.S.


Radiology Partners, Inc.

Mr. Edward Hintz, president, Hintz Capital

Ms. DrueAnne Schreyer, president, BDR

Morgan Stanley & Co.


Properties, Inc.

Mr. Thomas Lindquist, senior vice president/

Mrs. Joan Schreyer

general manager for government programs, Medica

Lucas, who also played for the championship-winning club baseball team while at Penn State, spent a semester at Accenture as part of a co-op, focusing on labor planning and labor optimization, then spent five years with the company as a management consultant and manager.

Lucas reconnected to the Honors College at a “Meet the Dean” event in Boston last year and credits its development team with helping him to find an achievable schedule for his gift, which also includes a corporate match from Nike. With the

Mr. Stephen Snyder, retired managing partner,

and Culbertson, LLP

Mr. Charlie Frazier, treasurer, BDR Properties, Inc.

Now a Penn State graduate and analytics success manager, he helps to support undergraduate students who enter the Schreyer Honors College in their second or third years with The Lucas Family Honors Scholarship, which will be awarded primarily to students studying engineering, as Lucas did.

In 2019, Lucas took a position as a customer engagement manager at Celect, an artificial intelligence startup, using analytics and optimization to deploy inventory for retailers in efficient and profitable ways. It was a new challenge that became yet another new challenge when Nike acquired Celect a few months later. He now works with data scientists and engineers to apply Celect’s inventory optimization suite to Nike’s inventory.

Mr. Nathan Nair, neurosurgery residency director and associate professor, Georgetown University Hospital

Mr. William Bogdan, attorney at law, Hinshaw Mr. William Donato Jr., president and chief

Patrick Lucas applied but was not accepted to the Schreyer Honors College as a first-year student, but his professors encouraged him to apply as a second-year student, and he went on to graduate with honors in industrial engineering in 2013.

“As a young kid just graduating college, it was definitely attractive to travel most weeks and see different parts of the country and the world,” he said. “It was a cool experience to get to do that while solving different kinds of problems for different clients along the way.”

Schreyer Honors College External Advisory Board

Mr. Todd H. Lippincott, vice president, Global Rewards, Mars

Ms. Melissa Marshall, chief compliance officer,

Westinghouse Electric Corporation

Mr. Edward Marx, executive director, Enterprise Analytics, Vanderbilt University Medical Center

CFO, MLB Advanced Media, LP

Mr. Richard Whitney, chairman and CEO, Mr. James Wiggins, retired managing director, Ms. Brenna Wist, retired partner, KPMG

Ms. Sarah Shaffer, rates manager, Equitrans

Midstream Corporation

Mr. Andrew Sieg, head of Merrill Lynch Wealth Management, Merrill Lynch

Mr. Jack Yoskowitz, litigation partner, Seward & Kissel LLP

Mr. Nicolas Zavaleta, analyst, Hintz Capital Management

Ms. Kristin Smith, senior vice president and chief counsel, Metropolitan Life Insurance Company

Scholar Alumni Society Board scholarship, he hopes to support students who have displayed both academic achievement and the same sense of curiosity and determination that led him to pursue honors courses and then join the Honors College after his second year. “There’s a sense of pride that I have for not being accepted initially and proving that I was capable of being in the honors program and succeeding at it,” he said. “That’s a lesson I’ll take away — that sort of ‘If at first you don’t succeed …” kind of lesson.” Make a gift to support Scholars who enter the Honors College in their second or third year at

Ms. Alayna Auerbach ’15 Bus, freelance

Ms. Asia Grant ’17 Bus, founder and creative

Mr. Michael O’Connor ’05 Eng, litigation

Mr. John Hemmer ’03 Eng, partner, Morgan,

Ms. Carol Packard ’99 Lib, ’18g Edu, associate dean of alumni affairs and development, executive director, University Parents Engagement and Philanthropy Program, Cornell University College of Engineering; chair, alumni engagement and membership committee

management consultant (independent contract), PwC; chair, student engagement committee

director, Redoux

Dr. Samuel B. Bonsall IV ’04 Lib, ’04g Bus,

Lewis & Bockius

’12g Bus, Reeves Family Early Career professor in accounting, Penn State Smeal College of Business

Mr. Timothy Cooney ’00 Bus, senior vice president, City National Bank

Mr. Brian J. Ellis ’02 Lib, partner/principal,

Bressler Amery & Ross PC; chair, diversity, equity, and inclusion committee

Ms. Lori Feathers ’90 Lib, co-owner and book

buyer, Interabang Books

Mr. Keith Graham ’85 Eng, senior instructor and associate chair of undergraduate education, electrical, computer, & energy engineering, University of Colorado at Boulder College of Engineering and Applied Science; chair, career development and mentorship committee

Mr. Basel Kayyali ’96 Eng, senior partner, McKinsey & Company

Ms. Natalie Keller ’17 Agr, scientist, food scientist,

counsel, Kraken Digital Asset Exchange

La Colombe Coffee Roasters; president, Scholar Alumni Society

Longwood Fund

Mr. Ryan Koch ’97 Eng, U.S. director of strategy

Ms. Emily Kowey Roth ’12 Lib, associate

and corporate development, Intapp

Dr. Aleks Radovic-Moreno ’05 Eng, partner,

attorney, Duane Morris LLP

Dr. Kristin A. Lambert ’14 Agr, ’19g Medicine, ’21g Medicine, pediatric resident physician, Cincinnati Children’s Hospital

Mr. Jared Edgar McKnight ’11 A&A, ’11 Lib, associate and designer, WRT Design

Mr. Nikhil Shekher ’16 Bus, vice president of sales, Diversified Business Consultants, Inc. Ms. Kathryn Pruss Zeltwanger ’98 Lib, deputy general counsel, Armstrong Group; vice-president, Scholar Alumni Society

Aryath Narayanamangalam ’23 Eng, president, Schreyer Student Council

Endowment and Gift Spending Number of Awards Amount Awarded

2020–21 Fiscal Year

Academic Excellence Scholarships: (includes charitable and institutional funds) Need-based and Merit Scholarships: Student Awards: (travel grants, internships, and research awards) Program Support: Total:

1,147 314

$5,582,250 $1,468,467

102 –

$86,649* $239,717*

1,563 $7,377,083

Total Endowment Value: $152,381,281.96 (as of 6/30/2021)

Schreyer Parents Council Mrs. Betsy Bruning, co-chair, parents council

Mrs. Jennifer Wilson Hewitt ’85

Mr. David Bruning, co-chair, parents council Mr. Ronald Francois ’93 Lib Mrs. Valerie Gray Francois ’93 Com Mrs. Laura Gardner Mr. Todd Gardner, chair, development

Mr. Patrick Hewitt ’83 Dickinson Ms. Denise McCarthy Mr. Mark McCarthy Mr. Cort Morrison

Dickinson, chair, outreach committee

Mrs. Robin Morrison Ms. Bonnie Pontell Dr. Jonathan Pontell Mrs. Jill Semmer ’88 Lib Ms. Cheryl Uzzo

Mr. Robert Uzzo Ms. Kim Eberle-Wang Dr. Hoau-Yan Wang Mr. Mark Wiggins Dr. Nancy Wiggins


*Due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Schreyer Honors College was in a partial remote environment for the academic year 20/21, which significantly affected travel and internship grants and programming.



Scholars and alumni connect for virtual networking opportunities Horn advised students to write and learn about subjects and people they didn’t know, and to listen to podcasts to pick up tips on how to ask difficult questions. Tranell, a 2004 graduate of the College of Communications, advised them to gain experience in a variety of types of media and to not worry about what their first job is. In March, the College hosted Connect in a virtual space, with roughly five dozen Scholar alumni checking in from all over the country and a few spaces outside the country to share advice with Scholars via Zoom meetings. The “Careers with a Social Impact” panel session, one of 11 sessions offered to students, included several alumni, such as 2015 graduate Eli Kariv, whose professional lives have taken multiple twists and turns before settling in the social impact space.

Connect, the Schreyer Honors College’s signature career networking event, brings together current Scholars and Scholar alumni from a variety of careers each year. As part of a pivot to virtual programming this past year, Scholars and Scholar alumni connected in both traditional and new ways.

“For me, the most informative experiences were trying things that I thought sounded cool but didn’t totally align with what I wanted to do,” said Kariv, who majored in marketing at Penn State and founded The Coding Space, an after-school and summer program that teaches children coding and critical thinking skills.

“It was cool to listen to their journeys and learning how they got to where they are,” said Ellen McIntyre, a first-year Scholar who plans to major in journalism. All four panelists credited their time spent on the staff of The Daily Collegian with providing strong career foundations and urged students to find similar ways to get as much early experience as possible. “Get your fundamentals down first,” said Bien-Aimé, who earned bachelor’s and graduate degrees from Penn State. “The tools will always change, but if you know the principles or the why behind how you use the tool, that’s going to help you.”


The Schreyer Honors College Alumni Admissions Interview Program (AAIP) brings Scholar alumni together with first-year applicants for optional, 30-minute interviews that allow the students to gain a deeper understanding of what life is like as a Scholar at Penn State from the people who experienced it. At the same time, it is a great opportunity for Scholar alumni to stay connected and to act as valued resources for the admissions team. During interviews each fall, Scholar alumni help move students toward the same kind of experiences they enjoyed as Scholars. Launched as a pilot program only eight years ago, AAIP received a 2019 Volunteer Group Award for Young Alumni Involvement from the Penn State Alumni Association. Learn how you can be a part of the College’s largest and most flexible alumni program by visiting the link at this code:

1. Register. 2. Review the training video and manual. 3. Enter your availability. 4. Interview matching applicants.

The “Connect Chats” series, which began in Fall 2020, included panels of alumni with experience and expertise on a wide variety of career-related topics, including graduate school, law school, medical school, consulting, finance, engineering, networking, marketing, and work-life balance. In September, a group of four Scholar alumni — Steve Bien-Aimé, an assistant professor of journalism at the University of Northern Kentucky, The (Delaware) News Journal investigative reporter Brittany Horn, Scholastic editorial director Kim Tranell, and Sports Illustrated football writer Jenny Vrentas — shared their experiences in journalism and answered questions from Scholars about internships, specialized writing, and what drew them into the field.

Alumni Admissions Interview Program

Registration opens September 20 Create or update your LIONLink profile to connect with students in programs such as Mentoring with Honors or the Connect Database.

Check your email for upcoming events, programs, Scholar alumnus Joshua Branch, a policy specialist at the Crime and Justice Institute in Boston, Massachusetts, urged students to read the biographies of people who work in positions students aspire to hold themselves one day. Brady Press, a Scholar alumna and associate director at Changing Our World, which provides consulting for nonprofit organizations on capacity building and fundraising strategies, told students to not be afraid to apply to jobs that have nothing to do with their major. “Not one panelist had a ‘linear’ career path,” said Scholar Emma Cihanowyz, a sophomore majoring in international politics, Spanish, and French and Francophone studies. “They all tried different avenues, learned from what they liked and what they did not, and truly found a career of their own that is constantly evolving. This comforted me that I will still have the ability to explore, make mistakes, and grow through my own career journey.”

and opportunities to get involved.

Stay connected to the Schreyer Honors College by following our social media platforms.

 /PSUSHC  @pennstatehonors  /PSUSHC


of interviewers from Fall 2020 would likely/very likely participate again


of interviewers were satisfied or extremely satisfied with their experience

“Volunteering through our Alumni Admissions Interview Program has allowed me to stay connected to the Honors College and meet fellow alumni, sparking my current involvement in the Honors College Alumni Society. It’s incredibly rewarding to meet prospective students and share my pride for Penn State and the College with future generations of Scholars.” — Natalie Keller ’17, SASB President

“It was easy and rewarding to interview Schreyer Honors College candidates, share my experience, and answer their questions. I wish I’d had the same opportunity years ago!” — Joci ’95

“This is a fantastic program—and truly a reason why I chose to attend the Honors College as an applicant and now feel strongly about giving back. Keep up the great work— thank you for organizing interviews each year.” — Billy ’20

“Volunteering as an interviewer is a great way to pay it forward, demonstrate your commitment to students and the University, help shape the future of the Honors College, and stay connected with Penn State.” — Michael ’93

Schreyer Honors College The Pennsylvania State University 10 Schreyer Honors College University Park, PA 16802-3905 Phone: 814-863-2635 Email:

This publication is available in alternative media on request. The University is committed to equal access to programs, facilities, admission, and employment for all persons. It is the policy of the University to maintain an environment free of harassment and free of discrimination against any person because of age, race, color, ancestry, national origin, religion, creed, service in the uniformed services (as defined in state and federal law), veteran status, sex, sexual orientation, marital or family status, pregnancy, pregnancy-related conditions, physical or mental disability, gender, perceived gender, gender identity, genetic information, or political ideas. Discriminatory conduct and harassment, as well as sexual misconduct and relationship violence, violates the dignity of individuals, impedes the realization of the University’s educational mission, and will not be tolerated. Direct all inquiries regarding the nondiscrimination policy to Dr. Kenneth Lehrman III, Vice Provost for Affirmative Action, Affirmative Action Office, The Pennsylvania State University, 328 Boucke Building, University Park, PA 168025901; Email:; Tel 814-863-0471. U.Ed. 21-185

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