Fun for Wee (and Grown) Ones
Elementary and Early Childhood Education majors in ECE 479: The Young Child’s Play as Educative Processes hosted a spring education carnival in McGarvey Commons for nearly 100 kindergarten students from Erie’s Montessori Regional Charter School. They worked together to create activities that were both fun and educational for the Montessori students and, at the same time, gave these future teachers an opportunity to put skills they have acquired into practice.
"As I Am" Exhibit Showcased LGBTQIA Artwork
The arts have long been a refuge and an outlet for individuals from marginalized groups, giving them the room to explore and express their feelings. This spring, Penn State Behrend invited area students to participate in “As I Am,” a LGBTQIA art exhibit curated by Dan Schank, associate teaching professor of English and art. Schank collaborated with Compton’s Table, an Erie advocacy group for queer youth and young adults, to collect and display an eclectic mix of thought-provoking artwork in the college’s Kochel Center.
New scholarships will honor legacy of ‘Mr. Penn State Behrend’
A $50,000 scholarship endowment will extend the influence of graduate Colten Brown
Colten Brown was a big presence at Penn State Behrend: At 6-foot-7, and often in the weight room, he looked the part when he graduated in 2018 with a degree in Psychology and moved on to a job in the Erie County Office of Adult Probation and Parole.
Those who knew him considered him a teddy bear, however. He’d begin each day by sending Snapchats, Bible verses, and inspirational messages to friends and coworkers.
“He was always one of the first to volunteer to help someone in need,” his brother, Cody Brown, said.
Colten Brown died January 6, 2021, after being hospitalized for COVID-19. He was 24–at the time, the youngest person in Erie County to have died from the coronavirus.
As they grieved, his family looked for a way forward. They organized a memorial golf scramble, with the proceeds becoming the basis for the Colten D. Brown Memorial Scholarship Foundation, which is funding a $50,000 endowment to benefit Behrend students.
Brown arrived at Behrend as a junior, having completed two years of study at Jamestown (N.Y.) Community College. He immediately embraced life at Behrend: He joined the Delta Chi fraternity, worked in the Club Hub, served on the Concert Committee, and was a member of the competitive cheer team. He quickly became known as “Mr. Penn State Behrend.”
A “buddy bench” near the west entrance to Kochel Center is dedicated to Brown. It was funded by friends and fellow students. A “Mr. Penn State Behrend” award recognizes students who embody Brown’s high level of engagement on campus. The scholarships will further expand that legacy.
“These scholarships provide more opportunities to share Colten’s story with future generations of Behrend students and hopefully will inspire them to live like Colten —with an open heart and a passion for sharing joy around Behrend,” said Lindsey Hopkins Hall, associate director of Student Leadership and Involvement.
Faculty & Staff News
New Faculty and Staff
The school welcomed three new faculty members: assistant teaching professors Dr. Lauren Liebe, game design; Dr. Erica Edwards, psychology; and Dr. Martin Carrion, Spanish. Two staff members have new roles—Kristen Gincott, financial assistant, and Janice Dernar, academic program assistant—and a new staff member, Breanna McClain, has joined the school as marketing and event coordinator.
Honors, Distinctions, and Accomplishments
Dr. Joshua Shaw, philosophy and bioethics, won the Council of Fellows Excellence in Teaching Award. Both Shaw and Dr. Inkyu Kang, journalism and communication, were promoted to the rank of professor. Promoted to the rank of associate teaching professor was Dr. Lisa Jo Elliott, psychology and digital media, arts, and technology. Erin Dick, English, was promoted to the rank of assistant teaching professor.
Research and Creative Activity
Associate professor Dr. Arpan Yagnik, advertising, completed a research sabbatical in India.
Associate professor Dr. Joseph Beilein Jr., history, conducted archival research for his forthcoming book on the history of Penn State Behrend.
H&SS faculty produced nearly seventy articles and book chapters, presented more than sixty conference papers and posters, and were awarded research and travel grants totaling $5,667,050. They also published five books:
- Dr. David Kahl Jr., communication, Pedagogies of Post-Truth
- George Looney, creative writing and English, The Visibility of Things Long Submerged
- Dr. Joshua Shaw, philosophy and bioethics, All We Could Have Been and More
- Dr. Ashley Sullivan, elementary and early childhood education
- Dr. Laurie Urraro, Spanish, Voices of Transgender Children in Early Childhood Education: Reflections on Resistance and Resiliency
- Dr. Arpan Yagnik, advertising, Vateyaksha
This spring, Penn State Behrend’s Global Languages and Cultures program and Office of Educational Equity and Diversity Programs teamed up to present a celebration of National Foreign Language Week. The four days of free events included a culture fair, foreign language films, salsa dancing lessons, an Indian mashup dance, and panel discussions on the war in Ukraine, study abroad programs, and more.
Interested in Law? There’s an Adviser for That
No one major is the “correct” foundation for law school, which is why Behrend does not offer a pre-law major. Law schools accept applicants from all majors. Their primary interest is in the skills you acquire during your undergraduate education: the ability to think analytically, reason, solve problems, manage multiple responsibilities, and communicate clearly through the spoken and written word. Regardless of the degree program a student chooses, Behrend’s new pre-law program adviser, Melissa Shirey, Esq., works with them to select courses that support their career plans. There are distinct advantages to not pursuing pre-law as a major. If a student should decide not to attend law school, a pre-law major can be difficult to market to employers because it doesn’t demonstrate proficiency in any one area. In contrast, an undergraduate degree in Political Science, English, Chemistry, Accounting, or any one of Behrend’s thirty-eight undergraduate programs confirms a depth of knowledge in a given field. For more information about pre-law options and considerations, email Shirey at [email protected].
Maymester at the Mouse House
Penn State Behrend students enrolled in the Maymester course, ENGL 105/AMST 105: American Pop Culture and Folklife through the Disney Lens, had a unique educational experience at the home of Mickey himself, Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida.
At Hollywood Studios, they learned about immersive storytelling, observing Disney’s strategies for creating narratives through park themes. They were then tasked with developing their own story—including park creation, character development, and costuming—and presenting it to their Disney instructor. At EPCOT, they learned about teamwork and completed hands-on activities that illustrated Disney’s theories on how to work effectively in groups and the value of a positive team dynamic.
Behrend on Capitol Hill
More than a dozen Penn State Behrend students enrolled in PLSC 177N: Politics and Government of Washington, D.C., spent their spring break in our nation’s capital, where they squeezed a lot into one week. They toured many sites and met with legislators, including U.S. Senator Bob Casey and U.S. Representative Guy Reschenthaler, a 2004 Political Science graduate. They also had a question-and-answer session with Romanian Ambassador to the United States Andrei Muraru. It was a fantastic opportunity for students to experience government in action.
Come “Home” for the Weekend!
Parents, Families & Alumni Weekend is a highlight of the Fall semester at Penn State Behrend. A celebration for young and old alike, it offers plenty of things to do for students, alumni, parents, brothers and sisters, extended family—everyone! The event, scheduled for September 29 through October 1, is the perfect way to celebrate our pride in Penn State Behrend’s past and our excitement about what the future holds. And, in 2023, we have an extra reason to celebrate as we mark Behrend’s 75th anniversary in style with music, fireworks, and more! A reception for School of Humanities and Social Sciences alumni will be held on Friday evening at Erie Brewing Company in Knowledge Park. See a full list of activities and register for the weekend at behrend.psu.edu/weekend.