All posts by Nancy Veronesi

Finding the Information you Need! – Schreyer College Website – By Tracy Riegel

It’s hard for me to believe that my daughter will be graduating in May 2017!  It seems like yesterday when my husband and I were dropping her off at Atherton Hall for SHOTIME.  Meghan is luckier than most Schreyer Scholars though, she got to stay for a 5th year through the Integrated Undergraduate/Graduate Degree Program and got to put off writing her thesis for at least a year!  Now it’s crunch time.  She assures me that she has everything under control; that she has selected and submitted her topic, met with her mentor/thesis sponsor, is working on research and gathering data and is in good shape to submit and defend her thesis with time to spare.  As her mother, I am pretty nervous about this whole process-is she just saying this to make me feel better so I won’t bug her?!?  Well, just so I won’t stress about it (apparently she isn’t!), I decided to go to the source: the Schreyer Honors College website www.shc.psu.edu to make sure she was on track.  Needless to say, I was not disappointed. By navigating to the Parents & Families page (on your computer, it’s at the very top of the page; on your smartphone, click on the arrow in the upper right corner for the menu), I clicked on “Preparing for Graduation”, then “Honors Thesis” which brought me to the page detailing the due dates for the mandatory thesis format review and for her Thesis ( April 10, 2017).  It took me about 30 seconds to get the information I wanted.

I hope you have taken some time to browse the site.  There is a lot of information not only for students, but for parents as well ( I guess if you are reading this, you found our blog page! That was easy, right?).  Did you know that you can submit questions through “Ask a Parent” and a member of the SHC Parent Council will respond?  Would you be interested in the SHC Parent Newsletter?  You can sign up to receive it and read past issues.  Would you like to get involved? Email us at SHCparents@psu.edu. Need a hotel room for a weekend visit? Click on “Lodging and Dining” under “Resources”.  Want to know the statistics of the 2016 incoming class? It’s right there under Resources, “2016 Incoming Class Statistics”.  Is there something you want to know but isn’t on the website?  Click on “Contact Us” at the very bottom of the page at scholars@psu.edu.  Want to know more about the staff,  make an appointment or schedule a visit?  It’s all here and can be accomplished in 2-3 clicks.

Another time saving feature: SHC.psu.edu has embedded links to other areas of the University, such as the Penn State Parents Program, Academic Calendars, Parking and Directions, which is sometimes easier than going to the main PSU site.

I also like the extensive list of resources under “Current Students”.  This is a great place for parents to visit to get an understanding of Personal Resources, Communication, Student Programs, Study Abroad, Honors Courses and the all-important Career Services.   This section has been helpful to me to see and gain an understanding of the opportunities and services available to my daughter, who may or may not know about them.

Life is complicated, a website shouldn’t be!  Check out what’s happening at Schreyer Honors College at SHC.psu.edu!

Tracy Riegel

Parent of Scholars Meghan, ’17 and Carolyn, ’19

Study Abroad by Denise Springer

Many Schreyer students take advantage of opportunities to study abroad or undertake service projects internationally. Our daughter is no different than these global citizens. During her freshman year, Stephanie became involved with the Malini Club, a Schreyer organization that supported the Malini Foundation, a nonprofit whose goal is to empower girls in Sri Lanka. One key service that the foundation provides is English instruction so that Sri Lankan girls can obtain higher levels of education in order to compete in the work place.

One day Stephanie announced that she wanted to go to Sri Lanka during the summer to work with young girls to teach them English. We, as parents, had to consider the implications of such a trip. We knew that an experience like what Stephanie described would be beneficial to her. It would be fantastic to work with girls in need and to experience a culture so different from her own. However, we were concerned about her safety and well- being, as well as the cost. Knowing that Sri Lanka had experienced civil war a number of years ago, we were concerned about the stability of the government. We were also concerned about how we could help her if a need arose and she was literally half way around the world. After some thought and research, we agreed to the trip. It was all that Stephanie had hoped that it would be.

Stephanie is a history major working toward an enhanced minor in middle eastern studies and a minor in political science. Her goal is to volunteer or study in an Arabic speaking nation. We, as parents, have not yet come to a comfort level to let Stephanie go to Morocco or a similar country to hone her language skills and cultural knowledge. We believe that a young woman from suburban Pittsburgh attending college at fairly rural Penn State needs more experience in the world before heading to the Middle East.

As a compromise, Stephanie applied and was accepted to a semester of study at St. Catherine’s College at the University of Oxford in England. She is currently there studying Middle Eastern politics and European history. Through this opportunity, Stephanie will also live in London for several weeks and travel to various parts of Europe. Not only will she enhance her knowledge of the Middle East through her studies, but she will also benefit from her international urban experiences.

Upon her return to the United States, we will have to evaluate her opportunities to travel to the Middle East. While we would prefer that she go with a Penn State faculty program, we will review available options in addition to the political issues at that time. While we believe that international experience is an important component of any education, we as parents must evaluate and consider each opportunity with respect to safety, cost and benefit.

With respect to the cost component, travel funds and research grants may be available to Schreyer Scholars intending to go abroad. Each term, Schreyer provides a window of time during which students may apply for funds to help with such costs based on destination and duration of the program. Further, academic colleges, such as the College of Liberal Arts, also offer financial assistance for travel costs and expenses. If your child is considering time abroad, be sure to have him or her research these opportunities and be sure to meet all application deadlines in addition to reviewing other considerations for the trip.

Penn State Alumni Association – A great organization for Parents too! – By Rachel Buzzell

As ’86 Alumni of Penn State, my husband and I have a lot of Penn State pride. Now that we have had 2 children decide to attend Penn State, we are truly a Penn State Family!

My husband, Mark, and I have been married 30+ years, and during that time we have lived in many locations. One thing that has been a constant in our lives is our affiliation with the Penn State Alumni Association. In almost every location we have lived, we have joined our local Penn State Alumni Chapter. This was a great way to meet new people who are also Penn State Proud! We also enjoy volunteering at college fairs to tell high school students about the fantastic opportunities at Penn State.

Recently, Mark and I moved to California and we joined the Orange County Penn State Alumni Chapter. We have a very active group of Alumni, and surprisingly, we have many parents of Penn State Students! If you would like to become more connected with Penn State, go to http://www.alumni.psu.edu/groups/chapters

Career Services – Start early! – By Rachel Buzzell

I have been blessed to have both my children attend my alma mater, Penn State. My son graduated in 2015, and is now in graduate school. My daughter is a junior Schreyer Scholar majoring in nursing.

Last year I met with Dr. Robert Orndorff, the Senior Director for Penn State Career Services. While it is easy to think of them as only helping students get a job upon graduation, in reality, they are so much more! I was amazed at the services and assistance they provide both to students and alumni.

My son did not step into Career Services before his graduation date, and once he did, he exclaimed, “Career Services is awesome! They can help you do everything there!” This is after my husband and I suggested that he stop in freshman year… requested he go sophomore year…. urged him to stop by junior year…. and pleaded him to go senior year. He never felt “ready” to go to Career Services.

He did seek help applying to graduate school last year, and Career Services was a valuable resource. The counselors helped him narrow down graduate school options, research schools in his field, evaluate costs and lengths of programs, write essays and practice interviewing. Dr. Orndorff did tell me however, that when kids walk in at the end of their college career, it is almost too late. A lot of what Career Placement can do is to keep students developing their resume, building experience, networking and acquiring mentors for recommendations. These are all things that a kid can work on during their years at Penn State, not only when they are applying for jobs. In fact, kids can be successful developing connections with professors prior to their senior year, for example.

So last year, when my daughter said she was not going to a career fair because she was too busy, we encouraged her to just drop in and check it out. As a sophomore, it gave her a chance to practice networking in a low-consequence environment, so when she is doing it for real in the next few years, she knows what to expect. Knowing our ties to Penn State, I wouldn’t be surprised if the same recruiters return next year, and wouldn’t it be fun for her to be able to say “Hi, we met last year…” Her experience was great. The recruiters were friendly and enthusiastic. Hopefully, it will alleviate some of the job search anxiety when the stakes are higher.

Encourage your student to stop by for a drop in session at Career Services! Here are some of the services they provide:

  • Explore majors and careers
  • Build experience
  • Write resumes and cover letters
  • Find internships
  • Practice interviewing
  • Graduate school selection and admission
  • Resources for Diverse Population

Drop in times are Monday – Friday: 8:30 am – 4:30 pm

(Tuesday night Drop-In will be held from 5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m. outside the Freeman Auditorium in the HUB)

No appointments necessary– First come, first served

Here is the link to Career Services at Penn State: http://studentaffairs.psu.edu/career/about/ .