Category Archives: Parents Blog

Blog posts by the Schreyer Parents Council (SPC)

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 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 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  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: 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!

Tracy Riegel

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


Guest post by:
Patty and Glen Sosnader
Parents of Scholars Ryan ’16,  Aaron ’18 and Brenden ’20

Welcome to the Schreyer Honors College Parents Council Fall Newsletter! We are excited to provide the parents of new scholars their first Schreyer Parent Newsletter and to continue to provide insightful articles to parents of returning scholars. As background, the Schreyer Parents Council was created to support three key pillars of The Schreyer Honors College – Career Services, Development and Outreach.  We acknowledge that parents play a critical role in supporting our scholars through your involvement with the college. The Schreyer Parents Council provides an avenue for parent involvement and contribution.

We publish two newsletters per year with the intent to:

  • Inform parents about the many opportunities available to Schreyer Scholars
  • Engage parents with the Schreyer Honors College
  • Advance our three key pillars as outlined above

We are proud parents of three Schreyer Scholars. Our eldest son, Ryan, graduated last May with a triple major – Economics, Finance, and Math. We are thrilled he started his career in sales and trading with Bank of America in New York City. Aaron is our middle child and second Schreyer Scholar. As a junior, he has a dual major in Finance and Economics with a minor in International Business. He is busy applying and interviewing for Summer 2017 internships. He’s not sure if he wants to work in banking or consulting. Hopefully, he will have choices! Aaron studied in Italy over the summer and gained valuable experience. Brenden is well into his freshman fall semester and is enjoying his Computer Engineering classes along with Statistics; yes, another multiple major scholar. We are very proud and blessed!


Guest post by:
Rachel Buzzell and Gina Morreale
Outreach Committee Co-chairs

This year Penn State’s Schreyer Honors College has received the highest rating by Public University Honors in its upcoming release of “INSIDE HONORS: Ratings and Reviews of Sixty Public University Honors Programs.”  Schreyer was one of 11 national programs to receive a top rating of 5.0 “mortarboards.”

In order to spread the word about the Schreyer program, the Schreyer Parents Council has launched the Schreyer Parent Ambassador (SPA) program.  Under the supervision of the Outreach Committee of the Council, all parents of Schreyer Scholars are invited to be an Ambassador, regardless of their son or daughter’s class year. The SPA allows us to create a stronger community of parents who are looking to become involved with advancing the mission of the Schreyer Honors College.  Here are some ways our Parent Ambassadors can get involved:

  1. Share opportunities and information on the parent-to-parent blog by writing a post. You can read some blogs to get an idea what other parents have contributed here:
  1. Volunteer at home football games in the Schreyer tent at Fan Fest. Speak with prospective students and parents about the Schreyer program. It is also a wonderful way to meet Schreyer students and staff!
  1. Support other parents by joining and contributing to our parent-run Facebook page. The page is named “Penn State Schreyer Parents.”  All parents are welcome and encouraged to join.
  1.  Dean Kirsch and the Schreyer staff will request Schreyer Parent Ambassadors to attend Schreyer events for prospective students to help answer questions and personally speak with attendees.

If you are interested in becoming a Schreyer Parent Ambassador, please email Rachel Buzzell at


Help fund opportunities

Guest post by:
Mark Buzzell
Development Committee Chair
Parent of Scholar Katie ’18

Our daughter Katie is now a junior and we are humbled that she is part of this special community at Penn State. The opportunities in the Schreyer Honors College and Penn State are endless. This past summer, she traveled to Brazil and Columbia with a small group of Schreyer students as part of an Honors course and returned back to Penn State to take advantage of a research opportunity.  She has also grown into leadership roles in her service sorority, where the magic of THON touches so many. During her freshman year, she competed on the PSU Crew team. All of these activities are helping her prepare for her career in nursing.

I recently attended the Schreyer Parents Council meeting on September 30 and returned home even more excited about the students, parents and staff that make the Schreyer Honors College so special.  This is the third year that Rachel and I have served on the Council and we have seen first-hand so many of the incredible accomplishments of our Scholars as well as the passion and support of those that help make this possible for them.

This year, I have been asked to Chair the Development Committee. I will be working with a dedicated and passionate SHC staff member, Morgan Delaware, as well as seven other Schreyer parents who care greatly about the College and making it even better for our current and future Scholars. We are all very proud to see the Schreyer Honors College continue to garner recognition in national rankings. However, we know we need to continue to work hard to grow the diversity of our students and stay ahead of changing trends and innovation, as well as provide scholarship support to deserving Scholars.

Each member on the Parents Council has met Scholars or heard stories of very deserving students that may not have had the opportunity to complete their studies if it wasn’t for the generosity of all of those who have given financial support to the Schreyer Parents and Family Fund. This fund provides assistance to Scholars in need. I can tell you that the Schreyer staff is very in tune with how to make these gifts to deserving students during critical times.

Our Development Committee looks forward to coming up with ways to share these stories with all of you as well as work together to secure financial support for the Parents and Family Fund. I hope all of you will take the time to thoughtfully consider how you may be able to help.  While we are all in the same boat of paying tuition for our Scholars, a gift of any amount could truly make a big difference for Scholars that are classmates and friends of our own sons and daughters.

For the Glory!

Mark Buzzell

Schreyer Career Services

Guest post by:
Amy Abrams
Career Services Committee Co-Chair
Parent of Scholar Alexandra ’17

As the parent of a senior, I have shared our daughter’s experience with Schreyer Career Services since her freshman year. Yes, her freshman year! Preparing to launch a career, graduate school, law school, medical school or public service takes several years of planning, guidance, and fortitude. Students begin to plan for their post-college years from their first semester until the Spring semester of their senior year. Possibly one of the greatest benefits of Schreyer is its Career Services team!

Since August, Schreyer Career Services has hosted 33 events to help introduce and engage scholars to internship, career, R&D and Graduate School opportunities. Google, Microsoft, top consulting firms, Space-X, leading financial services firms and many other notable companies have been on campus to meet and hire Schreyer scholars. There have been leadership training, grad school, engineering and healthcare career workshops, all within the past two months. Career Services has a full schedule every week for your scholar to explore or expand their knowledge and network.

Another tremendous benefit of Career Services is The Mentoring with Honors program. This is a unique program sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society to develop relationships between current Schreyer Scholars and Scholar alumni. The program offers opportunities for Scholar alumni to participate in the professional development of Schreyer Scholars and offers the opportunity for Scholars to explore potential career choices through firsthand experiences of Scholar alumni. Each mentoring relationship is unique and emphasizes the interests of the mentee and experiences of the mentor. The Mentoring with Honors program depends on leadership and support from Scholar alumni, students, and staff. Mentors bring diverse and seasoned experience that help our scholars navigate and shape their future. Here are some thoughts from students on their experience with the Mentoring with Honors program:

The summer after freshman year I shadowed Matt for a day, where he introduced me to thermal engineering. Before then, I had never heard of that position. Matt helped me explore various other disciplines/focuses for a mechanical engineer. Anytime I was interning at Goddard, Matt would invite me to sit in on a design review or see the flight hardware for his project, ICESat-2, to augment my interning experience. Matt also organized a shadow day at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center for members of the Lunar Lion team so that we could network and learn from professionals in our individual subsystems.”

“The Mentoring with Honors program has enhanced my Schreyer experience as it has allowed me to meet someone who went through basically exactly what I am going through (seriously though, today we bonded about how I got into HealthWorks and she was involved with it also) and has used it to become successful within the field of nutrition. I hope to achieve what she has, and she has helped me to solidify some of the things I would like to see myself doing in the future.”

“I learned a great deal from my mentor. I want to pursue a career in law, but I had no family in that field, so Rosanna was a phenomenal resource. She talked to me about realistic issues lawyers face (family, marriage, etc.) and how to succeed in the field. She helped give an unbiased option when I was choosing law school, and helped me consider various factors that would influence my decision.”

“The Mentoring with Honors Program was without a doubt the single most important part of my professional development process at Penn State. I feel incredibly lucky to have been matched with someone like Sean, who has both a great deal of interesting professional experience and a deep willingness to help the next generation of honors students succeed. In August I will begin a yearlong position as a Junior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. I will primarily be assisting with research related to the Chinese economy.”

One mentor best summed up his involvement in the Mentoring with Honors Program as:

“I have always been surrounded by fantastic mentors who have supported and guided my career at every step.  I wanted to give back to this Penn State community and support our next generation of Scholars.”

Learn more about this valuable experience provided to scholars at:

As parents, we know from experience the greatest gifts in our life are the people who help shape our lives.  Having at least one great mentor can help shape a scholar’s life. Please think about how you could make a difference by sharing your professional and life experiences to provide additional perspective and guidance to students.  You will be remembered and revered for a lifetime!

As we continue to expand our Mentor network, encourage your scholar to reach out to mentors and schedule informational interviews with professionals in your community to expand their network. If it were not for our mentors, where would we be today?


Starting this semester students residing in South Halls, including students of the Honors College, have a unique opportunity to connect with counselors from Penn State’s Center for Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) with a new service called CAPS Chat. The CAPS Chat service is a part of the Embedded Counselor program generously funded by Mitch and Rod Kirsch. In this program, two CAPS counselors, Jason Yoder, LCSW and Stephanie Stama, PsyD, spend dedicated time in Redifer Commons Suite 202. The CAPS Chat service component of the Embedded Counselor program offers two dedicated walk-in hours each day, Monday through Friday. With CAPS Chat, students are able to drop in during the dedicated hours and have a half hour to talk with a CAPS counselor about their concerns. By the end of the CAPS Chat meeting, students will have the opportunity to review psychoeducational information, obtain self-help materials, consider referrals to various entities and organizations both on- and off-campus, and even come to some solutions about their presenting concerns.

CAPS Chat is a preventive program with the ability to help students early in the development of a presenting issue, before concerns become more intense and complicated. CAPS Chat is most helpful for discussing a specific concern in a one-time one-on-one meeting, learning what counseling might be like, understanding how to help a friend, destigmatizing mental health concerns, and having general mental health questions answered. With this in mind, CAPS Chat may not be the best option for students who are seeking formal therapy or counseling, needing crisis interventions, and experiencing severe or longstanding concerns; this would be more appropriate for a call to CAPS (814-863-0395).

We have been pleased to find that students have been actively using the CAPS Chat services this semester. To learn about the effectiveness of this service, CAPS Chat counselors are offering students the voluntary opportunity to provide anonymous feedback by way of an emailed satisfaction survey after their CAPS Chat meeting. This will help to steer the direction and growth of the program and help to enrich the CAPS Chat experience.

CAPS Chat counselors launched an outreach campaign the week of October 10 where students had the opportunity to learn more about CAPS Chat services. These events are leading to the main kickoff event held at Redifer Commons on Tuesday, October 18 from 12:00-2:00PM where an exciting surprise awaits all students who stop by. CAPS Chat counselors Jason and Stephanie will be outside of Redifer Commons with fun activities to de-stress, information on stress and coping, and details to demystify the process of reaching out for help with CAPS Chat and other mental health services. We hope to see everyone out at these events to learn more about how to be the best versions of themselves and to be a part of the new Embedded Counselor program.

Weekly Caps Chat Hours
Monday 2:00-4:00
Tuesday 2:00-4:00
Wednesday 2:00-4:00
Thursday 10:00-12:00
Friday 10:00-12:00

Main kickoff event
Tuesday, October 18, 2016 from 12:00-2:00PM at Redifer Commons

More information about CAPS Chat

Immediate concerns for safety or crisis intervention
Centre County CAN HELP: 1-800-643-5432


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.