Category Archives: Parents Blog

Blog posts by the Schreyer Parents Council (SPC)

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

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: .

Your Freshman CAN Get an Internship by Tracy Riegel

Yes! Your First Year Scholar CAN get a summer internship!

I know what you’re thinking-“No way do companies hire first year students for paid internships!” Well, believe it or not, they do! My youngest daughter, who is a freshman in the College of Engineering, attended the Fall Career Fair. Prior to attending the Fair, she got in touch with some very helpful people at the Bank of America Career Services Center who gave her some great advice about updating her resume. (Disclaimer-before coming to Penn State, her past jobs were at a local pool snack bar, waitressing and babysitting). Carolyn also met with Lisa Kerchinski, Coordinator of Career Development at SHC to understand what the Fair was all about and to better prepare herself if an opportunity arose. She certainly didn’t have high expectations but thought it wouldn’t hurt to attend mainly to see what it was all about. She thought the Fair was pretty overwhelming, but did stop at several employer booths to ask if they hire freshman. She hit the jackpot at GE, when after hearing a lot of “No’s”, finally heard a “Yes, we do!”

I know what you’re thinking, “Of course she got an internship, she’s an Engineering Major!” Well, to be honest, I think that helped, but I do think there are opportunities across all majors-some paid, some unpaid. It is the experience that matters! I have talked with students who, the summer after their freshman year, worked in an office (unpaid) but learned so much, that their experience was really helpful when they were looking for a paid position.

Encourage your student to visit with Lisa to learn more about internship opportunities and how to connect with Schreyer alums to help make those opportunities a reality. Students can just go online to make an appointment – it’s that easy! I also found a lot of helpful information for parents on the Penn State Career Services website.

Thankfully, it’s not too late! Encourage your scholars  to update their resume, meet with the staff at SHC and the Career Services Center. For my daughter, her preparation and persistence paid off. And it can for your student as well!

Spring 2016 SHC Parents Council Chair Welcome

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

Welcome to the spring edition of the Schreyer Honors College Parent Council Newsletter!

The newsletter is designed to provide you with information about the Schreyer Honors College and to share our experiences with you. Springtime brings nicer weather, Spring Break and a chance to inventory the year. As parents of two Schreyer Scholars, spring is also the time to look ahead to the summer and talk with our Scholars about their upcoming plans. There are so many options available. They can take classes, volunteer, study abroad, intern or even secure employment in State College. Although we have not experienced this, we are told that summertime in State College is wonderful.  Sub-letting an apartment is less expensive compared to spring or fall semesters. Classes are much smaller and lakeside afternoons at Whipple Dam or Bald Eagle State Park are terrific getaways.

What is best for your child? Ultimately, he or she needs to decide. Although after two semesters of study, it might seem like a good idea to “take the summer off.” However, we recommend that your Scholar remain active and engaged. Sometimes, having no summer plans can lead to restlessness and boredom.  Having said that, “scheduling” a short break prior to starting summer work and or summer study can be a great idea. After all, your Scholar has been through a high-pressure year and may welcome a short break.

Whatever your Scholar decides to do, encourage and support it and remember it is their Schreyer experience!

Why Schreyer?

Guest post by:
Tracy Riegel and Rachel Buzzell
Outreach Committee Co-Chairs

Thank you very much for taking the time to read our Winter/Spring newsletter!  As co-chairs of the Schreyer Honors College Parent Council Outreach Committee, our mission is “to provide a methodology and process to promote the Schreyer Honors College with the general Penn State Community and beyond.” We hope you will partner with us to promote the many benefits of SHC to prospective students and their parents.

So – why Schreyer? Below is a go-to list of reasons why Schreyer Honors College is “shaping people who shape the world”!

  • Academic Excellence Scholarship
  • Hundreds of Study Abroad, Internship and Research Opportunities
  • Small Honors Courses
  • Honors Housing in a Living/Learning Community
  • Priority Course Registration
  • Honors Advising
  • Dedicated Office of Career Development
  • An Administrative staff that is second to none

In addition, SHC supports parents with several ways to connect to the Honors College and Penn State through the website, There, you will find blogs by current parents about their experiences. Also, be sure to check out our new feature “Ask a Parent.” If you have a question, click on the link, ask your question and the answer will be posted typically within 24 hours.  Of course, if you would like to become involved, please click on the “Get Involved” link to share all the wonderful opportunities Schreyer Honors College has to offer.

In another effort to connect current Schreyer parents and increase communication, the Schreyer Parent Council has created a closed group Facebook page. This group was created to offer positive support, share your student’s success and solicit advice from other SHC parents. You can search for the closed group under the name “Penn State Schreyer Parents.” Once your find the page, request to join the group and you will be added. If you are having difficulty finding the page, please send Tracy or Rachel an email with your request. We would love to have you join us and have the opportunity to get to know other parents!

With more than 3,900 applicants for the Class of 2020 (the highest number yet), it is clear that the excellent reputation of Schreyer Honors College is reaching more and more prospective students and families.

WE ARE…proud parents!

Tracy Riegel
Outreach Committee Chair
Parent of Scholars Meghan, ’17 and Carolyn, ’19

Rachel Buzzell
Outreach Committee Co-Chair
Parent of Scholar Katie, ’18

Help Fund Opportunities

Guest post by:
John & Sally Frazzette
Parents of Scholar Nick ‘16

As Sally and I reflect upon our son Nick’s time at Schreyer Honors College, two things strike us: first, the time has gone by so quickly! And second, the opportunities made available to Nick have been tremendous.

Schreyer has turned out to be even more of a jewel than our early impressions. He has had a challenging and rigorous academic journey, opportunities for research, study abroad and involvement in unique programs like Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship (HESE). And maybe the best part of his experience at Schreyer has been being surrounded by other Scholars with the same drive for excellence and dreams of making an impact on the world around them.

But we also discovered another thing along the way – there are some Scholars whose enrollment in Schreyer is threatened simply because of economic need. These are young men and women who hold the Schreyer promise of “shaping the world,” but may be in need of financial assistance to continue to have the opportunity to pursue their dreams.

During Nick’s second year we learned about the Schreyer Parents and Family Fund which provides financial assistance to Scholars in need. Over the last two years, we have been a part of the Schreyer Parents Council; specifically the Outreach Committee and the Development Committee. While the Outreach Committee supports general awareness and knowledge of the honors college, the Development Committee’s purpose is to support and spread the word about the Parents and Family Fund.

We have certainly been blessed by Nick’s enrollment in Schreyer Honors College. And because of what we have seen first-hand, we hope that no deserving student would have to put on hold, or even leave Schreyer for financial reasons. The Schreyer Parents and Family Fund is a great way to help. College can certainly be expensive, but if you are financially able we ask you to strongly consider making the Parents and Family Fund part of your philanthropic giving.

Hire at Schreyer

Guest post by:
Amy Abrams
Parent of Scholar Alexandra ’17

As a parent, you know what sets the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State apart from other colleges and universities. You witnessed how hard your student worked to get here. But excellent grades, the best honors professors, numerous research opportunities and superior leadership skills are just part of what students need to be successful. They also need opportunities to make valuable career connections. Hire at Schreyer has been created for that purpose.

Reporting from prominent media companies like the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times tout the value that public honors college students bring to organizations. These articles note that public honors college graduates are often better prepared to enter the workforce than graduates from top private and Ivy League schools. That speaks to the quality and value of the education our students receive at Schreyer. It also reinforces why it is essential for us to engage prospective employers and connect them with our Scholars.

Here is how you can help:

  • The Hire at Schreyer link has been created to provide employers, associates and friends with information on how best to engage with SHC to recruit talent. Spread the word about what sets our Scholars apart from students at other colleges and universities.
  • Encourage employers, associates and friends to consider hiring Scholars and to share job postings, internships, mentoring and research opportunities at Hire the Brightest. Questions regarding the Schreyer Honors College can be directed to Lisa Kerchinski, Coordinator of Career Development.
  • Talk to your friends, associates or medical practitioners about providing shadowing opportunities for a day or a few days during the month of May. We have many Scholars interested in Pre-Med, Biomedical Engineering and Science-related fields. The opportunity to shadow professionals working in these fields will inspire and motivate our students as they seek leadership roles in health care, an industry that is experiencing exponential growth.

Schreyer Honors College provides students with a unique learning environment. Throughout the academic year, the Office of Career Development hosts numerous events for industry experts to meet with Scholars and share their wisdom and experience. Many alumni dedicate their time by mentoring our Scholars to help them prepare for successful and rewarding careers.

Please consider being an active partner in our efforts to engage companies, corporate partners, friends and others to Hire at Schreyer!