Paul Lukasik leaves imprint at Behrend through Servant Leadership Award

William staniszewski (2)

Bill Staniszewski (left) was the recipient of the Paul Lukasik Servant Leadership Award at this year’s Center for Service and Civic Leadership’s Service Awards.

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Paul Lukasik unassumingly walked to the podium, flashing an abashed smile at the crowd of more than 50 people in attendance at Penn State Behrend’s Center for Service and Civic Leadership’s Service Awards.

“Just so you know, my face gets red when I get nervous,” said Lukasik, displaying humility that’s fitting in light of the award he was about to present: The Paul Lukasik Servant Leadership Award.

The award, created and presented to Lukasik in 2014 and subsequently named in his honor, recognizes a Penn State Behrend junior who, through leadership in a student organization or class, encourages others to engage in service and civic engagement.

This year’s honoree was Bill Staniszewski, a junior mechanical engineering major who has completed numerous service projects with THON and Triangle Fraternity.

“Being honored with this award was the highlight of my semester. It really means a lot to me, especially as one of the leaders of Behrend Benefitting THON,” Staniszewski said. “When I heard that I was the recipient, it helped to reaffirm my commitment to leading by example.”

For Lukasik, having an award named in his honor has been a humbling experience.

“It’s hard to put words to it. Presenting the award hammered home to me that this is something that will stay even after I’m gone,” said Lukasik, a senior project and supply chain management major. “My hope, though, is that people will look beyond the name of the award and see its intention.”

Naming an award after a current student is an unconventional practice, but according to Carrie Egnosak, an academic adviser and a member of the Service Awards Committee that created the award, Lukasik is especially deserving of the honor.

“Paul has just been so involved with service from the very first moment he stepped onto campus,” Egnosak said. “He’s one of the few students who has participated in every Alternative Spring Break trip since he’s been here, and he tends to take on a leadership role with any club or organization that he becomes involved with. Everybody who knows him loves him because he would do anything for anyone.”

Since arriving at Behrend, Lukasik has performed services projects through Reality Check, Behrend’s community service-oriented club; Omicron Delta Kappa, the national leadership honor society; Relay for Life; and Alternative Spring Break; and has served as a resident assistant.

Lukasik said his commitment to service dates back to childhood, helping out at Fair Haven’s Church, founded in North Tonawanda, N.Y., by his grandparents.

He contends his commitment to service won’t be changing anytime soon. After graduation, he plans to do volunteer work through GE Transportation, where he has accepted a position in the Commercial Leadership Program, and also hopes to make a service trip to David’s Home, an orphanage founded in Haiti by Fair Haven’s Church.

Lukasik said he is grateful for all of the opportunities he’s received at Behrend, and he hopes new students will continue to pursue service work.

“Behrend as a whole has given me so many opportunities. I’ve had internships, gone on service trips and had leadership positions,” he said. “The service work just draws you in. It’s mutually beneficial and so rewarding. No matter how busy you are, there’s always something you can do, and I think it’s our civic duty to give back.”

Behrend alumna specializes in OCD research

Jessica Schubert (2)

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

Jessica Schubert has heard it all too many times.

“I’m so OCD.” “Oh, that’s my OCD acting up.” They’re the explanations many people offer to explain their little quirks.

The problem is that a quirk — a peculiar behavioral habit — is much different from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD) — a potentially severe mental illness that affects more than three million Americans in the United States.

“People don’t mean harm when they make generalizations like that, but I do think it perpetuates this mindset that mental illness is not a big deal,” says Schubert, who graduated from Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, in 2009 with a degree in psychology. “OCD is a real, chronic and disabling condition. It’s a broader disorder than a lot of people think.”

Bringing awareness to OCD and its complications is one of the Harborcreek native’s goals. Now a Ph.D. candidate at Binghamton University – SUNY, Schubert has developed an interest in OCD, partially because treatment of the disorder remains a relatively new concept.

“It’s only in the last 30 years where we’ve had any  effective treatment for OCD. Before that, the field was very psychodynamic, but over time, the theoretical focus changed to behaviorism. That small change in focus has really led to the treatment of OCD,” she says.

According to Schubert, treatment can take many forms. Medications may be used, but Schubert says they’re often not a long-term fix.

Instead, she proposes exposure-and-ritual prevention, a type of cognitive-behavioral therapy. The idea is to encourage the person suffering from OCD to face his or her fears.

“The problem with someone who has OCD is that they’re avoiding what they’re afraid of. Having them stay with their anxiety will allow them to see it go down over time,” she says.

Schubert’s doctoral research specializes in sleep patterns and how they potentially affect OCD. This was also her topic of discussion when she returned to Behrend this semester to speak as part of the college’s Colloquium Series in Psychological Sciences and Human Behavior.

Schubert estimates that at least half of those diagnosed with OCD are unable to maintain regular sleep schedules. In fact, OCD sufferers tend to stay awake through the night time hours, only to sleep throughout the day. Schubert’s research examines the role that disrupted circadian timing of sleep plays in the severity of obsessions and compulsions. Often referred to as the “body clock”, the circadian rhythm is a 24-hour cycle that tells our bodies when to sleep and regulates many other physiological processes.

“It’s not that people with OCD are not sleeping enough, but that they’re sleeping at the wrong time,” she says. “My research looks at whether we can normalize sleep, so they can engage in normal treatment.”

Although Schubert is still conducting more research on the topic, she says she’s encouraged by her findings, which suggest that sleep patterns do play a role in the severity and effectiveness of treating OCD symptoms.

Schubert plans to dive further into the topic in the years to come, but she is also excited about the other potential paths her professional future could take.

“There’s this huge array of opportunities available to someone in this field,” she says. “You can teach, you can see patients, you can do research or you can do a combination of all three. It’s a field you can never get bored in.”

Spring Show highlights Penn State Behrend artists

By Allison Counasse
e-Communications Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend Spring Art Show

The Penn State Behrend Spring Art Show includes works by students, faculty, and staff.

Penn State Behrend’s Spring Art Show brings color and beauty to campus. The show presents works by twenty-five artists from the college community through May 8. It is the first time that it will be displayed in the college’s John M. Lilley Library gallery.

Heather Cole, lecturer in digital arts, and Scott Rispin, lecturer in art, collaborated on the show, which received support from the Mary Behrend Cultural Fund. Together, they expanded it from a straightforward student photography show to a professional exhibition in the gallery located on the main floor of the library.

“In the past, we exhibited unframed works in the hallway of a classroom building,” Cole explained. “We were looking for a more professional viewing space. The Lilley Library gallery gave us the opportunity to exhibit the art in a framed, professional manner.”

Rispin had been talking to Dr. Rick Hart, library director, for a few years about using space on the lower level and in the gallery for exhibits. Things came together last fall, when the Faculty Art Show made its debut in the gallery space.

The Spring Art Show promotes the diverse talents and interests of the Penn State Behrend community. Submissions include student works in a variety of media, as well as pieces by faculty and staff. In addition to photography, the show features paintings, drawings, and digital art such as collages, scanograms (scanner art), 3D graphics, and 3D-printed sculptures. Many of the student works were created for photography, digital arts, and painting classes.

The artwork is not arranged by format or artist. “It’s always best to hang a show in a way that creates a better experience for the gallery patron,” Rispin said.

Students demonstrate diverse artistic talents

Hayden Seibert,

Hayden Seibert, Big Sky
Mixed Media on Canvas

Hayden Seibert, a sophomore Mechanical Engineering major from Erie, Pa., submitted two paintings to the show. “One was displayed last year in the Erie Art Museum Spring Show and the other is being shown for the first time,” he said. “I’m an artist, and I like to share my work.”

Krystal Elliott,

Krystal Elliott, Spring is Near
Watercolor on paper

Krystal Elliott, a sophomore Software Engineering major from New York City, created her watercolor painting Spring is Near, which depicts a bird on a tree branch, specifically for the show. She said she submitted it to challenge herself to do something new, and she wanted to paint something others could identify with.

“I finally saw a bird outside and it reminded me that winter was nearly over,” she said.

Nick Ranayhossaini,

Nick Ranayhossaini, Burning Oil
Charcoal on paper

Nick Ranayhossaini, a senior majoring in General Arts and Sciences from Harmony, Pa., had started his charcoal drawing of a skull before learning about the show but finished it for the submission deadline.

“I often draw skeletal figures, largely because I enjoy dark themes and just think that skeletons look cool, but also because they don’t represent anyone specific,” Ranayhossaini said. “Seeing the piece in the gallery makes me extremely happy. When I get to watch someone walk in and start examining my work I am extremely proud.”

Digital Arts step into the spotlight

3D Prints and Digital Sculptures

3D Prints and Digital Sculptures

The exhibition includes a display case with 3D objects designed by students in Cole’s ART168 The Digital Medium course. They hadn’t even seen their creations until they went on display. The students created the models with Autodesk Mudbox, a 3D painting and sculpting program, and Cole printed them with a 3D printer recently purchased by the School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

“These are their first projects,” Cole said. “They wanted to get down to the library to see them right away.”

Peter Kalmar,

Peter Kalmar, Sword Model
Digital Sculpting

Peter Kalmar, a junior Computer Science major from Cabot, Pa., created a 3D-printed turtle and also drew concept art for a sword design and implemented it in Blender, a 3D modelling program. He said doing the project was a great way to learn the computer program.

Art at Penn State Behrend will continue to grow

Cole and Rispin say that there are ample opportunities to further expand the show, which would give Arts Administration majors experience in planning, executing, and promoting gallery exhibitions.

Both instructors hope more artists will participate as they become aware of the blossoming art scene on campus. Cole and Rispin often find that fear or inexperience holds back new artists, who may think their work isn’t good enough or might not know how to frame or display artwork.

“All they really need to do is talk to us and we’ll help them,” Cole said. Rispin has even loaned or built frames for students’ work.

Don’t expect all of the art to disappear from the Lilley Libraryor campusafter the show is over. Rispin says additional wall space on the lower level of the library will be used as “ongoing exhibition space.”

The show also was highlighted at a recent Community Arts Walk that took place during the college’s Spring Open House. The event included temporary art displays on bulletin boards and mobile frames around campus, a display in the windows of a residence hall, and performances at Bruno’s Cafe.

“The walk went well,” said Cole, who may “look to inviting clubs to participate next year.” She has lots of other creative projects in the works, too.

Students say that’s good news. “I have high hopes that the college will continue to provide opportunities like this on campus,” Seibert said.

About the Spring Art Show

Admission to the show is free and open to the public during library hours.

Parking is available at the adjacent Reed Union Building or in any campus visitor parking lot. Visitor Parking Permits may be obtained from Police Services in Erie Hall.

Penn State Behrend Spring Art Show

The Penn State Behrend Spring Art Show runs through May 8. The annual exhibition, which includes works by twenty-five members of the Penn State Behrend community, has expanded and moved to the Lilley Library gallery.

Follow Emma and Dan’s Route 6 Journey

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By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

A flyer for Emma and Dan’s Route 6 Journey hangs from the fridge at the Harborcreek home of the Perritano family. Sixteen-year-old Emma Perritano’s face lights up whenever she catches a glimpse of it.

So far, she is enjoying the journey, eagerly waving her hands when they pass someone on the street. All the while, humming her favorite songs, a collection of tunes from Wicked, Disney movies and some old-fashioned rock ‘n’ roll.

Her parents, Penn State Behrend men’s soccer coach Dan Perritano and college registrar Jane Brady, said it’s exactly what they hoped for.

“I wanted to take Emma and do something special,” Dan Perritano said. “While she doesn’t understand what we’re doing completely, she points to that flyer now, and she knows we’re doing something special.”

What they’re doing is a 360-mile trek across Pennsylvania’s historic Route 6 to help raise funds for the Arc of Erie County. Emma is a non-verbal life skills student at North East Middle School and has benefitted from the Arc, which provides advocacy and support for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families.

Dan is pushing Emma in her Team Hoyt running chair, a custom-built chair designed for physically-challenged individuals that was purchased through grants from ACHIEVA and Billy’s Friends Foundation, two non-profit organizations for persons with disabilities. The two have already begun checking off some of the western miles on Route 6 during weekend outings.

The duo hopes to finish at least 100 miles before setting out on May 18 to finish the trip.

“Once we get on the road, we aren’t coming back,” said Perritano, who will use the MapMyWalk app to track completed miles.

Perritano said the two average about 15-minute miles when moving consistently, and he hopes to do between 15 to 20 miles per day.

“The plan is to do 10 or 11 miles in the morning, have lunch and then do maybe another 10 in the afternoon,” he said.

Perritano said they won’t carry many supplies and will mostly rely on purchasing things on the go.

However, if supplies get too low, Perritano does have a lifeline.

“I can’t imagine them going three of four days without me coming to the rescue,” Brady said.

Perritano plans to finish the journey on May 30, but knows challenges could arise. Hazardous weather could cause a delay, so he said the completion date is tentative.

“It’s going to be so rewarding,” Perritano said. “It’s something special that we will always remember.”

To learn more about the Arc or how you can contribute to Emma and Dan’s Journey, please visit their website at thearcoferie.org or contact Arc president Dr. Karen Morahan at kmorahan@edinboro.edu or Dan Perritano at dpp2@psu.edu.

Follow Emma and Dan’s Journey on their Facebook page.

Lee Brice concert photos

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Lee Brice, left, and opening act, Chase Bryant
Last night, four-time Country Airplay chart-topper Lee Brice played Penn State Behrend’s Junker Center to a sell-out crowd.

A Sumter, South Carolina native, Brice got his start in the country music industry after he co-wrote Garth Brooks’ 2007 single “More Than a Memory,” which became the first single in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart to debut at No. 1. That same year, he signed with Curb Records, but it was in 2009 that he would see his own success as a singer-songwriter.

That was when he released “Love Like Crazy,” the first single from the debut album of the same name. Overall, the song spent 56 weeks on the Country Airplay chart, making it the longest-charting song in the chart’s history.

In 2011, Lee released “Hard 2 Love,” which produced three No. 1 hits, including “A Woman Like You,” “Hard 2 Love” and “I Drive Your Truck.” The title track on his current album, “I Don’t Dance,” became his fourth No. 1 hit in August 2014.

There were two opening acts: Chase Bryant & The Cadillac Three, who fired up the audience of a few thousand attendees before Lee Brice took stage at 9:45 p.m.

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Nursing students greeted with ‘surprise’ patient

Brenna Lanager, Hunter Olsen, Nerissa Rich (2)

Brenna Lanager played the role of an elderly patient this past fall in a NURS 112 class. Students Hunter Olsen and Nerissa Rich were tasked with trying to prepare Lanager for surgery as part of the simulation.

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

When Margaret Kertis, a lecturer in nursing at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, pulled back the curtain that hung over the bed where a mannequin would normally lie, students in her NURS 112 course were quickly taken aback. The mannequin that they had grown accustomed to was no longer there.

In its place laid a young woman, but if not for her soft complexion and inherent youth, you might think otherwise. Her clothing looked to be something straight out of a Laura Ingalls Wilder novel. Her hair was dabbled in talcum powder. Her hands clenched a rosary.

“Their faces were priceless when they pulled the curtain back and saw that there was a person there,” said Brenna Lanager, a sophomore psychology major who happened to be the woman lying in the bed.

Lanager’s role that day was as a patient actor.

“The first-year nursing students had gotten so accustomed to performing skills on the low-fidelity mannequins that do not communicate, so I wanted them to focus on interacting and communicating with a ‘real’ person,” said Kertis, who taught the NURS 112 course this past fall. “The scenario involved preparing an elderly patient for surgery.”

As the students soon learned, preparing an elderly patient for surgery is easier said than done.

Lanager, who has previous acting experience from a theater course she took at Behrend, was not exactly the model patient.

“I was playing the role of Brenna Brake, an old woman who had fallen down the stairs while doing laundry. I was supposed to have a hearing aid, but I left it at home, so I kept asking the nursing to repeat what they were saying. I was also very religious and refused to give up my rosary.” Lanager said. “I could tell everyone was nervous, but they did a great job of putting on that nurse face, and getting the job done.”

For the students, the interaction with Lanager was invaluable.

“You get real emotions. Yes, they’re acting, but they’re still a real person, and it’s still person-to-person contact,” said Hunter Olsen, a sophomore nursing major who was part of the NURS 112 class.

For her part in the course, Lanager earned extra credit points as part of her THEATER 102 course. It also was an eye-opener for the Hawk Run native: her mother works as a nurse.

In the future, Kertis said she hopes to again utilize patient actors. Lanager is also eager to volunteer her services one more time.

“It was really cool to see what the nursing students were going through from that perspective,” Lanager said. “I would definitely do it again. It was so much fun.”

Career Roundtable educates School of Science students on available opportunities

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Todd Thorniley, a 2014 Penn State Behrend biology graduate, now works as a quality control technician at Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York. On Wednesday, March 25, he was one of the alumni who returned to Behrend to educate current School of Science students on the opportunities available to them during the Career Roundtable for Biology and Chemistry Majors.

By Steve Orbanek
Marketing Communications Specialist, Penn State Behrend

For a biology or chemistry graduate, there’s no shortage of opportunities. Environmental consultant, genetic counselor — even a quality control technician for a brewery.

“Students have no idea how much they can do with their degree,” said Todd Thorniley, a 2014 biology graduate of Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, who now works as a quality control technician for Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York. “It’s not just medical. It’s not just research. You can go work with beer, too.”

Emphasizing the diverse career paths available to students was one of the purposes of the Career Roundtable for Biology and Chemistry Majors, a networking event hosted by the School of Science at Penn State Behrend on Wednesday, March 25.

Designed like a round of speed dating, professionals who work in science-related fields were seated at tables in McGarvey Commons. A group of six to eight students was also seated at the table.

For ten minutes, professionals discussed the tasks, challenges and requirements of the jobs they perform every day. At the end of ten minutes, the professionals moved on to the next table, and the process repeated.

“The structure of the event really allows students to hear about a number of career paths in a relatively short amount of time and begin networking,” said Beth Potter, assistant professor of biology who coordinated the event. “The event is great for freshman as well as seniors, who still may not know what they want to do.”

During the two-hour event, more than 100 students interacted with 10 professionals, many of whom were Penn State Behrend alumni, representing companies that included Michael Baker International, the Pennsylvania State Crime Lab, PerkinElmer Genetics, Southern Tier and Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine.

One of the alumni in attendance was 2013 graduate Leah Wolfe, who attended the same event while she was a student.

“When I attended, I wasn’t sure who I wanted to be, what I wanted to be or where I wanted to go,” said Wolfe, who is now pursing a master’s degree in orthotics and prosthetics from the University of Pittsburgh. “But actually hearing from these professionals was so helpful.”

Denise DeVore, a sophomore biology major, was one of the students in attendance at the Career Roundtable. She hoped the event would have the same effect on her that it had on Wolfe years earlier.

“I’m interested in pediatrics, but I’m not entirely sure that’s for me,” DeVore said. “I feel like this is going to help me narrow it down to what I want to do because there are so many options out there for a science major.”