Class of 2016: Meet Abigail Gilmore (Plastics Engineering Technology)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Abigail Gilmore:

Abigail Gilmore

Major: Plastics Engineering Technology

Hometown: Waterford, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: My older brother attended Behrend and discussed with me the benefits of attending a smaller school and the opportunities I would have to engage with my professors on a personal level. I know from growing up here that Behrend has long been recognized for its engineering programs, so it seemed unnecessary to search all over the country for the right school when I had one of the best so close to home.

Love at first (lab) sight: When I saw the plastics lab during my tour of Behrend, I knew I had found my major. Plastic polymers were something I knew very little about even though I interacted with plastic materials on a daily basis. With an interest in sustainability, I was intrigued by the idea of reducing the impact of plastic on the environment and finding a career where I could contribute on a global level.

Campus involvement: I have been a member of both the cross country and track and field teams during my four years at Behrend. I’m also the current president of Tau Alpha Pi, the Engineering Technology National Honors Society, and secretary of the Plastics Engineering Club.

Challenge accepted: One thing I’ve really worked on during my time at Behrend is my willingness to accept a challenge. As a high school student, I often found myself shying away from opportunities where failure was a likely possibility. In college, I just decided to try new things and take on new responsibilities even if I worried I couldn’t do them. The more I did it, the quieter that doubting voice in my head became and my drive to work harder to pursue each opportunity became stronger. In the end, this resulted in great gains in my time management skills, a decrease in my fear of failure, and a boost in my self-confidence.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: Up until my sophomore year in high school, I had intended to pursue a dancing career after graduation and go to college when I got too old to dance. Now, just a few years later, I’m graduating with an engineering degree and competing in NCAA Division III cross-country and track and field!

On a love for learning: College allowed me to discover just how much I love learning. As a senior, I chose electives that I found interesting, rather than classes simply to fill my major requirements. I love reading articles about new breakthroughs in science or running experiments to prove, or disprove, my scientific hypotheses.

Abigail has accepted a position as a plastics rotational engineer in TE Connectivity’s automotive division in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, following her graduation in May.

Class of 2016: Meet Casey Port (Project and Supply Chain Management)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Casey Elizabeth Port:

Casey Port2

Major: Project and Supply Chain Management

Minor: Management Information Systems

Hometown: Waterford, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: The instant I stepped on to the campus, I knew I wanted to attend Behrend. The grounds are so beautiful and there is a lot of history here. I thought I might transfer to University Park after two years, but the faculty and staff at Behrend made me want to stay. They are all so generous and eager to help you get experience and accomplish your goals.

On (finally) picking a major: Every time I introduced myself in my first year or two here, I was a different major. I started in Kinesiology then moved toward Biology before I decided on Project and Supply Chain Management. It’s perfect for me because it encompasses all aspects of business and will allow me to apply my knowledge to nearly any field.

Campus involvement: I’ve been a Lion Ambassador since my freshman year. I’m also involved in the Student Government Association where I sit on the budget committee.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I was born and raised on a farm. My family are fifth-generation farmers at Port Farms in Waterford.

Home is where the heart is: I love my hometown. I hope someday I can return and apply any talents I have to helping it grow while also preserving the environment.

Advice for current students: Get involved! Behrend has so much to offer. Get out of your comfort zone and introduce yourself to professors and professionals. Networking is extremely beneficial.

Casey has accepted a position as a contract specialist at Bechtel Plant Machinery Inc. in Pittsburgh.

Class of 2016: Meet Josh Fitzgerald (Mechancial Engineering)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Josh Fitzgerald:

Josh Fitzgerald2

 

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Vowinckel, Pennsylvania

On shifting careers: I graduated from Clarion University with a degree in Secondary Education Mathematics and briefly worked as a high school mathematics teacher. I quickly found out that I didn’t enjoy it. I knew I wanted to do something with math and science, and I’ve always been curious about how things work. Mechanical Engineering seemed like a good fit, but just to be sure, I did some job shadowing at an engineering firm first. After a few days, I was sold.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Maintaining the grades that I have while also working an internship as a married adult.

Musically inclined: I play a plethora of instruments, including guitar, mandolin, banjo, ukulele, drums, and bass guitar, without any ability whatsoever to read sheet music.

On unique gifts: I’ve nearly mastered the art of selective hearing, which I’m pretty sure my wife would vouch for.

What you’d be surprised to know about him: I’m an adult student. Although I may appear child-like in demeanor, that’s only because I’m still twelve years old on the inside. A wise professor once told me, “You only get to be young once, but you can be immature forever.”

Manners never go out of style: I’m very passionate about being a good, decent, honest person. There are far too many inconsiderate people in the world today. Using manners, being polite, and respecting people should never been viewed as old-fashioned or outdated.

On being a self-made man: I’ve learned to value the things I own because I’ve worked hard to earn them. The same can be said for my education. I worked to excel in my classes and it’s paid off.

On using your gifts: My favorite quote is: “I see now that the circumstances of one’s birth are irrelevant; it is what you do with the gift of life that determines who you are.” It’s not part of an elaborate speech by a politician, or a Biblical proverb, or even sage-like advice from Gandhi. Rather, it’s a quote by Mewtwo from the original Pokemon movie. Nonetheless, it is some of the soundest logic I’ve ever heard. I came from very humble beginnings. It didn’t matter that my family didn’t have a lot of money, what color my skin was, or what my religious beliefs were. It’s what I’ve done with the blessing of existence that truly matters.

Advice for current students: Be open to life’s adventures. If someone told me a five years ago that I’d be where I am today, I would’ve thought they were crazy. I was dead set on being a great high school math teacher. Then reality hit me like a truck and burst my bubble. It took me some time to get over the feeling that I’d maybe wasted four years of my life earning a degree I wasn’t going to use. But, looking back now, I wouldn’t change a thing. I’ve gained a lot of knowledge and maturity along the way.

Josh has accepted a position as a simulation engineer at SKF Aeroengine following his graduation in May.

Class of 2016: Meet Catalina Stevenson (Mechanical Engineering)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Catalina Stevenson.

Catalina Stevenson1

Major: Mechanical Engineering

Hometown: Norristown, Pennsylvania

On choosing Behrend: My parents met in Erie Hall when they were both students here, so I grew up with Behrend on my radar! I like the smaller class sizes, the beautiful campus, and the strong engineering programs.

On majoring in Mechanical Engineering: I had intended to major in Chemical Engineering, but I didn’t want to move to University Park after two years and found that I was more passionate about Behrend than I was about chemistry, so I decided to try a different type of engineering. I found Mechanical Engineering to be a great fit.

Campus involvement: I am president of the Penn State Behrend Lion Ambassadors and am a resident assistant. I have also participated in Alternative Spring Break with the Reality Check club.

Proudest accomplishment: Being a resident assistant has given me many small, proud accomplishments at Behrend. It’s been awesome to help other students have a positive experience at Behrend, and help them make important decisions that will impact the rest of their lives.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: I really love arts and crafts. Being able to create something beautiful with my hands, whether it’s a repurposed jewelry stand or a fun hand-lettered quote, is a stress-reliever for me.

Advice for current students: Get out of your comfort zone. You’d be surprised how much you grow when you become comfortable with being uncomfortable. Sometimes that means changing your major, joining a club or organization, or moving away to a new city.

Following her graduation in May, Catalina will participate in a two-year rotational program at LORD Corporation with roles in engineering, manufacturing, and business at the company’s Erie and Cary, North Carolina, locations.

Students Win Undergraduate Research Awards

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Annually, Penn State Behrend provides nearly $350,000 in undergraduate research support to provide incentive for student involvement in faculty research projects.

Students, who are eligible to receive awards of up to $2,600, are required to follow a formal proposal process, including selecting of a faculty mentor, developing a research project, composing a proposal, and undergoing a review process at the school and college level.

We’d like you to meet two of the newest winners—Olivia D’Annibale and Jessica Stoker.

olivia d'annibale1

Olivia D’Annibale, above, a senior Biology major, was the recipient of a $2,600 Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Award to work with Dr. Michael Campbell, professor of Biology and associate director of the School of Science, in his molecular lab doing research on potatoes and their reaction to a sprout suppressant.

“I’ve been involved in undergraduate research since my freshman year, and it’s been a very rewarding and educational experience,” D’Annibale said. “Dr. Campbell and I submitted a paper to the American Journal of Potato Research and I just got the news that the paper is officially published online!” (Read it here.)

D’Annibale plans to attend graduate school following her graduation in May. In the future, she hopes to be a genetic counselor and help those dealing with genetic diseases and concerns.

Jessica Stoker, a senior Psychology major, was the recipient of a $2,600 Council of Fellows Undergraduate Student Research Award to work on research projects with two associate professors of psychology: “Meta-Analysis of Sexual Assault Prevention Programs” with Dr. Melanie Hetzel-Riggen and “The Influence of Money on Romantic Couple Decision Making and Attachment, Social Support, and Pain” with Dr. Carol Wilson.

Stoker served as the lead student researcher and assisted in various facets of the projects from literature review to study design and procedure as well as coding and analysis of behavior observation. She also presented her work at the Sigma Xi Undergraduate Research and Creative Accomplishment Conference and the Pennsylvania Midwestern Psychological Association Meeting in Chicago, and the Society of Personality and Social Psychology Annual Convention in San Diego.

“My research experience at Behrend has inspired me to continue with a career in research and academia,” Stoker said. “It has provided numerous opportunities for exploring new ideas and interests, experiences, networking, and mentoring.

Stoker has been accepted into the Experimental Psychology Ph.D. program at Idaho State University following her graduation in May. She hopes to pursue a career in psychological research and academia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class of 2016: Meet Brittany Ochs (Plastics Engineering Technology)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Brittany Ochs.

Brittany Ochs2

Major: Plastics Engineering Technology

Hometown: Lucinda, Pennsylvania

On choosing to major in Plastics Engineering Technology: I have always been interested in math, science, and art. I also enjoyed working with my dad at our farm back home and tearing things apart and putting them back together. This major allows me to use my creativity and art to design parts and molds, my math and science skills to perform experiments and analyze data, and my hands to work with the equipment. It’s all the things that I enjoy.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Winning first place in a Society for Professional Engineers blow-molding design contest.

Campus involvement: I’m the president of the plastics engineering technology club and a member of the National Society for Leadership and Success, Society of Plastics Engineers, and Society of Women Engineers. I’m also a STEM scholarship recipient and a member of two national honor societies, Tau Alpha Pi and Lambda Sigma.

What you’d be surprised to know about her: Eventually, I’d like to own a small farm and raise beef cattle.

Personal passions: I love the outdoors, hunting, and sports.

Advice for current students: Do not be afraid to ask for help!

Brittany has accepted a position as a process engineer at US Endoscopy following her graduation in May.

Class of 2016: Meet Tyler Tracy (Secondary Math Education and Mathematics)

By Heather Cass
Publications & Design Coordinator, Penn State Behrend

Penn State Behrend’s class of 2016 is ready to make its mark on the world!  We’re proud of our students and the things they’ve accomplished and learned while here at Behrend.  Over the next couple months, we’ll be introducing you to a few of our remarkable seniors who have overcome challenges, pioneered new technology, participated in important research projects, and left an impression at Penn State Behrend.

Today, we’d like you to meet Tyler Tracy

tyler tracy1

Major(s): Secondary Math Education and Mathematics

Minor: Statistics

Hometown: Chippewa, Pennsylvania

On choosing to major in Secondary Math Education: Teaching math is something I’ve enjoyed since high school. Seeing students succeed and grow as individuals is worth all the invested time.

Proudest accomplishment at Behrend: Receiving the Outstanding Math Tutor Award from the college’s Learning Resource Center. My time working as a head math tutor for the LRC and helping so many of my fellow students figure out how math works has been a truly rewarding experience for me.

Mind over math: I think the biggest obstacle for some people who don’t like math is the belief that they are not good at math and never will be. A fixed mindset like that will hinder learning. But if you go into it with a growth mindset and an attitude that you can accomplish anything with hard work and dedication, you’ll be able to learn it.

Campus involvement: I’m the head math tutor for the LRC, a GRE Prep Session instructor, and a teaching assistant in physics. I’m also a member of the math club.