Posts filed under ‘Covers’

Our New Issue is Headed Your Way

July August 2014The July/August 2014 issue of The Penn Stater is hitting mailboxes this week. If you’ve already received your copy, you know that the cover features a striking image of war-torn Belgium during World War I. In the cover story, “World War I Revisited,” associate professor Sophie De Schaepdrijver talks about the lessons we can still learn from the Great War. With the centennial now approaching, De Schaepdrijver’s insights are both timely—and surprising.

In another feature, titled “Critical Condition,” you’ll learn about physician-turned-filmmaker (not to mention cancer survivor) Ryan McGarry ’05. His documentary, Code Black, chronicles life in Los Angeles County Hospital’s overcrowded ER. Released in June, the film is already earning buzz on the film-festival circuit.

“Plant Life” focuses on the career of Holly Shimizu ’76, who spent 14 years as executive director of the U.S. Botanic Garden in Washington, D.C.. Along with some lovely photos, the story features Shimizu’s best tips for amateur gardeners.

Other good stuff in the issue: A fun look at all the ways the university’s latest capital campaign is helping Penn Staters; a Q&A with a labor relations prof who thinks we should all put in fewer hours (really!); and a short profile of Pennsylvania’s official wine expert, Denise Gardner ’07.

Have you received the July/August issue yet? Let us know what you think. Comment below or email

Mary Murphy, associate editor





July 2, 2014 at 8:54 am 4 comments

New Issue: On the Way

coverOur March/April issue is hitting mailboxes this week — and, trust me, it’s a fun one.

Perhaps I’m a bit biased, considering I interviewed the eight alums featured in the cover story, “What’s So Funny.” But then again, there’s really no possible way to include Ty Burrell ’97g, Keegan-Michael Key ’96g, and six other hilarious writers and performers in one story without laughing—a lot—in the process. I hope you enjoy reading the piece as much as I enjoyed working on it.

Another feature in the issue focuses on some interesting research from labor and employment relations professor Alan Derickson. In his new book, Dangerously Sleepy: Overworked Americans and the Cult of Manly Wakefulness, Derickson explores the roots of America’s obsession with sacrificing sleep for work. Senior editor Lori Shontz ’91, ’13g interviewed Derickson about our country’s “complicated relationship with sleep,” which goes back further than you might think.

In “Old Made New,” you’ll learn about some cool renovation projects in the works around University Park. Here in the office, we were wowed by the computer renderings of the HUB-Robeson Center expansion and the new South Halls, complete with sleek modular furniture and private bathrooms.

Other good stuff in the March/April issue: The details on a new, lifesaving “kidney swap” program at Penn State Hershey, a short feature on football coach James Franklin, and an introduction to Penn State’s new president, Eric Barron.

Have you received the latest issue? What do you think? Tell us at or in the comments below.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

February 26, 2014 at 4:26 pm 4 comments

Inside Our Latest Issue

JF_coverHad a chance to peek through our latest issue? The Jan./Feb. 2014 issue of The Penn Stater likely arrived in your mailbox sometime over the last week or so; our office copies were patiently awaiting us yesterday when we returned from the holiday break.

Some highlights from the new issue:

—The cover story, “Wired for Learning,” is a photo-filled virtual tour of the Paterno and Pattee Libraries. Especially if you haven’t been on campus in a while, you’ll be surprised by how much has changed. The library is not only outfitted with the latest technology, but, as senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 discovered firsthand, it’s becoming the place to “see and be seen” on campus. Thanks to group study rooms, TV lounges, and tons of computer workstations, the library now rivals the HUB as University Park’s most social spot.

—In November, when senior editor Lori Shontz ’91 came back from Discovery-U, a daylong event at which Penn State scientists and engineers gave brief presentations on their research, she raved about the fascinating talk by Khanjan Mehta ’03g. Mehta’s controversial concept: that even the most brilliant-seeming ideas can—and often do—fail to effect real change. As director of Penn State’s Humanitarian Engineering and Social Entrepreneurship Program, Mehta helps students engineer ways to improve life for people in developing countries—and turn good ideas into workable solutions. An adapted version of his talk, “Why Ideas Fail,” is featured on page 26.

—”Shows of Support” is a behind-the-scenes look at USO tours as seen through the lens of Steve Manuel ’84, ’92g, who’s photographed dozens of USO tours all over the world. You’ll see some familiar faces in Manuel’s photos, as the tours often include big-name athletes and performers. And Manuel’s stories (like the one about comedian Dane Cook’s brush with heat stroke in Kuwait) are just as interesting as the images he’s captured.

What do you think of the new issue? Share your thoughts in the comments below, or send an email to

Mary Murphy, associate editor

January 3, 2014 at 4:53 pm Leave a comment

It’s Here: The July/August Issue

JA Cover orig text.inddActually, it’s not here — in our office, anyway. But the July/August issue has already made its way to plenty of readers’ mailboxes, even though our office copies aren’t due for another couple days.

If you’ve received your copy, we hope the cover got your attention. As Tina explained last week, our new art director, Marc Kauffman, enlisted the help of photo illustrator Aaron Goodman to create some cool designs featuring the Nittany Lion mascot for our cover story. Marc did some digging in the University archives and found tons of great photos of Nittany Lions past. (Be sure to check out the lion of the early 1960s, which we all agreed is the, uh, strangest iteration of the suit.)

For another feature, senior editor Lori Shontz ’91 traveled to Cuba on an Alumni Association trip back in March. As part of the cultural exchange—leisure trips to Cuba are forbidden for American visitors—Lori learned a lot about the country and its culture, including some contradictions that baffled even her Cuban tour guides. Lori tends to downplay her photography skills, but you’ll see that she captured some fantastic photos along the way, too.

Also in this issue: a profile of author David Morrell ’67g, ’70g, who’s written more than 30 thriller novels over the course of his career, including First Blood, on which the movie Rambo was based. In the feature, he sheds some light on the inspiration behind his latest novel, Murder as a Fine Art.

Other good stuff you’ll find in the July/August magazine: a profile of Nittany Lion offensive lineman John Urschel ’12, ’13g, who’s working toward his second master’s degree in mathematics; a recap of May’s Board of Trustees election, with a look at the three new members; and my thoughts on completing (OK, surviving) “Murph,” a CrossFit workout to honor Lt. Michael Murphy ’98.

Let us know what you think of the new issue. Comment below or email

Mary Murphy, associate editor 

June 24, 2013 at 10:33 am 1 comment

The May/June Issue is En Route

May June 2013Our May/June issue is hitting mailboxes this week, and Civil War buffs will instantly recognize that blue Union soldier’s cap on our cover.

On the 150th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg, senior editor Lori Shontz ’91  took part in the Alumni Association’s Civil War Study Tour — and met some interesting folks along the way. Calling these tourists “Gettysburg fans” sounds odd, but after reading the piece, titled “The Visitors,” we think you’ll understand why some Americans keep coming back to this historic place.

For another feature, “IM Legends,” I collected readers’ favorite memories from intramural sports at Penn State. Some of these stories had me laughing out loud, and choosing only a few to include in the magazine wasn’t easy. Also, be sure to check out the fantastic illustrations by artist Brian Ajhar.

In “Days in a Life,” you’ll see the work of photojournalist Will Yurman, who, for the past decade, has taken one photo each day. His work captures moments that might otherwise go unnoticed, including some wonderful shots of his kids and downtown State College. See even more photos from Yurman’s “A day A photo” project on his website.

Have you received your copy yet? Tell us what you think in the comments below or by emailing

Mary Murphy, associate editor

April 25, 2013 at 2:33 pm 1 comment

Introducing the March/April Issue

March April 2013

Have you received our March/April issue yet? If not, your copy’s well on its way.

That “Designing Woman” on our cover is Carrie Fishbein Robbins ’64, a Distinguished Alumna and long-time Broadway costume designer. The story, by Chris Raymond ’87, features photos of Carrie in her NYC studio filled with vintage costumes and accessories, all captured by photographer Deborah Feingold (whose work you might recognize).

Another feature story,“Future Tense,” is my Q&A with David Almeida, professor of human development and family studies here at University Park. He talked to me about his research into the physical consequences of daily stress. To borrow some Oprah lingo, I had lots of “Aha!” moments during our conversation—especially when Professor Almeida talked about strategies for keeping stress at bay.

And in “Students Without Borders,” by Erika Spicer, you’ll learn about undergrads who are traveling the world as part of some cool new classes at Penn State.

Other good stuff in this issue: a short profile of All-American wrestler Quentin Wright, a Penn State entomologist’s bedbug breakthrough, and updates on the Paternos’ response to the Freeh report and the lawsuit against the NCAA.

Tell us what you think of the March/April issue in the comments below, or drop us a line at

Mary Murphy, associate editor

February 28, 2013 at 5:30 pm 1 comment

Our Jan./Feb. Issue Has Arrived

2012 J-F prez searchAmid the flurry of news—and the flurry of snow that hit State College—during the holidays, the January/February 2013 issues arrived in our office, and likely, in your mailbox around the same time.

We hope the cover illustration by David Plunkert grabs your attention, and that the story, “Looking for a Head of State” by former Chronicle of Higher Education staff writer Kathryn Masterson, offers some insight into the search for the next Penn State president—the first such search in 18 years.

In the issue you’ll also find “The No. 1 That Got Away,” about the infamous 1993 Penn State basketball game vs. Indiana in Rec Hall. The article by Ryan Jones ’95—coinciding with the 20th anniversary of that game—has already prompted a few notes from readers who not-so-fondly remember the heartbreaking loss.

The new issue also includes a profile of Kurt Moses ’11h, a Holocaust survivor who readers may remember from his many guest-speaking gigs in Penn State classes; a look at the Palmer Museum staff’s favorite works of art; and coverage of the Penn State Child Sexual Abuse Conference along with updates on the Sandusky scandal fallout. The letters section contains a number of comments from readers about our November/December interview with Board of Trustees Chair Karen Peetz ’77, an interview that provoked strong reactions among alumni.

Let us know what you think of the new issue. Comment below or email

Mary Murphy, associate editor 

January 3, 2013 at 3:35 pm 4 comments

Another Cameo by ‘Forrest Grier’

Remember the July/August 2011 issue featuring Rosey Grier ’56 H&HD?

The cover shot was a play on Rosey’s Forrest Gump-like ubiquity in American history. From a friend to Jackie and Robert Kennedy in the 1960s, to a frequent guest star in ’70s sitcoms, to a player in the O.J. Simpson trial in the mid-’90s, Rosey just seems to pop up everywhere.

So it shouldn’t have surprised me, really, when Rosey’s name surfaced in a Wired magazine feature I read yesterday afternoon. The story explains the unlikely way the CIA helped smuggle six American embassy workers out of Iran in 1980. The plan was fascinatingly elaborate; the Americans were disguised as a Canadian film crew for a fictional production company, supposedly scouting out locations in Tehran for a fake sci-fi flick. It’s the true story behind Ben Affleck’s new movie, Argo, which opens today.

Where does Rosey Grier fit in? Well, the escape plan was so detailed that the fake movie required a real script. A Hollywood makeup artist hired by the CIA suggested a project he’d been approached about months earlier — a big-budget adaptation of a zany fantasy novel called Lord of Light, complete with robots, spaceships, and levitating cars. One of the film’s prospective stars: Rosey Grier.

The real movie fizzled out during the production stage in 1979, but the script, with its painstakingly detailed scenes and concept drawings, was a perfect candidate for the CIA’s ruse.

Makes me wonder if Rosey’s name comes up in Argo. Planning to see the movie this weekend? Let us know if Rosey gets a mention at

Mary Murphy, associate editor

October 12, 2012 at 4:16 pm Leave a comment

New Issue is En Route

When you pull the July/August issue out of your mailbox (at some point this week, for most readers), you’ll be greeted by a blue-and-white-wearing Bill O’Brien.

Senior editor Ryan Jones ’95 spent some time with O’Brien this spring as he made the media rounds on the Coaches Caravan tour and at other events. In the cover story, you’ll learn a little more about the new guy in town, his plan for Penn State football—and why he’s sporting that dogged expression on our cover.

The issue also features an in-depth infographic that we hope provides a better understanding of the history and make-up of the Penn State Board of Trustees, including comparisons to boards at peer institutions around the country.

Other highlights: Photos from a recent Alumni Association trip to China, a Q&A with children’s book expert Steven Herb, and a profile of an Ultimate Frisbee pioneer (with some cool action shots, to boot).

Have you received your copy yet? Let us know what you think in the comments below or by emailing

Mary Murphy, associate editor

June 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm 2 comments

More Underwater Photos from Jeremy Cohen

Cohen snapped this photo of a porcupinefish off the Kona Coast in Hawaii.

Early last year, we featured some of Jeremy Cohen’s underwater photography in our Jan./Feb. 2011 issue. (Remember that funky-looking reef squid on the cover?)

We got lots of feedback on the photos, and readers loved Cohen’s up-close-and-personal look at creatures we don’t often see.

Now there’s another opportunity to check out Cohen’s work. A photo exhibit, called “Eyes to Sea: Underwater Photography by Jeremy Cohen,” opened this week in the EMS Museum and Art Gallery in the Deike building.

Cohen, associate vice president and senior associate dean for undergraduate education at Penn State, is an avid scuba diver who’s photographed marine life all over the world, including Fiji, Indonesia, and Hawaii. Cohen’s goal with the exhibit: to make people more aware of the human impact on aquatic ecosystems.

Cohen’s photos will be on display through fall 2012.

 Mary Murphy, associate editor

April 27, 2012 at 3:21 pm Leave a comment

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