Posts filed under ‘The Penn Stater magazine’

Behind the Scenes at the Nittany Lion Photo Shoot

lion shootWe weren’t exactly sure what to expect when we scheduled a photo shoot with the Nittany Lion for our Nov./Dec. cover. Would he show up at Hintz Family Alumni Center dressed in his fur? Would he have an entourage? The fall is his busiest time of year—how long would he actually be able to stay? Photographer Bill Cardoni arrived early that October morning to set up the backdrop and test the lighting. Shortly after, the student arrived in his street clothes with a bag over his shoulders; he said hello, shook hands, and carried in a few extra props that we still needed for the story. We thought that he was making an extra trip out to his car, but then he… disappeared. I glanced at my phone and saw this text message from him: “I’m almost done getting dressed. Any last minute things you need to communicate before I can’t talk?”

Photograph by CARDONI

Photograph by CARDONI

Well, didn’t see that one coming. I replied, “I think we’re good. We’ll direct you in the shoot.” And, about five minutes after sending that text, the Lion came bouncing into the conference room. He clapped his hands, as if he were arriving at Beaver Stadium, and even passed out Penn State buttons to us. The “student” with whom I had been working on the story was nowhere to be seen, but the Lion had arrived.

Later in the shoot, the photographer asked the Lion to jump. The Lion nodded OK, gave a quick glance over his shoulder, and didn’t just “jump,” but totally stuck a backflip. When we asked him to hold the cowbell for a picture, he couldn’t help but bang on it and look toward us to deliver the “P-S-U” chant. And when he put on the “Thriller” jacket, he danced as if he was in front of 94,000 fans.

Suffice it to say, it was a pretty fun photo shoot. And when it was time to go, the Lion grabbed his things, motioned to all of us goodbye—a pat on the back, a kiss on the hand, a big wave from his furry paw—and he was gone.

Amy Downey, senior editor

November 13, 2015 at 10:46 am 1 comment

The Goal-Oriented Lindsey Spann

Photo via Bill Cardoni

Photo via Bill Cardoni

There’s a notebook in Lindsey Spann’s bedroom. In it are all of the goals that she sets for herself as a student-athlete. Sometimes the redshirt sophomore guard achieves them, other times she does not, but every year, Spann sits down and lists what she wants to accomplish.

What are these goals? Not many people know, as she has limited the number of people who are aware of them ever since she began this exercise as a high schooler. Whatever they were, this list of goals helped motivate Spann to a breakout year in 2014.

Spann’s career in the blue and white got off to a rocky start. In her first practice as a true freshman in 2013, the Maryland native tore her ACL, which sidelined her for the year. Spann sat and watched as the Lady Lions went 24-8, won the Big Ten, and made their second Sweet Sixteen in three years.

But while the team was excelling on the court, Spann was working in the weight room. She spent the entire year rehabilitating her knee and made such a positive impression that at season’s end she received the Robin Lombard Award, given to players who possess “qualities that exemplify the true spirit of Lady Lion basketball.” Spann’s hard work off the court led to additional recognition from the coaching staff – she was named one of the team’s tri-captains for the 2014-15 season, which for a redshirt freshman is quite the accomplishment.

“It is something you don’t see a lot, but (coach) Coquese (Washington) trusted me with that role and I feel like having that role last year really prepared me to be a leader throughout life and with this team,” Spann said.

From the start of last season, Spann established herself as the squad’s go-to scorer. Her team-high 13.2 points per game made her the fifth freshman to lead the team in scoring since 1980, and the first since Maggie Lucas in 2010-11. Spann’s success doesn’t just occur on the hardwood: the communications major was an Academic All-Big Ten honoree in 2014, and she’s a member of Penn State’s Athletic Director’s Institute of Leadership.

Now, with the season around the corner, Spann has a brand new list of goals. Like always, these goals will encompass her entire life. And like always, these goals will be kept close to the Lady Lions’ star’s heart.

The Lady Lions’ 2015-16 season kicks off on Friday, Nov. 13, when the team hosts Holy Cross at the Bryce Jordan Center. The game is scheduled to tip off at 7 p.m.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

November 4, 2015 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

A Look Back At Our May/June 2006 Issue

May/June 2006 Cover

Penn State boasts one of the premier forensic science programs in America. Our May/June 2006 issue looked at the program, which began offering courses that spring, through a staged murder at Spruce Cottage on Penn State’s campus. Students are asked to perform a variety of tasks while instructors look on, giving them experience analyzing a crime scene. Once everything is examined, the students put together a full report on what they believe happened and close the “case.”

In the real world, other professionals, such as the police and the district attorney, would be in charge of the arrest and trial, so the forensic science students’ work on this case is mostly over. Besides, soon they will have a new case to solve: A mannequin is set to meet an untimely death by gunfire next Monday.

This issue also pays homage to the Nittany Lion Inn’s 75th birthday, which occurred that May. There’s a story on Bennett Levin ’61, ’65g, a member of the Lexington Group in Transportation History and the owner of several refurbished train cars, along with a feature on Eddie Wagner ’41, who lost his life during World War II. In 1960, Penn State honored Wagner by naming the school’s ROTC building after him.
Do you have a copy of the issue? If so, we’d love to see it. Feel free to post it on our Facebook wall, or send a tweet to @PennStaterMag.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

October 22, 2015 at 4:00 pm Leave a comment

A Look Back At Our March/April 2006 Issue

March/April '06

A decade ago, Penn State fielded one of the best football teams in the nation. The 2005 Nittany Lions went 11-1, locked up the program’s first Big Ten title since 1994, won the Orange Bowl, and finished as the No. 3 team in America. Our March/April 2006 issue looked back on some of the defining moments from that team, which included a few lows (namely a controversial loss to Michigan and losing its best player, Paul Posluszny ’06, to a knee injury), but had exponentially higher highs, like the bowl win or taking down sixth-ranked Ohio State in what is considered one of the best games in Beaver Stadium history.

This issue also featured a story on Steve Jabo ’84, a vertebrate paleontologist at the National Museum of Natural History. Jabo mainly works with fossils and once was a member of a team that excavated a Tyrannosaurus rex. There’s also a story on Penn State’s gross anatomy lab, which is unique in that it let students at the College of Medicine work on whole cadavers.

Do you have a copy of the issue? If so, we’d love to see it. Feel free to post it on our Facebook wall, or send a tweet to @PennStaterMag.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

October 15, 2015 at 2:45 pm Leave a comment

A Look Back At Our September/October 1994 Issue

Screen Shot 2015-10-08 at 2.15.41 PM

Penn State joined the Big Ten in 1990. Along with the athletic benefits that came from joining a major conference, our Sept./Oct. 1994 issue points out that there were academic benefits that came with the move. Namely, Penn State joined the Committee on Institutional Cooperation, which is made up of every Big Ten school and the University of Chicago. Here’s what then-executive vice president and provost John Brighton had to say about the CIC:

“The academic implications of the Big Ten and the CIC are far more important than the athletic implications, though the two are not in conflict or competition. The vastness and magnitude of CIC efforts will help us improve the way we do things. We are are now exchanging ideas—on a regular basis—with a group of schools that rank among the best research universities in the country.”

This issue also includes a look at some of the diners that used to be in State College, which was a diner hotbed. There is also a profile on author Alecia Swasy ’85, a story on beagles tasked with sniffing out agricultural contraband, and a collection of the best student poetry from the College of the Liberal Arts’ Katey Lehman Creative Writing Awards.

Do you have a copy of the issue? If so, we’d love to see it. Feel free to post it on our Facebook wall, or send a tweet to @PennStaterMag.

October 8, 2015 at 1:47 pm Leave a comment

Some Advice and Humor from Farnoosh Torabi


To say that Farnoosh Torabi has accomplished a few things since I last saw her would be an understatement. Back in the spring of 2008, we asked Torabi ’02 to host a New York City roundtable of economic experts—all Penn Staters—for a story on the economic crisis for the magazine. I don’t think I’ve had occasion to talk to her since then.

But about that “since then”: Let’s just say she’s been busy. She’s written three books, earned the Alumni Association’s Alumni Achievement Award, gotten married, had a kid, launched a podcast (So Money, named the No. 1 podcast of 2015), appeared on the Today show a bunch of times, and formed her own enterprise: Farnoosh Inc. You may have seen our short profile of her in our Sept./Oct. 2015 issue.

Today she spoke at the Penn State Forum luncheon, offering some advice and humor from her most recent book: When She Makes More: 10 Rules for Breadwinning Women. 

There’s a lot of evidence, Torabi says, that a woman who makes more money than her husband can face tough challenges: Couples in which the woman is the breadwinner have a 50 percent higher divorce rate, and the husband is five times more likely to cheat, to name just two statistics. Not to mention the frustration and resentment the woman might feel—or the judgmental comments from her family or friends.

Her book offers 10 suggestions; in the luncheon today at the Nittany Lion Inn, Torabi spotlighted three of them: (more…)

October 2, 2015 at 2:42 pm Leave a comment

Eating Local—and Eating Well—on Campus

If you’re a foodie who lives reasonably close to State College—and assuming you don’t already have dinner plans tonight—you might want to think about swinging by Redifer Commons. Tuesday night is the latest installment of Redifer’s twice-annual “Local Food Night,” in which guests can try an entire meal made from food sourced within 150 miles of campus. Tuesday’s local offerings, which will be served at Piatto Felice, feature an entree option of grilled beef skirt steak or toasted local creamy cow cheese on focaccia with a honey glaze, along with baked Provence-style stuffed vegetables with sharp cheddar and roasted grapes, and an heirloom tomato and romaine salad with fresh basil and herb dressing.Redifer-Sustainable-Dinner-Sign-FA15

I know. It sounds pretty good.

I first heard about these local dinners—which are open to everyone, and run just $7.99—while reporting on the “eating across campus” feature we’re working on for our Nov/Dec issue. While wrapping up the actual eating portion of my reporting last week, I had a chance to talk with Stephane Gawlowicz, the French (and French-trained) chef who oversees all the food prep at Redifer, and who will be preparing tonight’s meal. We’ll have more on Gawlowicz in the magazine soon, but for now, it’s worth checking out this interview with him conducted by a member of Penn State’s new student farm.

And yes, you read that right—the university has a new student-centered farm, which is another topic you might be reading about soon in the magazine. The cool tie-in here? The romaine lettuce in tonight’s meal was grown by students.

If you make it over there, lettuce—er, sorry … let us know if dinner was as delicious as it sounds.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 22, 2015 at 9:28 am Leave a comment

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