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

For Kwame Alexander, a Resounding “Yes”

Through multiple revisions and repeated rejections, Kwame Alexander continued to believe that the book that would become The Crossover was “the best thing I’d ever written.” It seemed like no one would agree with him—18 editors turned down the manuscript, leaving Alexander to settle on publishing it himself—before one company finally bought the book. It was a smart choice: Published last year, The Crossover was awarded the 2015 Newbery Medal as the best children’s book of the year.

Alexander accepts the Lee Bennett Hopkins award Thursday at Paterno Library

Alexander accepts the Lee Bennett Hopkins award Thursday at Paterno Library

On Thursday, Alexander was on campus to accept another honor: the Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award, give annually for “the most outstanding new book of children’s poetry.” The award is named for Hopkins, the prolific children’s poet and Scranton native, and presented by the Penn State Libraries and the Pennsylvania Center for the Book. For Alexander, who remembered reading Hopkins as a child and then reading Hopkins to his own daughter, said receiving the award “felt like coming full circle.”

The Crossover started, Alexander says, as “a book of poems that were linked. I didn’t realize it was a story.” The final version, a “novel in verse,” tells the story of tight-knit, basketball-loving twin brothers who face conflict and family tragedy. The book’s bumpy path to publishing—Alexander say he was told “boys don’t like poetry, and girls don’t like basketball”—taught him to “accept the no’s.” After absorbing all that rejection, the eventual “yes” was that much sweeter.

An eager advocate for the use of poetry in education, Alexander called the form “the bridge that gets students to appreciate language and literature.” With a freshly signed copy of The Crossover in hand, I’m looking forward to sharing that bridge with my own kids this weekend.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

October 2, 2015 at 5:39 am 1 comment

A Look Inside Our September/October 1992 Issue


The cover of our Sept/Oct 1992 issue featured a hand-written, medieval “Book of Hours” from 1490. It resided in the Rare Books Room in Pattee Library, which holds a wide range of special publications and has featured things like original folios by William Shakespeare and a single leaf of the Gutenberg Bible. The collection has been built up in a variety of ways, from catalogs to fortunate circumstances, helping Penn State put together a room full of literary history.

Also in the issue are features on the United States Cycling Federation Olympic Road Trials and National Championships in Altoona leading up to the Barcelona Olympics, forensic entomologists using insects to solve crimes, Dixieland jazz band The Tarnished Six, and the way communication technology impacts policy during wartime.

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 1, 2015 at 2:49 pm Leave a comment

Never Graduate

In our most recent issue, we profiled Jesse Scott ’03a, ’06, ’10g, who has been a student at three different Penn State campuses over the last 14 years. Scott’s streak of being enrolled 29 consecutive semesters caught the attention of Susan Craig ’82, ’87g, ’91g, ’02g, who spent 29 straight years as a Penn State student.

Craig’s academic career began in 1973 and ended in 2002 after four degrees, culminating in her doctorate. Craig says she worked full-time for most of her academic career and that she was enrolled in at least one course—and often more—every semester.

Craig must really love higher education: she’s spent the last 13 years teaching at the University of Central Florida.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

October 1, 2015 at 10:16 am Leave a comment

Matt Lehman is Going Racing

Photo via Patrick Mansell

Photo via Patrick Mansell

Matt Lehman has had an interesting life since graduation. The former Nittany Lion tight end tried out for a few NFL squads and worked at a pizza parlor as he tried to make his way back from a knee injury that ended his collegiate career.

Lehman ’13 never caught on in the NFL, but he still ended up with a career in sports: Lehman will join NASCAR’s Hendrick Motorsports as a pit crew recruit. Lehman was introduced last week at the team’s inaugural signing day event and will fill the role of a fueler/jackman.

There’s no word on when Lehman will debut, but we’re always excited to see Lions make it to the pros.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

September 30, 2015 at 9:53 am Leave a comment

BTN Finds ‘Treasure’ at the All-Sports Museum

We just got a heads up from Ken Hickman ’98, director of the Penn State All-Sports Museum, encouraging us to tune in (or set our DVRs) for tonight’s episode of Big Ten Treasure Hunter on the Big Ten Network. The show, in which a BTN “expert” searches out and appraises memorabilia related to Big Ten schools, will feature both the All-Sports Museum and the private collection of George Henning ’63, who—if you don’t know—boasts what might be the greatest Penn State collection anywhere. You can check out this old USA Today feature to get an idea of Henning’s dedication, and tune in to BTN tonight at 8 p.m. EST for the episode.

And of course, next time you’re on campus, make time to check out the All-Sports Museum in person.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

September 29, 2015 at 11:19 am Leave a comment

NYC Loves These Penn State French Fries

Actors have the Oscars. Athletes have the Olympics. As for food trucks and street fare vendors in major cities? Well, they have the Vendy Awards.

Many compete; few win. But this year, a panel of celebrity judges voted a trio of Penn Staters—and their French fry food stand, Home Frite—as the 2015 choice for best market fare in NYC. (Other Vendy categories: Best Dessert, Best Drink, Rookie of the Year, and People’s Choice.)


       Photograph by Crystal Lingle

This is awesome news for the company—Ian Vernon ’07, Crystal Lingle ’11, and Maxwell Hawk ’15—that launched just a few years ago. “A Belgian frite with a Brooklyn vibe” is the concept behind the hand-cut fries paired with gourmet dipping sauces. The fries, which you can get in a range of flavors from truffle to boardwalk, are served in a paper cone with an adorable pocket for the sauce (think: lemon garlic aioli, curry ketchup, and peanut satay). Since the Vendy Awards, they made fries on the Rachael Ray Show, received Instagram praise from Bethenny Frankel, and were interviewed for Oprah. “Winning the award was a true honor and a great way to be recognized for all of the hard work that we do,” says Lingle. “While it’s a simple idea, there is a lot you can do to wow people.”

While I’m sure Penn State transplants love to find Home Frite stands in East River and Prospect Parks on the weekends, whaddya say you pack up and head across I-80 for a little road trip? I’m sure you could also find a nice little home on College or Beaver Ave. (TIA!)

Amy Downey, senior editor

September 28, 2015 at 10:59 am Leave a comment

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