Remembering Milt Feldman

Our May/June issue features a profile of Milt Feldman ’47, a World War II veteran who survived both the Battle of the Bulge and—particularly daunting given his Jewish heritage—a Nazi POW camp. Milt died in March at age 95, just as we were wrapping up the issue, so he never got to see our piece, but he did tell his story in a book, Captured, Frozen, Starved—and Lucky. Milt was adamant the rest of his life how lucky he was to have survived the war. As a small nod to so many others who never came home, we’re proud to share Milt’s story here.

Ryan Jones, editor

May 25, 2020 at 6:38 pm Leave a comment

Inside our May/June issue

We don’t operate in a vacuum, and for that reason, while much of the Penn Stater that will be arriving in members’ mailboxes in the coming days is the issue we had mapped out before the campus closures and self-quarantine orders, the final product does reflect our current reality: insight from Penn State President Eric Barron, a look at university researchers’ response to COVID-19, first-person perspective from graduating senior and lacrosse standout Brittany Dolan, and a look at how the pandemic tabled promising seasons for basketball star Lamar Stevens and other Nittany Lion athletes.

You’ll also learn about the service and sacrifice of WWII veteran Milt Feldman ’47, a Jewish-American soldier who survived both the Battle of the Bulge and a Nazi prison camp. Feldman’s reflections on war and his prayers for peace are detailed in a recently published book, Captured, Frozen, Starved, and Lucky: How One Jewish American GI Survived a Nazi Stalag, excerpts of which appear beginning on p. 44.

Plus, you’ll meet Jess Weiner ’95, a consultant who has made a career out of helping women and brands see the value in inclusiveness and female empowerment. Her story begins on p. 34. And see how Rob Roeser, Penn State’s first professor of caring and compassion, combines mindfulness with modern neuroscience to help students be calmer, focused, and more engaged. His story begins on p. 28.

Also inside: a feature spread taking you inside the Penn State Bakery and how it manages to fulfill orders for baked goods, in particular its signature chocolate chip cookie (p. 42); a look at how World Campus is helping one Brandywine student finish her degree 40 years after she started (p. 14); and an appreciation on the legacy of retiring editor and industry legend Tina Hay ’83, whose vision and storytelling prowess shaped this magazine into one of the nation’s best (p.56).

Finally, we want to hear how the COVID-19 pandemic is impacting you. We’re asking readers to share stories of how you’re adapting to this new shared reality, and how it’s impacted your family, your work, your studies, and your community. We plan to incorporate your stories in our expanded coverage of the virus in our July/August issue. Email your stories, 250 words or less, to heypennstater@psu.edu. Submissions may be edited for length and clarity.

It’s all in our May/June issue, arriving in mailboxes soon.

 

—B.J. Reyes, associate editor

 

April 23, 2020 at 11:41 am Leave a comment

Inside our March/April issue

Who knew a magnified image of T cells attacking a cancer cell could double as art? (Image by Madhuri Dey)

When materials science researchers dive deep into the substances they study, the resulting images are often surprisingly artistic, especially when colored to display the researchers’ creative sides. The annual Materials Visualization Competition encourages these researchers to be creative with some of their findings, with the elemental particles of the materials resembling everything from a child’s toy xylophone to scoops of ice cream. The cover story of our March/April issue features some of the most compelling images from the competition in a photo feature beginning on p. 28.

We also take a look at science from another angle: In an era of dizzying, sometimes unchecked, scientific progress, how much is too much? Renowned biochemist Paul Berg, Penn State’s sole Nobel Prize winner and a giant in his field, might ultimately be remembered for sounding the alarm and urging restraint on such progress. Our profile of Berg begins on p. 38. And a new book by Penn State historian A.K. Sandoval-Strausz showcases how Latinx immigrants helped prop up America’s cities during the postwar period, and how that influence continues today. A Q&A with Sandoval-Strausz begins on p. 44.

Plus: Learn how the “Living Filter” at University Park converts wastewater to groundwater for irrigating fields and farmland (p. 36); get up-to-date on research behind a potential new fast-charging battery for electric cars (p. 19); and meet the unlikely running duo of Tom Sciabica and Gregory Fleck (p. 24).

—B.J Reyes, associate editor

March 2, 2020 at 3:03 pm Leave a comment

Inside our November/December issue

He might not have invented the corn maze, but Hugh McPherson saw early on that with some ingenuity and a little entrepreneurial spirit, this agricultural novelty could be part of a larger business model. Today, McPherson ’97 markets corn maze designs and know-how far and wide, all while operating his own agricultural theme park on his family farm in York County. Learn all about this agribusiness innovator in our November/December issue. The story begins on page 32.

We also take a look at the university’s sustainability efforts, and how chief sustainability officer Paul Shrivastava is using a United Nations model as he crafts policy that will have an impact far beyond Penn State. Our feature package begins on page 40. And meet Clarence Lang, the new dean of the College of the Liberal Arts, who talks of his priorities, his predecessor, and the state of the liberal arts. That interview starts on page 52.

Plus, read how Joe Kovacs ’11 won a second world championship in shot put in record-setting style (p. 28); learn how Career Services’ Professional Attire Closet helps students prepare for job interviews by helping them find the clothes they need to make a memorable first impression (p. 62); and meet Tyler Spangler, a 13-year-old who is already on his second college calculus class at Penn State York (p. 16).

It’s all in our November/December issue, arriving in mailboxes soon.

—B.J. Reyes, associate editor

 

October 24, 2019 at 10:56 pm 1 comment

Inside Our September/October Issue

For the cover story of our September/October issue, we gathered student, administrative, and alumni perspective on the challenges facing a Greek system that has faced increasing scrutiny in recent years, particularly since the 2017 hazing death of undergraduate Timothy Piazza. Our feature package includes a conversation with President Barron and student affairs vice president Damon Sims focused on the university’s efforts to create a sustainable future for Greek life on campus, and position Penn State as a leader in a national reform effort. We also hear from former IFC president John Lord ’19, while writer Michael Weinreb ’94 examines the history of the Greek system, and looks back on his own fraternity days. The cover feature begins on p. 30.

Also inside: Meet Jamal Itani ’85, the mayor of Beirut, Lebanon, who seeks to transform his historic hometown into a gateway between East and West, while simultaneously dealing with everyday civic issues. Senior editor Savita Iyer traveled to Beirut to spend time with Itani for the feature that begins on p. 42. And take a trip down memory lane to see how downtown State College has transformed over the years, from the names on the storefronts to two-way traffic on College Avenue. The photo feature begins on p. 50.

Plus, see how one Penn Stater is seeking to make the tech industry more inclusive; get the low-down on how to cut down on your sugar intake; and get to know one alum trying to keep the Los Angeles Dodgers in World Series contention—by keeping them healthy.

It’s all in our September/October issue, arriving in mailboxes soon.

—B.J. Reyes, associate editor

 

 

 

 

August 21, 2019 at 1:26 pm 1 comment

“The Last Day” Is Here

I had a chance a couple of weeks ago to drop in on an early rehearsal for The Last Day, a new musical commissioned by the School of Theatre and written by Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger. If one of those names looks familiar, it’s most likely Reid ’69, the former Nittany Lion football All-American and NFL standout who has enjoyed a long career as a singer, songwriter and composer.

The show, directed by John Simpkins, head of the musical theatre program, tells the story of “a young man tormented by a secret he has never shared. As he ends his junior year of musical theatre university training, he is dropped from the program as his secret overtakes him. Over the course of one night, his peers attempt to show him the value of his life and they all discover much they never realized about themselves.”

The cast is made up entirely of undergrads from the musical theatre department, one of the most selective of its kind in the country—point being, there’s a lot of talent on hand. And good thing—as Reid told WPSU this week, “What I hope the show reveals is, in the midst of crisis, how groups of people can come together and feel more a sense of authentic community … When you have something like that, you have people operating from a very high emotional level, it really opens the door for lots of music.”

Having spent some time with Reid since he’s been on campus the past few weeks, I can vouch for the thoughtfulness that infuses his work. The show opens tonight at the Penn State Downtown Theatre and runs through Saturday, June 15, and again June 19-22. You can find tickets here.

Ryan Jones, editor

June 12, 2019 at 1:57 pm Leave a comment

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