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Inside our September/October issue

Aside from the global pandemic, the summer of 2020 will be remembered for the nationwide protests against systemic racism and violence against Black Americans. Mindful of that context, we approached our September/October issue as a platform for Black alumni, students, and faculty to share their experiences and perspective.

Our cover story features former Nittany Lion and NFL defensive end Aaron Maybin, now an artist, activist, and teacher in his hometown of Baltimore. Maybin “went viral” in the winter of 2018, when a video he posted from a freezing elementary school classroom sparked outrage over the city’s inability to provide for the basic needs of its children. That moment amplified the local activism he’d been immersed in since the 2015 death of Freddie Gray in police custody, work that remains as relevant as ever. Maybin’s story begins on p. 40.

Also inside: We asked 11 Black alumni from the 1960s to today to share memories of their time on campus. That collection of alumni voices begins on p. 46. And we convened a roundtable discussion with faculty from Penn State’s African American Studies department to discuss the past, present, and future of the civil rights movement, connecting the dots between a fight that most consider a long-ago historical moment, but which these professors explain as an ongoing battle for equality. That feature begins on p. 30.

We’ll also introduce you to Tyla Swinton, the incoming president of the Black Law Student Association (p. 14); hear from Alumni Association president Randy Houston ’91 on the value of allyship and advocacy; and learn from a recent grad what it’s like trying to cover the summer of protest for Time magazine (p. 96). All that and much more in our September/October issue, arriving in mailboxes soon.

B.J. Reyes, associate editor

 

September 1, 2020 at 6:04 pm 2 comments

Inside our July/August issue

Our July/August issue highlights how the Penn State community has been impacted by—and is responding to—the COVID-19 pandemic. Our feature well is focused on stories of Penn Staters on the front lines of the pandemic fight, including a profile of alums Brett and Colleen Feldman, whose groundbreaking street medicine program serves the massive homeless population in Los Angeles. We also highlight the work of nurses and doctors across the country, from local hospitals to the national spotlight. Our “Front Lines” package begins on p. 30.

We also asked our readers to share how you’ve been coping with the pandemic. From stories of recovery after contracting the virus to gaining a new perspective on everyday life and work, we share nearly two dozen of your stories—that feature begins on p. 50.

And we spoke with some of Penn State’s international students who were forced spend the early months of the pandemic at their campuses across Pennsylvania, thousands of miles from home. Their stories begin on p. 60.

Plus: See how some of Penn State’s Olympic hopefuls are spending the time in quarantine (p. 24); meet Alexa Tiemann, a student volunteer firefighter with the Alpha Fire Company who stayed in State College during the shutdown (p. 14); and get Penn State research insights on a potential COVID-19 vaccine (p. 18).

It’s all in our July/August issue, arriving in mailboxes soon.

—B.J. Reyes, associate editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

July 1, 2020 at 2:30 pm 1 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

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