Posts filed under ‘Alumni Association’

Ava Terosky Cooks Her Way to the White House

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There may come a day where we write about Ava Terosky as a Penn State alumna who is revered for her work in software engineering or photography.

For now, Ava—the 9-year-old daughter of two alums, Jeff ’95 and Aimee LaPointe Terosky ’95—is one of the best young chefs in America. She recently won a cooking contest which gave her the opportunity to go to the White House and have lunch with Michelle Obama and 55 other chefs between the ages of 8 and 12.

Her winning dishes were a spinach and mushroom omelette and a fruit and yogurt parfait, both shaped like dogs in honor of the Obama family’s two Portuguese water dogs. Part of the inspiration for the way she presented her dishes came from the food she prepares for her younger sister, a picky eater who is more compelled to eat Ava’s cooking when it looks like an animal.

When asked if she was surprised by the fact that her dish won, Ava (who also recently cooked with famed Philly chef Marc Vetri) told Billy Penn “I knew I was going to win, I just knew it.”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 21, 2016 at 9:05 am Leave a comment

Ty Burrell Talks ‘Finding Dory’

Ty Burrell is one of the many big names in Finding Dory, the sequel to 2003’s Finding Nemo. Burrell ’97g provides the voice for a beluga whale named Bailey who is convinced that he cannot use echolocation after hitting his head.

As is the norm for a movie this big (so far, it has made nearly $650 million worldwide), Burrell made a number of media appearances prior to its release where he discussed various aspects of his character’s role. During one appearance on The Talk, Burrell explained how he had an idea for what Bailey should sound like, which was shot down after one take.

In an interview that Burrell gave to ABC Radio, he explained how he was excited to join this project. Burrell knew that he was about to get a phone call from Pixar regarding Finding Dory, so when the call came, he picked up the phone and answered “Yes, I’ll do it. Who is this?”

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

July 12, 2016 at 12:34 pm Leave a comment

Jean Craighead George is a Hall of Famer



The New York State Writers Hall of Fame enshrined eight new members on June 7. Among those inducted was Jean Craighead George ’41, who passed away in 2012 at 92.

George was a renowned author of books for children. Her most famous work is Julie of the Wolves, which won the Newbery Medal – given annually to “the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children” – in 1973. Additionally, her book My Side of the Mountain was a runner-up for the same award in 1960.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

June 15, 2016 at 12:04 pm Leave a comment

Mandy Eagler’s Graduation Day

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Last Wednesday’s episode of The Today Show featured a video package about the stigma surrounding women’s mental health. Included in the video was Mandy Eagler ’16, a Penn State alumna who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder stemming from her time serving in Afghanistan with the United States military.

Eagler’s full story was published in a recent edition of AlumnInsider. She took courses via Penn State World Campus while she was overseas and attended Penn State Shenango when she came back to the U.S. She has since become an advocate for female veterans who suffer from PTSD.

Earlier this month, Eagler graduated from Penn State and served as Shenango’s commencement speaker.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

May 31, 2016 at 3:10 pm Leave a comment

Keegan-Michael Key on Why He Chose Penn State


Keegan-Michael Key ’96 and his frequent collaborator, Jordan Peele, have done a number of media appearances recently to promote their new movie Keanu. One appearance stood out to us because Key mentioned one of the reasons why he chose to attend Penn State.

The duo appeared on a podcast, and Key (last year’s Homecoming grand marshal, in case you forgot) mentioned that he loves the bond that forms between fathers and sons over sports. He then explained that watching one of his father’s friends cheer for a number of Penn Staters who played for the Pittsburgh Steelers – he mentioned players like Jack Ham ’71 and Franco Harris ’72 – helped turn him on to the university.

Key and Peele are great on this podcast, so listening to the whole thing is recommended (even though the host’s voice is a bit grating). If you’d like to jump to Key’s bit about Penn State, head to the 56:39 mark.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

May 2, 2016 at 11:16 am 1 comment

Alex Ricker-Gilbert’s Big Promotion



Alex Ricker-Gilbert ’09 is the new athletic director at Jacksonville University. Ricker-Gilbert, who is one of youngest athletic directors (if not the youngest) in Division I at age 28, was promoted to the role on Wednesday after joining JU as the school’s associate athletic director for compliance and student-athlete services in 2014. He will start his new job on May 1.

Back in January, Ricker-Gilbert became the school’s senior associate athletic director of administration. According to, he was groomed for the AD job by the man he’s replacing, Donnie Horner. In the same article, Ricker-Gilbert said that his time at Penn State led to him dreaming of becoming an athletic director some day.

Ricker-Gilbert is a third-generation Penn Stater, as his grandparents (Ralph Ricker ’29 and Virginia Dale Ricker ’29), aunt (Mary Virginia Ricker ’62), and mother (Heather Ricker-Gilbert ’69) all attended Penn State. His father, Harvey, is a former head of the university’s Department of Communication Sciences and Disorders.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

April 28, 2016 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

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