Posts filed under ‘From the Magazine’

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 3 comments

Heroes Among Us

 

In a different time, I would’ve hoped to spend a few days shadowing Brett ’03 and Corinne Andria Feldman ’02 as they made their rounds on the streets of Los Angeles. If only we’d found out about them a few months earlier.

Instead, we didn’t learn about the Feldmans until March, right as COVID-19 was beginning to take hold around the country. The alumni couple, who met as undergraduates in the kinesiology department at University Park, work together as physicians assistants and leading practitioners of street medicine—the provision of basic health care and social services to unsheltered homeless populations, delivered on the streets where they live and sleep. After running their own innovative practice in the Lehigh Valley for years, they were drawn in 2018 to Los Angeles, where the University of Southern California’s Keck School of Medicine recruited them to establish the first dedicated street medicine program at a major university. There, they serve the largest unsheltered homeless population in the United States.

Work that was already hugely relevant became even more so with the outbreak of a pandemic, and as we pulled together features for our July/August issue, the Feldmans’ story seemed too timely to ignore — even if the timing did rule out a trip to Los Angeles. Instead, they found time to share their story by phone, and we’re proud to be able to include that in our current issue, and to share it as a PDF here.

Ryan Jones, editor

 

 

July 5, 2020 at 4:35 pm Leave a comment

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 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 November/December Issue

Our November/December issue reunites us with Nittany Lion legend Curt Warner ’83 and previews his forthcoming book—written with his wife, Ana—which shares their story of raising a family that includes twin sons diagnosed with severe autism. Their collaborator calls it a “blisteringly honest” look at the challenges they’ve faced, but also one that’s very much a love story. The Warner Boys: Our Family’s Story of Autism and Hope is due out December 1, but available for pre-order now; you can read our feature on the Warner family starting on p. 40.

We’ll also take you into the School of Music’s brand new recital hall, with a look at how the building, and the school, have evolved to offer opportunities in both music performance and pedagogy, and how its new director hopes to expand the curriculum. The music starts on p. 48. Plus, we asked for memories of your favorite classes, and gathered some of the best tales of life-changing—and in some cases energy-sapping—courses and professors. Those stories kick off our features, starting on p. 32.

You’ll also meet a Smeal senior who uses a 3D printer to create customized shoes (p. 16); get to know the alum in the viral photo running with the bulls in Pamplona in a Saquon Barkley jersey (p. 61); and meet the newlywed Nittany Lion couple already with multiple NCAA titles: women’s soccer captain Maddie Elliston and wrestler Jason Nolf (p. 28).

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

—B.J. Reyes, associate editor

October 22, 2018 at 5:04 pm 1 comment

When Truckers Fight Trafficking

The Freeman Project House on the south side of Columbus, Ohio, looks like any other house. Yet it is distinct from the other homes on the street because it’s been set up to serve as a refuge for female survivors of human trafficking, as a place to help them get a fresh start in life.

The home—which will welcome its first residents this summer—was founded by Barbara Freeman, a survivor of trafficking and a great source of inspiration for Pearl Gluck’s latest movie, The Turn Out.

The feature-length film—which has its world premiere tomorrow at the Columbus International Film & Animation Festival—sheds light on human trafficking at truck stops across the U.S., a huge and underreported problem. Gluck, an assistant professor of film and media studies in the Bellisario College of Communications, fears it could only get worse going forward.

“Wherever you have drugs and addiction, everywhere that young people aren’t being given educational opportunities and where they lack stable environments, and wherever there is prostitution, there is trafficking,” she says. “Predators are everywhere— they’re looking at everyone and at vulnerabilities from homelessness to lack of love. They’re watching what your kids put on Instagram.”

Behind the Scenes Turn Out

Pearl Gluck (center) with actors on the set of The Turn Out

The Turn Out is told from the point of view of a trucker whose active role in a domestic sex trafficking ring rises up to haunt him when he engages with an underage victim. More often than not, victims of trafficking are transported across the country on trucks, but many people are not aware of the fact that truckers are also important players in the fight against trafficking, Gluck says.

“We like to point our fingers at truckers— but they’re on the road, they really see what’s going on, and I wanted people to know that many truckers are actually every day heroes in the fight against trafficking,” she says. “The organization Truckers Against Trafficking trains truckers to observe what’s going on when they’re on the road, to ask someone they think might be a trafficking victim how old they are and whether they’re where they are of their own volition, and to generally report any activity they find suspicious.”

For The Turn Out, Gluck interviewed truckers, lawyers, police officers and many others who are working to end trafficking. She also spoke to multiple survivors, who shared their painful stories with her.

“The trafficking network in this country is vast and it encompasses everything from intricate, nationwide networks run by gangs, to smaller networks that start in the home,” she says.

According to Polaris, the leading organization working against global trafficking, reports of human trafficking increase every year here in the U.S. In 2016, over 8,000 cases were reported, most of which were sex-trafficking cases of underage girls and boys. The average age of a child tricked into prostitution and trafficked is 13.

Gluck hopes more states will take a cue from Ohio and the work done by State Representative Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), a strong voice in the fight against human trafficking for the past 15 years. Fedor is the architect of the 2014 End Demand Act that, among others, broadened Ohio’s definition of trafficking and increased the penalty of purchasing sex from a minor from a misdemeanor to a felony. She also hopes that more states will create CATCH Courts, which were started in 2009 by Judge Paul Herbert in Columbus as a way to provide victims of trafficking forced into prostitution with a path of rehabilitation, recovery, and support.

The Turn Out is set to premier this week. Gluck has also written and directed Summer, a short film about two teenage girls at a Hassidic Jewish sleep-a-way camp, which premiered earlier this year at the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s New York Jewish Film Festival; and Where is Joel Baum?, starring veteran actress Lynn Cohen. The movie won several awards, including best film at The Female Eye film festival.

Savita Iyer, senior editor

 

 

 

March 22, 2018 at 1:17 pm 3 comments

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