Posts filed under ‘Penn State in the News’

A $25,000 Check for Grace Hayba

Grace Hayba is a longtime fan of The Ellen DeGeneres Show. She’s written into it for years, and earlier this month, her persistence paid off when she won $25,000. Hayba, a rising sophomore at Penn State, received tickets to the show but didn’t know she’d have the opportunity to compete in a trivia segment.

“I had absolutely no idea that we were gonna end up meeting [DeGeneres] and talking to her,” Hayba said. “And playing ‘Know or Go’ was a total shock.

“All three of us were just under the assumption that we were gonna just be there for the taping,” Hayba continued.

The premise of the game, called “Know or Go to College,” is simple: Three members of the audience are put on top of a platform and DeGeneres asks them questions. If they get their question right, they move on to the next round, but if they get it wrong, they are eliminated and dropped down a trap door. The questions are designed to be tricky, but Hayba got both of hers right: “If you’re not a freshman, junior, or senior in college, what are you?” and “A lot of college students pull an all-nighter studying, if I pull my biceps femoris while I whip/nae nae, what part of my body is that?”

After both of her opponents were eliminated, Hayba was the last woman standing. She celebrated for a moment, but DeGeneres told Hayba that she had to come down, and the only way was to go through the trap door. “We sold the ladder,” DeGeneres joked.

While she couldn’t disclose exactly what happens when DeGeneres presses the button, Hayba said it wasn’t too bad.

“That millisecond where the doors dropped and I disappeared was absolutely terrifying,” Hayba said. “But it wasn’t harmful or hurtful in any way.”

All of the money Hayba received will go toward her education. A broadcast journalism major, Hayba comes from a long line of Penn Staters, as both of her parents (Pamela ’70 and Daniel ’79), her sister (Erin ’05), and one of her brothers (Benjamin ’13) are all alumni.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

May 23, 2016 at 11:03 am Leave a comment

The Olympic Aspirations of Tyler McCandless

via Facebook

via Facebook

Sports Illustrated dove into the life of Tyler McCandless ’10 ’15, a former Penn State track and field standout who is going to compete in Saturday’s U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials. McCandless has the 31st-best time heading into trials, and with a qualifying time of 2:15:26, he’s right around eight minutes behind the top marathon runner in the nation.

If McCandless isn’t able to make it to Rio, he can always fall back on the Ph.D. that he recently received from Penn State. During the day, McCandless puts that degree to work as the Director of Development for, and the story says that “his current project is a statistical analysis of marathon finisher numbers.”

Definitely give the story a read, and of course, we wish Tyler the best of luck on Saturday.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

February 12, 2016 at 12:54 pm Leave a comment

Jordan Norwood’s Super Journey

A photo posted by Jordan Norwood (@jordanorwood) on

It’s cliché to say that an athlete’s career seems like it was ripped from a movie, but in the case of Jordan Norwood ’08, his career has followed a very Hollywood-esque path.

Norwood was a lightly-recruited kid out of high school who went to his local college and eventually turned into one of the best receivers in school history. He then went unselected in the NFL Draft, and for his career, Norwood has been cut/waived more times (5) than he has found the end zone (once in 2011).

But Norwood kept persevering, and on Sunday night, we were all reminded of the dynamic player who suited up for the Nittany Lions from 2005 to 2008. Norwood set the Super Bowl record for the longest punt return with his 61-yard effort against Carolina. And of course, when the game was over, Norwood won his first Lombardi Trophy.

So from all of us at The Penn Stater, congratulations, Jordan. Here’s to hoping there are many more Super Bowls in your future.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

February 8, 2016 at 3:27 pm 1 comment

Rick Santorum Ends Another White House Run


CNN reported today that former Pennsylvania senator Rick Santorum ’80, ’86, who we profiled in our Nov./Dec. 2005 issue, has decided to end his most recent run at the presidency. This comes two days after Santorum polled at one percent during the Iowa Caucus, an event that he won when he ran back in 2012.

Santorum will officially announce that his campaign is suspended sometime tonight, likely during an appearance on Fox News at 7 p.m. It’s also expected that Santorum will throw his support behind a candidate at that time.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

February 3, 2016 at 3:48 pm 2 comments

Neha Gupta Lives B1G

You might remember Neha Gupta from our July/August ’15 issue. Now, her story is going beyond the pages of our magazine. Gupta is featured in a new advertisement for the Big Ten Network’s LiveB1G campaign, which “shines a light on the community of Big Ten students, faculty and alumni who are making a difference in the world through innovations in research, education and community service.” It touches on Gupta winning the 2014 International Children’s Peace Prize and the non-profit she founded, Empower Orphans. Eric Barron also appears in the video to praise Gupta’s work.

If you’re interested in reading about some of the other Nittany Lions who have been featured in this series, click here.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

January 28, 2016 at 2:39 pm Leave a comment

Jerry Zolten is Heading to the Grammys

Photo via Penn State Altoona

Photo via Penn State Altoona

While most of us will watch the Grammy Awards next month from our living rooms, Penn State Altoona professor Jerry Zolten will be at the ceremony in Los Angeles. That is because Zolten ’69 will act as the liaison and assist in a pre-show performance for The Fairfield Four, a Nashville-based vocal group that is up for the Best Roots Gospel Album award.

According to a release, Zolten has strong ties to the group, as he produced one of its albums and produced one member’s solo album. He also played a role in the record that’s up for a Grammy, Still Rockin’ My Soul – Zolten was a repertoire consultant and wrote the album’s liner notes.

This will mark the second year in a row that Zolten is involved with a Grammy-nominated project. In 2015, Zolten was a writer and researcher for The Rise and Fall of Paramount Records Volume I (1917-27), a series of vinyl records which took home the Grammy for Boxed or Special Limited Edition Package.

Bill DiFilippo, online editor

January 20, 2016 at 2:10 pm Leave a comment

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