Posts tagged ‘John Urschel’

The Penn Stater Daily — Jan. 6, 2014

photoZeynep Ton’s revolution: When we featured MIT business prof Zeynep Ton ’96 in our Nov./Dec. issue, when knew she was doing interesting and important work in the field of retail labor issues. Turns out she’s making an even bigger impact than we realized. Ton’s research was the subject of a very cool feature in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine, in which the writer calls Ton a “revolutionary force” in the field of operations management, and cites examples of major companies that have been influenced by her work. For companies savvy enough to follow Ton’s lead, it’s a (seemingly) simple equation: pay your employees more, and they’ll do a better job; when your employees do a better job, your profits go up.

You can watch Ton explain her research in a TED talk here, and check out her book, The Good Jobs Strategy, here.

Still searching: There’s been plenty of talk and rumors (with even a little bit of reporting here and there), but as of Monday morning, Penn State has not found a new head football coach. Much of the weekend buzz centered on University of Miami coach Al Golden ’91, with reports that he had been offered the job—and many hinting he was ready to accept it. On Sunday, Miami released a statement in which Golden said he was “not a candidate for another position.” But could that change? Mike Poorman ’82 of says it could. Meanwhile, is reporting that there’s “mutual interest” between Penn State and Mike Munchak ’82, who was fired over the weekend by the Tennessee Titans.

Feel-good football news: Coaching uncertainty aside, there are still plenty of reminders of why you love Penn State football. Here are two: During the first quarter of tonight’s BCS national championship game, John Urschel ’12, ’13g will be honored on the field as the winner of the Campbell Trophy, which Urschel was awarded last month as “the nation’s premier college football scholar-athlete.” And over the weekend, Nittany Lion linebacker Ben Kline posted an “open letter to Nittany Nation” at Onward State, in which he writes passionately of the commitment of Penn State’s players. Great stuff.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

January 6, 2014 at 11:36 am Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 12, 2013

Ready for Rec Hall: Saturday marks the Nittany Lion basketball team’s long-awaited return to Rec Hall, the program’s home from 1929–96. Penn State faces Princeton in the “Return to Rec” game, which tips off Saturday at 2 p.m., and all but a handful of standing-room seats have been sold. Knowing what a sucker I am for cheap nostalgia, the folks over at the Penn State sports blog Black Shoes Diaries asked me to write about my memories of Rec Hall, where I had front-row seats in ’92-93 and ’93-94, which just happened to be the Lions’ first two seasons in the Big Ten. I was happy to oblige — you can read my BSD guest post here.

Mission to Mars: Rachel Worth, a PhD candidate in astronomy, is in the news for research findings that suggest the massive asteroid that scientists believe wiped out the dinosaurs might also have catapulted primitive life to Mars. As the lead author of a paper published in the journal Astrobiology, Worth writes that rocks big enough to support tiny life forms were likely ejected deep enough into space to reach Mars—and even the moons of Jupiter. (There’s apparently even a word, “panspermia,” to describe organisms that might hitchhike through space on such debris.) As Worth tells the BBC, “I’d be surprised if life hasn’t gotten to Mars.”

Kate the Great: Another day, another Penn State student-athlete recognized as the nation’s best. Today it’s Katie Slay, the senior middle hitter for the No. 2 women’s volleyball team, who has been honored as the Capital One Academic All-America of the Year. This honor comes just two days after all-Big Ten football player John Urschel ’12, ’13g was awarded the “academic Heisman.” Not too shabby. (Oh, and the women face Michigan State tomorrow night in the third round of the NCAA tournament. Good luck, Lions.)

Value for money: Kiplinger’s Personal Finance magazine has named Penn State one of its 100 Best Values in Public Colleges for 2013–14. The university comes in at No. 41 among public college values for out-of-state students and 53 for in-state students. The ratings consider admission rates, test scores, freshman retention rate, student-faculty ratios, and graduation rates, as well as cost criteria. You can find the complete list here.

Ryan Jones, senior editor

December 12, 2013 at 3:11 pm Leave a comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 11, 2013

urschel_1“Academic Heisman” to Urschel: What else is there to say about John Urschel? The “mathematician/guard,” as the headline on this USA Today story called him, received a particularly prestigious honor Tuesday night—the William V. Campbell trophy, given to college football’s top scholar-athlete by the National Football Foundation. (If you need a refresher, one of the earlier long profiles about Urschel, by Frank Bodani of the York Daily Record, is good reading.) Steven J. Hatchell, president and CEO of the National Football Foundation, said that Urschel “represents everything that is right about college football.” At this point, let’s just hear from Urschel ’12, ’13g himself: Click here for this acceptance speech. It is, of course, terrific.

Workin’ on the railroad: I’m not a huge fan of Google alerts, but I will admit that when they work, they are amazing. I did not know that Penn State Altoona is the only university in the country offering a four-year degree in rail transportation engineering until I read this piece from Progressive Railroading, which details the program and why it’s important: “Penn State launched the degree three years ago at the urging of railroad and transit executives who noted the need for more education and training designed for future railroaders.” Three years ago, the program enrolled its first nine students, and with a little word of mouth, they’ve got 19 more freshmen and sophomores.

Health care back in the news: The Faculty Senate met Tuesday, and the hot topic was Penn State’s health care program, which received national attention this fall, first because it used sticks rather than carrots to spur employees toward healthy habits, then because of the controversy over whether employees were required to disclose too much personal information. That program was modified, and the university has appointed a committee to examine the issue, but the Faculty Senate still isn’t thrilled with how the committee is constituted.

Nearing the end: President Rod Erickson seems to be doing a series of end-of-semester interviews; he spoke with with Christian Heilman of the Centre County Report, and an interview with him is the top story in today’s Collegian. He says his final semester as president will be “bittersweet.”

Lori Shontz, senior editor

December 11, 2013 at 12:47 pm 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 5, 2013

Setting the mood: Some landscape architecture students are wrapping up a cool project in Pittsburgh. As part of a class called Pittsburgh Studio, a group of 12 students got to know residents of urban neighborhoods—and then created designs to meet their needs, such as more pedestrian-friendly paths and parks. Says senior Aaron Ramos: “It’s not just planting trees or plants, it’s creating an environment that puts someone in a certain mood.”

Do the math: Yeah, John Urschel’s been getting a lot of love this week in the media world. But here’s more praise for the mathmetician/offensive guard from today’s Sports Illustrated, in which SI writer Andy Staples explains why Urschel ’12, ’13g is his pick for 2013 Sportsman of the Year: “He embodies everything that a student-athlete should be. He embraced the opportunities presented in the classroom and on the football field, and he’ll probably play in the NFL before he moves on to a mathematics Ph.D. program.”

Taylor Kitsch (far left) as Lt. Michael Murphy. Photo via

Taylor Kitsch (far left) as Lt. Michael Murphy. Photo via

Hollywood hero: The story of Lt. Michael Murphy ’98 has gotten the big-screen treatment before—in the documentary Murph: The Protector. But now Hollywood is offering its own version. Lone Survivor, which hits theaters Jan. 10, tells the story of “Operation Red Wing” and the three Navy SEALS, including Murphy, who were killed in the mission. Taylor Kitsch (of Friday Night Lights) plays Murphy, and Marc Wahlberg (of the Funky Bunch) plays Marcus Luttrell, the only SEAL to survive. Check out the trailer here.

Blue Christmas: And because Clark Griswold-style holiday decor never gets old, today’s Onward State features another Penn State-themed light show, this one from Sally Simpson, mom of Blue Band prez Ryan Simpson. Impressive, to say the least.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

December 5, 2013 at 12:04 pm 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Dec. 3, 2013

Coaching changes: Penn State’s longtime linebackers coach Ron Vanderlinden and second-year quarterbacks coach Charlie Fisher will not return for the 2014 season. Details of the coaches’ departures are still unclear, and Coach Bill O’Brien has not commented. Vanderlinden was one of only two members of Joe Paterno’s coaching staff to work under O’Brien. No word yet on possible replacements.

Here to help: Developmental psychologist Jennie Noll has been helping victims of child sexual abuse since she was a child herself, as Noll explains in a piece from today’s Philadelphia Inquirer. Noll, who started at Penn State in September as director of research and education for the study and prevention of child abuse, is one of five experts hired by the university to study and educate others about child abuse. According to the article, Noll is helping Penn State hire more experts in various disciplines to further examine the issue. Says Karen L. Bierman, director of the Child Study Center: “Penn State has grieved, but we’ve pulled together to try to make something positive and large out of this tragedy.”

That smarts: It’s not news to most Penn Staters that John Urschel ’12, ’13g is a smart guy. But thanks to this CBS News piece, more people know about the Penn State offensive guard—who also happens to have a masters in mathematics and is working on a second. In an interview with CBS, Coach Bill O’Brien talks about Urschel’s constant need for numbers: “If you give him a percentage of how many times this team blitzes, he wants to know the whole survey size and what games we looked at and how many numbers related. John, just take it from us: They blitz a lot.'”

We’re No. 3: State College is the third-best college town in the U.S., according to the American Institute for Economic Research, which based the rankings on how easy it is for students to get around, recreational opportunities, and cost of living, among other factors. Ithaca, N.Y. came in first, and Ames, Iowa took second.

Mary Murphy, associate editor

December 3, 2013 at 11:49 am 1 comment

The Penn Stater Daily — Nov. 1, 2013

The Godfather: The big story on the front page of today’s Collegian is a profile of women’s volleyball coach Russ Rose, who in addition to being a terrific coach is just an entertaining character. Which is why my favorite quote in the piece by Zach Neiner is the one at the end from assistant coach Steve Aird: “Penn State has let Russ be Russ, which has translated into him having the best program in the country.” The Nittany Lions have a big rematch this weekend against Big Ten foe Michigan State, which beat them in five sets in the conference opener. This match is on the road and follows a Friday match-up with Michigan.

Nice photo of John Urschel by Joe Hermitt of The Patriot-News.

Nice photo of John Urschel by Joe Hermitt of The Patriot-News.

Another Day, Another Honor: This is a prestigious one for offensive guard/math whiz John Urschel ’12, ’13g: as a National Football Foundation scholar-athlete, he’ll receive an $18,000 scholarship for post-graduate studies. Which should help on the way to a possible Ph.D. in math … as will his most recently scholarly publication, “A Space-Time Multigrid Method for the Numerical Valuation of Barrier Options.”

The Hayride Saga: We had no idea that hayrides had become a popular part of the fall social scene around here until one of our interns pitched a story on them. Just our luck, right at the time, this turned from a fun story into a more serious one—the owner of Nittany Mountain Trail Rides suspended hayrides after several alcohol-related incidents. The latest, from Onwrad State: The hayrides are back on, but they are now alcohol-free (even if students are 21 or older), and they’re being held at a church camp near Milroy, Pa.

Oh, those Gen Eds: I’ll admit it: For one of my science gen ed requirements, I took the infamous “Rocks for Jocks.” But my art history class turned me into someone who can happily spend all day in a museum, someone who appreciates not just the beauty of the exhibits, but the intellectual and aesthetic theories of the artists. And COMM 150, The Art of the Cinema, has made me a more intelligent consumer of the movies. (That said, when my brother and I happened to take the class the same semester, our dad wasn’t thrilled: “I paid for six credits of movie watching?!?”) Those perspectives—and more—were apparent Thursday when faculty gathered to discuss the future of general education. The Collegian’s piece gives a broad overview of the issues, and this Storify put together by Christopher Dean, associate dean for the College of the Liberal Arts, gives you a sense for how faculty reacted on social media. It’s really interesting.

Lori Shontz, senior editor

November 1, 2013 at 9:48 am Leave a comment

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