November 1st, 2011
I have a lot more to say about the PA Conference for Women last week, but for now, check out my guest post over at PSU Brandywine’s blog.
Keep questioning,Sara 

I have a lot more to say about the PA Conference for Women last week, but for now, check out my guest post over at PSU Brandywine’s blog.

Keep questioning,
Sara 

August 8th, 2011

Oh hey, don’t mind me, just shamelessly self-promoting…

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 12th, 2011

psubrandywine: “Students share how scholarships have helped them succeed and grow at Penn State Brandywine. This video was created by alumnus Justin Carrington.”

I totally forgot about this! The final product is really great :)

Keep questioning,
Sara 

May 16th, 2011
The Nittany Lion approves! by Penn State Brandywine Canstruction
Please take a look at the Canstruction structures for this year’s competition and cast your vote! Canstruction is a yearly competition that encourages participants to engineer their own designs out of cans. All of the cans used in the structures will go to Philabundance to help alleviate hunger in the Delaware Valley.
Keep questioning,Sara
P.S. VOTE FOR PENN STATE, THANKS!

The Nittany Lion approves! by Penn State Brandywine Canstruction

Please take a look at the Canstruction structures for this year’s competition and cast your vote! Canstruction is a yearly competition that encourages participants to engineer their own designs out of cans. All of the cans used in the structures will go to Philabundance to help alleviate hunger in the Delaware Valley.

Keep questioning,
Sara

P.S. VOTE FOR PENN STATE, THANKS!

March 11th, 2011
laughingsquid:

Treasure Island Can Scuplture

Part of the honors program’s mission on campus is civic engagement. In addition to my courses this semester, I’m taking a 1-credit option based on Philabundance’s annual Canstruction competition! In the fall, we decided to draft a sculpture of our own and submit an application for the competition. We’ve made it past the first round and will be can-structing our very own structure during the overnight build session in May.
All of the sculptures must be made purely of canned foods (like the image above), and after the pieces are judged all of the food goes to Philabundance! What a fun way to donate time and energy to a great cause. Can’t wait to get started!
Keep questioning,Sara 

laughingsquid:

Treasure Island Can Scuplture

Part of the honors program’s mission on campus is civic engagement. In addition to my courses this semester, I’m taking a 1-credit option based on Philabundance’s annual Canstruction competition! In the fall, we decided to draft a sculpture of our own and submit an application for the competition. We’ve made it past the first round and will be can-structing our very own structure during the overnight build session in May.

All of the sculptures must be made purely of canned foods (like the image above), and after the pieces are judged all of the food goes to Philabundance! What a fun way to donate time and energy to a great cause. Can’t wait to get started!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

January 23rd, 2011
Hellooooo out there!
As I start really getting into my current Earth science class (Water: Science & Society), I just wanted to express how much I’m enjoying myself in the pursuit of learning what I love! I’ve finally found my niche in education, and I couldn’t be more excited to hone in on all the wonderful resources that are out there for me to devour!
When people ask me, What’s your major? What are you studying? Oh, what are you going to school for? I have a tough time answering. I’ve been through ups & downs with the whole “major” thing, but I’ve finally settled into a comfortable corner of academia.
What I love:
Working with kids/education
The environment (Earth systems science, ecology, sustainability, etc.)
Technology (educational technology, new uses of social media)
MATH MATH MATH
Being creative!!
Here’s what I’m doing with it: My current major is technically called “the Bachelor of Philosophy,” which is PSU’s Schreyer Honors College equivalent to a liberal arts degree. I’m focusing my studies on math, science, and educational technology, and I’ll be minoring in environmental inquiry.
And after graduation? My ultimate dream would be to work for a company, organization or museum that has an educational outreach department. I know that companies like Apple, Google (more specifically, Google Earth), and Verizon do educational outreach; I would love to get a job creating Earth science &/or math curriculum using educational technology, distributing it online, and seeing the activities being implemented in classrooms. There are other groups like National Geographic or local museums and public gardens (Academy of Natural Sciences, Tyler Arboretum, etc.) that would also be fun to work for.
So what are you doing now? Now, I’m continuing (slowly but surely) with my Earth & Space QUESTs, and I’m brainstorming ideas for my upcoming thesis (eek!). I’ve just started my second semester of junior year, and my thesis proposal is due by the end of the semester. We’ve already learned that in order to produce a quality thesis, you have to LOVE your topic.
I’m excited to dive into research on informal education, educational technology, best practices for combining the two, and I want to ultimately create content for a local museum, arboretum, or some kind of environmental organization. I’m getting ready to apply for summer internships to get a move on working with a particular organization for my thesis. Tyler Arboretum is right down the street from Penn State Brandywine, so I might be working with them. I also have my eye on another internship… so, stay tuned!
What about your courses this semester? Any research going on? Yes! I’m happy to say that my Earth science class, focused on water, will kind of be an extension on a project I worked on last semester. I briefly outlined the research project I did last semester for one of our engineering professors at PSU Brandywine. The project, titled “Identifying Global Ethical Issues: Case-based Exercises for Introductory Level Engineering Design Classes” was, well, exactly that. I took two case studies that involved ethics and engineering of some kind, and created lesson plans/activities around the two for PSU’s Engineering Design 101 class.
This semester in Water: Science and Society, the curriculum is heavily concentrated on case studies related to water issues around the world. Our big projects for the course will be using relevant water-related issues to create case studies which we will then discuss in class. I’m very excited by the prospect of adding to my curriculum development repertoire and will definitely need to create a portfolio of all of my academic activities for dissemination… that’s an important piece of being an undergraduate researcher — having a resume/academic vita/portfolio! More on that later…
Keep questioning,Sara
(photo via National Geographic)

Hellooooo out there!

As I start really getting into my current Earth science class (Water: Science & Society), I just wanted to express how much I’m enjoying myself in the pursuit of learning what I love! I’ve finally found my niche in education, and I couldn’t be more excited to hone in on all the wonderful resources that are out there for me to devour!

When people ask me, What’s your major? What are you studying? Oh, what are you going to school for? I have a tough time answering. I’ve been through ups & downs with the whole “major” thing, but I’ve finally settled into a comfortable corner of academia.

What I love:

  • Working with kids/education
  • The environment (Earth systems science, ecology, sustainability, etc.)
  • Technology (educational technology, new uses of social media)
  • MATH MATH MATH
  • Being creative!!

Here’s what I’m doing with it: My current major is technically called “the Bachelor of Philosophy,” which is PSU’s Schreyer Honors College equivalent to a liberal arts degree. I’m focusing my studies on math, science, and educational technology, and I’ll be minoring in environmental inquiry.

And after graduation? My ultimate dream would be to work for a company, organization or museum that has an educational outreach department. I know that companies like Apple, Google (more specifically, Google Earth), and Verizon do educational outreach; I would love to get a job creating Earth science &/or math curriculum using educational technology, distributing it online, and seeing the activities being implemented in classrooms. There are other groups like National Geographic or local museums and public gardens (Academy of Natural Sciences, Tyler Arboretum, etc.) that would also be fun to work for.

So what are you doing now? Now, I’m continuing (slowly but surely) with my Earth & Space QUESTs, and I’m brainstorming ideas for my upcoming thesis (eek!). I’ve just started my second semester of junior year, and my thesis proposal is due by the end of the semester. We’ve already learned that in order to produce a quality thesis, you have to LOVE your topic.

I’m excited to dive into research on informal education, educational technology, best practices for combining the two, and I want to ultimately create content for a local museum, arboretum, or some kind of environmental organization. I’m getting ready to apply for summer internships to get a move on working with a particular organization for my thesis. Tyler Arboretum is right down the street from Penn State Brandywine, so I might be working with them. I also have my eye on another internship… so, stay tuned!

What about your courses this semester? Any research going on? Yes! I’m happy to say that my Earth science class, focused on water, will kind of be an extension on a project I worked on last semester. I briefly outlined the research project I did last semester for one of our engineering professors at PSU Brandywine. The project, titled “Identifying Global Ethical Issues: Case-based Exercises for Introductory Level Engineering Design Classes” was, well, exactly that. I took two case studies that involved ethics and engineering of some kind, and created lesson plans/activities around the two for PSU’s Engineering Design 101 class.

This semester in Water: Science and Society, the curriculum is heavily concentrated on case studies related to water issues around the world. Our big projects for the course will be using relevant water-related issues to create case studies which we will then discuss in class. I’m very excited by the prospect of adding to my curriculum development repertoire and will definitely need to create a portfolio of all of my academic activities for dissemination… that’s an important piece of being an undergraduate researcher — having a resume/academic vita/portfolio! More on that later…

Keep questioning,
Sara

(photo via National Geographic)

August 17th, 2010
T-7 DAYS UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS!
And jeez, I can’t wait! I’ve officially hit my summer doldrums period, where I don’t have much to do with myself, and the lack of structure is making me crazy. I can’t wait to start classes… I have an awesome schedule this semester:
HONOR 301H: The Role of Knowledge in Society
FR 111: Elementary French
EDTEC 498A: Emerging Web 2.0 Technologies and Learning
KINES 077: Yoga I (Half semester course)
ENG 50: Introduction to Creative Writing (Study abroad: 1 week in Paris)
One of my favorite things about Penn State Brandywine is the intimacy of the campus. Although there are no dorms (which makes connecting with peers a little difficult), the size of the school is perfect; students get the opportunity to really know their professors, and, in turn, professors remember their students! I took a required writing course last semester, and the professor is teaching the creative writing class in Paris in November. She’s excited about getting people to come, rallying the troops, so to speak, and it’s just so nice to have that connection, you know?
The honors program at PSU Brandywine is incredible, too. Without the dedication of the honors professors I would not have embarked on this amazing learning QUEST :) I think part of their dedication is the fact that the school is so small, and they can really invest all they have into their students.
The Cooper Honors’ Program Mission: Academic excellence with integrity, building a global awareness, and opportunities for leadership and civic engagements.
Our program provides a real sense of community in a school that does not have on-campus housing. Honors scholars are required to attend different meetings throughout the school year … well, saying “required” makes it seem like a chore … it’s not! The fact that we, as students, meet so often throughout the school year, makes it easy to connect to one another, not only on an academic level, but on a friendly level as well. 
Part of the honors program is the Voice of Innovation Seminar Series. Here is a blip about the seminars from the PSU Brandywine Honors Blog:
The Honors Program presents a seminar series connected to our theme of “leadership and civic engagement.” We have invited to campus organizations that have moved beyond simple volunteering and using a “Band-Aid” fix for community concerns. Honors Scholars, along with the entire campus community, came together to how these organizations are implementing innovative ideas and strategies for creating and maintaining sustained change for populations with an identified need.
For some reason, tumblr isn’t allowing me to embed the link, so here’s the link for the honors program’s blog: http://www.personal.psu.edu/uxg3/blogs/honors/
This year we have an amazing line-up, including speakers from Canstruction, SCRUB - Public Voice for Public Space, and Urban Tree Connection. I admittedly fell off the bandwagon last year, with my incredibly busy schedule, so I’m excited to get back on board with the seminar series and help out our community!
Keep questioning,Sara 

T-7 DAYS UNTIL SCHOOL STARTS!

And jeez, I can’t wait! I’ve officially hit my summer doldrums period, where I don’t have much to do with myself, and the lack of structure is making me crazy. I can’t wait to start classes… I have an awesome schedule this semester:

  • HONOR 301H: The Role of Knowledge in Society
  • FR 111: Elementary French
  • EDTEC 498A: Emerging Web 2.0 Technologies and Learning
  • KINES 077: Yoga I (Half semester course)
  • ENG 50: Introduction to Creative Writing (Study abroad: 1 week in Paris)

One of my favorite things about Penn State Brandywine is the intimacy of the campus. Although there are no dorms (which makes connecting with peers a little difficult), the size of the school is perfect; students get the opportunity to really know their professors, and, in turn, professors remember their students! I took a required writing course last semester, and the professor is teaching the creative writing class in Paris in November. She’s excited about getting people to come, rallying the troops, so to speak, and it’s just so nice to have that connection, you know?

The honors program at PSU Brandywine is incredible, too. Without the dedication of the honors professors I would not have embarked on this amazing learning QUEST :) I think part of their dedication is the fact that the school is so small, and they can really invest all they have into their students.

The Cooper Honors’ Program Mission: Academic excellence with integrity, building a global awareness, and opportunities for leadership and civic engagements.

Our program provides a real sense of community in a school that does not have on-campus housing. Honors scholars are required to attend different meetings throughout the school year … well, saying “required” makes it seem like a chore … it’s not! The fact that we, as students, meet so often throughout the school year, makes it easy to connect to one another, not only on an academic level, but on a friendly level as well. 

Part of the honors program is the Voice of Innovation Seminar Series. Here is a blip about the seminars from the PSU Brandywine Honors Blog:

  • The Honors Program presents a seminar series connected to our theme of “leadership and civic engagement.” We have invited to campus organizations that have moved beyond simple volunteering and using a “Band-Aid” fix for community concerns. Honors Scholars, along with the entire campus community, came together to how these organizations are implementing innovative ideas and strategies for creating and maintaining sustained change for populations with an identified need.
  • For some reason, tumblr isn’t allowing me to embed the link, so here’s the link for the honors program’s blog: http://www.personal.psu.edu/uxg3/blogs/honors/

This year we have an amazing line-up, including speakers from Canstruction, SCRUB - Public Voice for Public Space, and Urban Tree Connection. I admittedly fell off the bandwagon last year, with my incredibly busy schedule, so I’m excited to get back on board with the seminar series and help out our community!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

June 6th, 2010

As a newly-accepted Schreyer Honors College Scholar, I’m excited to be taking my first steps in the program alongside a new faculty member! This article is exciting for me in that that Dr. Upneja & I share a lot of similar ideas when it comes to education… even though I’m a student now who hopes to work with students in the future, it’s nice to see someone who is already deeply committed to education sharing my thoughts & goals.

A few quotes from Dr. Upneja: 

  • “I’m very excited about working with honors students who are very interested in developing themselves and are motivated. I enjoy tremendously working with students who want to pursue their academic dreams and passions and who know what they’re doing and what they want to achieve in life.”
  • “Globalization is a key attribute of society now […] All of our students today should be citizens of this world, and I’m looking forward to enhancing the competencies of Schreyer Scholars in that respect.”

Welcome aboard!

Keep questioning,
Sara 

May 23rd, 2010

Where do I begin?

I don’t even know where to start… how can I possibly explain the immense joy I’m feeling? I swell with pride at the thought of my school, Penn State Brandywine, and the opportunities it has provided for me. My academic year has been a powerful, meaningful, incredible, humbling, successful voyage into the joy of taking ownership of my education, my passions, and my path in life.  


(via Penn State Brandywine)

Tonight I spoke at Penn State Brandywine’s annual Alumni Gala. The focus was on the students, scholarships, and the new “For the Future” campaign. Two alumni, PA State Representative Thomas Killion, and retired financial aid coordinator, Sylvia Schaffer, were honored during tonight’s event for their outstanding efforts and support of the campus and its students. I was lucky enough to speak to a group of alumni, fellow students, faculty members, and advisory board members; I shared my experience at Brandywine and the profound impact it has had on me.

I’m swelling with pride and joy just thinking about tonight. I was in a room surrounded by professors I’ve come to know and love, former faculty members who built the campus from the ground up, and alumni who have been avid supporters of Penn State Brandywine since its birth in 1966. I only knew a handful of the attendees, but after hearing Chancellor Sophia Wisniewska, alum and advisory board member Ernie Repice, Representative Thomas Killion, and former financial aid coordinator Sylvia Schaffer speak about their connection to the campus and its impact on their lives, I felt connected to every single person in the room. 

The fact that I’d never spoken to Representative Killion in my life, and yet he shared with these people how proud he was of me… the fact that two women I didn’t know approached me to thank me for my speech & encouraged me to continue my success… the fact that the founder of our campus, John D. Vairo, stood up for me to give me a hug after I walked down the 627 steps* from the podium… all of these moments gave me such pride in being a part of my school.

I love it there. I love Penn State Brandywine. I do not regret a single step I’ve taken in my college career. I have been given a plethora of opportunities, and I’ve taken steps out of my comfort zone to fulfill my potential and gauge my abilities. I’ve gained a level confidence in myself that I never thought was possible.

I know I’m gushing a little bit here, but the Gala was so powerful. Respect. Admiration. Love. Pride. Joy. It’s all present and bubbling inside of me and I never want to forget this feeling.

Take control of your educational path.
Be passionate.
Do something you love.

And as always, keep questioning,
Sara 

*Okay, maybe it was 10, but it felt like 627… I was so nervous!

May 7th, 2010
It all started with a little program called TESSE.(photo via the TESSE Dissemination Blog) 
The Transforming Earth Systems Science Education workshop was a little bit out of my comfort zone as a hopeful secondary math education major, but with a little push from my adviser, Dr. Guertin, I decided to apply for and participate in the TESSE workshop in August of 2009.
The mission of the program, which is funded by NSF, is to provide in-service and pre-service teachers with “valuable information on the basics of approaching an Earth system pedagogy with an inquiry-based approach” (Penn State TESSE, 2010). As one of the four undergraduate students, I learned so much not only about Earth systems science (because, let’s be honest, I wasn’t much of a “science person” before the workshop), but also about teaching. No matter the discipline, the frustrations, joys, and successes of teaching are the same across the board. It was really great, as a student entering my sophomore year, to have a taste of that classroom experience from such a wonderful group of science teachers!
The workshop was August 3-11th, and we spent the majority of our time on campus, focusing on the BIG IDEAS of Earth systems science — what are the most important things students must come away from their education knowing? — by listening to lectures, doing and creating activities, and spending time talking to one another about what works in the classroom and brainstorming new ideas.
We also took a few field trips! First was a trip to Delaware’s Cape Henlopen to do a park geology activity, and we pit-stopped at the University of Delaware’s Marine Campus, too. The second was a trip across the street to a local cemetery to do an activity on rocks and weathering. We also had a few nights of fun, going to dinner as a large group! I celebrated my 21st birthday in the midst of the workshop, along with one of the teachers who also turned … ahem, 21 (haha… cough, cough!) and everyone was so friendly and fun and supportive.
The community we created taught me a lot about science and about the classroom experience. The inquiry-based approach to teaching is something that is CRUCIAL in today’s classrooms… especially in science. If students aren’t interested in digging up their own answers, they won’t absorb the information, they won’t learn. Education shouldn’t be about soaking up facts and regurgitating them on paper. It should be about curiosity, experiments, and hands-on learning! The TESSE workshop was a wonderful way for me to learn this myself, and I’ve found that I’m more susceptible to applying these ideas to my own college education. It’s made learning so much more fun!
Well, I’m off to our nine-month, end of the school year reunion! I can’t wait to see all of the teachers and fellow students to see how their year went! I’ll post pictures from the summer workshop. The photos from Delaware are gorgeous :)
Keep questioning (and enjoy today’s beautiful weather!),Sara 

It all started with a little program called TESSE.
(photo via the TESSE Dissemination Blog

The Transforming Earth Systems Science Education workshop was a little bit out of my comfort zone as a hopeful secondary math education major, but with a little push from my adviser, Dr. Guertin, I decided to apply for and participate in the TESSE workshop in August of 2009.

The mission of the program, which is funded by NSF, is to provide in-service and pre-service teachers with “valuable information on the basics of approaching an Earth system pedagogy with an inquiry-based approach” (Penn State TESSE, 2010). As one of the four undergraduate students, I learned so much not only about Earth systems science (because, let’s be honest, I wasn’t much of a “science person” before the workshop), but also about teaching. No matter the discipline, the frustrations, joys, and successes of teaching are the same across the board. It was really great, as a student entering my sophomore year, to have a taste of that classroom experience from such a wonderful group of science teachers!

The workshop was August 3-11th, and we spent the majority of our time on campus, focusing on the BIG IDEAS of Earth systems science — what are the most important things students must come away from their education knowing? — by listening to lectures, doing and creating activities, and spending time talking to one another about what works in the classroom and brainstorming new ideas.

We also took a few field trips! First was a trip to Delaware’s Cape Henlopen to do a park geology activity, and we pit-stopped at the University of Delaware’s Marine Campus, too. The second was a trip across the street to a local cemetery to do an activity on rocks and weathering. We also had a few nights of fun, going to dinner as a large group! I celebrated my 21st birthday in the midst of the workshop, along with one of the teachers who also turned … ahem, 21 (haha… cough, cough!) and everyone was so friendly and fun and supportive.

The community we created taught me a lot about science and about the classroom experience. The inquiry-based approach to teaching is something that is CRUCIAL in today’s classrooms… especially in science. If students aren’t interested in digging up their own answers, they won’t absorb the information, they won’t learn. Education shouldn’t be about soaking up facts and regurgitating them on paper. It should be about curiosity, experiments, and hands-on learning! The TESSE workshop was a wonderful way for me to learn this myself, and I’ve found that I’m more susceptible to applying these ideas to my own college education. It’s made learning so much more fun!

Well, I’m off to our nine-month, end of the school year reunion! I can’t wait to see all of the teachers and fellow students to see how their year went! I’ll post pictures from the summer workshop. The photos from Delaware are gorgeous :)

Keep questioning (and enjoy today’s beautiful weather!),
Sara 

May 6th, 2010

I just opened my email to find a campus newsletter featuring coverage from my trip to Capitol Hill. It’s amazing the kind of support I’ve received, campus-wide. 

Students, Faculty Honored for Excellence: This article sums up the awards ceremony that made me realize just how important this project has been for me and my path in life. It’s been one of those things that I never thought I could do, let alone enjoy, and it’s honestly been one of the most enlightening experiences of my short life!

Now that the semester’s over, I’m going to try to start from the beginning of my journey and talk about the TESSE workshop (which has a nine-month/end of the school year reunion this weekend!), the conferences I’ve attended, and more of the knitty-gritty of my project itself!

Keep questioning,
Sara