PEPP picnic to feature inspirational speaker

The Penn State Educational Partnership Program (PEPP) annual picnic will feature an inspirational keynote speech by Magaly Spector, vice president for diversity and community engagement at the University of Texas at Dallas. The event will be held at 11 a.m. on Thursday, April 16 in the Perkins Student Center Auditorium.

Approximately 150 PEPP students, grades 6 to 12 from the Reading School District, will visit the campus for the event. The presentation is also open to Penn State Berks students, faculty and staff. 

Spector’s message to the students is that it’s possible for anyone to be successful in life through hard work and education. Born in Cuba in 1952 to a single mother who had only an elementary-school education and could hardly support her family, Spector decided at a young age that hard work and dedication would be the key to leading a successful life. With this attitude, she went on to earn highest honors from her high school and a degree in physics from Havana University in 1977.

Born on July 4, freedom was Spector’s destiny. In 1980, she came to the United States by boat as a political refugee and soon settled in Reading. While working full-time at AT&T Labs and raising a baby and teen-age daughter, she earned her master’s degree in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in physics.

Throughout her career, Spector has been the recipient of many awards and recognitions, including the National Extraordinary Professional Achievement Award from the Hispanic Engineering National Achievement Awards Corporation and the national Orgullo Hispano Award by Reader's Digest.

She was selected as one of only nine women in the United States by the National Science Foundation to represent the United States on a special mission to Mexico as a living role model for extraordinary accomplishments by women in technology and business. She was also selected as one of the thirteen most outstanding women of the millennium from Glamour en Espanol Magazine, and she was selected by Hispanic Business Magazine as one of America's 25 Elite Hispanic Women of the Year for 2005. In 2005, she was named a Bell Labs Fellow, the highest distinction for a scientist in Bell Laboratories.

PEPP is an educational partnership under the auspice of the Penn State College of Education. The program encourages academically underrepresented youth to pursue their full academic potential. Offered at no cost to participants, PEPP plans, develops and implements education-related programs and activities for middle school and high school students. PEPP's core goal is to prepare its participants for higher education.

Learning assistants, who tutor the PEPP students, are undergraduate students from Penn State Berks and are traditionally hired from the ranks of the college's Elementary and Secondary Education majors. The learning assistants provide assistance to PEPP students with homework completion and accuracy, study-skill development and individual and social growth.

Students who successfully complete PEPP are waived the admission fee when applying to Penn State and may qualify for PEPP scholarships.


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Last Updated April 07, 2009