Alumnus excels with opportunities created by For the Future

When Connor Sattely first arrived at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College, he had no clear idea of his career path — but he did know he had options. He joined the campus newspaper and connected with his fellow Schreyer Honors College students, activities that shaped his career goals and life passions. But one of the most formative experiences Connor had during his time at Penn State Behrend was taking French classes. While his professor helped him feel confident enough to have a full conversation over dinner in French, he knew he had to go to France to become fluent. Philanthropy made it possible.

Connor studied in France with assistance from the Council of Fellows Leadership Scholarship, the John K. Henne Endowment for International Study and the Schreyer Honors College Endowment for International Study. And he discovered that being a global citizen meant more than learning another language.

“While I was abroad, I realized, ‘I have to get back out here. This is what I'm supposed to do,’” Connor said. “I received so much enjoyment from living internationally. I started to look at ways that I could make these interests into my career.”

For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students is helping Connor and many other students like him take advantage of the opportunities the University offers to broaden their worldview. “No doubt that where I am now has been the completely launched by my degree at Penn State and my time there,” Connor said. “I really hope that as many students as possible get the same great experience as I did. Gifts to Penn State from donors make these opportunities available and help students afford their degrees so they can make the most of them.”

After graduating from Penn State Behrend in 2011 with degrees in media studies and political science, Connor earned a master’s degree in international affairs from the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies in Geneva, Switzerland. While in this program, he became involved in a Web startup called GovFaces, an international online platform to connect citizens and politicians. The site launched on March 3 at the European Parliament and Commission and already has thousands of users in Europe. Now the chief operating officer, Connor is excited for the way it could help communities across the world.

“If you establish communication between people and their representatives, you can establish accountability,” Connor said. “We also can see this platform being used in developing countries where democracy is relatively new. What gets us really excited is that, for a lot of people, this might be a way to tap into new technology to give them access that they've never had before.”

Connor is appreciative of both the international education he received and the donors who made it possible. He hopes to be in a position one day to do the same for other students.

“When you have such a good experience in college like I did, you start to think about, ‘How can I eventually give back?’” Connor said. “To look at my college experience and to know that it came from donors’ generosity is inspiring because I can see what it did for me in my own career, and I can imagine that it did that for others, too. When you benefit from a gift, you want to give back yourself.”

For the Future: The Campaign for Penn State Students is directed toward a shared vision of Penn State as the most comprehensive, student-centered research university in America. The University is engaging Penn State’s alumni and friends as partners in achieving six key objectives: ensuring student access and opportunity, enhancing honors education, enriching the student experience, building faculty strength and capacity, fostering discovery and creativity, and sustaining the University’s tradition of quality. The campaign’s top priority is keeping a Penn State degree affordable for students and families. The For the Future campaign is the most ambitious effort of its kind in Penn State’s history, with the goal of securing $2 billion by 2014.

Contacts: 
Last Updated April 15, 2014