Graduating Schreyer Scholars share leadership lessons

As former Penn State President Eric Walker once said, “Wherever you go, Penn State will go with you.”

That idea of lessons learned and leaving a mark on Dear Old State hasn’t been lost on members of the Schreyer Honors College’s Class of 2014.

Among this class were leaders of organizations across the University who made it their mission to leave Penn State a better place than before they arrived.

Before they don their caps and gowns this weekend, we sat down with several of them to get their perspectives on life, leadership and being a Schreyer Honors College Scholar.

* * *

The News Hound
Who: Brittany Horn
College: College of Communications
Leadership Activity: Daily Collegian editor-in-chief

It was 10:30 p.m. on New Year’s Eve when news started circulating that Bill O’Brien was leaving for the Houston Texans. While people all over the country were getting ready to ring in the new year, The Daily Collegian reporters and editors had to stop what they were doing and crank out a story.

It was yet another reminder for the Collegian’s editor-in-chief Brittany Horn that news never takes a holiday.

Recently, Horn made headlines with news of her own; she will be beginning the two-year Hearst Fellowship journalism program in August. “I am so excited to start a new adventure,” Horn said.

We got the scoop about Horn’s leadership and involvement with the Collegian before she graduates this weekend.

The Write Way                                                                                

I believe that if the people in this organization are better people and better journalists, the content of the paper will be better. I wanted to create an environment where this place truly means something to every person on this staff. I hope I created a home for everyone at the Collegian. 

Between the Lines                                                                        

I loved getting to work with my staff every single day. I have 150 people on the news division, and I genuinely feel like they’re my home away from home. They are incredibly talented and have so much passion for what they do.

My goal was to produce the best paper possible at all times. Everyone is human and has their bad days or their weeks with three exams—I had to manage the implications that went along with that.

Managing some of my best friends was one of the biggest challenges. While these are the same people I go to class with and hang out with on the weekends, I’m also their boss.

The Write Decisions                                                        

Schreyer gave me the critical thinking skills and problem-solving skills to be prepared. Part of being editor is having every problem thrown at you, so it’s taught me to slow down sometimes and consider the decisions I make and the reasons behind them.

The Final Edition                                                                  

We have a tradition to do a final press run every year. It’s the last production, so that was one of the best memories. We put the paper to bed by the 1 a.m. deadline and then drove to the Lewistown Sentinel where the paper is printed. While we worked, we cranked up music, and everyone was singing and laughing and having a really good time. That was the element of family I wanted to create all year and it was really powerful to see that come together on the last night that I was editor-in-chief.

* * *

The Pride of the Lions
Who: John Satira
College: College of the Liberal Arts
Leadership Activity: Lion Ambassadors president

John Satira knows all about Penn State’s history and traditions. In fact, he’s the King -- the 2013 Homecoming King -- that is.

For the past three years, Satira has been committed to communicating Penn State’s pride, service, traditions, and excellence to past, present, and future Penn Staters with Lion Ambassadors, the Student Corps of the Penn State Alumni Association.  His term as president of the organization ended in April, and he will be attending the College of William & Mary's Marshall-Wythe School of Law in the fall.

“I want to continue to connect students to the university so that when we graduate and leave Penn State, Penn State never leaves us,” Satira said.

We found out how Satira kept Lion Ambassadors moving forward—despite always walking backwards on those infamous campus tours.

For the Future That We Wait                                                  
I am very proud that we made great strides this year in partnering with other organizations on campus and building relationships—THON, Students Engaging Students, Homecoming, the Student Programing Association (SPA), and other touring organizations. I hope that the organization is able to move forward and continue with the work that we did within Lion Ambassadors this past year.

Penn State Forever   
My favorite memory this year was running out on the floor at the “Be a Part From the Start” welcome event one last time, throwing T-shirts and soaking in the excitement. It was a great way to start the year off right. Ending the year, I got to be part of the “For the Future” Campaign Closing Ceremony and tour backwards onstage in Eisenhower Auditorium. I was afraid I’d fall backwards offstage, but I didn’t.

Thou Didst Mold Us                                                                

It was important for me to be adaptable and to be able to change course once I started something—both in my academics and leadership roles. I also learned to continue to seek new challenges.

The Lion’s Share                                                                
Always listen to the people you are leading. You want to be able to incorporate others’ opinions and concerns when making decisions for a group.

* * *

The Promoter
Dana Giacobello
Colleges: Smeal College of Business, College of Communications
Leadership Activity: 2014 Penn State Dance Marathon, public relations director

To Dana Giacobello, when Penn State students descended upon cities and town throughout Pennsylvania and neighboring states during canning weekends for the Penn State Dance Marathon last fall, they weren’t just collecting money for the fight against pediatric cancer.

They were ambassadors for the cause, helping to spread awareness about THON and the need for money for cancer research and family support.

And for Giacobello, THON’s public relations director, they helped make her job a little easier.

“My skill set is most suited for public relations, and I wanted to do what I could to make the biggest impact,” she said. “I love talking to people about what THON is, especially to those who may be unfamiliar with it.”

We caught up with Giacobello to hear more about her experiences and all that she did this year “For The Kids.”

PRoviding a Voice
At the end of THON weekend 2013 I felt like I just needed to do more. I wanted to give everything I had for my final year at Penn State before I graduated, and I felt this was the best way to do that.

Being PRoactive
My biggest challenge was making sure that any decision that I made will not only benefit THON 2014, but also future THONs as well. I always had to keep a futuristic mindset and made sure I wasn’t just applying an easy, short-term solution.

sPReading the Word
I worked really hard on getting national coverage and expanding beyond just central Pennsylvania outreach. I made how we work with press during THON weekend more efficient so that everything runs smoothly. One of my captains and I also worked to implement the new “Ribbon Zone” during the THON football game, which was really exciting getting to lead the project with Lion Ambassadors. This was a yellow ribbon for cancer awareness created out of T-shirts in the student section, similar to how the S-Zone works.

PRoud Moments
I really just hope that more people will have heard about THON, whether it’s more students or more people outside of Penn State. Even if I just impacted some people who didn’t know about THON before, then that’s something to be proud of. I definitely learned a lot about research in social media, in terms of how social media can be used to mold your brand and I tried to apply that to THON social media accounts since they’re so heavily followed. Even basic skills like time management and continuously working towards a goal really came into play for me. I had to do that for THON and for my honors thesis and doing that in two different parts of my life helped me really zone in on those skills.

* * *

The Producer
Who: George Inglis
College: Eberly College of Science
Leadership Activity: SHO TIME (Schreyer Honors Orientation) lead mentor; Penn State Thespians vice president

When Scholar George Inglis arrived for SHO TIME, the Schreyer Honors College’s three-day orientation program at the start of his freshman year, he had no idea that four years later, he’d be running the show.

This year, Inglis shined in the spotlight as the lead mentor for SHO TIME as well as the vice president of Penn State Thespians.

As he prepares to graduate, we found out more about how Inglis’ experiences as a Scholar set the stage for his leadership in both starring roles.

The Grand Finale
I was watching our show this semester, “In the Heights.” It hit me that this was the last show I’d be involved with. I saw the show on the closing night and was amazed at how everything came together— the show, the cast, the costumes, the set and every little detail that Thespians work so hard on all semester.

The Show Must Go On
As vice president, my main role was to oversee the process for those who are working towards becoming voting members. I hope I created a positive and enjoyable experience for them in Thespians, and now that they are members, they’ll continue to stay involved and be more active. Thespians is something I’m passionate about and hold near and dear to my heart. I want others to feel the same and find their niche within theater and their home within Penn State.

Scholarly Lessons
Two skills that I’ve learned through my experiences in Schreyer are time management and communication, which are integral for all leadership positions.

On with the SHO
I really enjoy helping people find their home at Penn State. Coming from a small high school, I was nervous to go to such a big university. Being in SHO TIME helped me discover and explore Penn State from the beginning and make it smaller for me. It was a dream come true to be the SHO TIME lead mentor, and I was honored to have been a part of planning it for 2013. I hope that the changes that I made will be built upon to make the experience even better for future students.

The Next Gig
I’m excited to dive into full-time research as a Ph.D. student at Emory University. I also hope to be a resource for rising seniors in the Eberly College of Science applying for grad school and help them do the best they can. I’d like to be as engaged as possible, even if I’m in another state. I don’t see my involvement with Penn State ending with my graduation.

* * *

The Money Manager
Who: Jarrod Bruno
College: Smeal College of Business
Leadership Activity: Nittany Lion Fund president; Penn State Investment Association president

Jarrod Bruno means business.

As president of the Nittany Lion Fund, the student-managed stock portfolio, and the Penn State Investment Association in 2013, Bruno oversaw the student management of more than $6 million dollars in invested assets.

Now he’s going to put that experience to work. Later this month, he will follow his interests and move to the Big Apple to start working in investment banking with Goldman Sachs.

We sat down with Bruno to get his two cents about leadership and experiences before graduating.

Money in the Bank                                                              
The Nittany Lion Fund is the only student-managed investment fund of its kind in the world. The money isn’t just donated from alumni or given to the fund through the university’s endowment. We’re set up as an actual hedge fund. All of the money comes from accredited investors who have to have more than a million dollars in net worth to invest. It works the same as any hedge fund would to get them to invest in the fund. We manage over $6 million in assets through 10 different sectors, such as energy, financial, healthcare, etc.

Putting the “Fun” in Fund                                                      
Making the investors a good solid return— that’s the most important thing. A huge part is also being able to be able to give back to the younger students. My biggest focus was helping younger students prepare to get jobs on Wall Street and manage the fund successfully. I was proud of getting the fund’s name out there more than in the past and generating more publicity for it. 

Connecting the Dots                                                                    
For me the biggest thing was the network of Scholars that I was able to talk to before I was even in the Honors College. You build a strong network of friends and colleagues that you’ll work with within other organizations.

Taking Care of Business                                                    
The biggest challenge is finding a way to keep people motivated. It can be about 20 hours a week to be a fund manager—even if it’s your first semester. The more positive and encouraging we were as leaders, the more we saw positive results and people putting in the hard work we needed to see. It helped to build a strong culture within the fund and strong camaraderie.

Future Prospects                                                              
Goldman Sachs has on-campus recruitment, and they take junior analysts on those trips. I hope to be able to come back to recruit so I can help some of the people I know learn more about jobs in financial services.


Media Contacts: 
Last Updated May 08, 2014