Biobehavioral health students share insight, work at Engaged Scholarship Expo

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – Two students in the Department of Biobehavioral Health (BBH) gave presentations Nov. 17 at Penn State’s Engaged Scholarship Expo in the HUB-Robeson Center on the University Park campus as part of Global Entrepreneurship Week.

The expo, in its second year, brings together faculty, staff and students to share engaged scholarship experiences, opportunities and inspiration. Undergraduate students, graduate students, faculty and staff are encouraged to experience how engaged scholarship — out-of-classroom academic experiences that complement classroom learning — can change the future and the perception of education.

Paul Girgis, a senior BBH student minoring in engineering entrepreneurship, shared his journey as a pre-medical student who ultimately decided to study entrepreneurship.

“It was almost a ‘coming of age’ presentation,” Girgis said.

Girgis’ story focused on how he ultimately dropped pre-med courses, got an internship at Workshop Chicago, in Chicago, Illinois, and now is minoring in entrepreneurship and interning at New Leaf Initiative in State College.

“Looking forward to the future, I hope to explore my interests in the business setting,” Girgis said. “At the expo, I got to hear from, and talk to, some absolutely incredible undergrad students from across the Commonwealth Campuses. Several people studied abroad and had fantastic research and community-engaging projects. I also met another student who I will share an African Community Development class with next semester because of the expo.”

Eden Araya, a junior BBH student, presented “Conversations that Matter,” about her work at World in Conversation (WinC) at Penn State, where she is a facilitator on the global dialogues team connecting people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Poland, the Netherlands, China and other places.

“I chose this as my engaged scholarship opportunity because it is leading me to be more culturally competent and gain skills in facilitation, molding me as a leader,” she said. “I love working at WinC because it allows me to explore about the ways we are impacted by the world around us. We have conversations about race relations, climate and west-middle east exchange dialogues. My future goals are in working in the research fields specifically looking at race health disparities.”

Eden said the expo helped her further realize the importance of the work she does.

“I hope to share my research in the future with those around the world but I would also love to make a true impact,” she said. “At the Engaged Scholarship Expo I recognized, all over again, that conflict is not a bad thing; it is something that can lead collaboration across cultures and people. I am very grateful for the opportunity to have shared the work I am currently doing with more people at Penn State.”

For more information about Global Entrepreneurship Week at Penn State, visit

Last Updated November 26, 2014