Student Stories: Plant science major, majorette has touches of blue and green

Anna Criswell
March 29, 2016

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — One might think that balancing demanding studies and a high-profile, sport-related activity is difficult, but senior plant science major Rychele Stipcak, in the College of Agricultural Sciences, has mostly made it look easy.

"You get really good at strategizing your schedule, you get good at not procrastinating because you don't have that luxury," said the co-captain of the Touch of Blue Penn State majorette line.

Stipcak has been a majorette all four years at Penn State, and it has been demanding. Her weekly schedule requires about nine hours for Blue Band, not including majorette practices or personal skill development. When there's a home game, the majorettes have an extra practice on Thursday.

Since this past football season had five home games in a row, Stipcak and the squad's coach and captain devoted about 40 hours a week developing and teaching new routines. Even though it's like a full-time job, she doesn't mind the extra workload.

"I love how the people and traditions come together to play such an important role in the University's life," she said.

When she isn't planning a twirling routine or practicing with the Blue Band, Stipcak focuses on her major — plant science, with a horticulture option.

"Plant science is broken up into different options. Horticulture is the manipulation of plants, and I could go into many different fields — pun intended."

Her favorite part of the major is the people. She said her peers and professors all bring different things to the table in terms of personalities, interests, ideas and passions. Not only does she learn from an educational standpoint, she learns from them as well.

Because of her twirling background, she wants to bring an artistic approach to her career. Stipcak is interested in design and working with public gardens. She's even worked with the University's best-known garden — during the summer after her freshman year she interned at The Arboretum at Penn State.

There, Stipcak learned about pest management, landscape design and cultivation practices. Later on, she was an assistant to a Penn State horticulture technician. She helped take care of the Arboretum, Schreyer House and several gardens around campus. She also engaged in event planning.

"After graduation I plan to pursue horticulture in California," she said. "I have a particular interest in public gardens and botanics, but I am keeping my options open for any opportunity that I may find."






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Last Updated March 30, 2016