IST student works toward a better student experience

Courtney Allen
October 04, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- For many students, Penn State is a place to find their passions. For others, it is a landmark time to discover how they want to make a change for those around them. One student in the College of Information Sciences and Technology is doing both by serving as a University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA) Representative, where she acts as a member of the campus’ student government focused on enhancing the student experience at Penn State. 

Chelsey Wood, a junior studying security and risk analysis, was unanimously elected last year as UPUA’s academic affairs chair and as a representative for the College of IST. She also serves as the faculty student senator for the University Faculty Senate. 

“I was on the freshman council my first year at Penn State, so I really got to see the role that the UPUA members hold on campus and what real changes they get to initiate,” said Wood. “That’s why [during my] sophomore year I decided academic affairs was my passion, and I wanted to run”. 

As academic affairs chair, Wood is responsible for leading 14 various academic college representatives in a weekly meeting, co-chairing the student caucus for University Faculty Senate, and sitting on the Steering Committee, as well as interviewing potential candidates for entry into UPUA. As a representative for the College of IST, she also works to represent her IST peers’ interests on campus.

“I actually switched my major from political science to security and risk analysis and decided IST would be my college,” she said. “I thought it would be the best fit, and I would love to represent [IST students].” 

Chelsey Wood

Chelsey Wood, a junior studying security and risk analysis, is serving as University Park Undergraduate Association's academic affairs chair and representative for the College of IST. 

IMAGE: Provided

Wood believes that academic affairs is the “one true place” where students can inspire a change for every single student. It’s this reason, she says, that she thoroughly enjoys helping students reach their goals as easily possible.  

“The one thing that connects all students at Penn State is that we are here for our education,” she said. “By changing one aspect of policy I have the ability to change the lives of current students and every future Penn Stater.” 

In addition to providing her with a platform to enact change on campus and the means to attain her degree, Wood credits the College of IST for teaching soft skills that help students adapt fluidly to their desired career fields. These come from in-depth group projects and workshops that involve partner collaboration. 

“I think the College of IST is very group focused,” said Wood. “Being able to work with other people, and learning group development skills helps when having to communicate with people in UPUA that I collaborate with.”

She said the effort given by the college to see students excel has equipped her to serve with UPUA. She explained that what she learned in her classes benefits her when working with other representatives within UPUA, voicing student concerns with Penn State administration in meetings, and working with the administration to come up with a mutually beneficial solution to a problem. 

In the future, Wood aims to work in counterterrorism and counterintelligence. Her inspiration came from Don Shemanksi, professor of practice in the College of IST, who served as a diplomat with the United States Foreign Service for 23 years before joining the faculty of the college.

“He has brought this real-world experience into the classroom, and I think he is a wonderful professor,” said Wood. “He’s driven me to want to truly do my best. I think he has the same passion as me, so it pushes me further to accomplish all of my goals.” 

Last Updated October 04, 2018