College of the Liberal Arts recognizes record number of new Paterno Fellows

February 13, 2019

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts inducted 142 students as Paterno Fellows and Schreyer Scholars on Feb. 6 as part of an innovative landmark program offered jointly by the college and the Schreyer Honors College. In addition, the winners of the sixth annual Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest were recognized at the ceremony.

“The program has become the place for the truly exceptional students at Penn State to succeed because it demands the most from honors students,” said Cathy Wanner, the Barry Director of the Paterno Fellows Program and professor of history and religious studies. “The program is open to any student with at least one major in the liberal arts who has the desire, talent and discipline to excel at the highest levels. The Paterno Fellows Program is the pinnacle of honors education at Penn State.”

In addition to meeting the requirements of the Schreyer Honors College, Paterno Fellows have to fulfill additional expectations. The Paterno Fellows Program is designed to challenge students and to reward ability, creativity and commitment.

After their induction, Paterno Fellows continue to pursue key milestones, including a second major or enhanced minor, study abroad or internship experiences, community service, global awareness, and a senior thesis or creative project. In return, with the help of alumni support, the college provides funding for many of these opportunities and coordinates special events with distinguished visitors and liberal arts alumni.

Wanner has developed more opportunities, such as the Paterno Fellows Visiting Scholar Program, which offers intensive interdisciplinary seminars to the Fellows. The program offers the ongoing weekly Lunch with Honors series and various workshops on applying for the Presidential Leadership Academy, Discovery Grants, and the Rock Ethics Institute’s research scholarships. In March, the second annual Paterno Fellows Contemporary Issues Forum will be held. This year’s theme is “Understanding THON: For which Kids? Starting a Conversation.” 

Currently, there are 363 Paterno Fellows and 408 first-year and second-year students who aspire to become Paterno Fellows. Since 2008, when the program was launched, 605 students have graduated as Fellows.

At the induction ceremony, the new Fellows heard from recent Fellow graduate Josh Branch, a 2013 political science alumnus. After graduation, Branch participated in Teach for America in Miami, where his interest in juvenile law deepened. He graduated from Georgetown University Law School and has since been awarded the Sol and Helen Zubrow Fellowship at the Juvenile Law Center in Philadelphia.

Branch talked about the work he’s doing at the Juvenile Law Center and how his experience in the Paterno Fellows Program and his liberal arts education had profound impacts on him. He also shared seven pieces of advice with the students in attendance, encouraging them to remember where they came from and know their value.

“I’m genuinely excited for you,” Branch said at the ceremony. “Amongst many of you will be activists, policy experts, researchers, attorneys, lawmakers ... who knows? What we do know is that the Paterno Fellows Program is going to give you the opportunities to grow as a student and as a person. What you do with that is up to you.”

The three winners of the Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest were recognized and read their essays. The winning essays are being published on the Liberal Arts Voices website. Awards were presented to the following:

— First Place: “And They Were Found Wanting” by Steve Schneible, a sophomore from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. He is a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar majoring in English and psychology.

— Second Place: “When It Works” by Jim Davidson, a junior Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar from Spring City, Pennsylvania, majoring in history and English with a minor in Spanish.

— Third Place: “Art Is Useless, and It Matters” by Brian Loane, a senior Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar from King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, majoring in English and comparative literature, with a minor in philosophy.

— Honorable Mention: “Closer than You Think” by Faith Gongaware, a sophomore Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar from Export, Pennsylvania, majoring in global and international studies and supply chain and information sciences.

— Honorable Mention: “An Observance of Humanity” by Grace DePaull, a first-year student from Dryden, New York. She is a Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar majoring in global and international studies.

— Honorable Mention: “A Letter of Apology to Art” by Cecilia Mabilais-Estevez, a senior Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Honors Scholar from Devon, Pennsylvania, majoring in English and Italian, with a minor in economics.

Students interested in learning more about the Paterno Fellows Program and its requirements can visit http://www.la.psu.edu/current-students/undergraduate-students/paterno-fellows. Alumni interested in reading the stories of students in the Paterno Fellows Program and learning how to contribute to the program can visit https://fellows.la.psu.edu/.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated February 13, 2019