Alumnus used skills learned at World Campus to thank COVID-19 nurses

Meredith Herndon
July 09, 2020

As a director and producer, Penn State World Campus alumnus Ian Truitner is usually on set interacting with his colleagues. But when he and his wife, Randall Scerbo Truitner, were inspired to produce a PSA to thank nurses who treat COVID-19 patients, he needed to be able to do it remotely. Using his experiences as an online learner, Truitner was able to successfully direct and produce the video all from his home.

“It was certainly a challenge directing 30 people remotely without face-to-face contact, but I credit my time getting an MBA at Penn State World Campus for learning how to organize through an online environment and execute at a high level,” said Truitner, a 2010 graduate.

Scerbo Truitner’s sister Tonya, a registered nurse in Georgia, had shared a powerful video of a doctor discussing the difficulties of treating COVID-19 patients. The video moved the couple to brainstorm their own way to say thank you.

“With all the fear and uncertainty in the world, we wanted to do something that made people smile,” said Truitner.

The couple partnered with the American Nurses Foundation, pooled their resources using their production company RANDIAN, and began reaching out to celebrities who jumped at the chance to get involved. Rita Wilson, Constance Wu, Kate Flannery, Chris Chalk, Simon Helberg and Joan Lunden are among those featured in the video.

When remotely directing and producing the PSA from his home in Los Angeles, Truitner said he was able to apply the tools he learned by earning his degree through World Campus without feeling out of his element. He said that communicating and organizing with others online was nothing new to him, thanks to his experience as an online learner.

Truitner remains in contact with Penn State alumni in Los Angeles and said that the Penn State spirit motivated him in promoting a message that would create a sense of community among viewers.

“At World Campus, you're getting people from all over the world and everyone’s bringing their own unique perspective,” said Truitner. “But ultimately, you find a lot of commonality and everyone comes together.”

Visit the Penn State World Campus website for more information about learning online.

“We Are” stories

The “We Are” spirit is perhaps more important than ever before, and Penn Staters everywhere are coming together in new and amazing ways. During these challenging times, our community is continuing to realize Penn State’s commitment to excellence through acts of collaboration, thoughtfulness and kindness. As President Eric Barron has written on Digging Deeper, this truly is a “We Are” moment.

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated July 10, 2020