Penn State Learning honors fall 2020 outstanding guided study group leaders

December 22, 2020

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State Learning has named Frank Bolton and Marissa Hunt as the recipients of the Outstanding Guided Study Group Leader Award for the fall 2020 semester.

Both students received a certificate of recognition and a stipend of $500. The award, made possible by the generosity of a program alumna, recognizes guided study group (GSG) leaders who commit to creating and sustaining a welcoming and academically supportive learning community for their assigned course. Working closely with course instructors and routinely attending class sessions, leaders host drop-in study sessions online in which they review course materials and help students hone their problem-solving skills in a stimulating and challenging, collaborative learning environment. This semester’s recipients exemplify the award criteria, as noted in the following comments from their nominators.

Bolton is a chemistry major, and Hunt is an elementary education major with minors in special education and human development and family studies. Both plan to continue with the GSG program in the spring.

Bolton has led various chemistry study groups over three semesters, most recently for CHEM 112. His multiple nominators all discussed his willingness to go above and beyond program expectations and his creative use of technology to help students in the best ways possible.

Photo of Frank Bolton

Frank Bolton

IMAGE: Provided

Lori Stepan, associate teaching professor of chemistry, remarked that Bolton “not only has the knowledge and experience with chemistry concepts and calculations, [but] he also does an excellent job of explaining these skills to novice students.”

Stepan also described how this semester Bolton has “effortlessly adapted to the challenges of online learning, navigating Zoom, breakout rooms, polls, Jamboards and online assessments with ease.”

Hunt has shown exemplary leadership in her first semester as a GSG leader for Math 200 and 201. Her nominator, Darla Forsha Simpson, associate teaching professor of mathematics, described how Hunt “has beautifully maneuvered the difficulties from the pandemic while still utilizing collaborative learning” in her GSG sessions.

Photo of Marissa Hunt

Marissa Hunt

IMAGE: Provided

Forsha Simpson further described the ways Hunt helps students learn material effectively, as she “writes problems that cover each lesson, challenging their knowledge while requiring collaborative peer interaction.”

Penn State Learning offers its congratulations to these outstanding leaders.

Additional information about the awards process and other ways to give to Penn State Learning is available at In addition to providing no-charge guided study groups supporting a wide range of courses, Penn State Learning also provides tutoring in mathematics, world languages and writing, and hosts mentors from the Penn State Undergraduate Speaking Center.

Penn State Learning is part of the Penn State Office of Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated January 18, 2021