College of the Liberal Arts recognizes new Paterno Fellows and essay winners

Kirsten Schlorff
March 10, 2021

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts virtually recognized 127 students as Paterno Fellows and Schreyer Scholars and five Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest winners this spring.

As part of an innovative landmark program offered jointly by the college and the Schreyer Honors College, the Paterno Fellows Program is designed to challenge students and reward ability, creativity and commitment. Paterno Fellows must fulfill additional expectations beyond meeting the requirements of the Schreyer Honors College.

"We are so proud of our Paterno Fellows who have satisfied the requirements to be admitted to Schreyer Honors College!” said Jeremy Engels, Barry Director of the Paterno Fellows Program and professor of communication arts and sciences. “They have worked hard and have excelled under extremely difficult circumstances.”

After their recognition, 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 guests and liberal arts alumni.

“In normal times, this is a major accomplishment — but to have achieved this during a global pandemic is astounding,” Engels said. “Their dedication and perseverance is truly inspiring. These students embody the very best of the College of the Liberal Arts, and I have no doubt they are going to change the world.”

Currently, there are 371 Paterno Fellows and 489 first-year and sophomore students who aspire to become fellows. Since 2008, when the program was launched, 804 students have graduated as Paterno Fellows.

The winners of the program’s eighth annual Collegiate Laws of Life Essay Contest have also been announced and recognized. Winning essays in response to the prompt, “What is the purpose of a university?” are published on the Paterno Fellows Program’s website. Monetary prizes were awarded to the top three winners. This year’s essay contest winners are:

— First Place: “The City of Bridges” by Ezra Gershanok, a senior Schreyer Scholar majoring in economics.

— Second Place: “8,000 Acres of Eternal Revolt” by Taran Samarth, a sophomore Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar majoring in philosophy, political science and sociology.

— Third Place: “The Duality of Higher Education and the Roles of University” by Carley Palkon, a sophomore Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar majoring in Spanish and international politics.

— Honorable Mention: “The Pessimistic Truth” by Nicole D’Amico, a junior Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar majoring in sociology and international politics.

— Honorable Mention: “The University Exists Because Human Infants Cannot Outrun Hyenas” by Elijah St. Pierre, a senior Paterno Fellow and Schreyer Scholar majoring in philosophy and geosciences.

A video of Gershanok reading his first-place winning essay is available for viewing on the college’s YouTube channel. All five winners will be featured guests on a future episode of the new Paterno Fellows Podcast.

Students interested in learning more about the Paterno Fellows Program and its requirements can visit Alumni interested in reading stories about current students and staying connected can now like and follow the Paterno Fellows Program on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 10, 2021