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10 Questions: Miss Virginia

10 Questions is a recurring Onward State feature in which we ask people about their Penn State experience. Today we’re talking to Tara Wheeler, who has a resume that sounds like the description of a Bond girl. She’s a beauty queen (Miss Virginia 2008), an Air Force ROTC cadet, an aspiring TV anchor, and an ice hockey goalie. She danced in THON too! Tara graduated from Penn State in 2004.

TaraWithGrahamWhere did you live while you were at Penn State? Which was your favorite?
I lived in McKean in East, Stephens in South, and McKee in West Halls and in a loft off of Waupelani Dr… I’m torn between them all! East was close to Beaver Stadium, Stephens Hall was the perfect spot near downtown and Mclanahan’s was right across the street, West had the best food, and Waupelani lofts was huge! It doesn’t matter where I lived, I love every inch of Penn State :)

What was your favorite class while at Penn State?
Comm 465 was my favorite. We learned how to be one-man-band reporters-writers-and editors and at the end of the course, I had a resume tape that I could be proud of!

Canyon Pizza or Brother’s Pizza?
Canyon hands down! Nothing tastes better at 2am.

psu_012What was your most memorable Lady Icers game?
The entire 2004 ACHA National Tournament. All of our games were so close and so hard-fought. I’ve never played better and I’ve never seen my team come together in a more incredible way.

What frat or club did you most enjoy hanging out with? Were you in a sorority?
I was not in a sorority… between Air Force ROTC and the Lady Icers my free time was scarce and when I did have free time, I spent it with my fellow cadets or teammates.

If you could be any dinosaur, which would you be and why?
Velociraptor: my college roomie, Meg Shenk (yes, I’m calling you out!), used to always joke that she wished she had a pet Velociraptor that she could send to attack people when they made her mad. It’s probably funny only to our fellow roomies, but we took this joke and ran with it in so many ways that it’s all I can think of when “dinosaurs” come up. (Love you, Megatron!)

What is your favorite Creamery flavor?
Mint Chocolate Chip

psu_024What clubs did you participate in at Penn State?
I was the starting goalie for the Lady Icers, an Air Force ROTC cadet, danced in THON, was an anchor for PSN News, and founded my own student service organization “Positive Role Models Building Powerful Women”

Who would win in a fight: Graham Spanier or Joe Paterno?
JoePa in a heart beat. If that man can bounce back after being tackled on the side-lines, he can take on anything. My hero.

Is it hard being a beauty queen, hockey player, Air Force ROTC cadet, and an upcoming journalist simultaneously!?
Not at all. It comes down to being able to manage your time, and loving what you’re doing! I always try to remind myself that “beauty is as beauty does”. It’s so important to focus on doing beautiful things for others, enjoying people and experiences, and being grateful. You can never take anything for granted! Penn State is saturated with opportunities, so my advice is to try a bit of everything!

About the Author


Creator of @OnwardState. Big fan of sweaters.


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