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State of State Announces Second Round of Speakers

The inaugural State of State conference is just around the corner, and if the leadership team has announced its second round of speakers. The first round included six well-known community figures, and the second round looks to be just as impressive.

Here are the final nine speakers (bios provided by State of State):

  • Host: Christian Heilman is a senior double majoring in broadcast journalism and management information systems. He has been an executive producer, reporter and anchor for Centre County Report, the College of Communications’ Emmy award-winning newscast. At Penn State, he’s worked with the film crews for 365 Days: A Year in Happy Valley and The Joe We Know. Outside of school, he’s completed internships with ABC News in New York, WPXI in Pittsburgh and WJAC in State College.
  • Bret Turner is a junior studying environmental resource management with minors in environmental engineering, environmental economics, and watershed management.  He is involved with the Penn State ERM Society and his THON committee.  Bret will be discussing internalized discrimination and hate within Penn State’s LGBT community and issues that face LGBT students in relation to the Penn State community as a whole.
  • Anthony Panichelli is a senior studying political science. He is also the Speaker of the Assembly of the University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), and a Penn State Lion Ambassador. Panichelli will try to answer the question, “what will a Penn State education look like in 2020?,” by talking about open educational resources (OERs) and engaged scholarship as they pertain to the future of higher education.
  • Alexandra DiStefano is a sophomore studying finance. She is the Lead Analyst for the Consumer Staples sector in the Nittany Lion Fund, which is a student-run mutual fund that is comprised of alumni investments. Additionally, she is the Vice President of Operations for Kappa Delta Sorority, and the Secretary for Alpha Kappa Psi Professional Business Fraternity. She is the Head Intern for Wall Street Boot Camp and is also a Rogers Family Trading Room Intern, where she hosts presentations about FactSet investment technologies. In her speech, she will be discussing the implementation of Project-Based-Learning in Penn State’s classrooms, beginning with changing the Teaching Assistant structure to support this new system.
  • Emma Gregory is a senior studying nutritional sciences with a minor in global health from State College, PA. She is involved with the Penn State Thespians and has performed, directed, and produced shows throughout her college career. She is also involved with THON- last year as a Morale Captain and this year as a Public Relations Captain. She aims to create a platform for constructive dialogue about THON, its size, and its effect on the rest of the university.
  • Jackie Guo is a senior studying chemical engineering.  She is involved with Springfield, a special interest organization benefitting THON – serving as a fundraising chair for THON 2013 and dancing in THON 2014.  She wants to talk about international student integration at Penn State and the overall difficulty of reconciling one’s own distinct cultural background while still making an effort to “fit in” at Penn State.
  • Abiola Ajibola is a senior studying Energy Business and Finance with minors in Economics and Psychology. He is the president of the National Pan-Hellenic Council which is one of the four governing Greek councils at Penn State. He is also the vice president of his fraternity, Iota Phi Theta Fraternity, Inc. Abiola will be discussing the miseducation of diversity within the Penn State community and the influence of each individual on diversity.
  • Philip Burlingame, Associate Vice President for Student Affairs, will share ideas about how students can develop more agency in their own learning. He will also prompt discussion on the topic of how the fullest possible Penn State learning experience (from both sides of the classroom door) can be made available to future online learners.
  • Chris Long, Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Education in the College of the Liberal Arts will give a talk, titled GenEd $201, that focuses on GenEd reform, why GenEd Matters, and how students can take ownership of their GenEd experience. He points out that, assuming you pay full tuition and take out 10-year student loans, your general education courses cost you $201 per month for the next 10 years of your life. Why not turn that cost into an investment? Tweet him @deancplong to learn more.
  • Steve Garguilo (IST ’09) Founding Curator of TEDxPSU and now Curator of TEDxJNJ, Steve works to amplify the impact of remarkable people worldwide by helping them prepare the talk of a lifetime. Steve will start a conversation about communication within our community, analyzing examples of “marketing” that fall flat vs. authentic messages that really resonate. We’ll explore what works best and what we should each strive for and demand from our leaders.

This is the first year for the new student-organized State of State conference, which will take place on March 30 at Alumni Hall in the HUB. State of State is essentially a TED conference focused specifically on issues that Penn State faces — as they put it, it will bring together and promote dialogue in the Penn State community around the theme of “Past, Present, Progress.” Free tickets are available on Eventbrite, and you can check out SoS on Twitter and Facebook.

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About the Author

Kevin Horne

Kevin Horne was the editor of Onward State from 2012-2014 and currently holds the position of Managing Editor Emeritus, which is a fake title he made up. He graduated from Penn State with degrees journalism and political science in 2014 and is currently seeking his J.D. at the Penn State Dickinson School of Law. A third generation Penn Stater from Williamsport, Pa., Kevin is also the president of the graduate student government. Email: [email protected]

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