Penn Stater Surprised With Proposal Under the Northern Lights

We’ve seen our fair share of romantic Penn State proposals — during an a cappella performance, on the field of Beaver Stadium, and even in the midst of THON. However, perhaps we have never seen a proposal quite as elaborate or picturesque as this one.

Under the guise of “Amazing Race,” Justin Scheman and Diana Bishop, a Penn State alumnus and his girlfriend of seven years, traveled through six states before ultimately flying to Iceland, where he proposed beneath the shining colors of the Northern Lights.

The Aurora Borealis had always been Justin’s goal for a proposal.

“Love didn’t seem to capture what we really had,” Justin explained to FOX 10. “So we both said, what is the most beautiful thing on this earth — and that’s what we should compare our love to. We both sat and, pretty much at the same time, said the Aurora Borealis, or the Northern Lights.” From that point on, Justin said, they referred to their love as an “Aurora love,” their own version of deeper, more meaningful love. This is also where Justin got the idea for the proposal location: underneath the Northern Lights, as a reflection of their feelings for one another.

Seven years later, Justin found a GroupOn discount on a Northern Lights excursion, and he knew this was his moment — he just needed to find a way to get Diana to Iceland without stirring up any curiosities or inklings. “It has to be something so crazy that she thinks that I couldn’t have done this,” Justin thought.

They were both big fans of the thrilling reality TV show “Amazing Race,” which places participants in competition against one another and sends them off to perform extravagant tasks throughout the world. With the couple having recently entered an application for the show, Justin decided to take advantage of the timing and spent several weeks planning out a faked Amazing Race competition in order to fly Diana to Iceland.

Diana, who had studied elementary education at Penn State from 2003 to 2007, was excited when a full camera crew and an invitation to the special “online” edition of the “Amazing Race” showed up in her classroom in Philadelphia, where she works as a teacher. She, alongside Justin, had to perform various tasks in Delaware, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Connecticut, and Massachusetts, ranging from cutting down a Christmas tree to having a quick lesson in French. They successfully completed each task, all the while decked out in Penn State gear.

Finally — after the help of Craigslist-hired strangers to provide clues, opening the same envelopes and driving the same rental cars as those used on “Amazing Race” — Justin and Diana “won” the “online” edition of “Amazing Race,” and as a reward, they caught a flight from Boston to Iceland for a four-day vacation. There, under “the best Northern Lights they have had in years,” Justin proposed.

He dropped the ring, grabbed the wrong hand, and was overcome by emotion, but in the end he managed the right words and, of course, she said yes.

The entire planning and proposal has swept everyone off their feet, with many exclaiming that Justin has set the bar incredibly high for men across the board. But Justin is quick to refute those comments and happily defends the overwhelmingly romantic gestures.

“It’s not that much effort for somebody you love,” Justin said. “When you say, ‘I would do anything for you,’ don’t say it — do it!”

Congratulations to Justin and Diana!

You can watch the entire “Amazing Race” and proposal below:

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About the Author

Jessica Myers

Jess graduated in May 2015, with a Bachelor of Arts with honors in English, and with two minors in Latin and Art History. When she says she's "shippin' up to Boston," she's not just singing the song -- she's actually attending Northeastern University this fall to pursue her master's degree. You can follow her shenanigans at her site,

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