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State of State Reveals Final Round of Speakers

In case you missed the memo, State of State is an annual conference for the Penn State community and a platform for change. This year’s conference will take place in Alumni Hall on Feb. 14, 2015. The organization aims to unite the community, promote dialogue on and off campus, and serve as a think-tank for State College ideas, both throughout the year and at the conference itself.

Last week, student organization State of State revealed the first round of speakers for its 2015 conference. The list included some exciting faculty picks, ranging from Barry Bram to Richard Alley and beyond.

Today, State of State revealed its final round of speakers for the 2015 conference. These are the last ten people that will speak on engaged scholarship, mental health awareness, sexual assault awareness, and commonwealth campus culture at State of State 2015.

Dan Combs – Dan is a senior in the Schreyer Honors College studying chemical engineering and minoring in Spanish.  He has previously served as both President and Treasurer of the Interfraternity Council, which governs the largest fraternity community in the nation.  He is also a member of Men Against Violence, a group of men dedicated to ending sexual violence at Penn State.  Combs will be analyzing the issue of sexual assault on college campuses and what cultural changes need to be adopted before the end of sexual assault can be realized in America.

Melissa McCleery – Melissa is a senior studying women’s studies, political science, and spanish. She stays busy 100% of the time as a tour guide with Lion Scouts, a writer for Onward State, and as the Chair of UPUA’s Sexual Violence Prevention and Awareness Roundtable, among other things. Melissa’s talk looks at sexual violence as one example of the different and  negative treatment female Penn Staters face and discusses how a culture of sexism impacts female students’ Penn State experiences.

Anjali Krishnan – Anjali is a senior double majoring in Accounting and International Politics. She is currently an At-Large representative for UPUA, University Relations Director for Lion Ambassadors and a member of Fanaa acapella team. In the past she has served as Business Manager of the Daily Collegian. Anjali will be exploring the theme of engaged scholarship with regards to convergence of events held by academic departments and curriculum at Penn State.

Julia Jacobs – Julia is a senior studying Political Science with minors in Sociology and Spanish from West Chester, PA. She is involved with Penn State Lion Ambassadors and her THON committee. Julia will be opening up conversation about mental health on campus by discussing a new initiative to unite students who may be fighting similar battles.

Ryan Henrici – Ryan is a senior studying biochemistry and molecular biology. During his time at Penn State, Ryan has been deeply involved in undergraduate research through his major and peer mentoring. Ryan’s Penn State experience most recently culminated in being named a Marshall Scholar and student ambassador to the United Kingdom. At State of State, Ryan hopes to explore Engaged Scholarship from a student’s perspective and discuss strategies to enable every student to have a similarly enriching and engaging undergraduate experience.

Awele Ajufo – Awele is sophomore majoring in Health Policy and Administration while on the Pre-Med track. She currently attends Penn State Abington and is the Student Government President of this campus. She is finishing up her final semester at Abington and will be continuing her Penn State education at University Park in the fall. She will be discussing the ways in which she believes Penn State can further unify as a university while sharing the unique experience she had by attending a commonwealth campus.

Maura Clark – Maura is a senior in Schreyer’s Honors College studying history and seeking a BFA in drawing and painting. She serves as a member of the Executive boards of Lion Ambassadors and a small good deeds club called Go Change Move.  Maura will be talking about her experience after sexual assault and the importance of listening.

Dom Mirabile – Dom is a senior studying electrical engineering with interests ranging from international politics to data analytics. As the THON 2014 Donor & Alumni Relations Director, he saw the inter-workings of one of Penn State’s largest organizations and went on to lead two smaller ones in his senior year. Dom will be discussing the relationships that student orgs have with the institution and challenging the roles and responsibilities of each party in creating successful partnerships.

John Shaffer – John is a senior studying Political Science and is the President of the Council of Commonwealth Student Governments (CCSG), the student government that represents Penn State’s nineteen Commonwealth Campuses. John started at the Mont Alto campus where he spent two great years before transition to UPark in fall of 2013. This experience has provided him with knowledge and experience about Penn State’s Commonwealth Campuses, the transition to University Park, and the difficulties that students may face adjusting academically, culturally, and socially to the new environment.

Dan Murphy – Dan joined Penn State in 2012 to serve as the Director for Student Orientation and Transition Programs — an office charged with providing leadership for New Student Orientation, Welcome Programs, and various change-of-campus initiatives for students transitioning to University Park. In addition to his work with orientation and transition programs at Penn State, he has served in a variety of leadership positions with the Association for Orientation, Transition and Retention in Higher Education. Dan recently completing a term on the Association’s Board of Directors and authored a chapter on technology use in orientation programs for the Association’s Orientation Planning Manual.

If these two dynamic lists of speakers, 18 in total, are any indication, this year’s State of State conference will be just as engaging as the last.

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Posts from the all-student staff of Onward State.


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