PSU news by
Penn State's student blog



Dr. Jill Biden Shares Experiences And Motivates Penn State Students

Dr. Jill Biden took Eisenhower Auditorium’s stage Tuesday night as part of the 2017-2018 Distinguished Speaker Series presented by the Student Programming Association.

The former second lady of the United States spoke on her experiences as the second lady, while also including her experiences as a mother, grandmother, a community college English professor, and as a leader.

Biden explained the last time she visited Penn State’s campus was during her junior year of high school, searching for the perfect college fit.

“I became a Blue Hen instead of a Nittany Lion, but I would’ve been a proud Lion, if not a Blue Hen!”

After multiple proposals by her husband Joe, past Vice President, Dr. Biden confessed, “Politics just became part of the equation within my life.”

Biden said finding a balance between being a political figure, a mother, and an educator is one of the biggest challenges she’s faced. While raising her children, she also taught English at a community college in Delaware, at a public high school, and at a psychiatric hospital for adolescents.

“We all struggle to find a balance between family, ambitions, and careers” and “life’s tough,” she said.

Known as “Dr. B” to her students at Northern Virginia Community College, where she’s now a professor, Biden said she’s inspired by the nation’s students and their talents, abilities, and passions to create a better future for the United States. She discussed one of her class’s assignments, a ‘This I believe…’ paper. If you’ve taken CAS 100, this one might sound familiar.

“I believe in peace,” Biden proclaimed, noting, “When I got lost throughout my life…I turned to teaching.”

She was the first second lady to also hold an outside job while her husband served as vice president.

“I love what I do; it’s more than just a job for me. It’s a calling. It’s who I am,” Biden said. When her husband was elected vice president, she couldn’t give up what she worked so hard to do as an educator, so pursuing both “careers” was the only answer.

As second lady of the United States, Biden constantly worked to support ending domestic violence. Nicely accompanying her lecture, October is recognized as National Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

She told a story of a student within one of her college classes that suffered from horrid domestic violence. The student was having a hard time in class and was haunted by trauma, as her husband consistently beat her. Biden said she needed to be an advocate for this student, so she helped set up counseling services for her and increasingly noticed improvements in her class work.

“It takes a little help to make a big difference,” Biden said. “You’re not alone, it’s never your fault, we will fight for you everyday.”

Biden then sat down with the programming coordinator for the Gender Equity Center at Penn State, Jennifer Pencek.

Through this conversation, Biden encouraged students to learn to ask for help when they need help, and to just put one foot in front of the other everyday, regardless of the tragedy present in our country and around the world.

“Go to your passions and strengths to make a difference in the world,” she advised students. “Find joy in each and every day.”

Biden closed with a quote from The Color Purple author Alice Walker: “Look closely at the present you are constructing, it should look like the future you are dreaming. Lead the way! You must be the agents of change. I am depending on you.”

About the Author

Connor Pardoe

Connor is a sophomore studying Public Relations, Communication Arts & Sciences, specializing in Rhetoric and Argumentation. He aspires to attend law school following his time as an undergraduate student. Connor hails from Williamsport, PA and can frequently be found sipping on coffee, while singing a tune with Penn State's premier a cappella group The Pennharmonics, or the Men's Glee Club. Connor loves all things Penn State and hopes you do too! For any inquiries, contact Connor at [email protected]


More by Connor

[email protected] Welcomes Pianist Arthur Goldstein

Now a Penn State professor, Goldstein has performed throughout various major venues worldwide as a chamber and jazz musician.

Penn State Holds Constitution Day Event Monday

‘The Daily Show’ Correspondent Hasan Minhaj To Speak At Freeman Auditorium


Cole Miller Misses Cut At U.S. Open

Miller finished the first two rounds of the U.S. Open at +12, missing the cut by four strokes.

Evan Barratt Invited To World Junior Summer Showcase

Several Penn State Women’s Soccer Players Training In WPSL

Top-100 Wrestler Flips From Pitt To Penn State

Maddie Elliston Named Penn State Women’s Soccer Captain

Student Life

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting At Beaver Stadium

If alumna Alex Perry hadn’t accidentally gotten into the wrong admissions line before a football game, she might never have met the love of her life.

Virtual Reality: Changing The Game At Penn State

Penn State Cracks The Top Ten In Niche’s 2018 Party School Ranking

Plans Submitted For New KFC In State College

Developers have submitted preliminary land development plans to build a new KFC restaurant at 1780 S. Atherton St. in State College.

Freshman 101: How To Buy Football Tickets

Tickets go on sale for graduate students on Monday, June 18, followed by seniors on Tuesday, juniors on Wednesday, sophomores on Thursday, and freshmen on Friday.

Four Veterans Who Could Fill Important Roles For Penn State

Mark Allen, Brandon Polk, Jarvis Miller, and Ayron Monroe have the chance to create more opportunities for themselves this season.

Be the first to know

  • Top posts and the best Penn State stories

Thank you for subscribing.

Something went wrong.

Penn State Love Stories: A Chance Meeting At Beaver Stadium

If alumna Alex Perry hadn’t accidentally gotten into the wrong admissions line before a football game, she might never have met the love of her life.

Send this to a friend