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State Of State Announces Student Conference Speakers

State of State announced this year’s slate of student speakers in a series of Facebook posts released over the past few weeks. This year’s State of State conference, to be held February 3, will focus on four themes: Free Speech on Campus, Impact of Technology in the Lives of Students, Social Stigma at Penn State, and the Effect of World Events on Minority Community Members.

Free Speech on Campus

Samantha Ruland — Editor in Chief of The Daily Collegian
Ruland will discuss free speech as it relates to student media and the media’s responsibility to tell stories the general public wouldn’t hear about otherwise.

Marvin Barnhill — BLUEprint, Black Student Union, Lion Ambassadors, Society for Human Resource Management
Barnhill will discuss “The Cost of Free Speech.”

Impact of Technology in the Lives of Students

Smith Sopp — Director of HackPSU
Sopp will discuss how STEM students are prepared in college for their future professions and the importance of adopting a more contemporary approach to STEM education.

Matt Roda — Cofounder of Reflexion Interactive Technologies, Lion Ambassador
Roda will discuss entrepreneurship and how to use your own ideas and resources available to start your own business.

Stephanie Jackley Reynolds — World Campus Student Advisory Board
Jackley Reynolds will discuss how technology can be used to include the online student in all aspects of Penn State.

Social Stigma at Penn State

Samantha Geisinger — Lion Ambassador
Geisinger will discuss how our society can make those with illnesses feel more included and welcome and how academic higher education institutions can accommodate students with mental disabilities.

Alexa Ain — Panhellenic Council, UPUA, Sisters on the Runway
Ain will discuss how we can work to make our communities more inclusive for all and make an impact on the community we live in.

Effect of World Events on Minority Community Members

Karam Salameh — World in Conversation
Salameh will discuss minoritization of perspective, responsibility of privilege, the role of randomness in community, and conversation as a solution.

Jorge Zurita-Coronado — President of Latino Caucus
Zurita-Coronado will discuss how decisions in Washington will affect Dreamers at Penn State.

Tiara Dowling — President of NAACP undergraduate chapter, S.M.A.R.T. tour guide, Youth Empowerment Program mentor
Dowling will discuss how how having an intersectional view in the classroom at Penn State can lead to more learning between various communities.


The organization plans to announce this year’s faculty, staff, and community speakers via Facebook next week. You can register to attend the conference here.

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About the Author

Elissa Hill

Elissa is a senior public relations major and the managing editor of Onward State. She is from Punxsutawney, PA [insert corny Bill Murray joke here] and considers herself an expert on all things ice cream. Send questions and comments via e-mail ([email protected]) and follow her on Twitter (@ElissaKHill) for more corny jokes.

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