Staff Picks: An Ode To Penn State Moms

Oh, moms. Where would we be without them? They are a shoulder to cry on, the biggest supporters, and the people who will be brutally honest just when we need it. Most importantly, behind every Nittany Lion is a Penn State mom.

Moms deserve praise every day, but especially on Mother’s Day. To capture the holiday’s spirit, some of our staffers reflected on what their Penn State moms mean to them.

Alysa Rubin

Mom, I would not be the woman I am today if it were not for you. You’ve shown me what it means to be patient, kind, selfless, and ambitious. You are my role model in every way and I couldn’t be more grateful for all that you do. Thank you for helping to move me in and out of two apartments this year, spoiling me with your cooking (I will never get enough of it), going on hiking and road trips with me, sharing my photos, supporting me in whatever I do, reminding me that I won’t die from a minor illness, and providing me with some unparalleled life advice. Also, thank you for reminding me to get out of my apartment and go live my life. Living on my own was pretty scary at times, but it felt less scary when I called you. I hope that I can continue to make you proud, and hopefully, you and dad can get up to State College for a game this year. I love you!

Annie Kubiak

Mary Kubiak is a Penn State alum and a mom to one Penn State grad and one current student. She has always encouraged me to be compassionate, hardworking, and do what I love in college. She is the one who introduced me to Onward State and said that I should apply. Thanks, mom!

Ava Brendgord

I know I may be biased, but I think my mother, Jennifer, is the best mom in the entire world. From having the best southern home cooking to always answering my multiple phone calls and texts, she really is the best of the best. I literally don’t know what I would do or who I would be without her. Coming all the way from Texas, my mom has adapted the Penn State mom lifestyle like no other. When I first got accepted to Penn State, she was all in on the yard signs, apparel, and bumper stickers. One of the things I cherish most are her trips up to State College. Whether it be moving me into my apartment or visiting for the whiteout game, her being apart of my life at school is something I hold very special. Mom, I don’t know where I would be without you. Happy Mother’s Day!

Caitlin Burns

Me and my Penn State mama! My mom has supported me in everything I’ve done and is my actual heart. She was the one who pushed me in high school so that I could get to Penn State. I haven’t seen her in six months, and I can’t wait for her to come see my apartment and visit for football in the fall!

Charles Reinert

Thank you to the woman who raised me to be the person I am today. I owe you so much and could never pay you back in full, but I try my best to make you proud every day. I believe behind almost every success story is a good and strong mother, and I can certainly say that I have a good mom to back me. Thank you for having my back through thick and thin. And finally, thank you for being you. Love you, mom.

Colleen Nersten

To the best mom and No. 1 Onward State fan, thanks for being you! No seriously…Thanks for liking my most boring stories on Facebook and giving me 50% of my pageviews. I promise I’ll buy you OS merch one day. I love you so much and appreciate you every day. I’m lucky to have a mother who stays up as late as I do and will answer the phone at any hour of the day. I can’t wait to see you soon and finally experience a Beaver Stadium tailgate together next year. I hope I grow up to be half the person you are! Next Creamery run is on me.

Connor Donohue

My dad was the one that got me sipping the Penn State Kool-Aid, but my mom has been the rock at my side for my entire life. I have some ambitious dreams for my future career and life, and she has supported me 100% of the time. Does she yell at me for spending too much money at the bars? Maybe. Does she get mad at me when I leave the music all the way cranked up in the car and she’s got to use it next? Most definitely. But the person that I am today would not be possible without “Mommahue” by my side. Happy Mother’s Day, mom!

Dana Nunemacher

Hi, mom! Happy Mother’s Day! Did you know that since I have gone to college there has never been a morning that I haven’t woken up to a good morning text or a night where I haven’t gone to bed without being reminded of how I loved I am? Little things like that make you the best mom in the world. College has not been easy, but you are always here to remind me my dreams are not as impossible as my mind makes them seem at times. Thank you for your endless support. I would not be the strong independent woman I am today if it wasn’t for you. I miss you so much and can’t wait to see you soon! Love, Dana June.

Frankie Marzano

My mom may just be my favorite person on this planet, and I’m not exaggerating. Raising five children is certainly not an easy task, but nobody does it as gracefully as my mother. She is one of the only people in my life who I can count on 24/7 for anything I would ever need, and she’s the one person I could trust with anything. She’s my best friend, and I don’t know how I would be here at Penn State without her. Mom, if you’re reading this, happy Mother’s Day. Thank you for shaping me into the person I am today. I can’t wait to binge “Ozark” with you in the fall.

Gabe Angieri

Cookie really is the best mom I could ever ask for. She’s always there for me no matter what the situation is, and I can never put into words how much she really means to me. Not only is she my No. 1 fan, but she also has no problem roasting the hell out of me when I deserve it, which I’ve come to appreciate just as much. It’s cliche, but I really don’t know what I’d do without you, mom. Being your favorite son (sorry, Andrew and Anthony) is a great honor, and I hope you have an amazing Mother’s Day. I love you!

Grace Cunningham

Thank you for reading all my stories and listening to all my podcasts. Thank you for reminding me what my social security number is at least every other week. Thank you for escaping to TJ Maxx with me when the boys are driving us crazy. Thank you for laughing at my jokes. Thank you for sending me back to school with 30 cooked chicken cutlets every time I come home because raw meat grosses me out. Thanks for being on my side (most of the time) and for giving me fantastic genes! Love you!

Haylee Yocum

Happy Mother’s Day to my mom, who is supportive no matter what I choose to do in life or how many times I fail. I would not be anywhere near I am today without her as my rock. Thank you for always supporting my various passions. I love you!!

Hope Damato

Hey, Rexie! I know you’re reading this right now because every day, you ask me if I read the front page of Onward State. I truly don’t know what I would do without you: my best friend, biggest supporter, and drinking game partner. You’ve done it all for me. As I write this, you’re literally handing me water because you’ll be my assistant for the next six weeks while my broken foot heals. I know I can always count on you for a long drive when we both want to talk shit or escape reality. I love you so much, and I’d be lucky to be half the woman you are one day. Oh, and go birds. I don’t know how you’re still a Cowboys fan.

Katie Braun

On this Mother’s Day and every day, I’m super thankful to have my best friend and mom rolled into one. I realized at one point this year that every time something happens in my life, my mom is always the one I pick up the phone to call. Knowing that I have someone like her to lean on all time is such a great feeling, and I try not to take that for granted. So here’s to you today and every day, Mom! I love you.

Larkin Richards

My mom is most definitely the best person to ever exist in my life. Without my mom, I wouldn’t be Larkin. All of my best qualities come from Paula Sue. Even though my sister is her identical twin, I still get my personality from my mother. Without my mom, college would be next to impossible. I wouldn’t have someone to call when I am walking to get dinner. I wouldn’t have someone to cry to when I just do not want to do homework. I wouldn’t have the best support system of all time. My mom is a superhero. She drops anything to pick up the phone or shoot me a text to wish me luck on an exam. Quite frankly, she’s the best superhero ever. Even though my mom came from a Pitt family, she swapped out her Pitt gear for “Penn State Mom” swag — shirts, cups, magnets, the whole shebang. She brags about Penn State, loves my accomplishments there, and shares each Onward State post. She helps me believe that Penn State is the best place for me and my future. I love my mom. Not just because she’s my mom, but because she’s my best friend.

To all of my mom’s friends that support me throughout my college journey just as much as she does: Happy Mother’s Day. But to my mom, Happy Mother’s Day from your daughter who loves you to the end of time.

Lindsay Tagliere

Being a college kid isn’t easy, but my mom has made the experience so much better. From fielding all of my weekly phone calls (whether they be gossip or a finals-induced breakdown) to sending me fresh-baked banana bread and cookies to even mailing me my laptop when I forgot it at home, my mom has gone above and beyond to make sure that I succeed in school and in life, and I am forever grateful that I have her. I love you, Mom!

Mackenzie Cullen

May be an image of 3 people, including Ali Cullen and people smiling

Happy Mother’s Day to my sweet mom, Jill! I can always count on her to gas me up on Facebook by sharing my Onward State articles, listen to my rants when I actually call home, and be my own personal nurse. I’m so thankful to you for making me a Penn State fan — even though I never wanted to come here initially. To the most badass woman I know, thank you. I love you.

Mackenna Yount

My mom is my best friend and my biggest fan. She has the kindest soul, always knows what will cheer me up, and is my adventure buddy. I love my sweet mom to the moon and back and wouldn’t trade her energetic, sometimes crazy personality for anything in the world. Thank you for always being there for me, supporting me through all my ups and downs, and being the best mom a girl could ask for. Love always from your buttercup.

Matt DiSanto

Lord knows I love my mother. She’s quite honestly my best friend, and I don’t think it’s any coincidence I’m a spitting image of her in nearly every way. Mom, thanks for being my voice of reason and my biggest fan. Thank you for letting me call you every day and sending me back to school with a stockpile of homemade Tastykakes every time I come home. Most importantly, thanks for letting me spend 99% of my free time running this blog. Love ya!

Michael Tauriello

My mom is a Penn Stater herself and was one of the reasons I came here, too. At first, I was skeptical to go since both she and my brother got a degree here. But hey, you know the saying, ‘Mother knows best’? Well, she really hit the nail on the head. I wouldn’t have most parts of my college experience so far any other way. It’s also worth mentioning that she knows the exact two things I want when I get home: mac ‘n cheese for dinner and fresh sheets in my room. My mom really does know best! Happy Mother’s Day, mom.

Mira DiBattiste

Mum, thank you for always being willing to let me complain on the phone about my professors, classes, and other general garbage. Thank you for also always being available for random road trips regardless of the destination. The support you’ve given me over the years has truly been unmatched. Shoutout to you for being the wildset mom I know. I love you!

Otis Lyons

Mom, thank you so much for being my go-to person. Every time I have trouble, I know who to call — even though you’re nearly 3,000 miles away! In such a tough year for all of us, I really couldn’t have done it without our hour-long phone calls on random Tuesday nights when you had to wake up for remote teaching (ugh) early the next morning. You have and always will guide me through the toughest times and shine a light on the best times. Love you, and have a great Mother’s Day.

P.S. thank you for analyzing America’s youth soccer talent with me. You make the term “soccer mom” cool.

Ríco Gore

I love my Penn State mom because as soon as I say I am hungry, she either sends me a Chipotle gift card or snacks from Wegmans! She is simply unmatched. She and Penn State’s OPP make me the happiest person in the whole world.

Rory Pelella

My earliest Penn State memory actually involves my mom. I was 6 years old at the time and tagging along on a road trip to the middle of central Pennsylvania to pick up my brother from school. We ended up eating our lunch in the front lawn of his frat house that day because we were way too appalled of what we saw when we walked inside. PJ wasn’t very happy (and that’s why I stay far away from the frats to this day). But ultimately, this was my introduction to Penn State.

Fast forward 14 years later, and I now have made so many new memories with my mom during my time as a student here. She’s the one who introduced me to some of my favorite spots in town, including the Cheese Shoppe, Kitchen Kaboodle, Kamrai, and Bellefonte.

But even when she’s not here with me, my mom has made an impact on my college experience. Whether it’s getting an unexpected letter in the mail or our morning talks on the phone when I’m walking to work, her kindness and love make each and every day at Penn State a little brighter. Fortunately, she’s unable to yell at me to clean my room and do my laundry while I’m in State College, yet she somehow still manages to lecture me occasionally and guide me through growing up sometimes. In all seriousness, though, thanks for everything, mom. I don’t know what I would do or where I would be without you. I love you always.

Ryan Parsons

Happy Mother’s Day to Cathleen Parsons, the woman who so very graciously gave birth to me nearly 21 years ago. Thank you for always having my back, being a beacon of happiness and hope (especially during the pandemic), and, of course, being a relentless supporter of the blog. If not for your words of encouragement and constant “life is what you make of it” quotes, I would have probably never even applied to Onward State. Happy Mother’s Day, and I hope you’ll meet the Nittany Lion in person one day (Editor’s note: see collage).

Ryen Gailey

My family’s always joked that we need to get my mom an “I Married Into This” Penn State shirt. Although she didn’t go here herself, my mother has been nothing but supportive and encouraging of my, my sister’s, and my dad’s Penn State dreams and love for this school. I still cry every year when I get dropped off, mainly because I’m 21 years old and I still don’t know how to live without my parents. I’ve learned so much from my mom about how to be a strong, caring, and smart woman from my mom, and she’s my biggest role model. Plus, she just got her doctorate degree! In the past year, I’ve learned more than ever before how important family can be to get you through tough times. Mom, if you’re reading this, I’ll never be too old to nap with you or walk down the street holding your hand.

Sam Brungo

My mom has always provided me with endless support, constant friendship, unmatched wisdom and guidance, and eternal love. She is my best friend, and she deserves the world. Thank you, mom. Love you.

Shannon Smith

My mom is the most selfless person that I know. She is the first person to drop everything to help me. Being away from her for my freshman year was definitely hard, but she was always a phone call or text away — even when I would call at 3 a.m. (sorry!). My mom may love Penn State more than me and is always letting me know when she shouts “We Are” at someone in the grocery store. She always makes sure to let me know that she loved that week’s Onward State articles. I know that no matter what I do in life, my mom will always be there to support me. And if things don’t go as planned, she’ll be waiting with a pint of Death by Chocolate and open arms.

Tobey Prime

Happy Mother’s Day to the best mother on planet earth. Everyone, meet my mom, Kathy. I can’t thank her enough for guiding me through this crazy life and supporting me every step of the way. I honestly cannot think about living life without her. Thank you for always picking up my calls and letting me complain about the little things in life. This day is for you, so cheers! I love you, mom. I promise I’ll go to a hot yoga workout with you in the future. Well, maybe.

Trae Morgan-White

Although my mother dreads the three-hour drive from Philadelphia to State College (she hasn’t visited since my freshman year), I love my Penn State mom for being my backbone. We both have green eyes, and we’re both quick-witted. She’s the reason why I stepped foot in Happy Valley with pride. Happy Mother’s Day, mom.

Zach Donaldson

First off, I wouldn’t even be close to all that I am at Penn State without you, mom. You tune in to every single one of my broadcasts, watch my shows, read all of my articles, and constantly sing my praises as my continual No. 1 fan! You push me to be the best version of myself with words of wisdom, love, and support, and you always go above and beyond to make my life better. You’re truly a godsend, and I’m forever grateful for all that you do for me. Happy Mother’s Day. I love you!

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