10 Questions With Guide State Forward Award Winners Jaylen Carr & DeAndre Malcolm

This past weekend, Penn Staters were able to show their pride with Homecoming festivities like a parade and a record-breaking football game against Illinois.

Seniors Jaylen Carr and DeAndre Malcolm were honored at halftime for their hard work and commitment to the university by receiving the Guide State Forward Award. This is the fourth year that Penn State has used this award to promote a gender-neutral Homecoming court.

Following their big day, we sat down with Carr and Malcolm to learn more about Penn State’s recently crowned best and brightest.

Onward State: What are your next steps after your graduate this year?

Jaylen Carr: I am juggling post-graduate education with a master’s in structures or just going full time into the industry. I am still weighing those options.

DeAndre Maclom: Long term, I am planning on going to graduate school and I am looking into programs of higher education because I want to work in diversity, equity, and inclusion. Some examples could be the Paul Robeson Cultural Center or the Multicultural Resource Center.

OS: What is your best memory as a Nittany Lion?

JC: I would say it was winning the Guide State Forward award this weekend, just because it was one of my few times being in Beaver Stadium, let alone being recognized for something. Also, just being able to have family and friends up so they could experience Penn State culture for the first time as I could share that with them.

DM: Technically, I wasn’t an official Nittany Lion at the time, but I did do a summer program in 2016 through the College of Education called the Summer College Opportunity Program in Education. I was able to get a first-hand glance at what it was like to be a college student, specifically at Penn State. That is actually what inspired me to come to Penn State.

OS: What does Penn State mean to you?

JC: Penn State means opportunity: opportunities to make new friends, build communities, develop myself professionally and academically. All of those things are just what Penn State provides.

DM: Penn State is about meeting people and making connections. One of my happiest experiences or greatest treasures that I get out of Penn State is all the people that I meet from so many different places and backgrounds. We are able to come together and bond over Penn State. The whole slogan of “We Are” is what binds us together, so having that community sense and that family feeling is what I really cherish.

OS: What has been your favorite club/organization that you have been a part of here?

JC: It is definitely a toss-up between my fraternity and NSBE, the National Society of Black Engineers. These are definitely the people that I hang out with the most, and they are also just all like-minded individuals who push me academically and really encourage me to keep pushing myself even when I don’t feel like it.

DM: I’m, of course, going to say Black Caucus just because I am the president of the organization right now. They have had the greatest impact on my Penn State experience. The family feeling that I get in that space is a great experience and being able to create that experience for new students now is super enriching.

OS: What was your favorite moment of Homecoming weekend?

JC: Aside from the football field, I really enjoyed the parade a lot. That was my first time going to Penn State’s parade and seeing all the Penn State pride from babies who are 2 years old to alumni to current students, faculty, and staff united for one main event just shows the community at Penn State.

DM: The parade because that was just an amazing experience to really engage with the community in a new way. Being in that space was really cool because it allowed me to really see everyone and really share the same love for the university that I do. Also, being announced as the winner of the Guide State Forward Award because it was such an unexpected thing for me because I do so much for the community, but it’s not in a way to get something out of it. I just like to serve our community because I realize that the impact that I make not only does great things for the people that I’m around for the time being, but it creates sustainable change.

OS: How did it feel the moment you were chosen for the Guide State Forward Award?

JC: I was certainly honored and really appreciative because there were so many times where I was very busy week in and week out with my involvements, and it felt like I wasn’t making as much progress. But to know that people saw that and were able to recognize the work that was going in wasn’t for nothing, and it wasn’t just sleepless nights, meant a lot to me.

DM: I don’t know if you were able to see the video, but I was literally so shocked. They said “Jaylen Carr,” and I was so happy for him and clapping. Then, they said “DeAndre Malcolm,” and I was like, “That’s my name!” When they said that, I was super excited, and then the love that I have been getting from everyone after my win was announced just makes me love Penn State even more. This is why I love being a Penn Stater, because of the family that we have.

OS: What were some of your thoughts during the nine overtimes on Saturday?

JC: There is no way that we are not blowing this team out right now. I don’t know why this game is so close and will it ever end?

DM: It’s funny because I had to go since I had work to do after they announced it, but I kept hearing about it, and I was like that is so wild because I have never heard of something like that before.

OS: If you had to choose, would you keep the White Out or the Stripe Out?

JC: White Out 100%. There is no comparison. Greatest show on Earth.

DM: I would choose the White Out. Yeah, I’m definitely a bigger fan of the White Out than the Stripe Out. Not because I don’t like the Stripe Out, but just because I feel like with the White Out, there are more festivities and more excitement when it comes to that.

OS: What is one piece of advice you would give to fellow Penn Staters?

JC: “Don’t be afraid to fail.” I have certainly done a lot, but I wish I started earlier because I was afraid to take those steps of being in leadership positions, joining boards, or making new friends. Just go out and do it. Life is far too short to consider and try to calculate things. If you are gonna fail, fail fast and learn from it.

DM: I would say, “Make your mark.” We only have a short amount of time at Penn State even though four years feels like it is so long. Being a senior, I can definitely say that time has flown by, and I really wish that I had more time to do more things here. Spend your time doing the things that you enjoy.

OS: Per Onward State tradition, if you could be a dinosaur, which would you be and why?

JC: I feel like you can’t choose anything outside of a T-Rex. They just reign supreme, outside of the short arms. I just like everything about them.

DM: This is so funny because I think about this a lot. So, not a T-Rex because the arms are too short compared to the rest of its body, but I would say a pterodactyl. I want to be able to fly and also be able to make those super cool sounds.

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About the Author

Mara McKeon

Mara is a senior staff writer majoring in English and public relations. She loves all things sports and anything that has peanut butter. You can usually find her obsessing over country music or Penn State wrestling and counting down the days until she gets to see Luke Combs in Beaver Stadium. Feel free to reach her on Twitter @MckeonMara, and for more formal affairs, her email is [email protected].

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