Penn State

A new bill allows Pennsylvania youth in the foster care system to attend any college or university in the state tuition free.
Steph Krane / WPSU

Starting with the fall 2020 semester, Pennsylvania youth who have been in foster care will be able to attend any college or university in Pennsylvania tuition free thanks to a waiver program signed into law by Governor Tom Wolf this June.

Director of the Child Maltreatment Solutions Network at Penn State Jennie Noll says the waivers will benefit a population that often has bad outcomes.

Goldie Blumenstyk is a senior writer and editor at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She talks to WPSU about how colleges can better serve the growing number of adult learners.
Min Xian / WPSU

Goldie Blumenstyk is a reporter and editor at The Chronicle of Higher Education. She covers a wide range of topics and is known for her expertise on for-profit higher education, college finances and more. Her book, "American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know," talks about changing demographics in colleges and the rising cost of higher education.

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 in Harrisburg, Pa., Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shakes hands with Jim Piazza after signing anti-hazing legislation inspired by the death of Piazza's son, Penn State student Tim Piazza.
AP Photo/Marc Levy

Pennsylvania higher education institutions published their second biannual hazing reports on August 1. These reports are mandated under the state’s Timothy J. Piazza Anti-Hazing Law, which took effect in 2018. 

 

Penn State published its biannual hazing report, detailing five hazing incidents that took place in the spring and summer semesters this year. Four of the incidents happened in Greek organizations and one in the Student Athletic Trainers’ Club. 

 

Jason Wright headshot
Jody Barshinger

Jason Wright is an associate professor of astronomy and astrophysics at Penn State. Wright is also a champion of the search for extraterrestrial life. WPSU's Anne Danahy spoke with him about whether he thinks there is other life in the universe, how we might go about finding it and why it matters.

Nancy VanLandingham

Saturday, July 20th is the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 moon landing, when astronauts Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the lunar surface.

Nancy VanLandingham of Warrior’s Mark was 14 years old in 1969.

“To me, it felt like it was pretty much the most important thing that had happened in my lifetime,” VanLandingham said.

As she remembers it, everyone back then was focused on space travel.

Kristine Allen / WPSU

On Tuesday, July 16, the Pennsylvania Space Grant Consortium at Penn State invited the public to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 launch. They held a rocket launch event at the Ag Progress Days sight in Pennsylvania Furnace.

With a drone buzzing overhead to film the event, they launched 24 model rockets at 9:32am – the exact time of the Apollo launch 50 years ago.

Min Xian / WPSU

Fifty years ago, on July 16, 1969, a Saturn V rocket was launched from Cape Kennedy Florida (now known Cape Canaveral), sending astronauts Neil Armstrong, Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins on their way to the moon.

That morning, legendary CBS anchorman Walter Cronkite was in a Florida studio near the launch site bright and early. The Saturn V rocket stood next to the launch tower on the screen behind him.

Taproot Kitchen sold food made with vegetables started at the Penn State Student Farm during the farm's Summer Solstice Celebration.
Steph Krane / WPSU

It's not every day you hear people get excited over tofu. But tonight’s tofu dish, served by Taproot Kitchen, comes with a side of vegetables grown at Penn State’s Student Farm. 

Taproot Kitchen is a nonprofit catering company that employs adults with autism and intellectual disabilities to cook and serve quality local food, something customers at this year’s Summer Solstice Celebration found out for themselves as they ate everything from flatbreads topped with vegetables to sweet chili tofu with a side salad. 

This I Believe: I Believe In High Heels

Jun 20, 2019

I believe in high heels.

I can still remember prancing around the living room of my childhood apartment in my mother’s white satin stiletto sling backs. They were a gift from my father and she wore them for special occasions. When my mother took an afternoon nap, I quietly removed the shoes from their box, slid them over my small feet and stepped out across the parquet floor. I felt great. I couldn’t wait to grow up and wear heels every single day.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson signs one of the nation's most restrictive abortion bills, banning the procedure on or beyond eight weeks of pregnancy, Friday, May 24, 2019 in Jefferson City, Mo.
Summer Balentine / AP Photo

There aren’t many students in Penn State’s HUB-Robeson Student Union this time of year, but the community members and students who are there have mixed thoughts about the abortion laws passed by almost a dozen states in recent months.

Aman Kaur from State College said women should be able to make their own decisions when it comes to ending a pregnancy.

In Performance at Penn State is a monthly hour-long program that showcases performances from Penn State's School of Music. This month, we have the Prelude and Fugue in D Minor, BWV 539 by Bach, played by the Pennsylvania Quintet; The Penn State Philharmonic, led by Gerardo Edelstein in the “Dances of Galanta” by Zoltan Kodaly; the song, “Spirit,” by Greg Simon, with a text by Walt Whitman, sung by The Penn State Glee Club; and the Violin Sonata in G Major, Op. 78 by Johannes Brahms, played by PSU faculty members James Lyon, violin and Timothy Shafer, piano.

The original musical "The Last Day" runs June 12-22 at Penn State's Downtown Theatre in State College.
Penn State School of Theatre

An original musical opens Wednesday night at Penn State’s Downtown Theatre in State College.

"The Last Day" is the story of a college musical theatre student tormented by a secret he has never shared, until he’s dropped from the program and turns to his fellow students for help. 

Penn State’s musical theatre department commissioned Altoona native and Penn State football star Mike Reid and Sarah Schlesinger to write the play.  

Kristine Allen / WPSU

Rick Lombardo is the new is the Director of the School of Theatre at Penn State, hired last summer.

WPSU’s Kristine Allen spoke with Lombardo about bringing back the professional summer season of Penn State Centre Stage  in the summer of 2019 and about how his college pre-med plans were thwarted by theatre.  (Listen to the interview at the link above.)

You'll find more information on the Penn State Centre Stage summer season here.

This I Believe: I Believe In Bravery, Not Perfection

Jun 6, 2019

I believe in bravery, not perfection.

When I was growing up, I learned how to be brave at the lake in New Hampshire my family visited every summer. I would jump off swings, rocks and boats, soaking myself in the murky water. My siblings would watch in awe. I was the daredevil, the center of attention—and I loved it. At the lake, I possessed a kingdom of my own, and I determined that I would conquer the world.

A screenshot of the map related to the Center for Rural Pennsylvania broadband study shows only some fractions of the state meet the FCC definition of broadband internet downloading speed.
broadbandtest.us

A new report released on Monday by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania says the Federal Communications Commission overstates broadband internet availability and access across Pennsylvania.

Karen Muir, front, Becker's attorney, walked out of the Centre County Courthouse on Thursday, after the jury rendered a verdict for Becker.
Min Xian / WPSU

A Centre County jury found Braxton Becker, the house manager of Penn State’s now-banned Beta Theta Pi fraternity, guilty on one of the three misdemeanor charges he faced on Thursday.

After five hours of deliberation, the jury rendered a verdict that Becker, a former Beta Theta Pi brother, was guilty of hindering apprehension and not guilty of tampering with evidence or obstructing justice.

BookMark: "Naamah" By Sarah Blake

May 30, 2019
Camille-Yvette Welsch reviews "Naamah" by Sarah Blake.
Paul Ruby

One of the best-known stories in the Judeo-Christian tradition is that of Noah, father of nations, who built the ark, saved the animals and repopulated the world. Little is said of his wife Naamah, and it is to this forgotten figure that Penn State MFA alumna Sarah Blake turns. She imagines her way into Naamah’s life—the constant care, cleaning and feeding of the animals; the coordination of packing and meals; and the emotional and mental labor that figures into so many women’s daily lives. All of this is magnified by 11 months on an ark inhabited only by family and hungry animals.

Jurors will listen to closing arguments before beginning deliberation on Thursday, the third day of the trial for Braxton Becker in the Centre County Courthouse in Bellefonte.
Min Xian / WPSU

After hearing the cross-examination of State College Police Detective David Scicchitano and three additional witnesses on Wednesday, jurors will listen to closing arguments before beginning deliberation on Thursday, the third day of the trial for Braxton Becker.

Braxton Becker, left, left the Centre County Courthouse during the first day of the jury trial on his alleged deletion of security footage in relation to the case of the hazing death of Tim Piazza in 2017.
Min Xian / WPSU

The jury trial for Braxton Becker, a former member and the house manager of Penn State’s now defunct Beta Theta Pi fraternity, began Tuesday. It’s the first jury trial in the case related to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza in 2017. Becker allegedly deleted security camera footage of the fraternity house basement.

Penn State Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate Heather Leach holds a permit
Steph Krane / WPSU

Fearing the spread of the spotted lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture is requiring a permit for businesses transporting goods through a quarantine zone. 

The quarantine zone for the insect includes 14 counties in southeastern Pennsylvania and four counties in New Jersey and Virginia. 

Penn State Spotted Lanternfly Extension Associate Heather Leach says Extension partnered with the Department of Agriculture to create a course for those looking to obtain a permit.

This I Believe: I Believe In Storytelling

May 23, 2019

I believe in storytelling and bringing attention to those who live outside the limelight.

In the summer of 2017, I collaborated with my great-aunt and godmother, Marie-Edith Douillard, who has lived in Paris for 40 years and works for a human rights organization called Amnesty International. She introduced me to two refugees and helped me create a short documentary that has since been successful at various international film festivals.

State College Borough Manager Tom Fountaine gave a presentation on creating best practices for collaboration between universities and local communities at Penn State on Monday, May 20.
Min Xian / WPSU

In college towns, the large student population can complicate relations between universities and local communities. This week, the 2019 International Town and Gown Association Conference is at Penn State talking about how the two can coexist.

The conference is hosted by Penn State and the Borough of State College and features topics like Greek life reform, public safety and diversity.

In this file photo, Luke Visser, left, arrived for his preliminary hearing on charges related to the hazing death of Penn State student Timothy Piazza in 2017. He was resentenced to house arrest on Wednesday.
Chris Knight / AP Photo

BELLEFONTE, Pa. (AP) — A judge is letting another former Penn State fraternity member serve his sentence on home confinement instead of in jail in the 2017 death of a pledge.

Former Beta Theta Pi member Luke Visser was resentenced Wednesday to 45 days of home confinement and six months of probation, instead of two months to six months in jail. 

Centre County Judge Brian Marshall resentenced two other former Beta Theta Pi members last month, changing their jail sentences to home confinement.

Penn State assistant research professor Joyce Sakamoto looks at a tick.
Steph Krane / WPSU

A new Penn State study shows that the number of ticks that can carry Lyme disease is increasing in the state. Since 2000, Pennsylvania has had the highest number of Lyme disease cases in the country.

The study suggests that number might increase. Researchers found that the blacklegged tick, the most common carrier of Lyme disease, is now the dominant species of tick in the state.

Penn State Plans For New Art Museum At Aboretum

May 14, 2019
The proposed University Art Museum will be located in the open area to the right of the H.O. Smith Botanic Gardens on the Penn State University Park campus.
Penn State

Visitors to the Aboretum at Penn State will soon notice an addition to the area. Penn State is working with an architect on plans for the new University Art Museum, set to be built at the Aboretum’s entrance. The new museum will replace the current Palmer Museum of Art. 

Palmer Museum Director Erin Coe said that this move will allow for more space.  

 

Sixty-five years ago, the Brown v. Board of Education supreme court decision found that separate was not equal. We’ll talk with the organizers of a Penn State conference on the historic case, about school segregation then… and now. 

Crystal Sanders is an associate professor of history and director of the Africana Research Center at Penn State. Erica Frankenberg is associate professor of education and demography and director of the Center for Education and Civil Rights at Penn State.   

On Friday, Oct. 19, 2018 in Harrisburg, Pa., Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf shakes hands with Jim Piazza after signing anti-hazing legislation inspired by the death of Piazza's son, Penn State student Tim Piazza.
AP Photo/Marc Levy

Pennsylvania passed a new law last year, which requires higher education institutions to establish antihazing policies and publish hazing reports. Penn State is hosting a conference Thursday to discuss best practices under the new law.  

The Timothy J. Piazza Antihazing Law is named after the Penn State student who died from fatal injuries suffered during a fraternity hazing in 2017. Following his death, his parents advocated against hazing, and the state’s legislature supported changes to the antihazing statute which toughen penalties.

Judge Throws Out Spanier Conviction, Pa. Attorney General Will Appeal

Apr 30, 2019
Matt Rourke / Associated Press

Updated Wednesday, 12:11pm

Pa. Attorney General Josh Shapiro announced today he intends to appeal the judge's decision to overturn Spanier's conviction.

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge has thrown out former Penn State President Graham Spanier's child-endangerment conviction, less than a day before he was due to turn himself in to jail.

U.S. Magistrate Judge Karoline Mehalchick in Scranton, Pennsylvania, issued a decision late Tuesday that gave state prosecutors three months to retry Spanier.

File Photo: Former Penn State President Graham Spanier departs after his sentencing hearing at the Dauphin County Courthouse in Harrisburg, Pa., Friday, June 2, 2017.
Matt Rourke / AP Photo

HARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) — A federal judge will consider ex-Penn State president Graham Spanier's argument that his conviction should be thrown out, a week before he's due to report to jail.

The hearing Thursday concerns Spanier's argument he was wrongly convicted in Pennsylvania state court for mishandling a 2001 complaint about Jerry Sandusky under a version of the law that wasn't in place at that time.

He also argues the statute of limitations wasn't properly applied.

Paul Perreault was guest speaker at the March 12 Penn State Forum.
Patrick Mansell / Penn State

Paul Perreault, the CEO of one of the world’s largest biotechnology companies visited Penn State University Park recently. He talked with WPSU’s Carolyn Donaldson about the work of his company, CSL Behring. The company focuses on developing drugs to treat rare diseases, improving existing drugs and advancing the field of gene therapy.   

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