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by Danielle DePaul, Junior

dancing hillen catedral 500.jpg{Students and faculty join hands for a traditional Spanish dance outside Catedral de la Seu.}

It's Sunday in Barcelona, and the only place to be is Catedral de la Seu. There is nothing like a tourist attraction with music, dancing, locals, and vendors. It is an incredible church located in Barcelona's Gothic district. I am awed by its beauty and architecture. I am of the Catholic faith, but never have I seen such energy and excitement at a Sunday mass service.

dancing barb rostick2.jpg{Sophomore Redion Xhoxhi and senior Nicole Scaramuzza join the fun.}

Many of the students and faculty in our study abroad program joined the people of Barcelona for a celebration on that beautiful Sunday afternoon. Our assignment was to explore the Old Town, which was where the cathedral was located. We were able to see the beauty and learn about the Spanish culture for our American Studies class (with Senior Instructor in English Patricia Hillen). We took pictures and watched the people of Barcelona partake in a traditional Spanish dance. The most exciting part of the day was when we were taught the dance and joined in on the fun. Even though we weren't exactly good, the laughs made up for the stumbles!

group photo Ana.jpg{Students rest along a way during an excursion to Montserrat.}

On our first scheduled tour we were introduced to the artists of Barcelona. We captured Antoni Gaudí's unique architecture that truly could never be replicated. We witnessed the excitement of the Basílica de la Segrada Família -- the basilica that Gaudí designed but was unable to complete before his death.

sagrada familia hillen.jpg{Danielle DePaul (left) joins Instructor Patricia Hillen and junior Hannah Kleponis for a visit to the Basílica de la Segrada Família.}
 
We explored the curves and angles of Gaudí's Casa Batlló, too. My English class (with Instructor in English Patricia O'Brien) required us to write creative poems about the art we saw in Barcelona, and Gaudí provided me with various ideas.

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{Casa Batlló, restored by Antoni Gaudí}

Salvador Dalí was a unique and slightly mental artist. However, his art is incredible. For our American Studies class we went to see his museum outside of Barcelona in Figueres. I truly enjoyed our time at his museum. Although some of his art is a little extreme for my tastes, the majority of it drew me in. 

After we left Figueres we traveled to Girona, the most beautiful city I've ever seen. The picture (below) speaks for itself.

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We finally made our way to the end of our trip, and to the top of Barcelona at the Miró Museum. The beauty visible from the roof of the Miró Museum is incomparable. 

On my last day in Barcelona, I traveled on the metro to La Platja de la Barceloneta. I just had to put my feet in the Mediterranean Sea. It was another beautiful day in Spain, warm and sunny. We took our sandals off, rolled our jeans up and walked along the beach. It was nothing short of amazing. The New Jersey beaches cannot compare to the Spanish ones. The view was incredible, and we had a blast.

DePaul and friends.jpg{(from left) Sophomores Amy Reimer and Marybel Di Scala join junior Danielle DePaul, and sophomore Theresa Huynh for a stroll along the shore break during a visit to the beach.}

Barcelona is an incredible city. It has something for everyone. I am so glad that I went on this program, and I'll never forget the city and the friends that I made!

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{Students at the Park Güell garden complex}

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We're headed to Vienna, Austria and Prague, Czech Republic this May to study philosophy, art, and psychology. With our well-traveled, knowledgable faculty as your guide, you'll explore Hofburg Palace, Prague Castle, Mozart House, Charles Bridge, and so much more. Sign up today or click here to learn more about Penn State Brandywine Global Programs.

{Photo Credits: Ana Elmasllari; Danielle DePaul; Francoise Cornu; Kiara Gant; Hannah Kleponis, and Instructor in Kinesiology Barbara Rostick}

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As a student teacher finishing up her final year at Penn State Brandywine, Elizabeth Panos is combining her acting experience and teaching skills to show her first graders at Upper Merion Bridgeport Elementary School that bullying is never the answer.

Panos found her love of theater (she left college briefly to study acting in New York City) is a valuable teaching tool. She's using role-play to challenge her six- and seven-year-olds to find better ways to handle peer conflict.

"I don't use the word 'bullying,'" she said. "They think everything is bullying, even accidents. I just talk about treating each other with kindness. I know it's an anti-bullying lesson but they don't know that."

Her method is simple.

She began by using peer mediation while student teaching at Aronimink Elementary and in the William Penn School District over the last few years. "I had students talk out their problems, apologize, explain what they would do differently next time and then shake hands or hug. Furthermore, I had them role-play simple and complex situations in the classroom. Simple means someone stole my pencil or called me a name. Complex means hitting," she explained.

After going through this same exercise with her students at Upper Merion, where she's been teaching since the fall, Panos began asking them, "Is that a simple problem or a complex one?" every time they tattled on each other. She then had them work in groups to discover and role-play solutions for each.

Her method is working.

She recalled a few times when a student ran up to her and said, "Miss Panos, Miss Panos! ... Wait, it's 'simple,' I'll do it!" They then go back and say to the person who was mean to them, "'That's not nice, don't call me that.' Then the other student apologizes and they go back to what they were doing," she said. "Tattling still exists, but they're becoming aware of it and sometimes solving the problems on their own, which is where I think it all begins."

To tackle the issue of peer pressure, Panos came up with a role-playing scenario where a student is pressured by a peer to steal a pencil from another student's desk. "Three volunteers demonstrated the bullying scenario and then the students broke into groups to brainstorm and practice better ways to handle the situation. Two groups then acted out the right thing," which was asking to borrow the pencil instead of stealing it. "Another girl just ignored the peer pressure. I prompted one of the students in the role-play to goad her to steal the pencil and she said 'NO, it's not nice!'"

As a reward for solving their problems respectfully and on their own, Panos awards stickers. "Ten stickers earns them a V.I.P lunch with me. I bring in a table cloth, some music, a palm tree center piece," she said. For 20 stickers the student becomes a special helper for the day and so on. Turns out, they love one-on-one teacher time.

"It's been working so far!" she said excitedly. The other day "was the first day I gave everyone except two kids a sticker." That's 21 stickers compared to the more typical three per day.

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She said the full-time teacher in her classroom is embracing her lessons and use of arts and theater, but at first she was "a little iffy due to the scripted nature of the curriculum, but she's on board because she also feels it's something important they need to learn. We work out ways to fit it in without interrupting mandatory content areas. We co-teach. We really work together and help the kids."

Panos is hoping to reach teachers and administrators beyond her classroom.

"I want to spread this around. I want to meet with the principals and explain what I'm doing because then they can incorporate this into their schools."

After coming up with much of the anti-bullying curriculum and role-playing on her own, Panos connected with an organization called Stand Together, a global community against bullying.

"I was noticing that my ideas were working, but these are proven to be successful," she said of the Stand Together's anti-bullying curriculum for K-12.

At the end of January she embraced "No Name-Calling Week," created by Stand Together with the Gay Lesbian Straight Education Network (GLSEN) and the National Association of Elementary School Principals (NAESP). Her students brainstormed messages to give to other students to stop name-calling. Then they created posters with nice words to replace bad names, and Panos displayed the posters on the bulletin boards outside the classroom.

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"I've been wanting to do this for a really long time," she said. After graduating in May, Panos hopes to "work somewhere where I can be creative and use my skills. I can do it in my classroom but it's nice to get to do it for other kids after school, too. I really want a place with after-school programs." Then later down the road, perhaps a principalship. "Then I'll have the authority to incorporate these programs. But you know, baby steps. I need a teaching job first."

by Risa Pitman, Staff Blogger

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International Muslim author, speaker, and life coach Zohra Sarwari, will discuss with students at Penn State Brandywine what it means to be a Muslim on Tuesday, Jan. 17 at 11:30 a.m. in the Commons/Athletic Center, room 203. She was invited by a group of students (Lauren Jerla, Yash Patel, Stephanie Tracy, and Brittney Walker) who were moved by a talk Sarwari gave at the Association for the Promotion of Campus Activities Northeast Conference in Hershey last March. 

Sarwari has authored 10 books and has appeared on ABC News, Fox News and countless radio shows. Her programs, which include "I Am Not a Terrorist," "Are Muslim Women Oppressed?," and "Become the Change that You Envision in the World," inspire students across the globe and aim to peacefully bridge the cultural gap.

According to her website, Sarwari moved from Afghanistan to the United States as a refugee at the age of six. She went on to earn a bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of California Davis, an M.B.A. from American Intercontinental University, and is currently pursuing a bachelor's degree in Islamic studies. Her first published book is titled "9 Steps to Achieve Your Destiny." Sarwari, a mother of three with one on the way who is also raising her nephew, started her own business "to share the benefits of her inspirational knowledge and heart-felt experiences with people all around the world," according to the site. 

We hope you'll join us for what promises to be an enlightening discussion. 

For more information on the program, please contact the Office of Student Affairs at 610-892-1270.

- Risa Pitman, Staff Blogger

Congratulations Graduates!

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On Friday, December 16, nearly 100 Penn State Brandywine
graduates shared memories, thanks, and laughs as they received their degrees at our Fall Commencement ceremony. Many of our students work full time, volunteer, conduct research, raise families, and persevere in the face of adversity. Together, their dedication and hopeful, joyful spirits bring life to our campus each day. Graduates, be as proud of yourselves, as we are of you. 

 Congratulations Class or 2011! Good luck on this new adventure!

Check out this great story featuring quotes from our students on graduation day.

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{"Mom you advocate love and kindness, truth and goodness and justice for all. It is an honor just to be your daughter." -- Elizabeth White}

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{Brittney Walker participated in just about every activity she could during her years at the campus. She worked hard, believed in herself and her peers, volunteered her time, and gave her whole heart in everything she did -- all despite a disability she refuses to let define her. Read this heartwarming story about Brittney's journey to graduation day.}

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{Paparazzi!}

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{Since when is the lion orange?!}

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{"You will and you can make a difference. Never stop dreaming." -- keynote speaker Gerald J. "Jerry" Parsons}

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{Photo credit: Mel Epps, Third Eye Productions, Inc.
Video credit: Justin Carrington, Campus Videographer}

-- Risa Pitman, Staff Blogger

Believe in the Possibilities of Art

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{Believe in the ... }

Instructor in Art Jon Manteau held a reception during finals week to display the work of the talented students in his Introduction to Drawing and Introduction to Painting classes. The end of semester art show was designed to showcase how far the students have come this semester, with all of them mingling with friends and honoring each other's newfound artistic talents.

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{Sophomore kinesiology major Bradley Jule said he was inspired to paint this colorful piece because he wanted "something different from the still life" drawings he had done previously in the Intro to Painting class. "I wanted to do something more abstract and fun with paint."}

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{"It was very interesting," sophomore architecture major Christiana Price drawing a live model. "It was very difficult to work with the shading and light."}

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{ ... Possibilities ... }

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 {Sophomore Bill Adams (criminal justice major), said he really enjoyed his first art class. "It was a lot different [from other classes] and it provided nice challenges to overcome."}

Tabatha Treadway.jpg{Senior English major Tabatha Treadway said her favorite part of class was "listening to music while we drew." Whether inside or out, Instructor Manteau always provides some tunes to help his students get inspired while they draw or paint.}

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{Sophomore communications major Jessica O'Locke said she "liked how [Instructor Manteau'] let it be up to [us] to express ourselves. He gave us the freedom to do what we wanted to do."} 

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{ ... of Art}

- Risa Pitman, Staff Blogger
by Tran Do, Sophomore, Biology

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{(from left): Junior Maria Miceli; sophomore Kaitlyn Rigney; sophomore Tran Do; freshman Gabrielle Dambro; and sophomore Jen Monh standing next to one of the ancient Roman Baths in England}

During my study abroad trip to London over Thanksgiving break, I took an Urban Sociology class (SOC 015) taught by Penn State Brandywine Instructor Vippy Yee. She assigned us a multi-media comparative project and I chose to compare Chinatown in London to the one in San Francisco, where I lived until I was 15. In order to get a better understanding of the similarities of the levels of diversity and the different issues both towns face, I conducted interviews on the streets of London's Chinatown. I found that every person I interviewed had one thing in common: no matter if they were tourists or students, they all came to Chinatown for its food.

I spoke with one worker who said a variety of people come and go every day. Although Chinatown in London is smaller than those in Philadelphia and San Francisco, it still plays its role in attracting a diverse population of visitors. 

Throughout my trip to London, it amazed me how much there was to do within the city. Every day we had a full agenda, from visits to Windsor Castle to trips to the markets; there was simply not enough time in a day. I felt like a true Londoner when we went out for high tea--you get your choice of a variety of finger sandwiches and desserts with your tea! We also went tea shopping at Fortnum and Mason, where the queen herself shops. Royalty truly runs in London, with the palace so centrally located and everything about its heritage still reflecting the historic events that led to the growth of one of the largest cities in Europe.

A Sociological Look at London

London was everything I had expected, and then some. While walking around the city, I noticed people were more dressed up than people in our area. And they were extremely polite. When we were lost, people openly stepped up to help us find our way back. Even the elevators had manners. Our favorite phrase from taking the Tube was "Mind the Gap, Please." 

In Philadelphia, cars are our main form of transportation, but in London, most people walked and took the Tube. London was an extremely clean and tidy city, and there were specific rules when it came to commuting: stay to the right when riding the escalator, stay to the left when walking the streets. 

One thing I didn't expect was the diversity. Every place we went to consisted of people from a range of nationalities. 

Before traveling to London, we were required to read articles and books and watch a number of short videos that compared London to Philadelphia. We were then tested on what we learned prior to leaving the States and again upon our return. While exploring the city, I witnessed firsthand many of the things talked about in the readings and videos. For example, we learned about the rural nature of England compared to the Philadelphia suburbs. When we went to Windsor Palace, Stonehenge, and Bath, about an hour outside of London, we saw proof of this, finding mostly open areas, while the suburbs of Philadelphia had more homes and buildings. 

One tip that Philadelphia should take from London is to preserve its open space versus trying to use all the land. The buildings in London varied from medieval to high-tech modern structures like those found in New York. Going to Windsor Palace, Stonehenge, and Bath introduced me to the world of royalty and how advanced the Romans were in constructing their baths. 

Going on this abroad program forced me to step outside of my comfort zone, from interviewing strangers for my project to finding my way around London with only a map and a Tube pass. Without a doubt, this trip was remarkable and it opened my eyes to what life is like in Europe.

(For information about Penn State Brandywine's upcoming study abroad programs in Barcelona in March and Vienna/Prague in May, visit http://bit.ly/globalprograms.

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{The beautiful site of the mysterious stones at Stonehendge}

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{A gorgeous garden outside Windsor Palace}

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{Our first day in London at Convent Garden, enjoying an English breakfast outside while people watching with (from left): junior Maria Miceli; Instructor VippyYee; freshman Gabrielle Dambro; sophomore Olga Efkarpides; freshman Umer Ansari and sophomore Jen Monh}
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On Sunday, Nov. 13, Penn State Brandywine held a TEDxPSU viewing party. TEDxPSU was brought to the Penn State community in 2010 to bring together innovative and thought-provoking individuals from the Penn State community and the world to share ideas worth spreading. The main event was held at University Park, and thanks to the generosity of our IST department, we were able to stream the entire event live into the Tomeszko Classroom Building. 

There were many speakers at TEDxPSU -- too many to list here. The Dean of the Schreyer Honors College, Christian Brady, served as host, and he did an excellent job. He opened the event by acknowledging what a terrible week it had been for Penn State and thanked everyone for coming out to support TED, which stands for Technology Entertainment Design. The ideas being spread at TEDxPSU varied, but most were very informative.

Penn State Associate Professor of Women's and International Studies Mia Bloom delivered a riveting talk about the "New Face of Terrorism." According to Bloom, girls as young as eight years old are being lured to training camps to become suicide bombers. As if this was not disturbing enough, Bloom revealed that the way young girls are coerced into joining these camps is by rape because in some Middle Eastern cultures this brings shame onto the victim's family and they are told they can restore glory and dignity to their family by becoming a martyr.

Not all of the TED talks were so profound. There were lighthearted videos, such as one that placed people dressed in khakis and blue shirts at random Best Buy stores. Customers and staff did not know how to react to these impostor employees that dressed just like the customer service crew but obviously did not work there. I am unsure if this had any academic value, but it was certainly hilarious to watch!

There were a few times when we in the audience burst into laughter. 

One speaker, whom I think intended to be amusing, was Rob Rogers, an editorial cartoonist. His politically themed cartoons have appeared in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette, Washington Post, New York Times, Chicago Tribune and USA Today, among others.

Rogers' TED talk focused on his ideas for creating a new avatar for America to replace the outdated Uncle Sam. However, most of the cartoons that Rogers shared have no business representing American ideals. I will admit that many of them made me chuckle, but there was one that I thought was in extremely poor taste. The cartoon I am referencing was far too graphic to describe here, but considering what has been in the news for the past week, one can imagine what it portrayed. When Rogers displayed this avatar, it was met with shocked silence from the audience at University Park, as well as here at Brandywine. While I acknowledge that this is America and Rogers has an amendment right to draw whatever he wants, I think this was over the top. I am not saying he should not have penned this cartoon. What I am saying is that he chose the wrong time to display it.

All of us at Penn State are reeling after the events of the past week. As a community, we are devastated, hurt, and betrayed. This felt like rubbing salt in an open wound. 

Perhaps it was this very scandal that took our numbers down. Originally we had nearly 50 people scheduled to attend our viewing party but only about half of them showed up. However, I feel our event was a success, due in large part to the great committee I worked with to plan it: Dr. Laura Guertin, Professor Nannette D'Imperio and my fellow student Sara Neville. Our interactive additions, such as a graffiti wall on which attendees shared their ideas worth spreading and a voting system where people chose their favorite TED talk, really got people engaged in discussion. Sara was our official tweeter, posting updates about the talks to the #PSUBWTED feed. More than 140 people were following the talks via Twitter.

I also really liked the nametags we asked everyone to wear, which said, "Hi, I'm a nice person and I like ... " Everyone filled in the blank. Answers ranged from Batman to babies, and they certainly got people talking. In addition to students and staff members, Penn State alumni and community members came out for the event, which featured a free lunch provided by the Penn State Brandywine Alumni Association.

It was amazing to be a part of something that is so well supported and so much larger than any one person. That is my take-away from Sunday ... that we are Penn State and we are much more than what has been in the news lately. We are more than an athletic program. We are not all rioters nor are we all deserving of ridicule.

We are a prestigious university that supports students in their quest for knowledge and that fosters undergraduate research and learning while encouraging ideas worth spreading!

- Jennifer Santangelo, Senior, English and American Studies


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This academic year, our campus is engaging in a common read with the book This I Believe II: More Personal Philosophies of Remarkable Men and Women. I wanted my class to be involved in this campus-wide effort, so I assigned my HONOR 301H (The Role of Knowledge in Society) students to read and listen to existing essays before composing their own This I Believe story. Each student in the class wrote an essay, then peer reviewed each other's essays before creating a podcast.

All of the essays were personal, ranging in topics from bike rides and family vacations to finding a passion to read and the meaning of handwritten letters. One essay seemed to stand out from the rest: Eric Teitsworth's essay, "I Believe in Flannel Shirts."  I won't repeat the essay here - click here to listen to Eric's podcast and to hear the other students tell their stories.  

Almost immediately, I started noticing more students wearing flannel shirts in class, especially on Fridays, which Eric designated a "Flannel Fridays." Every Friday, students talk about their shirts, compare the thickness of the flannel in their shirts, etc. We decided we absolutely had to take our class photo in flannel shirts, on a Friday, of course. In fact, Chancellor Wisniewska even joined us for the fun!

But the class connection went beyond flannel shirts. After reading and helping each other develop their essays, I could see the class dynamic change. The majority of the students had never had a class together before this semester, but if you stepped into my classroom, you would think these students have been friends for years. The students are so supportive of each other, whether they are discussing classwork or assisting each other with community-based projects and efforts. It was as if reading each other's essays "flipped a switch" to turn this classroom into a community.

If you had told me at the beginning of the semester the impact this assignment would have on my students, I actually would not have believed you. I guess I am now also a believer in flannel shirts, and how something a simple as a peer-review exercise can create a community of academic peers, true friends, and an outstanding teaching experience.

- Laura Guertin, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences

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On Saturday October 8, I had the opportunity to represent the Brandywine Child Development Lab (BCDL) at Senator Dominic Pileggi's Kids' Fun Fair at Sun Valley High School. The Lab is located here on Brandywine's campus, and is directed by Dr. Jennifer Zosh, assistant professor of human development and family studies (HDFS).

I'm Laura Twiss-Garrity (pictured center above) and I conduct research alongside Dr. Zosh, senior Lisa Dececco (pictured far left above) and junior T'Chell Looby (pictured far right above) to examine how children learn about the world around them. We seek to answer questions like, "How do young children learn language?" and "How many objects can an infant remember?" This research excited me as a junior at the Brandywine campus and during my senior year I was able to create my own research project. Since graduating last May, I have remained a volunteer at the Lab and I hope to attend a Ph.D. program in developmental psychology next fall. 

Senator Pileggi's Kids' Fun Fair was great! It gave the BCDL an opportunity to present itself to the community; since it just opened and is in the process of recruiting local families, the fair came at the perfect time. There were hundreds of local families browsing tables manned by numerous organizations, getting their faces painted, waiting for balloon animals, and meeting us ... the researchers from the Brandywine Child Development Lab! The fair gave our team a chance to talk to interested families about participating in research studies, meet and create relationships with other organizations, and even meet local legislators and explain why research done at the BCDL is so important.

Overall I think that Senator Pileggi's Kids' Fun Fair was a huge success and I look forward to meeting the families that participate in our research!

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- Laura Twiss-Garrity '11 HDFS

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