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Brandywine alumna Lily Jundi (center) is all smiles surrounded by her former students in Kuwait.

Lily Jundi '03 IST not only speaks the language of computers--thanks to her Penn State education--but also is fluent in Spanish, Hebrew and several Arabic dialects, not to mention a good knowledge of Portuguese, Turkish and Italian. She adroitly switches between languages like a commuter switches trains. With her Penn State education, natural knack for languages and incurable travel bug, she's had no trouble finding work in far off lands from Delaware County.

Jundi, originally from Drexel Hill, Pa., currently teaches foreign languages at Fatih University and a school system in Ankara, Turkey. She also teaches English and information technology (IT) classes--offered in English--at a technical firm in the capital city. Prior to living in Turkey she spent several years teaching languages and IT studies at colleges in Kuwait.
 
Jundi attributes her love for cultures and languages to her mixed Middle Eastern heritage. She pursued that love at Penn State Brandywine, where she minored in international studies and traveled to Turkey, Spain, Greece, Italy and Egypt to complete several academic projects. She was a language tutor in the Learning Center, held student government leadership positions, helped shape the diversity initiative on campus and interned in the Information Technology Services department alongside the much-liked Gordon Crompton, who recently retired from the campus.

"Education-wise we were well prepped; the curriculum was great. As for my internship with computer services, I cannot thank them enough ... by the time I graduated, I had learned so much from them. My training was perfect. I'm very confident as to what comes my way ... whether it's a computer course or language course I'm asked to teach. It's like concrete ground I'm standing on," said Jundi.

"Working at the Learning Center gave me the opportunity to discover myself. Before that I wasn't even thinking of education or being a teacher," she added. "I wanted to be in computer systems and databases, since that was my major. I thought that was it; my future was set. But then working at the Learning Center I discovered something else in me. I wasn't limited to what I graduated with ... I have a lot more to offer."

Another international attribute of Jundi's is her nickname, "the peacemaker," a name Crompton gave to her during her internship days. Jundi explained, "Whenever there was a conflict, I would try to find the midpoint for people to meet in order to resolve the issue. I don't like problems. I don't like conflicts. I like people to work together. I like to work with people in peace. I don't like war--we talked about politics a lot especially the politics of the Middle East--which was one of the reasons I got that name ... besides just wanting to work and interact peacefully with colleagues in the department."

Perhaps diplomacy is in the bright future of this talented, multilingual Brandywine alumna.  According to Crompton, "if there's going to be peace in the world, Lily will be part of it."

-by Nancy McCann, freelance writer

TEP_3823[2].jpgCongratulations to the more than 100 graduates of the Penn State Class of 2012 at Brandywine! We want to reiterate the wise words of advice our graduates received from our commencement keynote speaker, Wawa Inc. President/CEO Howard B. Stoeckel:

"It's important to serve others. Don't be the taker, be the giver. Be willing to make mistakes, learn from your experience, and don't take yourself to seriously."

Go forth and make us proud!

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{All photos copyright by Third Eye Productions, Inc. To order prints, click here or call 215-635-1988.}

The Ups and Downs of the Job Market

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series called "Where Are They Now?" Follow along as alumnus Teron Meyers tracks down Penn State Brandywine alumni and chronicles their quests for stable careers in a challenging job market. Meyers graduated in 2010 with a degree in communications and is working at a pharmacy as he seeks a stable career of his own.


Imagine a roller coaster going through loops, turns, and pulls. One moment it's sky high, and then seconds later, plummeting back down to where it took off. For Brandywine alumna Dana Gibson '09 Eng, such an analogy is fitting to describe her search for a career, an effort full of hurdles but worth the ride.

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Having a positive attitude, despite adversity, is always a plus. Gibson believes that you shouldn't be afraid to try anything once, especially something you love. That perfectly describes her current passion for teaching. During her last semester at Brandywine, Gibson held a job at the Delaware County Intermediate Unit 13, where she captioned for hearing impaired students. This experience proved very rewarding. Unfortunately, however, just days before graduation, she was laid off, though not discouraged. 

Following Gibson's initial experience with instructing, she took part in the Substitute Teaching Service at the Lancaster County Intermedia Unit 13. A pattern was forming: Gibson as an educator. However, she did not envision this course at first. In fact, she shuddered at the thought, but became encouraged by the help she had provided to students 

"I can't even describe how it feels when you are working with a student one-on-one and when you are finally able to help them meet a challenge," Gibson said. 
              
Recently, she was accepted by Teach for America as a special education English teacher. Teach for America is an organization that strives to provide excellent education to impoverished children.

Teaching was not Gibson's only brush with the real world. Within a period of almost three years since graduation, she tried a number of career paths, including as a customer service representative at an animal shelter in Lancaster County, where she was previously employed. She said she was happy to receive not just full-time hours, but health benefits as well. Although this position did not last long, she acquired a new appreciation for marketing.

Never tiring from her search, Gibson pressed on. She frequented the Career Center at the Brandywine campus, an excellent resource for job leads. She also spent some time at Pennsylvania CareerLink, an unpaid, full-time job that aided her in targeting career choices based on skills. Gibson recalled that on some days, she contacted up to 100 potential employers, with no real success. Even so, she realized that everyone at CareerLink was in a similar boat.

"Those who had strong networks, years of experience, and higher degrees were struggling just as much as I was," she said.

Gibson, expected some challenges in her job search, but did not foresee the market to be so harsh. While attending Brandywine, she built a strong academic repertoire, hoping to stand out amongst countless graduates. In addition to her bachelor of arts degree in English, she minored in international studies and American studies. She was also a Schreyer Honors Scholar who wrote an award-winning thesis, "'Am I your slave?': William Parker and The Freedman's Story."

Throughout this process, Gibson has been realistic, taking note that the world around her is changing. Enjoyable jobs (benefits included) are scarce. But with this realism, also came a sense of optimism. 

Before Gibson's latest job offer with Teach for America, she was very hopeful: "I'm still working on marketing myself as a star employee," she said. Now, with a teaching gig on the horizon, Gibson serves as a living example as to the payoff of perseverance.

by Teron Meyers '10 Com

Troubleshooting Through Post-Grad Life

Editor's Note: This is the second in a series called "Where Are They Now?" Follow along as alumnus Teron Meyers tracks down Penn State Brandywine alumni and chronicles their quests for stable careers in a challenging job market. Meyers graduated in 2010 with a degree in communications and is working at a pharmacy as he seeks a stable career of his own. 


For most college graduates, that long-awaited day when they confidently walk onto the stage in the Penn State Brandywine Gymnasium to receive their degrees brings much joy. Now, at the pinnacle of their academic careers, many new graduates are asking, "What's next?" 

Having graduated at the peak of a recession, Paul Hurych '08 IST had concerns as an up-and-coming professional. But this tech-savvy grad emerged with few kinks to show.

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Hurych began his college career in the fall of 2004 when the campus was still known as Penn State Delaware County. Throughout the next four years he was an active member in various organizations: vice president of the Information Science and Technology (IST) Club and president of the Student Government Association (SGA). He also was a Jane E. Cooper Honors scholar and graduated with high honors.

Having a strong fascination with computers and technology, Hurych was naturally drawn to his major. 

For two years after graduation, he worked as a software developer for McBee Associates in Wayne, before taking his current position at Akcelerant Software, in Malvern -- a move he hopes will help him in the future.

Although his road to a stable career has had few bumps, Hurych did face a few challenges. He remembers that very few companies were hiring when he began his job search. Just getting his foot in the door for an interview proved to be difficult, but not impossible.

"I was one of the lucky members of my graduating class. I had a job lined up for me after I walked," he said. And a little advice: "With the job market being as tight as it is, having a referral for a position will give you a definite advantage over other applicants."

In addition to his work, Hurych is still very much involved at his alma mater. With a knack for leadership, he presently serves as the vice president of the Penn State Brandywine Alumni Society. 

He said the best piece of advice he can give to recent and soon-to-be graduates is to use the large network of Penn State alumni for assistance. He attributes receiving an internship, as well as his current position, to the help of Penn Staters.

Hurych hopes to continue his career in software development, with aspirations of project management down the line. A master's degree in software engineering is on the list, too. Full of Penn State spirit, Hurych knows one thing for sure; he will always stay connected with the Brandywine Alumni Society.

by Teron Meyers '10 Com

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Since 2003, Diane Shorter (Student Affairs Office) and I have led campus and community members with knitting needles and crochet hooks in hand to create handmade items for nonprofit organizations with an identified need. We call ourselves Knittany Lion Needleworks.

Last year, we asked our volunteers to help us make scarves for the Pennsylvania athletes competing in the 2011 Special Olympics USA. We were thrilled to be able to send 83 scarves that year to be worn by the athletes as they marched in during their opening ceremonies and during the games. 

We had requests to help this organization again, so we picked up our needles and hooks to help the 2012 Special Olympians in Pennsylvania. We knew this was a popular project with our volunteers, but we did not anticipate even more volunteers helping to create 119 handmade scarves in this year's Special Olympics USA colors of blue and red. 

Volunteers from Granite Farms estates made and donated nearly half of the 119 scarves, while others came from current students, alumni, parents, and community members. 

I have a feeling we will see this project on our list for 2013 so stay tuned!

For more information about Knittany Lion Needleworks, which will soon become an official club on campus thanks to an initiative led by freshman Theressa Ha, click here

-- Dr. Laura Guertin, Associate Professor of Earth Sciences 

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The idea started with Dana Albright a former student of Dr. Arnold Markley, and a graduate of Penn State Brandywine. Dana wanted to form a team from the campus to participate in the Light the Night Walk for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS). She dubbed it "Brandywine on the Prowl."

On Saturday evening, October 22, our team gathered in front of the Philadelphia Art Museum to participate in the walk. Over the past few months, the team raised more than $500 for LLS.  The team consisted of five Penn State alums--all former students at Brandywine from the English department or Honors Program--and myself, a staff member in Academic Affairs. We all have our own special connection to our dear friend Arnold,a  beloved professor of English at the campus who lost his battle with leukemia last June.

Dana wrote these words about Dr. Markley on the team's homepage: "Dr. Markley was passionate in both his research and his teaching. He challenged his students to go above and beyond their abilities, and encouraged them to imagine what they thought might not be possible - and then achieve the impossible. He has inspired his students to become the first members of the Schreyer Honors College on Brandywine's campus, earn scholarships to travel abroad and publish and present undergraduate research in numerous national conferences.  Always willing to go the extra step, he even mentored some of his students via phone when he was unable to be in the classroom. His humor, passion, and energy were contagious, and inspired many students to take action in civic engagement outside of the campus. Both inside the classroom and out, those who knew him will agree that he was not only a truly distinguished professor, but a truly remarkable human being."

I came with my brother, Guy Boughner, and cousin, Terri Evans. Dana, John Strickhouser, Adrienne Showalter and her sister Allison, and Paolo Pedraza-Rivera. We completed our registration and were given our balloons and t-shirts. We wandered among the large crowd who gathered to participate in a "Remembrance Ceremony" and head-shaving program, and for food and music before the walk. We signed the Wall of Remembrance for those whose lives were cut short by this horrible disease.

My brother, cousin, and I were also there to remember a dear friend of ours, Joe Grossi, who fought the same courageous battle with leukemia as Arnold Markley.

It was touching to read the memorials that were written, pictures that were posted, and team t-shirts that people displayed by the crowd that gathered. Everyone was there with one purpose in mind: to raise funds for research to find a cure. So many people, which thankfully included survivors, gathered with this one goal in mind.

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{Paola Pedraza-Rivera (left) and Dana Gibson signing the Wall of remembrance}

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{Adrienne and Allison Showalter}

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{Gail Wray (far right) with her brother, Guy Boughner and cousin, Terri Evans}

- Gail Wray, Academic Affairs Staff

 

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