September 2009 Archives

Voices of Innovation, Fall 2009

The Honors Program presents a seminar series connected to our theme of "leadership and civic engagement." We have invited to campus organizations that have moved beyond simple volunteering and using a "Band-Aid" fix for community concerns. Honors Scholars, along with the entire campus community, came together to how these organizations are implementing innovative ideas and strategies for creating and maintaining sustained change for populations with an identified need. The Fall 2009 seminar series focused on the theme of education and literacy.

Monday, September 28: Freedoms Foundation of Valley Forge, Jason Raia, Vice President of Education. The Freedoms Foundation was established after World War II to honor patriotism and good citizenship. This non-profit organization with over 30 chapters nationwide provides a wide range of educational and awards programs for students, teachers and citizens to gain a greater awareness and appreciation of the principles and responsibilities of a free and democratic society.

Friday, October 23: First Book-Philadelphia, Ted Robb, Chair, Jennifer Pitt, Secretary. First Book provides new books to children in need, addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy--access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 60 million free and low cost books to disadvantaged children and the programs that serve them. In 2008, First Book Philly provided 17,244 books to 2,168 kids in the Greater Philadelphia area. That's 8 books for each child to take home--a mini library in neighborhoods where suitable children's books are simply not available. 

Paola presents in Puerto Rico

In her sophomore year at Penn State Brandywine in the Cooper Honors Program, Paola Pedraza-Rivera engaged in an undergraduate research project examining the epitaphs on the tombstones in Cumberland Cemetery (across the street from campus).  After spending Spring 2009 in the cemetery, Paola was curious about the epitaphs she would find on tombstones near her hometown in Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico.  She spent more time collecting data in the cemetery, resulting in.... a conference presentation in Puerto Rico!  Paola presented the comparison of epitaphs (specifically gender designations on tombstones) between Media, PA, and Sabana Grande, Puerto Rico.

Presented at the National Conference on Geography Education, September 2009, San Juan, Puerto Rico
Pedraza-Rivera, P.A., Guertin, L.A., Tombstone gender epitaphs in Pennsylvania and Puerto Rico. National Conference on Geography Education, San Juan, PR, September 25, 2009. Presented by undergraduate author P. Pedraza-Rivera.


Paola is currently a junior in the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State - University Park. She is preparing to submit a manuscript based on this research.

Go Green for Global Climate Week

The campus Green/Sustainability Committee asked everyone on campus to GO GREEN in celebration of Global Climate Week.  The UN General Assembly was having a climate summit on Tuesday, September 22, and was urging the international community to show their support for a global agreement to combat climate change.  At Penn State Brandywine, the honors scholars wore green to be a part of the international community recognizing Global Climate Week

2009-2010 honors course syllabi

Descriptions for Fall 2009 and Spring 2010 honors courses (PDF file)

Spring 2010

ENGL 001H, Understanding Literature (3 credits) (syllabus in PDF format)

*L ST 301H, Information Research Methods and Systems (1 credit) (syllabus in PDF format)

YFE 211H, Foundations: Civic and Community Engagement (GS/US/IL, 3 credits) (syllabus in PDF format)

In Italy - CAMS 045H, Classical Mythology & Western Art (GH/IL, 3 credits) (syllabus in PDF format)

In Italy - *IT 130H, Italian Culture and Civilization (IL, 3 credits) (syllabus in PDF format)

Fall 2009

AM ST 100H, American Popular Culture and Folklife (3 credits, GH, US) (syllabus in PDF format)

EARTH 150H, Dinosaur Extinctions and Other Controversies (3 credits, GN, course part of one-week trip to London) (syllabus in PDF format)

*ENGL 030S, Honors Freshman Composition (3 credits, GWS) (syllabus in PDF format)

*HONOR 301H, The Role of Knowledge in Society (3 credits) (syllabus in PDF format)

*L ST 100H, Information Search Strategies (1 credit)

*STS 130H, World Food Problems (1 credit honors orientation course) (syllabus in PDF format)

*denotes courses offered only in the honors program
Sophomore Matt Bachman, a civil engineering major and honors scholar at Penn State Brandywine, found he has a talent he never imagined: writing. Matt submitted an essay that was accepted for publication in Penn State University's annual journal, Best of Freshman Writing, Volume 14.

"I was surprised but really happy when I got the e-mail," Matt, of Newark, Del., said of his essay titled, "The United States' Failure to Sign the Rights of the Child" making the cut. "I always liked writing and I hear a lot of engineers struggle with it so we'll see how that works out for me."

On choosing such an important and serious topic, Matt said he had never heard of the United Nations' treaty his essay was based on until he was asked to research it for a one-credit library studies course required for all honors students. When asked to write an essay for ENGL 030, Mattndecided to revisit the topic, not realizing so many people would find his thoughts so compelling.

You can read Matt's essay at:

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