Penn State Learning announces Outstanding Guided Study Group Leader Awards

Four students recognized for promoting student success

Penn State Learning Credit: Martin SpringborgAll Rights Reserved.

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. -- Penn State Learning announced the Outstanding Guided Study Group Leader Award recipients for the 2016-17 academic year. The award was established by a Penn State alumnus and former guided study group leader to recognize the work of recent guided study group leaders in promoting student success. The recipients are Jenna Bednar, Colleen Quisenberry, Matthew Rea and Morgan Mills. Each leader received a stipend of $500 and a certificate of recognition. 

The award acknowledged guided study group (GSG) leaders’ commitment to creating and sustaining a welcoming and academically supportive learning community for the course to which they were assigned. By working closely with course instructors and routinely attending class sessions, study group leaders host drop-in study sessions in which they review course materials and help students hone their problem-solving skills in a stimulating and challenging collaborative learning environment. 

More about the 2017 Outstanding Guided Study Group Leader Award winners: 

Jenna Bednar was the MATH 141 Calculus and Analytic Geometry leader for three semesters. Duane Graysay, the former program coordinator for Math Learning Communities, noted that Bednar was “an exceptional leader whose work elevated the reputation of the GSG program and Penn State Learning. Her methods of working with her peers to support their learning exemplify the kinds of practices that I think other GSG leaders should aspire to.” Bednar graduated in fall 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering and is currently working for Kimberly-Clark in Wisconsin. 

Colleen Quisenberry was the MATH 034 Math of Money leader for three semesters. John Pardo, math instructor, wrote, “She kept in touch with us (the instructors) regularly and made sure to consult us about how we would want her to change her GSG sessions based on how the course was progressing and changing. I believe that a significant aspect of creating a positive learning environment is fostering an optimistic and friendly atmosphere, and Colleen did a great job at that.” Quisenberry graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in secondary mathematics education and a minor in psychology. 

Matthew Rea led the ECON 102 Introductory Microeconomic Analysis and Policy study group for four semesters and supported three faculty members. Dave Brown, director of the undergraduate studies economics department, observed, “Students know and recognize Matt, and feel comfortable enough to come and approach him in a class setting. Due to my large classes, I’m always a little nervous when I’m assigned a new tutor. The material is tough sometimes, there are many students, and it is a big time commitment to attend class and host tutoring reviews. However, I was certainly glad to have Matt assigned to my sections this semester.” Rea graduated in May 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in management information systems and minors in Italian and international business. He will be a consultant for CGI Federal in the fall.

Morgan Mills leads guided study groups for MATH 200 and 201 Problem Solving in Mathematics I and II concurrently. She has been the GSG leader for two semesters. Darla Forsha Simpson, senior instructor states, “Morgan has to attend twice the lecture sessions that other leaders do, and she preps more sessions every week and conducts more exam reviews than other GSG leaders. For the past few years, my students and I have been blessed with extremely qualified student leaders, but Morgan is in a class of her own.” Mills is a junior majoring in childhood and early adolescent education.

Additional information about the awards process and other ways to give to Penn State Learning is available at In addition to supporting GSG’s, Penn State Learning also provides tutoring in mathematics, world languages, public speaking, and writing. Penn State Learning services are covered by tuition and available at no additional cost.

Penn State Learning is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about the Office of Undergraduate Education at

Last Updated May 12, 2017