Monthly Archives: August 2012

Penn Clubs Welcome Class of 2016

By Kiera Reilly, C’93  @KieraReilly

This week, Penn’s Class of 2016 is arriving on campus and moving into their dorms, meeting their roommates and hall mates, and exploring all that Penn has to offer. Before they made their way to Philadelphia though, many Penn Alumni Clubs around the world welcomed them to the Penn family and celebrated them at summer student send-offs. Here is a sampling of some of the west coast celebrations.

San Diego

Penn Club of San Diego president Robby Koeppel Foss, C’92, GED’92, writes, “It was exciting to meet so many talented new students! The families and students enjoyed hearing more about Philadelphia and our helpful hints for moving to the East Coast and Penn favorites. The San Diego Alumni that spoke: Gina Tapper, Troy Morrison and Jaleisha Jacobs gave great perspective on their different experiences. I just loved giving out, Philly style cheese steaks, Tastykakes and Soft Philly style pretzels to local San Diego natives who never had tried them!! I was grateful to the Philadelphia Tourism Board and Campus Philly for sending me helpful guides to hand out to the families!”

Introducing San Diego students to Philly soft pretzels.

New Penn students in San Diego were also treated to TastyKakes.

Penn Class of 2016 students from San Diego

Orange County

In Orange County, CA, local alumnus Alfio Rossetti W’01, hosted students and their families at his family’s restaurant Roma d’Italia in Tustin in a now annual gathering organized by the Penn Club of Orange County.

Delicious Italian fare at the OC gathering at Roma d’Italia.

Students mingling and meeting each other at the Orange County send-off event.


In Washington, the Pugent Sound Penn Alumni Interview Program hosted a dinner for students and parents at the home of Janie and Raymond Lee, PAR’14, in July.

Co-chair of the Puget Sound Penn Alumni Interview Program David Blum, W’74, writes, “These freshmen were excited to meet each other, along with several Washington upperclassmen, and to learn more about undergraduate life at Penn. Students from Washington are excited to leave soon for Philadelphia. The weather was beautiful and everyone enjoyed themselves!”


In Washington, there was a red and blue cake.

Puget Sound Penn Alumni Interview Program co-chairs Bill Winkelman, C’83, WG’90, PAR’15, Deborah Garber, W’09, Belinda Buscher, C’92, and David Blum, W’74

Penn Class of 2016 from Washington State!


And in Portland, John Vosmek, C’61, president of the Penn Club of Portland shared these photos from the Penn Club of Portland 2012 Summer Lawn Party (and New-Student Send-off) at the home of Taizoon, EE’83, and Munira Doctor. Four of the area’s eight members of the Class of 2016 and three members of the Class of 2015 joined alumni, parents and friends on a typically beautiful Oregon summer evening.

Panoramic view of the Penn Club of Portland Summer Lawn Party


Penn students from the Portland area: left to right, front: Vidushi Bhargava, Eng.’15, Catherine Yee, Eng ’16, Arthur Halin C’16
rear: Hanna Seminario, C’16, Alex Lyons, Eng ’15, Andy Liu, Eng ’15, Eric Chang, Eng ’16


This is just a sampling of the many freshman welcome events that took place all over the world this summer. While their students are at Penn, Penn Parents are welcome to join our regional Penn Clubs – and we hope in four years the Class of 2016 will join their local Penn Club and continue this tradition.

Find out more about our regional Penn Alumni Clubs here:

For our most recent alumni, join your local Penn Club and attend a First September event welcoming the Class of 2012 in your town:

Follow our Penn Clubs on Twitter!

Penn Club of Orange County: @PennClubOC

Penn Club of San Diego: @PennClubSD



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Filed under Clubs, GAN, Kiera R., Penn Clubs, Photos, West Coast Regional Office

My Top Penn List: Student Perspectives of Penn

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

Today is the Penn Traditions Move-In Lunch behind Sweeten.  Parents, proud of their kids, are spending the last possible moments together before they return for home.  They are bidding their freshman children adieu until Fall Break, Parents Weekend, Thanksgiving, or,  for some, the end of the semester. In the meantime, the students will return to their dorm room to negotiate who will take which bed, to discuss their studying habits and to learn more about this stranger cum friend whom they’ve been paired.

With the start of the academic year upon us, this inspired me to share with you my favorite student perspective blog entries from the last year, written by our Sweeten House student workers.

10. CBI? – Jonathan Cousins, Eng’14

I was amused that to this day students mock Penn’s affinity for acronyms, however in the daily life of students, one can be stumped by the appearance of a new one.  CBI is the College Basketball Invitational, a postseason tournament in which Penn competed last year.

9. My Life as a (Pretend) Wharton Student – Kayleigh Smoot, C’13

One of our work study students, majoring in psychology, made a commitment to take Wharton classes during her time on campus.

8. Top 4 Things I’m Looking Forward to Next Semester – Jonathan Cousins, Eng’14

I enjoyed this anticipatory look at the then upcoming Spring 2012 semester, full of sports, social activities and Fling!

7. State of the (Union?) School – Dan Bernick, C‘14

The first of three of Dan’s blog entries on the list, this blog focuses on student government at Penn and the State of the School in which the six branches of Penn Student Government to discuss their accomplishments and plans for the year ahead.

6. Midwestern charm meets the Ben Franklin Bridge: A Chicago Girl in Philly – Mari Meyer, GEd’12

I was charmed (pun intended) by our graduate intern’s take on her time in Philadelphia and how she drew comfortable parallels with her beloved Chicago.

5. Penn vs. Yale – The Trials of a Quaker Fan – Dan Bernick, C’14

Outside of coursework and learning, the drama of our Penn sports team provide some of the need escape from the stresses on campus.  Though we all know how this game ended, it’s still the hope of a fan that his or her team will succeed and that’s what keeps him or her coming back.

4. Fall at Penn – Sabrina Shyn, C’13

Sabrina’s photo blog entries are always poignant moments of Penn still life, and just in time for fall, I wanted to share this photo entries on my list.

3. September at Penn – Dan Bernick, SAS ’14

To balance out Jonathan’s wishful blog for the future, I wanted to share Dan’s happy reminiscent blog about a charming first month at Penn.

2. Eine schöne Sprache – John Mosley, C’14

As a linguistics major, I am always proud of students who absolutely love learning a language here at Penn, especially where there are so many different ones available to study!

1. To Sleep or Not to Sleep? – Christine Uyemera, C ’13

“To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there’s the rub.” In this Hamlet allusion titled entry, Christine tackled the question student asked themselves universally in a humorous take on how the sleep deprived cope.

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Filed under Academics, Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, Casey R., Top Ten, Traditions

Alumna Abroad

Author: Lisa Ellen Niver, C’89

During my years at Penn, I meandered the liberal arts curriculum. I took classes in all different disciplines. My dad, who went to Penn Dental, told me, “There is always time to specialize. Learn about a lot of different things. If you are a biochem major and then go to Medical School your world will be narrower. Use this time to expand your world.” He did not realize at the time how many continents my travels would include.

My husband, George and I, left July 2012 for our second year journey in South East Asia. In 2008, we left for a year, unsure about what would happen. Over the next eleven months, we visited twelve countries. I came home sixty pounds lighter and engaged!

In June 2010, I started our blog, WeSaidGoTravel, on our way to a summer in Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Well-intentioned friends cautioned, “If you only post once a week, you will never get anywhere.” I said, “I am nowhere now,” and started the blog anyway. At the end of July 2012, our site was listed in the TOP 25 Travel Blogs on! In early August, we joined Empire Ave. We were a top 15 Fledgling and are now a top 15 Greenhorn. Are you on the AVE? Send me your ticker!
Our site is growing, by leaps and bounds with over 175,000 views since mid June 2012.

So far, our trip this year has been great. We are busy in Gili Meno, Lombok, Indonesia snorkeling with turtles, and watching dolphins jump and spin at sunset. The Penn motto, “We will find a way or we will make one,” has become our call to arms.

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Philly Fringe

Author: Alex Fleischman

Throughout its history, the Penn Museum’s Warden Garden has had a surprising variety of residents—from the pond’s fish to the Sphinx, which now lives indoors, before Philly’s weather was deemed a threat, and once, even, a submarine used for underwater archaeology. Next month, “monsters” can be added to the list, when the Museum will host two Philly Fringe programs.

First, and unrelated to any monsters, the Underground Shakespeare Company, a Penn student theater troupe, will perform “Antony & Cleopatra: Infinite Lives,” Thursday through Saturday, September 13-15. Shakespeare’s play is adapted to the modern, turbulent events of contemporary Egypt, with the Museum’s Sphinx as the dramatic backdrop to their performance. I can’t wait to witness the always dramatic and impressive gallery transformed by the talents of Shakespeare and the performers.

On Sunday, September 16, the artist Douglas Repetto will lead a Monsters: A Workshop and Happening. The audience will help him make “foals”—small walking tables made with simple mechanical parts and scrap wood. The “herd” of them will be let loose in the Chinese Rotunda at 4 p.m.; afterward, they will led outdoors and into the Warden Garden. After the event, the foals are “up for adoption” for audience members—this sounds like a pet even a college student could handle, so I’m not going to miss out.

The 16th-annual Philadelphia Live Arts Festival and Philly Fringe takes place from September 7–22, 2012, with theater, music, and arts events all over Philadelphia. In addition to the two events at the Museum, two more will take place on Penn’s campus. On September 20 and 21, the Annenberg Center will host “red, black & GREEN: a blues,” an interactive program created by Marc Bamuthi Joseph of The Living Word Project. On September 22, the Platt Student Performing Arts House will host The Alternative Theatre Festival by iNtuitions Experimental Theatre.


More information about the events at the Museum can be found here and more information about Live Arts and Philly Fringe can be found here.


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Filed under Alex F., Campus Life, Penn Museum, Philadelphia, Student Perspective, The Arts, The Arts at Penn

Back to School…?

Author: Kayla Crawley Haidara

I’m still trying to determine what this phrase means to me now…a 27 year old with 5 years of work experience. Um…not much coming to mind. I’ve been out of school for more than a few years and it seems like I’ve got to go in my closet and find my big girl pants to gear up for what’s ahead. This Fall I will be starting a Master’s program in Teaching, Learning and Leadership at the Graduate School of Education. Of course, because I don’t just bite off opportunities, I tend to gorge myself with them, I am front-loading this semester with more courses than the typical part-time student. Why? Who knows? I must be crazy. No, the truth is I have a plan and want to push myself to see how quickly I can attain my goals (with the add/drop period as my safety net).  But another truth is that I’m scared shirtless!!! Coming to Penn for undergrad presented its own anxieties, mainly around what I had to prove to my family and loved ones whose support brought me to that point.

Today, I have much more to prove to one person, myself – and, for some reason, that burden feels heavier. At the start of a long road that I’m hoping ends with an Ed.D. or Ph.D., it’s easy for me to feel daunted. However, the good thing about the future is that it only comes one day at a time. I’ll be sure to take this semester moment-by-moment, cherishing even those instants camping out in my office to finish a term paper, or going straight to my office from an all-nighter at Van Pelt (I promise to pack deodorant).  I’ll just have to remember that even on trying days, I’ll still be one step closer to my goals than I was the day before. GSE get ready for me!!

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Friday Mystery

Author: Aimee LaBrie

I’m sure that all of you follow the Penn’s Twitter feed, but just in case you don’t, they often have interactive posts, such as the one from today. See photo below. If you think you know where on campus that staircase is located, go to Penn’s Twiter feed and make a guess. No cash prizes available, but you will have my undying admiration and respect if you’re right.






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Honoring the Past and Engaging the Future – Pioneer Women

Author: Sue Czarnecki, GR’82

Penn’s First Women Students
Gertrude Klein Pierce, Anna Lockhart Flanigen and Mary Thorn Lewis

This year the Association of Alumnae celebrates its 100th anniversary. As part of our year-long celebration, we are bringing you interesting stories about the Association and its alumnae. Perhaps you’ve wondered who were the first female students at Penn?  Well, they were chemistry students!

Admitted to classes in chemistry in the Towne Scientific School (School of Engineering and Applied Science) in October of 1876 as “special students,” Gertrude and Anna, graduates of the Women’s Medical College, were the first two female students to enter Penn. Two years later Pierce and Flanigen were awarded certificates of proficiency in chemistry and finished second and third in their class. Pierce and Flanigen continued their postgraduate studies in organic chemistry with Dr. Edgar Fahs Smith, a mentor to many of Penn’s first women students. Gertrude coauthored a paper with him on the nitration of 5-chlorosalicylic acid.

Gertrude married Francis Hoskins Easby (BS 1881) in January of 1884. She remained a dedicated alumna, and their daughter Charlotte Easby Grave was president of the Association of Alumnae from 1930-31. Gertrude was active in the settlement house and women’s rights movements. She frequently corresponded with suffragist and social reformer, Isabel Howland, secretary of the Association for the Advancement of Women and the New York State Women Suffrage Association. Gertrude passed away in 1953.

After Penn, Anna continued her studies in chemistry at the University College London with the distinguished Scottish chemist, Sir William Ramsey. Sir Ramsey later won the Nobel Prize in 1904 for his discovery of the noble gases. Anna returned to Penn to further her studies in inorganic chemistry with Dr. Edgar Fahs Smith and received her doctorate in chemistry 1906. Her thesis was entitled The Electrolytic Precipitation of Copper from an Alkaline Cyanide Electrolyte. She was an associate professor of chemistry at Mount Holyoke College from 1903-1910. Anna passed away in 1928 and is buried in Laurel Hill Cemetery.

Mary entered the Towne Scientific School in March of 1878 and earned a certificate of proficiency in chemistry two years later. She was very interested in the women’s rights movement and was a member of Philadelphia’s New Century Club and the New Century Guild for Working Women. Mary married William Channing Gannett, a Unitarian minister and social reformer in November of 1887. They moved to Rochester, New York, where William became pastor of the First Unitarian Church. Susan B. Anthony was a member of the church, and Mary and Susan became good friends. Mary was a suffragist and worked closely with Susan in the women’s rights movement. Recognized for her many years as a social reformer, the University of Rochester awarded her an honorary doctorate in humane letters in 1941. Mary passed away at the age of 98 in 1952.

Photo credit: University Archives

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Filed under Association of Alumnae, Historical, Kristina C., Uncategorized

Locust Walk Talk: Book Club

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

As a member of the Class of 1995, I am part of the inaugural Penn Reading Project (PRP) class. During the summer of 1991, I received a book in mail from Penn and I put it aside to save as the reading for my flight to San Francisco for our “last family vacation” before I left for college.  After settling into my seat for the transcontinental flight, I opened the envelope which revealed The Bacchae by Euripides.


This Greek tragedy, based on the mythological story of King Pentheus of Thebes and his mother Agauë, whom god Dionysus punished for their refusal to worship him, was to be our class’s first shared educational experience in college.  This common experience did, in fact, resonate with us.  We incorporated the Greek theme into our 15th reunion party.


The Class of 95’s Greek Bacchanalia 15th reunion

Now in its 21st year, the PRP returned to its roots with Doubt: A Parable by John Patrick Shanley as this year’s book.  Since 2007, The Penn Reading Project has been incorporated as part of the larger Academic Theme of the year.  This initiative is sponsored by the Provost’s office to develop a series of year-long events around a theme chosen by faculty, staff and students.  This year’s theme is the Year of Proof, which charges us to investigate how we know that what we know is true and discover our search for proof.


As a nice professional development exercise, we in Sweeten attended our own private PRP discussion group at lunch.  Several of us on staff have read Doubt and eagerly talked about the play framed within the structure of the students’ PRP discussions which are facilitated by a faculty or staff member.  Our own Lisa Vaccarelli, C’02, GED’10, Director, Alumni Education, Alumni Travel & Career Networking, moderated our talk – pushing us to address both absolute proof and the varying degrees of doubt with working in tandem can either distort or illuminate the truth.

Lisa provided us with some questions in advance:

•             Did you like any of the characters in the play? If so, did your personal feelings for this character change in the course of the story?  Why?

•             Did you identify with any character in the film? If so, with whom and why? If not, why not?

•             Father Flynn said, “The truth makes for a bad sermon. It tends to be confusing and have no clear conclusion.” What do you think he meant by this? Do you agree with him?

•             Sister Aloysius remarked to Sister James, “In the pursuit of wrongdoing, one steps away from God.” What do you think she meant by this? Do you agree?

As well as creating questions on the fly:

•             In reference to the opening sermon, how is doubt isolating?  Unifying?

•             Who are the moral guardian’s in our society?

•             The subtitle for the play is “Doubt: A parable”.  How is the play a parable?

The conversation was heated and passionate; it encouraged about twenty of us to analyze and articulate our own beliefs on the actions in the play. It was invigorating to have such an exchange among a group of well-read colleagues.

Hopefully, this little exercise in our office may inspire you to seek out the current and former PRP books to add to your reading list. Or, if you are a class, club, diversity alliance leader or alumni volunteer, feel free to work with us in Alumni Relations to vet the ideas of how you can host a small book club and discussion group event for your fellow alumni on your own.

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Rocky Mountain National Park

Author: Stephanie Yee, C’o8

As a West Coast native, I love being surrounded by mountains. Even though I am a self-proclaimed “city girl,” there’s something special about being 11,000 feet above sea level surrounded by mountains as far as you can see. I recently visited the Rocky Mountain National Park for the first time. The trip reminded me how important it is to take a break from city life to enjoy and appreciate nature. If you are interested in visiting some National Parks this year, you are in luck. The Penn Alumni Travel Program is hosting a Southwest National Parks tour in May 2013. This tour does not include Rocky Mountain National Park since it is not in the Southwest, but you will visit Grand Canyon National Park, Arches National Park, Canyonlands National Park, Dead Horse Point State Park, Bryce Canyon National Park, and Zion National Park. Sign up today!

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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Penn Alumni Travel, Travel

Penn Connects 2.0

Author: Jason S.

Although we are still a week away from welcoming the newest members of the Penn community to campus, areas from Locust Walk to Shoemaker Green are abuzz with activity, working towards fulfilling the vision set forth by the Penn Connects plan when it was first introduced in 2006. 2012 brings us exciting new construction projects like the renovation of the ARCH, as well as much progress on the Singh Center for Nanotechnology, both of which are slated to be completed sometime in 2013. To read more about the second phase of this initiative and to view a high resolution version of the map above, visit the Penn Connects website.

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