Category Archives: GSE

My Top Penn List: Best Professors to Explain Washington

Author: Casey Ryan, C’95

I’m a CNN junkie. I watch Erin Burnett, Anderson Cooper, Piers Morgan and Jake Tapper regularly.  If I get out of work at 5, I head to the gym where I can view Wolf Blitzer’s Situation Room from the elliptical.  So I’ve been closely watching the government shut down and the nation’s run into the most recent spending limit cap. Last night, I watched the literal 11th hour House vote on the Senate’s bill and listened to the commentary before calling it a night.

There are so many issues in DC: laws, policy, the will of the people, healthcare, jobs, taxes, default and more. Whether or not you agree with the current vote of Congress, this quagmire has been in the news for a solid three weeks and could use a lot of clarification.  Here are my choices for Penn faculty who would do a great job to help explain the forces at work in DC.

10.      J. Sanford Schwartz, M’74, INT’78 – Dr. Schwartz is an health care policy expert, who predicted that the Affordable Healthcare Act would contentiously pass and focuses on cost-quality tradeoffs in health care, health economics, health policy and medical decision making.

9.         Michael X. Delli Carpini, C’75, G’75  – Frequently Dean Delli Carpini explores the realm of politics in this new information environment and in particular, he explores the evolution of media that has occurred over the last twenty-five years – blogs, online fundraising, citizen journalism, social networking sites, viral videos, websites – to drive political campaigns.

8.         David B. Thornburgh
– As the Executive Director, Fels Institute of Government, Mr. Thornburgh teaches Politics and Public Leadership which orients students to the constraints that characterize leadership and management in the public service focusing on the areas of  public service, policy analysis, politics, and political realism.

7.         Jeremy Siegel
– Dr. Siegel is our guru of the stock markets.  Every media event of the Congress and President seem to be orchestrated to send a message to the global markets that the US will not fail them.

6.         Olivia Mitchell
– As a professor of Business Economics and Public Policy  and of Insurance and Risk Management, Dr. Mitchell is the expert on employee benefits and compensation, health/retirement analysis & policy, international private & social insurance, labor economics & public finance and risk & crisis management.

5.         Marjorie Margolies, CW’63, PAR’91, PAR’97
– As a former Member of Congress for the 13th District of Pennsylvania, Ms. Margolies knows a thing or two about the House of Representatives which benefits her students in her class, Dealing with the Media.

4.         Julia Lynch – Dr. Lynch, Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science, studies the concerns the politics of inequality, social policy, and the economy in comparative perspective, with a focus on the countries of Western Europe and the United States.

3.         Reed Shuldiner, PAR’14 – A Professor of Law and Co-Director of the Center for Tax Law and Policy, Dr. Shuldiner is one of the nation’s top experts on the Federal income tax – best known for his seminal work on the taxation of financial products. Plus he has advised the governments of China, Lithuania, the Philippines, and South Africa on income tax issues on behalf of the International Monetary Fund and the U.S. Treasury.

2.         Joni Finney – As the Director of the Institute for Research on Higher Education, Dr. Finney’s work on higher ed espeically on issues like public finance of higher education, governance, access and accountability might shed some light on how the issues in Washington end up affecting those of us working at Penn.

1.         Mark Duggan – Professor Duggan is the Faculty Director of Wharton Public Policy Initiative. In this role, he is my number one choice to oversee that conversation that we could have with these other nine faculty members to shed some light on the power play and issues in the Beltway.


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Filed under Annenberg, Casey R., Fels Institute, GSE, Notable Alumni, Penn Law, Penn Medicine, Penn Wharton Public Policy Initiative, Research, Top Ten, Wharton

Memories of Penn

Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd’ 13

Well, I can finally say it: I’m officially a proud Penn alumna!  I graduated from the Graduate School of Education this May, and as I packed up my apartment, I couldn’t help taking time out to browse through the hundreds of pictures I’ve taken of Penn this year.  As I’m sure all of you would agree, Penn’s campus is incredibly beautiful.  Inspired by Casey R.’s top ten posts, I’d like to share ten of my favorite places with you, in no particular order.

The Love Statue

Love statue

I can’t count the number of times I’ve posed next to this statue with classmates and friends.

Graduate Student Center

Grad Student Center

The Graduate Student Center (GSC) is my favorite place on campus to study or grab lunch.  Several of the friends I made outside of my cohort I met during the first few weeks of school at the GSC.

Locust Walk

Locust Walk

Locust Walk is beautiful all year round, but especially in the spring when all the trees come back to life and form a perfect arch for graduates as they process down to Franklin Field.  Walking through all the class flags with friends and classmates is definitely something I won’t forget anytime soon.

Graduate School of Education (GSE)


This is the building where I took most of my classes.  I made friendships, established lifelong professional networks, and learned from some of the most innovative faculty in the field of education here.  Penn GSE was founded in 1914 and will celebrate its centennial next year—hopefully I’ll be back to celebrate!

College Hall

College Hall

College Hall is one of my favorite buildings on campus, especially when the sunset hits the west side of the building.

Van Pelt-Dietrich Rocking Chairs

Van Pelt

You can find these great rocking chairs on the first floor of Van Pelt facing College Green.



Covenant by Alexander Liberman is one of my favorite pieces of public sculpture on campus.

Penn Park


Not only is Penn Park a great place to run or take a walk, it also boasts a fantastic view of downtown Philadelphia.

Franklin Field

Franklin Field

I took in a number of Penn traditions at Franklin Field this year, including the post-third quarter toast toss during home football games and the Penn Relays.  My final trip into Franklin Field this year was for the 257th Commencement.

Sweeten Alumni House


Finally, last but no means least, Sweeten Alumni House.  I was incredibly lucky this year to work as a graduate assistant in Alumni Relations. Not only did I learn a lot, I also got to work with a great staff and meet talented and proud Penn alumni from all over the country.


Filed under Alumni Perspective, Campus Life, GSE, Memories of Penn, Rebecca E., Student Perspective

Happy (belated) St. Patty’s Day!

Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd’13

My name may not sound like it, but my family actually has quite a bit of Irish ancestry on both sides.  And this year, for some reason, I celebrated that more than ever.

I checked out the St. Patrick’s Day parade here in Philadelphia (held the week before, on the 10th) and really enjoyed the bagpipes.  Thankfully, the day was warm and sunny—a rarity in Philadelphia so far this year—and a great day to be outside.


St. Patrick’s Day Parade

On the 15th, the Annenberg Center hosted Natalie MacMaster, a Canadian fiddler who, despite having a cough, played beautifully and simultaneously step danced throughout much of the performance.  She also shared touching stories of her family and musical inspirations with the audience.  Before the show, a friend and I went out for fish and chips—a perfect way to start off our evening of Irish music.

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Poster for the concert at the Annenberg Center.

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Filed under GSE, Rebecca E., Student Perspective

Sunset on College Green

Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd’13

I’ll admit it.  I’m a sucker for beautiful landscapes, elegant architecture, and dramatic lighting.  As the days have gradually been getting longer, I’ve been walking home from class while the sun sets over campus.  I love seeing College Hall and Fisher Fine Arts Library tinted orange in the setting sun.  Here are a couple pictures for you to enjoy.

2013-02-18 17 16 17

2013-02-18 17 16 28

Spring may still feel a long way off, but as each day grows a little longer, I feel my spirits rise with the anticipation of warmer weather coming soon.

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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, GSE, Rebecca E.

The Graduate Student Center

Author: Rebecca Eckart, GEd‘13

After taking five years off between undergrad and grad school, I imagined it would take me a while to readjust to being a student again.  I also imagined I’d spend a lot of time in the library.  The first of these expectations was true: it took me half of fall semester to get used to managing classes, papers, reading, and work again.  But surprisingly, the second was not.  Although I do go to the library sometimes when I study on campus, more often I tend to go to the Graduate Student Center (GSC).

For those of you who may not be familiar with the GSC, it opened in 2001 and is located between 36th and 37th Streets on Locust Walk.  It has a large common room with tables, couches, computers, a café that has great lunch deals, and free coffee and tea all day (if you bring your own cup).  There are a lot of programs for students—foreign language chats, teaching workshops, and other activities.  And there are also cute gnomes scattered throughout the building, sure to brighten anyone’s day.

The GSC has a great community atmosphere.  I almost always see someone I know when I stop by for lunch or to read.  The GSC is also a unifying space for grad students.  There are twelve different graduate and professional schools at Penn, and the GSC is a place where students from all schools can come, like me, to study, eat, or take a break between classes.


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Filed under GSE, Rebecca E., Student Perspective

Life After the Third Degree

Author: Mari Meyer, GSE, C’12

Just six months ago, I was writing about my strategic, if not artistic, return to studenthood. I have to admit, being a graduate student has had its perks: my family and friends foot the bill for brunches and lunches out of unadulterated pity; I can use my studies as an excuse to procrastinate in all other aspects of my life (i.e. vegetable eating, room cleaning, hair washing, etc.); I am assumed to be smarter and, in general, more important in the world despite my affinity for tabloid magazines, scrapbook making, and the unofficial, anthropological study of college kids.

Sorority pledges I spied on the Quad this week. Hard not to notice them!

My program at the Graduate School of Education lasts for only one year. That is to say: one academic year. Meaning, of course, two semesters. Which really means: a measly nine months. And I graduate in less than two! You may wonder, “How does one become a Master of anything in nine months?”

The answer is simple:  I take five classes each semester—with some of the most intelligent and accomplished professors and colleagues I’ve ever met—while working 20 hours a week at Sweeten Alumni House (and worrying about the project I oversee here an extra 10 hours on top of that).  When I’m not in class, or at the office, I am meeting with fellow grad students for group assignments that can span weeks, and because we all have schedules like this, our meetings do not even begin some evenings until 10 PM.  Of course, I spend most of my time reading, and writing papers, and reading some more. It is highly possible that I have read more in this program thus far than I did throughout four years of college. But I’m not talking about just any reading; I’m talking about the kind of reading that requires re-reading, often. The kind of reading that needs to be chewed like steak, that needs to be tasted and digested and metabolized —the kind of reading that you need to work through sentence by sentence, often with dictionary in hand.  I have never in my life felt more moved by and thus exhausted by what I’ve immersed myself in on paper. Oh, yes, and then the rest of the time I have to sleep, exercise, eat, and occasionally call my parents to thank them for giving me life

Thanks, Mom!

The real answer to the question, though, is that I don’t think one can become a true Master of anything in nine months. I often wonder if it is possible to become a Master of anything in an entire lifetime! But rather than thinking of this as a depressing concept, I find it incredibly exciting.  You know that feeling of letdown after a great vacation? You know the one, when everything you wanted to see you saw, everything you wanted to do you did, and then some.  The question of, “now what?” always creeps in, and you fall into that anticlimactic slump that leaves you right back where you started.  To become a Master implies a sort of end point, a kind of completion of a journey that in reality is, or at least ought to be, endless.

Who would have known that ten years later I’d be graduating with a third degree?

Though I have learned a tremendous amount—an infinite amount really—about the field within which I hope to find employment and the topics for which I am most passionate and committed personally, I am so thankful to know that I cannot know it all.  It is a relief, at least to me, that there will always be more to explore: more answers to find, more challenged to take on, and more paths to navigate without certainty of where they may lead.

My adventure working at an elephant refuge in Thailand in 2007.

Having said this, I am now back on the job market. And I am no fool. Being privileged enough to receive a Master of Science in Education from Penn will provide me with more opportunities that I could have ever imagined. It also instills in me a deep sense of gratitude and a responsibility for using this privilege and the learning that has come from it wisely, conscientiously, and justly. Will I feel like I have mastered my field by this coming May when I throw my hat in the air? Probably not—and maybe that’s just the hopeful “I’m a lifelong learner!” geek in me. And though there’s always a Ph.D, or an Ed.D, or some other buffet of degrees to dabble in if I start to get hungry for academia again—I have to admit, at least for now, that there’s nothing I look forward to more than reading mindless magazines and glitterizing unfinished scrapbooks all summer long instead!

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Filed under Academics, GSE, Mari M.