Category Archives: Sweeten Alumni House

The Penn Ten: Ten Lessons I Learned At Penn

By: Jorge Penado, C’19
International Relations Major
Work-Study Student, Sweeten Alumni House

 

  1. Aimlessly Walk Around Penn’s Campus: After years of our hard work of trying to get here, we can sometimes fail to live in the moment and soak in everything that Penn’s campus offers. We have the great fortune of attending a school that’s been around for nearly two hundred years that the nooks and crannies of this school are endless. Some of my best times were spent randomly walking around campus, initially to find that perfect study spot which I also recommend. But, walking around campus can come with various fun and exciting discoveries. Whether it’s the gargoyles perched on the Quad’s exterior or the graduate carousels in Fisher Fine Arts, there’s so much to find on this campus that it’s accumulated over years. Basically, what this lesson boils down to is that everyone should take a moment and realize that there’s so much around us that one can’t help but marvel at.
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  2. Take Your Free Time Out of Left Field: While this may seem like a setup for a baseball reference, it’s actually much more the slang version. Many times, Penn students think that our extracurriculars have to strictly do with our studies or future career aspirations. But, sometimes you just want to do something you never could have imagined. If for some reason I traveled back in time to tell my high school senior self that I would be playing drums and making student short films as a kid interested in politics, I would have thought he was crazy. But, four years later, I’m glad I did those things because, one, they were beyond fun and, two, the stories and experiences are priceless. How else would I have known the commitment of a drum injury?
  3. Go Beyond Your Usual SEPTA Stops: The first part of this lesson is basically to use SEPTA. Maybe because I’m from the South where we don’t really have fully-developed subway systems, I fell in love with SEPTA, but in all honesty, you can’t experience Philly without it. It’s the veins of the city. Going beyond 40th westbound or 2nd eastbound was one of the coolest experiences that I’ve had because it felt like I wasn’t stuck in the “Penn Bubble.” Philly has so much to offer in every corner of the city whether it’s locally-owned restaurants in South Philly or the Ritz Theaters in Old City. As students in this city, we should do our part to explore beyond the main attractions, not to say that those aren’t amazing parts of Philly.

  4. Learn That Van Pelt Has The Extent of Human Knowledge: Alright, this might be a slight exaggeration, but the sentiment still remains. For some odd reason, I didn’t start using the library regularly until my Junior year, and boy was I missing out. Have you ever just walked through the aisles of Van Pelt? They have so much there to fill your time. From original Arabic manuscripts from the early Islamic periods to books on the role of satellite telecommunications during the Cold War, the diversity and extent of books in the library can sometimes become lost in the stress of our work. But, through my years, I’ve grown to appreciate the library for all its varied and helpful sources, and I encourage everyone to either begin to vehemently use those books or at least take a walk through the aisles to see what the production of academia around the world has produced.

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  5. Find Those People You Can Talk To: While everyone says this, I can’t emphasize how important it is to make friends who you can trust and enjoy being around. One of my favorite parts of college has been getting to meet people from around the world and from such diverse sets of backgrounds. Before Penn, I was surrounded by people from my community who were largely similar. College gave me the opportunity to meet people from so many countries and learn about them. College also gave me the opportunity to get to know people more than I’ve ever gotten to know anyone. After living around them and going to classes with them, it’s inevitable that you’ll get to know people in ways you possibly never expected. I think that this is one of the best things about Penn and will remain one of the best for years after I graduate from school.

  6. Engage With The World Around You: Okay, I might be biased with this one because I’m an International Relations major, but I definitely think that my time at Penn allowed me to learn more about everything that’s happening around me. College is one of the first times when people are forced to talk about their thoughts and opinions on the world. By the world, I mean everything from complicated US politics to the historic movements in countries like Algeria and Sudan. The beauty of this is that everyone has thoughts on these issues, not just those studying them, and can hopefully teach you something new. I’ve had some of the best conversations about world affairs with computer science majors and gene editing with criminology majors. College is the time to learn about your place in the world. Read the newspaper. Have a conversation. Know what’s happening around you as a global citizen.
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  7. Take The Time To Learn About Yourself: Your first thought may be, “What do you mean? I know who I am. I’m [insert name].” But, in the same vein as the previous lesson, I think college is the time to seriously learn about yourself. For many people, it’s the first time they’re not living at home and for many, it’s the first time moving far away. Four years ago, I moved over 1,550 miles and learned about myself in ways I could have never imagined. On an academic level, what kind of studier am I? What have been my favorite classes? Why? On a personal level, what kind of friend am I? How do I manage my time? What kind of things do I eat when no one’s telling me to eat healthily? So many things to learn about yourself with only four short years.

  8. Indulge In The Unusual & Particular: After seven lessons, it’s surprising how little I’ve spoken about academics. It’s what we’re here for in the first place! Though I came in knowing my general interests, I had absolutely no clue what subject matters I enjoyed the most. After spending my first two years taking intro courses and reading as much as I could, I began to realize that academia is filled with a bunch of people with specific interests that seem almost too narrow. But, the great thing about college is that nothing is too narrow to study. Everything that could possibly be studied has and will, so if there’s something that you enjoy, no matter how specific it seems, there’s room for it. As we try to balance majors for our long term goals with these interests, I definitely think there’s a way to do both, especially in these short years.

  9. Know That Everyone Is Just As Lost: When I first got to Penn, I can’t say that I wasn’t intimidated by the school and the people. In the beginning, I felt confused in every class, like an impostor in every seminar and beyond stressed for every test. On top of all of this, I thought I was the only one struggling. But, one of the most valuable things that I’ve learned at Penn is that everyone’s struggling in their own way. If Penn is a breeze for anyone, then more power to them, but I quickly realized that almost everyone questions whether they’re good enough. But, I learned that everyone has a place at Penn and that we should talk about it all. Penn became more enjoyable when I could speak to my friends about how stressful times can get. All of this is a normal part of college, and we shouldn’t fear being the only one going through it.
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  10. Be Aware That Penn Was Made For You To Succeed: After all of these lessons, the one thing that I leave Penn knowing, and hope that every student can learn, is that Penn is made for the students. Though it may not feel like it when classes are stressful or you’re the first in your family to go to college, there are always people interested in seeing you succeed. Whether it’s the cultural houses, your major department or even just your peers, there’s a place for everyone and resources for anyone who asks for them. There’s money to fund your summer experiences. There are advisors to help you through your major. I know I have benefited significantly from being at Penn because I’ve always known there’s at least one person on my team. With this in mind, these four years at Penn can be much more endearing and fulfilling.
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Filed under Alumni Perspective, Jorge Penado, C’19, Memories of Penn, Sweeten Alumni House, Top Ten

Penn Traditions: Celebrate, Connect, Inspire

By: Gina Sesta, GEd’18

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As a graduate student who did not attend Penn as an undergrad, being selected to work with the Penn Traditions program has been the perfect introduction to the university and its long-standing history. The opportunity has provided me with experiential knowledge of the culture and traditions of Penn and the importance of each one. Managed through the Sweeten Alumni House, the Penn Traditions program is designed to build community on campus, connect students with alumni, and promote a lifelong love of Penn.

The program is segmented into three branches: the Traditions Committee, Class Ambassadors, and Penn Traditions Alumni Engagement Funds or PTAEF. My role works particularly with the Traditions Committee and the 14 students who belong to it. Together, we execute events on campus such as the student section of Quakerfest at Homecoming, Friendsgiving, No Pressure Networking, and more. We seek to engage students across every school and class to promote unity throughout the university and preserve the overall traditions of Penn.

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The Penn Tradition Student Section of Quakerfest  –  Homecoming,  Fall 2017

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Traditions Committee members at Friendsgiving, November 2017

Throughout the remainder of the academic year, Frankly Penn will be featuring a series of posts written by the members of Traditions Committee. Be sure to check back to learn more about the students and their experiences!

Stay up to date with us by liking our page on Facebook and following us on Instagram.

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Filed under Penn Traditions, Student Perspective, Sweeten Alumni House

New Beginnings

Hey guys! My name is Kaila Brown and I am the new Graduate Assistant for the Penn Alumni Office. Words cannot express how excited I am for this new opportunity!

Penn Alumni Grad Assistant

Kaila Brown, GEd’15

I made the great move from Atlanta to Philadelphia, roughly a week ago and ever since then every day has been filled with Philly adventures and new beginnings. Orientation for the Graduate School of Education began bright and early Monday morning. It was truly exciting and inspiring to sit in the ballroom surrounded by some of the brightest minds pursing their love for various aspects of education. There are, both, international and domestic students of all races and backgrounds, and it will be such a pleasure to have these diverse opinions and thought processes shape class discussions. On Tuesday I had the pleasure of attending my specific program’s orientation where I was able to meet my fellow cohort and some of the faculty. I will be earning my Masters in Higher Education. Even though I only spent a few hours with my cohort I already know this is going to be an insightful year learning from a range of students who all bring something different to the table. Every person I met matched my excitement about the quick year ahead! I begin classes tomorrow and can’t wait to learn from some of the leading lights in the field of Higher Ed.

While I know that it will be challenging, I am so thrilled for this next year and can’t wait to see all that it has to offer!

 

Graduate School of Education

Graduate School of Education

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Filed under Academics, Campus Life, Student Perspective, Sweeten Alumni House

The Annual Staff Retreat

By Carol Romani

After a successful year of Alumni Programming, the Alumni Relations staff got together for their annual Staff Retreat.   This year, we learned about our Signature Themes (strengths) and how to build on them for career and personal success.   There was also a great scavenger hunt which sent 6 teams of Alumni Relations staff members on a hunt through campus for all sorts of things! It was a great way to unwind and have fun together after a year of successful Alumni Programming.

Team Redrum in Steinberg-Dietrich at the Joseph Wharton Desk

Team Redrum in Steinberg-Dietrich at the Joseph Wharton Desk

Team Sweeten Slammers on Walnut Street

Team Sweeten Slammers on Walnut Street

Team Quaker Daze and Ben

Team Quaker Daze and Ben

Team Evil Empire with Dr. William Pepper

Team Evil Empire with Dr. William Pepper

Team You Are Toast

Team You Are Toast (possibly trying to spell out a word)

My apologies to Team Fists of Franklin (a.k.a Ben’s Biceps), though you were the winning team in our competition, your photos went missing in the transfer from CityHunt to us.

All in all, it was a great day with my wonderful Alumni Relations colleagues.

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Filed under A Day in the Life - DAR, Carol R., Sweeten Alumni House

Congratulations to the Class of 2014

Author: Janell Wiseley

 

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Filed under Academics, Alumni Programming, Alumni Weekend, Alumnni Education, Campus Life, Commencement, Janell W., Leaving Penn, Locust Walk Talk, Memories of Penn, Reunions, Sweeten Alumni House, Traditions, Uncategorized, View from Sweeten

Mayor’s Scholarship

Author: Kristy Crocetto, Administrative Assistant to Penn Alumni Regional Clubs

Sweeten Alumni House

E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House

With the education crisis looming over Philadelphia, it is more difficult than ever for inner city high school students to obtain the resources and support to stand out during the college admissions process. For those hoping to attend Penn, however, there is an advantage available to bright young scholars local to the area.

The Mayor’s Scholarship has a long history at Penn, dating back 1882, when it was called the Board of Regents Scholarship. In 1910, another exchange between the City and the University took place out of a need to build strong workers and leaders in the Philadelphia area, and it became the Mayor’s Scholarship. Since then, Mayor’s Scholars have received an aid package that meets 100% of their financial need, as determined by Student Financial Services.

Last night marked a milestone for the Mayor’s Scholarship Program, as it was the first time alumni and current recipients were invited to mingle and network amongst each other. 80 participants gathered at E. Craig Sweeten Alumni House, including Coach Jerome Allen, Dr. Herman Beavers, and Pamela Edwards, where the energy and excitement was palpable. Students were excited to mingle with alumni and alumni were excited to learn about the newest endeavors of the program.

Guest speaker, Shakirah Simley, graduated C’07 with a BA in Anthropology (with honors) and Urban Studies. At Penn, she successfully advocated for the inclusion of a United States cross-cultural analysis requirement to the College curriculum and won a living wage and additional benefits for campus security guards at Penn and Temple, as the co-founder of Penn Student Labor Action Project.

Over the past seven years, Shakirah’s food career has led her to the Bay Area to Italy and back again. She has previously worked on nutrition and recreational equity policy issues, on youth organizing campaigns, and owned her own small-artisanal jam business.

Shakirah related to the students, encouraging them to connect with each other and build a strong community while at Penn. She also urged them to follow their gut, even if they are not sure which professional pathway to pursue. She emphasized the importance of cultivating inner strength and recognizing passion and talents from within.

Talent was certainly apparent as I spoke with some of the current Mayor’s Scholars and board members. Carlos Carmona, Vice President of High School Engagement, spoke passionately about reaching out to local high school students. This year the Mayors Scholarship Program helped local students fill out their applications to Penn and walked them through the application process. They also hosted an ice cream social during Quaker Days, in an effort to build a sense of community amongst this year’s recipients. The program has also identified mentors for the incoming students, so that they have someone to reach out to in those difficult first months of college life.

These types of events and support systems are expected to multiply as the Mayor’s Scholarship continues to progress from an exciting scholarship opportunity to an active student support program.

The current Mayor’s Scholarship Program Board (pictured) is as follows:

Mayor's Scholarship Program Board

Mayor’s Scholarship Program Board

President: Betsy Modayil

Treasurer: Kelly Yao

Secretary: Brian Chau

VP Social Planning: Melanie Young

VP Mentor Development: Joe McCloskey

VPs Alumni Affairs, Internships, & Networking: Charlie Gress, Mia Garuccio

VP High School Engagement: Carlos Carmona

VP Educational Initiatives: Caitlin Weiss

For more information on the Mayor’s Scholarship visit: http://www.sfs.upenn.edu/mayors-scholarship/index.htm

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Filed under Academics, Kristy C., Sweeten Alumni House

A Long-Expected Party

Author: Patrick Bredehoft

 

Diligence is the mother of good luck.

~Benjamin Franklin

Today, the Interview Program staff is preparing for a party.  Or rather, 52 parties.  Between April 3rd and 27th, alumni from around the world will be hosting local events to welcome the newest cohort of admitted students to Penn.  These events are sponsored by generous Penn alumni from dozens of interview committees (from Phoenix to Pakistan), and while each event will undoubtedly have a slightly different flavor, the common celebration of a Penn education is sure to be a constant.

We’re also doing our part to ensure that each admitted student event is stocked with red-and-blue party supplies, by shipping boxes of Penn-themed gear to more than 15 states and 20 countries.  So, if you happen to hear a chorus of “Hurrah, hurrah, Pennsylvania” coming from somewhere in your town during the month of April, don’t be surprised.  In fact, we’d encourage you to join in the celebration, and to help us welcome Penn’s Class of 2018 to the four incredible years that lie ahead!

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Filed under Interview Program, Patrick B., Sweeten Alumni House, Uncategorized, Volunteering