University Spotlight: Pennsylvania State University


We’re excited to continue with our University Spotlight posts, and this one’s all about Pennsylvania State University! This summer, we have Nittany Lions all over the world participating in our summer fellowship program.

This blog post features four of them and their adventures in their respective cities. Keep reading to learn more about the exciting work they’ve been doing!

Peter Barrows

Peter is currently in Hong Kong interning for Acoustic Metamaterials Group, a smart materials and acoustics company that is changing the way people interact with sound. His main responsibilities include contacting manufacturers in China and ordering a variety of parts/materials with detailed specifications, researching university projects and startup companies that could be potential customers for the company, and modeling objects in CAD.

Peter graduated in spring 2017 with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering.

Name one of your biggest wins of the summer.

“One of my biggest wins would have to be just being able to go to Hong Kong, eat good food, and explore a place I’ve never been.”

How has this experience helped you get closer to achieving your post-graduation/ career goals?

“This experience has gotten me closer to my post grad goals by actually giving me some experience in my field that I can also put on my resume, but also through hearing the opinions of other people that are not like me. Some of the events I’ve been to for orientation told me exactly what I need to hear when it comes to achieving my dream, mainly being that this is the time in my life to take risks, and to just go for it.”

What’s the most fun/ coolest thing you’ve done with your cohort so far this summer?

“The most fun things I’ve done have probably just been eating a bunch of random food I’ve never had before, exploring the city, and going to random events like small local concerts of music I can’t even understand. There’s so much happening here in Hong Kong that I never get bored.”

Since Peter recently graduated, he plans to gain as much experience in the mechanical engineering field as he can to decide what career path interests him the most.

Jonathan Gunczler

Jonathan is spending his summer in Chicago as an intern at OneIMS. Here, he works on inbound sales projects and uses his background in industrial engineering to develop more efficient processes for the company.

Jonathan is a rising junior in the College of Engineering majoring in Industrial Engineering.

Name one of your biggest wins of the summer.

“Definitely being given the lead in a reorganization project, which was a big responsibility but I feel I handled it well.”

What is the most valuable lesson/ most valuable skill you’ve learned or strengthened during your internship?

“Thinking about your decisions but not second guessing yourself if that makes sense.”

Why did you decide to participate in Sage Corps?

“I have always wanted to start a business of my own and this was a great opportunity to learn from entrepreneurs.”

Jonathan hopes to find a full-time position in his field upon graduation.

Jonathan and the Chicago cohort at their fellowship orientation.

Jonathan and the Chicago cohort at their fellowship orientation.

Kirsty Moir

Kirsty is in Buenos Aires working as a Marketing and Business Development intern for a 3D printing company called Trimaker. Kirsty crates all of the content for Trimaker’s newest model, the Cosmos 2, through graphic and published flyers and prochures. She also is working on developing a public relations and content marketing strategy for the company’s newest startup venture.

She is a rising senior majoring in Public Relations and minoring in English.

Name one of the biggest challenges you’ve successfully overcome this summer.

“I’ve never traveled outside the U.S. before, so it was definitely a challenge for me to acclimate myself in a completely new environment. What made it the most difficult to adjust was the language barrier, since I came into Argentina only knowing how to speak minimal Spanish. I’ve always had a naturally bad sense of direction, so there were many times in the beginning when I got lost and had to ask strangers for help. I had to trust my gut with the minimal Spanish I knew how to translate in their responses to find my way back home safely.

Luckily, I adjusted to the culture and learned Spanish rather quickly after conversing with locals. Porteños (the name for the locals here in Buenos Aires) are very friendly and are always open to teaching you their language and culture!”

Why did you decide to participate in Sage Corps?

“I decided to participate in Sage Corps because I was at a crucial point in my life and in my college career where I needed a change of direction, one that would broaden my horizons and give me a newfound sense of clarity. I needed an experience that would help me grow in all aspects of life, both professionally and personally, and that’s not something I thought I would get out of a regular summer internship where I’d commute from home every day. Sage Corps provided an amazing and unique opportunity for me and I was not going to let it pass me by.”

What's the most fun/ coolest thing you've done with your cohort so far this summer?

“The coolest thing I’ve done with my cohort so far this summer is visit Municipio de Tigre. It’s this beautiful little town with a bunch of local shops with cobblestone roads, and there’s a small river that runs through the town where countless boats dock.”

When reflecting on her fellowship, Kirsty explained, “Sage Corps is a wonderful experience and I am blessed every day to know I was given such an incredible opportunity. This program could not have fallen into my lap at a more perfect time in my life, and I wouldn’t trade all the memories, friends, and connections I’ve made for anything. I will surely take all that I’ve gained from my short two months here in Buenos Aires with me into the professional world for years to come.”

Kirsty’s favorite advisor at PSU, Julie Miller, Manager of Internships in the Department of Career Services, offered her insights on the importance of international immersion experiences for students at the university.

“We feel strongly that experiences outside the classroom, both internships and studying abroad, are vitally important to our students’ development. We have seen students' success rates soar when they take opportunities to gain hands-on skills in professional settings, not only making themselves more marketable post-graduation, but learning about themselves in the process. The study abroad experience, or even combined abroad internships also result in that outstanding personal growth across the board.”

Upon graduation, Kirsty plans to pursue a career at an agency or small firm in the communications industry, ideally as a copywriter.

Ashley Khorassani

Ashley is currently in Amsterdam, The Netherlands interning with Motoshare, a motorcycle sharing platform. It is currently the only motorcycle sharing platform in Europe! Ashley's main responsibility is conducting market research in preparation for an international rollout.

Ashley is a rising senior studying Economics and minoring in Political Science.

Name one of your biggest wins of the summer.

"Meeting like-minded people who have similar goals and interests within my cohort has been probably been the biggest win of the summer. I expected to love Amsterdam but meeting other students that are easy to get along with was a huge benefit."

Why did you decide to participate in Sage Corps?

"I decided to participate in Sage Corps for the international work experience as well as also being exposed to a startup culture. I think that me and other students my age like to work in environments that are laid back and where our work is valued. Sage Corps offered both so I knew that I was interested in this program."

How has this experience helped you get closer to achieving your post-graduation/career goals?

"I think that working here temporarily showed me that I would like to experience working in other countries in Europe and other parts of the world because I really enjoy meeting different types of people."

After graduation, Ashley will be looking for a full-time position in either consulting or as a business analyst. She eventually looks forward to earning an MBA.

Ashley in Amsterdam

Ashley in Amsterdam

This summer, we had a group of ten PSU fellows participate in our fellowship program! We’re excited to see how this experience will help them pursue their professional goals. Whatever they do next, Sage Corps will be here to support them and help them succeed!

Want to become a Sage Corps fellow? Start your application here.