Congratulations to our Spring 2021 graduates!
Alexandra Florescu Eubank
Major: Biobehavioral Health, Senior
Hometown: Constanta, Romania Spring 2020
Plans after graduation: My plans after graduation are to re-visit a few ongoing projects in the lab where I worked over the past few summers at West Virginia University, focusing on how tumor macrophages contribute to treatment resistance in cancer. During this time, I plan to apply for medical school.
My favorite honors class was Biobehavioral Health 451 - Pharmacological Influences on Health. The course was a reflection of the program, which was one of the main reasons I chose Penn State. Specifically, I explored the neurobiology and mechanisms of opioid addiction, behavioral changes seen in opioid users, and the epidemiology of opioid misuse.
My second honors project covered transmission dynamics of COVID-19 and the immunological profile of susceptible individuals. With guidance from Dr. John Peles, I explored and condensed new literature findings on how this new virus is transmitted, how contagious it is compared to other viruses, and what characteristics make some people more susceptible than others. My findings suggested that the amount of virus a person receives is directly proportional to the severity of symptoms, emphasizing the importance of wearing masks. Also, I found that there may be a correlation between blood type and the development of respiratory failure, where blood type O appears to have protective effects.
The honors experience allowed me to explore health-related topics in more depth and grasp a better understanding on how research is conducted. Additionally, the scientific communication experience gained during my projects is an essential tool in my future career path.
Ratna Jaysheeli Gathala
Major: Information Sciences and Technology, Senior
Hometown: Oakdale, PA
Plans after graduation:
I plan to get a job in the IT field, either in project management or business analyst. I would also love to get my Master's Degree while working, so wish me luck!
Professor Douglas Charles taught my favorite honors courses focused on history. I enjoyed learning more about the world and the reasons behind so many events that happen in history. Working with my professor and delving deeper into certain topics than the regular classes covered was an additional plus. The classes that really interested me were HIST 10 and HIST 173.
My favorite research project I completed was with Professor Bae in the Marketing 301 class. Thinking about companies that I wanted to learn more about, I decided to go with American Eagle Outfitters because of its great fashion selections. With the guidance of my professor, I had the chance to delve deeper into the company and find out the way people conducted business in China. I conducted a P.E.S.T. (Political/Legal, Economic, Social, and Technology) Analysis on the Chinese branch of AEO and found a lot of interesting information. As many American companies are dependent on China, I learned a lot about their decisions based on cultural and legal differences. The way we expect to see brands in the U.S. may not always be the same in China because of cultural differences. Also, restrictions are sometimes put into place, and American companies need to find ways to accommodate the restriction and stay relevant. Additionally, because of the devastating disease known as COVID, I watched the company make extreme changes to accommodate their employees and their customers. I had the opportunity to see the tech and social changes the company was making, allowing me to see a true example of a business dealing with an “unforeseen disaster”. As a business minor, this project answered many questions and allowed me to see real-life business and how to handle the risks that come along with it.
I know that I want to land in a department close to project management. With the experience I've had in the Honors program, I have really learned the skill of researching. As strange as it sounds, this skill has truly helped me even in the internship opportunity I had this summer with Westinghouse. For one of my tasks, I was put in charge of creating an Audit checklist for the Project Managers I was working with. To do this, I had to go through extensive amounts of literature and understand the reasons behind each artifact asked for. Because of my Honors Experience, I was able to extract the information that I needed in a timely manner and give my boss the checklist he requested.
Another aspect of the Honors Experience I really appreciated was acknowledging that there was so much to learn. I was able to, along with my classmates, learn so much about the subject matter at hand. I would have never known the number of things behind one subject if not for delving deeper. It’s given me a love of learning and I continue to learn new things.
Major: Psychology, Senior
Hometown: Connellsville, PA
English 201 was my favorite honors class. I love reading novels. The novel I did my project on was really interesting, and I was able to apply my knowledge of psychological concepts to different aspects of the book. It allowed me to put two of my passions into one project. I did a research project for Developmental Psychology with Dr. Croyle. I researched differences in Pre-K education based on race. I found that disparities did exist in the quality of programs depending on the student’s race.
The honors experience has helped me hold myself to a higher standard with my course work, and that level of dedication will certainly help me in my future.
Plans after graduation: I am looking to enroll in a Clinical Psychology graduate program after graduation.