Greater Allegheny contingent visits Puerto Rico to recruit students

Four representatives from Penn State Greater Allegheny recently visited Puerto Rico in an effort to recruit new students to the diverse campus sports teams.

Men's soccer head coach Achilles Vassilicos, men?s basketball head coach Tyler Care, enrollment services specialist Rachael Banks, and student Gabriel Medina travelled to the island, where they held an open house and visited with more than 150 students and their parents. 

A view of the street in Puerto Rico, taken by Penn State Greater Allegheny Men's Soccer Head Coach Achilles Vassilicos on a recent recruiting trip.

Medina, a first-year student majoring in business management with a minor in International Business, was happy to visit his homeland of Puerto Rico. He said, ?It was a great experience. My team was composed of wonderful professionals and I hope more trips like this will come in the future. I enjoyed serving as a translator and mediator. Most of all, I truly enjoyed being a part of Greater Allegheny?s efforts to seek prospective student-athletes.?

Banks said that in Puerto Rico, many of the students attend smaller Catholic or private schools.  ?I think the transition to Penn State Greater Allegheny would be a logical choice for some of these students.  Coming from small schools, they would feel comfortable here while receiving a quality Penn State education at a smaller campus.?

The diverse student population at Greater Allegheny enriches the living and learning environment at the campus, with students hailing from more than 20 states and eight different countries.  Students can complete one of nine baccalaureate degrees at Greater Allegheny, or can begin the first two years of most of Penn State?s more than 160 baccalaureate degrees.

Vassilicos made nine visits to schools, academies, and clubs, and attended soccer tournaments, competitive games, and training sessions. ?I like to speak to potential students and their parents face-to-face, and want them to feel my emotions while I feel theirs. I make a connection with them, so that if their child decides to come to Greater Allegheny, they feel as if they are sending him somewhere where they know somebody, where there is someone to look out for him/her.?

He added that the main goal for the trip was to reach out to student-athletes in Puerto Rico, many of whom have been dreaming of a college education in an American university.  ?Since I started recruiting in Puerto Rico, and from discussions/accounts with my Puerto Rican students, I have come to realize that there is a real barrier for many young men and women graduating from high schools in Puerto Rico. Many of them are good students, are excellent athletes, and have good language skills, but they fear the unknown. Going to their own home schools and academies, meeting them face-to-face, explaining what it takes to study at a university such as Penn State, and reassuring and encouraging them to try their best was the goal of this trip for me.?

?We are proud that our campus is one of the most diverse of the Penn State Commonwealth Campuses. We always look for new and effective ways to encourage students to take advantage of our cultural offerings in both academics and student life. I hope that many of the high school students with whom our representatives visited will become applicants, and ultimately, Penn State Greater Allegheny students,? said Greater Allegheny Interim Chancellor Nancy L. Herron.