Free Money for Academic Experiences

by Lauren Ansell


A student can lessen their tuition when discussing different options over a series of conversations such as study abroad, internships, work-study, scholarships, and university grants.


Over the course of multiple conversations can lessen the cost of a student’s tuition when being offered study abroad, internships, work-study, scholarships, and university grants.


Internships help improve your “hard skills and soft skills,” said Thomas Shaffer, academic internship coordinator. Hard skills meaning, specific skills that relate to your major such as the ability to write or proficiently solve math equations. When Shaffer mentions soft skills he is

Various Financial Aid Brochures by Lauren Ansell

referring to building a network and advancing your communication skills.

Bettering the hard and soft skills can help a student better function within a student’s future career, but it is also an important lesson to learn from any internship. Internships are required by some majors, but this opportunity provides a “combination of experience and education” within the field of interest, said Shaffer. Study abroad is another out-of-the-classroom opportunity that promotes a student to travel to new locations to “deepen your learning experiences from those courses … in another culture,” said Beth Seymour, study abroad coordinator and assistant teaching professor. Another source of financial aid is a work-study position is usually a grant “that is need based, so it is sensitive to family income and family financial need,” said Shannon Hawkins, assistant director of student aid and the work-study program coordinator.


Although some internships exist as a career experience and a paying job, this is not always the case. If you’re a student who can’t afford the total cost of a particular internship, Shaffer said that local grant funds come across annually, but a date to apply for these opportunities is unknown. Another funding opportunity includes The Student Engagement Network, Shaffer said this is a Penn State program that can offer up to $3,500 to a student that chooses an internship that challenges them. Along with resume and cover letter advising, the internship office also assists with helping Penn State Altoona students apply to countrywide internships and grants for internship expenses. The internship office, 125F, is within the Eiche Library is the Academic Internship and Community-based Studies Coordinator. The internship office won’t search internships for students, as Shaffer explains, the internship office will assist the student with the research process of finding and applying for an interview over a “matter of conversations.” Shaffer said “one of the first things I ask is if they have a resume … We kind of go over that and whip into shape.” Resume and cover letter advising are part of the internship search, but the internship office also assists with helping Penn State Altoona students apply to countrywide internships and grants for internship expenses.

Shaffer said that searching for an internship takes self-research, and “That internal research is the first thing we do.”

After discussing what kind of internship the student is looking for, Shaffer said, “Then we look at the outside, can you or do you want to go away?”

There are multiple study-abroad options a student can take to fulfill an educational experience but in another setting. Seymour said that full-semester study abroad opportunities “are pretty basic … really the cost is just the Penn State tuition. You gotta get there.”

Seymour describes that full-semester study-abroad opportunities don’t cost more than Penn State’s tuition, other than travel expenses. The Penn State Altoona college rewards up to $500 for four-year majors and up to $250 for two-plus-two majors. Penn State University also has grants from the Global Programs Travel Grants, and other series of grants, depending on the type of program. These grants can range from under $1,500 but can go up to $3,500 including tuition.

The price differs because “It really depends on where you’re studying and how long,” Shaffer said.

The amount of time a student can study abroad varies from one to three weeks (short program), three to nine weeks (summer program), a full semester, or two full semesters. The application deadline for the upcoming study abroad opportunities range from Feb. 1 to May 1, depending what time a student would want to go away.

“I’m very flexible, so I’ll meet with students on their schedules,” Seymour said.

This can be achieved by sending her an email.


Work-study positions, scholarships, and grants can result in a large cost reduction toward a student’s tuition. Hawkins said that this recent year “there was more funding provided” toward work-study positions. The jobs increased by 100 to 150 more positions for work-study positions this year at Penn State Altoona. Work-study positions are determined by “a formula that the university uses to determine eligibility based on what the family reports on the Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) form,” said Hawkins.


Other than financial help from a work-study position, a student can also receive grants or scholarships from Penn State determined by what that student fills out in their FAFSA.

Penn State scholarships’ requirements are determined by the specific donor, and this form of aid doesn’t prohibit a student to apply.

For Penn State-related scholarships that the university grants, you are selected by your professors, or the workers within financial aid to determine how well a student meets the donor’s requirements.


For more information refer to the following websites:

Internship affairs:

Study Abroad affairs:

Work-Study/Financial Aid:

A receptive audience makes for a great performance

by Lauren Ansell

A performer is as accomplished as his audience is impressed. Farmer performed at 8 p.m. on Nov. 11 in the Pond View Lounge, within Slep Student Center. Farmer is singer and guitarist, who performed a lyrical inspiration that is gauged by “things from the news, sometimes struggles from others, sometimes struggles I’m going through”, Farmer said.

Themes within his songs derived from his own experiences, while others were playful tunes such as “The Wheels on the Bus”, or referring to a coined term for a person who dates others for their financial success, gold digger. His song that referenced a gold digger was accompanied by high pitch singing and complemented by spanish influenced guitar pickings. This combination created a seductive and sultry tone to better describe his personal situation with this past gold digger. This musical mixture explained how a woman would present her demeanor through seduction to distract his mind from realizing her underlying desire.

The night of November 28, Farmer’s songs embodied cultural and political references, such as West African culture. His third song focused on a profession within West African culture by the name of griot, which is the culture’s historian/storyteller/entertainer. This song had the most amount of instruments including guitar, drums, and shakers, tambourines, and an accordian. The song is portrayed by the opinion of a fourth generation griot explaining how it feels to possess all of the past while witnessing the present memories. One of the lyrics were, “I am a keeper of words, I am the griot,” said Farmer. After the song, Farmer by saying, “when a griot dies, a library burns to the ground.”

At the present moment he lives in State College, where he educates college and high school students. With the high school students, Farmer focuses on songwriting but also, starting conversation that relates to self identity and social issues. Farmer was born in State College, PA and later raised in North Carolina. He received a doctorate in Educational Leadership from Pennsylvania State University.

Farmer said that “I let other people decide” when asked what genre of music his music is classified as. He states that his open genre policy is influenced by famous musicians such as Bo Diddley, Bobby McFerrin, Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye. And though these artists had a great influence on Farmer’s music style, the church (Bethel United Way of the Cross) he grew up in was responsible for inspiring his singing. Farmer said he’s been singing in the choir and musicals since he was a child, and also said that he taught himself guitar, with minor help from classes and friends.


Why didn’t you vote?

by Lauren Ansell


“I wasn’t able to go home in time to vote. And I didn’t know I needed to get an absentee ballot before the deadline.”

Micah Brinker



Lockhaven, Pa.




“I haven’t registered yet bc  I didn’t turn 18 until February.”

Devin Callahan

Mechanical engineering


Fort Bragg, N.C.





“I forgot. And I wasn’t able to register for an absentee ballot in time.”

Brandon Bearer

Electrical Mechanical Engineering Technology


Carrolltown, Pa.




“I didn’t do the absentee ballot. No one reminded me. No one tells you this in class, and there’s no advertisement for it. And in hawthorne they didn’t have any information or papers explaining how to sign up.”

Gianna Pagano



Philadelphia, Pa.

What’s your favorite Thanksgiving dish?

by Lauren Ansell


“Pillsbury bread.”

Jacob Stolarski

Aerospace Engineer


Altoona, Pa.



“Grape salad.”

Madison Rhoads



Middletown, Pa.




“Corn bread with cranberry sauce.”

Justin Bhalla

Electro-Mechanical Engineering Technology


Princeton, N.J.



“Mashed potatoes.”

Kyle Whiteman

Cyber Security


Northampton, Pa.




Alex Hite




Patton, Pa.




“Mashed potatoes.”

Jonathan Daniel

Electrical Engineering


Washington, D.C.





Mark Sun



Beijing, China





“Corn pudding.”

Jack Mazejy



Jackson, N.J.




Brandon Caffrey



Northampton, Pa.


Hit that snooze button one more time

by Lauren Ansell

The link below, Why those sleepless nights could increase your Alzheimer’s risk, documents the critical effects of sleep deprivation in September of 2018 by the Genetic Literacy Project. The Genetic Literacy Project “is to aid the public, media and policymakers in understanding the science and societal implications of human and agricultural genetic and biotechnology research and to promote science literacy.”


According to an email from Dr. Matchock, a lack of sleep can lead to “hypertension, a weakened immune system, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, cancer, and finally an increased risk of accidents and a drop in reaction time and performance.” Robert Matchock is one of Penn State Altoona’s Associate Professor of Psychology. He has a doctorate from Penn State and found this article to be “a small sample size of only 20 human participants, but the results are intriguing.”


Sleeping causes conflicts in our lives through simple ways, like concentration while driving. Dr. Matchock said that “driving while sleep deprived is just as dangerous as driving while intoxicated!” Driving intoxicated is knowingly dangerous, therefore there are laws put into place to prevent drunk driving as much as possible.


Within the article, scientists collected beta amyloid levels for two nights: one night without sleep and another night where the subjects had a full night’s rest. Beta amyloid is a protein that is found in many Alzheimer’s brains, and seems to be a cause of this disease. After reading this article, Dr. Matchock said that a “lack of sleep has been associated with a variety of negative health issues, including hypertension, a weakened immune system, high levels of the stress hormone cortisol, cancer, and finally an increased risk of accidents and a drop in reaction time and performance.”


Sleepy people have a harder time driving, concentrating while learning, and maintaining their health. Like Dr. Matchock said, sleep deprivation can harm many aspects of a person’s health and “various types of learning and memory are impaired by even partial sleep deprivation.” Dr. Matchock said that “poor performance on college exams has also been linked to sleep deprivation.” The article and Penn State Altoona’s, Dr. Matchock, both support the theory that sleep deprivation can lead to more harm.