Our “Campus Highlight” series allows us to share posts about Penn State campuses, straight from the campuses themselves. In each post, staff and students from the campus answer a few provided questions, so you can learn about what makes each of Penn State’s campuses unique and read information about them that you might not find anywhere else! Next up, Penn State Brandywine.
Penn State Brandywine
What are some of the unique academic and/or research opportunities at Brandywine?
Located in Middletown Township, 20 miles west of Philadelphia in the town of Media, Pennsylvania, Penn State Brandywine is a popular destination for those who want a small campus environment, but a Big Ten education. It is also one of the more prideful campuses out there, as it evidenced by our slew of students that can be seen walking around town in their colorful “Hello Brandywine” t-shirts!
Brandywine currently offers a highly individualized educational experience for our students, providing them access to a variety of options and opportunities. Students can study the first two years of over 160 majors with us, with the ability to complete their degree at our University Park campus. In addition, the campus also offers 11 undergraduate baccalaureate degrees that allow students to begin and end their Penn State careers at Brandywine.
Undergraduate Research is a big deal here. When many students think about research, they envision a group of people wearing white lab coats, discussing the substances in their respective beakers. Here at Brandywine, we help our students understand that laboratory research isn’t the only type of research that can be conducted in the world. We encourage our students to research what matters to them. For example:
- Senior psychology major Megan Draper is embarking on the trip of a lifetime as she heads to Borneo, in Southeast Asia, to study what she loves: orangutans. She will spend six weeks working with the Orangutan Tropical Peatland Project (OuTrop), an organization that seeks to protect, conserve, and restore Sanbangu, a peat swamp forest that is home to the world’s largest orangutan population. Draper is a student in Brandywine’s Cooper Honors Program, one of two honors programs offered here. This unique opportunity was handcrafted for her to fit into her curriculum with the help of professors Cynthia Lightfoot and Pauline Guerin.
- Recent graduate Benjamin Bean was sent to Jamaica to study the Rastafarian movement, the roots of reggae music, and why for some people music is so closely linked to nationality or skin color, and why a particular group might claim ownership of a genre.
What is your favorite place on campus, and why?
For me, it has to be the Lion’s Den in the Commons Building. That is where everyone hangs out, socializes, and EATS! Sometimes I go to the Den, planning on only being there for 2 minutes and then 3 hours later I am still there! There are so many different personalities and groups that congregate there from the baseball players to Lion Ambassadors – everyone knows each other and gets along. When the day begins, the Den’s furniture is dispersed throughout the room, but at the end of the day all the chairs and couches are close together from the students just getting together and enjoying each other.
– Leah Luzhansky, Sophomore from Minnesota studying Chemistry
Please share a unique historical aspect of or a fun fact about Brandywine.
Penn State Brandywine is actually one of the most culturally and geographically diverse campuses in the Penn State system. We are home to students from the tri-state area and far reaching states like Minnesota, but we also enroll students from 60 different countries of origin! Therefore, our students don’t even have to participate in one of our famous study abroad programs in order to meet someone from halfway across the world. All they have to do is go to class.
What is the favorite hang out of students? What is their favorite off-campus activity?
“The Library on campus is another popular spot. It houses a lot of computers that are there for the students to use, but it also features the Brandywine Learning Center, Writing Studio, and STEM lab where students receive free tutoring services. The Media Commons is also set up there which features audio-visual recording equipment and sound proof booths that we use for projects.
“We also do a lot off campus too. We go the movie theatre at the mall right down the street, hang out at each others’ houses or my apartment, or go into the city. It doesn’t really matter to us where we are, as long as we are all together!”
– Priscilla Sintim Agyeman – Sophomore Pre-Med Major from New Jersey
“My favorite place on campus is a little area just outside the library, we call here on campus, “The Zen Garden.” In the Zen Garden lives scattered boulders, birds singing their songs for everyone to hear, and plants that loom over the steps giving off a sweet aroma. Within the Zen Garden, there are also these amphitheater steps, reminiscent of where Greco-Roman plays were held, that make you feel as though you’re in a totally different realm. It’s a gorgeous escape that everyone can appreciate.”
– Martin Ortiz, Sophomore from Kennett Square, Pa, studying Animal Science
What activities are students involved in at Brandywine? What are some of the highlights of the organizations?
“There is always a lot to get involved in. THON is a big deal here and we enjoy raising money at local eateries for children with cancer. Lion Ambassadors is another popular club responsible for giving campus tours to prospective students and their families, but we also run fun activities like our famous Dodgeball tournament. Recently I have joined the Fair Trade Movement. Penn State Brandywine was the first Penn State campus to become designated as a Fair Trade institution, and we take pride in that.”
– Priscilla Sintim Agyeman
In addition, Athletics at the campus give students the ability to play the sport they love at a high level for another four years. Currently we offer Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Basketball, Men’s and Women’s Cross Country, Men’s Golf, Men’s Ice Hockey, Men’s Soccer, Softball, Men’s and Women’s Tennis, and Women’s Volleyball. Club sports include cheerleading, trapshooting, floor hockey, and more.
Who do you consider a “Campus Face to Know” and why?
“For me it is Dr. Charles Helou, Professor of Mathematics. Before taking a class with him, I loathed math. But Dr. Helou somehow made the subject interesting and I found myself excited to attend his class every week.”
– Leah Luzhansky
Dr. Helou has been the recipient of the Eisenhower Award for Distinguished Teaching, which is the highest honor a faculty member can receive at the University, and he has been published in more than 30 papers in several peer-reviewed journals.
A student to know on campus is Rosie Owoc, a sophomore from Upper Merion, Pa. She is the current President of the Student Government Association on campus, and is dedicated to increasing student involvement on campus, to actively representing the campus at the Council of Commonwealth Student Government, and to give back to the campus and outside communities as much as possible. Saying that Rosie is Penn State proud is an understatement.
“Penn State has had such a huge impact on my life. It has given me new experiences, opportunities, and skills that I would not have been given anywhere else. Not only has Penn State provided me with close friendships and mentors, but it has helped me learn and grow as a person every day. I will forever be Penn State proud, which is why I go the tattoo of the PSU paw print!”
Thank you Penn State Brandywine!
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