Lead & Engage Student Programs

The Schreyer Honors College is serious about offering a great academic experience to our Scholars, but you should also expect to learn a ton outside the classroom. From participating in Scholar-led organizations to volunteering at our signature events, we know you will find a way to make a difference in the Honors College and campus communities.

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Dr. Susan Russell interacts with the crowd at the Luchinsky Lecture

Yearly Traditions Signature Programs

Held Each January Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture

The Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture was endowed by family and friends to honor the memory of Mark Luchinsky, a University Scholar and biochemistry major who died on January 18, 1995, at age 20.

Through this lecture series, the community gathers to honor Mark's memory through support of a speaker who exemplifies intellectual honesty, personal integrity, and joy in learning.

2024 Luchinsky Lecture Igniting Curiosity: Empowering Future Leaders and Global Citizens Featuring Ainissa Ramirez
  • Monday, January 22, 2024
  • 7:00 - 8:00 PM
  • The State Theatre

Schreyer Honors College is delighted to host Ainissa Ramirez, Ph.D., an award-winning scientist and science communicator. Her presentation, “Igniting Curiosity: Empowering Future Leaders and Global Citizens,” will touch on how scientific inquiry transcends cultural and geographical boundaries. She will also highlight subject matter from her book The Alchemy of Us: How Humans and Matter Transformed One Another, which details eight inventions and how they shaped the human experience. The talk will include a question-and-answer session with the audience.

This event is free and open to the public. A free ticket is required for admission.

Ainissa calls herself a “science evangelist” and has built a reputation as one of the world's foremost science communicators. Her passion for getting the public excited about science drives her to speak widely on technology and science topics, including a TED talk on the importance of science education.

She speaks internationally on the importance of making science fun and has served as a science advisor to the American Film Institute, WGBH/NOVA, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and several science museums. She also hosts a science podcast called Science Underground.

Ainissa's work has earned prizes from the National Science Foundation, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and the American Institute of Physics.

In addition to The Alchemy of Us, Ainissa authored Save Our Science and co-authored Newton's Football. She has written for Forbes, Time, The Atlantic, Scientific American, American Scientist, and Science and has appeared as a technology expert on national and international media, including CBS, CNN, NPR, ESPN, and PBS.

Ainissa received her bachelor's degree from Brown University and her doctorate from Stanford, both in materials science and engineering. She began her career as a scientist at Bell Laboratories in Murray Hill, New Jersey, where she created award-winning inventions and received six patents. She then joined the faculty at Yale, became an associate professor of mechanical engineering and started her work as a STEM advocate with the mission to make science understandable to audiences of all ages.

This event is cosponsored by Presidential Leadership Academy, Schreyer Honors College Student Council, the Materials Research Institute, the Department of Materials Science and Engineering, and the Multicultural Resource Center.

Persons with disabilities who anticipate needing accomodations or who have questions about physical access may contact Donna Meyer in advance of the program. An American Sign Language (ASL) interpreter will be present at the event.

Past Lectures
Elizabeth Nyamayaro headshot
2023 Elizabeth Nyamayaro Humanitarian, Author, Special Advisor to the United Nations
John Quiñones headshot
2022 John Quiñones Author, Broadcast Journalist, Motivational Speaker, and host of ABC's What Would You Do?
Leland Melvin headshot
2021 Leland Melvin Engineer, Educator, former NASA Astronaut, former NFL wide receiver
Jeanine Staples headshot
2020 Jeanine Staples Professor of Education and African American Studies
Peter Hudson headshot
2019 Peter Hudson Willaman Professor of Biology
John Kaag headshot
2018 John Kaag Author and Professor of Philosophy, UMass Lowell
Susan Russell headshot
2017 Susan Russell Associate Professor of Theatre & 2014-15 Laureate, Penn State
Marke Dickinson headshot
2016 Marke Dickinson Marketing Professional
Christian M. M. Brady headshot
2015 Christian M. M. Brady Former Dean, Schreyer Honors College, Penn State
Casimer DeCusatis headshot
2013 Casimer DeCusatis CTO, IBM System Networking & Strategic Alliances
Sean Misko headshot
2012 Sean Misko Special Adviser to the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan
Farnoosh Torabi headshot
2012 Farnoosh Torabi Money Coach, Author, Financial News Correspondent
Jill Jayne headshot
2011 Jill Jayne Rock Star Nutritionist
Marybeth Long headshot
2010 Marybeth Long Former U.S. Assistant Secretary of Defense
David Han headshot
2009 David Han Associate Professor of Surgery & Radiology, Penn State College of Medicine / Program Director of the Vascular Surgery Fellowship, Penn State Hershey Medical Center
Meena Bose headshot
2008 Meena Bose Peter S. Kalikow Chair in Presidential Studies, Hofstra University
Peter Klein headshot
2007 Peter Klein Professor / Former CBS News Producer
Richard Jewell headshot
2006 Richard Jewell & L. Lin Wood Centennial Olympic Park Bombing
Jeffrey Ratner headshot
2005 Jeffrey Ratner Chief of Staff, Mount Nittany Medical Center
David Riley II headshot
2004 David Riley II Associate Professor of Architectural Engineering, Penn State
Douglas Evans headshot
2003 Douglas Evans CEO, Kensey Nash, Inc.
Wendy Kopp headshot
2002 Wendy Kopp Founder & President, Teach for America
No headshot available
2001 Alan Block Professor of Administration of Justice & Jewish Studies
Joe Paterno headshot
2000 Joe Paterno Legendary Head Football Coach, Penn State
James Pawelczyk headshot
1999 James Pawelczyk Assistant Professor of Physiology & Kinesiology / Payload Specialist, NASA's 1998 Neurolab Mission
John Lowe headshot
1998 John Lowe Professor of Chemistry
Kurt Angle headshot
1997 Kurt Angle 1996 Olympic Gold Medalist, Wrestling
Harris Wofford headshot
1996 Harris Wofford CEO, Corporation for National Service / Former U.S. Senator
About Mark Luchinsky

The Mark Luchinsky Memorial Lecture Series was created in 1996 to remember and honor his character and contributions to life as a son, as an undergraduate, and, most prominently, as a young man whose life held much promise.

Mark Allan Luchinsky passed away on January 18, 1995, at the age of 20.

Mark graduated first in his class in 1992 from Thomas Jefferson High School in Pittsburgh. He then became a University Scholar at Penn State, majoring in biochemistry. He was also a member of the Penn State Golden Key Society and the Alpha Epsilon Delta Premedical Honor Society.

Although he was a science student, Mark loved the study of all subjects. He loved the classics, sports, poetry, history, geography, and sports. Even at his young age, he was known for intellectual honesty and personal integrity.

We honor Mark Luchinsky, his family, and his friends with this lecture series. He was truly "A light that shone briefly, but ever so brightly."

Mark Luchinsky in his dorm room

A Year-Long Conversation Dilemmas of Democracy

The Dilemmas of Democracy Program was funded through a generous gift from Art and Betty Glenn. They provided funding for a year-long conversation around the dilemmas of democracy, including a lecture and a faculty symposium. Art and Betty Glenn are loyal Penn State alumni. Art graduated with a bachelor of science degree in mechanical engineering in 1956, and Betty graduated with bachelor of science degree in home economics in 1957. Art is retired after a career at GE where he served as a vice president of multiple units. Art is a devoted volunteer and supporter of Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College. He served for many years on the External Advisory Board for the Honors College. Penn State honored Art as an Outstanding Engineering Alumnus in 1990, an Alumni Fellow in 1996, and a Distinguished Alumni in 2005.

RSVP for Faculty Symposium
Timothy Snyder, professor, author, political scholar
Lecture: A Conversation with Timothy Snyder on Freedom and Democracy
  • Monday, September 18, 2023
  • 7:00 - 8:00 PM
  • The State Theatre

Schreyer Honors College is honored to host Timothy Snyder, the Richard C. Levin Professor of History at Yale University and permanent fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna. In his lecture he will address Dilemmas of Democracy.

The lecture is free and open to the public. A free ticket is required for admission. A book signing will follow the lecture and Snyder’s book, On Tyranny, will be available for purchase.

Snyder speaks five and reads ten European languages. He has authored eight chief books, including On Tyranny, Our Malady, The Road to Unfreedom, Black Earth, and Bloodlands. He has also co-edited three further books and his essays are collected in Ukrainian History, Russian Politics, European Futures (2014), and The Politics of Life and Death (2015).

Snyder’s work has appeared in forty languages and has received numerous prizes, including the Emerson Prize in the Humanities, the Literature Award of the American Academy of Arts and Letters, the Václav Havel Foundation prize, the Foundation for Polish Science prize in the social sciences, the Leipzig Award for European Understanding, the Dutch Auschwitz Committee award, and the Hannah Arendt Prize in Political Thought.

Snyder was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford, has received the Carnegie and Guggenheim fellowships, and holds state orders from Estonia, Lithuania, and Poland. He has appeared in documentaries, on network television, and in major films. His books have inspired poster campaigns and exhibitions, films, sculpture, a punk rock song, a rap song, a play, and an opera. His words are quoted in political demonstrations around the world, most recently in Hong Kong. He is researching a family history of nationalism and finishing a philosophical book about freedom.

An American Sign Language interpreter will be present for the lecture. If you anticipate needing other accommodations, please contact Donna Meyer.

Faculty Symposium

Three faculty talks will extend the conversation around dilemmas of democracy throughout the year. These talks are open to all Schreyer Scholars and additional information will be shared closer to each date.

Christopher Beem: Norms, Values, and Virtues: Reviving Democracy's Foundations
  • Monday, October 2, 2023
  • 6:00 - 7:30 PM
  • Grandfather Clock Lounge, Atherton Hall and Zoom

Christopher Beem is managing director of the McCourtney Institute for Democracy, associate research professor of political science, and affiliate faculty in the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. He is the author or coeditor of six books, the latest is The Seven Democratic Virtues: What you can do to overcome tribalism and save our democracy. He is a cohost of the Institute’s Democracy Works podcast and a frequent contributor to The Conversation.

Dennis Jett: A Comparative Perspective on Democracy
  • Monday, October 23, 2023
  • 6:00 - 7:30 PM
  • Grandfather Clock Lounge, Atherton Hall and Zoom

Ambassador Dennis Jett is a founding faculty member of the Penn State School of International Affairs. While in the U.S. Foreign Service, his career spanned 28 years and three continents. Immediately prior to joining Penn State, he was dean of the International Center at the University of Florida for eight years. Jett has written four books, all published by Palgrave Macmillan: Why Peacekeeping Fails; American Ambassadors: The Past, Present, and Future of America’s Diplomats; The Iran Nuclear Agreement—Bombs and Bureaucrats and Billionaires; and Why American Foreign Policy Fails—Unsafe at Home and Despised Abroad.

He has been interviewed on PBS, CNN, NPR, BBC, CBC and other national and international news programs on a range of international issues. Additionally, he has written more than 170 opinion pieces for major newspapers including the International Herald Tribune, Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, and Miami Herald.

Boaz Dvir: Building a Stronger Democratic Future through Pedagogical Innovation
  • Thursday, February 1, 2024
  • 5:00 - 6:30 PM
  • Grandfather Clock Lounge, Atherton Hall and Zoom

Boaz Dvir is an associate professor of journalism in the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications and directs the Hammel Family Human Rights Initiative and the Holocaust, Genocide and Human Rights Education Initiative at Penn State. An award-winning filmmaker, Dvir tells the stories of ordinary people who transform into trailblazers. They include an average inner-city schoolteacher who emerges as a disruptive innovator and a national model (Class of Her Own); a World War II flight engineer who transforms into the leader of a secret operation to prevent a second Holocaust (A Wing and a Prayer); an uneducated truck driver who becomes an effective child-protection activist (Jessie’s Dad); and a Holocaust survivor who sets out to kill his father’s Nazi executioner (Cojot). Dvir’s critically acclaimed nonfiction book, Saving Israel, follows the turbulent journey of World War II aviators who risked their lives and freedom in 1947-49 to prevent what they viewed as an imminent second Holocaust.

Programs Throughout the Year Distinguished Honors Faculty Program (DHFP)

The Distinguished Honors Faculty Program (DHFP), funded through the generous support of Art and Betty Glenn, is an interactive, innovative program that places an emphasis on information sharing and connecting with some of the most distinguished faculty at Penn State.

Sometimes over dinner conversations or during field trips, and always in small-group discussions on timely topics, Distinguished Honors Faculty and students gather to share experiences and perspectives that may venture beyond the labels and definition of an academic major or course.

This is a program deeply rooted in the belief that when you create small group learning experiences that are relaxed, well-conceived, and special, students and faculty connect with each other in profound ways.

2023-24 Distinguished Honors Faculty

Laura Cabrera headshot

Laura Cabrera Dorothy Foehr Huck and J. Lloyd Huck Chair in Neuroethics  Neuroscience, Neurotech and Society

Dr. Cabrera will use movies and documentaries touching on neuroscientific or neurotechnology advances to stimulate dinner discussions on the implications that these advances have for individuals and society. These discussion will delve on what is possible and what is still science-fiction and touch on themes such as identity, agency, autonomy, neuroenhancement, and responsibility. Her events will foster interdisciplinary discussion on our shared responsibilities as members of society on how to govern these advances, and how to foster responsible innovation.

Jonathan Eburne headshot

Jonathan Eburne Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French and Francophone Studies Experimental Literature and the Arts of the Present

Dr. Jonathan Eburne is a Professor of Comparative Literature, English, and French and Francophone Studies (College of Liberal Arts) and has been working at Penn State for nearly twenty years. His general field of expertise is experimental literature of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, and his work is attuned to the way writers and artists build institutions and structures for living creatively in the world. His presentations will explore what humanists make.  One of the more interesting facets of this work, which he’s especially excited to talk about with students, is that he’s in the process of opening a nonprofit bookstore and culture space in Bellefonte. Named “The Print Factory,” the space will open in the fall and serve as a kind of testing-ground for connecting the study of arts and letters with the practice of creating spaces for reading, writing, and thought.

Zi-Kui Liu headshot

Zi-Kui Liu Dorothy Pate Enright Professor and Professor of Materials Science and Engineering The TKC Theory

To help my students develop learning and problem-solving skills, I have established the TKC theory based on basic scientific concepts and use my personal stories as illustrations. In this theory, T stands for Thermodynamics used to define driving force towards goals, which requires the quantifiable goal setting and good understanding of present status; K is for Kinetics, representing the pathways from present to the goals, which emphasizes the importance in selecting the optimal journeys and activating oneself to over the inevitable barriers; C denotes Crystallography, pointing out the factors contributing to the kinetic barriers and strategies to reduce the barriers. I give formal annual presentation of the TKC theory to students in my group, and many of them could talk about the theory and cite some of stories in years after their graduations.

Suzanne Mohney headshot

Suzanne Mohney Professor of Materials Science and Engineering Semiconductors for Energy Sustainability 

Creating affordable, clean energy and combatting climate change are two of the United Nations’ goals for sustainable development. The theme of my series of gatherings will involve examples of how semiconductor materials and devices can contribute to these goals, since they can be exploited for energy conservation and conversion. Each semester’s gathering will revolve around a different technology that students may already know something about from daily life, such as solar cells, electric vehicles, energy-efficient indoor lighting, or computing. We will focus on the role that semiconductors play in these technologies, typically involving discussion with a guest with complementary expertise, a site visit, or a hands-on activity.

Jay Stauffer headshot

Jay Stauffer Distinguished Professor of Ichthyology Questioning Paradigms

There are many definitions of paradigm, but for the purposes of this discussion, a paradigm will be considered to be a concept or thought pattern that signifies a valid contribution. Many paradigms are taken as truth and as a result people do not understand or ignore the facts or lack thereof that support a particular belief. Failing to comprehend a particular issue, however, does not prevent one from believing or acting on these opinions (see Moore and Parker 2001). I propose to select certain “beliefs” or statements that are widely promoted, gather scientific facts, and subject them to critical thinking.

Song Tan headshot

Song Tan Verne M. Willaman Professor of Molecular Biology The Art and Ethics of Scientific Investigations

Dr. Tan will promote dinner discussions among Schreyer Scholars on a variety of topics including the ethics of inventions and discoveries, and the role of competition in scientific discoveries.  We will start by watching a 45 to 60 min movie segment or television program to provide the appropriate context for both science and non-science majors.  We will then discuss in the next hour issues explicitly or implicitly contained in the video program.

Take Charge Leadership Opportunities

Leadership is a crucial part of the Schreyer Honors College mission. Leadership skills can be learned inside the classroom, but applied practice is important, too. Enhance your honors experience and develop your skills by taking advantage of these leadership opportunities.

Schreyer-Sponsored Organizations

Schreyer Affiliated Student Organizations are open to all students regardless of sex, gender, sexual orientation, race, or any other protected class.

The Behrend Schreyer Council (BSC)

BSC is a resource for the Schreyer Honors College Scholar community at Penn State Erie, The Behrend College and a liaison between Behrend Schreyer Scholars, other Commonwealth Campuses, and University Park. We serve as a forum for Scholars to share their interests, opinions, and recommendations. We foster the development of personal relationships among members in addition to offering leadership, academic, service, and social opportunities.

Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schreyer

Gender and Sexual Diversity in Schreyer (GSDS) was created to fit the needs of LGBTQIA+ Schreyer Scholars. GSDS intends to make the Schreyer Honors College a more inclusive environment by coordinating an alumni mentoring network, compiling mental and sexual health resources, and fostering cultural competency through collaborative outreach initiatives.

Gender Equity Coalition

The Gender Equity Coalition advocates for just policies and educate students to create a more equitable Penn State, focusing on critical issues facing women, intersex, trans, and non-binary individuals — sexual violence, reproductive justice, and the intersection of marginalized identities.

International and Multicultural Association of Schreyer Scholars (IMASS)

The International and Multicultural Association of Schreyer Scholars (IMASS) is an organization that works to foster a genuine sense of belonging for international and multicultural Schreyer Scholars, to support them with access to career resources, and to promote cross-cultural understanding and awareness across the entire Schreyer Honors College population.

Schreyer Consulting

The Schreyer Consulting Group aims to prepare Schreyer Scholars for competitive careers in consulting, expand the breadth of career development resources and placement opportunities, and build and sustain interest in the consulting field among Scholars.

Schreyer for Women (SfW)

SfW is an organization dedicated toward the championing of women and non-gender-conforming individuals through opportunities for personal and professional development and community engagement. We are a space for Scholars to network, socialize, collaborate, and contribute to their community even beyond graduation.

Schreyer Honors College Student Council (StuCo)

StuCo acts as a liaison between groups such as University Park Undergraduate Association (UPUA), Schreyer administration, and the Schreyer student body. Additionally, we help to market and sell all Schreyer merchandise, plan social events for Scholars, offer an avenue for Scholars to be involved in THON, plan service and philanthropic initiatives, and organize academic and career building events.

Schreyer Medical Team (SMT)

The Schreyer Medical Team is committed to building a community of pre-health students in Schreyer by hosting speaker events, panel discussions, visits to medical schools, and more. Our events are aimed to support Scholars in broadening their perspectives in medicine, learning about the application processes, and engaging in opportunities that support their success.

Make A Difference Social & Civic Engagement

In between classes with leading researchers and faculty, labs, and study groups, you can carve out time to pursue the things you're excited about and figure out where you can make a difference. The Honors College is where you'll meet the people, take on the responsibilities, make the connections and develop the skills you need to change the world.

Schreyer Scholar Madison Evans

Schreyer gave me opportunities to take smaller classes where I’m learning enriched material. You can step out of your comfort zone and create your own path.

Madison Evans ' 20 Biomedical Engineering

Lead & Engage Student Programs

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