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Penn State Learning awards two undergraduates for study group leadership
7 October 2019

Two undergraduate winners have been selected to receive Outstanding Guided Study Group Leader Awards through Penn State Learning for the spring 2019 semester.

Miranda Chen and Taylor Hufnagel earned certificates of recognition for their work within Penn State Learning and a stipend of $500, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor and former study group leader.

This award acknowledges and rewards exemplary leaders who demonstrate academic excellence and integrity in their own studies and through the work undertaken while guiding their peers in co-curricular learning environments.

Miranda Chen

These leaders carry out their assigned roles and responsibilities in an exemplary manner by promoting and incorporating collaborative learning skills and practices into their tutorial sessions. They also lead by example, serve as a role models and mentors to peers and maintain a positive rapport with course-related faculty and staff. Finally, they must sustain welcoming, academically stimulating and challenging learning communities in which all participants can engage in knowledge acquisition, exchange and transfer. The recipients of this semester’s award embody the criteria outlined above, as noted in the following comments from their nominators.

Miranda Chen '19 led the STAT 250: Biochemistry and molecular biology GSG for three semesters. Michelle Paret, a teaching lecturer in statistics, nominated Chen for the award and praised her work.

“Miranda is very proactive … And she is willing to help with anything that needs to be done to make the course successful,” Paret said. “There is nothing more that I could expect from a GSG leader. Miranda is well prepared, intelligent, and the ideal role model that other students should aspire to be.

Chen graduated in May 2019 and is currently working for AmeriCorps Vista. 

Taylor Hufnagel

Taylor Hufnagel is a junior chemistry major and theatre minor. She is currently in her third semester leading the CHEM 110: General chemistry GSG. In addition to her role as GSG leader, Hufnagel has also worked as a learning assistant for CHEM 110. According to Todd Pontius, a lecturer in chemistry, she has been an asset to the students enrolled in the course.

“Taylor embodies the traits of an outstanding educator,” Pontius said. “Through composite of her actions and attitude — her meticulous planning of sessions, her engaging demeanor, and her empathetic approach to education — she demonstrates not only a natural knack for teaching, but also a determination to continually improve as an educator. Given what she has already demonstrated and the work that she puts in, I have no doubt that she will continue to work fervently to actualize her extraordinary potential as an educator.”

Additional information about the award process and other ways to give to Penn State Learning is available here. In addition to providing no-charge guided study groups supporting a wide range of courses, Penn State Learning also provides tutoring in mathematics, world languages, public speaking and writing.

Penn State Learning is part of Penn State Undergraduate Education, the academic administrative unit that provides leadership and coordination for University-wide programs and initiatives in support of undergraduate teaching and learning at Penn State. Learn more about Undergraduate Education at