Science LionPride, an organization made up of undergraduate students who serve as ambassadors for the Eberly College of Science, recently celebrated 10 years of service to the college and the local community.
Since its inception in the 2008–2009 academic year, Science LionPride has grown considerably in membership, now with close to 70 members who represent many of the science majors offered at Penn State. Its members are truly passionate about supporting the college through Science LionPride’s mission of recruitment, alumni relations, and service.
“Science LionPride is a close-knit group of Eberly College of Science students,” said Madalyn Charnego, a senior biology major and current president of Science LionPride. “We have people studying everything from biology to math to astrophysics.”
Through its recruitment initiatives, Science LionPride provides insight about what it's like to be a Penn State undergraduate majoring in the sciences. Members share their own experiences to prospective and newly accepted students and their families through campus tours, open houses, and informational events. In addition to full- campus tours, members present Eberly-specific tours that are smaller and more intimate than the University's campus-wide tours, allowing for a more personalized experience with one-on-one conversation between tour guides and families. Science LionPride members introduce visiting students to the opportunities available at the University Park campus—from study abroad programs to undergraduate research and student groups and activities—and impart a sense of student life at Penn State.
Science LionPride also provides science students with opportunities to interact and network with alumni. Members attend and volunteer at a number of alumni events throughout the year, including pregame tailgates, regular board meetings, and dinner functions. They can also travel to conferences where Eberly alumni are among the featured speakers, allowing both students and alumni to share and discuss their research and academic experiences.
Finally, giving back to the community through service is something that each member embraces in a very personal way throughout the year. Members volunteer at the Eberly College of Science Office of Science Outreach's Exploration-U events—which allow children and families throughout the State College area to engage with science—as well as at college-sponsored events like the Ashtekar Frontiers of Science lecture series. They also participate in Relay for Life and the Penn State IFC/Panhellenic Dance Marathon (THON). By serving at events like these, Science LionPride members support worthy initiatives with real impact while also fostering a sense of community and sharing their enthusiasm for science.
“Science LionPride fosters connections within the college and the community and creates lasting friendships for its members,” said Charnego. “Personally, Science LionPride has become my home here at Penn State and continues to be the source of some of my favorite moments of my undergraduate career.”
Recently, former Lion Ambassador and alumnus of the Eberly College of Science John Italia ’93 biology and his wife Amy ‘95g secondary education endowed Science LionPride with a gift of $25,000, ensuring vital funding to expand the organization’s programming.
“My wife and I hope that the program continues to thrive and to create connections within the College of Science and also allows students to come together and bond on a social level as well,” said John Italia, now a practicing dentist in the State College area. Amy is a retired teacher and parent volunteer for the State College Area School District.
“The Italias’ gift will create new resources and opportunities for Science LionPride members, adding to an amazing organization that has already given us so much,” said Charnego. “Generosity to student organizations is directly shaping the experience of students like me all across the Penn State community, and I am grateful to the Italias and to all of our alumni and donors who support student life at Penn State.”
Thanks to Science LionPride’s strong sense of community, dedication to supporting science at Penn State, and gifts from alumni and friends like the Italias who value the opportunities and connections that students can make in a student ambassador program, Science LionPride is sure to serve as pillar for the college for many more years to come.