The Schreyer Honors College is Penn State’s University-wide honors program. It comprises a broad set of opportunities for study, research, travel, and scholarly exploration in the arts, humanities, and sciences. The program’s hallmark is an honors thesis that allows students to showcase their diverse intellectual interests in the form of a substantial, independently inspired research or creative project.
Israel Tucker was one of Penn State Altoona’s 2021 Schreyer Scholars. The Cranberry, Pennsylvania, native earned her bachelor's degree in elementary and early childhood education with minors in special education, deafness and hearing studies, and English. She was involved in the Young Americans for Liberty, Pride Alliance, and Creative Writing clubs at Penn State Altoona and helped start the American Sign Language Club on campus. She was a member of Alpha Lambda Delta, Sigma Tau Delta, and Kappa Delta Pi honor societies. Tucker was on the Dean's List every semester and received the Evan Pugh Scholar Award, given to juniors and seniors in the upper 0.5 percent of their respective classes.
We caught up with Tucker to ask a few questions about her experiences with Penn State Altoona and the Schreyer Honors program.
What made you choose Penn State Altoona?
When I decided to major in elementary and early childhood education, I had the choice between University Park or Altoona. I chose Altoona because I was drawn to the idea of its small community where I could really get to know my professors and peers.
How did you become involved in the Schreyer Honors College?
During the spring semester of my first year, I overheard a classmate talking with one of my professors, Dr. Maryanne Mong Cramer, about it. I then approached Dr. Cramer and said I wanted to be a part of the program, too. She walked me through the application process and agreed to be my thesis adviser.
How did Penn State Altoona support you as you worked toward becoming a graduate of the program?
What helped me the most was having supportive faculty just an email away. They were always ready to quickly and happily help me in any way I needed. That support was very precious.
What were the advantages of being a Schreyer Honors College student while at Penn State Altoona?
I loved the depth that came with taking honors courses. I also enjoyed the community I was a part of in the program. I was able to make new friends and meet other students who were as passionate about learning as I was.
What did you learn about yourself and your abilities from being a Schreyer Scholar?
I learned not only about my limits but also about resiliency. When I thought I couldn't handle any more, with the support of my peers and faculty, I was able to push through. I also learned the value of taking well-deserved breaks to refresh and refocus.
Overall, how was your experience and do you feel prepared for the next steps in your education/career?
I was very happy during my time spent at Penn State Altoona, and I wish it could have gone on forever. I learned so much about topics within and outside of my degree, and I feel very prepared about my future steps. If I find myself stuck along the way, I know I only have to reach out to find the support I need at Penn State Altoona.
What is your advice for others considering combining Penn State Altoona and Schreyer Honors College?
If you are looking for a unique education with numerous options in degrees and diverse classes while also having the experience of a tight-nit community, I recommend attending Penn State Altoona. Schreyer Honors College is an especially rewarding opportunity for any student who has a passion for learning and wants to get the most out of their time at Penn State.
Tucker plans to pursue either a master’s degree in speech language pathology or a doctorate in audiology with a focus on working with individuals who use alternative communication methods.