Bellisario College Fellows
The Bellisario College Fellows program is an effort to provide a transformational learning experience for students, helping them network and meet with alumni and friends while also engaging them to serve as ambassadors for the Bellisario College and Penn State. The program is designed to offer special opportunities for students, provide them with exclusive access to on-campus events and even participate in field trips to meet with key alumni in nearby major media markets.
Candidates were evaluated on their academic performance, demonstrated interest in career development, involvement in campus media opportunities, and potential to become notable stewards to the Bellisario College. Students selected as Bellisario College Fellows also earned scholarship support.
2019 Class of Bellisario College Fellows
Jillian Beitter (senior-Long Island, New York)
Campus clubs/organizations: AD/PR Club (President); Inaugural Bellisario Student Leadership Cabinet (AD/PR Club representative); American Advertising Federation's National Student Advertising Competition (Leader); Alpha Delta Pi (2019 Homecoming Chair); Movin’ On: Penn State’s Annual Music Festival (2018 Digital Marketing Coordinator)
Awards/scholarships: 2019 Vance and Betty Stickell Award; The Interstate Advertising Manager's Association Scholarship; Mary M. Meder Scholarship
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: As a Fellow, I hope to give back to the college that has given me so much. If you would have told me five years ago that I would be taking on various leadership roles, I'd think you were crazy. The Bellisario College of Communications has helped me grow and learn more about myself than I ever thought imaginable. This is all because of the endless amount of opportunities and resources the college has provided me. I hope to represent the college to the best of my ability, share my own Bellisario story with others and act as a resource to prospective and current students. In addition to helping others, I look forward to learning from distinguished alumni who are successfully working in the field I will soon be entering. As someone who loves meeting new people and learning from others, I look forward to improving my networking skills as a Bellisario Fellow.
Christina Chambers (senior-West Chester, Pennsylvania)
Campus clubs/organizations: CommAgency; THON (committee member); VALLEY Magazine; WPSU (past intern)
Awards/scholarships: Schreyer Honors Scholarship
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Scholar: I hope to give back to the college that has given so much to me in the past two years, as well as use the fellowship platform to make connections with Penn State graduates in the media law field. Networking with purpose has proven to be an incredible tool for me for receiving past internships and experiences so I want to develop my networking skills even more in the future. Furthermore, I want to serve as a leader in the college for those who may not know what exactly they want to do with their lives or how to get there.
Nina Trach (junior-South Brunswick, New Jersey)
Campus clubs/organizations: Penn State Residence Life (Resident Assistant), Schreyer for Women, THON, Leadership JumpStart
Awards/scholarships: 2018 New York Women in Communications Scholar, John W. White Spanish Scholarship, Hartman Honors Scholarship, President'ss Freshman Award, 4 Year Provost Award, Schreyer Honors College Academic Excellence Award, Dean's List
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: I am most looking forward to forming meaningful relationships in my role as a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Fellow. Through sharing my personal experiences and hearing the experiences of other Fellows, students, alumni and faculty, I hope that I can make meaningful connections which will help me continue to grow in my remaining time at Penn State and beyond, while also paying that knowledge and passion forward to underclassmen and perspective students as they begin their journey in the Bellisario College.
Katie Gergel (senior-West Chester, Pennsylvania)
Campus clubs/organizations: Bellisario College Alumni Society Board (student representative); Club Tennis; CommAgency (videographer and editor); Homecoming 2018 (production captain); Presidential Leadership Academy; THON; VALLEY Magazine (entertainment section editor) ,
Awards/scholarships: Dan Hartman Scholarship, Gregory W. Guise and Deborah J. Guise Award, President's Freshman Award, Provist Scholarship, Prudential Spirit of Community Awards (distinguished finalist), Schreyer Honors College Academic Excellence Scholarhip, Virginia Todd Chapel Executive Internship Scholarship
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: As a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Fellow, I really hope to have the chance to expand my network and meet a lot more accomplished and inspirational alumni. This is a once-in-a-lifetime chance to interact with and learn from individuals who have found success in the field that I ultimately want to pursue when I leave Penn State, and I hope to come out of this program better prepared for the future after I graduate. I also want to help represent the Bellisario College to the best of my ability, and show prospective students that there are some incredible opportunities that can come their way if they work hard and show passion in everything that they do. The Bellisario College has given me so much so far during my Penn State experience, and I hope to give back in whatever way that I can.
Jake Jurich (junior-Ashburn, Virginia)
Campus clubs/organizations: FOTO (Special Interest THON Org), Vice President and Communications Officer; Student Film Organization; PSNTV
Awards/scholarships: Bellisario College of Communications Alumni Scholarship, Provost Scholarship,
President’s Freshman Award, President Sparks Award, Dean’s List
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: To me, the most exciting part of this incredible opportunity to be a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Fellow is that it will magnify everything I already love about the Bellisario College. The networking resources made available to students helped me secure a fantastic internship last summer, and now as a Fellow I can network on an even grander scale, yet in a more direct and intimate way. Having given tours of the Bellisario College's facilities the last two years, I can't wait to harness this larger platform to further share with the world all the great things happening here. All these opportunities are great for me and my career as a filmmaker, storyteller, and communicator, and great for the Bellisario College! I hope to apply my creative media skills towards promoting both the Bellisario College and the Fellows Program, so others can more easily picture themselves taking advantage of the same opportunities while charting their own path.
Jacob Saar (junior-Etters, Pennsylvania)
Campus clubs/organizations: CommAgency (producer and videographer/editor), WPSU (digital media intern), Homecoming (production captain), Shades of Blue a cappella group
Awards/scholarships: Eagle Scout, Dean's List, Red Mill PTO Scholarship, National Honor SocietyWhat I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: As a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Fellow, I am looking forward to setting an example for other students. I know how challenging the stresses of school can be, and I'm looking forward to helping students by bringing my experience to the table. I also am very excited about the networking opportunities the program offers. This industry is very much about who you know, and I'm looking forward to meeting tons of interesting new people!
Maddie Biertempfel (senior-Pittsburgh)
Campus clubs/organizations: CommRadio; PSN-TV; WPSU Radio (news intern)
Awards/scholarships: Lawrence G. and Ellen M. Foster Scholarship
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: As a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Fellow, I hope to make meaningful connections by networking with alumni in my field, pursue professional opportunities to get me closer to my goals as a journalist, and represent the Belliario College well as someone who's gained much experience from the variety of classes, clubs and internship opportunities only Penn State provides.
Dejanae Gibson (senior-Clarksville, Tennessee)
Campus clubs/organizations: CommAgency
Awards/scholarships: Provost Award, Gene and Fran Goodwin Journalism Scholarship, Student Leadership Scholarship
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: I hope to be a role model for current and future Bellisario College students of color. As a black woman, I feel that students in my community may not feel that they could achieve or feel indifferent towards success. I want to show them that it is possible to accomplish your goals, have a voice, and impact those around you. I hope to lead by example by emphasizing the importance of determination and the willingness to learn and grow. I feel that being a Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications Fellow will strengthen my ability to encourage and empowers others, especially students who look just like me.
Josh Starr (junior-Broomall, Pennsylvania)
Campus clubs/organizations: CommRadio, Hillel, Zeta Beta Tau Fraternity, Club Tennis, IM Sports
Awards/scholarships: Salters Family Memorial Scholarship, Robert R. Gentzel Scholarship in Journalism, Dean's List
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: As a Fellow, I hope to be able to show why the Bellisario College is so amazing. I feel like I am proof of the great opportunities the Bellisario College has to offer and how hard work will make those opportunities meaningful for students' careers. I also hope that I can make even more connections than I already have and learn more about the broadcasting industry. I am always eager to meet new people and hear their advice. I hope to take advantage of the connections this program can make for me and exemplify how great the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications is.
Dominika Brice (senior-Stamford, Connecticut)
Campus clubs/organizations: Oriana Singers (Vice President), Oriana Singers and Glee Club Benefitting THON (Family Relations Chair), Swing Dance Club (Safety Officer)
Awards/scholarships: Schreyer Honors College Scholarship (Fall 2017 to present), Dean’s List Recipient (Fall 2017 to present)
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: As a fellow, I hope to be a resource and aid for all students both within media studies and in the Bellisario College of Communications. Because of my desire for everyone to succeed, I will make it a priority to make sure everyone is getting the help that they need, while furthering my college growth in the process.
Skylier Smith (senior-Cleveland, Ohio)
Campus clubs/organizations: CommAgency Stream Team, 46Live, Alpha Xi Delta Sorority Alternative Fundraising THON Chair, Panhellenic Greek Sing Executive Director
Awards/scholarships: Shaker Heights Charitable Trust
What I hope to accomplish as a Bellisario Fellow: I am honored to represent the Donald P. Bellisario College of Communications as a Fellow and share my passion for communications and experiences within the Bellisario College with students, faculty, and alumni. I find it exciting to have the opportunity to give back to the college and serve as a mentor to current students seeking additional resources. My goal is to foster connections and narrow the gap between my peers and alumni. This is an unparalleled program that allows me to strategically network with key professionals in the rapidly growing telecommunications field.
Inaugural Class of Bellisario College Fellows
Film-Video: Katie Gergel (West Chester, Pennsylvania) Peter Rivera (Land O’Lakes, Florida)
Journalism: Maddie Biertempfel (Pittsburgh) and Alison Kuznitz (Trumbull, Connecticut)
Media Studies: Bennett Nesley (Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania) and Ellis Stump (Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania)
Telecommunications: Andrea Melgar (Pahrump, Nevada) and Meghan Shiels (Julian, Pennsylvania)
Activities and Events
December 2018: Trip to New York City