The College of IST, which, mind you, didn’t exist when I first stepped foot onto the beautiful blissful University Park Campus which winked across the street to the straight-out-of-set-designer’s fantasy for college towns-good old State College, Pennsylvania. No, back in the ancient days of 1990, the option of taking courses and graduating with a degree from IST, as it’s fondly called, wasn’t even a dream, a thought, nor a bubble above brilliant educator’s brain. Alas, I chose to do the total college experience and pledge Little Sisterhoodom at Pika (on my Pollock Dorms Shulze Hall floor, most of the girls were pledging sororities, but my mom wisely suggested I wait it out to see what groups were better than others),mostly because I had a crush on the blondest man I’d ever seen, “Kyle” whom everyone could spot a mile away. Yes, he was hot with piercing blue eyes, tall, always tan, slender (he took off his shirt when they played volleyball on their front yard which was a Busch can’s throw away from what would later be my Tri-Delt sisters’ (yes, I was a Delta Delta Delta) frat of choice, KDR.
During my first undeclared major year, I made my way through many classes (mostly awake), learned how to beer bong and do alligator tracks (did you know the artwork you can do with your feet on the ceiling during a keg stand?) and yes, ahem, met a few frat boys and football players (hey, they lived in the Nittany Apartments right next to us – and this was the era of the Sacca brothers and OJ McDuffie!) and came to terms with the fact it takes less time to drop your GPA in a few semesters than it does to find your way with a school night produced hangover to the HUB at 8am. Finally Choosing Speech Communications in the School of Liberal Arts was the best thing I could have ever done. And while I never found a steady college sweetheart, I fell deeply in love with my major (my minor, Business, not so much – Accounting was terrible, so my by exasperated counselor suggested I drop it before it wrecked my life and just do a “concentration” in Business- which basically meant I couldn’t hack a real minor). Speech Comm 101 was a required course, but I found that I loved speaking in front of groups, and even more than that, I loved learning about communication, verbal, written, non-verbal. I loved reading. I loved writing. I loved LISTENING. I loved exchanging information, feelings… in a productive manner. I loved the science of communication. I loved the best and worst parts of communicating. I knew I could take this major and apply it anywhere.
And I did. After graduating in 1994, I’ve used my major every day and night in my corporate sales, development, leadership, and charitable positions. I truly value everyday my college experience and my education from Penn State.
Not that I returned often to my alma mater after waving good-bye that spring day, only twice actually, but when I was introduced to IST which was formed in 1997, via a board member Bob Morgan (MorganFranklin CEO), and was eventually asked to speak, I was floored. First, it’s on my “List of Things To Do Before I Can Officially Declare I’ve REALLY LIVED LIFE” – speaking to students at Penn State is. And the fact that it’s during the 2nd year of Start-up Week, which brings together entrepreneurs from all over the U.S. for a packed days and evenings of talks, meetings, panels, meet and greets and receptions, well, I’m still tingling from the honor.
March 18th-23rd marks Start-up Week and you can follow it on Twitter @ISTatPennState #ISTstartup to begin. We’ll be tweeting, flickring, blogging, youtubing and all types of things these crazy kids do now with their iPhones and laptops and mini large screen small pads and pods (I used to use the red Nittany Notes pages and paper and PENCILS, THANK YOU, and walk to class holding a hot potato to keep warm ..).
More to come.
About Start-up Week:
Visionary entrepreneurs from around the country, including alumni from the College of IST, will be visiting Penn State to share their strategies for success during Start-up Week. This year’s event will feature more than 25 speakers and visitors from trailblazing companies such as Weebly, Reddit, Sincerely, Dropbox, Scribd, Social Cam, and SongSplits.
Start-up Week was conceived by the College of IST in 2012 to be a celebration to highlight the success of young entrepreneurs and innovators in technology and security, and to showcase the possibilities that exist for enterprising students in the College of IST to pursue their business ideas.
Pamela Lynne Sorensen is the founder of Pamela’s Punch, a platform for profiling people who "make it happen" in the Capital region, reviews & topical blog posts. She launched Punch Enterprises, a connector consulting business in 2015 and Pacific Punch based in LA, in 2012. Pamela comes from an extensive background in sales and business development from a variety of industries, has been involved with charities and fundraising for a number of years and holds several Board and leadership positions. She currently resides in Arlington, VA. Follow her on Twitter at @pamelaspunch.