Links We Love: April 29, 2016

April 29th, 2016 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

ICYMI, here are some great stories that we’ve stumbled upon in the last week!

1.) Ready for graduation? Visit Penn State’s Mortar Board on Pinterest to see some of our favorite commencement moments.

2.) De-stress and sleep easy with the help of these five relaxation apps.

3.) Scammers often target students by posing as financial aid institutions. Familiarize yourself with their current scams to protect your wallet and your identity.

4.) National Arbor Day is always the last Friday in April, but members of the Penn State Mont Alto community think every day is Arbor Day.

5.) Learn how to be a better listener with these seven easy tips.

Each week we share our favorite articles, stories, videos, and resources. Some of it is our content, some of it is just some great stuff from around the web. Do you have a link that you love that you’d like us to share with our students, alumni, and friends? Leave it in the comments below and maybe you’ll see it in next week’s edition!

Meet Career Counselor Karen Armstrong

April 27th, 2016 by
Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong

Karen Armstrong recently joined Penn State World Campus as a career counselor. We sat down with her to talk about how she can help students navigate questions related to career counseling:

Please give our readers a sense of your background and interests.

I have been counseling students since 2009 with a distinct focus on career development. It is a thrill to go on a journey with others as they discover their professional passions. I especially enjoy helping students develop a career plan and putting that plan into motion.

What interested you the most about the field of career planning?

Work and employment are areas that consume so much of our lives. Many people view who they are as a professional as their primary source of identity. I love helping people take on challenging career roles and helping them to fulfill their life dreams.

What’s the most surprising aspect of helping a Penn State World Campus student navigate career services?

I’m surprised to learn how many students haven’t considered the professional benefits to joining a club or organization. As a Penn State World Campus student, you have the opportunity to participate in one of our student organizations virtually. Becoming involved in student clubs and organizations demonstrates effective multitasking, innovative initiatives, and managerial skills.

What’s the one thing that people tend to overlook in the job search process?

Our Nittany Lion Career Network is a great online hub that connects students with employers in their fields. Current students can also utilize the Nittany Lion Career Network to search for jobs throughout the country. It is ideal for many of our Penn State World Campus students.

How is searching for a job different today than it was 5, 10, or 15 years ago?

The biggest difference today is technological networking. It is the expectation and the norm that social media will be used as a crucial aspect of your professional outreach. A person’s social media image and presence may be evaluated to determine whether a job seeker is the right fit. More professional relationships are established through social media than ever before. My colleague, Lynn Atanasoff, recently blogged about the importance of your online presence during a job search, and it’s a great read for all of us, even if we aren’t looking for a job change.

What’s the best advice you could give to someone who is looking to switch careers entirely?

Focus on your transferable skills. It helps to write out your job responsibilities to consider which you can use in the new career you are seeking. For example, I was speaking with a former teacher who wanted to pursue a career in marketing. As a teacher, she had many responsibilities that included curriculum design. After gaining approval from the school district, she had to present the new curriculum to students, parents, and community leaders. Marketing was a key aspect of her responsibilities, but she didn’t realize this until she reviewed her work responsibilities with me.

What’s your favorite part of working with Penn State World Campus students?

I love that our students are located all over the world. Counseling someone about their career ambitions can vary depending on the locale. This creates a unique opportunity to learn from each of the students we are working with on a daily basis.

What makes you a proud Penn Stater?

I am proud of the continual community services that Penn Staters are involved in. THON is one example of Penn State serving the community in hopes of finding a cure for childhood cancer. Most of our students are working adults, thriving in their own communities and getting involved in local initiatives to make differences in a variety of ways. That makes me very proud.

What do you do for fun?

I love to travel, because meeting different people and exploring different cultures is always a thrill.

If you need assistance with career counseling, you can reach Karen at 814-863-7018 or She’s also available on Skype at psuwckarena and on AOL chat at

Links We Love: April 23, 2016

April 23rd, 2016 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

ICYMI, here are some great stories that we’ve stumbled upon in the last week!

1. No matter what type of learner you are, this infographic of study tips can help you be ready for finals in a few weeks.

2. In online education, the coursework is not the only thing developing your skills. This blog post , (written by a Penn State World Campus Student), explores how communicating virtually in the classroom can be handy in the workplace, too.

3. Need some business card inspiration? Check out these famous business cards.

4. If the class you want to take is full, you definitely need to check out these FAQs on how to use the waitlist function in LionPath.

5. Email inbox dragging you down? We found these nine nifty tips to stop wasting your time on email.

BONUS: We couldn’t pass this one up. Watch this kid solve a Rubik’s Cube in 30 seconds — blindfolded.

Each week we share our favorite articles, stories, videos, and resources. Some of it is our content, some of it is just some great stuff from around the web. Do you have a link that you love that you’d like us to share with our students, alumni, and friends? Leave it in the comments below and maybe you’ll see it in next week’s edition!

Ashley Adams: Penn State World Campus Director of Student Affairs

April 11th, 2016 by
Ashley Adams

Ashley Adams
(Image: Mike Dawson)

Ashley Adams is the director of Student Affairs for Penn State World Campus. We wanted to understand what her newly created position entails and how she plans to form connections between our online learners. Here’s our discussion:

Tell us about your background in Student Affairs.

I have worked in the field of higher education for a number of years across many different functional areas. I started my career as a student employee at the Truman State University Multicultural Affairs Office. As a graduate student, I worked at DePaul’s Egan Urban Center, which focused on community-based research in Chicago. I’ve worked as an admissions adviser, retention coordinator, and as assistant director of Student Services, where I supervised recruiters and academic advisers, before coming to Penn State World Campus.

What first interested you in the field of student affairs?

The idea that I can stay in school is what draws me to this profession. The best and most formative years of my life were as an undergraduate student. As a student affairs professional, I can keep learning and influence the way adult learners interact with their peers through the many engagement opportunities that we offer at Penn State World Campus.

What clubs and organizations did you belong to as a college student?

As an undergraduate student I was heavily involved in student organizations. I sang with Unique Ensemble, the school’s gospel choir. I served as a member of the Association for Black Collegians. During my junior year, I became a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., a historically black service sorority. I also served as the communications director for the student government for a brief period of time.

Can you speak about the various ways our students can become involved outside of the virtual classroom?

From undergraduate research opportunities to student clubs and organizations, there are a number of ways that Penn State World Campus students can get involved. Organizations like the Blue & White Society and Psychology Club offer networking opportunities that may last a lifetime. With an established Student Affairs unit at Penn State World Campus, students are encouraged to form new clubs and organizations based on their interests, degree programs, and even geographic locations! The process of forming new clubs or organizations can be done in partnership with me.

Can you talk about the benefits of becoming more involved in clubs and organizations?

It is well documented that online students are seeking opportunities to build community and have a holistic college experience, and that those who have this are more likely to be successful in academics. Being a part of a club or organization provides you with more chances to connect with your peers. This connectivity builds a community of like-minded learners, which can help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

What would you say to a student who might think that joining a club or organization is too

Being involved as a student doesn’t have to take a lot of time or take you away from other priorities. In fact, it can enhance the quality of your life and connect you with other busy working adults.

What is a new initiative that you’d like to see started at Penn State World Campus in the area of student affairs? 

I’d like to see increased opportunities for students to participate in governance and leadership through the establishment of the first Penn State World Campus Student Government and encouraging expansion of student clubs and organizations. I’d also like to expand opportunities for Penn State World Campus students to have out-of-class engaged scholarship opportunities through study abroad experiences, alternative spring break programs, volunteerism and virtual internships.

You recently moved to State College; what have you liked about the area so far? 

Although I moved in mid-January, my favorite things so far have been the weather and the Pennsylvania landscape. I grew up in the Midwest, so to wake up to mountains every day is beautiful. I also appreciate that although State College is not a major metro area, I’m only 3.5 hours away from DC, Philadelphia, New York, Baltimore, and Pittsburgh, so the big city is only a day trip away.

If you’re interested in connecting with Ashley Adams, you can reach her at

Related Penn State News article on Ashley Adams

Links We Love: April 8, 2016

April 8th, 2016 by


Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

  1. Meet our new Director of Student Affairs.
  2. Pups vs. Pucks!
  3. Productivity podcasts to change the way you work.
  4. Penn State grads first to earn Honor cords.
  5. Penn State prescriptions for healthy eating.

Links We Love: March 31, 2016

March 31st, 2016 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. Ten reasons why you should go for a walk right now.

2. How to avoid the 9 things that hurt productivity the most.

3. Stop being busy and start being effective.

4. Penn State World Campus students explore engaged scholarship opportunities.

5. Penn State opens Libraries’ Maker Commons 3D printing lab.

Links We Love: March 25, 2016

March 25th, 2016 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Six things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. The most winning school in the NCAA

2. Take advantage of your summer financial aid

3. New political science degree available online

4. Don’t make these DIY Easter project mistakes

5. How to request a job reference

6. Celebrating National Puppy Day with Penn State pups and other animal friends

Links We Love: March 16, 2016

March 16th, 2016 by
Links We Love

Links We Love

Six things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. Fifteen animals taking naps!

2. A refugee camp in her native Pakistan inspires Penn Stater to initiate change.

3. Information on using military credits at Penn State World Campus by Matt Miller, admissions counselor.

4. Schedule a mid-day check-in with yourself to make the most of your day.

5. How to make great popcorn.

6. What’s your workplace thinking style?


How to request a job reference

March 15th, 2016 by

At some point in your adulthood or during a job search process, you may be asked to provide a professional or personal reference for yourself. These references may be interviewed by phone or email or asked to provide a letter of recommendation as an endorsement of your capacity to succeed. The names you choose to provide can have a strong impact on your candidacy, and the importance of this decision should not be overlooked.

Who should I ask to be a reference?

When considering your options for references, it is important to think about the context in which the person knows you. References that are most informative and helpful are those who know different aspects of your work and who are willing to support your candidacy enthusiastically and knowledgeably.

Consider asking those who have observed you in settings similar to the positions you are applying for, or who understand your knowledge base in an area that is relevant to the position that you are interviewing for.

Examples of potential references may include:

  • Faculty members
  • Previous and current supervisors
  • Advisers
  • Colleagues

Typically, you wouldn’t ask family or friends to serve as a reference for you unless you are asked to provide a character reference. In those instances, it may be appropriate to ask a coach or a volunteer leader.

How many references should I provide?

Usually, three to five references are appropriate for a job search. Consider the combination of people you are providing and how they know you to ensure a diverse representation of your experiences. You want each reference to be able to highlight the skills and abilities that are most relevant to the position that you have expressed interest in.

Let your references know why you have asked them to be a reference for you and what areas of your experience you hope they will focus on when speaking about you.

Reference Checklist

Use this helpful checklist to get started with the reference process:

  • Ask your contact if they are willing to serve as a reference for you. If there is hesitation or refusal, know that this person may be encouraging you to seek someone else who would speak more positively or comprehensively on your behalf.
  • Obtain current contact information, including the reference’s name, title, organization, mailing address, phone number, and email address.
  • Supply a copy of your résumé to your references and provide the job description or information about the position to which you are applying.
  • Offer to meet with the reference to discuss any questions they may have about your goals.
  • Follow up to ask if they have been contacted as a reference.
  • Thank your references and let them know the outcome of your application.


Make a career counseling appointment to speak with someone who can help you with your next career move and the interview process. Contact Penn State World Campus Career Services at for assistance.

Links We Love: March 11, 2016

March 11th, 2016 by
Links We Love- March 11, 2016

Links We Love- March 11, 2016

Five things that shouldn’t be missed from this past week!

1. Penn State Outreach uses robots to integrate online students into classrooms

2. Six Steps to Tame Your Email Overload

3. Penn State World Campus Canvas Course Orientation

4. Four Ways to Keep ‘Social Road Rage’ Out of the Workplace

5. Leaders and Managers: Architects and Builders