PawCast Album ArtworkWhy do we have a Lion Shrine? What is THON? Join us for 20 to 30 minutes each episode as we dig deeper into Penn State — our history, traditions, and culture — with your host Richard Brungard.

Every episode, we interview a special guest, share important updates and news for World Campus students, and offer tips for academic success. You can also test your Penn State knowledge by playing “Guess the Penn State Sound.” We’ll play a sound that is unique to Penn State, and you can guess what it is.


1:08 - Penn State Trivia
1:42 - Interview (Craig Weidemann)
8:22 - Penn State Trivia
9:00 - Interview (Anthony Robinson)
18:38 - Interview (Marcel Salathe and Matthew Ferrari
27:25 - Tip for Academic Success

Listen Now

Episode 19: Behind the Scenes with Penn State's MOOCs

What if, instead of 25 students in your class, there were 160,000? Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are making this a reality — many universities now provide these free courses to anyone with an internet connection. Penn State launched its first MOOCs in fall 2013. On this episode of PawCast, we’re going behind the scenes, talking with three faculty members and one administrator at the forefront of Penn State's MOOCs.

Our guests discuss:

  • How students have reacted to Penn State’s MOOCs
  • What it’s like for an instructor to teach tens of thousands of students at once
  • How peer assessment compares to traditional grading
  • Innovative approaches taken by Penn State faculty for their MOOCs
Clockwise from top left: Matthew Ferrari, Marcel Salathe, Anthony Robinson, Craig Weidemann

Clockwise from top left: Matthew Ferrari, Marcel Salathé, Anthony Robinson, Craig Weidemann

Dr. Craig Weidemann, vice president for outreach and vice provost for online education, helped get MOOCs off the ground at Penn State.

Dr. Anthony Robinson, lead faculty for online geospatial education and assistant director for the GeoVISTA research center for the Department of Geography at Penn State, is the instructor and creator of Maps and the Geospatial Revolution.

Drs. Marcel Salathé and Matthew Ferrari, assistant professors of biology, are instructors and co-creators of Epidemics – the Dynamics of Infectious Diseases, and the massive open online game, MOOCdemic.

View transcript of episode 19



1:10 - Penn State Trivia
1:50 - Interview (Part 1)
8:35 - Penn State Trivia
9:35 - Interview (Part 2)
17:11 - Tip for Academic Success

Episode 18: From Guzzler to Green: Penn State's Eco Car Team

At Penn State, students and researchers are replacing the engine of a Chevrolet Malibu with a more energy efficient model that they designed and built. Known as the Penn State ECO CAR 2 team, this group of students is competing in a national competition to reduce gas usage and increase fuel mileage in cars.

In our newest episode of PawCast, we chat with the student lead of the team, Chris Golecki, and faculty adviser Tim Cleary about the competition and their involvement.

The episode also includes:

  • A tip for success from World Campus alum Sabrina Worsham
  • Penn State trivia about a renowned Penn State student organization

Chris GoleckiAbout Our Guests:

Chris Golecki is a graduate student in mechanical engineering, with a focus on controls systems.  He was a co-team leader last year for the team, and was enthusiastic to experience the Year Two overall competition win. He graduated summa cum laude from Penn State with a B.S. in mechanical engineering.


Tim ClearyTim Cleary is director of Penn State’s Battery Application Technology Testing & Energy Research Laboratory (BATTERY). He was involved in the U.S.DOE sponsored Advanced Vehicle competitions for 5 years culminating in his service as team leader for the 2007-2008 competition. He earned B.S. and M.S. degrees in mechanical engineering from Penn State.

View transcript of episode 18

Episode 17: Penn State on the Moon


1:20 - Penn State Trivia
2:00 - Interview (Part 1)
12:10 - Penn State Trivia
12:55 - Interview (Part 2)
22:35 - Tip for Academic Success

The Lunar Lion team — a group of Penn State students, faculty, and staff — are building a spacecraft to fly to the moon as part of the Google Lunar X Prize competition. If they are the first team in the competition to complete this, Penn State would receive $20 million, which would be used to start a space exploration research center.

Episode 17 is all about the Lunar Lion mission. We’re talking with Michael Paul, the leader of the Lunar Lions team and a researcher with Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory. Michael discusses:

  • what it’s like to rally students around a mission to the moon
  • his past experience with space exploration
  • how Penn State stacks up in this international competition
  • what the Lunar Lion team means to Penn State and to space exploration research

Michael PaulAbout our guest:

Michael Paul is a space systems engineer at Penn State’s Applied Research Laboratory. Paul was at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory from 2000 to 2008, where he was the spacecraft systems engineer for NASA’s MESSENGER Mission to Mercury. He also worked on NASA’s twin Solar Terrestrial Observatories and the Comet Nucleus Tour. Read more about Michael Paul and the Lunar Lion team.

View Transcript of Episode 17


1:37 - Important Updates
2:04 - Penn State Trivia
2:40 - Interview (Part 1)
12:16 - Penn State Trivia
13:05 - Interview (Part 2)
21:28 - Tip for Academic Success

Episode 16: Don’t Cram! How You Can Study the Right Way


Studying is not always easy, but it’s important to your success as a World Campus student. From the first day of classes, you can start preparing for exams in an organized way that will be manageable with your other life responsibilities.

In this episode, we chat with Dr. Angelique Bacon-Woodard, a scholar in residence with Penn State learning, about the basics of study skills, including:

  • When to start studying
  • How much study time you should schedule
  • Different reading and note-taking tools and strategies that can increase learning
  • How to effectively use study groups

Dr. Angelique Bacon-WoodardAbout our guest: Dr. Angelique Bacon-Woodard is a scholar in residence at Penn State Learning, where she helps students with their out-of-class learning for large lecture classes. She is an alumna of Penn State, earning her master’s and doctoral degrees in educational administration and higher education with a focus on administration and leadership.

When Angelique is not devoting her time to students, she enjoys traveling, meeting new people, spending time outdoors, hanging out with her husband (Bob) and “furry child” (Jazz – a cat) and entertaining family and friends.

View Transcript of Episode 16


1:05 - Important Updates
1:40 - Penn State Trivia
2:20 - Interview (Part 1)
10:30 - Penn State Trivia
11:20 - Interview (Part 2)
19:30 - Tip for Academic Success

Episode 15: Be Safe When Making Connections Online

What’s the best way to make authentic connections online? How does the internet create a false sense of security and anonymity? How can students share information online but still keep their identity safe?

These topics and more are discussed on episode 15, which features an interview with Chris Ritzko, from Penn State’s Security Operations and Services office. In the episode, Chris discusses:

  • How the online environment creates a false sense of security and anonymity
  • “Icebreaker” introductions in your online classes
  • How to identify and avoid phishing scams
  • How sharing too much personal information online can put you at risk for identity theft
  • Why strong passwords are important
  • Tips for using social media smartly

For more tips, visit Penn State’s Security Operations and Services website and the Information Technology Services Be Safe site.

Chris RitzkoAbout our guest: Chris Ritzko is a system and network security analyst for Penn State’s Security Operations and Services (SOS), which is responsible for addressing information technology security issues within the University.

SOS is a unit within Penn State’s Information Technology Services that provides assistance to Penn Staters interested in proactively protecting their information, their identity, and their devices.

View Transcript of Episode 15



2:10 - Important Updates
3:10 - Penn State Trivia
3:56 - Interview (Part 1)
14:16 - Penn State Trivia
15:10 - Interview (Part 2)
20:50 - Tip for Academic Success

Episode 14: From Black and White to Color: Education's Impact on One Veteran and Professor

On this episode, we chat with Dr. Mark Corson, who has more than 30 years of experience serving in the Army and now teaches in the master’s Geographic Information Systems program. Dr. Corson shares about:

  • what it’s like to be on a peacekeeping mission
  • how his military experience impacts his approach to teaching, and vice versa
  • what it was like to serve in the Cold War, and in recent civil wars in Iraq, Kosovo, and Kuwait
  • his inspiration as an instructor
  • connections he builds with students and alumni
  • how he balances it all: teaching at two universities,
    having a family, serving in the military, and more

Dr. Mark Corson, World Campus professor and Army VeteranAbout our guest: Dr. Mark Corson is the lead faculty for Penn State’s Geography 882, Geographic Fundamentals of Geospatial Intelligence, and also is an associate professor of geography at Northwest Missouri State University, and a former faculty member for the United States Military Academy. Dr. Corson is also a recently retired brigadier general in the U.S. Army Reserve.

In 2001, then-Major Corson served in Kosovo as the deputy chief of the Multinational Brigade East Joint Implementation Commission and as liaison officer and trainer to Regional Task Group Six of the Kosovo Protection Corps. He was heavily engaged in the NATO peacekeeping effort to defuse the Presevo Valley and Macedonian insurgencies, and he also commanded the 450th Movement Control Battalion during Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) One, in Iraq and Kuwait.


1:12 - Important Updates
1:54 - Penn State Trivia
2:36 - Interview (Part 1)
10:25 - Penn State Trivia
11:11 - Interview (Part 2)
22:54 - Tip for Academic Success

Episode 13: March On, State

Dr. Richard Bundy, director on the Penn State Marching Blue Band, stops by the studio for this episode of PawCast and talks about:

  • the Blue Band’s humble beginnings as a six-member drum and bugle corps
  • the growth and development of the organization
  • the Blue Band’s game day schedule during football season
  • the origination of the Drum Major’s traditional pre-game flips
  • exciting and unusual places the Blue Band has performed
  • the Blue Band’s biggest accomplishments over the years
  • what the tryout process for students involves

Dr. Richard Bundy, director of the Penn State Blue Band. Photo courtesy of Penn State News.About our guest: Dr. O. Richard Bundy joined the Penn State faculty in 1983 as a professor of music education and has led the Penn State Marching Blue Band since 1996. Under his directorship, the band has grown to become the largest student organization on campus, with more than 300 members today. In addition, Dr. Bundy teaches courses in conducting, marching band techniques, instrumental music education, and band literature. He earned both his undergraduate and doctoral degree from Penn State.

An active guest conductor and adjudicator, Dr. Bundy has conducted ensembles and presented clinics throughout the United States and Canada. He is a past president of the Eastern Division of College Band Directors National Association and previously served as a trombonist with the United States Continental Army Band and as a band director/instrumental music instructor in the Iroquois School District, Erie, Pennsylvania.

Episode 12: Tackling Test Anxiety

Dr. Ben Locke, associate director of Clinical Services at Penn State's Counseling and Psychological Services, joins us for this episode of PawCast and discusses:

  • how to know when test anxiety is a problem
  • the relationship between stress and test anxiety
  • symptoms of test anxiety
  • the most common concerns about, and behaviors that worsen test anxiety
  • tips for managing test anxiety
  • approaching test taking as a skill
  • developing effective test taking techniques
  • resources and accommodations available for students with test anxiety

Dr. Ben Locke, associate director of Clinical Services at Penn State's Counseling and Psychological Services.About Counseling and Psychological Services at Penn State: Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) works with thousands of Penn State students each year with therapy, counseling, psychiatric services, and crisis intervention. Services offered at CAPS are designed to enhance students’ ability to benefit from the Penn State environment and academic experience. The goal of CAPS is to assist students resolve personal concerns that may interfere with their academic progress and social development.

Dr. Ben Locke is a licensed psychologist with over 16 years of clinical experience in the mental health field including wilderness therapy, psychiatric hospitals, group homes, community mental health, and over a decade of experience in college counseling centers. He currently serves as the associate director for Clinical Services at Penn State's Center for Counseling and Psychological Services.

Episode 11: The University Libraries: Tips, Tools, and Tricks

Debora Cheney, head of library services to World Campus and the Larry and Ellen Foster Communications librarian, joins us for this episode of PawCast to discuss:

  • tips and resources when working on a research paper
  • making use of program specific library research guides
  • requesting library materials at a distance
  • contacting a Penn State librarian
  • best practices when working on a citation list
  • Penn State specific library resources, such as the Research Project Calculator, the CAT, and LionSearch
  • questions frequently asked by World Campus students


Penn State Pattee-Paterno Libraries. Photo courtesy of Penn State News.About the Penn State Libraries: Ranking among the top ten largest research libraries in North America, The University Libraries cataloged collection now includes over 5 million items, with nearly 100,000 volumes added to the collection annually. A great resource for students in all fields of study, the Penn State Libraries consist of 36 libraries at 24 locations throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. The two main buildings on the University Park campus are the Pattee and Paterno Libraries. World Campus students have access to 579 online databases along with thousands of journals, e-books, and film and video materials. Visit the World Campus Library homepage for more information.

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Meet Our Hosts

Richard Brungard, academic support resource coordinator, develops academic support resources for World Campus students. He also runs a series of webinars for new undergraduate student orientation. Richard’s alma maters include University of Houston, University of Wisconsin–Stout, and Penn State. His favorite thing about Penn State is the intense connection that students feel toward the University and take with them when they leave.

Steve Welshonse, World Campus and Continuing Education HelpDesk manager, manages day-to-day operations at the helpdesk and provides technical support to World Campus and Continuing Education students, prospective students, and faculty. Steve has been a Penn Stater for almost twenty years. He received his bachelor of arts degree in English from Penn State in 1996 and began working at World Campus in 2003. His favorite part of Penn State is the fall season and everything that goes along with it, from football to the changing leaves to the chill and the scents of autumn in the air.

Jess Miller, program specialist with program planning and management, works with Penn State colleges, departments, and campuses to develop, deliver, and maintain World Campus programs and courses. Her team also serves as liaisons between academic units and units within World Campus. Jess graduated from Penn State in 2006 and loves football games and cheering for the Lady Lions basketball team in the winter. She also enjoys reading a good book and catching a glimpse of the turtles and ducklings next to the pond at the Hintz Family Alumni Center on our University Park campus.