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College of Education > News and Publications > 2020: 04-06 news > Incoming education student awaits many opportunities Penn State offers

Incoming education student awaits many opportunities Penn State offers

Nya Cherry took part in many activities in high school and the incoming College of Education student is well aware that Penn State can provide her with countless other such opportunities.

Nya Cherry took part in many activities in high school and the incoming College of Education student is well aware that Penn State can provide her with countless other such opportunities.

NYACHERRY
Nya Cherry, an incoming College of Education freshman from Methacton High School in Montgomery County, is looking forward to the many opportunities Penn State can provide.
Just completing her senior year at Methacton High School in a Philadelphia suburb in Montgomery County, Cherry already has had a taste of what life can be like at Penn State. She said that in 2012 she was on stage at THON and had her hair cut by her mother (BS ’77, MEd ’94) in order to be donated to help cancer patients. “It was a memorable experience,” she said.

Also a recipient of a Penn State Provost Award, Cherry is a member of the National Honor Society, the National Art Honor Society, Tri-M Music Honor Society, a Girl Scout national delegate, a member of the National Charity League and a member of the girls’ volleyball team.

Any final scholastic ceremonies with those groups – including graduation – were taken away when the spread of COVID-19 forced the closing of public and private school buildings as well as those at universities and colleges nationwide. That didn’t deter her spirit.

“I always try to think of the bright side of situations. Even though it seems as though this virus has taken away my senior year, I realize that it has taken away many things from people around the world, some who have been hit harder than I,” Cherry said, citing essential workers who are forced to run into the danger rather than away to protect themselves. 

“I feel that it would be selfish to think that I have it so bad, because in actuality, I have it quite good. I am in my home that I know is safe, with my caring mother and grandmother. I am able to communicate with my friends easily via technology, have all the materials I need, a modified in-person graduation, and an amazing life ahead of me. So, although I am sad about my senior year, it’s not the end of the world and I can start the next chapter of my life happily.”

That would be the College of Education, the land of many more opportunities for Cherry.

“At this point, I am a four-year member of Student PSEA, and plan to become involved on campus,” she said. “Since my mom has been an alumna from not only Penn State, but also the College of Education, I have been looking forward to joining since I was young. I have visited the Chambers Building several times; each time has offered a new opportunity for me.”

She said she’s been looking forward to the study abroad opportunities available. “I am particularly excited about the summer trip to Ecuador where there is an opportunity to earn an ESL Certification that I will hopefully be able to attend next year,” Cherry said.

“The several efforts to make this situation as normal as possible have been very comforting as we wait eagerly for the fall plans. The ability for Penn State to work so efficiently to make us feel as prepared and welcomed is so appreciated and I have no doubt that they will carry these efforts into the fall if need be.” -- Nya Cherry

Cherry said she wasn’t certain that education would be the proper fit for her; she had aspirations to enter the medical field because of her love for the sciences. “However, after an internship at my local hospital, that experience cemented my passion for the education world rather than medical,” she said.

“Teaching others brings me joy and a feeling that only a teacher can feel. Penn State provided me a way to turn that passion into reality. Although my mother attended the Penn State College of Education, I had to find my passion for a meaningful and fulfilling career as well. Along with my family, many family friends have had parents or siblings attend Penn State as well, which shows how diverse and immense the Penn State alumni community is.”

Cherry, along with tens of thousands of other current and incoming Penn State students, is awaiting a University decision about whether fall instruction will be typical in-residence, continued remote learning that became the new reality in mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, or some hybrid combination. 

“I have watched many virtual tours and live-streams that have all proven to be exceptional and meet the Penn State promise,” she said. “The several efforts to make this situation as normal as possible have been very comforting as we wait eagerly for the fall plans. The ability for Penn State to work so efficiently to make us feel as prepared and welcomed is so appreciated and I have no doubt that they will carry these efforts into the fall if need be.”

While each student’s decision is a personal one, Cherry said she would tell anyone making that call that it would be difficult to attend any other university or college that will put as much effort into making the situation normal than Penn State.

“Penn State not only creates a virtual environment that will be beneficial to each individual's needs but will continue to spread the Penn State love,” she said. “Penn State has so many wonderful opportunities on campus and post college that will fulfill this new chapter in my life. I especially look forward to the immense number of clubs, like THON, and the school spirit shown not only at football games and other activities, but every day through the love that each student has for this school.”

Jim Carlson (May 2020)