Brandywine Student Spotlight: Alyssa Palumbo

A female student stands outside holding a laptop.

Penn State Brandywine psychology major Alyssa Palumbo is active in several campus organizations.

Credit: Dan Z. Johnson

Brandywine Student Spotlight: Alyssa Palumbo

Major: Psychology

Minor: Biology

Year: Second

Involvement: Co-president of Brandywine Event and Activities Student Team (B.E.A.S.T.); vice president of Lion Ambassadors; chair for THON; member of the Chancellor’s Commission for Student Success

Brandywine: Why did you choose Penn State Brandywine?

Palumbo: I always knew I wanted to come to Penn State. I just kind of always envisioned myself at Penn State, and then I saw that Brandywine was the closest campus to my house. I originally thought I was going to spend two years here and then go up to University Park, but being at Brandywine, I kind of love my time here and chose to stay all four years.

Brandywine: How did you choose your major and minor?

Palumbo: In high school, I took a couple of psychology courses and I instantly fell in love with it, but I didn't really want to do it as my full-time career. But then, I looked into different physical therapy programs and saw that some actually accept psychology majors, so it was meant to be for me. That’s also how I chose my biology minor.

Brandywine: What challenges have you faced at Brandywine, if any?

Palumbo: When I first came to Brandywine last year, I think I found it a little bit hard to get involved because I just wasn't really reaching out or anything. I would just come here for classes and then go home. It wasn't until I started getting involved that I really felt like I was a part of the campus community.

Brandywine really opened the door for a lot of opportunities. They have a lot of great resources, not only for being successful during my time in college but also for my future.

—Alyssa Palumbo , Penn State Brandywine student

Brandywine: How has Penn State Brandywine supported you, and who at Brandywine has supported you the most?

Palumbo: Brandywine really opened the door for a lot of opportunities. They have a lot of great resources, not only for being successful during my time in college but also for my future. So definitely all of the resources that Brandywine has to take advantage of — that has been the most supportive thing.

As for people that have supported me, I think a lot of the advisers of my clubs have helped me out, like Kari Berton (assistant director of Admissions) and Tina Brackett-Wood (student activities and recreation coordinator in Student Affairs). They definitely made me feel, again, like a part of the community as well as my adviser, Associate Professor of Psychology Daniela Martin. She helped me work my way through my semester so far, and she’s also opened the door to a lot of opportunities. She introduced me to the study abroad programs, and I’ll actually be studying abroad in Ireland over spring break!

Brandywine: What made you interested in joining B.E.A.S.T.? What made you interested in becoming co-president?

Palumbo: I wasn't really involved when I first came to Brandywine, and I definitely wanted to change that as soon as possible. I went to the involvement fair, and I saw that B.E.A.S.T. was one of the most involved clubs around campus. I immediately knew that I had to sign up and be a part of the club.

Throughout last year, I was really involved with B.E.A.S.T. I would go to all the events and meetings, and I just loved the people in the club and the atmosphere surrounding it. At the end of the year, B.E.A.S.T. was looking for people to apply for president, and I saw it as a perfect opportunity. I took that step and decided to go for it. I’m now co-president with fourth-year student Dana Hallahan, and it’s been really great.

Brandywine: What has been your favorite event that B.E.A.S.T. has held?

Palumbo: I definitely liked our big B.E.A.S.T. Blowout, which is our end-of-the-year festival. There’s a lot of music, inflatables, food trucks and games. I'd never really been to an event of that scale before. It was really fun to plan and to take part in. It was cool to see everybody come, and it was outside too which was really nice. I'm looking forward to it this year.

Brandywine: How have your extracurricular activities impacted your time on campus?

Palumbo: Being so involved has definitely gotten me heavily involved in the campus culture. I'm here pretty much every day of the week until the end of the day, so I'm always around campus. I feel like I'm really a part of the things that are going around campus pretty much all the time.

Brandywine: What has been the most valuable lesson you’ve learned at Brandywine?

Palumbo: I definitely think stepping out of my comfort zone has been my most valuable lesson. Leading up to my time at Brandywine, I would say I played it safe. I didn't really take risks or take advantage of a lot of opportunities because I was just scared of getting told no or of what it would take to get there. Being here, I definitely found out quickly that I won't just receive things. They won't just fall into my lap. I have to work hard for them, and I have to go for the things I want.