FTG 0003 - Happy Valley is Always Home: Economic Consulting, K-12, and Academia with Sam '04 '12g and Lauren '05 Bonsall

ABOUT THIS EPISODE

We have two guests on this episode of FTG. The first is Sam Bonsall ‘04 ‘12g. Sam is the Reeves Family Early Career Professor in Accounting at Penn State’s Smeal College of Business in University Park, Pennsylvania where he teaches Master of Accounting and doctoral students and conducts research related to the impact of information on capital markets. Before joining Penn State in 2017, he served on the faculty of the Ohio State University's Fisher College of Business in Columbus, Ohio and worked in economic litigation consulting at Bates White LLC in Washington, DC. He earned a B.S. in Economics with Honors from Penn State in 2004. He also earned an M.S. in Business Administration from Penn State in 2004 and a Ph.D. in Business Administration from Penn State in 2012.

Lauren Bonsall ‘05 is a middle school math teacher in State College, PA where she teaches sixth through eighth grade students of a wide-variety of abilities. Before returning to public school teaching in 2019, she was able to concentrate her full-time attention on raising their two sons. She earned a BS in Secondary Education - Mathematics with Honors from Penn State in 2005. She also earned a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010.

In this lively conversation, you’ll hear advice from both Sam and Lauren on:

• Engaging with campus as State College natives

• Stories from Penn State’s bands

• Insight into economic consulting

• Returning to graduate school after working

• The K-12 and Higher Ed faulty job search process

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This show is hosted, produced, and edited by Sean Goheen ‘11 Lib (Schreyer). 

The artwork was created by Tom Harrington, the College’s Web Developer. 

 

The sound effect is “Chinese Gong,” accessed via SoundBible used unde r Creative Commons License.

 

The theme music is “Conquest” by Geovane Bruno, accessed via Pixabay and us ed under Creative Commons License.

Greeting scholars and welcome tofollowing the Gong, a podcast of the Shire Honors College at Penn Statefollowing the Gong, takes you inside conversations with our scholar alumnito hear their story, so you can gain career and life advice and expand yourprofessional network. You can hear the true breath of how stale alumni havegone on to shape the world after they ran the gone and graduate with honorsand learn from their experiences. So you can use their insights in your ownjourney. This show is probably sponsored by the scholar Alumni Society,the constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association on your host, JeanDohi class of two thousand, and eleven and college staff member. If this isyour first time joining us, welcome if you're a regular listener. Welcome back,we have two guests on this episode of F D G. The first is Sam Bonsell same asthe Rees family early career, professor, in accounting at Penn State's MealCollege Business in University Park, where he teaches master of accountingand doctoral students and conducts research related to the impact ofinformation on capital markets before joining Penn State. In two thousand andseventeen he served on the Faculty of the Ohio State, university's FisherCollege business in Columbus and worked in economic litigation, consulting atBates White L, L C in Washington D C here in to B S in economics, withhonors from Penn State in two thousand and four. He also earned an MS andbusiness administration from pen sten, two thousand and four in a PhD AMBusiness Administration also from Penn State and two thousand and twelve. Oursecond guest is Lauren Bonsell class of two thousand and five Lauren is amiddle school math teacher in State College, where she teaches sit througha strait students of a wide variety of abilities. Before returning to poet,stool teaching in two thousand and nineteen, she was able to concentrateher full time intention on raising their two sons: Lauren earned a B S andsecondary education, with the focus in mathematics with honors from Penn Statein two thousand and five. She also earned a master of library andInformation Science from the University of Pittsburgh in two thousand and tenin this lively conversation, you'll hear advice from belt, Sam and Laurenon engaging with campus, if you're a state college native stories from PennState's bands insights into economic, consulting returning to Graduate Schoolafter working in the K, twelve and Higher Ed Faculty job search process,there's lots more to come. So, let's just dive right into our conversationwith SAM and Lauren Bonsell. Welcome to the show Sam and Lauren, I'mso excited that you are here. How are you about today doing well Shawn thanks for ravines,I'm doing well as well fantastic. So I know we've got a jampacked conversation ahead, but I want to just start: it's been a wild year ifSam Ferson and Lauren tell me what are you working on right now in yourrespective roles, so I guess I'll go first! For me, it's a lot of what I'mdoing is the same as it was before the pandemic. I'm working on research,business research and I could do that. Fortunately, from the friendly confinesof my Home Office, the fall semester was when I did my the bulk of myteaching, and that was a very different experience. I taught a hybrid sort ofclass and then, as more with my students, tested positive for Ovid, thenumbers in the in person parted part of it kind of shrink, so it was definitelya unique experience, but I'm sure Lauren can also talk about education inthe world of Covin. Nineteen. That's for sure, I'm a middle school mathteacher and we've experienced all forms of instruction. This year we've beenremote, we're currently hybrid. I teach some of my students online at home.Some students are in person in front of me and we're still changing, as ifMonday, more students will be returning to the building. So it's been alearning year for the students as well as for me, as we've tried to learn allof these new methods of delivering instruction yeah. I bet that's beenquite the adventure, especially in the K, twelve ranks lauren at the t s there has there been any particularsuccess that you've found with those tools in the K, twelve rans or Sam withyou in the university setting one of my favorite tools that we're using is aprogram called desmos, and it enables me to post problems that the kids canwork on. They most of them have a stylus on their computer, and I canwatch them in real time working through math problems and then give themfeedback either verbally or type to them, and it's been so cool tobe able to watch them. It gives me insight into how they're thinking in away that, if we were all in a class, I wouldn't be able to look at them all atthe same time. That way, so there have been some benefits to being able to seetheir work in real time. Ah I guess for me I'm just thankfulthat I invested in canvas. While I was at that school to the west of us. Theyadopted a canvas before Pan State did,...

...and so I didn't have to learn that,like a lot of my colleague since I was good with that, and I've been teachingwith an I pad in the classroom for basically my entire academic career, sousing that and transmitting over zoom, the problems I'm working in class waspretty seamless, as it turned out. That's fantastic and I think to yourpoint Lauren what my immediate thought was wild. That kind of goes against alot of the things you hear about screen time being able to use these pieces oftechnology, but I know somebody who struggled with math in okay, twelvesitting. I think I probably would have benefited from that. So that's a reallykind of a cool silver lining in the in this scenario it is and the kid itmakes the kids appreciate the Pencil and paper problems also. I think thathaving a good balance between doing things on the computer and doing themon paper has worked really well for me this year. That's fantastic and I lovethat you both are innovating. I think that speaks to your experiences. Shierscholars- and I know Sam- you just alluded to some of your previousexperiences at another institution, but I want to take it really further backand I want to know you know you're both in education and you both are moldingminds at the different levels. Is that something that you both always wantedto do? Or did you kind of fall into that? I would love to hear kind of youryour superhero origin stories if you will yeah so this was I, my originstory is nowhere near where I ended up. If you had asked me when I was a kidwhat I wanted to do so take me back twenty five years: I'ma huge Philadelphia, phillies fan the phillies go and they they lose. Onethousand nine hundred and ninety three world series to the too Blue Jay. Andon't remind me, don't remind me right so, but at the time one of thestar players was their catcher Darren Allan and he was my. He was my herogrowing up and but he had a shortened career because of me, injuries and myparents will laugh when I say this, but all I want to do is become anorthopedic surgeon and become the Phillies team doctor so that I canrepair Darren Dolon's knees, not really thinking through the logic that by thetime I got through medical school and residency and maybe ended up gettingthat position that Darren all would have been well retired anyway. Sothat's that's where I was years ago that one thing led to another. I stillthought I might want to be in medicine, but then toward the late e S. I startedtrading stock online and e trade with a friend of mine and got interested infinance and economics, and so when I got to Penn State, I decided to study economics and, andthat led me into consulting and then the consulting got me introduced toacademics and and then I got my PhD and the rest is against history. My originstory is probably not quite as interesting or involved. I feel likefrom early elementary school. I wanted to be a teacher. I can remember liningup stuffed animals, my sister, whoever I could find to teach them at home andit just changed. As I grew what grade level I wanted to teach.I think that math first became exciting to me in early elementary school and specific teacher, took an interest inmy math abilities and really nurtured that love and I had a number ofwonderful math teachers through out middle and high school and kept meinterested in that career path. So I feel, like I've wanted to be a teacherfor as long as I can remember it's tin, of funny sand. You know you really discovered this along the waythat you that you love the academic side versus Laura. You know you're,sharing that you know this is always what you wanted to do, and I think youknow for any for you listening at home. You know everyone has a little bit of adifferent path until you find that passion- and I think you know- even ina married couple- you can have differences there, which, speaking ofhow did you to actually meet it's? Not Every day that we have a pair of Shirescolars that are a married couple and involved in the college and doing allthe great things in the local community here in State College that you're doingso. How did you meet? I want to hear your story. Well, we met in the I guess,late summer, early fall of one thousand nine hundred and ninety nine- and I wasa beginning. My senior year at State College Eri, High School Lauren, wasbeginning her junior year and we were both in the state causer high schoolmarchy band. I played all this saxophone. She played clarinet ourranks, which is the kind of small instrumental groups in the formationsas we call them we're right next to each other, and I was a rank leader forthe saxophone rank and Lauren was what we called the Left Guy, and so we wereright next to each other. The left, I have another scholars, rank right. Yes,indeed, indeed yeah, so you want to take it from theirLauran keep going with it. So we spent a lot of warm summer days outsidetogether and I just in love listening...

...to Sam Tock. He was always jokingaround and we got to know each other as friends,and then I decided that I wanted to invite this person to the homecomingdance and so late, one night after a football game and a meal at Highway Pizza. I pulled himinto a dark, sidewalk space and asked him ifhe wanted to go to the homecoming dance with me and Samiles, but he told methat he needed to ask his mom and waited three more days and kept mehanging, but we couldn't text and we didn't email and do those kinds ofthings at that time. So I had to wait my three more days and he said thatthing that we talked about on Friday. I would love to go so the rest is history. Oh my gosh, that must have been onevery long weekend for you. Oh my God is worth it so you're both locals. I know that.There's often you kind of hear two angles to that. Some. You know somestudents who go to state college are high school. They grow up and they'relike I'm, going to Penn State and others say I'm going anywhere, but sohow did you know especially being in different grades? How did you both cometo not only come to penn state but also select the Trier Honors College as partof your journey sure? I was definitely part of that. I'm never going to PennState. I want to go anywhere but Penn State Group. I both of my parents, went to asmall private school, and so I think that in their minds, that was the waythat I needed. I needed to follow a path like that, and they were terrifiedabout me being at such a large school that I would kind of get lost in thecrab. So I felt like all through high school that was kind of the messagethat I had heard. Thankfully, SAM being a year ahead ofme had already started at the honest college when I was figuring out my pathand I figured out that I kind of wanted to beclose to home and having Samit Penn state certainly helped and showed methat the honors college really is a college within this large universityand is able to provide so many of those small school aspects that I and myparents were looking for in a college. So I changed paths I and decided that thatwas where I wanted to go yeah. So for me Sean I I was in that that bucket mymind, set at least was in that bucket of anywhere but penn state, and so Iapplied to many schools, Id League institutions, other state schools, withthe thought there's no way, I'm going to Penn State. But when you come downto it and you really think about it, there's something that's basically inyour backyard. That is a super wonderful place. When you're in highschool. You don't really get to experience. What Penn State is, exceptfor football, but you don't get to understand what the Penn State Collegeexperience is about, and I had some friends who are in jazz band with mewho were in the triones college and they were really enjoying theirexperience and and factory, and also the the financial aspect of it. When I,when I was frankly thinking about the Universityof Virginia Acol Scholars, program or striated college and I'm facing out ofstate tuition for Virginia or in state tuition and the academic, excellentscholarship and maybe other scholarships or down the line it youknow, I'm a fairly rational guy. I was getting ready to study. I economic,these things. These things matter matter to me right and I would neverlook back so certainly I didn't go into itthinking either, but I became one of those statistics. He had like twothirds to three quarters of a typical state college. High school graduatingclass goes to Penn state and I'm proud of it, and I think that it'sinteresting, none of our pair of our four parents worked at the university,and so it really was a different experience than we were used to beingon campus. I remember walking around before school started and rememberingrealizing that I hadn't walked anywhere except around on the stadium area ordowntown, and so it was a new experience. It wasn't just acontinuation of high school for us, like you, said Sam, you have this worldclass institution, especially with the triones scale, right in your back yard,so from a rational decision making perspective the rational being ineconomics or in political science, definitely a great choice and I'm gladthat you both made that you know skipping a little bit ahead inthe story but you're. Both amazing volunteers with the college so reallyappreciate that. But I want to hear about your experience as a scholarwee've talked about, you know, you came in, you knew what you were going tomajor and it sounds like and you stuck with that which is kind of uncommon. Attimes, but I'd love to hear you know, you're involved tell us about what aall major experience special, what...

...clubs or activities and research wereyou involved in. So it's interesting. You said that we stuck with our majorsin fact did not stick with my major. So the little back story here, my my mom,more so than my dad had this idea that only engineerscooked jobs, and so there was a lot of pressure to major in engineering, andso I think, to placate my mom. I actually entered Penn state as aengineering, science and mechanics major, but I very quickly in the Ithink was Ed and g one hundred class at the time realized this is was not my mycup of tea and- and I knew I wanted to study economics but had had a hard timeconvincing my mom- that that was a good thing to do when I was still in thehouse, but once I was liberated and living at Atherton Hall. There wasnothing stopping me from going and filing paperwork with the College ofLiberal Arts and that's what I did within the first two weeks of the firstsemester of my college experiences, I switched major, I switch majors. I wasbarely in the major and I switched to ECON and and- and so then I stuck itout with with ECON and then and then discovered, accounting along the way towhich was. I think I had a big impact on me. One of the. I think that the truly remarkable experiences I hadin the in my time of Penn State was theEconomics Honors Program, So my honors advisor Dr David Shipio was my. He wasin charge of this department of honors for in which he was very proud of,saying, predates both the Striate College and the University ScholarsProgram. So the ECON department had a history of enriching education for forstudents, and it was, it was a great twelve credit sequence during my senioryear, in which we studied kind of the philosophy of economics also worked onour theses with it with a small group of. I think there are probably ten totwelve students all together, so we really got to know each other quitewell. I got to know Dr Shapira well and Dr Pinky, who is the other he com,faculty member, and I I really think it was in that program. It really, I think,got me thinking about academics as as a possible future career option. So I think that's something that I'mnot sure the all scholars have that same opportunity within their withintheir major, but that was certainly a big, a big thing for me, outside ofECON. A lot of my time was spent out on thefields, the intermural fields by the stadium. As a member of the the BlueBand playing saxophone, I can't tell you how many hours of practice over thecourse of four years that was, and over the course of four years that wereparticularly terrible for Penn State football when he ad I got to so theBlue Band, likes to at least when I was trying out for the first time like tobuild this as you get this free trip every year. At New Year's to thesewonderful locales, like like Arizona or Florida or New Orleans or Texas, turns out, I got one trip in four years:two, if you count the the so called Pretzel Ball that we attended inreading PA during my freshman year, but that was a that was a blast. I mademany many friends lifetime, friends being in the BlueBand is, and many of whom were actually interesting in enough in the in thehonors college as well. Sam was that the I was that a citrus bull by anychance it was yeah. You know it's funny is, I think I may have seen you marchat Universal Studios in that one good year in those dark years, as they callthem. So if you were, if you were there, I saw you at that theme park marchingon the street. So, after seeing all of the time thatSam spent in with Blue Band, despite the fact that he was really loving it,I decided I was not going to try out for a blue band, but I did have thechance to participate in the basketball pep band with him and some otherAtherton Hall friends, which was a great way to continue my clarinetplaying through college. One other thing that really stands outto me during my time at Penn State is the opportunities I had to actuallyteach math whether it was during a pre student teaching experience, which Ihad a number I was thinking. I got to go to clays Burg, my freshman year, wedrove in this fifteen passenger van woke up at four o'clock in the morningin order to get there every Tuesday so that we could work with students. I hadanother experience through an honors college class to go to Baldiges workwith students who are struggling to learn how to read professor or an instructor. I guess ofmath a friend of one of my the mother of one of my friends, askedme if I would be interested in tutoring, one of the intro math classes at Pennstate, and so I was able to have that opportunity to work with collegestudents and help them. I, with math...

...all the way to my student teachingexperience in Pittsburgh, so I really had a chance to work with a number ofdifferent age groups and different math levels, and I think that that reallyhelped to solidify the my belief that being in the classroomwas the place where I wanted to be. I think that release beats to what I hearfrom so many style. I, like Shire, doesn't guarantee you the world, but itopens a lot of doors to our scholars and those opportunities that you onlyget, because the the fact that you are in the Shire Honors College. So that is some great stuff to hear. Iwant to start talking about your transitions into. You know your careers,but I would reems if I didn't ask you if you both remember your thesis topicsand possibly what you learned out of that process. So my thesis, I think,had a title something along the lines of bank opacity and the and monetary policy transmission, orsomething like that. I think what I got out of that is. I learned how to dostatistical computer programming. I learned Sass to do the Dadian dataanalysis and that has served me well in the year since my thesis was about making theconnection between children's literature and Middle SchoolMathematics, and it makes me smile thinking about it, because those are mytwo passions. I love to read and I love to teach math and I, after graduating,from Penn state taught for a few years and then decided when it was time to goback and get my masters that I was going to get that in library andinformation science. So it continued to kind of project what my journey mightlook like. Combining these two loves that I have.That is awesome. That's not something that you think of every day. Being ableto come in this and literature that my advisor stillmay not think that that's a very good idea, but well hey you have that honors metal athome or in your you know in your office, so certainly were in your classroom. Ishould say you know, so I think that that would prove that it was a greattopic it. So it sounds like Lauren. You wentstraight into teaching, but SAM. I know you have not alwaysbeen in academia. Can you tell us a little bit about your pit stop alongthe way in in a different career path? Yeah, so I so toward the end. The weekwe start his conversation like me, changing my mind and what I want to do.Although I get back to my aspirations to be an Orthodiagonal, I actually bythe end of my college career, though I still thought I wanted to attend lawschool at some point, but I wasn't ready to do that yet, andso I took a job at Bates White Valentine at the time now it's BatesWhite, which is an economic litigation, consulting for headquartered inWashington DC, with the thought that I could kind of marry the disciplines ofeconomics and its application to the law. So at Bates White we were hired bylaw firms to write expert reports to support large scale, civil litigation, and so,during my time of Bates what I worked on securities class action lawsuitsinvolving fraud allegations of fraud. I work for eighteen months on bankruptcyproceedings related to Enron, Cork, which was yeah when I was in college. This huge bankruptcy is, I think, theseventh largest in US history. It's I mean the kind of the poster child for bad corporate behavior, and it's still,you know a big issue, your I am now. You know twenty years later, teachingaccounting it still. It still comes up. It's still important, but it was atbates white that I I learned that I was much too much of aquant to go to law school is what I decided and so and also most of the partners at my firm, werePhD or R Phd a economists and may have spent some time in academia beforejoining the consulting ranks on a more full time basis, including the theformer chair of the Penn State Economics, department, Bob Marshall and,and so just interacting, on a day to day basis with these really smart PhDlevel. Economists and that's kind of kind of lit the fire to. Maybe thatwould be something that I would want to do and that, coupled with the fact that,in consulting of that type, there's an unwritten rule that some point in time Batswana a littleless structure than some other consulting firms. Where was I to an outrule bates? Why, at some point you needed to go back to the business, willget an Aba go to law, school, get your jd or get a PhD, and so little bylittle all the all, the the my colleagues who started with me in twothousand and four started going off to graduate school, and I was one of thethe last to to be at the firm and and so I decided Ishould probably go go back to Grad...

School. If I ever want to do that, andand so I went back to Penn state in two thousand and seven that is, that isquite the the rebound boomerang and- and I think a theme here is that itwon't be the last time right, Sam, that's right, we can't get enough of this place, so I think you alluded to this a littlebit earlier, but so you know you come back to Penn State. You earn yourdoctorate and then what was the next part of your journey and you can usethe full name of the the institution. It's okay yeah. So in a- and this isdifferent- so maybe it kind of preface the the response here in BusinessSchool PhD programs, business schools have historically had a shortage of PhDlevel of faculty at universities, and so it's the objective to to get a jobas a tenure track academic, whereas in some fields, economics included. Theproduction of PhDs well exceeds the number of positions at university. Sothere are a lot of really smart ECON PhDs who go to work for firms like basewhite, but don't go an acos. I knew going into the program. My goal was tomove into an academic position, but there's this idea in in business schooland again this is not consistent with all field, so anyone out there who'sthinking. Well, maybe I want to get a PhD and engineering it's different inengineering, but business schools don't typically hire their own PhD grads.There's t e the term I've heard as a Grad student was like it was calledintellectual in breeding, maybe not fully politically correct with. Thatwas the term that was put on. The idea was that you want to go out there andmix ideas with other people who were trained by others. So I went and didthis fairly elaborate interview process during the ten ier statement, yeah awinter of two thousand and twelve. So I think so. A colleague of mine actuallymade me a t shirt with on the front said like the bonsal national tour, twothousand and twelve. I think I interviewed a twenty one universitiesacross the across the country, but ultimately I got a few job offers andultimately decided to start my career at the Fisher College of business atthe Ohio State University as they like to refer to it, and- and so that'sthat's where I got got going on this academic thing. So that sounds like itwas a pretty wild couple of years. For you both Lauren, you mentioned, youwent back and got a master's at. It was a pit, I believe I it was, but we keepthan a little bit quiet to it's a great school. It is a greatschool. We don't want to knock pit on the academics. We just we just want tocheer really hard against them on the field. The court, the Rasen, the matwhatever it is. If Penn State had offered a master of library andInformation Science, I would have been there, but you got to go where theprogram is exactly exactly so sounds like a pretty wild peerie, gettingmasters getting a PhD job searching, and if I am correct in knowing a littlebit about your story, I think there was also you were starting a family aroundthis time. I was going to say it is correct and I was going to say wewonder sometimes whether Sam's twenty one school visit or me being workingfull time caring for our ten month old son was the worst deal there. So it wasa wild few months, so we were excitedwhen we finally knew where we were going to wind up and we could besettled and kind of return to normal life again. Well, I think that's you. Ibet you learned a lot and I hear more and more from students you hear moreand more in the Zygite about this idea of work. Life Balance, so I'm sure youboth must have learned some great nuggets of how to balance a family jobsearching getting advanced degrees all and working all at the same time. So ifyou have a couple of nuggets that you want to drop for the scholars listening,I have been working full time. Our older son, Colin who's, ten now wasborn and I continued working full time because Sam was still in school andthen when we moved to Ohio. I thought that I would continue working full timeand had some interviews and things didn'twork out, and I decided to take that as a sign that it was time for me to takea step back from teaching, and that was really hard. I loved my jobs, I loved being in theclassroom, and I really had no idea what to do being a stay at home mom,but the what turned into seven years of me being able to be home with my boys,I'm so thankful for, and I think that it's okay to change your ideas aboutwhat your life looks like and what your plan looks like in the past. Two yearsI've been able to return to working, and I'm so lucky that I was able tofind a part time teaching job. So I feel like I'm still working towardsthat balance, but the ability to be in...

...the classroom and also be a mom whogets the voice off the school bus when the pandemic is over. I guess I have to pick them up from school now, but it helps me to balance, and I thinkthat they are really proud of being knowing that I'm teaching at the schoolnext door and they love asking me about my students and math and so being ableto kind of have my feet straddling both worlds has worked out really well forme. So I think, for my perspective, an academic career is actually particularly difficult. I found to getto work life balance unless you really work at it and the reason is it's not a a nine to five type of job, because alot of what I'm doing, what I'm not teaching right to the teaching you canthink of it. You're teaching certain classes a certain period of time and acertain semester and the semester begins at this point. It ends at thatpoint and you grade and then you're done, but that's only a third of kind of the job that I'mexpected to do. The rest is is to is to publish research which is to come upwith questions that haven't been answered inmy field and try to answer them with with data in some way right. But comingup with those questions, it's a very unstructured process, and so it'sreally hard. I kind of turn your mind off at five o'clock were five thirty orat six o'clock, and so that's been that's been a kind of an ongoing backand forth. I think for me, what's helped is, as the kids have gottenolder and I've gotten involved being a den leader in Scouts or assistantbaseball coach is that you know the practice that those are a natural wayto like okay, I gotta I gotta go. I've got to go, do something else, and atleast I could for some period of time can can you know, shut off the thinkingabout research or thinking about how to you know how to satisfy this anonymousreviewer at a journal's concern about the paper. This word that another way Ifeel like that work life balances as factored in for us is a couple yearsafter I started at Ohio State. I got a joboffer from the warden school at the University of Pennsylvania and becauseof the stature of that school Laura and we took it seriously, we went for wewent to Philadelphia for a weekend for a full real estate tour on the mates ofVacy, but the the one thing that we were thinking about now was you know wegotten comfortable on Columbus. It was. It was a medium sized city with thereasonable commute, a low cost of living and a department where we wereproductive, but there weren't these. I think astronomical sorts ofexpectations about what you should be doing and how you should be doing doingyour job as long as you you were publishing, they didn't really care. You know whatyour, if you work from home a little bit this or that, but just what I knew about about Pennonand the war in school. It was going to be completely different. The the timein the office was going to be the expectations for that were going to beextensive, t e the obligations greater and going to the place likePhiladelphia. We were going to live much farther away from campus and waywere at Ohio state, and so then you factor in the Commutin, and I thinkthat collectively, despite the prestige of the job, it just wasn't. It justwasn't right for us from from a couple of family, a work life balance type ofperspective, and so I think that you know sometimes work like balances is trading off the maybe like the pinnacle kind of job that you're you'reaspiring to, because taking that job necessitates trading off other things,and I just we weren't willing to Arany to do that. Yeah I mean that soundslike you know. I imagine that was probablysome very tough conversations and a lot of thought put into that pen isobviously a very prestigious school sounds like you were willing to leaveColumbus because, obviously you are now back here in Happy Valley again so touch, and you tell us a little bitabout that process and how you know: Recruitment and job searching works inan academic setting yeah. So it turned out that that recruited process was onethat my my former advisor really got started through just informalconversations talking with me, whether I we would beinterested in moving back at some point. You know if the timing was right andLord and I loosely talked about it, but we still figured that the horizon formoving back to Penn state was still a number of years away. Because againthis whole idea of got your PhD there. You can't go back, but I guess the the success I had in my earlycareer made. It made it more feasible...

...to make that that recruitment earlierin my career- and I don't know one thing led to another and and then Iguess it was the fall of two thousand and sixteen the the person who is the head of for thefact that recruiting committee called me and said we want to want tointerview you to come back, and so someone ll be in touch to pick aweekend and so like. Well, it's real now, andso we picked a weekend and it just happened. We picked we picked the weekin the coincide with when we were going to come, come coming back to townanyway, which was the weekend of the Ohio State, Penn State football game,and if any of you big pen, statehood fans out, there are remembering thattwo thousand and sixteen game, Oh yeah, is when we've locked the field goal andwe defeated the buck eyes to really again this truger under coach Franklinthat we've kind of continued since since that season, because thebeginning of that season wasn't going well, and it really was that I thinkthat that game was a Catalus for what what was to become with Trace Mc Sorley,say Kuan, all those guys so yeah. So we can't I interviewed it's. It was thesort of the standard interview academic interview come in have dinner the nightbefore, although it was a little bit different because it's my advisor Carlor form advisor Carl, took me out to dinner. So it was like this strangefaculty member and then a thirty minute office visits with with the different faculty. Although Iwill have to say that the interview didn't go smoothly in thesense that we were supposed to go to lunch andthere's this tie place in stay college, cozy Ti and one of the faculty members was taking me there for lunch, but hedidn't consult the schedule and didn't allow enough time for us to get parkedand have meal before getting me back to the the sea to meet with the Dean,which is one of the important meetings, and so it turned out. We got seatedrealized that there was no time left, so he had a little bit of bar glass ofwater got back in the car zoomed back to the business building, and so I gotan energy bar rather than a restaurant meal for my lunch and then ourdepartment share at the time he had this tradition of taking the speakers.So part of an academic interview is, is presenting a paper for ninety minutesand academic job docks, so actually presentations of any kind. It'sbasically you against the world. You've got a paper, and everybody in theaudience is attacking your paper from every possible angle. About why it'snot an interesting question, while the statistics you've done a wrong, why thedata you have is bad, why it doesn't contribute beyondexisting literature. So that's what I'm getting ready for and Department Tharesays: Oh yes, my tradition, Sam to take speakers to the creamery before thepresentation, so we go to the creamery and we have creber ice cream. You knowlarge portion sizes and then he brings me in five minutes late to the to thestart of the presentation. So the room is full. I've got a kind of fumblearound with my USB ride. To get my presentation loaded on to the computerand then it's you know the questions start flying, but it all it all ended. Well, a coupleweeks later I got a got a call from the department share with the formal offerand and then the the decision of making. Well, I think our decision was made,but then it was, it was tough. It was. I think it was really hard because youknow I spent five years and, despite all the joking about Ohio state, made alot of O K, O lasting relationships with with faculty there. My Departmentchair at Ohio State is my was my academic grandfather. He was myadvisors advisor at University of Illinois years ago, and so there are alot of a lot of connections established and it's really tough to to tell them.You know: Hey, I'm, leaving and saying good bye to allthose all those good friends and good colleagues, but we were excited to comeback that I've never heard about an academic interview quite like that isintense. I can only imagine that, especiallywith a a belly full of creamery extream exactly exactly, but I think, to balance out Lauren. Iwould love to just hear like what a K twelve teacher might go through in aninterview process for, for you know, for any students listening on who havethat on the horizon, yeah, thankfully it seems very easy compared to what Samhas described. I know that my process started when we were still in Ohio. Ican still remember sitting in Sam's Home Office, the Department Chair herewho knew me who actually I had had for AP statistics in high school and thenwas on the team that hired me when we moved back the second time called meand said I are you ready to come back because he had heard through the greatfine that we were moving back, and that...

...was the first time that I had to makethe decision about what I wanted to do, and I decided that I just wasn't quiteready to return, and then the opportunity came up again in twothousand and nineteen and he called again and said we have another position,and I think this would be great for you, and I decided that that was the righttime to interview. So thankfully it was a small group of people. I think thehardest part was that, on this interview process I had met theprincipal previously. One of my best friends was on the interview team.Another colleague that I was familiar with was on the team, and so it wasawkward in the sense that I was knew everybody, and but thankfullyit was just about a half hour of questions. I had a chance to talk aboutmy previous teaching experience and coaching. I was able to coach the mathcount's team to Pennsylvania State Championship during my previousexperience, so that was fun to be able to talk about that and was able to geta call a couple days later that they were interested in having me back. Sothankfully, it's not the same involved process that Sam has had to go through yeah that that sounds intimidating. Soit sounds like that might have been a little bit of a a more. I don't want tosay. Job Interviews are enjoyable, but at least definitely more absolutely,and I think that sometimes districts will ask you to teach a lesson. I thinkthat, because this group was so familiar with my teaching, that thatwas not part of my interview, but I know that I've heard that that is apossibility out there. So some people may have a more involved interviewprocess that made sense. I mean, since you know, kind of get a little bit of avibe of what you're you know your teaching style is. I make in it's a lotof sense, which speaking of I would love to hear and take this, asyou will pre pandemic post pandemic during but like what is- and youalluded to this a little bit with you know some of the the I pad and the andthe digital tools that you're using. But what is a day in the life of a mathteacher like I love it when the kids are working together. My my ideal day is nothing like what I'mdoing now. I Today I was at my chair that in front of my computer, theentire time and although we're making the best of it in a normal year, Iwould never sit down. I joke that. I don't even realize I have a desk atschool because I'm constantly moving around the room. I don't like standingin front of the board and lecturing, but I love giving the students problemsto work out that they don't necessarily know how to do it completely when theyget started, but that they're kind of working together to do some trial anderror or developing new strategies, so anythingthat I can do to get them engaged in the process that we're working on is mygoal every day. I love to have them talking and sharing ideas, and it's myfavorite when different people come up with different strategies. I am not a fan of problems that only haveone way of doing them so giving some of these multi dimensional kinds of problems are my favorite way to teachmath. You know that's not surprising at all, based on you know, Sam what you'redoing in academic research and and Lauren, as you know, as Talar alumnoyou're continually challenging the status quo in your respective areas,and I think that, just as a hall mark of our Grads, but you know when you'rea charge allar, not everything, comes easy and I'd love. If both of you couldshare. You know you could call them a learningopportunity, something that you know mistake you made along the way and,most importantly, because you are both scholar alumni what you learned from it.It integrated into your life for profession. Since so I guess for me this is this is post graduation. I'dsay where I want to. I want to focus, but you might think that academic researchis a little bit more of a of a by yourself sort of activity, but it s e s a lot ofthere's a lot of collaboration right, and so this there's all the idea whenyou're going to school and you're doing group projects and you're bemoaningworking with others and dealing with free riders and all this stuff, youknow it even even even affects professors as it turns out. I thinksome of the the biggest mistakes I outard are choosing COO authors to work with who just tarnall that into research and and participating in that in that wholeprocess, because it's a it's an arcis process to get a paper from idea topublication is oft at a five year endeavor for a particular paper, and soI really early in my career choosing to work with people. I wasfriendly with a right that was a...

...starting point and that turned out tobe not so good choice, and so I've been much more much more selective about the people. I work with on on research,and I think they just the importance of picking your team when you can, whenyou have the choice over those individuals picking your team is soimportant to the ultimate success of what whatever your endeavor is, whetherit's research, whether it's a client project or whether it s you're, helpingyour helping your students succeed, and I think that, in addition to pickingyour team, which I love, that idea that being prepared is what helps me to avoid or reduce the number of mistakes.I make I think that when I think about the days that don't go well for me,it's because I'm underprepared there's more to planning a lesson than justcoming up with an agenda and there's a lot of trying to predict what kinds ofquestions or problems that students are going to encounter as their learningnew material and the more time that I spend kind of brainstorming the these roadblocks. For them, the better my day is going to go because then, when they aska question or they stumble through something, I'm ready for to give themsome piece of wisdom or negative knowledge so that they can continueworking so the mistakes that I've made or can be solved. I guess by thinkingthrough scenarios ahead of time. I also think that when I learn best from it iswhen I then take notes after it's easy to kind of teach my day and then headout and not think about it again, but I love it when I can go back the nextyear and see posted notes with information about how something went-or this was a great question that was asked. This Day make sure that youbring this up next year, and I my memory is not good enough anymore toremember these things from year to hear, but if I can write them down and thenfind them rediscover them again, it really is helpful to me going forward.Well, those are really really great suggestions for for the for whoever islistening to this. You know, Sam something I thought of when you saidabout picking your team. Sometimes you can't necessarily pick your team, buteven when you know something especially any senior scholars are probablythinking about is taking that first job right and when you're interviewingyou're, also in interviewing a potential employer and let's face it inan office environment you're around your co workers as much as or maybeeven more than your family and friends. So that's a huge decision and Lauren.You know great great points about being prepared and leaving yourselfsuggestions and really reflecting, I think, is where the N to mind on likehey what went well here. This was a great question. Let me incorporate thator of that that approach didn't work so well. So maybe I can change that nexttime and say I'm you already. You gave a shout out to your thesis adviser andsome other faults, but I'd love. If you know if this is your chance for theboth of you, if you want to give a shout out, thank you to any friends orprofessors from your scholar days yeah. I guess I be on again just shot out toDr David Shapiro, wherever you are out in New Mexico, I think you've retired inNew Mexico at this point, but but thanks for all the the wisdom years ago and to Charlie Smith, who I still see in theDepartment of accounting, you got me. You got me into a counting right ifwith a if it was work for you who knows where I would be- and I would say thank you to Dr JanetBobanghe- Is My student teaching supervisor. Once I decided that I wanted to dosecondary math, you get certified in seven through twelve, and I alwaysassumed that I would be a high school math teacher at that point. Kind oflooked down at middle school, who would ever want to go back to middle school,and when I was getting ready to do my student teaching experience Dr Bobancesaid I really think you should think about middle school, and I just thoughtthat that was the worst idea ever, but I figured if she had faith that I coulddo it that what better time than doing it. When I had a mentor to work methrough it step by step, and it really changed my life, I've taught middleschool, every experience that I've had and I love Middle School. I can'timagine being anywhere else and she really shaped my self as a teacher right now. That iswonderful. I hope they get to hear this at some point. I just have two finalquestions for the both of you. First you're, both involved with Pennstate in various ways as alumni and I'd love. If you could just give a verybrief overview of the ways that you're giving back in that capacity. Yes, so I guess it's been about two years now,but I have been a member of the scholar, Alumni Society board and and Sean. Iwant to thank you for coming down to my office, the you know two years ago, Ishand and pitching the idea. It's been. It's been e, a great experience to mealumni from all different kind of...

...periods of time. Right we get to. Weremember that the the scholars who you know we went through the collegeexperience with and so I'll take this opportunity to. You know shot out tosomeone like Sean Mis Co. You know, keep saving democracy, okay, but it'sbeen. It's been a thrill just to meet scholars who graduate only a couple ofyears ago, scholars who graduated before the Schrieder cause when it wasthe university scholars program. It's just it's amazing to see where peoplehave gone and the different perspectives they bring to the theissues and really just how many people care about linking back to our our currentstudents and giving back. I think that's been, you know a terrific part of it and Ireally enjoyed being able, since I'm here in stay college being able tointeract at least before the pandemic. You know going to Afenga the hall andto a resume workshop, like I did for the the student council and I hope todo more of that in the future, but it is has been. It's been a wonderfulexperience. Yes, thank you SAM. I think that was one of the better walks acrosscampus that I've ever taken. It was, I remember it was a very beautiful, SunnySummer Day walking up to the business building from Atherton, and we reallyappreciate you having you know, taking the time to be on our alumni societyboard and being a leader in some exciting things that you're helping tocontribute to around mentorship that aren't quite ready for prime time, butwe we're developing them and you know putting some good efforts into them. SoI want to say thank you for what you're doing and what you're going to do. Asyou continue on on our board and Lauren, I know you're doing some otherinteresting things across campus as well right. I I need to think MitchCursh for getting me involved when we were back here the second time she hadme helping with the implementation of the pilot interview process foradmissions, and it just showed me kind of another side of the Honors College,and this year I've just started working as part of a donor task force withinthe Women's film Tropic Advisory Board and just getting a chance to meet somefantastic women who are looking for great ways to encourage women to donateand participate at Penn State. So I'm looking forward to seeing how that goesover the next couple of months, yeah, I'm looking forward to hearing aboutthat too. I know Brenda Walker and Haley stop who is a scalar Alumnaherself it or are putting that initiative together, and I really lookforward to seeing what comes of that as some of our colleges here in thedivision of Jetman of my relations at Penn State. So keep me apprized to that.I'M NOT IMPORTANT HEARING! It's happening! The one final question foryou: both this is a real fun one is, but the important part is explain why,on this one, if you were a flavor of Burkey creamery ice cream, which wouldyou both be and again? Why, as dollars, explain your why? Well it turns outSean that we know this is one of the fee listeners out there. I was you inan interview, get a couple of questions up front to think about not everything, and it turns out that not surprisingly,the married scholar couple chose the same flavor, so we would. We would bothbe the W ps coffee break and because I always need a pick me up that caffineEd pick me up to get me particularly rely in the morning. Get me going, andI you know it's harder to do the older I get, but I do burn the midnight oil,and so that's that's often helpful to get me through whatever work, I'mtrying to finish up for the evening, maybe maybe Laura you've got adifferent rationale, for that was exactly what I had said, but you can'tforget about the chocolate. I said: Love Cooking together and we loveeating savory foods together, but we also both have a little bit of a sweettooth and so those little chocolate bits mixed within the coffee, flavoredice cream. I think just provide that perfect sweet finish to the day. Indeed, excellent, choice: Excellent Choice:you can't go wrong and that was a very great sweet way to end our conversationtoday. If any of our students want to get in touch with either of you what'sthe best way that they could connect with you, so they can find me on linkedin just search for Sam Bansell. I'm also I have a since I'm a facultymember. You can find me on this male college of Business AccountingDepartment. Faculty page, it seems like the education world is not as involvedwith Linton, so you can find me on facebook or instagram or on my schooldistrict Lips Ike. Well, I hope that some of you, if you have interest inlearning more and connecting with Sam or Lauren, will take advantage of that.Thank you both so much for joining me today and dropping some great bits ofwisdom and sharing your story. I really appreciate it thank John Basis going toblast.

Thank you, stalers for listening andlearning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that willcontribute to how you shape the world. This show probably supports theSrirangam Emergency Fund, benefiting scholars experiencing unexpectedfinancial hardship. You can make a difference at raise dot P Su dot eduforward. Schrie, please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe like or followbutton on. Whichever platform you are engaging with us on today, you canfollow the college on Facebook, twitter, instagram and Linkedin to say up todate on news events and deadlines. If you have questions about the show orastral er alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on following the Gon,please connect with me at scholar, alumni at Pu dot, ed you until nexttime. Please stay well and we are a.

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