SIA welcomes the class of 2017

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. – The Penn State School of International Affairs welcomed the class of 2017 to campus on August 20 for orientation activities before starting classes on August 24.

“This incoming group of students, is not just academically strong, but has impressive experience and backgrounds," said SIA director Scott Sigmund Gartner. “On behalf of the faculty, we are looking forward to working closely in class and on projects with these exceptional students.”

The 58-member class of 2017 is the largest class, and one of the most international and diverse, in the school’s history.

Other aspects of the class include:

  • They represent eight different countries: Bhutan, China, India, Kazakhstan, Lebanon, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, and the U.S.
  • They come from 21 different U.S. states.
  • About 36 percent are international students.
  • They represent over 20 colleges and universities.
  • Other than English, members of the class are fluent in Arabic, Mandarin Chinese, and Spanish, among other languages.
  • Six members of the class are either current or former members of the U.S. Armed Forces.
  • Members of the class have worked and/or interned with various congressional offices, the State Department, the Woodrow Wilson Center, the World Bank Group, Vanguard Charitable Endowment, Hewlett-Packard, and political campaigns.

“The vast array of different backgrounds and global experiences in this class will greatly contribute to the students’ educational experience,” said Taren Smith, director of admissions. “Even beyond the classroom, when the students are simply socializing with one another, they’ll be gaining valuable exposure to cultures, languages, and perspectives outside of their own.”