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Other Side of Learning 

Other Side of Higher Learning

By: Najla King, nxk5136@psu.edu, Lion’s Eye

As students begin their college careers at Penn State, thoughts and questions surrounding their future goals are constantly brought to mind.

So much so, students likely don’t give much thought to their professors’ accomplishments or the achievements that possibly aided them in securing a position with a reputable university such as Penn State. The further along students progress in their college careers, they begin to notice the syllabus a little more and begin to take advantage of their seasoned professors’ expertise.

Amanda Gunlefinger, a professor at Penn State Brandywine, is one of those extraordinary teachers who has first hand knowledge of the vaccine to prevent the spread of the sexually transmitted virus, HPV, which can lead to the development of cervical cancer.

“I began working in the manufacturing of Gardasil in 2009, a little after the production of the vaccine started,” Gunlefinger said. “Before I started teaching, I worked at a company called Merck, and there, we worked on Gardasil.”

Gunlefinger provides experience and knowledge of working in such a demanding industry to her students, which can be helpful for them. Some students dream to be in a similar occupation.

Gunlefinger said the long hours and stress working at Merck was enough to convince her to switch career paths.

“I taught in grad school and always enjoyed teaching,” Gunlefinger said.

Now, as a professor at Brandywine, she offers students experience that in their opinion makes her more credible as a teacher.

“Knowing that your teacher has worked on something that’s actually on the market is extremely cool,” Ayesha Smith, a Brandywine student, said. “It makes you think your goals aren’t so far- fetched when you have a real life example of success telling you what to do.”

College students should take advantage of their instructors’ knowledge and get to know them outside the classroom. Professors are hired to pass along their experiences, tips and tools that students will need to succeed. New discoveries, even conversations, can spark an occupational interest for students that they didn’t know existed.

Students may be surprised at the similarities they have with the people they call professor.

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