2016-17 Novak Fellowship: Penn State Heritage Trees & Groves

By Chris Buchignani, October 2016

Do you love Penn State? Are you passionate about harnessing the power of film to tell compelling stories? Consider applying for the 2016-17 Novak Fellowship.

The 2016-17 Novak Fellowship sponsors creation of a video about Penn State’s Heritage Trees and Groves program. This year’s fellow will receive a $600 stipend. Prospective applicants interested in suggesting future projects are welcome to contact us at any time.

1459796_19824.jpgThe natural beauty of Penn State’s campus evokes the special spirit and character of the Nittany Valley. A student in interested in video production can gain experience and earn money documenting the University’s efforts to protect and preserve this precious resource.

During 2016-17 academic year, The Nittany Valley Society (NVS) Novak Fellow will produce a short (3-5 minutes) video highlighting key aspects of the Penn State Heritage Tree and Groves program for the Office of Physical Plant to use in promoting the program and the supporting endowment.

  • This program offers an exceptional Penn State student the chance to deepen their appreciation of local history and culture, while gaining the practical learning experience of producing a work product to client specifications.
  • The final product will be showcased by the University in promoting the Heritage Tree and Groves program.
  • The 2016-17 Novak Fellow will receive a $600 stipend.
  • NVS is committed to providing appropriate support for students seeking to earn internship/independent study credit through the program.

NVS will facilitate guidance from professionals in the community with multimedia production experience and assist with access to needed equipment and software. Applicants must:

  • possess interest/experience in multimedia production and familiarity with editing software
  • supply at least one piece of sample video production work for review
  • be available to consult and film on campus through the 2016-17 academic year

Interested students should contact NVS president Chris Buchignani with questions or requests for more information on the application process.

Contact: Chris Buchignani, President – chris@nittanyvalley.org

Background: As part of its mission of cultural conservation, The Nittany Valley Society (NVS) focuses attention on campus traditions, including the story of Old Willow. Inspired by a Nittany Valley Press publication, Penn State seniors Jordan Harris and Brenden Dooley nominated the current Willow for Heritage Tree classification (Town&Gown online, June ’14). NVS seeks to extend its impact in this arena by helping adapt an existing presentation on the Heritage Tree program, presented to our president and vice president in December 2013, into an attractive and compelling online video, produced through our Novak Fellowship program.

The Nittany Valley Society awards the Novak Fellowship annually to a Penn State student. The Novak Fellowship is an expression of The Nittany Valley Society’s mission to “foster a spirit of community across time.” Novak Fellows research the Nittany Valley’s past with the aim of surfacing and sharing little-known aspects of the community’s shared history with new generations.

Born in Johnstown in 1943, Ben Novak graduated from Penn State in 1965 after serving as student body president and as a brother at Tau Kappa Epsilon. After graduating from Georgetown University Law School in 1968, Novak served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, Infantry in Viet Nam where he won the Bronze Star. Returning to the Nittany Valley in 1970, Novak established his own law firm in State College and Bellefonte and practiced law in Pennsylvania for more than three decades. A visionary and indefatigable force, he has been, variously: author of three books, four-term Penn State trustee, founder of the Mount Nittany Conservancy; president of Lion’s Paw Alumni Association; a PhD recipient in philosophy, history, and political science; and an adjunct professor and assistant dean of students.