Year One at Penn State

I graduated from Mastery Charter School - Pickett Campus in 2018. That’s the same year I became a JMB Award recipient.

I chose Penn State not only because of its great reputation, but also because I felt like I was part of a loving, supportive family the first time I stepped foot on campus. Penn State also offered me a GREAT financial aid package, so of course I couldn’t resist. I‘m thinking about majoring in Human Development and Family Studies with a minor in Child Maltreatment.

The main thing I like about Penn State is its spirit. Whether it’s a pep rally, laser tag, or even a game night, Penn State always has something for me to take my mind off things.

My mentor Elena played a huge role in my first year.

Academically, my first year was AWESOME!! I made Dean's List both semesters and ended the year with a 3.8 GPA. I had prepared myself to fail. However, I didn’t have to struggle, and if I felt like I was on the verge of not understanding something, I used professors' office hours. The class I liked best was algebra, which came as a surprise because I hate math! I was lucky to get a professor who kept me engaged and genuinely wanted me to understand the material.

I didn’t really have a huge social life, by choice. I joined two organizations: the Caribbean Student Association and a women's empowerment group. Joining these groups allowed me to focus on my academics and still be part of some type of outside life. I met a few friends, and our bond has been unbreakable ever since.


Penn State is roughly four hours away from Philadelphia. My travel stipend from JMB Award helped tremendously with traveling back and forth between home and school. Without it, I would have been left with nothing at times. My mentor Elena also played a huge part in my first year. She ALWAYS made sure that things were going fine and I was being treated the way I am supposed to. The first few months at PSU, I had roommate issues, and Elena helped me solve them.

The JMB Award didn’t just help me financially, but physically, mentally, and emotionally as well. I am so grateful to be a part of something so astounding.

Davina Loibman
Davina Loibman is a 2019 awardee. She writes about her journey from Mastery Charter to Penn State Main.

2018_Davina Loibman.png