FTG 0018 - Football, Finance, and Faith with Gridiron Great Stefen Wisniewski '10 and Finance Pro Hilary Wisniewski '13

Episode 4 February 08, 2022 00:57:26
FTG 0018 - Football, Finance, and Faith with Gridiron Great Stefen Wisniewski '10 and Finance Pro Hilary Wisniewski '13
Following the Gong, a Podcast of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State
FTG 0018 - Football, Finance, and Faith with Gridiron Great Stefen Wisniewski '10 and Finance Pro Hilary Wisniewski '13

Feb 08 2022 | 00:57:26


Hosted By

Sean Goheen

Show Notes

In this episode, Hilary & Stefen Wisniewski share great stories and insights that can help any Scholar, and that will likely be of particular interest for student athletes & student leaders trying to juggle it all, those interested in careers in finance or in non-profits, scholars who will be starting new roles remotely, and students with a strong religious identity. It will also be of interest for fans of Penn State Football, the Philadelphia Eagles, and/or Kansas City Chiefs.

Guest Bios:

Stefen Wisniewski ’10 Education recently retired from a ten-year career in the National Football League playing on the offensive line for the Kansas City Chiefs (twice), Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the then-Oakland Raiders. He won Super Bowls LII with the Eagles and LIV with the Chiefs after being drafted 48th overall in the 2011 NFL draft by the Raiders. He played collegiately for the Nittany Lions, including a Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl berth in 2008 and a Capital One Bowl win in 2009. He was an ESPN Academic All-American in 2008, 2009, and 2010. He earned his BS in Secondary Education with a focus on English Communications with Honors from Penn State’s College of Education in 2010. Stefen is currently pursuing a Master of Divinity degree from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He plans to begin a career in Christian pastoral ministry.

Hilary (Ford) Wisniewski ’13 Liberal Arts is a remote Financial Analyst for the Dallas, TX based Seed Company, a non-profit that translates the Bible into mother-tongue dialects around the world where she manages projects in West Africa and an accounting internship program. Before joining them in 2017, she worked as a financial analyst for ExxonMobil in Houston, TX. She earned her BS in Economics and International Studies, minors in French and German, with Honors from Penn State’s College of the Liberal Arts in 2013. Her professional interests include non-profit management, cross-cultural training, and financial modeling.

Episode Specifics:

In our conversation, Hilary and Stefen share their experiences and insights on:

· Picking Penn State – and the Schreyer Honors College – for both academics and athletics

· Choosing your major – from economics to education

· The importance of developing your communication skills regardless of major

· Establishing priorities to achieve greatness in and out of the classroom

· Stefen’s reflections on playing for the Nittany Lions at Beaver Stadium

· The value of the living learning community in Atherton & Simmons Halls at University Park

· Making the most of funding opportunities to gain a global perspective by studying abroad and getting involved on campus

· Writing a thesis in a different major – and language!

· What it’s like being a professional athlete

· Lessons in discipline and resilience in an up and down profession

· Achieving the peak of your profession, like winning two Super Bowl rings with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs

· The importance of finding an anchor and purpose – for Stefen, through his faith

· Applying for opportunities regardless of which college at Penn State you graduate from

· Leveraging Penn State’s size to prepare for work in large corporation

· Challenges and opportunities as a trailing partner to someone whose career involves frequent moves

· Strategies for starting a job remotely for an in-person firm or non-profit

· Making the shift from a large corporation to a non-profit – what is different, and what translates

· Thoughts on respectful competition and competitors turned colleagues and working with people from different backgrounds and identities

· Moving on to a second career when the first one is time-limited


Schreyer Honors College Links: 




Upcoming Events 

Scholars – Need Assistance? Book an Appointment! 

Alumni – Learn Why and How to Volunteer 

Make a Gift to Benefit Schreyer Scholars 

Join the Penn State Alumni Association 


Credits & Notes:

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 under Creative Commons License. 

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

View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

Sean Goheen (Host) 00:00:01 Greeting scholars and welcome to Following the Gong, a podcast of the Schreyer Honors College at Penn State. *GONG SOUND EFFECT* Sean 00:00:12 Following the Gong takes you inside conversations with our Scholar Alumni to hear their story so you can gain career and life advice and expand your professional network. You can hear the true breadth of how Scholar Alumni have gone on to shape the world after they rang the gone and graduated with honors and learn from their experiences so you can use their insights in your own journey. This show is proudly sponsored by the Scholar Alumni Society, a constituent group of the Penn State Alumni Association. I'm your host, Sean Goheen, class of 2011, and college staff member. If this is your first time joining us, welcome. If you're a regular listener, welcome back. *GONG SOUND EFFECT* Sean 00:00:55 In this episode, Hilary and Stefen Wisnewski shared great stories and insights that can help any scholar and that will likely be of particular interest for student athletes and student leaders trying to juggle it. All those interested in careers in finance or in nonprofits, scholars who will be starting new roles remotely and students with a strong religious identity. It will also be of interest for fans of Penn State Football, the Philadelphia Eagles, and or Kansas City Chiefs. Stefen Wisnu class of 2010 recently retired from a 10 year career in the National Football League, playing on the offensive line for the Kansas City Chiefs, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles, Jacksonville Jaguars, and the then Oakland Raiders. He won Super Bowls 52 with the Eagles and 54 with the Chiefs after being drafted 40th overall in the 2011 N F L draft by the Raiders, he played collegially for the NIT lions, including a Big 10 championship in Rose Ball birth in 2008 and a Capital One Ball win in 2009. Sean 00:01:49 He was an ESPN academic All American in 2008, 2009 and 2010. He earned his BS in secondary education with a focus on English communications with honors from Penn State's College of Education. In 2010, he intends to return to school for a master of divinity degree. Hilary Wisniewski. Class of 2013 is a remote financial analyst for the Dallas, Texas Base C Company, a nonprofit that translates the Bible into mother ton dialects around the world where she manages projects in West Africa and an accounting internship program. Before joining them in 2017, she worked as a financial analyst for ExxonMobil in Houston. She earned her BSS in economics and international studies minors in French and German, with honors from Penn State's College of the Liberal Arts in 2013. Her professional interests include non-profit management, cross-cultural training and financial modeling. In our conversation, Hilary and Stefen share their experiences and insights on picking Penn State and the Schreyer Honors College for both academics and athletics, choosing your major from economics to education, the importance of developing your communication skills regardless of your major, establishing priorities to achieve greatness in and out of the classroom. Sean 00:02:55 Stefen's reflections on playing for the NI lions at Beaver Stadium, the value of the living learning community in Atherton and Simmons Halls at University Park, making the most of funding opportunities to gain a global perspective by studying abroad and getting involved on campus. They also talk about writing a thesis in a different major and language, what it's like being a professional athlete, lessons in discipline and resilience in an up and down profession, achieving the peak of your profession. And yes, we'll talk about winning the Super Bowl with the Philadelphia Eagles and Kansas City Chiefs. The importance of finding an anchor and purpose for Stefen through his faith, applying for opportunities regardless of which College of Penn State you graduate from. Leveraging Penn State's size to prepare for work in large corporations, challenges and opportunities as a trailing partner to someone whose career involves frequent moves. Sean 00:03:43 Strategies for starting a job remotely for an in-person firm or non-profit, making the shift from a large corporation to a non-profit. What is different and what translates thoughts on respectful competition and competitors turn colleagues and working with people from different backgrounds and identities. We also talk about moving on to a second career, when the first one is time limited. Being humble and opening yourself up to learning and to mentoring, finding community involvement even when you have to move frequently. Taking advantage of all the opportunities the college has to offer and embracing a humble growth mindset in everything you do all the time. With that, let's dive into our conversation with Stefen and Hilary Wisniewski. *GONG SOUND EFFECT* Sean: Hilary, Stefen, thank you so much for joining us here today on following the Gone. Really appreciate you both coming on, getting thumbs up. Thank you. I wanna get started really early here and really set the stage for your shared journey. How did you two first meet? Stefen 00:04:44 Me and Hilary have known each other since we were little kids, um, like first grade, second grade. Um, our families were good friends. I was good friends with her brother, she was good friends and played soccer for 10 years with my sister, so we kind of knew each other, you know, growing up, um, went to the same middle school and um, our families were close, you know, good friends went to church together, but, uh, we didn't start dating until long after, uh, college and we, we ended up at, at Penn State together as well. So we kind of knew each other friends, but, uh, didn't start, didn't start dating till till much later. Sounds Sean 00:05:25 Like your college stories will be a little bit more individual and then your, your stories will come together throughout this conversation. Stefen, you're a little bit older, so I'm gonna start with you. Can you tell us about your recruitment process and how you came to pick not only Penn State, but also the Schreyer Honors College as part of that? Yeah, Stefen 00:05:43 So when I was looking at schools, obviously, I mean, I had a lot of factors. You know, football was a big factor for me, but I also wanted to get a great education and, you know, education's always been something I took really seriously. Finished third my class in high school and wanted to not just play football at a great place, but go somewhere where I could get a great education. And, you know, as I was getting recruited by Penn State, I I started to learn about the Schreyer Honors College and it just, it sounded like a perfect fit for me in that I could, you know, play football at a big time, division one program and also just getting absolutely, you know, amazing elite education. And so as I started looking around, I, I realized like, man, Penn State it, you really can't beat that combination, uh, for an athlete of, of having the opportunity to play football in the Big 10, you know, play for a, a great program like Penn State and, and also get the, the great academics that I got in the Schreyer Honors College. Sean 00:06:40 I would definitely say I appreciate hearing that as a, a staff member in the college, and I'm sure Coach Paterno probably would've appreciated hearing that as well. Now, Hilary, how did you come to pick and study at Penn State? Like Hilary 00:06:52 Many people that end up at Schreyer when I was applying to schools, I applied all over the map, I thought, and I wasn't focused on, on sports obviously, so mine was purely academic. I wanted the best education I could, I could find, and like many people I thought I needed to go to a private school that was very small and, and a lot more expensive than a state school. And it's funny, Stepan and I had been friends and he said, well, have you thought about Penn State? And I said, you know, I've applied, I'm not sure. And he said, well, why don't you look at Schreyer? And he kind of explained to me all the benefits and just the great education that he was receiving while at school here. So he's kind of the reason I applied to Schreyer. He's the reason I found out about it. Hilary 00:07:30 And, and like he said, it's kind of the perfect combination. I think a lot of Schreyer kids students would say that it's the perfect combination. You get to be at a large state school with big sports and all the amenities of being at a big state university, but you get the small school feel of, of the private, you know, the honors college feel. So I loved the combination and, and that's how I ended up there. Um, and then I studied economics, so I, I didn't wanna be in business, but I, I love calculus, which not many people love calculus. I guess a lot of schreyer kids probably do. I loved calculus. So I think I liked the combination of, of theoretical economics with, with the calculus and the computer science involved. So that's how I ended up studying economics as well. Sean 00:08:11 Well Stefen, thank you for being an ambassador on behalf of the college back in the day, helping Hilary find her place here. Now I'm curious, what were your career ambitions coming into college, Stefen, and how did your choice of major inform those post-college plans for you? Yeah, Stefen 00:08:28 So I, I thought I had an awesome, uh, English teacher my senior year of high school. His name was Mr. Burnett and I just, I just loved what he did and I feel like he wasn't just teaching English, he was trying to help us kind of grow as, as people and, uh, develop our character, have us thinking about kind of big life questions. And I just thought, man, wouldn't that be cool to, to teach high school English? I'd probably be a, I would've been a, you know, high school football coach as well, but really just try to have an impact on the kids. And that's what I thought I wanted to do. So I, I studied, uh, secondary education, English communications option and I really loved it. Um, student taught for a whole year at State College High, which was an awesome experience and enjoyed, you know, teaching there for a year. Stefen 00:09:11 And, um, while I'll probably never, you know, teach in a high school setting, um, maybe I'll get into coaching at some point, maybe not, but I'm glad I studied education. I feel like I, I learn how people learn and I, I learn how to communicate and explain things well. And I feel like no matter what you do in life, like those are tremendously helpful things to know, um, to know how people learn, to know how to communicate effectively and, and teach things. And, uh, I, I've used that, you know, in my life so far and I, I know I'll continue to use it even if I don't ever teach in a formal high school setting. Yeah, Sean 00:09:46 I imagine this is gonna come up later in our conversation when we pivot to post football and your kind of career plans going forward. But while we're still on your collegiate days, how did you balance the demands of being a D one athlete at a big time college football program like Penn State with the demands of being a scholar? Well, you were also involved in other areas of campus life, so how did you balance that and do you have any favorite memories and learning experiences that you could share with our current students? Stefen 00:10:13 It was definitely tough to, to fit everything I wanted to do in, um, I mean, I was trying to be a great student, a great football player and be involved in, in these other campus groups. And what I always tell people is that it comes down to priorities. Um, you can get kind of the most important thing and second most important thing you want to get done, but you gotta have it ranked so that you kind of know how you make your decisions, what are you gonna prioritize, what are you gonna really make sure you get done? And at the end of the day, what I tell kind of football players is like, you might have less time for fun like that, and that's okay. Um, if you're really trying to put in a lot of hours, being great at a football player and putting in a lot of hours to be a great student, like you might have to play less video games and hang out with your friends less, but like, I, I think it's worth it. And that's, that's a decision every kid has to make. Whatcha are gonna prioritize, what are you gonna emphasize? But, uh, in life there's, there's gonna be time to get your, your top two priorities done. Maybe you got a little time for a third, but, um, it's all about choosing what's most important to you. Sean 00:11:12 Absolutely. I've worked with students in the past and what I've always said is, you know, if you're a student here, academics needs to be top priority your family, and if you are a person of faith, we'll throw that in there as well as a, for a kind of top priority. And then all those other things you have to choose which pieces of your involvement are really important to you after that. So really, really good advice. Stefen, do you have a favorite memory that you wanted to share from either your playing days or something else on campus? Yeah, Stefen 00:11:40 I think from playing football, it pretty, pretty clearly, I would say in 2008, my sophomore year we played Michigan State at home. It was the last game of the year. We were 10 and one, and if we won the game we would've been Big 10 champions. So, you know, we play Michigan State, we win and we smashed them like it was a blowout, which is cool 'cause you got to enjoy the second half 'cause we were winning by so much and they had roses on the field for us 'cause we were going to the Rose Bowl and got the, you know, hold the Big 10 championship trophy after the game. So that was an amazing experience for me. Um, I mean, playing in Beaver Stadium every time I got a chance was, was an amazing experience, but to get to do that and win a championship with the crowd going nuts, it was even like snowing a little bit. Stefen 00:12:25 It was just like the coolest like football day it could be. And um, yeah, that was, that was a blast. But obviously just getting to play in front of 108,000 people every Saturday was an unbelievable experience. I'll, I'll never forget that. And I really think that's kind of the coolest atmosphere in football. I don't usually admit this publicly, but it, it, I think it's kind of cooler than N F L stadiums. Um, I mean there's some, there's some cool N F L stadiums and obviously some great places to play, but something special about Happy Valley on a game day. Man, I, I don't know, it's, it's hard to explain, but I, I loved it. Sean 00:13:00 No, I totally get it. I think there's something about the pageantry is the word you often see around college football and there's something special about those Saturdays all across the country, but especially here in Happy Valley. And I just looked up the score of that game, the eight ranked Penn State nit Lions won 49 to 18 over the 15th ranked Michigan State Spartans that day. Um, and so not only did you get to raise the beautiful Land-Grant trophy, but also the Big 10 trophy. Hilary 00:13:26 And at the time, at the time, Stefen, that was like the nicest championship ring you you got. So I guess more to come, but <laugh> Sean 00:13:34 Definitely. And so Hilary, I want to hear a little bit about your experiences as a student. So I know you had some opportunities from our questionnaire to live out some of the mission tenets in the college of both building a global perspective and creating opportunities for leadership with some of your involvement. Can you tell us about what you did and what you got out of those experiences coming Hilary 00:13:54 Into Penn State as a freshman can be kind of intimidating, right? You're at a giant university, lots of new people, you don't know anyone. Um, and for me as a scholar, I really benefited. I lived in honors housing my first few years at Penn State. I really benefited from the community in Atherton, getting to know other scholars, getting to know other people in your major. It was, it was a good, it was a good place to land at a unfamiliar place, if you will. So I, I benefited from that. And then also I took advantage. Um, Schreyer helped fund me to, I studied abroad. I mean, I went abroad three times and Schreyer helped me fund that. So I spent a summer in Africa in came Maroon. Um, and they helped fund that. And then I spent two semesters abroad. Um, and they, they got kind of creative with me and I, and I loved that about Schreyer is that they allowed me, I took a leave of absence from Penn State for a year so I could directly enroll in these foreign universities. Hilary 00:14:44 So I had advisors that would, I'd call them once I got there and say, does this class match up to what I needed to count for? And they were, they were really flexible with me and I was in two different countries with different languages and they would find someone that could translate a, a syllabus and make sure that they, they matched. So I, I loved the flexibility that they provided and it gave me unbelievable experiences abroad. I was in France and in Germany and I spent a year there. Um, so that was just a really good benefit. Um, and the attention that I needed from my advisors and from the honors college to help me do that was unbelievable. Sean 00:15:16 Amazing opportunities that definitely are impacting what you're doing now, but we'll get to that in a little bit. What about when you were on campus? Was there any kind of groups that you were involved with? You know, obviously Stefen was playing football. What kind of clubs and organizations were you a part of? Hilary 00:15:29 So Stefenie and I were both involved with Campus Crusade, which is a Christian ministry on campus. I think we both served as leaders, um, in that organization. So leading groups, mentoring younger students. I, I really loved that I was mentored by someone in the, in the organization. And then I ended up mentoring a group of, of younger women. Um, so I really benefited from that. And then also with the honors college, I helped a little bit with the recruiting and the summer orientation, the orientation to start every year for freshmen. So I was involved with that as well. Awesome. Sean 00:15:57 And I think that's great that you were paying it forward, um, both in the college and in the kind of the broader campus community with crew. So obviously there are academics. And for a quick hit for both of you, do you remember your thesis and what you wrote about and more importantly, what you learned from writing those thesis? Stefen 00:16:15 Yeah, so my, my topic was big concept. They call it moral education or character education. Basically the idea that, you know, in the context of of education, you're trying to develop morality, critical decision making, processing right, wrong, what, what kind of decisions you're gonna make in life. And I, I was studied how to do that in the context of a, a high school English classroom studying literature and just tried to develop kind of, uh, a way to do that around a book or two and just try to get kids making decisions, trying to think out things before they do 'em. And it was fun. I mean, it's challenging to try to, you know, you're trying to get inside the head of a a 16 year old and trying to think how do they think, how do they reason, how do they make, make moral decisions? But just the process of trying to get them to delve into actions and consequences and getting them to think about kind of how that determines their life is, is I think, something that can be beneficial because so many kids just, they kind of do things and don't think about it, to be honest. Um, so getting them to delve into that and trying to develop, you know, their moral decision making. Hilary 00:17:20 Yeah, my, my thesis wasn't actually in my major and I liked the benefit of the scholar program that allows you to explore a thesis that you might not, it might not line up with exactly what you're doing in your career, but something you're very passionate about. So when I was in France, I was, I took a literature class about a French philosopher Dero. And, um, I was able to do my thesis research when I was in France. And then when I, when I brought it back, I, I did, um, my thesis in French literature. So I did a comparative literature analysis of a couple of deros writings, and it was an awesome experience to do something a little outside of the box of my economics major. I had a great advisor and it was a fun experience. I don't know if many people would say writing in a different language, you know, a 50 page thesis is fun, but for me, I, I enjoyed it. Sean 00:18:05 I think that's the type of thing our scholars like to take on those challenges and putting yourself out of your comfort zone. Now we're gonna get into the football part of this podcast, which is obviously a, a big thing, uh, in your life and career, Stefen. So you played in the N F L for 10 years and you just recently retired, and that is well beyond the average for most offensive linemen. You've played for several teams across the country, some that were not playoff teams, others where you reached the absolute pinnacle of the sport. Can you tell us about the ups and downs of pursuing a career as a professional athlete? And I'd be particularly interested for our students to hear about moving around and having both active seasons, off seasons and how you approached that different waves of activity throughout the year. Yeah, Stefen 00:18:47 I mean, it's definitely a, it's a weird job and it's, it's very challenging. I always tell people it's, it's a really hard job, but it's, it's a good job. I mean, it's very physically demanding, mentally demanding. Uh, I tell people, you know, it's, it's the kind of job where every day you gotta show up at work and you gotta be ready to go a hundred miles an hour because if you're not, some guy's going a hundred miles an hour trying to crush me, run me over, take my job, make me look bad, it requires a lot of endurance, kind of mental strength. You, it's really a mental toughness contest and mental endurance, I guess I would say. 'cause you gotta do it every day, every day. But like you said, it's, it's like that in season. It's super intense for five months of the year, and then the offseason, you know, the other seven months, you're still working, you're still training, but it's not quite as intense. Stefen 00:19:31 So you gotta learn how to balance. I'm, I'm going a hundred miles an hour every day, and then the off season, all right, I gotta take it down a notch. I gotta recover, I gotta take care of my body, I gotta take care of my mind, take care of my heart, kind of restore, rejuvenate, and, and be ready to go, you know, back full speed the next time the season comes around. So there's definitely an, an art to understanding the mindset of it and just how to prepare your body, how to prepare your mind for the, the rigors of a season. But like you said, it's, it's a long process, a a whole n f l career. There's, there's times where, I mean, I was on some really bad teams, you know, we won three games, four games outta 16, and it was frustrating. I mean, I, I'm just used to winning in college, winning in high school. Stefen 00:20:12 So for me to like, I'm still putting in the same work, the same effort, trying to be great every day and, and to not see the results as a team was frustrating. Um, in fact, my first six years didn't have a winning season at one point, lost 16 games in a row, which is like just the ultimate depressions as an athlete. Finished one season, oh, and six as a Raider and then the next season we started oh and 10. And it's just like, man, I don't even remember what it feels like to win. Like, this is, this is rough. But my seventh season is actually, I married Hilary before my seventh season and then it's crazy. All of a sudden I started winning. Um, so I, I say that Hilary's my good luck charm. 'cause af before I married Hilary zero winning Season zero playoffs. Stefen 00:20:54 And since marrying Hilary four playoff appearances, three Super Bowls appearances and, and two wins. So she's been my good luck charm. And, uh, addition to a lot of other things, definitely kind of went from losing to winning and even after winning the, the Eagle Super Bowl, I mean, kind of had some, some tough times after that. Got benched, I believe unfairly, and then got cut by the Eagles, ended up unemployed for a while, kind of waiting around training, waiting, get signed by the chiefs and sure enough, go win another Super Bowl. So it really was a rollercoaster of a career for me. But my attitude was always, and it's hard because so much of my career is just outta my control. You know, there's, there's so much I can control, but whether a team wants to cut you or bench it, it's not always based on performance and kind of how you're, what team wants to sign you, where, where you end up moving in the country is not necessarily really up to your control. Stefen 00:21:50 So, so much of it I just believe is like, you know what my mindset was, I'm gonna be the best player I can every day. I'm gonna have a growth mindset. I'm gonna always be trying to improve. I'm gonna try to be the hardest working guy and every team I'm on, I'm gonna try to have the best attitude of every team I'm on. I'm gonna be always trying to learn. So football's a physical sport, but there's a lot of mental side to it, right? Understanding defenses, schemes, X's and o's angles, anticipating what a defense is gonna do. And so much of that can be learned and grown over time and just different techniques of how to block people. You know, it, it might look simple on tv, but whether you make a block or not is kind of dependent on whether your foot moved six inches in one direction or six inches in another, whether your body positions slightly off, slightly on. Stefen 00:22:32 And, um, just the analytics of that as some was always, always trying to grow at. But essentially my, my attitude was, you know what, I'm gonna do the best I can every day. I'm gonna try to grow and I'm just gonna leave the rest up to God was basically how I thought of it. You know, I can control maybe 10% of what's going on in, in my football career, but I believe God is sovereign. He's got control of the other 90%. And I tried to just submit it up to him, but, uh, it, it was crazy with some of the ups and downs, but during the downs, you know, my, my faith in Christ really is what carried me through. And during the ups, I mean, God was, was still the best part of my life, even in the ups. But the ups were pretty fun, I gotta say. Stefen 00:23:09 Um, we'll talk about those for a little bit. Uh, man winning a Super Bowl is, is an unbelievable experience. And, uh, being a Philadelphia Eagle was really cool. You know, I, I'm from Pittsburgh, but, you know, played at Penn State. I'm a Pennsylvania guy, so it was really cool to be in that city. I mean, unbelievable football city. I mean, that city was losing their minds during that process, kind of before the Super Bowl and, and after, yeah, you, uh, you're an Eagles fan, right? So you were pretty excited. But man, it, I mean, that city lost their minds. Like it was, it was so much fun. I think it's cool anytime to win a Super Bowl, but like, that was the Eagle's first Super Bowl ever. So like those people were, I've never seen people that excited in my life. I mean, that Super Bowl parade was one of the, one of the best days of my life. Stefen 00:23:53 Just the energy, the, the joy of the fans. And just like the, when Eagles fans would like, thank me for, you know, being a part of winning those super, like it was the most genuine, heartfelt thanks. Like, people thanked me as if I was a doctor who like cured their child of cancer. 'cause like, it was like they were waiting for a, they were waiting for a cure for this disease for 50 years or 60 years, basically, however long they've been alive. If they're Eagles fans, right, they're waiting for someone to, to bring 'em the Super Bowl. And the fact that I was a part of that, it, it was so cool to just be genuinely thanked by all the Eagles fans, but man, what a, what a whirlwind that season was. Man, we, we start off playing great, winning lots of games. We're the number one c we're the favorite. Stefen 00:24:34 Everybody thinks we're gonna win the Super Bowl. And, and we have some injuries, you know, most notably to quarterback Carson Wentz and a bunch of other players get hurt too. And then, you know, the sentiment of most people is that, well, they can't win a Super Bowl. They got their backup quarterback, they got all these injuries, they can't do it. And sure enough, we, we embraced the underdog mindset, even wearing underdog masks, uh, as many of our fans did, which was pretty cool. But we fed off that, you know, we didn't care what anybody else thought about what our chances were. We just, we believed we were gonna win it and we didn't let anyone tell us otherwise. So it was fun to go through that underdog in the first round of the playoffs, underdog and NFC Championship underdog to Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. And just one by one beat the Falcons, beat the Vikings, and sure enough beat the, the greatest of all time Tom Brady in the Super Bowl. So as many Super Bowls as Tom has, uh, I'm happy to know he has won less because of me and our, and our Eagles team. So yeah, that was, that was an unbelievable, unbelievable experience and, uh, so blessed, I gotta be a part of that. Hilary 00:25:30 Yeah, and I would say to Stefen's credit, winning a people like hearing from an N F L player, but winning a Super Bowl really opened the doors for him to be able to go and speak to young athletes, to young men and to, to share that, you know, um, I guess to share how to, how to learn, how to be a leader, how to learn, how to be consistent in, in being a standup guy. And he, he really took advantage of being able to speak to, to coach at young, young player football camps, to really pour into other people, um, and to kind of share the, the gift of winning a Super Bowl and, and giving advice to other people that really, really took it to heart. Sean 00:26:02 I think that's a great point, Hilary. And circling back to the beginning of your, your comment, Stefen Hilary, thank you. 'cause it sounds like everybody in Philadelphia and in Kansas City can thank you for being a part of this and helping <laugh> Exactly. Hilary 00:26:15 Right. Sean 00:26:17 But as, as an Eagles fan, which Stefen was seeing me fist pump on, on camera here, I wanna say thank you. One of the best days of my life, short of the birth of my child and my wedding day, I remember it was just after I moved back to Pennsylvania, I got to watch it with my mom who got me into sports, which was crazy. She just walked outside and just screamed at the top of her lungs. And I'm sure that was just like millions of other people, um, who bleed green. So thank you for that. I don't wanna dwell too much on my Eagles fandom, but I did wanna actually try to bring up something that you had mentioned. You talked about your faith. And I'd be curious, you know, I listened to another podcast interview that you did a few months back before Super Bowl 55, and you talked a lot about how your faith impacted your career as an N F L player. And I'd love to hear just a little bit more on what it's like in an industry where there's so many distractions and so much, you know, the, the paychecks are rather large for some players and, you know, be distractions and how your, your faith impacted your, um, ability to not also as a student, how, you know, that's a big part of your identity. And I'd love to just dig a little bit deeper into that real quickly. Stefen 00:27:23 Yeah, absolutely. Um, so essentially, I, I think my faith in Christ really helped me stay grounded during all the things that happened to me during my career. Um, like I said, there's a lot of ups and downs. There's a lot of like, challenges to your identity, right? As an athlete, and this is true in, in a lot of careers, like your identity can become so wrapped up in what you do, that when things don't go so well for what you're doing, it can like kind of shake you to your core, right? If, if your whole identity's wrapped up in what you do and all of a sudden you know, you're underperforming, you're injured, you get fired, whatever it, it can like really shake you. And it, at times like that, it comes down to like, well, what's your foundation? You know, what's, what's that thing that really kind of supports you and anchors you? Stefen 00:28:06 And, and if, if we don't have a solid anchor, I, I think we get, we get crushed, you know? But, uh, for me, my anchor was my faith in Christ. And even when things were going really badly, I, I really believe that, that God loved me, that he was with me, that, that I could trust him, that he, he is a good God and that I, uh, that he works all things for my good is, is what it says in the Bible, uh, to those who love God. God works all things for our good. So having those kind of truths of the Bible that I studied, meditated on and tried to live out those, those were kind of my anchor talking about who God is. And it really, to me that that was my support, um, during tough times. But that was my guide. You know, I I really try to live my life based on the principles of the Bible, and that kind of guides everything I do. Stefen 00:28:54 And it's, it's made the bad times way better. 'cause I, I believe that, that Jesus is with me and, and carrying me, but even in the good times, uh, God's been my joy and my relationship with him is, is truly better than even winning Super Bowls, having success and fame and all that stuff. So it's, uh, it's definitely been my guide in tough times and it's, it's been my joy in, in good times. But like you said, it, it also helps to eliminate from distractions because like you said, you know, there's a lot of money in football and there's a lot of potential distractions that, that can kind of pull you away from being the best football player you can be. But, um, you know, I, I try to look at, at money as a gift from God. And you know, that ultimately I believe that, that all I have is ultimately God's. Stefen 00:29:38 I'm a steward of it, but he owns it. And I believe I'll be held accountable for what I did with my life, what I did with my wealth, what I did with my time. So I don't, I don't waste it on myself. Obviously I'm allowed to spend a little bit on myself, but I try to use it, uh, to bless others. And me and Hilary have, have done a lot of that and enjoyed doing that, blessing others with, with the money God's given us. But like Hilary mentioned earlier, also using my time to, to try to teach others and bless others because ultimately, you know, I just believe God's completely changed my life. So I try to share that with others and, and use that to be a blessing to others. Sean 00:30:13 I think that's really inspirational. And even if you are not necessarily a person of faith, I think you used a really good word in there, which is an anchor. So finding something that really helps ground you, especially if you go on to be really successful and something that can help root you and keep you in a place where you have perspective. Hilary, I wanna give you a little bit of a chance to shine here after we've heard, um, Stefen's story to date. You come out of college and you start working for ExxonMobil, and I want to hear a little bit about that. And then if you can share about the really cool opportunity that you are working on now post ExxonMobil. Hilary 00:30:49 So, when I was a senior at Penn State, I was interviewing and just trying to decide where my career would start. And it's interesting because Exxon came to Penn State and was interviewing students for a finance or an accounting role. And I wasn't in the business school, but I applied for it anyway. And I remember walking into my interview, and it was a Schreyer alum that was interviewing me that worked for Exxon. And he said, I know you're not in the business school, but I know what it takes to be a scholar, and I know that you'll be qualified. So that was a cool start, um, to have someone knowing what the Honors College brought to the table in terms of my interviewing capabilities. So yes, I started at Exxon, um, right out of school. And because I had an econ and computer science background, they put me in more of a data analytics role as opposed to just a finance role. Hilary 00:31:32 So I was creating analytic tools and to do their financial reporting, which, which was a really cool environment, you know, you're creating new things, you're, you're innovating, you're finding efficiencies. And I loved that part of the job. Um, and it reached all across the company, which was really cool and a good start, you know, working at this large corporation. Um, and it certainly was an intense environment, you know, it's, it's competitive. And, and I think being at Penn State with so many students, you know, I, I felt very prepared for it. I felt like the honors College prepared me for the rigor that would be in my first job, to the point where I was, I was innovating and creating tools they hadn't had before. And, uh, one of the coolest things was, was about six months into my job, I had created a, a reporting tool, um, using analytics and using coding. Hilary 00:32:15 And I got to present it in front of the c f o of the company only six months into my job, which that was a really cool achievement and just such a cool place to be, right? Six months into a job. So I worked at Exxon for, for three years in that role. And then when Stefen and I got married, his N F L career at first kind of had to drive, had to drive where we were going to live, where I was gonna move. And it, and at first it was, it was a little frustrating, right? I had to give up my career at Exxon 'cause I had to move. We've moved eight times in our marriage for his job. So at first it was, there was definitely some humility that I had to, had to wrap my mind around where I had to move because of him. Hilary 00:32:51 But I didn't want my ambitions or my career goals to suffer. So I took some time to figure out what I wanted to do and, and given his job and the freedom that it gave me to pursue something, um, that I'm passionate about, I wanted to find something where I could use my talents and my skills, and also where there's a need, um, and something I'm interested in. So I found a nonprofit, it's called the Seed Company, and they do bible translation. So they preserve mother tongue languages around the world. There's 2000 languages in the world that have no Bible translated in their language. Not a single verse of scripture. A lot of people don't know that. But I loved that I could come to something I'm passionate about with my faith and also where I could bring my skillset to the table. So bringing them data analytics, bringing in finance and accounting, and help, um, kind of more of a consultant role and, and eventually taking on projects and managing projects for them. Hilary 00:33:42 Um, and also the coolest thing about my job now is that I started an internship program in West Africa. So I have eight to 10 interns that I'm training to be financial analysts. Um, so I was able to create a program for them, teach them how to go from being a bookkeeper to being a financial analyst. And most of them have very little computer training, very little accounting training. So it's just been amazing to be a part of, you know, I'm, I'm helping them to learn how to have a sustainable job and, and to learn to stand on their own and, and become an analyst. And, and that's, it gives me such joy to be able to pour into other people and to be in an opportunity where I can do that even in a time right now where the, the world has been crazy the past two years, and even in that time, I'm teaching them on Zoom and they're still able to learn. So it's been a humbling and, and very rewarding, rewarding job. It might not have been maybe the career path, I would've thought I would be going down, uh, when I started at Exxon, but I wouldn't change it. And, and I love the opportunity I have now. Sean 00:34:40 No, I saw that the company that you work for is based in Texas, but you're all back in Pennsylvania now. And so you've had a little bit of a chance before the pandemic started to experience remote work, and a lot of our students are going to start probably in remote jobs. Can you offer any practical advice for students who might be starting, you know, they graduate, they get job number one, and they're onboarding as a remote employee, or perhaps they have a remote internship. How can they adapt to an office, get to know their teammates, their company culture over Zoom? Yeah, Hilary 00:35:12 It was definitely challenging because I started in an environment where everyone was in person except for me. And that was especially challenging. Right now, a lot of more people are virtual. Um, the advice I would give in terms of your own work, I think Stefen mentioned this earlier, it's all about prioritizing, right? You're working from home, it's easy to get distracted, um, but setting goals for yourself, what am I gonna get done today? It's really as simple as that, is keeping your priorities in check your deadlines in check in terms of your personal work. Now, in terms of getting to know teammates, I find in today's world, if you're willing to set up a meeting, 30 minutes on Zoom to get to know someone, most people are more than willing to do that. Um, and that's what, that's what I have to do. You have to be active and pursue it, and you have to put in the time. Um, but it goes a long way. And, and just even getting to know someone, just spending 30 minutes and setting up a meeting with someone at the company that may be in a different role than you, maybe is more experienced than you, you can learn a lot, um, just from little bits of time. And I, I think at least for me, most people are willing to, to share time, but you have to be actively pursuing it. You have to be willing to, to put in that time yourself. Sean 00:36:13 And then a final question about your, your current role. It seems like it's a kind of a cross between a nonprofit and a tech startup in its own way. And you were at a massive global company, hundreds of thousands of employees, huge presence, brand name. What was that like, switching from that type of environment to the nonprofit slash tech startup space that you're in? What, what, what drew you to that? Hilary 00:36:37 Definitely a different world, right? So at Exxon, there's a lot of resources available. And when you shift to a nonprofit, there's, there's some humility in that, right? There's, there's not as much resource. You have to be more creative, and you're dealing with different skillsets at times, and you're working at, I'm working cross-culturally every day. So there's challenges in it. I, I think I like the challenge aspect of it. Um, but the analysis, the, the analysis skills, I think stay the same. Right? At Exxon, I was creating new things that they had never used before. Even if you should switch industries, the switch the size of your company, that analysis, that finding efficiencies, finding creative, creative ways to do things doesn't change. So I'm still able to bring that creative mind, um, to create new things and new tools to make processes better. I think that transfers really well. Hilary 00:37:23 Now, when I was at Exxon, you're working at this giant company, and then I switched jobs and six months later I'm in West Africa teaching someone how to use Excel. There's good and bad to the right that, but, um, I really enjoy it. I enjoy the grassroots level, and I enjoy, um, working at a, at a place where they're using technology in new ways that have never been done before. It really opens up the door to, to finding creative new ways to do things. And I, and I love that about the company I work for. Now. Sean 00:37:49 Now, Stefen, I have a unique question for you in this space. Now, you played on some teams that had heavy rivalries. You were with the Raiders, and I know there's intense rivalries with the Broncos and the chiefs who you later went on to play for, and you were an eagle. And obviously the whole N F C East are rivals. Those folks who are your competitors, could be your teammate down the road. How do you approach that kind of dynamic? Yeah, that's Stefen 00:38:10 A really interesting question. Um, to be honest, I, I've never been asked that before. So props to you for coming up with a, an original question, and then I've been asked a lot of questions in my life. I think the way I approach that, in the way in general, we approach that is like, you know, when they're your enemy, they're your enemy. I mean, you're competing against them. You're trying to win, probably try not to be too much of a jerk to 'em, you know, I'm trying hard to, to get the job done, but without, you know, hurting anybody or generally being a jerk. But the way that football works is, you know, you could switch teams at any time. The people you're playing against could switch teams at any time. So basically, whoever's wearing your jersey at the time is your teammate, is your friend, is your brother and whoever's wearing the other jersey, even if maybe you played with them before, they're your enemy for three hours, and you can go back to being friends after that. Stefen 00:38:56 But, um, I mean, I've definitely had some guys join my team that I was like, oh, I, I didn't really like that guy, you know, when he was on another team. But you know, once they're on your team, you embrace 'em, you love him, you support him, you work with him. I think you just kind of have to be willing to kind of accept people and be willing to work with whoever gets put next to you. Um, maybe you didn't like that person in the past when they were your opponent. Maybe they played at your rival school, you know, but you gotta be able, willing to put all any differences aside and, and work together with anybody, which is one of the things I loved about the N F L is that, I mean, there are people from so many different backgrounds, different ethnicities, different socioeconomic upbringings and guy guys from different countries. I mean, I've played with guys from London and guys from different, different places, and it's like, it's really cool to see a group of people from such a diverse background. It's kind of come together and work toward a common goal. And that's the goal ultimately of any organization. But it's, it's something that was really cool about football to get to meet people from just so many different parts of the country, different walks of life and different upbringings and, and come together to, to work toward a common goal. Sean 00:40:05 I think that's great advice. I know most folks listening are probably not gonna play professional football, but I think it's equally good advice for whether it is your professional job, if you get involved in the p t a later, whatever it is you're doing, to take that advice from Stepan there, from the football field to your own life. Now, Hilary was telling us about her career transition. Hers was by choice, but you were a professional football player and at some point, you know, that you have to hang up your cleats. How did you go about developing your post-football plan and what do you have down the road as your next step in life? Yeah, Stefen 00:40:38 Absolutely. So, you know, like you said, every football player knows that's gonna end at some point. So I had been thinking about it for a number of years. You know, what I might do with, you know, the rest of my life. I mean, I'm 32 and have a lot of time left. And essentially I feel like what I'm trying to do is match up. You know, what I'm good at, you know, what I'm gifted at, with what I enjoy doing, what I'm passionate about, and then also trying to think about what's gonna serve the world. Um, what's not only gonna maybe help me or my family, but I, I wanna, I wanna help others. I wanna serve, I wanna be a blessing to others. So trying to match up those three things is, is kind of my goal. And, you know, personally, I've spent a lot of time during my N F L career, um, kind of teaching the Bible, leading Bible studies, preaching to football teams, youth groups, men's groups, church groups, whatever. Stefen 00:41:35 I enjoy doing that. I think I'm gifted at that. And I, I think that that serves others and is a blessing to others. So I, I think that's definitely gonna be a big part of what I do next. Um, which, you know, call it being a pastor or call it Christian ministry, whatever that might be. I, I don't know exactly kind of how I'm gonna fit into that yet. There's a lot of different, you know, ways you can try to serve others in that, in that context. But, uh, essentially the next step for me is, is gonna be to go to grad school. Um, I wanna learn and I want to be an effective minister, you know, if that's what I'm gonna do the rest of my life. So I want to go to grad school and, um, I think I'm gonna be pursuing, they call it a Master's of Divinity. Stefen 00:42:17 It's a three year master's program, um, where you, you study the Bible, you study it in depth. I'm gonna study Hebrew and Greek, you know, the, the languages that the old New Testament were written in so that I can better, you know, analyze, study the Bible in their original languages. I'm gonna learn kind of how to run a church, how to, how to preach, how to teach the Bible, how to counsel others from a biblical perspective. So it's, it's gonna be a lot. I'm excited. Um, I haven't, you know, taken a class since, since college, uh, it's been 10 years, so I'm sure I'll be a little rusty. But I'm excited to get back into the academic world and, uh, start learning, start reading, start writing papers again, Sean 00:42:58 I love hearing that you are focused on how you can help shape the world, which is our tagline here in the Honors college and continuing the academic excellence. Now, we're gonna go into the tail end of our conversation here with just some kind of rapid fire, reflective kind of questions, and we'll wrap up with our fun one, which if you're a regular listener, you know, what'll be coming at the end. Biggest success to date for both of you. And I think I might know the answer for you, Stefen, but, uh, curious nonetheless to hear your perspective. So Hilary, what was your biggest success so far? Hilary 00:43:28 Gosh, my biggest success, um, I would've to say at, at Exxon, I developed a tool that allowed five people to change their jobs. I got rid of a department and they were moving on to different jobs. So I created a tool that created a five person efficiency. I thought that was pretty cool. Stefen 00:43:44 Yeah. And, uh, mine, big surprise. But, uh, you know, winning two Super Bowls, it's, uh, the pinnacle of the, the N F L profession. And, uh, I was absolutely, to feel blessed to, to have won one, let alone win two is, is unbelievable. Sean 00:43:59 I had a feeling that might be the one that you would bring up, but I think you both have plenty of successes ahead. On the flip side though, can you each tell us about a transformational learning moment that you had and, and what you took out of that? Some folks might call it a mistake, but just something where maybe things didn't go quite your way and what you pulled out of that experience. Yeah, Stefen 00:44:19 I think for me, um, I mean, I've had quite a few during my N F L career, but I think when I got got fired by the Eagles, um, just like a year after winning the Super Bowl, and I, I sat kind of without a team for five weeks, and I had a lot of time to sit and just think about, you know, my career, my life, my decisions, you know, all that kind of stuff. And really felt that, you know, I, I learned a lot, and I mean, I've, I've kind of written whole sermons on this, but I'll try to, I'll try to keep it short, that ultimately my life is not my own. Um, I've submitted it to God, and, and he can use it as he sees fit. That's kind of what the Christian life should be, is that, uh, I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. Stefen 00:45:01 So if my career is not mine, I've given up to God, then he can do whatever he wants with it. Um, he can bless it tremendously to Super Bowls. He can, he can kind of end it with, you know, getting fired. And as I was sitting there, I'm like, I, I might never play again. I might never get signed again. You know, what do, what do I know? But, um, just trying to be okay and rejoice, not just accept, but rejoice in whatever God has for me. And his plan is, I think probably the biggest thing I could take away from that. And I, I really did have joy in it. I mean, Hilary was there with me. Um, she can, can say that I'm, I'm telling the truth, but I, I really did have joy. I really did trust God, and essentially my career was falling apart. But, um, if it's not my career, I'm not like holding it, clinging to it. Um, the Bible says he who clings to his life will lose it, but he gives it up for Jesus' sake. We'll save it. So I've tried to give my life up, uh, to God, and, um, I think that's, that's how we, that's how we save it. Hilary 00:45:58 Um, for me, in terms of, you know, a learning moment, when I started my job at a nonprofit, I created this internship program. So I go to Nigeria for the first time. I spend 25 hours on a plane. I spend 10 hours, I spend 10 hours in a bus going to this village. And, uh, I show up to, I'm gonna train these people how to be financial analysts. So you go in with these expectations, I'm gonna create these tools and we're gonna learn coding and I'm gonna teach them all this advanced stuff. And I was teaching people how to turn on computers and how to save documents. And it was a humbling experience. It was a wonderful experience. Um, at first it, you know, it's, it's very different than what you expect, um, but going into something and loosening your grip on your expectations, kind of like what Stefen said, just loosening your expectations and just seeing how, how the learning works. Um, and to see these people grow and to, to shape this program into something where they now are analysts, they now are creating tools. And it might've tooken longer than I thought. It might've looked different, but, um, it was, it was, it was a great learning moment for me nonetheless. Sean 00:47:01 So the last couple questions. How do you both approach mentorship, both from the mentoring and the mentee perspective? Stefen 00:47:07 Yeah, I was, I was tremendously blessed, um, by having a mentor in college who was a pastor who taught me a lot about how to study the bible, how to grow my faith. But from a football perspective, I always learned a lot from older players who taught me lots of things when I was a younger player. And so I really benefited from learning, you know, as a younger person from those who knew more than me. And then as I got along in my N F L career, I started teaching younger guys what I've learned. Um, and same thing with, with, with the Bible. I, I teach others the Bible. I've led bible studies in, in the N F L. And so I've, I've kind of gone through the spectrum of, you know, being mentored and then now trying to be a mentor. And, um, I think that's, that's the model. Stefen 00:47:53 But it's, um, not everyone thinks like that. A lot of people we wanna receive and we wanna receive and we wanna receive. And first of all, you know, I think anyone should go out and seek getting a mentor that that's a tremendous benefit. But, you know, once you've learned a lot and, and grown and, and achieved at least some level of success in what it is you're doing, uh, just being willing to volunteer your time to, to then pass on what you've learned to others and be a mentor. I, I would challenge people to do that. Um, just remembering people who helped you and, and then trying to be a help to others is, is really an awesome thing to do. Hilary 00:48:27 Yeah, I, I think for me in my first career, you know, it's your first year out of school and you're kind of, you're used to the school environment and when you start your first job, it's, it's so helpful to have someone who is maybe a few years down the road from you and you, um, see someone who's, who's doing well in their career and you want a career like theirs. Um, I actually approached someone and asked them to mentor me in my first job. And I, and I think, and as an encouragement to students, don't be afraid to ask someone. Don't be afraid to ask for that kind of relationship because I think most people are willing to. Um, so I greatly benefited from having a mentor and I think it even prepared me for my job now where I'm running this internship program and being able to pour into other people. Sean 00:49:05 I think this might be the last kind of deeper question, but how do you both find balance and give back to the community outside of your work commitments? Hilary 00:49:13 So I can, I can go first, um, in, in terms of, you know, community involvement, although Stefenie and I have had to move so many times with his job, um, I was able to join, um, I joined the board of a nonprofit that, uh, we run a school in an orphanage in Haiti outside of the capital city. So I've been involved in that organization for I think 10 years now. I'm, I serve on their board. Um, so it's been a fun way though I've moved around the country. We've lived a bunch of different places. I've had a place where I'm able to give back and contribute. And so the, the organization that I'm involved with, we run a school, we run an orphanage, we run medical clinics, we take teams down as people to, to offer medical care. Um, it's been a, it's been a great way for me to, to pour back into a community, even if it's not my, my local community at the time, right? Because I was moving so much. But I think going forward, Stepan and I, now that we are planning to live in state college are, are ready to get back into the local community here and the university and, and really start giving back to those directly around us. Yeah, Stefen 00:50:10 I think Hilary answered that pretty well. But, um, I mean, I'll just briefly say, you know, when I was playing, I always looked for different opportunities to serve wherever I was and, um, really had an, a lot of awesome experiences doing that. You know, often just showing up and kind of sharing some advice with kids. But I've, I've always looked for opportunities to serve and, and I've found a lot, uh, through the platform I had in the N F L. Sean 00:50:34 Are there any professors, coaches, friends, teammates from your Penn State days that either of you would like to give a shout out to? Well, yeah, Stefen 00:50:42 I, I, you know, there's a million coaches and, and teammates, so I, I don't want to pick, I don't want to pick one or two and, and leave any out, but I'll, I'll say shout out to Joe Paw man. Um, we, uh, we unfortunately have kind of stopped talking about him and taking all his records down, but man, awesome guy and, uh, unbelievable coach, unbelievable person. Loved playing for Joe Paw man. Joe Paul. We celebrated the 10 year anniversary of his 409th win, I think it was last week or two weeks ago. And it was obviously a quiet celebration 'cause we're still not talking about Joe Paul too much, unfortunately. But I love playing for Joe Paul. Man. Shout out to Joe. Hilary 00:51:17 For me, honestly, the front office in the honors college was so helpful to me as a freshman and as a sophomore when we'd have no idea what they're, do what we're doing, and they help steer us in the right direction or help when we have no one to turn to. So really that office is really good at, at helping new students. I think, at least during my time they were, Sean 00:51:35 And they still are. So, uh, great shout out for my colleagues here in the honors college and, uh, I'm sure there's probably a lot of coaches on that staff, uh, with Joe Paterno. Uh, and like you said, Stefen, probably too many to name, but I'm sure they all know the impact that they had on you and you had on your, your fellow players on, on those great teams in the late two thousands. Last piece of advice that either of you would like to leave for our current Trier scholars? For Hilary 00:52:03 Me, I, I think mine's pretty simple. Um, take every advantage of the opportunities that you have. I think Penn State and the Honors College have so many opportunities for, for different ways, whether it's funding for research, it's studying abroad, it's taking a leadership role. I think they're all waiting for you to take them. Um, and you just have to be willing to step out, even if it's outside of your comfort zone, try something new. Um, apply for something that you might think is a stretch. Um, because it, it gave me opportunities that I had never dreamed of. I never thought I'd have funding to go to Africa and study abroad for a year. So I took full advantage of them and I'd encourage students to do the same. I Stefen 00:52:40 Think kind of what I've learned from, I've been in successful, you know, football organizations and I've been in kind of not successful ones. I think one of the biggest things that makes, uh, organizations and then, you know, on down to individual successful is, is just having a growth mindset that I can always improve. I can always learn, I can always get better. Having the humility to admit that. Um, a lot of people, I think it's like a pride thing. Like, no, I'm good, I'm done. Like I'm fine. But I think the most successful organizations and people are always trying to say, how can we do this better? How can we do this better? How can we do this better? Being open-minded to ask others their opinion. Learn from everybody. Always be thinking though, man, how can I do this differently, more effectively? Um, the teams that I was on that won that, that was their mindset. There wasn't like this, I was just show up to work, punch my clock, get out. It's, you know, if we wanna be the best, um, we're gonna have to learn and grow and improve and innovate, um, kind of at all times. So I guess that'd be mine. I Sean 00:53:39 Think that is great advice from both of you. Hilary, I'll let you feel this one. If a scholar wanted to reach out to you and maybe take this conversation a little bit deeper, they're curious on the different careers that you're both in and they wanted to talk to you in a mentoring capacity, how could they get ahold of you? Hilary 00:53:56 Sure. So I'm on LinkedIn, it's easy to reach me there if you're, do you wanna talk nonprofits? Do you wanna talk data analysis? You wanna talk switching career paths? If you wanna talk football, you might laugh at my answers because I am not well versed, but you could try, or at least for a laugh, <laugh>. Sean 00:54:11 And then for those of you who are regular listeners, you know what's coming. Our final question. If you were each a flavor of Burke Creamery ice cream, which would you be? And as scholar alumni, most importantly, why that flavor? Stefen 00:54:27 Alright, so my favorite flavor was always Monster Mash always made it around Halloween and delicious flavor. I'm, I'm probably gonna go buy some right now, now that we're talking about, it's making me hungry. But why am I monster Mash? Well, if you look at me in my uniform, uh, I kind of look like a monster. I'm pretty big and scary. Um, I've actually had small children look at me and start crying, you know, uh, I met my niece on the field one time and she, she literally went from like smiling and she saw me and just went, ah, you know, crying. So I could be described as monster, like on the field. And I do mash people. That's essentially my job is to mash people, um, for a living. And so I'm, I'm monster looking. I mash people. However, if you try the flavor monster mash, it's very sweet. So off the field, I'm sweet. I'm nice. Uh, might be intimidating looking, but, but I'm a nice guy. Oh, Hilary 00:55:19 I, I can't top that <laugh>. I think for me, I, I guess it's my favorite flavor too. I really like the grilled stick flavor. Maybe that's just paying home wash to, you know, the grilled stickies. But for me, I mean, I'm an accountant. I'm a fi in finance, which can seem kind of vanilla, but I travel all over the world for my job. I travel to some pretty crazy places. So I think it's got like a little bit of just that, you know, the grilled stickies in it. So that's my answer. Sean 00:55:45 That is a great one. And I think you're the first person to pick that one so far. So it's very Hilary 00:55:50 Underrated. Sean 00:55:51 You have both like, claimed to your flavors, uh, first time for both of those. So great, great picks. Hilary Stefen, thank you both so much for joining me here today, despite some technical difficulties here on following the Gone. Lots of great advice on lots of great stories, and again, as an Eagles fan, thank you Stefen, uh, on behalf of not only our fan base, but also throw a thank you for any Chiefs fans listening as well for delivering the first one in 50 years. So, uh, thank you both for joining us today on following the Gong. Awesome. Hilary 00:56:22 Thank you. You, Stefen 00:56:23 Thanks for having us. And it was my pleasure to win a Super Bowl for you and the Philly fans. *GONG SOUND EFFECT* Sean 00:56:35 Thank you Scholars for listening and learning with us today. We hope you will take something with you that will contribute to how you shape the world. This show proudly supports the Schreyer Honors College Emergency Fund, benefiting Scholars experiencing unexpected financial hardship. You can make a difference at raise.psu.edu/schreyer. Please be sure to hit the relevant subscribe, like, or follow button on whichever platform you are engaging with us on today. You can follow the College on Instagram and LinkedIn to stay up to date on news, events, and deadlines. If you have questions about the show or are a Scholar Alum who'd like to join us as a guest here on Following the Gong, please connect with me at [email protected]. Until next time, please stay well and We Are!

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